Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Another Body Blow for Athabasca, Jason Kenney, and Pipeline Boy

The world's financial giants can smell a bad bet. They know when the smell turns bad the smart move is to get out - fast. From The New York Times:

Some of the world’s largest financial institutions have stopped putting their money behind oil production in the Canadian province of Alberta, home to one of the world’s most extensive, and also dirtiest, oil reserves. 
In December, the insurance giant The Hartford said it would stop insuring or investing in oil production in the province, just weeks after Sweden’s central bank said it would stop holding Alberta’s bonds. And on Wednesday BlackRock, the worlds largest asset manager, said that one of its fast-growing green-oriented funds would stop investing in companies that get revenue from the Alberta oil sands
They are the latest in a flood of banks, pension funds and global investment houses starting to pull away from fossil-fuel investments amid growing pressure to show they are doing something to fight climate change. 
“If you look at how destructive oil sands can be, there’s a very strong rationale,” Armando Senra, head of BlackRock’s iShares Americas funds, said in an interview, saying that Alberta’s oil fields, along with coal, are “the worst offenders, if you want, from a climate perspective.
Jason Kenney has lashed back, saying that if the financial giants boycott bitumen, why he'll just boycott them right back. Apparently nobody much cares about Jason's threats. The silly bugger's broke. They're not.
The oil sands have long been a target of environmentalists’ ire. But in 2017, the campaign against them shifted to the world of finance. That summer, the largest pension fund in Sweden, AP7, said it had divested from TransCanada, the company building Keystone XL, a pipeline to carry crude from the oil sands to the United States.

Other international lenders followed, announcing they would divest not only from pipelines but from oil-sands extraction projects as well. They include BNP Paribas Group and Société Générale of France, and Norway’s sovereign wealth fund.
It wasn’t just financing that suddenly seemed at risk. Some of the world’s largest insurance companies, including AXA, Swiss RE and Zurich Insurance, announced they would stop providing coverage to projects in the oil sands, which are sometimes referred to as tar sands, as well as no longer investing money in those projects. 
In December, the American insurer The Hartford said it would no longer insure or invest in companies that get more than a quarter of their revenue from oil sands or thermal coal mining. “We selected coal and tar sands because they have been identified as leading contributors to carbon emissions,” said David Robinson, the company’s general counsel.
Does that mean bitumen really isn't "just oil"?  But wait, it's "ethical" oil. Ezra Levant says so.

But what about Jason's massive tailing ponds? If Athabasca goes down who is going to pay for the cleanup? The same people who'll wind up paying for it even if Athabasca doesn't go down - taxpayers. Justin hasn't got that kind of money. Jason doesn't have that kind of money.  In case you're wondering, as of right now the total volume of those toxic tailings is 1.54 trillion litres.


e.a.f. said...

Is Jason that desperate or just that stupid. If the major investment organizations, banks and insurance companies are leaving the industry, why is he stamping his feet? who is going to pay attention? what does he hope to gain? why isn't Jason trying to diversify the Alberta economy? With all the empty office towers and lower cost of housing you'd think he'd be demanding these companies move their offices to Calgary. its a reasonable demand, given they want to be "ethical". ''

there are only 5 million or so people in Alberta. Politically they aren't as important as Ontario and Quebec. why does the man keeping cutting off his nose to spit some one else, who doesn't care.

Living in Nanaimo, the increase in Alberta vehicles is amazing.

If Jason were a tad smarter and not so careless with taxpayers' money he'd start projects to clean up the "orphaned" wells in Alberta. It might give the economy a bit of jump and circulate money. Tax breaks aren't going to create jobs. It simply defunds government. Now god forbid this is written, but if Jason implemented even a 2% sales tax it could be used to clean up "orphaned wells" AND Provide some relief for communities which no longer receive property taxes from oil companies.

Alberta needs to re think their economy and about the only politician who is doing that outside of the NDP is the Mayor of Calgary. He was in Vancouver this week drumming up business. hell, they ought to invite Amazon or some other IT corporations. Alberta has an educated work force, they could be doing much better.

rumleyfips said...

Just the other day I saw someone elsewhere comment that Alberta has the most diverse economy in Canada . Jason's hysterics seem to put the lie to that .

The cons in Alberta seem happy to destroy their economy to prove the lie that oily sludge rules . Bon chance boys.

Anonymous said...

Kenney shows a remarkable lack of imagination or inspiration in everything but getting himself personally into a comfy position. There he was as craftily ruthless as they come. His solution for Alberta's woes and huge and gowing unemployment is to double down on bitumen from tarsands production. "Teck .. squawk .. pipelines... squawk, complain .. squawk .. Trudeau hates us .. moan.. " ad infinitum. And that's all she wrote - that's the Plan. Advanced, what?

Buttressing Alberta's tech sector? "What's tech it's not oil" is about the limit of the vision of the social regressive king of the Western Prairie. Oh, sorry, I forgot about giving corporations $4.7 billion in tax cuts to trickle down the gutter or remediate wells, definitely not for deposit in offshore tax havens, that's right out; the second policy is cutting pay and employment for dastardly provincial civil servants living high off the hog ha ha, just because he's a spiteful little brute and can.

All these huge companies and pension funds rejecting further investment in Alberta just seems to make kenney even more rigid in his outlook. Cue the War Room to combat the world. He is incapable of reading the writing on the wall. Sadly, it seems to me, the general Alberta population is about as dim. Thus the rest of us must all bear the continuing frothy scathing criticism from kenney for the foreseaable future, and by a triumvirate of whining, complaining and claims of unfairness, be expected to compensate a province for its former spendthrift ways now that it's down on its luck. Brother can you spare a dime is a bit gauche for that lot.

Who knows, maybe the majority who voted the dope in to be a paranoid dickhead with his War Room and snarls against outrageous fortune, will wake up some day. I'm not holding my breath. Entitlement is a deep feeling to erase.


The Disaffected Lib said...

e.a.f., I too have noticed an unusual number of Alberta vehicles on our roads lately. Some, I assume, are British Columbians who went to Alberta for work when energy prices were buoyant.

Several years ago Nikiforuk wrote a book exploring the commonalities in petro-states whether in the Middle East, Africa or the Americas. The similarities are chilling. Petro-states tend to see a merger of the political and private sectors, what we sometimes call the "oil patch" in Canada.

Rather than following Lougheed's warnings, our political caste lost control as they allowed the energy giants too much say. Akin to what was said of the Rothchilds and the Bank of England. If you owe the Bank of England a hundred pounds, it owns you. If you owe the Bank of England a million pounds, you own the Bank.

Alberta has been run by profligate wastrels aided by a public who came to believe they could be exempt from provincial taxes in perpetuity. They've gone through a succession of boom and bust cycles and still don't get it. Jim Prentice knew Alberta needed a stable tax base but Notley bumped him off.

The Disaffected Lib said...

Rumley, if their economy was diverse why do they keep falling on hard times?

The Disaffected Lib said...

BM, these transitions are never easy. Alberta is saddled with a resource that is becoming a market pariah. Royalties are minimal. The costs of environmental degradation are astronomical. They have to cook the books to make it seem viable.

They're riding the tiger and dare not step off. What have they got to fall back on but to blame everyone else for their woes.