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View Diary: Will Canadian oil sands save the USA? (84 comments)

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  •  Thanks for the reality check (none)
    Seems most comments on this thread focus on investment opportunities, not reality. Carbon dioxide emissions still cause global warming, still wreak environment and weather changes. "Market forces" and wildcat profit taking are the headless beasts of our times, thrashing wildly where they will, consuming our resources, smashing our infrastructure, and keeping capital away from investment in alternative energy generation technologies.

    The environmental costs are very heavy. I don't expect capitalists to leave the oil sands in the ground, but let's be realistic here, the globe, regardless, will run out of petroleum sooner than later.

    This refining of undesirable crude should not give us hope, not slow any progress towards developing clean energy generation technologies. These reserves should only be used in legacy systems as the globe transits from historical energy use technologies to future energy use technologies

    OOOOOMMMMM . . . . .

    by MarkosNYC on Thu Nov 10, 2005 at 06:23:02 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  This DOES NOT include the release of (none)
      Methane from enormous peat bogs in Russia and Canada (where 12% of land mass is peat bogs).  As these meltin a rush, they warm the air and oceans so much that the methane that lies at the bottom of the seas also melts.  Then temperatures would rise an ADDITIONAL 10 degrees to 30 degrees Celsius.  This in turn will kill 95% of all life on Earth, as it did during the Great Extinction at the end of the Permian Era.

      Is this a scientific prediction for the end of the world?

      Yes.  

      What we really need in the face of this new data on Climate Disruption is to declare a global emergency and convert most of the military-industrial complex toward the common enemy and make wind turbines and solar panels, and nothing else for the next few decades.

      Then the world will be "saved" forever.  Instead of just the SUV drivers and our sick, sick economy being "saved" for a couple more decades and then our grandchildren and great-grandchildren cook to death for the sins of this false Oil Cult.

      Just a 6 degree rise in global temps precipitated the permafrost melt and then the methane release from the bogs at the end of the Permian Era.

      Repent!

      •  I was going to bring this up (none)
        Global Warming has far more dire consequences than an oil sands geologist could ever imagine:

        Study: Siberian Bogs Big Player in Greenhouse Gas

        James Owen
        for National Geographic News

        January 15, 2004

        Northern Russia's vast peat bogs may play a pivotal role in regulating greenhouse gas levels throughout the world, according to a new study.

        The barren peatlands of Siberia have been a massive methane producer since soon after the last ice age some 12,000 years ago, far longer than previously thought, scientists say. They also found evidence that suggests peat bogs rank among the world's top carbon stores, absorbing huge amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

        Both methane and carbon dioxide are key greenhouse gases. They absorb long-wave radiation and trap heat in the Earth's lower atmosphere. The research team says this makes northern Russian a major player in future global warming scenarios.

        "The study shows the potential role of Siberian peatlands as a major piece of the greenhouse gas puzzle, both in the past and the future," said Glen MacDonald, chair of geography department at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and co-author of the study published today in the research journal Science.

        UCLA researcher Laurence Smith led a 22-member international team to the West Siberian Lowland. The region--a flat, mosquito-infested plain of wetlands, tundra, and scattered larch forests--covers half a million square miles (1.3 million square kilometers), the largest expanse of peatlands in the world.

        "If you pushed all the individual peat bogs together they themselves would cover at least 233,000 square miles [603,445 square kilometers], almost as big as Texas," Smith said.

        Radiocarbon Dating

        Radiocarbon dating revealed that the bogs were 2,000 to 3,000 years older than previously thought, and researchers believe the bogs may be responsible for a huge rise in atmospheric methane levels (identified from Arctic ice core records) 9,000 to 11,500 years ago.

        Previous explanations for this rise in methane gas included catastrophic releases from the seafloor and emissions from tropical rain forests. "Now we [also] suspect these peatlands," said Smith.

        Peat forms in cool, wet regions, especially at northern latitudes, where dead plant material doesn't fully decompose. Over time, peat builds up in layers thousands of years old. Where the ground is particularly soggy and oxygen-poor, anaerobic bacteria attempts to digest organic matter, producing methane gas and a noxious odor.

        Smith says the methane spurt during the early Holocene period is probably best attributed to a combination of factors, including warming temperatures and closer plant contact during the early stages of peat formation with the nutrient-rich, mineral substrate.

        Core samples of the peat, which reaches depths of 33 feet (10 meters), revealed that different species typical of low wetland areas dominated at the time. The study team calculates these plants would have produced about six times more methane than today's bog-dwelling plants such as sphagnum moss.

        Yet these same peatlands are credited with converting another greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide, into harmless carbon held in the soil. Because peatland vegetation doesn't properly decompose, much of the carbon dioxide taken in by living plants isn't returned to the air.

        Carbon Store

        The new study suggests the West Siberian Lowland alone accounts for between 7 to 26 percent of global carbon reserves accumulated since the last Ice Age. Globally, peatlands contain an estimated 550 billion tons (541 billion metric tons) of stored carbon. If this carbon sink were released back into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide gas, the consequences could be dire.

        Signs in northern Russia indicate this process may be about to start.

        Smith said: "Sea ice is melting so quickly that it's at the lowest extent ever seen before. Shrubs are sprouting up in what used to be tundra. The growing season has lengthened, and the tree line may even be moving north. Studies have shown that permafrost is degrading at its southern boundaries, and permafrost temperatures are rising further north. There's no question that the Arctic is really heating up."

        Similar concerns exist in other countries. At an international climate change conference in Milan, Italy, last month, the conservation group Wildlife Habitat Canada warned that climate change modeling studies forecast very severe effects on peatlands in the mid-belt of Canada. Peatlands cover 12 percent of the country.

        The UCLA-led team says warmer temperatures, coupled with melting permafrost and a lowered water table, could eventually lead to aerobic decomposition due to peatland drying and increased soil oxygen levels. As a result, carbon dioxide would be produced instead of methane. They calculated that the long-term benefits of lower levels of methane (which has a shorter lifetime in the atmosphere) could be significantly outweighed by the increase in carbon dioxide, leading to "a positive warming impact to the atmosphere."

        Smith added: "Since we focus so much today on manmade sources of greenhouse gases, it's easy to forget that global climate changes also occur naturally. But we're in uncharted territory when it comes to combining manmade sources with natural sources."

        Smith cautions that if the Siberian peatlands, with 11,500 years' worth of carbon dioxide stored in them, start to rot away, we could be in for a shock.

        Global Warming End  Result Far Worse Than Previously Imagined

        Oil snds can never "save" anything if this is true...

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