Making the case

The World’s Biggest Carbon Bomb

Three long fuses lead back to the world’s biggest carbon bomb: The Canadian Tar Sands. The fuses are pipelines – existing and proposed – that run from the black sludge lakes and devastated landscape of northern Alberta, Canada to marine ports where oil producers hope to ship tar sands crude oil to world energy markets.

Releasing the ancient tar sands carbon into Earth’s atmosphere threatens every man, woman, and child on Earth as well as every other creature. NASA climatologist Dr. James Hansen has warned that if the tar sands is fully exploited, “it is game-over for Earth’s climate.” The carbon contained in the tar sands is enough to send Earth’s atmosphere into runaway heating, releasing ancient methane and killing sea life and forests, so that humanity could not reverse the heating regardless of what we do.

The fuses to this carbon bomb, the pipelines and tankers, include:

1. Keystone XL: An expansion of the existing Keystone pipeline from Canada, through the central US to Port Arthur, Texas, where the crude oil can be refined or loaded onto oil tankers for the global market.

2. Enbridge pipeline: A proposed route over the Rocky Mountains, across Canadian boreal forests, wild watersheds, and indigenous territory to the marine port at Kitimat, British Columbia for export. And:

3. Kinder-Morgan TMX Trans-Mountain pipeline: Also over the Rocky Mountains, into the port of Vancouver, British Columbia. This pipeline/tanker route is already operating and Kinder Morgan has applied for an expansion. In 2010, 71 large oil tankers shipped tar sands crude oil through the Port of Vancouver and the Georgia Strait to global markets.

These three pipelines threaten to detonate the world’s biggest carbon bomb.
Rex Weyler
2011.09.28

Creating our Energy Systems

Quantum centres

Restoring Our Atmosphere
Exploring the Business case

Natural Capitalism
Creating the Next Industrial Revolution

A classic text, the book describes a future on the verge of a new industrial revolution in which business and environmental interests increasingly overlap, and one where companies can improve their bottom lines, help solve environmental problems—and feel better about what they do—all at the same time.
Companies Can Profit From the Principles of Natural Capitalism

Previous industrial revolutions made people vastly more productive when low per-capita output was limiting progress in exploiting a seemingly boundless natural world. Today we face a different pattern of scarcity: abundant people and labor-saving machines, but diminishing natural capital.

“Natural capital” refers to the earth’s natural resources and the ecological systems that provide vital life-support services to society and all living things. These services are of immense economic value; some are literally priceless, since they have no known substitutes. Yet current business practices typically fail to take into account the value of these assets — which is rising with their scarcity. As a result, natural capital is being degraded and liquidated by the very wasteful use of resources such as energy, materials, water, fiber, and topsoil.

Creating our Economic Systems