Must Reads from Last Week
Kwispaa LNG pipeline
This blog has previously reported on this proposed pipeline, which would come through Powell River, undersea to Comox, and overland to Sarita Bay near Port Alberni. The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is open for comments on this pipeline until January 16, 2019. This is the second of four opportunities for the public to comment on the
environmental assessment of the project. Some points to consider include:
- Include the supply pipeline construction and operations as part of the Designated Project and include all associated impacts in the Kwispaa Review.
- Include the shipping area to the 200 mile limit in the Designated Project Area and all associated impacts in the shipping area in the Review. The shipping area to include all SARA Critical Habitat areas the shipping may pass through.
- Include downstream impacts of GHGs resulting from the combustion of LNG cargoes at their final customer destinations.
- Include upstream impacts of natural gas supply including GHG emissions from construction, operations, compression, natural gas well drilling and development and fugitive emissions from natural gas production of the supply wells and supply pipeline network.
- Include all effects listed in the Kwispaa Project Description Table 5-8 Potential Project Related Effects.
- Include a Human Health Impact Study.
- Include a Socio-Economics Impact study that includes the pipeline impacts, the project area impacts including shipping, and construction and operations.
- Include loss of forestry production values for the pipeline right of way.
- Include signed contractual undertakings that bind customers to use the LNG to replace coal combustion.
- Include a Federal Review of the supply pipeline by the National Energy Board as the natural gas is from the inter-provincial Western Canada Sedimentary Basin with a planned supplier from Alberta.
Written comments can be submitted to:
Kwispaa LNG Project
Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
410-701 West Georgia Street
Vancouver, British Columbia V7Y 1C6
…and 10 reasons to oppose Kwispaa LNG
This piece in The New Bamfielder makes for compelling reading. Remember that the Kwispaa pipeline is set to run down through Powell River, under the Salish Sea to the Comox Valley, and then over to Sarita Bay near Port Alberni. Also check out the Barkley Sound Alliance website. Their page on LNG and this project in particular elucidates the many problems with this project, one of which of course is the usual mantra of “Jobs, Jobs, Jobs.” They reference Andrew Nikiforuk’s piece on LNG in April 2017, which thoroughly lays out safety and legitimacy problems. They also reference a 2015 ‘reality check’ report from Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, which examined “the BC government’s claim that 100,000 jobs will be created from liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects in this province. We find that this claim is not credible and that potential employment impacts have been grossly overstated.”
…and then there’s the Canadian fossils plan new coalition to build ‘compelling’ narrative for LNG development
TransMountain: NEB Decision Day of Action: No Trudeau Pipeline Expansion!
DATE/TIME: February 22, 2019; 4:30-6:30 p.m.
LOCATION: National Energy Board Vancouver office, 800 Burrard Street, Vancouver
HOSTED BY: Climate Convergence Metro Vancouver
February 22 is the deadline for the National Energy Board’s report on its review of the marine impact of the TMEP. Every indication is that this is just another rubber stamp review rushed by the federal government, and designed to allow pipeline construction to legally resume as soon as possible. We need to unite and hold them to account. We will stand together to demand a better future. We no longer want a world where fossil fuel corporations cash in, and leave the rest of us to suffer the consequences. We want a healthy planet, stable jobs and a respectful relationship with Indigenous Nations.
Hakai Institute’s Airborne Coastal Observatory
“The Hakai Institute and our partners are advancing the way we survey from the sky. We call it the Airborne Coastal Observatory—a fixed-wing plane dedicated to mapping on the BC coast for the next five years in partnership with the University of Northern British Columbia, Vancouver Island University, and Kisik Aerial Survey.” Read more.
Site C: United Nations instructs Canada to suspend construction over Indigenous rights violations
“In a rare rebuke, the United Nations has instructed Canada to suspend construction of the Site C dam on B.C.’s Peace River until the project obtains the “free, prior and informed consent” of Indigenous peoples.” Read more. And remember the December 2018 article on UNESCO calling for a review of Site C vis-a-vis Wood Buffalo National Park and Canada blowing them off.
