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One of the reasons that we all fought for Barack Obama was to have a sane climate change policy come from the White House which would be based on science.  But right now in Alberta an area the size of the state of Florida is in the process of being strip mined and "cooked" to extract oil from oil sands and shale oil for US consumption.
The sheer scale and devastion that these projects are causing, and will cause, is mind boggling.  The oil companies know that if the world really takes a good look at what they are doing they will be shut down.  So the conservative Bush-ite Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, is trying to nail down US approval for these projects before we wise up to what is going on...from the Globe and Mail:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is proposing to strike a joint climate-change pact with president-elect Barack Obama, an initiative that would seek to protect Alberta's oil sands projects from potentially tough new U.S. climate-change rules by offering a secure North American energy supply.

 We must get President-elect Obama to reject Canadian tar sands and shale oil NOW before the policy is set in stone. He needs to hear from us.

Turning This:

Into This:

Some facts to consider about the current projected future of OUR oil consumption in North America:

- Fully exploited the oil companies expect 1.5 trillion barrels of oil to come from "heavy crude" i.e. tar sands and shale oil from an area of Boreal forst covering 54,000 sq. miles.

- Total estimated carbon emissions from this would make Canada the largest emitter of GHGs on the planet.  Canada's GHG emissions were already 26% above 1990 levels.  If these projects go forward at the pace desired by industry, the production and use of the fuel would account for 87% of ALL OECD country emissions in 2050 (Under a 450ppm stablization pathway.) To put that into perspective, the entire developed world could reduce its emissions by 60% from todays levels and those reductions would be offset by the emissions from these projects.

- The amount of energy needed to get a barrel of tar sands oil equals roughly 3/4 of that barrel.  So in using energy for extraction equivalent to a barrel of oil you only get a barrel and a third.

- The energy being used to process the tar sands comes from natural gas mined at the arctic circle. (one enviornmental disaster feeding another.)

- The amount of natural gas being used for this between 2005 and 2007 rose from 800 million cubic ft. per day (cf/d)to 1.3 billion cf/d. That is enough natural gas to heat over six million typical Canadian homes - approximately HALF the households in Canada.

- Leading Climate Scientist Dr. James Hansen, Director of the NASA Goddard Institute recently told an audience at the National Press Club that climate change is no less than a planetary emergency.  Hansen went on to say: "If we squeeze oil out of the tar sands then there is no hope for life as we know it."

- Right now, unless we act and demand strong action on low carbon fuel standards from Congress and President-elect Obama, this WILL be our source for oil for for the future. For good or ill.

Obama has stated some good energy policy goals but since the impacts of this development happen north of the border this can all still happen the not counter act his campaign promises:

- Within 10 years save more oil than we currently import from the Middle East and Venezuela combined. [We use 19 million a day and produce 5 million.  Our production is falling and even with reductions we'll need to get oil from somewhere, so the pressure will be on to use Canadian tar sands oil...]

- Put 1 million Plug-In Hybrid cars -- cars that can get up to 150 miles per gallon -- on the road by 2015, cars that we will work to make sure are built here in America. [There are some 125 million cars on US roads so this is a drop in the bucket...]

- Implement an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050. [Canadian tar sands emissions happen in...Canada.]

In fact a text search of Obama's environmental and energy plans doesn't turn up the terms "Tar Sands", "Oil Sands", or "Shale Oil".  This is both a problem in that the issue hasn't been defined by Obama and also an opportunity for us to help him set the agenda.

If you're convinced and want to act go:

Here - Obama's campaign headquarters.


or Here - Congress.org - a great resource for contacting representatives...

Here's a cut & paste letter you can use to send to Obama's campaign headquarters (now his transition team) and also to your representatives:

***************************************************

Dear XX(decision maker),

As a citizen and tax payer concerned about our future I'd like to bring to your attention an issue which needs to be addressed urgently - the development of the tar sands and oil shale reserves in Canada. These reserves are being touted as prospective new sources of oil for the US.  These "heavy crude" reserves have green house gas emission rates some 2.5 times the rate of conventional oil and exploitation of them will have catastrophic effects on our planet's climate system.  To develop them would use massive amounts of both energy and water; in fact, a nuclear power plant is to be built to provide the needed energy in order to access that oil.  

