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Addicted to oil

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Addicted to oil

Postby Miranda Holmes » Nov 9th, 2012, 3:53 pm

Not long after the Defend Our Coast rallies, a pollster phones, wanting to know who I plan to vote for in the provincial election. The first party to unequivocally say NO to tar sands oil in pipelines and tankers through BC land and waters, I tell her.

This causes a bit of confusion, as it clearly isn’t one of the options in front of the caller. So, she asks after some hesitation, the NDP?

Given NDP leader Adrian Dix’s tough talk on Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline, she might very well think so, but where is he on doubling the capacity of the Kinder Morgan pipeline into Burrard Inlet? The silence is deafening.

Does one conclude that Mr Dix has no intrinsic objection to BC enabling fossil fuel addicts around the world? Because that’s my objection to the pipeline proposals.

Yes, I’m worried – as most people in BC are – about the inevitable environmental devastation oil spills will bring. I’m also concerned about the environmental devastation extracting oil from Alberta’s tar sands has already caused.

According to federal NDP leader Thomas Mulcair, the damage isn’t just environmental, it is also economic. Back in the spring, he accused the tar sands industry of causing Dutch Disease. And, while Harper & Co spluttered their objections to Mulcair’s claim, the OECD supported his assessment.

Mind you, that was then. It seems Mulcair has had an epiphany. Apparently he has now decided tar sands oil is good for the economy – if ¬it travels east from Alberta, not west.

With the Globe and Mail declaring the Northern Gateway pipeline all but dead and the Obama re-election making the future of the Keystone pipeline less certain, it should come as no surprise to learn – as Joyce Nelson reports at length in Watershed Sentinel – that tar sands mules Enbridge and TransCanada Corp have well-advanced plans for converting existing pipelines to transport diluted bitumen from Alberta to refineries in eastern Canada and New England.

According to Nelson, if these plans – which seem to be attracting little mainstream media attention – go ahead, “more than 1.4 million barrels per day of tar sands crude could be piped through southern Ontario and Quebec – the most populated areas of Canada.”

Which begs the question: Just how crude do Alberta’s exports need to be?

Diluted bitumen is 16 times more likely to leak than conventional crude transported in pipelines and a far greater clean up challenge when spilled, as it was, in the Kalamazoo River.

Appearing on The National recently, fossil fuel dealer Alison Redford smiled patiently and explained to the country that without pipelines through BC to enable Alberta to ship its diluted bitumen to Asia, the province will be condemned to making less than top dollar per barrel from its resources. Really?

If Redford truly wants to maximize the economic benefits from the tar sands, perhaps she should insist, as Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, has suggested, that her province’s oily gunk be upgraded to synthetic crude oil before it’s exported. (Most dealers know you get less for crack than you do for powdered cocaine.)

Neither Enbridge nor TransCanada care whether their package is diluted bitumen or synthetic crude, but everyone along their proposed pipelines should.

Although there are obvious measures we could and should be taking to aid our withdrawal from fossil fuels, as long as Hopalong Harper is in charge, investment in green energy and electric cars is likely to remain even more of a pipe dream in Canada than in many other countries. And, as beneficial as going cold turkey might be for the health of the planet, it is not a viable option.

So, here’s the deal (because apparently someone died and made me king): No new pipelines either heading west or east and henceforth tar sands companies must upgrade their bitumen before it goes anywhere. This won’t help with our fossil fuel addiction or with arresting the impacts of climate change, but at least it might reduce the immediate threat of environmental devastation.

That’s reduce, of course, not eliminate.
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Re: Addicted to oil

Postby 5VP » Nov 9th, 2012, 6:09 pm

Interesting opines...

Too bad we even need to have these discussions though...

Humans; sheesh. What can you do with 'em?

Can't seem to live in a clean, peaceful world with them and most are too big to stuff in a sack...

Oil well...
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Re: Addicted to oil

Postby Crazy Horse » Nov 10th, 2012, 12:23 am

It isn't an addiction, it is a necessity.

Transportation fuels allow us to shop for bananas, and avocados, and oranges. It makes plowing, planting, harvesting and transporting our crops possible. It makes it easy for you to go to Hawaii, or Europe, or Victoria. It gets your parcel to the other side of the continent. It allows you to take your child to soccer, or hockey, or swim club anywhere, any time.

And that is only transportation fuels. Never mind plastic bags, we can get by without those. But the plastics we use in computers, medical supplies, household appliances, carpets, electric cars, bike helmets, cameras, lipstick....you get the idea.

And what about power generation and heating fuels? We are lucky to have so much hyro-electric power in our part of the world. But other places are not so lucky. Natural gas is far better than coal, and unless you advocate more nuclear power, then natural gas it is.

