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General · 17th January 2010
submitted by susan westren
Canada is developing the world's second-largest reserve of oil. Did I say oil? It's actually a filthy mixture of bitumen, sand, heavy metals, and toxic organic chemicals. To extract oil from this mess, it needs to be heated and washed. Three barrels of water are used to process one barrel of oil. The contaminated water is held in vast tailings ponds...which leak organic poisons, arsenic and mercury into the rivers.
Refining tar sands requires two to three times as much energy as refining crude oil. The companies exploiting them burn enough natural as to heat 6 million homes. Alberta's tar sands operation is the world's biggest single industrial source of carbon emissions.
From George Mobiot in the Guardian Weekly Dec 11 wherein he calls Canada a thuggish petro-state which is the biggest obstacle to a a global warming deal.