Berman and Findlay on pipelines


in Canada, Economics, Politics, The environment

CBC’s The Current recently ran a segment on whether Canada’s climate change goals can be reconciled with new pipeline construction. Tzeporah Berman effectively made the case that Energy East, Kinder Morgan, and the Northern Gateway would be means of increasing bitumen sands production, even beyond the unacceptably high cap chosen by the Alberta government, and argued that they are fundamentally incompatible with the climate action Canada committed to in Paris.

In the same segment, Canada West Foundation CEO Martha Hall Findlay seemed to do everything she could to evade the issue of climate change, arguing that Canada simply must enlarge its economy and its emissions and that anyone concerned about climate change should focus on reducing demand (which she expects will increase when pipelines increase Canadian wealth). Her argument boiled down to saying that Canada has an opportunity to profit now, and simply shouldn’t concern itself with what impact new oil infrastructure will have on the climate.

This argument from entitlement — sticking to the assumption that Alberta and anyone else that happens to have oil resources has the right to dig them up and burn them regardless of the impact on people around the world, future generations, and nature — needs to be challenged on ethical terms. Yes, we need to fight climate change by reducing oil demand. At the same time, building infrastructure to serve a world of higher demand is, at best, a wasted investment and, at worst, a choice to lock in pollution that will profoundly threaten the prosperity and security of people around the world.

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. November 11, 2016 at 6:24 pm

Pipeline protests: Next stop, Vancouver

The suits at Kinder Morgan Canada Inc. must be observing the goings-on at Standing Rock with utter dread. If the company’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion goes ahead, this could well be what the company faces in Vancouver, where there is widespread opposition to the project.

Among the strongest dissenters is a group of First Nations who say the increased oil tanker traffic the pipeline would drive poses unacceptable risks to their lands. They have vowed to thwart construction of the project by any means possible.

There have already been demonstrations and arrests on Burnaby Mountain, near the terminus of Kinder Morgan’s pipeline. And that was before the National Energy Board gave conditional approval to the pipeline’s expansion.

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