Bill Rees slams Stephen Harper over Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline
The Vancouver-based creator of “ecological footprint analysis” believes approving pipelines such as Enbridge’s Northern Gateway one cements Canada’s reputation as “an exporter of climate change”.
“It’s unethical and it’s immoral,” Bill Rees, a retired professor in UBC’s department of community and regional planning, told the Straight by phone. “We get the benefits, and other people will pay the cost.”
Rees said he’s aware of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s recent comments made to media while visiting B.C. that science, not politics, will decide whether the pipeline is built.
“If science is going to decide the pipeline’s fate, then this is a dead issue,” Rees said. “In fact, we shouldn’t even be having this conversation. What Harper means by that is that the impact assessment will be considered and not all of it [the science]. The impact assessment isn’t looking at climate change. It’s looking at the local effects of the pipeline along the track, or the right of way, of the pipeline. What’s off the table is that we shouldn’t be burning that fossil fuel in the first instance.”
The Straight left a message for Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore, who is also the regional minister for B.C., but he did not respond by deadline.
Enbridge has proposed building twin pipelines carrying condensate from Kitimat to the Alberta tar sands and bitumen back to the northwest coast.
Rees maintained that the Harper government will ignore or suppress any science it doesn’t like, including research on climate change, and that it will approve the project in cabinet, thanks to new powers given to it through Bill C-38. He claimed that this would lead to “riots”. Rees said that to stop the pipeline, the riots would have to “come first” and be intense enough to make Harper aware that “the government will fall if it approves it”.
“The world we live in is in pretty dire straits,” Rees added. “We’re precipitating crisis after crisis, and at some point the people will wake up to this.…Every increment of growth causes more harm than good. So in fact, we’re now growing, but it’s now uneconomic growth.”