We Love This Coast

#StopKinderMorgan – Standing Up for Our Precious Coast – #welovethiscoast #OrcasNotTankers


Leave a comment

True Patriot Love: Why the Kinder Morgan pipeline will never be built

The Common Sense Canadian by Rafe Mair / June 19, 2017

“The Trans Mountain pipeline [Kinder Morgan] expansion project will never see the light of day.” -Grand Chief Philip Stewart, Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs

If you live anywhere in Canada other than British Columbia, you’re probably convinced that the Kinder Morgan (Trans Mountain) pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby, BC will be built, since no less than Prime Minister Trudeau says so. Well, you may get a shock with this candid advice but you’d best accept the fact that this pipeline will never, ever be built, period.

Many much wiser and more powerful British Columbians than I will tell you the same in even stronger terms.

In light of the domination of the mainstream media by the oil industry, with dedicated lackeys running our governments, you may not have heard the British Columbia side of this story. Here it is.

Might my story not be biased? Of course that conclusion’s an option since there is no more loyal British Columbian than I, but remember that we who will fight Kinder Morgan have only one interest: the beautiful land and water we hold in trust for those as yet unborn. We have no Tar Sands to flog, no political payoffs owed, no juicy House of Commons seats to covet, no faraway investors to enrich, no personal ambitions to fulfill, no face saving to be done – all that’s at stake for us is the salvation and preservation of our home.

Energy expert quit “fraudulent” review

Let’s start with the proposition that the product of the tar sands in Alberta is viciously poisonous, whether spilt on land, in the ocean, or put into the atmosphere. To talk of “world class cleanup” methods for bitumen (dilbit) is a cruel oxymoron. To pretend that massive accidents – carefully called “incidents” – are minor risks insults the intelligence.

 

Former BC Hydro CEO Marc Eliesen at National Energy Board hearing before withdrawing

The pious suggestion by government and industry that the undertaking underwent a “rigorous scientific investigation” is pure bullshit! It underwent (if that’s the word), a disgraceful National Energy Board hearing, the process Trudeau ran against in 2015 and, for fairness, was on a par with Soviet Union show trials. A process so egregiously biased that Marc Eliesen (former CEO of B.C. Hydro, former chair of Ontario Hydro, former chair of Manitoba Hydro, deputy minister in seven different federal and provincial governments, with 40 years’ executive experience in the energy sector, including as a board member at Suncor) withdrew as an intervenor, calling the proceedings “fraudulent”. So much for the “rigorous scientific examination” that Prime Minister Trudeau and Kinder Morgan tell British Columbians to rely upon for the security of Burrard Inlet, Vancouver Harbour, the Salish Sea, the Gulf Islands, the Straits of Juan de Fuca and the rest of our pristine coast.

Trudeau breaks promise to the world

Justin Trudeau has made big promises on the world stage (Flickr / World Economic Forum)

Let’s also remember that Prime Minister Trudeau made himself an international hero of the environment by stating clearly, beyond a doubt, at the Paris conference in November 2015, that fossil fuels must be phased out and that Canada was back in the game and raring to go. The principal concern was and remains climate change, he noted, and Canada would enthusiastically resist putting more fossil fuels into the atmosphere – in fact would both reduce them substantially and help other countries do the same.

Not unnaturally, people in British Columbia, concerned about their own environment as well as that of the world in general, were relieved at this unwonted leadership. The newly elected Prime Minister was seen in a new light as a forthright, dedicated environmentalist and not the weak dissembler we originally took him for. Sometimes, alas here, one is right the first time.

What pipeline boosters don’t get

A BC sockeye salmon spawning (Stan Probocsz/Watershed Watch)

Our main environmental concern – and it is huge – involves our rivers and oceans, over which we have control. Of particular interest but of no apparent concern to Trudeau and other Canadians, are the creatures that live in those waters.

This special and growing concern isn’t, for us, some abstract “Free Willy” reverie but a critically important reality that has never been understood by the federal Liberal party, as evidenced by their ongoing ill-treatment of the Pacific fishery from Confederation until today, when, in addition to the usual neglect, the Pacific salmon is being diseased and killed by federally-sponsored and approved, foreign-owned Atlantic salmon fish farms.

Our 5 commercial species of salmon are extremely important as a basic food for First Nations, as well as critical to their economy and to other important commercial and sports fisheries. Most Canadians to our east don’t seem to understand how strongly we feel about these issues nor have any appreciation of our values.

The Federal government, in Wilde’s words, “knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing”. To British Columbians, the sacred symbol of our province is the Pacific Salmon, all 7 discrete varieties.

Respect for First Nations

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip (Image: Damien Gillis)

This leads us to First Nations, both in terms of individual tribes and united peoples, not only in British Columbia but right across the country. I have don’t know how other Canadians feel on this issue, however, there’s solidarity of the general British Columbia community behind First Nations, who’ve been leaders in environmental protection for far longer than most of us care to admit.

Stewart Philip, Grand Chief of the British Columbia Union of Indian Chiefs, is very highly regarded, not just as an Indigenous leader, but as a general community leader as well. He is hardly alone as he shares this respect with numerous aboriginal leaders of both sexes. If that basic reality is not understood, the BC position can’t be understood either.

Are British Columbians bad Canadians?

British Columbians are being painted as “bad Canadians”. As a lifelong (85 years) British Columbian, I tell you that BC is different, even though most outsiders prefer to see it as part of “the West” – shorthand that does no service to other western provinces any more than it does to BC.

British Columbia is unique geographically, historically, demographically, in terms of resources – with a very strong sense of that uniqueness and the set of values it produces. Not that we haven’t had some very careless times when it seemed that there was always another valley to log and river to destroy.

In 1993, the forces for change coalesced at Clayoquot Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island, remembered by esteemed journalist, Stephen Hume:

People came from all over the country and beyond. Teachers, artists, musicians, university students and their professors, working folk, soccer moms, dentists, doctors and First Nations elders descended on the West Coast to put a stop to clearcutting by blockading a road. What followed was the largest mass arrest for civil disobedience in the province’s history.

There was no turning back. Was it a collective, troubled conscience that just required some youthful idealism and energy? Whatever it was, it took hold deeply and quickly.  Suddenly it wasn’t “tree-huggers” who were the unfashionable outsiders, it was the people calling them “tree huggers” – the elite suddenly, badly reduced in numbers and importance.

The genie was well and truly out of the bottle. No one believed industry leaders and supportive politicians anymore and just a moment’s reflection made it clear that based on their track record, they weren’t entitled to credibility. Things the long haired pot smokers had predicted had come true. Perhaps the very late realization that solemn, science-backed assurances that smoke from burnt coal “just went up there” was not just bullshit, but deliberate bullshit; the black crud London was removing from the Houses of Parliament had caked their lungs; and all those doctors smoking Camels were trying to quit.

