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OUELLETTE: Pipelines are safe and green despite Suzuki’s dangerous rhetoric

Considering pipelines as an enemy instead of an ally in the fight against climate change speaks to a serious misunderstanding of the issue.

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Guest Column by Miguel Ouellette is the Director of Operations & an Economist at the Montreal Economic Institute

In mid-November, prominent environmental activist David Suzuki made some remarks that any impartial observer would consider radical. This was during an event hosted by an organization that is not known for its sense of measure: Extinction Rebellion.

Suzuki’s message was clear, saying “there are going to be pipelines blown up if our leaders don’t pay attention to what’s going on.” Without any room for doubt, this comment is the mark of an extremist and suggests how little importance is accorded to human safety, not to mention simple property rights by the ecologist at the head of a foundation that’s flush with cash. The Suzuki Foundation took in in no less than $13 million in 2020.

But the aberration here is not just in the explosive form of Suzuki’s words; it’s also in its underlying assumptions. Considering pipelines as an enemy instead of an ally in the fight against climate change speaks to a serious misunderstanding of the issue. After all, this method of transport is the safest and greenest one there is for moving our Canadian oil from place to place.

The bogeyman of oil spills is always brought up, of course, but is simply at odds with the facts on the ground. In reality, more than 99.99% of the oil transported in federally regulated pipelines in Canada arrives at its destination safely. Each year, it’s the equivalent of just two rail tank cars that are spilled in this country. What’s more, pipeline transport emits between 61% and 71% less greenhouse gas than moving it by rail.

Not a single fatal accident directly related to the operation of a pipeline system has been recorded in more than 30 years. The pipeline transport process that’s in place in Canada rigorously enforces the highest safety standards.

Canada has abundant hydrocarbon resources, and we need them. We shouldn’t shun the safest and greenest method of transporting them. That method, whatever Mr. Suzuki may think, is pipelines.

To say governments have to take note because pipelines are going to explode is proof not only of a lack of understanding of emerging technologies, such as carbon capture and sequestration, but also testifies to a very limited geographical vision. We have hydrocarbons in Canada, and we should responsibly produce and use them. Canadian expertise in this area of economic activity is world-renowned, and the anticipated 9% increase in global demand for oil between 2019 and 2045 is a golden opportunity for the Canadian economy.

With the expertise we’ve developed in the pipeline sector, we have a clear path to reducing our GHG emissions. This expertise could also be used to transport CO2 from carbon capture operations to where it can be used or sequestered — a real climate change victory for Canadians, though a purely ideological defeat for some.

Simply put, pipelines are a friend in the fight against climate change. Our politicians need to realize this, even if certain ecologists have it in for the resource itself rather than merely seeking to mitigate its environmental impact.

The more he makes the kinds of radical comments he made a few weeks ago, the more Mr. Suzuki risks hurting the very cause he champions.

Guest Column by Miguel Ouellette is the Director of Operations & an Economist at the Montreal Economic Institute

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Leslie Solar

    January 10, 2022 at 10:21 pm

    Point #1 is made here–pipelines are safe. Point #2 now needs to be made—CO2 is NOT a “greenhouse gas”–it doesnt warm the planet. Suzuki has no clue about either. the Australians established that fact some years ago when he went down there to a conference of technical types who actually knew something about the subject.

    Its a complete hoax and fraud.

  2. Left Coast

    December 7, 2021 at 10:07 am

    Last pipeline accident on the West Coast was 2007 when a Union employee of the City of Burnaby dug up the Kinder Morgan Pipeline on Belcarra Drive with a Back Hoe.
    Oil was going every way for blocks. Took some time to get it shut down . . . of course Today on New pipelines with computers watching the line pressure the shutdown would have come within seconds of the break. This line has been trouble free for 70 years.

    Our EnviroMental friends today think they have found something to replace Oil & Gas . . . unfortunately they don’t seem interested in using this wonderful technology they keep telling us about. Perhaps if they just demonstrated by living a Karbon Free lifestyle themselves . . . the rest of society would be impressed and want to copy them . . . lol

    Reality is . . . there is NOTHING to replace Oil & Gas this year, next year or in the forseable future, windmills & solar panels are only a part-time solution to a full-time problem and they will never power a modern city.

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Energy

Energy report tells feds to incentivize moves away from oil

The IEA calls for the Canadian government to creating transparent changes to the oil and gas industry but incentivizing technology changes and creating emergency oil stocks.

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A new report says Canada should further invest in clean in electricity and that our country is already among the cleanest energy production in the world.

The International Energy Analysis (IEA) came out with a report outlining recommendations for Canada’s energy future, including balanced decarbonization across the country.

That means higher coordination between federal, provincial and territorial levels to set clear targets for energy efficiency in buildings, transport and industry sectors.

