Saving Wildlife from Mass Extinction due to Global Warming

Alberta Tar Sands

The Alberta Tar Sands

in the age of

Global Warming 

As pointed out in the previous section, coal and oil by themselves could drive the atmospheric carbon concentration and therefore the global temperature through the roof, thank you very much.   By "roof" I mean 6 degrees Celsius (9.5 degrees Fahrenheit) over the preindustrial(~1880) level.  And what is beyond this roof?  Perhaps just a wasteland in which nothing but bacteria and cockroaches could live, where exists a new and vast desert called Amazon.  The tar sands are the last straw.


Canadian environment ministers


go as far as to talk about


6 degrees Celsius is generally considered the threshold of survivability of over 90% of all species on Earth, including possibly our own.  As it is, when the increase over the preindustrial level is less than one degree, the 6th Mass Extinction (see Mass Extinction section) is already well in progress because of it.  The coral reefs around the world are already being bleached out of existence, and the Amazon rainforest (see Tropical Region section) is suffering droughts as it has never seen. 


mining the tar sands


in "an ecologically friendly manner"


In 2007, two important things occurred in regards to global warming.   One, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its 4th Assessment Report on Global Warming, in which it presented 5 projections to 2100, from best case scenario, which predicted a 2 degree temperature rise by 2100, and the worst case scenario, which predicted a more than 5 degree rise.  Bearing in mind the 6 degree factor, the worse case scenario is tantamount to suicide of human civilization if not species.






in terms of Canadian emissions


of carbon into the atmosphere


Two, in Arctic summer 2007, the sea ice melted at an unprecedented rate (see Polar Regions section)- 50% faster than that predicted by IPCC's worse case scenario.  Before 2005, the projections had it that the Arctic would lose 50% of its sea ice come 2050.  Now, the prediction has been updated to that as early as 2014, Arctic summers could be completely ice free.   Good for the shipping tycoons seeking the NW Passage, but very bad for life on Earth, especially those living in the year 2100.


while totally ignoring





the  billions of tons


But even this is not the scariest thing of all.  There is a greater threat than oil and coal.  Yes, I'll come to the tar sands a little later, but I'm talking about something else.  Methane.  First of all, as a GHG, methane is 25X more powerful than carbon dioxide.  Second, there are billions of tons of frozen methane clathrate (methane hydrate) locked up in the Arctic and SubArctic permafrost.  And the permafrost is melting (see Permafrost Melting section).  This is not theory; it is fact.






of carbon contained in






the crude oil


The more methane released into the atmosphere, the higher the temperature, and the faster the permafrost will melt.  The preindustrial atmospheric carbon concentration was about 250 ppm.  Now it is about 380 ppm.  Scientists advise to cap it at 430 ppm max to prevent driving the system into runaway global heating.  If the methane currently stored in the permafrost is released, it would raise it to over 550 ppm, and we haven't even counted the methane clathrate stored elsewhere.






derived from the tar sands


to be shipped to


So, as you can see, the last thing we need is to pour more fuel on the fire.  But the selfish and greedy fools that we are, that is exact what we are doing.  And not for want of far more superior and indeed urgent and necessary alternative solutions.  Oh, holy Mother Earth, what are these mindless, heartless and soulless "planopaths" doing to you?  If not for that I'm looking at your open, oozing and festering wounds, I would not believe what world-class criminals-against-nature we humans can be.


the United States






and China


There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the continued and escalating development of the Alberta tar sands, as planned, i.e. at accelerating rates until at least 2060, is tantamount to humanity committing suicide, and genocide against millions of species destined for anthropogenic extinction, including possibly Homo sapiens itself.   And all for, as Alberta premier Ed Stelmach so provincially put it, preserving "the quality of life of Albertans", e.g. another new generation of Hummers.


there to be spewed


into the atmosphere.


As a sociopath has no social conscience, a planopath has no planetary conscience.  There is nothing mystical about a planetary conscience.  It is love and respect for the Earth, pure and simple.  What part of this don't they understand?  Oh, they understand, but they understand making a killing by killing the Earth even better.  A planetary conscience also includes the future of our children's world.  A planopath has no true love for children, even his own.  He loves only himself and his money.








Since the dramatic and unprecedented melting of Arctic sea ice as well as the Greenland land ice since 2005


and the dramatic and unprecedented droughts in the Amazon as well as the United States in the same period,


Therefore, consider this page my Declaration of War against the tar sands and all rapists of Mother Earth, and my vow of allegiance to all who oppose this ecological and spiritual atrocity.  I aim to preserve the quality of life not only of Albertans, but of all future generations, and of all life on Earth, and of the life of Earth herself.  My objective is to bring the tar sands to a grinding halt within 3 years.  What kind of man would see a brutal rape in progress, and do nothing?


scientists now predict that






unless we begin to reduce


You may think that I'm handing my declaration of war to the myopic fool of a premier, or the despicable so-called environment minister, a soulless Big Oil CEO, or an oil-stained backhoe operator.  Yes, all of the above, but most of all, to all the little investors and speculators and their stock brokers, who care not an iota what damage their profit might wrought.  I'm not asking them to stop investing.  I'm asking them to invest in the integrity of Earth and the future of our children, not harm them. 






fossil fuel combustion without delay






instead of increasing it for decades to come


As a university student I used to work summers in the BC and Manitoba wilderness as a field geophysicist in mineral exploration. We used remote sensing geophysical instruments and stream sediment sampling for geochemical analysis, and, until we have isolated an ore body for drilling, we left no ecological foot-print behind.  In contrast, the exploration phase of the tar sands itself does serious damage.  The investors and operators really have zero regard for nature and the biosphere. 