Should we strive to make cars and planes and power plants more efficient and cleaner? Should be keep working on alternatives? Of course we should. But until something better is developed, carbon fuels are going to be powering us for a long time. So many people want to say NO to everything, but offer no solution.
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Re: Addicted to oil

Postby 5VP » Nov 10th, 2012, 9:02 am

It's a chicken v. egg thing...

Which came first?

The simple basic need for food and shelter or the need for all the extraneous petroleum related products that we are now told we can't live without? How is it that humans thrived for millennia without all these wonderful things that, for the most part, have only existed for the last century?

Is it a requirement for living that all humans be able to fly to Hawaii with a bag of makeup and golf clubs and iphones or eat tropical fruit in the winter or put their kids through hockey while in other parts of the globe, like in the oil rich Sudan, the population starves or is this all a bill of goods that the last hundred years of oil products salesmen have sold us on?

What are the true hidden costs to such ostentatious extravagance?

Good example in the news last night about BC Health Boards transporting food to here from out-of-province while local farmers can't sell their products to a hospital that is only a horse cart ride away. The scales of economy have become skewed by our dependence on oil.

Very few benefit from this but those few have a huge influence on our increasingly complacent mindset about the reality of oil.

Big oil is a self perpetuating entity that has swallowed us whole.

I agree, we have become addicted to oil and all the unnecessities it produces.

Zoom, zoom...
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Re: Addicted to oil

Postby hobbyguy » Nov 10th, 2012, 9:09 am

CH, the key to what the poster is getting at is the difference between dilbit and crude oil. Upgraded crude - synthetic crude - is much less hazardous to transport.

We have some technologies to clean up the worst of an oil spill, but as Enbridge has proven in the Kalamazoo river, we do NOT have the technologies to clean up dilbit spills.

The existing pipelines were designed to carry crude oil, not dilbit. Dilbit is both much more abrasive and much more acidic (corrosive) than upgraded synthetic crude. Dilbit requires substantially higher pressures - which the existing lines were not designed for (yes, with safety factors they will hold it, but not with accepted safety factors). So the analogy is rather like trying to use an F150 to haul a 40 ft fifth wheel trailer, yup it'll do it - but for how long? So these pipeline operators are trying to get us to allow them to use an F150 rather than them "pony up" for the F350 diesel dually.

The argument isn't really NO pipelines, it is what they carry and how they're built. These "cowboys" are trying to get away with the lowest cost and have the rest of us carry the can when it fails.

They don't want to spend the money to build upgraders (lots of Canadian jobs - not Chinese jobs!), and they don't want to spend the money to build proper faciilities to handle dilbit either (I think becasue they literally can't).

Yes, we need oil, but we don't need dilbit.
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Re: Addicted to oil

Postby Captain Awesome » Nov 10th, 2012, 9:11 am

Some people think ideal way to live is a shack and whatever you can gather outside of your house. Oil is a blessing, thank Allah we have it. You want to be stuck in 17 century and live like hobos - go ahead, Afghanistan is a good example of a countryt with no natural resources and awesome natural lifestyle it brings. Leave oil to those who like it.
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Re: Addicted to oil

Postby Crazy Horse » Nov 10th, 2012, 10:33 am

5VP wrote:It's a chicken v. egg thing...

Which came first?

The simple basic need for food and shelter or the need for all the extraneous petroleum related products that we are now told we can't live without? How is it that humans thrived for millennia without all these wonderful things that, for the most part, have only existed for the last century?

Is it a requirement for living that all humans be able to fly to Hawaii with a bag of makeup and golf clubs and iphones or eat tropical fruit in the winter or put their kids through hockey while in other parts of the globe, like in the oil rich Sudan, the population starves or is this all a bill of goods that the last hundred years of oil products salesmen have sold us on?

What are the true hidden costs to such ostentatious extravagance?

Zoom, zoom...


Humans may have lived (thrived? not so sure) for thousands of years without petroleum products, but the standard of living was awful. Life expectancy was extremely low and the medical advances we enjoy now are not possible without petroleum byproducts. And you think you can do without the imported fruits and vegetables? Try it for a while, I think it will be harder than you think. Even as late as the end of the 19th century, once the sun went down it was bed time. Whale oil was difficult to obtain and expensive, and only those in the biggest cities had coal gas to burn in lanterns. But with the discovery of kerosene, people had the ability to read and write after work, enabling a more sophisticated population. Petroleum is a link energy source. Whatever comes next will not have been possible without petroleum.

hobbyguy...I agree that it would be better for all if bitumen were upgraded at the source, my post was addressing the "addiction vs. necessity" argument. I just went off on a tangent with the "No Pipelines" crowd.
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Re: Addicted to oil

Postby Artofthedeal » Nov 12th, 2012, 3:33 pm

I really wish all the people that think that all the benefits we derive from oil would go off of oil for even a year, and see how much their standard of living would plummet to the point of basic survival. This entire guilt-based argument is complete garbage. I personally would love to get on to a different energy source, if it was cheaper and meant no detraction from our current standard of living. When that source is discovered, I'll be the first to embrace it. However, this opposition to improving our infrastructure to increase safety, security and volume of petroleum product delivery, just because some have decided that "oil is bad", is just plain silly. I'm sure when the wheel was discovered, the ancestors of these same people were telling the populace that the wheel would be bad, and the "addiction" to wheeled traffic as opposed to dragging around sledges, would doom all of mankind. But by all means - please please, if oil is so bad - stop using it - and go live in a cave, if it makes your liberal conscience feel better. I am all for the naysayers and whiners to leave conventional society and go live somewhere else.
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Re: Addicted to oil

Postby 5VP » Nov 13th, 2012, 10:20 am

Crazy Horse wrote: Humans may have lived (thrived? not so sure) for thousands of years without petroleum products, but the standard of living was awful. Life expectancy was extremely low and the medical advances we enjoy now are not possible without petroleum byproducts. And you think you can do without the imported fruits and vegetables? Try it for a while, I think it will be harder than you think. Even as late as the end of the 19th century, once the sun went down it was bed time. Whale oil was difficult to obtain and expensive, and only those in the biggest cities had coal gas to burn in lanterns. But with the discovery of kerosene, people had the ability to read and write after work, enabling a more sophisticated population. Petroleum is a link energy source. Whatever comes next will not have been possible without petroleum.

hobbyguy...I agree that it would be better for all if bitumen were upgraded at the source, my post was addressing the "addiction vs. necessity" argument. I just went off on a tangent with the "No Pipelines" crowd.


Exactly the point here.

We've had this immensely valuable resource that we've chosen to squander on personal vanity toys and products.

If more of this resource had been properly utilized instead, for medical advances and infrastructure for feeding the masses we might indeed have a more holistic global situation instead of all the wars and economic empire building that enslave us all into believing how reliant we are on oil; hence we are indeed seen to be "addicted to oil".

We may have to at some point nationalize (again) this resource out of the hands of the pirates who currently control this waning global resource and our consumeristic mindsets and put what remains to good and proper use...
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Re: Addicted to oil

Postby The Green Barbarian » Nov 13th, 2012, 11:45 am

and yet the evolution of deriving energy from oil has done more to "feed the masses" than any other invention ever in our history. It is sad that instead of acknowledging mankind's greatest achievement, you want to denigrate it.
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Re: Addicted to oil

Postby twobits » Nov 14th, 2012, 6:04 am

5VP wrote: We may have to at some point nationalize (again) this resource out of the hands of the pirates who currently control this waning global resource and our consumeristic mindsets and put what remains to good and proper use...


I bet Chavez is your idol and hero.

There is no logical reason for Canada to ration our oil output. Per capita we are one of the largest owners of oil in the world. If we do not exploit the resourse now we could find ourselves sitting on billions of barrels of buggy whips when alternative energy sources become viable. I am more certain of that senario than the one of the world running out of oil first. We're probably looking at about 30 yrs for tech to displace oil so I say make hay while the sun shines and use those funds to set ourselves up for the future.
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Re: Addicted to oil

Postby 5VP » Nov 16th, 2012, 7:52 pm

twobits wrote:
5VP wrote: We may have to at some point nationalize (again) this resource out of the hands of the pirates who currently control this waning global resource and our consumeristic mindsets and put what remains to good and proper use...


I bet Chavez is your idol and hero.

There is no logical reason for Canada to ration our oil output. Per capita we are one of the largest owners of oil in the world. If we do not exploit the resourse now we could find ourselves sitting on billions of barrels of buggy whips when alternative energy sources become viable. I am more certain of that senario than the one of the world running out of oil first. We're probably looking at about 30 yrs for tech to displace oil so I say make hay while the sun shines and use those funds to set ourselves up for the future.


Chavez who???

Denigrate oil?

That's like demanding an end to denigrating a bucket of rotten eggs...

Denigrating oil. :127:

What kind of human defends a corporate planet and soul destroying product to his own destruction? Unless you've been born as a spawn of satan perhaps?

It ain't natural.

What's next? Are the oil police monitoring our "thoughtspeak"?

If this product, as currently controlled by the corporate interests, is so plentiful here and such a saviour...

Why do our prices continue to rise?

