Friday, 31 July 2015

An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming

The following post is a speech done by Lord Nigel Lawson, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, former Financial Secretary to the Treasury, and former Secretary of State for Energy in the Margaret Thatcher government. He founded a think tank in the United Kingdom in 2009 called the Global Warming Policy Foundation, whose stated aims are to challenge "extremely damaging and harmful policies" envisaged by governments to mitigate global warming. He also wrote a book called An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming.

Lawson's speech was part of a three person panel along with Alex Epstein, author of the Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, and Patrick Moore, a sensible environmentalist, global warming skeptic, and author of Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout: The Making of a Sensible Environmentalist. The speech was performed at Moses Znaimer's 2015 Ideacity Conference in Toronto, Canada.

The entire speech can be found here:  

Moses Znaimer: So, we're going to bring this first important inquiry of the day to a close by welcoming Lord Nigel Lawson on stage. He is the former Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Maggie Thatcher government. that's no mean feat, and is arguably the most successful finance minister in the recent history of the United Kingdom. Thank you very much for coming here all the way from London. 

Lord Nigel Lawson: Well, good morning everybody, it's great to be in Canada again. Conrad Black assured us that Canada was a great nation, and everything Conrad says is right, and I'm delighted to second his notion. This is however my first at the court of King Moses, a very curious, but stimulating experience. 

We’ve just had two outstanding presentations in my mind, which to anybody, a fair minded person, I think you’ve made a completely compelling case that the conventional wisdom at the present time, the political correctness at the present time, political correctness is a blight, it’s the curse of this age. It prevents proper debate, it prevents the truth from getting out, anyhow you’ve had two compelling and politically incorrect presentations. I’m not sure I could add a great deal to that, but I can tell you a little bit about where I came from on this issue, and then towards the end, I will say a few things about the latest Papal encyclical, which Moses, with his customary cleverness, arranged to have published the day before this event. 

I have never been one who likes living in the past, I’ve always lived in the present and interested in the future. So, when I left government in 1989, and wrote my memoirs, that was to draw a line under the past. But I discovered there was one issue, it didn’t exist in those days, in the 1980’s it wasn’t a big issue, and that was the issue of global warming. And I thought, I better find out a little bit about it, this is something new, I don’t want to go on talking about the same old thing I’ve always been talking about. 

The first thing that I discovered, was that no proper economic analysis has been done of the cost effectiveness of the decarbonisation program that the politicians were talking about. That shocked me. When I was Chancellor of the Exchequer, I would never allow it, by the government of which I was a member, to do anything, to make any commitments about decarbonisation, or anything else for that matter, without there having been a thorough economic analysis. Because, very often, if you don’t have a proper economic analysis, what you do might actually do more harm, in terms of what you are trying to prevent.

So, at that time I just became a member of the economic affairs committee of the House of Lords. I said to my colleagues on the committee ‘Why don’t we do a study of the economics of climate change?’ And I knew nothing about the issue at the time, but it was and extremely educative process, we had all the top people come and give evidence to us, not only did we discover, but we produced at the end of the day a unanimous report, we had peers from all the different political parties, signed a unanimous report, which was extremely skeptical about the economics of climate change, or decarbonisation rather. But what is more, I learnt that the science, and Patrick Moore spoke brilliantly on the science today, but the science was extremely unsettled and supposedly true that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, and there is a greenhouse effect to say that the concentration of carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere makes the planet warmer than we would otherwise be. 

But, what is extremely uncertain, is first, how much warmer? Secondly, this applies only if other things are equal, and we know that other things are not equal. And one of the problems we have with climate change, for example, it’s already been mentioned, one thousand years ago the world had the medieval warm period, which was an extremely warm period, and it was also an extremely beneficial period. During that baroque period we had very good music, but it was very bad for farming because we were in the middle of an ice age, and temperatures plummeted, and nobody knows why, that was a very harsh and difficult time. Nobody really knows about much, and I don’t blame the climate scientists for that, it’s extremely complex, the natural forces, both solar and the behaviour of the oceans. It’s extremely difficult to work out how that works, and how that effects climate, nobody knows. But, what I do blame them for is pretending to know when they don’t know, or rather, pretending because they don’t know, so this can be disregarded.

So, it is likely, in fact that they thought the carbon dioxide concentrations would raise the temperature enormously, and the computer models, which have substituted proper scientific evidence nowadays, the computer models projected if carbon dioxide concentrations and emissions rose faster, which they have done thanks largely to the remarkable growth of China, that the temperature would rise. 

We’ve seen in the last quarter of the 20th century, a recorded rise over that last quarter of about half a degree Celsius, That would accelerate. What has happened? The carbon dioxide has gone up faster, the temperature has stopped rising altogether, and the apologies for the current conventional wisdom has alternated between two different explanations. It’s rather likely, a prisoner in the dark who’s accused of murder and he says ‘In the first place, I wasn’t there at the time, and second place, even if I was there, it was an accident.’ If he presents both these, then you know probably neither of these things are true. And what they say first of all, the high eighties’ is what it’s called, doesn’t really exist, even though the British Met Office and all the comparable offices have shown the temperature has flatlined. Secondly, they say the missing heat has in fact gone into the deep, deep oceans, where nobody of course can measure it. Anyhow, the deep, deep oceans are incredibly cold. So, they don’t know why their theories haven’t worked out, but they haven’t worked out. 

The other thing is, even if there is a slight warming effect from carbon dioxide, does it matter? It’s clearly good for the planet in the sense that, as it’s already been pointed out by both Patrick and Alex, the fertilization effect. That is really well known. I did two things after the economic affairs committee report. I decided, that I must write a book about it, but I couldn’t get a publisher. It was so politically incorrect, that nobody’s publisher would touch it. And the only reason I got it published at all, was because my daughter, who’s a very successful author, had an agent and she asked her agent to find a publisher for my book, and he was very scared she would never speak to him again if he didn’t find a publisher. He managed to find a small American publisher, which had an even smaller British office, which it had rescued from the liquidator. They published the book, and it became a best seller. I called it An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming, because reason was sadly missing, and I think it is particularly culpable that scientists should betray science in the way they have done. By going from reason to what is in effect, a quasi-religion. 

The book, which I’m glad to say is still in print, and I hope you will read it, it has the huge merit of being very short. It became a huge success. People say to me now ‘You should right another book,’ but I don’t really see the point in writing another book, so I decided instead, because I said most of what needed to be said, I thought I’d start a think tank. So, I founded a think tank, The Global Warming Policy Foundation, which is a registered educational charity, and it now has a campaign offshoot, the Global Warming Policy Forum, you can look at that website,, it’s well worth looking at, I have a brilliant director who runs it. 

