The Ethical Oil Institute on oil sands emissions

The illogical (not to mention deceitful) framing of Alberta oil sands development as a supposed choice between “ethical oil” and “conflict oil” continues to fall apart. In the latest fiasco playing out at Huffington Post Canada, Ben Amunwa, a prominent critic of Shell Oil’s environmental  record in Nigeria and the Alberta oil sands, has shredded spokesperson Kathryn Marshall’s ridiculous assertion that he is on the “same page” regarding the ethics of oil production (h/t Holly Stick).

So far, however, controversy has centred overwhelmingly on the distracting “ethical vs conflict oil” arguments and less on the equally misleading statements on the real environmental issues in the oil sands from (a.k.a. the Ethical Oil Institute). So today I’ll take a detailed look at the Ethical Oil position on the oil sands carbon footprint, as seen in former spokesperson Alykhan Velshi’s error-filled and confused post entitled Mythbusting: Are the Oilsands Major greenhouse Gas Emitters?, part of his “Myths and Lies” series.

I’ll focus on the two most significant problems in Velshi’s piece:

  • Velshi’s original premise was that not only are oil sands greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions relatively insignificant, but that they are actually declining. This has been partially corrected, presumably in response to my initial commentary on this issue, but in such a way as to render his argument completely illogical. And Velshi’s conclusion still repeats the utterly mistaken assertion that oil emissions “are falling”, whereas in fact they are rising at a rapid rate.
  • Ethical Oil’s credibility is further damaged by misleading statements concerning the supposedly tiny contribution of oil sands emissions when compared to total global human and natural emissions. This echoes barely veiled climate “skeptic” arguments in Ezra Levant’s 2009 book that started the whole “ethical oil” rebranding effort. And an examination of Levant’s previous statements on climate science would appear to confirm that a strong anti-science stance is not far from the surface, despite the efforts of Ethical Oil spokespersons to hide it.

Oil sands emissions: up, down and sideways

I first noted problems with Velshi’s oil sands GHG post in my original expose of the hitherto mysterious Alberta-based Ethical Oil Institute, pointing to the following passage.

So, if we want to ensure that we minimize the impact our industries have on the atmosphere, then paying close attention to the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the oilsands has to be a priority. And it is: According to Environment Canada’s measurements, the oilsands has reduced its GHG output by 29% since 1990. Despite massive expansion of oilsands production in the last two decades, Canada’s oil companies have managed to cut their carbon output by nearly a third.

I pointed out the obvious error: that the Environment Canada figure referred to GHG intensity, that is emissions per barrel, not overall emissions. Some time after that, a surreptitious correction made its appearance. But the corrected version makes even less sense.

According to Environment Canada’s measurements, the oilsands has reduced its per barrel GHG output by 29% since 1990. Despite massive expansion of oilsands production in the last two decades, Canada’s oil companies have managed to cut their per barrel carbon output by nearly a third. [Bold emphasis added].

Falling overall emissions accompanying “massive expansion of oilsands production” would have been most impressive, had that fairy tale been true. But one would expect at least some “per barrel carbon output” reduction with such expansion, simply from economies of scale and normal early improvements, if nothing else. To laud this per barrel reduction “despite” massive expansion renders the last sentence nonsensical (not to mention utterly hilarious).

Now I can’t be sure that the half-hearted correction was inspired by my critique. On the other hand, only the specific instance I pointed out was changed, while the misbegotten premise of falling (or else constant) greenhouse gas emissions remained woven throughout the rest of the piece. That includes Velshi’s rousing conclusion, based on that same original erroneous assertion.

Canada’s oilsands are responsible for a fraction of the country’s GHG emissions; the entire Canadian economy is responsible for a fraction of the world’s GHG emissions; and while emissions from the oilsands fall, there are many energy sources presenting far more serious climate challenges than the oilsands do, and those other challenges, unfortunately, are only getting worse. [Emphasis added]

And it gets better. After the mangled passage now describing falling per barrel GHG emissions, Velshi claimed:

As impressive as that is, Canadians want oilsands producers to do even better, and at this rate, there’s no reason to expect that they can’t.

