A rebuttal to the BC Governments LNG propaganda quiz.

The BC Government has released a Quiz to show how fun LNG facts are! What it really is is an exercise in propaganda and PR to sell their ill advised, and dangerous, LNG wishes. Here is my spoiler of the questions, and rebuttals to each.

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IEA 2013 CO2 Emissions Highlights report

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For more see BC LNG Hyperbole by Andrew Weaver.

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According to the IPCC and IEA Carbon budgets, this is what we must do by 2030. Courtesy Shrink That Footprint.
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Want to see what actually happens when it leaks?

Thanks Chris Aikman in the comments for pointing this video out.

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Port Alberni – The Youngest Place on Vancouver Island?

Lots of news out there today about the Census data. If you’re wondering about Port Alberni, linked are the goods from Stats Can:

Duncan, Courtenay and Campbell River are pretty similar to us age wise, but compared to our closest neighbours in Parksville, Qualicum and the NRD, we’re practically a ‘Yutes’ Only Zone! :)

Pt Alberni: Kids -3.2% Working -1.1%; Over 65 +12.6% Over 80 +9.6%Total: +1.1%
Media Age: 46.6

Qualicum: Kids -22.0%; Working -6.1%; Over 65 +17.5% Over 80 +34.6% Total: +2.2%
Media Age: 63.9

Parksville: Kids -3.4%; Working +4.6%; Over 65 +20.3% Over 80 +23.6% Total: +8.9%
Media Age: 58.2

Nanaimo: Kids 0.0%; Working +5.3%; Over 65 +16.6% Over 80 +20.1% Total: +6.5%
Media Age: 44.8

Ladysmith: Kids -8.8%; Working +5.3%; Over 65 +16.1% Over 80 +7.8% Total: +5.0%
Media Age: 48.3

Duncan: Kids -2.3%; Working +2.5%; Over 65 +18.1% Over 80 +19.3% Total: +4.5%
Media Age: 52.3

Courtenay: Kids -4.3%; Working +7.0%; Over 65 +30.8% Over 80 +41.6% Total: +9.5%
Media Age: 46.5

Campbell R: Kids -3.3%; Working +2.4%; Over 65 +32.2% Over 80 +30.8% Total: +5.5%
Media Age: 45.3

Courtenay/Campbell River are pretty similar to us age wise. Nanaimo and Courtenay is where the major growth is but Nanaimo is the only place where the number of kids didn’t fall, in fact, it stayed exactly the same!

For the much broader areas of the Regional Districts the distinction isn’t nearly as great and the ACRD actually ends up with the most kids lost but still a much lower uptake of seniors and the over 80s. The kid boom in Nanaimo is swallowed by the grey wave in the rest of the Nanaimo Regional District and the Comox Valley also had a huge influx of seniors. Our region is most similar to the Cowichan Valley. Notice at the bottom I put the stats for Victoria. While they certainly have their share I think it’s safe to say Victoria has lost its mantle of dominion of the ‘nearly-dead’ but certainly maintains the ‘newly-wed’ (concentrated mostly in the boom-town of Langford and the West Shore).

Notice though that the ACRD and the Capital Regional District have the closest median age near 45. While the three East Island Regional Districts all have ages in the around 48. Campbell River and the North Island (Mount Waddington) have a remarkably young median age, perhaps due to a disproportionate amount of First Nations reserves (purely speculation on my part), but a very rapidly aging population.

ACRD: Kids -6.4%; Working -0.1%; Over 65 15.9%; Over 80 14.8%; Total 1.3%
Median Age: 45.1

Nanaimo RD: Kids -4.0%; Working 3.8%; Over 65 18.5%; Over 80 21.2%; Total 5.7%
Median Age: 49.3

Comox Valley RD: Kids -4.5%; Working 4.3%; Over 65 25.8%; Over 80 26.2%; Total 6.8%
Median Age: 48.3

Cowichan Valley: Kids -4.5%; Working 3.4%; Over 65 16.5%; Over 80 14.9%; Total 4.4%
Median Age: 47.2

Mt Waddington: Kids -6.9%; Working -4.1%; Over 65 34.7%; Over 80 46.4%; Total -1.2%
Median Age: 41.8

Capital: Kids -2.8%; Working 4.7%; Over 65 8.3%; Over 80 1.5%; Total 4.3%
Median Age: 44.8

In Response: Rex Murphy and the Oilsands

In a commentary in the National Post tonight Rex Murphy calls the Tar Sands “Canada’s great national project for the 21st century” and those who might deride those same Tar Sands and advocate for greener energies (like Dalton McGuinty) as, in as many words, naive hypocrites.

As much as I enjoy Mr. Murphys command of the English language, he is dead wrong in this respect.

First, no matter what you call them, the Tar Sands, or Oil Sands, are not oil resources. None of it is oil that can go to an actual refinery until it is either dug out of a mine and sent through a separator or literally melted out of the ground using copious amounts of Natural gas.

Shell Scothford Bitumen Upgrader


Then it must be sent to one of 5 bitumen upgraders where it is turned into “SynCrude” which only then is roughly equivalent to ‘heavy’ regular (with caveats) crude oil and can be sent to appropriate refineries and turned into gasoline for our cars.

He might not like the ‘dirty’ oil tag that Oil Sands has gotten, but the reality is, your standard Alberta Oil Derrick is spic-and-span compared to the Tar Sands both in terms of the CO2 intensity of the operation, and the devastation and population it wrecks on land, river, and air.

