"Canada Oil Sands Air Pollution 20-64 Times Worse Than Industry Says: Study"

"The amount of air pollution coming from Canada’s oil sands extraction is between 20 to 64 times higher than industry-reported figures, according to a groundbreaking study. Researchers found that the total amount of air pollution released from the oil sands is equal to all other human-caused air pollution sources in Canada combined.

The Canadian government and Yale University study used aircraft-based sensors that captured real time readings for a much wider range of pollutants than are usually measured by the oil sands industry, which is meeting its legal requirements under Canadian law.

While the study didn’t look at human health, it found hydrocarbon releases included toxic volatile organic compounds (VOCs), intermediate volatility and semi-volatile organic compounds that can affect health. These toxic compounds can also react in the atmosphere, contributing to the formation of fine particulates harmful to health.

The research adds to long-standing concerns by the region’s Indigenous communities over oil sands operations impacts on health and the environment. The study also suggests potential blind spots in calculating emissions from other industrial activities, including various types of unconventional oil and gas production."

Ruth Kamnitzer reports for Mongabay May 16, 2024.

Source: Mongabay, 05/21/2024