the regina mom has many links open in her browser window right now so this post could get long. Each relates to the Northern Gateway pipeline. The story, obviously, has legs and is running hard. There’s this bit about the HarperCons determining that there are two types in Canada, those who are allies and those who are threats. CBC covers the story, as well, going more in depth about the HarperCon strategy to make the tarsands look good to Europeans:
The strategy plan contains a chart where it lists its targets, influencers, allies and adversaries. First Nations are characterized as influencers, along with energy companies, academics and think tanks, and media and government.
Environment Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Indian and Northern Affairs and the Privy Council Office, CAPP, and energy industry associations are all listed as allies while European NGOs, media and competing industries are listed as “adversaries.”
Environmental NGOs and aboriginal groups are identified as Canadian adversaries.
It appears the HarperCons have decided that some organizations are threats. In an Affadavit, former ForestEthics employee Andrew Frank describes what he learned about the Prime Minister’s Office threat to cut funding for their funder, Tides Canada, because of ForestEthic’s work around the proposed pipeline project. The co-founder of ForestEthics has corroborated Frank’s story and a campaign to get to the truth of the matter, Canadians Want the Truth, and We’re Going To Get It, has begun on the popular “Causes” site. Please join it.
The revelation by Frank is simply confirmation that Harper’s bullying tactics continue. As this Globe & Mail headline says, the “Environmentalist’s departure sheds light on tension felt by green groups.”
The departure of Mr. Frank reflects the fear that has been created among environmental groups nervous about federal scrutiny of their practices.
One of the groups that has received the most attention is Tides Canada, a wide-reaching foundation that supports nearly 40 organizations, including ForestEthics, an environmental organization with roots in the mid-1990s fight against clear-cut logging.
John Bennet, Executive Director of Sierra Club Canada, says it’s “a scary time for Canadian democracy”
Bennett says it calls Canada’s whole history of public debate into question—before now, he says citizens could expect the government to listen to the opposing views on a subject before making a decision.
“Instead, what we have is a government that makes ideological decisions and then goes out and attempts to stifle public debate. So this is a scary time for Canadian democracy,” said Bennett.
His fear is that the HarperCons are trying to create a justification for shutting down the National Energy Board hearings and ram through the pipeline. It’s a realistic concern.
But the hearings are built to fail. The National Energy Board (NEB), the federal body tasked with overseeing the Enbridge hearing, issued a general directive one year ago designed to exclude input from prominent environmental groups critical of the astonishingly rapid expansion of the tar sands – an expansion that only stands to increase with the proposed pipeline.
According to the NEB, information regarding the cumulative environmental impacts of the tar sands – including climate change impacts – is irrelevant to the hearing, which is intended to consider information regarding the pipeline alone.
And that’s just plain stupid! The tarsands are directly tied to the pipeline project. The Northern Gateway Pipeline proposal wouldn’t exist otherwise. Even Enbridge says so! Oh, go read the deSmog blog post in its entirety!
The economics of the project is also under question because it not only jeopardizes the environment with continued tarsands expansion but also the future of Canada’s energy security. (trm previously made mention of the report, The Northern Gateway Pipeline: An Affront to the Public Interest and Long Term Energy Security of Canadians by David Hughes.) It is worth looking at this piece, too.
Hughes argues that such unprecedented growth is impossible given the enormous social and environmental impacts already evident from a decade of oilsands expansion.
In the event that such a high rate of expansion is achieved, it will mean that Canada will export billions of barrels of it highest quality bitumen to Asia at a time when we are running out of conventional oil, he says in his report on the pipeline.
Huge tankers filled with bitumen, an extremely corrosive substance will navigate a dangerous body of water, the Hecate Strait. Hecate was the goddess of the underworld, of death, and the strait is named for her. Do you think it might be named that for a reason? So, the tankers issue is a big one for those along the BC coastline, and it should be for us all. One spill and pfft! We will a mess that will never be entirely cleaned up. Take a look at this. Then go here and sign the petition. As many have already stated, a spill is a mathematical certainty. Read this.
1. A rupture of the Enbridge is inevitable. We must stop calling these ruptures “risks” — they are mathematical certainties. The consequences will be calamitous.
2. A tanker catastrophe is also a certainty and the consequences unthinkable.
3. There is no way these “accidents” can be effectively managed.
And the economics of expanding the tarsands just don’t make sense when the real costs of carbon expansion are added in. How can we ignore the environmental costs when we know a spill will happen, when mathematics tells us one will happen? And then there’s the carbon costs, to boot!
The proposed Enbridge pipeline across B.C. would open the door for more than a billion additional tonnes of carbon to be pulled out of the tar sands and vaporized into our climate system. Whether this carbon is vaporized from a pipeline accident […] or when burned later in China, the resulting climate pollution would be the same.
Estimates of the economic damages caused by this climate pollution range from tens of billions to hundreds of billions of dollars.
Every tonne of CO2 that humans spill into the atmosphere further destabilizes our climate and acidifies our oceans. These changes cost human society, both now and into the future. Economists call the economic damages from these changes the Social Cost of Carbon (SCC).
A recent survey published by the Canadian think tank Sustainable Prosperity looked at over two hundred estimates of the Social Cost of Carbon by economists worldwide. The middle third of estimates ranged from $6 to $27 in economic damages per tonne of CO2. The mathematical mean was $42 per tonne. Ten percent of these estimates topped $95 per tonne. Environment Canada estimated $27 a few years ago. The UK government’s famous Stern Review on climate change used $25. This is similar to the current BC Carbon Tax rate of $25 that Gordon Campbell’s government legislated for BC residents and businesses. (Note: all monetary values in this article are in 2011 dollars).
Applying these values to the 8.5 billion barrels of tar sands that the proposed Enbridge “Northern Gateway Pipeline to our Atmosphere” could pump out, yields economic damages ranging from $28 billion to over $400 billion.
All this is to say that we need the world to stand up to Stephen Harper. We need the world to Boycott Canada.