In light of the recent climate change rallies around the world claiming about 750,000 participants with about half of them in New York prior to the UN Climate meeting it is interesting to wonder if the movement is growing or whether it just ebbs and flows with certain events in time. Certainly economics often dampen environmental concerns however moratoriums on hydraulic fracturing in places such as Nova Scotia and Quebec at the very least signal public disconcert regardless of jobs and the economy, whereas on the other hand fracturing in the USA has changed the North American energy picture and as well the world’s. We now have wars in the Middle East that do not affect the price of oil.
We recently had Vivian Krause speak at our Alberta Geophysical Symposium in Red Deer in September. She was very interesting speaking along the lines of a conspiracy theory on the funding of the Anti-Oil Campaigns in Canada. Her research on over fifteen years of tax filings by a number of large USA charitable foundations show sizeable and steady amounts of money being paid to Canadian organizations and most recently some Aboriginal interests with the intention of creating public dissent and media attention against Oil and Pipeline interests. The USA foundations are well funded by names such as Warren Buffet, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Tides Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation, the Packard Foundation, and the Pew Charitable Trusts. The initial mandate of these organizations in light of the funding of Canadian organizations seemed to be based on climate change and the switch from fossil fuels to renewables (See more on her work at http://linkis.com/com/924fY). As the USA passed into recession, industry slowed down and therefore use of energy and GHG output went down. The fracturing boom in the USA then brought the price of natural gas down substantially and allowed it to begin replacing coal for electricity generation. The current focus on fracturing for oil in the USA has stabilized world prices and has kept gasoline prices at the pump at some of the lowest price levels in years. All of this done under the watchful eye of Obama really by him doing nothing at all in terms of making any decisions. So the stated intent of the funding by the charitable trusts seems to have fallen away in some fashion as renewables have struggled to be economical. The money continues to be focused on Canada and not the USA. Here in Canada we are losing the PR battle and therefore losing the hearts and minds of the public.
Dave Yager wrote an interesting piece which ties into my statements above on the new CAPP Boss. Yager always has an interesting way of seeing the world.
New CAPP Boss From Government, Not Industry – Written by David Yager, MNP Oilfield Service News, September 23, 2014
Effective October 1, 2014, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) will have a new President with current leader David Collyer retiring at the end of the year. Tim McMillan, most recently minister for rural health in Saskatchewan, has previously held the position of minister of energy and resources and at one time owned an oilfield services company. He is 41 and grew up in the Lloydminster area, an oil town by any measure. He was first elected to public office in 2007.
CAPP, representing the companies that produce the vast majority of Canada’s oil and gas, is the industry’s most powerful lobby organization. Historically, the president of CAPP has been a high profile spokesman for the Canadian oil industry. This position has usually been held by people with government experience because so much of what CAPP does is interact with governments at all levels. As an industry the oilpatch doesn’t need more financial or technical expertise but more people with the ability to interact and connect with governments and voters. Thus, CAPP and its predecessor, the Canadian Petroleum Association, have usually gone to the public sector to fill this position.
However, in 2008 CAPP broke the mold when it hired Shell Canada executive David Collyer in 2008. While Collyer was a quick study on the public policy and communications file, it is fair to say that the oil industry hasn’t won too many public relations battles in the past few years on issues ranging from the “dirty oil” label to hydraulic fracturing to approval for new export pipelines in any direction. While none of this can be blamed on David Collyer, perhaps the return to another seasoned government person as leader signifies a change in strategy.
An interview with McMillan in the September 19 DOB illustrates what he sees as the challenge. He figures the industry must engage more Canadians to help them understand the importance of the oil and gas industry. Gaining more respect from the public will be a big part of his mandate. “We need to find innovative ways in which we can make people that may not be touched directly to understand it. Although the energy sector is one of the most important sectors in Canada and is one of the largest employers, there are still lots of people that don’t necessarily understand it”.
He figures his government background will help. “I come from the political environment where we have to communicate extremely effectively with our citizens, sometimes about very difficult issues and there are multiple ways to do that. I very much look forward to having a leadership role in moving this industry forward and ensuring that the message that the industry has is a clear one and a positive one”.
OFS News wishes Mr. McMillan great success. Because when oil and gas companies succeed, their suppliers succeed. It’s the only way.
The question in my mind still lingers as to the true intent of the funding by the charitable trusts against Canadian interests. Despite being guised in motherhood and apple pie concepts such as climate change and renewables, it seems too focused against only Canada for that outcome. Certainly it all is nothing to do with Obama who hasn’t really made any decisions on anything and he tends to be viewed as anti – fossil fuel however under his tenure has seen the greatest increase in fossil fuel production in the history of the USA which may come close to energy independence – a concept of which three decades of Presidents have lauded and chased after. Thus I like the idea of a conspiracy theory with powerful individuals and organizations planning for the future. Keep the Canadians’ oil on the continent, as we will need it at some point in the future.
Fortress North America is a term used both during the Second World War and more often in the Cold War to refer to the option of defending Canada and the United States against their enemies if the rest of the world were lost to them.
It was viewed only as a last-ditch option in case Europe, Asia and Africa were overrun by the fascists or Communists. At the outset of the Cold War there were some, especially in the United States, who supported the isolationist idea of fortifying North America and abandoning international involvements. This option was rejected with the formation of NATO and the decision to permanently station troops in Europe.
During the Cold War significant planning and effort went into developing continental defense systems just in case. Most notable were the formation of NORAD and the setting up of radar lines in the Canadian Arctic. Canadians were long concerned that the adoption of a Fortress North America strategy involving close intergovernmental links and the loss of outside links would inevitably result in the nation’s absorption by the United States.
In the aftermath of the September 11th attacks the idea of Fortress North America has been revived as a strategy of keeping both nations safe from terrorism while keeping the Canadian/U.S. border undefended and open to trade.
From the Brainy Quotes website:
I will withdraw to my fortress, and after the slaughter, I will restore order.
– ION ANTONESCU