Alberta Oil Sands

Developments in Environmental Science

Book 11
Newnes
Free sample

At 170 billion barrels, Canada's Oil Sands are the third largest reserves of developable oil in the world. The Oil Sands now produce about 1.6 million barrels per day, with production expected to double by 2025 to about 3.7 million barrels per day. The Athabasca Oil Sands Region (AOSR) in northeastern Alberta is the largest of the three oil sands deposits. Bitumen in the oil sands is recovered through one of two primary methods – mining and drilling. About 20 per cent of the reserves are close to the surface and can be mined using large shovels and trucks. Of concern are the effects of the industrial development on the environment. Both human-made and natural sources emit oxides of sulphur and nitrogen, trace elements and persistent organic compounds. Of additional concern are ground level ozone and greenhouse gases.

Because of the requirement on operators to comply with the air quality regulatory policies, and to address public concerns, the not-for-profit, multi-stakeholder Wood Buffalo Environmental Association (WBEA) has since 1997 been closely monitoring air quality in AOSR. In 2008, WBEA assembled a distinguished group of international scientists who have been conducting measurements and practical research on various aspects of air emissions and their potential effects on terrestrial receptors. This book is a synthesis of the concepts and results of those on-going studies. It contains 19 chapters ranging from a global perspective of energy production, measurement methodologies and behavior of various air pollutants during fossil fuel production in a boreal forest ecosystem, towards designing and deploying a multi-disciplinary, proactive, and long-term environmental monitoring system that will also meet regulatory expectations.

  • Covers measurement of emissions from very large industrial sources in a region with huge international media profile
  • Validation of measurement technologies can be applied globally
  • The new approaches to ecological monitoring described can be applied in other forested regions
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Additional Information

Publisher
Newnes
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Published on
Nov 7, 2012
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Pages
528
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ISBN
9780080977676
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Language
English
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Genres
Technology & Engineering / Petroleum
Technology & Engineering / Power Resources / Fossil Fuels
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The chapters in this book present a snapshot of the state of knowledge of air pollution effects at the beginning of the 21st century. From their different disciplines, a distinguished collection of authors document their understanding of how leaves, trees, and forests respond to air pollutants and climate change. Scenarios of global change and air pollution are described. The authors describe responses of forests to climate variability, tropospheric ozone, rising atmospheric CO2, the combination of CO2 and ozone, and deposition of acidic compounds and heavy metals. The responses to ozone receive particular attention because of increasing concern about its damaging effects and increasing concentrations in rural areas. Scaling issues are addressed - from leaves to trees, from juvenile trees to mature trees, from short-term responses to long-term responses, and from small-scale experiments and observations to large-scale forest ecosystems.



This book is one major product of a conference sponsored by the International Union of Forestry Research Organizations, the USDA Forest Service Global Change Northern Stations Program, the Arthur Ross Foundation, NCASI, the Canadian Forest Service, and Michigan Technological University. The conference, held in May 2000 in Houghton, Michigan, USA, was appropriately titled "Air Pollution, Global Change, and Forests in the New Millennium". The Editors, David Karnosky, Kevin Percy, Art Chappelka, Caroline Simpson, and Janet Pikkarainen organized the conference and edited this book.

Coal power is a major cause of air pollution and global warming and has resulted in the release of toxic heavy metals and radionuclides, which place communities at risk for long-term health problems. However, coal-fired power plants also currently fuel 41% of global electricity.

Clean Electricity Through Advanced Coal Technologies discusses the environmental issues caused by coal power, such as air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and toxic solid wastes.

This volume focuses on increasingly prevalent newer generation technologies with smaller environmental footprints than the existing coal-fired infrastructure throughout most of the world. These technologies include fluidized-bed combustion and gasification. It also provides an overview of carbon capture and sequestration technologies and closely examines the 2008 Kingston TVA spill, the largest fly ash release ever to have occurred in the United States.

Each volume of the Handbook of Pollution Prevention and Cleaner Production covers manufacturing technologies, waste management, pollution issues, methods for estimating and reporting emissions, treatment and control techniques, worker and community health risks, cost data for pollution management, and cleaner production and prevention options.

