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Solar panels installed in the path of the Kinder Morgan pipeline

For Immediate Release

SECWEPEMC TERRITORY / KAMLOOPS – Today, members of the Secwepemc Nation known as the Tiny House Warriors are completing the installation of solar panels on a tiny house they’ve built to put directly in the path of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion pipeline.

“The solar panels we installed on the tiny house today will stand in the path of Kinder Morgan’s pipeline to model the type of energy our communities need and that our children’s future depends on. By harnessing the power of the the sun, we are telling Kinder Morgan and the Trudeau government that our energy systems can help nurture life instead of destroying it. This is what Indigenous consent on energy projects and what climate leadership should look like,” said Kanahus Manuel, a leader with the Tiny House Warriors and member of the Secewepemc Women’s Warrior Society.

Each of the four panels installed is 265 watts. They will be connected to the inside of the home to produce solar energy for household use. The panels were donated by Lubicon Solar, which also provided onsite support for the installation.

The Lubicon Cree is a First Nation in the heart of the tar sands in Northern Alberta. The Nation installed solar panels in their own community in 2015 after experiencing a 2011 oil spill that was the worst Alberta had seen in decades. The partnership is the latest example of growing Nation-to-Nation resistance to toxic oil projects across Turtle Island (North America), including tar sands pipelines and the Dakota Access pipeline.

“I am from a community impacted by tar sands extraction and I’ve seen first-hand the devastation a spill can have on people’s health, rivers and the land. I’ve also seen the hope that solar energy and green jobs can bring to Indigenous communities. The solarization of these tiny houses provides the practical energy needs as well renewable energy solutions this world needs instead of more tar sands pipelines like Kinder Morgan’s. From the heart of the tar sands all along the route to Kinder Morgan’s supertanker port, Indigenous communities are standing together to find solutions that honour the Earth,” said Melina Laboucan-Massimo of Lubicon Solar.

The solar installer assisting the Tiny House Warriors, Brett Isaac, is from the Najavo Nation in the USA and designed the mobile solar units that were taken to Standing Rock last year.

“Tiny houses, especially those powered by solar energy and owned by communities, send a powerful message about how we need to find ways of living that are in tune with the needs of our planet. From Standing Rock to Secwepemc territory to the tar sands, Indigenous communities are finding ways to innovate and resist corporate and colonial control,” said Brett Isaac.

The Tiny House Warriors have now built two tiny houses out of an intended 10, all based on the design used in Standing Rock. A third house is being constructed by supporters in Victoria. The homes are symbols of resistance to the pipeline but also symbols of hope and resilience that will eventually provide housing and reconnection with the land for members of the Secwepemc Nation.

Earlier this month, a report commissioned earlier this month by the Secwepemc Nation, whose land Kinder Morgan’s new pipeline is slated to cross, further details risks related to Indigenous assertions of their rights and title over unceded land.

                                                                – 31 –

Our Land is Home is a part of a mission to stop the Kinder Morgan TransMountain pipeline from crossing unceded Secwepemc Territory. Ten tiny houses will be built and placed strategically along the 518 km TransMountain pipeline route to assert Secwepemc Law and jurisdiction and block access to this pipeline.

Contact:
Kanahus Manuel, Secwepemc Women’s Warrior Society: 250-852-9002,

Melina Laboucan-Massimo, Lubicon Solar: 780-504-5567

Tiny House Warriors

See Media Release here……

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What the National Energy Board won’t tell you about pipelines

iPolitics Insights by Ross Belot / November 2, 2017

The 2017 UN climate change conference in Bonn — otherwise known as COP23 — starts Monday. A year ago I said Environment Minister Catherine McKenna would be going there with nothing to brag about. This year, she can at least make small talk about her plans to teach children about climate change.

Meanwhile, Minister of Natural Resources Jim Carr is pleading with industry to reduce its energy consumption. Those firms that succeed in cutting energy use by 10 per cent or more will be formally recognized as Energy Star Achievers — demonstrating that, between Carr and McKenna, the Trudeau government’s approach to fighting climate change is the same one a middle school teacher would take.

