Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Let’s reduce the world’s total emissions

Dylan Jones
President and CEO of Canada West Foundation

The following speech was presented to the annual symposium of The Energy Council, in Regina, Sask., on June 20, 2014.

As you all know, the greatest challenge to the further development of energy resources is climate change. My remarks today are going to be about why our current approach on climate change will fail and what we can do about it.

But before I do that, I want to tell you a bit about the foundation I lead. The Canada West Foundation is one of Canada’s great think tanks. We focus on the long-term prosperity of western Canada. You could name any important topic, and we have likely researched it, commented on it, stimulated debate about it, and made practical recommendations to improve it.

Our Centre for Natural Resources Policy champions the responsible development of the West’s abundant resources. Our Centre for Human Capital Policy champions the development of a skilled and productive workforce. And with our Centre on Trade and Investment Policy, we are broadening our work to North America and the globe.

I hope a desire to act together is why you are in Regina this week, representing 16 jurisdictions, engaging on the common challenges and opportunities you face. And when it comes to one of the greatest challenges of our time – how to achieve carbon reductions as world energy demand explodes – it is only through joint effort that success will be possible.

Because the way we have been thinking about leadership on this file is fundamentally flawed. No single state, province, country, or continent can solve this problem on its own. But it is not Mission Impossible, either. Two decades ago [1991], North America came together to forge an agreement to deal with acid rain. Were we successful? Discounting two seconds ago, when was the last time any one of you heard acid raid mentioned in the news, or anywhere for that matter?

The challenge of greenhouse gas emissions is, of course, even larger.

Today, the world’s top five emitters are a diverse group. China leads the pack, producing 29 per cent of global emissions. The U.S. remains in second, contributing 16 per cent, followed by the Europe at 11 per cent, India at six per cent, and Russia at five.

Clearly, emissions are coming from a mix of OECD and non-OECD countries. But, a shift is happening. And it’s rapidly changing the global picture.

Take India, for example. At a glance, its contribution of six per cent to global emissions does not seem overly significant. In fact, it produces only three times as much as Canada [2%] – and we are not a big contributor. Yet, since 2002, India’s carbon emissions have increased by 75 per cent. Let’s compare that to what is happening here. In 2012, emissions in the U.S decreased by four per cent. In Canada, our economy grew by 6.3 per cent between 2005 and 2010, but our emissions decreased more -- by 6.5 per cent.

Then there is China, which emits more carbon each year than the U.S and Canada put together – almost twice as much. China’s carbon emissions have increased by 150 per cent since 2002. In the past decade, its average annual growth in emissions has been 10 per cent. Clearly, increases in emissions from China and India are, today, the largest source of increases in global emissions. As President Obama said in January, if China and India keep growing emissions like this, "we’ll be four feet under water" -- which I must say sounds a lot snappier than "under 1.2 metres of water" as we would say in Canada!

The trend couldn’t be more clear. By 2040, on our current trajectory, non-OECD countries will produce 70 per cent of global emissions and those emissions will be perilously high.

So what to do about it? One approach advanced by the environmental movement is to try to shut down development of emerging economies by denying them access to critical resources such as oil.

Right now, nearly half of the world’s population survives on less than $2 a day. We can’t even buy a cup of coffee for that much in North America. So think of the impact industrialization will have on people living in those conditions.

For the first time, mere existence will no longer need to be their primary concern. Citizens will have access to better and proper diets and shelter. As incomes rise, people will buy and consume more meat and dairy products, and with industrialization, people will have access to health care, education, social services, manufactured goods, and much more.

This will, in turn, stabilize the global population. After all, there is a direct relationship between income and family size. When health conditions improve, people lose fewer offspring and are less dependent on descendants to care for them in old age, and so they have fewer children. In developed countries where women have many opportunities to work outside the home, they start families later in life and typically fewer children.

A rapid decline in the average number of children per mother in countries like India is already well in evidence. And in contrast to the lowest income countries which continue to have high birth rates, wealthy countries now have birth rates so low that a decline of their populations is basically guaranteed.

But while the industrialization of emerging economies presents an opportunity for the global population to stabilize, it also presents a massive risk to the planet. Industrializing the developed world will bring about a tremendous increase in consumption. Ecosystems all over the world are already shrinking to make way for homes, farms and factories. This is the reality we face.

But can we really say that the moral answer is to try to deny the people of the world the opportunity to develop by denying them access to energy?

How could we say to the one billion kids living in poverty in developing nations – that’s every second child in the world, by the way – that they should be satisfied with the $39 a month they may receive from World Vision? That running water, a pair of shoes, or a place to go to school is too much to ask for? How could we tell their mothers they cannot access protein to feed their families a better diet? Or electricity to heat their homes? Or medicine for their ageing parents? Just to protect our own comfortable lifestyles.

This approach is like being at an all-you-can-eat bonanza, walking back from the buffet table for the tenth time and saying to the poor starving folks you pass outside the restaurant, "Sorry, but we have determined it would not be in our collective interest to allow you to join in."

Too many westerners have adopted this ridiculous mindset. And not only is it wrong, it's also impossible. The emerging economies are going to get energy whether we like it or not. We all know that. The real questions are from where and will they use an energy mix less destructive than the one we used during our industrialization.