In any event, fewer and fewer British Columbians believe what Trudeau, his National Energy Board, raw, uncaring political hacks such as Ministers of Environment or anyone connected with Kinder Morgan, the tanker companies who serve them or trained, clapping seals at Chambers of Commerce have to say. Time after time, they had been proven wrong, over and over the public saw that safety measures had to be compelled and that truths that diminished profits were hidden. Clearly, profits trumped all.

We’re not going anywhere

Rachel Notley (Photo: Flickr / Premier of Alberta CC License)

Hence, there’s no way British Columbia will obey Trudeau except by actual force and if that’s applied, the damage done to national unity will be irreparable. We’re told that Trudeau and Premier Notley of Alberta have the law on their side. I wish those who think that would pour themselves a glass of relaxant and think about it awhile.

It’s an exhausting subject, but ask yourself if the top court in the nation will put monetary profits from the world’s worst polluter in one province ahead of the natural and clean resources of a neighbour, causing enormous harm to both that neighbour and to others while at the same time further ruining the badly polluted global atmosphere Trudeau promised to make better? In the name of God, is that the essence of this country that dares preach to us about principles? Profit, however destructive, trumps all!

A whole new ballgame

Has the hubris of self-serving hymns of praise so dulled the national brain that no one has noticed an army of First Nations going to the Court of Appeal, thence to the Supreme Court? Have our “betters” not yet noticed that since the Calder case, then the 1982 Constitution, the entrenching of aboriginal rights and that aboriginal rights are, in the vernacular, “a whole new ballgame”, as summed up thusly by the Canadian Encyclopedia?

Aboriginal rights, like treaty rights, are recognized and affirmed by Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. The Supreme Court of Canada has held that this provision protects a spectrum of different kinds of rights, including legal recognition of customary practices such as marriage and adoption, the site-specific exercise of food harvesting and other rights that don’t involve claims to the land itself, and assertions of an Aboriginal title to traditional lands.

At this writing, there are at least a dozen discrete First Nations challenging Kinder Morgan, each of which will presumably go to the Court of Appeal thence to the SCC. There seems little likelihood many, if any, have sufficient in common to be united for trial. Given that none of the First Nations have a sense of urgency, how long do you think these cases will take? How long will Kinder Morgan have to be promising investors “soon”?

Only then will the workers on the pipeline finally be able to trot out their first front-end loader to be met by repetitive Civil Disobedience by ordinary folks, with associated court actions sending our friends and neighbours to jail for contempt of court, as happened in Burnaby in 2014. For what little it might matter, every ounce of my aged being, including freedom, will be with the protesters in the fight for justice for all British Columbians.

Defiant indeed

I recognize that many will take what I have written as defiant threatening. It is defiant because, I believe, that word accurately sums up the attitude of me and my neighbours. It’s not written to threaten but to lay before you my judgment of what will happen if matters continue as they are and beg you to understand us if you can’t lend us your support.

This evil project has, most unhelpfully, sharpened the divisions in Canada – but one can hardly blame British Columbians for that when their sole purpose has been not to make money, not to visit harm on anyone or anything, but simply to support the highest scientific and moral principles as we protect ourselves and the world’s atmosphere. I have much difficulty seeing how such defensive conduct could ever be seen as bad Canadianism.

 

A revitalized How Sound is once again at risk (Photo: Future of Howe Sound Society)

Who of you, living as I do on Howe Sound, would sacrifice the killer whales, humpback whales, seals, sea lions, porpoises, dolphins, crab, shrimp, oysters, clams, abalone, salmon runs, herring runs and other sea life and bird life that thrive there in order that elements of certain destruction would cause serious harm to them, to say nothing of human beings, whilst being transferred elsewhere to do harm to everyone?

I should tell you that we speak from graphic experience. We once lost a good deal of all this due to industrial pollution but after the mill shut down in Squamish and Britannia Mine closed in 1974, people of the area and the government thoroughly cleaned up Howe Sound and it came back to life. If the people didn’t deeply care for these values, however esoteric they may appear to others, they would scarcely have gone to all that trouble and spent all that money, much of it private, to clean up Canada’s southernmost fjord, nor be so prepared to fight hard to see that it stays that way.

No longer Left v. Right

The environment is no longer a left v. right political proposition in British Columbia but a mainstream issue of vital importance to everyone. People have all learned that when industry or government talks of safety and respect for the environment, the truth is not in them and that citizens and they alone must protect it.

It has not been my purpose, by being frank with you, to make you angry or get your backs up – I simply want the rest of Canada to know that our basic values are being challenged by Kinder Morgan, the province of Alberta, and the Government of Canada and that doing so is not a good idea. Since this entire coast, right to the Alaska Panhandle, is under threat and it is the Canadian West Coast, it puzzles most British Columbians why Canadians generally do not want to protect it just as we do, if not as strongly.

If, as it appears, they do not wish to do this, I must tell them frankly that we who live here will do it for them, irrespective of who wants to spoil it. Yes, we respect the rights of Alberta, but we must accept what wise people know will be certain and serious damage to the natural beauty and resources that we intend to protect, not only on our own behalf but for the entire country.

One cannot serve the God Mammon by sacrificing one’s common heritage on his altar and still retain one’s soul. And isn’t this very wise question posed so very long ago even more appropriate than ever?  “For what shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his soul?”

And if that answer doesn’t suit those who would make money with someone else running all the risks – not risks but certain calamities – how about this?

Don’t go away mad – just go away.

See article here…….


Leave a comment

Market abandoning fossil fuels, says Adnan Amin

Adnan Amin, the director of the International Renewable Energy Agency, chats with National Observer on May 18 at a renewable cities conference in Vancouver.

National Observer b May 19th 2017

Global financial markets are abandoning major fossil fuel projects because they are afraid of stranding multibillion-dollar investments, says the head of an intergovernmental renewable energy partnership.

In a wide-ranging interview with National Observer, Adnan Amin, the director general of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), said that development of major fossil fuel projects such as pipelines will ultimately harm the operators since renewable power is becoming more attractive to consumers and businesses.

And he said that any government that wants to approve or support such a project must “think carefully” about the consequences if it becomes obsolete before the end of its useful life.

“The question the government needs to ask itself is if you are using taxpayer resources to subsidize fossil fuel infrastructure for the future, is that a wise investment given the fact that this may end up as a stranded asset?” he asked.

