Suzuki’s No Slave To The Economy

I hope we see meaningful changes in our economy, in time. There’s not a great understanding in our society that the economy is a system of resource distribution. We’ve enshrined it, even creating a phony holiday today when our retail gods go into the black.

It’s not that Canadian oil patches use slavery (don’t seem to, and they pay workers well), but an economy shouldn’t thrive on creation of injustice. An economy is supposed to create the conditions for prolonged success of people participating in it. When it’s found to be causing harm, it must change to adapt, or the harm grows and creates threats to societal success.

Yet Suzuki did offend people.

“People caught … working for the fossil-fuel industry will have to make a transition, they are not the target of my ire,” he reportedly said.

“But who would say today that the economy should’ve come before slavery?” Suzuki said.”
He could have said the same about child labour, or the factory disaster in Bhopal, India that killed tens of thousands of people. It was 50 years ago that #Nader held an industry to account for a product that was unsafe when used. Today, it’s fossil fuels.
“People dare to say it’s more important to make money?!” – Suzuki
Yes, people dare say it, just as they did when justifying child labour too.

Is seeking an analogy with which to compare an industry presently essential to our economy, yet undeniably harming our atmosphere, destined to cause offense? There are fainting couches ready all over the Saskatchewan Legislature, lest someone mention a reduction in fossil fuel output in the presence of Brad Wall. Some of those couches are staffed by the media with great big feather fans at the ready while asking if people want to “nuance” their message opposing a growing fossil industry. Does that mean we should never bring up the subject about how he’s going to meet the increase in renewable energy by 2030, if he doesn’t reduce fossil fuel dependency?

Suzuki also understands the urgent importance in reducing pollution.

About having Suzuki on his show, “Because I’m a shit disturber” – Suzuki
“The twerp in me loves it!” – Solomon
Continue reading

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.

Saskatchewan Party Can’t Hit a Moving Target

As Brad Wall goes to Paris to represent Saskatchewan at the COP 21 climate conference, here’s how his government handles critical climate targets:

If you can’t hit a target, remove the target and bury it until forgotten.
2 years ago I saved the text of a Sask Gov’t website, predicting it would soon be altered. It was.

“Saskatchewan has established a provincial target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 20% below 2006 levels by 2020.”
CBC thought it’s still the goal. There’s no mention of it on Government webpages that I can find now.

replaced with:
“Saskatchewan’s Climate Change Plan is designed to reduce these greenhouse gas emissions by setting annual reduction targets for industry and encouraging investment in low-carbon technologies.”
Continue reading

Too Fast To Be Absorbed

The scandalous details are piling up too quickly to take in. Or, did my blog post title mean that the CO2 is being injected too quickly to be sequestered? We may never know.

Aquistore will permanently sequester only 350,000 tonnes, or 1.2%, of the of 30-million tonnes which will be captured at BD3.

Of the rest going toward “Enhanced Oil Recovery” (basically replacing oil with CO2 liquid pushed underground), only some of that remains sequestered underground. So even if the BD3 plant attains its still out-of-reach 90% capture rate, that doesn’t accurately reflect the amount of CO2 prevented from entering the atmosphere. It’s somewhere far south of the 50% figure, making clean coal half clean, and half deadly, depending on how you want to view that filthy cup.

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.

Continue reading

Oil and Gas Still Not Four Letter Words?

Brad Wall, speaking directly to oil and gas men, remarked that he thinks Ottawa needs a “champion” of non-renewable energy. There’s been more than enough support for that industry in the past decades.

This is a good sector, that oil and gas are not four letter words. That they create untold quality of life and wealth for all Canadians. Let’s make that case.

“At one point, a list of dozens of items made from derivatives of petrochemicals were highlighted on a projector screen[…]

“The smartphones they use perhaps to send you angry Tweets about your industry or send you texts,” he joked.

It’s unclear if clean water or clean air that made Wall’s speech possible had been consumed by the Premier, or if he’d denied himself these things his policies aim to end. Clearly he’d have difficulty making arguments against having these necessities, without clean air and water throughout his life.


The detractors seem to think it is impossible for Saskatchewan to go fossil fuel-free because it’s cold. Actually, Saskatchewan engineers long ago pioneered energy efficient buildings that require little to no fossil fuel heating. What’s “wacky” is that we don’t have building standards that would make conventional heating obsolete and deliver thousands in energy savings.

Oil Is Not A Four Letter Word

Coal is a four letter word, however.

Perhaps Wall is a bit touchy about fossil fuels because Saskatchewan produces more greenhouse gases per person than any other Canadian province [link added], and is one of only three provinces whose emissions have risen since 1990. The province contains only 1 per cent of the country’s population, but produces a disproportionate 10 per cent of national emissions.

Saskatchewan recorded the highest deposit-paid bottle return rate in Canada (82 per cent) and largest wildfire detection camera system in North America, said the ministry.

Yet we had the worst wildfire season, perhaps ever, this Summer.

Until we get on top of the big industrial emissions we are going to have great trouble achieving the targets that have been set for the province,” said Coxworth.

“We are looking to beef up that part of our portfolio – with a quarter of our power production already renewable,” said Tremblay.

The ministry on Earth Day focused on what individuals can do in their everyday lives.

{Emphasis added, to highlight that what the ministry is doing is pushing responsibility for the problem off of themselves and onto the actions of individuals who cannot individually organize us into a more efficient system.}

Continue reading