Friday, June 03, 2016

Having Your Cake and Eating It Too -

The federal government (at some point, eventually, maybe) is going to have to climb off its perch and see the mess it's making at the bottom of its birdcage. It so wants to follow the path of neoliberalism taken by every Canadian government going back to Mulroney. The problem is the wheels have fallen off that little red wagon. It's over.

Andrew Nikiforuk, Canada's top journalist on oil and gas policy, has a new piece in The Tyee. His latest offering explores a report on what the federal government's approval of bitumen and LNG pipelines will mean for carbon emissions and the extra burden it will put on every other sector of the Canadian economy.

Even building just one LNG terminal coupled with modest oil sands growth would increase oil and gas emissions from 26 per cent of Canada's total greenhouse gas emissions in 2014 to 45 per cent by 2030.

Under such a scenario, as forecasted by the National Energy Board, the rest of the economy would be forced to contract its emissions by 47 per cent in order to meet promised greenhouse gas reduction targets set by the Paris talks.

The other provinces have been carrying the ball on reducing Canada's greenhouse gas emissions and the federal government has been claiming the credit for it. Think the non-fossil energy sectors will be happy with the burden of  a further 47 per cent cut so that Ottawa, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia can pretend to be fossil energy superpowers?

Here's another story on David Hughes' report from the Edmonton Journal.


David Hughes calculated Alberta’s 100-megatonne cap on annual oilsands greenhouse gas emissions will allow bitumen production to increase by 45 per cent from 2014 levels.

That output can be carried by existing rail and pipeline companies, with space left over to allow for maintenance and outages, concluded Hughes, who said he didn’t take into account possible improvements to emissions technology.

“Notwithstanding the fact that the existing pipeline and rail infrastructure could handle a 45-per-cent growth in bitumen production over 2014 levels … governments and industry are pushing for more export pipelines,” he wrote.

“New pipelines are not needed if the Alberta government’s announced cap on emissions is observed.”

Hughes also warned the latest Environment Canada projections show that under existing energy and climate policies, the country’s emissions will be 55 per cent above targets set by December’s Paris Agreement for 2030.

A National Energy Board report shows Canada won’t meet those goals unless companies outside the oil and gas industry cut greenhouse gases up to 59 per cent from 2014 levels within 16 years, a “near-impossible” feat without severe economic impact, he wrote.


Owen Gray said...

The Clark government won't be happy, Mound. But LNG on your coast would be a disaster -- not just for BC, but for the entire country.

Richard said...

You’re witnessing the death of neoliberalism – from within

Hugh said...

I will try to breath less.

The Mound of Sound said...

I read an analysis Wednesday or Thursday that concluded Trudeau has boxed himself in with inconsistent and irreconcilable promises to three provinces - B.C., Alberta and Quebec. Any one of them but particularly BC and Quebec could cost the liberals any possible hope they would have for ever gaining another majority for decades.

Northern PoV said...

Every day that goes by shows more and more that these unconventional f. fuel projects are white elephants. On a purely ROI basis.

I think the current feds know this. (Likely Harper & co. knew this whenever the fog of denial briefly lifted.)

Politically it is hard to move now. It will get easier as we trend to "zero $ oil" (see today's G&M). I am hoping that they are raging the puck on these projects - delaying them (like Keystone XL) until they can no longer be defended as economically viable (much like Keystone XL).

Time will tell.