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Climate Change Economics

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Our glaciers are shrinking

WAITING TO XL

By Barry Piacenza

January 20, 2012

Now that the hoopla regarding the TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline is over, with the decision of President Obama in the US not to proceed with construction. This was a decision of wisdom not only for the United States.

It is apparent that the arbitrarily forced deadline placed by the Republicans and the recommendations of the State Department were reason enough for the White House to do away with this proposal. The wisdom of this is not only based on facts there was much conjecture that the refined product was not to be utilized in the United States but shipped overseas perhaps to Asian markets. This would've been a means to have US refineries profit while exporting the product elsewhere.

It is needless to say it is a step in the right direction regarding climate change since the tar sands themselves are higher emitters of greenhouse gases than even normal refining processes will bring about.

A combination of clay, sand, water, and bitumen, heavy black viscous oil. Tar sands can be mined and processed to extract the oil-rich bitumen, which is then refined into oil. The bitumen in tar sands cannot be pumped from the ground in its natural state; instead tar sand deposits are mined, usually using strip mining or open pit techniques, or the oil is extracted by underground heating with additional upgrading.1


Tar Sands Open Pit Mining, Alberta, Canada
  Tar sands are mined and processed to generate oil similar to oil pumped from conventional oil wells, but extracting oil from tar sands is more complex than conventional oil recovery. Oil sands recovery processes include extraction and separation systems to separate the bitumen from the clay, sand, and water that make up the tar sands. Bitumen also requires additional upgrading before it can be refined. Because it is so viscous (thick), it also requires dilution with lighter hydrocarbons to make it transportable by pipelines.2

estions raised by the state of Nebraska concerning eminent domain, possible aquifer damage, and risks from pipeline accidents were also reasons not to proceed.


The jobs issues involved were temporary and not in large enough numbers to impact the long-term unemployment issues structurally apparent in the US economy.

There'll be many more decisions points on the journey of climate change economics this just being the latest. It is only through wisdom, perseverance, use of renewable and alternative energy sources being discovered through astute research in both the private and public sectors that we will eventually be able to save our planet from the detrimental outcomes of climate change as shown in the real science being conducted.

Barry


1http://ostseis.anl.gov/guide/tarsands/index.cfm

2http://ostseis.anl.gov/guide/tarsands/index.cfm