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Here's what massive emissions reductions really means


  • Calgary Sun
  • 25 Apr 2021
  • LORNE GUNTER lgunter@postmedia.com @sunlornegunter
img?regionKey=nK0LHpSGfqrlHmVyK598Vw%3d%3dGETTY IMAGES Joe Biden, right, and Justin Trudeau speak at the White House in Washington.

On Thursday, as part of U.S. President Joe Biden's virtual eco-summit of international leaders, our own Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged Canada to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 40% or 45% from 2005 levels by 2030. That's up from the 30% cut Canada had been pledging.

Are you as tingly as I am, fellow Canadian, about Justin's latest pious promise?

Aren't you so proud our boy J.T. committed our nation to yet another standard of “green” piety we have no hope of achieving?

We're not even on a path that would enable us to achieve the previous commitment a little more than eight years from now.

But give Trudeau credit; when it comes to meaningless virtue signalling, he's the champ!

Trudeau — and most of the eco-warriors — are guilty of magic-wand thinking.

They are convinced the only thing needed to transform our world into a futuristic, zero-carbon Nirvana is to wave a few billion (or a few hundreds of billions) tax dollars and — poof — problem solved!

They act as if the biggest obstacle to entirely transforming our planet is not science or engineering, but political willpower.

If they merely click their heels together three times and chant “There's no need for oil! There's no need for oil!” our world will magically transform into a utopia powered by wind, solar, hydrogen and gas harvested from bug burps.

Even if you aren't convinced, like me, that the threat from climate change is overblown. (The science is far from settled.)

Even if you think humankind has to act quickly and decisively to prevent global catastrophe, the engineering just doesn't exist to replace all carbon-based fuels quickly and affordably.

Trudeau's Thursday pledge works out to a reduction from 732 annual megatonnes of greenhouse gases to 439 megatonnes.

To achieve that, not only would Canada have to shut down Alberta's oil and gas industry, but also the entire country's transportation sector — cars, trucks, semis, school buses and delivery vans.

And probably any construction that uses cement.

A lot of emissions are produced in making cement.

(For a start, the base of most wind turbines requires 15,000 to 25,000 tonnes of concrete.)

If you're like most environmentalists, you'll say we can just switch to electric vehicles.

But even to convert half of Canada's vehicle fleet to electricity would require our nation to double its current output of electricity, not to mention the cost of installing charging stations every 100 kilometres or so, even on remote highways.

Where would all that added power (and money) come from?

Dams and nukes are the most obvious answers.

But do you honestly believe we could find sites for all the hydro dams and nuclear power plants that would be needed, without environmental activists objecting or Indigenous groups blockading?

And if we couldn't get all that new power up and running in the next eight or nine years, what happens to Canada's standard of living?

The federal government can't tax all the money it needs to subsidize its “green” paradise into existence if no one, particularly in the West, is employed in a well-paying job.

Since 2005, Canada's share of global emissions has fallen from 1.8% to 1.5%. Meanwhile, China's emissions have grown to 26% of the total for the entire planet.

Alberta under its former NDP government began closing all of its coal-fired power plants. China and India, meanwhile, are adding new ones at the rate of one a week, between them.

Environmentalists love to repeat the fact that Canada has just 0.5% of the world's population, but contributes 1.5% of emissions. Shouldn't we be ashamed?

However, on a per capita, emissions-per-dollar-ofgdp basis, we contribute just 1/7th that of China.

But let Trudeau make his vacuous, unachievable promises.

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9 hours ago, Kargokings said:

Are you as tingly as I am

Anyone who can't see through all this will have difficulty with things that are even moderately complex. Connecting the dots and correlating cause and effect has become a matter of screaming global warming, racist or white supremacist into the face of anyone with a valid question or alternative point of view.

I'll start to tingle when someone here tells me what they are prepared to do without.

I'll consider it an existential threat when people who say it is start acting like it is.

I'll turn my thermostat down to 12 C when you are willing to drive your car no more than twice a week.

I'll listen patiently to your position when you are willing to tell me where those 80+ megatons/year of excess carbon will be shed from.

Until then it's all fluff and BS from the same people who can't lose 10 lbs. Take note, fighters do that in the sauna wearing garbage bags and think nothing of it. That's because it's easy if you're committed. 

Did I mention commitment? That's what's missing here... lots of words and enough hot air to start a balloon sight seeing company.

Grow up, get er done, or don't...  




Edited by Wolfhunter
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20 minutes ago, Wolfhunter said:

I'll start to tingle when someone here tells me what they are prepared to do without.


