David Suzuki on the Kinder Morgan pipeline

Time for Canada to get off fossil fuels


Published:

A rally against the Kinder Morgan pipeline on Burnaby Mountain in 2014

© Mark Klotz

On March 31, an underwater pipeline carrying oil to a refinery in Balikpapan, Indonesia, broke, spreading crude oil over 20,000 hectares of Balikpapan Bay. Some of it ignited, killing five fishermen. Area residents experienced health problems, including nausea, vomiting and respiratory difficulties, and marine life and mangroves were also devastated.

In mid-January, an Iranian tanker carrying more than 111,300 tonnes of natural gas condensate hit a cargo ship, caught fire and sank in the East China Sea in one of China’s richest fishing grounds. The accident killed all 32 of the tanker’s crew and left an oil slick bigger than Paris — more than 100 square kilometres. Researchers say the spill and fire killed phytoplankton, marine mammals, fish and birds and will have long-lasting consequences.

Meanwhile, in North America and elsewhere, pipeline accidents continue to spew gas and oil into the environment, polluting air, water and land and affecting wildlife and habitat, as well as human communities. 

In the midst of it all, we have Canadian provincial and federal governments claiming that expanding oilsands production and pipelines is not only in keeping with our national and international climate commitments, but is actually necessary to them! 

If short-term economic gain, a relatively small number of jobs and the priorities of shareholders in mostly foreign-owned companies are more important to the national interest than ensuring that people and ecosystems here and around the world remain healthy and alive, something is wrong. Most discussions among governments, industry and media about Texas-based Kinder Morgan’s pipeline project don’t even mention climate change. 

One can sympathize with the federal government, which is already facing some provincial opposition to its climate policies and is likely to face more after a number of upcoming provincial elections. The Alberta government is also in a difficult position, struggling to hold power in a province where many people are blind to the realities of global warming and have an overblown sense of the oil industry’s relative, and declining, importance.

For the federal government to argue that the pipeline is necessary to keep Alberta on board with its climate plan is short-sighted when the party leading in Alberta polls opposes key elements of the plan.

We must stand together against the Kinder Morgan pipeline project and all fossil fuel expansion. We have better ways to create jobs and economic opportunity.

Edit Module

Join the conversation and have your say by commenting below. Our comment system uses a Facebook plugin. Please note that you'll have to turn off some ad-blockers in order to see the comments.

Edit Module

David Suzuki is the host of the CBC’s The Nature of Things and author of more than 30 books on ecology. 

Edit ModuleShow Tags

You may also like...

The great indoors

The great indoors

Posted 21 hours ago
Toronto's venerable Cowboy Junkies hit Massey Hall

Toronto's venerable Cowboy Junkies hit Massey Hall

The Cowboy Junkies have quietly become one of the most important bands to come out of Toronto, and more than three decades deep they continue to turn gorgeously crafted albums that speak of the times in a way that is unique. Their latest, All That Reckoning, proves the band still has a lot to say. But it took some time to get there.
Posted 2 days ago
The biggest art bash in Toronto turns 20

The biggest art bash in Toronto turns 20

Posted 2 days ago
Confessions of a Lawrence Park shopping expert

Confessions of a Lawrence Park shopping expert

Posted 4 days ago
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleEdit Module