Open thread: oil by rail


in Canada, Economics, Politics, The environment

The CBC is reporting today that the oil production cuts enacted by the NDP provincial government to try to raise fossil fuel prices have made oil transport by rail less viable.

The possibility of exporting the bitumen sands by rail when pipeline capacity is exceeded has highlighted how fossil fuel advocates take climate change inaction as a given. They posit only two scenarios, a certain amount of oil being shipped by rail or shipped by pipeline, and then say that since the pipeline option is cheaper and safer they should clearly be built. That misses how the most important reason for stopping pipelines is to keep the oil in the ground. Using the bogeyman of a more dangerous transport option to promote a less dangerous one ignores the obligation to decarbonize.

Fossil fuel production needs to be squeezed in every possible way: by imposing carbon taxes, by requiring them to pay remediation costs for damaged areas and abandoned equipment, by stopping new export infrastructure, by withdrawing investment from the industry, and so on.

At root, climate change is a problem where fossil fuel users impose harm on climate change victims because of the convenience, power, and profit that fossil fuels provide them. Forcing communities to accept bitumen exporting trains to pass through has a similar dynamic.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

. February 28, 2019 at 10:52 pm
. March 5, 2019 at 3:00 pm

Enbridge Line 3 delays may cause oil-by-rail to skyrocket to new heights, see Alberta extend curtailment

‘Companies have already been hesitant to make growth investments in Canada and this is just going to prolong it’

anon May 17, 2019 at 4:09 pm

You’ve got to laugh at the way Albertans are using the threat of derailments as justification for pipelines. It’s a mafia mentality of “do what we want or get hurt.”

. May 23, 2019 at 6:42 pm

Alberta’s oil cuts backfire as crude-by-rail shipments collapse

Canadian heavy crude has become too expensive to ship by rail

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