We will be dooming our children


and their children's children's children


If the word "evil" has a place in this equation, the ultimate is in the personages of the, shall I say, climatostitutes.  He may personally accept global warming as fact, but this is not important.  If he is paid enough to say that global warming is a hoax, he would say so in Oscar-caliber sincerity as if this were fact, without a tinge of guilt even fully realizing what devastation this would wrought upon future generations.  The internet is full of these planopathic climatostitutes.  Ignore them.


to a hellish and heartbreaking world





of massive famines on all continents


I wrote to a friend in Alberta about Big Oil's promise to restore the mine sites back to pristine condition after they have been through with ravaging it.  She wrote back:  "Well it is sort of like politicians, they make a lot of promises but .....  Land reclamation seems to be more 'popular' these days than say 25 years ago when Esso left a bunch of contaminated land to the City of Calgary.  They put a few feet of fresh soil down and called it clean, which would have been OK if Calgary were to, say, make it green space & not go digging around in it & nothing was leaching into water tables. But instead (greed) the City built a whole neighborhood right over top of it!  Peoples basements were leaking poison & kids had lead contamination & Hazco, one of our companies is now ripping down an entire neighborhood & removing all the debris - an entire neighborhood!   The City & Esso had to buy back all the houses because the properties were worthless.  So, I can't say that I really trust big oil, given their history."   


and mass extinction of wildlife


totaling millions of species,


And my friend continued: "I have a friend whose husband works as an environmentalist doing air quality studies etc. for the oil & gas industry.  He gets hired as a contractor and they literally gag-ordered him not to include anything in any report that would reflect negatively for the company.  So when companies boast they have the best environmentalist studying the problems - well yes, they study the air, water, etc., but are basically not to complain about anything they find in the data they supply." 






where the corals will be extinct worldwide


and the tropical forests become lifeless deserts.


And my friend continued:   "I spoke to him because I was concerned that the saw mill in my town was spewing toxic chemicals into the air & it was making me sick to smell it.  They discharged into the air mainly at night & added pine to disguise the odor.   He literally laughed at me & said yes it does release arsenic into the air (used for pressure treating lumber), but he said not to worry about that because what the nearby gas plant was releasing would poison us all, long before the arsenic."


Mining and transporting the tar sands






in "an ecologically friendly manner"


And my friend concluded:  "Anyways, the big clean up is the waste water & carbon dioxide emissions, and the energy & fresh water used to process the bitumen.  And then another issue,  who's going to take responsibility for a 100 years of pollutants, solvents.  Who knows what else is swimming around in those swamps of waste.  Bitumen is on the surface of the ground in Fort McMurray, you can see it in plain view so removing it from the sand and putting the sand back isn't that hard as long as someone is going to pay for it.  So long as oil stays over $50/barrel the oils sands are profitable & higher than that companies can afford more emphasis on clean up, but the public must keep up the pressure or it will be ignored."





is not enough.





The tar sands


In the early 1990s I worked as an environmental technologist on monitoring mine wastes and pulp mill discharges.  I have visited dozens of mines and pulp mills across Canada.  Never, and I repeat, never, have I seen anything remotely resembling the Alberta tar sands' grotesque disregard for the environment.   There is no way that the tar sands could pass an objective environmental assessment, even if its impact is downplayed a hundred fold.  It must be shut down on this score alone. 







must be terminated


once and for all


Were the same area covered by the tar sands in the above maps developed in terms of their solar and wind power potential, Alberta could provide for all the power requirements of Canada, with enough left over to export to the United States.   If the money poured into the tar sands were channeled to clean and renewable energy instead, Alberta would be world leader.  Were China and the U.S. not fed this dirty and easy oil, they will be more motivated to develop clean energies of their own.


and the investment dollars










need be channeled


Though the British Columbia government is talking green and imposing a carbon tax on fossil fuels consumption, and has issued vague statements of disapproval on the Alberta tar sands, it is allowing and in fact cooperating and participating with the Alberta government to build a 1100-km "Gateway" pipeline linking the tar sands to the Pacific port of Kitimat near Prince Rupert on the northern coast of BC, most of it through pristine wilderness and wildlife habitat. 


into researching and developing the non-combustion technologies


including solar, wind and geothermal power, excluding ethanol.





The entire tar sands pipeline network as planned.


Canada's Crude Oil Production by type - 1996-2008





Different Oil Sands Production Forecasts.


Alberta tar sands energy use.


Total Oil Sands Production from Planned Projects - 1990-2018




Suicide scenario





What some feel about the Alberta tar sands.





Some time in late spring or early summer, 2008, Dr. Peter Carter, Julie Johnson and Taina Ketola will fly with Anthony Marr to conduct an aerial photographic and videographic mission on the tar sands and the entire length of the proposed pipeline from the mines to the BC coast, to document what both Alberta and British Columbia stand to lose environmentally should the project go ahead.  They will also take the opportunity to meet with the tribal councils of the first nations enroute the proposed pipeline.  They have nothing to gain except the self-knowing that they have done their best for our future generations, life on Earth and the life of Earth itself.






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