Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Failure to Communicate

Even as our media races to the bottom of the human gene pool by allowing the democratic process to be driven by issues of hate (immigration, gay marriage), false religion (saving unborn children while advocating policies that starve and kill others of noncompliant countries), and pyrrhic security (creation of police state and loss of personal freedom), the biggest story there is, is still not communicated.

And that is... If we don't tackle climate change, we die.

Yet, even though the geographic state of the United States is the only developed country that has not signed Kyoto, there are some serious backsliders out there. Canada is one.

Here is why.

'The biggest environmental crime in history'
By Cahal Milmo
The Independent
Published: 10 December 2007

BP, the British oil giant that pledged to move "Beyond Petroleum" by finding cleaner ways to produce fossil fuels, is being accused of abandoning its "green sheen" by investing nearly £1.5bn to extract oil from the Canadian wilderness using methods which environmentalists say are part of the "biggest global warming crime" in history.

The multinational oil and gas producer, which last year made a profit of £11bn, is facing a head-on confrontation with the green lobby in the pristine forests of North America after Greenpeace pledged a direct action campaign against BP following its decision to reverse a long-standing policy and invest heavily in extracting so-called "oil sands" that lie beneath the Canadian province of Alberta and form the world's second-largest proven oil reserves after Saudi Arabia.

Producing crude oil from the tar sands – a heavy mixture of bitumen, water, sand and clay – found beneath more than 54,000 square miles of prime forest in northern Alberta – an area the size of England and Wales combined – generates up to four times more carbon dioxide, the principal global warming gas, than conventional drilling. The booming oil sands industry will produce 100 million tonnes of CO2 (equivalent to a fifth of the UK's entire annual emissions) a year by 2012, ensuring that Canada will miss its emission targets under the Kyoto treaty, according to environmentalist activists.

The oil rush is also scarring a wilderness landscape: millions of tonnes of plant life and top soil is scooped away in vast open-pit mines and millions of litres of water are diverted from rivers – up to five barrels of water are needed to produce a single barrel of crude and the process requires huge amounts of natural gas. The industry, which now includes all the major oil multinationals, including the Anglo-Dutch Shell and American combine Exxon-Mobil, boasts that it takes two tonnes of the raw sands to produce a single barrel of oil. BP insists it will use a less damaging extraction method, but it accepts that its investment will increase its carbon footprint.

Mike Hudema, the climate and energy campaigner for Greenpeace in Canada, told The Independent: "BP has done a very good job in recent years of promoting its green objectives. By jumping into tar sands extraction it is taking part in the biggest global warming crime ever seen and BP's green sheen is gone. (clip)

Canada claims that it has 175 billion barrels of recoverable oil in Alberta, making the province second only to Saudi Arabia in proved oil riches and sparking a £50bn "oil rush" as American, Chinese and European investors rush to profit from high oil prices. Despite production costs per barrel of up to £15, compared to £1 per barrel in Saudi Arabia, the Canadian province expects to be pumping five million barrels of crude a day by 2030. (clip)

Licenses have been issued by the Albertan government to extract 350 million cubic metres of water from the Athabasca River every year. But the water used in the extraction process, say campaigners, is so contaminated that it cannot be returned to the eco-system and must instead be stored in vast "tailings ponds" that cover up to 20 square miles and there is evidence of increased rates of cancer and multiple sclerosis in down-river communities.

Experts say a pledge to restore all open cast tar sand mines to their previous pristine condition has proved sadly lacking. David Schindler, professor of ecology at the University of Alberta, said: "Right now the big pressure is to get that money out of the ground, not to reclaim the landscape. I wouldn't be surprised if you could see these pits from a satellite 1,000 years from now."

Just for the record, twenty square miles of solar would provide the transportation energy equivalent of .05 million barrels a day from now on, without the water use and contamination. But the total area that is at risk is 54,000 square miles.

Now get this. And I'm not even considering the carbon that is being released by the destruction of the forest. If an equivalent area was converted to solar energy, it would produce 135 million barrels of oil equivalent a day. ( electric efficiency multiplier of 6 for you math checkers)

The world is presently stuck at at 86 million barrels a day.

Like Boss Godfrey said in Cool Hand Luke,

"What we have here is failure to communicate."

Or, a complete failure of our dominant institutions.

As Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon said yesterday,

"The human race faces oblivion if it fails to confront global warming"

We tackle climate change or we die.

"I'm Shaking it boss."

Labels: ,


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The mass media is not telling the public the truth about climate change, or alternative energy, or oil from tar sand, or almost anything. The average Joe/Jill is too busy with 2 jobs and long comutes to search for information. American education doesn't make critical thinkers and here we are.

4:14 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home