Canada’s energy regulator reviews pipeline's impact on climate change
This week, Canada’s energy regulator is listening to feedback on the proposed Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion. It’s part of a two-step process to consider the possible effects of the expansion on climate change.
After an application from the environmental group Stand.earth, the National Energy Board has decided to ask if it has done enough to consider how the proposed pipeline expansion may affect greenhouse gas emissions.
Expansion of the existing pipeline would see a massive increase of heavy crude oil from Alberta, called bitumen, loaded onto tankers in suburban Vancouver, B.C. They will then go through the Salish Sea, en route to Asia.
For now, the board is asking if Stand.earth’s application has raised enough doubt about the expansion’s effects on the climate. If the interveners raise enough doubt, it will reconsider the proposed expansion.
Werner Antweiler is an economics professor at the University of British Columbia. He says any impact on the global climate from the expansion would be negligible.
“And here there is just, unfortunately, no reason to think that changing one pipeline or another is going to change that equation,” Antweiler said. “The problem is a worldwide issue.”
Antweiler says any solution to climate change and greenhouse gas emissions is not to limit pipelines, but to price carbon and also transition away from fossil fuels.
The professor agrees with a federal court decision last year that ruled the National Energy Board did not take into account the impact the pipeline would have on marine wildlife and the Canadian government failed to adequately consult First Nations.