Sunday, July 10, 2016

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- J. David Hughes discusses the ultimate problem with new pipeline construction, as it's incompatible with any reasonable effort to meet even Canada's existing commitments to rein in greenhouse gas emissions:
Under a scenario where Alberta’s oilsands emissions grow to its cap, and B.C.’s LNG industry is developed to the level planned, economic sectors outside of oil and gas would have to shrink emissions by more than half (55 per cent) in order for Canada to meet the Paris commitment. This is simply not feasible, barring an economic collapse.

Industry’s response to these concerns is to claim that “new technology” just around the corner may somehow drastically reduce oilsands emissions. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers says we should “bet” on it.

Although small incremental improvements in technology are certainly possible, and progress has been made over the years, counting on a silver bullet is wishful thinking. And all the technology in the world won’t change the reality that allowing oilsands emissions to grow to the level allowed under Alberta’s cap will require drastic reductions in other sectors.

I also took a close look at the need for new oil pipelines. Growing oilsands emissions to Alberta’s cap would see an increase in bitumen production of about 45 per cent from 2014 levels. A review of existing pipeline and rail export capacity from Western Canada reveals that existing infrastructure can accommodate this growth without new pipelines (and still have a 15 per cent margin to allow for outages and maintenance). Bottom line: no new pipelines are needed.
Developing a climate plan to meet Canada’s Paris Agreement commitments is a challenging but achievable task for the federal government. Doing so while meeting Alberta’s and BC’s oil and gas production growth aspirations, however, will be virtually impossible. 

The oil and gas industry is certainly not going away any time soon, but if Canada is serious about meeting its climate commitments it is time for the prime minister and premiers to do the math and stop telling us we can have it all.
- Meanwhile, James Wilt examines the mining industry's federal lobbying spree - and the tax giveaway it's managed to wring out of the Trudeau Libs. And Norman Farrell exposes British Columbia's gleeful giveaways to Imperial Metals in contrast to their inflexibility in dealing with mere citizens.

- Adrian Morrow discusses how the Ontario Libs' political financing reforms fall far short of actually addressing the problems of undue influence they were supposedly intended to solve. But Douglas Todd notes that British Columbia (like Saskatchewan) represents an example of how matters could be worse due to a complete lack of interest in regulating outside funding. 

- Finally, Tammy Robert highlights [update: and expands on] the most glaring problems with the Saskatchewan Party's GTH land scandal (and the insufficient report from the provincial auditor general). And Farrah Merali and Mike Laanela follow up on the province's ship-'em-somewhere-else strategy to deal with homeless people by noting that there's no vindication in following an abhorrent policy.

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