Good Lord, time to grow up and get to work. Isn't it?



for those who never read more to see what the actual post you quoted from said:

Are you as tingly as I am, fellow Canadian, about Justin's latest pious promise?

Aren't you so proud our boy J.T. committed our nation to yet another standard of “green” piety we have no hope of achieving?

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Electric cars: What will happen to all the dead batteries?

By Emma Woollacott
Technology of Business reporter

1 hour agoworld will have to work out with millions of disused car batteries

"The rate at which we're growing the industry is absolutely scary," says Paul Anderson from Birmingham University.

He's talking about the market for electric cars in Europe.

By 2030, the EU hopes, there will be 30 million electric cars on European roads.

"It's something that's never really been done before at that rate of growth for a completely new product," says Dr Anderson, who is also the co-director of the Birmingham Centre for Strategic Elements and Critical Materials.

While electric vehicles (EVs) may be carbon neutral during their working lifetime, he's concerned about what happens when they run out of road - in particular what happens to the batteries.

"In 10 to 15 years when there are large numbers coming to the end of their life, it's going to be very important that we have a recycling industry," he points out.

While most EV components are much the same as those of conventional cars, the big difference is the battery. While traditional lead-acid batteries are widely recycled, the same can't be said for the lithium-ion versions used in electric cars.

EV batteries are larger and heavier than those in regular cars and are made up of several hundred individual lithium-ion cells, all of which need dismantling. They contain hazardous materials, and have an inconvenient tendency to explode if disassembled incorrectly.

"Currently, globally, it's very hard to get detailed figures for what percentage of lithium-ion batteries are recycled, but the value everyone quotes is about 5%," says Dr Anderson. "In some parts of the world it's considerably less."

Recent proposals from the European Union would see EV suppliers responsible for making sure that their products aren't simply dumped at the end of their life, and manufacturers are already starting to step up to the mark.

Nissan, for example, is now reusing old batteries from its Leaf cars in the automated guided vehicles that deliver parts to workers in its factories. Germany

Volkswagen is doing the same, but has also recently opened its first recycling plant, in Salzgitter, Germany, and plans to recycle up to 3,600 battery systems per year during the pilot phase.

"As a result of the recycling process, many different materials are recovered. As a first step we focus on cathode metals like cobalt, nickel, lithium and manganese," says Thomas Tiedje, head of planning for recycling at Volkswagen Group Components.

"Dismantled parts of the battery systems such as aluminium and copper are given into established recycling streams."

Renault, meanwhile, is now recycling all its electric car batteries - although as things stand, that only amounts to a couple of hundred a year. It does this through a consortium with French waste management company Veolia and Belgian chemical firm Solvay.

"We are aiming at being able to address 25% of the recycling market. We want to maintain this level of coverage, and of course this would cover by far the needs of Renault," says Jean-Philippe Hermine, Renault's VP for strategic environmental planning.

"It's a very open project - it's not to recycle only Renault batteries but all batteries, and also including production waste from the battery manufacturing plants."


The issue is also receiving attention from scientific bodies such as the Faraday Institution, whose ReLiB project aims to optimise the recycling of EV batteries and make it as streamlined as possible.

"We imagine a more efficient, more cost-effective industry in future, instead of going through some of the processes that are available - and can be scaled up now - but are not terribly efficient," says Dr Anderson, who is principal investigator for the project.

Currently, for example, much of the substance of a battery is reduced during the recycling process to what is called black mass - a mixture of lithium, manganese, cobalt and nickel - which needs further, energy-intensive processing to recover the materials in a usable form.

Manually dismantling fuel cells allows for more of these materials to be efficiently recovered, but brings problems of its own.


"In some markets, such as China, health and safety regulation and environmental regulation is much more lax, and working conditions wouldn't be accepted in a Western context," says Gavin Harper, Faraday Institution research fellow.

"Also, because labour is more expensive, the whole economics of it make it difficult to make it a good proposition in the UK."

The answer, he says, is automation and robotics: "If you can automate that, we can pull some of the danger out of it and make it more economically efficient."


And there are indeed powerful economic arguments for improving the recyclability of EV batteries - not least, the fact that many of the elements used are hard to come by in Europe and the UK.

"You've got the waste management problem on the one hand, but then on the flip side of that you've also got a great opportunity because obviously the UK doesn't have indigenous supplies of many factory materials," says Dr Harper.

"There's a bit of lithium in Cornwall, but by and large we've got challenges in terms of sourcing the factory materials that we need."

