Friday, November 02, 2018
Alberta Caught Red-Handed
Alberta would have a somewhat stronger case for bitumen pipelines and experts if it wasn't for the government of Alberta, Conservative and NDP.
First of all, they're wastrels. For all the vaunted riches the province has enjoyed during successive oil booms, they always wind up broke, hence the oft-seen bumper sticker, "Dear God, give us another oil boom and we promise this time not to piss it all away." And then they go ahead and piss it all away and, like a drunk with an empty bottle, they can get pretty surly about it.
Then there's the provincial governments' habit of telling the people of Alberta tall tales about abandoned wells, tailing ponds, environmental devastation and they've now been caught red-handed having misled Albertans about the potential costs of cleaning up Big Energy's mess.
Now, the government says this is a worst-case scenario. That is an extreme longshot. Only it's not. There exists something called a "Carbon Bubble." We know the existing proven reserves of fossil energy. We know if we're to have even a glimmer of a hope of avoiding runaway global warming and a 6th mass extinction that we can still burn just a fraction of these existing reserves. We know that not all fossil fuels are equally harmful. Some, such as thermal coal and bitumen, are the worst, highest-carbon fuels.
When the Carbon Bubble bursts, as it eventually must, high carbon fuels will be at a disadvantage. There are abundant reserves of lower carbon, sweet crude oil, given the limited amount that we can burn unless, of course, we decide to immolate our children's future.
Energy companies have a history of walking away from their liabilities when the wells stop producing. Alberta is littered with orphan wells. What will Big Fossil do when it comes time to clean up those tailing ponds?
Justin Trudeau infamously said that, "no country would find 173 billion barrels of oil in the ground and just leave them there." He could have gotten away with that argument back in the 80s but it's utter sophistry now as we're perched on the edge of a horrible abyss.