Can Earth’s modern economy operate without any fossil fuels?

 

Can Earth’s modern economy operate without any fossil fuels? If the answer is "yes", we'll have much of the solution to climate change. 

There are plenty on the right who insist that it’s impossible: they’re hooked on coal, oil and fracked shale gas, and to make life easier, they often argue that climate change is just not a problem. 

There are plenty on the green left too (yes, there’s a right green, a middle green and a left green) who see peak oil as bringing the collapse of modern civilization, and who see the whole concept of endless economic growth as being completely unsustainable. 

But Mark Jacobson from Stanford University has news: they’re wrong. Not on the economic growth bit, but on fossil fuels. 

Take California, that bustling economy of 33 million people. Could it operate without fossil fuels? Yes, says Mark and his team, using a mix of rooftop solar, concentrating and solar PV power plants, offshore wind, onshore wind and geothermal power. A firm grid could be achieved 99.8% of the time by using demand-response management and concentrated solar power storage.   

New York State? A similar story, with five million 5 kW rooftop solar systems, 500,000 100 kW solar systems on commercial and government rooftops, 828 50 MW solar plants, 10 MW of wind power, and with a bunch of concentrating solar, geothermal, hydropower, tidal and wave power plants thrown into the mix. And what’s more: New York State could do it by 2030, if they put their minds to it.

“You could power America with renewables from a technical and economic standpoint,” he says. “The biggest obstacles are social and political — what you need is the will to do it.”

The challenge for British Columbia should be a lot easier, since 92% of our electricity is already coming from wind and water, and our land area proportional to population is far larger than California or New York. 

Read more: http://www.bcsea.org/blog/guy-dauncey/2013/08/29/can-earth%E2%80%99s-modern-economy-operate-without-any-fossil-fuels-all

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Kinder Morgan’s oil spill clean up unsettles advocacy group

Jenny Uechi - Vancouver Observer

Posted: Aug 29th, 2013
Trans Mountain Kinder Morgan repair of leaky pipeline
Photo by PIPE UP Network

Kinder Morgan‘s attempt to clean up a recent oil spill has left five members of PIPE UP Network,  a citizen’s advocacy group, worried.

“There were still some oil-coated rocks and piles of debris, but what they were actually doing was replacing some sections of the old pipe,” said Michael Hale, who toured the site of Kinder Morgan’s June 27 spill site near the Coquihalla Summit last Saturday.

Hale was surprised by how steep the pipeline’s descent was from the Coquihalla Summit, and worried that the age of the pipeline – sixty years – and the steepness of the descent might contribute to future spills, he said. The group saw some pipeline repairs, and a length of the pipeline that had been dug up near the larger spill site.

Kinder Morgan had done “much more than one might have expected” considering that it was a relatively small spill” – around 25 barrels, he added.

But Wendy Major, a retired Chilliwack schoolteacher, said that even a small spill was a major cause of concern for people who live near the Trans Mountain pipeline. By her estimation, there are 23 schools within a 200-metre range of the pipeline stretch from Hope to Burnaby.

“I’m concerned whether there are procedures in place to deal with toxic vapors that off-gas from spills,” Major said in a press release.

“How will the children be protected against toxic gases? There have been 80 leaks and spills over the lifetime of the pipeline. The number excavations and open repairs we saw worries me.”

Read more:  http://www.vancouverobserver.com/environment/close-kinder-morgan-chilliwack-oil-spill-clean-unsettles-residents

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Press Release: Kinder Morgan’s leaky pipeline

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Chilliwack, BC. On August 24, five members of the PIPE UP Network hiked to the site of Kinder Morgan's June 27 oil spill near the Coquihalla Summit. Three of those present were part of a gathering at the Summit on August 17. David Ellis, of Vancouver organized that gathering of First Nations leaders, environmentalists and community representatives from along the Trans Mountain Pipeline, including members of the PIPE UP Network.

The August 17 gathering was able to tour the site of an oil spill that had happened in early June. However Kinder Morgan refused their request to tour a larger spill site from a larger spill on June 27.