I urge you to place a ban upon the import of oil from tar sands into the United States and a ban on all shale oil developments within US borders.  Our climate system is destabilizing and we may have already passed the point of no return.  Exploitation of these reserves will surely push us into a catastrophic climate scenario.  As Dr. James Hansen, the leading climate scientist in the US, recently stated at the National Press Club, "If we squeeze oil out of the tar sands then there is no hope for life as we know it."

We cannot solve our climate problem by pushing it onto Canada, but should put our money and efforts towards energy efficiency and the development of renewable energy sources that will function to replace the need for tar sands and shale oil entirely.

Thank you for you time and consideration in this essential matter.

Sincerely, your constitutent [Youe Name Here]

****************************************************
{Hat tip to Lujane for a better version and JBL55 for original edits.}

Something else to consider if I haven't made the case yet -- once more from the Global and Mail:

Ms. Barratt-Brown noted that, unlike U.S. plans, Canada's approach does not include a firm cap on emissions, but instead uses an "intensity target" which regulates emissions on the basis of production levels.

Gary Mar, Alberta's representative in Washington, said he is confident the Obama team is familiar with the oil sands projects and is expected to encourage their development, given the desire for energy security.

Mr. Mar said international studies suggest that the emissions from the oil sands are comparable to conventional sources of oil, if the companies implement so-called carbon-capture-and-storage technology.

[my emphasis]

What a pile of BS!  See, all these tar sands and shale oil projects talk about ameliorating climate change impacts with carbon capture and storage (CCS). Even then you still only get down to "conventional sources of oil" levels of emissions.  Currently CCS costs about $200 a ton and there are no scale projects in any of the tar sands operations to do this despite plans to expand these operations to over 1.2 million barrels a day by 2021.  
This is what they (Shell, BP, Suncor, Total, etc) have already built.

There ain't no carbon capture going on here nor will there be.  There's no requirements to do it now so why spend money on it now?

Dr. Hansen nailed it in a recent report to Congress saying that the oil company CEOs were acting with full knowledge of what they were doing and should be tried for their crimes:

We must draw down atmospheric carbon dioxide to preserve the planet we know. A level of no more than 350ppm is still feasible, with the help of reforestation and improved agricultural practices, but just barely – time is running out.
...
Oil is used in vehicles where it is impractical to capture the carbon. But oil is running out. To preserve our planet we must also ensure that the next mobile energy source is not obtained by squeezing oil from coal, tar shale or other fossil fuels.
...
Special interests have blocked transition to our renewable energy future.
...
CEOs of fossil energy companies know what they are doing and are aware of long-term consequences of continued business as usual. In my opinion, these CEOs should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.

Stephen Harper is now trying to rope Obama into sealing his approval for this climate debacle. Let's make sure he hears from us first.

Economics and Tar Sands:

One last point -- at the moment oil prices have come down enough so that these projects have been put temporarily on hold because they are not economical.  Total SA estimates that they will need oil prices of around $90 per barrel to be profitable with tar sands.  So this gives us a window of opportunity to stop these project from being expanded.  But the EIA is expected to forecast $100 per barrel in foreward looking projections in a day or two (11/7/08) so we don't have forever.  What's driving the price down is demand, or lack thereof - with a global recession demand is low, once growth ramps up so does oil price.
Recently, Cambridge Energy Resource Associates came out with a study called "Break Point" in which they concluded that at prices between $100 and $120 per barrel, economic growth gets restricted and stops.  they showed how the recent oil price spike was instrumental in worsening economic conditions.  More on that here from the Canadian International Bank of Commerce...  In other words,  we cannot afford this oil even if it DOES get developed.  Add in carbon price and the impact costs, determined by the Stern Review to be  over $85 per ton of emissions and the value proposition just doesn't add up.
This insanity is only allowed to go on because it's just an extension of what we've always done.  We need to stop and wake up now.  Thanks for reading - Doolittle.

