Alberta's Bitumen Pipe Dream
Canada’s remaining vast deposits of bitumen will have to stay in the ground in pretty much any credible low-carbon scenario. How to make the transition, while building new opportunities for fossil workers and communities, is one of the biggest climate challenges the country faces.
Canada’s Pipeline-Climate Policy Paradox
BREAKING: Canadian Senate Passes Impact Assessment Act, B.C. Tanker Ban, Arctic Drilling Moratorium
The Canadian Senate adopted Bills C-69 and C-48 last night, along with a lower-profile measure enshrining a moratorium on Arctic oil drilling, clearing the way for the country’s new Impact Assessment Act and a federal ban on large tanker traffic off British Columbia’s environmentally sensitive north coast to become law.
Morneau Acknowledges Alberta’s Anxiety, While Whittingham Endorses TMX Approval
Finance Minister Bill Morneau acknowledged Alberta’s anxieties over the post-carbon transition in a breakfast speech to the Economic Club of Canada in Calgary Wednesday, less than 24 hours after the Trudeau government confirmed its re-approval of the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
Trans Mountain Pipeline Approval Triggers New Lawsuits, Leaves Fossils Unsatisfied
In a move condemned by critics as the height of cynicism, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and several senior cabinet ministers announced re-approval of the C$9.3-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion Tuesday afternoon, not 24 hours after their government pushed a climate emergency resolution through the House of Commons.
Ottawa Could Face Youth Charter Challenge After Approving Trans Mountain Expansion
With its decision yesterday to re-approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, the Trudeau government could find itself face to face with a constitutional challenge filed by a leading environmental lawyer—on the urging of his 13-year-old daughter, a school climate strike veteran in Esquimalt, British Columbia.
Liberals to Reject Most Senate Amendments to Impact Assessment Act
The federal government is poised to reject most of the amendments to the proposed new Impact Assessment Act, Bill C-69, put forward last month by unelected Conservative Senators following a relentless lobbying and public relations effort by the fossil industry.
Kenney Unveils Fossil ‘War Room’, Faces Criticism on Carbon Tax Repeal, Wildfire Impacts
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced the cost but few details of his much-touted, C$30-million oil and gas “war room” Friday, prompting immediate pushback from the environmental groups he vowed to target during the recently-concluded provincial election campaign.
Canadian Senate Passes Tanker Ban Bill, Massively Amends Impact Assessment Act
With the clock ticking toward the end of the Parliamentary session in Ottawa, the Senate voted yesterday to pass the Trudeau government’s proposed ban on tanker traffic off British Columbia’s sensitive northern coast, while sending its proposed Impact Assessment Act back to the House of Commons with more than 180 amendments.
Abandoned Well Cleanup Could Take 2,800 Years, Alberta Regulator Tells Industry
It may take more than 2,800 years to clean up abandoned oil and gas wells across Alberta, National Observer and Star Calgary reveal in an exclusive report this week, after obtaining a September 2018 presentation to a private industry gathering by a senior official with the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER).
Canada Can Hit Paris Targets, ‘Zero Out Carbon’ by Mid-Century, Study Shows
Canada can get its energy system on track to meet its targets under the Paris Agreement and “zero out carbon pollution” by mid-century by adopting a menu of 10 technically feasible options to cut carbon emissions, the David Suzuki Foundation concludes in a report issued last week.
Greens Want to End Oil Imports by 2030, Break Canada’s ‘Oil Habit’, but Keep Producing Plastics from Bitumen Past 2050
Canadian Green Party leader Elizabeth May appears to be borrowing a page from Conservative Andrew Scheer’s playbook, with a campaign promise to free the country from oil imports and rely on domestic crude while it still needs to.
Alberta Carbon Tax Repeal Will Have ‘No Bearing’ on Trans Mountain Decision, Trudeau Says
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is on the verge of tabling a bill that will cancel his province’s carbon tax by the end of the month, a move that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says will have “no bearing” on whether the federal government re-approves the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
Trudeau: Green Victory in B.C. Shows Canadians ‘Preoccupied About Climate Change’
Green Party candidate Paul Manly’s decisive victory in Monday’s byelection in the B.C. riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith shows that Canadians are “preoccupied about climate change,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said this week.
Forget Kenney: Climate Change is Already Canada’s National Unity Crisis, Columnist Concludes
With Alberta Premier Jason Kenney fulminating about western alienation as a national unity crisis—after working so hard to stoke that alienation on the campaign trail—Globe and Mail columnist Gary Mason says Kenney is too late. The unity crisis is already here, and its name is climate change, amped up by the extreme communications of the social media era.
Extinction Threat Calls for ‘Paris Moment for Nature’: McKenna
Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna is calling for a “Paris Agreement moment for nature” after an alarming UN commission report found nature declining “at rates unprecedented in human history”, with up to a million species at risk of extinction within decades.
Jason Kenney: ‘Emissions Be Damned’
Premier-designate Jason Kenney torqued up his recent Alberta election win by triumphantly arriving at a Calgary Stampede site stage with the help of almost 400 horses corralled under the hood of his eight-cylinder Dodge Ram campaign truck. It was painted Party blue. His UCP crowd went wild, and began chanting “Build that pipe! Build that pipe!” An analysis by Paul McKay.
Climate and Environment Emerge as Top Public Concerns Before Canadian, Australian Elections
With federal elections coming up in Canada in October and in Australia in May, opinion polls are identifying climate change—and in Canada, waste reduction, nature conservation, and Indigenous management—as top-tier issues for voters in two of the world’s most stubborn fossil economies.
Kenney Vows to ‘Stand Up’ for Fossil Jobs, ‘Turn Off the Taps’ to B.C.
With about 55% of the popular vote and 63 out of 87 seats in the next Alberta legislature, premier-designate Jason Kenney used his victory speech Tuesday evening to amp up the rhetoric on the perceived mistreatment of his province’s fossil sector and lay down a warning to environmental groups.
Canada Reports Greenhouse Gas Emissions Increase for 2017
Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions increased marginally in 2017, from 708 to 716 million tonnes, driven mostly by increased oil and gas production, according to the national inventory the country filed this week with the United Nations climate secretariat.
Analysis: If Kenney Takes Alberta, Trudeau Finally Gets to Make a Decision
With Jason Kenney’s United Conservative Party (UCP) looking virtually certain to win the Alberta provincial election next week, news analysts are beginning to weigh in on the implications for Canadian pipeline politics and climate strategy.
Canada Falls Short on Efforts to Cut Emissions, Phase Out Fossil Subsidies, Environment Commissioner Reports
Canada still isn’t on track to meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets or phase out fossil fuel subsidies, federal Environment Commissioner Julie Gelfand warned last week, in the last report she will issue before her five-year term expires.
EXCLUSIVE: Ottawa Leans Toward California on Fuel Economy Rules, Will Seek Feedback on Fossil Subsidies
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.
Morneau’s Pre-Election Budget Boosts ZEVs and Energy Retrofits, Extends New Fossil Subsidy
Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau tabled a pre-election budget yesterday that included a 2040 deadline to phase out new internal combustion vehicle sales, major new funds for building energy retrofits, and a budget boost for municipal infrastructure, but introduced a new fossil fuel subsidy while doggedly claiming a fossil subsidy phaseout is still on the government’s agenda.
New Laws Aim to Protect Environment, Not Stop Trans Mountain, B.C. Tells Appeal Court
British Columbia has the right to pass environmental laws to mitigate the harm that could result from the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, but it isn’t trying to stop the project outright, provincial lawyer Joseph Arvay told the B.C. Court of Appeal earlier this week.
SNC-Lavalin and Trans Mountain: Two Sides of a Counterfeit Coin
In an analysis for The Energy Mix, award-winning investigative journalist Paul McKay traces the parallels between the SNC-Lavalin scandal that has transfixed Canada’s capital and the Trudeau government’s decision to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline in spite of its avowed commitment to climate action. “As nature abhors a vacuum,” he writes, “democracy abhors a stacked legal deck.”
NEB Rules Against Climate Impact Review for Trans Mountain Pipeline
The National Energy Board (NEB) has turned down Stand.earth’s request that it undertake a review of the climate impacts of the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, as it did for the equally contentious Energy East pipeline in 2017.
Canada Drags on Promise to Phase Out Fossil Subsidies
Ottawa is being accused of dragging its feet on its 2016 promise to phase out “inefficient” fossil subsidies by 2025, two years after then-auditor general Michael Ferguson concluded the Trudeau government had failed to identify the non-tax subsidies it actually pays out to the oil and gas industry.
