Trying to sweep billions of tonnes of climate pollution under the rug requires ever more extreme measures.(NOTE: This article originally published April 22, 2014 on the VancouverObserver.com)
As the climate crisis intensifies it is getting harder for those who benefit from fossil fuels to shirk any and all responsibility for the climate damage that results. The greater the climate damage the more extreme the measures are becoming to avoid taking any responsibility.
Such is the case with Kinder Morgan's recent push to build a gigantic new Trans Mountain XL (TMX) pipeline from the tar sands of Alberta to the Pacific Ocean shoreline at the Port of Vancouver.
People concerned about our increasingly dangerous climate say this will enable billions of tonnes of new bitumen to be extracted and burned. They point out - - as my four charts below illustrate - - that the resulting climate impact will be far too huge to safely ignore. They insist that climate pollution of this scale must be considered when deciding if this pipeline is in our national interest.
In response, the regulatory agency that will decide on the pipeline - - the National Energy Board (NEB) - - changed their rules since the hearings on the similar Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline. The NEB says new laws passed by the Harper government allow it to ignore the full climate impact and to exclude anyone who wants to argue that they would be affected by it.
In just one example, 27 climate experts – scientists, economists, social and political scientists – from major BC universities applied to "lend our expertise to the NEB’s assessment of whether this project is in the public interest." "Every one of us was rejected, because we proposed to talk about climate change."
In America, the total climate impact now gets considered for major pipelines like Keystone XL. Canada however is heading in the opposite direction.
So just how big would the potential climate impact be? Kinder Morgan's new pipeline will pump an additional 590,000 barrels of tar sands bitumen per day. Climate scientist and BC MLA, Dr. Andrew Weaver, estimated the full "wells-to-wheels" climate impact of each barrel of bitumen at 0.572 tonnes of CO2. Multiplied together yields around 120 million tonnes of CO2 per year.
To try to put that huge number into perspective, I created the following four charts...Click here to continue reading the full article at the Vancouver Observer