If you'd like some nice background reports on this (where most of the data and info comes from for this diary) go here and here and here.

[Credit: The photos were taken by David Dodge for the Pembina Institute.  You can find them and more at www.OilSandsWatch.org. ]www.OilSandsWatch.org

Originally posted to Doolittle on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 09:47 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Excellent diary, and (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    A Siegel, bubbanomics, oxon

    thank you.  I hope we can get this on the rec board somehow.  I am soooo happy Obama won, but I am not sure he is really up to speed on these issues.

    Yes We Can / Give Oil Wars A Chance

    http://www.giveoilwarsachance.com

    by newusername on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 09:53:57 AM PST

  •  have a link to the James Hansen quote? (0+ / 0-)

    http://www.giveoilwarsachance.com

    by newusername on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 09:57:22 AM PST

  •  Thanks... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bronte17, oxon

    this really freaks me out because there is so much institutional pressure to do this. Economic and political pressure as reserves elsewhere decline or are utilitized by new growing economies will really push us hard into using tar sands.  Clearly though, we can't afford it...

  •  It's a cross-border problem (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bronte17, oxon

    the Athabasca tar sands projects feed bitumen (their raw product) for upgrading directly into US refineries, like the BP refinery in Whiting, Indiana or the ConocoPhillips facility near Billings, Montana.  The stuff coming out of the ground isn't good for much until it goes through processing.

    Anyway, there's likely to be some (misguided) thought that to preserve this flow into those US refineries (and others) is in the interest of protecting American jobs.  I'd keep that in mind, just so you know what to expect.

    Slower Traffic Keep Right.

    by Wisewood on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 09:59:03 AM PST

  •  Harper has a minority; Demand other parties (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    neroden, howth of murph, oxon, newusername

    apply pressure for real climate protection.

    It is up to Canadians to protect their own environment and not expect the US to do it for us.

    •  but this does not impact the canadian (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cottagerose

      environment any more than the Peruvian environment. Warming is a global and critical issue. So pressure to slow it anywhere we can is required.

      http://www.giveoilwarsachance.com

      by newusername on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:02:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You miss the point, I think. It (6+ / 0-)

        wasn't that kossaks should butt out, but that Canadians should be doing a lot more about this than has been the case.  

        When employees and stock-holders aren't different people, I'll find something else to do.

        by oxon on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:05:35 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That is true.... (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          howth of murph, oxon, newusername

          ... but the tar sands projects are, quite frankly, way out of sight and thus out of mind.  

          I mean, the distance from Calgary (where most of the oil companies in Alberta have their corporate offices) to Fort McMurray is about an eight-hour drive or more.  The distance from the Alberta Legislature to the tar sands projects is about a 4 or 5 hour drive.  It might as well be on a different continent, and therein lies a big problem.

          Slower Traffic Keep Right.

          by Wisewood on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:07:59 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Oh, I know. I spent a year working in (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Wisewood

            northern BC, doing archaeological and native land-use assessments ahead of oil and gas developments.  Ft McMurray was going to eat up all that gas, plus all the hydro to be generated by various windfarms.  Sigh.  The Fort was SE of us.

            When employees and stock-holders aren't different people, I'll find something else to do.

            by oxon on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:22:23 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  You know, the First Nations... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              oxon

              ... up there are perhaps the best bulwark against expansion of the tar sands developments.

              Unfortunately, in Canada, there is no 'netroots' community to speak of, which could help them push their case forward and bring it wider attention.  Most of the blogs up here talking about it are disconnected voices in the digital wilderness...

