No Pipelines in a Climate Emergency

This is a climate emergency. It’s time to act like it.

From June 9-18, people from coast-to-coast-to-coast are taking action to stop the Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker project. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Cabinet are expected to release their decision on whether they’ll approve the controversial project by June 18.

The Trans Mountain project could add 13 to 15 megatonnes of carbon emissions to the atmosphere, which would be like adding almost 3.8 million cars on the road. This will make it impossible for us to meet our climate targets, which are already far from the scale of emissions cuts that are needed.

At the same time, TC Energy (formerly TransCanada) continues to push its “Coastal GasLink” (CGL) fracked gas pipeline.

As the Unist’ot’en Camp writes, “On January 7, 2019, the world watched in shock and horror as the unarmed Indigenous Wet’suwet’en were illegally forced at gunpoint to concede a checkpoint at the entrance to their unceded territories… The international community responded with a massive show of support and solidarity for the Wet’suwet’en protecting their land, with nearly 100 simultaneous demonstrations”.

Council chapters, supporters, and allies took action. It’s time to do so again.

The Unist’ot’en Camp is counting on supporters to mobilize in a big way for the next step in their legal battle. They write that “On the week of June 10, the BC Supreme Court in Prince George will hear Coastal GasLink’s petition for an interlocutory injunction. If they are successful, the interim injunction will be made functionally permanent, allowing CGL to continue with pipeline construction on Unist’ot’en territory without the consent of hereditary chiefs.”

Take Action HERE

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BC’s Anti-Pipeline Law Is Unconstitutional

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The British Columbia director for a First Nations consortium planning to buy a majority stake in the Trans Mountain pipeline says the emergence of a rival Alberta Indigenous bidder raises concerns about weakening his group’s all-inclusive bid.

On Friday May 24th, the BC Court of Appeal held that BC’s proposed legislation blocking the Trans Mountain pipeline is unconstitutional. In a clear decision curtailing the provinces’ ability to interfere with federal undertakings, the Court reaffirmed that pipelines and railways cannot be subject to a patchwork of provincial laws. If upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada, the Court’s decision will provide considerable certainty for present and future federal projects.

The proposed legislation (the “Proposed Legislation“) prohibits anyone from possessing “heavy oil” in quantities greater than that possessed between 2013 and 2017, unless they obtain a discretionary permit from BC. The definition of “heavy oil” was such that it essentially only applied to synthetic crude oil that originated outside BC.

The Court held that the Proposed Legislation specifically targets federal undertakings (pipelines and railways) carrying oil across BC’s borders and, consequently, it is beyond BC’s jurisdiction. The federal government—not BC—has exclusive jurisdiction over federal undertakings, including interprovincial pipelines and railways.

The Court further held that unless an undertaking is contained entirely within a province, “federal jurisdiction is the only way in which it may be regulated.” The Court reasoned that if a patchwork of provincial and federal legislation applied, the operation of interprovincial undertakings would be stymied. New laws would apply each time a pipeline or railroad crossed a provincial border. For good reason, the constitution allocates jurisdiction over interprovincial undertakings exclusively to Parliament. MORE

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B.C.’s Highest Court Rules Province’s Attempt To Regulate Bitumen Unconstitutional
A Victory For Canadian Energy Development & Federalism: BC Court Of Appeal Reference Case

Frustrated by Pipeline Myths Albertans Tell Themselves? Here Are the Facts

This is a must read! We are bombarded daily by the oil industry’s misinformation, mindlessly repeated as gospel by Canadian media, and self-serving political spin. In the full article below, Andrew Nikiforuk, one of Canada’s best investigative journalists, systematically demolishes the myths that are peddled to Canadians and Albertans especially about Canada’s oil. 

A guide to educating relatives and friends who cling to oily falsehoods.

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Debunking claims, in the name of strong neighbourly relations.

Alberta’s major exports these days seem to be piles of misinformation, denial, blame, and propaganda on the state-owned Trans Mountain pipeline.

According to some of the more ridiculous claims, environmentalists are to blame for bitumen price discounts, Vancouverites are being punished for their orca-loving ways with high gasoline prices, and climate change really doesn’t matter.

Their politicians don’t dare admit the reality — that combined overproduction of bitumen and U.S. tight oil brought down the global price of oil with a thundering crash in 2014. In the world we inhabit now, oil business as usual has died.