Nanaimo byelection could change balance of power in BC
The (NDP) Nanaimo MLA stepped down to become mayor of Nanaimo. The NDP MP for Nanaimo-Ladysmith is stepping down to run for the MLA position. This means both a provincial AND a federal byelection are in the offing there. The BC Greens’ candidate is Michele Ney. If the Liberal candidate wins, the BC Liberals will have 43 seats, equal to the NDP/Greens seat count of 43. This would put Darryl Plecas, the Speaker, to cast tie-breaking votes. If either the NDP or the Green Party candidate wins, then the NDP/Green government would be one seat stronger. There’s a difference, though, in the balance of power – or the balance of responsibility, as Adam Olsen calls it – if the Green Party candidate wins. The article in the Tyee ends with, “When it’s held, whatever issues the candidates campaign on, ultimately it will be seen as a vote on whether or not the current government should have a chance to continue.” Perhaps the BC Liberals are hoping that the NDP and the Greens will sufficiently split the vote in the Nanaimo byelection that they (the Liberals) can come up the middle. Read more.
Update: The Globe and Mail has an article about the Nanaimo byelection from January 4, 2019. They feel that if the BC Liberals win this riding, the NDP government might fall. “Ms. Ney could create real problems for the New Democrats, working off of the pitch: Elect a Green and it won’t change the balance of power in the legislature. The danger for the NDP is a situation in which many people like the sound of that appeal, and vote Green, but not quite enough to send Ms. Ney to Victoria. That split of the progressive vote would almost certainly guarantee a Liberal win. And the implications of that are significant.”
…but, should the NDP and the Greens just merge?
Crawford Killian of the Tyee thinks so. Killian sees a merger as the best option to counter the Liberal/Conservative merger that is currently called the BC Liberal Party. This might be a good argument if a party just wants to win elections and gain power, but that has never struck me as being the goal of the Green Party. The Green Party – whether provincial or federal – has fundamentally different values from the NDP; it’s hard to see what policies such a merger would result in.
Unist’ot’en Camp blockade of Coastal GasLink fracked gas pipeline
Things heated up on January 7, 2019, as the RCMP moved to break up the blockade. Here’s a live broadcast from 8 a.m. on January 7 as the police were amassing, and a live video from the afternoon of January 7 from a resident of the Camp. Here is a media release from the Unist’ot’en Camp as of around 11:30 a.m., January 7. At 2:51pm: “There are confirmed reports that RCMP have breached the checkpoint at Gidumt’en, Wet’suwet’en Access Point on Gidumt’en Territory. The RCMP are armed and moving in. Military also present. Gidumt’en cell service, wifi, and communication has been jammed and cut off by police.”
As Winona LaDuke said, “Someone needs to explain to me why wanting clean drinking water makes you an activist, and why proposing to destroy water with chemical warfare doesn’t make a corporation a terrorist.”
From the Gidimt’en Checkpoint at about 9 pm: “This is absolutely disgusting… After forcibly removing our people from our territory, I am following a sheriff vehicle… And see trucks pulling trailers (for man camps) coming towards us.” Watch this video from the National Observer.
There was a Day of Action in Courtenay, Campbell River, and in Powell River on January 8. Local, national & international actions in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en Access Point on Gidumt’en Territory. Actions were scheduled for: Canada: Calgary, Chilliwack, Cortes Island, Courtenay , Edmonton, Galiano Island, Halifax, Hamilton, Kitchener-Waterloo, Mayne Island, Mi’kma’ki , Montreal/Tio’tia:ke, Nelson, Sinixt Tum Xulaw7x, North Bay, Ottawa, Peterborough, Powell River, Prince George/Lheidli, Regina , Rexton, Sikniktuk Mi’kma’ki, Six Nations, Smithers- Gidimt’en Territory, St’át’imc, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Toronto, Vancouver, Victoria, Winnipeg, Whitehorse. US: Bellingham, Flagstaff, Arizona, San Francisco, California, New York City , Saskatoon, Seattle, Washington. Italy. In Toronto, thousands gathered.
In Ottawa, Trudeau’s cabinet was forced to leave, unable to attend their meeting this afternoon at Diefenbaker federal government building because of hundreds occupying this space.
