Building either Kinder Morgan and/or the Energy East pipeline should be challenged from the perspective of asking why Canada is exporting oil when we are importing it as well? Canadians need to know why, if the cost of refining Canadian crude is so expensive, it is cheaper to purchase Middle East and other foreign oil, ship it across the oceans and refine it here in North America?
How dirty is Canadian oil in comparison to other offshore production and refining processes: while production in Canada has grown by 79 per cent since 1990, carbon emissions have doubled! Further, according to figures released by the NEB and Environment Canada on Jan. 29, emissions from Canadian oil and gas production will rise by 56 per cent between 2013 and 2030. If that happens, and in order to meet agreed to COP21 Paris Agreement objectives, every other economic sector in Canada and all household consumers will have to cut their emissions by 54 per cent.
Framing the debate as “pipelines” and “jobs” versus the “environment” misses the point. Capital does not need to invest in coal, oil and gas production, it simply needs to invest in production and creation of goods and services that provide a financial return. We also need to ask about the social impact on families and people who spend most of the year living away from their wives/partners and children while working on extracting coal, oil and natural gas.
Building alternative energy installations and focusing on improving efficient use of energy would allow more families to spend most of the year together in their home communities. Building economies should not just be about someone making money and others getting a short or long term job miles from anywhere, it should also factor in the social and environmental impact on families and communities as well.
The oil and gas industry, and the supporters of the Kinder Morgan and Energy East pipelines, need to explain why Canadians should agree to an expansion of their greenhouse gas emissions by 56 per cent up to 2030, while all other economic sectors and Canadians as a whole are left to struggle to reduce theirs by 54 per cent in order to meet the December 2015 Paris Agreement targets.
Andy Shadrack, Kaslo