Friday, November 1, 2013

The Tar Sands and IEA's Three Climate Change Scenarios

The IEA has forecast temperature increases in 3 different emissions scenarios which include tar sands oil. These scenarios are contained in the IEA’s 2010 edition of the World Energy Outlook (WEO).

Here is a brief review of each of the three scenarios and the amount of tar sands oil factored into each.

The first scenario is titled “Current Policies Scenario.” In this scenario greenhouse gas emissions would cause average global temperatures to increase by 6 degrees C by the end of the century leading to, “massive climatic change and irreparable damage to the planet”. In this scenario the IEA has tar sands production are at 4.6 million barrels per day (bpd).

The second scenario is titled the “New Policies Scenario”, the IEA applies the targets discussed at the Copenhagen climate conference in 2009. It estimates that under this scenario we would see a 3.5-4 degree C average global temperature increase. warmer planet. In this scenario the IEA has tar sands production at 4.2 million bpd.

The third is titled the “450 Scenario”, atmospheric carbon is kept at or below the level of 450 parts per million. According to this scenario, we would have a 50 50 chance of keeping global average temperatures below the 2 degree threshold. In this scenario tar sands production tops out at 3.3 million bpd.

If Canada's Conservative government succeeds in their efforts to ramp up tar sands production we will surpass the upper threshold of 2 degrees C by almost three times.

© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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