JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: CONFLICT FOR CANADA’S TRUDEAU BETWEEN APPROVING A HUGE PROMISING NEW OIL-SANDS PROJECT (TECK FRONTIER) IN NORTHERN ALBERTA AND KEEPING HIS EARLIER PROMISE ON CANADA’S FUTURE CARBON-EMISSION LEVELS, A PROMISE MADE WITHOUT FULL UNDERSTANDING OF ITS IMPACT ON ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OR ON THE PROVINCE OF ALBERTA’S INTENSE NEW POLITICAL ALIENATION – THAT WAS A PROMISE THAT SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN MADE – YOU MIGHT THINK IT WOULD BE EASY TO BREAK GIVEN TRUDEAU’S RECORD OF PROMISES IN OTHER VERY IMPORTANT MATTERS   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE BY AARON WHERRY ON CBC NEWS

 

Can a massive new oilsands mine be reconciled with Trudeau’s ‘net-zero’ promise?

The prime minister’s painstaking efforts to chart a middle path on climate are about to be tested again

The political complexity of the challenge facing Justin Trudeau as the federal cabinet prepares to make a decision on Teck Frontier — a proposed large new oilsands mine in northern Alberta — is underlined by the categorical statements of the project’s loudest proponents and opponents.

Whatever else Teck Frontier represents, it stands as a starting point for a necessary and overdue conversation about what the next 30 years could, or should, look like.

 

I’m sorry, but at this stage in the world’s development, talk about the future of the oil and gas economy in negative terms is just uninformed.

All over the planet, countries are searching for oil and gas, and with massive efforts. In the Middle East. In the Arctic. In East Asia. In Latin America.

New fields already discovered are being developed, again with massive efforts.

New pipelines and shipping terminals are under construction in many locations.

Why? Because we know we will depend on hydrocarbons for decades, even if some new practical non-carbon energy source comes along, something which has not happened yet.

There is no substitute – not even close – for the energy density of hydrocarbons, and they are wonderfully portable to boot.

Plus, we have a gigantic existing infrastructure for transporting and distributing them.

Many millions of jobs – millions, not thousands – depend on them.

If Canada’s oil doesn’t get to markets, it does not mean we will have done anything about total world emissions because it is a certainty that oil from other places will. All we will have achieved is impoverishing ourselves, making our country less of a place for jobs and opportunity.

Any country on earth would envy Canada’s having the opportunity this project represents.

Yet we seem almost to have Greta Thunberg involved in the decision-making. Would any reasonable person trust her as a guide in any practical matter? In any matter of investment for the future? This is not what responsible government does.

_________________________

The truth is that ignoring or failing to keep a promise would be nothing new for Justin Trudeau.

He did it, quite flagrantly, for example, with election reform.

And again, with openness in government.

On a grander scale, Trudeau broke promises in our foreign policy. For surely, Canada has an implicit obligation to play fair with other countries, playing fair is what most of the world traditionally expects of us. It a built-in part of our past international reputation, but it is not what Justin Trudeau has been doing.

Is joining Trump in advocating the destruction of a twice-elected government in Venezuela playing fair? Is it principled? And what about destroying our previous excellent relations with China, again done not out of any principle but only as part of Trump’s hostile America-first crusade?

We have a promise of Trudeau’s here about emissions that likely should never have been made.

It is unrealistic, and it was not thought-through with all the facts.

And if the promise endangers such a hugely important economic project and dangerously alienates the province of Alberta, I think it can truly be called a foolish one.

A promise made without full understanding of its consequences is a promise that should never have been made.

Posted February 2, 2020 by JOHN CHUCKMAN in Uncategorized

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