Friday, April 04, 2014

The Oil Barons Are In Charge

The conventional wisdom, Linda McQuaig writes, is that ordinary people don't understand the science of climate change:

It’s we ordinary people, with our self-absorption or resistance to change, who are the prime culprits in the world’s failure to act against climate disaster.

But that's backwards:

By focusing on the alleged failure of ordinary people to tackle climate change, we take our eyes off the real culprits behind the drapes — the fossil fuel industry and lickspittle governments, the best example being the one in Ottawa.

Big Fossil is the wealthiest and most powerful lobby in world history. Any serious attempt to tackle climate change would involve it giving up future profits that are truly staggering.

That’s because, according to the International Energy Agency and other authoritative sources, at least two-thirds of the world’s fossil fuel reserves will have to stay in the ground if there’s to be any hope of meeting the widely-agreed target of limiting warming to 2 degrees Celsius. (So far we’ve warmed the planet by just 0.8 degrees and that seems to be working out just fine, right?)

Since Big Fossil owns the rights to those reserves, leaving them in the ground would mean it would have to walk away from trillions of dollars — about $20 trillion, according to U.S. environmentalist Bill McKibben.

Governments around the world are going to war to protect those oil reserves. Or, if they're not at war, they're bending over backwards to do the oil bobby's bidding:

Stephen Harper’s government has undermined international climate negotiations, gutted Canada’s environmental review process, targeted environmental groups with harassing audits and championed unbridled oilsands development.
Its craven devotion to Big Fossil has made it a perennial recipient of the Fossil of the Year Award, disdainfully issued each year by the Climate Action Network, a global association of more than 850 environmental groups.

Stephen Harper is his father's son. He works for the oil companies -- not thirty-three million Canadians. The oil barons are in charge.

We'll be in Ottawa for the next couple of days. I should be back on Monday.


Anonymous said...

The irony is that people used to say beware of Harper's hidden agenda.

There was nothing hidden about Young Steve's agenda: he was always about oil and was a truly filial son of an oilyman.

In other words, Harper is a great S.O.B. (B for Bitumen, eh?) :))

Anonymous said...

There was a time when Canada had a finger on the pulse of the petrochemical industry. This was through the National Energy Program (NEP)and the purchase of Phillips Petroleum to create Petro Canada. Where Trudeau went wrong was by trying to be too big and overpaying for Petro Fina.

We all know that Mulroney and his ilk quickly undermined the benefit of Petro Canada, by giving it away. Now we have the worst government in Canadian history aided by Harper toadies giving the public purse to Big Oil. When I say giving, I mean not charging adequate royalties, providing grants to the industry and not even minisculey dealing with the environmental degradation.

Anonymous said...

The cartoon is missing the pockets full and overflowing with cash, dirty air and oil stained earth.

The worst part of these fossil fuels is the fossil mentality of the ones controlling. They never clean-up after toxic spills unless forced and then they only do a cosmetic one to hide the truth.

Owen say hi to Harper for me while in Ottawa, if he lets you see him;)


Anonymous said...

We all know it is the bottomless pits of greed corporations, that call all of the shots.

Harper has been sneakily working on the TPP which, is another corporate give-a-way. This gives greedy corporations, a hell of a lot more power. When corporations line up at the trough and squeal for more money? Harper gives them, another $60 billion in tax reductions.

Corporations demand cheap labor. Harper has brought over foreign workers, for the corporations to exploit.

Corporations are pushing for the NAU. This has been on the books for years. However, people will sleep through that too. The 3 Amigo's just had another meeting.

Kerry signals advance, of NAU Plan.

The end of Canada's sovereignty, as a Nation State and security perimeter.

Has anyone even read? Harper gives a speech in New York at, the Council of Foreign Relations. This was Sept 25/2007. Harper fully endorsed the NAU. Harper is the front man for the NAU.

That is why Harper is using every dirty tactic in the book, to cheat this next election too. Harper is rabid for power and glory. And, people just don't see this. If we don't get rid of Harper, like yesterday this country will be lost to us.

