No Rip-Offsets / Tar Sands

No Rip-Offsets

Offsetting Canada’s Tar Sands with Dammed Rivers and Dead Forests

Published by: Institute for Policy Studies Sustainable Energy
and Economy Network

As Canada begins to exploit the dirtiest fossil fuels in the world, tar sands, there are some Canadians who are proposing that this exploitation be and its climate impacts be “offset” by the protection of forests or the damming of rivers. However, Canada’s forests are vulnerable to infestation by the pine beetle, one consequence of warmer winters due to climate change. And Canada’s rivers and groundwater is being polluted by the exploitation of the tar sands.

Location of one of the largest hydrocarbon deposit ever discovered: Athabasca tar sands1

Barrels of recoverable bitumen in Athabasca tar sands: 175 to 200 billion2

Estimated barrels of potential bitumen in Canada’s tar sands: 1.75-2 trillion3

Number one exporter of oil to U.S.: Canada4

Tons of earth required to produce 1 barrel of oil from tar sands: At least 25

Quantity of water required to produce one barrel of synthetic oil from tar
sands: at least 3 barrels

Quantity of water used per year by Canadian tar sands: approximately 176 million cubic metres of water or about one third of the City of Toronto’s annual consumption in 20086.

Canada’s annual greenhouse gas emissions 2007: 747,041 gigatons7

Share of global greenhouse gas emissions that Canada emits: About 2.2%

Amount Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions have increased from 1990-2005: 25%8

Primary source of the increase in emissions: Alberta’s tar sands9

Share of Earth’s forests found in boreal region: One-third

Share of carbon in the terrestrial biome stored in the boreal region: 30%10

Percent of boreal forest threatened by climate change: 65%

Quantity of Canada’s boreal forest that the Canadian Boreal Initiative proposes to be set aside to “offset” emissions from the tar sands: 50%

Percent of British Columbia’s mature pine that are infested with pine beetle and expected to be dead by 2013: 8311

Expected temperature rise in boreal region and Northern latitudes: 10 degrees C, 18 degrees F12

Oil companies involved in tar sands: Suncor, Syncrude, Imperial Oil, Conoco-Phillips, Canadian Oil Sands Quest Ltd., Petro-Canada, AEC Oil Sands Partnership, Mocal Energy, Murphy Oil, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell, Nexen, Statoil, BP and many more.

Number of rivers that are not protected from proposals for privatization, damming, and carbon offsets in Canada: About 600

Total rivers in British Columbia: About 700

Price that oil must reach per barrel in order to make tar sands competitive: Approximately $35

Amount of energy that is required to extract one unit of energy from tar sands: Approximately 1:3

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