Remember that the original context of this statement was a supposed (but non-existent) decline in total GHG emissions from the oil sands. However, even if we interpret this statement in the context of per barrel emissions, any improvements will be modest at best for the foreseeable future. In fact, average per barrel emissions have stalled and even climbed a little over the last five years, according to Government of Canada figures (as noted in the recent must-read Pembina Institute briefing note Oil Sands and Climate Change in Figure 3  on p.6). [Update: See chart below]

Moreover, more GHG-intensive “in situ” projects will continue to have a rising share of production, so there is little reason to expect any overall reductions in GHG intensity over the next several years. (The one innovation would be slight reductions from massively subsidized upgrader carbon capture and storage projects, which may or may not come online before 2020).

So GHGs will continue to rise more or less in lockstep with production. That’s why Environment Canada projects oil sands emissions to double from now to 2020 and reach about 90 Mt, a fact nowhere discussed in Velshi’s confused exposition. That’s hardly surprising: oil sands apologists, whether from government, industry or allied PR groups, generally avoid discussion of rising GHGs. Of course, that usually means not referring to the massive increase in production either, but the ever-confused Velshi appears not to have gotten that particular memo.

Velshi’s  failure to acknowledge the inexorable steady rise in oil sands emissions can also be seen in these statements, which imply more or less constant emissions (which is at least a slight improvement to the supposedly falling emissions he alluded to elsewhere).

The entire oilsands industry emits, every year, 45 MT. …

[Oilsands] … are responsible for roughly 5% of all of Canada’s annual greenhouse gas emissions.

Similar, although not quite identical, statements can be found in Levant’s 2009 Ethical Oil (p. 113).

… [The oil sands]  account for approximately 5 per cent of Canada’s total human emissions – which works out to 0.1 per cent of the world’s human-caused emissions. Not bad for the world’s biggest source of oil. …

In absolute terms, the oil sands release about 29.5 million tonnes of carbon emissions annually.

Aside from Levant’s curious reference to “human” emissions (more on that in a moment) it’s interesting to note that somehow oil sands GHGs have risen from 29.5 MT to 45 MT, yet remain at 5% of Canadian emissions. Once again, the facts are rather inconvenient to Levant’s and Velshi’s case, as can be seen in the actual numbers for the last four years (including 2010 estimates from Environment Canada’s July 2010 report, Canada’s Emissions Trends).

Year Oil Sands CO2e MT Canada CO2e MT Oil Sands  % MT
2007 37 750 4.9 %
2008 40 734 5.4 %
2009 45 690 6.5 %
2010E 49 710 6.8 %

It turns out Levant’s 29.5 MT figure is actually from 2005, four years before he wrote the book. But even the widely cited 5 percent figure has been superceded in two short years by the inexorable rise in oil sands GHGs. As can be seen above, last year’s oil sands emissions are estimated at 49 MT, about 7 percent of the total Canadian economy.  And they are set to rise to at least 12 percent of the Canadian total by 2020, jeopardizing the Canadian Conservative government’s 17% overall reduction target relative to 2005.

Also notice Levant’s deceptive assertion that this record is “not bad for the world’s biggest source of oil”. Oil sands reserves may be very large, but at about 1.6 million barrels per day, current production is still under 2 percent of global production of about 87 million barrels per day. However, as production ramps up to access proven reserves and capture a larger share of world production, so too will the oil sands carbon footprint. And that leads directly to the essential debate that Levant and company want to avoid.

However, Ethical Oil is far from the only oil sands booster to present outdated information and gloss over the ever rising carbon footprint of the oil sands. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers’ page on oil sands impact on “air” still proclaims:

37.2 megatonnes of greenhouse gases are emitted from the oil sands each year.

This represents

  • 15 per cent of Alberta’s total greenhouse emissions
  • five percent of Canada’s emissions

37.2 MT is the old 2008 figure, which was recently revised up to 40 MT and is a full 12 MT short of  estimated 2010 emissions. And at the very top, you can find this guiding principle, even though per barrel emissions reductions have stalled over the last few years, as I mentioned above.