One other thing we did, in order to make it quite clear that we were completely honest, we said right at the beginning, our very first board meeting, we will not accept a pennie of funds from the energy industry, or anyone with a significant interest in the energy industry, but of course, a lot of our donors choose to remain anonymous, and they choose to remain anonymous for a very good reason. You are vilified if you come out as a climate descender. I have never known anything in my life, when I was Chancellor in Margaret Thatcher’s government, we were pursuing extremely controversial economic policies, and I was used to being attacked all the time, but I never had anything remotely like what you get here with this issue. The vilification is quite remarkable, an attempt to repress and a refusal to debate. And I came across when I was writing this book, a large number, it may not have been a majority, but a very significant number of young climate scientists who had considerable doubts about the conventional wisdom, but they don’t speak out, because if they did speak out, that would be the end of their funding, they would never get any research funds of any kind if they spoke out about it. And the same with my political friends in the House of Commons, I have a lot of connections there, there are a lot who are descenders there, but they know that if they speak out, they will never get a promotion, and that is what it is like. And because I’m a very old man, I’m well into my 80’s, and I’ve got no career left, my career is all behind me, I thought I should speak out because I’ve got nothing to lose. But there’s a fear, and we use an expression that is well known to you among the youngsters, is really quite appalling. 

I produced this book, which was a bestseller, I started the think tank, which is doing very well, and I said we won’t take funding from the fossil fuel industry, but they said well if you’re not revealing your donors and the reason our donors remain anonymous, because they wanted to clear themselves, but more importantly, because they don’t want the vilification that would come. They would be vilified publicly, and they’re not used to that kind of thing. But, nevertheless, I have on my board, among others, former private secretary of the Queen, the former head of the British Civil Service, and Bishop of the church of England. So, what these people are actually saying, this seems to be a good test of paranoia, that all of us are engaged in a conspiracy and a lie. The former Chancellor of the Exchequer, the former head of the British Civil Service, the Bishop of the church of England, and the former private secretary of the Queen, if you believe that, you’ll believe anything.

So, we are now faced with the fact that there is no warming to speak of that’s going on, going along, there might be. Is it going to do any harm, even the IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, has conceded that for the rest of this century it will do more good than harm. This is quite clear in many fields, human health for example. There are many, many more deaths in the world from cold related problems, than from heat related problems. This is established, and in general, the warming according to the IPCC, which I think exaggerates the so-called climate sensitivity, that is to the extent of which the temperature of the planet warms as a result of the increased carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere. But even on the exaggerated expectations, they say it will actually be beneficial to mankind for the rest of this century. Even if there are problems, what do you do? If there are problems, you adapt to them, and that is what mankind has done throughout the ages and throughout the world. The temperatures varies enormously in different parts of the world as you all know. Take two very successful countries, which have a mean annual temperature of about 27 degrees Celsius apart. Finland, which is very cold, and Singapore, which is very hot, and yet people manage, and not only is adaptation sensible, because warming will bring benefits and it will bring disadvantages. If you pocket the benefits, but use resources and modern technology to reduce the disadvantages, then that is clearly the only sensible policy, and decrabonization is for the birds.

Finally, the Papal encyclical. The Papal encyclical is, sadly, an attempt by the Roman Catholic Church to jump on to this climate change. It is the most reactionary document I have ever read. It’s reactionary because it is fundamentally against progress, he has good intentions I’m sure, but we all know that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. He says he’s concerned about the poor, the thing that the poor need is cheap energy. Cheap and reliable energy, and for the present time and for the foreseeable future, that can come only from carbon based energy. Let’s have all the research done, do plenty of research, see if you come up with something else, maybe one day you will, maybe one day you probably will. But for the foreseeable future, the only way of improving a lot of the poor is by cheap and reliable energy, which means fossil fuel energy. And the logic, if you call it that, the logic of the Pope, is that the industrial revolution should never have happened. We should still be living in the poverty and squalor that existed, for all except the rich, before the industrial revolution. The industrial revolution is a big mistake, and China’s growth, which has lifted so many people in China out of poverty, which is based entirely on a coal fired electricity generation program, that should never have happened. This is madness, but it’s not merely madness, it is also wicked. Thank you. 

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Canada’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions Story Better Than Advertised

By: Kenneth P. Green, Senior Director, Natural Resources Studies, The Fraser Institute

Article originally published in the June 2015 edition of the Roughneck magazine:  

A news report from the Government of Canada, on Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions from 1990 to 2013, is making news. And as usual, the bad news leads.

The media focus is on the probability that Canada will miss its Copenhagen emission-reduction targets from 2009. (Canada agreed to cut emissions by 17 per cent from a 2005 base year by 2020). In reality, however, this is less about Canada being an environmental laggard, and more a problem with agreeing to politically-derived targets you have no idea how to hit.

So that’s the bad news. Now let’s look at the good news. Emissions are indeed up 18 per cent since 1990. But real GDP went up by 71 per cent, meaning there was a 31 per cent decrease in the amount of emissions per unit of economic production over that same time period. 

Per-capita emissions in Canada also dropped by more than 14 per cent (from a 2000 peak) by 2009, and have stayed at a record-low ever since. That’s a success story, not a failure.

The same story has played out in Canada’s transport sector, which is responsible for about as much greenhouse gas emissions as are the oil and gas sector. Emissions there showed a significant increase (up by about 31 per cent) since 1990. But even then, the glass is half full. While vehicle kilometres travelled rose by 12.5 per cent, emissions only went up by 3.7 per cent since 2005.

The report discusses similar (though less pronounced) trends for heavy-duty truck transport, doing more with less: “Emissions from heavy-duty diesel vehicles (large freight trucks) rose by 22.7 Mt (112 per cent) between 1990 and 2013. Growth in emissions reflected a 137 per cent increase in tonne-kilometres shipped by trucks between 1990 and 2003.”

So, you can read the new Environment Canada Report as a glass half empty, or you can read it as a glass half full. What you can’t read it as, and what environmentalists will no doubt insist it shows, is that Canada is some kind of international laggard that has grossly shirked its responsibilities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Canada’s emissions intensity will continue to improve, and eventually emissions will peak and then decline simply to the evolution of new technologies. It’s happened in the U.S., and it’s a matter of time before it happens here.

