Citizen Action Monitor

Here’s what Trudeau and Notley won’t be telling Canadians about a new Kinder Morgan pipeline

KM’s new pipeline will significantly increase our ocean acidification and climate crises, says expert Barry Saxifrage

No 2160 Posted by fw, February 8, 2018

Barry Saxifrage

“Lost in the heated arguments over Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain pipeline is this simple fact: more than a quarter of the bitumen flowing through it will end up as pollution spilling into our oceans — one way or the other — acidifying them for millennia to come. All the bitumen that doesn’t spill from pipelines or tankers gets burned, ending up as carbon pollution dumped into our environment.” —Barry Saxifrage, National Observer

Barry Saxifrage researches, charts and writes about the latest climate change information, illustrating his analyses with spreadsheet charts. Visit his website at Visual Carbon.

In this edited repost, below, Saxifrage does the math on the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline, and the results are worrying to say the least.

If Trudeau and Notley have done the math, they aren’t sharing it with us. And if they haven’t done it, then they are playing dice with the lives, not only of Canadians, but of people around the globe – especially the poorest among us — trapped in the most climate-vulnerable regions of the planet.

Bottom line, says Saxifrage —

“Nearly two billion more tonnes [of bitumen pollution] will get ‘spilled’ into our oceans, further increasing our ocean acidification crisis. Three billion more tonnes will get ‘spilled’ into our atmosphere, further increasing the climate crisis.”

To read Barry’s article on the National Observer’s website, click on the following linked title.

And don’t miss the SEE ALSO link at the end of this post to a report Saxifrage did in 2016, challenging Trudeau’s mathematically unsubstantiated claim: “We will grow our economy while reducing emissions.”

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Over three billion barrels of Alberta bitumen have ‘spilled’ into our atmosphere… so far by Barry Saxifrage, National Observer, February 7, 2018

More than a quarter of bitumen flowing through proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline will end up in oceans as pollution

Lost in the heated arguments over Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain pipeline is this simple fact: more than a quarter of the bitumen flowing through it will end up as pollution spilling into our oceans — one way or the other — acidifying them for millennia to come.

And unspilled bitumen that gets burned ends up as environmental carbon pollution

All the bitumen that doesn’t spill from pipelines or tankers gets burned, ending up as carbon pollution dumped into our environment.

So far, over 12 billion barrels of bitumen has come from Alberta’s tar sands

So far, over 12 billion barrels of bitumen have been pulled out of the ground in Alberta.1 After being burned in trucks and cars, the resulting carbon pollution has all been dumped (aka: spilled, emitted, released) into our air and water. The total so far? Twelve billion barrels of bitumen (~6.3 GtCO2).3

Where did it all go?

28% of all burned fossil carbon ended up in oceans, causing destructive acidification

According to the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), about 28 per cent of all burned fossil carbon has ended up in our oceans causing them to acidify rapidly.4 Known impacts of “ocean acidification” include killing coral reefs; dissolving baby oysters, scallops and other shellfish; and scrambling marine food chains.

Over three billion barrels worth of Alberta bitumen (~1.75 GtCO2) has now entered the world’s oceans.

And how much ocean pollution have humans cleaned up? ZERO!

The percentage of all that ocean pollution which humans have cleaned up? Zero.

For how long will ocean acidification persist? TENS OF THOUSANDS OF YEARS!

And the resulting ocean acidification will persist for tens of thousands of years — many times longer than human civilization has existed.

48% of burned fossil carbon stays in our atmosphere, CAUSING CATASTROPHIC GLOBAL WARMING!

Another 48 per cent of burned fossil carbon stays in our atmosphere. It thickens the heat-trapping blanket around the planet, increasing the heat and energy in our weather systems via global warming. That’s why we’re getting rising seas and heatwaves, fiercer storms and droughts, surging wildfires and floods, and widespread ecological damage.

How much bitumen-based CO2 emissions in our air has been cleaned up. ZERO!

So far, over five billion barrels worth of bitumen (~2.7 GtCO2) have been dumped into our air. None of that has been cleaned up either.

Double the ‘spills’ with Trans Mountain

Kinder Morgan’s new pipeline will pump 13 BILLION BARRELS OF BITUMEN OVER A 40-YEAR PERIOD!

Kinder Morgan’s new pipeline aims to pump as much new bitumen as Alberta has extracted in the entire history of the oil sands. The pipeline is designed to pump 890,000 barrels a day. Over a forty year operational lifespan that adds up to 13 billion barrels. (Note that the original Trans Mountain pipeline is still pumping after 65 years.)

Consider the harmful impact of 13 billion barrels of additional bitumen on ocean acidification and climate change

Doubling the amount of bitumen extracted will obviously double the amount of bitumen pollution dumped in our environment:

  • Nearly two billion more tonnes will get “spilled” into our oceans, further increasing our ocean acidification crisis.
  • Three billion more tonnes will get “spilled” into our atmosphere, further increasing the climate crisis.

AND, AS WITH PAST BITUMEN POLLUTION, THERE ARE NO PLANS TO CLEAN ANY OF IT UP.

Bottom line —

One way or the other, bitumen, like other fossil fuels, will pollute our oceans. Whether this fossil carbon gets spilled in liquid, solid or gaseous form, it will cause lasting damage to marine life, to coral reefs, to fisheries and to the people who cherish and depend on our oceans.

There is no scenario in which bitumen doesn’t “spill” into our oceans causing harm. And there is no proposal to clean up any of the billions of tonnes of acidifying pollution that will end up there.

NOTES & SOURCES:

  1. Over 12 billion barrels of bitumen have been extracted in Canada since 1967 according to data in Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) “Statistical Handbook 2017”.
  2. Each barrel of bitumen creates around 0.521 tCO2 when burned according to estimates by Oil Change International.
  3. The bitumen CO2 math: 12.08 billion barrels x 0.521 tCO2 = 6.3 GtCO2
  4. The International Panel on Climate Change estimates that ~44% of human-added CO2 has remained in the air; ~28% has been absorbed by the oceans; and ~28% has been taken up by plants and other land sinks. (see Section TS.2.8.1 of AR5 WG1 report)

SEE ALSO

Visualizing Canada’s 2030 climate target: Show me the money! By Barry Saxifrage, National Observer, March 2, 2016 – “The carbon math is as simple as it is uncomfortable. Canadian climate success now requires significant reductions in all our major climate pollution sources. That’s not going to be easy to do. Perhaps a new economic test for emissions — one that evaluates how much Canadian GDP is created with each tonne of climate pollution — can help clarify and guide the hard choices ahead.

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