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Denée Reaves’s Blog

Canada's National Day of Action

Denée Reaves

Posted May 9, 2014

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Tar Sands Canada's Carbon Bomb-Peter Blanchard.jpg

Photo Credit: Peter Blanchard

Here in the United States, we have been fed on a pretty regular diet of propaganda by the federal Canadian government and tar sands oil companies including pipeline companies like TransCanada. If you listened to them, you might assume that Canadians support increased development of tar sands, but this is woefully far from the truth. In fact, Canadians are increasingly concerned that more tar sands development will harm communities and prevent a clean energy future. Tomorrow, communities spanning from coast to coast will celebrate a national day of action. Thousands of people will gather at over 70 organized events under the banner: “Defend our Climate, Defend our Communities.”  They have a clear message:  We’re at the beginning of a great transition to replace fossil fuels with clean energy and ensure a safe climate for all generations.

While the current Canadian federal Conservative government is pushing a strong tar sands agenda, there are thousands of Canadians across the country calling for a transition from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to help usher in a safer and more sustainable future. The Defend Our Climate site, outlining the campaign’s actions highlights three main issues that events are focusing on:

  • A Pipeline near You: Six pipelines are proposed that will cross Canada and the United States, and will carry heavy and highly toxic bitumen oil. These pipelines will render communities unsafe, and will fuel more climate change.
  • The Climate Math: It is important that people understand that we are already pushing against the worst case scenario for climate, and we don’t have much further to go to fall over the edge. Fossil fuel companies have budgeted development that will ensure our climate cannot recover.
  • The Great Transition: Around the world money is being invested into new clean energy sources and technologies. From local levels to government levels, everyone can take part in a better energy future.

Canadian voices are echoing strongly the same fears that their US counterparts share: building tar sands pipelines that the oil industry is currently pushing, will be detrimental to thousands of communities across Canada and the United States and will lock the country into a dead end economy. 

It is clear that citizens on the ground in Canada and those making the energy decisions are not on the same page. The current Canadian federal government and its tar sands industry should pay attention to what their constituents and their current and future consumers are saying: We don’t want more pipelines built; you are costing our current and future generations a healthy planet; help us transition our country toward cleaner and more sustainable sources of energy. 

The national day of action is the perfect platform for Canadians to show their government they mean business. Hopefully the government is listening.

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Comments

A Proud CanadianMay 9 2014 09:25 PM

Hi Denee,
Here in Canada ….. we do support increased development of the oilsands. In fact, Canadians see our oil as a replacement for heavy OPEC oil (equally as carbon intensive as oilsands).
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m a big fan of getting off of fossil fuels. But I recognize that oil production (including the oilsands) is a demand driven phenomena. If you stop Canadian oilsand oil, you will take Venezuelan and Saudi oil. The refineries will run, and the gas tanks will be filled. The only way to stop heavy oil production is to reduce/stop using oil. Period. You can shut down the oilsands but then what will happen? More Saudi Oil. More Venezuelan oil. Begin burning oil shale (kerogen). More utra deep water drilling. More arctic drilling.

To your points:
• “A Pipeline near You: Six pipelines are proposed that will cross Canada and the United States, and will carry heavy and highly toxic bitumen oil. These pipelines will render communities unsafe, and will fuel more climate change.” . This is incorrect. Pipelines purposefully avoid communities. They are the safest form of oil transportation. Also incorrect is the false connection of the oilsands and climate change. This is proven out by your State department’s extensive assessment on the Keystone-XL pipeline.
• "The Climate Math: It is important that people understand that we are already pushing against the worst case scenario for climate, and we don’t have much further to go to fall over the edge. Fossil fuel companies have budgeted development that will ensure our climate cannot recover." Much of this is true, we need to get off of fossil fuels. I explained earlier why stopping the oilsands won’t accomplish anything. Fossil Fuel companies are budgeting development of their reserves because they see the demand coming. If they didn’t see the demand coming (and associated price drop), then they wouldn’t. It is the demand for coal and oil that will ensure our climate can't recover
• "The Great Transition: Around the world money is being invested into new clean energy sources and technologies. From local levels to government levels, everyone can take part in a better energy future." Awesome! Let’s hope they can do it in time!

So pipelines will not be detrimental to thousands of communities across Canada and the United States. Pipelines will not lock the country into a dead end economy. Canada is a multi-facetted and innovative country. Oil money is private money (Canada is not a state-run oil country).
And again the current (or previous) Canadian federal government doesn’t own its oilsand industry (unlike Venezuela for example). They are however, listening to their people who want economic prosperity as well as a world supplied by as much Canadian oil as possible.

So I encourage the transition to affordable renewables. The sooner the better. But if demand doesn’t drop. If affordable alternatives aren’t developed (nuclear is one of them), then it won’t happen until the price of oil rises to unsustainable levels (and damages big pieces of the economy along the way).

Regards,
A Proud Canadian

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