Emission rates may not peak and drop as fast as some politicians and environmentalists demand, but then, letting markets do what they do best – drive efficiency through competition – is never fats enough for those who don’t trust markets in the first place. 

Canada’s small share of global emissions isn’t completely irrelevant, nor is Canada’s reputation as a global thought leader. But Canada’s emissions are sufficiently small that there’s no reason to insist on radical reduction at high cost, rather than letting technological growth drive emissions down over a slightly longer time at much lower cost.

This column is courtesy of Troy Media (

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Canadian Energy Strategy - Selected Excerpts

By: David Yager, National Leader Oilfield Services

Originally published in MNP's Oilfield Service News - July 21st, 2015

There was major media attention July 17 and 18 on the signing of a Canadian Energy Strategy (CES) by Canada’s 10 premiers in St. Johns, NL. Years in the making, this was seen as a major breakthrough for a concept originally spearheaded by former Alberta Premier Alison Redford in 2012. 

Unfortunately, it is long on platitudes and short on specifics. Even Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, a signatory, admitted many challenges remained to gaining approval for export pipelines like Energy East. However, the document does at least mention pipelines four times in 40 pages which could be considered progress. 

Following are the main points summarizing what CES is intended to accomplish and how. One of the clear thrusts is Canada getting out of the hydrocarbon fuel business at some point in the future without details on when, how or cost. Carbon taxes and carbon capture and storage are listed as key methods. 

For workers and managers wondering how to get through the rest of 2015 and 2016, CES provides no assistance. 

A Canadian Energy Strategy should: 

• Reflect the shared values of Canadians.  

• Strengthen our economy and create jobs.  

• Identify opportunities to develop, transport, and transmit energy, in accordance with provincial-territorial jurisdiction.  

• Maintain the highest degree of environmental safeguards and protection, including by addressing climate change, climate resilience and reducing greenhouse gas emissions globally.  

• Promote a competitive economy and robust research and technology sector that can contribute to the breadth of Canada’s energy and environmental opportunities and responsibilities.  

• Promote export of energy, expertise, and innovation.  

• Support a diverse range of energy assets.  

• Foster the development of pan-Canadian, regional, and bilateral agreements on energy development, transportation, and transmission.   

Collaboration and Transparency

• Seek intergovernmental collaboration on areas of mutual interest involving energy resources, energy conservation, and technologies to optimize the opportunities and strengths of each province and territory.  

• Collaborate and encourage co-operation, participation, and partnership with other governments and key stakeholders.  

• Respect the Aboriginal and treaty rights that are recognized and affirmed by section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.18  

• Report back to Canada’s Premiers on progress. 

Climate Change and Social and Environmental Responsibility

• Addressing climate change and moving towards a lower carbon economy. 

• Recognize the importance of environmentally and socially responsible energy development, transportation systems, and enabling technologies to support conservation, efficiency, and effectiveness in the use of energy resources.  

• Transition to a lower-carbon economy through appropriate initiatives, such as carbon pricing, carbon capture and storage and other technological innovations, while meeting current and future energy needs. 

Energy Security and Stability

• Ensure a secure supply of energy for all Canadians through open, non-discriminatory and safe transportation and transmission of energy resources.
• Ensure open and non-discriminatory access to electricity transmission systems, consistent with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Open Access Rules.  

• Maintain effective, efficient and transparent regulations that support responsible energy development and maintains the highest standards of environmental assessment and management.
• Increase and diversify the supply and distribution of clean as well as low carbon energy.   

Can Oilsands Be Carbon-Taxed Into Long-Term Prosperity?

By: David Yager, National Leader Oilfield Services

Originally published in MNP's Oilfield Service News - July 21st, 2015.

Alberta’s oilsands were front-page news again the week of July 13-17 as Alberta Premier Rachel Notley stopped in Quebec en route to the annual premiers’ conference in St. John’s, NL to negotiate  the socalled Canadian Energy Strategy (CES). The proposed Energy East pipeline to Atlantic tidewater was discussed with Quebec Premier Phillipe Couillard and the outcome remained unclear. What was apparently agreed on was if Alberta could demonstrate leadership on the carbon emissions and climate change file for the oilsands, then strong public resistance to Energy East in Quebec may decline. If so, this critical transportation link for Alberta’s oilsands to new markets might one day proceed. 

At the premiers’ conference, the most exciting part was Notley and Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall trading provocative and entertaining comments in the media. When released, the CES was hailed as a major advancement in interprovincial relations. But to those in the ‘patch trying to keep their jobs and companies alive through 2015 and 2016, the CES is of no tangible value.  

Getting everyone in the rest of Canada and the world to accept oilsands development has been spectacularly unsuccessful. Attempts include government-subsidized carbon capture and storage projects (CCS), carbon emission levies, national cooperation strategies, increased regulation, public relations, economic benefit studies, lobbying with domestic and international governments and friendly television ads.  

While there has been limited success (the EU dropped a negative classification for bitumen), opposition to pipelines and oilsands development remains fierce. It is difficult to be optimistic. Current declining investment in new projects confirms this view. 

The Notley administration recently doubled Alberta’s large emitter carbon levy, a move publicly supported by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP). At the full rate of $30 per ton, in 2017 it could cost about $0.50 a barrel. The concept behind discussions in Quebec was if oilsands were subjected to more stringent environmental levies, policies and scrutiny, improved market access could follow.  

Some think it can. Smart people like Adam Waterous, who founded his own oil and gas property and asset valuation and sale company in 1991 before selling it to Scotiabank in 2005, a business unit he still manages. Writing in the Globe and Mail on July 15, Waterous argued the depressed value of Alberta oil because of pipeline issues was of far greater concern than the election of an NDP government. “The exciting opportunity for Alberta’s new NDP government is the chance to add a huge horsepower boost to Canada’s economic engine by solving the problem of a single export market for Canadian oil and gas – the United States. This lack of market access has led Alberta energy companies, over the past two years, to sell oil at a discount to U.S. benchmark prices by an average $21 (U.S.) a barrel for heavy oil and $8 a barrel for light oil, as well as gas for less than would be possible if it were sold into Asian markets.” 

Waterous figures pipelines to tidewater, which would eliminate the local pricing discount, would add more than C$10 billion a year to the top line of Alberta’s oil producers. Liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports would give more of a boost to B.C. but still help Alberta. Waterous calculates closing the pricing differential would more than compensate for all the other economic challenges the NDP is creating by raising carbon taxes 100%, corporate taxes 20% and whatever comes out of the as yet-uncompleted royalty review. 