So, shutting down pipelines and other ways of accessing resources isn't the answer. What about the Kyoto Protocol?

When countries around the world first began to consider that the ever increasing amount of pollution being pumped into the air was causing a problem that would multiply as emissions rise, most countries understood that this is a global issue. However, developing nations, understandably, told the developed countries – you created the problem, and you must take on the bulk of the responsibility for it. Therefore, the Kyoto agreement placed the major reduction commitments squarely on the shoulders of the industrialized world.

The language of the final accord recognized "that developed countries are principally responsible for the current high levels of GHG emissions in the atmosphere as a result of more than 150 years of industrial activity" and agreed to place a heavier burden on developed nations under the principle of "common but differentiated responsibilities."

What Kyoto ignored was the net effect of creating highly differentiated regimes. This net effect has been for major sources of emissions to simply relocate to the developing world. In other words, the emissions moved but were not reduced.

From a global perspective, both developed and developing nations need to own this issue, and both need to contribute to the solution. Developed nations have historically been the large emitters but due to their much larger populations, it will not take long for the developing world -- if it industrializes as we have -- to surpass our overall emissions. This is truly a shared problem.

There is actually no greater risk to the environment of the planet than they Kyoto mindset -- the irrational fixation on our own emissions, rather than the global problem – and opportunity – as the global population rises out of poverty.

And this will not be easy. No country, no government, wants to spend money to reduce someone else’s emissions. And yet, this is exactly what we will need to do. But we will also need to engage with the emerging economies about the critical role they will need to play.

The industrial revolution in the emerging economies has what the original did not, and that is technological know-how that exists right here, right now in North America. This is what will play a pivotal role in getting things right this time around.
We know the energy systems of developing countries, like ours, rely on fossil fuels. It would be hypocritical to tell them, or force them, to switch to other sources when in North America we ourselves are still struggling to make renewable energy economically viable. The total abandonment of fossil fuels is at this point a non-starter.

What will matter is affordable technology. Clean coal technology, conversion to natural gas, improving efficiencies in base and intermittent power sources, and reasonably priced renewables – we’ve been focusing on these things in our own jurisdictions, and their real importance is on a global scale.

Boundary Dam is the largest coal-fired power plant in the province of Saskatchewan. Coal-fired power generation also happens to be the major source of electricity in the largest developing countries. Not surprisingly, it also produces nearly one-quarter of the world's carbon emissions.

China relies on coal-fired power, too. Nearly 70 per cent of China’s coal-fired plants were built in the last 10 years, with plans to add three more per month through to the end of 2016. Cutting emissions through carbon capture will be essential in the short term. As you heard in the case of the Boundary Dam, a retrofit can add thirty years to the lifespan of a plant and – with carbon capture technology – also greatly reduce emissions. Perfecting this technology and marketing it to the massive number of new coal plants coming online in developing countries, as well as older units found throughout the world, is a prime example of a meaningful, and measureable, way in which knowledge developed in North America can be part of the solution of reducing global emissions.

And ironically, this extraordinary contribution would never show up as a credit to Saskatchewan’s environmental record for people captured by the Kyoto mindset.

Everyone cares tremendously about the price of energy, and they should. It affects our cost of living. It affects the cost of manufacturing. It affects our ability to compete. The recent and widespread conversion of coal to natural gas for power in the United States has been market driven, and fueled by the extraordinarily low price of natural gas. The low cost of this power source makes it hugely attractive. And as a cleaner source than other fossil fuels, it has the added benefit of reducing carbon emissions. The conversion to natural gas as a relatively cheap source of energy has also, as you know, been one of the key factors in the re-shoring of manufacturing back to North America.

Natural gas in the form of shale gas has been found all around the world. And it is Canadians and Americans who have developed the technology to extract it, and who have been safely doing so for decades.

North America has a lot to bring to the table in terms of useful knowledge that could be exported to developing countries, knowledge that would both boost their economies and keep their emissions from rising as high as is projected. And that is responsible action.

It will also be vital to continue to deploy and reduce the commercial cost of renewable technologies. But with respect to these technologies, we have to acknowledge that cost matters and stop using green economy as a banner for ill-conceived job creation strategies that just lead to expensive, unexportable products.

What is not responsible is the environmental narcissism that has taken hold of North America. The idea that our own emissions are what matters most is both false and dangerous.

The public recognizes the danger of rising greenhouse gases and is demanding solutions. Unfortunately, for some, the only choice they see is stopping development. Protesting or signing a petition provides instant gratification, feeds into latent NIMBYism and – since it is presented with no consideration to the cost or pain – what’s not to like? Especially when the choice of action is presented as a moral imperative – save the planet, save your children’s future, do the right thing.

The problem is, stopping resource development in North America will not save the planet, will not create a future for our children, and will not show leadership. It will actually do just the opposite.

Many sub-national governments are doing a lot to reduce emissions, but how much of an effect can New Brunswick or Wyoming really have when China’s emissions have increased one hundred fifty per cent in less than fourteen years?