              Slower Traffic Keep Right.

              by Wisewood on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 11:55:16 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Wish that were true. It isn't. (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                bronte17, Wisewood

                Not in any consistent way, and in my job I dealt daily with First Nations and Metis folks, as well as the regulators in Victoria, and the big players in Calgary.

                What the bands want is employment.  If a gas company offers it... well, prepared to meet the company more than half way.  

                When employees and stock-holders aren't different people, I'll find something else to do.

                by oxon on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 12:30:43 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yeah.... (0+ / 0-)

                  ... I recall reading about that sort of paradigm in one of my many, many books about Alberta politics;  It might've been Democracy Derailed.

                  Though, I would hope that if given a choice between their health and having temporary employment, they'd choose the latter.  The Athabasca developments won't last forever, obviously, as the companies involved are trying to extract as much as possible as fast as possible.  The effects of the rush to development them last forever.

                  Sadly, that also means that when all is said and done, and the last drop of bitumen is squeezed out of the sand, it will be the First Nations bands holding the bag and suffering the more adverse consequences.

                  Slower Traffic Keep Right.

                  by Wisewood on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 01:06:57 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

        •  i agree with that of course, but (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          oxon

          it is one hell of a massive fast moving train  and it wont be slowed without help from more people, everywhere.  I didn't mean to disagree with the original comment though  :-)

          http://www.giveoilwarsachance.com

          by newusername on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:22:07 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Absolutely. See my comment below. If we (0+ / 0-)

            can name and shame, here, the world will be better for it.  And as long as the tarsands are profitable, they will prop up Conservatives and conservative ideology in Canada.

            When employees and stock-holders aren't different people, I'll find something else to do.

            by oxon on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:24:35 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Yeah, and yet again the Liberals have no (0+ / 0-)

      leader, and Harper has no intention of recalling Parliament early.  They may not sit until January...

      When employees and stock-holders aren't different people, I'll find something else to do.

      by oxon on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:03:50 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Didn't Harper promise.... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Doolittle, neroden, oxon

      To 'restrict' the export of tar sands bitumen?

      Stephen Harper on Friday promised that if elected in October, the Conservatives will prohibit oil sands companies from shipping bitumen from Canada's oil sands to countries that do not have equivalent emission reduction targets.

      Should Canada's pollution targets be considered to better those in the United States, this could serve as a blow to the oil sands industry -- a pillar of the Western Canadian economy.

      "If re-elected [a] Harper government will prohibit the exportation of bitumen outside of Canada for upgrading in order to take advantage of lower pollution or greenhouse gas emissions standards elsewhere," the Conservatives said in a statement. "We cannot allow companies to increase exports of raw bitumen simply in order to avoid Canadian emissions standards as they are strengthened over the next few years. Nor can we afford to export the jobs and spin-off industrial opportunities by the upgrading of bitumen."

      Maybe Obama should hold him to that.

      Slower Traffic Keep Right.

      by Wisewood on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:04:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Clearly... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        oxon, Wisewood

        From the Globe and Mail article, he's completely ignoring that.  grrrr.

      •  He's just saying that he wants more refining done (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        neroden, Wisewood

        in Canada.  Net effect is the same.  And I'd question whether Canadian emission standards are higher than those in the US, or if they are, whether that imbalance will survive long in the next administration.

        If Obama raises emissions standards, then in comes the bitumen.

        When employees and stock-holders aren't different people, I'll find something else to do.

        by oxon on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:07:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Dirty Oil... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          oxon

          If Obama follows the lead of the U.S. Conference of Mayors' decision this past June in Miami on 'dirty oil,' then Harper and the tar sands projects will be a little hog-tied;

          The municipal politicians called for new guidelines to track the life-cycle impact of different types of fossil fuels and member cities were urged to stop using unconventional sources of energy with a large carbon footprint, such as liquid coal or oil shale, for their own municipal operations.

          Members of the influential group approved a non-binding resolution that cited Alberta's oilsands for "emitting approximately three times the carbon dioxide pollution per barrel as conventional oil production."