Stewart: CAPP is Asking Albertans to ‘Vote for Climate Destruction’
Albertans this spring and Canadians this fall should not be fooled into voting for climate destruction just because Big Oil wants them to, Greenpeace Canada Senior Energy Strategist Keith Stewart writes in an opinion piece for iPolitics.
Ottawa Won’t ‘Cut Corners’ on Trans Mountain Review, Sohi Says
With the National Energy Board set to report February 22 on the marine impacts of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi said last week the government won’t take any shortcuts in its review of the project—even though he understands how badly Alberta oil and gas workers want to get construction under way.
Include Climate Impacts in Trans Mountain Review, IPCC Authors Urge NEB
New fossil projects like the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will make it far tougher to meet the 1.5°C global warming target that is essential for averting the worst effects of climate change, a Canadian climate scientist told the National Energy Board this week.
Alberta Pans New $1.65-Billion Fossil Lifeline from Ottawa
Provincial politicians and fossil lobbyists are panning the federal government’s latest concession to Alberta oil and gas producers, after Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi and International Trade Diversification Minister Jim Carr announced C$1.6 billion in industry support at an event in Edmonton yesterday.
Rising Fossil Emissions, Continuing Subsidies Undercut Canada’s Climate Performance
Canada’s lavish support for the oil and gas industry is the “elephant in the room” that prevents it from being a true climate leader, Environmental Defence National Program Manager Dale Marshall said this week in Katowice, during the release of a report on Canadian fossil subsidies produced by Environmental Defence and Stand.earth.
Canadian Governments Introduce Four New Fossil Subsidies on Eve of UN Climate Conference
Just a week before delegates gathered in Katowice, Poland for this year’s United Nations climate change conference, Canadian governments introduced four generous new subsidies for the country’s oil and gas industry, writes Patrick DeRochie, program manager, climate and energy at Toronto-based Environmental Defence.
BREAKING: Canada Commits to Faster, Deeper Carbon Cuts in 2020
Canada will adopt tougher greenhouse gas reduction targets when the Paris Agreement takes effect in 2020, Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna said yesterday, just days before her departure for this year’s United Nations climate change conference in Katowice.
Reguly: Trudeau Wins ‘Hypocrisy Sweepstakes’ for Supporting Fossils After Signing Paris
Globe and Mail European Bureau Chief Eric Reguly is branding Prime Minister Justin Trudeau a winner in the climate hypocrisy sweepstakes, in a blistering opinion piece that puts the PM’s climate advocacy side by side with his government’s full-scale support for bitumen pipelines and liquefied natural gas megaprojects.
NEB’s ‘Redo’ Could Land Trans Mountain Project Back in Court
The National Energy Board’s “redo” of its failed review of the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is taking on the same look and feel as the process that drove the Federal Court of Appeal to shut down construction on the controversial project, writes attorney Eugene Kung argues in a post for National Observer.
Opinion: Canadian Fossil Swings at C-69, Misses the Point on Crashing Global Markets
In a hyperbolic opinion piece this week for the Financial Post, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers pivots from the curious notion that a new pipeline project would somehow insulate Canadian fossils from crashing world oil prices, to a demand that the federal government place its new Impact Assessment Act, Bill C-69, on hold.
Morneau Extends Tax Credits to Wind, Solar and Efficiency, Keeps Fossil Subsidies Alive and Well
Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau included tax incentives for wind, solar, and energy efficiency equipment and a favourable tax regime for fossil producers in his fall fiscal update released earlier this week.
OPINION: Canadian Fossils ‘Lose Patience’ with Trudeau as World Oil Prices Drag Them Down
With world oil prices heading toward another crash, the swashbuckling free marketeers in Canada’s oilpatch are doing exactly what you would expect: amping up the pressure on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley to somehow, magically solve a complex cluster of problems that is ultimately beyond Canadian governments’ control. By Mitchell Beer
Carbon Pricing Opposition, Pipeline Support Could Undo Scheer’s Political Ambitions in Quebec
Federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer’s intransigence on carbon pricing and support for the Energy East pipeline could be the death knell for his party’s hopes of picking up seats in Quebec in next year’s federal election, veteran columnist Chantal Hébert suggests this week in the Toronto Star.
Carbon Pricing Won’t Meet Canada’s Paris Commitments on Its Own, Conference Board Warns
While it makes good economic sense to tax pollution, and the federal government’s backstop price on carbon “will push consumers to reduce their purchases” of carbon-intensive goods, pricing alone won’t be enough to fulfill Canada’s obligations under the Paris Agreement, a senior Conference Board of Canada executive writes in the Globe and Mail.
Hyperbole Replaces Facts in Fossil Lobby Attack on Federal Impact Assessment Bill [Sign-On]
With a new fossil lobby group, Suits and Boots, urging Conservative senators to slow down passage of the Trudeau government’s new Impact Assessment Act, Bill C-69, climate and energy advocates are gearing up their defence of a bill aimed at restoring some of the environmental protections that were gutted by the previous Harper regime.
Critic Says Trudeau Hit ‘Political Gold’ with Carbon Tax Rebate
One of the Justin Trudeau government’s harshest climate critics says the PM may have hit “political gold” with his announcement last week that households will receive carbon tax rebates in the four provinces—including battleground Ontario—that have not seen fit to put their own prices on carbon.
A Carbon Tax Rebate in Every Mailbox as Trudeau Unveils Federal Backstop
Households in Manitoba, New Brunswick, Ontario, and Saskatchewan will receive carbon tax rebate cheques under a plan unveiled yesterday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that will extend the federal floor price on carbon to provinces that don’t introduce their own carbon pricing schemes.
EXCLUSIVE Alberta Alert: Dead Mines Walking?
One week ago, the price American refineries will pay for a barrel of Alberta bitumen fell to just below US$30. A seismic jolt raced through the tar sands/oil sands industry, because that price would barely allow even the biggest, most profitable operators to recover operating costs.
‘We Are Better Than This’: Berman Explores Alberta’s Energy Future. Notley Comes Back with Unicorns.
Activist, analyst, and policy advisor Tzeporah Berman called for civil discussion and a managed transition off fossil fuels, and Premier Rachel Notley tried to refute her with unicorns (seriously, literally), after a speaking invitation from the Alberta Teachers’ Association became one of the year’s most contentious moments in the debate over the province’s energy future.
EXCLUSIVE: Panic in the (Oilpatch) Suites
Last August 30 was not just a ‘wake up and smell the coffee’ moment for federal and Alberta politicians pushing to accelerate future tar sands/oil sands expansion plans. It was a morning where the coffee urn figuratively tipped over and bestowed third-degree burns.
Poitras: Trudeau’s ‘Grand Bargain’ on Trans Mountain Heeds Global Signals on Peak Oil Demand
With Conservatives blaming Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for killing one pipeline, the climate community scorching him for salvaging another one, and his pan-Canadian climate plan bleeding provincial support, a chance at a grand bargain on climate action and fossil fuel production “now appears to have been a typically Liberal attempt to be all things to all people,” CBC journalist Jacques Poitras writes in Policy Options.
Fossils Cheer, Climate Absent as Canada, Mexico, U.S. Reach New Trade Deal
North American fossils were cheering early this week and climate protection was out of the picture as Canada signed on to the United-States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), the trade deal formerly known as NAFTA.
Federal Carbon Tax Rebates Would Put Money in Canadian Voters’ Pockets, New Analysis Shows
A carbon pricing think tank led by Stephen Harper’s former policy director may be about to “transform the debate” on the issue that Conservative leader Andrew Scheer wants to make the ballot question in next year’s federal election, with the forthcoming release of a paper showing most Canadians with more money in their pockets if Ottawa pays the proceeds from a federal floor price on carbon directly to households.
Trudeau Admits Trans Mountain is a Fossil Subsidy as Report Urges Clean Energy Shift
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as much as admitted this week that the federal bailout of Kinder Morgan’s troubled Trans Mountain pipeline expansion amounts to a C$4.5-billion subsidy to the fossil fuel industry.
Ottawa Weighs Hiring Retired Judge to Guide Trans Mountain Consultations While Kinder Morgan Plots Canadian Asset Sale
While Houston-based Kinder Morgan made moves to sell off the last of its Canadian assets, federal sources say the Trudeau government—Kinder Morgan’s C$4.5-billion benefactor in the bailout—is considering hiring a retired federal judge to guide a new round of Indigenous consultation in light of last month’s Federal Court of Appeal ruling against the project.
42 Order of Canada Recipients Exhort Trudeau to Scrap Trans Mountain
Taking to heart and mind the motto of the Order of Canada—They Desire a Better Country—42 British Columbia-based recipients of the prestigious award have written an open letter exhorting the Trudeau government to scrap the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
Shadowy Private Intelligence Firm Helps Fossils, Federal Government Monitor Pipeline Activists
A shady private intelligence firm that “promises to help oil and gas operators mitigate the threat posed by an increasingly sophisticated activist movement”, and has counted Kinder Morgan and the Canadian government among its clients, is the focus of a Mother Jones investigation republished last week by National Observer.
