With no domestic need for the electricity from Site C, the province has been pivoting from one illusory source of new demand to another. At first it was LNG, but even if that new industry materializes, it will use its own natural gas for almost all of its power requirements, just like almost every other LNG industry in the world. The province has tacitly admitted this, in the process allowing its own legislated greenhouse gas limits to be blown away.
Then it was a trade with Alberta: buy our clean, green Site C power, B.C. hinted, and we might allow you to build an oil pipeline to the sea.
If the Alberta gambit played out — costing hundreds of millions more in new transmission facilities — the price Albertans would be willing to pay for the power would not be more than the cost of generation using their own natural gas and renewable resources. Enmax recently built an 800-megawatt plant at Calgary for $1.4 billion, with a delivered cost estimated at $60-$70/MWh.
But the delivered cost of Site C power in Alberta would be $140 to $160/MWh, depending on its ultimate destination, or double the cost of local production. Sounds like the old story: What we lose on each sale, we’ll make up in quantity.
The Alberta market is not for real, even if that province were to set a high price for greenhouse gases through some form of carbon tax. Realistically, all B.C. Hydro will be able to do with Site C power is sell it to the US, at spot market prices of $25 to $35/MWh. Under reasonable assumptions, the present value of twenty years of such sales would be about $1.6 billion, or 18 percent of the currently estimated $8.8 billion cost of the project. This leaves ratepayers with a stranded debt of $7.2 billion, for which they will get nothing. […]
The other day on the island I took my kids for a walk to go
and pick berries. We didn’t find any
berries, but we found lots of medicine.
We just stopped and prayed with each medicinal plant that we came
across. Instead of harvesting that
medicine we just sat and prayed with it while it was alive and talked to the
spirit of that plant, that life form. We
asked it to keep protecting the whole entire island.
Our wild foods are the last part of our culture
that a lot of us still have. We’ve been
losing it over generations and through this we see ourselves losing our last
connections to the earth. No, you’re not taking that too.
Goot-Ges is a Haida, Nisga’a and Tsimshian woman from the
village of skulls, Gingolx, in the Nisga’a Nation whose clan is Raven from the
house of T'tanihaulk. She is a
land defender, freelance writer, radio producer and independent mother of
three. In August of 2015 in
collaboration with four other Indigenous women Goot-Ges began an occupation at
Lax U’u’la, which continues to protect the island and surrounding waters from
destruction to this day. Her work is
rooted in cultural practice: prayer, story telling and medicine as healing and
an integral aspect of resistance to ongoing colonization. She has founded and supported countless
projects assisting her people in healing inter-generational trauma and ending
gender based violence.
Christie Brown of Gitxan and Scottish descent has worked to
defend the lands, waters, salmon and lives of her people against the Northern
Gateway pipeline and Petronas’ Pacific North West LNG export facility. Her creative forms of resistance merge the
contemporary tools at hand with the revitalization of traditional skills and
hereditary systems. In August of 2015 in
collaboration with 4 other Indigenous women Christie organized and began an
occupation of Lax U’u’la on unceded Tsimshian territory. Christie’s work defending Lax U’u’la, the
Flora Banks and it’s protective eelgrass and the Skeena River continues to this
In December, Canada made a commitment to major reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 via the historic Paris Agreement on climate change. Yet, industry and our political leaders continue to push for a ramp-up in oil and gas production and new pipelines.
Can we go down both roads at once?
I recently authored a report that crunched the numbers on what B.C. and Alberta’s plans for fossil fuel expansion mean in light of the Paris Agreement.
In 2014 (the most recent year for which we have data), Canada’s emissions were 28 per cent above the 2030 target. Meaning, even with existing levels of oil and gas production, we have our work cut out for us.
But Alberta’s new Climate Leadership Plan allows for a 47 per cent increase in oilsands emissions from 2014 levels (up to a maximum cap of 100 million tonnes per year). And B.C. plans to develop a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export industry, aiming for five large LNG terminals to export fracked gas from province’s northeast. This means a large ramp up of emissions from natural gas production as well.
