Dirty Oil, supported by the Co-operative Group, tells the tar sands story through the eyes of scientists, industry officials, politicians, doctors, environmentalists and indigenous Cree Indians.
Narrated by Canadian actress and environmentalist Neve Campbell, the documentary highlights the fact that extraction and production of oil from the tar sands emits on average three times more greenhouse gases than conventional oil production and as a result has attracted considerable criticism from environmentalists and investors alike.
The film has been released in conjunction with the ‘Opportunity Cost of the Tar Sands’ report, written by the Group and WWF-UK as part of their Toxic Fuels Campaign, which puts into perspective the estimated £250 billion the big oil companies are planning to invest in tar sands between now and 2025.
It shows how the money invested in tar sands could be used to halve the proportion of people in the world living without access to clean water and sanitation, provide universal primary education, and hit the targets to avert the deaths of four million children, 300,000 mothers, and half a million victims of HIV and TB.
The report finds the money which oil companies want to pump into tar sands would also cover the cost of the Desertec Industrial Initiative which would link North African solar plants into a supergrid and supply 15 per cent of Europe’s electricity by 2050, or fund a Europe wide shift to electric vehicles.
The Group hopes the massive resources being poured into environmentally damaging tar sands could kick start ambitious plans to supply Europe with solar energy from North Africa or enable the world to hit half of the Millennium Development Goals.
Paul Monaghan, Head of Social Goals at the Group, said: “The sums of money being invested in tar sands developments are enormous and difficult for the average person to grasp.
“This report puts things into perspective and demonstrates not only the scale of the problem, which could take us close to the brink of runaway climate change, but also the opportunity being lost.
“It is literally a matter of life and death that these enormous oil titans are re-steered to much more sustainable paths.”