Wednesday, June 19, 2019

A 'Little' Perspective, Please

One of the great lies hatched by the Oil Patch and gleefully adopted by the Tories and now the Trudeau Liberals is that, when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, Canada is just too small to matter. We don't make a difference. Sort of like 'no harm, no foul.'

Small we are. Barely one half of one percent of the global population - 0.5 % small. That, however, is a ruse.

When it comes to greenhouse gas emissions we're huge. Teensy little Canada is in the Top Ten for total greenhouse gas emissions. On a per capita basis, we're in the Top Three. And, with the new production, those numbers are bound to worsen. Why, we could be the Poster Boy for high carbon emissions. Little Canada punching way above our weight.

And, when Justin Trudeau gets that new, expanded pipeline through to the BC coast we're set to move way up the ranks. This time it will be the top countries for oil and gas production. This isn't about proven carbon fuel reserves. This is about production.

Canada is currently just a smidge behind Iran and China but the extra production that the Justin Trudeau Memorial Pipeline will facilitate will easily put us in the Top Four overall behind the United States, Russia and Saudi Arabia.

Justin Trudeau is going to fulfill Stephen Harper's dream of transforming Canada into an "energy superpower." And we're doing it with the highest-carbon, highest-cost, lowest-value variety of ersatz petroleum - bitumen. Real climate-wrecking sludge. And we'll achieve those laurels at the very moment that Earth is tipping into a climate catastrophe.

We do punch above our weight but we punch awfully low and that means it's back to Canada being a "climate pariah."

The good news is that climate activists are mobilizing, moving to undermine and block the petro-state and the carbon economy. Your government may be consigning your grandkids to the climate trash heap but you can fight back.

As veteran environmental lawyer, Farhana Yamin, put it last week, "normal politics has failed us. It has brought the whole planet to the brink of ecological disaster."

Yamin urges widespread resort to civil disobedience. We have to create a new political reality and time is not on our side.

Maybe you don't see civil disobedience as a viable option for yourself, not just yet anyway. The idea of possibly being arrested and slammed up is more than you can stomach. Well there's an easier way to show the Liberals and the Tories that we're not having this. Don't vote for the bastards this October. Vote Green. Trust me, I know, you'll feel better for it.


Purple library guy said...

I'll probably do a bit of the ol' civil disobedience, but in today's context it's not the jail time that bothers me. These days it seems they've realized people are willing to live with that, and that bastard judge in BC started slapping on humongous fines as well. That does scare me. I can't afford thousands of dollars.

thwap said...

Once other progressives come up with a serious plan about the transformation of our politics, I might put my skull on the line.

I spent years trying to get people to get past descriptions of the problem to proposing solutions to the problem. And to go beyond token protests and useless petitions.

I wouldn't do this personally, but I thought this guy had a good grasp of the severity of the crisis. Alas! Too many others thought he was insane.

thwap said...

Oh. Sorry. I also meant to praise George Monbiot's genuine effort at proposing workable solutions that were up to the enormity of the situation in his book "Heat."

From 2006! Gawd help us all.

The Mound of Sound said...

Thwap, I have Monbiot's "Heat" in hardcover no less. I just located it on my bookcase, hidden under Marie Kondo's "The life changing magic of tidying up." Hmm. Maybe there's a message in that.

I'll give Heat another go. Thanks.

Purple library guy said...

Well, thwap, I wouldn't be too surprised if we started seeing more like that guy. I mean, if the cause is important, and the powers that be in their infinite wisdom push the costs of civil disobedience through the roof, the remaining option is uncivil disobedience.

The Mound of Sound said...

PLG - the sense I have from local Extinction Rebellion chapters is that they're looking to go the mass demonstration/obstruction route first.

For most of my life I saw Canada as a force for good. Maybe we never were but there's no doubt that we're not any longer.

Lorne said...

That Trudeau is trying to tout this twinning as a way to accrue profits that will be directed toward "cleaner energy" is one of the most cynical political exercises I have seen in a long time. I hope not too many Canadians swallow the swill he is peddling, Mound.

The Mound of Sound said...

Hi Lorne.

Oh yeah, the pipeline, when it's built and fully operational, will give the feds huge revenues to invest in clean energy. Meanwhile, we're down to 11 years to slash GHG emissions 50% if we want a decent chance of averting runaway global warming.

Cathy McKenna brings a motion for a climate emergency declaration and then joins Trudeau on the dias the following day for the pipeline announcement.

If Trudeau wants to free up money for mitigation/adaptation he can start by cancelling fossil fuel subsidies. He claims the pipeline will produce revenues of half a billion a year and that will go into clean energy.

The IMF pegs Canada's subsidies, direct and indirect, at $46 billion a year. Trudeau's claims are just more deceitful greenwash.

It seems Trump isn't the only one with a following of Gullibillies.

Purple library guy said...

Even financially it's idiotic. $4.8 billion just to buy the existing pipeline, maybe 10 or 12 billion to build it, or more if there's a lot of overruns. So at least $15 billion all told to get this turkey operational. At half a billion a year (maybe--if that's what they're claiming you just know the real figure will be lower), with zero interest charges on the up-front costs and zero operation and maintenance costs, that would mean a bare minimum of 30 years of operation just to make back the initial investment.
Thirty years of operation, assuming the pipeline is built at lightning speed and begins operation in 2020, takes us to 2050--the year by which everyone is supposed to be at zero carbon production. Now it's likely many places won't be--but how likely is it there will still be enough fossil fuel use for anyone to need the worst, most polluting, highest carbon, and most expensive fossil fuel in existence?

I don't see continued demand for tar sands "oil" for more than 20 years tops, maybe much less. So they're not going to make back their investment, much less put any excess into renewables. They won't even be able to sell it. It's just a subsidy--partly to the Alberta oil patch, mostly to owners of foreign refineries. If they wanted to spend fifteen billion dollars on an investment which could generate revenue which could then be used to build renewables, how about they use it to build wind and/or solar farms? Those would pay off the investment way faster than this turkey of a pipeline, and in the mean while you'd have fifteen billion worth of renewable electricity generation--how much of Canada would that power?!

The Mound of Sound said...

Andrew Nikiforuk writes that pipelines are amortized over 60 years. That's construction, maintenance and operation costs. So you're right, PLG, it doesn't make a bit of sense.

This is political theatre. It's sacrificing the future for the sake of the illusion of prosperity. In my next post I deal with subsidies and deferrals including unfunded liabilities that explain how the IMF can claim we're subsidizing the fossil energy giants to the tune of more than $40 billion every year.