We will continue to reduce greenhouse gas emissions per barrel of production by improving our energy efficiency and by developing new technologies.

Perhaps CAPP iswaiting for a final decision on the Keystone XL pipeline before getting around to updating and correcting their oil sands web page.

Closet climate science “skeptics”?

Previously, I noted Levant’s passing reference to “human” emissions. Velshi also makes a distinction between “natural” and “manmade” emissions, and then lumps them together in an attempt to downplay oil sands emissions by an order of magnitude.

Since the entire Canadian economy is responsible for just 0.3% of the whole world’s natural  and manmade carbon emissions, GHGs from the oilsands total just over one-hundredth of one percent of all the greenhouse gases going up into the atmosphere, or 0.015%.

Now here is Levant (again from p. 112-113 of Ethical Oil) elaborating on natural and human emissions, with a few well worn contrarian talking points along the way. I’ll quote a full two paragraphs, but that’s necessary to understand Levant’s essentially anti-science contrarian stance.

While carbon dioxide may get all the attention, it isn’t really the biggest source of greenhouse gases on the planet: water vapour is. According to reporting by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, water vapour is responsible for between 60 per cent and 80 per cent of the greenhouse effect. And both gases are a natural part of our ecosystem. The planet can’t survive without a great deal of carbon dioxide, and a massive amount of it is naturally occurring: more than 95 per cent of all the CO2 in the  atmosphere comes from nature, including the world’s oceans, decaying plants, and the exhalation of all of the earth’s tens of billions of creatures.  Then there are all the forest fires and volcanoes. Every single year, 210 billion tonnes of CO2 are released into the atmosphere – and CO2 is just a small fraction compared to water vapour, which accounts for the majority of the greenhouse effect.

So, according to Levant, more than 95% of CO2 is natural, implying that human CO2 emissions are thus a small part of any CO2 effect. This tired contrarian meme flies in the face of established science demonstrating that pretty much all the rise in atmospheric CO2 since the dawn of the industrial age has been due to human activity. After all, annual global emissions from human activities are roughly double the observed annual rise in atmospheric CO2; it’s utterly illogical to ascribe any of this rise to natural causes.

Similarly, references to the need for carbon dioxide to sustain life and water vapour as the “most important GHG” invoke two more well-worn “skeptic” talking points.

Levant goes on, just in case there was any doubt about the intended meaning of his contrast between “natural” and “human” emissions:

Humans – who take all the blame for carbon emissions, with our cars, factories, power plants, oil sands operations, and everything else – emit a minuscule amount of that total.

And to erase any doubt about where Levant stands on anthropogenic global warming and the current consensus among climate scientists, consider this excerpt from an interview Levant gave on the Agritalk radio show in 2002. Here he repeats some of the above inanities, and adds a few more in his eagerness to promote a previous book, Fight Kyoto.

Well, the earth naturally oscillates in temperature. I mean, a thousand years ago there was period of global warming, Greenland was actually green; that was when the Vikings made their settlements there. There were vineyards in southern England. Then 600 years ago, there was the period called the “Little Ice Age” that we’re still actually emerging from. So it’s natural for the temperature of the earth to fluctuate. It’s actually not the fault of human activity because it’s happened many times in the past. You know, in my book I quote from a 1975 Newsweek article about the perils of global cooling, so I think if we were to jump every time some scientist said it was time to jump over climate change, we would be jumping quite a lot. And I think the smart thing to do is to focus on cleaning up real pollution in the world instead of running around trying to reduce our emission of harmless gasses like carbon dioxide and methane that are mostly released by natural sources. And to all of a sudden try to criminalize naturally emitted gasses like carbon dioxide is folly in the highest degree.

I’ll leave it as an exercise for readers to enumerate all the additional (and repeatedly debunked) climate “skeptic” memes invoked by Levant here. Perhaps I’ll update this piece with a complete list, with links to the appropriate pages.

Meanwhile, Ethical Oil spokespersons should at least acknowledge that denial of the scientific link between human fossil fuel use and global warming is part and parcel of the ideas presented in Ethical Oil, the promulgation of which is  the stated mission of the Ethical Oil Institute and its blog.