Curious about the progress of the oil spill clean-up almost two months after the spill, the five PIPE UP members gathered on the Trans Canada Trail, just below the Coquihalla Summit at 1:00 p.m. on August 24. They hiked seven kilometres down the trail to the spill site. What they saw surprised them. “David Ellis told us about the steep terrain the pipeline traverses and had mentioned the 'Coquihalla jump off', said PIPE UP spokesperson, Michael Hale.

“I wasn't prepared for what I saw. The top of the Coquihalla Summit is the highest point of any pipeline in Canada. From the that point near the Summit, the pipeline descends over three hundred metres vertically in a very short distance. The age of the pipe and the steepness of the descent would surely increase the likelihood of a major spill,” said Hale.

“Judging by the amount of work Kinder Morgan is doing in the area, they are obviously worried about  leaks,” said Chilliwack resident Ian Stephen. “In addition to the two reported spill sites, we saw a half dozen other repairs. At the larger of the two spill sites, there is a length of over thirty metres of pipe that has been dug up. In the area of the 'Jump Off' they are doing extensive slope stabilization and scaling.”

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“I’m not impressed with their oil spill response capability,” said Chilliwack resident Paul Aquino. “It seems that they rely on members of the public and their own staff to report spills.” But in an 1100 kilometre pipeline through the remote country of the Fraser River watershed, who knows how many leaks there are. They are completely reactive and their spill response seems to rely on large napkins to mop it up.”

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PIPE UP member Wendy Major wonders how many school districts along the sixty-year-old pipeline have had a close look at their emergency manuals. "I'm concerned whether there are procedures in place to deal with toxic vapors that off-gas from spills. How will the children be protected against toxic gases? There have been eighty leaks and spills over the lifetime of the pipeline. The number excavations and open repairs we saw worries me. Every leak has lasting effects to the land and water that affect our quality of life," said Major.

- 30 -

For more information or to arrange interviews, contact:

Michael Hale – sunfolk@gmail.com 604-799-3391


Background

A request by Ellis to tour one of two recent spill sites on August 17 was denied by Kinder Morgan, who stated that since it was an active work site, they were unable to accommodate a tour (see August 13 email from Kinder Morgan, below). However, the site is near the Trans Canada Trail and Trails BC had stated clearly that hikers could pass through along the trail at off work times and under escort during work times (see August 12 email, below).

Ellis, a former fisheries biologist, whose current work takes him into the BC Interior, where he often travels along the Tran Mountain Pipeline route. Since hearing that Kinder Morgan has been shipping bitumen via the sixty-year old pipeline, Ellis has been informing himself about it. His findings cause him alarm.

Excerpts from our previous news release about the August 17 Coquihalla Summit meeting:

“It was an honour to stand with the dedicated individuals who took the time to participate in the Coquihalla Summit strategy session” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. "The diversity of participants is an undeniable reflection of the growing opposition to the Harper government’s efforts to increase the production and transport of tar sands heavy crude," said Phillip.

The event was organized by David Ellis, a former commercial fisherman and fisheries planner, whose current work takes him to First Nations communities throughout the Fraser watershed crisscrossed by the pipeline. From his travels and research, Ellis has become alarmed about the effects of bitumen spills on the environment and local communities.

I would like to thank David Ellis for his tenacity and diligent efforts to expose the reality of the 'leaky garden hose' known as Kinder Morgan's 60 year old Trans Mountain Pipeline,” said Phillip. Kinder Morgan plans to increase their Trans Mountain pipeline to increase the carrying capacity to 890,000 barrels a day.

“It is time for the Prime Minister of Canada, the National Energy Board and the Province of BC to act now,” said Ellis. “They must close down the aging Trans Mountain Pipeline and forbid all future heavy oil through the Fraser watershed. If such action is not taken immediately, I predict a major leak will occur this winter, and bring economic catastrophe, to the western Canadian economy.”

"Insanity! Absolute insanity," declared Grand Chief Stewart Phillip. "Clearly, Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline is the oldest, most rickety and subsequently the most dangerous pipeline in the Province." "In light of ongoing reports and evidence of leaks, this pipeline needs to be shut down and subjected to a thorough inspection."