Why are there starving people in oil rich countries in Africa (Sudan) and plagues elsewhere?

Also...

You really think this is what we humans should all be striving for?

http://www.indiaonrent.com/forwards/s/s ... q3dr6_.jpg

How many more people could be assisted by just this one absolutely pompous oil fueled extravagance and how many current wars would not exist if there were not so many pirates involved in Big Oil to feed these extravagances??


It's time to get a grip OUR global resource and on all the pirate/privateer companies who get a license to make billion$ in profit.

Then...

Other billion$ are pocketed by all the ancillary industries feeding our insatiable, out-of-control embracing of the seven deadly sins enabled by the spoils of oil.

Much of all these vaunted boons to economies are built on vanity driven industries which cause accelerated damages like over-population, pollution, social disruption and wars due to these imbalances.

Do you not see the folly in wasting oil for the purpose of personal vanity?

We could have been a lot farther along the roads to peaceful development of humanity than we are instead of running the planet like a global Vegas for fornicating monkeys drunk on oil money...

Seriously...
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Re: Addicted to oil

Postby Crazy Horse » Nov 17th, 2012, 1:27 pm

5VP wrote:Chavez who???

Denigrate oil?

That's like demanding an end to denigrating a bucket of rotten eggs...

Denigrating oil. :127:

What kind of human defends a corporate planet and soul destroying product to his own destruction? Unless you've been born as a spawn of satan perhaps?

It ain't natural.

What's next? Are the oil police monitoring our "thoughtspeak"?

If this product, as currently controlled by the corporate interests, is so plentiful here and such a saviour...

Why do our prices continue to rise?

Why are there starving people in oil rich countries in Africa (Sudan) and plagues elsewhere?

Also...

You really think this is what we humans should all be striving for?

http://www.indiaonrent.com/forwards/s/s ... q3dr6_.jpg

How many more people could be assisted by just this one absolutely pompous oil fueled extravagance and how many current wars would not exist if there were not so many pirates involved in Big Oil to feed these extravagances??


It's time to get a grip OUR global resource and on all the pirate/privateer companies who get a license to make billion$ in profit.

Then...

Other billion$ are pocketed by all the ancillary industries feeding our insatiable, out-of-control embracing of the seven deadly sins enabled by the spoils of oil.

Much of all these vaunted boons to economies are built on vanity driven industries which cause accelerated damages like over-population, pollution, social disruption and wars due to these imbalances.

Do you not see the folly in wasting oil for the purpose of personal vanity?

We could have been a lot farther along the roads to peaceful development of humanity than we are instead of running the planet like a global Vegas for fornicating monkeys drunk on oil money...

Seriously...


Sure glad I don't see things through your eyes. Must be a painfully bleak existence. But to answer a couple of questions;

There are people starving in oil rich countries because of corrupt governments. Not because of oil or oil companies. And these oil companies you despise so much also employ millions of people, provide well governed countries (through tax, rent, royalties etc.) with roads, schools, hospitals, and allow individuals and groups a profitable place to invest money for their pensions and retirement.

You may not like a world that enjoys what petroleum provides for, but I bet the majority of people prefer it to the alternative.
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Re: Addicted to oil

Postby 5VP » Nov 17th, 2012, 1:53 pm

These typical and oft-heralded, here and elsewhere, corporate party lines and points on oils recent beneficence to mankind are all moot...

Take oil out the picture or at least out of the hands of corporations and you also remove the greater portion of corruption anywhere.

Very true though, that we would not be in this global mess we're it not for the exploitation of oil over the last 100 or so years.

You have also failed to fill in all the blanks and factor in all the costs associated with the extraction, production, polluting uses, environmental destructions and human deaths caused by humans desires for this product v. the minimal and decreasing red herring benefits you so lovingly cling to.

Zoom, zoom...
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Re: Addicted to oil

Postby Crazy Horse » Nov 17th, 2012, 2:48 pm

I believe if you take oil out of the hands of corporations and into the hands of government only, then we would see corruption like never before. (Venezuela, Saudi, Russia, Iran). Corporations are accountable to the rule of law and to their shareholders. You are now seeing BP pay like no one has paid before. They likely won't survive, so will have paid the ultimate price for their mistakes. If that same accident had happened to a Venezuelan rig, do you really think anything would have come of it?

As for the global mess we are in (or as I like to call it -heat, A/C, cars. airplanes, fresh food, electricity, computers, phones), well I will take it over the alternative any day. I would rather live now than in, say, 1712.

The cost associated with petroleum is worth it. Great strides have been made in making petroleum energy more efficiently and cleaner. As for wars, that is a problem that goes far beyond oil. Civilizations have been at war since the beginning of time, so don't blame oil.
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