I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: This government has no strategy to meet Canada’s emissions reduction commitments under the Paris accord, let alone Stephen Harper’s target of a 30 per cent reduction in emissions between 2005 and 2030.

Who says so? Our own National Energy Board. It just released Canada’s Energy Future 2017, a report that shows fossil fuel use peaking by 2019 and then flatlining through 2040. So our plan to transition to a low-carbon economy basically amounts to doing what we’re doing now, based on what the NEB thinks our fuel use will be in future.

The NEB presents some scenarios that Peter Watson, the NEB’s CEO, says show fossil fuel use declining in “a meaningful way.” One scenario involves higher carbon pricing. Let’s take a closer look at that one.

It has to be said that Watson has a pretty peculiar idea of what’s ‘meaningful’ in the face of global warming catastrophe. The NEB’s base case shows a 5 per cent decline in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 over 2005 — not because we’ll be using less energy (we’re going to be using 9 per cent more energy overall from fossil fuels, the NEB forecasts) but because we’ll have switched from ‘dirty’ coal to ‘cleaner’ natural gas by then.

No, his so-called ‘meaningful’ reduction in the NEB’s “high carbon pricing scenario” amounts to a paltry 4 per cent reduction — not terribly useful to a government that has pledged a 30 per cent reduction, to be achieved largely through the use of carbon taxes.

This tells us two things. First, the NEB makes no effort to tell us what we’d have to do to meet our Paris targets, and seems to have no interest in that. Second, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s carbon pricing plan isn’t going to do the job.

open quote 761b1bMaybe — if the NEB started giving people all the facts — governments, industry and the public could have an informed conversation about the future of Canada’s energy sector. Instead, all we get is yelling and finger-pointing.”

That’s disappointing. Also disappointing is the disappearance from this report of the low price scenario which doesn’t support the NEB’s push for more pipelines. The NEB now produces just one price scenario through the 2020s, one that’s high enough to justify significant growth in the oilsands. The evidence they provided previously that did not support pipelines — that has mysteriously vanished from their forecast.

The use of multiple price scenarios as a requirement for assessing pipelines came up in the Minnesota Department of Commerce’s very critical review of Enbridge’s giant Line 3 expansion application. Ironically, the price data that just disappeared from the NEB’s report is exactly what Minnesota expected in an application — and its consultant cited last year’s NEB energy outlook as an example of what should be considered.

Now, it’s possible that the NEB and Watson think it’s far more important to show that marginal reductions in carbon emissions out in the 2030-and-beyond timeframe don’t affect our oilsands production than it is to present scenarios showing no growth in oilsands production due to low prices. But given its ongoing push for pipelines — and Watson’s own biased testimony to a Senate committee a while ago — one might wonder if the low-price scenario disappeared because its data conflicted with the pro-pipeline story. (After all, people like me use those numbers against the NEB — and they really don’t like it.)

Here’s something else we learned from Minnesota’s review of that pipeline application. The same consultants Enbridge used produced the economic basis for the Trans Mountain expansion application — consultants whose approach the Minnesota Department of Commerce described as ”simplistic — and in the case of pipeline capacity, unrealistic.”

The analysis Minnesota has done calls into question our regulator’s approach to pipeline approvals, since logic similar to the content in the Enbridge application has been applied by the NEB for Trans Mountain, resulting in approval.

I don’t know what’s going on with the NEB. The agency has capable people who do excellent work. But somehow, the data are getting misused. A low-price scenario — the one which looks like what we’re most likely to see over the next ten years at least — clearly suggests that oilsands production isn’t going to grow much. That scenario undermines the case for Energy East and knocks down the conspiracy theories about its cancellation: the market outlook — not the Trudeau government’s policies — killed that project. Same goes for Keystone XL’s prospects. Maybe — if the NEB started giving people all the facts — governments, industry and the public could have an informed conversation about the future of Canada’s energy sector. Instead, all we get is yelling and finger-pointing.

Do we need Trans Mountain? What benefits does it offer Canada? Who knows? As long as the NEB keeps spinning a supportive story instead of giving us real information, we can’t evaluate the costs and benefits of pipeline projects. The NEB’s approach appears to be to withhold data that call into question their CEO’s Senate testimony, instead of addressing the real questions.

