Largest Tar Sands Pipeline to US Shut Down Indefinitely After Spill of 50,000+ Gallons

19 12 2014

Enbridge Inc., based in Calgary, Alta., has agreed to pay about $6.8 million to settle a class action in one of the costliest onshore oil spills in U.S. history. (photo: AP)
Enbridge Inc., based in Calgary, Alta., has agreed to pay about $6.8 million to settle a class action in one of the costliest onshore oil spills in U.S. history. (photo: AP)

By Scott Haggett, Reuters

18 December 14

nbridge Inc said on Thursday it has no restart date yet for its 796,000-barrel-per-day Line 4, the largest oil-export pipeline to the United States, after it was shut a day earlier after a spill of 1,350 barrels at its Regina, Saskatchewan, oil terminal.

Graham White, a spokesman for the company, said in an email the spill originated at a flange or valve within the terminal, so there were no problems with the pipeline itself. He said that could mean the problem is “a relatively easy fix”, but could not speculate on when the line would return to service.





Guardian: 2014 Hottest Year on Record

17 12 2014

According to data from NOAA, 2014 is sure to set a new temperature record

A thermometer.
 A thermometer. Photograph: Alamy

I can make this pronouncement even before the end of the year because each month, I collect daily global average temperatures. So far, December is running about 0.5°C above the average. The climate and weather models predict that the next week will be about 0.75°C above average. This means, December will come in around 0.6°C above average. Are these daily values accurate? Well the last two months they have been within 0.05°C of the final official results.

What does this all mean? Well, when I combine December with the year-to-date as officially reported, I predict the annual temperature anomaly will be 0.674°C. This beats the prior record by 0.024°C. That is a big margin in terms of global temperatures.

For those of us who are not fixated on whether any individual year is a record but are more concerned with trends, this year is still important. Particularly because according to those who deny the basic physics and our understanding of climate change, this year wasn’t supposed to be particularly warm.

For those who thought that climate change was “natural” and driven by ocean currents, this has been a tough year. For instance, using NOAA standards, this year didn’t even have an El Niño. NOAA defines an El Niño as 5 continuous/overlapping 3-month time periods wherein a particular region in the Pacific has temperatures elevated more than 0.5oC.

Interestingly, we are currently close to an El Niño, and if current patterns continue for a few weeks, an official El Niño will be announced. But it hasn’t been yet, and if we do get an El Niño, it will affect next year more than this year. How could the hottest year have occurred then, when the cards are not stacked in its favor? The obvious and correct answer is, because of continued emission of greenhouse gases.

As I write this post, I am attending one of the premier earth sciences conference, the Fall AGU Conferencewhich is held each December in San Francisco. Thousands of scientists, including a large number of climate scientists are meeting, presenting, and sharing the latest research about our planet.

Here, among the experts, there is little fixation on the record. On the other hand, there was little fixation on the so-called “halt” to global warming that the climate-science deniers have been trumpeting for the past few years. The latest data paint a clear picture. The Earth is warming. The oceans are warming, the land is warming, the atmosphere is warming, the ice is melting, and sea level is rising.

These climate science deniers have had a bad year. It has been shown that in many cases, their science is in error and their understanding of the Earth’s climate faulty. This record temperature, according to NOAA, has made their life even more difficult. The so-called “halt” to global warming was never true in the first place, as I wrote recently. But now, a claim that global warming has stopped cannot be made with a straight face.

Of course, the science deniers will look for something new to try to cast doubt on the concept of global warming. Whatever they pick will be shown to be wrong. It always is. But perhaps we can use 2014 as a learning opportunity. Let’s hope no one is fooled next time when fanciful claims of the demise of climate change are made.





Putting a Price on Carbon Web Seminar Jan. 27

17 12 2014

Dear Climate Activists in Nova Scotia,

I have great news! Citizens’ Climate Lobby is co-sponsoring a Carbon Price Forum moderated by Stephen Lewis. This is an enjoyable way to fill in all the details regarding carbon pricing through attending or watching an interesting and eloquent event. The forum will take place on Tuesday, January 27 from 7:30 to 9:00 pm.  in Toronto but livestreamed and taped so you can see it in Ottawa or at home. I invite you to mark it in your calendar.

