apropos tar sands…

Comment of the day, from the CBC article: Transport of Alberta oilsands products risky, U.S. study warns

“The tar barons of Alberta have been able to hold the whole country to ransom. They have captured Canada’s politics and are turning this lovely country into a cruel and thuggish place.

Canada is a cultured, peaceful nation, which every so often allows a band of Neanderthals to trample over it. Timber firms were licensed to log the old-growth forest in Clayaquot Sound; fishing companies were permitted to destroy the Grand Banks: in both cases these get-rich-quick schemes impoverished Canada and its reputation. But this is much worse, as it affects the whole world. The government’s scheming at the climate talks is doing for its national image what whaling has done for Japan.

I will not pretend that this country is the only obstacle to an agreement at Copenhagen. But it is the major one. It feels odd to be writing this. The immediate threat to the global effort to sustain a peaceful and stable world comes not from Saudi Arabia or Iran or China. It comes from Canada. How could that be true?”

think globally? difficult

It’s not that I don’t like to think big, but the bigger your circle of attention – geographically – the thinner and more superficial your attention and knowledge is spread. It’s no wonder the vast majority of human beings don’t factor in the rest of the world when we make decisions – we just don’t have the capacity to do so.Read More »

measuring responsibility and leadership

Lady Justice (c) Tristan Henry-Wilson

Today I received this in my work email inbox: OECD states cut emissions too slowly.

For anyone who watches the news, this is hardly groundbreaking. For those of us working in environmental justice or international development, we’ve seen graphs and diagrams ad nauseam depicting the earth’s trajectory vis-a-vis greenhouse gas emissions based on different scenarios and data. They have the same story: The planet – and, therefore, humanity – is doomed because we’re not doing enough to rein in emissions.

But who, exactly, are ‘we’? Read More »

makes no frackin’ sense

This just in:  Obama approves border-crossing fracked gas pipeline used to dilute tar sands (also here)

2012CochinExplorerConnSo here’s the dealio:

We – and yes, we, the global or, at least, North American community, are in this together, becauase any inaction by any of us is also a form of action – are fracking Texas for gas. We are then transporting gas condensate to Illinois. We then build a 3,000 km pipeline to Alberta, with a company (Kinder Morgan Cochin) with known safety failures and has been warned by the Canada National Energy Board in 2003 for its crack problems (please, no Rob Ford jokes…). We are then mixing it with tar sands bitumen, which is some of the most toxic and energy intensive sources of energy in the world. Finally, we will export this to either Asia or the US.Read More »

power players

The story of Ontario’s nuclear power engineers and what happened to them after being laid off in the early 1980s

Note: This is probably part fiction, part truth. I wrote this back in October 2012 after an interesting conversation with someone who knows something about the subject. I was fascinated with the idea.

Once upon a time not so long ago the future for nuclear power looked radioactively bright in Ontario.Read More »