Vancouver is proving to be an interesting city within which to live in the era of global warming and its challenges.
As noted in Metro Vancouver: competing visions fight for the city’s soul, the global fossil fuel industry wants to develop Vancouver as a major shipping port for exportation of fossil fuel products: expansion of the Kinder-Morgan pipeline complex (300K barrels per day to 890K), shipping of U.S. coal from Surrey Fraser Docks, and expansion of a LNG processing plant at Tilbury, Delta, BC (on the Fraser estuary). There is of course the usual rhetoric as to how beneficial all this will be for B.C., and there is probably some truth in this — it will certainly make money for some people.
All of these projects are apparently dependent on a range of political scenes, from federal to provincial to municipal. For example, the word amongst people I know in the climate activist scene is that they expect the Liberal Government to approve Kinder-Morgan expansion. Such a move by the Canadian federal government is regarded as inappropriate, deceptive, and a betrayal of the principles that the government is supposed to be representing in its promises to the people during the last election.
Various polls suggest that a majority of individuals are opposed to these expansions, the extent of opposition largely dependent on how directly people would be affected by breakdowns in the transport systems, systems that in the past few years have demonstrated how unsafe they are. Residents of Burnaby (the site of the Kinder-Morgan terminus), for example, are highly opposed.
And, I have my usual difficulty deciding if any one set of information is reliable. It is very easy to get into data overload, and I have to fall back to “what do I trust?” (Two of my recent posts were on this topic.) I concluded that basically “I trust myself” — which is not a good source for externalities, but is very useful when it comes to decision making as to what I support.
So, what do I think of all this.
Very simple. If we are to survive as a species, we must shift away from fossil fuels. This will require major shifts in economies, ranging from local to international. It will certainly require major reorganization of ways of community living as well as massive retraining of those individuals who are employed in industries dependent on fossil fuels.
Thus, to support the expansion of the fossil fuel industry in any way is simple adding another nail to the coffin of our species. Even if the risks were acceptable, the basic proposal is flawed.