Compare that trend to the current "bĂȘte noir" of the environmental movement – the oil sands. Emissions from the oil sands constitute 0.1 per cent of the worldwide total. Between the nearly 50 companies operating in the oil sands and the many different avenues through which the Government of Alberta makes investments, billions of dollars are poured into technologies to extract the resource in cleaner ways and to protect and reclaim the environment. Certainly, these investments are good for the province and a very good thing to do, but how much is all this investment actually contributing to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions? I think you know the answer to that.

We need to shift the conversation about solutions back to a global perspective. We need to move away from the Kyoto mentality of throwing vast amounts of money and effort at small, local problems, and focus on how investments in mechanisms like innovative technology can have a wide-reaching – beyond that, a global – impact on reducing emissions.

We must reject the mindset that we can deny the people of the developing world the basic resources they need to prosper.

And we need to stop adopting policies that simply move industries and emissions beyond our own borders.

Please do not feel any guilt whatsoever about discussing how to grow your own production of energy resources that the world desperately needs. Do, however, give great attention to how you can better contribute to reducing emissions on a global scale. And as you travel from here and go on with your business, champion greater multilateral engagement – I mean engagement with the emerging economies – on how we can work together to tackle the real climate change issue, which is the industrialization of the broader world.

North America has an incredible opportunity to be a leader. This will ironically require much less attention on our own environmental performance and focusing much more attention on how we can help the world beyond our borders. We can stop shooting ourselves in the feet and start aiming for targets that matter. And when we do so, I have no doubt that we will find success.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Blocking Canadian Oil - The New Cold War

From MNP, Oilfeild Service News June 24, 2014

By: David Yager, National Leader, Oilfield Services

Russia Secretly Funding Anti-Frac Movement? 


It’s right out of a James Bond movie. A news story in the June 20 Financial Post was titled, “Russia in secret plot against fracking, warns NATO chief”. NATO. North Atlantic Treaty Organization. You know, the quasi-military alliance of western powers formed to protect Europe from a Russian invasion. NATO secretary general Andres Rasmussen was quoted as saying, “I have met with allies who can report that Russia, as part of their sophisticated information and disinformation operations, engaged actively with so-called non-governmental organizations – environmental organizations working against shale gas – to maintain Europe on imported Russian gas. That is my interpretation”. 

The idea that other producing jurisdictions are exploiting Canada’s open and transparent society to lobby against growing our oil and gas production is not new. It has been rumored for years that some of the opposition to oilsands development has been secretly funded from the Middle East, particularly Qatar. No proof exists. After scouring through U.S. and Canadian tax returns, researcher Vivian Krause has written many articles in the Financial Post about where Canadian environmental opponents of Northern Gateway get their funding. She links this to major U.S. foundations like Pew and Rockefeller that, paradoxically, got their fortunes from the oil industry (Sun Oil and Standard Oil respectively). Others have written that aboriginal opposition to offshore export pipelines and shale gas development in New Brunswick has been funded outside of Canada. 

The motives on oilsands and Northern Gateway are clear. International producers want stop the oilsands because growing production suppresses the world price and shrinks the North American import market. American interests apparently don’t want to see Canada develop international export markets because they like depressed North American prices and they like the idea of Canada’s oilsands only being available to U.S. consumers, if and when and it is required.

Gas is a different story. The recent political turmoil in Ukraine has highlighted the fact that Europe gets about 1/3 of its gas from Russia. Prices are about three times higher than in North America where fracking for shale gas has collapsed the price. While many oil companies have wanted to develop shale gas in various European countries, the anti-fracking movement seems to have come out of nowhere and managed to shut down development almost everywhere but England. In that country protests against fracking are routine despite the government being publicly in favor of shale gas production.

Many have written how oil and gas have become economic weapons in the 21st century. Any sort of war is general accompanied by subterfuge of some sort. Is it true? Not sure. Is it patently false? Harder question to answer.

Northern Gateway - What History Tells Us...

From MNP, Oilfeild Service News June 24, 2014

By: David Yager, National Leader, Oilfield Services

Northern Gateway Approval an Important Step, Outcome Remains Unknown


The federal government did the logical thing on June 18th when it ratified the National Energy Board’s (NEB) decision on the approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline, subject of course to the sponsors meeting the NEB’s short list of 209 conditions. 

The reaction from all sides was predictable. Those who support the project applauded. Those opposed threatened court challenges, obstruction and possibly civil disobedience. This odyssey is approaching ten years with more years assured. Some predict oil will flow by 2017. Others say never.

The current Canadian record for pipeline approvals is Mackenzie Valley which took over three decades from concept in 1973 to approval in 2010. A 2010 CBC News report indicated the Mackenzie Valley gas pipeline was 37 years from proposal to approval. By the time it got the green light the price of natural gas had collapsed, sinking the project’s economics. Hopefully, that record will stand for all time. 

What is not known is where the public stands. The position of proponents and opponents is clear. But both sides only represent a small fraction of the population. The outcome of public opinion polls really depends upon the question. If somebody asks “Do you support a pipeline that will spill oil on the pristine west coast?” the answer is no. If the question was, “Do you oppose Northern Gateway if not building it costs you your job?” Another matter entirely.