          Just a thought.

          Slower Traffic Keep Right.

          by Wisewood on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:11:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  If... Fingers crossed and a great find! nt (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Wisewood

            When employees and stock-holders aren't different people, I'll find something else to do.

            by oxon on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:12:33 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  These two things, taken together... (0+ / 0-)

              ... may present an opportunity for Obama to turn the tables on Harper and the tar sands.  

              If the United States similarily 'restricted' imports of bitumen from places (read:  Alberta) that don't measure up to imposed environmental standards, then it would choke the tar sands;  they can't export anywhere else at the moment, and Albertan refining capacity is non-existant to handle what goes into the US, now.  Albertan oil sand has no place else to go.  The projects would have to ramp back for years until that refining capacity was built.

              This opportunity would be fleeting, and would have a best-before date:  that is, up until the oil companies invested in the Athabasca projects figure out how to get the bitumen shipped to the Pacific coast and to China, which could care less about the enviromental destruction involved in bitumen extraction.

              Slower Traffic Keep Right.

              by Wisewood on Sat Nov 08, 2008 at 06:51:29 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  it's ugly (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    neroden, oxon

    what are Canadian enviromentalists doing about this monstrosity? This distruction worse than rapimg the amazon basin, that it's being done by and within a first world, rich, nation is an outrage.

    •  Zip. Or next to it. (0+ / 0-)

      The tar sands are a long way from anywhere.  Both the Liberals and the NDP have tried to put up resistance -- at the cost of votes in Alberta and Northern British Columbia -- and have been rewarded by a stinging electoral defeat.

      Many environmentalists threw their support to the Green Party.  Remember them?  Didn't win a single seat in Parliament, but they drew off volunteers, money and about 6% of the vote from the other parties.  Sound familiar?

      When employees and stock-holders aren't different people, I'll find something else to do.

      by oxon on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:11:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Provincially, too... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        oxon

        ... the Liberals and NDP in Alberta are anemic and get destroyed in the polls every election.  Because natural resources are under the purview of the provinces, Alberta's provincial election should be an important contest for those folks who want something positive done about the tar sands projects.

        Slower Traffic Keep Right.

        by Wisewood on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 11:22:09 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  This was the issue (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Doolittle, neroden, oxon, newusername

    that kept me from supporting Obama for months. Great diary, we need to make sure this doesn't happen.

  •  Yes, please!! The tar sands have distorted not (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    neroden, newusername

    just the physical environment in Canada, but the political and economic environments as well.

    Harper is sitting on a minority, and if it can be shown that he cannot work with the incoming administration with the same "effectiveness" that he showed in capitulating to the out-going one, then he will have serious difficulties holding office.

    If Obama can put up ANY obstacle to the tar sands, Harper's political support (centered in Alberta, home of the tar sands) will drop off quickly and sharply.  The value of the Canadian dollar is almost directly pegged to the price of oil.  When people have to pay much more for imported goods, there will be disapproval of Harper, and a call to reinvigorate (repatriate) the Canadian manufacturing sector.

    When employees and stock-holders aren't different people, I'll find something else to do.

    by oxon on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:01:43 AM PST

  •  Warning to Americans (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sxwarren, neroden, oxon, Interceptor7

    The problem we have in Canada is that our Prime Minister is an ex-oil man from Alberta (sound familiar)

    In our last election, the conservatives were re-elected with something like 37% of the vote on a pathetic turnout of 59%.

    The Liberals got 26%, the NDP (an actual self-proclaimed socialist party) got around 19%, and the Greens around 6%.

    Perhaps the best illustration of the perils of low voter turnout and vote-splitting on the left.

    •  Yeah, the problem is that there is only one (0+ / 0-)

      party that is self-declared to be left of center.  Many Liberals actually advocate being a center-RIGHT party, thus the schizoid nature of Canada's "natural governing party".

      And what can one say about Elizabeth May, er, the Green Party.  

