Citizen Action Monitor

Building turbines and pipelines compatible? — Do Liberals have any idea what they’re talking about?

Trudeau insists there’s evidence to support economic growth while concurrently reducing harmful emissions.

No 1643 Posted by fw, April 18, 2016

“John Stone, a former climatologist with Environment Canada, and vice-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Working Group II, said that building more pipelines is scientifically incompatible with meeting Canada’s climate change commitments. ‘If you build a pipeline, you’re going to fill it with tar sands that’s going to increase our emissions and that’s not going to allow us to meet our climate change commitments,’ said Stone, in an interview with National Observer. He said it was impossible to burn the fossil fuel reserves currently available and meet the government’s objective of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.”  —National Observer

If Trudeau and his MPs hope to win the public trust with their public pronouncements about real or imagined compatibility between economic development and climate change, they should stop talking gibberish. Ministers Carr and McKenna, for example, should avoid using the word “sustainable” and its variants until they know what it means. They might even follow the advice of US physics prof Tom Murphy, who famously wrote:

“So the big question is: can we transition to a truly sustainable lifestyle for the long haul at an energy level akin to what we enjoy today—or even several times higher? No one knows the answer, and thus a true understanding of ‘sustainable’ remains elusive.”

Incidentally, Murphy’s website – sadly inactive now it seems — is named “Do the Math”. And that’s what the Liberals will have to do – the math – or get someone to do it for them. McKenna talks about a project review process that “respects science and evidence”. Do the math, Minister, if you hope to win public trust.

To read the original piece, click on the following linked title. Or read the repost below with its added subheadings.

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Trudeau attacked from all sides over pipeline stance by Charles Mandel & Mike De Souza, National Observer, April 12, 2016

Trudeau asked government officials to prepare pipeline strategy plans, alleges newspaper report

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government was criticized from all sides on Tuesday in response to a published news report that alleged he had instructed key officials to prepare a strategy to approve major new pipeline projects.

Conservative MPs for oil and gas initiatives; Environmentalists opposed

While opposition Conservative MPs criticized Trudeau in the House of Commons for not doing more to cheerlead for the oil and gas industry, a leading climate change scientist and several environmental groups reacted to the news with disbelief.

Building more pipelines incompatible with meeting climate change goals, says Canadian climatologist

John Stone, a former climatologist with Environment Canada, and vice-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Working Group II, said that building more pipelines is scientifically incompatible with meeting Canada’s climate change commitments.

“If you build a pipeline, you’re going to fill it with tar sands that’s going to increase our emissions and that’s not going to allow us to meet our climate change commitments,” said Stone, in an interview with National Observer.

He said it was impossible to burn the fossil fuel reserves currently available and meet the government’s objective of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Industry woes

Pipelines more important than ever, insists industry advocates

Canadian industry advocates have said that new pipelines are now more important than ever to help them reach new markets and compete with other producers from around the world. They say the needs are particularly pressing for Alberta’s oilsands producers, which face higher costs to extract oil compared to most of their competitors.

Job losses huge in Alberta; bad economic news continues

The industry has been hammered in recent months and some tens of thousands of workers have lost jobs in Alberta since the fall of 2014 when global oil prices began to plummet. The bad economic news continued on Tuesday with Calgary-based Cenovus, a major oilsands producer, announcing that it was eliminating 250 jobs as it completed a wave of layoffs.

New pipelines make little economic sense, say environmentalists

But environmental groups, who have warned about the consequences of rising heat-trapping carbon pollution from the industry, say new pipelines – such as Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion project to British Columbia and TransCanada Corp’s cross-country Energy East project – are not the solution.

“I think ultimately the thing I can’t get my head around is why they think these pipelines make any economic sense,” said Adam Scott, climate and energy program manager for Environmental Defence.

“If you look right now, there’s very little economic case for the construction of these projects.”

Coy and shy

Trudeau insists there’s evidence to support economic growth while concurrently reducing harmful emissions

In the Commons, Conservative MPs attacked Trudeau for not doing more to promote more oil and gas expansion. Trudeau said his government was building for the future by combining both the environment and the economy, while basing decisions on evidence.

We have to get oil to market in a responsible way, says Trudeau without explaining how

“For 10 years, the previous government did everything it could to try and shout those pipelines into being,” Trudeau said, in response to a question from Conservative leader Rona Ambrose. “What that resulted in was delivering no pipelines to tidewater. One of the fundamental responsibilities of any prime minister is to get our resources to market. However, in the 21st century, getting those resources to market means doing it responsibly for communities, for indigenous peoples and for the environment.”

Trudeau’s advisors not to be trusted because they care about the environment, says Conservative MP

Conservative natural resources critic Candice Bergen later suggested that some of Trudeau’s advisors should not be trusted since they have publicly taken strong positions that show they care about the environment.

“The people in Alberta are looking for a government that will proudly stand up for Canadian oil and gas, not act coy and shy when it becomes convenient for it,” Bergen said in the Commons.

Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr responded by stressing the importance of improving market access for producers and slamming the federal Conservatives for suggesting that projects should be approved without a federal review.

