2 Percent. It’s not the milk, but a percentage of the Canadian economy reliant upon tar sands production. For the Harper Government it’s a much larger number, because the Harperites– a Frankenstein’s monster emerging from years of the Ontario-centric Federal Liberal Party and major subsidies of the tar sands production– are a financially oil and gas grouping from southern Alberta.
Tar Sands. On that, I want to talk about the anti-war movement of the time before the invasion of Iraq in 2003. In the time between the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in various parts of the United States and the ultimate invasion of the completely uninvolved sovereign state of Iraq, quite literally millions upon millions of people flooded the streets of the imperialist countries that stood to gain the most from just such an invasion. Perhaps tens of millions were mobilized in the UK alone; Canada, later to lead the invasion and overthrow of Haiti as a “sorry” to the United States war plans, played a peripheral role.
First off, my apologies for not posting for two weeks, travel and other commitments did not allow for the weekly blog. Here, once again, is a weekly tar sands stream of thoughts.
Well, it seems that two weeks off for travel has left wide open new tar sands stories. Such is the nature of this struggle. But that’s it, perhaps in another way. While the overall popular sentiment against tar sands in particular– along with fracking, mountain top removal and climate change itself– the demands have not grown much with the breadth of sentiment. This is, of course, not true of those who are resisting on a democratic, open and community level– fracking has been brought to attention by those who seek more than public relations. But as far as the struggle against tar sands as led by the structures of NGO’s we have repetition of failed demands. Nowhere is this clearer than in the case of Enbridge Gateway and big money organizing in BC. Continue reading
It seems everyone has their own way of interpreting the latest projections from the IPCC on climate change. The main points are repeated, restated, and as climate campaigners like to note– unambiguous rejection of fossil fuels. Indeed, as projected in many quarters before the fact, the emissions we are dealing with have been speeding up. These are all new, damning facts.
There are other projections as well. The level of energy-change required to deal with the climate crisis is spelled out, painstakingly, in both terms of reductions in emissions but not without replacing the level of fossil fuel energy with wind, solar and other renewables.
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?
A few years ago, I was living in the same Burnaby located apartment that I am now. I went outside and started to walk up the street to go to a local store, I certainly don’t remember which one at this time. When I got to the street adjoining the front of my apartment building the entire neighbourhood smelled of gas. It was a propane-like retching odour that went in my nostrils and quickly made me feel ill. Later that same day, parts of the road were cordoned off, and by the following day pipelines under the road were dug up, serviced in some manner and the smell of the gas went away.
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
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.