The PIPE UP Network

The PIPE UP Network is made up of residents of Southwestern BC who have come together because of our concerns about the safety, environmental, and financial implications, of shipping tar sands along Kinder Morgan’s  Trans Mountain Pipeline, which runs from Edmonton, AB to Vancouver, BC.

Members of the network are dedicated to educating themselves and their communities about the existing pipeline, plans for expansion, and alternatives to tar sands; showing that we have the power to make the needed changes.

_______________________________________

August 13, 2013

Dear Mr. Ellis,

Thank you for your interest in the Trans Mountain Expansion Project and for your email requesting transportation from Kinder Morgan Canada for your planned event in the Coquihalla Canyon on August 17, 2013. As our site is an active work location, there are a number of safety and related site access considerations that need to be adhered to with respect to having non employee individuals present while crews and equipment are working in the area. For these reasons, we unfortunately will not be able to accommodate your request at this time.

However we would like to extend and invitation to you and a few other individuals to an organized tour of some sites at a later point in time. We will work to identify some prospective dates along with details of our safety requirements which we will provide in due course.

Kind regards,

Lizette

Lizette Parsons Bell, ABC*

Project Lead, Stakeholder Engagement & Communications

C: 604 788 4170 | E: lizette_parsonsbell@transmountain.com

-----------------

August 12, 2013

Hi David,

We have been advised by Kinder Morgan that we can indicate to those wishing to continue their journey on the Trans Canada Trail or want to walk or cycle the Trans Canada Trail through the Coquihalla Summit that they will be allowed or aided past their work site. Furthermore, it is unlikely that they will be working on weekends. However, they will have security on site to protect their equipment and their work site. We have no authority to advise people for any other purpose other than to walk or cycle the Trans Canada Trail through the summit.

Regards,

Léon Lebrun
Vice President and Southwest Regional Director
Trails BC
Phone 604-942-6768
Southwest@trailsbc.ca
www.trailsbc.ca

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Oil pipeline rupture by quake remains a worry

Kinder Morgan is expected to carry out more research on the potential seismic risk of a quake rupturing its Trans Mountain pipeline and spilling oil into Burrard Inlet. 

Belcarra Mayor Ralph Drew says a just-completed review of area geologic faults funded by Kinder Morgan is a good start but more work is needed to answer outstanding questions about the danger. 

Some geologists in the past have suggested a fault triggered the historic slump of the north face of Burnaby Mountain an estimated 15,000 years ago. 

Drew's nightmare scenario is for some similarly violent seismic event to strike today near the pipeline Kinder Morgan intends to twin and close to the Westridge Marine Terminal, where large amounts of oil is stored in tanks on a hill above the inlet.  

"It doesn't take much land movement to result in a fracture to a hard object like a metal pipe," Drew said.

Read more: http://www.tricitynews.com/news/220745621.html

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Solidarity at the Coquihalla Summit about Trans Mountain Pipeline


Coquihalla_spill_site_rally.jpgOn August 17, 2013, thirty Indigenous Tribal Leaders, environmental activists and residents of Lower Mainland and Interior communities met at the Coquihalla Summit to talk about the transport of diluted bitumen on the Trans Mountain pipeline route. They gathered near the old toll booth site on the Coquihalla highway and later examined nearby spill sites along the pipeline. There was unanimity of opposition to Kinder Morgan’s plans to continue shipments of this dangerous and toxic substance.

“It was an honour to stand with the dedicated individuals who took the time to participate in the Coquihalla Summit strategy session” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs. "The diversity of participants is an undeniable reflection of the growing opposition to the Harper government’s efforts to increase the production and transport of tar sands heavy crude," said Phillip.

The event was organized by David Ellis, a former commercial fisherman and fisheries planner, whose current work takes him to First Nations communities throughout the Fraser watershed crisscrossed by the pipeline. From his travels and research, Ellis has become alarmed about the effects of bitumen spills on the environment and local communities.

I would like to thank David Ellis for his tenacity and diligent efforts to expose the reality of the 'leaky garden hose' known as Kinder Morgan's 60 year old Trans Mountain Pipeline,” said Phillip. Kinder Morgan’s plans to increase their TransMountain pipeline to increase the carrying capacity to 890,000 barrels a day.