Waterous concluded, “Clearly, this policy choice (carbon taxes, corporate taxes and a royalty increase) would be a near rounding error compared to what lack of market access is costing the industry. Rather than worry about the Alberta New Democrats, the country’s business and political leaders should be worrying about the lack of market access. In fact, the NDP may be more successful in solving the issue of market access than the previous Progressive Conservatives governments for two reasons. First, the NDP may be able to cultivate better relationships with the Premiers of Ontario and Quebec – two key provinces in getting approvals for the Energy East pipeline… Second, the NDP may already have more credibility with environmental groups, which will be important in garnering support from other provincial governments.” 

Exactly what must oilsands developers do to regain the so-called “social license to operate?” How does the most vilified hydrocarbon fuel source in the world overcome its army of critics?  

Notley appears to be saying the right things. Early in July in Calgary, the Premier gave a pro-oilsands speech to a business audience, the tone of which surprised many. She visited Quebec, where the majority of population is opposed to Energy East, and discussed breaking the logjam with Premier Couillard. Then it was off to St. John’s, where all the premiers signed the Canadian Energy Strategy, a motherhood discussion paper that unfortunately doesn’t actually include the word oilsands and only references pipelines four times in its entire 40 pages.   

However, at the same time Notley was crusading for Energy East in central and eastern Canada, determined oilsands opponents were digging in their heels. On July 16, Canadian Press carried a story which opened, “A dozen environmental groups across Canada say there should be no role for oilsands growth in a Canadian energy strategy.” They wanted the premiers to agree to a platform that would halt oilsands development and all market access infrastructure such as pipe, rail and tankers. Environmental Defense, one of the 12 groups, wrote, “Approving tarsands pipelines like Energy East and Kinder Morgan, which is what this strategy appears to do, would lock in high carbon emissions and make it practically impossible for Canada to reach its climate change reduction targets.” 

These are the two pipelines Notley supports publicly. These are some of the groups a new NDP government with a new approach is supposed to be able to get on side. So, what do you do with the oilsands to make them sufficiently environmentally benign to get some pipe built?  

It is not that Adam Waterous is wrong. Let’s call his analysis “aspirational.” The reality is any and all initiatives to reduce the carbon footprint and environmental impact of the oilsands will raise costs. Money is tight, the economics squeezed. Whether it is CCS, accelerated tailings pond reclamation, higher carbon emission taxes, or whatever the NDP’s new environmental strategy to be announced later this year will yield, they will all cost more. 

Once world prices are attained, there will indeed be more money to pay for cleaner and greener recovery techniques. But the cart is well before the horse. 

On July 19 Bloomberg carried a story quoting Alberta environment minister Shannon Phillips who said, “If Alberta wants better access to world markets, then we’re going to need to do our part to address one of the world’s biggest problems, which is climate change.” Phillips added the need to “address emissions from all sectors, not just the petroleum industry. If we get it right, our environmental policy will make us world leaders on this issue instead of giving us a black eye around the world.” 

Meanwhile, the Pembina Institute figures carbon taxes will have to rise to at least $100 a ton by 2030 to achieve meaningful carbon emission reductions. Alternatively, oil producers are proposing an economywide carbon tax to make all emissions more expensive, not just bitumen extraction. Higher carbon levies on everything would then allow governments to cut other taxes.  

Can the oilsands be carbon-taxed into long-term prosperity? Broad consumer carbon taxes designed to decrease demand won’t be a catalyst for increased supply, certainly not in Canada or any other jurisdiction that introduces such taxes.  Everything else raises costs on oil production that is currently marginal if not uneconomic. Based on the foregoing, the conclusion is no.

Rethinking the Role of Aboriginals in Resource Development - Four Waves, Four Conditions

Article originally published in Oilweek Magazine's July 2015 edition. Digital editions of their magazines can be found here.  

How a new age of aboriginal resurgence could help - or hinder - crude oil pipeline developments

By: Sebastain Gault

The Canadian oilpatch was dumbstruck by incoming Alberta Premier Rachel Notley’s pre-election announcement that her government would withdraw support for Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline.

“It’s not worth it,” she flatly told the Calgary Herald with respect to this critical solution to the industry’s acute market-access predicament. She justified her position by suggesting that she considered First Nations opposition intractable and noting the “intense” environmental sensitivities in British Columbia.

Shortly after the NDP’s orange crush started giving Calgary energy executives the blues, the Pacific Coast band of Lax Kw’alaams unanimously rejected the $1.1 billion offer from Petronas-led Pacific Northwest LNG to site its liquefaction terminal on Lelu Island near Prince Rupert, B.C. 

As Canada’s oil and gas export industry starts diversifying from the shrinking American market to the expanding Asian markets, getting aboriginal buy-in for the requisite infrastructure has proved extremely difficult. Some businesspeople and media even regard Canada’s resource economy as a victim of hostage-taking by obstructionist, if not extortionist, demands.


There’s something significant going on in the aboriginal world, which needs to be viewed with a historical frame of reference. From demonstrations of indigenous identity (Idle No More) to landmark court decisions regarding un-extinguished land title (Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia) over thriving aboriginal businesses, First Nations are experiencing a profound transformation of their social, economic and political structures, leading some observers to characterize the growing commercialization of First Nations as “red capitalism.”

First Nations communities may still rank at the bottom of social and economic indices, but a resurgence is underway that merits being called a comeback, as author John Ralston Saul describes it in his recent book The Comeback: How Aboriginals are Reclaiming Power and Influence.

The direction of the comeback is clear. Past legislation like the Royal Proclamation of 1763 and, post-Confederation, the Indian Act of 1867 greatly lessened the economic and political autonomy of aboriginal societies. “We have begun to rebuild the legal and administrative foundation to support market on our lands,” says aboriginal property rights crusader and visionary Manny Jules. “Once we restore our property rights to our lands, I believe we will unleash a wave of First Nations creative and entrepreneurial spirit.”

The big goals – political self-determination, improved intergovernmental relations, cultural and linguistic renaissance, re-invigorated self-esteem – require First Nations to achieve economic self-reliance, and progress toward these goals is evident in many places.

Innovation in real estate law is enabling some aboriginal citizens and corporations to sidestep century-old rules against on-reserve property ownership. Like mainstream Canadian homeowners, some can now borrow against their property as collateral.

Some bands are lessening dependency on federal transfers by implementing in reserve taxation. Others are tapping bond markets in order to self-fund market-building services and infrastructure projects on their reserves.