But instead Velshi gave this bit of insincere fluff.

So, if we want to ensure that we minimize the impact our industries have on the atmosphere, then paying close attention to the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the oilsands has to be a priority.

On the available evidence, “paying close attention” to  oil sands GHG  emissions is very far from Levant and Velshi’s true priorities – unless it’s to downplay them through misleading arguments and out-of-date information. New spokesperson Kathryn Marshall happens to be a strong supporter of Alberta’s right-wing Wildrose Party, led by former Fraser Institute researcher and declared climate “skeptic” Danielle Smith. Perhaps, then, Marshall will finally express Ethical Oil’s anti-AGW position in a forthright manner.

For all the ink spilt, both pro and con, about and its aggressive defence of the oil sands, it’s surprising that no one seems to have noticed the  numerous fallacies in their position on the key debate concerning rapidly climbing GHG emissions in oil sands development. And, to my knowledge, no one has called them on their anti-science stance.

Levant, Velshi and Marshall are quick to denounce opponents of rampant oil sands developments for supposedly spreading “myths and lies”. But judging from their treatment of the key issue of the oil sands’ rising GHG footprint,  it is Ethical Oil’s own credibility that should be questioned.


61 responses to “The Ethical Oil Institute on oil sands emissions

  1. I guess I don’t understand the point of this discussion. No matter how efficient the production of oil from tar sands becomes, the issue, as James Hansen has warned, is still that if this stuff winds up coming out of tail pipes of cars, then it is game over for climate. The tar sands has to remain in the ground forever, until and unless we find a way to dispose of the CO2 somewhere other than the atmosphere.

    Accordingly, it doesn’t matter how efficient tar sands production becomes – even if tar sands production itself has no carbon footprint, it still shouldn’t go forward.

  2. I produce only one billionth of the world’s “human CO2”, so how could anything I do (err… assuming no-one else does anything either) have even the faintest impact? Levant et. al. are conniving apologists.

    No doubt the “Ethical Oil” lobbyists would be trying to excuse murder because the death was the consequence of a smaller bullet.

  3. Here’s part of a twitter conversation between Kathryn Marshal and journalist Antonia Zerbisias last night and today. Zerbisias is asking if Marshall has ever done anything for Saudi women (which seems unlikely).

  4. Marshall discussing “ethics” and Chinese investments:

    Creekside blog response:

    with lots of links including one to a Christian Science Monitor article:

  5. Ethical Oil has done it again. There’s been a second surreptitious correction, once more rendering the resulting sentence both wrong and illogical. It comes in the conclusion that I highlighted above, which now reads:

    [W]hile emissions from the oilsands fall per barrel, there are many energy sources presenting far more serious climate challenges than the oilsands do … [Correction emphasized]

    Just like the other “per barrel” correction, this is fallacious in at least two ways:

    (a) Per barrel emissions have not fallen over the last five years – at best, they’ve been flat.

    (b) Per barrel emissions are not a relevant measure anyway, in the face of rapidly rising total emissions from the oil sands.

    Even worse, Ethical Oil continues to “hide the incline”, by refusing to acknowledge that oil sands emissions are at 7 percent of Canada’s total emissions (not 5), and that they continue to rise rapidly every year.

    I suppose I should also mention that I deliberately failed to mention the mistake in the conclusion the first time around to see if they would correct the other instances, but miss this one. And they did – until now. I guess I’ve managed to get their attention.

  6. Unless alternatives to tar sands are developed, then either, the tar sands will be developed, or something equivalent (or worse) to tar sands will be developed, like Bakken shale or Coal-to-Liquids.

    The best things to do about the tar sands is not to engage in a quixotic fight to shut them down, but to tax their emissions (along with any other source of emissions).

  7. Pingback: Ethical Oil: A truth that's told with bad intent | Global Climate Change Information

  8. Jody Williams and Desmond Tutu:

    “…The only ethical choice on this question is one that supports clean, renewable energy – and that rejects continued addiction to fossil fuels.”

