During the last Federal election held in Canada I was in the Old City of Jerusalem. I considered trying to cast an overseas ballot for the riding here in Burnaby, just next door to Vancouver. I never did so, as my general feeling on election time is one of viscerally being opposed to making a principle of the whole ritual. Democratic practice has everything to do with every day, and the franchise given to the people in this settler state, far from embodying democracy, has been a shallow form of it at the very best. In an era where people constantly need version 2.0, an entirely new model, updated components and more it is odd that the best we can do for participating in the operation of society still has a system in place that was engineered centuries ago, with little movement in basic form.
Bitumen Spill in Alberta: Nexen’s “Green” History
Tar sands companies promote offset schemes, gain social license to develop
July 17, 2015
The fact that this major spill comes from Nexen’s pipe, running from the Long Lake plant, is very notable. The process used in this plant was developed in Israel by a company called Ormat, who carried out oil shale research & development with this technology in the Niqab/Negev desert until the Israeli government (under Ariel Sharon) refused to subsidize production.
One of the largest operations for the production of tar sands crude in Alberta is the Long Lake Project. This massive facility, a steam-assisted gravity drainage (SAGD) operation, is the only major production plant that also operates an on-site upgrader, where the tar-like bitumen is diluted and transformed into a mock crude before further shipping to a refinery built by design to handle tar sands oil.
You know how the bills can get– you can’t pay them, you borrow money, get a little further in debt but you put off the crash for a little while. Then your debt, of course, is higher and well, you keep finding ways to pay the minimum. Keeping yourself (supposedly) afloat from month to month is the kicker, no matter how bad the crash will be you put it off even if it makes the inevitable worse because, well, you have to. Otherwise everything stops– and you can’t just stop.
Well, the dog and pony show continued last week. Once Obama’s veto came through the Democrats all but assured that well funded organizations within North America will maintain a pointless loyalty to the now lame duck President– and assure that many will stay within the sphere of the structures of capital yet again. Make no mistake– the organizing, mainly on the ground members of the various coalitions throughout the US that answered some level of the call for climate action– is what saw the end of this particular bill. But it is a rather obvious ploy by an Obama administration that has marched headlong into a fossil fuelled nightmare of accelerating climate change. After a combination of other pipelines, sections of the KXL itself and railcars– along with fracking tight oil, new permits for oil shale (!!) as well as tar sands in Utah & Colorado and more, a pointless veto that shores up “progressive” non-street cred could be issued.
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.
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.
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.
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
A separate economic note brought a slightly older story to light for me today. It seems that in Mongolia last June, which is just two months after the announcement of new mining contracts with US company Genie Energy to extract kerogen-based oil shale, Mongolian start up corporation HB Oil announced a deal to buy into a refinery by the name of Sungri in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, or north Korea.
At the time of the announcement the link to the oil shale developments was not made, however Chinese influenced Mongolian MAK and Genie have now been linked to the possible future feedstock of the DPRK located refinery. Accordingly, it seems that US owned and Zionist-conceived Genie Energy (whose advisory board includes Rupert Murdoch, Lord Jacob Rothschild and Dick Cheney, among other prominents of reaction) may now be teaming up in a round about way (Mongolia has nearly no known conventional oil) to open up the “final frontier” of commercial oil to decimate the climate.
Corroding Our Democracy
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.