Update: January 8: From the Gidimt’en Checkpoint at about 9 am: “Reports have confirmed that 28 RCMP police units, including tactical, and other forces, (as well as more than 10 unmarked trucks, and heavy equipment, accompanying them) are almost at the KM 27 junction.” Nathan Cullen and journalists barred from site by RCMP. Read more.
Update: January 9: There seemed to be progress in an agreement between the First Nations and the RCMP.
Below is an upcoming event people may be interested in. “This week the Dance Temple is dedicated to the Unist’ot’en Camp in BC. To clarify: this is not an official fundraiser. We may still hold a fundraiser once we have heard back from the people at the camp, but understandably they have other priorities at this time. We are dedicating this dance, and all door proceeds, to the donation pages linked below. You are welcome to add extra cash to the basket at the door: all money from this dance will be donated to the Unist’ot’en Camp. Alternatively, you may go directly to their Donate page.
No one will be turned away for lack of funds.”
For some background (only one person’s view), read this piece in The Tyee about how Canada got to this place, and this article by Judith Sayers on January 10.
The Union of BC Indian Chiefs also put out a statement on January 10, taking issue with Premier John Horgan’s comments on this crisis. Read more.
Excerpt: “First, we are beyond consultation and we need to be talking about consent. Second, there is no way that meaningful reconciliation has been achieved considering we had RCMP using excessive force at the Gitimd’en Camp on Monday of this week, in direct violation of article 10 of the UN Declaration which states that ‘Indigenous Peoples shall not be forcibly removed from their lands or territories.’”
Also, watch Power & Politics on this issue, from January 10. Peter Grant, lawyer for the Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs, is very worth listening to. He breaks down the issue of aboriginal title – “It’s not complicated. It’s the hereditary chiefs that make the decisions relating to the land.”
This map helps you recognize which Indigenous territory you live on
The crowd-sourced, interactive website mapping traditional territories of Indigenous people, treaties and language has grown to become so much more, and has just become a Canadian not-for-profit. “It helps plant a seed that there’s people here before you, these are the lands that they’re on, and they’re still here.” Read more.
2019 could be the year the Green Party breaks through
According to the National Post, “…a number of leading indicators suggest a resurgence in Green fortunes.” Read more.
Elizabeth May tells the truth on climate change
I know what you’re thinking…we already know Elizabeth May tells the truth on climate change. Yes, but here’s a JOURNALIST saying it! Read more.
Excerpt: “The Green Party’s Elizabeth May is the only mainstream federal leader who’s a straight talker on climate change…she has a consistent position that makes sense…I respect that, unlike Justin Trudeau, Catherine McKenna and Andrew Scheer, she isn’t blowing smoke up our behinds.” Finally, a journalist who is paying attention! Thank you Lorrie Goldstein!
…and Policy Magazine has a profile of Elizabeth May and the 2019 election
“So carbon taxes are set to be a wedge issue for the 2019 campaign. Using carbon taxes as a ballot box issue by both Liberals and Conservatives through deliberate political manipulation is a distraction from the key question: can we act in time to preserve a livable world? We—media and politicians—are talking about climate without addressing the threat. And time is running out.” Read more. Policy Magazine also has profiles on the Liberals, the NDP, and the Conservatives. It is refreshing to see the Green Party included.
Lessons in love from the pro rep campaign
This article is well worth reading – not so much because of the referendum on proportional representation, but because of how it speaks to political parties and candidates connecting with voters on a very personal, caring level. I love the transactional vs relational analysis of those connections. We can’t realistically expect voters to give their time and/or money to us if we only care about them once every four years. This really reflects the discussions members of the Greens of North Island-Powell River Executive has been having over the past year – how to we remain connected throughout all the years of an election cycle, not just the actual election year.
- For most progressives, an ethic of care is our underlying motivation. It is time we made that transparent. But the organizing principle cannot be “Do unto others what you would have done unto you.” Instead, it must be “Do unto others what they wish done to them.” This requires actually getting to know the other.
- Big data is our friend but it is not our foundation. Facebook communities are not influential outside their bubbles. Emails are often ignored and are a very poor foundation for relationships.
- There is no substitute for being seen by another person. Eye contact and bodies in the same space matter.
- Once people feel genuinely cared about, they will accept influence. This is likely to work both ways. Organizations will have to get used to receiving as well as giving influence.