Second, there is nothng ’21st century’ about continue the practices of the 19th and 20th. There is nothing new and amazing about the Tar Sands. At best they are using technology (eg. SAGD, CCS) that was developed 40 years ago

Why Oil Prices are so High

This is not why gas prices are high

to create a fuel that we started burning in large quantities barely 100 years ago, and will likely begin reaching the limits of production of it within the next 10-15 years if not sooner.

It does not matter what you, or Rex Murphy, or Dalton McGuinty drives today. What matters is what we drive, and demand, and use, tomorrow and how little CO2 we can have it produce. That is the 21st century challenge.

Arctic sea ice volume anomaly from PIOMAS updated once a month.

Today, with an Arctic that is thinning at unprecedented rates and where Winnipeg is breaking high temperature records by a dozen degrees or more, the Tar Sands are a national scar and an international embarrassment.

I have ideas about what “Canada’s great national project for the 21st century” might be. (It might end up looking a lot like Canada’s great 19th century project) I hope that Mr. Murphy takes the time to investigate every single facet of what the Tar Sands means to Albertans, Canadians, and the World before he passes judgement again in the National Post.

#Oil Sand Crude Caveats: According to the Canadian Encyclopedia “Bitumen”:

The distillates obtained from the hydrocracker, the delayed coker and the fluid coker are good feedstock for a conventional refinery. However, such distillates are “live,” tending to polymerize and foul surfaces, and must be mildly hydrotreated before being pumped through pipelines to distant refineries. This mildly hydrotreated feedstock is called synthetic crude.

Note also that I did not mention “dilbit” in my post, which is, as the name implies, diluted Bitumen and is, I believe, a much more recent invention and is also far more corrosive and heavier than syncrude.

(Thank you to @andrew_leach for pointing out some inconsistencies)

To the Editor: On Rising Gas Prices

Dear Editor,
RE: “We need to be refining oil flowing through B.C”

I’ve seen many of the same complaints rise with gas prices.

“It’s a Plot by the Oil Companies!”
“It’s Government Taxes!”
“We need more Refineries!”

In fact the rises are due to none of those things.

The first two don’t affect the day-to-day rise and fall of gas prices any more than they affect the cost of a loaf of bread.

No one complains when bread and milk are the same price when we go from grocery store to grocery store, why would we complain about oil companies rising their prices in tandem as well? Prices rise and fall slowly and in tandem… no collusion, it’s just the market.

Similarly, while government taxes certainly make up a big part of the price of ‘things’ it doesn’t move up and down like crazy, so that’s not what is causing the rising gas prices either.

The last point though, speaks to local supply and demand, which gets closer to the truth. A quick look at the stats shows (NEB Canada Excel Files) that refinery capacity in Western Canada is almost double what Western Canadians actually consume. The rest is exported. So that’s not it either.

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Refining Capacity in Western Canada: 109,000 cubic metres per day (m3/d)
Most recent (March 2011) maximum in refinery usage: 100,000 m3/d (90%)
Net Exports to US March 2011: 60,000 m3/d
Left over (ie. Domestic Western Canada consumption): 40,0000 m3/d (36% of refinery capacity)

The only reason left is global supply and demand. There we see that oil production has not risen significantly since 2005.

This post on World Energy Supply and demand here talks about all forms of energy. It includes the graph below that shows oil production leveling off (look at coal production! wow!)

Here is that graph zoomed in to the last 40 years which shows the plateau better:

And here is a graph from another post at The Oil Drum showing price over the past decade. Notice how crude supply has barely budged, but prices have been wild as the economy hits limits, crashes, then recovers… and presumably will crash again.

Prices were stable around $20 in 2001-2003 and then things started to change.

Prices rose through 2008 until the economy crashed. Now with possible recovery in the US, global production still hasn’t broken out of its 7 year funk and the price is rising even though billions are been invested in the tar sands and oil shale.

This is the reality of global peak oil. Unconventional oil has kept us on a plateau for 7 years, but eventually, declining great oil fields elsewhere will be too much to compensate and world production will decline. The economic and geo-political repercussions are predictably unpleasant.

The message is simple. We are part of the world and so are our gas prices. If the world is to insulate itself from gyrations in oil prices, then we must use far less of it, starting here at home.

Chris Alemany
Member – Alberni Valley Transition Town Society
Port Alberni, BC

Link-it-Up: True Heros

Here is the start of a series I’ll call “Link-it-Up”.
It’s your standard blog entry of interesting posts and teasers. I hate when they get really long though. So I’ll try to limit it to no more than ten so that there is actually a chance you check out the stuff.

Todays is called:
“True Heroes”

War Heroes: Bloody Hell – From the New York Times: A Doctor, co-founder of Medecins Sans Frontier returns from Syria

At the age of 71, Dr. Jacques Bérès, a veteran of war zones, left his comfortable Paris life last month to smuggle himself into Homs, the center of the Syrian revolt, to tend to the wounded and the sick.

Code Heroes: Tom Clancy would be proud – From Wired.

O Murchu had never seen this technique in all his years of analyzing malware. “Even the complex threats that we see, the advanced threats we see, don’t do this,” he mused during a recent interview at Symantec’s office.

Climate Heroes: Science Marches on – From the Journal NATURE – CLIMATE CHANGE

we show that this criterion systematically overestimates the temperature threshold and that the Greenland ice sheet is more sensitive to long-term climate change than previously thought. We estimate that the warming threshold leading to a monostable, essentially ice-free state is in the range of 0.8–3.2 °C, with a best estimate of 1.6 °C.

Lost Heroes: Anniversary of the Japanese Tsunami. When will we start moving our cities to higher ground?