Even Amnesty International is weighing in about the way the Alberta government is going after environmentalists.
In a recent statement, the International Energy Agency noted that "a growing surplus in the oil market next year will push prices lower." As this is being written, the benchmark Brent Crude is $59. According to the Financial Times:
Meanwhile, in Alberta, Premier Jason Kenney has started a war on environmentalists, blaming them for the problems in the oil patch, not the fact that light oils from the USA and the Middle East are so much better and closer. According to the Globe and Mail:
“While the relentless stock builds we have seen since early 2018 have halted, this is temporary,” the IEA said. Soon, it predicted, the Opec+ group, which includes Russia, will “once again see surging non-Opec oil production with the implied market balance returning to a significant surplus and placing pressure on prices.”
Mr. Kenney pledged to fight back against the “defamation” of Alberta’s oil industry allegedly wrought by environmental groups that have received money from U.S. charitable foundations and trusts. This week, the government published the terms of reference and set up a website to invite submissions from the public – critics have already dubbed it a snitch line.
Kenny recently told oil executives that he thought Vladmir Putin had the right idea for dealing with activists.
“They know they couldn’t get away with this in Vladimir Putin’s Russia. In fact, Greenpeace did do a protest on an offshore rig in Russia and their crew was arrested and thrown in a Siberian jail for six months and funnily enough they’ve never been back — I’m not recommending that for Canada, but it’s instructive. It’s instructive …
Actually, they were released three months later and the Russian government got sued and paid out over $3 million in a settlement, but never mind.
Amnesty International complained about Kenney's tactics in a letter, calling them intimidation.
Amnesty International is also gravely concerned that these initiatives, and the rhetoric surrounding them feeds into a worsening climate of hostility toward human rights defenders – particularly Indigenous, women, and environmental human rights defenders – exposing them to intimidation and threats, including threats of violence.
Kenney has called this ridiculous and released a video:
Amongst the world’s major energy producers, Canada has by far the highest human rights, labour, and environmental standards.— Jason Kenney (@jkenney) September 12, 2019
Amnesty International could not be more wrong in attacking our efforts to stand up to the foreign-funded campaign to block Canadian energy exports. pic.twitter.com/A2sGQq3vSP
All of this is a fantasy; it isn't environmentalists who are stopping Alberta oil. It's not the federal government; Justin Trudeau bought a pipeline to help move it. The problem is that nobody wants the stuff; it sells at discount to Texas oil because it is a mix of bitumen and diluents, which is lower quality. It is far from markets so it is expensive to transport.
Alberta oil is among the most expensive in the world to get out of the ground; they have to boil it out of the rock, which has a big carbon footprint of its own. As Andrew Leach notes in the CBC, "In a world with cheap oil, challenging pipeline construction, a shift toward short-cycle investment, and the combined forces of alternative energy innovation and action on climate change, the oilsands are in for a rough ride."
I do hope they publish all the evidence. I'm sure it'll be a fascinating read! https://t.co/1mUFkfYLhm— Chris Turner (@theturner) September 9, 2019
Blaming environmentalists for Alberta's problems is beyond ridiculous, but this is Alberta and Kenney has to blame someone. If you have any better ideas than blaming treehuggers or Trudeau, send them to the snitch line at firstname.lastname@example.org