Barriers to mitigating the climate impacts of the tar sands

President Obama has made it clear that the central factor in his decision to approve or reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline will be determined on whether or not the pipeline project will exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution12.  Keystone XL will almost certainly lead to a massive increase in carbon pollution on the order of 935 million to 1.2 billion metric tons over the pipeline’s life time3.  This has raised questions over whether Canada can mitigate for the impacts of its carbon intensive tar sands mines and drilling operations.  Tar sands production is Canada’s fastest growing source of carbon emissions and the primary barrier to the country reaching its international climate commitments.

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