Monday, July 23, 2012

Talking to Ottawa a Waste of Breath

Canadian environmental leaders are shifting their focus away from Ottawa and the Petro-Parliament and instead toward provincial premiers.

Greenpeace is also placing its hopes in the premiers, saying Ottawa is working hand in hand with oil companies to aggressively expand oilsands activity and build pipelines that would only make sense in a world that takes no action on climate change.

“If the premiers go along with Harper’s plan, then Canada will miss out on the green energy revolution that is our best hope for a prosperous future,” said Keith Stewart, the climate campaign co-ordinator for Greenpeace Canada and the author of the report.

Using documents obtained through access-to-information, Stewart argues that Shell Canada and Prime Minister Stephen Harper have worked together to campaign against rules in California and Europe that could hamper the marketing of the oilsands.

The accusation that Harper's efforts betray an intention to take no action on climate change is borne out by recent studies that find the world can use (burn) only about 20% of known fossil fuel reserves if we are to avoid catastrophic global warming.

In January, a panel of prominent British financiers, scientists and politicians informed the Governor of the Bank of England that fossil fuel reserves carried on the books of  Big Oil were effectively sub-prime and creating a potentially disastrous petroleum bubble on the London Stock Exchange.

If existing reserves, most of them of conventional, relatively clean crude oil, are in great surplus that can mean only one thing for the filthiest fossil fuel of them all, Athabasca bitumen.  It's unnecessary and economically unjustifiable except in "a world that takes no action on climate change."   That's what Steve Harper is counting on.   That's the sort of world he wants to craft.

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