Given that we all have and love our Alberta relatives and friends, here’s a brief guide on how to reply to some of the false claims being traded like crypto-currency among Alberta’s political columnists, Liberals, New Democrats and the United Conservatives. MORE

When it comes to environmental laws, oil companies shouldn’t make the rules


Photo by James Wheeler from Pexels

The good news: Canada is in the final stages of developing a new federal law that will modernize our environmental assessment laws. The bad news: this practical and relatively modest goal has been the subject of an extensive misinformation campaign by the oil and gas industry.

The latest step in the campaign to Kill the Bill is a tour by Canadian Senators that kicks off the second week of April, duplicating over two years of consultations and a 20-stop tour already undertaken for this legislation.

The oil & gas industry (CAPP) has been lobbying non-stop against environmental assessment bill C-69, at one point averaging a meeting per workday just on this legislation,” writes @CanadaGray

It’s probably not a surprise to anyone that Canada’s oil and gas industry does not want climate to be a major consideration when energy projects are reviewed. As a result, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) is demanding that the Senate include regressive amendments to Bill C-69. Although Bill C-69 — which will fulfill the government’s platform commitment to take steps to fix Canada’s broken impact assessment process — is not perfect, it is a major improvement in how we will assess the health and environmental impacts of major projects. For the first time, a project’s impact on Canada’s climate change goals will be an important consideration.

CAPP is essentially demanding that Canada stick its head in the sand. The world is up against a hard deadline and we need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, fast. In fact, the bill should go further than it currently does to consider the cumulative impact of projects on reaching our national climate targets. Of course, no individual project will single-handedly blow through our climate goals — but taken together, they can. If the federal review process doesn’t take into account industry’s overall impact on the climate, when exactly is that supposed to happen?

Federal impact reviews are supposed to be Canada’s opportunity to see both the forest and the trees. The point of this bill is not, as some have asserted, to find a new way to get pipelines approved. Rather it is to consider the complex impacts and tradeoffs that many types of industrial projects present for the lives of Canadians and our natural environment. Climate is the most urgent of these factors.

Think about it another way: the Trans Mountain pipeline has been in the ground for more than 60 years. Shouldn’t industrial projects that will still be impacting the landscape, the neighbourhoods and the atmosphere more than half a century from now be rigorously considered from all angles before shovels go in the ground?

Yet, it appears that there is no level of oversight or public accountability that CAPP and its members will view as acceptable. Under the current federal climate plan, emissions from oil and gas are actually expected to rise, even while transportation, buildings and other sectors will have to cut emissions drastically.  MORE

Bill McKibben likens climate change to Second World War

Environmentalist and author Bill McKibben calls climate change the most important issue facing the world today and likens the struggle against it to the Second World War.

McKibben told a packed house at the University of British Columbia’s Chan Centre for the Performing Arts that they should consider it an honour and a privilege to be part of the battle.

“Not very many people in any given moment of history get to say they are doing the most important thing they could be doing right now in the world,” said McKibben, who is the author of 12 books including 1989’s The End of Nature. He’s also the founder of 350.org, an organization that campaigns against new coal, oil and gas projects and supports building 100 per cent clean energy solutions. His newest book, Falter, will be released on April 16.

McKibben appeared with Canadian Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, who is also Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf-Islands.

May said if people get depressed about climate change, they should “shake it off and keep working. If the people who understand the problem start to despair, it’s just as bad as apathy,” May said.

McKibben encouraged everyone in the audience to get involved, specifically mentioning protests against the Trans Mountain pipeline as one way to change the world by keeping millions of barrels of oil in the ground.

“It has been so powerful and beautiful to watch people fight against the Trans Mountain pipeline coming across British Columbia,” McKibben said. “That pipeline, like everything else coming out of the tar sands is a global warming machine.” MORE

EXCLUSIVE: OTTAWA LEANS TOWARD CALIFORNIA ON FUEL ECONOMY RULES, WILL SEEK FEEDBACK ON FOSSIL SUBSIDIES


Catherine McKenna/Twitter

The federal government is leaning toward supporting tougher fuel economy standards against Trump administration rollbacks, and is about to announce incremental progress on curbing fossil fuel subsidies, The Energy Mix learned Thursday evening, during a town hall hosted by Environment and Climate Minister Catherine McKenna.