Is the NEB in the business of professionally assessing pipeline applications? Or is it just another industry cheerleader?

See article here……

 


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Hydro electric firm, Honduran military planned Berta Caceres murder

  Austra Berta (L) and Laura Zuniga, mother and daughter of Berta Caceres at a press conference, Oct. 31, 2017.

Austra Berta (L) and Laura Zuniga, mother and daughter of Berta Caceres at a press conference, Oct. 31, 2017. | Photo: Reuters
 teleSUR November 1, 2017
“DESA high-level directors, state agents and criminal elements” formed a criminal network to “assassinate Berta Caceres,” said a lawyer with GAIPE.

A hydroelectric company that environmental activist Berta Caceres had fought plotted with Honduran military and security forces to kill the Indigenous leader in March 2016, an independent commission has found.

The investigation was carried out by the International Group of Advisors and Expert Persons, which is comprised of several lawyers from Guatemala, Colombia, Holland and the United States and was based on dozens of interviews, court records and partial access to evidence provided by government investigators.

The GAIPE found that high-level executives of Energy Development SA and government officials began planning the assassination of Caceres at least four months before they carried it out.

Roxana Althozt, a lawyer with GAIPE said, “DESA high-level directors, [Honduran] state agents and criminal elements” formed a criminal network to “assassinate Berta Caceres.”

Honduran authorities have arrested eight people for the murder, however, the GAIPE investigation points to other suspects.

Caceres was an important and vocal activist within the Civic Council of Popular Organizations and Honduran Indigenous. For over two decades she worked to protect the lands of the Lenca Indigenous of Honduras, and successfully fought DESA’s construction of the hydroelectric dam, Agua Zarca on the White River despite continual death threats and militarization of the area by Honduran forces.

A year before Caceres was gunned down in her home in northeastern Honduras, she was the awarded the Goldman Environmental Award for her continued environmental activism against DESA and the hydroelectric dam, located close to Lenca tribe sacred space.

Caceres’ family and COPIHN called for the creation of an independent panel in Nov. 2016 in order to investigate the activist’s death. The team read through over 2,000 pages related to the case, including “communications intercepted by Honduran authorities,” according to Reuters.

Althozt said at the press conference that DESA and police officials collaborated to follow and plot Caceres’ death. They also reported other environmental activists in the area were followed.

The Honduran Ministry of Security and Government and DESA did not respond to Reuters request for an interview regarding GAIPE accusations. DESA has repeatedly denied any involvement in the assassination of Caceres.

In an interview Caceres gave to COPIHN when awarded the Goldman prize, she said the Lenca and all Honduran Indigenous are “confronted with a hegemonic project created by national and international ‘big capital’ based in the energy, mining and agro-industrial sectors, adding, “we formally denounced the [Honduran] state’s participation in dozens of hydroelectric projects, but haven’t had any positive response.”


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Kinder Morgan warns of massive losses and blames Burnaby for pipeline delays

Kinder Morgan Canada president Ian Anderson delivers a speech to a Vancouver business crowd on Nov. 3, 2016. File photo by Elizabeth McSheffrey

Mike De SousaNational ObserverOct 27 2017 

After downplaying concerns about delays to its investors last week, Kinder Morgan is warning it could lose more than $90 million per month due to its struggles with the bylaws of the City of Burnaby in British Columbia.

The Texas-based energy company made the admission as part of hundreds of pages of documents filed on Thursday with Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB). The filings are urging the federal energy regulator to force the west coast city to forego municipal rules and accept construction of the multibillion dollar Trans Mountain crude oil pipeline expansion project.

The project, approved last November by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, would triple the capacity of an existing pipeline network up to 890,000 barrels of oil per day from Alberta to the west coast. Supporters say it could provide a boost to Alberta’s slumping oilpatch while creating thousands of construction jobs. Opponents say the project would dramatically increase tanker traffic, contribute to climate change and increase the risk of toxic spills.

