Sensible greens would back natural gas – by Gwyn Morgan (Financial Post – September 21, 2021)

In a previous column (July 22) I pointed out that, since switching coal-fuelled power plants to natural gas cuts CO2 emissions in half, exporting liquified natural gas (LNG) to displace coal both benefits our economy and reduces global emissions.

Also: that since converting gasoline and diesel-fuelled vehicles and ships to natural gas cuts emissions by 25 per cent, providing incentives to achieve that could substantially decrease domestic emissions, as well.

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OPINION: Europe’s power crisis is an expensive reminder that renewable energy has its limits – by Eric Reguly (Globe and Mail – September 18, 2021)

Europe’s power crisis was just a matter of time – and that time has come. Natural gas and electricity prices are setting record highs virtually every day, and businesses and households have gone from getting annoyed to being terrified as the bills land like hand grenades.

The continent’s power system was an accident waiting to happen, in good part because its purported virtues – vast amounts of climate-friendly renewable energy and waning numbers of climate-unfriendly coal-fired plants – were less robust than advertised.

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Europe’s gas crisis is also a renewables crisis, but there are ready solutions – by Angela Dewan ( – September 22, 2021)

London (CNN Business)European natural gas prices have soared so high that hundreds of millions of people could be facing cold homes or inflated energy bills over winter. There’s also fears of a knock-on impact as carbon dioxide used in food production — a byproduct of fertilizer made with natural gas — also gets more expensive.

Politicians are blaming the surge in prices on an increase in natural gas demand as the world wakes up from the pandemic, supply disruption caused by maintenance, and a less-windy-than-usual summer that saw a drop in wind-generated power.

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Trudeau pledges to cut Canada’s oil emissions even as country keeps pumping more – by Rod Nickel (Yahoo News/Reuters – September 13, 2021)

WINNIPEG, Manitoba (Reuters) – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s promise to reduce Canada’s oil sector emissions starting in 2025 looks unlikely to slow the growth of crude production, environmental activists and oil companies say, raising questions about how effectively the pledge will help meet the country’s goals to slow climate change.

Trudeau is in a close race with the Conservatives, and some voters are demanding decisive climate action

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OPINION: Our phony election debate over the oil sands won’t stop their expansion – by Konrad Yakabuski (Globe and Mail – September 11, 2021)

Last month, U.S. President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, issued a bizarro statement calling on OPEC and Russia to increase oil production amid worries about the impact of climbing gasoline prices on Democratic political fortunes in next year’s midterm elections.

“President Biden has made clear that he wants Americans to have access to affordable and reliable energy, including at the pump,” Mr. Sullivan said, as U.S. gasoline prices reached a seven-year high of more than US$3 a gallon. “Competitive energy markets will ensure reliable and stable energy supplies, and OPEC+ must do more to support the recovery.”

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OPINION: Why is Joe Biden, who hung up on Keystone XL, desperately calling OPEC’s oil hotline? – by Editorial Board (Globe and Mail – August 18, 2021)

Which of these things is not like the others? U.S. President Joe Biden wants half of all new vehicles sold in the United States by 2030 to be zero emission. He wants a US$7.5-billion network of charging stations across the country. And he wants OPEC to pump more oil, ASAP, to lower the price of gasoline for American drivers.

The first is a plan to transform the U.S. auto market within a decade, set out in an executive order earlier this month. The second is one of many clean-energy initiatives in Mr. Biden’s infrastructure bill, which won Senate approval last week.

And the third? Gasoline prices have been rising as the global economy recovers, so last week the White House called on the OPEC+ group of countries, whose most important members are Saudi Arabia and Russia, to open the taps, to ensure that Americans “have access to affordable and reliable energy, including at the pump.”

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‘Smacks of hypocrisy’: Alberta slams White House for demanding more OPEC oil after cancelling Keystone XL – by Colin McClelland (Sudbury Star/Fiancial Post – August 13, 2021)

Wounded after U.S. President Joe Biden cancelled the Keystone XL pipeline that would have shipped Alberta crude to the United States, the province snapped at the White House’s call on the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries Wednesday to raise production faster than planned.

“The Biden administration pleading with OPEC to increase oil production to rescue the United States from high fuel prices months after cancelling the Keystone XL pipeline smacks of hypocrisy,” Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage said in a statement Wednesday.

“Keystone XL would have provided Americans with a stable source of energy from a trusted ally and friend.” Alberta Premier Jason Kenney was also critical of the Biden Administration.

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OIL BOOM AND BUST, [POLISH]GALICIAN STYLE – by Norman Ravvin (Canadian Jewish News – October 1, 2015)

The CJN Has Moved

Peak Oil. Neil Young’s condemnation of the environmental damage caused by the Alberta “Tar Sands.” The Leap Manifesto on climate and energy policy. All this seems notably of our moment. But the challenges raised – the impact of petroleum discoveries on the economy, daily life and the environment – have an important mid-19th century Polish precedent.

It was in south-eastern Poland, not far from the Hungarian and Russian borders, that important discoveries associated with wax, petroleum, and distillation methods turned a semi-feudal, mostly rural landscape into one of the first oil economies of the modern era. By their great numbers and their peculiar status in 19th-century Polish society, Jews played a substantial role at all levels of this economic transformation.

