Analysis

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.

A B.C. Liberal Minority Government? Not So Fast

christy clark bc liberal minority government

In the wee hours of Wednesday morning major news outlets like the CBC made the official call: the B.C. Liberals had won a minority government in the 2017 provincial election.

Except they haven’t … quite … yet.

Here’s how the numbers are currently being reported: B.C. Liberals 43 seats, NDP 41 seats, Greens 3 seats.

These numbers are far from final. As Elections B.C. states right up there on its website, these are primary voting results from an initial count. “Final voting results will not be available until after the conclusion of final count, which will commence on May 22, 2017,” the site states.

There are about 160,000 absentee ballots waiting to be counted and some too-close-to-call ridings like Courtenay-Comox are facing a recount.

But, as Simon Fraser University student Steve Tweedale put it, we don’t need a final count to know it’s false to report the election resulted in a B.C. Liberal minority government.

Six Troubling Subsidies That Support B.C.’s LNG Industry

By Maximilian Kniewasser, Pembina Institute.

Four years ago, the government of British Columbia bet big on the prospect of liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports creating overseas markets for the province’s shale and tight gas resources.

LNG development would deliver 100,000 jobs, a $100-billion Prosperity Fund, and over $1 trillion in economic activity, British Columbians were told. Since then, however, the economics of LNG have shifted, and the predicted LNG boom has yet to materialize.

In order to attract LNG investment, the provincial government has provided myriad incentives, exemptions, and direct transfers to the natural gas industry. Financial incentives that shield the emissions-intensive industry from current and potential future increases in carbon costs are of particular concern to the Pembina Institute.

For one thing, these measures lessen the incentive to reduce carbon pollution — as the world increasingly demands that polluters pay for their emissions. Furthermore, such incentives use scarce public dollars to support the fossil fuel sector at a time when government should be removing barriers to clean innovation and investing in green jobs.

Here is an overview of six carbon-related incentives that benefit LNG projects and the natural gas industry in B.C.

5 Reasons to Give a Shit About the B.C. Election

Provincial politics. There, I said them — two of the most boring words in the English language.

There’s no denying it. Provincial elections fail to capture the imaginations of citizens the way national or even international elections do.

Case in point: in the last B.C. provincial election, just 55 per cent of eligible voters cast a ballot — 13 per cent fewer than voted in the last federal election.

Fact Checking Christy Clark’s LNG Claims

Christy Clark LNG

For years, the B.C. government has touted the benefits of developing a liquefied natural gas (LNG) export industry — and while some of those benefits may be legit, one of them almost certainly isn’t.

That’s the claim that exporting natural gas from B.C. will somehow result in emissions reductions in China.

Let’s back up for a second.

Exporting LNG involves first fracking for gas in B.C.’s northeast, a process which causes earthquakes, uses epic amounts of fresh water and leaks the potent greenhouse gas methane into the atmosphere at a rate 2.5 times higher than what the B.C. government has been admitting.

How Teck Resources Benefits From Being the B.C. Liberal’s Largest Donor

Christy Clark BC Liberals Political Donations Teck Resources

This piece originally appeared on the West Coast Environmental Law Alert Blog.

What The Oilsands Sell-Off Actually Means

Oilsands trucks

The last few months have been marked by some massive shifts in the oilsands.

In December, there was the $830 million Statoil sale to Athabasca Oil, followed in January and February by the writing down of billions of barrels of reserves by Imperial Oil, ConocoPhillips and ExxonMobil.

On March 9, Shell sold a majority of its oilsands assets to Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL) in a huge $7.25 billion sale, while Marathon Oil split its Canadian subsidiary between Shell and CNRL for a total of $2.5 billion.

The question is: why are all of these companies selling their oilsands assets? While some celebrate the moves as successes for the climate movement, others blame the Alberta NDP for the exodus of internationals.

Tweet: Experts say #oilsands sell-off has more to do w/ a broader shift that’s made oilsands uneconomical http://bit.ly/2nK3zyQ #ableg #cdnpoliBut experts say the reality has more to do with a broader economic shift that’s made oilsands uneconomical — for the time being at least.

Behold The Allure of the Energy Megaproject

Christy Clark LNG

This article originally appeared on The Tyee.

Imagine if you lived in a nice quiet community of about 30 people, and the Chinese government got permission to plunk a $20-billion liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant on your doorstep.

Holy snapping duck shit! Chances are you’d want a pretty strong say in whether that could or should happen, under what conditions, with whose permission — and you’d want a very clear, objective analysis of the costs and benefits, and the risks, to you, your family, your neighbours, not to mention the physical place that would be so massively disrupted by such a project — you know, the place you currently call home.

Most of us don’t live in nice quiet communities of 30 people — or maybe we do. On my residential block in East Vancouver, I’d say that (based on the census’s estimated average of 2.6 people per household in Vancouver) there are 30 people on my side of the street alone. Maybe you live in an old apartment building with 30 people in it total; maybe a condo with 30 people on your floor. Anyway, 30 people isn’t a lot, but $20 billion is, and right now, on Digby Island — right across the harbour from Prince Rupert in northern B.C. — the tiny community of Dodge Cove is staring down a project that would pretty much destroy it.

It’s become a “sacrifice zone” — yet another bucolic corner of the world at risk of being flattened on the anvil of progress.

Federal Clean Fuel Plan Could Slash Transport Emissions

Electric car charging station

A little known federal plan to adopt a clean fuel standard could cut Canada’s emissions by as much as Ontario’s coal phase-out (North America’s single largest emissions reduction initiative) — if done right.

The clean fuel standard, announced last November, will require fuel suppliers to decrease the carbon footprint of the fuels they sell in Canada.

But unlike similar regulations in British Columbia and California, which target transportation fuels only, the federal government is considering using the clean fuel standard to also target emissions from fuels used in buildings and industrial processes, such as heating oil and petroleum coke.

Gas, solids, liquids, whatever. If it is a fossil fuel, it is going to be subject to this standard,” Clare Demerse, policy advisor at Clean Energy Canada, told DeSmog Canada. “That is a really … powerful signal. All fossil fuels in Canada have to improve their carbon performance.”

The Art of the Steal: Inside Christy Clark's Natural Gas Resource Giveaway

Premier Christy Clark making Woodfibre LNG announcement

For years, B.C. Premier Christy Clark has been under immense pressure to deliver on the liquefied natural gas (LNG) promises that formed the backbone of her 2013 election campaign. 

Back then, the Liberals predicted LNG could create almost 40,000 construction jobs in BC, 75,000 full-time jobs once in operation, and much more. 

“It's no fantasy,” read the Liberal platform of 2013.  “We can create $1 trillion in economic activity and create the BC Prosperity Fund with $100 billion over 30 years.” 

But four years later, the opportunity to cash in on LNG exports to Asia has dissolved, while the $100 million currently sitting in the Prosperity Fund has been drawn not from natural gas, but from sources like the premiums for the BC Medical Services Plan.

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