Volume 49, Issue 1: January/February 2015
The last time CD put out an energy issue, we focused it on peak oil. For this issue we asked the Post Carbon Institute’s Richard Heinberg to revisit that subject. Oil hardly gives the appearance of having peaked. On the contrary its very abundance and recent spurt in growth is the main reason, aside from speculation, that prices have tumbled so. What is going on? Heinberg argues that shale oil and other non-conventional sources only postpone peak oil by a few years. We asked Cory Collins to examine the production of shale oil in Canada and to track down provincial policies toward fracking.
Is clean energy still a pipe dream? Some authoritative scientific studies we consulted say “no”. The technology is already in place. Only the industry’s commitment to fossil fuels and government’s willingness to support it with massive subsidies and other incentives is slowing down the transition. Martin Lukacs’ solution is a public takeover of the oil industry and allocating its profits towards a post-carbon energy system.
Who makes up the oil lobby in Canada? How does it work? And how influential is it in determining Canada’s energy policy? The Polaris Institute’s Executive Director Richard Girard provides some answers. In “How Far will Harper go to Neutralize Opposition to the Tar Sands”, Murray Dobbin describes Conservative and RCMP designs to vilify the likes of the David Suzuki Foundation, the Sierra Club, Idle No More and the Council of Canadians, although “none of these organizations have ever been cited for any activity except effective democratic engagement.” Now the Conservatives have gone further, auditing some 60 charities who have been critical of their policies, threatening to end their tax free status.
Polaris Institute’s founder and president, Tony Clarke, gives readers an in-depth analysis of the perilous cost of Canada’s economic dependency on oil. The rest of the focus section is primarily devoted to the fight against the pipelines and “Big Oil” with due attention to First Nations people who are at the front lines of the struggle.