Bill McKibben: Tar Sands pipeline is Climate Game Over
Countdown with Keith Olbermann
"We need to leave Carbon in the Ground."
-- it is exactly same principle as telling the Brazilians: THEY need to guard their Rain Forest, and NOT cut it down.
James Hansen slams Keystone XL Canada-U.S. Pipeline:
“Exploitation of tar sands would make it implausible to stabilize climate and avoid disastrous global climate impacts”
by Joe Romm, Climate Progress, thinkprogress.org -- Jun 5, 2011
The Canadian tar sands are substantially dirtier than conventional oil as the chart above shows (longer analysis here). They may contain enough carbon-intensive fuel to make stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide at non-catastrophic levels all but impossible.
And that is the point of Dr. James Hansen in a must-read essay on the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline to bring that dirty fuel into this country, “Silence Is Deadly: I’m Speaking Out Against Canada-U.S. Tar Sands Pipeline.”
OK, so we shall ...
Silence is Deadly
by Jim Hansen -- 03 June 2011
The U.S. Department of State seems likely to approve a huge pipeline to carry tar sands oil (about 830,000 barrels per day) to Texas refineries unless sufficient objections are raised.
The scientific community needs to get involved in this fray now. If this project gains approval, it will become exceedingly difficult to control the tar sands monster.
Easily available reserves of conventional oil and gas are enough to take atmospheric CO2 well above 400 ppm. However, if emissions from coal are phased out over the next few decades and if unconventional fossil fuels are left in the ground, it is conceivable to stabilize climate [2,3].
Phase out of emissions from coal is itself an enormous challenge. However, if the tar sands are thrown into the mix it is essentially game over. There is no practical way to capture the CO2 emitted while burning oil, which is used principally in vehicles.
Governments are acting as if they are oblivious to the fact that there is a limit on how much fossil fuel carbon we can put into the air. Fossil fuel carbon injected into the atmosphere will stay in surface reservoirs for millennia. We can extract a fraction of the excess CO2 via improved agricultural and forestry practices, but we cannot get back to a safe CO2 level if all coal is used without carbon capture or if unconventional fossil fuels are exploited.
It's kind of startling to hear this renowned NASA Scientist, refer to Climate Change "as a Game" ... WHAT is he thinking?
Perhaps he is taking a cue from our Political Leaders, ... "When in Rome" ...
use the Language of the Romans, I guess. The Language of Science, obviously isn't working, in this post-science, political-ping-pong age.
Perhaps, we need to refine the language of "bodies in the seats" too ...
Human PAC-MAN Game Over Project
Anybody got an extra Quarter? I GOT TO see how this Game ends ...