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 lookreveals 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.
The province of Alberta is likely best known internationally for its world-destroying tar sands, but in the province there’s a push by citizens to create a sustainable economy. On the north end of the tar sands exists a new solar installation owned by local indigenous groups. The installation functions first and foremost as a source of power for a small town, but it serves as a symbol of a clean future that leaves the destruction of the fossil fuel industries behind. The independence and cost savings that the installation brings are nice too!
The 5,760 solar panels will supply the remote northeast Alberta community with around 25 per cent of its energy needs, the company says.
Before the solar farm, Fort Chipewyan’s roughly 1,000 residents got their energy from the ATCO-owned diesel power station, which every year burns three million litres of fuel trucked in on ice roads or delivered by river barge.
The Corporate Mapping Project in Canada tries to connect the dots between corporations, organizations, and governmental bodies in regards to the oil and gas industry. Despite all evidence that the tar sands are horrible for the planet the Canadian taxpayer continues to subsidize the fossil fuel industry. Why?
That the answer the mapping project looks to help investigate. By showing the connections between corporate and political players we can expose anything from sketchy polices to blatant corruption. This project is great for researchers and economist trying to understand why Canada props up a dying (and lethal) industry.
We focus on â€œmappingâ€ how power and influence play out in the oil, gas and coal industries of BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan. We will also map the wider connections that link Western Canadaâ€™s fossil fuel sector to other sectors of the economy (both national and global) and to other parts of society (governments and other public institutions, think tanks and lobby groups, etc).
Our mapping efforts are focused in four key areas:
How are the people and companies that control fossil-fuel corporations organized as a network, and how does that network connect with other sectors of the Canadian and global economy? That is, how is economic power organized in and around the fossil-fuel sector?
How does that economic power reach into political and cultural life, through elite networks, funding relationships, lobbying and mass-media advertising and messaging? What are the implications of such corporate influence for politics and society?
How is corporate power wielded at ground level, from fossil-fuel extraction and transport right through to final consumption? If we follow a barrel of bitumen from its source to the end user, how does it affect the communities and environments all along the way? How and why do certain links along these commodity chains become flashpoints of intense political struggle, as we have seen particularly with pipeline projects?
How can we build capacity for citizen monitoring of corporate power and influence, while expanding the space for democratic discussion?
Canada is waking up to the reality of the climate crisis, those ringing the alarms includes a diverse group from the Wet’suwet’en Nation to Greenpeace. Now a large fossil fuel company, Teck Resources Ltd., has decided to not move ahead with an environment-destroying tarsands project partly due to the fact that planet is facing catastrophic climate change. The company CEO released a statement stating that the Canadian government needs to clarify its climate policy (essentially asking for regulation) and that the economic benefit of fossil fuels isn’t as clear as it used to be. The pressure that people put on Teck over the last years has proven effective, thanks to everyone that helped fight Teck’s initial plan!
Hopefully this helps empower the Wet’suwet’en pipeline protests. Protesting works.
Lindsay wrote that customers want policies that reconcile resource development and climate change â€” something he said the region has yet to achieve, but he did not clarify if the region he was referring to was Alberta or Canada.
“Unfortunately, the growing debate around this issue has placed Frontier and our company squarely at the nexus of much broader issues that need to be resolved. In that context, it is now evident that there is no constructive path forward for the project,” he wrote.
Energy consultant Greg Stringham, who has worked for the industry, government and the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, said tight economics and increasing risks put Teck at the centre of debate around energy projects.
Customers of banks are getting sick of their money being spent on destroying the world so they’re doing something about it. The Dirty Dozen banks are a group of banks that Greenpeace argues are the worst when it comes to investing. Barclays is one of those banks thanks to their investments in the shameful Canadian tar sands. Greenpeace started their awareness campaign and now people are taking the next step by losing their accounts with Barclays. It’s a great direct action to send an important message.
Of those who signed the petition, 6,000 told the environmental group that they were ready to close their accounts if Barclays did not heed their warning, while some said they had already done so.
â€œMoving your bank account is quite a big undertaking so we were genuinely surprised when people started doing it without us even suggesting it,â€ said Greenpeace oil campaigner Hannah Martin.
â€œThis new information shows that the opposition to Barclays funding dirty tar sands projects isnâ€™t just broad, but deep.
â€œPeople are prepared to put themselves through a bit of bureaucratic hassle to try to persuade their bank to do the right thing.â€