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Trudeau Declared a Climate Crisis, then Backed Trans Mountain Again

Trudeau Declared a Climate Crisis, then Backed Trans Mountain Again

Opponents slam approval of potentially ‘catastrophic’ pipeline expansion.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces the second approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline in Ottawa with fellow cabinet ministers. ‘We listened to community concerns and we are acting on community ideas.’ Photo by Sean Kilpatrick, Canadian Press.

A day after declaring a “climate emergency,” the federal government approved for the second time the expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline that it now owns. 

In announcing cabinet’s decision, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said fighting climate change and growing the economy are complementary.

“We need to create wealth today so we can invest in the future,” he said. “This project has the potential to create thousands of solid middle class jobs for Canadians.”

Opponents, including the B.C. government, slammed the decision and justification, saying the project puts the coast at risk, as well as tens of thousands of jobs that depend on a clean environment. 

The existing pipeline from Edmonton, Alberta to Burnaby, British Columbia has capacity to carry 300,000 barrels of oil and petroleum products a day. The $7.4-billion expansion project would triple that.The Tyee is supported by readers like you Join us and grow independent media in Canada

The federal government approved the pipeline expansion in 2016, but a Federal Court of Appeal ruling overturned the approval, finding that the government failed to adequately consult First Nations and that the National Energy Board’s review of the project should have considered tanker traffic and the threat to southern resident killer whales.

A year ago, the federal government spent $4.5 billion to buy the existing Trans Mountain Pipeline and take over the expansion project from Texas company Kinder Morgan.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Oil traders have bigger worries than a new Hormuz tanker war

Oil traders have bigger worries than a new Hormuz tanker war

Oil tankers ablaze in the Gulf of Oman and the US pointing the finger at Iran should be enough to send the price of the world’s most vital commodity skyrocketing.

Instead, oil prices have barely budged. Traders are not buying into the theory that Tehran wants a war, but they are worried about demand.

Dated Brent assessed by S&P Global Platts – the world’s most important oil benchmark – spiked by over 4% following the attacks on June 13 and traded briefly just above $62/b. On the face of it, this modest rise doesn’t reflect the risk to almost a fifth of the world’s oil shipped through the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow 21-mile-wide channel separating Iran from the Arabian Peninsula.

“I see the limited reaction in the crude oil market as an indication of traders saying ‘hang on a minute’,” said Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank. “If Iran did this it would be an open invitation to the US to step up its involvement and that should have sent the price much higher.”

Supporting Hansen’s point, crude had futures tumbled earlier in the week, with Brent falling below $60/b for the first time since late January, after data showed a larger-than-expected increase in US crude oil inventories.

Demand-side worries

The combination of rising stockpiles, tepid demand growth and fears of a slowing global economy has been enough to wipe $13 off the value of a barrel of Brent crude since May, despite the recent attacks on oil shipping and infrastructure in the Middle East.

Last week’s attacks were described by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as “an unacceptable campaign of escalating tension by Iran”.

Infographic on June 13 tanker attack near strait of Hormuz

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

“This Has Never Happened Before”: Millions Without Electricity After Massive Blackout Cripples Argentina And Uruguay

“This Has Never Happened Before”: Millions Without Electricity After Massive Blackout Cripples Argentina And Uruguay

Millions of people and entire cities descended into darkness as a massive, unprecedented power failure kept Argentina and Uruguay in the dark on Sunday morning, the same day as provincial elections were to be held in parts of Argentina. Parts of Brazil and Paraguay also were affected, according to the BBC.

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

Ahora en Boedo se ve como CABA está sin luz, aún no hay información oficiall de @OficialEdesur . Estoy esperando al medicio a domicilio por mi hija de 2 años con 39 de fiebre. Vivo en un 9° piso. #SINLUZ #APAGON

According to Buenos Aires-based electricity supplier company Edesur, Argentina suffered a “nationwide” blackout, which also affected neighboring Uruguay, said the company’s spokesperson, Alejandra Martinez, adding that “Something like this has never happened before.”

View image on Twitter

View image on Twitter

Replying to @carlosrsucho @OficialEdesur

Absolutamente todo sin luz!!! Increíble

The company had earlier explained that the massive power outage happened due to a failure in the electrical interconnection system. The blackout itself started at 7:07am local time on Sunday, according to Argentinian officials.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Did the B-Team Overplay its Hand Against Iran?

Did the B-Team Overplay its Hand Against Iran?

