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Economic development discussions in B.C. too often centre on large-scale proposals like LNG terminals, oilsands pipelines or hydroelectric dams like Site C. While they don’t generate the same headlines, it’s small- to medium-sized companies that are actually driving the provincial economy, employing 94 per cent of B.C.’s private sector employees.
There should be no confusion about where Canada stands with respect to its efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions and meet its international climate targets.
The degree to which Canadians and others will grant social licence to resource development proposals and proponents will largely hinge on whether — and how — industry and governments choose to implement these solutions to environmental performance and carbon emissions.
British Columbians want an energy shift Strong majority want B.C. to transition away from using and exporting fossil fuels
New opinion research commissioned by the Pembina Institute, the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, and Clean Energy Canada shows that the majority of British Columbians not only want to move away from using and exporting fossil fuels, they also see economic benefits in doing so.
Over the last few months, debates about pipelines have become a staple of the news in Canada. In 2014, we can expect to hear a lot more about Energy East, a major west-to-east pipeline that would carry over one million barrels of crude per day. We need a venue for a meaningful discussion about the impacts — both positive and negative — of growing oilsands production.
Pembina has published a new report about the potential climate impacts associated with the proposed Energy East pipeline. Our research shows that producing the crude required to fill the pipeline would significantly increase Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions and make it even more difficult to meet our climate targets.
It’s been a few weeks since news broke that Stephen Harper had written to Barack Obama about the Keystone XL pipeline proposal, offering “joint action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the oil and gas sector” in exchange for his approval of the project.
So far there is little evidence that the Obama Administration is interested in accepting Harper’s offer. If Harper did fail to catch Obama’s interest with his letter, it’s worth asking why.
As Stephen Harper’s natural resources minister, Joe Oliver already spends a lot of time going to bat for Canada’s oil and gas industry.
But at a meeting of Canadian energy ministers in Yellowknife last month, Minister Oliver took his support to another level. There, he made an eloquent pitch that developing our resources is a new kind of nation-building and an opportunity we are obliged to seize.
We have reached a “pivotal moment” in our history, he said, one where “the easy assumptions of the past are giving way to new realities.” I think he’s entirely right about that — but not at all in the way he meant it.
Clare Demerse, federal policy director at the Pembina Institute, unpacks the implications of U.S. President Barack Obama's latest speech for Canada and the Keystone XL pipeline.
Earlier this week, five CP Rail tank cars jumped the tracks just outside of Jansen, Saskatchewan, spilling more than 91,000 litres of crude oil. Last month, a similar derailment near White River, Ontario, resulted in a 63,000-litre oil spill.
While these trains were not carrying bitumen from the oilsands, it’s becoming increasingly common to move oilsands by rail, particularly as public opposition to various new pipeline proposals continues to grow and oilsands producers seek other shipping options.
Clare Demerse, federal policy director at the Pembina Institute, explains why Canada's reluctance to take leadership on climate policy makes Keystone XL a tough sell.
As other countries face up to the climate challenge and begin curbing their demand for fossil fuels, will Canada be left waiting on the shore for tankers that will never come?
It’s down to the wire now. The B.C. election is less than a week away. Wondering how the climate will fare? Well, that depends on outcome of the election and, based on our platform assessment there could be significant progress, or significant backsliding.
Canada’s Natural Resources minister, Joe Oliver, recently shared his views on climate change and energy with La Presse. The Minister is quoted that he did not read the climate change section of the IEA report or their warning about locking into a path to dangerous climate change. To hopefully inform his next briefing, I’ve summarized the two scenarios below.
News broke this week that Alberta is considering strengthening greenhouse gas regulations on the province’s energy industry. The so-called “40/40” plan proposed by the Environment Minister Diana McQueen would increase Alberta’s intensity-based emissions target and its carbon price. The very mention of such a move has kicked off a long-overdue conversation about what it’s going to take to curtail greenhouse gas pollution and develop Alberta’s resources responsibly.
With consideration of the Keystone XL pipeline proposal heading into the home stretch, a parade of Canadian politicians have been making the trek to the U.S. to try to convince the Obama Administration of the pipeline’s merits.
The good news is that the recent visitors — from Premiers Redford and Wall to federal Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver — now acknowledge that Canada’s environmental record is crucial to the upcoming U.S. decision.
The bad news is that there are some gaping holes in that record.
While Ottawa claims environmental leadership, legal group calls for investigation into oilsands pollution
On the same day that Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver assured the Chicago Council on Global Affairs that “Canada is a global environmental leader … and yes, that includes the oilsands,” the reputable and independent legal group Ecojustice released a report calling for a full federal investigation to determine if oilsands operators are in violation of the Fisheries Act.
Draft U.S. environmental assessment understates significance of Keystone XL for oilsands expansion and climate emissions
Late last Friday, the U.S. State Department released its draft assessment of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline’s environmental impacts, marking a significant milestone toward the impending White House decision on the project’s fate.
The release of a controversial U.S. State Department environmental impact assessment late last week signalled a new phase in the battle over the Keystone XL pipeline proposal. The already-tense process looks set to get even more fraught as the technical phase starts to wrap up and the decision shifts squarely into the political arena.
With another round of rallies against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline planned for this weekend — and in the face of a clear commitment to tackling climate change in President Obama’s second term — Canada’s environmental record is coming under fresh scrutiny in the U.S.
