Thursday, June 11, 2015

Victoria's Green Matters - 11th June 2015

Deal With IT's Secretary Victoria Nicholls writes a regular column in the East Kent Mercury:

Oil has been produced from tar sands in the Canadian province of Alberta for 50 years. Tar sands produce the dirtiest form of oil which, when burnt, produces more carbon dioxide than any other fossil fuel. It also leaves behind polluted grounds and rivers.

Fort Mckay, a First Nations hamlet in Alberta, is home to the Cree and Dene nations and has descendants from Scottish and French fur traders. While the oil has made some people rich it is also poisoning the waters of the Athabasca river. There have been high rates of cervical cancer and a rare bile duct cancer among those that fish in the river and hunt on the land.

The Canadian government claims that the tar sands are the third biggest proven oil reserves in the world after those in Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. There are 168 billion barrels but huge amounts of energy are required to extract the thick crude oil from the earth which makes it about 4 times more carbon intensive than ordinary oil.

Early mining projects also stripped away 1,850 sq. miles of forests to get to the oil and remaining trees were robbed of their water supply and slowly died. So another sink that could have absorbed many tonnes of carbon dioxide was removed.

Scientists have warned that mining all the tar sands oil will mean game over for the climate but the Canadian government does not heed any warnings and continues to go ahead.

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