In a 44-page affidavit, Michael Davies, vice president of operations for Kinder Morgan Canada, blamed delays in getting permits on Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan, arguing that the politician was “staunchly opposed to the project” and that his city “will do everything it can to frustrate the project.”

Kinder Morgan tries to blame Burnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan

Davies said these delays would cost the company $30 to $35 million in costs, including salaries, contracts, fees, travel, office, overhead and other expenses.

“Additionally, based on current estimates, projected loss of revenue to TM (Trans Mountain) due to the delay in the Project start-up is likely to exceed $90 (million) per month of delay,” Davies wrote in the affidavit, dated Oct. 26, 2017.

The statement from Davies also attempted to blame Burnaby’s mayor for delaying municipal permits, citing a report published by National Observer.

The affidavit alleged that National Observer reported that Corrigan “believed the permitting process was a legitimate method of slowing down the project.”

But the news report Kinder Morgan referenced and attached to its filings didn’t include any such statement by Corrigan. Instead, it reported that Corrigan said he would use all resources available to him to hold the Trudeau government to account for an election campaign promise that only communities could grant permission for projects.

When asked about Kinder Morgan’s claims on Friday, Corrigan told National Observer in a phone interview that the company was playing “fast and loose with the facts.”

“It was quite stunning, because, first of all, I knew I never said anything like that,” Corrigan said. “What I said was exactly what I’ve always said. I’m going to use every legal means available to me in order to oppose this, and then, if potentially, if I exhaust all of my legal avenues, if I exhaust all of my political avenues, then I’m going to stand in front of a bulldozer and accept the consequences for doing something that is an act of civil disobedience. But never once, did I say that I would do anything to affect the integrity of the Burnaby system or affect the way that my city operates.”

burnaby_mayor_derek_corrigan_-_mychaylo_prystupa.jpgBurnaby Mayor Derek Corrigan has said he’s willing to stand in front of a bulldozer to stop the Kinder Morgan pipeline. National Observer file photo

Kinder Morgan defends ‘reasonable interpretation’ of news report

When asked to explain the discrepancy between its claims and the facts reported by National Observer, the company responded with an email saying: “Kinder Morgan stands by its reasonable interpretation of the article, and the actual article was attached to the affidavit.”

The affidavit from Davies goes on to outline a series of emails and correspondence over the past few months in which the company has applied for permits, getting a range of different responses and rejections from the city. Those included a June 26, 2017 email stating that one of the company’s applications was incomplete, as well as a July 20, 2017 email in which the city said it didn’t have enough resources to process all of the applications “simultaneously.”

Kinder Morgan has also run into obstacles over its efforts to comply with a city bylaw that requires a “tree plan” for every application requiring the removal of trees. This would require an applicant to meet a number of requirements, including providing information on the location and diameter of each protected tree to be removed. Kinder Morgan requested an exemption from this bylaw, but the city denied this request on Oct. 10, 2017, the affidavit said.

Corrigan said that Kinder Morgan’s Canadian boss, Ian Anderson, came into his office to discuss the matter earlier this week, prior to the company’s filings with the NEB. The mayor said that the executive then pressured him to intervene during a meeting that lasted about 45 minutes.

“He came in to essentially threaten me that he was going to go to the National Energy Board over the permitting process and what was I going to do about it,” Corrigan said in an interview.

“I said to Ian Anderson that I do not interfere with the regulatory process in the city and the appropriate processes for granting permits. And I would neither interfere to hinder their application, nor to advance their application. It’s strictly an area in which our staff have to act objectively and independently.”

Kinder Morgan executives ‘optimistic’

The latest filings and concerns about delays contrast with what senior company executives told investors a few days ago during an amicable Oct. 18, 2017 conference call with investors.

On the call, the executives touted progress in securing permits needed from the provincial and federal governments, noting that they were “slower than we expected it to be,” but they neglected to mention any of their concerns about the City of Burnaby.

“I’m optimistic we can, working with our contractors and the permitting authorities to create more efficiency and timeliness of those (permit) processes,” said Richard Kinder, co-founder and executive chairman of the company.

