James Hansen, scientist: physicist, climate change expert and head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, recently visited the tar sands, to give a warning:
Unless we dramatically reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases over the next two decades, humanity will be plagued by droughts, floods, famine, disappearing ice shields and rising oceans. It will get increasingly worse for our children and grandchildren. His solution: Phase out coal and stop development of unconventional sources of fossil fuels such as the oilsands.Stephen Harper, who is not a scientist, physicist or climate change expert, also visited Alberta:
Prior to industrial development, Alberta's oilsands was "nature's biggest unusable oil spill," said Prime Minister Stephen Harper Friday. Environmental groups are calling the prime minister out of touch with nature based on his description.I think we should listen to James Hansen.
"The development of the oilsands is more like causing an oil spill than cleaning it up," said Jennifer Grant, a policy analyst with Alberta's Pembina Institute. "This area was a functioning ecosystem that was, that is very diverse before tarsands development. To portray it as an oil spill is missing the point," added Gillian McEachern, a program manager at national group Environmental Defence.