Energy East: The pipeline that could tear Canada apart – by Konrad Yakabuski (Globe and Mail – January 25, 2016)

Leonardo DiCaprio, who not long ago mistook an Alberta chinook for “terrifying” evidence of climate change, was preaching to the Armani-shirted in Davos last week about the greed of oil companies at whose feet the destruction of the planet must squarely be laid.

“Our planet cannot be saved unless we leave fossil fuels in the ground where they belong,” the actor told a crowd that included Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who spent his week in the Swiss Alps building his own brand – and Canada’s – as a resourceful, rather than resource-full, country.

In the face of this self-congratulation and sycophancy, it takes a certain ballsiness to challenge the notions that the world is on the cusp of a fossil-fuel-free future, that Canada is suddenly a post-resource economy and that all oil extraction is inherently evil, environmentally unpardonable and economically backward.

Luckily, Naheed Nenshi was on hand to speak truth to star power. Canada, the Calgary Mayor said, is “a resource economy. Our biggest export is still energy and I do not see a path where that does not continue to be the case, so clearly we need to do what we can on market access.”

There is not an honest politician in this country who does not know that statement to be true. Yet, plenty peddle the illusion to a receptive population that they are accelerating our transition to a fossil-free economy while doing little of substance to encourage the shift.

They can’t change the fact that there are no technologies cheap or dependable enough to supplant the internal combustion engine on a mass scale.

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