From a manufacturer's point of view, therefore, recycling old batteries is the safest way to ensure a ready supply of new ones.

"We need to secure - as a manufacturer, as Europeans - the sourcing of these materials that are strategic for mobility and for the industry," says Mr Hermine.

"We don't have access to these materials outside of this recycling field - the end-of-life battery is the urban mining of Europe."

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Interesting ruling and I guess it would apply to all Provinces that own and develop their natural resources, not just to Alberta?

Federal Court of Appeal upholds Alberta right to ‘turn off the taps’ legislation

By Staff  The Canadian Press
Posted April 27, 2021 11:00 am
 Updated April 27, 2021 11:01 amal has ruled that Alberta has the right to control the amount and destination of oil and other fuels flowing through its pipelines.

The decision is a victory for the province in its battle with British Columbia over so-called turn-off-the-taps legislation enacted by Alberta in 2018, at the height of a dispute between the two provinces over construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline.

Three justices agree an earlier injunction blocking Alberta from using its legislation should be overturned and B.C. should pay costs of the lengthy litigation, although the justices rely on different reasons to reach the same conclusion.

B.C. initially appealed the constitutionality of the Preserving Canada’s Economic Prosperity Act, arguing Alberta does not have the power to discriminate by limiting oil exports to other provinces.

n against B.C.?

What’s next for Alberta’s turn-off-the-taps legislation against B.C.? – Sep 24, 2019

The constitution gives provinces the right to own and develop their natural resources, and the ruling says no export limits have yet been imposed so B.C.’s action is “premature.”

The 1,150-kilometre Trans Mountain expansion is to triple the amount of oil flowing from the Edmonton area to B.C.’s Lower Mainland and from there to markets overseas.

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On 11/18/2019 at 11:27 AM, Mitch Cronin said:

The world needs it to stay right where it is, so give it up. Stop raping forests and pumping filthy oil for temporary profit. Start thinking of priorities other than cash... you know, things that really matter, like long term survivability for our next generations.

Resistance to fossil fuel industry is growing and will keep doing so, so best you just give it up. 

I just had a long, hard look at this thread and I can only say what I said in the initial post. , So I repost:

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58 minutes ago, Mitch Cronin said:

I just had a long, hard look at this thread and I can only say what I said in the initial post. , So I repost:

Mitch, I'm glad you're back.  We miss your contributions.


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What’s really missing here is perspective and an appreciation of how difficult this actually is at a personal level. Magic lightbulbs are about as effective as a hairdryer in a Maritime nor'easter.

When people stop replacing those rotting 5/4 decking boards, when they stop complaining about gas prices, when they stop demanding propane for frivolous BBQs we can make some progress.

Think of the the rail blockade and all of the Covid effects, double that and add 10%... You ain't at the beginning of even being nowhere. What effect would taking us from 1.6% of global emissions down to .9% have on the very people who say they might maybe want to perhaps do that. We will quickly discover that they don't while we obliterate our economy in process.

People in Ontario balked at their electric bills, they need to be at least 3 times higher and YOU need to want that. The carbon tax needs to be at a minimum of $300, not $20.... and you need to want that.

The real problem here is that YOU DON'T, and until you do, you will have to deal with the absurdity of what JT thinks you might vote for.

Please read the previous paragraph again, because until you are willing to pay the price (and I'll even settle for acknowledging the cost) you will get to enjoy another 3 decades of missed emission targets and threads right here that bemoan the outcomes. 

Losing those 10 ponds translates to putting the fork down.... it's not complicated.   








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One thing that I have noticed is that a number of people who are against petroleum and it's products have life styles that depend upon oil. Petroleum or petroleum derivate  powered mowers, trucks, cars, furnaces, clothes, roofing, cell phones and if they are reading this "COMPUTERS" and the list goes on.   So until they give all of that stuff up, they are just blowing a lot of wind.  

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16 hours ago, Fido said:

So which forest was raped?

Hardwood forests in eastern Canada perhaps?  Those in the west, clear cut,  have mostly, if not all have been replanted and are into 2nd growth. Clear cut vs uncleared forests burning up due to uncontrolled fires/?

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Don Martin: Just in time for summer comes the risk of higher gasoline, propane and jet fuel prices from a U.S.-blocked pipeline

Published Thursday, April 29, 2021 11:09AM EDT

OTTAWA -- It’s a mid-sized pipeline with a bland name, but it packs a helluva punch to Central Canada’s energy supply.

Meet Line 5, a critical connection that will be ordered offline in just two weeks, an unjustified act of treaty-breaking hostility by our American neighbours.