“I think if we go with the logic of economics, (building a new pipeline) it will harm the (operators of) pipelines in the longer term, because when you invest in a pipeline, it’s a 30 year investment — amortization takes place over decades… So, any decision maker who’s making a decision today on fossil fuel infrastructure which is going to be amortized over two or three decades, needs to think very carefully about whether that’s going to end up as a stranded asset.”

IRENA is an intergovernmental organization founded in 2009. It’s based in Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates — an oil-producing nation — and has more than 170 member countries dedicated to promoting and supporting the world’s transition to clean energy. The United States is an active member of IRENA, but Amin said he was still waiting for Canada to make a decision about joining the agency after a few conversations with federal Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr.

Amin, who has been described as the planet’s ambassador for renewable energy, was interviewed Thursday at a downtown Vancouver hotel where he was attending a ‘Renewable Cities’ conference hosted by Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue.

While Amin questioned the logic in building new pipelines, he said he understood that there were other factors at play in Canada.

“I know that there’s been a lot of discussion around the fact that certain pipeline projects have been approved, which people were expecting that with the new (Trudeau) administration wouldn’t happen,” he said. “But governments have to deal with real things like jobs, investment and economic growth. So having said that, I still think that the messaging coming out of the (Trudeau) government is positive for low carbon energy.”

The Bull Creek Wind Project began operating in December 2015 in the Alberta municipal district of Provost. Photo courtesy of BluEarth Renewables Inc.

Amin also praised Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson and other municipal leaders who are implementing aggressive policies to reduce or eliminate carbon pollution from transportation and buildings.

“I think those are (delivering) the messages to the market, that, once they accumulate, become real drivers of investment and the direction of the energy transition,” he said. “… And we need to support foresighted cities like Vancouver who are taking these measures which are still at the leading edge of what’s happening.”

Members of the Trudeau government have notably said that Canada is “back” on the international stage in efforts to fight climate change, through policies that create jobs and protect the environment at the same time. Earlier this week, Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna also introduced details of the government’s proposal to make polluters pay for carbon emissions.

While noting the Trudeau government is promoting clean energy, Amin underlined findings in a recent IRENA report that Canada lags behind many other countries when it comes to action encouraging renewable energy.

“In Canada, we feel that there is a lot of potential of doing more, but the policy construct of how we’re going to get there is not yet very clear,” Amin said.

Carr’s office referred questions to his department which told National Observer in an emailed statement that Canada was still reviewing “potential” membership in IRENA to advance its strategy to fight climate change while promoting clean growth and jobs.

In the interview, Amin also said that the U.S. has a vibrant market for renewables, and that he believed U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration would support the industry because of the strong business case for clean energy.

“I think the current administration is led by someone who is very much oriented toward business,” Amin said. “And if the business case is strong, I see no reason why it shouldn’t continue to be strong in the U.S.”

Merran Smith, executive director of Clean Energy Canada — a research group housed out of Simon Fraser University — said that Amin’s message highlights what has been missing in Canadian debates about the transition to renewable energy.

“The narrative in Canada is pretty stuck on the oil and gas economy and that the transition to renewable energy and to electricity to power cars and industry is going to be a slow transition,” Smith said in a separate interview. “Whereas, Mr. Amin and the facts are showing that this transition is happening far faster than people expected.”

Smith, who also spoke with Amin on stage at the “Renewable Cities” conference, noted that Canada has many companies that could benefit from growth in renewable energy, including in the mining sector.

“So Canadians need to understand that clean energy is the energy of the future and we actually have great opportunities to benefit from that with jobs and business development,” she said. “Canada needs to focus on the opportunities.”

 

Here’s is an edited transcript of National Observer’s interview with Adnan Amin:

 

What did IRENA mean when it said in a report last March that Canada and U.S. had rather conservative policy ambitions?

AA: When you look around the world, you see a number of countries that have more ambitious renewable energy targets in place (and they) have policy frameworks that are much more enabling and have clear energy policy type of structures that are incentivizing different types of approaches to renewables. And in the U.S. and in Canada, it’s still very unclear. Under the Obama administration, they had an energy policy which was technology neutral, but which was open to everything. So there was no real sense of direction about whether they were incentivizing a low carbon energy future and how they were going to do it.

There was legislation around it, but there was no clear policy framework.

And I think it’s somewhat similar to the situation in Canada…

But the upside of this is that you have a very vibrant ecosystem of innovation and investment that’s happening in North America. In the U.S., that’s one of the fastest moving markets for renewable, last year. Some of the more iconic investments in wind and solar generation were in the United States.

In Canada, we feel that there is a lot of potential of doing more, but the policy construct of how we’re going to get there is not yet very clear.

IRENA, Vancouver, Adnan Amin, renewables, International Renewable Energy AgencyAdnan Amin, the director of the International Renewable Energy Agency, gestures as he speaks to National Observer about clean energy on May 18 in Vancouver. Photo by Zack Embree, courtesy of SFU Centre for Dialogue

Some people in Canada have criticized the current government here for saying the right things about renewable energy without backing it up with concrete policies. Do you think that’s fair criticism?

AA: I think you have to understand that in a country that has achieved a level of prosperity from hydrocarbons, the transition to a low carbon future has some important economic repercussions. But (we’re) beginning to have good messaging from the (Trudeau) government, so I think that’s a very positive thing. How that is executed is really the issue and how you make a transition from a set of inherited decisions concerning investment in infrastructure in hydrocarbons to a more clean energy focus is going to be a very difficult transition.

And I know that there’s been a lot of discussion around the fact that certain pipeline projects have been approved, which people were expecting that with the new administration wouldn’t happen. But governments have to deal with real things like jobs, investment and economic growth. So having said that, I still think that the messaging coming out of the government is positive for low carbon energy. I think what we really need to understand much more are what are the concrete pathways through which that can be achieved. We believe that the renewable energy part of the energy mix is not highlighted as much as it should be. Canada is very fortunate to have very low cost, very efficient hydro(electric) system. Hydro can be the backbone of the clean energy system for the future. Your electricity is already very clean. But the challenge in the future is what’s going to happen with energy in the end-use sectors and (whether) Canada has a very comprehensive approach to what the future of electricity is going to be. Because moving to a renewable energy future means moving to a future where electricity becomes the dominant form of energy and that we are innovative in what the modes of transmission and utilization of that clean energy is going to be.

One of recommendations from the federal government’s National Energy Board modernization panel last week was to improve federal expertise on the transmission of electricity as pipelines become less important. Do you think this would be a step in the right direction?

AA: Absolutely. I think that’s a very positive message because when you look around the world, we’re finding that in more and more countries, the economic case for renewable energy is very compelling. I met recently the minister of energy of India, Piyush Goyal, with whom we’ve had a long discussion about coal and powering India. He always had the position that his primary responsibility was to provide power to poor people in India and to Indian consumers and industry and that he needed to find the cheapest alternative to do that. And if coal was cheap, he was going to use it.