  9. They’ve let the genie out of the bottle now, and there is no going back:

  10. Article about Kent planning to push “ethical oil” at Durban (What an embarassment he is for us!):

    A lot of tweeting about that today including:!/andrew_leach/status/140817266114699264

  11. Dude, looks like your article is more about your accomplishments than about saving planet earth. But I am happy that YOU are getting THEIR attention… Pollutes credibility though.

  12. Thank God people like you are here to show the error of our ways. Close the sands and stop all oil imports. You couldn’t make enough alternative natural energy to replace it. In the meantime, we freeze. And all this because we put out less than a percent of world GHG? whoopdee do.

    If the scientists were truly “scientific” they would tell us the positive benefits of global warming — oh wait, it was changed to climate change when warming couldn’t be proven. The oceans didn’t rise.

    We can all agree pollution is bad. However, it accompanies everything man does. We can reduce it, but sorry, I’ll take paying medicare over killing off the sands. Go check out Ontario for a result of what happens when the green religion takes over common sense.

    You guys are alarmists, the types that are always easily outraged — don’t you all have an Occupy movement to flail about at?

    • Phil, why the hell should anyone take you seriously when you tell the most ridiculous lies? It was ‘changed to climate change when warming couldn’t be proven’, was it? Ever heard of the IPCC? Know what the ‘CC’ stands for? Noticed that it’s still, in fact, warming?

  13. Phil,
    You are being sarcastic, right?

  14. The Current on CBC radio had an “ethical oil” segment including KV Marshal, Andrew Crane and Jody Williams:

    Two good blog posts about it, including Crane’s blog with a good graphic:

  15. The whole point of the Ethical Oil argument is not that oil doesn’t hurt the environment, that you trade off environmentalism versus human rights, it’s that the point that the US should buy their oil from a more virtuous country than say Saudi Arabia, since oil would have to purchased for much of the foreseeable future. Unless you like taxes going to such lovely examples of both environmental & social concerns.

    Of course it won’t matter to the extreme environmentalists, who won’t be happy until all oil production is shutdown, and the magic of wishful thinking replaces the energy oil now provides — which it just won’t. I wish it would, then everybody would be happy, but it won’t.

    As for the CBC interview with the Ethical Oil chick, where Tremonte (spelling?) constructed an attack on Kathryn Marshall it was such an unbalanced interview. But nobody expects to find balance at the public broadcaster anymore anyways, merely views ranging from the centre to the far left. However, Marshall should have spoken more slowly like the other guests, so that Tremonte would not have kept cutting her off, unlike the other two guests.

    As for MartinM, I can only tell what I observed. At the beginning of round 3 of environmental alarmism a few years back, Most enviromentalists called it global warming. I stand by that it later began to be called climate change popularily. This from the same folks who couldn’t tell you the weather forecast 1 month from now — just trust their mathematical models. And again, to combat our measly less than 1% of GHG??? This is why you folks want to kill the sands?

    • Marshall was cut off by Tremonti because she repeated the same talking points over and over (a common problem) and refused to, or was incapable of, answering the actual questions posed. Marshall’s ignorance was appalling: she had no idea which oil sands companies were also operating in “conflict oil” countries, and she didn’t know that emissions per barrel have been flat or slightly rising in recent years.

      The transition away from fossil fuels is necessary to reach 450 ppm by 2050; look up the IEA 450 scenario to see one plausible scenario for achieving this. The massive rapid expansion of the oil sands currently underway is simply not compatible with that path; even oil sands proponents like Andrew Leach understand that.

      I also note that you, like Ethical Oil advocates Marshall and Ezra Levant, misleadingly downplay the surging carbon footprint of the oil sands, while simultaneously denying anthropogenic climate change (or AGW if you prefer). Not all “ethical oil” defenders are as blatant, but I have yet to hear a single “ethical oil” proponent forthrightly acknowledge the scientific consensus on climate change and the need for energy transition away from fossil fuels over the next few decades. Not one – and that of course includes Peter Kent and Stephen Harper.

      Let me conclude with a reminder: please stop repeating the same old contrarian memes and insults, and try to stay on topic. Thanks!

  16. Arriving in Durban for the UN climate conference, environment minister Peter Kent said:

    “There is a disproportionate amount of criticism of the oilsands which is a responsibly and sustainably developed resource, of which we are proud.”