As you probably know, there is mounting pressure from industry, media, the IMF and civil society groups like CCL for Canada to put a price on carbon. You may have caught the editorial in the Globe and Mail on Saturday: Why Stephen Harper should love carbon taxes – http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-debate/editorials/how-stephen-harper-can-have-the-oil-sands-and-lower-ghgs-too/article22064617/

Our carbon pricing debate will bring in top Canadian experts to discuss how to design an effective carbon pricing mechanism for our country. I encourage you to attend or watch. Here are the details:

Putting a Price on Carbon

sponsored by

For Our Grandchildren    Citizens’ Climate Lobby

School of the Environment – University of Toronto

 

What’s the best way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions

while stimulating the economy?

Join Stephen Lewis and an expert panel

on how to effectively put a price on carbon in Canada.

Two methods are frequently proposed: Cap and Trade and a Carbon Tax

Our forum panelists will present the case for each of these methods.

Where:                    

Isabel Bader Auditorium,

93 Charles Street West,

Victoria College University of Toronto

When:                     

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

Time: 7:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Doors open at 7:00 p.m.

Moderator:             

Stephen Lewis,

Distinguished Visiting Professor, Ryerson University

Panelists:       

Nicholas Rivers, Chairholder, Canada Research Chair in Climate and Energy,

University of Ottawa

David Robinson, Associate Professor of Economics, Laurentian University

Katie Sullivan, Director, North America and Climate Finance, IETA

Gray Taylor, a leading climate change lawyer working in Toronto

Cost of Tickets:         

$20. Group Orders (5 or more) $10 each.

Details on tickets will be posted shortly here:

http://citizensclimatelobby.ca/content/forum-putting-price-carbon-tuesday-january-27-2015 .

 

Sincerely,

Joanne Light

Group Leader

Citizens’ Climate Lobby Halifax

6339 Young Street, Halifax, N.S. B3L 2A2

902-429-1571





Chief Ninawa Huni Kui: Carbon Trading Scheme “REDD” is a False Solution to Climate Change

16 12 2014





Lima Talks: Fossil Fuel Industry Becomes the Real Enemy

16 12 2014





Klein: 3-Day Workweek to Save the Climate

15 12 2014

By Naomi Klein bigissue.comNo Logo author Naomi Klein says we must revolutionise our working lives if we are to combat climate change and save the free world…

Imagine an ordinary, full-time working week, one that requires just 21 hours of hard graft. Imagine a less frantic existence – three days on, four days off. Imagine more time with the family, more time strolling round the park, more time listening to your favourite music while cooking at a leisurely pace. A lovely idea – but does it really stack up?

The phrase ‘three-day week’ might, for readers of a certain age, conjure up memories of the early 1970s: electricity blackouts and TV broadcasts stopping at 10.30pm. Yet a growing number of people are advocating a 21-hour working week as the solution to the 21st century’s most pressing problems.

Naomi Klein is the latest big thinker to back the idea of a shorter working week and sees it as part of a transition toward a low-carbon economy and a move away from “shitty” long-hour, low-paid jobs, as she outlines to The Big Issue…

When did you begin to think free-market economics are a threat to life on Earth?

When I started hanging around with climate change deniers, it became clear they understood the current economic system could not survive if climate change was real. You can’t hold on to ideas like freedom from regulation and liberating profit in the face of a crisis like climate change, which clearly demands collective action and strong regulation. We need to cut our emissions so deeply that it threatens the whole growth model of free-market capitalism.

Some economists are now talking about moving beyond the idea of growth and our obsession with GDP. Is that a good thing?

It’s exciting that people are talking about these things. We know chasing endless growth doesn’t deliver well-being or economic stability and is leading to widening inequality. So it’s much easier to challenge now. It’s really about having a strategic economy, focusing on parts of the economy we want to expand or extract.

You write about “selective degrowth” and ideas like a shorter working week and a universal basic income to discourage “shitty work”. Do you think people are ready for those ideas?

I think people know they’re overworked. And overworking is intimately tied to a particularly wasteful model of consumption – you have no time after work to do anything other than grab a takeaway, and less time for low-consumption activities like cooking.

Does the environment movement need to become more radical?

The environmental movement has a history of elitism. Not the entire movement – there have been grassroots outsiders engaging in confrontation tactics – but there’s a history of conservation and hunting clubs, bringing in royalty and so on. It’s not exactly been part of the left, which is why there’s been suspicion between progressive political movements and the environmental movement. There’s a lot of work to be done between natural allies.