- People will not feel genuinely cared about if the basis of the offer of relationship is transactional (“I want you to campaign with me on my issue so I will now see you”).
Bill C-69 – Federal omnibus legislation to enact the Impact Assessment Act and the Canadian Energy Regulator Act, to amend the Navigation Protection Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts
Bill C-69 is currently with the Canadian Senate. Greens got a reminder recently from Elizabeth May that we should not support bill C-69. This can be confusing because groups like Sierra Club BC are asking their supporters to contact Canadian Senators and to ask them to pass Bill C-69. According to Sierra Club, the oil and gas industry is trying to get the bill scuttled and to weaken environmental legislation. This is true, as this post from Suits and Boots shows. Suits and Boots is a national not-for-profit group of investment industry professionals who support Canada’s resource sector. They say that, “C-69 must die in the Senate. If not, resource sector investment in Canada will die on the vine.”
Sierra Club BC is encouraging the passage of Bill C-69 despite a February 2018 report from the Sierra Club Canada Foundation which said things like, “But the influence of the oil industry on the process of drafting Bill-69 itself should raise red flags for all Canadians….”
In February 2018, after Bill C-69 was first tabled, the Canadian Environmental Law Association wrote this brief. They say, in part, “…a close reading of the IAA reveals that in many key aspects, the IAA is not demonstrably “better” than CEAA 2012. To the contrary, the IAA replicates many of the same significant flaws and weaknesses found within the widely discredited CEAA 2012….”
Policy Options, also in February, wrote that, “Bill C-69…offers little for those hoping for a bold and creative next-generation assessment regime. While it was engineered to reinforce the theme of change and renewal — by deservedly retiring the National Energy Board and establishing a new, better-resourced federal assessment agency — on closer inspection it becomes abundantly clear that the architects of Bill C-69 have no transformative aspirations. The weight of evidence in support of this conclusion is overwhelming.”
From an Indigenous perspective, the Yellowhead Institute’s research director, Shiri Pasternak, says, “There is no mention of UNDRIP in the Bill, and Indigenous consent is very nearly absent from the Bill…this is the primary piece of legislation that governs some of the biggest conflicts between Indigenous people and the State, which is around resource development and extraction development… “There is no mention of any broader traditional or treaty territory being taken into consideration as Indigenous land…There are also ‘dangerous’ things in the Bill about who gets to decide consent of a project or development.”
And here is Elizabeth May’s video to explain why this bill is so bad. Please watch this video. You will see how passionate Elizabeth is about this because it has Harper’s fingerprints all over it. It may be that some environmental organizations have never seen how this assessment process used to (and is supposed to) work. Elizabeth has been around long enough to know good, and bad, legislation when she sees it. Bill C-69 gets an F.
Sable Island – Nova Scotia offshore oil drilling bids
This blog has previously reported on the opening up of the Sable Island sub-basin for oil and gas drilling. According to Sierra Club Canada, the call for bids includes Sable Island itself, which is a national park reserve.
The call for bids is open until May 8, 2019. The offshore oil industry in Nova Scotia is overseen by the Canada- Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board, not the National Energy Board.
To illustrate the disconnect between the part of government protecting the National Park Reserve and the part of government granting offshore drilling licenses, a spokesperson for Sierra Club Canada Foundation said, in a December 13, 2018, press conference, that “Just last week, Canadians were being consulted as to whether activities such as camping should be allowed on Sable Island.” Read more of the issue of allowing human (tourist) activity on the island here. Also read this opinion piece by Megan Leslie, then an NDP MP, from September 2014, titled, “Sable Island: A national park in the middle of a gas field.” It begs the perennial question in situations like this: What could possibly go wrong?!
