Why Did Obama Kill the #KXL Pipeline?

Everything in this article isn’t perfect, but these parts are:

Alberta’s problem is twofold: Its oilsands have been buried by fracked American oil that is both higher-value and cheaper to produce, while longer-term they face marginalization in a world committed to weaning itself off carbon.

So another pipeline isn’t needed; oilsands production won’t be expanding much in the foreseeable future, if it all. Alberta needs to figure out how to make the most of the infrastructure it has in place. Money spent on a pipeline right now would be money wasted. But Notley can’t say that aloud — not while also delivering the bad news on her province’s finances and fighting back against the implications of the so-called Leap Manifesto.


“As long as I’m president of the United States,” Obama said as he officially pulled the plug on Keystone XL, “America is going to hold ourselves to the same high standards to which we hold the rest of the world.” Now, if Obama really wanted to have an impact on carbon emissions, he would have shut down the 500,000 barrels per day of California heavy crude — which is ‘dirtier’ than oilsands bitumen. He didn’t; he didn’t even mention it.

Trudeau To Rush A Billion Dollars to Wall and Notley

The government is in talks to quickly allocate $1 billion for infrastructure projects in the two provinces — money earmarked by the previous government’s infrastructure fund but not yet delivered, two of the officials said.

I sincerely hope that this money goes into supporting the growing renewable energy industry, and not into propping up the fossil fuel industry instead.

Where’s Wall’s Western Strategy Now?

It wasn’t very long ago that Brad Wall was a part of shaping western Canada. He wanted BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, and maybe even Manitoba to agree on LCD wage and labour codes, so we could more easily trade workers around. Now that he’s surrounded by NDP provinces, he’s not involved?


We’ve got SaskPower supposedly committed to reducing fossil fuel electricity to 50% in less than 15 years, but looking to rebuild coal plants that will strand billions in assets well into the next generation!

SaskPower has recommitted to coal, signing two contracts with Westmoreland Coal to supply 60 million tonnes from its Estevan mine to 2024 and 58 million tonnes from its Poplar River mine to 2029. Doesn’t this suggest SaskPower effectively has decided to build two more carbon capture and storage facilities at its Boundary Dam Power Station?

“it seem that a decision has been made all but officially to convert the pre-1975 units to CCS by 2020.”

Meanwhile, Brett Dolter has done an economic analysis of Saskatchewan’s electricity generation options, and one of those is to partner with Manitoba to build hydro capacity we can use.

SaskPower’s Plan Isn’t Ambitious

SaskPower’s new target, announced by the Premier last week, is out.

Saskpower mix by 2030 vs 2015

That’s more wind power than we produce with coal or with natural gas today. Sounds impressive, until you realize that North Dakota did this already:
As of the end of 2014, 1,886 megawatts (MW) of generation capacity had been installed for wind power in North Dakota.

SaskWind also says this is “unambitious”.

1) As noted: Wind energy is cost competitive with natural gas, half the price of coal with carbon capture and significantly cheaper than nuclear. It is the cheapest form of new renewables on the market today.

2) Saskatchewan has a world class wind resource – which is substantially better than the average in both the US and Europe.

3) The European Union and the US expect 23 percent and 20 percent respectively of ALL their electricity to be generated by wind in 2030.

Alberta is heavily dependent upon coal electricity. By 2030, according to their #ABclimate plan, there will be no coal burning for electricity in 15 years. In Saskatchewan, SaskPower promises up to HALF of our electricity will STILL come from fossil sources like lignite coal. That’s a disgrace. We’ve got to stop using, and subsidizing fossil fuels now.

Joe, You Can Go Now

Why I’m really, really, really glad Joe Oliver isn’t Finance Minister anymore:

Keystone XL would have created jobs, bolstered ec growth, strengthened nat’l security, reduced GHG emissions and enhanced N Am energy indep
Therefore, disappointing President Obama rejected Keystone X. See yesterday’s article where I discuss implications. http://business. financialpost. com/fp-comment/..[thiscrapisntworthreadingfurther]
See my interview #CBC #newsworld on disappointing Keystone rejection & triumph of politics & symbolism over facts.

Enabling more bitumen to flow from Alberta would not lower GHG emissions, so you can bet the rest of his claims are false too.

The day before:

See my article in Nat’l @nationalpost on need to diversify energy mkts given likely rejection of Keystone XL.