    But apparently officials in his own department beg to differ, according to the latest documents obtained by Post Media reporter Mike de Souza.

    Canada lacks “credible scientific information” to support its claims that oilsands development is environmentally responsible, putting the industry’s economic future in jeopardy, says newly-released briefing material prepared for Environment Minister Peter Kent and senior management in his department.

    The background notes, emailed to Environment Canada’s top bureaucrat, Paul Boothe, cast doubt on the integrity of environmental assessments on new projects exploiting Alberta’s natural bitumen deposits, also known as the oilsands.

  17. Pembina Institute’s Executive Director writes an excellent response to Kathryn Marshall’s latest attacks:

    Marhsall’s drivel, where she goes on about “Anti-oil sands groups, like Pembina”:

  18. Very good. Let’s not repeat the same old drivel. Here’s some new fresh stuff

    More claims of being taken out of context?

    That surging carbon footprint of still much less than 1% of world GHG is also paying for a great deal of all social programs in this country. Fossil fuels aren’t going away until the better *cheaper* mousetrap is built.

    Finally, I’d like to see ALL the subsidies, to oil sands producers, to green-energy companies, go away, and let industry, green or not, go the way of the dodo. It’s the little guy who always ends up paying for both right- & and leleft-wing lunacy.

    • For Phil:
      “More claims of being taken out of context?”

      Off topic, but since you brought it up: McKitrick hides the context.

      “That surging carbon footprint of still much less than 1% of world GHG is also paying for a great deal of all social programs in this country.”

      It’s arguably helping to pay for Alberta’s low tax regime, but oil sands operations are not a particularly large contributor to Canadian “social programs”, especially when one considers taxes and royalties from the oil sands net of subsidies.

    • Of course, fossil fuels are only ‘cheaper’ because we ignore negative externalities.

  19. CBC: Oilsands’ carbon emissions rising

    The intensity of oilsands carbon emissions — the amount of greenhouse gases created per every barrel of oil produced — increased by two per cent between 2009 and 2010, according to an industry report.

    The 2010 Responsible Canadian Energy progress report by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) also found that overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the oilsands rose 14 per cent in the same time period as the number of oilsands operations expanded

    However the CBC managed to boot the GHG intensity aspect of the story.

    An overall rise in emissions is not surprising given increased development of the oilsands resource. The report found the number of oil wells and mines rose by eight per cent and six per cent, respectively.

    But the revelation that emissions intensity increased is surprising.

    The industry takes pride in the fact that GHGs per barrel have dropped over time. It has been quick to trumpet the fact that between 1990 and 2009, the intensity in a barrel of oilsands bitumen declined by 29 per cent.

    The 2010 two per cent increase marks a small chink in that record.

    In fact, GHG intensity has now climbed almost 20% since 2006 (see this chart from the Pembina institute for previous years, also shown above), according to government figures on emissions and production. The 2010 increase appears to be less than those in 2007 and 2009.

    In the CBC Current interview, host Anna Maria Tremonti (who did have the actual facts) confronted Kathryn Marshall with the recent increase in GHG intensity. Marshall simply denied it, sputtering that wasn’t the case according to “her information”.

    Once again oil sands proponents have been caught playing fast and loose with the facts.

    • Based on her twitters. Marshall is neither well-informed nor a deep thinker. But this latest crusade is hilarious, as they demand people boycott Chiquita bananas because Chiquita is not going to buy tar sands oil. The irony of rightwingers now deciding to complain about Chiquita’s past record in Latin America is stunning.

      I think they should give up on the “ethical oil v. blood/conflict oil” meme and instead start pushing “ethical oil v. banana oil.”

  20. Article by Paula Simons about the Chiquita boycott; she draws the correct conclusion from it, which the “ethical oilers” have failed to do.

  21. Another column about the “banana oil” issue:

  22. Good post about the “banana oil” boycott by daveberta, an Alberta political blogger:

    “…The arguments put forward by Ethical Oil are misleading and disingenuous. They compare bananas to oranges and drive the debate away from the real issue – our unsustainable dependence on fossil fuels and the incredible environmental toll that multinational oil companies are enacting both overseas and in Alberta’s oilsands.”

