Jane Kleeb: 'We the People Have Changed the Tar Sands Pipeline Game Forever'
The pipelines exporting tar sands out of Alberta are almost full, according to a new analysis released today by Oil Change International. Without major expansion-driving pipelines such as Energy East, Kinder Morgan or Keystone XL, there will be no room for further growth in tar sands extraction, and tens of billions of metric tons of carbon will be kept in the ground. This would be a significant step towards a safer climate, cleaner water and air, and healthier communities.
NEW REPORT: No new pipelines = no room to grow for the #tarsands! More: https://t.co/mhCp9yWfqd #NoKXL https://t.co/QQp5uE3KAm— Oil Change Intl (@Oil Change Intl)1445954105.0
“The tar sands have run out of room to grow,” says Hannah McKinnon of Oil Change International. “Production is close to peaking, and now it is time for a recognition that tar sands production has no place in a climate safe world.”
All proposed new pipeline routes out of Alberta are facing legal challenges, opposition by local authorities and regulators, and broad-based public opposition. All of the major projects have been significantly delayed with some cancellations seemingly imminent. No pipeline has been built since 2010, despite active industry efforts.
To assess the impact of these pipeline constraints, Oil Change International built a new and comprehensive model called the Integrated North American Pipelines model. It finds that the current system is 89 percent full, and the industry will run out of transportation capacity as soon as 2017.
Subsequent economic and carbon analysis of the model data finds:
- Further growth in the sector is unlikely to be viable without major pipeline expansion
- Transporting tar sands by rail is too expensive to justify major new growth
- The emissions savings of no new growth would be 34.6 gigatons of CO2 (equivalent to the annual emissions of 227 coal plants over 40 years)
“This model shows us what every board room in the sector is stewing over—this industry does not have room for profitable growth,” says Tom Sanzillo, director of finance at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. “Under mainstream oil price forecasts, the model shows that market access constraints take new growth from being commercial to uncommercial.”
The model’s findings are detailed in a report, Lockdown: The End of Growth in the Tar Sands, published by Oil Change International with the support of Bold Nebraska, Environmental Defense Canada, Equiterre, Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club U.S. and 350.org.
"This new report is conclusive proof that organizing works,” said May Boeve of 350.org. “In the four years since we began marching, sitting-in, and risking arrest to keep tar sands in the ground, no new pipelines have been built. It's victory for our climate, our future, and for all the communities who are the front lines of this fight. With development locked down, it's time for investors and politicians to look past the tar sands and start investing in the just transition to an 100 percent renewable energy future."
"We are seeing the results of a movement that has stood up to dirty pipelines that harm our climate and our communities” said Lena Moffitt of the Sierra Club. “Now is the time to invest instead in clean and renewable sources of energy and leave dirty fuels where they belong—in the ground.”
With the outgoing Canadian Stephen Harper administration having faced major international criticism on climate and energy, the pipeline constraint also offers incoming Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the new government an opportunity to change course.
“When asked about the Energy East pipeline during the election, Liberal leader and now Prime minister-designate of Canada, Justin Trudeau said that ‘governments give permits, people give permission’ and clearly, people are saying no to pipelines all across North America,” said Steven Guilbeault of Equiterre.
“It’s simple—without more pipeline capacity, the tar sands can not be recklessly expanded,” said Jane Kleeb of Bold Nebraska. “People are standing in the way of Keystone XL and other equally risky and unnecessary pipelines. Gone are the days when Big Oil can buy their way to approval of their risky pipelines. We the people have changed the tar sands pipeline game forever.”
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Jean-Marc Neveu and Olivier Civil never expected to find themselves battling against disposable mask pollution.
When they founded their recycling start-up Plaxtil in 2017, it was textile waste they set their sights on. The project developed a process that turned fabrics into a new recyclable material they describe as "ecological plastic."
