Keep it underground
Keeping it Underground
Extracting unconventional hydrocarbons was uneconomical until oil prices hit their current heights. Now it represents a multi trillion dollar business opportunity for the fossil fuel industry. The USA in particular seems determined to continue its highly polluting extraction of Canadian Tar Sand. Despite widespread protests, the US government is likely to give permission for the hugely controversial Keystone XL pipeline. It will take semi processed tar sand oil from Canada to US refineries in the Gulf unlocking the door to this vast reserve of fossil carbon - equal to all Saudi Arabian oil reserves - extracted and still in the ground.
Releasing these unconventional oils and gasses is in itself a highly polluting process - fracking releases methane and an "unknown cocktail" of toxic chemicals. Tar sand extraction involves the removal of thousands of acres of forest and top soil, destroys watercourses and is extremely energy intensive.
We can and should leave this fossil carbon in the ground - releasing it will mean "game over" for attempts to control climate change. We can make a low carbon economy a reality - technologically the means exist.
One of the biggest obstacles to driving a low carbon economy forwards is the US energy industry. They stand to make trillions of dollars from extracting some of the most dangerous and dirty fuels on the planet and have massive political leverage in the US Government and media as well as funding effective "anti-science" campaigns of climate change denial.
"Keep it Underground" will keep an eye on news about unconventionals. It's remit runs from allegations that shale gas may be a giant ponzi-scheme, the adverse impact cheap gas is having on investment in renewables, news of the protests in the USA to schemes like Keystone XL or the latest science on the impacts of the extraction processes.