Exposing the Political Manipulation by Oil & Gas Companies in Canada

The Canadian tar sands contribute little to Canada’s economy yet it’s environmental destruction is known internationally. Despite this, the Canadian commitment to killing the planet by exploiting the tar sands is offensive and has held back green policies. Why does this happen?

SHARE has looked into how oil and gas companies lobby Canadian governments to permit their profiteering from planetary destruction. The greenwashing by tar sands companies is used to make it look like they are respecting the environment, this work by SHARE shows that we can’t trust them. This is good news because now we know how oil and gas advocate behind the scenes and we can prevent it.

While at first these commitments seem promising, a second look reveals a less-than-rosy picture of the role of Canadian oil and gas companies in relation to Canada’s climate targets, regulations and the road map to net zero. The most important work any company could do right now is commit to — then get to work on — reducing emissions in absolute terms. However, there are other important ways the oilpatch impacts climate action on a national and global scale. One of these is the extent to which its government relations, or “lobbying” activities, do or do not align with the climate actions Canada must undertake to prevent the worst impacts of climate change from wreaking havoc on our planet. 

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Why the Price of Gas Needs to Stay High

Intersection

People who rely on unsustainable energy sources tend to complain about the price of their energy (despite the subsidies they receive). We need to stop listening to those people who only want the dangerous status quo to continue. The price of fossil fuels have increased this year for a few reasons, with the price not being reflective of market costs due to government intervention.

In order to advert climate destruction we need to encourage politicians to not let the price of gas decline.

First, consumers will not accept high prices if it means high profits for fossil fuel companies. Maintaining high prices for consumers must be complemented by a radical overhaul of the taxation regime facing fossil fuel companies, not just one-off windfall taxes. Those taxes would maintain high consumer prices even though the fossil fuel companies wouldn’t actually receive very much—enough to cover reasonable costs, but not enough to invest in further fossil fuel production. As the International Energy Agency has pointed out, to achieve net zero by 2050, the amount of investment needed in new oil and gas production is zero.

Second, consumers will be much more willing to accept higher prices for fossil fuels if the additional tax they pay is returned to citizens as an equal carbon grant. Alaska has done something similar, putting a share of oil revenues into a “permanent fund” which it then distributes through a cheque to every household each year (though this approach can go wrong—in Alaska politicians ended up cutting public services to maintain payments from the state fund).

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Ukrainian Company Produces Easy to Install Solar Panels to get Europe Off Russian Gas

Solar panels on grass

Oil is not just a reason countries go to war, it’s used during war to destabilize allies. Russia’s war in Ukraine is no exception to this as the Russians are profiting from selling Europe gas while threatening to cut off gas supplies to the continent at the same time.

A Ukrainian company, We Do Solar, started selling their easy to install solar panels the same month Russia advanced towards Kyiv. The panels themselves are impressive since they are a self contained system that integrates into existing home electrical system. The core idea is to get them on balconies of towers so individual units can augment their household energy consumption.


In theory, if every balcony in Europe had solar panels such as WeDoSolar’s, it would make getting off Russian oil and gas a great deal easier.

Designed by German engineers and coming insured as part of the offer, the lightweight panels weigh 1 kg each and plug into a standard power socket. The WeDoSolar Microinverter then pushes the power into the home grid, allowing the panels to power home appliances ahead of using the normal grid, since solar is always used ahead of normal grid power, claims the company.

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How to Free Yourself from Gas at Home

the suburbs

When it comes to emissions we often think of cars and factories, but we can’t ignore the impact we can make at home. In much of the northern hemisphere houses are built with infrastructure supporting the burning of non-renewable fuels which destroy the planet. The decisions made by people who are now retired will cost us, but the faster we change houses to renewable the greater the savings for the planet and homeowners. But how can we make the change from subsidized gas to market rate renewables?

Over at the National Observer Seth Klein records how he switched his house from natural gas to all electric. He outlines the process and how one can save money and the planet at home by changing their energy source.

A couple of years ago, my family’s home — a 12-year-old, 1,400-square-foot, well-insulated duplex in East Vancouver — was heated with a high-efficiency gas boiler. The boiler produced hot water for both our direct water needs and for pipes that provided lovely radiant heated floors in the winter. We also had a gas fireplace in the living room we rarely used, and we cooked on a gas stove.

No doubt this conversion has also increased the value of our home, as future owners will not face the inevitable need to fuel swap down the road once robust climate policies are in place, and they will benefit from the upfront capital costs we assumed for the solar panels and heat pump.

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New York City Bans New Gas Connections

tree with climate knowledge

New buildings constructed in New York City are not permitted to connect to natural gas for any reason. This makes NYC the largest city in the USA to do so and likely marks a shift in the country for even more cities to adopt a ban on new uses of the fossil fuel. To avoid catastrophic climate change we need to keep fossil fuel in the ground and with NYC banning new buildings from using the world-destroying product it will force the construction industry to adapt.

The measure already has support from Con Edison, a utility that provides both electricity and gas to New Yorkers. The grid “is well-poised to support the transition to heating electrification,” it said in a November testimony to city council. That’s because the grid usually sees peak demand during the summer when residents blast their air conditioning, it says, and electricity use is typically lower in the winter.

“New York City is taking a massive step off fossil fuels, paving the way for the rest of the state and country to follow,” Food & Water Watch northeast region director Alex Beauchamp said in a statement today.

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