No Quick Fixes to Trans Mountain Impasse, Trudeau Warns Albertans
On the same day last week when he told media in Edmonton he would consider legislation to restart the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also warned Albertans not to expect a short-term legislative fix to get the C$13.8-billion project back on track.
Trudeau Weighs Trans Mountain Legislation While Suncor Delays Tar Sands/Oil Sands Expansion
The federal government is considering new legislation or a Supreme Court of Canada appeal in its efforts to restart construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, less than a week after a blockbuster Federal Court of Appeal ruling stopped the C$13.8-billion project in its tracks.
13-Point ‘To-Stop List’ Offers Trudeau a Way Forward After Trans Mountain
While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet try to patch together a to-do list to salvage the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion in light of last week’s Federal Court of Appeal decision, Policy Options is out with a 13-point to-stop list they really ought to consider, drawn up by The Energy Mix publisher Mitchell Beer.
Tories Duck Responsibility for Harper Regulatory Rollback that Caused Trans Mountain Delay
Federal Conservatives are trying to duck responsibility for legislative rollbacks and regulatory decisions during the Stephen Harper years that sowed the seeds for last week’s Federal Court of Appeal decision that at least temporarily halted the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
Appeal Court Halts Trans Mountain Pipeline Construction in Scathing Rebuke to NEB
In a scathing rebuke of the National Energy Board’s “unjustified failure” to consider oil tanker risks triggered by expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, the Federal Court of Appeal voted unanimously yesterday to quash approval of the controversial, C$13.8-billion project.
Notley Yanks Alberta Out of Federal Climate Plan
Hours after a landmark court decision striking down federal approval of the C$13.8-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley announced she was withdrawing her province from the pan-Canadian climate plan “until the federal government gets its act together”.
Australia’s Climate Battles Hold Parallels with U.S., Portents for Canada
Ex-Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull’s abrupt resignation after an intra-party clash over climate and energy policy is an example of a “potent political issue” that is roiling “a handful of countries with powerful fossil fuel lobbies”, including Canada and the United States, the New York Times suggested last week.
Ottawa Urged to Seek Allies on Tougher Tailpipe Emission Standard
As the federal government unveiled a new consultation paper last week on tailpipe emission controls for light duty vehicles, CBC columnist Don Pittis was pointing to what Canada stands to achieve—and the allies it can expect to gain—if it adheres to its existing standard, rather than aligning with Donald Trump’s efforts to gut the equivalent U.S. regulation.
With 600 Wildfires Burning, Trudeau’s Nanaimo Cabinet Agenda Says Nothing About Climate
With nearly 600 wildfires burning across British Columbia, and smoke so thick in Prince George that it blotted out the sun, it was “absurd” for the federal cabinet to meet in Nanaimo and leave climate change off its meeting agenda, National Observer Publisher Linda Solomon Wood argued in a commentary last week.
Two Provinces, Conservative Senators Turn Up the Heat on Federal Impact Assessment Act
Canada’s new Impact Assessment Act is facing opposition on two fronts, with two provinces and a pair of Conservative-affiliated senators claiming the measure will harm the country’s economic competitiveness.
B.C. Natural Gas Boom Fuels Alberta Tar Sands/Oil Sands Production
The “energy dispute for the ages” over the Trans Mountain pipeline has obscured the role of British Columbia’s natural gas industry in fueling tar sands/oil sands production in Alberta, resource policy analyst Ben Parfitt revealed earlier this month in a post for The Tyee.
Jim Carr’s Energy Transition: Wind, Solar, Efficiency, and World’s ‘Cleanest’ LNG Production
A federal advisory council is recommending a future energy mix that combines stepped-up renewable energy development and “clean” oil and gas production, prompting Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr to declare a long-term mission to make Canada the world’s cleanest producer of liquefied natural gas (LNG).
Trans Mountain Buyout Drives Federal Deficit Up 36%, Gives Kinder Morgan a 637% Gain: IEEFA
Canada’s “folly” in buying the Trans Mountain pipeline will drive the federal deficit up by 36%, while delivering a 637% benefit to Kinder Morgan, the Cleveland-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis concludes in a blistering report issued this week.
Alberta Regulator Approves New Tar Sands/Oil Sands Project Over Indigenous Objections
The Alberta Energy Regulator has approved a new northern Alberta tar sands/oil sands extraction project over the objections of local Indigenous communities concerned about its proximity to their traditional lands.
Erickson: New Fossil Infrastructure Imperils Domestic and Global Climate Goals
New fossil infrastructure like the Trans Mountain pipeline or expanded tar sands/oil sands production “not only cripples the ability to meet domestic emissions targets, but also compromises global attempts due to the continued flooding of the market with cheap oil,” Stockholm Environment Institute Senior Scientist Peter Erickson said, in a recent interview with The Narwhal.
How a Houston Pipeliner Out-Maneuvered the Canadian Government
In an exclusive after-action analysis of the negotiations leading up to Canada’s purchase of Kinder Morgan’s C$7.4-billion pipeline, the Reuters news agency recounts the hardball business deals that enabled the Texas-based pipeliner to offload a failing project and avoid the financial losses that hit Enbridge Inc. and TransCanada Corporation when their own pipeline plans went awry.
EXCLUSIVE: New Ship Fuel Rules Could Sink Tar Sands/Oil Sands Expansion
The law of unintended consequences may soon cause serious collateral damage to Alberta’s tar sands/oil sands ambitions, and the planned Trans Mountain and Keystone XL pipelines. By Paul McKay.
EXCLUSIVE: Justin Trudeau’s Devil of a Pipeline Deal
Kinder Morgan has signed a contract for 75% of the segments for its Trans Mountain pipeline to be produced by a company controlled by Russian billionaires recently put on the U.S. list of oligarchs tied to Vladimir Putin, investigative ace Paul McKay reports. The richest of those is the biggest shareholder of the global coal and steel giant, Evraz Group SA, which owns the Regina plant slated to make most of the pipe for Trans Mountain.
Tar Sands/Oil Sands On Track to Break Alberta’s Emissions Cap by 2030
Greenhouse gas emissions from Canada’s tar sands/oil sands are on track to exceed the Alberta government’s “hard cap” of 100 million tonnes per year by 2030 unless the industry comes up with new ways to reduce its GHG output per barrel of oil produced, according to a new study this week by the Canadian Energy Research Institute.
Just Transition for Oil and Gas Workers Would Bridge Divide Over Kinder Morgan
A Globe and Mail columnist and self-described Ontario climate hawk is calling for a just transition for tar sands/oil sands workers, as a key step in bridging the divide over fossil fuel production and the Kinder Morgan pipeline.
Path to a Strong Economy ‘Paved with Strong Climate Policies’, Climate Hawks Assert
The Canadian politicians now negotiating to mollify Kinder Morgan investors by buying a $7.4-billion pipeline are right that the country can take action on climate change and have a strong economy. But “the path to a low-carbon economy is paved with strong climate policies, not the continued expansion of fossil fuels,” the executive directors of Environmental Defence and Climate Action Network-Canada argue in a Hill Times op ed this week.
Sachs: A Sustainable Energy Path for Canada Doesn’t Include Pipelines
There’s a sustainable way forward for Canada’s energy sector, and it has nothing to do with Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, argues Jeffrey Sachs, director of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), in a Globe and Mail op ed late last week.
Exclusive: Outside the Bitumen Bubble
Despite new ultimatums from Ottawa, Alberta, and Kinder Morgan, take a deep breath, Premier Horgan. Hold your ground. Follow the molecules, not the money. When the bitumen bubble inevitably bursts, it will be obvious that your most abrasive opponents were full of sound and fury, signifying nothing in the way of scientific honesty, international ethics, or even viable exports.
Emissions Reduction Technology for Tar Sands/Oil Sands ‘Misses the Point’
Breakthrough technologies could soon help Canada’s tar sands/oil sands producers slash their per-barrel greenhouse emissions and production costs, but would still sidestep an inconvenient reality, several environmental groups say: to cap and draw down the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, those fossil resources will still have to stay in the ground.
EXCLUSIVE: Out of the LOOP: The Fatal Flaw of Alberta’s Oil Export Expansion
Two weeks ago, the first supertanker capable of holding two million barrels of oil departed for the first time from America’s newly upgraded—and only—terminal able to dock and load crude-carrying behemoths of this size. That will likely prove fatal to Alberta’s plans to expand unrefined bitumen exports either by the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline to the British Columbia coast, or the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.
