by Paul George
While Trump is a compulsive liar, Trudeau is a consummate actor. Trump sometimes knows he’s lying. At other times he doesn’t know the answer to a question, so makes one up, not really caring if the answer is true or not. Trudeau, however, always follows a script. “He’s given lines, memorizes them, spouts them faithfully, and never questions whether they’re grounded in truth or not,” explains a drama teacher. “He is not the bright original thinker like his father was, but he acts well and is super photogenic.”
His acting background explains why Trudeau championed stricter measures to limit global temperature rise to a maximum 1.5 degrees C in Paris in 2015. He gave such a passionate speech that gave hope to the island states and coastal communities that will be flooded by rising sea levels if global warming reaches 2 degrees C.
Newspaper headlines at the time declared “Canada is Back.” After years of hardline obstruction and inaction by the Harper government, Canada said it was going to provide world leadership on solving the climate crisis and take bold action in reducing its own GHG emissions. Our Prime Minister emerged as the hope of all those who understood the severity of the climate crisis
In Paris, Trudeau must have relied on Green Party MP Elizabeth May for his lines.
When Trudeau got back to Ottawa, he got a new set of scriptwriters: the same back-room oil sands promoters and lobbyists that had Harper in their pockets. No problem for Trudeau. He parroted his new lines with no thought, no understanding, nor any worry that his new script contradicted his lines in Paris. “Of course we can build the Kinder Morgan pipeline and increase production of tar sands oil and still meet our Paris commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions enough to keep global warming to below 1.5 degrees C” says Trudeau with complete confidence.
Over the 2005–2016 period, total emissions decreased by 28 megatonnes (Mt) or 3.8%. Our 2030 goal is to reduce emissions by 30%. Recently emissions have increased and can be attributed to increases in mining and upstream oil and gas production (21 Mt).
Canada’s Crazy Climate Plan
Like having your cake while eating it too, a country that fails to reduce enough Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions to help slow global warming as promised in signing the Paris Climate Accord, has a “back doorway” way to accomplish the same thing.
How? Get someplace else to reduce an equivalent amount of emissions (above and beyond what that place already is doing under the Paris Accord), to make up for the shortfall.
Canada’s emissions have been going up, not coming down in recent years. In 2016 Canada said it would miss its target by 44 megatonnes of carbon. Now it’s 66 megatonnes!
In documents released through Freedom of Information (FOI), Canada, knowing full well that its tar sands expansion plans are incompatible with its 2030 (only 12 years away) reduction goals to reduce its emissions 30% below Canada’s 2005 level, determined it would be cheaper to have California do the job. Canada will pay Californians billions of dollars a year to generate more renewable wind and solar energy and transition faster to fully electric vehicles. California gets all the new jobs and the cheaper power benefits. Alberta gets rid of its bitumen.
Brilliant. Oil barons of the Alberta tar patch get richer while regular Canadians get poorer through greatly increased taxes. In the long run this short-term offset solution will make it all the harder and more expensive in the future for Canada to make the transition to the low carbon world economy.
One big problem! With Trump pulling out of the Paris Climate Accord, California no longer qualifies as a surrogate reducer!
Standing Rock of the North
The biggest threat to the proposed x-KM pipeline route may be the fierce opposition of the Secwepemc people whose unceded territory, Secwepemcul’ecw, covers more than half of the proposed pipeline route.
Not only did the Canadian government approve the pipeline despite the lack of this Indigenous Nation’s consent. It utterly failed to adequately consult the Secwepemc.
Back in 1951, when the federal government unilaterally approved the original Trans Mountain pipeline through Secwepemcul’ecw, the Secwepemc people could not oppose it because the Indian Act prohibited Indigenous peoples in Canada from organizing on land issues and hiring lawyers. The original Trans Mountain pipeline went into operation in 1953 without the Secwepemc people’s consent. The Secwepemc are determined that history will not repeat itself.
Defense of their territory is not something new for the Secwepemc. A standoff between the Secwepemc and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1995 at Ts’Peten (Gustafsen Lake) involved the largest paramilitary operation in Canadian history.
Most recently, the Secwepemc Women Warrior Society disrupted the 2017 Annual General Meeting of Imperial Metals over their tailings pond spill at Mount Polley in Secwepemcul’ecw.
If the Canadian government makes good on its threat of using executive force and militarized action to force the pipeline through, the spectre of a “Standing Rock of the North” looms large.
Secwepemc land defenders are building “tiny houses.” The Tiny House Warriors have built the first of ten which they plan to place along the pipeline route.
This tactic was learned from a similar maneuver at Standing Rock. The tiny houses are lawful structures according to the jurisdiction of the Secwepemc. Any outfit that takes over the Kinder Morgan pipeline route faces the spectre of having to physically remove the houses or request deployment of security forces to do so. Not only will this delay pipeline construction, it could open the company up to civil and criminal charges.
