Ten reasons for a moratorium on oil sands development

The June 8 edition of The Guardian tells us encouraging news, stating, “G7 leaders agree to phase our fossil fuel use by end of century.”

The June 8 edition of The Guardian tells us encouraging news, stating, “G7 leaders agree to phase our fossil fuel use by end of century.” The European Climate Foundation described the announcement as “historic, signaling the end of the fossil fuel age.”

More than 100 scientists have written a letter to Canada to end the expansion of the oil sands for 10 reasons “grounded in science.” Researchers from some of Canada’s most prestigious universities signed this open letter. The full article can be found on CBC Science and Technology, June 10.

The reasons span a variety of grave concerns including the understanding that oil sands expansion is incompatible with limiting harmful climate warming. Environmental protections and baseline data are largely lacking and protections that do exist are too seldom enforced. Less than 0.2 per cent of the area affected by Canadian oil sands mining has been reclaimed, and none of the area has been restored to its original state. Contaminants from oil sands development permeate the land, water and air of the boreal landscape, and are difficult to mitigate.

The letter states that debates about individual pipeline proposals underestimate the full social costs, and existing policies ignore cumulative impacts. The good news is that North Americans want their leaders to address climate change, and are willing to pay more for energy to make that happen, and thusly controlling carbon pollution will not derail the economy.

How do we get there from here? Place a steadily rising fee on carbon. Give all the revenue back to households. Add a border adjustment that will discourage businesses from relocating. It’s good for the economy and even better for the climate.

Dona and Paul Grace-Campbell

Kaslo, B.C.