“It is time for the Prime Minister of Canada, the National Energy Board and the Province of BC to act now,” said Ellis. “They must close down the aging Trans Mountain Pipeline and forbid all future heavy oil through the Fraser watershed. If such action is not taken immediately, I predict a major leak will occur this winter, and bring economic catastrophe, to the western Canadian economy.”

"Insanity! Absolute insanity," declared Grand Chief Stewart Phillip. "Clearly, Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline is the oldest, most rickety and subsequently the most dangerous pipeline in the Province." "In light of ongoing reports and evidence of leaks, this pipeline needs to be shut down and subjected to a thorough inspection."

“This pipeline has changed hands many times and millions have been made each time, with government backing,” said Chief Art Adolph, Xaxli'p (Fountain) and Chair of the Lillooet Tribal Council. “Proper management is needed to protect the ecosystems we depend on. Currently we have organized crime at the highest level between government and industry advancing their own agenda—counter to court rulings. In our ancient stories regarding proper management, sometimes Coyote dies when not adhering to teachings and is brought back to life. Not so, if the Fraser River dies after an oil spill."

“I’m here because the state of our waters and our way of life is being compromised, said Chief Shelly Leech, T'it'q'et Tribal Chief (Lillooet). “The fish keep our culture alive. We need to pull together and take a stand against things like these pipelines that threaten our way of life—the way of life for everyone.”

Chief Archie Patrick, Stellat'en First Nation, Nadleh Bun (Fraser Lake) said: “Nadleh means ‘where salmon returns’ but we can't even drink from that lake any more. We lived in harmony with it for many years. We have to act on this pipeline issue.

Chief Garry John, Tsal'alh (Seton Lake) and Chair of the St'át'imc Chiefs Council added: “Kinder Morgan just can't maintain their own pipe! We need the wild foods, but will soon lose them if this continues."

“This area is vulnerable to leaks and spills and can cause irreversible harm to the watersheds and wild salmon, a keystone species that unites us all,” said Eddie Gardner, a member of the Skwah First Nation (Stolo). “Having this pipeline continue to flow bitumen is already a risk too high, let alone plans to double the pipeline through the existing ‘right of way.’ We need a ‘right of way’ of clean water, land and air and protection of renewable resources like our wild salmon for the benefit of future generations.”

Bitumen does sink, and it can lead to long term leaching of toxins that will threaten salmon and the long-term ecology of our waterways,” said Stan Proboszcz, Fisheries Biologist with Watershed Watch. “We must give greater economic value to ecosystems and the services they provide.”

David Luggi, Band Manager, Stellat'en First Nation, former Chief, Carrier Sekani Tribal Council: “We spent 8 years fighting off Gateway, it is time governments began to hear the people.”

“The Exxon Valdez oil spill taught us a harsh lesson of the devastating affect to the ocean environment and on the daily lives and livelihood of people, whose tattered lives are still uncertain today,” said Roy Sakata, a former commercial salmon fisherman and resident of Ladner. “That was 20 years ago. Increasing pipeline oil transportation with a 60-year-old system with its associated pipeline leaks and breakages and increasing oil tanker traffic with the imminent potential of collisions and groundings are not acceptable.”

“There is no net economic benefit for BC,” said Michael Hale, a Chilliwack resident and member of the PIPE UP Network. “The tar sands bitumen is all for export, not for BC’s needs. There are better alternatives in green jobs, renewable energy and electric transportation. We have to conserve our natural wealth for future generations,” said Hale.

Mr. Rod Mariner, retired manager, B.C. government streamside management program and a founder of Greenpeace, spoke of environmental campaigns that have changed the world. “Do not forget their have been many huge victories, after our Greenpeace cruse to Amchitka, the U.S.Government shut down all nuclear testing. We will shut down this pipeline!

Hope resident and member of the PIPE UP Network, Sharlene Harrison-Hinds said: “Many Hope residents are concerned about protecting their water these days.” She recalled the Viet Nam war protests. “Just like then, it is ‘united we stand,’” Harrison-Hinds concluded.

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