Politically the lines are drawn. The Conservative Party and Prime Minister Stephen Harper are clearly supportive. But the day it was announced the leaders of the federal NDP and Liberal parties declared this a terrible decision. With a federal election slated for the fall of 2015, Northern Gateway could become an election issue. This is along the lines of the 1988 election where Prime Minister Brian Mulroney’s Progressive Conservative government went to the polls over the Free Trade Agreement with the United States. This too was vocally opposed by many; the end of Canada as we know it but for different reasons. Mulroney won the election indicating that most Canadians will vote with their wallets if the question is clear. If the next federal election is in part about Northern Gateway, then we’ll know for sure which of the two polarized positions is acceptable to Canadians

Looking south of the border, there is strong evidence of the degree to which the public wants one thing while governments do another. The refusal of the White House to approve Keystone XL is frustrating for most Canadians up to and including the Prime Minister. U.S. protests against KXL – which is even in TV ads slagging TransCanada’s CEO – would lead many to believe this pipeline is not something America wants.

To read the news you’d believe there was broad opposition to Northern Gateway.

But polls conducted in the past year indicate over half to two-thirds of Americans want to see KXL approved. An even greater percentage support buying more oil from Canada compared to other non- American suppliers. In fact they are surprised when they learn Canada is now America’s largest international oil supplier. Again, it depends upon the question. Support has declined somewhat in the past year as more voters understand how much U.S. domestic production has increased. But if an election were held in the U.S. on this issue alone, President Obama would lose. 

The court challenges and posturing will continue for some time. Enbridge, the pipeline’s sponsor, will work diligently to shorten the list of conditions and build bridges with those opposed, particularly First Nations. Pipeline alternatives to Northern Gateway are emerging, ranging from projects with aboriginal sponsorship to giant upgrader/refineries that will ensure no bitumen is ever shipped by tanker, only refined products like gasoline and diesel fuel.

NEB and now federal approval are important steps. Stay tuned. 

Keystone XL and President Obama: history, science and his legacy

From The School of Public Policy, University of Calgary

By: Robert Skinner

Canada and the United States have generally been on the same side of history in confronting threats to our shared values and interests.   We have therefore often found common strategic purpose in developing oil and gas pipeline infrastructure.

In the 1940s, just weeks after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the two governments agreed on plans to build the Canol Pipeline from Imperial Oil’s Norman Wells field in the Mackenzie Valley to Whitehorse in the Yukon, and on to the Alaskan coast to support the war effort against Japan, which at the time had gained the upper hand in the Pacific war.

In the early 1950s, during the Korean War, the U.S. government determined that oil supply to the west coast was at risk and asked Canada for assistance.  The Canadian Parliament passed an Act to expedite the approval and construction of the Trans Mountain Oil Pipeline from Edmonton Alberta over the mountains of British Columbia to the refineries in Washington State’s Puget Sound.

In the sixties, Canada agreed to a higher, US-set oil price west of the Ottawa Valley in order to maintain access to the U.S. oil market for the surge of oil from new oil fields in Alberta following the Leduc discovery.  The U.S. reluctantly made this exception to its restrictive oil import policy aimed at protecting its oil industry in the lower 48 states.  It was not lost on Washington that US companies produced most of the new Alberta oil so the US agreed to limited imports.

In the seventies, on the eve of Jimmy Carter’s inauguration on January 20 1977, with 90% of Lake Michigan frozen over, snow fell on Miami for the first time in history.  During that extraordinarily cold winter Canada approved emergency exports of natural gas to keep US schools and hospitals open.   Later that year, recognizing the strategic importance of natural gas, Canada and the US signed the Treaty on Principles Applicable to a Northern Natural Gas Pipeline and Canada subsequently passed legislation to expedite construction of an Alaskan Natural Gas Transportation System (ANGTS) across Canada.  While the ANGTS was never built, Canada agreed to build Phase I, the so-called Prebuild in 1982, consisting of two large diameter pipelines to Chicago and San Francisco transporting western Canadian gas to in effect write down part of the eventual cost of the Alaskan system.

In the late eighties Canada and the US signed the Free Trade Agreement that gave the US access to all of Canada’s oil and agreed to pro-rate exports in the event of government-inspired cutbacks.  The US for its part reluctantly granted Canada access to no more than 50,000 b/d of Alaskan crude, the only American source then likely to be of interest to Canada—provided it was shipped in US-flagged tankers.

In the nineties we reconfirmed the FTA in NAFTA.   Today, with Mexico re-opening its hydrocarbon sector, the U.S. stands out on the continent as not much of a free trader when it comes to oil.  Its refusal to lift the 40 year old ban on crude oil exports stands in stark contrast with the policies of its NAFTA partners.

This brings us to the Keystone XL pipeline, a major strategic project for Canada and for the United States.  It would allow more exports to the US Gulf Coast, bolstering continental energy independence—a long standing objective of US energy policy.  But its approval has been stalled for half a decade. President Obama declared last June that approval will be predicated on whether it “will significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution”.   Let’s examine that condition—objectively.  If all 170 billion barrels of oil sands reserves were produced at once using current technologies, the total resulting emissions would equal 157 days of the world’s emissions, or five years’ of the US’s.  So, the pipeline would not exacerbate ‘carbon pollution’.  The oil would also back out imports from Venezuela and Saudi Arabia.  So, from scientific and strategic perspectives Keystone XL makes sense to America.

