New Film And Report From The Co-Operative Show The Folly Of £250 Billion Of Tar Sands Investments
on: April 01, 2010, 1:04 am
The Co-operative Group
The massive resources being poured into environmentally
damaging tar sands could kick start ambitious plans to supply Europe
with solar energy from North Africa or enable the world to hit half of
the Millennium Development Goals in the 50 least developed countries,
including averting four million child deaths annually and providing
universal primary education.
It is literally a matter of life and death that these enormous oil titans are
re-steered to much more sustainable paths
These are the findings of a thought-provoking report by The Co-operative and WWF-UK,
which puts into perspective the estimated £250 billion ($379 billion) the big oil
companies are planning to invest in tar sands between now and 2025.
The report coincides today (15 March) with the UK premiere of Dirty Oil, a
hard-hitting documentary film that outlines the impact tar sands extraction is
having on the environment and the health of first nation Indians. The film, which is
being distributed with the help of The Co-operative, will be premiered at 25 cinemas
across the UK.
Narrated by Canadian actress and environmentalist Neve Campbell, the beautifully
photographed documentary from the Academy Award Nominated director Leslie Iwerks
goes behind-the-scenes and tells the tar sands story through the eyes of scientists,
industry officials, politicians, doctors, environmentalists and indigenous Cree
The 'Opportunity Cost of the Tar Sands' Report (PDF 562 KB), written by The Co-operative and WWF-UK as part of their Dirty Oil Campaign, shows how the money invested in tar sands would halve the
proportion of people in the world living without access to clean water and
sanitation, provide universal primary education, and hit the targets to avert the
deaths of 4 million children, 300,000 mothers, and almost half a million victims of
HIV and TB.
The extraction and production of oil from the tar sands emits on average three times more greenhouse gases than conventional oil
production and as a result has attracted considerable criticism from
environmentalists and investors alike.
The report finds the money which oil companies want to pump into tar sands would
also cover the cost of the Desertec Industrial Initiative which would link North
African solar plants into a supergrid and supply 15 per cent of Europe’s electricity
by 2050, or fund a Europe wide shift to electric vehicles.
The report highlights Shell and BP’s involvement in tar sands investments. BP is set
to invest £6.63 billion ($10 billion) in its Sunrise tar sands project and also
plans to spend another £1.62 billion ($2.5 billion) converting a refinery in Toledo,
Ohio, to process the synthetic crude oil produced from the tar sands. Meanwhile
Shell is spending £8.7 billion ($14 billion) to expand the Athabasca Oil Sands
Project (60 per cent owned by Shell) to raise its capacity to 255,000 barrels per
Paul Monaghan, Head of Social Goals at The Co-operative, said: “The sums of money
being invested in tar sands developments are enormous and difficult for the average
person to grasp. This report puts things into perspective and demonstrates not only
the scale of the problem, which could take us close to the brink of runaway climate
change, but also the opportunity being lost.
“It is literally a matter of life and death that these enormous oil titans are
re-steered to much more sustainable paths.”
Colin Butfield, WWF-UK's head of campaigns, said: "The world is currently heading
for a real climate change crisis which can only be headed off by a real drive for
clean energy. But if Canada extracts its probable reserves of 315 billion barrels of
oil from tar sands, this will undermine the drive for clean energy - and almost
single-handedly commit the world to dangerous levels of CO2 in the atmosphere. This
would contribute to dangerous climate change, destroying ecosystems and habitats
around the world. We cannot afford this to happen.
"This report has thrown up some quite staggering statistics in terms of how that
money could be spent trying to save the planet rather than destroy it. The $379bn
question is will the oil companies listen? For the planet's sake, they have to.
After all, if this kind of investment in tar sands continues, it’s not just a grave
threat to the boreal forests, wildlife and communities in Canada."
Contact Details: Dave Smith
The Co-operative Group
0161 827 5614