Rachel Notley

Here’s What Alberta’s Wine Boycott is Really About

No, it wasn’t a weird dream, Alberta actually announced a boycott of B.C. wine on Tuesday.

The announcement by Premier Rachel Notley is just the latest move in an inter-provincial spat over the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline, which would carry oil from Alberta to B.C.

It started with last week’s proposal by the B.C. government to guard against a potential oil spill. The province announced it will set up an independent scientific advisory panel to look at how diluted bitumen can be safely transported and cleaned up, if spilled.

‘This Might Get Nasty’: Why The Kinder Morgan Stand-Off Between Alberta and B.C. is a Zero-Sum Game

Justin Trudeau, John Horgan, Rachel Notley Kinder Morgan.

The stand-off between Alberta and British Columbia over the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline seems to grow in intensity by the minute.

On Tuesday the B.C. NDP announced a proposal to restrict the flow of diluted bitumen from the oilsands through the province until further scientific study is conducted on its behaviour in water.

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley fired back on Twitter, arguing B.C. “does not have the right to re-write our constitution & assume powers for itself that it does not have.”

Since then, Alberta has suspended talks over $500 million in annual electricity imports from B.C. and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has hopped into the ring suggesting that national carbon pricing and ocean protection plan may not go ahead without the pipeline getting built.

Oh, and let’s not forget an Italian restaurant in Fort McMurray is no longer serving wine from B.C. in retaliation. It looks like a trade war is brewing between the provinces.

3 Ways B.C. Could Stop Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Pipeline

Christy Clark, Andrew Weaver, John Horgan B.C. leaders debate

The prospect of a new provincial government in B.C. has sparked fresh political debate about Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline, which is opposed by B.C.’s NDP and Green Party, despite already receiving provincial and federal approval.

There are no tools available for a province to overturn or otherwise block a federal government decision,” stated Alberta Premier Rachel Notley this week.

But is that really the case?

The short answer is no.

We Need to Admit the Limitations of Science When it Comes to Pipeline Decisions

Winter Coast Salish Gathering. Photo by Zack Embree.

With federal decisions on major oil pipeline and tanker projects in the headlines, many suggest our elected officials should lean more on science to make these kinds of decisions.

Those exhortations sound very reasonable. But they reveal an enormously important misunderstanding about the role of science in making decisions on major resource projects.

Take the case of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker project on the West Coast.

On one side, you have staunch opposition from the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and other coastal and Fraser River First Nations, West Coast municipalities like Vancouver, Burnaby and Victoria, and a sizable percentage of B.C.’s voting public.

On the other side, you have staunch support from Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, the mayors of Calgary and Edmonton, and a sizable percentage of Alberta’s voting public.

Tweet: 'Is one side simply too dumb to understand the science — or simply willing to flatly ignore it?' http://bit.ly/2ly7haN #bcpoli #cdnpoliIs one side simply too dumb to understand the science — or simply willing to flatly ignore it?

Of course not.

Six Handy Facts About Alberta’s Coal Phase-Out

Alberta’s decision to phase out coal-fired power by 2030 represents a big shift (coal currently generates just over half of Alberta’s electricity), so it’s not exactly surprising that the phase-out has led to a fair bit of debate.

Throw in a complex lawsuit, threats of increasing power prices and a resurgence of the “clean coal” myth, and it becomes nearly impossible to figure out what’s actually going on.

Often missed in the conversation is the fact that 12 of the 18 coal-fired power plants in Alberta would have had to shut down by 2030 anyway under federal regulations introduced by former prime minister Stephen Harper.

Quite a lot of other facts are getting lost in the noise as well, so DeSmog Canada delved into the research to come up with these six handy facts.

Five Handy Facts About Alberta’s New Carbon Tax

Installing wind turbine

As of January 1, 2017, Alberta’s carbon tax has officially arrived.

And, as expected, there’s plenty of misinformation swirling around about what the tax will mean for Alberta citizens and businesses.

Ultimately, the idea behind the carbon tax is to put a price on polluting the atmosphere. Tweet: #CarbonTax encourages activities we do want (investment, innovation) & reduces those we don’t (GHG emissions) http://bit.ly/2hHsaNe #ablegIt sends a market signal to encourage the economic activities we do want (investment and innovation), while reducing those we don’t want (greenhouse gas emissions).

Doesn’t sound totally outlandish, right? But what will a price of $20 per tonne of carbon emissions really mean for Albertans?

DeSmog Canada did some digging to find out. Here are five handy facts to help you get clear on what the new tax means for you.

Alberta’s Carbon Tax Doesn’t Equal ‘Social Licence’ for New Pipelines, Critics Say

Implement an economy-wide carbon tax, attain “social licence,” score a federal approval for the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline.

That’s been the advertised logic of the Alberta NDP since the introduction of its Climate Leadership Plan a year ago. Nearly every mention of carbon pricing and associated policies — a 100 megatonne oilsands cap, coal-fired power phase-out and methane reduction target — has been accompanied by a commitment to “improve opportunities to get our traditional energy products to new markets.”
 
Such a sentiment was reinforced with Premier Rachel Notley’s retort on Oct. 3 to the announcement of federally mandated carbon pricing: “Alberta will not be supporting this proposal absent serious concurrent progress on energy infrastructure.”

But for some, Tweet: #Alberta NDP’s rhetoric represents a fundamental misunderstanding of #sociallicence http://bit.ly/2fzLs7Y #ableg #bcpoli #cdnpolithe Alberta NDP’s rhetoric represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the point of social licence, with the government assuming that moderate emissions reduction policies allows it to ignore serious concerns about Indigenous rights and international climate commitments.

The ‘Canada Needs More Pipelines’ Myth, Busted

Rachel Notley, Stephen Harper and Naheed Nenshi

For years, the Canadian public has been besieged with the same message: Alberta’s pipeline network is completely maxed out, meaning the oilsands are landlocked and new pipelines must be constructed to allow producers to ship their product to new markets and eliminate the discount imposed on exports.

It’s a notion that’s been repeated by politicians of all stripes, including Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

But there’s no merit to that argument, according to a new report from the Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit Oil Change International.

Canada’s New Carbon Price: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Canadians could be forgiven for being a bit confused about how Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is doing on climate change these days.

Last week he approved one of the largest sources of carbon pollution in the country — the Pacific Northwest LNG export terminal in B.C.

The week before that his government announced it would stick with Harper-era emissions targets.

Now Trudeau has announced the creation of a pan-Canadian carbon-pricing framework, which means our country will have a carbon tax nation-wide for the first time ever.

So are we hurtling toward overshooting our climate targets or are we finally getting on track?

The New Climate Denialism: Time for an Intervention

Justin Trudeau and Canada's premiers

For decades, the urgent need for climate action was stymied by what came to be known as “climate denialism” (or its more mild cousin, “climate skepticism”).

In an effort to create public confusion and stall political progress, the fossil fuel industry poured tens of millions of dollars into the pockets of foundations, think tanks, lobby groups, politicians and academics who relentlessly questioned the overwhelming scientific evidence that human-caused climate change is real and requires urgent action.

Thankfully, the climate deniers have now mostly been exposed and repudiated. Relatively few politicians now express misgivings about the reality or science of climate change (the current Republican nominee for U.S. president being a notable exception, along with some other conservative bright lights like Sarah Palin and Canadian MP Cheryl Gallant).

That’s the good news.

The bad news is we face a new form of climate denialism — more nuanced and insidious, but just as dangerous.

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