And might we be encouraged by the President’s avowed principle of making decisions based on science?  On March 9, 2009 when signing the Executive Order allowing stem cell research, he said,

“[Promoting science] is about letting scientists …do their jobs, free from manipulation or coercion, and listening to what they tell us, even when it’s inconvenient — especially when it’s inconvenient.  It is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda — and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology”. 

As President Obama reflects on the facts about the Keystone XL pipeline and whether its denial will be his legacy, he should consider a much longer legacy—that of the long-standing relationship between our two countries in confronting threats to our continental strategic and energy interests.  To lightly dismiss that long history of cooperation would say far more about the United States than most Americans would want.

Monday, 23 June 2014

Trans Mountain Expansion Onstream Late 2017, Northern Gateway Not Till 2025: Wood Mac

From the Daily Oil Bulletin

By: Pat Roche

In Canada’s four-way bitumen pipeline race, Trans Mountain will finish first, Northern Gateway will finish last and either Keystone XL or Energy East won’t get built.

After prefacing his remarks with the caveat that no one knows what will happen, this was how Wood Mackenzie analyst Michael Wojciechowski predicted the race will finish.

“Everybody needs to have a base case and this is our base case. Certainly open to debate and discussion,” the Houston-based energy analyst told a press briefing in Calgary on Friday. “But there are other scenarios that may be … equally as plausible.”

Trans Mountain first out the gate


The British-based global consultancy expects Kinder Morgan’s expansion of the existing Trans Mountain pipeline across the Rockies to be in service first because the route follows an existing right-of-way.

However, Wojciechowski cautioned this doesn’t guarantee successful negotiations with First Nations or clear the way for construction of an export terminal on the West Coast.

“Those are still challenges to be overcome. But in our view, we see that that could come to market in late 2017,” he said.

Keystone approval in 2015


After about seven years of waiting, TransCanada Corporation’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline connecting Alberta bitumen with the U.S. Gulf Coast will get U.S. presidential approval in 2015, Wood Mac believes.

“[In] our base case, we see Keystone XL being passed in the new year, past the midterm elections,” Wojciechowski said. “And from that approval, about a ... 2 1/2- to three-year process to build that pipeline and get that up and operational.”

(According to Wikipedia, U.S. elections are being held throughout 2014, with general elections scheduled for November. During this midterm election year, all 435 seats in the House of Representatives and 33 of the 100 seats in the Senate will be contested.)

The curse of being last


If Trans Mountain and Keystone XL proceed first, that will delay Enbridge Inc.’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline to the West Coast until the middle of next decade, Wojciechowski said.

Northern Gateway received federal Cabinet approval on June 17 with 209 conditions. Immediately after the announcement Enbridge president Al Monaco said that while Northern Gateway could possibly be in service by late 2018, it could be later than that, depending on a number of things that could happen over the next 12 to 15 months (DOB, June 18, 2014).

Wood Mac’s prediction that Northern Gateway will be built last is based on its assumption that Trans Mountain and Keystone XL will be built first, and that the combined capacity of those two pipelines will meet Alberta’s bitumen export needs till about 2025.

“The market doesn’t need it until the middle of the next decade,” Wojciechowski said of the outlook for Northern Gateway if Trans Mountain and Keystone XL are built first.

Securing shipper commitments is one of the 209 conditions for Northern Gateway, he said, adding that if Trans Mountain and Keystone proceed, Enbridge will be hard pressed to find the extra barrels needed for Northern Gateway to go ahead before about 2025.

Such a scenario — pipeline capacity temporarily exceeding shipper needs — would be a welcome reversal of fortune for Alberta’s bitumen producers after several years of inadequate capacity.

“If you get two [bitumen export pipelines built] before the end of the decade, you’re going to outstrip supply and have more takeaway capacity than there is barrels to fill that capacity. That’s when things become a little bit more interesting,” Wojciechowski said.

“That’s when differentials should really recover. That’s when competition will re-enter the market.”

Asked on Friday to respond to the Wood Mac scenario that Northern Gateway won’t come onstream till about 2025, Enbridge neither agreed nor disagreed with the prediction.

“The business case for Northern Gateway is predicated upon accessing the highest margin markets in the world to yield higher returns to our shippers,” the company said in an emailed statement. “Canada lacks access to these international markets and Northern Gateway seeks to provide that option for our shippers for the betterment of our customers, the various levels of governments and all Canadians. Northern Gateway continues to have strong commercial support for the project. Our funding partners, along with Enbridge, have provided significant investments to see the project through the regulatory process.”

Energy East: either/or


Where does this leave TransCanada’s proposed Energy East pipeline to central Canada and New Brunswick?

Here’s how Wojciechowski believes TransCanada is thinking as it awaits a U.S. decision on Keystone XL: “If they’re not getting a ‘yes,’ then they’re going to assume a ‘no’ and continue to progress another alternative — in this case, Energy East. If they get a decision on Keystone XL, then they’ll know very clearly what they’re going to do here. But if they don’t get Keystone XL, they’ll put all of their resources into an Energy East option.”

