Economics

By the time of the 2015 World Heavy Oil Congress, midstream companies like Kinder Morgan, Enbridge and TransMountain PipeLines had grown used to the calamity that accompanied their pipeline applications. TransCanada’s Keystone XL project had ignited the battle, drawing ferocious protests from ranchers and Indigenous people in Nebraska. This in turn had attracted opposition from […]

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Perhaps every boom is expected to last forever. Every boom contains within it some skewed logic in which the impossible growth and rapidly amassed wealth undergo a transition from fantastically fluid to some simulacrum of a solid state. The careening boom logic becomes the norm. Luck becomes a strain of genius, and opportunism starts to […]

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Midway through the boom’s first wave, in 2006, a Statistics Canada study reported that Alberta was in the midst of “the strongest period of economic growth ever recorded by any Canadian province.” Annual provincial gross domestic product (GDP) and population growth both cleared 10 percent. When the oil industry’s champions first pitched the federal and […]

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Still, even if it was not recognized in many boardrooms in Calgary or anywhere else in the industry, oil’s dominance could no longer be taken for granted. Climate change was not readily managed like the sludge in a single tailings pond or contained like the mess from a single pipeline spill. This was a more […]

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The city existed in a perpetual state of growth and agitation. Numbers were murky at the peak of the boom — no one could get a clear count of the “shadow population” living in work camps and other short-term arrangements — but safe to say there were many hundreds like Raheel Joseph arriving each month. […]

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I’ve written elsewhere about how The Economist doesn’t understand climate change. In their science section and the occasional editorial they stress the need for massive and urgent action, but their thinking is not joined up. Their general editorial stance remains that economic growth is the greatest good, every new fossil fuel discovery is a boon, […]

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I see enormous appeal in Google’s new advanced protection system for accounts. It requires a physical token to access your account, adds further screening of attachments, and has a much tougher account recovery process for anybody who legitimately loses access to their own account. It augments the security provided by their two-factor smartphone app by […]

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There are some comparatively convincing arguments for why fossil fuel divestment can’t do much to limit the severity of climate change, at least in terms of the direct effects from institutions selling their shares. One important one is that people buying and selling stocks, and the changing value of the stocks, doesn’t directly profit or […]

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Friday’s episode of “The Current” discussed the case of Michael Foster who — after warning the pipeline control centre to shut off the pumping stations — turned a valve to shut down the flow of bitumen through the Keystone pipeline in North Dakota. It’s a very self-conscious act of civil disobedience, with Foster sending video […]

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It’s rare to see an article on a news website speaking so directly to a current question of current scholarly interest. In 2012, Doug McAdam and Hilary Boudet published Putting Social Movements in their Place: Explaining Opposition to Energy Projects in the United States, 2000-2005, which generally encourages scholars of contentious politics and social movements […]

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