Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Nikiforuk Eviscerates Jim Horgan and Has Justin's Guts for Garters.

He's hands down the best journalist in Canada when it comes to fossil fuels. He's The Tyee's petro-scribe. And, as far as Andrew Nikiforuk is concerned, British Columbia's new NDP premier, Jim Horgan, is an environmental failure.

The astoundingly stupid approval of Site C, an over-budget mega-project with no demonstrable need and plenty of cheaper alternatives, marks a black day for B.C.’s NDP government.

The party that promised to deliver fiscal prudence and accountability instead bowed to special interests and insider views.

New Democrats swore to observe First Nation rights but now have trod on them.

They talked about leadership with courage but embraced cowardice.

Thanks to deceitful practices and the blocking of regulatory oversight, the previous Liberal government committed taxpayers’ money to a bad project with severe geo-technical problems.

So, Horgan said, we now must dig the financial hole even bigger and deeper.

That’s the approach of a drunk gambler at the casino for the damned.


The research on mega-dams, which the Horgan government ignored as stubbornly as Christy Clark, tells a truly human story about economic folly.

Researchers from Oxford University described mega-dams as “big bets gone awry.” The economic evidence shows that engineers “severely and systematically” underestimate the actual costs and schedules of large hydro-power dams, they found.


The Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has set out climate plans in the Mid-Century Long-Term Low-Greenhouse Gas Development Strategy.

The little-read document boasts that the nation can reduce carbon emissions and meet Paris Agreement greenhouse gas targets by generating massive amounts of hydro power, which the document falsely describes as “emission free.”

It describes Canada as “the second largest producer of hydropower after China” and adds that the country now “has the opportunity to increase its clean electricity exports.”

The report says more than10 gigawatts of hydro capacity have been proposed or planned in Canada, tapping the Churchill, Nelson, Slave, Athabasca and Peace river systems — the equivalent of more than nine Site C dams.

But to fully “electrify” a “decarbonized” and “innovative” economy, the country would have to build the equivalent of 100 to 130 dams the size of Site C or Muskrat Falls over the next 32 years.

David Schindler, a professor emeritus at the University of Alberta and internationally celebrated water ecologist, has described the government strategy document as a fraud.

For starters, the necessary hydro capacity cannot be built over 32 years to meet the Paris Agreement commitments. (It takes, on average, about eight years to build a dam.)

Schindler adds that the document assumes erroneously that hydroelectric dam building produces no greenhouse gases.

“When the emissions from building, producing and transporting construction materials, clearing forests, and moving earth are added to emissions from flooded land, the GHG production from hydro is expected to be only slightly less than from burning natural gas,” he writes.

The catastrophic plan also ignores other bad impacts of dams, including elevated mercury in fish, blocked fish passage, destruction of fish habitat and downstream effects on river delta ecosystems.

Last but not least, the northern dam building proposed by the strategy “would violate the treaty rights of many First Nations by damaging the ecosystems upon which their livelihood depends.”

Justin Trudeau, a fraud? Oh, say it ain't so. Only it is. If there's one thing that Slick has shown us it's never to take his promises at face value. He's no Donald Trump but Trump lies about even frivolous things. When Trudeau lies, it's pretty much focused on serious things - social licence, First Nations consultation, cleaning up the corrupt National Energy Board, that sort of thing. Oh yeah and that nonsense about bitumen trafficking being the key to Canada's green future. The nice thing about Justin is that, when he reneges on his solemn promises and has to admit he's lied, he apologizes. He's awfully good at apologizing.


JasonS said...

My prediction for the next election. Site C massively over budget Smyth Baldry and Palmer pound the airwaves with news on how the Horgan NDP took an on time and on budget project and totally screw it up and the brain dead Cons who support the Neo-Liberal Party of BC by rote go apeshit. The NDP lose terribly and are never heard from again . Whatever happens with this HUGE white elephant is now laid upon the NDP by the bought and paid for media. Whoever is advising Horgan should be punched in the nuts.

Hugh said...

BC Hydro now produces about 12,000 megawatts from its existing hydro plants. That's a lot of electricity.

How about we maintain our reliance on electricity to stay within that limit? Rather than having the already debt-burdened public utility BC Hydro go even deeper in debt.

The Mound of Sound said...

I can't argue with any of that, Jason. Christy's Folly is now Horgan's. He owns it now and the "Liberals" will use it to crucify him. I didn't vote for him but I truly wanted to like the guy and I wished him well. Thanks to the Greens we sent Christy packing but now we're saddled with Premier Milquetoast.

The Mound of Sound said...

Hugh, good suggestion. Now see if you can sell it to Horgan. Somehow I don't think he's in listening mode at the moment.

the salamander said...

Horgan's Hoax ..

I'm reminded of the Commission that was set up to examine Wild Salmon.. The finding were obvious, concrete, umdeniable.. and the comprehensive action plan steps required very very doable. What happened ? Essentially nothing aside from more fish farm licences for Norwegian owned infecting fish farms plunked in the path of migrating salmon fry etc. Commercial wild salmon fishing ground to a halt this year.. overall costs to British Columbia whether economic, social ? Probably cannot be calculated. How did that work out for the East Coast commercial fisheries..? Still dead in the water.

