Tuesday, November 29, 2016

On Those Pipeline Decisions

Here is one of what will be many stories.

So, start with some facts and probabilities.

Northern Gateway is dead.  That's a piece of good news.  Line 3 nobody heard of until today, so who knows?   Also, who knows about Keystone.  That decision is not really in Canadian hands.

Energy East looks less likely to me.  The Trudeau gov. will take a big political hit for this in B.C. They won't risk the equivalent in Que. where they have more seats in the HOC.   Also, "the market" never cared much for Energy East; there's more money to be made if oil flows West to China than East to who knows where?

Now there's a pretty solid case to be made for the govs' position.  Put simply; Alberta deserves a pipe-line. I'm lazy right now so  I'll just quote stuff I wrote earlier on this, ironically enough about Energy East:

You have to think of this as the first step in a process.  Carbon is priced in Phase 1, and then in phases 2, 3, 4, and so on, that price is gradually ratcheted up.  Alberta has been told that, if it cleans up its act and gets with Phase 1, it will be given a chance to send its oil to the larger world market, where it might fetch a better price.  And so, at some political cost to the ruling government and economic cost to the province itself, it has attempted to do right.

So how do you then get a buy-in on phase 2, 3 and etc. if this good behaviour is not rewarded somehow?  If  no action the province takes will be rewarded why bother doing anything in future? So do we achieve our ultimate goal (hitting our announced carbon reduction targets) more quickly through cooperating or trying to steam-roll a whole industry out of business?

There's a matter of intellectual consistency at issue here.  If you are arguing that taking appropriate measures to obtain "social license" will get the province a pipeline or two, but really mean no way no how, than you are being  dishonest.   Why would a future Kenney government keep a Notley carbon tax if they could plausibly argue that it had brought them no credit?

That said,  BCers are going to go ape-shit.  When most people think of "Western Alienation" they think of whining Albertans.  But we BC natives range from artists to tech capitalists to first nation's warriors who can move unseen like a shadow in the night to hippies who've learned how to levitate by taking magic mushrooms to fishermen to whatever Van Der Zalm was.  And ranged against them is a bunch of ill-favoured, uncouth tar miners from Lethbridge.  If this becomes a political war, anti-pipeline forces will win in BC (opinion always tilts anti-pipeline when things heat up) and BC will win in the nation as a whole, and if Feds and Alberta try to NEP B.C., B.C. will tear this country a new one, sleep with its women, and leave for someplace better.  Yes, this could escalate into a National Unity issue.

And there's also the issue of the planet itself.  With respect to CO2 emissions, killing or even stalling pipelines is a bit like staunching the bleeding a little.  So I personally believe none of these pipelines go through.  But I'm willing to have the battles won at a more local level, and cut the feds some slack.


Northern PoV said...

Unless sweet oil returns to $140/b ...
(unlikely:the Saudis see the end of the ff bonanza a few years down the road) ...
our bitumen is not marketable

the 'approval' doesn't mean its going to get done
we shut down Cambie St and much of the downtown two weeks ago ....
and if economics and the courts don't stop KM, we will

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