Floods, Fire and LNG

Good Sunday Morning,

First_Nations.jpgThis past week was a scramble. In addition to my deep involvement with the broadly representative, Green Party of Canada grass roots Committee on Motion Development (the CMD), I was getting ready for the annual Fair here on the Saanich Peninsula. Organizing the display and choreographing the volunteer roster, left me inspired by the dedication of so many fabulous people who give freely of their time and skills to put this event together. Our Events Team's last potluck, held just a few days ago, was a blast. We assembled our new popcorn machine and previewed the final draft of our new Saanich Inlet video. We were also joined by some Native Elders who are at our booth this year. Together with the folks from the Saanich Inlet Network we are standing side by side to protect this sacred and unique ecosystem from the insanity of an LNG terminal.

In the face of growing global awareness about the urgency of meeting our climate targets, the Pembina Institute just published a new report on LNG in B.C. It issues a dire warning: B.C. can't have LNG and hit its legislated climate targets. Those targets offer the assurance that annual emissions will be lowered to 43.5 million tonnes by 2020 and 12.6 million tonnes by 2050. But we are already projected to miss those targets by over 40 million tonnes. LNG exports would add 10s of billions more.

But this kind of contradictory doublespeak doesn't just swirl around LNG. In this opinion piece by Robyn Allen, economist and former CEO of the Insurance Corp. of B.C, he tried to get to the bottom of Kinder Morgan's job creation numbers. What he found was more doublespeak. Most troubling though was that the misinformation, so widely broadcast and reinforced by Trudeau, Notley, and other "Leaders", was poorly researched and cobbled together by industry advocates. Making the point again, that we as citizens have an important role to play to weigh in and challenge the rhetoric.

Floods.jpgSometimes we need to point out the obvious. It was reported this week that 1,200 people are dead and 41 million folks are affected by flooding in India, Bangladesh and Nepal. It was also just announced that last year's Fort MacMurray's fire is only now finally officially out and that it will take winter rains and snow to fully extinguish the fires still burning in BC. I spoke to someone at the Fair that has just toured the most affected regions and he said that unless you've personally seen it, you can't imagine the devastation. Fires are hotter, winds are stronger and many communities just are not prepared. Some response teams had to move directly from flood to fire with no time to recharge.

And then there is Texas. Oh, the irony of it all. Houston is where I learned how to drill an oil well. It was 1984 and I had just secured the rights to distribute Polycrystalline Diamond drill bits to exploration platforms on the Grand Banks and Scotian Shelf off the East Coast of Canada. That's when I learned first hand how deeply embedded Houston is in the oil patch. Today the Gulf Coast is home to about 46 percent of U.S. 17.5 million barrels a day refining capacity. Hurricane Harvey is reported to have shut down almost half of that.

Harvey.jpgHarvey is called a "modern super storm" that is becoming the new normal with its unanticipated scale. But it's not the winds that are causing most of the damage. Flooding triggered by extreme rainfall events catches our 'stable climate' infrastructure by surprise. The CBCs "The Current" is launching a new season next week and under this year's theme of "adaptation" they are going to look at the extreme weather events here in Canada and how Burlington Ontario, for example, is trying to prepare.

Thankfully our new BC Government, under the watchful eye of our BC Green caucus, so far seems to be taking it's responsibility seriously; at least when it comes to the Kinder Morgan expansion. They seem to be following through with their commitment to do everything they can to prevent the threat of diluted bitumen to BC's coast. This week they have engaged Thomas Burger to be their legal council and have been officially granted what amounts to conditinal intervenor status.

Now if we could only get them to take that kind of a stand against LNG. There is still a serious concern that the plans for an outrageous LNG processing and export terminal here in the Saanich Inlet is going ahead. If this background paper is correct, even poor global gas markets won't stop this particular proposal. All indications are, that the only thing standing between us and a massively devastating gas liquifaction plant in this unique aquatic environment, is the strength of First Nations resolve supported by the local community.

Saanich_Fair.jpgThat's why our first day at the Saanich Fair yesterday was so exciting. The First Nation Elders at our booth gathered tons of signatures and the Saanich Inlet Network attracted much attention with their NO LNG signs. We are honoured to have them as our guests at this year's Fair. And our newly produced video, which we launched on Friday and has already received over 2,000 views, drew people into our tent to learn more. If you live in BC and are on Facebook please participate in this awareness campaign by sharing this video.

That's all for this week as I spent my normal writing day talking to folks at the Fair. If you live on the peninsula drop by and see us. Elizabeth will be at our booth both today and Monday. She always attends all three days of the Fair to connect with her constituents. I had a chance to accompany Elizabeth on her rounds yesterday and it was a joy to see her so embraced by her community.

Have a great Labour Day Weekend,

PS don't forget Elizabeth's town halls start next week.

"It is our job to work tirelessly for justice, for peace, and for a planet that can survive with a human civilization that thrives. This is the challenge that we take on as Greens." Elizabeth May, October 19th, 2015

This weekly missive is authored by Thomas Teuwen, our SGI EDA coordinator. Opinions expressed are his own. We welcome your comments and feedback. If you were sent here by a friend and would like to subscribe to our weekly email simply click here. You can also go to the archives section of our SGI website to read back issues.

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