The IEA calls for the Canadian government to create transparent changes to the oil and gas industry but incentivizing technology changes and creating emergency oil stocks.

Canada’s electricity system is one of the cleanest globally according to the IEA report, as 80% of supply is from non-emitting sources such as hydropower and nuclear power.

“Canada’s wealth of clean electricity and its innovative spirit can help drive a secure and affordable transformation of its energy system and help realize its ambitious goals,” said IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol.

“Equally important, Canada’s efforts to reduce emissions — of both carbon dioxide and methane — from its oil and gas production can help ensure its continued place as a reliable supplier of energy to the world.”

The report follows Environmental Minister Steven Guildbeault’s announcement for Canada to be ready to eliminate fossil fuels in 18 months, with zero-emission cars and stricter methane regulations.

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole expressed concern on Twitter with the zero emission plans, calling attention to the need to invest in the oil sector rather than turn away from it.

Energy makes up over 10% of Canada’s GDP, being a major source of capital investment, export revenue and jobs, making the net-zero goals both a challenge and opportunity.

Since the last IEA review in 2015, Canada has made international and domestic commitments dedicated to transforming the energy sector, including a target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40‑45% by 2030.

Canada is also a part of the United Nations zero-emission 2050 target that involves over 130 countries worldwide.

Ewa Sudyk is a reporter with the Western Standard.
esudyk@westernstandardonline.com

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Energy

O’Toole mocks Guilbeault’s two-year fossil fuel plan

Full implementation of this ethanol use would create a 60% increase in heating a home, according to the advocacy group Canadians for Affordable Energy.

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The federal cabinet is planning to phase out the use of fossil fuels in the next 18 months, but didn’t mention how much Canadians rely on fossil fuels and what costs this initiative entails.

According to Blacklock’s Reporter, Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault said in the next two years Canadians should also see more stringent methane regulations and zero-emission vehicle standards.

Conservative leader Erin O’Toole was opposed to the proposition, and highlighted the need for using Canada’s fossil fuel industry and supporting those who work in it.

“Canada is a cold country. We need fossil fuels, natural gas, to heat our homes,” said O’Toole in a video standing in front of a freezing cold House of Commons.

O’Toole tweet

“Someone so disconnected from reality that he’s making policy that will hurt our country. Division and absolute disconnect from reality.”

Guilbeault stressed the need for faster action on environmental initiatives by the Liberal government.

“I mean, maybe 2024, but that’s the type of time frame we have to work with and it’s going to be tough because on the one hand, some people are going to criticize us for not giving them enough time to be consulted, but the state of climate change is such that we need to learn to do things faster and that’s certainly true of us as a government,” he said.

Guilbeault acknowledged many of his proposed environmental actions will cause significant costs to consumers, but stated the luxury of waiting to make environmental changes is something Canadians don’t have any more.

The Clean Fuel Standard, implemented in 2021, mandated higher use of renewable energy in everyday consumption which includes tripling expensive ethanol content in gasoline and increasing carbon taxes.

Full implementation of the ethanol use would create a 60% increase in heating a home, according to the advocacy group Canadians for Affordable Energy.

Guilbeault complained about regulators taking too long to finalize the Clean Fuel Standard, as the regulation took five years to finalize and implement.

“One of the things I told stakeholders when I was in Toronto recently and then in Calgary, one of the things I told the department as well is we don’t have that luxury anymore,” said Guilbeault.

“We don’t have five years to consult every time we want to introduce a new measure.”

Canada’s two major parties are opposing on the matter.

O’Toole ended his statements on Twitter saying the Conservative party will keep fighting to keep Canadians warm and fossil fuel jobs safe.

Ewa Sudyk is a reporter with the Western Standard
esudyk@westernstandardonline.com

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Energy

Energy report says fossil fuel usage set to plunge in Canada

The news was met with glee from Canada’s Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault.

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The use of fossils fuels in Canada is set to drop drastically in the next three decades, says a new report.

The Canada Energy Regulator predicts fossil fuel use will fall by 62% by 2025.

The forecast predicts Canadians will use significantly less gasoline and diesel over coming years, resulting in a 43% decline in the use of refined petroleum products by 2050.

Electricity use could rise by as much 45% as people change over to electric vehicles.

The report predicts wind and solar power will be used to help meet the rise in demand.

The news was met with glee from Canada’s Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault.

“Some welcome news from The Canada Energy Regulator: fossil fuel use will fall by 62% in Canada by 2050. We’re making progress, the work continues!” he tweeted.

The forecast calls for Canadian crude oil production to peak at 5.8 million barrels per day in 2032, and then to decline to reach 4.8 million barrels per day in 2050.

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