According to new research, the lockdown has altered our perception of time. Those who were more satisfied with their social lives reported that time was passing more quickly than usual, while those who were unsatisfied found it went by slower. Civic engagement is one index of personal satisfaction. Ken Boessenkool, Sean Speer, and James Wielgosz propose that we need to rebalance civil society and the role of government.
Amidst a heatwave last week, millions of Californians were denied electrical power and thus air conditioning. Recurring blackouts suggest the tens of billions Californians have spent on “transitioning” from fossil fuel and nuclear energy to renewables come with high human, economic and environmental costs. Peter Shawn Taylor looks at why a nationally coordinated climate change policy long seemed unlikely in Canada.
U.S. President Barack Obama said he rejected the Keystone XL pipeline because the Alberta oilsands crude it would have carried is “dirtier” than other oil and because America doesn’t need it. Actually, oil produced in California and Alaska and imports from poorly regulated countries generate higher upstream emissions than oil sands crude. So that was a “green herring”. Obama was on somewhat firmer ground in saying more Canadian imports weren’t needed to ensure U.S. energy security. Christopher Sands and Jesse Barnett examine the boom in U.S. energy production and decline in consumption that slaked America’s thirst for Canadian oil.
Celeste McGovern has covered foreign aid and development issues as a journalist for over two decades. She was in Rio in 1997 when Canada’s Maurice Strong, “the man who invented climate change”, and a few like-minded global governance schemers introduced the “Earth Charter”, a sort of environmental 10 commandments for ending capitalism and saving the planet. The Paris Climate Summit was the biggest green gabfest yet, McGovern writes, but these things are like soap operas. Lots of drama and new episodes every few years, but not much really changes.
Canada produces far more natural gas than we consume, and for decades we have sold all the surplus to the United States. But the shale gas boom in the U.S. has pummelled prices and demand. New opportunities abound for Canadian liquefied natural gas exports to the emerging economies of the Pacific, but we’re way behind competitors like Australia and the U.S. in building the LNG ports needed to tap those markets. The usual Canadian suspects, government regulation and red tape, have a lot to do with that, writes Andrew Pickford. Like the Mackenzie Valley pipeline debacle of the 1970s, it’s shaping up as another big missed opportunity for Canada’s energy sector.
It is estimated that there are 3.5 million kilometres of pipelines in the world today. This vast network has expanded rapidly in recent years, driven by demand for hydrocarbons used in power generation, transportation, heating and cooling, and manufacturing. But in Canada, four big pipelines that could increase our energy self-sufficiency and exports have been stalled by environmental protests and politics. Without them Canadian energy will be landlocked in a continental market that is awash in U.S. oil. The economic consequences of that, writes Paul Stanway, should be much more frightening than our present pipeline phobia.
Only Nixon could go to China they said of the former U.S. president’s history-changing outreach to Chinese Communist dictator Mao Zedong in 1972. Now it seems that only a new NDP government in Alberta with an ambitious plan to reduce carbon emissions and a new Liberal prime minister in Ottawa with an unequivocal commitment to fighting climate change can obtain a “social licence” for Canada’s beleaguered oil industry. Given how little licence was obtained during the Harper Conservative era, writes Dale Eisler, the new approach is worth a try.
C2C Journal editor Paul Bunner opens the 2015 Winter Edition with a preview of its timely theme – energy and the environment. As the massive global climate change summit opens in Paris, Canada’s energy-fuelled economy is in dire straits. Oil and gas prices are down, taxes and regulations are up, job losses are mounting, and investment is fleeing to jurisdictions where it is actually possible to get pipelines and other energy infrastructure built. Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s dream of making Canada an “energy superpower” has stalled, and his successors are trying to keep the oil flowing by putting a generous coat of green lipstick on our energy pig. Let us pray that it gets the global warmists off our case.
Stephen Harper arrived in office in 2006 vowing to make Canada an “energy superpower”. Despite unrelenting pressure from his legions of environmental critics, as prime minister he pushed hard to advance that objective, especially with the oilsands. In the end he presided over substantial growth in several energy sectors including, ironically, solar and wind. But as Naomi Christensen writes, the Harper decade that began with such optimism and ambition for Canadian energy development ended in an energy recession. His successors are blaming him, of course, but as with mutineers on a becalmed ship, the crew will eventually come for them too if the winds don’t change.