STOP: Stop Tar Sands Operations Permanently

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Melchin denies climate change, Stelmach denies environmental costs of the tar sands, and others just don’t do anything.

Posted by mhudema on January 17, 2008

Well today was a strange day filled with strange admissions, weird denials and enough greenwashing to fill a conference centre.

Yes the oil sands summit met in Calgary, our Premier went to Washington and I got to sit in a room with 400 men in suits talking about how they can destroy the planet.

Here are some of the days highlights:

Total and StatOil gave a presentation on the dangers of climate change, the wonders of carbon capture and how all their facilities will be built “capture capable”. That all sounds alright until you ask them if they actually plan to implement the technology. The answer – nope. Not unless they are forced by government or the rest of the industry decides to do it. Wow now there is some leadership.

The lunch time keynote with Greg Melchin (Minister of Seniors) was also quite the display. It started with Melchin saying that when it comes climate change the “science is still unknown”. The Albertan Minister then went on to say that a “government cannot be too dogmatic (and take one side) when the debate (on global warming) is still out”. At this point my head almost exploded.

After questioning the very basics of climate change Melchin then went on to criticize school environmental curriculum. Melchin asserted while teaching the joys of being green is good there should be more curriculum on everything that oil and energy industries give to our lives. I am not sure really what Melchin said after that as I was lying on the floor in the fetal position rocking back and forth and saying “there’s no place like home” over and over again.

While all the joys of the summit were taking place our lovable Premier was in the Washington D.C. where he said the environmental toll of the tar sands is, and I quote – “a myth”. Yep it appears that all of the following are myths:

* Tar Sands operations could eventually cover 149,000 square kilometers of pristine forest – that’s an area roughly the size of Florida.

* Each day the tar sands use 600 million cubic feet of natural gas to, in effect, melt the tarry sludge into a usable form – that’s enough natural gas to heat more than 3 million Canadian homes.

* Producing a barrel of oil from the tar sands produces three times more greenhouse gas than a barrel of conventional oil.

* Tar sands operations use about the same amount of freshwater in a year that the entire City of Calgary uses (population 1 million) – 90% of this freshwater ends up in toxic tailing ponds.

* Toxic tailing ponds already cover more than 50 square kilometers and are considered to be one of largest man-made structures in the world.

I am going to go lay down now and pretend that people are actually sane.

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