Every year brings increasingly frequent and severe wildfires and extreme weather events. It is increasingly clear that we must wean ourselves from fossil fuels for two good reasons:
- Fossil fuels are the main source of the man-made component of climate change.
- Based on latest available official data, the world’s “proven” reserves of oil and gas will be depleted in 50 to 60 years. “Proven” means 90 per cent probability of being technically and economically accessible.
The USA, EU, and China are the biggest oil consumers and (at current production rates) will deplete their reserves in 15 years or less. But it will take at least 30 years to replace most of the global fleet with electric cars and trucks, not to mention rail, marine and air transportation. Shutting down or running out of oil before electric vehicles and supporting clean energy sources can be fully scaled up would impact the world economy and extend the transition. Canada is one of only five countries, and the only stable democracy, that can supply the oil the world will need until the end of this century. Can we do that and still meet our agreed upon emissions goals? Yes, we can.
Canada ranks as a high per capita producer of emissions because we are a cold country, with low population density, and we provide the world with more food and resources than most. Canada creates 1.54 per cent of global CO2 emissions, but we can achieve our 2030 emissions goal with the following actions:
- Coal – Electricity switched to hydro, nuclear, wind, solar (Already complete except Alberta and Sask.).
- Oil – Switching the 50 per cent of cars and light trucks that mostly operate in urban areas to electricity.
- Gas – 10 per cent of building heat conserved or switched to geothermal, oil sands extraction and upgrading switched advanced nuclear power and heat to enable oil production with zero emissions.
The above explains why the world will need Canada’s oil for several more decades, why Canada needs appropriate pipeline capacity, and how our emissions targets can be met. But neither the Conservatives nor the Liberals have been able to get pipelines built to move our product to market because the public and our two main political parties are being played (manipulated) against each other by well-funded forces outside of Canada.
Since 88 per cent of the world’s proven oil reserves reside in autocracies where environmentalists have little say, US and European anti-oil activists believe they can have the most impact by attacking the 10 per cent in Canada. According to CSIS, they are funding opposition to the development of Canada’s oil resources and pipelines. CSIS also reports that Russian internet trolls have been operating here to try to disrupt our oil business just as they did the 2016 US elections. Putin sees Canada as a competitor in the oil business.
These external forces worked to disrupt and destabilize Conservative’s efforts to build pipelines, and they are doing the same to the Liberals.
The Northern Gateway Pipeline was approved by the Harper government but overturned by the Federal Court of Appeal in a June 2016 finding that said, “Canada offered only a hurried and inadequate opportunity to exchange and discuss information with aboriginal peoples.” The Liberals reasoned there should be less opposition to increasing capacity of the existing Trans-Mountain Pipeline route and terminal rather than building a new Northern Gateway route and terminal. But in May 2018, the Federal Court said essentially the same thing to the Liberals about the Trans-Mountain pipeline.
Neither Liberals nor Conservatives should interfere with National Energy Board (NEB) or Federal Court decisions. They could appeal to the Supreme Court but that would likely take as long as going back to patch the holes in the original NEB ruling and First Nations consultations. The courts cannot help but be aware of public opinion (that can be shaped by outside propaganda agents) and there is no guarantee the Supreme Court would decide differently than the lower court if they thought their decision could cause or prevent violent protests.
In February 2019, the NEB recommended the government approve the Trans Mountain pipeline citing it is in the national interest but suggested a series of measures to minimize noise impact on the coastal whale population. The noise impact from over 100 BC Ferry departures per day would far exceed that of the one additional mid-sized oil tanker per day. BC ferries are re-fitting their ships with noise reduction technology. The new consultation process with First Nations required by the court is proceeding under the direction of former Supreme Court Judge Frank Iacobucci. The outcome of these two corrections could still be challenged in the Supreme Court.
External agitators are doing their best to ensure that no amount of consultation or world-leading safety measures will be enough. By disrupting and destabilizing the efforts of both main political parties while they are in office, these external forces are preventing both parties from building pipelines. The result is millions of dollars lost every day to unfair US oil price discounting and keeping “the only stable democracy with capacity to supply oil to the world for as long as it is needed” out of the market.
It is incumbent upon Canada to share our abundant resources with those who will need them, and to do our share to reduce global emissions. We can do both, if our political parties work together to prevent strong and well-funded external forces from dividing us and disrupting our efforts.
Hugh Holland is a retired engineering and manufacturing executive now living in Huntsville, Ontario.
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Foreign influence in Canada – https://www.canada.ca/en/security-intelligence-service/corporate/espionage-and-foreign-influence.html
Big money behind anti-oil sands movement – https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/kathryn-marshall/anti-oil-sands-funding_b_1121071.html
Greenpeace vs Conservatives and Liberals – https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2018/05/17/Oil-Industry-Canada-Deep-State/
350.org is a large international climate action group based in the USA –https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/350.org
Climate action groups organize protests in Canadian cities – https://riseforclimate.org/canada/