Why, nine years later, Keystone XL’s fate is still in limbo


It’s nine years and counting since the Keystone pipeline was first proposed and TransCanada is still waiting for presidential approval to build the line. An environmental assessment report from the US State Department that landed in January would seem to move TransCanada’s hopes forward, but the pipeline’s ultimate fate is still very much in limbo. The State Department concluded that the … [Read more...]

Burning Tar Sands = ‘Unsolvable’ Climate Crisis: Hansen

protesters with anti-tar sands banner

We have a 'tremendously chaotic' climate on the way, climate expert warns Fresh off his resignation from NASA, leading climate scientist James Hansen is making the rounds this week, warning media and lawmakers that not only are we heading for a "tremendously chaotic" climate, but if we dig up and burn Canadian tar sands, the climate crisis will be rendered "unsolvable." Hansen told a a … [Read more...]

The price for energy independence

bumper sticker

Move over OPEC, North America is about to become a net exporter of oil. At least that’s the supposed good news from the International Energy Agency’s latest outlook. According to the IEA, the drilling boom for shale oil is putting US production on track to pass Saudi Arabia. North of the border, output from Alberta’s oil sands is expected to notch a similarly grand expansion. Notions of energy … [Read more...]

Why it’s imperative that we conserve energy now

peak oil graffitto

As everyone is aware by now, the US is headed towards energy independence 2030, thanks to unconventional sources of oil and gas. If you believe the mainstream media, that is. However, if you know anything about energy, the happy talk that energy from tar sands, fracking and deepwater oil will replace all of America's imports today and in the future is clearly too good to be true. But we … [Read more...]

Peak oil gets pepper sprayed

Peak oil curve with Hubbert and pepper spray cop

How many Saudi Arabias did you say that was? It's hard to keep up these days with claims by oil and gas drillers about how many Saudi Arabia-sized reserves of tar sands oil/shale oil/deepwater oil/hydrofracked gas that North America is now allegedly able to access due to the smarts of petroleum geologists and the tenacity of oilmen. "Because of better technology, notably breakthroughs in … [Read more...]

Even the electric chair probably created jobs

Keystone ad

While attending a conference for solar energy companies from the Mid-Atlantic states held last week in Washington, DC, I picked up a copy of The Hill, a newspaper for Washington insiders that comes out daily when Congress is in session. And I marveled at the full page ads taken out by big government contractors and industry lobby groups and directed at members of Congress and their staffs. Just … [Read more...]

Oil price differentials, not emissions, the key to Keystone

Keystone XL Pipeline

James Hansen, NASA’s lead climate scientist, says if TransCanada Pipeline’s Keystone XL mega-project connecting Alberta tar sand producers to Gulf Coast refineries is approved, it is game over for the planet. It certainly won’t be game over for Alberta’s oil patch or the thousands of North American steel workers who will build the massive pipeline. And I rather doubt it will be game over for … [Read more...]

The White House and tar sands

Photo of tar sands protesters

Let us return for a moment to election night 2008. As I sat in our farm house in Pennsylvania, watching Barack Obama's victory speech, I turned my head aside so my wife would not see the tears in my eyes. I suspect that millions cried. It was a great day for America. We had great hopes for Barack Obama - perhaps our dreams were unrealistic - he is only human. But it is appropriate, it is right, … [Read more...]

How I learned to start worrying and hate the tar sands pipeline

Bill McKibben arrested at White House

I'm their target audience. I already care about climate change. And I don't like Big Oil. Yet, it took Bill McKibben and more than 150 other activists getting arrested at the White House for me to finally care about the tar sands pipeline. Before that, I had five reasons to leave this particular issue to somebody else: Pipelines are boring. With the Environmental Protection Agency reporting … [Read more...]

Sierra Club goes totally peak oil — almost

Coming Clean book cover

I was pleasantly surprised to see that Michael Brune's book Coming Clean: Breaking America's Addiction to Oil and Coal, just released in a revised edition to talk about the Deepwater Horizon spill, more or less starts with peak oil. Why surprised? Because mainstream environmentalists often shy away from the topic. Maybe the idea that cheap oil is running out and that the world doesn't have … [Read more...]