Richard Kinder, Kinder MorganKinder Morgan’s co-founder, Richard Kinder, said on Oct. 18, 2017 that he was “optimistic” about getting the permits needed to begin building the Trans Mountain expansion. File photo by The Associated Press

Kinder’s comments came during a cordial exchange that was prompted by questions from Robert Kwan, an analyst for RBC capital markets.

“The events of the last couple of weeks are very encouraging. And I’m optimistic as a result of those. But we need to maintain that and we need to be working with our contractors, now, to look for ways and means to keep the schedule,” Kinder added.

Steven Kean, the president and chief executive of Kinder Morgan, also told Kwan on the call that the company was making progress with the B.C. government, getting hundreds of permits out of about 1,000 required to proceed with construction.

“I think the other message there, Robert, is that, you know, the bureaucracies and the statutory authorities of B.C. have continued to do their work,” Kean said. “We don’t yet see any evidence of any political interference.”

Kwan, the RBC analyst, declined to respond to questions about whether he had considered asking Kinder Morgan about the Burnaby situation or whether he thought the executives should have disclosed concerns about the city during the call. An RBC Capital Markets spokeswoman instead sent National Observer an analysis Kwan had prepared, after the company’s filings on Thursday. The analysis said that Kinder Morgan’s shares on the stock market could suffer if the NEB rejects the company’s filings, but that they could benefit if the regulator accepts the request.

Kwan’s analysis also noted that the B.C. Supreme Court had ruled against Burnaby following a similar dispute in 2015.

Kinder Morgan says its doors remain open to Burnaby

Eugene Kung, a staff lawyer with West Coast Environmental Law, a firm that recently supported arguments in a court challenge seeking to quash the federal government’s approval of the pipeline, said that Kinder Morgan’s recent filings indicate it doesn’t want to follow Burnaby’s bylaws.

“It’s part of this larger pattern, unfortunately, of Kinder Morgan kind of picking and choosing which laws it wants to follow,” Kung told National Observer.

Kinder Morgan declined to respond to other questions about its filings, referring National Observer to a statement on its website that accused the city of dragging its feet.

“The City’s failure to act in a timely manner raises serious issues of jurisdiction that we are compelled to bring to the Board’s attention,” the company said in the statement. “The Project will provide important local, regional and national benefits and that is why we are also asking the NEB to establish a process for Trans Mountain to bring similar matters to the Board for expedited determination in the future. As previously disclosed, such measures are necessary to help mitigate a possible delay in the construction schedule.”

The company also said that its “door remains open to the City of Burnaby” and that it welcomes the opportunity to discuss a solution.

An NEB spokesman said that the regulator has an obligation to review the company’s request and that it would set out a process for next steps after it has had the chance to review it.

Meantime, when asked if Burnaby would consider hiring more staff to speed up processing of Kinder Morgan’s permit applications, Corrigansaid he felt no obligation to help Kinder Morgan.

“One of the points that I want to make out of this is that Kinder Morgan thinks that it’s way more important than it is,” he said. “I have a billion dollars worth of development going on in my city this year. I have got a multitude of high-rise developments, commercial developments, rental developments, they’re happening. And our staff are under significant pressure to be able to accommodate all of the projects that are before us. Kinder Morgan doesn’t walk in and elbow everybody else out of the way. It may be that they think that they’re important enough that they can simply tell people what to do and they may have gotten used to that at the National Energy Board. But in Burnaby, they queue with everybody else to go through the system and ensure that we’re able to deal with them in due course.”

 


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A brief history of the Earth’s CO2

Coal fired power plantImage copyright GETTY IMAGES

Climate change has been described as one of the biggest problems faced by humankind. Carbon dioxide is is the primary driver of global warming. Prof Joanna Haigh from Imperial College London explains why this gas has played a crucial role in shaping the Earth’s climate.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) has been present in the atmosphere since the Earth condensed from a ball of hot gases following its formation from the explosion of a huge star about five billion years ago.

At that time the atmosphere was mainly composed of nitrogen, CO2 and water vapour, which seeped through cracks in the solid surface. A very similar composition emerges from volcanic eruptions today.