In short, proponents of development who don’t take account of this unfolding paradigm shift and continue to ply the old “beads and trinkets” approach do so at their peril. 


Other key comeback milestones include the Supreme Court of Canada’s Haida Taku River and Mikisew Cree decisions of 2004 and 2005. These stipulated that the Crown had a “duty to consult” or “accommodate” wherever government-sanctioned activities might adversely impact aboriginal or treaty rights.

When advancing projects within tight geographical limits, industry has largely come to grips with the ruling. But University of Calgary professor Tom Flanagan points out how difficult things get with pipelines that cross traditional territories of multiple First nations. Each stakeholder tends to hold back, suspecting that the last to sign up get the best terms. As a result, the duty to consult in many circumstances results in First Nations gaining a de facto veto on development, something the judgements had not intended. 

Douglas Bland, former chair of defence studies at Queen's University, recently published Time Bomb: Canada and the First Nations, which imagines what a civil war - like rebellion of disaffected aboriginal groups would look like - and how to prevent it.

Mainstream Canadian society is largely oblivious to the frustration and bitterness brewing on reserves among aboriginal people – especially among the burgeoning youth population – who feel excluded from the wealth and opportunity enjoyed by most Canadians. Bland explains how a few attacks on the commodity-moving infrastructure – railways, pipelines, roads, power lines – could quickly paralyze the country’s resource economy. His book suggests that aboriginal resistance to new pipeline projects, however irksome, is less worrisome than the possibility of First Nations anger escalating to outright violent disruption of existing infrastructure.

By availing themselves of extreme measures, even radical factions within aboriginal communities know they risk inciting retaliation of disproportionate force from Canada. Their militancy could inadvertently set their development agenda back dramatically.

In this regard, University of Saskatchewan professor Ken Coates writes in #IdleNoMore: And the Remaking of Canada that “[First Nations] eschew the surprisingly easy tactic of closing down highways and rail traffic and almost never engage in acts of violence and civil disobedience.”  In his view, “The surprise is not that there are occasional protests and conflicts … It is remarkable that there are so few.” 


The location of their traditional territories in the vicinity of so many prospective resource projects gives First Nations tremendous legal and political leverage in advancing demands.

With land reserves totalling over 6.5 million hectares in aggregate – much of it home to valuable commercial timber, arable land and mineral deposits – Canada’s First Nations are learning to think and act like resource owners.

Notwithstanding the ongoing migration of aboriginals from reserves to urban areas, they feel deeply responsible for the environment of their patrimony. Many have no plans to leave, so it’s little wonder they are demanding assurances from industry of minimal disturbances to land, air and water. 

In this vein, First Nations have mad common cause with large environmental groups like Greenpeace and the Suzuki Foundation to hold undesirable development in check. This alliance has resulted in a real win-win relationship: First Nations gain access to professionally managed, deep-pocketed, internationally connected lobbying organizations, while environmentalist groups can parlay their financial and operational support of indigenous causes into reputational capital.

As former Canada West Foundation president Roger Gibbins has pointed out, “The catch is that the alignment of interests extends only so far.” Whereas environmentalist groups are anit-development, First nations actually do want and need development, albeit on their terms.

“At some point the marriage of convenience will break apart,” says Mount Royal University professor Frances Widdowson, author of Disrobing the Aboriginal Industry: The Deception Behind Indigenous Cultural Preservation. 

Environmental concerns play a central role in aboriginal opposition to the Northern Gateway project. When asked about Premier Notley’s decision to de-prioritize the government’s position on Northern Gateway because of deep aboriginal concerns over environmental risks, Widdowson draws a parallel to the City of Calgary’s negotiations with the Tsuu T’ina First Nation over reserve access for the new ring road.

In that case, she says, the city negotiators felt Tsuu T’ina’s demands were unrealistic and ended up walking from the table, possibly forfeiting the whole enterprise.

“When it suddenly looked like the project would be dropped, the reaction was ‘Whoa, wait a minute!’”

Tsuu T’ina returned to the table with a better offer, and eventually a deal was reached. With this comparison, Widdowson suggests that the withdrawal of the government’s endorsement of Northern Gateway might send a powerful message to aboriginal communities along the right-of-way: if you don’t show greater flexibility at the bargaining table, you might end up without an equity stake or other economic spinoffs at all. 


If you listen to Calvin Helin, Author of Dances with Dependency: Out of Poverty through Self-Reliance and son of a hereditary chief of the Gitga’at tribe of the Tsimshian First Nation, the ring road analogy just isn’t applicable here.

Helin is chair of Eagle Spirit Energy Holdings, which, in partnership with the Vancouver – based Aquilini Group, seeks to build a pipeline to source partially upgraded oilsands bitumen from Alberta for export to Asian markets or possibly to new refining facilities at Grassy Point, near Prince Rupert. The project is in direct competition with Northern Gateway.

He shrugs off suggestions that B.C. First Nations are trying to extract better terms in exchange for their approval under the guise of environmental concerns. He also dismisses the view that they’re somehow anti-business.

“First Nations are not anti-development. They need development,” he says. “The unemployment in communities is over 90 percent in some places. But development has to be done responsibly, with the greatest respect for the culture and traditions.”

To this end he points out the media “under-reported” that the Lax Kw’alaams community awarded the Eagle Spirit project permission to move to the next step in the approval process, which is the signing of an exclusivity and benefits agreement. “This occurred just days after the community’s rejection of the Petronas offer,” he says.

Helin says that the past 10, 000 years of First Nations history is made up of four periods or waves. The First Wave ended and the Second Wave began 400 years ago with the arrival of Europeans in North America. Like during the first “pre-contact” period, aboriginals during the second “colonial” period were still fiercely self-reliant; they managed to quickly adapt to new economic realities created by the fur trade and other industries introduced by the French and British.

The real trouble began with the Third Wave, when Britain’s Poor Law and the Canadian Parliament’s Indian Act started shaping aboriginal policy. The fundamental aim of these policy documents was to deal with populations “that operated outside the accepted social structure … [and] might become a source of disorder. 

Helin spends much time explaining history because many Canadian aboriginals now see themselves at the dawn of the Fourth Wave. This new period is marked by a transition way from the paternalistic structures of the Indian Act toward greater economic self-=reliance and political self – determination. And not surprisingly, the new economic self-reliance will come from extracting and transporting oil and gas and other resources from and across First Nations lands.

The Eagle Spirit team spent more than two years listening to First Nations and then summarized the feedback into four baseline conditions that any ex-Alberta oil pipeline must fulfill to earn social licence. 

