Climate Change Missing In Enbridge Northern Gateway Assessment

The Huffington Post

By Paul C. Paquet, Chris Genovali and Misty MacDuffee

Our environment is changing rapidly and these changes are occurring faster than we can understand them. Climate disruption during the last decades has promoted a reorganization of biological communities, influencing the interrelationships of species and their distributions. Wildlife are now experiencing chronic alterations of local and regional ecology because of changes in global climate (e.g., snowpack depths, timing of snowmelt in spring, availability of standing water in summer). In all likelihood, this process will continue and intensify in the future.

Given the intense influence of climate on the natural environment, as formal interveners in the Northern Gateway federal review process, we at Raincoast Conservation Foundation were disconcerted that climate change was not considered in the Enbridge Environmental and Socio-Economic Assessment (ESA). The proposed Northern Gateway project would see a 1,170 kilometer twin pipeline constructed from Alberta’s tar sands to a marine terminal on the north coast of British Columbia, where VLCC’s (Very Large Crude Carriers) would ship diluted bitumen to offshore markets in China and the United States. According to the journal Nature, “Canada’s tar sands stand out in a ranking of total greenhouse gas emissions associated with different types of oil.” Moreover, in light of the increasing frequency of extreme weather events, this oversight, deliberate or unintended, is more dismaying by the day.

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