Canada Must Phase Out Tar Sands/Oil Sands to Meet 2030 Carbon Target
Canada will have no hope of meeting its relatively modest greenhouse gas reduction target for 2030 unless it phases out all tar sands/oil sands production by that year, according to new modelling by two University of Toronto geographers.
Alberta Wildfire Specialist Links Fort Mac Megafire, B.C.’s 2017 Fire Season to Climate Change
The 2,117 wildfires that hit British Columbia in 2017 and the massive megafire that consumed much of Fort McMurray, Alberta a year earlier were both connected to climate change, and a similar impact is already visible as this year’s fire season gets under way, University of Alberta wildland fire specialist Mike Flannigan told The Canadian Press earlier this week.
MMIWG Inquiry Highlights Connection Between Megaproject Work Camps, Sexual Violence
Natural resource companies and their regulators must factor in the safety and security of Indigenous women and girls at every step in planning and developing a project, Canada’s National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls concluded this week, in a final report in which five out of 231 recommendations were devoted to the connection between megaproject work camps and sexual violence.
Kenney Kills Carbon Tax, Offers ‘Hopes and Prayers’ as Wildfires Rage
With Alberta Premier Jason Kenney helpfully pointing out that carbon taxes don’t prevent forest fires, multiple communities were under evacuation orders and crews across Alberta, British Columbia, and northern Ontario spent the week fighting the flames as an early fire season hit full stride.
New Federal-Provincial Rules Will Allow ‘Inevitable’ Release of Toxic Tar Sands/Oil Sands Tailings
The federal and Alberta governments are planning to allow tar sands/oil sands companies to release 1.3 trillion litres of liquid waste, currently held in 220 square kilometres of tailings ponds across the northeastern part of the province, into the Athabasca River, under new regulations intended to take effect in 2022, the Globe and Mail reports.
Wildfire Expert Warns of ‘Nightmare Scenario’ as High Level, Alberta, Bushe River Dene Evacuate
About 4,000 people in and around High Level, Alberta are under an evacuation order as the 60,000-hectare Chuckegg Creek wildfire, one of six burning out of control across the province, approaches from the southwest.
Nebraska Flooding Points to Spill Risk from Keystone XL
The “bomb cyclone”-driven flooding across the midwestern United States has become the latest in a litany of arguments against construction of the US$8-billion Keystone XL pipeline, with a Nebraska farmer, former oilfield worker, and avowed Republican pointing out that the rising waters could have triggered a spill on his property if the pipeline had been in place.
Expect ‘Flood of Litigation’ if Bill C-69 is Watered Down, Athabasca First Nations Warn
Canada will face a “flood of litigation” if the Trudeau government’s proposed Impact Assessment Act, Bill C-69, is watered down, four First Nations chiefs from the Alberta tar sands/oil sands region warned last week in testimony to a travelling Senate committee.
Alberta Oil Well Cleanup Costs Could Hit $70 Billion
The cost of cleaning up Alberta’s old and unproductive oil wells could max out at C$70 billion, according to a new report by a consortium of landowners and scientists that used data from the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) to come up with its estimate.
Alberta Officials Took 12 Hours to Notify First Nation of Potentially Toxic Hydrogen Sulphide Leak
When a cloud of toxic chemicals began wafting toward the First Nations hamlet of Fort McKay from Syncrude Canada’s Mildred Lake tar sands/oil sands plant 10 kilometres away, it took officials 12 hours to notify the community—a massive health and safety failure that critics blame on the fossil industry’s takeover of regulatory oversight in the Alberta oilpatch.
C-69 Would Deliver More Timely, Credible Decisions, Impact Assessment Specialist Argues
The federal government’s embattled Impact Assessment Act, Bill C-69, would actually deliver more credible project decisions, better consideration of economic factors, and more timely, effective consultations than its Harper-era predecessor, despite the relentless battering it has received from the Canadian fossil lobby, veteran impact assessment specialist Robert B. Gibson writes in a post for Policy Options.
Alberta Oil-By-Rail Plan Could Block Grain Shipments, Farmers Warn
Alberta grain farmers are expressing serious concern about the province’s three-year, C$3.7-billion plan to ship oil by rail.
Study Reveals Unreliable, Inconsistent Assessments of Tar Sands/Oil Sands Impacts
Inconsistent science has marred the credibility of dozens of past environmental impact studies of the Alberta tar sands/oil sands, according to a new assessment published in the journal Environmental Reviews.
Supreme Court Holds Bankrupt Fossils Responsible for Cleaning Abandoned Sites
A Supreme Court of Canada ruling that holds bankrupt fossils responsible for cleaning up their abandoned oil and gas wells will produce lasting impacts across western Canada, but may not completely address the massive environmental liabilities the companies leave behind, according to initial reporting and analysis of the decision.
Western Canadian Glaciers Could Decline 80% in the Next 50 Years
Alberta, British Columbia, and Yukon could lose up to 80% of their mountain glaciers over the next half-century, as rapid warming brings a combination of less snow and accelerated melting, according to one of the two lead authors behind Canada’s first-ever State of the Mountains report.
Alberta Fossils Boycott Whistler Conference After City Flags Climate Costs of Fossil Extraction
Several Alberta fossils are boycotting a CIBC investor conference in Whistler, British Columbia, and the bank is considering moving its annual event elsewhere, after Mayor Jack Crompton asked Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. to commit to pay for its “fair share of the costs of climate change being experienced” by the weather-dependent ski resort town.
CNRL Aims to Cut Costs with Driverless Truck Field Test
Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. (CNRL) will spend C$75 million by late 2020 to field test driverless haulers at its Jackpine tar sands/oil sands mine in northern Alberta, Chief Operating Officer, Oilsands Scott Stauth told investors earlier this month.
Fossil Advocate Advises Industry to Declare ‘National No-Hydrocarbon Day’ Next July 1
In what reads like an overheated Atlas Shrugged moment, a fossil advocate is advising the Canadian oilpatch to “take a page from the CUPW playbook” and declare a rotating strike to get fast attention from the federal government.
Carbon Costs of Trans Mountain Could Hit $8.7 Billion Up Front, $4.1 Billion Per Year
The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will trigger additional greenhouse gas emissions worth C$2.1 to $8.7 billion per year up front, and $675 million to $4.1 billion per year for as long as it operates, based on a social cost of carbon between $45 and $270 per tonne, environmental journalist Stephen Leahy calculated earlier this year in a post for Vice Motherboard.
Doctors Ask Trudeau for Independent Health Assessment of Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion
More than 200 health professionals from Canada and around the world are calling on the Trudeau government to conduct an independent health assessment of the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, citing key health impacts of climate change that will be made worse by the C$9.3-billion megaproject.
12-Mile Limit for Tanker Assessment Could Put NEB on ‘Another Collision Course with the Courts’
The National Energy Board’s decision to limit its reassessment of oil tanker traffic from the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to a range of 12 nautical miles from the coast, rather than 200, is raising questions about how seriously the Board is taking the process—and could set the review up for yet another court challenge, according to one of the groups involved in the original legal battle against the project.
Future of Work in a Warming World Faces ‘Deafening’ Silence
There’s been a “deafening” silence about the future of work in a warming world, even though “consequences of global warming will shake up the nature of work and the availability of employment for people in every country,” Dr. Carla Lipsig-Mummé, professor of work and labour studies at York University, writes this week for The Hill Times.
NEB Sees No ‘Immediate Danger’ in Hundreds of Faulty Pipeline Fittings
Hundreds of steel fittings currently in use in major Canadian pipelines are at risk of swelling or breaking if they’re put under enough pressure, according to a new National Energy Board report. The NEB says it isn’t concerned that the pipelines are in any immediate danger, even though the fittings fall short of Canadian manufacturing standards.
B.C. Caribou Plan Ignores Oil and Gas as Factor in Habitat Loss, Forest Destruction
Wildlife scientists are expressing “profound” concern about a government discussion paper that was supposed to chart a course to a woodland caribou recovery plan for British Columbia, but instead relies on strategies that have failed in the past—and says nothing about the fossil extraction and mining activities that bear the greatest responsibility for habitat loss.
‘Toxic Bitumen Export Corridor’ Exposes Salish Sea to Unacceptable Risk, Officials Tell Trudeau
Citing the recent death of a killer whale calf as “our canary in a coal mine,” elected officials from a number of Salish Sea communities, both Canadian and American, are pleading with the Trudeau government to withdraw its support for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
Even Brief Exposure to Diluted Bitumen Doesn’t End Well for Sockeye Salmon Eggs
Even brief exposure to diluted bitumen significantly impairs the development and survival of sockeye salmon eggs, according to a new paper in the journal Aquatic Toxicology.