The impact of any shutdown will be widely felt in Ontario and Quebec - at the pump, in the heating bill, in airline ticket prices and even at the backyard barbeque.

And that assumes there aren’t shortages of supply at any price.

Here’s the problem. For 68 years, Enbridge’s Line 5 has been pumping crude and natural gas products like propane across the bottom of the strait linking Lake Huron and Lake Michigan.

Yet despite a flawless safety record, beyond a dent from a tugboat’s dragging anchor, Line 5 carries the “unacceptable risk of a catastrophic oil spill," according to rookie Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer.

And in what seems to be setting up for a second 100 days that’s worse than his first in pipeline politics, U.S. President Joe Biden is not expected to save Line 5 from the governor’s wrath any more than he spared the Keystone XL pipeline from his inauguration day kill order.

If that happens, and there’s an air of inevitability about it, this is going to deliver a blunt-axe whack on Alberta as the oil supplier and to Central Canada as the consumer.

While modest in size at 540,000 barrels a day, Line 5 has an inordinately huge impact on multiple supply chains in Ontario, Quebec and several U.S. states.

It delivers two-thirds of Quebec’s crude requirements and meets 53 per cent of Ontario’s demand. It’s the dominant source of propane supplies in those provinces and several U.S. states. And it imports 100 per cent of the jet fuel for Toronto’s Lester Pearson Airport.

This has left the Canadian government under far greater cross-border duress than the untimely death of Keystone XL because this American irritant will be noticed by consumers in its Ontario base.

To give credit where due, Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan gets high marks from the industry for leading the fight and declaring the continued operation of the pipeline to be “non-negotiable."

That’s brave talk when the guy facing him across the negotiating table could be POTUS.

Even if he wanted to save Line 5, President Biden would face some very awkward optics.

Taking on a friendly governor to rescue a Canadian pipeline which runs underwater at an environmentally-sensitive junction is not exactly in line with his central theme of fighting climate change.

Even the argument that replacing a pipeline with thousands of higher-risk trucks and rail tankers every day only goes so far in pushing Biden outside his comfort zone.

Now, one government insider cautioned me, it’s unlikely the taps will turn off on May 11 at midnight.

There’s mediation under way and court challenges to be fought. The federal government is likely to join Enbridge in the legal action.

And Enbridge has contingency plans for the short term in the event Whitmer suddenly slaps a cork in the pipeline at her border.

Still, it falls on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to back the Enbridge court actions and use whatever goodwill clout he’s got with American politicians to keep the pipeline operating.

There are literally thousands of jobs on both sides of the border which would be lost to idled refineries if the pipeline is decommissioned. And the proposed tunnel-wrapped, deeply-buried Line 5 replacement is years away from completion, if it’s ever built.

With the ticking clock getting very loud indeed, department officials and our ambassador in Washington are huddling today for yet another strategy meeting.

There’s really nothing new to discuss beyond how much more targeted arm-twisting can be done without antagonizing the new administration.

If all else fails, perhaps we should go back in history to when the U.S. was more concerned about keeping the pipelines flowing than choking off supplies.

A sleepy-sounding Transit Pipeline Treaty was signed in 1977 to prevent public officials from impeding the flow of oil products between the two countries except in emergencies.

Ironically, the prime minister of the day was Pierre Trudeau.

And an influential senator supporting the agreement was …. double irony here … Joe Biden.

Perhaps it’s time Canada resurrected this treaty, one designed specifically to prevent this sort of rogue-state, cross-border energy obstruction, to insist that Line 5’s right to operate is ‘non-negotiable’.

That’s the bottom line.

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Canada presses U.S. to maintain Line 5 link

Ottawa fighting Michigan decision to close Line 5 oil link to Sarnia, Ont.

  • Calgary Herald
  • 29 Apr 2021
img?regionKey=XOXBkX9Yp2zeqou%2blUQqMg%3d%3dCARLOS OSORIO/REUTERS A signpost marks the presence of Enbridge's Line 5 pipeline, which Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer ordered shut down next month in Sarnia, Ont.

Canada is pushing on several diplomatic fronts against the U.S. state of Michigan's efforts to close a cross-border oil pipeline, the second such dispute since Joe Biden became U.S. president in January, complicating the governments' efforts to work together to lower carbon emissions.

The conflict over the aging but key pipeline highlights the disruptions caused by a global shift away from fossil fuels.

Both governments are working to accelerate the energy transition, but their oil industries are interdependent, so a policy shift in one country can affect energy supply, and the political balance, in the other.