What we were telling him at the time was that the trajectory of cost reduction for renewables is what we’re seeing around the world and that he really should be thinking about the future in renewable terms.

So, when I last met him, it was just a few days after the last auction of utility scale solar PV (photovoltaic) in India, which came in at US$0.04/kwh. That puts solar PV competitive with coal. So I said to him, ‘is this going to make a difference?’. And he said ‘yes.’ So, they’re very excited about it and you’re seeing that in more and more countries. The latest, lowest cost project was in Abu Dhabi recently which was below US$0.03/kWh. And we’re seeing this in Latin America, in Africa, in Asia, these are the costs that are coming in. And I think that’s going to make it a renewable future but we have to come to terms with what system we’re going to use for transmission of that energy and for the utilization of that energy. And that’s where regulation, financing and investment really has to come.

A Solar farm and wind turbine produces energy in the Saerbeck Bioenergy Park in Germany on July 4, 2016. Photos by Audrea Lim

Can the approval of a pipeline project, whether it’s Donald Trump approving Keystone XL, or the pipelines that were approved here in Canada (Kinder Morgan and Enbridge), does it harm development or the emergence of renewables, when the government decides to approve a project like that?

AA: I think if we go with the logic of economics, it will harm the pipelines in the longer term, because when you invest in a pipeline, it’s a 30 year investment — amortization takes place over decades. What we had been discussing in the decarbonization report, which we prepared in the G20 framework, is the fact that we’re seeing the prospect for more and more stranded assets in coal power generation, but also in fixed infrastructure like pipelines. So any decision maker who’s making a decision today on fossil fuel infrastructure which is going to be amortized over two or three decades, needs to think very carefully about whether that’s going to end up as a stranded asset.

Do you think this is why pipeline companies are calling out for financing and haven’t been able to make final investment decisions on major projects? Is this the market speaking about the risks or the prospects for success?

AA: Absolutely. We’re seeing more and more big investors, institutional capital becoming very risk averse on fossil fuel infrastructure. So I think that in terms of private capital that will come into this, it’s becoming more constrained space for fossil fuel infrastructure. The question the government needs to ask itself is if you are using taxpayer resources to subsidize fossil fuel infrastructure for the future, is that a wise investment given the fact that this may end up as a stranded asset?

Can you talk about how the Trump administration’s new policies might affect the emergence of renewables?

AA: What we’ve seen so far is that the renewables market in the U.S. was very vibrant last year. That was driven by the fact that the tax credits for renewables were extended for five years by the previous administration. So that’s the main impetus. You’re finding that renewables are cost-competitive in the grid in several states, including major Republican-dominated states. Somebody was telling me recently that they were listening to (Trump administration Energy Secretary) Rick Perry talking about energy and he kept talking about what great things they had done with wind energy in Texas. So I think that the U.S. at the base is very rational in economic terms, when they make investments. So I think that given the cost equation we’re seeing for renewables today, the business case for renewables is still strong in the U.S. I think the current administration is led by someone who is very much oriented toward business. And if the business case is strong, I see no reason why it shouldn’t continue to be strong in the U.S.

What’s your message at this conference?

AA: The first message is, being in Vancouver, which has taken such a leadership role under Mayor (Gregory) Robertson on the clean energy transition is that urban and regional actors are becoming more and more important in determining the direction of the energy transition. So when cities like Vancouver or much bigger cities than Vancouver, start to incentivize investments in clean energy, start to demand the procurement of renewable energy in their operations, start to create regulated frameworks for mobility that becomes cleaner for electric transportation, for energy efficiency in buildings, that starts to send messages to the market. And I think those are delivering messages to the market, that, once they accumulate, become real drivers of investment and the direction of the energy transition… And we need to support foresighted cities like Vancouver who are taking these measures which are still at the leading edge of what’s happening.

And Canada is not that different from others. Although Canada has not been so active in the international space in the last years, the fact is the issues that you are dealing with are very similar to issues that many other countries are dealing with. But I sense enthusiasm and energy for sustainability in Canada which is very encouraging. So I’m very happy to be here for that reason.

Are you meeting with anyone from the federal government in Canada during this trip?

AA: No. We’re still waiting for Canada to join the agency. I’ve met Jim Carr a few times. I’ve had wonderful conversations with him. I think he’s an important leader in this space. He gave me some encouraging signals. I’m hoping that he’ll come through on those.

See article here…….

 

 


Leave a comment

Environment minister defends Alberta’s oil sands ‘gas’ cap VIDEO

BBC – Hardtalk  UK – Interview with Albert’s Environmental Minister Shannon Phillips after making an agreement regarding EXPANSION of the tarsands!!!

World News BBC Hardtalk – 22 August 2016

Please watch this VERY IMPORTANT VIDEO (only 3 min)!  I feel so impelled to share this, as it shows that some groups, people who say they want to stop the expansion of the tarsands, then why are they agreeing to increasing greenhouse gas emissons from 70 megatons to 100 MEGATONS?????????????

tarsands pic National Oberserver WLTC article

   Alberta Tar Sands                                      Photo Credit: NATIONAL OBSERVER

WATCH INTERVIEW HERE:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0452tq5

Alberta’s Environment Minister Shannon Phillips has defended plans to allow the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by the province’s oil sands operations to be increased.

Oil sands operations produce about 70 megatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year but the cap will be set at 100 megatonnes.

“We are the first place to put a cap on emissions,” she told BBC HARDtalk’s Stephen Sackur.

“In this short to medium term, 20% of Canadian GDP relies on Alberta’s oil and gas industry, that’s not small,” she added.

The decision has been criticised by some environmental groups.

See website here ……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Leave a comment

Rafe to Justin: Kinder Morgan pipeline would drive a permanent wedge between BC and Canada

Common Sense: February 27, 2017 by Rafe Mair

rafe-mair

    Former BC Minister and longtime journalist Rafe Mair (photo: Youtube/CMHABC)

Dear Prime Minister,

I’ve reached a point where I can say what I please without concern for personal consequences. My age of ambition is long gone and social disapproval simply doesn’t matter anymore.

That is where I am and intend to speak my piece.

I’m a native British Columbia born in Vancouver a long time ago. I have a lifetime love of my province from one end to the other and I inherited a sense of deep anger when I see unfairness.

Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna with BC Premier Christy Clark (right) announcing her government's approval of PNWLNG (Province of BC/Flickr)

Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna with BC Premier Christy Clark (right) announcing her government’s approval of Petronas’ LNG project near Prince Rupert (Province of BC/Flickr)

For as long as I can remember, I’ve resented that my province has been unfairly treated, a resentment that has increased steadily over the years. We have been badly cheated politically and economically, accompanied by an attitude of arrogance from central Canada, which runs everything, an attitude that I find irritating beyond toleration.

Start with the humiliating fact that BC has but 6 senators while New Brunswick has 10 and PEI 4. This, along with the federal government appointing our senators, who are supposed to hold that very government’s feet to the fire, is outrageous. This and the “First Past The Post” system ensures that all political power rests, unchallengeable, in Central Canada. To see how this is resented in BC, you need only look at the 1992 Charlottetown Accord, designed to make one province juridically superior, opposed, thank God, by your father, and rejected by 67.9% of British Columbians!

Because of the Senate and the First Past The Post system in the House of Commons, Central Canada invariably has the Prime Minister who, given a majority, controls all federal legislation and policy. Please don’t pretend that our lot of Liberal toadies have any power except to say “yes sir”.

Most British Columbians care little about the Governor-General since, under central Canadian arrogant navel gazing, none have ever come from this, the third largest province. The G-G is appointed either to mollify Quebec, Bay Street, or the Central Canada artsy fartsy crowd. The present Governor-General, David Johnston, a Tory Grandee, was, by an amazing coincidence, appointed shortly after he, in the pay of Tory PM Stephen Harper, gave former Tory PM Brian Mulroney a “get out of jail free card”. Lyin’ Brian was pleased, Harper was pleased, Johnston was pleased. You have to say this about Central Canada: they look after each other.

rafe-mair-photo-credit-damian-gillis-salmon-farm

                                 A Norwegian-owned BC salmon farm (Damien Gillis)

Under the constitution, provinces control their natural resources – except when it comes to fish. The Pacific salmon has been so mismanaged by Ottawa that one is tempted to suggest it’s deliberate. Going too far? How else can one explain the foreign fish farms, not just permitted in BC, but actively promoted by a DFO prepared to destroy the Pacific salmon by disease, sea lice, and, when they escape, crowding them off their spawning redds?

As a BC minister, I examined the history of federal involvement back to 1871 and the record is appalling. Ask First Nations, who are the past, present, and future victims of this gross mismanagement, how they see your stewardship! 

With respect, prime minister, British Columbia and Canada no longer have the same set of values. A nation can survive and prosper with great diversity. It can have many languages, a plethora of different originating cultures, all races, colours, and creeds – yet so long as there is a common set of basic values, it can form a strong nation. That is the critical point. Once that is gone the nation no longer exists in fact, no matter what the Constitution says.

The basic values of British Columbians and Canada diverge on this central question: Which is more important – our way of life, surroundings, and the environment or the growth of industry, resource extraction, and moneymaking?

It’s not all or nothing – each side will always concede a little bit of the other – but the trouble is that our side is compelled to concede virtually all while yours pays lip service only with pallid environmental rules, never enforced if they ever really get in the way. Our side accepts the need for a robust economy, but not at the cost of destroying a way of life that preserves the enormous natural benefits God gave us.

rafe-mair-km-rally               Vancouver rally against Kinder Morgan (Photo: David Suzuki Foundation/Facebook)

We in British Columbia have learned some hard lessons, most important of which is there isn’t always another valley full of trees to chop down. The forestry industry in British Columbia, thanks to the courage of many mostly young men and women over the last 60 years, now is in sight of self perpetuation. That has morphed into an overall attitude which takes into consideration those values in British Columbia we have always coveted but are under serious attack by the industry-at-all-costs movement in Canada, of which, by the Kinder Morgan approval, you are now leader. You, the Prime Minister, are our enemy!

It has perhaps come as a surprise to you as it has come as a very unpleasant surprise to much industry, especially the fossil fuel industry, that we so highly regard our environment, especially, though not exclusively, our mountains, lakes, rivers, trees, farmland, coastline and ocean. You don’t seem to realize that Burrard inlet, Howe Sound, the Salish Sea, the Gulf Islands,  the Straits of Juan de Fuca, the west coast are sacred to Btitish Columbians. Other regions have their own sacred values and we support them in their fight to protect them, with particular regard at this moment for the Site C Dam proposal in the Peace River.

I don’t believe I draw too long a bow when I say that we understand that the French language and culture means means so much to Quebec yet you scoff at us in British Columbia because our natural blessings mean just as much to us. I cannot understand why you and other Canadians are unable to understand just how vehemently we are opposed to the Kinder Morgan pipeline and how far we are prepared to go to defend against it. We wouldn’t for a milli-second tolerate this desecration of what we hold dear by a BC Tar Sands, BC financiers and BC tanker companies – why the devil do you think we feel less resolved because it’s the Alberta Tar Sands, Bay Street and other foreign bankers or offshore tanker companies?

Mr. Trudeau, sir, you have this to answer for. Virtually all the world of science agrees that we must wean ourselves off of the use of fossil fuels. You made an instant international reputation for yourself at the Paris conference in 2015 by taking that very stand. We, in this province, took you seriously. We did not believe that the Tar Sands of Alberta, for example, would ever pose a threat to British Columbia under the clear mandate you delivered.

Now, we find that you didn’t mean what you said. Not only have you approved an LNG plant in Squamish, against the wishes of most British Columbians, now you propose grave consequences on an infinitely grander scale, to revive the Tar Sands and place the entire risk for transporting bitumen to market upon British Columbia. Permit me, sir, to correct myself. It is not risk that we’re dealing with but mathematical certainty.

rafe-mair-lng-vessel

                                             Rendering of Woodfibre LNG project near Squamish, BC

The only question is how bad the damage will be. We are not being told the truth when industry and governments make it appear as if there is almost no chance of tanker collisions, either with each other or something else. One only has to chart the world statistics, which I happen to do, to know that that is absolutely untrue. Industry and your government make it appear that even if there are spills of bitumen that the cleanup facilities are such that there is nothing to worry about. That’s bullshit, sir, and you know it!

rafe-mair-booms-around-spill            Booms intended to corral a fuel spill near Bella Bella are blown apart by stormy weather (Photo: Tavish Campbell)

We can read, we can watch television, we can hear what witnesses have to say. We know about the Enbridge/Kalamazoo spill in 2010 and we know that accident has not been cleaned up to this day and it’s unlikely that it ever will be. We know that in a very short time, bitumen sinks and no longer can be effectively cleaned up. We have also seen examples of the Christy Clark’s speedy “world-class cleanup” procedures at work and can only thank God that the spills were moderate considering the pathetic efforts at cleanup.

