Economic Growth Environmental Sustainability

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TERM ASSIGNMENT #2:

Environmental Sustainability

And

Economic Development

Environmental sustainability and economic development can be considered contending imperatives. We as humans have a burning desire for economic growth and prosperity, while at the same time we have a need for the resources the planet provides us. Typically in order to grow our economy it requires that we deplete natural resources such as lumber, oil and minerals by means of deforestation, drilling and mining. It is important for us to realize that if we do not deal with environmental issues right now; the consequences could be devastating not only to ourselves, but to future generations. We are now seeing more and more concern for ‘sustainable development’ that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” [1]

I have chosen an article from the Alberta oil sands website . Once you have typed the address into your URL box atop your web browser, scroll down to the heading ‘News highlights’. Click on the article entitled “Alberta surges ahead with climate change action plan”.

This article states that the Alberta government is investing $2 billion in carbon capture and storage, and $2 billion in public transit systems with the hopes of reducing greenhouse gases 50% by 2050. The idea behind carbon capture and storage is that it is possible to capture greenhouse gas emissions, and then seal them deep underground in rock formations similar to those from which we have taken oil and bitchumen. Since 2000, seven million tones of CO2 have been stored near Weyburn, Saskatchewan with no adverse effects. The hope is that with this funding Alberta will be able to store up to five million tones of CO2 per year by 2015, which is equal to one million cars being taken off the road every year. This is a significant number no doubt, but is this the right thing to do ethically?

As with any new technology or idea,...
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