Enjoy the climate change

Bill McKibben on Justin Trudeau and Big Oil:

In case anyone wondered, this is how the world ends: with the cutest, progressivest, boybandiest leader in the world going fully in the tank for the oil industry.

Justin Trudeau’s government announced on Tuesday that it would nationalize the Kinder Morgan pipeline running from the tar sands of Alberta to the tidewater of British Columbia. It will fork over at least $4.5bn in Canadian taxpayers’ money for the right to own a 60-year-old pipe that springs leaks regularly, and for the right to push through a second pipeline on the same route – a proposal that has provoked strong opposition.

Uh oh.

That opposition has come from three main sources. First are many of Canada’s First Nations groups, who don’t want their land used for this purpose without their permission, and who fear the effects of oil spills on the oceans and forests they depend on. Second are the residents of Canada’s west coast, who don’t want hundreds of additional tankers plying the narrow inlets around Vancouver on the theory that eventually there’s going to be an oil spill. And third are climate scientists, who point out that even if Trudeau’s pipeline doesn’t spill oil into the ocean, it will spill carbon into the atmosphere.

Lots of carbon: 173 billion barrels of oil’s worth.

[T]he one half of 1% of the planet that is Canadian will have awarded to itself almost one-third of the remaining carbon budget between us and the 1.5 degree rise in temperature the planet drew as a red line in Paris. There’s no way of spinning the math that makes that okay – Canadians already emit more carbon per capita than Americans. Hell, than Saudi Arabians.

More than US Americans? I didn’t know that was possible.

Is this a clever financial decision that will somehow make Canada rich? Certainly not in the long run. Cleaning up the tar sands complex in Alberta – the biggest, ugliest scar on the surface of the earth – is already estimated to cost more than the total revenues generated by all the oil that’s come out of the ground. Meanwhile, when something goes wrong, Canada is now on the hook: when BP tarred the Gulf of Mexico, the US was at least able to exact billions of dollars in fines to help with the cleanup. Canada will get to sue itself.

So why is he doing it? Politics, McKibben says. Doesn’t seem like much of a reason, does it.


The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy says that approximately 100 litres of crude oil have leaked from the Trans Mountain pipeline in Darfield B.C.

Since 1961 Trans Mountain says they have reported approximately 82 spills to the National Energy Board — around 67 spills occurred with oil products. They add that 69.5 per cent of spills occurred at pump stations or terminals, and the remaining 30.5 per cent along the pipeline.

The news comes just four days before Kinder Morgan, the company who operates the Trans Mountain pipeline, will announce if they will continue with their pipeline twinning construction project.

The $7.4-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion would parallel the 1,150-kilometre route of the existing Trans Mountain Pipeline — which was built in 1953.

Pipeline capacity would increase from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels of oil per day if the project goes through.

The expansion project has been the centre of intense debate both within the public and between the province and Alberta and Federal Governments.

Gotta keep those SUVs humming.

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