What’s the big deal about the tar sands? Canadian photographer Garth Lenz presents the local environmental and social concerns presented by the tar sands in a concise, impassioned speech in a TEDx talk in Victoria, Canada.
The tar sands has recently moved from a primarily Canadian issue into an international one as activists in the U.S. succeeded in delaying the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring tar sands oil down to the Gulf of Mexico and an international market. Meanwhile, the EU is mulling legislation that would label tar sands oil as highly polluting compared to conventional sources. No decision has been made yet and the EU is facing heavy lobbying from industry and the Canadian government.
Due to the industrial process needed to extract oil from the tar sands, the oil comes with a bigger carbon footprint than conventional oil: estimates range from 20 percent to 300 percent more greenhouse gas emissions per barrel of oil compared to conventional sources.
To read more: Tar sands emit more carbon than previously estimated.