As the planet cooled further some of the water vapour condensed out to form oceans and they dissolved a portion of the CO2 but it was still present in the atmosphere in large amounts.

What is climate change?

The first life forms to evolve on Earth were microbes which could survive in this primordial atmosphere but about 2.5 billion years ago, plants developed the ability to photosynthesise, creating glucose and oxygen from CO2 and water in the presence of light from the Sun.

This had a transformative impact on the atmosphere: as life developed, CO2 was consumed so that by around 20 million years ago its concentration was down to below 300 molecules in every one million molecules of air (or 300 parts per million – ppm).

Early EarthImage copyrightSPLImage caption Artwork: As life developed on Earth, carbon dioxide levels plummeted

Life on Earth has evolved under these conditions – note that humans did not appear until about 200,000 years ago – and atmospheric CO2 has not exceed that concentration until the industrial revolution brought with it massive emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels: coal and oil.

CO2 plays an important role in climate because it is one of the atmospheric “greenhouse” gases (GHGs) which keep the Earth’s surface about 33 degrees warmer than the -18C temperature it would be at were they not present.

They do this by being fairly transparent to the Sun’s rays, allowing them through to warm the surface, but then absorbing the radiant heat that the surface emits, so trapping it and enhancing the warming. In the present climate the most effective GHGs are water vapour, which is responsible for about two-thirds of the total warming, and CO2 which accounts for about one quarter.

Other gases, including methane, make up the remainder. The atmospheric concentration of water vapour is less than 1% and, with CO2 making up only a few molecules in every ten thousand of air, it may be surprising that they can have such a significant impact on the surface temperature.

They are able to do this, however, because the structure of their molecules makes them especially effective at absorbing heat radiation while the major atmospheric gases, nitrogen and oxygen, are essentially transparent to it.

air sampling stationImage copyrightNOAAImage captionThis air sampling station at Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii recorded CO2 levels going past 400ppm

The greenhouse effect means that as the atmospheric loading of GHGs increases the surface temperature of the Earth warms. The overall increase in global temperature of about 1C over the past 150 years is almost entirely due to the human activities that have increasing amounts of atmospheric GHGs.

Most significantly, the concentration of CO2 has been rising exponentially (at a rate of about 0.17% per year) since the industrial revolution, due mainly to the combustion of fossil fuels but also to large-scale tropical deforestation which depletes the climate system’s capacity for photosynthesis.

In 2015, it passed 400ppm, more than 40% higher than its pre-industrial value of 280ppm and a level that has not existed on Earth for several million years.

While the basic science of how GHGs warm the Earth is very well understood, there are complications. The climate system responds in various ways which both enhance and ameliorate the effects of these gases.

For example, a warmer atmosphere can hold more water vapour (before it condenses out in clouds or rain) and because water vapour is a GHG, this increases the temperature rise. Another example: as the oceans warm they are less able to hold CO2 so release it, again with the result the initial warming is enhanced.

VolcanoImage copyrightGETTY IMAGESImage captionVolcanoes can eject small particles into the upper part of the atmosphere

The global temperature record over the past century does not show the same smooth increase presented by CO2 measurements because the climate is influenced by other factors than GHGs, arising from both natural and human sources. Some particles released into the atmosphere by industrial activities reflect sunshine back to space, tending to cool the planet.

Similarly, large volcanic eruptions can eject small particles into the higher atmosphere, where they remain for up to about two years reducing the sunlight reaching the surface, and temporary dips in global temperature have indeed been measured following major volcanic events.

Changes in the energy emitted by the Sun also affect surface temperature, though measurements of the solar output show this effect to be small on human timescales.

Another important consideration in interpreting global temperatures is that the climate is inherently complex. Energy moves between the atmosphere and oceans in natural fluctuations – an example being El Niño events. This means that we cannot expect an immediate direct relationship between any influencing factor and surface temperature.

All these factors complicate the picture. Nevertheless, it is indisputable that the global temperature rise over the past century is a result of human-produced GHGs, mainly CO2.

While, until the industrial revolution, the CO2 concentration has not exceeded the 280ppm value that last occurred several million years ago, it has gone through periods when it was considerably lower.