Firstly, it must satisfy world-class environmental standards that have been worked out in collaboration with First Nations. Secondly, it cannot serve the export of raw bitumen. Thirdly, it cannot connect to a marine terminal at Kitimat. And fourthly, the negotiated economic benefits for participating First Nations must be commensurate not only with the real value of transiting their territories, but also with the environmental risks.


Speaking historically, Helin’s four conditions are a critique of Enbridge, especially of Northern Gateway’s original community outreach program, which belonged more to the oil paternalistic Third Wave than to the new collaborative Fourth Wave. Not surprisingly, other project proponents with competing pipeline proposals like Pacific Future Energy and Kitimat Clean follow Eagle Spirit’s lead in broadly advertising their aboriginal bona fides as a major competitive advantage. (And Kitimat Clean does not, of course, agree with Helin’s third condition.)

Stockwell Day, current chair of Paciic Future Energy’s advisory board, shows he gets the point about the Fourth Wave in a recent Calgary Herald op-ed, declaring, “We need to recognize B.C. First Nations as landowners and governments. We must recognize the true value of First Nations lands, their traditions and their people. We must work with First Nations every step of the way – from concept to implementation – to build any resource projects on their territory.”

This brings us back to Premier Notley and her dismissive view of Northern Gateway – and presumably to any green-field oilsands pipeline to tidewater. 

Her first objection stemmed from her belief that aboriginal opposition was more or less unshakeable. Yet the success of getting aboriginal support claimed by thelike fo Calvin Helin, Stockwell day and even Kitimat Clean’s David Black for their projects shows that everything is in flux. Negotiations continue apace. Even Northern Gateway may turn its consultation experience into greater acceptance. If Premier Notley doesn’t reconsider her inflexible stand, she may be willfully ignoring the actual development needs of First Nations.

Her second objection about the environmental risks was really about British Columbians not wanting to permit the export of raw bitumen. But right in the middle of the Alberta election campaign, she stood before Edmonton’s east end upgraders and declared, “I believe there is a better way to build Albert’s economy, to put refineries like these at the heart of our future growth and prosperity.”

These bold words may have horrified many sober-minded energy economists, but they were music to the ears for these pipeline developers, all of whom include or are exploring the possibility of including bitumen processing in their plans – albeit for plants sited in B.C., not Alberta. Might not these plans – or even a New Democratic Party – inspired, synthetic-crude-piping Northern Gateway – force the premier to alter this second objection? 

There appear to be proposals on the table, acceptable to First Nations that could get Albert’s bitumen (in value-added form) to Asian markets. More importantly, these proposals wouldn’t require subsidies form Albert’s taxpayers and would space the premier of criticism from former finance minister Ted Morton that public funds are financing another “boondoggle.”

One thing is clear: Canada needs to increase oil and gas export capacity to Asia. For Canada, this is about nation building. What many fail to realize, however, is that First Nations, especially in B.C., see these infrastructure projects as integral aspects of their own nation building. For that reason, only those projects that don’t build one nations at the expense of the other will most likely ever see shovels in the ground.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Death by a Thousand Cuts - The ENGO's Battle Against World Growth

The following post is a speech done by Patrick Moore, a sensible environmentalist and global warming skeptic, at Moses Znaimer's 2015 Ideacity Conference in Toronto, Canada. Patrick's speech was part of a three person panel along with Alex Epstein, author of the Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, and Lord Nigel Lawson, former Chancellor of the Exchequer if the government of Margaret Thatcher. The Financial Post labelled the panel as a "carbon contrarian shocker."  

The entire speech by Patrick can be found here:   

Patrick is the author of "Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout: The Making of a Sensible Environmentalist"  

Moses ZnaimerSo, I've decided this year to double down and to give you a full clutch of contrarians. In what the Financial Post has called 'Moses Znaimer's ideacity shocker.' This is what they say: 'In the wake of the G7 declaration last week in favour of global decarbonisation and this week's Papal encyclical on climate change, Toronto's ideacity conference, staged by ideaological entrepreneur Moses Znaimer, launches Friday, June 19, with a carbon contrarian shocker. The three opening speakers are Patrick quote I am a climate skeptic Moore, followed by fossil fuel advocate Alex Epstein and then by Lord Nigel Lawson, chairman of the Global Warming Policy Foundation.'

So, we’ll begin with Patrick. I first met Patrick about a thousand years ago when I went to Vancouver in an effort to set up a second City TV shortly after we had set up the one here in Toronto. I never did get that license Patrick, but I stumbled into the offices of a new-ish organization called Greenpeace, and there I met this very charismatic guy, Bob Hunter. He kind of drew me into their then current campaign, which was opposed to whaling. It was an amazing group of characters, there’s no lack of characters in that place, but even then, Patrick Moore always seemed to be the more measured one, the more rational one. An environmental realist, Patrick Moore, who’s taken a lot of hits subsequently from many old friends and a lot of new enemies because of his point of view. 

Patrick MooreThank you Moses for the opportunity, and what a wonderful experience I've had here. I speak on many controversial subjects, but climate is the most difficult, and Moses explained why in his little clip from last year

Figure 1
I was born and raised on this tiny village, floating on the Pacific ocean on the north end of Vancouver Island (Figure 1). There’s no road, I went to school by boat every day. This is what it looks like today from my little village cabin there that I built with my wife over 40 years ago by hand (Figure 2).

Figure 2
I was sent off to boarding school in Vancouver at age 14, ended up at the University of British Columbia studying the life sciences, biology, biochemistry, genetics, a little forestry. Then in the mid 60’s before the word was known to the general public I discovered the science of ecology. The science of how all living things are interrelated, and how we are related to them. At the height of the cold war, the height of the Vietnam War, the threat of all out nuclear war, and the emerging consciousness of the environment, I was soon transformed while doing my PhD in ecology, into a radical environmental activist. Can’t seem to get it go that way anymore.

I found myself in a church basement with a like-minded group planning a protest voyage against U.S. hydrogen bomb testing in Alaska, that’s me under the P in ’71 (Figure 3). 

Figure 3

We helped change things, just a few people stopped the hydrogen bomb testing in Alaska along with all the other people, but we were the spearhead for it. I ended up in front of harpoons out on the Pacific Ocean against the Soviet factory whaling fleets. Saving the whales from slaughter, they’re recovering all over the world now. And sitting on baby seals and getting arrested off the east coast of Newfoundland (Figure 4). 

