Category Archives: Weekly Articles

My weekly round up of things tar sands and oil shale, at home and abroad.

Tar Sands for the week (April 15, 2014).

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.

Continue reading

Tar Sands for the week (April 8, 2014).

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.

Continue reading

Tar Sands for the week (April 1, 2014).

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?

Continue reading

Tar Sands for the week (Mar 25, 2014)

 

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.

Continue reading

Tar Sands for the week (Mar 18, 2014).

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.

Continue reading

Tar Sands for the week (Mar 11, 2014).

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

Tar Sands for the week (Mar 5, 2014).

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.

Continue reading

Tar Sands for the week (Feb 25, 2014).

 

 

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.

Continue reading

Tar Sands for the week (Feb 18, 2014).

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.

Continue reading

Tar Sands for the week (February 12, 2014).

 

I’ll tell you what I’m not going to write about. Since Jim Flaherty decided to come within about an inch of telling you that environmentalist NGO’s are terror funded (he didn’t directly say it, he just instead implied it) or terrorist themselves, I’m not going to explain that this is wrong. That’s so stupid of an implication that people who even explain that NGO’s who talk about trees, climate and simultaneously defend capitalism are not “terrorists” are insulting themselves and the reader. I want to mention instead the implications of such comments, and the far more important dangerous deeds of the Harper government towards any activism to stop industrial ecocide.

Continue reading