Tar Sands and Oil Shale will Destroy the Climate to Save a Couple Bucks at the Pump

Tar sands and oil shale will destroy the climate to save a couple bucks at the pumpA new report from WWF-UK warns exploitation of North America's tar sands [search] and oil shale [search] could increase atmospheric CO2 levels by up to 15%. They release as much as eight times as much carbon as petroleum. Over-reaction to gasoline prices [search] going up a couple bucks in the rich world may lead to the catastrophic embrace of these unconventional and highly-polluting fossil fuels.
EcoInternet has been working on the issue for years [more]. We are pleased to now join with WWF (so right on climate, so wrong on forests) in their recent call for an end to the production of tar sand and oil shale fuels [ark | moreark]. These “carbon bomb” fuels can only perpetuate a deadly fossil fuel addiction, delaying transition to clean renewable energy, and ensuring Earth's climate is irreversibly damaged. They must be banned now before we become dependent.

Oil companies are not factoring in the externalities [ark] of their climate-hostile fuels on the environment. Production of these unconventional fuels also uses huge amounts of water and destroys vast tracts of forests. Speaking of forests, hey WWF, if we can give up these potentially huge fuel sources for the Planet and humanity's future, certainly we can give up logging 60 million year old ancient primary forests to produce throw-away consumer products? How about a little consistency in identifying the activities destroying the Earth and calling for shared sacrifice? WWF's support of FSC “certified” logging of primary forests [search] is disgraceful. Come on, you can quit the habit!

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5 Responses

  1. R. Gates says:

    Greed and the thirst for ever expanding sources of energy and resources has always been the downfall of humanity…yes, there are those who cry STOP! but the great masses will not retreat I fear…

  2. Dear Glen and R. Gates,
    Can either of you or someone else please explain how so many well-intentioned people are failing so miserably to share a common understanding of what is happening in our planetary home in these early years of Century XXI?
    There are moments like this one when it appears to me that we in the family of humanity must be living within some huge manmade construction reminiscent of the ancient Tower of Babel. Whatever the reasons for our spectacular failure to communicate meaningfully and sensibly about what somehow could be real about the workings of the Earth and the placement of the human species within the natural order of living things, these circumstances are incredible and present the human family with a potentially colossal, human-induced threat to life as we know it and the integrity of Earth as a fit place for human habitation.
    As an example, let us look at the growth of absolute global human population numbers. In 2008 there are more people literally existing on Earth on resources valued at less than $2 per day than the total human population in the year of my birth. Our population numbers have been skyrocketing in our time and are projected to continue skyrocketing to the middle of this century when our numbers are anticipated to reach 9+/- billion and then somehow, magically I believe, automatically stabilize. The is no unchallenged scientific evidence to indicate how this "demographic transition to population stabilization" can possibly occur. This has not kept many so-called experts from continuing to say that the preternatural 'science' on which they rely is outdated and fatally flawed. A mere 108 years ago, at the beginning of the 20th Century, human numbers worldwide were between 1 and 2 billion. Most people can agree, I believe, on these numbers.
    Now let us look at the relatively small, evidently finite, noticeably frangible planet we inhabit. Many experts have asked the question, "How many people can the Earth support?"
    No reasonable and sensible person would say that an unlimited number of people can exist in a limited world. That cannot be. It also follows that the size and make-up of Earth naturally limits the growth of human production and per human consumption activities worldwide. The growth of these activities are subject to certain biophysical limitations of Earth. Endless growth cannot occur in a finite world.
    What do you expect will happen if human propagation, production and consumption activities continue to grow, given their current scale and expected annual rate of increase? Please know that comments are welcome.
    Steven Earl Salmony
    AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population
    established 2001

  3. R. Gates says:

    Your questions and observations are always insightful.
    Only yesterday I was watching CNN and the commentator mocked those who believe in Global Warming and Climate change. Furthermore, he mocked the idea that climate change should be taught in schools. I mention this because in indicates how removed a great segment of the population must be from a true awareness of the impending disaster.
    Disaster? Yes…DISASTER. Under the current mode of operation, human civilizaiton of course cannot go on for many more years. The complete depletion of fisheries, wetlands, topsoil, fresh water, food stocks, is the inevitable result.
    Those who currently know the solutions to this impending disaster have very little if any political clout…because the solution would mean the complete financial and economic dislocation of many many rich and powerful people. Those in power stay there SO LONG AS THE GAME REMAINS THE SAME. What is the game? The current economic and industrial modus operandi of modern civilization– which is of course mass consumerism.
    You see, the solution to the pending collapse of the worldwide ecosystem is NOT to buy a nice new Prius, but to buy NO CAR at all…but this is too much for the industrialists to accept. It would mean their economic destruction…
    Live simply and close to the earth…
    R. Gates

  4. Dave Moore says:

    Modern humans, including much of the liberal and activist intellectual middle class are essentially extensions of their machines, especially the automobile and other internnal combution engines. Sierra Club ecotourism, Cousteau running boats all over the world to “save ecosystems”et. Its all the same consumptive crap and Im no exception. Hippies, the ultra poor and rural folk of underdevelped contries are somewhat exception. one key to changing this robotic fixation is higher fuel prices. Higher prices mens more staying at home and working with neighbors to improve the local neighborhood, planting some trees and removing local invasives, creating bike paths,etc.
    At the same time the higher prices will have hughe downsides like Thir World starvation, increased use of ultra pollutin oil shale and tar sands,etc. The battle contiues.

  5. R. Gates says:

    I find it most revealing the you would try to politicize the impending global ecosystem collapse, using the hollow meaningless terms like “liberal”, etc.
    All people in developed nations are slaves to oil and fossil fuels. It makes no difference who you vote for or what bumper sticker you have on your car– the point is, you HAVE a car.
    Unless you live off the land, make your own clothes, grow your own food, etc. you are part of the mass consumer society that– like a swarm of locusts– is eating away the earth. Politics is meaningless in the face of the disasters ahead…

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