So if Keystone XL gets the green light — as Wood Mac expects, then Energy East will be shelved, he believes.

That said, Wood Mac believes Energy East has some advantages over the other three pipelines.

“It’s the project probably with the clearest path to completion — whether it’s ... regulatory approvals or First Nations discussions,” Wojciechowski said.

Also boosting Energy East’s fortunes, he said, are its planned use of vast stretches of existing pipeline, and the fact that the route is entirely within Canada, and hence will avoid the U.S. regulatory quagmire that immobilized Keystone XL.

“And if you think about [Energy East] on a cost basis, it’s actually fairly cost effective,” Wojciechowski said.

But compared with Keystone XL, Energy East isn’t the most economic option, he said. That's because Energy East shippers who want to reach the U.S. Gulf Coast would be saddled with the extra $2-to-$3-a-bbl cost of putting their oil on an international tanker.

“So it’s the one that you can see the clearest path for. But it’s not the most economically optimum path to the market. And that’s where Keystone XL — the bullet line straight to the Gulf Coast — achieves an efficiency that Energy East can’t,” Wojciechowski said.

Costs per mile


Based on capital costs per mile, Energy East would be the cheapest of the four proposed pipelines while Northern Gateway would be most expensive, he said.

Wojciechowski cited the rising cost of construction and the fact that Energy East will use a lot of repurposed existing pipeline.

He said Enbridge’s original Alberta Clipper and TransCanada’s Keystone base projects were built for roughly $3 million per mile, but Enbridge’s Line 3 construction is about $7 million per mile.

The cost to complete Keystone XL — from Hardesty to Nebraska and connecting to the southern portion that’s already built — is estimated at about $4.5 million to $5 million a mile, he said.

Looking at the two West Coast options, he said Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain expansion along an existing right-of-way is about $8.5 million per mile while Enbridge’s Northern Gateway is almost $11 million.

Comparing Keystone XL and Energy East, Wojciechowski said Keystone XL is still the most economical way to get to the U.S. Gulf Coast because there’s no need to connect with waterborne tankers. But he said Energy East would give shippers the option of reaching Europe, or even Asia once the Panama Canal expansion is finished.

“So it’s not the worst idea,” he said of Energy East. “It’s just that in the grand scheme of optimizing economies, it’s not the most optimum.”

Social Costs of Carbon Dioxide a Climate Change Scam

By: Michelle Stirling-Anosh

Environmental Non-Governmental Organizations can't seem to stop themselves. 

Maybe it's time to heed the words of people such as U.K. MP Douglas Carswell ("We're spending money that we don't have to solve a problem that doesn't exist at the behest of people we didn't elect") rather than those of unelected and unaccountable ENGOs which continue to ramp up climate hysteria in an effort to induce government, industry and the public into agreeing to a carbon tax.

American ENGOs, for example, recently issued a report called Omitted Damages: The Social Costs of Carbon, which claimed the use of fossil fuels and the emission of "carbon pollution" (i.e.. carbon dioxide/CO2) will have disastrous consequences unless we take "climate action" now. They say carbon pollution costs society in terms of extreme weather, illness, deaths and displacement. 

Let's look at the facts:

According to a report called The Global Warming Extreme Weather Link by retired Environment Canada scientist/meteorologist Dr. Madhav Khandekar, the world has not experienced any trend in more extreme weather despite a rise in CO2. 

A comparison of CO2 emissions by country shows that industrialized countries enjoy significant benefits in health, wealth and standards of living. Modern medical interventions, warm, safe buildings and abundant food supply are all products of industrialized societies. 

As to the forecast of people being displaced by rising sea levels (back in 2005 the UN had forecast that there would be 50 million climate refugees by 2010, mostly due to sea level rise) there has actually been zero climate refugees. Of course, this hasn't stopped ENGOs from persisting in making crisis proclamations. 

ENGOs focus on alarmist rhetoric recently led Dr. Richard Tol, a Dutch economist at the University of Sussex, to very publicly withdraw from the IPCC Working Group II report writing team, saying: ". . .there are the positive benefits to climate change, but we are not always allowed to talk about it."

According to Tol, the increase in temperature of 0.74 degrees Celsius has led to an increase in global economic output by 1.4% or $11 trillion (U.S.) over the course of the 20th century. 

Another little discussed benefit of an increase in CO2 is it's "atmospheric enrichment" for our crop-growth-enhancement which has resulted in a greener world and an increase in crop yields by about 16% or $170 billion, according to an October 2013 report by Dr. Craig Idso, Chairman of the Board of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change. 

Even worse news for ENGOs, data from NASA's Clouds and Earth's Radiant Energy System (CERES) suggest that two-thirds of the 20th century warming was caused by natural factors, which are beyond our control and far more influential than human-made carbon dioxide. 

Unfortunately, it is not possible to tax natural factors, which may explain the ENGOs insistence on claiming a social cost of carbon (SSC) - in this case of some $24 to $37 (U.S.) per ton - which can then be used to capture "the benefit of reduced carbon pollution from a policy in terms of expenses avoided."