NAFTA, coal and global warming
The NAFTA (USMCA) negotiations are finished, the deal is signed. Now Canada is being sued by Westmoreland Coal Co, which purchased five coal mines in Alberta in 2013, trying to avoid then US President Obama’s plans to transition to renewable energy. Then, in 2015, Alberta started plans to phase out coal-fired power by 2030. Westmoreland filed for bankruptcy protection in the US in October 2018, but now wants to be compensated by Canada for their bad decision to buy Alberta coal mines. “…the Westmoreland claim is the first brought in relation to a policy explicitly designed to combat climate change.” The fear is that claims like this will cause national governments to hesitate about bringing in legislation to address global warming. “Regulatory chill” is a phenomenon that has been observed in several jurisdictions around the world. A notable example is the decision of the New Zealand government to delay the introduction of legislation to require plain packaging of tobacco products until Australia won its ISDS case against the tobacco company Philip Morris International. This delay of regulatory action — out of fear of expensive litigation — may have cost lives.” Read more.
Climate Action Network webinar/workshop series: What Happened at COP24?
“Climate Action Network Canada’s next webinar-workshop ‘Outcomes from COP24’ will take place Friday, January 25 at 11 am Pacific Time. Make sure to register in advance! We are happy to announce that for the 2019 webinar series, we will often be collaborating with our friends at Indigenous Climate Action to host and present informative and thoughtful webinars on a variety of current topics in climate action. Our thanks to the ICA team for their generous input in the development of this first webinar of 2019!” Read more and register here.
The new war on gender studies
“The personal is political.” If you don’t recognize that phrase, you may be too young to have gone through the women’s movement in North America. We see many attacks on women and sexual minorities all around us all the time. “Lately, we have witnessed global story after story of government rollbacks on abortion provision, LGBTQ rights and now the closure of entire programs devoted to women’s and gender studies.” Read more.
Wins for the world: When international cooperation works
“In many ways, lives are getting better because people came together at the UN to collaborate and act. While it’s easy to focus on everything wrong in the world, let’s not forget the wins. And let’s be inspired by them to keep working.” Read more.
The best technology for fighting climate change isn’t a technology
…it’s trees. This piece from Scientific American lays out how forests are the most powerful and efficient carbon-capture system on the planet.
A forest planted on an abandoned open-pit coal mine, Germany. Credit: Hans Blossey Getty Images
Climate change is forcing the insurance industry to recalculate
This Wall Street Journal article from October 2018 leads with the Fort McMurray fire.
Excerpt: “Insurers are at the forefront of calculating the impact. “We don’t discuss the question anymore of, ‘Is there climate change,’” says Torsten Jeworrek, chief executive for reinsurance at Munich Re, the world’s largest seller of reinsurance—insurance for insurers. For the most part, insurers are acting on climate change by building models that aim to better estimate the impact. That leaves the industry with the tough question of how to reflect in premiums the new understandings of the underlying risk.”
U.S. Supreme Court refuses to block Exxon climate fraud investigation
The U.S. Supreme Court just declined to block a state investigation into whether Exxon misled the public and investors about climate change. Read more.
And in an article in the Independent, “In doing so, the court essentially confirmed that Exxon must turn over 40 years’ worth of documents to Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey’s office. New York State has also been investigating the company.”
Whether you fly occasionally or often, each airline flight ultimately contributes to global warming. You have probably heard of (and may already use) carbon offsets to mitigate the climate effects of air travel. There are different carbon offset standards (Gold Standard, CDM, VCS, Climate Action Reserve, Green-e Climate Protocol for Renewable Energy, etc.) that meet varying criteria. As the name implies, the gold standard for carbon offsets seems to be the highest standard. The UN has great information on its carbon offset platform, and you can see projects by industry, region, or by impact. In Canada, Less.ca is a platform to buy carbon offsets. Less.ca is connected with Bullfrog Power, which invests in green energy projects, and sells green energy. There are many options out there and the ideas are exciting. Check it out. (NOTE: Naming Fold Standard, Less.ca and Bullfrog Power is in no way an endorsement of their particular products.)
…and for more good news
Check out these photos from 2018. People are rising all over the world and demanding action on global warming.
And now, just breathe and listen
Groove in G. Playing for Change. “We started this track in Bamako, Mali with a musical group named Tinariwen. We asked them to play a groove in the key of G, then as we traveled the world we added more musicians to the song. Over the course of our travels it transformed into a global jam with its roots in the blues.”
Thanks so much, John. I’m so glad you find it useful!
Another truly great newsletter, Megan. Several confusing issues were clarified for me in this week’s collection. You really know how to get to the core facts! Thanks again and please keep them coming.