North American Oil Addicts to Get Help
“Tar sands oil is to conventional oil what crack cocaine is to ordinary cocaine powder. More harm to global climate through increased greenhouse gas emissions, more destruction of boreal forests, more toxic tailings and more air and water pollution.” she said. “Like other addicts, North American governments and industry cannot seem to stop themselves from throwing away billions of dollars on their addiction—money that would be much better spent on energy efficiency and wind and solar power.”
“The $7 billion Mackenzie Gas Project is key to the planned five-fold expansion of oil production from Alberta tar sands by 2030. The 1.5 billion cubic feet per day of Mackenzie gas is crucial to fueling extraction of bitumen from the tar sands as well as providing hydrogen to upgrade the bitumen.” said Stephen Hazell, who directs the Mackenzie WILD project for Sierra Club of Canada. “We are asking Canadians and Americans to sign the Mackenzie WILD Declaration in order to constrain the unsustainable growth of the tar sands industry as well as protect Mackenzie Valley wilderness”
The Mackenzie WILD Declaration is being endorsed by Canadians from across the country as well as northern and national organization including the: Arctic Indigenous Youth Alliance; Council of Canadians; Ecology North; and Sierra Youth Coalition.
For more information:
Contact:Stephen Hazell - Sierra Club of Canada Tel: 613 241-4611
MACKENZIE GAS AND ALBERTA TAR SANDS
Why is the Mackenzie Valley important?
• Dene people call it Dehcho, the Big River. The Mackenzie River is Canada’s wildest big river
• The Mackenzie flows through 1800 kilometres of globally important forests and tundra teeming with caribou, moose, geese, wolves, and bears
• The Mackenzie Valley includes five globally significant Important Bird Areas and one continentally significant Important Bird Area
• Indigenous People have conserved and stewarded the lands, waters and wildlife of the Mackenzie Valley from time immemorial
• Northern communities are experiencing rapid climate change, with intrusion of 'new' species and alteration of the habitat of animals such as muskoxen and caribou on which they have traditionally depended. Current global climate change modelling suggests that the Mackenzie Valley and Delta will continue to experience the most dramatic effects of climate change anywhere on the globe
• The Mackenzie Valley is now threatened by Canada’s biggest natural gas pipeline project ever. If it proceeds, the Mackenzie Gas Project will trigger the transformation of the Mackenzie Valley from largely intact wilderness to industrial landscape.
What is the Mackenzie Gas Project?
• The proposed $7 billion Mackenzie Gas Project would extract roughly 6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas from three Mackenzie Delta anchor fields, transporting it via two pipelines to northern Alberta
• Imperial Oil, Conoco Phillips, ExxonMobil, and Shell are the proponents
• Mackenzie gas would be transported across northern Alberta to Fort McMurray in a pipeline proposed by TransCanada to fuel extraction of oil from tar sands, as well as provide hydrogen to upgrade the bitumen to oil
• Mackenzie Gas Project would almost certainly trigger widespread oil and gas industrialization of Canada’s Northwest, including additional gas fields in the Mackenzie Delta, Colville Lake area, Beaufort Sea, Yukon and High Arctic, accelerated development of Alberta tar sands, and at least three major oil export pipelines, two of which would pass through Jasper National Park.
Why dig up the Tar Sands?
• Production of conventional oil in the western sedimentary basin is declining
• Alberta’s tar sands could hold more than 300 billion recoverable barrels of oil. The term “tar sands” refers to a thick oil called bitumen that is mixed in with sand, clay and water
• The tar sands currently account for 26 per cent of Canada’s oil production, but by 2025 that figure could grow to 70 per cent
• Oil production from the tar sands is expected to double to 2 million barrels per day by 2010 and industry plans to increase tar sands oil production five-fold by 2030.
Why is Mackenzie gas needed for accelerated Tar Sands development?
• Production of natural gas in Alberta is declining
• Other sources of energy and hydrogen will not be adequate (hydroelectric power), cannot be developed quickly enough (nuclear power), or are environmentally harmful (coal and bitumen gasification)
• Probably all the gas from the Mackenzie Delta will be needed for tar sands development according to Alberta Premier Ralph Klein
• A recent Imperial Oil study admits that tar sands development activity is the main source of future demand for natural gas in Alberta
• TransCanada projects that tar sands industry demand for natural gas will increase from 0.6 Bcf/day to 1.8 Bcf/day by 2015, which increase is roughly the capacity of the Mackenzie Valley pipeline
Why is Tar Sands Oil so bad for the Atmosphere?
• Tar sands oil generates two-and-a-half times as much greenhouse gases of conventional oil production due to the massive amounts of energy needed to extract, upgrade and refine the bitumen
• This makes tar sands oil the world’s most harmful type of oil for the atmosphere
• Tar sands production of greenhouse gas emissions was 17 megatonnes in 1990, and is projected to increase to 70 megatonnes by 2010
• Tar sands projects would then represent the largest total single addition to Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions
Can Canada meet our Kyoto targets if planned tar sands developments proceed?
• Not likely. The expected doubling of tar sands production by 2010 will produce 70 megatonnes of GHGs annually, which represents 12 per cent of Canada’s Kyoto target for that year
• The federal Kyoto Plan requires only 39 MT of reductions from all industrial Large Final Emitters (LFEs) (including the tar sands industry). The tar sands industry, like other LFEs, is not expected to do reduce their GHGs very much, even though LFEs produce approximately 50% of Canada’s greenhouse gas pollution
What is the Mackenzie WILD campaign?
Mackenzie WILD envisages a future for the Mackenzie Valley in which biodiversity and ecological integrity are maintained; sustainable, healthy communities are developed, rights of Indigenous People are respected, and Canada keeps its commitments to protect the atmosphere under the Kyoto Protocol.
To support Canada’s commitments to protect the global atmosphere, governments must guarantee that any Mackenzie gas that is produced is used to displace carbon-intensive fuels such as coal and oil and not be used to fuel expansion of tar sands developments.
To protect the biodiversity and ecology of the Mackenzie Valley, governments must ensure that:
• cumulative environmental effects of developments such as MGP are assessed and mitigated; and
• an interconnected network of protected areas is established.
To ensure sustainable, healthy Mackenzie Valley communities, governments must:
• promote community-controlled land use planning;
• invest in green energy initiatives.
To respect the rights of Mackenzie Valley Indigenous Peoples, governments must:
• ensure full partnership of Indigenous People’s organizations in directing environmental assessments; and
• incorporate traditional environmental knowledge into environmental assessments.
Read more about the Mackenzie WILD campaign at www.mackenzieWILD.ca