By putting a price on SCC, these ENGOs are undoubtedly hoping that industry may simply cave in to their rhetorical hysteria as a means of ending regulatory uncertainty. Hopefully, industry and business leaders will think twice before falling for this "social cost of carbon" scam. 

We don't have to look far to see the true cost of an ENGO model of low-carbon society.

It was, after all, David Suzuki and the Pembina Institute's study, Renewable is Doable, which pushed Ontario into implementing a low-carbon Green Energy Act (GEA), which was panned in a cost-benefit analysis by economist Ross McKitrick last April for the Fraser Institute. 

He concluded: ". . . the GEA path is currently 10 times costlier than the retrofit (of coal plants) option, and will eventually be 73 times costlier if pursued to the point of providing 4,800 MW of year-round generating capacity."

Governments in the E.U. and U.K., which have pursued stringent greenhouse gas reductions and low-carbon targets, have seen these policies impoverish citizens, ruin industry and destroy shareholder value in conventional utility companies. These countries now find themselves, like the Ontario government, facing the consequences. 

Considering that global warming stopped before Kyoto was even implemented, and that the rise of carbon dioxide over the past 16-plus years has not led to more global warming, isn't it time we reassessed the catastrophic scenarios of these climate change alarmists?

The fact is, the overall benefits of "carbon" for out-weigh the alleged social costs.

Michelle Stirling-Anosh is the Communications Manager of Friends of Science.

This column is courtesy of Troy Media (www.troymedia.com)

Monday, 9 June 2014

Can the World's Hockey Super-Power Stay at the Top?

With the start of the Stanley Cup Finals under way, I've considered the question: Why does it matter so much to Canadians? Well, for many Canadians, their favourite players or team may be involved, for some it’s simply something they’re interested in because they enjoy the sport to levels people in other countries rarely do, some may feel some sort of obligation to know what’s going on in the playoffs because it’s part of Canada’s heritage, and then there will be the individuals who watch or pay attention only to fit in with nearly everyone else in the country.

No matter what segmented audience you fit into, you’re more than likely to know a little bit about what’s going on. At least more so than what’s happening with the Blue Jays, who despite being in first in the AL East by five and a half games, many people probably have no idea.

During the playoffs, there is so much emphasis put on goaltending. I constantly hear statements such as: “Goaltending and defense is the most important part of a winning playoff team,” but it’s often the goaltending that gets blamed when the team’s defensive structure collapses and the team struggles to keep the puck out of the net.

A good example of the importance placed upon goaltenders during the playoffs is how there was so much pressure on Carey Price to perform or else the only Canadian team remaining would have their chances greatly diminished, and when Price got injured, the general consensus, from both fans of Montreal or just fans of the game, was that they were done.

The Rangers have reached the cup final because they have obviously played excellent hockey, but it’s hard to argue the main reason is because of their Swedish goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist. Lundqvist leads all goaltenders in SV%, and sits second in GAA only behind the Bruins Finnish goalie, Tuukka Rask. Meanwhile they don’t have anyone within the top 10 in points, goals, or plus/minus. It’s not a very difficult argument to make.

For the Kings, American goaltender, Jonathon Quick, has not been as dominant as he was on the Kings 2011/2012 Stanley Cup run, but it’s no doubt he’s one of the league’s top flight goaltenders who can steal you games. 

What does this mean for Canada and its goaltenders. No Canadian goaltenders in this year’s final, and the last two Canadian goaltenders to win the cup, Marc Andre Fleury and Corey Crawford, were behind two otherworldly talented teams. The Vezina trophy has been awarded to a Canadian goaltender not named Martin Brodeur once in the last twenty years, and that was Jose Theodore in 2001/2002. Why is the hockey super power of the world struggling to create top-flight NHL caliber goalies?

I refer to Canada as the hockey super power of the world despite the IIHF ranking them fourth. The IIHF make their rankings based on two things, results at the last Olympic Games, and results at the last four World Hockey Championships. I have some issues with this.

First off, countries receive the same point total for the Olympic gold and World Championship gold. I would argue that the Olympic gold holds significantly more value. It’s once every four years, and this creates pressure for the competing countries unlike anything at the World Championship, and it’s widely regarded as the biggest and most important tournament in International hockey. 

Secondly, countries can also acquire four times the amount of points at the World Championship than they can get from the Olympic Games in each four year cycle. On top of that, World Championships are held during the NHL playoffs, meaning every country isn’t properly represented.

Third, it also doesn’t take the World Junior Championship into consideration. Considering that they are measuring the long term success of each country, you feel as though the tournament where each country’s top young players are competing would be of some kind of importance.

The reasons above is why I believe the IIHF system is flawed, and I firmly believe Canada is the number one hockey nation, and not fourth as the IIHF has them. I base this on the past two Olympic gold’s they have won, and the vast amount of Canadians playing in the NHL. These numbers could be skewed somewhat due to the amount of non-Canadian players playing in other leagues such as the KHL, but it’s significant and needs to considered that Canadian players make up more than half of the NHL.

Personally, this is how I feel, but everyone is entitled to their opinion and judgement.

Now, back to the issue of Canada struggling to create top-flight goaltenders at the next level, and that’s something the CHL is trying to fix, but they might not be taking the best approach.