I don’t wish to carry on any further with that, Mr. Prime Minister, but I do want you to know, as I’m sure you do, that I scarcely speak for the people of British Columbia. Having said that, I believe that we’ve had enough. More than enough! We believe the right to our environment outweighs any so-called right to move dangerous goods over and through our province.

We say that our right to our environment  outweighs any so-called right to move dangerous goods over and through our province. That, sir, is the essential difference in values that we possess and that you possess.

I believe that this is simply a fair assessment and a warning – not in any way a threat – but I can say that if you force the Kinder Morgan pipeline upon us, as you can with your money and your soldiers, you will create a rift between my province and Canada that will never, ever heal. Of course, I could be wrong on that but, sir, I’m not wrong to observe that would be a dreadful legacy to leave when, as with all of us, you must go. You no doubt believe you understand Canada – take my word for it, sir, I understand my province that I have served at the highest level and love every square millimetre of it.  I have lived in several places and taken my fly rod with me to most others.

Mr. Trudeau, we love this province with all our hearts and souls and we’re not about to let you take it away from us.

See article here….


Leave a comment

Celia Brauer: Dear Justin—the economy you are so determined to grow is guaranteed to impoverish us all

Straight.com by Celia Brauer on November 18th, 2016

salmon

                                                                                                                        Adams River sockeye run, October 2010.

“We need the middle class Canadians to have money in their pockets to save, invest, and grow the economy.”—Justin Trudeau

So it says in clear Canadian colours of red and white on the federal Liberal party website. I remember reading this last October when I was deciding which party to vote for in the federal election. That particular statement wasn’t a favourite of mine. But since you have been elected, I admit that, in the main, your activities and statements haven’t disappointed me too much—until recently. Lately, the rhetoric has been ramping up to further marry “economic growth” with “environmental protection” and then adding “intergenerational well-being”, as if they were one big happy family.

You don’t have to go far to hear this conversation again and again. For example, on September 21, when responding to a question on further bids to revive the Enbridge-pipeline proposal, you said: “Our government has been consistent from the beginning that Canadians need economic development while at the same time protecting the environment and the well-being of future generations.”

ADVERTISING

The Power of Word Concepts to Shape our Shared World

One particularly worrisome case has presented itself recently. On September 27, 2016, you accepted the Pacific Northwest LNG Project. Your justification assumed that our common world is best served by “insights” from conventional modern economics, regardless of what they represent. Days after the Liberal party won the election in 2015, a large contingent of delegates was dispatched to the Paris Climate Change Conference amid much fanfare. A year later, on October 5, 2016, Canada ratified the landmark agreement.

And yet, your government is presently approving an $11.4-billion shipping terminal that would annually transport 19 million tons of liquefied natural gas to Asia. This will significantly increase Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by five million tons every year. It will also negatively affect local First Nations communities and have a substantial damaging impact on one of few self-sustaining wild salmon ecosystems left on Canada’s West Coast.

I find the “both sides of the mouth” content of the official Privy Council document reviewing this action to be astonishing. The paper clearly mentions that the project is “likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects”. It cites “concerns and interests identified in the consultation process with Aboriginal groups that are likely to be affected by the project”, which “include, but are not limited to, the effects on fish and fish habitat”.

There will also be influences to the “current use of land and resources for traditional purposes and on greenhouse gas emissions, as well as related impacts on potential or established Aboriginal rights or title”.  But we as Canadians should not worry, since the governor-in-council is “satisfied that the consultation process undertaken is consistent with the honour of the Crown and that (these) concerns and interests have been appropriately accommodated for the purpose of deciding whether the significant adverse environmental effects are justified in the circumstances”.

The phrase “justified in the circumstances” appears several times. And why should Canadians be reassured by the governor-in-council? Because the statement “Whereas the Pacific Northwest LNG project would contribute to Canada’s long-term prosperity” is dropped into the closing paragraphs as if it is an indisputable truth. Really? The Privy Council admitted that the project is dangerous for children and other living things. But they decided it is acceptable because the numerous adverse environmental impacts and effects on indigenous peoples mean nothing in the face of supposedly improved “long-term economic prosperity”—presumably, only for Canadians not living in the area and probably not for all of them, either.

How did they figure that out? It seems too many people offer up their agency on a silver platter to the recommendations of a small group of so-called economic experts. For example, in the case of Pacific LNG, supposedly the project would increase gross domestic product (GDP). Are we also confident that it will increase GDP per capita? And even if it did, would it be a well-distributed increase in GDP per capita or just an increase that would result quite independently of how benefits and costs increased if GDP were distributed among Canadians?

And what about the destructive impact of Pacific LNG on nonhuman species and biodiversity? And the costs of depleting natural capital—something that has never been counted in GDP—since the inception of the measure in the 1930s. The fact that human beings do not formally recognize their complete reliance on natural systems for long-term prosperity has contributed to many of our present-day misfortunes. These notions allow us to falsely believe that economic well-being and ecological health exists as unconnected phenomena.

For example, since European settlement, indigenous peoples are no longer permitted to be the stewards of wild Pacific salmon. These miraculous fish don’t get to vote, not even to simply protect their right of survival in our much vaunted democracies. Consequently, they are today considered “species at risk”. The future of salmon—alongside all other plant and animals that are of “economic interest”, have been governed by crude notions of economic prosperity, defined in an artificially abstract, anthropocentric way. Interspecies dependence and biogeochemical cycles, critical to supporting life on the planet, are almost totally ignored.

Last year, First Nations political leader Arthur Manuel published his book Unsettling Canada: Between the Lines. In it, he states: “One thing is certain; the flood waters of colonization are, at long last, receding.” This should be the truth, but, clearly, it is not yet so. In the case of Pacific Northwest LNG, all the fancy wording and due process does not hide the fact that, just like the old days, the government of Canada is acting like a supreme dictator. With one swipe of a pen, they will likely be eradicating an ecologically robust watershed and a way of life for indigenous people alongside a myriad of flora and fauna—all in the name of “economic prosperity”. If everyone knew and agreed what that meant and how it can be achieved, the dominant, conventional view might make some sense. But there is no such agreement or consensus; it pretty much depends on who you ask and how much power they wield.

To give your government some credit, you did require “significant changes…to the project design” to appease aboriginal groups. And you plan to “take into account the implementation of mitigating measures that the Minister of the Environment considered appropriate”, such as imposing a cap on emissions and an increase in carbon tax, which is supposed to make the rest of us feel better. But your intentions to wield absolute power while foisting such an invasive and damaging resource-development project on the people of this country and the world does not fundamentally differ from the behavior of Canada’s original colonizers.