Notably, during the ice ages which have occurred roughly every 100,000 years over at least the past half million, drops in global temperature of perhaps 5C have been accompanied by reductions in CO2 concentration to less than 200ppm.

The ice ages, and associated warmer interglacial periods, are brought about by changes in the Earth’s orbit around the Sun which take place on these long timescales. The cooling in response to a decline in solar radiation reaching the Earth’s surface results in a greater uptake of CO2 by the oceans and so further cooling due to a weakened greenhouse effect.

This is an entirely natural phenomenon and it is worth noting that such amplification of temperature fluctuations will occur in response to any initiating factor regardless of its source and including human-produced greenhouse gases.

The effects of increasing CO2 are not limited to an increase in air temperature. As the oceans warm they are expanding so producing a rise in sea level, this being exacerbated by the melting of some of the ice present on land near the poles and in glaciers. The warmer atmosphere holds more water vapour resulting in increased occurrences of heavy rainfall and flooding while changes in weather patterns are intensifying droughts in other regions.

If human emissions of GHGs into the atmosphere continue unabated then the global temperature will continue to rise and the associated weather impacts become ever more severe. The UN climate conference in Paris in December 2015, at which 195 nations unanimously agreed on an aim to restrict the temperature rise to less than 2C, or preferably 1.5C, above the pre-industrial “baseline” was an extraordinary political achievement.

To achieve this, however, will require a complete cessation of global CO2 emissions by the second half of this century and, while the world considers how this might be achieved, the crossing of the 400ppm mark in CO2 concentration has been matched by a global warming of 1C.

See article here…..


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Liberal MP shuts down fossil subsidies hearing as research pinpoints low tax rate per Barrell

Alexandra Mendes/Facebook

In the same week that a key House of Commons committee went behind closed doors to discuss the country’s fossil fuel subsidies, The Guardian revealed that some of the country’s biggest fossil companies pay far lower taxes in Canada than they do in many developing countries.

Last Tuesday, the Standing Committee on Public Accounts was beginning its review of Auditor General Michael Ferguson’s rather critical assessment of Canada’s 2009 commitment to a subsidy phaseout, originally by 2015. After Ferguson’s opening remarks, and with other officials waiting to testify, committee vice-chair Alexandra Mèndes (L-Brossard-Saint Lambert) moved a motion to take the meeting in camera. The motion passed, and the meeting continued without media or the public present.

“We wanted to have a very candid and frank discussion,” Mendès said. “I wanted to make sure there would be no constraints.”

But National Observer notes that this “wasn’t the first time the government has tried to keep secrets about its progress in meeting the commitment,” and Annie Bérubé, Équiterre’s Ottawa-based director of government relations, smelled a cover-up.

“It is clear the Liberals are still trying to keep this undercover, first by not releasing data to the auditor general, and now by preventing a House of Commons committee from studying this issue,” she said.

Just a couple of days after the committee meeting, The Guardian was out with an analysis that showed fossils like Chevron Canada, Suncor Energy, and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. paying much higher taxes per barrel in Nigeria, Indonesia, UK, and Ivory Coast than they do in Canada. The analysis, ironically enough, was enabled by a Harper-era law that requires oil, gas, and mining companies to disclose their payments to governments around the world.

“I think it will come as a surprise to most Canadians, including a lot of politicians, that Canada is giving oil companies a cut-rate deal relative to other countries,” said Greenpeace Canada Senior Energy Strategist Keith Stewart.

“The low rate that oil companies pay in Canada represents billions of dollars in potential revenue lost,” The Guardian notes. Chevron Canada, for example, “paid almost three times as much to Nigeria and almost seven times as much to Indonesia as it did to Canadian, provincial, and municipal governments.” Suncor’s taxes in the UK are six times higher than in Canada, while CNRL’s costs are four times higher in Ivory Coast.

“Even with the low rates, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers has been lobbying the federal government for more tax breaks to improve their ‘competitiveness,’” The Guardian notes. As if to prove the point, CAPP President and CEO Tim McMillan was out with a Globe and Mail op ed last Wednesday, tacitly equating the national economy and the country’s social programs with the health of the fossil industry.