Under a scenario where Alberta’s oilsands emissions grow to its cap, and B.C.’s LNG industry is developed to the level planned, economic sectors outside of oil and gas would have to shrink emissions by more than half (55 per cent) in order for Canada to meet the Paris commitment. This is simply not feasible, barring an economic collapse.
Industry’s response to these concerns is to claim that “new technology” just around the corner may somehow drastically reduce oilsands emissions. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers says we should “bet” on it.
Although small incremental improvements in technology are certainly possible, and progress has been made over the years, counting on a silver bullet is wishful thinking. And all the technology in the world won’t change the reality that allowing oilsands emissions to grow to the level allowed under Alberta’s cap will require drastic reductions in other sectors.
I also took a close look at the need for new oil pipelines. Growing oilsands emissions to Alberta’s cap would see an increase in bitumen production of about 45 per cent from 2014 levels. A review of existing pipeline and rail export capacity from Western Canada reveals that existing infrastructure can accommodate this growth without new pipelines (and still have a 15 per cent margin to allow for outages and maintenance). Bottom line: no new pipelines are needed.
Detractors of rail should note that bitumen in its undiluted form is highly viscous and much less volatile than the light oil “Bakken bombs” that resulted in conflagrations at Lac Mégantic and in Oregon recently and therefore is unlikely to have such serious consequences in the event of an accident. Furthermore, rail is scalable at lower capital costs than pipelines, and railways already exist to most destinations.
The widely recited rhetoric that new pipelines must be built to oceans — or “tidewater” — to capture a significant price premium by selling on international markets is likewise not supported by the facts.
Although oil is a globally priced commodity, between 2011 and 2014 the international price (“Brent”) was considerably higher than the North American price (“WTI”). In September 2011 the differential reached $25.26 per barrel. However, the average differential in the six months ending May 2016 was 88 cents per barrel and recently Brent has been trading below WTI.
Not only has the international price advantage evaporated, but Canada’s primary oil export, Western Canada Select, sells at a discount to WTI. That’s because it is a lower grade heavy oil and will sell at a discount whether sold internationally or to North American markets.
Thus the premium that fuelled the rhetoric on the need for new pipelines to “tidewater” has disappeared and is unlikely to return.
Developing a climate plan to meet Canada’s Paris Agreement commitments is a challenging but achievable task for the federal government. Doing so while meeting Alberta’s and BC’s oil and gas production growth aspirations, however, will be virtually impossible.
The oil and gas industry is certainly not going away any time soon, but if Canada is serious about meeting its climate commitments it is time for the prime minister and premiers to do the math and stop telling us we can have it all.
J. David Hughes is an earth scientist, and author of Can Canada Expand Oil and Gas Production, Build Pipelines and Keep its Climate Commitments?, published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Parkland Institute.
Confession #6541: I let him go to see if he will hold on to me. and all he did was to watch me as I go. pero nung ako ung pinagtabuyan nya, di ko sya iniwan kase, ganun ko sya kamahal. I stayed kase mahal ko sya. tanong ko lng di ba nya ako mahal? or sadyang mas mahal ko lng tlga sya?
Hamilton challenge! Post an audio file or video of you singing a part of your favorite Hamilton song! Tag three other fans when you post 🎶
omfggggg. wait lng
ok imma do this!!!!
but like let me practice and learn first. i stutter a lot and eat my words. let me just learn a song and record my voice and put it with a speed paint (cause this is an artblog after all)
(tbh i can sing back up to most of the songs 8))))))) liek satisfied cause i have a friend who is really good and there are time when we just break into song 8)))) and i’m always back up which i dont mind cause i am lam. i’ll see if i can record the both of us instead)
Sanay na sanay na kong magising ng 5-6am para lang icheck kung nagreply ka na o ano tengene pre magkabilang mundo yung peg natin eh hahahaha de ako lng tlga yung muntanga na gumising ng ganun hehe wala nga palang tayo 😂😂😂
yeah I go to church, I worship pipelines, I take care of my LNG child , make sure he’s fed , I water my projects so they grow big & strong, & spread the jobs on my toast in the morning, just like everyone else