Letter to the editor 1, Feb. 13, 2020
Speak up against climate change
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet decision on a massive new oilsands mine (Teck Frontier) is due at the end of February. It's their first real ‘climate test’ since the election, when the Liberals promised us they would work to reduce greenhouse gasses by 30 per cent.
There are three main reasons the Liberals should reject building the Teck Frontier mine:
1) Teck Frontier is incompatible with our government’s promise to reduce greenhouse gasses.
We have less than 10 years to limit climate catastrophe and we must act quickly to cut carbon emissions. The Teck Frontier mine will emit approximately six megatonnes of carbon emissions per year, making it one of the largest oilsands mines – if not the largest – to ever be built in Alberta. According to political economist Gordon Laxer, the oilsands are Canada’s fastest-growing source of emissions. Their growth is going to make it virtually impossible to meet our 2030 Paris climate targets.
2) Teck Frontier will permanently impact old growth forests and wetlands.
Going ahead with the Teck Frontier mine will cause irreversible environmental damage. The mine will cost us 2,598 hectares of old-growth forests, the irreversible loss of 14,000 hectares of wetlands as well as a loss of habitat for local species, including some species at risk.
3) Lack of financial viability.
The predicted revenue for the Teck Frontier mine relies on unrealistically high oil prices which have not been seen in years (Teck assumed a low price of $76.51 per barrel of WTI crude oil and a high price of $115 per barrel. Right now, the price is under $60 per barrel – and has only reached $75 once since November 2014.) So the ‘significant economic benefit for Alberta’ that Teck is predicting is grossly exaggerated. Let’s not forget that meeting our necessary climate commitments would require a 20 to 50 per cent decline in world oil demand over the next 30 to 40 years, which would mean that the cost of production of oilsands would no longer be supported by oil prices.
When it comes to global warming, we have the tendency to feel helpless. But holding our government accountable for their promises is something we can do. Please write to your local Member of Parliament Peter Schiefke before the end of February and voice your concerns about the Teck Frontier mine. Take five minutes to make a phone call to his office this afternoon. Go and visit his office and talk to him in person. Let others know you are concerned and why they should be as well. It is time to make changes on a larger scale and letting our elected officials know what we want is the only way to do so.