      When employees and stock-holders aren't different people, I'll find something else to do.

      by oxon on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:15:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Liberals... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        oxon

        ... don't seem to stand for anything, anymore, other than... well, not being the Conservatives.  They seemed to be geared entirely towards the strategic game of elections;  they'd do well to try and re-capture the imaginations and interests of Canadians.  Of course, I don't think they'll do that with any of the current fellas being offered up as potential leaders.

        They're also getting pummeled in terms of fund raising, as the Reformatories are tapping into the grassroots, small-donor network that was first fostered in the West during the days of Reform and Preston Manning.

        It's lose-lose.  It needs to change from the ground-up.

        Slower Traffic Keep Right.

        by Wisewood on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 11:27:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Stop the seal hunt too! n/t (0+ / 0-)
  •  This was always my problem with Palin's (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Doolittle

    NG pipeline from Alaska - NOT the potential corruption involved in getting the construction contract to TransCanada (probably some, but not as much as one might think and difficult to prove).  My objection was to Palin's claim that it would provide NG to the lower 48.   But the project map shows that the pipeline route (the new, TransCanada one, not the previous BP one worked out by then Governor Murkowski) ends at the Alberta tar sands extraction project with no proposed connection to any distribution pipeline system in the continental US.

    IOW, apparently the primary purpose of this pipeline is to supply the necessary NG to the tar sands projects at a significantly lower cost - low enough to make the project profitable even at lower oil prices.

    So, if the pipeline doesn't make it, AND we can keep the price of oil low by reducing consumption . . .

    Some folks prefer a map and finding their own route. Others need someone to tell them where to go.

    by sxwarren on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:43:11 AM PST

    •  Nice find... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sxwarren

      This is a very important wrinkle to the story.
      Thanks for posting this...do you have an links to articles on this?

      •  No links at hand, but (0+ / 0-)

        there have been numerous articles, both pre- and post- "Palin Fame", as well as a couple of diaries here (IIRC), though they may not have made the "pipeline disconnect" their main focus.  Anyway, I was under the impression that this was kind of common knowledge amongst the energy-wonk set.  There's probably something about it over at The Oil Drum blog.

        Some folks prefer a map and finding their own route. Others need someone to tell them where to go.

        by sxwarren on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 11:46:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  the problem with the Oil Sands project (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oxon, newusername

    is that the Canadian public is woefully uninformed about the true damage being done.  Alberta has reaped billions from this, but we are now finally starting to hear about the environmental catastrophe unfolding there.  But hey, as long as Alberta residents get cheap gas and pay no sales tax then it's worth it, right?  

    http://www.myspace.com/mass_hypnosis new podcasts weekly http://mhmetalradio.blogspot.com

    by mhradio on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 10:51:51 AM PST

  •  Agreed on all counts. (0+ / 0-)

    Tar sands are destructive from start to finish, on the ecosystem ripped up and global warming. Obama, and we, however, need to look at the alternatives before we throw out a solution to jobs and energy.
    That means we need other jobs and other energy. Of course we all know that, but the transition to lower energy use, lowered incomes, low travel and low consumption lifestyles will need a new national awareness and resolve that will be Obama's most challenging task and our most important job. It's all got to make sense as a holistic set of solutions to a coincidence of global warming, peak oil and the need for global village consciousness. That's the road ahead, and if we don't go there, there is no road ahead.

  •  Please fix the typo in the cut-n-paste letter (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Doolittle

    Instead of

    We can solve our climate problem by pushing it onto Canada.

    I believe it should read

    We cannot solve our climate problem by pushing it onto Canada.

    Otherwise, great letter and a great diary!

    There are 10 kinds of people in the world: those who know binary and those who don't.

    by JBL55 on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 12:31:49 PM PST

    •  Fixed! (0+ / 0-)

      Thanks!  I tried editing that several times, but after a while all the letters start to swim together.

      •  I understand. (0+ / 0-)

        I've edited several newsletters, and there are times one must walk away and ask someone else to read it, but even then the inevitable typo stays undetected.