Mounting Piles of Waste<p>It is not only the streets of Chatellerault where pandemic pollution is piling-up, but also the world's beaches and oceans. Once there, they can take up to 450 years to degrade and disappear.</p><p>Esther Röling, co-organizer of the annual Adventure Clean Up Challenge held on Hong Kong Island, has seen this waste firsthand. In October the sports challenge pitted teams against one another in a competition to remove trash from 13 hard-to-reach coastal areas around the city.</p><p>They find tons of both disposable and reusable masks, said Röling. "You wonder how it ended up there. Was it just thrown on the ground? Or was it in a garbage bag that broke open?"</p><p>Almost 10,000 kilometers away in Antibes on the sunny French Riviera, it's a similar picture. For the past few months, divers and clean-up volunteers working with an ocean clean-up non-profit called Operation Mer Propre have been collecting an increasing number of masks found on land and in the sea.</p><p>"Since the beginning of the lockdown when we started to count, we've reached 800, 900, [and now in total] 1000 masks," said co-founder Joko Peltier. </p><p>According to <a href="https://unctad.org/news/growing-plastic-pollution-wake-covid-19-how-trade-policy-can-help" target="_blank">UN estimates</a>, up to 75% of all coronavirus-related plastic could end up as waste in oceans and landfills.</p>
The Limits of Recycling<p>Yet not all are convinced the recycling of this waste is possible on a global scale. </p><p>"What those citizen groups are doing is really beneficial but once they collect it, it should just go to a landfill or an incinerator. They shouldn't necessarily expect it to get recycled," said Jonathan Krones, an industrial ecologist and visiting assistant professor of environmental studies at Boston College.</p><p>That's because mask recycling programs like Plaxtil are few and far between and most don't have the benefit of a readily adaptable production process. </p><p>Even in countries with solid recycling infrastructure, he says, the system is designed to separate out specific types of waste like bottles or cardboard.</p><p>"I imagine that it would be technically feasible to develop a separation process to filter out masks, but there simply aren't enough of them to make that economical," he said.</p><p>Collection is a big hurdle, he adds. Since each mask only weighs a fraction of a gram and they're scattered on roads or mixed with other trash, it is difficult and costly. </p><p>"You need a lot of raw material of the right quality to make investing in the recycling technology and the recycling system worthwhile," he said.<span></span><br></p>
Hemp, Sugar Cane and Sustainable Alternatives<p>Some projects are instead addressing the material used to make masks.</p><p>French company Geochanvre have created a mask made primarily from hemp, while in Australia, researchers at the Queensland University of Technology are experimenting with a disposable product made from agricultural waste. </p><p>Biodegradable options are exciting alternatives to reduce the fossil fuels needed for the creation of plastic-based masks, said Krones, but they don't absolve the wearer from the responsibility of what happens afterwards. </p><p>Bio-based masks often need their own composing solutions, he explains, because in landfill they can produce high amounts of the greenhouse gas methane when anaerobic bacteria feeds on the organic material. Methane is known to be significantly more potent than carbon dioxide.</p><p>"I think as long as we have in our mind that we want to have disposability, we're going to have to wrestle with a variety of different sorts of environmental tradeoffs," he said, adding that reusable, fabric masks are the best option available to most people.</p><p>Precimask is developing a clear face covering with an optional visor made from hard plastic, designed to be long-lasting.<br></p><p>Air enters either side of the cheeks through a technology normally found in pool filters and car exhaust systems, said company spokeswoman Juliette Chambet.</p><p>"We wanted to make ceramic-based filters that would be washable and cleanable, which would allow them to be reused as many times as desired without having to buy a new consumable or produce waste," she said. </p><p>Ultimately, encouraging mask wearers to think about the entire lifecycle of a mask is key, explains Neveu. </p><p>"We want people who put on the masks to realize that they are also responsible for the waste, he said. "It's not inevitable that this [pandemic] will become an environmental catastrophe.</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/covid-19-recycling-pollution-trash-pandemic/a-55707817" target="_blank">Deutsche Welle</a>.</em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649032193#/" target="_self"></a></p>
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