|Canada's Tar Sands
What are the Tar Sands?
The term "tar sands" refers to thick oil called bitumen that is mixed in with sand, clay, and water.
The rapid expansion of tar sands projects in Alberta has made Canada the No. 1 supplier of oil to the United States and a top-ten global oil producer.
Tar sands operations inside Canada's Boreal Forest threaten to destroy or fragment vast lakes, rivers, forests and wetlands that provide nesting grounds for millions of birds.
The tar sands are by far the fastest growing source of greenhouse gases in Canada, producing as much as three times the amount of greenhouse gases as conventional oil production. In addition, production and refining operations produce huge emissions of toxins, from nitrogen oxides that acidify hundreds of square kilometres, to cadmium and arsenic that cause cancer.
A Moratorium is Needed on Tar Sands Expansion
Nature Canada has urged the Government of Canada (and you can join our campaign) to declare a moratorium on any new tar sands development and to implement stricter environmental controls over existing operations. The environmental and human health costs are simply too high.
It is time to put the brakes on production of the world's dirtiest form of oil and protect migratory bird populations and other wildlife in the Boreal Forest.
Canada should lead the world in ending our reliance on dirty, polluting fossil fuels in favour of responsible development of clean, renewable energy. Subsidies to oil and gas companies should be transitioned toward alternative forms of energy production.
The highly profitable oil and gas companies do not need government handouts, and billions of dollars in tax breaks shouldn't go to an industry that is the source of rapidly increasing emissions of greenhouse gases that cause climate change.
Instead, more investment should be put toward renewable energy and energy efficiency programs.
In order to balance environmental sustainability with energy security, a move away from tar sands production should come in tandem with a strong energy conservation message. Canada should create incentives for energy conservation and penalties for greenhouse emissions.