You Can't Eat Tar Sands
by Jamie Henn
A startling new study from the Center for Global Development shows that full development of the Canadian Tar Sands would have a devastating effect on global food production, especially in climate vulnerable continents such as Africa.
A loss in agricultural productivity due to climate change will affect more than 3 billion people around the world. Because of the massive carbon emissions from the Canadian Tar Sands, full exploitation of the resource would lead to a 5.6 percent loss in productivity, with 25 countries experiencing losses of 7.1 percent. Countries with especially damaging impacts include the already drought stricken Ethiopia, Sudan, and other Horn of Africa nations, as well as major population centers like India.
This is incredibly unjust. As the report says, “There is striking asymmetry in regional impacts. Full exploitation of the oil sands deposit by Canada, a high-income country, would have the most severe impacts on regions where the poorest countries are concentrated.”
We’ve known for the last year that the full exploitation of the tar sands would mean “game over” for the climate. This new report puts into stark relief exactly what “game over” looks like: millions upon millions of starving people across the planet.
We couldn’t put it anymore succintly and powerfully than the report itself: “Put simply, the potential destructive power in Canada’s oil sands exceeds anything modern civilization has witnessed to date.”
Keeping the Keystone XL pipeline off the table and stopping Congressional attempts to resurrect the project is the single most important thing that we can do right now to prevent the tar sands from being developed. All of you who have worked with us in 2011 played a crucial role in that fight. We’re going to need you more than ever in 2012.