And what, exactly, is the prosperity—or the growth and development—constantly cited? The reverence for these seemingly sacred objectives frequently stops us in midair, halting any rational debate. Does not economic prosperity mean a sustained salmon ecosystem where the miracle of a rich, tasty food source appears on its own energy annually and provides free, wild sustenance for 137 species while asking nothing in return except respect and stewardship? Or does it mean that enough “money in our pockets” exists for three vehicles in every carport, a sea of skyscrapers in every urban centre, and mounds of short-lived consumables for every desirous human, even if this cornucopia of stuff too often turns into useless and toxic garbage?

“Does not economic prosperity mean a sustained salmon ecosystem where the miracle of a rich, tasty food source appears on its own energy annually and provides free, wild sustenance for 137 species, while asking nothing in return, except respect and stewardship?”Celia Brauer

It is a proven, scientific fact that in contrast to natural ecosystems, which are cyclical and self-sustaining, most industrial-production and consumption activities are a one-way ticket. They are inherently unsustainable and depleting processes that transform low-entropy matter into long-lived waste products and ongoing sources of pollution. And yet your government’s clear choice of direction is to let this continue.

Reviewing the Human Constructs of the Economy and the Environment

So why are present day policymakers so married to highly damaging, irresponsible, and outdated concepts? The answer, in short, seems to be that governments like yours believe in the continuation of what went before. You imagine that if these practices appeared to work to keep humankind going for the past 500 years, then they can probably continue for the next few hundred, at least. The problem is that they only appeared to function successfully in the past because the capital of the natural world was so superabundant relative to the human population that those in charge didn’t imagine economizing its use.

Perhaps this was why economists since the 19th century ignored natural capital entirely in their models of economic process. Even as little as 150 years ago, the world was less full of people and their artifacts. Natural ecosystems were much healthier, biodiversity greater, and wildlife more plentiful. But this is no longer the case. To continue to form policy with such antiquated views is highly unscientific, self-deceptive, and outright dangerous. If today’s nightmare scenario continues, catastrophic environmental outcomes will seriously compromise life on Earth for all species.

Most rational people will agree that true wealth for humanity requires that natural resources be present in sufficient numbers. Humans exist in sustainable societies when they have an adequate food supply—either through annual agriculture or wild harvesting—alongside shelter and energy. Where critical resources are not available and cannot be imported, migration becomes necessary. Yet our whole human population cannot migrate away from planet Earth.

For most of their existence on the planet, humankind lived in small numbers and survived by employing a nomadic lifestyle. The advent of annual agriculture in the Neolithic Age more than 10,000 years ago created a different reality. Groups could settle in one area. They had more children to help with food production, so populations grew. And the naturally democratic processes that occurred while nomads wandered in smaller bands evolved to more autocratic ones to mitigate inevitable differences between larger groups of people. Often, those who were able to amass wealth in food stores held power over others who did not.

In the last few decades of the Industrial Revolution, a relatively more “modern” paradigm, that of neoclassical economics, became established. By then, the morally, messy business of slavery had been scrapped. Fossil-fuel production—first coal in the 19th century. then oil and gas in the 20th and onwards—was powering our much more mechanized economic activities. With a growing trade in natural resources and the spread of western-style market economies around the globe, the finiteness of the Earth and its natural wealth no longer seemed like an important constraint in economic processes.

But make no mistake: the “economy” and the “environment” are just mere abstract human constructs. The environment is not something external to us; in fact, it is the only real source of human prosperity on Earth. It’s long past the time our policymakers use deceptively convenient definitions to squash rational debate. They must understand and accept humanity’s precarious position in the biological and physical reality of our common planet.

The idea that economic growth is the panacea for all human problems didn’t work all that well centuries ago, but it is much more dangerous now. And yet it seems that your government believes that all you have to do is utter the right words and all will be well. The political right and centre likes the notion of “economic growth”. The ideological left likes “fairness and equity”; “Intergenerational well-being” suits the green wing. And all factions include the “environment” with varying degrees of support. For example, you added Climate Change to the title of the Minister of the Environment. But until policy is created that appropriately addresses serious ecological threats, the natural world will continue to be depleted by our excessive human “needs” alongside the frivolous, transient “wants”.

Where We Are At Now

With regard to our present attitude to the environment, it appears we may be going backwards. The combined negative impacts of exponential economic and population growth are unprecedented. A measure of 400 parts per million (PPM) of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in our atmosphere has just been reached and exceeded. In recent years, all of the Earth’s species have had to deal with major heat waves, droughts, rising coastlines, mass die-offs, and catastrophic weather patterns. With a complete halt in global fossil-fuel productions, there might be a chance of a saving a living planet for the future.

But here in Canada, your administration continues to follow in the footsteps of the former government. You are still hoping to build additional fossil-fuel pipelines. You continue to encourage dirty-oil production in the tarsands and hydraulic fracking. You support hydro megaprojects that massively ruin ecosystems—and, in the process, stifle the development of renewable resources with much less environmental impact. And yet, today the bizarre truth is that few of these projects make good business sense without the hidden subsidy of environmental neglect.

Meanwhile, your government has an “expert panel on economic growth” hard at work to test the waters. The chair, Dominic Barton, works for McKinsey and Co. management consultants, whose “clientele includes 80% of the world’s largest corporations, and an extensive list of governments and non-profit organizations”.  It’s not surprising that almost no members of the panel seem to be willing to ask themselves whether a global economy dominated by large corporations really is a good idea. And they certainly don’t see their role to invest in the maintenance of natural ecosystems. Instead, they are “calling on the government to launch an ambitious national infrastructure bank capitalized with $40-billion in federal funds aimed at attracting major institutional investors”.

Celia Brauer

One wonders what expert opinions this panel would have offered on how to deal with the sunken fuel-barge tug that recently leaked oil into the waters of the Pacific Ocean off Bella Bella—the traditional territory of the Heiltsuk First Nation. This tragic episode damaged pristine ecosystems filled with food sources for people and other species.\

Or, what did the panel think should have been done with the increasingly violent interchanges between the U.S. National Guard and the Standing Rock Water Protectors at the Dakota Access Pipeline. And what about the potential for similar confrontations with protestors in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia should the twinning of the Kinder Morgan pipeline be approved? Would the experts ever admit that this continued tragic state of affairs is the result of their and your government’s flawed image of true prosperity?

Preconceptions of what constitutes economic value for human beings have been around for centuries, and they are not likely to change anytime soon. Not without a fight, anyway. People vote. They shop. They sit at boardroom tables. So in discussions between human, one will hear, for example, that economic growth is fundamental to social equality. It’s not easy to clearly contradict the argument that megaprojects like the tarsands and Site C provide jobs for people who then have more money in their pocket to buy houses, cars, clothes, and vacations. These are all considered “economic drivers” in a world in which the purpose of national economic management is seen only as the simple-minded maximization of GDP.