So, is diversification of our economy a good thing, or do we want to focus only on oil and gas? Go and eat your cake Joe, and then have it too.

It’s a Gas

CCS, what is it good for? Absolutely money. Not for you and I, no, it’s good for oil companies.

We’re talking about this because the only “clean coal” plant isn’t working properly yet, and it opened over a year ago (late). The delay is costing SaskPower customers tens of millions of dollars in penalties to pay to the oil company Cenovus.

SaskWind explains:

350,000 tonnes will be permanently sequestered in Aquistore
Aquistore’s own web site describes itself as a “storage site for the world’s first commercial post-combustion CO2 capture, transportation, utilization, and storage project from a coal-fired electrical generating station”. However SaskPower, in its ‘Case for Carbon Capture and Storage’ confirms that Aquistore will permanently sequester only 350,000 tonnes, or 1.2%, of the of 30-million tonnes which will be captured at BD3. This small amount confirms that BD3 was only ever about providing CO2 for Enhanced Oil Recovery. In other words: the tiny percentage that is permanently sequestered at Aquistore is simply a fig leaf to disguise the true nature of BD3 – the production, at public expense, of CO2 for the oil industry.

-emphasis added

I’ve been writing about the true purpose of CCS for years and years. Others have realized it too.

We’ve roughly months left in the world to stop building coal fired electricty infrastructure, without certainly stranding those assets when we have to dismantle them in coming years before the plants recoup their investments.

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The Forest For The Trees: Harper’s Fudgey Forestry Figures

I have a feeling that some webpages will be changing significantly in the coming years at the Government of Canada.

“At 0.02% of its forested area, deforestation in Canada is among the world’s lowest”
“That means human activities disturbed 20,000 hectares of pristine forest every day [worldwide] for the past 13 years,” the group said.

Of that degradation, more than a fifth — 21.4 per cent — occurred in Canada, the study found. That’s more than any other country. ”
That’s 94965000 hectares over those 13 years. At 21.4%, Canada deforested virgin forests covering about 20322510 hectares. Each year that’s 1,563,270 hectares disturbed or gone.
The Harper government, not concerning itself with natural forest, claims these numbers:
“In 1990, 64,000 hectares were lost to deforestation and in 2012 this figure dropped to 45,800 hectares [lost that year].”

How could these two claims be reconciled? Look at the satellite imagery for yourselves, perhaps?

The assumption on the ground in northern Alberta is that everything is fine:

Comparing the Huff Po reported study to the Harper Gov site is challenging, because one focuses on deforestation worldwide and of “disturbed” virgin forest, while the Harper figures focus on deforestation rate reduction. That’s the same technique used to give the impression that carbon emissions were going down, when it was intended to show the rate of the increase was going down. Remember the “intensity targets” trick?

Each view gives a maximized number for the shitty situation. The Forest Watch group gets to give a huge number for any area of disturbed, but not totally destroyed forest, and the Harper government peddled the notion that the rate of destruction was falling sufficiently to allay concerns. To know if the rate of deforestation was falling in a meaningful way, you’d have to calculate if the rate of deforestation takes it to zero before too much virgin forests are lost (which will cause species extinctions and contribute to climate change {causing yet more extinctions}).

Harper Government website:

At 0.02% of its forested area, deforestation in Canada is among the world’s lowest, yet many myths exist about the state of our forests. The reality is that Canada is a world leader in sustainable forest management. Canadian forests are healthy, productive and thriving.

Deforestation is an important issue, since shrinking forest cover reduces biodiversity, affects soil and water quality, impacts wildlife habitat and influences climate change. The Canadian government carefully monitors and regularly publishes reports on deforestation. Our scientists combine satellite and aerial images with information about regional development, forest ecosystems, natural processes and local conditions to help monitor and manage the health of Canadian forests.

Here are some key facts about Canada’s low levels of deforestation.
Myth: Deforestation in Canada is increasing.
Fact: Canada’s deforestation rate is among the lowest in the world.

The annual deforestation rate in Canada in 2010 was less than 0.02% of our forests and the rate has been declining for over 25 years. In 1990, 64,000 hectares were lost to deforestation and in 2012 this figure dropped to 45,800 hectares.

Today, Canada’s 348 million hectares of forest lands represent about 9% of the world’s forest cover, but account for only 0.3% of global deforestation.