Tar Sands. They may be the most destructive project in the history of humanity. Yes, all these megprojects combined together also create the largest project in the history of industrial developments– the Gigaproject. By linking projected developments associated with tar sands in northern Alberta all the way through to the North Slope in Alaska, possible connections to all three major oceans, the Gulf of Mexico and possibly even including Mexico itself via pipelines– oddly enough– that dip into and then back out of Mexico, taking bitumen on a little tour through territory captured through a different spate of violence during prior centuries.
The funny thing about the construction of “debates” where none ought to exist is how “normal” they can seem. The tar sands are far from an exception to this often rule that emerges from manufactured consent. Take just the basic tone of a few articles that have come out in the press recently, nothing at all new, as it regards the supposed “results” of another report turned into greenwash by industry. The story is basically the same as before: Doctors and people recount the obvious, the Alberta medical examiner reports attempt to exonerate the province and by extension, the tar sands.
There is nothing new here– but the underlying story, of course, is that this may make the tar sands a “good idea,” if only economically. Really?
We do have a situation where the problems in the climate are not accidents. They are crimes. All apologies to the prison abolitionists reading this, but crimes mean there are also criminals. With criminals, that means perpetration has taken place… and thus, if what happened is against the interests of human beings, then for those human beings at least, the perpetrators are enemies.
Why do I say all of that? Simply because we hear it said often– the environmental movement doesn’t have enemies anymore, just “potential partners.” This is supposed to come from the belief that corporations can and will make the needed adjustments to allow life to continue. This conveniently avoids noticing that they not only created the problems in the first place, they approach environmentalists as enemies– even the ones who are, in point of real fact, actually their best allies.
Doubling Tar Sands production for Imperial War
The continuation of the North American master plan for energy continues unabated. The newest pipeline– along with the corridor pipeline through Toronto to Montréal and the Atlantic Coast in Maine that Line 9 is a component part of–could facilitate the doubling of tar sands crude available to distribute daily in a short number of years. Well over a million barrels a day (1.1 according to the proposals) alone would flow through the “Energy East” pipeline to a Saint John terminal –including the refinery owned by Irving, the traditional oligarchy that believe they own large sections of the Maritimes.
I know it isn’t supposed to be like this. An engaged public, demanding action on climate in general and the stopping of new infrastructure for tar sands “oil” in particular, has been more than clear. In BC, opposition to the largest pipeline proposed (between 5-600 thousands barrels of oil a day– more than two giant mines worth) has been given near guaranteed approval, even with the knowledge that it means corporations and oil and gas have established near-total control over the decisions about development within the country. Continue reading
Well, it happened. Finally! The mainstream media has finally shown their highest level of interest in a major story that has evolved in no small part because of the realization that climate change is already acting upon the atmosphere now. And the problem, so it seems, is that plateau of interest generated in the major press in the United States brought about because of events like Sandy, towards climate change. For a short while, Keystone XL managed to garner certain levels of respectable stories, but like media relations campaigns on twitter, the trend abates and so does coverage.
Whether or not stopping tar sands is needed is not the main issue; Climate chaos is here, happening on a grand scale and needs to be resisted through serious attempts to shut down the anthropogenic industries most responsible. This was identified– along with coal– as the tar sands located in Canada. The level of damage done has only grown, the level of damage predicted takes a sharp curve upward over the next couple of decades. The problem is the speed of other developments, and the single focus of the Big Green movement on KXL.
With fracking changing the US oil-production and consumption numbers so dramatically, it seems time to challenge the notion that tar sands– and the carbon released if tar sands production continues to climb– is the “make or break point,” an “endgame” whose development signifies “game over for the climate,” as stated several years ago by Dr. James Hansen. Tar sands development is no less extreme, of course, no less destructive, no less genocidal to those living in the affected areas. Shutting down the tar sands– completely, and not negotiated as a phase out nor leaving the corporations in power afterward– is more important than ever, and on as many fronts as possible.
There are so very many reasons to go “Beyond Keystone” in thinking about resistance to climate change or even just tar sands alone. Several of the “not so famous” pipelines have received mention here or there: Flanagan South, for example, has nearly the same ability to facilitate tar sands growth as does KXL. The Gulf Coast Pipeline, now operational, works in conjunction with the original Keystone pipeline and the southern leg of KXL to take bitumen to the Gulf Coast. The question is no longer if bitumen will flow to the Gulf Coast through Keystone XL, it is only a question of volume.
Is the (current) Fuel Quality Directive (proposed legislation from the EU) a threat to Pacific Coast forests? The short answer is maybe. The same answer would follow the question with Brazil or Indonesia as the location of said forest. With a sub-section of the over-all Kyoto goals of the EU involving cuts in emissions from transport and the fuels used for transportation– and Canada, Estonia and others trying to desperately eliminate such a standard– industries such as biofuels have ‘demanded’ specifics, in order to “force” EU countries into embracing giant agro-fuels and other falsely labelled “renewable” sources for energy.
Sounds good, right? No. It sucks. Continue reading