Saturday, July 20, 2013

Rail, pipeline and climate disasters are symptoms of oily addiction

From Rabble.Ca:  http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/david-suzuki/2013/07/rail-pipeline-and-climate-disasters-are-symptoms-oily-addiction

By David Suzuki July 17, 2013

Like smokers who put off quitting until their health starts to suffer, we’re learning what happens when bad habits catch up with us. We’re witnessing the terrible effects of fossil fuel addiction every day: frequent, intense storms and floods, extended droughts, rapidly melting Arctic ice, disappearing glaciers, deadly smog and pollution, contaminated waterways and destroyed habitats. Transport accidents are also increasing as governments and industry scramble to get fuels out of the ground and to market as quickly as possible.

Throughout it all, we’re asking the wrong questions. Take the recent horrific disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec. A train carrying fracked crude oil from North Dakota to a refinery in Saint John, New Brunswick, derailed, caught fire and caused explosions that destroyed much of the town and killed dozens of people, sending millions of litres of oil into the ground, air, sewers and Chaudière River. It’s a senseless tragedy that has everyone in Canada and beyond grieving for the community’s citizens and their families.

Governments and the railway company must answer numerous questions about safety regulations and practices, to prevent a similar catastrophe from ever occurring. The larger questions, though, are about the dramatic increases in fossil fuel use and transport. Sadly, industry proponents quickly exploited the situation to argue for expanding pipelines.

As growing human populations and increasing industrialization drive up the worldwide demand for fossil fuels, and as oil, gas and coal companies rush to extract, sell and burn as much as possible while markets remain strong, we’re seeing ever-increasing exploitation from difficult sources – fracking, oil sands, deepsea drilling and more.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers expects oil production in Western Canada to double from three-million barrels a day to more than six-million by 2030. This means a huge increase in the amount of fuels transported around the country and the world in pipelines, rail cars, trucks and ocean tankers. According to the Railway Association of Canada, rail shipment of oil has already increased dramatically in Canada, from 500 carloads in 2009 to 140,000 this year.

Continue reading at:  http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/david-suzuki/2013/07/rail-pipeline-and-climate-disasters-are-symptoms-oily-addiction

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