Your government, like those before, seems to think that resource-extraction megaprojects are a continual “golden ticket”, since they are frequently proposed as economic activities. But surely somewhere, somehow people will comprehend that a large GDP has little, if any, logical connection to true prosperity. Actually, the reverse is true. The growth of this abstract statistic is increasingly correlated with the impoverishment of the natural world. The dominant textbooks of conventional economics may assume natural ecosystems will provide endless free services indefinitely without causing any problems. But sound natural science and the traditional ecological knowledge of many indigenous people tell us otherwise.

“Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.” But we never could afford “la meme chose” long ago and we certainly can’t afford it now. If people only keep their own interests in mind, and are sufficiently shortsighted, the continuous pursuit of economic growth will, obviously, seem like a good idea. But this strategy has only worked in the past because we assumed that colonizing an advancing frontier was a way of solving our problems. Today, our society is perhaps just a few decades away from a much harsher confrontation with planetary limits than ever before. If we continue to pursue increased GDP without properly measuring what we are losing in terms of biodiversity and climate stability, we are making that looming confrontation a lot worse than it needs to be.

Urgent change is needed. If the human species learns to control its numbers and limit unsustainable activities, we may be able to live prosperously within our ecological limits. But if we insist on trying to defy these constraints and attempt to maximize the human-created construct of GDP into an indefinite future, we will experience a very hard landing, indeed.

Sincerely,

A fellow Canadian human being

Celia Brauer is the cofounder and a staff member of the False Creek Watershed Society. She is presently completing her masters of anthropology at the University of British Columbia. Celia received some input and advice on this article from Vancouver-based ecological economist Michael Barkusky.

 


Leave a comment

It’s time to confront the exploitation of B.C.’s environment

hume

A tanker is anchored in Burrard Inlet just outside of Burnaby, B.C., on Friday, Nov. 25, 2016. (JONATHAN HAYWARD/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

It’s time to confront the exploitation of B.C.’s environment

It’s time to confront the exploitation of B.C.’s environment

The environment in British Columbia has taken a beating since the arrival of Captain James Cook at Nootka Sound in 1784, when his crew traded small items for rich sea-otter furs.

The pelts were later sold in China for up to $300 apiece, which would be equivalent to roughly $5,000 today. So the fur trade stirred its own kind of gold fever, and in no time Pacific Coast sea otters were on the verge of extinction.

In 1857, the Fraser Canyon gold rush pushed resource extraction to a whole new level, as 30,000 gold seekers sluiced gravel on every bar and at every stream mouth from Hope to Lillooet. Nobody ever recorded what environmental damage was done in that frenzy, but that’s where a lot of the Fraser’s salmon spawned. At any rate, it set a pattern that has been repeated since, with resource extraction taking precedence over habitat protection and aboriginal rights.

Gold. Fur. Forests. Coal. Hydro power. LNG. Oil.

B.C. always has a hot resource that has to be exploited because of economic imperative – with little thought of long-term environmental costs. Because of this feverish pursuit of wealth, each generation inherits a diminished natural world.

Fifty years ago, British Columbians could hike through extensive old-growth forests. Now, there are only isolated pockets left of the ancient trees that were standing when Capt. Cook sailed up the coast, and logging continues.

Nobody alive today has ever seen a run of 50 million salmon in the Fraser. It once had that. Now, the average is about 4 million.

Sea otters are coming back, but after 200 years, they still haven’t fully recovered. Across B.C., 754 species are listed as being extirpated, endangered or threatened. And the pace of development is increasing.

What’s to be done?

Maybe we can’t stop exploiting resources, but we can do a better job of managing the natural world and we must.

After 40 years of environmental reporting in the West, I find myself stepping away from daily journalism at a time when such issues are becoming more important than ever. Climate change is the overarching concern but there are many provincial issues in need of scrutiny.

Do we really need a bitumen pipeline from Alberta to the Pacific, a massive dam on the Peace River, or to log the last old-growth trees?

Should a shipping port in the Fraser delta be expanded if it puts at risk mudflats depended on by nearly one million shorebirds?

Is it okay that the Fraser River’s salmon run is a faint reflection of what it once was? Or that mountain caribou are going extinct in B.C. because of habitat loss?

These are vital questions and how they are answered over the next year will determine the nature of B.C. for decades to come.

If we don’t break the pattern of exploitation that’s been followed for two centuries, the damage will be immense.

“Trend data for B.C. show that declines in biodiversity are occurring at the genetic, species and ecosystem levels,” reports Biodiversity BC. “Without immediate and effective action, British Columbia’s remarkable biological richness may be lost.”

It’s not gone yet. But it’s going.

See article here…..

After 14 years this is Mark Hume’s last environmental column for The Globe and Mail. His writing can be followed at themarkhume.wordpress.com


Leave a comment

The sky’s the limit: Why the Paris climate goals require a managed decline of fossil fuel production

 

Oil Change International

skys-the-limit

Oil Change International, in collaboration with 350.org, Amazon Watch, APMDD, AYCC, Bold Alliance, Christian Aid, Earthworks, Équiterre, Global Catholic Climate Movement, HOMEF, Indigenous Environmental Network, IndyAct and Rainforest Action Network.

September 2016

DOWNLOAD REPORT

A new study released by Oil Change International, in partnership with 14 organizations from around the world, scientifically grounds the growing movement to keep carbon in the ground by revealing the need to stop all new fossil fuel infrastructure and industry expansion. It focuses on the potential carbon emissions from developed reserves – where the wells are already drilled, the pits dug, and the pipelines, processing facilities, railways, and export terminals constructed.

Key Findings:

  • The potential carbon emissions from the oil, gas, and coal in the world’s currently operating fields and mines would take us beyond 2°C of warming.
  • The reserves in currently operating oil and gas fields alone, even with no coal, would take the world beyond 1.5°C.
  • With the necessary decline in production over the coming decades to meet climate goals, clean energy can be scaled up at a corresponding pace, expanding the total number of energy jobs.

Key Recommendations:

  • No new fossil fuel extraction or transportation infrastructure should be built, and governments should grant no new permits for them.
  • Some fields and mines – primarily in rich countries – should be closed before fully exploiting their resources, and financial support should be provided for non-carbon development in poorer countries.
  • This does not mean stopping using all fossil fuels overnight. Governments and companies should conduct a managed decline of the fossil fuel industry and ensure a just transition for the workers and communities that depend on it.

Click here to download the report.

Read article here……