The Control of Public Land and the Consequences of Global Climate

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We are already seeing the consequences of global climate change all over the world. Severe storms, flooding, heat waves, drought, and rising sea levels are all manifestations of climate change. Scientists are now more certain than ever that the current warming trends are anthropogenic, the direct cause of pumping billions of metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere while simultaneously destroying natural carbon sinks. Despite the overwhelming evidence, industry and the desire to burn fossil fuels has not slowed in the least. New fossil fuel exploration leases are granted every year by the federal government as part of the initiative to become “energy independent.” As demand for energy rises, the need to extract more and dirtier fossil fuels will rise as well.
Tar sands oil and oil shale are dirtier cousins to conventional oil. Despite its name, oil shale is not oil at all, but a rock that contains a waxy substance known as kerogen. Kerogen has only one tenth the energy potential of crude oil. When kerogen is heated to high temperatures, it liquefies and can been turned into a synthetic petroleum product. There are two methods to extract the kerogen from rocks. The first is to mine it, crush it, and heat it without oxygen in a machine known as a retort. The second method is to heat the rock while it is still in the ground, and pump the liquefied kerogen to the surface, a process known as situ. Each method is more energy and water intensive and more
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