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Over 100 Leading Scientists Call for a Moratorium on New Oil Sands Development
Consensus statement says the science is clear: there can be no more oil sands development if we are to solve the global climate crisis
June 10, 2015, Ottawa – Today more than 100 prominent scientists from across North America, including climate scientists, economists, geophysicists, and biologists, released a consensus statement entitled “Ten Reasons for a Moratorium” that shows why Canada and the United States should postpone new oil sands development.
“Based on evidence raised across our many disciplines, we offer a unified voice calling for a moratorium on new oil sands projects,” reads the consensus statement. “No new oil sands or related infrastructure projects should proceed unless consistent with an implemented plan to rapidly reduce carbon pollution, safeguard biodiversity, protect human health, and respect treaty rights. [Our] ten reasons, each grounded in science, support our call for a moratorium.”
“If Canada wants to participate constructively in the global effort to stop climate change, we should first stop expanding the oil sands. More growth simply shows Canada has gone rogue,” says Thomas Homer-Dixon, professor of governance innovation at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, University of Waterloo.
The statement provides an up-to-date review of climate science, carbon economics, and biodiversity conservation. It shows there is little choice but to curtail further development if Canada and other countries are to meet global climate targets and keep the world from tipping into dangerous levels of warming. (The oil sands currently produce 2 million barrels a day.)
Bottom line, “Leading independent researchers show that significant expansion of the oil sands and similar unconventional oil sources is inconsistent with efforts to avoid potentially dangerous climate change,” says Simon Fraser University energy economist Mark Jaccard, one of the statement’s authors.
The impacts are not only limited to climate change. “Oil sands development is industrializing and degrading some of the wildest regions of the planet, contaminating its rivers, and transforming a landscape that stores huge amounts of carbon into one that releases it,” says Northern Arizona University ecologist Tom Sisk.
The document’s authors launched a website (www.OilSandsMoratorium.org) and held a press conference at 10 a.m. PST/1:00 p.m. EST on June 10 to explain the scientific reasons underlying their call for a moratorium. They also requested meetings with Canada’s federal political leaders to discuss how the science leads unequivocally to their call for a moratorium on oil sands expansion, and how a transition to low-emission energy production is possible for Canada without a dramatic reduction in economic growth.
The authors and signatories, who include 12 Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada, 22 Members of the US National Academy, 5 Recipients of the Order of Canada, and a Nobel Prize winner, say it’s time that science is given a central role in the public debate about further development of North American oil sands.
The consensus statement draws a number of conclusions:
“It’s rare that scientists speak collectively about controversial topics. Many of us had come to our own conclusions about the oil sands based on our research, and once we began comparing notes, we recognized the need to speak publicly, now, with a unified voice” said Simon Fraser University ecologist Wendy Palen.
For more information, please contact:
Heather Badenoch, Media coordinator, (613) 859-8232; firstname.lastname@example.org
Thomas Homer-Dixon: email@example.com
Mark Jaccard: (778) 789-0852; firstname.lastname@example.org
Ken Lertzman: (778) 782-9236; email@example.com
Wendy Palen: (415) 548-3510; firstname.lastname@example.org
Thomas Sisk: (928) 523-7183; Thomas.Sisk@nau.edu
Kai Chan: (604) 288-9820 Wed, (604) 822-0400 Thu and Fri email@example.com
Scott L. Collins: (505) 239-5987; firstname.lastname@example.org
Gretchen Daily: +46 736 755 701; email@example.com
Paul R. Ehrlich: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nick M. Haddad: (919) 622-3293; Haddad@ncsu.edu
David Keith: (857) 294-2050; email@example.com
Petr Komers: (403) 969-3601; firstname.lastname@example.org
Shaun Lovejoy: (514) 398-6537; email@example.com (French and English)
Thomas E. Lovejoy: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gordon Orians: (206) 226-2539.
Sarah Otto: (604) 822 2778; email@example.com
Edward A. Parson: (310) 206-4586; firstname.lastname@example.org
David Schindler: (250) 346-3181; email@example.com
John Smol: firstname.lastname@example.org
For a full list of authors and signatories, and to learn more about the scientists’ initiative, please visit www.OilSandsMoratorium.org