Energy East would facilitate oilsands expansion

Categories: Big picture
Published on: February 1, 2016

Montreal Gazette / Gordon Laxer / 31 January 2016

syncrudeThe verbal battles between Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre and western premiers and mayors are reruns of a bad movie. Let’s change the channel and look at TransCanada’s proposed Energy East pipeline in light of climate change. That was not on anyone’s mind 35 years ago during tussles around the National Energy Program.

TransCanada’s proposed Energy East pipeline is so capacious that it could single-handedly allow expansion of Alberta’s oilsands by over 40 per cent. That’s the same percentage rise as the sands emission cap that Alberta’s new climate action plan permits.

The rise of oilsands emissions from 70 to 100 million tonnes a year will prevent Canada from meeting its laudable and ambitious targets at the Paris climate talks in December and Canada’s 2009 commitment at the G8 meetings in L’Aquila, Italy to lower carbon emissions by 80 per cent below Canada’s 1990 level of 600 million tonnes by 2050. That means a drop to 120 million tonnes of greenhouse gases.

To hit Canada’s promises, oilsands output and emissions must be capped at 70 million tonnes and then phased out. We can’t get to a low carbon future unless we do so.