My Comments to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel

The official transcript is at:
I have made small edits for clarity.

Good morning, everyone. Thank you for listening.

In 1827, over 180 years ago, a French scientist, Jean Baptiste Joseph Fourier, wrote a paper that helped us understand how our planet works. It was based on earlier experiments by a Swiss scientist, deSaussure. In 1896, Svante Arrhenius, a Swedish scientist, building on that paper developed a formula that allowed him to calculate exactly how much temperatures would rise based on the CO2 that we put into our atmosphere.

That was 117 years ago. We’ve had 117 years of experiments, data collection, research, measurement and even more precise calculations and yet, from what I understand, this Panel is not even going to fully consider the impact of that science and this project.

Anthropogenic global warming has been called the most peer-reviewed project in the history of science. Every scientific body of national and international standing has taken a position in favour of it and yet we’re not allowed to fully consider the impact that this project will have based on that science.

The Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline will pump about 525,000 barrels per day of petroleum. That works out to 225 million kilograms of CO2 warming potential each day, or about 225,000 tonnes per day. That’s 82 million tonnes per year, or at least I thought it was when I did those calculations. Then I realized I was using the factor for conventional oil to do those calculations, and since this is coming from the tar sands, the factor should be higher. So it works out to be about 99 million tonnes per year of CO2 warming potential that will be going through this pipeline.

As you probably know, just this month the National Resource Defence Council in the United States released some information showing that we’ve actually been underestimating the CO2 warming potential from tar sands fossil fuels.

So again we have these numbers, 99 million tonnes per year, and yet, from what I understand, we’re not even supposed to be considering those numbers when it comes to the impact of this project.

Nicholas Stern, who wrote this very damming report about how climate change would affect our economies, recently admitted that he was wrong, That in fact he’d underestimated the impact. He said, I quote, “It’s far worse. This is potentially so dangerous that we have to act strongly.”

I don’t want to diminish the other concerns about this pipeline. There certainly are very valid concerns about the spills that will happen on land and on water.

My family has lived for generations here in B.C. along the coast. My family was some of the original settlers up in the area that’s shown on the map here [referring to the map on the screen] along the pipeline route. And we’ve also lived in Alberta. I actually worked in the tar sands for a brief period of time. So again, I don’t want to diminish the very serious effects that this could have on the ecosystem.

But the truth that we don’t want to talk about too much is the fact that even if we had quadruple-hulled tankers and even if we had triple- walled pipelines, even if we had no spills on land or in water, almost all of this product would still be spilled. It would be spilled into the atmosphere through combustion at the end use. To me, that seems insane that we aren’t even allowed to consider that impact in this process.

We are allowed to consider the impact that it will have on communities and, of course, climate change will affect communities, not only here in B.C. but around the world. So I guess, if we think about it that way we are allowed to consider the impact that climate change will have.

The science is pretty clear that we need to have an 80 to 90 percent reduction in fossil fuel use. What that means is that even the existing pipelines that we have are carrying too much fossil fuels and that we need to be decommissioning existing pipelines in order to meet the targets that the science
says we need to meet.

To me, it just seems insane that we are building new pipelines under these conditions. With all this evidence of the harm that it will be doing to future generations, it seems to me almost sociopathic to go ahead with a project like this.

Anyone who cares about our children and future generations must work to stop this pipeline.

In April my first daughter will be arriving, which means that I will continue to work to stop this pipeline.

Thank you


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