“No contradiction between building wind turbines and pipelines”, says Natural Resources Minister, quoting Trudeau

“The prime minister has said there is no contradiction between building wind turbines and pipelines,” Carr said. “He has said it is a principal responsibility of the government of Canada to move our natural resources to market sustainably. That is why we are following a process that will consult with Canadians and give people the chance to understand that in this day and age we develop the economy sustainably with one eye on the environment and the other on job creation. That is the way we will move forward sustainably.”

National Post broke the news, saying cabinet members convinced Trudeau to build pipelines

These parliamentary exchanges followed a column published by the National Post on Monday that reported the prime minister has ordered staff to draw up plans to push the pipelines through.

Finance minister Bill Morneau and others in cabinet convinced Trudeau that the pipelines must be built to achieve the government’s ambitious economic growth targets, John Ivison reported in the National Post.

Government won’t prejudge any project

Decisions will be based on “facts and evidence”, says Environment & Climate Change Minister McKenna

Following a morning federal cabinet meeting, Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna dismissed the National Post report, without explicitly denying it. She noted that the government had already announced new measures to improve the review process for pipeline projects, including efforts to improve consultations with all affected communities and First Nations peoples and a review all evidence.

“For the projects that are already under review, we have a process – a process where we will make decisions based on the facts and evidence. This includes pipelines,” she told reporters. “So I don’t know where this (National Post) story came from, but it’s not what our process is.”

Someone should ask McKenna to explain what she means by “sustainable manner”

McKenna said the government won’t prejudge any project. It understands that resources need to get to market, she said, but recognizes that this will only happen if it’s done in a sustainable manner.

“We must take time to evaluate each project”, says McKenna. Does she have any idea what she’s talking about?

“I don’t get the feeling that we have to do this fast. We have to do this with a process that respects science and evidence. And we must take the time to evaluate each project and that’s what we’ll do.”

B.C. and Quebec unlikely to support pipeline development

With Alberta’s climate change plan in place, we must get to yes on a pipeline, says Premier Notley

Last week, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley told the province in a televised plea for approval of Energy East that every Canadian benefits from a strong energy sector.

“But we can’t continue to support Canada’s economy unless Canada supports us. That means one thing: building a modern and carefully regulated pipeline to tidewater,” Notley said.

She also stressed that her government had introduced a comprehensive climate change plan that would introduce an economy-wide carbon tax, shut down the province’s coal power plants, and set a limit on the annual carbon pollution allowed from oilsands producers – Canada’s fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions.

“We now have a balanced framework to develop our industry, and every government in Canada understands this issue must be dealt with. We must get to ’yes’ on a pipeline.”

Stiff opposition to pipelines expected from BC and Quebec governments

Scott said it’s unlikely either British Columbia or Quebec would support pipeline development and the federal government would face a challenge to win their support.

“I don’t know how they’re going to get either of those governments onside when there’s overwhelming opposition to both projects in those provinces.”

From Quebec, Steven Guilbeault, co-founder of the environmental group, Equiterre, wrote on his Facebook page: “If the contents of this article are true, the Trudeau government will find an awful lot of people on his trail, and I will be one of those.”

Will there be a showdown on Parliament Hill this Thursday night between environmental NGOs and McKenna?

The Quebec group, along with Toronto-based Environmental Defence and the Alberta-based Pembina Institute are co-hosting a reception, Thursday night on Parliament Hill, with McKenna, the federal environment minister.

The purpose of the reception is to “celebrate a new era of climate change in Canada” as well as a new alliance between the three environmental groups.

Public trust

“We [must] achieve the required public trust” by addressing public concerns, acknowledges Trudeau

Graham Saul, executive director of Ecology Ottawa said that if the allegations in the National Post column are accurate, it would “fundamentally undermine” the “sincerity of the Trudeau administration when it comes to climate change and environmental integrity.”

Saul’s non-profit group – a group opposed to TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline – sent out letters to all local Ottawa-area Liberal MPs on Tuesday, including McKenna, who represents the Ottawa Centre riding.

The letter asked the Liberal MPs to publicly deny the allegations in the National Post column to reassure Canadians that the government hadn’t already made up its mind to approve new pipelines.

“If true, this initiative brings into question the sincerity of the federal government’s statements regarding its intention to apply a meaningful climate test to fossil fuel expansion, and to ensure that the environment is adequately taken into consideration,” Saul’s letter read.

Trudeau’s government has pledged to help Canada move toward a low-carbon economy. He has also said that the country must make strategic investments in clean growth and new infrastructure, while continuing to “generate wealth from our abundant natural resources to fund this transition to a low-carbon economy.”

As well, Trudeau gave Carr a mandate letter last November with instructions that noted that the federal government had a “core responsibility” to help get Canadian resources to market.

“But that is only possible if we achieve the required public trust by addressing environmental, Indigenous Peoples’, and local concerns,” Trudeau told Carr in the mandate letter.

Trudeau can’t be a climate leader and approve pipelines – they’re incompatible, says Greenpeace campaigner

Melina Laboucan-Massimo, Climate and Energy campaigner with Greenpeace Canada, said if Trudeau wants to be a climate leader, he can’t approve more pipelines.

“I think Trudeau has a big job ahead of him if he actually wants to act on what he’s saying, and what he has said, and what he was actually elected upon.”

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This entry was posted on April 18, 2016 by in Uncategorized.
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