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has a term of endearment for Iran’s enemies, “The B-Team.”

The “B-Team” consists of U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton, Israeli Prime Minister (nee Dictator) Benjamin Netanyahu, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman and the UAE’s Mohammed bin Zayed. 

When we look seriously at the attacks on the oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman this week the basic question that comes to mind is, Cui bono? Who benefits?

And it’s easy to see how the B-Team benefits from this attack and subsequent blaming Iran for it. With Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tehran opening up a dialogue on behalf of U.S. President Donald Trump the threat of peace was in the air.

And none of the men on the B-Team profit from peace in the Middle East with respect to Iran. Getting Trump to stop hurling lightning bolts from the mountain top the B-Team guided him up would do nothing to help oil prices, which the Saudis and UAE need/want to remain high.

Bin Salman, in particular, cannot afford to see oil prices drop back into the $40’s per barrel. With the world awash in oil and supply tight, even with OPEC production cuts, Bin Salman is currently on very thin ice because of the Saudi Riyal’s peg to the U.S. dollar, which he can’t abandon or the U.S. will abandon them.

Falling oil prices and a rising dollar are a recipe for the death of the Saudi government, folks. Iran knows this. 

Netanyahu and Bolton don’t want peace because the U.S. fighting a war with Iran serves the cause of Greater Israel and opens up the conflict in the hopes of regime change and elimination of Iran.

Bolton, as well, is finally feeling the heat of his incompetence and disloyalty to Trump, according to John Kirakau at Consortium News

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Trump Offered to Suspend Sanctions While Negotiating With Iran, Khamenei Rejected the Offer: More Attacks Expected

TRUMP OFFERED TO SUSPEND SANCTIONS WHILE NEGOTIATING WITH IRAN, KHAMENEI REJECTED THE OFFER: MORE ATTACKS EXPECTED

Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo conveyed a message from US President Donald Trump to the Iranian leadership, asking the release of 5 US prisoners and inviting Iran to sit around a negotiation table, adding “he [Donald Trump] would be ready to suspend all sanctions only during the negotiations”. No guarantee was offered to freeze or revoke the sanctions. Sayyed Ali Khamenei, the Leader of the revolution, rejected the message and any dialogue with the US President and told his guest that he considers Trump unworthy to “to exchange a message with”.

Informed sources close to Iranian decision makers repeated the words of President Hassan Rouhani and the Iranian advisor to Sayyed Khamenei for international affairs, Ali Akbar Velayati, namely that  “if Iran can’t export oil through the Persian Gulf, no-one in the Middle East will be able do this”. The source “expects further attacks in the future, given the US decision to stop the flow of oil by all means at all costs. Thus, oil will stop being delivered to the world if Iran can’t export its two million barrels per day”.

Two tankers  – Kokuka Courageous and Font Altair – were attacked in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday, putting at risk the supply of oil to the West and making oil tanker navigation in the Middle East very unsafe. “One more attack and insurance companies are expected to increase their fees. More attacks and no insurance company will agree to cover any oil tanker navigating in Gulf waters, putting Iran and other oil-exporters at the same level. Moreover, let us see what justifications Trump and Europe will offer their people when the price of oil becomes unaffordable”, said the source.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Climate change effects on hydropower in California

Climate change effects on hydropower in California

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is drought-dam-lake-oroville.jpg

Preface. The main impact of climate change will be on hydropower in California, which is the largest source of renewable electric power. Besides natural gas, it is the only dispatchable form of power to balance unreliable, intermittent wind and solar power.

But hydropower is often unavailable (i.e. drought, low reservoirs, to provide months of agriculture and drinking water, protect fisheries, etc).

CEC. September 2014. Climate change impacts on generation of wind, solar, and hydropower in California. California Energy Commission Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory .

Excerpts:

The study findings for hydroelectric power generation show significant reductions that are a consequence of the large predicted reduction in annual mean precipitation in the global climate models used. Reduced precipitation and resulting reductions in runoff result in reduced hydropower generation in all months and elevation bands. These results indicate that a future that is both drier and warmer would have important impacts on the ability to generate electricity from hydropower.

Increased production of electricity from renewables, although desirable from environmental and other viewpoints, may create difficulties in consistently meeting demand for electricity and may complicate the job of operating the state’s transmission system. This would be true of any major change in electrical supply portfolio but is especially so when the proportion of weather-dependent renewables- which are subject to uncontrolled fluctuations-is increased.