So it’s time to stop pretending big companies are going to change everything?

There’s been a bias among many big environmental organisations to build coalitions with other elite groups. You’d be amazed by how much time green groups in the US spend thinking about how to get the Pentagon using green energy. Really? Is that the best we can hope for?

The idea we’re all guilty is demobilising because it prevents us directing our anger at the institutions most responsible

And it’s time to get angry?

Yes – I think people should be angry. A lot of environmentalist discourse has been about erasing responsibility: “We’re all in this together… We’re all equally responsible.” Well, no – you, me and Exxon (Mobil) are not all in this together.The idea we’re all guilty is demobilising because it prevents us directing our anger at the institutions most responsible.

Do you think working people will see the connection between climate change and their own pressing struggles?

Most people don’t have good choices. They use fossil fuels because they have to – not because they love Exxon or Shell. We’re seeing an important discussion around fuel poverty. Fossil fuels aren’t delivering energy people can afford easily, if about a quarter of people in this country are choosing not to turn the heat on at times because they can’t afford the bills. I think people will start to see that action on climate change can address pressing issues.

How do you stay optimistic when the picture looks so bleak?

I don’t think you can engage with this material without being on an emotional rollercoaster. Our elites have never treated climate change as a real crisis, they only pay lip service to it. But a wide social movement can change that. Pressure from below can force recalcitrant elites to respond.

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate, by Naomi Klein (£20, Allen Lane), is out now





Saint John City Council officially endorses pipeline

14 12 2014
TJ  NOV 25
Concerns expressed about environment
KARISSA DONKIN TELEGRAPH-JOURNAL

 SAINT JOHN • Common Council has unanimously endorsed Energy East,indicating that the city’s municipal government believes the west-east pipeline project is in the best interest of its citizens because of the“possibilities of economic and community development.”   Mayor Mel Norton proposed the motion at Monday’s meeting with the goal of showing some leadership on energy from the city.   TransCanada filed a 30,000-page project application to the National Energy Board in October and the $12-billion project faces several regulatory hurdles before it could go ahead.y   If it gets a green light, the cross-Canada project would see an existing 3,000-kilometre natural gas line converted to pump crude into Quebec and a 1,400-kilometre extension built to push the crude as far east as the Irving Oil refinery in Saint John.   “This is a real opportunity for us,” the mayor told councillors.   Before they could vote on the endorsement, Norton amended the motion to add a line saying that safety and the environment is of the utmost importance to the city. He also added a line saying the city will work with TransCanada and regulatory bodies to ensure the pipeline is safely constructed“in such a way as to protect the environment.”   At the same time, two people at the back of the public gallery waved placards urging city politicians to protect Saint John’s water and land.   The mayor asked them to put their signs down or they would be asked to leave. The protesters complied.   Ward 3 Coun.Donna Reardon said she spent time puzzling over the motion,because industry has been both a “bane and a benefit”for the city.   “Saint John has seen industry come and we’ve never really seen the benefit of it for the city,”Reardon said, as the protesters in the gallery nodded.“A lot of times we’ve made crazy deals where we don’t even get tax dollars.”   She said the city needs a negotiator to make sure the city gets a win from the pipeline and not just industry.   “We need a win for the citizens.”   Safety should trump any potential economic reward of the pipeline, Ward 1 Coun. Bill Farren said. “Safety and the environment are my main concerns,”he said.“If we get jobs out of it, fantastic.”   Council will send letters to neighbouring municipalities and the provincial and federal governments indicating they’ve endorsed the proposed pipeline.   Councillors also unanimously approved a second motion to get advice from city staff on how Saint John can play a role as an intervener in the regulatory process.   In an interview after the meeting, Norton said he amended his motion after speaking with councillors and representatives for the National Energy Board, who are in town for a presentation to Saint John Region Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday.   “Part of that discussion (with the NEB) was in how important safety is going to be to this project,”Norton said.   While it may go without saying that the city wants the pipeline to be safe if it’s built,the mayor said it was important to put that on paper.   “We wanted to reinforce that not only is the economic part of this important, but also the environment in terms of safety is important.”

GetContent.asp

Coun. Donna Reardon had some concerns but eventually voted to endorse the Energy East pipeline project on Monday.   PhoTo: Michael STringer/TelegraPh-Journal