A moment of silence was observed at the start of the Arctic Energy Summit in Fairbanks, Alaska, on Monday, September 28, in response to Royal Dutch Shell's sudden announcement that it has abandoned oil exploration in offshore Alaska "for the foreseeable future." Shell's announcement was a bombshell and caught everyone off guard. The silence in the plenary session hall -- which happens to double as a hockey arena -- was surreal. I wondered: Could this be the end of offshore oil in the Arctic?
The premiers' Canadian Energy Strategy focuses on energy conservation and efficiency, clean energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change. But details are vague and there's no sense of urgency. Although the language about climate change and clean energy is important, the strategy remains stuck in the fossil fuel era.
Zebra Mussel filter millions of gallons of water; it's how they feed. The result, the once soup-like Great Lakes are now crystal clear. That doesn't mean the water is unpolluted, far from it. Their output is crystal clear, which for divers is a definite plus. So you see, from a certain perspective, what started as a natural disaster has a definite upside. Now, I know some might argue that learning to love environmental disasters requires a very self-centered attitude. What I celebrate, others revile. I look forward to figuring out what new and clever angle I can come up with the next time we lay waste to some pristine wilderness area.
Keystone is an "export pipeline" that will take tar sands oil from Alberta and pump it down to a tax-free zone in Texas and out to foreign markets. In other words, the EU, China and Latin America get the oil, the foreign-owned oil companies get the cash and North Americans get a few jobs and oil spills!
Tar sands oil may soon be pumping through an Ontario pipeline near you. If you didn't know, it is likely because Enbridge doesn't want you to know that they are bringing the Kalamazoo disaster to your home province. It is called Line 9, and is part of the same Enbridge pipeline network as the pipe that spilled well over a million barrels of oil in 2010 into the Kalamazoo River.
The oil industry is used to getting its way without much fuss, but now thousands of citizens, unions, legislators and celebrities have come together to fight for the energy future they want. It has been inspiring, but it also raises an important question: shouldn't every decision about a new energy project face this type of scrutiny?