The United States imports more crude from Canada than any other nation, at about 3.7 million barrels per day, or about 80 per cent of Canada's crude output.

Ottawa's strategy, according to four sources familiar with the government's thinking, is to repeatedly raise the issue of Enbridge's Line 5 with numerous U.S. counterparts — including Biden — to get them to pressure Michigan's Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to keep the pipeline open.

Last November, Michigan ordered Line 5 to shut by May 13, citing the environmental risk of a possible leak in the six-kilometre stretch of the 540,000-bpd line passing under the Straits of Mackinac in the Great Lakes.

The White House has shown no sign of responding to Canadian entreaties, so Ottawa is considering more drastic options, including a threat to invoke an obscure bilateral treaty to keep Line 5 operating or intervene in the legal dispute currently playing out in U.S. courts.

Line 5, which flows crude oil and refined products from Wisconsin to Sarnia, Ont., via Michigan, has been in operation for nearly 70 years, but officials in Michigan are increasingly alarmed by its advanced age.

The line has never leaked into the straits but there have been at least eight other spills since 1980, according to U.S. Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration data.

The imbroglio over Line 5 comes just three months after Biden angered the Canadian oil and gas industry by cancelling a permit for the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline project on his first day in office.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government reluctantly accepted that decision, even though it killed thousands of construction jobs and further soured Ottawa's relationship with the main energy-producing province of Alberta.

Ottawa has resolved to fight publicly to keep Line 5 open, which — unlike Keystone — is already operating and a vital link in Enbridge's export network that ships the vast majority of crude from Canada's western oilpatch to the United States.

Canadian government officials are frustrated by how much time they are spending on the matter, the sources said.

Canada has discussed the pipeline's fate in dozens of bilateral meetings, including 23 virtual meetings between lawmakers and U.S. members of Congress, according to a spokesman for Canada's Natural Resources Minister Seamus O'regan.

“Clearly, Line 5 is an important issue for the government of Canada ... at the same time, we need to be advancing on a co-operative basis the work we're doing on climate action,” Canada's Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson told Reuters earlier this month.

Wilkinson spoke to U.S. climate envoy John Kerry on Feb. 24 but did not discuss the pipeline. He did though note Trudeau had raised Line 5 with Biden when the two met in February to discuss making global warming a joint priority.

Trudeau attended a U.S. international climate summit hosted by Biden last week.

Neither Kerry nor the White House responded to a request for comment.

Calgary-based Enbridge has refused to shut the pipeline, arguing the governor's order needs to be backed by a judge.

The case is being heard in U.S. federal court and the two parties started mediation on April 16.

Enbridge spokesman Ryan Duffy said a negotiated solution would be in the best interests of all parties.

Trudeau's administration is considering whether to take part in the legal challenge by filing an amicus, or “friend of the court” brief, which would explicitly lay out their reasons for backing Enbridge, said a source directly familiar with the matter.

Ottawa is also considering invoking the never-before-used 1977 Transit Pipelines Treaty, designed to stop U.S. or Canadian public officials from impeding the flow of oil in transit.

“The federal government continues to have a role to play, and we appreciate what they've done to date,” Enbridge's Duffy said.

Line 5 is key to fuel supply for the Great Lakes region on both sides of the border, helping supply an area with a population of more than 40 million people.

Environmental campaigners have long been concerned Line 5 could leak into the straits. Whitmer, a Biden ally, made shutting it a key promise in her 2018 gubernatorial campaign.

Wilkinson, after meeting with Kerry, told reporters that “the issue in Michigan is the governor.”

Canada's Ambassador Kirsten Hillman and Infrastructure Minister Catherine Mckenna have both met separately with Whitmer, but she has not changed her stance.

A spokeswoman for Whitmer told Reuters that the governor stands behind her decision to close the pipeline.

Enbridge said shutting Line 5 would cause fuel shortages and gas price spikes, and require 15,000 trucks and 800 rail cars a day to replace deliveries to Ontario. Michigan would also need truck transport to account for lost propane delivery, while refineries in Ohio and Michigan would need to secure product from other suppliers.

Scott Archer, business agent with Local 663 Pipefitters Union in Sarnia, home to three of Ontario's refineries, described Line 5 as the “spinal cord of Ontario's infrastructure” in testimony to Canadian lawmakers.

“Shutting down Line 5 will in effect kill my hometown ... and many more places like it in Canada and the U.S.,” he said.