With a two European player per team rule already in effect, the CHL decided before last year’s annual CHL draft that European goaltenders were only allowed to be selected in the first round, and if they were not selected within the first round they have no other way of playing in the CHL. The CHL Board of Directors made this decision to create more playing time for Canadian goalies, which in turn will create more development time. 

"The goaltender position is the most important in our game," CHL president David Branch explained after the decision was made. "In partnership with Hockey Canada, the CHL has identified the need to further develop Canadian goaltenders by providing increased opportunities for them to compete in our league and succeed at the next level.”

Will opportunities to receive playing time increase for Canadian goalies, perhaps, but that does not solve the problem of a lack of development. CHL teams are playing to win, they will take the best players available. The opportunity for both the European goalie and the Canadian goalie to be used as a starter are both there, but if the European is better, they’ll take the European. The opportunity was there with the old system, but it allowed to the goalies to earn their spot, and get better through the idea of competing for a position. 

The new system is not fixing the problem about a lack of development, it’s simply reducing competition, which doesn’t foster growth for these goalies. It’s giving some goalies a spot, instead of letting them go get it. It doesn’t exactly embody the ideals of sport, especially a sport at a level of the CHL.

Looking at the big picture, it really is a shame the CHL has done this. Canada, the world’s hockey super-power, prevents European goalies to play in their league because the country fears other countries are catching up to them, and taking away playing time.

Instead of looking within their own system, identifying what is not working, and what they can do better, they just eliminate a portion of their competition. As I mentioned earlier, that’s the opposite of what sport is about: competition, self-improvement, fair-play, equality, hard work, etc. 

Eliminating your competition is useful is some cases, or some industries, or some situations, but sports simply is not one of those.

So, what does this mean for the development of goalies in Canada?

Well at this point, it doesn’t seem like they’re doing much outside of this rule to improve the state of goaltending within Canada. Poor goaltending has been the centre of the blame for Canada failing to win a gold medal at the World Junior Championship since 2009, and while they’ve won two consecutive gold medals at the Olympic Games, the players on those teams were the ones who we’re on the World Junior teams that dominated the latter part of the 2000’s. 

Does this mean the rest of the world is catching up to Canada? In goaltending it looks as though that’s already occurred, but even in other parts of the game it could be happening as well. Canada went through a similar stretch from 1998 – 2004 when they did not win a World Junior Championship after dominating from 1988 – 1997, but they rebounded to win five in a row starting in 2005.

Maybe these stretches are due to a rough period in terms of pure talent, but it’s more than likely that player development has had something to do it. Canada’s adjusted in the past, and they must do it again to stay at the top.

Dr. Steve Norris held the position pf Vice-President at Winsport Canada in Calgary, Alberta, and he played a pivotal role in the world-leading performance and development programming of high performance athletes, including those at the Olympic Games. 

He also previously worked as Director of Sport Physiology & Strategic Planning at the Canadian Sport Centre in Calgary where he was focused on Canada’s Winter Olympic teams for three three Olympic cycles (Salt Lake City 2002, Torino 2006, & Vancouver 2010). He worked with national coaches, and team officials to create programs that increased the likelihood of success on an international level.

In the past, he’s illustrated sports and player development with sand castles. There will always be the big beautiful sand castle, but if fails to move, evolve, and improve, someone else will take advantage of one’s stagnation and build a better one.

This also goes hand in hand with Norris’ mention of the Japanese Kaizen principle of constant improvement. “You constantly need to move your program forward otherwise others will set new standards,” he said. “This is what sport is all about.”

Canada currently has the biggest, and nicest sand castle in the hockey world, but if it fails to adjust and improve on the fly despite already being at the top, other nations will continue to creep up and challenge them.

The CHL rule and downward trend of Canadian goaltenders were used as examples of player development within the country failing to move forward and improve. If this trend continues into other positions and skills, then the gap between Canada and the rest of the world will continue to get smaller. 

Hockey means so much to this country, and that’s clear when you see portions of the country distraught at a team of under-20 males who fail to live to what seems like the insurmountable pressure placed upon them for a tournament that’s held every year. It would truly be a shame to see Canada’s player development be stagnant, have other countries challenge them at the top, and see international success decline.

Canada can prevent this, no doubt, but it will take more than simply eliminating competition from other countries in junior hockey to do so. It will take an ever-constant cycle of reform, change, improvement and development. 

Norris’ philosophies are not an exact science, and there is not one player development formula that will work for every player, but Hockey Canada needs to look inside their own system and find out what’s really wrong with the developmental process for goaltenders. One rule change in the CHL, and the hope that this is simply a dry patch of natural talent won’t fix the issue.

It’s not so much a massive problem that’s taking Canada down from the top spot of hockey nations, but instead it’s giving the other countries an avenue to challenge that top spot. Goaltending is a big part of the game, anyone can attest to that, and Canada’s been passed in that regard. Hockey Canada needs to batten down the hatches, adjust their player development, improve the turnover rate of successful NHL goaltenders, and ensure other aspects of the game remain at the top.

It’s a lot to ask, but for the world’s number one hockey nation, a nation where the citizens bleed hockey, you’d think it would be feasible.