Climate Impacts of Tar Sands Development

A preview of a Scientific American article about the climate impacts of tar sands development.


| July 5, 2013



Oil Pipeline

If built, the Keystone XL pipeline will be a spigot that speeds tar sands production, pushing the planet toward its emissions limit.


Photo by Fotolia/James

A press release from Sierra Club.

Scientific American released a preview of its July 12 article about the climate impacts of tar sands development. Given President Obama’s climate speech that transformed the Keystone XL decision into a climate decision, these scientific findings are particularly important.

From Scientific American:

  • Turning tar sands into oil and burning it as fuel produce enormous amounts of carbon dioxide.
  • To prevent an average global temperature increase of more than two degrees Celsius, triggering potentially catastrophic climate change, cumulative carbon emissions must be kept below one trillion metric tons.
  • The earth's atmosphere is already more than halfway to the trillion-metric-ton target; expanding production of even more tar sands would accelerate emissions.
  • If built, the Keystone XL pipeline will be a spigot that speeds tar sands production, pushing the planet toward its emissions limit.”




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