Marshall: Fossil Lobbyists Tout Job Creation Despite Continuing Quest for Layoffs
As the process of “de-manning” the fossil industry picks up momentum, Environmental Defence National Program Manager Dale Marshall has a question for Canadian policy-makers: “Given oil executives’ concerted efforts to get rid of every salary-earning employee in their companies, why does anyone listen when they talk about jobs?”
UNESCO Tracks Devastating Industrial Impacts on Wood Buffalo National Park
Canada’s Wood Buffalo National Park is at risk of losing its world heritage site designation and being placed on UNESCO’s endangered list, thanks to the combined and mounting impacts of climate change, fossil development, and hydroelectric projects across a 4.5-million-hectare territory that spans parts of Alberta and the Northwest Territories.
42% Increase in Pipeline Incidents Shows Up Safety Claims as ‘Meaningless Marketing Mantras’: Équiterre
Incidents on interprovincial and international oil and gas pipelines in Canada increased 42% between 2016 and 2017, from 122 to 173, and more than half of the incidents in Quebec since 2008 took place in 2017, Montreal-based Équiterre reveals in a report released yesterday.
Pipeline Buyout Compromises Ottawa’s Responsibility to Protect B.C.’s Killer Whales
Federal restrictions on British Columbia’s annual summer Chinook salmon fishery will help stave off immediate starvation among the endangered Southern resident killer whale population, but imperiled habitats and political imperatives continue to threaten both species, reports the Globe and Mail.
Donner: Kinder Morgan Deal Would Not Pass a Climate Test
The government that triumphantly promised a climate test for new energy megaprojects has just bought a pipeline that wouldn’t pass that test, according to University of British Columbia climate scientist Simon Donner.
NAFTA Panel Questions Canada’s Enforcement of Tar Sands/Oil Sands Tailings Ponds
Canada’s management of 1.3 trillion litres of contaminated water in tar sands/oil sands tailings ponds may soon be subject to international scrutiny, after a NAFTA watchdog “concluded there were serious questions about how the federal government enforces the Fisheries Act in relation to the giant ponds,” The Canadian Press reports.
Bellegarde, Saganash: First Nations Are Rights Holders, Not Stakeholders
Federal and provincial governments can’t keep discussing the dispute over Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion when the nations that hold title to the land aren’t at the table, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde and NDP MP Romeo Saganash asserted in interviews late last week.
Sisk: Canada Glossed Over Peer-Reviewed Science to Approve Trans Mountain, Line 3 Pipelines
The Prime Minister’s Office and Natural Resources Canada glossed over peer-reviewed science they had in hand when they announced approval of the Trans Mountain and Line 3 pipelines in November 2016, according to one of the scientists who submitted the hot-off-the-press findings for politicians’ consideration.
‘Labour-Saving Efficiencies’ Wipe Out Thousands of Alberta Fossil Jobs
Thousands of fossil industry jobs in Alberta are gone forever, even if oil prices ever return to $100 per barrel, and the shift has nothing to do with the province’s never-ending quest for a pipeline to tidewater, a leading government economist admitted this week.
Canadian Railways, Pipelines Log More Hazardous Substance Spills in 2017
While the overall numbers are still low, the chief operating officer of Canada’s Transportation Safety Board is promising a closer look at an increase in railway and pipeline accidents involving hazardous substances between 2016 and 2017.
U.S. Spills Increase 60% Since 2009 as Pipeline Corrosion Cost Hits $2.5 Trillion
The number of U.S. oil and gas pipeline spills has increased nearly 60% since 2009 as aging infrastructure wears out, and “if the industry continues its upward trajectory, the financial impact of corroded steel pipelines will multiply,” corrosion protection executive Merrick Alpert writes in an opinion piece for Rigzone, an industry news outlet.
NRCan Scientist Contradicts Past Research, Claims Dilbit Can Float
Natural Resources Canada is resurrecting a fossil industry talking point with research that suggests diluted bitumen will usually float when it comes in contact with a waterway—at just the moment when British Columbia is calling for independent review of the risk of a coastal dilbit spill if the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is ever completed.
‘Failure to Consult’ Sparks Indigenous Backlash Against Fossils from Canada to Mexico
Indigenous resistance to energy infrastructure forced on traditional territories with inadequate consultation is frustrating high-handed fossils from one end of the North American energy trading market to the other, Bloomberg reports.
No Business Case for Trans Mountain, Ex-Cabinet Minister Warns, as Decision Day Nears
With the Trudeau government widely expected to announce re-approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion tomorrow, news reports have excitement building in Calgary, and a former Liberal cabinet minister warning there’s no business case for the project.
Oil Prices Fall, Alberta Fossil Stocks Plummet After Short-Lived ‘Kenney Bump’
Less than two months after fossil analysts celebrated a “Kenney bump” with the arrival of a new government in Alberta, the industry is still beset by the same host of economic, political, and regulatory programs it has faced for years—notwithstanding the new premier’s loud promises to make his province’s oilpatch great again.
Trump Organization Must Hit Building Retrofit Deadline or Face Millions in New York City Fines
Donald Trump’s refusal to confront the climate crisis will soon prove costly to his stumbling business empire, with a number of his New York City properties in line to be heavily fined if they are not rapidly retrofitted to reduce their currently sky-high level of emissions.
Bank of Canada Review Declares Climate Risk to Financial System, Wider Economy
The Bank of Canada cites climate change as a risk “to both the economy and the financial system” in its 2019 Financial System Review (FSR), the first in the annual series to examine the climate crisis as a threat to the country’s financial stability.
Kenney’s Big Promises Face Economic Realities, Grassroot Expectations
On his first visit to Ottawa last week as Alberta premier, Jason Kenney rattled sabres about national unity and fossil regulation, briefly stepped back from a campaign promise to abandon his province’s cap on greenhouse gas emissions, and mostly managed to avoid the economic and political realities and grassroot expectations already confronting his new government.
‘Built on Quicksand, Clear as Mud’: Trans Mountain Costs Are Impossible to Track, IEEFA Warns
The financial arrangements behind Canadian taxpayers’ involuntary acquisition of the controversial Trans Mountain Pipeline are “built on quicksand and clear as mud”, the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis reports this week, in an assessment that urges the Trudeau government to be more transparent about what the project is costing now and how it’ll be paid for in the future.
Analysts Raise Eyebrows After Exxon ‘Re-Books’ 3.2 Billion Barrels of Tar Sands/Oil Sands Reserves
ExxonMobil is running into some second-guessing from analysts after bringing 3.2 billion barrels of tar sands/oil sands crude back into its active reserves.
Five Indigenous Groups Vie for Ownership of Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion
Five groups of Indigenous communities are vying for ownership shares of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, with CBC reporting that one of the groups has been in meetings with Finance Minister Bill Morneau and the Globe and Mail describing a separate effort to buy a 51% stake in the project in a debt deal with major Canadian banks.
Fossil Analysts Blame Global Transition, Not Federal Policies, for Canadian Industry’s Woes
A strange, new tone is emerging in the day-to-day news chatter about Canada’s oil and gas sector: after years of blaming regulatory rules and a lack of pipeline capacity for the industry’s financial woes, a couple of analysts close to the Alberta oilpatch are acknowledging some of the bigger issues at play.
NEB Sees Oil Decline in 2019 as Allan Warns of Stranded Assets in Alberta’s Future
The National Energy Board says Canada’s oil production is set to drop this year for the first time in a decade, and economist Robyn Allan warns that’s just the start of the transition challenge facing the Alberta economy.
Alberta Spends $3.7 Billion for Three-Year Tanker Car Lease
Alberta will spend C$3.7 billion over three years to lease 4,400 tanker cars from CN and CP Rail, in order to ship up to 120,000 barrels of oil per day by rail, Premier Rachel Notley announced Tuesday.
Trans Mountain’s Fee Plan for Fossil Customers Represents $2-Billion Taxpayer Subsidy
Canadian taxpayers will be on the hook for another $2-billion fossil fuel subsidy if the National Energy Board accepts the latest request from the federal Crown corporation that now operates the existing Trans Mountain pipeline, economist Robyn Allan reports in a National Observer exposé.
Ottawa May Have Paid $1 Billion Too Much in Trans Mountain Buyout, Parliamentary Budget Officer Concludes
The federal government may have paid up to C$1 billion more than it should have when it bought the Trans Mountain pipeline last year, Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux concludes in a report released late last week.