The government’s answer to its U.S. critics? We’re not so different, you and I.
To help inform the debate over the Keystone XL pipeline, the Pembina Institute has produced a backgrounder about the climate impacts associated with the proposed pipeline. The backgrounder features new analysis showing that producing enough bitumen to fill the Keystone XL pipeline would lead to a significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions, and inhibit Canada’s ability to meet its climate targets.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.” Though originally written as a social criticism of the period leading up to the French Revolution, Charles Dickens’ words seem an equally appropriate characterization of the past year for energy and environment issues in Canada.
Last week I testified at the joint review panel hearings into Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline in Prince George, B.C. It was my second time in front of the panel presenting research, on behalf of the environmental group ForestEthics Advocacy, that the Pembina Institute had conducted on the proposed pipeline and tanker project.
If Canadians could have voted in the U.S. presidential election, the majority likely would have re-elected Barack Obama, according to polling from the BBC on global attitudes toward the two candidates. But now that President Obama has returned to the White House, many Canadians are wondering what his second term could mean for Canadian interests, particularly oilsands development.
Amid all the controversy over pipeline projects recently, one critical fact is being overlooked: government regulators have already approved more than 5 million barrels per day of oilsands production, and we could reach that milestone just over two decades from now.
Despite the controversy over the federal government’s overhaul of environmental laws in Bill C-38, which recently passed third reading in the House of Commons, federal ministers have stuck to the script, insisting that cutting back on federal environmental oversight is the key to ensuring resource development happens in an efficient and “responsible” manner. However, the recent revision of an application by Shell Canada to expand an oilsands mine illustrates the type of sensible environmental protection and sober reflection Canadians risk losing as a result of the changes outlined in the federal bill.
Canada needs more light and less heat on the economic impacts of oilsands expansion.
When it comes to energy issues, the list of things that are apparently too “divisive” to discuss seems to grow by the day — from climate change and pollution reduction, to a national energy strategy, and most recently the impacts of booming oilsands development across the Canadian economy.
Last week, the Harper government outlined its plans to weaken virtually every major piece of federal environmental legislation in Bill C-38, the omnibus budget implementation bill. Among other things, the changes outlined in the bill would repeal the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) and replace it with a new version of the bill. CEAA 2012 will shift responsibility for many environmental assessments to the provinces (even though some, like Alberta, have been ill equipped to do the job).
If you followed coverage of the federal budget last week with an eye to environmental issues, you could be excused for thinking Canada’s environmental review process is a tangled web of unnecessary red tape that is stifling investment in Canada’s energy sector.
Over the past several years, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his government have been doggedly selling Canada as a “clean energy superpower”. While those words have always rung hollow to anybody tracking the global rise of the $1 trillion clean energy economy, after yesterday’s federal budget they simply ring false.
This morning I appeared before members of the U.S. Congress to speak about the role of technology and government oversight in Canada's oilsands. As policy director at the Pembina Institute, I was invited along with several others to testify at the "American Energy Initiative" hearing of the Subcommittee on Energy and Power, part of the House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee.
Over the past several years, Canada’s diplomats abroad have been engaged in an extensive and coordinated defense of the oilsands. They have been armed with speaking points developed with the oil lobby’s help, and even given license to threaten a “trade war.” Nowhere has this campaign been more intense than in Europe, where the European Union (EU) is poised to implement climate change policy that clearly labels oilsands imports as a more polluting source of oil than conventional crude.
Canada is quietly emerging as a renewable energy leader, but it will take the same political focus currently being put toward oilsands to ensure we retain and grow the jobs that are being created in the country's emerging clean energy sector.
As the pipeline debate on this side of the border shifts to the fate of the Northern Gateway proposal, the U.S. government’s rejection of the Keystone project shows that Canada faces real barriers in getting oilsands to market — and, despite what some pundits say, those barriers are not just political.
The Obama administration’s surprise decision to deny the proposed Keystone XL pipeline created quite the media storm yesterday, and for good reason.
In defending the decision, the president highlighted the risks the project could pose to “the health and safety of the American people and [to] the environment,” and the need to adequately review those concerns. And while a wide range of responses surfaced from the Republicans, Democrats, public opinion leaders and local interest groups, one story in particular caught our eye.
An open letter from the Pembina Institute to Canadians
As you may have noticed, the Harper government and the “Ethical Oil Inc” front group have been working to discredit groups like the Pembina Institute and our work on energy issues by claiming that we are a “foreign-funded,” “radical” organization advocating against the best interests of Canadians.
Allow us to set the record straight.
Apparently Canada is open for business but closed to criticism, no matter how constructive. This is the clearest conclusion that can be drawn from Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver’s open letter to Canadians, in which he attacks advocates of responsible oil-sands development as “radicals” and dismisses the concerns of thousands of Canadians who want to have a say in the decision of whether to build Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline.
With the U.S. Department of State's decision on the Keystone XL pipeline delayed until 2013, much of the attention in Canada has been shifting west towards Enbridge's proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline to the B.C. coast. After the Keystone XL announcement, Prime Minister Stephen Harper was quick to threaten to ship oilsands crude to Asia — a point the Prime Minister will likely repeat when he meets with President Obama tomorrow.
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