Discusses the environmental impact of coal power, including air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and solid toxic wastesFocuses on newer coal technologies with smaller environmental footprints than existing infrastructureProvides an overview of carbon capture and sequestration technologies
Running from southern West Virginia through eastern Ohio, across central and northeast Pennsylvania, and into New York through the Southern Tier and the Catskills, the Marcellus Shale formation underlies a sparsely populated region that features striking landscapes, critical watersheds, and a struggling economic base. It also contains one of the world's largest supplies of natural gas, a resource that has been dismissed as inaccessible-until recently. Technological developments that combine horizontal drilling with hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") have removed physical and economic barriers to extracting hundreds of trillions of cubic feet of gas from bedrock deep below the Appalachian basin. Beginning in 2006, the first successful Marcellus gas wells by Range Resources, combined with a spike in the value of natural gas, spurred a modern-day gold rush-a "gas rush"-with profound ramifications for environmental policy, energy markets, political dynamics, and the lives of the people living in the Marcellus region. Under the Surface is the first book-length journalistic overview of shale gas development and the controversies surrounding it.

Control over drilling rights is at stake in the heart of Marcellus country-northeast Pennsylvania and central New York. The decisions by landowners to work with or against the companies-and the resulting environmental and economic consequences-are scrutinized by neighbors faced with similar decisions, by residents of cities whose water supply originates in the exploration area, and by those living across state lines with differing attitudes and policies concerning extraction industries. Wilber's evenhanded treatment gives a voice to all constituencies, including farmers and landowners tempted by the prospects of wealth but wary of the consequences, policymakers struggling with divisive issues, and activists coordinating campaigns based on their respective visions of economic salvation and environmental ruin. Wilber describes a landscape in which the battle over the Marcellus ranges from the very local-yard signs proclaiming landowners' allegiances for or against shale gas development-to often conflicting municipal, state, and federal legislation intended to accelerate, delay, or discourage exploration.


For millions of people with a direct stake in shale gas exploration in the Marcellus or any number of other emerging shale resources in the United States and worldwide, or for those concerned about the global energy outlook, Under the Surface offers a worthwhile and engaging look at the issues.

Could everything we know about fossil fuels be wrong?

For decades, environmentalists have told us that using fossil fuels is a self-destructive addiction that will destroy our planet. Yet at the same time, by every measure of human well-being, from life expectancy to clean water to climate safety, life has been getting better and better.

How can this be?

The explanation, energy expert Alex Epstein argues in The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, is that we usually hear only one side of the story. We’re taught to think only of the negatives of fossil fuels, their risks and side effects, but not their positives—their unique ability to provide cheap, reliable energy for a world of seven billion people. And the moral significance of cheap, reliable energy, Epstein argues, is woefully underrated. Energy is our ability to improve every single aspect of life, whether economic or environmental.

If we look at the big picture of fossil fuels compared with the alternatives, the overall impact of using fossil fuels is to make the world a far better place. We are morally obligated to use more fossil fuels for the sake of our economy and our environment.

Drawing on original insights and cutting-edge research, Epstein argues that most of what we hear about fossil fuels is a myth. For instance . . .

Myth: Fossil fuels are dirty.
Truth: The environmental benefits of using fossil fuels far outweigh the risks. Fossil fuels don’t take a naturally clean environment and make it dirty; they take a naturally dirty environment and make it clean. They don’t take a naturally safe climate and make it dangerous; they take a naturally dangerous climate and make it ever safer.

Myth: Fossil fuels are unsustainable, so we should strive to use “renewable” solar and wind.
Truth: The sun and wind are intermittent, unreliable fuels that always need backup from a reliable source of energy—usually fossil fuels. There are huge amounts of fossil fuels left, and we have plenty of time to find something cheaper.

Myth: Fossil fuels are hurting the developing world.
Truth: Fossil fuels are the key to improving the quality of life for billions of people in the developing world. If we withhold them, access to clean water plummets, critical medical machines like incubators become impossible to operate, and life expectancy drops significantly. Calls to “get off fossil fuels” are calls to degrade the lives of innocent people who merely want the same opportunities we enjoy in the West.

Taking everything into account, including the facts about climate change, Epstein argues that “fossil fuels are easy to misunderstand and demonize, but they are absolutely good to use. And they absolutely need to be championed. . . . Mankind’s use of fossil fuels is supremely virtuous—because human life is the standard of value and because using fossil fuels transforms our environment to make it wonderful for human life.”
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