Figure 4

Why did I leave Greenpeace after 15 years? We started with a strong humanitarian perspective, save human civilization from all nuclear war. By the time I left Greenpeace, much of the movement was depicting humans as the enemies of the earth. I don’t buy that. Also, the sharp end of the stick was the science. My fellow directors, none of whom had any formal science education decided that we should call chlorine the devil’s element, and ban it worldwide. My entreaties, that chlorine was in fact the most important element for public health medicine, fell on deaf ears. Part of the anti-human aspect. (Figure 5)

Figure 5
Figure 6

Science should be the basis for environmental policy, not sensationalism, not misinformation and fear. Here’s Greenpeace in the Philippines portraying golden rice with a skull and crossbones, when in fact it could save two million children from death each year. (Figure 6)

Many opinions about climate change. 31,000 scientists and professionals have signed this petition, saying there is no evidence that we’re going to cause catastrophic warming (Figure 8). But the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says ‘It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.’(Figure 8) Let’s just pause that for a sec. Extremely likely, is that a scientific term? Does it make it more likely to put the word extremely in front of it? The report before this, they had ‘very likely’ now they’ve changed it to ‘extremely likely’ as if they’re more certain. This is not a scientific term, it is a term of judgement. It is an opinion in other words, when someone says something is likely. A dominant cause means something between 50 and 100 percent. They don’t have any idea, apparently, where it might be in that range. And since the mid-20th century means 1950, so they do not ascribe the major cause of warming before 1950 to human activity. The late Michael Crichton, ‘I am certain there is too much certainty in the world’ and I am certain he is correct. (Figure 7)

Figure 7

This is the curve of carbon dioxide increasing in the global atmosphere since 1959, when we first starting measuring it accurately, but we have proxy’s that go back millions of years. So, we know a lot about what CO2 levels have been in the past. (Figure 8)

Figure 8

This goes back to the beginning of the earth, but the first part there is the first 4 billion years, so let’s forget about that for a minute. Here’s where modern life emerged, the Cambrian explosion, when multicellular life forms came into being. Before that, all life was uni-cellular, invisible, microscopic and lived in the sea. Here, life came on the land, and plants and insects evolved. At that time, CO2 was about 17 times higher than it is today. This is huge drop in carbon dioxide, and this huge rise in temperature, we don’t know why that happened during a huge drop in carbon dioxide, but this huge drop was because of the advent of forests. Trees comprise about 90 percent of all living biomass on earth, so the biomass pulled the carbon down out of the atmosphere, and because there were no decomposers that could cellulose at that time, the trees piled up and formed the coal deposits that we have today. This right here marks the end of the coal building era, when fungus in particular, had enzymes that could digest wood. And so CO2 went back up, and then down, and then up. I’m more interested in this period, you can see here that CO2 started to go down, steady steady steady down for 140 million years until we caused the uptick at the end, temperature went way up, and then went down. If you look at this, and look at the relationship between temperature and CO2 for the last 500 million years, I’m sure you will agree that they are not that strongly correlated, nevermind indicating a direct cause-effect relationship between the two. (Figure 9)

Figure 9

Here’s the last 65 million years. The Eocene Thermal Optimum, at the top, it was 16 degrees Celsius warmer on this earth then. Every one of us and our ancestors came through that, every living thing on earth today ancestors came through that 16 degree higher temperature or we wouldn’t be here. Then it started to cool, and cool, and cool. Here, earth is ice free. Here, the Antarctic glaciation began, and here the arctic glaciation began, the ice on the north. We are in one of the coldest periods in the history of modern life on earth today. Even now in this inter-glacial period. (Figure 10)

Figure 10

This is modern times. The IPCC says since 1950, that’s here, that we’re the dominant cause. So, they’re saying we’re the dominant cause of this warming here, but look at the period between 1910 and 1940. It warmed as much there over the same period of time, as it did between 1970 and 2000. Yet, the IPCC does not say what caused the warming between 1910 and 1940. They’re silent on that. So, right in the last 100 years, we have a precedent for a warming period that is just as strong and just as much as the one we just went through in the 90’s, and yet they say that’s mostly caused by us. That is a logical disconnect for me. (Figure 11)

Figure 11

This is the last 18 years and 6 months. There has been no significant warming of the earth’s climate, according to the UK meteorological office, which brought us climategate, they’re very much in the warmest camp, but they have to admit, there’s been no statistically significant warming for 18 years and 6 months on this earth, even though about 25 percent of all the carbon dioxide we have ever emitted has gone into the atmosphere during this period. (Figure 12)

Figure 12

This is the United States for 10 years, 2005 to 2014, it’s actually cooling in the United States right now. (Figure 13)

Figure 13

This is a place in Britain, where they’ve measured the temperature since 1659 with a thermometer, and then there’s the carbon dioxide emissions by human beings. Do they look like they’re direct cause-effect related? No. It’s been warming for 300 years since the little ice age peaked around 1700. The warming has been steady and even, not like the curve of carbon dioxide, you would expect the temperature curve to go up along with the CO2 curve if they were in a cause-effect relationship. (Figure 14)

Figure 14

Here’s the anomaly of artic ice. In the summers of 2007 and 2012, we saw the lowest extent of ice in the arctic since they started measuring it in 1979. But now it has reconsolidated at a higher at a higher, still lower than the average, but at a higher level. (Figure 15)

Figure 15

But nobody talks about the Antarctic, well they do, but they talk about other things than this. The Antarctic has record ice today, this is just from the other day. That’s the summer of 2014, which completely offsets the Antarctic loss. (Figure 16)

Figure 16

There is no trend in global sea ice area on planet earth since we started measuring it. The red line on the bottom is the anomaly from the mean. (Figure 17) 

Figure 17

Seven years ago, Al Gore said the ice cap is falling off a cliff, it could be completely gone in the summer in as little as seven years from now. (Figure 18)  

Figure 18

That's climate change, we didn't do it, we didn't melt the ice, it went away by itself. 

