Perhaps the biggest news in extreme extraction in the last week comes from a tiny country. Estonia, the lone veteran nation-state of converting kerogen oil shale into mock fuel, has joined the International Energy Agency. A body that is only open to OECD countries, Estonia has not been a part of the organization in the past. Given requirements of 90 day stockpiling and the ability to implement 10% consumption “restraint” as a part of membership, Estonia– whose oil shale industry accounts for over 90% of local energy (both shale fired power plants as well as kerogen shale into oil)– is likely banking this “normalizes” oil from kerogen and shale-fired electricity.
The IEA coordinates energy policy, including stocks, & integrates energy across member countries to a large degree. Estonia is doing in Europe much the same as Canada’s tar sands lobbyists (otherwise known as the Harper Government). Advocating against the Fuel Quality Directive, Estonia has also argued against the inclusion of clauses that Canada is desperately trying to avoid.
Weekend Edition October 25-27, 2013
Inside the Big Green Machine
What We Talk About When We Talk About Foundation Funding
by MACDONALD STAINSBY
This was originally written as part four of a four part series for Counterpunch.org
When discussions begin among environmentally concerned people about foundation funding and how it offsets resistance, a common complaint is that such a discussion is unnecessarily negative. With all of the world at stake, so goes the argument, we need to involve as many “diverse” views and strategies to stop climate chaos as possible. Rather than “being divisive,” we need positive thinking.
While Big Capital and Big Green are trying to propose they are building a bridge to a better, healthy planet– whatever you do, don’t look down. The bridge is faulty, and you’re already half way over the chasm. Just trust the bridge– and keep walking.
Big Green, Sun Media and Elsipogtog
Fracking Indigenous Country
by MACDONALD STAINSBY
October 21, 2013
This was originally written as part three of a four part series for Counterpunch.org
If anyone doubted that it’s a good thing that Sun News in Canada has been both going broke and also denied the ability to force their way onto Canada’s basic cable system (vastly expanding their audience and getting themselves included in most homes with television subscriptions by default), the racist rantings of Ezra Levant in response to the recent RCMP attack on the Mi’kmaq community of Elsipogtog ought to clear it up.
Repeat This Aloud
How Tides Canada Controls the Secret North American Tar Sands Coalition
by MACDONALD STAINSBY
October 16, 2013
This was originally written as part two of a four part series for Counterpunch.org.
Before Tzeporah Berman began her current position as head of the North American Tar Sands Coalition, Tides Canada had already established these structures to create near-total control over budgets– and therefore, most decisions– for staggering numbers of organizations. Berman was around at the time, working for PowerUp pushing forward offsets garnered by river destruction. Some of the participant organizations already had working partnerships with multiple tar sands producers. The over-whelming majority were already greased by primarily high donors and foundations. Thus, joining the NATSC meant, essentially, double dipping.
Tzeporah Berman Silences Environmentalists, Targets Corporate Deal in Tar Sands Push
October 14, 2013
originally published as part one of a four part series on Counterpunch.org
Corroding Our Democracy
by MACDONALD STAINSBY
On September 23, 2013 Democracy Now and Amy Goodman conducted an interview with Tzeporah Berman on the issue of Canada’s government and their extreme over-reach in attacks on science and all manner of environmentalists. Focusing intently on the tar sands, the interview did well to highlight the more than dubious moves of the current Conservative government to promote tar sands in particular at all costs.
I don’t dispute much of what was said during the interview. The title of the interview describes the deeply authoritarian moves of the federal Conservatives in forcing through the interests of big energy: “Corroding Our Democracy: Canada Silences Scientists, Targets Environmentalists in Tar Sands Push.” The tale of Conservative overreach in attacks on even mild, corporate sympathetic environmentalists and almost all scientific research into climate is sordid, and becoming more and more known.
Let’s see– Premier Christy Clark has done a predicted about face, and instead embraced Alison Redford, made up publicly and called for construction of the Enbridge Gateway tar sands pipeline. While predicted, it is depressing in a few ways. Members of high-financed ENGO’s had sought to “embrace” Christy Clark when the province of BC entered a non-consequential and symbolic “opposition” to Enbridge’s plans, after surprisingly winning the provincial election. The move had no authoritative power and was seen by many to be a simple move to garner public support (it was a major item of discussion during the electoral campaign).
Somba Ke: The Money Place
by Macdonald Stainsby
film review originally written for MRZine, 03/12/06
Not many discuss contemporary geopolitics in a way that brings together both the Manhattan Project of the 1940s and today’s global Risk-like die rolls for energy resources, but the producers of the documentary Somba Ke: The Money Place have made a film that does precisely that.
June 12, 2013
Colonialism, Mining and Oil Shale: Don’t Let the Genie Out of the Bottle
Mongolia, Canada, Israel & the United States
by MACDONALD STAINSBY
originally published in Counterpunch
Ulan Bator: When you get out of the plane and enter the Chinngis Khan Airport just outside of Ulan Bator, you quickly realize that Mongolia is a former Soviet Republic. An incredibly drab and oddly out of date international airport, the walls of the customs area have peeling paint and general disorganization as you struggle to figure out where any line up for customs begins and ends. You can see the stone faced bureaucrats and soldiers in seemingly dated uniforms standing around while you’re getting ready to show off the required prearranged visa. After you stumble your way through that mess, you get to the conveyor belt that jams with luggage bags that are apparently much larger now on average than when it was first constructed. The feeling of being in a time warp lasts– right up until you step outside for the first time.
Immediately upon getting outside, in the dark and on a chilly night reminiscent of northern Canada despite the date being in the middle of May, I was confronted by a man from my home province of British Columbia, Canada. Skipping the usual opening conversation about the ongoing hockey playoffs I normally attempt with ex-pats carrying the same passport as I, he told me immediately that he was working for one of the large mining companies.
May 07, 2013
A Qualitative Jump Down a Black Hole
Just the Beginning of Canada’s Filthy Tar Sands
The breakneck pace of tar sands development in Canada is well known; it is the sheer size of the multiple mines, in-situ plants, upgraders, pipelines, rail lines, refineries and more across all of North America that earned the nickname “the Gigaproject.” Now, what if we took the most destructive aspects of tar sands mining, combined that with the worst parts of in-situ, and put them together into a project that was even worse than any tar sands development for the climate?
Ward Churchill and the Respectable Left
Feb 7, 2004
originally written for Resist.ca
I remember deeply how in the immediate aftermath of 9-11 2001, there was a
tremendous number of the most vicious, racist and reactionary witch hunts
carried out–seeking to destroy anyone who would dare take a line different
than “freedom was attacked” in the smoldering ruins of the World Trade
Centre and Pentagon. There were those of us who, unlike Christopher Hitchens
and Doug Henwood (to name but two), were able to resist the need to line-up
with the new-and-improved ‘revenge’ imperialism that was about to begin a
mass slaughter of the Afghan people to install new rapists in the place of
the old, and to protect heroin traffickers and oil pipelines from our former
anti-Soviet allies who harbored yet more former CIA agents. Of those of us
who did not immediately decide that we had no ability to stand and resist
witch hunts unseen since the days of “I have here in my hand a list of 205,
a list of names made known to the secretary of state”, many still wanted to
take a small part in the witch hunting going on. After all, jolly fun is
indeed jolly fun.