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Tar Sands: Dirty Oil and the Future of a Continent

3.4 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: Greystone (2008)
  • ASIN: B003W5ZJBU
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Another Albertan sent me this book to read and it was really incredible in understanding the implications of the tar sands in terms of Indigenous communities, the environment, labor, etc. Ignore the bad reviews here on Amazon -- these are all by people who work the tar sands. Understandably they are hurt and there are limited opportunities for employment but that must be balanced against the real and dramatic harm that is happening right now.
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Disturbing, alarming, annoying, depressing, discouraging, dismaying, distressing, foreboding, frightening, gloomy, ominous, perplexing, perturbing, prophetic, provoking, unpleasant, unsettling, upsetting, vexing AND so horribly accurate.
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Should be read by all Canadian school children and especially by all Canadian politicians. Its coverage of the issues and inconceivable mismanagement surrounding the Canadian tar sands is excellent.
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Book had no markings or tear... good as new
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To provide some background on my opinion on this book: I currently study natural resource conservation and am committed to stopping climate change through a reduction of greenhouse gasses including CO2. That being said, I also spent 8 months working for an oil sands company in their environmental research department and living in Fort McMurray. I bought this book along with 2 others (both are in the suggested panel on this page and I speak of them below) to try to gain a bit more perspective on the industry as a whole and to get some information I was not exposed to.

I honestly don't think there was a single chapter in Nikifourk's book which didn't utterly dumbfound me. Not only does he trivialize important and peer reviewed studies such as those by David Schindler and Erin Kelly (giving them a paragraph in certain sections) but he blows certain ones (such as John O'Conners misdiagnosis) way out of proportion.

What really riles me is how he portrays the city of Fort McMurray. While it is not the place for me and not somewhere I have any intention of moving to, I met dozens of people who loved it there. The bars there are just as trashy as any one I have been to in Vancouver, the traffic is horrible (but only in the morning and evening, Monday - Thursday), but that is due to some serious municipal/provincial bickering, the city itself just feels like a town which exploded. It certainly has problems, and I feel for mayor Blake who is doing her best to make it a great city but the way Nikifourk portrayed it, you would think it is like living in a slum. I'm not sure what to say other than that is simply not the case. At all.
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Hi,
Very informative. Must read for how Ralphie is ruining the climate and environment without any gain for Alberta's economy and future. Just more big bucks for big oil and no reclamtion of NE Alberta!
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Format: Paperback
The tar sands is an important topic. But this book isn't the place to learn about it. You'd have to double check everything so you might as well go other sources and ignore this.

I study climate change and wanted to know more about the tar sands as it is a significant deposit of fossil fuel. But in one section of this book Nikiforuk writes on carbon capture, a topic I know something about. I realized how poorly researched this entire book might well be.

Nikiforuk, on carbon dioxide: "many tar sand projects puff out nearly a million tons of carbon dioxide a year.... ... a million tons - a megaton - is enough lethal carbon dioxide to fill one million two-storey, three-bedroom homes and suffocate every occupant".

If this type of overblowing is your cup of tea you'll love this book. If someone stacked up a megaton's worth of copies of Nikiforuk's book and toppled them on a three-bedroom home, no doubt these lethal books would suffocate or at least crush everyone inside as well.

When it comes to inaccuracy, he comes up with wild figures and contradicts himself on CO2 within a few paragraphs. He states, citing no source: "no infrastructure currently exists to bury carbon. To inject twenty megatons... will cost anywhere from $10 billion to $16 billion". This works out to $500 - $800 a ton. Then he points to a supposed source, as if to confirm this ballpark figure: "the Task Force on Carbon Capture and Storage... requested $2 billion in public funds to explore how to effectively bury just five megatons" which works out to $400 a ton.

No one else in the world is publishing figures like this.

Then, a few paragraphs later, Nikiforuk brings up an authority, the I.P.C.C.
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Format: Paperback
It is not long into the book before the reader realizes that the Canadian environmentalist, Andrew Nikiforuk, has more than a few bones to pick with the Canadian petroleum industry over the future expansion of the Tar Sands. In this short study on the state of this megaproject as it unfolds in the boreal forests of northern Alberta, Nikiforuk believes that the technology used to extract and convert bitumen from deep in the ground is extremely hazardous to the environment and expensive to Canadian taxpayers. As mentioned in the book, there are friendlier, albeit more expensive, energy alternatives that big government and big oil need to pursue in order to save the environment and the future of the country. For Nikiforuk, a notable left-wing political activist, the real beneficiaries of this huge government investment in the Tar Sands are the right-wing neocons who are profiting from major kickbacks from the likes of Suncor in the rush to expand the production of dirty oil. He includes chapters in the book that deal specifically with how Ottawa and Edmonton have teamed up to make Canada a leading exporter of underpriced oil to the US at the expense of damaging the wildlife and waterways of the indigenous people of northern Alberta. Furthermore, Alberta charges Suncor and its affiliates some of the lowest oil royalties in the country while paying out its own pockets hundreds of millions of public money for building critical public infrastructure for processing centers like Ft.McMurray. As a result of the big spending, anti-environment policies of the successive governments of Ralph Klein and Ed Stelmach, Alberta is in the process of squandering its future as one of the wealthier provinces in Confederation.Read more ›
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