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.
Wolves can whistle in tar sands oil boom
Petition the Government now - 24 hours to stop UK blocking legislation that would ban Tar Sand oil from Europe - tar sand = destruction of one of the world's biggest wildernesses
Shale gas no solution to carbon emissions
A new Tyndall Climate Change Research unit appraisal of shale gas warns that fracked gas could put the UK's plans to decarbonise at risk - potentially displacing between 10 and 20GW of renewables
Fracked up thinking kills solar project
In a perfect demonstration of the way cheap hydrocarbons can distort the market the Sundrom solar powered biomass plant is switching the shale gas - after being taken over by a major shale gas developer
Fracked Gas no Gold Rush
Fracked gas is a boom industry, seen as an environmentally friendly substitute for coal - but there are questions about it's long term financial viability - with some experts suggesting shale gas may become another "toxic asset".