Three long fuses lead back to the world’s biggest carbon bomb: The Canadian Tar Sands. The fuses are pipelines – existing and proposed – that run from the black sludge lakes and devastated landscape of northern Alberta, Canada to marine ports where oil producers hope to ship tar sands crude oil to world energy markets.
Releasing the ancient tar sands carbon into Earth’s atmosphere threatens every man, woman, and child on Earth as well as every other creature. NASA climatologist Dr. James Hansen has warned that if the tar sands is fully exploited, “it is game-over for Earth’s climate.” The carbon contained in the tar sands is enough to send Earth’s atmosphere into runaway heating, releasing ancient methane and killing sea life and forests, so that humanity could not reverse the heating regardless of what we do.
The fuses to this carbon bomb, the pipelines and tankers, include:
1. Keystone XL: An expansion of the existing Keystone pipeline from Canada, through the central US to Port Arthur, Texas, where the crude oil can be refined or loaded onto oil tankers for the global market.
2. Enbridge pipeline: A proposed route over the Rocky Mountains, across Canadian boreal forests, wild watersheds, and indigenous territory to the marine port at Kitimat, British Columbia for export. And:
3. Kinder-Morgan TMX Trans-Mountain pipeline: Also over the Rocky Mountains, into the port of Vancouver, British Columbia. This pipeline/tanker route is already operating and Kinder Morgan has applied for an expansion. In 2010, 71 large oil tankers shipped tar sands crude oil through the Port of Vancouver and the Georgia Strait to global markets.
These three pipelines threaten to detonate the world’s biggest carbon bomb.