Hey there - I'm really, really hoping to not get buried under a pile of angry posts, but could you explain why everyone is so opposed to pipelines? I'm no newbie to climate change, but I honestly do not understand the logic - wouldn't a pipeline eliminate emissions made by the trucks/trains/boats that are currently transporting oil? I live in Alberta, and that is the number one argument I hear in favour of pipelines. If it's invalid, I'd really like to know why so I can educate people.
Trucks do not generally transport oil. Trains do but they handle the minority of oil transports.
Ships transport oil that ship overseas regardless of land transport.
Pipelines do not just allow easier access, they allow production to increase, this leads to more oil extraction and more emissions. We should not be expanding oil production & emissions at a time where we have signed the Paris Climate Change accord, which demands a reduction of emissions:
Climate Science says that expanding the oil sands (i.e. approving oil pipelines that will increase production), is incompatible with keeping Earth’s climate at a ‘safe level’ (generally 1.5-2 degrees C rise):
But the unrestricted approval of pipeline projects such as Trans Mountain and Line 3 could drive the expansion of bitumen production by nearly two million barrels a day over the next two decades, says the report. Current oil sands production is 2.5 million barrels a day and accounts for 60 per cent of Canada’s oil production.
That means that Canada could be adding more new oil production to global markets than Brazil and Libya combined.
As a result, emissions from Canadian oil could eventually gobble up 16 per cent of the world’s total carbon budget if it is to keep global temperature increases below 1.5 degree Celsius, or seven per cent of the two degree Celsius global carbon budget, the report found.
“Without action, Canada could become one of the fastest growing extractors of new carbon pollution over the next 20 years through the expansion of long-lived tar sands production,” adds the report.
Other scientists have warned that if the tar sands continue to be developed and the Keystone XL is constructed, it would make the international goal of keeping global warming under 2°C (3.6°F) extraordinarily difficult.
“Constructing pipelines to support the extraction of the Canadian tar sands commits us to investing in infrastructure that will insure we continue to extract and burn the most carbon-intensive fossil fuels on Earth at a time when we have to be moving in precisely the opposite direction — away from our reliance on fossil fuels toward renewable energy,” Mann said Wednesday.
Then there’s the issue that bitumen oil spills cannot be cleaned up:
British Columbia is confronted with a proposal that will result in a 6-fold increase in the amount of tar sands crude moving through the province and onto our delicate coastal waters. Most of this thick tar sands oil is thinned with condensate, creating dilbit which is able to flow through the pipelines. A 2013 study by the Government of Canada titled Properties, Composition and Marine Spill Behaviour, Fate and Transport of Two Diluted Bitumen Products from the Canadian Oil Sands found that when the spilled bitumen is exposed to sediment in marine settings, it sinks; it also found that chemical dispersants tested on dilbit were not effective.
In 2016, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS)—the scientific advisor to the United States Congress and President —released a more comprehensive study titled Spills of Diluted Bitumen from Pipelines: A Comparative Study of Environmental Fate, Effects, and Response. After examining the entire field of existing studies on the environmental fate of dilbit (including the Government of Canada 2013 report) over the course of nearly two years, the NAS concluded that when compared with commonly transported crudes, diluted bitumen behaves in fundamentally different ways when spilled.
The NAS found that as a result of weathering, dilbit can and will sink when spilled in water, increasing the impacts associated with a spill. Furthermore, the study concluded that there is no technique or equipment available to effectively clean up heavy oils that have submerged, mixed into the water column or settled on the bottom of fresh- or salt-water bodies. 1 The study also noted that the evaporating diluents are known to result in risks to human health and risks of explosions. The NAS report concluded that “when all risks are considered systematically, there must be a greater level of concern associated with spills of diluted bitumen compared to spills of commonly transported crude oils” and “[T]here are no known, effective strategies for recovery of crude oil that is suspended in the water column.”2
Then there is the issue of indigenous rights:
Although there are some First Nations that support oil development, there are many more that oppose it. The Government of Canada is refusing to grant consent to First Nations about energy projects going on in their territories. This is clearly not a moral or ethical way to get projects approved:
I could go on and on, but I hope this helps.