Here'e the Vostok ice core's, showing the 100,000 year cycle of glaciations. Here, down on the bottom, the coldest, and then out of the ice age quickly into an interglacial period, the one on the right is the one we're in now, showing the increase in CO2 we have caused again. This is caused by the Milankovitch cycle, which is a 100,000 year cycle that has to do with the earth's orbit and tilt. It's been going on all through this place and ice age. What's more likely? That the changes of orbit and tilt of the earth will cause CO2 to rise or cause temperature to fluctuate? (Figure 19)

Figure 19

See, because what’s really going on here, if you come in closer, you can see that carbon dioxide follows temperature, it does not lead it. The cause never comes after effect, the effect usually comes first. The reason CO2 is fluctuating along with temperature is because when the sea warms up, gases come out, when the sea cools down, gases go in. So, the temperature is causing the change in CO2, not the other way around. Note that CO2 fell to 180 parts per million, 18,000 years ago, only 30 parts per million above the level where plants start to die, at 150 ppm. We don’t only need CO2 in the atmosphere for life on earth, we need 150 or more parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere for life on earth. (Figure 20)

Figure 20

This is the sea level rise since the end of the glaciation. Note, for the last 8,000 years, it’s gone up slow and steady, but nothing like it did when it came up 400 feet as the huge glaciers on the land melted. (Figure 21)

Figure 21

This is the hurricane activity, tropical cyclone activity, it is not increasing, as a matter of fact, it’s at a quiet state right now. (Figure 22)

Figure 22

This is the droughts that occurred in California, back in 800, 900, 1000 AD. It’s wetter in California now then it was back then. (Figure 23)

Figure 23

This is the greening of the earth, it’s called the CO2 fertilization effect. This work was done by the top science body in Australia, the CSIRO. Yet, hardly anybody talks about this. The increase in CO2 that we’ve put in the atmosphere is causing a huge increase in global biomass, because plants want 1000 to 2000 ppm for their optimum growth. This is why greenhouse growers around the world either put their exhaust from their heaters into their greenhouse, or buy bottled CO2 to put it in the greenhouse to raise the CO2 to double, or triple what it is in the atmosphere. All the plants on earth today, even with this elevated level that we’ve put in, are still starving for CO2. (Figure 24)

Figure 24

Clouds are truly the wildcard in climate change, because water vapour is the most important greenhouse gas, way more important than carbon dioxide, but water is the only greenhouse gas that is in all three states, gas, liquid, solid in the atmosphere, and clouds are the liquid part. So, the division between water vapour as a gas, and water vapour as a liquid, could either be a positive or negative feedback to the other greenhouse gases. It’s impossible to do this in a computer. But Joni Mitchell did it, she said ‘I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now, from up and down, and still somehow, it’s clouds elusions I recall, we really don’t know clouds at all.’ (Figure 25)

Figure 25

CO2 is the most important food for all life on earth, this has to be turned completely on its head, the idea that CO2 is a toxic pollutant, even the pope is buying into it now. It is not a toxic pollutant, it is the gas of life, it is the staff of life, it is the stuff of life, it is the currency of life, it is what we are all made of, and every other thing on earth is made of. It’s crazy to call it a pollutant. (Figure 26)

Figure 26

This is the carbon cycle and where all the carbon is. This much carbon is in the atmosphere, 70 times as much is in the sea, and it goes back and forth between the sea and the atmosphere on a regular basis. Plants and soils contain more carbon than there is the whole atmosphere, the fossil fuels contain so much more. This is sequestered carbon, talk about carbon capture and storage, that’s exactly what plants did when they made the fossil fuels, and the earth’s crust contains 100 million billion tonnes of carbon in the form of limestone, chalk, marble, and other carbonaceous rocks, all of which are life origin. How could 100 million billion tonnes of living things end up in rocks? (Figure 27)

Figure 27
Figure 28

Like this. This is a life sized mockup of an ammonite, they were exterminated by the asteroids. At 2000 ppm this was living in the ocean. Ocean acidification is a complete fabrication and is chemically impossible to occur. (Figure 28) 

These are coccolithophores, here is a phytoplankton, seashells, coral reefs, and foraminifera, which is an animal, all learned how to make armoured plate for themselves by combining calcium and carbon dioxide in the sea to make calcium carbonate. That’s what the 100 million billion tonnes of carbon in the rocks is, they’ve been sucking the carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, and got it down to 180 ppm at the height of the last glaciation, nearly enough to kill all life on earth, and it’s been going down steadily for 140 million years, and if we hadn’t come along and put some of that carbon back in the atmosphere, life would have extinguished itself in a very short time geologically from now. (Figure 29)

Figure 29

World energy production, mostly fossil fuel, they say we should go to zero emissions, I translate that into zero human beings. (Figure 30)

Figure 30

Fossil fuels are 100% organic, produced with solar energy, and when burned produce food for life. It is the largest storage of solar energy on earth by far. Greenpeace’s fossil fuel dilemma, they say ‘This ship is driven by super-efficient electric motors and sails that will be powered by the wind,’ there’s a 4000 horsepower diesel engine in the basement of that boat. They attack the Russian oil rig with an oil powered ship saying ‘We must end our addiction to oil,’ and then when they tie up at the dock, they get fueled up by British petroleum. You’d think they’d use biodiesel. Nope, they’re actually against biodiesel, and against all biofuels. They say it takes too much land to grow the plants to make them, and that land should be used for wilderness or whatever, they’re just against bloody well everything.
Figure 31

Okay, in my last 32 seconds I’m going to wind up with where all the oil comes from for all our cars, it comes from places like this. (Figure 31)

And they use nasty pictures to get people to think the world is being destroyed. This is oil sands mining in Canada. (Figure 32) 
Figure 32

You know, the oil sands are there, there’s Edmonton, you can see it too. When are they going to reclaim Edmonton? Or Toronto? Or Los Angeles? Or New York, and put it back to it’s wilderness again? Never. (Figure 33)

Figure 33

But, this is reclaimed mind site at the oil sands. Every square meter of the oil sands must be reclaimed. (Figure 34)

Figure 34

This is a reforested area reclaimed from active mining and god forbid there might be a timber harvest there one day. (Figure 35)

Figure 35

Good enough for me. This is sustainable. No one has to touch it or fertilize it, or do anything with it, it will grow back by itself into a boreal forest, with all native species. (Figure 38)

Figure 36

The only reason I got involved in this, because I didn’t really want to be able for people to say ‘oh you’re working for the fossil fuel industry’ because I never had, but, when I saw how Canada was besmirched in our friendly neighbours and countries in Europe, in the capitals of those places, as being this terrible place where all this awful stuff was happening, when we have the best civil rights in the world, the best human rights in the world, the best labour laws in the world, and the best environmental regulations in the world, it’s not right for people to be demonizing us for providing them with the oil for their cars. One billion cars, half a million airplanes, and all the buses and trucks in this world. If they didn’t start tomorrow, civilization would come to a screeching halt.

My book, confessions of a Greenpeace dropout, will be available upstairs afterwards. Thank you very much.