Canadian PM Trudeau is wrong to approve the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion

Canadian prime minister Trudeau approved a Kinder Morgan oil pipeline expansion in British Columbia. He announced this on Twitter, couched in highly defensive rhetoric. Truedeau claims the pipeline expansion was approved thanks to “debate, science & evidence“. All three of these points can be easily debunked.

The category of debate is questionable given that this domain is only accessible to the prime minister, his staff, and lobbyists. The opinion of those nearest to the pipeline expansion seem to be highly against is, as evidenced by ongoing protest. Popular Albertan opinion, of course, could be seen as very pro-pipeline. But concretely the desire in Alberta is more jobs, not the pipeline in itself. The pipeline is seen as an enabler of jobs, but the evidence of this is lacking.

As usual the pro-pipeline position is argued by paid lobbyists for Kinder Morgan, but the environmental position is only argued by the government environmental minister, whose job is to ensure merely that a project is not “too bad” to be denied. This is not a good environment for solid debate.

Science broadly argues that global warming and climate change are occurring, are detrimental to human habitation of the planet, and are most likely caused by the burning of fossil fuels. An additional pipeline will increase the burning of fossil fuels and further climate change. No science backs up the Kinder Morgan pipeline.

Evidence is apparently a catch-all category, which I have to break down into a few things. Economics might be one aspect. Another, employment. Sadly this doesn’t hold. This presentation by Seth Klein provides many good arguments against economic and employment viability of the project.. In general, oil demand is projected to drop sharply within 30 years, well before the new pipeline can reach profitability. Current pipeline capacity is adequate to meet current and projected future oil demand.

Pipeline construction will bring jobs to beleaguered Alberta, but another method of creating jobs would be to further development of renewable energy (mostly wind and solar). Or by constructing basically anything else besides a pipeline in another province. Alberta’s economic woes are caused by their dependence on the oil sector to drive the economy. Doubling down on oil is unlikely to solve the problem, especially, again, looking at projected decreasing demand.

I don’t believe the pipeline expansion is a good idea in any aspect.