STOP: Stop Tar Sands Operations Permanently

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Fun with Numbers: Gov’t’s new plan a lot of hot air

Posted by mhudema on July 13, 2008

Fun with numbers
Calgary Herald

Re: “Alberta pumps $4B into eco plan,” July 9.

The premier’s new climate sham is trying to win over Albertans by emphasizing transportation, which we need. But it’s not a solution to the climate crisis, nor does it address the other environmental and health implications of tarsands development — air pollution, the clearcutting of the boreal forest, water contamination, cancer rates in downstream communities and wildlife deaths. This climate sham is also relying on carbon capture and sequestration, an incredibly expensive and unproven technology with extremely long lead times.

While the initial reduction numbers may look good at first glance, on closer inspection, they fail to measure up. The plan will reduce emissions by five million tonnes annually, or the equivalent of taking one million cars off the road by 2015. In that same time, the tarsands are projected to grow by 76 million tonnes, or the equivalent of putting 15.2 million cars on the road.

The plan is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 14 per cent below 2005 levels by 2050 — about 200 million tonnes. This leaves us only 166 million tonnes short of where scientists say we need to be by 2050 to avoid the worst effects of global warming. Or, we only need to take 33.2 million more cars off the road to satisfy scientific warnings.

The first step to a real climate action plan would include no new approvals on tarsands development and all those billions invested in renewable energy. Now, that’s a plan Alberta could warm up to.

Jessie Schwarz, Edmonton

Jessie Schwarz is an oilsands campaigner with Greenpeace Canada.

© The Calgary Herald 2008
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