Anonymous said...

As far as blame goes Owen I think this quote sums it up succinctly:

""What we are suffering from today as the greatest sustainability challenge is not poverty, it is not greed, it is not climate change, it is not declining fisheries … or forests or biodiversity. None of those things, though they are very, very important. What we are suffering from today is the lack of competence in our leadership…
— Dr. Karl-Henrik Robèrt, Founder of The Natural Step." -found here:

In Canada the blame falls on Stephen Harper's shoulders and he just dismisses the fact that he is not a leader, he is but only in name. A fourteen year old may well do a better job.


Hugh said...

In BC, changes to Parks are being rammed through to allow studies for pipelines, transmission lines, etc in parks.

The agricultural land reserve is being changed, apparently to allow for the building of Site C hydro dam, which would flood potential agricultural land. And more drilling and pipelines.

Site C would be a $8+ billion cost to publicly-owned BC Hydro power utility. The power from it would be needed for drilling, pipelines, LNG plants etc.

Unknown said...

Its interesting to note that Bill McKibben former New Yorker Magazine journalist who has written books on climate change and is an American environmental activist/organizer who is opposed to the Harper Trans Canada Pipelines Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to the Texas gulf coast knows Harpers government better than Harper supporters. He is quoted as saying "The Harper government is a wholly owned subsidiary of the fossil fuel industry." -From article in print; End of the Line, MacLean's February 3, 2014 p. 36. It used to be Canadians knew more about Canada and the US then their American counterparts, now the tables seem to have turned.

In the same article it states that in October 2012 the Canadian government planned a $24 billion dollar international campaign to promote the oil/tar sands. This is of course what a subsidiary is supposed to do, protect and serve the mother company. Its kind of nice when you are a multi-billion dollar oil corporation that you don't have to sell your product, which is a hard sell due to the copious amounts of carbon released into the atmosphere just to get raw heavy crude out of the ground before it hits a tanker or a pipeline. Just the tar sands alone apart from the rest of Canada released more CO2 into the atmosphere than 153* countries worldwide in 2010.

In 2010 the oil sands project released approximately 48,000,000** tonnes of GHG's into the atmosphere, which was only exceeded by 64* countries in the world. Oil sands produced more GHG's than the bottom 73 countries combined total representing 30%* of the worlds countries. Of GHG's emitted by country the oil sands are flanked above by # 64 Hungary @ 50,600,000 tonnes* and the if oil sands were a country it would be # 65 @ 48,000,000 tonnes** followed by Denmark below (# 65, which would be) # 66 @ 46,300,000* tonnes. By 2020 the oil sands are expected to release 104,000,000 tonnes**, which is the same as Uzbekistan # 39 in 2010.*

Here is my contribution to Harper's re-election supporters based on not just McKibben's observation:

"Your vote for the Great Holy Gas Conservative Party of Canada and the Hot Air Harper Government is greatly appreciated by your local oil company billionaire - The Canadian Government keeps on giving and giving and giving thanks to you."

Harper in the long run, by harnessing "his" government policy to 'ezra'cal oil produced in the oil sands, may in the end tar and feather himself as it can be righteously stated, as McKibben has, that big oil has in fact taken over the Harper government in a coup d'etat for its own nefarious purposes. It was not sudden it was stealthy, it was violent to certain aspects of Canadian's lives and it is indeed an illegal seizure of power from government, with Harper and his equivocating con crew being complicit as in treasonous. So this can be rightfully called a coup. Some day the flock will come home to roost and the complete con crew will have to face the music.

Canada one of 'The Dirty Dozen' -

*Data extrapolated from:


Anonymous said...

OTTAWA — More than two-thirds of all oil sands production in Canada is owned by foreign entities, sending a majority of the industry’s profits out of the country, says a new analysis released Thursday by a British Columbia-based conservation group.
The research by Forest EthicsAdvocacy was based on an analysis of shareholder information in January 2012 from Bloomberg Professional of more than a dozen companies, including nine with headquarters in Canada, and six with their head offices in other countries. It found 71% of the ownership of oilsands production was foreign...