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Philip Cross: Not enough Canadians know how important the oilsands are

Philip Cross  1 hour agoimage.png.363e98a8a24f6d568989b1035158adbf.png

The Macdonald-Laurier Institute has just released a paper of mine on the oilsands and Canada’s economy. Many Canadians outside the prairie provinces have trouble understanding — or accepting — that Alberta’s oilsands are still enormously important to our economy. The $8.3 billion of new investment in the oilsands last year represented 4.5 per cent of all Canada’s business investment in 2020 and was four times the capital spending undertaken by the auto manufacturers whom eastern-Canadian politicians continue to lionize and subsidize.

The oilsands now dominate Canada’s crude oil production, with 70 per cent of total output, and the recent investments mean production will continue to grow. Most is destined for the U.S. market. While U.S. oil imports have fallen sharply as domestic shale-oil output has expanded, demand for Canadian oil has risen steadily because of declining supplies of heavy oil from Mexico and Venezuela, as well as the lower price Americans pay for our oil.

Oilsands production and investment have different impacts on Canada’s economy. The overall effect on GDP is about the same but increased investment creates more jobs in both Alberta and the rest of Canada in the short term. Higher production creates fewer jobs because producing bitumen does not require much labour. On the other hand, these jobs pay more and are stable over the long term. The stability of oilsands operations was displayed during the pandemic, as employment in oil and gas extraction fell only 0.9 per cent, compared with a 17 per cent drop in drilling and exploration operations.

All provinces not named Alberta also benefit from higher oilsands investment and production. The rest of Canada garners 18.3 per cent of the incomes generated by investment and 13.5 per cent of incomes from production. Their share of job gains is even larger, although because the oilsands need comparatively little labour the number of jobs is small in absolute terms. Central Canada, notably Ontario, benefits most from both oilsands investment and production.

While oilsands investment is volatile, production has risen steadily for three decades, even despite lower oil prices after 2015. Steady production growth reflects how lower investment only affects the rate of increase of future production. Because of the high level of fixed costs, once an oilsands plant starts producing it rarely stops for extended periods — unlike drilling rigs, which are easily mothballed or moved to the U.S.

It is misleading to speak of “Canada’s oilsands” as a uniform entity. Every project has unique costs, produces varying types of bitumen and has different emission levels. There are two main oilsands technologies. One is the open-pit mining the media relentlessly displays in its desire to (ahem) tar the oilsands with a bad environmental image. In fact, the majority of oilsands production now comes from steam-assisted underground “in situ” operations. These are typically smaller projects with lower costs that adapt more easily to the inevitable fluctuations in oil prices. While in situ projects damage surrounding land less than mining does, the need for steam to heat the oil sand requires burning natural gas, which produces greenhouse gas emissions. To reduce both costs and emissions, the industry increasingly uses solvents that reduce the input of natural gas

The industry long ago lost the public relations battle about its environmental impact. As a result, the improvement in its record as in situ operations have overtaken mining has been largely ignored. The chief economist of the International Energy Agency acknowledged this new reality when he said the contribution of the oilsands to global emissions “is not peanuts, it is a fraction of peanuts.”

Even so, almost all media stories on the oilsands feature photos of shovels loading bitumen into massive trucks that rumble across landscape scarred by open-pit mining and around tailing ponds presumably full of toxic materials. The Economist spoke for many when it called oilsand strip-mining “One of the bleakest scenes of man-made destruction.” These apocalyptic pictures have become “the coveted oilsands porn” of the industry’s foes, in the words of Alberta Oil magazine.

What is only rarely shown is how the land looks after its rehabilitation, which all companies must fund when they begin operations. Equally rare are photos of relatively pristine in situ sites, where the work is conducted underground and without waste ponds. As one critic admitted, underground operations “are squeaky clean with little to no above-ground toxins.” The boreal footprint of the oilsands is less than 10 per cent of the 11,000 square kilometres Quebec flooded to build its hydro power. Yet Quebec politicians ritually denounce Alberta’s “dirty oil” while ignoring the environmental damage of their own self-styled “clean hydro.”

The oilsands not only create wealth and jobs but are a stellar example of innovation by Canadian companies. Unfortunately, negative public and media perceptions (telegraphed by the completely inaccurate descriptor “tar sands”) have been encouraged both by overseas competitors and by U.S. customers, who have benefited enormously from heavily discounted prices for bitumen. Taking their cue from their political leaders, not enough Canadians look at this industry as an example to emulate, not a pariah to defame.

Philip Cross is a senior fellow at the Macdonald-Laurier Institute.

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This won't bode well for Alberta.

If they can exploit these reserves, in a lower cost location, Alberta may be bypassed.