So we can now look at another huge scale boondoggle with different decision process & similar farcical ending

Site C & Christy Clark Memorial Lake is really all about electricity for fracking northeast BC, all of Alberta & any energy or mineral source infrastructure related to extracting and exporting what lies under the soil, forests & inland waters. There sure won't be suburbs up there totalling 425,000 homes, with schools, fast food joints, hospitals etc

The Mound of Sound said...

Well, Sal, you definitely have it figured out. That's the sad reality of the Horgan Dam. Might as well start calling it by its rightful name. Christy Clark must be soiling her dainties.

Clarke said...

Why on earth would Horgan do this? There seems to be no upside.

The Mound of Sound said...

Clarke the only plausible explanation I've come across is that Horgan was pressured by the construction unions looking to work on the dam. Weaver objected but, with the BC Libs backing the dam, Horgan was never short of political support. The Liberals will support him and then club him over the head in the next election.

I kind of liked Horgan but I never thought he was very bright.

Anonymous said...

@ sal "There sure won't be suburbs up there totalling 425,000 homes, with schools, fast food joints, hospitals etc"
There WILL BE - in 20-50 years when climate refuge from Canada, U.S.A. and the World will arrive.

Nikiforuk just spews politically correct vomit: “would violate the treaty rights of many First Nations by damaging the ecosystems upon which their livelihood depends.”
One cannot have a hunter gatherer subclass in the modern society.
The society cannot go back 10,000 years. Apparently, Natives want extremely low intensity economy while clamoring for hospitals, schools and infrastructure. The sooner they realize that travel back in time is not possible, the better. Better for them, mostly.

Anonymous said...

Anyong....it will take nothing but out and out marching on the Legislature for the next year from morning to night. What B.C.er is willing to do that?

Trailblazer said...

Is there any chance that he NDP can renege on it's obligations to the run of rivers agreement?
It could offset some of the environmental damage and the financial obligation of the taxpayers?


Troy said...

Er, Anon@3:06. Northern First Nations are hardly advocating a return to hunting-gathering. There's a thing called reality which you don't seem to have any grasp of.
What Northern First Nations are advocating though is prudence. There's no need for the Site C dam. It's going to negatively effect livelihoods such as farming, ranching, adventure tourism, and logging, not to mention the costs of relocation. It'll be an albatross, and a stranded asset a decade after its completion, since the three dams already built in BC (Mica, Revelstoke, and Duncan) already cover BC's current and future energy needs (for decades, considering Mica was built with extra capacity in mind).
What the BC NDP have fallen into is something called the "sunk-cost fallacy": "Oh, we've already spent $3 billion on it. We might as well complete it, since we've already spent so much!" It's a foolish endeavor. Eg: Brazilian Olympic village, Chinese ghost cities, F-35, and ect. BC won't have need for the Site C dam for at least fifty years, but the long-term outlook in terms of climate change should actually subvert that, considering there is going to be a likely population reduction rather than increase prior to the century's end.
Another thing: the report suggested the cost of the Site C dam was off by about $14 billion. It will cost $24 billion prior to its completion. However, even that amount seems overly-optimistic. That's probably the conservative estimate.

Another thing, more important to any other thing, is how vital First Nations support/opposition is to Site C. All First Nations have to do is delay the Site C project, by any means necessary whether through court or direct action, for one year. That would skyrocket the costs exponentially: $24 billion becomes $36 billion and so one and so forth.
BC will have to boney up a hell of a lot of cash to placate First Nations in the region.

The Mound of Sound said...

Well done, Troy. It's embarrassing but it does seem that, once again, the rest of us will have to depend on First Nations to derail this madness. It must feel odd to suddenly be so appreciated for so much. It's good to know who can and cannot be trusted.

Anonymous said...

Population reduction in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Philippines, Africa, & Canada or U.S.A.?
Are you going to allow other human beings to starve, bake or drown?
B.C. might not need that power now but Alberta could.
Albertans are Canadians too, even when many of them are rednecks.
Regarding cost overruns, just bring cops and forensic accountants.
And I saved the tasty plum of "adventure tourism" for a dessert of extremely low intensity economy.
Have a Merry Christmas anyway!

Troy said...

Anon@3:58, never count your chickens before they hatch. Alberta doesn't need BC's energy. With the recent improvements in current technologies, Alberta would better off creating their own projects.

Eg: 'Alberta chooses 3 companies to build 4 wind power projects in auction': http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/renewable-energy-program-electricity-alberta-bidders-contracts-1.4446746


Mound, here's something from DeSmogBlog: 'NDP Government’s Site C Math a Flunk, Say Project Financing Experts': https://www.desmog.ca/2017/12/15/ndp-government-s-site-c-math-flunk-say-project-financing-experts

Some choice quotes:

"Swain said Site C’s sunk costs could be paid off over 30 years “without any heavy breathing at all.”"

Finn: "BC Hydro has already borrowed the money and is paying interest on it so cancelling Site C will not make any difference."

McCullough: "Even assuming that $1.8 billion in reclamation costs is factored into the equation, cancelling Site C will result in a 4.9 per cent hydro rate hike starting in 2024. But that compares very favourably to the 12.4 per cent rate hike that will hit hydro customers that same year if Site C continues."

It just gets worse and worse the more that's studied about it.