Secwepemc land defenders vow they will stop the pipeline “by any means necessary.”
Excerpted from and based on: An updated Summary Risk Assessment of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Prepared by the Indigenous Network on Economies and Trade (INET) https://tinyurl.com/ya23uptw
Big Bank Bails
HSBC is Europe’s biggest bank and one of the ten largest banks in the world. On April 21, 2018 it announced that it will no longer fund oil or gas projects in the Arctic, Alberta tar sands projects, and most coal projects.
This decision signals to Justin Trudeau that the era of fossil fuels is coming to a close.
Daniel Klier, global head of sustainable finance at HSBC, said that the bank recognizes “the need to reduce emissions rapidly to achieve the target set in the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit global temperatures rises to well below 2°C and our responsibility to support the communities in which we operate.”
Formerly, HSBC was one of the heaviest investors in fossil fuels. A report, entitled “Banking on Climate Change”, endorsed by dozens of environmental groups, ranked HSBC the seventh worst in the world for the financing of “extreme fossil fuels.” It also found that from 2016 to 2017, “Even as the impacts of climate change become increasingly apparent”, it made a $2.6 billion increase in such financing.
Keith Stewart, senior energy strategist at Greenpeace Canada, advised Trudeau, who is about to invest taxpayers’ dollars to make sure the Kinder Morgan pipeline gets built, to take warning in HSBC’s shift.
“Before deciding to write a cheque to Kinder Morgan, Justin Trudeau should ask himself if he wants to rush in where HSBC fears to tread,” said Stewart.
Myth vs Truth
Myth – If we could get the Alberta bitumen to Asia, it would fetch a much higher price than it currently does in the U.S.
Truth – Alberta bitumen is already getting the best possible price through existing pipelines to the US, which access the largest heavy oil refineries in the world. Few refineries in Asia currently can refine it. No tankers of Alberta bitumen went to Asia from Westridge terminal in 2017.
Myth – There is widespread support of First Nations along the route for the KM pipeline project.
Truth – Fewer than 1/3 of the First Nations along the pipeline and tanker route have signed Mutual Benefit Agreements (MBAs) or a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOUs) which basically state that a First Nation, Community, college or university will receive money from the pipeline corporation … but only if the pipeline gets built. This has been bragged about as an endorsement by the pipeline promoters. Support seems to be waning. The company boasts of having 43 agreements. A year ago it was reported there were 51. More significantly, the Tsleil-Waututh, in whose territory Kinder Morgan’s Westridge terminal is located, and the Secwepemc whose territories encompass more than half the pipeline’s length, are adamantly opposed.
Myth – Bitumen sinks in fresh water but not in salt water.
Truth – Bitumen sinks (and stinks) when toxic diluents evaporate in both fresh and salt waters. Sinking happens fast when bitumen comes in contact with sediments. Sediments are abundant in the Fraser River’s brown coloured outflow around Vancouver and into the Salilsh Sea.
Myth – A world-class spill response team can clean up most of the oil in an oil spill.
Truth – A recovery of 10 – 20% of the oil is considered a good clean up job by industry and government. 80% or more cannot be recovered. It disperses and pollutes the beaches, intertidal zones and ocean bottom for decades. Other difficulties make land based spills, except the smallest, impossible to completely clean up.
Myth – The Alberta oil patch drives the Canadian economy.
Truth – The Alberta oil patch generates only 2% of Canada’s GDP.
A Twisted “Carbon Tax”
If diluted bitumen starts flowing down the x-KM new pipeline, gas prices at the pumps in B.C. will go up. No lie.
They figured out a clever way to fund their new pipeline. Make British Columbians pay for it.
Here’s how it was supposed to work. Kinder Morgan got the National Energy Board (NEB) to approve an increase in toll rates of $5 a barrel on all refined products pumped down the old KM pipeline after the new pipeline is completed and in operation.
This little reported NEB decision will more than double the charge KM now levies to deliver a barrel of gasoline or diesel to B.C.
One economist has calculated that it would have delivered enough extra revenue to KM over the 35 year life of the pipeline to pay for the whole expansion project and would cost B.C. motorists 10 to 15 cents more per litre of gas.
Another little-known fact. The new pipeline will be exclusively dedicated to transporting unrefined bitumen for export. B.C. gets no benefits, except for 50 more long-term jobs (an estimate provided by Kinder Morgan to the NEB during the hearings) after it is built.
When a prominent pipeline supporter discovered this, nearly speechless, he muttered “Well, I’ve been duped!” and instantly became a pipeline opponent.
First published in Action In Time and e-version at actionintime.ca