A Canadian oil firm thinks it has struck big. Some fear it could ravage a climate change hotspot

In this northeastern corner of Namibia, on the borders of Angola and Botswana, a Canadian oil company called ReconAfrica has secured the rights to explore what it believes could be the next -- and perhaps even the last -- giant onshore oil find.


The oilfield that ReconAfrica wants to harness is immense. The firm has leased more than 13,000 square miles, or some 30,000 square kilometers, of land in Namibia and neighboring Botswana.
The find -- potentially containing 12 billion barrels of oil -- could be worth billions of dollars. And some experts believe the oil reserves here could be even bigger.
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3 hours ago, deicer said:

If you build it, they will come...

Sure they will..

The electric vehicle charging industry is doing everything except making money


Speculators are piling into the industry, convinced that boom times are around the corner, while short sellers and other skeptics warn that some of these companies will go belly-up long before they figure out how to make money.

A decade into its existence, the industry is still hunting for a winning business model

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1 hour ago, deicer said:

Name me an industry that hasn't gone through those startup pains.

Industries that didn't require 20 years of startup pain to gain total market dominance over the products they replaced? I guess we could take a look at PC's, flat screen tv's and smart phones vs electric vehicles struggling to make 3% market share for a start.

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'Our governments are drunken frat boys at a Las Vegas roulette table, and the croupier’s décolletage, it seems, is particularly low.'

What does a $100-billion dollar EV subsidy look like?

Can the Trudeau Liberals keep up with an American president determined to buy electric vehicle consumers?

Mon May 03, 2021 - The National Post
by David Booth

Never mind that our dear Prime Minister once again seems to have pulled another policy statement out of his hat. Ignore the fact that announcing you’re cutting greenhouse gases by as much as 45 per cent at a major climate control conference — for Joe Biden’s Earth Day climate summit, in case you missed it — when, three days before, your finance minister tabled a budget that called for just 36 per cent, makes you look, well, like a drama teacher in short pants.

And, just to put that nine-per-cent increase in three days into some kind of perspective, since we first got into this endless loop of climate change reduction accords in 2005, Canada has reduced its GHG emissions by a grand total of 1.1 per cent. Nonetheless, let’s pretend — and, yes, I know it’s for the umpteenth time since the Kyoto Protocol — that this go ’round our commitment is real, the need urgent, and the populace ready. 

What might such a climate change policy look like? What steps will business, like the auto manufacturers on which Motor Mouth reports, have to take? How much money will be spent to meet those commitments? And, most importantly, will the actions we take actually make a difference to our welfare? For some guidance as to what we might expect in terms of legislation and spending — at least how it affects automobiles — it’s worth looking south of the border at Joe Biden’s recent pronouncements, namely the US$100 billion the President has earmarked to incentivize consumers to buy new EVs.

Will Trudeau match Biden’s bet?
He almost has to. Yes, I know we are two very different countries, as we saw during the last U.S. administration. But our industries are almost interbred, our national fuel economy regulations are essentially theirs, and Quebec’s infamous zero-emissions vehicle mandate is California’s, save translation and the substitution of “kilometres” every time the Americans write “mile.” 

More importantly, the Liberals are about to launch — quite soon, if rumours are to be believed — a now-nationwide ZEV mandate that will force automakers to sell a certain number of electric vehicles each year. If the U.S. subsidies turn out to be significantly larger than what we offer, who do you think is going to have trouble getting their grubby little environmentally-conscious hands on battery-powered cars? If Trudeau wants to mandate a minimum number of EVs in Canada, he’ll likely have to substantively match the U.S. incentive program, at least on a per capita basis.

How many cars are we talking about, anyway?
That’s a good question. What we do know is that Democrats have earmarked US$100 billion to retail incentives for EVs. What we don’t know is how much the individual incentives will be. All manner of numbers have been bandied about, all the way up to — and this is real U.S. greenbacks, remember — $10,000 per EV. Until the legislation passes the Senate — if it passes — we won’t know the exact number. But some back-of-the-napkin calculations says that if our Yankee friends allot the same five grand per EV that we do, that US$100 billion would incentivize 20 million new cars or so. For a little perspective, that’s significantly more cars than were sold in the U.S. all of last year (about 17 million cars and light-duty trucks were sold in pre-COVID 2019). 

Even if the subsidy is bumped to US$10,000 — as Wedbush analyst Dan Ives projects — that still represents subsidizing more than seven per cent of all auto sales in the U.S. to the tune of about a quarter of the average transaction price of a new vehicle in 2020. Similar numbers in Canada would be about $10 billion (compared with the picayune $300 million the Liberal committed so far) to subsidize about six per cent of all the cars we Canadians will buy over the next 10 years. Yes, now would be the time to be saying “wow!”