Albertans Paying the Price for Delinquent Oil Wells
Toronto Stock Exchange Joins Global Green Finance Network
IRENA Pegs Renewables as Most Affordable Power for Gulf States
Beer: If Fossils ‘Don’t Need Handouts’, Let’s Do Something About Fossil Fuel Subsidies
Federal Opposition leader Andrew Scheer’s mid-December claim on behalf of Canadian fossils that “we don’t need handouts” was a great invitation to rescind the billions of dollars in subsidies the industry happily takes from federal and provincial coffers, The Energy Mix publisher Mitchell Beer argues in a post this week for Policy Options.
Ottawa Unlikely to Unload Trans Mountain Before Federal Election, Despite Some First Nations’ Interest
The federal government will almost certainly retain ownership of the Trans Mountain Pipeline beyond this year’s federal election, Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi said in separate media interviews earlier this week, even with a group of First Nations expressing strong interest in bidding for the troubled project.
Internal Combustion Growth is ‘Over’ in China, Spelling Trouble for Global Oil Markets
The rise of electric cars in China spells trouble for anyone planning to sell fossil fuels into an increasingly volatile global market, U.S.-based author and journalist Gregor Macdonald told CBC last week.
Accountability Letter a ‘Fair’ Way to Share Cost of Climate Impacts, Victoria Mayor Asserts
Victoria, British Columbia is stepping into the spotlight as one of the 16 municipalities across the province asking fossil producers to cover their share of the cost of the climate impacts communities can expect to encounter in this century.
Vipond and Keough: Alberta Can’t Win by Postponing the Transition Off Carbon
With climate change setting the house on fire (literally or metaphorically), it’s in Alberta’s best interest not to demand more lighters, Calgary emergency physician Joe Vipond and sustainable design professor Noel Keough argue in a year-end opinion piece for the Calgary Herald.
Notley Announces Mandatory Production Cuts to Drive Up Alberta Oil Price
Alberta will mandate an 8.7% reduction in oil production volumes, or 325,000 barrels per day, in the hope of driving up the price of the crude oil and tar sands/oil sands bitumen it sells into world markets, Premier Rachel Notley announced late Sunday.
Brooks: Canada Must Plan for Oil and Gas Exit Rather Than ‘Urging Companies Onward’
Canada urgently needs an exit strategy from oil and gas, rather than allowing the industry and its massive environmental liabilities to continue growing, Environmental Defence Programs Director Keith Brooks argues in a Globe and Mail opinion piece.
National Securities Regulator Would Improve Canada’s Climate Risk Disclosure
A Supreme Court decision earlier this month could open the door for a more unified approach to sustainable finance and low-carbon growth, by allowing Canada to set up a single, national regulator for publicly-traded securities.
Alberta Needs a Plan B Before Fossil Economy Collapses, Globe and Mail Columnist Warns
Alberta’s lack of a Plan B to prepare for the looming collapse of the fossil fuel economy received a stern response last week from Globe and Mail national affairs columnist Gary Mason.
Canadian Export Support to Fossils Exceeded Cleantech 12-Fold from 2012 to 2017
Canada’s Export Development Corporation (EDC) provided more than 12 times as much financial support to fossil companies as it did to clean technology producers between 2012 and 2017, according to a new report released yesterday by Oil Change International and several Canadian environmental groups.
Cenovus Urges Government-Imposed Production Cuts to Drive Up Tar Sands/Oil Sands Revenue
One of the biggest fossils in the Canadian oilpatch, Cenovus Energy, is urging the Alberta government to impose temporary production cuts across the sector in a bid to “alleviate the wide differentials” between the world price for a barrel of oil and the deeply discounted amount that tar sands/oil sands producers can fetch.
Top Alberta Fossils Stayed ‘Incredibly Profitable’ Despite Oil Price Crash
Three of Canada’s top five tar sands/oil sands producers were “incredibly profitable” during the oil price crash and the continuing controversy over new export pipelines, according to a new report issued last week by the Alberta-based Parkland Institute and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.
Imperial Announces New Tar Sands/Oil Sands Project as CNRL Berates Competitors’ ‘Windfall Revenues’
Less than a week after two of Canada’s top five tar sands/oil sands producers announced they were cutting back production due to the low price their bitumen fetches on world markets, ExxonMobil subsidiary Imperial Oil announced a C$2.6-billion project destined to increase the supply glut.
Tar Sands/Oil Sands Look ‘Beyond Combustion’ for New Bitumen Products
Carbon fibre, pelletized asphalt, vanadium flow batteries, and polymers are on the list of possible products that Canadian tar sands/oil sands operators are considering as sources of demand for bitumen in a low-carbon future.
Canadian Fossils’ ‘Remarkable’ Production Cuts Show How a Managed Decline Could Work
Last Wednesday’s announcement by Cenovus Energy that it is cutting back its tar sands/oil sands production is a “remarkable” moment that shows how fossils “could act rationally to wind down production in the face of the urgent need to keep carbon in the ground,” according to an analysis by Oil Change International.
New Green Bonds Could Trigger $1 Trillion in Tar Sands/Oil Sands Activity
A new set of guidelines for clean transition bonds could unlock up to C$1 trillion to help tar sands/oil sands companies pursue their continuing quest to reduce the carbon intensity of their operations.
Regulator’s Scenario Shows $260 Billion in Unfunded Oilpatch Liabilities, Four Times the ‘Public’ Estimate
A “flawed system” of industrial oversight has left Alberta with a staggering C$260 billion in estimated liabilities for abandoned oil and gas facilities, more than four times higher than the figure previously disclosed in public documents from the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER), National Observer reports, based on a joint news investigation with Global News, the Toronto Star, and StarMetro Calgary.
New Pipeline Wouldn’t Eliminate Price Discount on Lower-Quality Tar Sands/Oil Sands Crude
No new pipeline will ever be enough to eliminate the price discount Canadian tar sands/oil sands producers have to offer to get their product to market, according to a BNN Bloomberg commodities analysis this week that reinforces one of the key economic arguments coming from the climate and energy community.
Big Fossil Investments Give Canadian Banks an ‘Interest in Continued Growth’
Canada’s five biggest banks were among the fossil industry’s top investors between 2000 and 2015, according to a report last week by the Corporate Mapping Project (CMP), with the Royal Bank of Canada placing second only to ExxonMobil as the sector’s biggest single backer.
Hughes: Selling Off Fossil Resources at ‘Bargain Basement Prices’ is Poor Energy Strategy for Canada
Canada’s current practice of harvesting bitumen and fracked oil and gas and selling them off at bargain basement prices is a poor excuse for an energy strategy, Alberta-based earth scientist J. David Hughes argues in a recent opinion piece for the Edmonton Journal.
Financial Windfall Ahead for Fossils That Abandon Tar Sands/Oil Sands, ‘Re-imagine Their Business’
The world’s most colossal fossils can look forward to a financial windfall as greenhouse gas controls drive up the price of the remaining oil they produce, according to a note to clients issued Monday by Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
Banks Swing into Action as Investors Demand Closer Look at Carbon Risk
With more and more investors taking an interest in the carbon footprint of the companies whose stocks they hold, the country’s chartered banks “are responding by offering tools and services to meet growing demand for transparency on carbon emissions,” the Financial Post reports.
Sabia Urges Big Investors to Seize Multi-Trillion-Dollar Climate Opportunity
Major institutional investors must begin looking at the new climate economy as “what you start doing,” rather than a constraint on their activities or the financial returns they bring their clients, said Michael Sabia, president of the C$300-billion Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, in opening remarks to a group of foreign government representatives and private sector leaders during G7 meetings in Halifax last week.
‘Investor-Led Revolution’ Pulls Financing Away from Fossil Fuels
The rise of the socially-conscious investor is forcing the rapid evolution of responsible climate policies within the corporate sector, with CEOs and their boards recognizing that profitability—and sometimes, survival—will depend upon pleasing an increasingly vocal and powerful constituency.
Scott: Kinder Morgan Buyout Shows All Major Pipelines in Precarious Condition
The Trudeau government’s eleventh-hour rescue of the Trans Mountain pipeline using public funds demonstrates how far Canada is from a “just and equitable managed decline of existing fossil fuel production”—and how close that production is to collapsing under the weight of its own economic, ecological, and social liabilities, writes Oil Change International’s Adam Scott in a post for the non-profit Common Dreams.
Royal Bank of Scotland Cuts Funding for Arctic Oil and Tar Sands/Oil Sands, Tightens Loans for Coal
The Royal Bank of Scotland has issued an updated energy policy that eliminates funding for Arctic oil and tar sands/oil sands projects and cuts lending to companies that profit largely from coal.
60 Mega-Investors Demand Sharper Climate Focus at Fossils’ Annual Meetings
A group of 60 global investment managers representing more than US$10.4 trillion in assets is calling on fossil companies to take climate action more seriously at their upcoming annual meetings.
