A NASA top scientist has cautioned that oil mining in Northern Alberta's oilsands would cause irreversible damage to global climate. James Hansen said this on the sidelines of a review panel meeting on a proposed oilsands mine yesterday.
Speaking to reporters during a break in the joint federal and provincial hearings into Total E&P Canada Ltd's $9-billion Joslyn North Mine Project, he said the project for development of unconventional fossil fuels would need to be prevented.
"Otherwise, we will send the planet's climate on a path that is going to cause enormous problems for young people over the next several decades and the rest of this century."
Hansen, a leading global expert on climate change, is the director of the American space agency's Goddard Institute for Space Studies.
Rather than relying on carbon-producing fuels such as coal and oil, Hansen is advocating the development of renewable and nuclear energy sources. According to Hansen, if this does not happen the Earth would experience irreversible effects, including the extinction of species.
"If we develop unconventional fossil fuels we're going to have to figure out a way to suck that CO2 back out of the atmosphere. And the current estimates are that it could cost something like $200 to $500 per tonne of carbon," he said.