Essay: Athabasca river-climatic impacts
Climatic impacts are evident. There is an observable climate changes which is exacerbated by carbon dioxide and methane released from oil sand exploitation. As a result, this account for the largest single source of growth of greenhouse gas emissions in Canada with estimates showing that existing oil sands plants burning of natural gases release 80 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere annually (The Pembina Institute, 2005).
As a consequence of climatic impact, there is an exceedingly lower flow of the Athabasca River which is catalyzed by increased water withdrawals by developing new oil sands project. Yet, it is common ecological wisdom that instream flow needs are critical for protecting downstream ecosystems even the Peace Athabasca Delta and communities who depend on fishing, trapping and hunting. The greater impact for the future generation that is worth consideration is the projection that in the next 30-50 years, as many as millions of tones of aquatic game and about 166 million birds could be lost, due to loss of breeding areas and harsh resultant climatic conditions that can not support survival.
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