Well, considering 'that stuff' delivers every last scrap of food that you DO eat to your table.... Considering 'that stuff' is what makes every facet of your life possible.....
The same argument was probably made about slavery in the American south to justify that immoral energy system.
The world uses lots of oil today and the use of that is causing a serious crisis with our climate and oceans. We need to shift to a different energy system quickly for our own safety and that means using less and less oil. If humans choose to use the dirtiest forms of oil like bitumen it means that humans will get less energy out the remaining oil before we hit our climate's CO2 limit. To maximize fossil fuel energy from remaining CO2 budget will require humans prioritize the least-CO2-per-joule sources.
Those people that care about is how much oil energy remains for humanity will want to prioritize lowest-CO2 sources to maximize energy delivered.
Dustin says "don't blame Alberta". My personal view is that many people profit from the bitumen extracted from Alberta. All have some level of responsibility for the climate impact. At the top of the list however is the government of Alberta (and by extension the people that elected them).
1. The Alberta government controls how much bitumen can come out of the ground. They are the gatekeepers...nobody else. At a time the world needs to ramp down fossil fuel extraction, the Alberta government is approving massive increases from the bitumen they own.
2. The Alberta government (and the people of Alberta) make the majority of the profit from the extraction and sale bitumen. Both CAPP and CERI show that over 90% of GDP benefit to Canada stays in Alberta. CERI data shows that the Alberta government stands to collect more than the bitumen companies per barrel over the long term.
3. The Alberta government is primarily responsible for the regulations that control the climate pollution from extracting the bitumen as well. As CERI and EnvCanada data shows the Alberta climate regulations are so full of loopholes that the dirtiest form of bitumen extraction is surging to dominance.
Other groups, like the bitumen companies and the people in Canada and USA that use the resulting oil have a share in the responsibility as well.
I don't understand the 96% exemption. Would you please explain/document it. Why & how does Alberta do this? What exactly does their legislation say?
Alberta law requires large climate polluters to reduce the "CO2 intensity" of their operations by 12%. That means releasing 12% less CO2 per unit of production. If the polluter does that then they are free to pollute as much as they want. For example, if a tar sands company reduces CO2 per barrel by 12% then all the rest of their CO2 can be dumped for free with no more need to do anything about it.
About 4% of Alberta's CO2 fails to meet this "intensity" limit. Only that CO2 needs to do anything. The rest is exempt from any action or fees.
The problem with "intensity" based limits is that TOTAL CO2 pollution can keep rising dramatically. This is what is happening.
For example, CO2 pollution "intensity" declined 26% from the oilsands industry since 1990. But their TOTAL CO2 increased 300%.
For an analogy, imagine teachers who smoke in the classroom had to buy cigarettes that were 12% lower-tar...but they were allowed to smoke three times more cigarettes in their classrooms. The second-hand health impacts on the school kids would increase dramatically.
Under Alberta's "intensity" regulations there is nothing to stop emissions from soaring upwards forever. Almost all CO2 is exempt and emissions are skyrocketting.
International climate negociations require TOTAL CO2 to decline because that is the only thing to prevent run-away climate changes. Alberta refuses to switch to a system that limits TOTAL CO2 because they want to keep emitting more and more CO2. So they have an ineffective "intensity" based rule that lets them greenwash their surging pollution levels.
I apparently managed to paste a quote in several times in my comment above. Accident, not agro. Sorry.
Joseph, I think we must have read different documents. Here are a few quick responses to your points:
1. You misread Figure E.1 which is at the heart of the study. This figure does *not* show that tar sands industry has only a 10% ROR. Instead it shows the costs to create a barrel of bitumen and includes in these costs a minimum 10% ROR. The selling price is currently far above those costs which means industry is making much more than 10% ROR.
2. I have no idea what you are talking about relative to Figure 3.13 but Figure 3.8 clearly shows that a $15 carbon price leads to 1% or 2% of the "cost" of creating a barrel of bitumen. That isn't 1% of the selling price...just 1% of the cost to create. In addition, you don't seem to realize that tar sands companies can write off all their emissions compliance costs. The result is that the net cost to them is only half what is posted in the CERI tables. So at $15/tCO2 the net cost to bitumen mining companies is 10 cents per barrel not the 20 cents listed in the CERI tables. I know this because I asked the study authors directly. The other half of the cost is borne by the taxpayer. The CERI report says that if the carbon tax is tripled to $45/tCO2 then the ECC triple. For example, that would push the net costs for bitumen miners to 30 cents per barrel that sells at $80 or more. Alberta and Canadian taxpayers bear another 30 cents per barrel in ECC via write off provisions in the royalty and tax laws. Polluter companies and taxpayers contribute equally to industry emissions compliance costs under the rules in place.
3. Sorry wrong again. I don't think you know how emissions compliance works in Alberta. Only a part of emissions compliance goes to CCEMC. Also as noted half is written off and borne by taxpayers -- not industry -- via reduced royalties and income taxes. Finally you once again confuse "costs" with "profits". Figure 3.8 only shows "costs".
4. Your statement that the money sent to CCEMC is "all industry money" is not accurate. Industry bears only have this cost. The taxpayers (most Albertans but all Canadians as well) bear the other half.
5. Your statement that Alberta "Government does not tax itself as in BC" is also wrong. See above. Half or more of emissions compliance costs come from reduced royalties and income taxes. Also the Alberta government does tax itself all the time, even with fuel -- for example it pays gas taxes when they fill up government cars and even school buses.
