Tar Sands Are Misplaced Money - Same Amount Could Decarbonize Europe or Lift Nations Out of Poverty

bankrolling tar sands photo

photo: Danielle Scott via flickr.

I hope I need not tell you that the development of the Canadian tar sands is an unmitigated environmental disaster. We've gone over that one at least a dozen times. But what we haven't covered is the fact that the price tag for developing this source of unconventional fossil fuels is so high that if it were spent elsewhere it could decarbonize Europe. The Guardian highlights a new report released by WWF and The Co-operative that shows the £250 billion expected investment in tar sands between now and 2025 could effectively be used to fund a huge step towards a low-carbon future--the huge solar thermal in the Sahara plan or a Europe-wide shift towards electric vehicles could be funded.

If that money were spent in developing nations, it would mean 50 nations could meet half of their Millennium Development Goals.

All of which is to say, it's a giant amount of misplaced money. But I suppose the crucial question, the same one that arises when you argue that "if only the money spent on war were spent on insert your favorite cause", is whether that sort of money could be raised otherwise.

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Tar Sands
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