The Jewish Oil Magnates of Galicia – a hybrid volume that includes a historical study by Valerie Schatzker and a translation of the 1954 Yiddish novel The Jewish Oil Magnates by Julien Hirszhaut – tells this story with verve and impressive detail.

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Abandoning oil and gas a utopian impossibility, Alberta’s premier says – by Janet French (CBC News Edmonton – August 9, 2021)

Alberta’s premier says it’s impossible for people living in a cold, northern climate like Canada to abandon fossil fuels, despite the dire conclusions of an international climate change report.

While the United Nations’ Secretary General said the report should sound a “death knell” for coal and fossil fuels, Premier Jason Kenney said demand for the subterranean fruits of this oil-rich province isn’t going anywhere.

“The notion that we can shut off a major, industrialized economy with the flick of a switch is patently unrealistic,” Kenney told reporters at a news conference at an Edmonton brewery on Monday.

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Line 5 pipeline between U.S. and Canada could cause ‘devastating damage’ to Great Lakes, say environmentalists – by Samantha Beattie (CBC News Canada – August 3, 2021)

An aging pipeline that carries oil along the bottom of the ecologically sensitive and turbulent Straits of Mackinac, where Lake Michigan and Lake Huron meet, is in such a state of disrepair it could burst at any moment and cause catastrophic damage to the Great Lakes, environmentalists warn.

Line 5, a 1,000-kilometre-long pipeline owned by Calgary-based Enbridge, carries up to 540,000 barrels of oil and natural gas liquids a day from Wisconsin to Sarnia, Ont., where it is shipped to other refineries in Ontario and Quebec.

It’s at the centre of a politically charged dispute between Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who’s ordered what she calls the “ticking time bomb” to be shut down, and Canadian officials, including Ontario Premier Doug Ford, who’ve sided with Enbridge in insisting it’s safe to keep running.

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We’re getting too far ahead on our climate policies that kill oil and gas jobs – by Jack Mintz (Financial Post – July 29, 2021)

Federal policies that halt fossil fuel development too quickly can have only one result: to make us poorer

Is Canada moving too quickly with climate-change policies to kill oil and gas jobs? After all, while we are pushing up the carbon price to $170 per tonne by 2030, the U.S. doesn’t even have a pricing policy yet.

And on top of our aggressive carbon pricing, we are also adopting important — and burdensome — new measures such as clean fuel standards, electric-vehicle substitution and building retrofits.

The federal government has also declared plastics toxic and introduced aggressive environmental regulations to stop fossil-fuel development.

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Net zero is fantasy. Net reductions are easy — with LNG – by Gwyn Morgan (Financial Post – July 22, 2021)

The biggest opportunity for emissions reduction lies in a fossil fuel that is in practically unlimited supply

At their meeting last month G7 leaders agreed to a greenhouse gas emissions target of “net zero” by 2050. That would require phasing out all fossil fuels. But how? The common reply is “putting a price on carbon,”, i.e., carbon taxes.

But unless there’s a viable alternative, taxing something people can’t do without only makes them poorer. Policy makers seem to believe that “green power,” meaning wind and solar, is the answer.

But despite hundreds of billions of dollars having been spent on them, wind and solar currently account for only 3.3 per cent of world energy supply.

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Natural gas firms, Nisga’a Nation unite on $55-billion venture in B.C. – by Brent Jang (Globe and Mail – July 19, 2021)

Seven natural gas producers have teamed up with the Nisga’a Nation to submit a plan to regulators for approval to build a $55-billion energy megaproject in British Columbia, saying they have learned valuable lessons from other initiatives that have failed to materialize over the past decade.

Calgary-based Birchcliff Energy Ltd. is leading the group of producers known as Rockies LNG, which has enlisted Houston-based Western LNG LLC to help carry out plans to construct the B.C. project to export liquefied natural gas to Asia. Their Ksi Lisims LNG project is named after the Nass River in the Nisga’a language.

Ksi Lisims LNG’s filing to regulators doesn’t provide a detailed breakdown of the costs, but the total price tag includes a wide range of items, including floating modules to supercool natural gas into liquid form.

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Gas Is So Scarce in Europe That Coal Is Making a Comeback – by Vanessa Dezem, Jesper Starn and Isis Almeida (Bloomberg News – June 15, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — Europe is so short of natural gas that the continent — usually seen as the poster child for the global fight against emissions — is turning to coal to meet electricity demand that is now back to pre-pandemic levels.

Coal usage in the continent jumped 10% to 15% this year after a colder- and longer-than-usual winter left gas storage sites depleted, said Andy Sommer, team leader of fundamental analysis and modeling at Swiss trader Axpo Solutions AG.

As economies reopen and people go back to the office, countries like Germany, the Netherlands and Poland turned to coal to keep the lights on.

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OPINION: The passage of Canada’s UNDRIP bill is a triumph we should all celebrate – by Perry Bellegarde (Globe and Mail – June 21, 2021)

Perry Bellegarde is the national chief of the Assembly of First Nations.

On this National Indigenous Peoples Day, it seems fitting we recognize Canada is now firmly on the path to implementing the global human rights standards set out in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

When it receives royal assent, it will establish a clear and undeniable obligation for the federal government to uphold the declaration and work with Indigenous peoples to develop concrete implementation plans.

This is good news for First Nations who have long fought to bring UNDRIP to life in Canada. I also believe the prospect of concrete, meaningful implementation is good news for all Canadians.

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