  23. The Ethical Oil Institute has a new website attacking various ENGOs for receiving funds from outside of Canada. Here is the announcement:

    And the website:

    And a tweet by Vivian Krause pointing out that they are using her research without asking:

  24. Looking forward to it!

  25. Some good mocking here:!/EthicalWeed

  26. So let our minds wander into fantasy land…..

    In the Kingdom of Kanada far far away, his royal majesty has a problem on his mind. So he calls together his Prime Media Organziation (his royal council) to decide what to do.

    King Hooper:
    I have a large number of friends in the barley business who want to give me money so that I will pass friendly decrees about the Barley Business, but they can’t because my subjects would be angry if they found out, as well as the Super Council of Kanada would say it was illegal.

    Hmmm lets create a new organization called the Ethical Barley Institute, then your friends can throw money at it just as if they had given it to you, a GREAT solution. They can then send heralds around the country shouting the praises of Ethical Barley. People will say LOOK at the other people who think giving Barley growers a subsidy and special rights is a good thing. Barley growers must be good!!

    If this works, we can then create all number of organizations to help push your new ideas and laws without your court having to spend a cent.

    King Hooper:
    A GREAT IDEA!! Make it so.

  27. A good article by Trish Audette about Harper’s comments and reactions to them, such as

    “…Devon Page, the executive director of the environmental law group Ecojustice, said it was “completely inappropriate for the prime minister to echo the words of an oil industry lobby group.”…”:

    An interesting article by Vivian Krause about what is wrong with the Ethical Oil campaign, and suggesting that the oil corps need to use better strategy similar to what she used when advocating for salmon farming. I guess she’s on the oil corps’ side but is a lot smarter about it than Harper and Velshi.

    And more twitter mockery:!/EthicalPot

  28. This is now just getting silly:
    “Radical’ groups working against oilsands”
    Going by the reader’s comments people are not buying this inane BS and projection. Not even close.

  29. Some good articles here with good questions:

    “…Why is half of the RCMP’s national anti-corruption unit stationed in Calgary, headquarters of the petroleum industry? Is it true that there are 30 corruption investigations active in Canada right now?…

    Read more:

    “…Partnerships with Myanmar and Sudan… links to Burmese heroin traffickers… With this cast of characters partnering in the development of the Northern Gateway, you’d think Ethical Oil would be at the front of the line condemning the pipeline…”

  30. This local paper reports Conservatives running attack ads in Northern BC. It looks like a good source to follow:

    “…This is the largest and most insidious threat to our culture that has ever existed, with the possible exception of the Canadian governments violent imposition of the residential school system.

    We have witnessed our Prime Minister and his Minister of Environment openly supporting this project, which makes a joke of the Joint Review Process. It is inconsistent with the federal governments fiduciary responsibility to First Nations. This government has abdicated any semblance of fairness or balance in executing its responsibilities to our people, and in fact to all Canadians. Why wouldn’t we accept help in this situation? …”

    • “This local paper reports Conservatives running attack ads in Northern BC.”

      To be a little more precise, the article actually says groups with ties to the Conservatives are running attack ads.

      Ethical, and Our, oil industry front groups with close ties to the Prime Ministers office, recently launched attack ads in northern communities, where opposition to the Enbridge project is fiercest. This desperate attempt to change the minds and hearts of the hundreds of thousands of people who oppose this project, is driven by more than concern for our home and native land. It is being driven by greed and desperation.

      Thanks for the links. They give yet another indication of how the people actually affected by the Northern Gateway pipeline feel about it. And there’s little hint of influence by billionaire socialists.

  31. There is lots about the pipeline today and I’m short of time so here are some links. Especially see Marshall’s performance on Power and Politics last night:

    and more from Creekside about fakers signing up for hearings:

  32. Damian Gillis on “Ethical Oil” connections with Conservative Gov’t:

  33. A couple of interesting posts about the “Ethical Oil” address in Ontario. It may be a box at the post office there, but it’s been used before by Tony Clement: