Alberta will face a disastrous competitive and economic disadvantage
July 24, 2001 8:22 AM   Subscribe

Alberta will face a disastrous competitive and economic disadvantage if Canada signs the Kyoto accord. Meanwhile, this year has been one of the worst for smog in Toronto. Some municipalities in Ontario are voluntarily looking towards alternate energy sources because they feel, in the long run the costs will be lower (lower health costs, avoiding higher fossil fuel costs, etc. - sorry, no link) What do you think? Is it possible to have economically viable alternative energy, and is the US setting a bad example for countries that feel they need to compete?
posted by nprigoda (12 comments total)
I know we've all discussed Kyoto before, but I'm hoping we'll get into the "competition" issue here. I guess it's tying the global market argument into the environmental argument here.
posted by nprigoda at 8:24 AM on July 24, 2001

I wonder what will happen to Kananaskis next year? There's bound to be a lot of hot air moving in from industrialized countries.
posted by pracowity at 8:53 AM on July 24, 2001

This ought to give the struggling Canadian economy the swift kick in the gonads it needs to catch up to Japan.
posted by revbrian at 9:37 AM on July 24, 2001

It's a bad year for summer haze in general. I'm sitting here in an air conditioned building teaching kids how to use computers, I'm glad I'm not running a soccer camp. We were just outside for lunch and I swear the air is thick enough to cut with a knife.

So far we've had one or two smog warnings. Our area had never had one before this summer. Something's happening to the environment these days, be it natural or man-made. Maybe we'll be looking at a very different climate in fifty years. Who knows?
posted by dave at 10:06 AM on July 24, 2001

> Is it possible to have economically viable alternative
> energy

"economically viable" = "cheaper than fossil fuels." You've heard Gresham's law? ("Bad money drives out good.") Well, the same thing applies to behavior, most especially when practiced by entities like corporations, which have no conscience. If you're doing something with more expensive alternative energy and you're paying your labor a living wage, and you're competing with somebody else doing the same thing in Sumatra or Suriname with pennies-a-day labor and the cheapest, dirtiest energy they can buy, you lose, pal.
posted by jfuller at 10:41 AM on July 24, 2001

So I'm sitting here thinking, poor Canada. Those Canadian oil businesses are going to have a really tough time post-Kyoto, unlike their American counterparts (who won't be bound by those icky Kyoto strictures). Poor Canadian Oilmen! What will they ever do, those poor, sad, Canadian entrepreneurs??

And so I looked into the
Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers'
site, thinking maybe I could offer some telepathic sympathy for those poor, honor-bound Canadians.

But guess what? A large majority of their member companies are (surprise!) subsidiaries of the big US oil companies. No, it doesn't make for that kind of jaw-dropping shock that sends you into a stupor that then makes you drool all over the front page newspaper story about how campaign finance reform isn't really going anywyere -- but it does produce an interesting twist.

It is in the US Oil Biz's best interests for Canada not to ratify the Kyoto protocol. I'm wondering why it's only coming up now, though. Gee, could the Canadian government possibly be somewhat immune to some of the influences the US's suffers?? What a concept!

Just for kicks, here's some pertinent info on the CAPP's membership:

**Alberta Energy Corp -- Largest producer in CA, wants to drill in Alaska! Behooves them, therefore, to suck up to GW.
**Apache -- Also operates in TX, and donated to the campaigns of pro-oil Texas candidates. Didn't donate to Bush, strangely, but may have as part of a larger PAC.
**Burlington Resources -- Hey! Guess What?? Based in Houston!! During the last election they pumped almost $80,000 into the coffers of pro-oil US candidates.
**Then there's BP/Amoco -- They slid close to $1 million in soft money contributions into the 2000 election, and over $200,000 in that more straightforware "hard money."
**And Chevron (~$280,000 hard, $780,000 soft), Conoco (~$47,000 hard, $250,000 soft), ExxonMobil (~$800,000 hard, $470,000 soft), Hunt (~$50,000 hard, $112,000 soft), Phillips (~$140,000 hard, $247,000 soft), Shell (~$140,000 hard, and a paltry $1,000 soft), and Unocal ($67,000 hard, $125,000 soft).

Not to mention CEOs' families packaged contributions. Didn't look those up, because I'm too depressed now.

These figures, by the way, come from CRP, which every American should visit every once in a while, just to make you mad enough to care about stuff again. (The amounts were rounded, some up and some down, because it's easier to type them that way. Also, I couldn't find my calculator.)

Sigh. God Bless America.

I'm going back to bed.
posted by mudbug at 10:47 AM on July 24, 2001

Thanks mudbug, I think I'm going to walk into a lake now.
I know that many canadians would like to think that we are only influenced by the states in terms of exports and inports of goods and culture. To find out that money crosses the border to influence politics is scary. I guess I really am naive.
posted by nprigoda at 10:53 AM on July 24, 2001

Augh! The US not signing is a disaster. The other link, to an article about smog in Toronto, is almost as scary: 16 smog alerts so far this summer. The previous high was 11, total, in 1995.

Damn SUVs...
posted by D at 3:12 PM on July 24, 2001

My breathing hasn't been the same since moving to Toronto last summer. This August I'm moving to Cambridge, where my fiance swears he's never seen a major landmark obscured by smog. Maybe I can get data entry work at The Crimson :)
posted by galachef55 at 3:46 PM on July 24, 2001

Cambridge MA?

There's smog. It's just that the buildings aren't tall enough to be obscured by it.
posted by mudbug at 4:00 PM on July 24, 2001

My breathing hasn't been the same since moving to Toronto last summer.

Seriously? I know someone else who recently moved here and has developed health problems. Are we natives all immune? Super-evolved mutants, or what?

*Steps out into smoldering heat to put hot smoke in lungs*
posted by D at 6:06 PM on July 24, 2001

Strathcona County, downwind of refinery row in Edmonton, enjoys (if you will) some of the highest cancer rates in the nation as well as one of the highest respiratory illness rates in Canada (sorry no source - the archive of the Sherwood Park News is nonexistent).

I don't really care about the 'disastrous competitive and economic disadvantage' - oil refineries (and companies) make people very sick.
posted by lumiere at 6:50 PM on July 24, 2001

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