Industry

Sat, 2014-04-05 10:34David Tracey
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Education, or Advertisement?

classroom

When artists depict the future, we should take the time to listen. What if they’re warning us of something that could be avoided?

Brawndo! It’s got what plants crave!”

This slogan for the popular sports drink ‘Brawndo’ is the mantra of citizens in Mike Judge’s 2006 film ‘Idiocracy.’ It’s information everyone has memorized, word for word, ready to trump anyone who would dare to question their precious ‘Thirst Mutilator!’ And because they believe so absolutely in the claim, they can’t understand why their plants won’t grow when they stop watering them altogether, instead feeding them only Brawndo – since, of course, it’s got what plants crave.

The film depicts a society so degraded in educational norms, and so smitten by emboldened advertisement, that its members passively accept the most powerful and obvious ideas thrust upon them. The words are so loud and the font is so bold; how could it be a lie?

Education was replaced by advertisement. No one needed the slightest botanical leanings, since everyone knew that Brawndo was all that plants need. The ad had taught them this; the ad had made it clear.

What does it matter to us? We needn’t worry; it’s all comedy or science fiction. It’s just a joke.

Yet every now and then, black comedy becomes reality.

Thu, 2014-01-16 10:57Indra Das
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BC Natural Gas Industry Could Produce Carbon Pollution to Rival Oilsands by 2020

BC Natural Gas

Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) development in British Columbia could produce 73 million tonnes of carbon pollution per year by 2020, according to the Pembina Institute. This would bring the carbon footprint of LNG development in B.C. to three-quarters as much as that of the oilsands, currently Canada's fastest growing source of climate pollution.

Alison Bailie of the Pembina Institute writes in The Tyee, that the estimate is at the “lower end” of the development scenario required to realize the B.C. government's hopes for annual revenue from LNG exceeding $4 billion. The province would need to produce four to six trillion cubic feet of shale gas per year by 2020 to reach that number.

The scale of that kind of natural gas production would require five to seven LNG facilities and over 10,000 wells with an accompanying network of roads, pipelines, compressors and gas processing plants.

Wed, 2014-01-15 13:12Indra Das
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Harper Government Hires Firm for $22 Million International Ad Campaign Promoting Oilsands

The Harper government has hired an international public relations firm to oversee a $22 million advertising campaign to promote the oilsands and Canada's natural resources sector around the world.

The Canadian arm of PR firm FleishmanHillard won a bid for the initial $1.695 million contract to conduct the first phase of the ad campaign, reports the Toronto Star.

The first phase of the ad campaign will reach the United States, Europe, and Asia this year. If the firm's contract is renewed for 2015, it could be worth up to $4 million, with the remaining $18 million reserved for media buys.

Tue, 2014-01-14 12:56Indra Das
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Industry Cash Delays Oilsands Environmental Management Agency Closure One Month

Alberta oilsands tar sands Kris Krug

The impending closure of a key multi-stakeholder group that provides advice to Alberta and the federal government on the environmental effects of the oilsands was unexpectedly delayed by an injection of money from oil companies.

The funds come at a time when the future – and the purpose – of the organization, which involves the participation of aboriginal, industry, government and environmental groups, is increasingly uncertain. 

The Edmonton Journal reports that the 12-year-old Cumulative Environmental Management Association (CEMA) was to be shut down on January 1, which would have resulted in layoffs, eviction from their offices, and the termination of contracts with scientists working on issues ranging from speedier land reclamation in the oilsands to the improvement of water quality.

Thu, 2013-07-11 08:00Adam Kingsmith
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Pretty Little Industrial Liars, Pt. 2

Emissions Stacks Smoking Away

Big Industry has committed some of the most atrocious crimes against the environment in Canada and around the world with little fear of reprisal. This is Part Two of a two–part series highlighting some small and large-scale instances of industrial–environmental greenwashing and misdirection in an attempt to better hold conglomerates accountable to the Canadian public.

The Industrial Bait and Pollute
 
Like an environmental fairy tale, it has been thrust into our consciousness for more than a generation – carpool, recycle, take shorter showers, unplug electronics, and shop green, we’ve all got a part to play in conserving the planet for future generations.
 
The Citizen’s Guide to Pollution Prevention – a report from the Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy published in collaboration with the federal government, is a perfect example of this institutionalised emphasis on the role individuals are to play if the devastating effects of climate change are to be mediated.
Mon, 2013-03-04 08:26Erika Thorkelson
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The Chronicles of Dilbit, Part 1

This post is part of a series. For Part 2, click here

What do we know about dilbit? Since coming on the scene, the mixture of tar sands crude and a lighter substance such as natural gas condensate has been a matter of much speculation. How does it behave in pipelines? Does it float in water or sink?

Now, Canadian oil producers are saying that diluted bitumen (dilbit) has gotten a bad name. They are seeking clean up its image with an industry-funded report claiming that the tar sand mixture is no more dangerous to pipelines than some conventional crude oil.

The report, entitled “Dilbit Corrosivity,” was prepared by UK’s Penspen Group for the Canadian Energy Pipeline Association (CEPA). It seeks to debunk arguments like those made at the hearings on the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline, that dilbit’s high viscosity, acidity, and level of sediments could cause corrosion that would leave the areas around pipelines more vulnerable to spills. It argues that, because dilbit is no more corrosive than other forms of heavy crude, no special plans need to be made to prevent spills.

Some of the literature is ill-informed and wrong: both Dilbit and Synbit in a crude oil transmission pipeline environment is no more corrosive than comparable heavy sour crudes and in many cases may be less corrosive,” it reads.

Consequently, there are no significant additional implications for corrosion control in a pipeline carrying Dilbit and Synbit as part of pipeline integrity management over and above what is already standard practice.”

Anthony Swift, an attorney with the National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) disagrees with this characterization. He argues that Penspen’s findings are not new and describes the CEPA report as a “rehash of a number of flawed government and industry studies intended to promote tar sands.”

Sat, 2013-02-16 08:00Guest
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The Credibility Gap: All Talk and Not Much Action on Climate Change

By Hannah McKinnon, National Program Manager at Environmental Defense.

In last week's State of the Union address, President Obama reiterated his vision for clean energy and urgent action on global warming. With TransCanada’s Keystone XL tar sands pipeline on the frontlines and looking threatened, oil industry supporters are suddenly desperate to look like the environmental and climate risks of the tar sands are under control.
 
But there’s a massive credibility gap as Canada’s contribution to global warming is spiralling out of control, with the reckless expansion of the tar sands.
 
We’ve always believed that actions speak louder than words. So while the oil industry and government embark on a pro-tar sands PR campaign, let’s look at how Canada has behaved on climate action and the environmental risks of the tar sands.  

Fri, 2013-01-25 05:00Carol Linnitt
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Canadian Scientists Must Speak Out Despite Consequence, Says Andrew Weaver

If people don’t speak out there will never be any change,” says the University of Victoria’s award-winning climate scientist Andrew Weaver. 

And the need for change in Canada, says Weaver, has never been more pressing.

“We have a crisis in Canada. That crisis is in terms of the development of information and the need for science to inform decision-making. We have replaced that with an ideological approach to decision-making, the selective use of whatever can be found to justify [policy decisions], and the suppression of scientific voices and science itself in terms of informing the development of that policy.”
 
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