“We can be the world’s energy supplier of choice and still generate economic and environmental benefits in Canada—but only if Ottawa develops our natural resources with competitive policies that attract investment and spur innovation,” McMillan wrote. “Ottawa can help by enabling the right fiscal framework that encourages innovation to enhance environmental performance. We need an accelerated capital cost allowance for clean technology investments in our oil and natural gas sector.”


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Oil-export hopes fade as Trans Mountain pipeline delays mount

THE CANADIAN PRESS
Pipes are seen at the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain facility in Edmonton, Alta., on April 6, 2017.

JONATHAN HAYWARD/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Oil industry hopes for a major new export route to global markets are slipping into the next decade, forcing companies to seek alternatives as production swells in Northern Alberta.

This week, Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd. sought special clearance from the National Energy Board to start work on its Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project in Burnaby, B.C., accusing the city of failing to issue needed permits in a timely fashion.

Kinder Morgan had already warned that the $7.4-billion project could be delayed by as much as nine months, meaning oil deliveries would not commence until the fourth quarter of 2020. Now the company has raised the spectre that the expansion could by scuppered altogether.

“A delay of an indeterminate nature will create uncertainty regarding the project’s future and the in-service date of the project, potentially resulting in the failure of the project,” vice-president of operations Michael Davies said in an affidavit filed with the federal regulator.

Lengthy delays or a decision to scrap it would deal a major blow to the Alberta-based industry and could further inflame tensions between the province and neighbouring British Columbia, whose Premier, John Horgan, has come out strongly against the project.

Kinder Morgan aims to almost triple the capacity of its existing pipeline to carry as much as 890,000 barrels a day of crude from Edmonton to an export terminal in suburban Vancouver.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed off on the expansion last year, but it has been challenged in the courts by environmentalists as well as cities and Indigenous groups along the West Coast.

In Alberta, the upstart United Conservative Party has made much of the frustration over cancelled megaprojects, including TransCanada Corp.’s move this month to abandon its proposed Energy East pipeline.

Former federal cabinet minister Jason Kenney and other UCP leadership candidates have pledged to kill Alberta’s carbon tax and take a harder line with Ottawa and other provinces on pipelines and energy policy.

Energy East had been scheduled to start up in 2020 at the earliest, sending Alberta crude to refineries and export terminals on the Atlantic Coast.

TransCanada blamed an uncertain regulatory process for its demise, though analysts have said economics also played a role.

Its cancellation comes as a series of major projects near completion in the oil sands, threatening to dump more crude into a market already struggling with pipeline constraints. The excess production is bound to move by rail, eating into margins that remain pressured by weak oil prices.

“Most of the export pipelines out of Canada are running full right now,” said GMP FirstEnergy analyst Martin King. “That’s going to be the case probably for the next couple of years as the supply growth keeps coming at us.”

On Thursday, Kinder Morgan said Burnaby’s refusal to issue permits in a timely manner raises “serious issues of jurisdiction.” The mayor, a vocal opponent of the project, has said the city is not holding up the process.

The company also asked the NEB to establish an “expedited determination” to avoid future delays. Mr. Davies said each month of delay results in as much as $35-million in costs and more than $90-million in forgone revenue for the company.

In the affidavit, he said oil-shipper customers could seek alternatives for committed volumes of more than 700,000 barrels a day should the company miss its planned startup date of 2019.

Many of the project’s backers are also supporters of TransCanada’s rival Keystone XL pipeline, which would send Alberta crude through the U.S. Midwest to big refineries on the Texas Gulf Coast.

Shippers “may need to find alternate, and potentially higher-cost, transportation options for this production to other markets,” Mr. Davies said.

Data suggest that’s already happening.

Canadian crude-by-rail exports have steadily ticked up in recent months, from an average of 50,000 barrels a day in July to 66,000 a day in September, according to Genscape, an oil-industry consultancy.

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N.B. Premier puts Energy East cancellation down to ‘market conditions’(THE CANADIAN PRESS)

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