Price parity, fooh!
This would also mean, if you happen to live in either Ontario or California, that, by the time 2030 comes around, EVs will have been subsidized for a minimum of 20 years. At the very least, then, the Biden announcement — and the Canadian version soon to follow — puts paid to the long-promised silliness that battery-powered cars will be cost-competitive with ICE-powered vehicles any day soon. You can’t, on the one hand, say that US$100 billion — or my estimated $10 billion here — is needed to boost sales over the next 10 years and then, in the same breath, claim price parity is already here. 

Nor, and this might be the scariest aspect of the whole discussion, has there been any discussion that 2030 will spell the end of these subsidies. Ten years into this now, I think it’s safe to say that, should EV sales not meet expectations, we’ll simply throw even more money at the problem. Our governments are drunken frat boys at a Las Vegas roulette table, and the croupier’s décolletage, it seems, is particularly low. 

It’s not really about the environment
Lost in all the hype about the huge support for electric vehicles — there’s a further US$15 billion to install some 500,000 charging stations — is that the US$100 billion earmarked for EV subsidization is destined for American-built electric vehicles only. Indeed the White House’s FACT Sheet: The American Jobs Plan, clearly states that the program will “give consumers point of sale rebates and tax incentives to buy American-made EVs.” In other words — and sorry for overstating the obvious — foreign-built zero-emissions vehicles won’t qualify.

So, the big question then becomes what will qualify as an “American-made EV?” From a Canadian perspective, I’ll assume we’re all hoping that the bromance so obviously blossoming between Biden and Trudeau means that Ford’s Oakville-built EVs will skate across the border tariff-free. Will foreign automakers transplant factories to North America to cash in on Biden’s largesse? It will be a difficult calculation. Yes, US$100 billion is a big number, but, then, so is the price tag associated with building a giga-factory. Will Canada get some love? Will we see any of those potential transplants north of the border?

Political polemics
Whether we like talking about it in a Motor Mouth column or not, the biggest risk to all this environmentally concerned largesse is politics, namely the polemics that increasing grip agendas in North America. Automakers like — nay, require — consistent, long-term policies so they can plan and develop their products for the next 10 and even 20 years. When an automaker says it is stopping selling internal-combustion engines — as Jaguar (2025), Volvo (2030), and General Motors (2035) have done — it means that they probably stopped developing those powertrains five to eight years before. In other words, if true to their stated commitments, Jaguar has already pulled the plug on its ICE lab, Volvo would be about to, and GM is not all that far behind. If Biden is able to enact the American Jobs Plan, but it was to be rescinded four — or even eight — years hence, it would be a debacle for any automaker sticking its (EV) neck out a little too far. 

And, if the GOP were to get their way, you know it would do everything in its power to gut every little bit of environmentalism out of this legislation. More importantly, anyone thinking a Republican resurgence is impossible just didn’t learn the lessons of 2016. Closer to home, it might be fashionable — considering how often he’s stepped on his johnson with impunity — to start thinking Trudeau invincible. But the history of Canadian politics is littered with superheroes once thought invulnerable. Whatever the future holds, it’s important to understand that this climate change bonhomie might well be ephemeral.

Besides, incentives aren’t effective
So here’s the latest twist on this incentive debate: According to Jianwei Xing, Benjamin Leard, and Shanjun Li, who co-authored a paper called What does an electric vehicle replace, “70 per cent of the [EV] credits were obtained by households that would have bought an electric vehicle without the credits.” I’m not sure I agree, but the National Bureau of Economic Research’s assertion that an “EV subsidy program is regressive, as higher-income households benefit more from the subsidy because they are more likely to purchase EVs and thus claim the subsidy” seems spot-on considering the number of Teslas — and now Taycans — prowling the streets.

An even more interesting finding was that fully 79 per cent of EVs replaced ICE-engine cars with significantly higher-than-average fuel economy (27.2 US miles per US gallon) and that another 12 per cent replace hybrids sipping 45 mpg. According to the authors, “If we had simply assumed that each EV replaces an average gasoline vehicle of 23 mpg, we would have overestimated the environmental benefits of EVs by 39 percent.” It also suggests that, had they not been incentivized to buy an EV, those moved forward by incentives might have instead bought a hybrid.

Add it all up and this money might well be better spent elsewhere. Which, I think, pretty much sums up the history of governments everywhere, doesn’t it?

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