HSBC Ends New Investment in Arctic Drilling, Tar Sands/Oil Sands, and (Most) Coal Projects
HSBC, the biggest bank in Europe and the world’s seventh-largest, has resolved to stop funding Arctic drilling, tar sands/oil sands development, and most new coal-fired power plants.
Banks’ Fossil Investment Rises 11% in 2017, Tar Sands/Oil Sands Finance Up 111%
Private banks around the world, including all of Canada’s “Big Five”, are ramping up their fossil fuel investment and “backsliding” on the goals of the Paris agreement, according to the latest in a series of annual investment report cards published last week by nine major environmental organizations.
Inferior Product, Not Market Access, Drives Down Price of Tar Sands/Oil Sands Crude: Allan
Former New Brunswick premier Frank McKenna, now a member of Alberta Premier Rachel Notley’s Market Access Task Force, is running into serious pushback for the inflated numbers he’s using to argue for completion of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, and for the mix of reasons he might have for using them.
Financiers Overlook Risk in Tar Sands/Oil Sands Pipelines: Report
Scores of big Canadian and international banks are underestimating the risk they face in financing pipeline projects intended to serve anticipated production increases from the Alberta-Saskatchewan tar sands/oil sands region, Greenpeace and Oil Change International warn in a new report.
Line 3 Pipeline Faces Six-Month Delay in Minnesota While Line 5 Loses Traction in Michigan
With this week’s federal re-approval of the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion triggering outrage and likely legal action across the country, two other pending pipelines—Line 3 through Minnesota, and Line 5 through Michigan—were running into new regulatory and political roadblocks south of the Canada-U.S. border.
Investigative Report Links Foreign Funding to Pro-Fossil Propaganda Outlet
Urgent alert to Jason Kenney and Vivian Krause! Another “foreign-funded radical” has just been identified, and the unity of our country will hang in the balance until you can direct all your taxpayer-funded investigative might toward…Alberta-based Rebel Media and its self-styled “Rebel Commander”, not-quite-disbarred former lawyer Ezra Levant.
‘Foreign-Funded Radicals’? Calgary-Based Enbridge Underwrites Pro-Line 3 Advocacy Group in Minnesota
A pro-pipeline group in Minnesota that presents itself as the voice of public support for the Line 3 pipeline is little more than a mouthpiece for North American pipeliner Enbridge Inc., the company that funds and directs its operations, according to an investigation by DeSmog Blog.
Coastal First Nations Demand Senate Passage of B.C. Tanker Ban
A coalition of nine First Nations from coastal British Columbia is demanding that unelected senators endorse the Trudeau government’s bill to ban tanker traffic on the province’s northern coast, after the Senate Energy Committee defeated the measure on a tie vote May 15.
B.C. Asks Supreme Court to Overturn Judges’ Decision Against Trans Mountain Regulation
British Columbia is on its way to a Supreme Court of Canada appeal, after the provincial Court of Appeal ruled unanimously against its right to apply environmental regulations to heavy crude shipped through the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
Canada On Track to Re-Approve Trans Mountain, But Northern Gateway Restart Looks Unlikely
Canada is likely to re-approve the controversial Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion, but a resurrection of Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline plan is not in the cards, according to two separate news reports this week.
Sohi Makes No Promises as Liberals Weigh Delaying Trans Mountain Pipeline Reapproval
Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi says there is no guarantee the federal cabinet will reapprove the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion ahead of the federal election this fall, and a national columnist reports Ottawa is getting serious about holding up the project if incoming Alberta premier Jason Kenney rescinds his province’s promise to cap carbon pollution from the tar sands/oil sands.
BREAKING: Emissions at Four Alberta Tar Sands/Oil Sands Mines 64% Higher Than Fossils Reported
Carbon pollution from four major tar sands/oil sands mines in northern Alberta is 64% higher than their owners reported using the United Nations’ standard emissions measurement framework, according to a study released this morning in the journal Nature Communications.
News Analyst Hopes for ‘Less Bellicose’ Kenney as Climate Groups Prepare for the Worst [GoFundMe Campaign]
News commentary in the wake of the United Conservative Party’s decisive election win in Alberta last week is skewing in two equal and opposite directions, with some stories pointing toward a more moderate, somewhat middle ground for UCP leader Jason Kenney, while the climate groups he spent much of the campaign vilifying prepare for the worst.
Pipeline Opponents File Lawsuit Against Trump’s Latest Keystone XL Permit
Pipeline opponents were back in U.S. federal court last Friday, contending that Donald Trump acted illegally when he issued a new permit for the controversial Keystone XL pipeline in defiance of a previous court order.
Long-Delayed Emergency Warning for Steelhead Trout Has Implications for Trans Mountain Pipeline
The federal government has spent more than year considering an emergency warning from scientists that pits endangered steelhead trout, and their importance to the Coldwater Indian Band in southern interior British Columbia, against Ottawa’s determination to push ahead with construction of the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
Trump Issues New Keystone Permit in Defiance of Montana Court Ruling
Two major oil pipelines between Canada and the United States are running into renewed legal hurdles, with Donald Trump making what appears to be a futile bid to reissue a presidential permit for the Keystone XL project and Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer halting construction on an underwater tunnel for the Line 5 line.
Line 3 Gains Final Approval from Minnesota PUC
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) voted unanimously Tuesday to quash all remaining petitions against Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline and grant it final approval, setting the company up to complete final regulatory steps for the controversial project by the end of 2019.
Two Alberta Projects Aim for Wider Dialogue on Energy Futures
With the Alberta election campaign taking on the look and feel of a brutally divisive, month-long political brawl, a couple of recent news reports have focused on new strategies seeking common ground on the province’s shift to a post-carbon future.
‘Outstanding’ U.S. Appeals Court Ruling Delays Keystone XL by One Year
TransCanada Corporation’s $8-billion Keystone XL pipeline faces another year of delay after a U.S. appeal court denied its “urgent” motion, backed by Donald Trump’s state department, to lift an injunction blocking pre-construction activities.
MEG Energy Cancels Tar Sands/Oil Sands Expansion, Cites Line 3 Delay
Calgary-based MEG Energy Corporation is blaming a one-year delay in completing the controversial Line 3 pipeline for its decision to shut down expansion of its Christina Lake tar sands/oil sands project in northern Alberta.
NEB Sidesteps ‘Significant’ Impacts, Recommends Trans Mountain Pipeline Approval
Canada’s National Energy Board is recommending federal cabinet re-approval of the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion despite its likely “significant” environmental and climate impacts, prompting multiple Indigenous and environmental opponents to vow the project will never be completed.
Pro-Pipeline Convoy Delivers Toxic Mixed Message as White Nationalists Take Centre Stage
Conservative leader Andrew Scheer welcomed pro-pipeline protesters to Parliament Hill and white nationalist Faith Goldy told Indigenous protesters to go back where they came from as the United We Roll protest descended on Ottawa Tuesday and Wednesday.
Retired B.C. Lawyer Risks 28-Day Sentence to Invoke Necessity Defence for Pipeline Protest
A retired lawyer from Vancouver is risking a 28-day prison sentence to test the necessity defence as a legal strategy to block fossil projects that would drive up the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.
Fort McMurray Adopts 75-Kilometre Ban on Fly-In/Fly-Out Work Camps
Staring down fierce opposition from tar sands/oil sands companies, councilors from Fort McMurray and the surrounding region have voted to impose a moratorium on fly-in/fly-out work camps that critics increasingly identify as benefiting only the fossils’ bottom-line, while extracting steep costs from surrounding communities.
Trans Mountain’s ‘Amateur Hour’ Work Destroys River Habitat, Endangers Salmon
Federally-owned Trans Mountain Corporation’s “amateur hour” work on the Stewart Creek river crossing in Chilliwack, British Columbia has destroyed habitat and will reduce food sources for coho and chum salmon that are part of the diet of the endangered southern resident killer whale pod off the west coast.
Six Pipelines, Assorted Tax Breaks Lead Fossil Wish List as Alberta Election Approaches
Government support for six new tar sands/oil sands pipelines and four major liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects, along with assorted tax cuts and regulatory breaks, led the wish list the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) released Tuesday in advance of the provincial election coming up in Alberta this spring.
CN, Alberta First Nation Plan Pilot Plant to Produce ‘Bitumen Pucks’
CN Rail and the Heart Lake First Nation northeast of Edmonton are planning to build a pilot plant this year to produce “bitumen pucks”, a solid tar sands/oil sands bitumen product that would float on water, could be delivered without pipelines or oil tankers, wouldn’t require diluent, and could increase fossil producers’ profits by C$15 per barrel.