Climate change may affect the ability to generate needed amounts of electricity from weather-dependent renewable resources. This could compromise California’s ability to meet renewable targets. For example, it is well documented that climate change is affecting the seasonal timing of river flows such that less hydropower is generated during months of peak demand and maximum electricity value. Generating solar and wind power may also be impacted by long-term changes in climate.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The “Polar Silk Road” Could Be A Gamechanger For Natural Gas

The “Polar Silk Road” Could Be A Gamechanger For Natural Gas

Pipeline

It’s been well over a year since the then-United States Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis accused Russia and China of being “revisionist powers” each working its way toward making a power grab on the world stage and announced that the U.S. would be shifting its international relations focus away from fighting terrorism and instead prioritize what Mattis referred to as a “great power competition.” Now, 17 months later, it looks like Mattis’ nightmares are coming true as Russia and China have increasingly worked together in defiance of the Trump administration in a kind of diplomatic ‘marriage of convenience’.

Just this month, Chinese President Xi Jinping made his eighth official visit to Russia in a trip highly publicized in both Russian and Chinese media. “This year marks the 70th anniversary of our diplomatic ties and China’s ties with Russia are deepening at a time of profound change in the global geopolitical landscape,” remarked former Chinese ambassador to Britain Ma Zhengang, as quoted by the South China Morning Post.

One of the most current examples of this newly strengthened relationship between Beijing and Moscow is a new joint venture between state-owned shipping corporations in Russia and China to create a “Polar Silk Road” in the Arctic Sea. a year ago, officials in Beijing announced that China would be pursuing investment across the Arctic Route to encourage commercial shipping through the northern passage as a part of the country’s Belt and Road Initiative. Belt and Road is a massive undertaking involving investments programs worth trillions of dollars, which will go toward connecting Asia and Europe by sea, rail, and road to promote more trade between the continents.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

OPEC May Production Data

The below charts, unless otherwise noted, were taken from the OPEC Monthly Oil Market Report. The data is through May, 2019 and is in thousand barrels per day.

OPEC crude only production was down 236,000 barrels per day in May but that was after April production had been revised upward by 82,000 bpd.

Iranian April production was revised upward by 43,000 bpd and Saudi Arabia April production was revised upward by 24,000 bpd.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How much will the US Way of Life © have to change?

How much will the US Way of Life © have to change?

On the future of farming, socialist science, and utopia

Image: Karla S. Chambers

Debates about the Green New Deal—Ocasio-Cortez’s version and occasionally radical varieties such as that of the US Green Party—have incited much discussion about paths to utopia. Central to these conversations is the labour question: who will do the work of making the world, and how will that work be apportioned? And how much will the US Way of Life © have to change?

Ecologically-minded socialists and degrowthers tend to point out that cheap energy and excess material use are built into the socio-technical structures of capitalism. Getting rid of capitalism requires replacing capitalist technology. We must build, literally, a new world, which may require more labour and much lighter consumption patterns in the core, especially among the wealthy. Eco-socialists also tend to be more attentive to agriculture’s role in development in the periphery and core.

Eco-modernists tend, instead, to focus on eliminating exploitation while maintaining as much as possible of the physical infrastructure and patterns of consumption of capitalism. They imagine machines that will take the place of the current ecologically destructive physical plant, including in the countryside—prototype AI bots to supplant fruit pickers, or non-existent carbon-dioxide-sucking machines in place of restorative agriculture, a proven method of sequestering atmospheric carbon. Very frequently, they imagine a totally post-work world, creating the conditions for a new utopia: Fully Automated Luxury Communism.  

Those who hold the latter position often forget that the current distribution of labour is the fruit of a very specific historical moment, marked not merely by a temporary cheapness of energy—and tell Bangladesh, the Seychelles, or your grandchildren that petroleum is cheap—but specific sectoral allocations of labour in farming, industry, and services in the core states.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Dire Straits Of Hormuz

Dire Straits Of Hormuz

Well, we didn’t have to wait long for ’John Wick: Chapter Portobello’ to begin, did we? Brent crude spiked 4.5% before giving up around half of those gains as a further two oil tankers–one Norwegian, one Japanese–were attacked in the Straits of Hormuz, forcing the evacuation of both vessels; that as Japanese PM Abe sat down with the Iranian government to try to dial down tensions with the US – and as the leadership refused to accept any message from President Trump. The US have now accused Iran of attacking the two ships, which follows on from two other recent tanker attacks, drones hitting Saudi oil pumps, and a missile hitting a Saudi airport this week. The easy market response was long oil, obviously, as well as a ‘Risk Off’ further leg down in bond yields. But who did this and why? And what does that say will happen next? Logically, it was either Iran, or the US, or a third party:

Iran is suffocating under US sanctions, a known instigator of such actions via proxies, and threatening the EU with walking away from the nuclear deal if they won’t help it out. An attack like this would be incredibly reckless…unless they are desperate enough to up the ante to see if a war-averse White House will press ahead with another ruinous Middle East conflict ahead of the 2020 elections and in the face of a Cold War with China. If that is the case then expect more provocations and more Risk Off even as Iran calls this all “beyond suspicious”, “economic terrorism”, and “sabotage diplomacy”.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Hydropower can’t help with the energy crisis

Hydropower can’t help with the energy crisis

Preface. When fossil fuels are gone, there aren’t many ways to balance the unreliable, intermittent, and often absent for weeks at a time power from wind and solar.  Biofuels and burning biomass is one solution, it’s dispatchable and can kick in at any time to make up for lack of wind and solar, but using biomass as a power source is one of the most destructive ways to generate power as I explain in “Peak Soil” and probably has a negative return on energy invested.

So Plan B for renewable power would have to be hydropower.  That was the main proposal Stanford professor Mark Jacobson had to keep the electric grid stable and up and running.  But in 2017, a group of scientists pointed out that Jacobson’s proposal rested upon the assumption that we can increase the amount of power from U.S. hydroelectric dams 10-fold when, according to the Department of Energy and all major studies, the real potential is just 1% percent of that.  And since dams are so ecologically destructive, there would be a great deal of opposition to even building 1% of the dams Jacobson proposed.

Plus, most states don’t have hydropower. Ten states have 80% of hydropower, with Washington state a whopping 25% of hydro-electricity.

Hydropower isn’t always available.  A lot of water has to be held back to provide agriculture and cities with water, so there will be many times of the year when it can’t be released to keep the electric grid up.

And hydropower isn’t renewable, dams have a lifespan of 50 to 200 years.

Without all that additional hydroelectricity, the 100% renewables proposal falls apart. There is no Plan C because of all the shortcomings of battery technologies.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Exclusive: Enbridge Is Behind This Front Group Pushing the Company’s Line 3 Oil Pipeline Project

Exclusive: Enbridge Is Behind This Front Group Pushing the Company’s Line 3 Oil Pipeline Project

Enbridge building

Minnesotans for Line 3, a group established last year to advocate for an Enbridge oil pipeline project, presents itself as a grassroots organization consisting of “thousands of members.”

But a DeSmog investigation has found that behind the scenes, the Calgary-based energy giant is pulling the strings. Enbridge has provided the group with funding, public relations, and a variety of advocacy tactics.

The investigation has also found that a public relations firm behind the operation recently tried to erase its ties to Enbridge.

Facebook Splurge and Secret Tactics

Minnesotans for Line 3 first appeared in the battle over Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Project early last year.

Opponents, who this week employed direct action tactics to block initial work on the project and delivered a petition to Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, include several Native communities — among them the White Earth and Mille Lacs Bands of Ojibwe and the Red Lake Band of Chippewa. Of their main concerns, these groups cite violation of Indigenous rights, risks associated with oil spills, and climate change impacts.

Through a series of TV ads and op-eds, along with a social media campaign and a petition delivered to state authorities, Minnesotans for Line 3 called for approving Enbridge’s multi-billion dollar plan to replace and reroute its aging pipeline that transports Canadian tar sands oil through North Dakota and Minnesota to Superior, Wisconsin.

Facebook ad library archive for Minnesotans for Line 3 ads

The group spent considerable funds on Facebook advertising, making it the tenth largest digital ad purchaser among interest groups between November 2018 and April 2019. And it allegedly engaged in more stealthy tactics as well: Dozens of young people wearing Minnesotans for Line 3 shirts occupied spots in a line at a state Public Utilities Commission (PUC) hearing on the project at the expense of the project’s opponents – only to disappear shortly after receiving the tickets.    

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Escalating Trade War Signals More Pain For Oil

Escalating Trade War Signals More Pain For Oil

Offshore tanker terminal

Trump backed off his proposed trade war with Mexico in the face of intense pressure from business groups and even his own party, but his faith in tariffs remains unbowed. In fact, Trump may have internalized a lesson that presents further risks to the global economy and to oil markets.

