Monday, August 13, 2012

Taking the Fight to Them

It's time to do what they fear most - connect the dots.   That means linking bitumen trafficking to the plight being inflicted on the poorest and most vulnerable peoples on Earth due to global warming.  It's a link that is irrefutable.

We know that the climate change the world is now enduring is anthropogenic, man-made.   We know that the rapidly changing climate results from warming of the atmosphere, global warming, through burning fossil fuels which generates atmospheric carbon dioxide, a powerful greenhouse gas.

We know that all fossil fuels are not created equal.   Some, such as natural gas, are less carbon-intensive than others.   Others, such as coal and bitumen, are highly carbon intensive and, as such, contribute proportionately far more to anthropogenic global warming.

We know that talk of carbon capture and sequestration remains, after decades of rambling, just that - talk, empty promises.   We know that, despite industry's abject failure to deliver on its carbon capture promise, the federal and Alberta governments are determined to facilitate the rapid and massive expansion of production and export of Athabasca bitumen, one of the world's very worst carbon-intensive fossil fuels.

We know that around the world the poor and vulnerable are being beset by climate change impacts, particularly floods and drought, that bring famine, pestilence, armed conflict, displacement and, to some, death.   And we know this is just beginning.   This is suffering of a degree and on a scale we cannot imagine.

We know that already known fossil fuel reserves exceed the amount remaining that can perhaps be safely burned by a factor of five to one.   In other words, if our civilization is to survive this century - our children, grandchildren and greatgrandchildren, eighty per cent of those fossil fuel reserves will have to be left in the ground.   This utterly discredits anyone promoting the exploitation and consumption of the worst, most carbon intensive fossil fuels.   The planet has more than adequate stocks of relatively clean, conventional fossil fuels.   There is no moral case for exploiting high-carbon intensive unconventional fossil fuels.

We know that the fossil fuel industry behaves as any other corporate entity.  It serves the interests of its investors and shareholders.   It does not serve those interests by voluntarily incurring expenses that are not mandated.   Hence, until carbon capture is mandated and industry is compelled to act, it will not act.  The promise of carbon capture, advanced by industry and our governments, is a shameless hoax.

We must accept that all of this knowledge supports certain, unavoidable conclusions.   Those who promote, enable, extract, produce and transport the most carbon-intensive, filthy fossil fuels are directly responsible for the disproportionate losses and suffering these unconventional fuels create even in distant corners of the world.    It is an immoral trade from which the riches we reap are paid for by those already impoverished and imperilled elsewhere.

Afghan heroin trafficking or Colombian cocaine trafficking inflicts social and economic devastation elsewhere.   It ruins families and destroys lives and we properly condemn it.   Canadian bitumen trafficking also ruins families and destroys lives elsewhere yet we pretend not to notice even as we move to massively ramp up production and export.

To date most opposition to Tar Sands exploitation has been focused on local outcomes - tailing ponds, destruction of the boreal forest, pipeline spills, tanker catastrophes - with scant attention to what Canada is doing to the rest of the world.   It's time that changed and time that the bitumen boosters in Ottawa, Alberta and elsewhere by tied tightly to the suffering they are causing and intend to continue to inflict.   They have to be held accountable.


Anonymous said...

"That means linking bitumen trafficking to the plight being inflicted on the poorest and most vulnerable peoples on Earth ..."

Bitumen trafficking, I love it! That's a great term. I hope you greenie socialists use that term as much as you can, I can't wait to hear the MSM start using it too. With alarmists like you out there, inventing terms like bitumen trafficking, it makes my life as a denier sooo much easier. Lol!

Wow, keep up the great work!



The Mound of Sound said...

Hi Klem:

Must be a bitch feeling the walls closing in on your denialist arguments. Day by day you're looking increasingly foolish, discredited. Pretty soon you'll be entirely irrelevant. Oh wait, you already are.

Anyong said...

While bitumen is not environmentally friendly to the earth and animals and we are included in that, neither is coal. We ought to be hitting as hard on coal trafficing as well. For example: Electricity from coal: time to turn the page on Canada’s dirtiest source of power; Coal Smoke Adds to Band's Cancer Alarm:
A Campbell River area mill has been granted permission to continue to burn coal, outraging leaders of nearby First Nations band worried about high cancer rates among their people. Power Struggle Over BC's First Coal-Fired Plant....Brad Hope believes his plan to leave his picturesque Similkameen Valley ranch to his grandchildren has been soiled by B.C. Hydro's plan to erect the province's first coal-energy generation plant near his this still going ahead? Last but not least is:
B.C. coal exports coming under scrutiny for contributing to greenhouse gases
By Larry Pynn, Vancouver Sun February 20, 2012 The farse is most of B.C.'s coal is going to China. Do people really think the pollution from it doesn't reach us?
And this one....Coal burning power plants produce more radiation than nuclear power plants
This is actually more than a year old, but it was news to me:

Over the past few decades, however, a series of studies has called these stereotypes into question. Among the surprising conclusions: the waste produced by coal plants is actually more radioactive than that generated by their nuclear counterparts. In fact, the fly ash emitted by a power plant—a by-product from burning coal for electricity—carries into the surrounding environment 100 times more radiation than a nuclear power plant producing the same amount of energy. This comment is in no way trying to reduce the effect of dil-bit.

The Mound of Sound said...

No question that coal, like bitumen, needs to be left in the ground. You're right about the radioactive aspects of coal burning but you seem to have overlooked the even greater mercury problem.

There's a growing movement in B.C. to block coal exports. At the moment, however, it has not garnered the public attention as bitumen, probably because of the pipeline/supertanker aspects.

If we see a break on coal production exports it may eventually come from Australia. They're far bigger on coal than Canada and export most of theirs to Asia.

Anyong said...

Because Australia is bigger on coal than Canada doesn't make it right. Why is it Canadians always turn to some other country as if things don't need to change since Canada is better by far than the rest are. What does comparision have to do with dealing with a problem inside our own country? That is perhaps an answer to climate deniers. After returning to Canada after many years away, a woman in Victoria asked if I had seen many changes since leaving. My reply was yes. People are not as happy as they used to be and they are making less money and working much more now then when I left. Her reply was mind boggling. Well people work three jobs here just to enjoy life here and it is much better than the US. Working three jobs enables people to enjoy life on Vancouver Island?? And, what does the US have to do with making life better in Canada? And yes...mercury is a huge problem. Its use in light bulbs, amalgam tooth fillings, refining of gold, and the batteries in electric cars just to name a few.

The Mound of Sound said...

I certainly never suggested that what Australia does excuses what happens in Canada. That came straight out of your mind. What I said was that Australia, which is an even heavier coal producer, is heading toward action on coal that may offer a lead to others.

You should really look into the mercury-coal issue. It may be the single most devastating aspect of coal burning.

Anonymous said...

" certainly never suggested that what Australia does excuses what happens in Canada."

I disagree Mound of Sound, that is precisely what you suggested. And when Gillard gets her sorry butt kicked out of office, your so called 'action on coal' will be a little more than a distant memory.


The Mound of Sound said...

@Anon 7:07 - I have your point. You may be entirely right. Gillard may pay the ultimate political price for this.

Anonymous said...

Why would they government to pretend to care if they inflict suffering on people in other countries by way of ramping up tar sands extraction? They don't give a damn about the people they send the asbestos too. And Harper can't wait to get his f35's to drop bombs on people.

Anyong said...

That is exactly what you said.