Jaccard and others blocking coal trains


in Canada, Economics, Law, Politics, The environment

Simon Fraser University environmental economist Mark Jaccard and others were arrested in White Rock, British Columbia today while blockading coal trains owned by Warren Buffett.

As reported by the CBC, Jaccard considers Canada’s actions on climate change so far “entirely inadequate” and goes on to say:

I now ask myself how our children, when they look back decades from now, will have expected us to have acted today… When I think about that, I conclude that every sensible and sincere person, who cares about this planet and can see through lies and delusion motivated by money, should be doing what I and others are now prepared to do.

Coal exports from North America result in millions of tonnes of greenhouse gas pollution annually. Just the Westshore Terminal, at Roberts Bank, ships over 20 million tonnes of coal per year.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

. May 6, 2012 at 5:31 pm

White Rock protestors arrested after blocking a coal shipment

VANCOUVER SUN MAY 6, 2012 10:01 AM

About a dozen people were arrested Saturday after protesters in White Rock tried to block a coal shipment arriving by rail for export from B.C. ports.

The arrests were peaceful and all were released after being served with $115 tickets for trespassing on railway property, the RCMP said in a release.

“The arrests went as well as could be expected,” RCMP Sgt. Peter Thiessen told Global BC. “They were cooperative.”

The protesters, from British Columbians for Climate Action, began gathering on Marine Drive near the White Rock pier Saturday morning, with numbers fluctuating between 25 and 40 people, the release says. At about 6 p.m. some walked onto the rail line just east of the pier and erected a banner that said “Stop Coal – Keep It In the Ground.” The Burlington North Santa Fe stopped short of the protest.

. May 6, 2012 at 5:33 pm
Anon May 7, 2012 at 12:07 pm

The fine seems very light – though I suppose they didn’t actually obstruct the train for long.

. July 16, 2012 at 12:03 pm
. March 11, 2013 at 11:49 pm

HE MAN accompanying me smiled.

“Good for you, sir.”

“Thanks. I appreciate your saying that.”

“They’re trying to build a coal mine near my parents’ place on Vancouver Island. We’ve got to stop this.”

“Yes, we do.”

“Now, watch your head, sir.”

With his final comment, the young policeman gently guided me into the paddy wagon—a difficult manoeuvre with my hands cuffed behind me. The seven other occupants ranged in age from forty to seventy, but I could only name one. I wondered what had brought each of them to the glistening seaside town of White Rock, British Columbia, to block a train carrying coal headed for Asia via Vancouver’s increasingly busy and expanding port. And I wondered if their stories were as unlikely as mine.

Two years ago, I could not have pictured myself engaging in such a desperate attempt to stop the country’s growing production and trade of coal, oil, and natural gas. As an academic, I have spent most of my career helping governments here and abroad design policies to reduce carbon pollution, just as I am now a consultant to the California Energy Commission as the state government implements an aggressive climate policy.

Six years ago, I had hoped to do the same for Stephen Harper’s newly elected government. In October 2006, the then minister of environment, Rona Ambrose, hired me to give policy advice, and a month later the government appointed me to the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy. The advisory body was helping to produce the blueprint for Harper’s promise to reduce Canadian greenhouse gas emissions by 65 percent by 2050.

. June 15, 2013 at 11:47 pm

MITT ROMNEY’S charge that America had declared “war on coal” may not have won him last year’s presidential election. Yet this once-mighty industry is struggling, squeezed by the plummeting cost of natural gas and a torrent of tough new environmental rules. Last year 37.4% of American electricity production came from coal, down from 48.5% in 2007. The Energy Information Administration expects a slight rise this year as gas prices begin to creep up. But further restrictions on power-station emissions are expected, and the shale revolution is marching on. If coal has a future, it is surely elsewhere.

Such facts make mouths water in the Powder River Basin, straddling Wyoming and Montana (see map), where more than 40% of America’s coal is mined. Some already makes its way to Asia, mainly via Canadian ports. But exporters want to build four new terminals on the western shores of the United States—two apiece in Oregon and Washington—to send up to 130m tonnes more a year. The largest, the 1,500-acre (600-hectare) Gateway Pacific Terminal near Bellingham in northern Washington, would handle up to 48m tonnes of coal a year, as well as up to 6m tonnes of other dry bulk, such as grain.

Press the naysayers, though, and you find deeper concerns. “Shipping coal to Asia is about as innovative as a tree stump,” says Reuven Carlyle, a Washington legislator who thinks the state’s future lies in emulating the high-tech achievements of Amazon and Boeing. The terminal’s main local foes call themselves Power Past Coal. Shovelling millions of tonnes of the stuff to China every year, say campaigners, will lower prices and encourage it to prolong its reliance on the filthy fuel.


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