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Do no harm

Workers in the mining industry have a huge responsibility to prevent pollution. When spills of oil have occured in the past, enormous envronmental damage has been inflicted, lasting for decades.
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Protecting the commons

Methods for mining oil from unconventioal oil carry considerable risks of water pollution and eco-system damage to forests and arctic environments. How do the environmental risks compare to the economic benefits of cheaper oil?
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Future generations

Is it the responsibility of the current generation to stop looking for oil, in order to protect future generations from the climate change consequences of burning it?

Desperate measures?

The more we dig fossil fuels out of the ground, the less there is remaining to be found. Are we now digging in places we shouldn't?

The easiest places to mine for oil and gas have already been found and mined. Very few new large sources of easy to extract oil or gas have been found since the 1970's. This means that as the supplies that we have access to shrink, the price of fuel goes up. At a certain point, it becomes both financially and politically practical to start mining in places and using methods that were rejected before because of either the costs or the risks involved.

Global warming isn’t a prediction. It is happening. That is why I was so troubled to read a recent interview with President Obama in Rolling Stone in which he said that Canada would exploit the oil in its vast tar sands reserves “regardless of what we do.”

If Canada proceeds, and we do nothing, it will be game over for the climate.  Source

James Hansen (2012) - Director the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies

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