23 Feb 2012:
Pollution from Tar Sands Sites
Comparable to Mid-Sized City, Study Says
The amounts of pollution produced by tar sands excavation sites are comparable to those of a medium-sized city or a large power plant, according to a new study by Environment Canada
, the nation’s environmental agency. Using satellite remote sensing observations, scientists found elevated levels of nitrogen dioxide and sulfur dioxide across a 19-by-31-mile region of surface mining. In addition to corresponding to “locations of significant emissions from large mining operations,” the researchers found that pollution levels are increasing. In the case of nitrogen dioxide, levels increased by about 10.4 percent annually between 2005 and 2010. “It stands out above what’s around it, out in the wilderness,” said Chris McLinden, a research scientist with Environment Canada and lead author of the study published in Geophysical Research Letters
. The extraction of the sludgy bituminous materials from tar sands requires enormous amounts of energy, and therefore the burning of fossil fuels. In 2010, about 1.8 million barrels of oil were produced daily from Canada’s vast tar sands deposits.
Yale Environment 360 is
a publication of the
Yale School of Forestry
& Environmental Studies
Yale Environment 360
articles are now available in Spanish and Portuguese on Universia
, the online educational network. Visit the site.
Business & Innovation
Policy & Politics
Pollution & Health
Science & Technology
Antarctica and the Arctic
Central & South America
A look at how acidifying oceans could threaten the Dungeness crab, one of the most valuable fisheries on the U.S. West Coast. Watch the video.
is now available for mobile devices at e360.yale.edu/mobile
An aerial view of why Europe’s per capita carbon emissions are less than 50 percent of those in the U.S. View the photos.
An indigenous tribe’s deadly fight to save its ancestral land in the Amazon rainforest from logging. Learn more.
video series looks at the staggering amount of food wasted in the U.S. – a problem with major human and environmental costs. Watch the video.
Residents of the Chocó Rainforest in Ecuador are choosing to plant cacao over logging in an effort to slow deforestation.
Watch the video.
Tribal people and ranchers join together to stop a project that would haul coal across their Montana land. Watch the video.