        I wrote to my senators and representative, and your diary provided terrific grist for my mill.  Thanks!

        There are 10 kinds of people in the world: those who know binary and those who don't.

        by JBL55 on Thu Nov 06, 2008 at 01:44:39 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Unfortunately It Is Not True That Obama (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane

    has given any real clue of understanding the dismal prospects for the planet from fossil fuels.  Over and over he talked of the option of clean coal - clearly an oxymoron.

    The only real hope has been that he was not beyond the reach of reason.

    Best,  Terry

    •  To me that is the hope... (0+ / 0-)

      This is a President that will have a guy like James Hansen come and talk to him instead of an asshole like Micheal Crichton and will listen to science instead of the idiot musings of some hack novelist. (Seriously, Bush had Crichton come for a visit - said they were in agreement!)

      •  Oh sure, I agree that it is far better (0+ / 0-)

        to have the president talking to Dr. Hansen rather than wingnuts but one nutjob, the most dangerous of the lot, that has had the president's ear is T. Boone Pickens.  Nancy Pelosi has even invested in Boone's [ha ha] Clean Energy Fuels.

        For certain, Obama has a mighty selling job on his hands but it would be nice if we could first be sure Obama was sold himself.

        What is really horrible is that some purported friends of the environment are some of the most obstreperous opponents of green energy power - notably the Sierra Club.  That fine bunch even refused to sign onto a negotiated agreement with a biomass power plant in Burlington, VT, unless they could extract their legal fees from the company.

        The best hint of realistic and knowledgeable policy from Obama is emphasis on modernizing our dangerously obsolete power grid.  Most clean green energy is in desperate need of a modern grid.

        As Obama himself has said he can't do it all himself.

        Best,  Terry

  •  A cleaned up version of the letter (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Doolittle

    that I sent:

    As a citizen and tax payer concerned about our future I'd like to bring to your attention an issue which needs to be addressed urgently - the development of the tar sands and oil shale reserves in Canada. These reserves are being touted as prospective new sources of oil for the US.  These "heavy crude" reserves have green house gas emission rates some 2.5 times the rate of conventional oil and exploitation of them will have catastrophic effects on our planet's climate system.  To develop them would use massive amounts of both energy and water; in fact, a nuclear power plant is to be built to provide the needed energy in order to access that oil.  

    I urge you to place a ban upon the import of oil from tar sands into the United States and a ban on all shale oil developments within US borders.  Our climate system is destabilizing and we may have already passed the point of no return.  Exploitation of these reserves will surely push us into a catastrophic climate scenario.  As Dr. James Hansen, the leading climate scientist in the US, recently stated at the National Press Club, "If we squeeze oil out of the tar sands then there is no hope for life as we know it."

    We cannot solve our climate problem by pushing it onto Canada, but should put our money and efforts towards energy efficiency and the development of renewable energy sources that will function to replace the need for tar sands and shale oil entirely.  

    •  Thanks... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      A Siegel

      It is frustrating that I spend hours on this, it spent 20mins on the front page and then didn't even get rescued...no wonder people succum to unscrupulous pimping tactics!  Oh well, back to the drawing board.

      •  Got sent out to (0+ / 0-)

        Daily Kos Environmentalists, which can add some attention.

        Always a challenge to get attention against the fast flow of diaries, although might be slowing / changing post election.

        In addition, the 'rec'd' list has clearly changed -- getting there has far more staying power, I think, than even a few months ago probably due to new users who are gravitating there. (Writing this having had a 700+ comment diary yesterday with only 18 comments on a more important, I think, piece two days earlier.)

        Question: would you mind my cross-posting to Get Energy Smart! NOW!!!

        •  not at all... (0+ / 0-)

          I really, really appreciate your help.  I've been working on environmental activism for a long time and this is the most critical single battle I've ever seen that needs to be won.  Cheers, Doolittle.

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