Canada buys high and sells low when it comes to crude oil, costing the world’s 10th largest economy billions in lost revenue as it expands production from one of the world’s largest energy deposits. The gap between Alberta’s exported Western Canada Select and Brent oil imported into Ontario and Quebec was about $30.50 a barrel yesterday, and that difference is creating a drag on growth according to Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney. Annual losses of about $19-billion may persist...

Harper is such a great economic manager when it comes to oil and energy. Instead of forcing a pipeline across the US border, which is an international struggle or ramming one through the environmentally sensitive forests, mountains, rivers, lakes and muskeg of BC it makes way more economic sense to refine the raw product at home in Alberta and then satisfy all of Canada's needs first. The money and profit is in the refined product; gasoline, aviation fuel, diesel fuel, motor oil and all the other products of refined petroleum not so much in the raw crude. Harper's actions are that of a colonial era colonizer making Canada a petro colony where we export raw materials (crude) and import refined or finished goods (oil). It has never worked favourably when it comes to extraction and exportation of natural resources for the donor country. It will not work in favour of Harper's Canada today either, but it sure will benefit the recipients of our raw crude. Harper is creating a boom that will end in bust he is peddling short term gains for long term pains. Today long term economic plans that do not embrace sustainability are environmental suicide pacts and therefore economic policy based on non-renewable resources is the instigator of such pacts.

Owen Gray said...

They've been bought and paid for, Mogs. And they know who signs the cheques.

But the bills will be picked up by Canadian citizens. It's called privatizing profits and socializing losses.

Owen Gray said...

Harper claims he's an economist, Anon. But there are good economists and bad economists -- just as there are good and bad doctors.

Harper's prescriptions are bad medicine.

Owen Gray said...

It's interesting, Hugh, that the Clark government bears a name which would indicate that it is far from Harperian.

But it has been captured by the same interests. The name means nothing.

Owen Gray said...

As I recall, Mogs, that was the very line Harper used against Stephane Dion.

He's a corporate shill. But he's not a leader.

Owen Gray said...

Truth be told, Mogs, Stephen and I didn't meet on the weekend. He made no effort to contact me. And I made no effort to contact him.

Owen Gray said...

There was a time, Anon, when we believed that corporations had to respect the rules of the game. Now our masters tell us that rules -- all rules -- are simply impediments.

Owen Gray said...

Harper takes pride in being an S.O.B, Anon. Unfortunately, he's also the Prime Minister of Canada -- a truly bad combination.

Owen Gray said...

Harper's agenda is all about the corporate juggernaut, Anon. It's always been about the corporate juggernaut.

Marg said...

So all these 'right-on' comments lead to what---? The big no one states or hollers, or even whispers....? WHY in hell are we paying for any of what we don't want--period. All this AI and no means to designate where and what our taxes pay. How come then are corporate welfare accounts in every federal, provincial and local government left out of public scrutiny? Our taxes, payments, parking, shopping are examined without a'by-your-leave'.

This has been wrong for so long, 685 billion paid out to profitable corporations since the 70's --per a report by the Fraser Institute (no less)...does any one discuss --debate- make an outright scandal of this utter welfare theft....NO? Just like any individual Canadian benefit by say---a nice hotel stay after coming home from abroad...and CBC is there to download the same way they did commenting on the treatment of G-20 protesters (mothers/fathers/sons/daughters/etc., first KETTLED then PEPPER-SPRAYED--then--herded off to animal pens --terrified by police their taxes pay salaries to --. Time to take pause and some tough lessons from countries like Norway and kick out Bay street influenced politicians....and demand public accounting of all corporate welfare and abuses in NOT paying their legally designated taxes to us --(that includes questionable sums paid out to foreign corporations)---disgust doesn't come close when knowing how others have suffered with so little because a few steal what they never earned.

Owen Gray said...

Norway has handled the situation much differently -- and much better -- than we have, Marg.