Finally, I report what I read from qualified sources. The reader can just the quality of the information because I identify and link to my sources. In this case I also contacted the CERI study authors and Pembina Institute and got answers to my open questions before writing this article.
Those of us following the oilsands rapid growth plans have known for years that the industry will require LOTS and LOTS of new pipelines as long as the oilsands continue to expand.
Morrison admits to this reality in his quote in this article: "Canada needs improved market access to the east, south and west,"
Of course it isn't "Canada" that needs this...it is the oilsands industry. The oilsands corporations want lots more pipelines in every direction. Keystone XL, Northern Gateway, KM Transmountain extension are not enough even for their current expansion plans.
Morrison didn't mention "north to the arctic" but that is also being explored now.
Modern aircraft have the same fuel efficiency per passenger as modern compact cars.
Haldane Dodd Air Transport Action Group
This is a misleading fact when we are talking about climate pollution for three reasons:
1) jet engines at 30,000 feet create THREE TIMES more climate pollution per liter of fuel than cars do on the ground. (See IPCC special report on aviation). So even if fuel consumption per passenger were the same, the climate impact is three times greater if you fly. The issue is climate impact not fuel consumption.
2) fuel efficiency per passenger on newest jets = average car with ONLY ONE PERSON IN IT. But US govt stats show average car driving between cities has 2 passengers. So an honest accounting says per passenger fuel use is half as much for average car than jet.
3) Passengers in cars can dramatically reduce their climate pollution per person by filling the seats in the car and by choosing a high-efficiency vehicle. For example a Prius with 4 people will cut climate pollution by 90% compared to an average jetliner per passenger. Passengers on jets have no control over reducing their climate damage.
I look forward to the day the aviation industry treats its customers like adults by being honest and transparent in their conversations about climate change.
I appreciate the quality and honesty in the comments about my article above. A rarity for a climate article these days.
To those that have also dramatically reduced their climate pollution from jet travel I say thank you. It is inspiring to see the needed level of commitment from somewhere towards a safe climate system. Like many of you I've found that there are unexpected rewards from "slow" travel. Also, as some have mentioned, there is a sense of "worth" tied to the act of going to distance places that makes discussion about this topic difficult. People who otherwise care about the climate can be in deep denial about the oversized damage from jet pollution. For me, these are the most difficult people to engage with on the issue.
To those that plan to continue with their current levels of climate pollution from jet travel I hope you consider letting the airlines know about any displeasure you have around the fact that they won't limit the rate of growth of flights to a level that allows climate damage to be reduced.
A final observation is the notion that an industry should reduce its total climate pollution is not the same as saying that industry should shut down. It should innovate and grow within the constraints of ever reducing their total climate pollution. It is a straw man argument to say that civilization would collapse if we shut down aviation or oil or coal. That isn't what is being asked. What is being asked is to reduce the climate pollution from all aspects of life at a pace that ensures a stable, livable climate.
Thanks again to all for the interesting comments.
...three targets: 1) improve efficiency of aircraft operations by 1.5% per year until 2020...
Haldane Dodd Air Transport Action Group
Efficiency improvements of 1.5% lead to climate "catastrophe".
PricewaterhouseCoopers recently released their latest "Low Carbon Index" report. It shows that if the world were to increase carbon efficiency by 1.5% per year it would result in 1,200ppm CO2 in the atmosphere and +6C in global warming. The International Energy Agency calls +6C a "catastrophe" for human society.
PwC shows that a safe climate system of less than +2c warming requires decarbonizaton of 5.1% per year, every year, for the next 38 years if that is the metric we are going to focus on.
The global aviation industry has ONE plan in place (voluntary only) and that is the 1.5% efficiency effort. Clearly that leads to climate failure. This can be evidenced by the ICAO fuel burn chart I show and talk about in my article. It shows that success at 1.5% target leads to near quadrupling of jet fuel burning.
You mention that we have no plan "to pay anything for the climate damage they cause", and yet we already do - currently, passengers and airlines pay over $7billion per year in emissions and fuel related taxes around the world. Hardly any of the dozen or so governments that collect this actually use it for environmental purposes, but that is not our fault. In fact, if they were to use that money to offset aviation emissions through certified carbon credits it would pay for ALL the CO2 emitted by the entire aviation industry twice over!
Haldane Dodd Air Transport Action Group
International aviation pays very little in fuel taxes and far less than road transport drivers do. Here in BC our government just removed the last fuel tax from international jet fuel. The result is that jet travel has a significantly reduced fuel tax rate compared to road travel making the most climate damaging way of travelling (jet setting) the least taxed. This is the opposite of what a carbon tax is designed to do: create an economic incentive to choose the least climate damaging option.
As far as applying the fuel tax to carbon emissions, this is a big red herring. The total tax burden of different fuel choices is what should be looked at. The fuel tax on road fuels in BC equals a carbon tax equivalent of $152/tCO2. On top of that is our official carbon tax of $30/tCO2. Combined they give the equivalent of $182/tCO2. For internation jet fuel in BC the tax is now $0 -- exempt from both fuel taxes and carbon taxes. How convienent.
In the UK the road fuel tax is equivalent to a carbon tax of $527/tCO2.
If you want to show that jet fuel has a higher equivalent carbon tax burden than road fuel, that would be very interesting. But the data I see shows the opposite. Jet fuel is incentivized for burning by a significantly lower tax burden.
- 1 of 3
No LocalVocal stories yet.