Ottawa is planning two releases next week, McKenna told the public session in her home riding of Ottawa Centre: a call for input on some of the detailed issues arising in the discussion of a subsidy phaseout, and a major science report on climate impacts in Canada.

The report will show that “we need to adapt right now,” she said, citing flooding as the biggest short-term climate risk the country faces. “City planners need to think about these things. What happens if we have more power outages because it’s so hot? What are the impacts on vulnerable populations? What is the impact of flooding? What are the impacts of Zika (virus)?” Canadians face a “huge number of impacts of climate change, and we need to be more resilient and build in a more resilient way.” MORE

Work on Trans Mountain pipeline crossing in B.C. destroyed salmon habitat, scientist says

A Trans Mountain pipeline crossing in Stewart Creek, in Chilliwack, B.C., on Dec. 12, 2018. MIKE PEARSON /THE CANADIAN PRESS

Work on a Trans Mountain pipeline crossing in a British Columbia stream has destroyed salmon habitat, raising concerns about the Crown corporation’s ability to build infrastructure through waterways if the expansion project proceeds, a scientist says.

Mike Pearson says the “amateur hour” work on the Stewart Creek crossing in Chilliwack will reduce food sources for coho and chum salmon and limit their ability to hide from predators. The fish are part of the diet of endangered southern resident killer whales.

“There was no consideration given whatsoever to the habitat, which is just not acceptable,” said Pearson, a biologist with 30 years’ experience, in an interview. MORE

 

The year in carbon politics (and what to expect in 2019)

David Coletto, chief executive of Abacus Data, sees election year potential for the New Democrats or the Green party to make the case that the Trudeau government’s climate plan isn’t strong enough.
David Coletto, chief executive of Abacus Data, sees election year potential for the New Democrats or the Green party to make the case that the Trudeau government’s climate plan isn’t strong enough.  (ADRIAN WYLD / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILE PHOTO)

OTTAWA—If you look back to this time last year—before Doug Ford and the carbon tax resistance, before the Trans Mountain purchase and the alarm bells from the United Nations—climate politics in Canada look calm, even quaint.

At the start of 2018, more than 85 per cent of Canadians already lived with a price on greenhouse gas emissions. British Columbians had been paying a carbon tax for 10 years. Ontario’s nascent cap-and-trade regime was set to be linked with programs in California and Quebec. Even Alberta, home of the carbon-belching oil sands, was on board with its own fuel levy and tax-free emissions allocations for heavy industry. MORE

The most significant news story of 2018: the ongoing Trans Mountain saga remains top of mind and critical for many people.

If you didn’t know, now you’ll know.

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On Oct. 10, 2018, Grand chief Stewart Phillip saluted Marilyn Slett, Heiltsuk elected chief councillor, after the Heiltsuk Nation filed a claim against the government and Kirby Corporation for damages caused by a devastating oil spill. Photo by Michael Ruffolo

A lot of historic moments with lasting impacts took place in British Columbia over the past year. First Nations communities celebrated groundbreaking court victories with national implications, won awards for clean energy leadership, and took reconciliation efforts into their own hands.

This National Observer series, First Nations Forward, is dedicated to shedding a light in what can feel like a dark era of increasing climate change, fake news, and divisive politics, by emphasizing the many stories of success and sovereignty taking place across the province. Every story of a trailblazing individual, Nation or collaboration tells a larger tale of resiliency, leadership and foresight that may be remembered for generations to come. MORE

Pipeline politics: Why $1.6B in aid for oil and gas industry is awkward for Canada

Hard to reconcile with the UN’s “life or death warning” for more and immediate action to limit global warming.

This morning [Dec 18] in Edmonton, Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi and International Trade Diversification Minister Jim Carr announced a $1.6 billion federal aid package for Canada’s oil and gas industry. The money is spread over a variety existing programs to help companies find new markets, invest in clean technology and train staff.

Throw in Ottawa’s summer purchase of the aging Trans Mountain pipeline — $4.5 billion, with a promise to spend as much as $7.4 billion more for a planned expansion — and Canadian taxpayers now find themselves on the hook for somewhere between $7.7 billion and $15 billion in new support for an industry that was already receiving more than $3.3 billion a year in government   MORE