Wednesday, March 15, 2023

When You Buy A Government

The oil industry is its own worst enemy. Max Fawcett writes:

For as long as I’ve lived in Alberta and covered the oil and gas industry — more than a decade now — I’ve been hearing about its supposedly high ethical standard. This is the heart of Ezra Levant’s “ethical oil” argument that has become an incredibly popular mantra among people working in the oil and gas industry and those outside it who just don’t want to confront the reality of Alberta’s role in climate change.

As I’ve pointed out repeatedly, this is an inherently — and inescapably — flawed argument. It compares Canada to countries like Iran, Russia and Saudi Arabia, a far lower standard than most Canadians hold themselves to. It ignores the existence of Norway, a major oil producer with far lower greenhouse gas emissions and far higher taxes on production. And it pretends the oil and gas industry is in some way responsible for Canada’s progressive attitude towards LGBTQ rights, its treatment of women and minorities, and its comparatively robust regulatory environment.

But the biggest problem is that the industry constantly undermines its argument with its own behaviour. The latest example of this, and one of the worst I’ve seen in a long time, is the leak coming from an Imperial Oil tailings pond — one that’s leached millions of litres of toxic water into the ground. This is water that has things like arsenic and dissolved metals in it, and it’s been leaking since last May. But the public only just learned about it, and worse, so did communities directly downstream of the leak, like the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation. The Alberta government also failed to notify its peers in the Northwest Territories, which is further downstream and would stand to be affected by any release of toxic chemicals.

Unfortunately, the government of Alberta is on Oil's side:

It’s more proof — as if more was even needed — of why the United Conservative Party government’s efforts to chase down the industry’s supposed enemies in the environmental community are so futile. The tens of millions of public dollars it spent on the War Room only resulted in a bunch of bad press and an embarrassing fight with a cartoon Bigfoot movie, while the public inquiry into anti-Alberta energy campaigns served up a big fat nothing burger.

Hypocrisy rules the roost. 

Image: Reuters


Anonymous said...

I didn’t read the original article but the role of money in the fossil fuel I industry is still the main driver of the whole thing. Not just in Alberta or Canada but anywhere the oil is extracted, processed and ultimately used. I believe the world currently uses up about a hundred million barrels a day. That represents one huge pile of oil and most importantly money. Every day! The investors who profit from the industry, those whose employment is dependant on that industry and they are legion needless to say are very reluctant to see that whole scheme disrupted, global climate chaos be damned. The Trudeau government may say we need to cut back on on tar sands production and so on to do Canada’s part to help but the reality of the construction of the Trans. Mountain pipeline is concrete evidence that they are very aware of the importance of oil production’s critical importance to the health of the Canadian economy, Alberta even more so. We have a carbon tax but is it really helping to reduce our fossil fuel use. Not likely.
On the topic of climate change caused by excess CO2, I am seeing more and more a not so subtle shift from pushing major fossil fuel reduction to stem climate change to mitigation. Carbon capture, etc. on the one hand coupled with adaptation of better ways of coping with the effects of climate change seem to be the new direction in dealing with the looming disaster. The fossil fuels thereby roll along merrily and the world economies are stimulated by the spending of more dollars to construct better levees, storm drains, hurricane proof homes, better heat pumps, electric cars, stoves and so on. No real sacrifice on anyons’s part. Just print more money.
So fossil fuel extraction on a worldwide basis may have slowed somewhat but it is still increasing, again world wide at a time when most climate scientists warn we must reduce emissions by fifty percent NOW or were doomed. Notice too how many governments and other fossil fuel dependant industries promise drastic emissions reduction but all of it in 2050 or some other way down the road time frame. Reminds me of St. Augustine’s quote: “Give me chastity and continence, Lord but not just yet.”
So, as with many things, just follow the money cuz that’s really what counts in life these days. Pretty much, always has. Mac

Lorne said...

And, of course, we mustn't forget the dirty hands the feds have in all of this, Owen, with their billions of dollars in subsidies and their anemic efforts to get the companies to pay to clean up their own messes.

Owen Gray said...

There's big money in Big Oil, Mac. And that's why Big Oil isn't going away.

Owen Gray said...

They've been bought, Lorne. And they know it.

zoombats said...

Everyone is in on the act of pushing the industry despite the threat of oblivion. Even those who would argue that they are the keepers of Turtle Island. Funny how greed is blinding and knows no bounds.

Owen Gray said...

Everyone wants a piece of the action, zoombats.

Trailblazer said...


Sadly our first nation co dwellers of this wonderful land are no different from their successors!

Green washing national identity washing religious belief washing politics washing!!!

Sooner rather that later we will all be washed away!

Why o why do not find true heroes in this world of selfishness.


Owen Gray said...

Lots of our so-called leaders have been brainwashed by Ayn Rand, TB. They believe that selfishness is a virtue.