“If we didn’t have tariffs, we wouldn’t have made a deal with Mexico,” Trump said on Monday. “We got everything we wanted.”

The proposed 5 percent tariff on Mexico was suspended because Trump said that the Mexican government agreed to a series of demands to tighten up migration through the country. However, press reports suggest that some of the provisions in the deal, such as Mexico agreeing to buy agricultural goods, are a mirage, while others, such as expanding border security, were agreed to months ago.

Leaving those pesky details aside, Trump was triumphant. Indeed, even though the White House saw pushback from business groups and the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate, in Trump’s mind the whole episode seems to have reaffirmed his strategy.

With the U.S.-China trade war unfinished, the U.S. President feels emboldened to take a hardline on Beijing.

“The China deal’s going to work out,” Trump said in an interview on CNBC. “You know why? Because of tariffs. Because right now China is getting absolutely decimated by companies that are leaving China, going to other countries, including our own, because they don’t want to pay the tariffs.”

Moreover, he says that the tariffs to date have been successful. “We’ve never gotten 10 cents from China. Now we’re getting a lot of money from China, and I think that’s one of the reasons the G.D.P. was so high in the first quarter because of the tariffs that we’re taking in from China,” he told reporters on Monday. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

False Flag? Iran Has Little To Gain From Oman Tanker Attacks

False Flag? Iran Has Little To Gain From Oman Tanker Attacks

Gulf of Tonkin 2.0? Regardless of whether Iran is responsible for damage to vessels in the Sea of Oman, Bloomberg’s Julian Lee explainsit will still get the blame – and suffer the fallout.

Two ships with one stone:
Saudis get i) higher oil price ii) US to attack Iran

Two oil tankers have been damaged in a suspected attack in the waters between the United Arab Emirates and Iran as they were leaving the Persian Gulf. This is the second incident in four weeks, and raises the question of who gains what from them.

Fingers will certainly be pointed at Iran as the mastermind behind these events. But the potential benefits to the Persian Gulf nation are outweighed by the risks. And even if Tehran isn’t responsible, it will still suffer the consequences.

The first tanker to report a problem was the Front Altair. It was reported to be carrying 75,000 tons of naphtha, loaded in Abu Dhabi, to Japan, although it was signaling a destination of Kaosiung in Taiwan when it was damaged. The second vessel was the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous, which was sailing from Saudi Arabia to Singapore with a cargo of methanol.

A person who’s heard local radio transmissions between ships in the region told Bloomberg that a torpedo attack is suspected to have caused an explosion and fire on the Front Altair. The managers of the Kokuka Courageous said in a statement that “the 21 crew of the vessel abandoned ship after the incident on board which resulted in damage to the ship’s hull starboard side.”

Choke Point

The Strait of Hormuz is the world’s most important oil choke point, with about 40% of seaborne trade passing through it.

Source: bne IntelliNews

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

A ‘’Gusher Of Red Ink’’ For U.S. Shale

A ‘’Gusher Of Red Ink’’ For U.S. Shale

shale

Oil prices are off more about 20 percent in the last two weeks on growing fears of a brewing economic recession. Commodities of all types have been hammered by the pessimism.

“Fear of global economic growth slowing,” said Peter Kiernan, lead energy analyst at the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), according to Reuters, “afflicting the entire energy complex with worries that demand growth will be bearish this year.” Prices for coal, natural gas and LNG, and crude oil have plunged.

“The continued escalation in trade tensions and broad-based fall in manufacturing…suggest that the downside risks to growth are becoming more prominent,” Morgan Stanley analysts said in a note.

Yet another downturn could not come at a worse time for U.S. shale drillers, who have struggled to turn a profit. Time and again, shale executives have promised that profitability is right around the corner. Years of budget-busting drilling has succeeded in bringing a tidal wave of oil online, but a corresponding wave of profits has never materialized.

Heading into 2019, the industry promised to stake out a renewed focus on capital discipline and shareholder returns. But that vow is now in danger of becoming yet another in a long line of unmet goals.

“Another quarter, another gusher of red ink,” the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, along with the Sightline Institute, wrote in a joint report on the first quarter earnings of the shale industry.

The report studied 29 North American shale companies and found a combined $2.5 billion in negative free cash flow in the first quarter. That was a deterioration from the $2.1 billion in negative cash flow from the fourth quarter of 2018. “This dismal cash flow performance came despite a 16 percent quarter-over-quarter decline in capital expenditures,” the report’s authors concluded.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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