Buck: Albertans Are Frustrated, but Pipeline Protesters Aren’t Singling Them Out
A singular focus on pipeline politics and carbon pricing may be distracting from all the other steps Canada must also take to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions—but oil and gas isn’t the only focus for groups working against climate change, and no one is trying to single out or target just one Canadian province, writes Joshua Buck, Alberta climate program manager for Environmental Defence.
Fossil-Funded Pipeline Convoy Folds, Leaving Supremacist-Affiliated Yellow Vests in Charge
One of the two dueling convoys sending pro-pipeline protesters to Ottawa has folded. The announcement Monday by fossil-funded Canada Action leaves the route along the eastbound Trans-Canada Highway open to Yellow Vests Canada, a group that seems at least as interested in arresting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for “treason” and vilifying ex-U.S. president Barack Obama and billionaire philanthropist George Soros as it is in seeing new pipelines built for the Alberta oilpatch.
Two Separate Convoys, Arrival of White Supremacists Cloud Alberta Fossils’ Pipeline Protest
The vaunted protest convoy that fossil interests in Alberta and Saskatchewan are vowing to send to Ottawa in February is still more than a month away. But organizers are already at pains to distinguish between “legitimate” (and often fossil-funded) protesters, and an upstart group modeled on the gilet jaunes (Yellow Vest) movement in France, to which a collection of anti-immigration white supremacists appear to have latched on for the ride.
TransCanada Plans June Construction Start for Keystone XL Pipeline
TransCanada Corporation is hoping to start construction on the Keystone XL pipeline in June, with the aim of bringing it online in early 2021.
Ottawa Set to Lose Money on Trans Mountain Purchase as Morneau Accused of Obscuring Costs
Canada’s purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline from Houston-based Kinder Morgan Ltd. may be costing taxpayers more in interest charges than the high-touted revenue it receives from existing pipeline operations, according to an exposé last week by National Observer.
Trudeau Defends Pipeline Decision, Lectures Project Opponent at AFN Chiefs’ Assembly
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lectured a Trans Mountain pipeline opponent on respect and “process” yesterday, in an unscripted exchange during the Assembly of First Nations special chiefs’ assembly in Ottawa.
Line 5 Pipeline Runs into Deadline Pressure, Legal Jeopardy as Michigan Governor Leaves Office
Enbridge’s controversial plan to replace the aging Line 5 pipeline with a US$500-million tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac between Michigan and Ontario is running into severe deadline pressure that could set it up for years of legal and regulatory delays, as Governor Rick Snyder prepares to step aside for a new administration.
Montana Judge Halts Keystone XL Pipeline
In what InsideClimate News is calling a “striking victory for environmental advocates” who’ve spent more than a decade fighting the project, a federal judge in Montana has ordered an immediate construction halt on the Keystone XL pipeline, after concluding the Trump administration failed to justify its executive order to restart the intensely controversial project.
With 155,000 Abandoned Oil and Gas Wells, Albertans Bear the Clean-Up Costs
Hot on the heels of National Observer’s report last week that clean-up costs in Alberta’s oilpatch could hit C$260 billion, a new investigation by The Narwhal shows how individual Albertans are already facing down the cost of abandoned fossil infrastructure.
‘Weak Financial Case’ Makes Teck Tar Sands/Oil Sands Project Unlikely to Succeed: IEEFA
Teck Resources Ltd.’s C$20.6-billion tar sands/oil sands megaproject in Alberta is unlikely to be commercially viable, offering “a weak financial case with little chance of remaining a going concern for the 41 years promised in the application,” the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis concludes in a report produced for Stand.earth.
Pipeline Roundup: Ottawa Accepts Appeal Court Decision, Notley Supports ‘Indefinite’ Indigenous Consultation, and Environment Commissioner Scorches Marine Mammal Protections
Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi announced Wednesday that the Canadian government won’t appeal the late August Federal Court of Appeal ruling that suspended federal approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, and appointed retired Supreme Court judge Frank Iacobucci to run a new pipeline consultation with Indigenous communities.
‘Ludicrous’ NEB Deadline Gives Communities Less Than a Week to Enter Trans Mountain Review Process
Facing a tight, 22-week deadline from the Trudeau government, the National Energy Board (NEB) has kicked off a new round of hearings on the intensely controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and given stakeholders an October 3 deadline—less than a week—to file comments or register to appear at the hearing.
Hearings Open in Fort McMurray for New $20.6-Billion Tar Sands/Oil Sands Mine
Public hearings opened in Fort McMurray yesterday for a massive, C$20.6-billion tar sands/oil sands mine proposed by Vancouver-based Teck Resources Ltd.
Trans Mountain Opponents Gear Up as NEB Launches 22-Week Review
Pipeline fighters are gearing up for another round and questioning just how much meaningful engagement the Trudeau government expects to deliver, following Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi’s announcement Friday giving the National Energy Board 22 weeks to redo part of its assessment of the C$13.8-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.
National Observer’s De Souza Reveals How He ‘Unwrapped the Kinder Morgan Saga’
When the Federal Court of Appeal issued its blockbuster decision last Thursday revoking the Trudeau government’s approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, one of the heroes of the story was someone with no professional opinion on whether the pipeline should be built. In this post, National Observer Managing Editor and investigative ace Mike De Souza details the painstaking research behind some of the biggest revelations on the Trans Mountain file.
‘Next Standing Rock’ Looms as Minnesota PUC Approves Line 3 Pipeline Expansion
Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline expansion received approval last Thursday from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC), prompting opponents to promise Standing Rock-style protests if that’s what it takes to stop the controversial project.
Marine Species at Risk in Kinder Morgan’s West Coast Oil Terminal Construction
Both Kinder Morgan and the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) appear to have failed to show due diligence in protecting marine life from excessive underwater noise during construction of the west coast oil terminal for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, National Observer reports.
Kamloops Pipeline Spill Shows Up Trans Mountain as ‘Biggest Lemon in Canadian History’
The Trudeau government is buying “the biggest lemon in Canadian history” with its C$4.5-billion pipeline buyout, MP Nathan Cullen (NDP, Skeena-Bulkley Valley) charged this week, following Kinder Morgan’s revelation that a recent spill at a pipeline pump station north of Kamloops was actually 48 times as bad as it originally admitted.
Communities Furious, Investors Unimpressed as Morneau Nationalizes Kinder Morgan Pipeline
Finance Minister Bill Morneau may have permanently shredded his government’s reputation on climate action, Indigenous rights and reconciliation, and the transition to green jobs with his extraordinary announcement Tuesday morning that Canada will spend C$4.5 billion/US$3.5 billion to nationalize the deeply troubled Kinder Morgan pipeline. But much of the reaction from investors suggests he’s getting little or nothing back for the political capital he’s spending.
Reaction to Canada’s Pipeline Buy: ‘Trudeau Transforms into Big Oil CEO’
Community reaction to the Kinder Morgan pipeline decision began within minutes of Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s announcement Tuesday morning, and continued through the day. “In a single mandate, Justin Trudeau transformed from a climate champion into a Big Oil CEO…”
BREAKING: Keystone Spill in South Dakota Was Twice TransCanada’s Original Estimate
TransCanada Corporation’s Keystone pipeline in rural South Dakota spilled nearly twice as much crude oil as the company originally admitted when the incident occurred in mid-November 2017, local media reported Saturday.
Oceans Already Hold Three Billion Barrels of Tar Sands/Oil Sands Bitumen: Saxifrage
While Alberta and British Columbia fight it out over the risk that the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion will trigger a diluted bitumen spill into coastal waters, B.C. analyst Barry Saxifrage says the oceans have already absorbed more than three billion barrels of carbon pollution from the Alberta tar sands/oil sands.
Critics Scorch Alberta ‘Subsidy’ as TransCanada Claims Enough Buyers to Build Keystone
TransCanada Corporation took a brief victory lap yesterday with the announcement that it had lined up enough shipping contracts to (barely) justify building its Keystone XL pipeline. But it didn’t take long for climate hawks to shred the company’s claim that the project makes economic sense—and to scorch the Alberta government for subsidizing the project.
Standing Rock Resistance Spawns New Generation of Pipeline Protests
U.S. law enforcement cleared the last few hundred occupants of the Oceti Sakowin resistance camp near the Standing Rock Sioux reserve at Cannon Ball, ND, last week, arresting around 50 people. But many declared that their spirit will carry on—on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border.
Standing Rock Sioux Ask Die-Hard Protesters to Fold Tents
Even before U.S. President Donald Trump signed executive orders to hurry the completion of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Sioux tribe whose resistance to the project caught global attention last year was urging the protesters still camped near its Standing Rock reserve to strike their tents and leave.