Trans Mountain pipeline protester creates new treetop camp after destruction of sky-high treehouse

    1 of 4 2 of 4

      The fight over a $12.6-billion federal government pipeline project continues.

      This weekend, environmental activist Timothee Govare has moved into a tent 20 metres up in the air. It's among three maple trees near Lost Creek in Burnaby.

      "I am here in the canopy of the trees of Lost Creek to prevent their imminent logging preceding the installation of the Trans Mountain pipeline,” Govare said in a news release. “I see the urgency of acting on the climate crisis."

      This action comes just over a week after CN police cleared out the Holmes Creek Protection Camp. Govare was one of those who were previously occupying the Cottonwood Treehouse, which was 25 metres up in the air in this area.

      Climate-change activists have adopted this tactic to delay the downing of trees, which the company says is necessary to continue construction of the pipeline.

      "Even though they took down our first two treehouses, we’ll keep coming back because our commitment to delay construction of this disastrous project remains unchanged," Govare said. "Our future depends on it. My future depends on it.”

      In a live conversation on Facebook, Govare said that police have visited the encampment, which is near the salmon-bearing Brunette River. It's home to blue herons, beavers, and other wildlife.

      The UN Environmental Programme released this video showing that the world is on a dangerous path toward a catastrophic temperature rise this century.

      Pipeline will sharply increase emissions

      If completed, the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion would nearly triple shipments of diluted bitumen to 890,000 barrels per day from Alberta to the Lower Mainland.

      The project would also sharply increase oil-tanker traffic in the Salish Sea—some say by seven times, but others suggest it could be much higher.

      According to a 2014 City of Vancouver-commissioned report, the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will generate more annual greenhouse-gas emissions than those created each year across the entire province of British Columbia.

      The pipeline's annual emissions, including those downstream, will also be nearly 18 times the annual emissions of the LNG Canada plant in Kitimat (not counting associated fugitive and downstream emissions).

      The federal government paid $4.5-billion in 2018 to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline system from Texas-based fossil-fuel giant Kinder Morgan.

      Environmental activists point out that Canada's plan to increase oil and gas production is not in alignment with the Paris Agreement. 

      This international treaty was negotiated in 2015 to contain the average global temperature rise to 1.5 ° above where it stood at the start of the Industrial Revolution.

      However, the world is on a trajectory for far higher temperature increases this century thanks to Canada and other countries ramping up production of fossil fuels. That was demonstrated in a study published in Nature on July 1, 2019.

      Recently, environmental activist and podcaster Kurtis Baute told the history and purpose of the Cottonwood Treehouse in the video below.

      Video: Kurtis Baute says the Cottonwood Treehouse was built eight stories up in the air.

      Feedback loops pose huge threat

      One reason why climate activists are occupying the treetops is to prevent more climate feedback loops from kicking in.

      Under the so-called Hothouse Earth scenario, the pace of temperature rises will increase, and go beyond the control of human beings, due to these feedback loops triggering even more warming.

      Between a one- and three-degree temperature rise, these include the melting of ice sheets in Greenland and the West Antarctic and Arctic summer ice, as well as the desruction of coral reefs.

      These planetary responses to rising temperatures could lead to irreversible climate change.

      Between a three- and five-degree temperature rise, other feedback loops kick in, such as the disruption of the Indian summer monsoon, the jet stream, and thermohaline circulation, as well as a dieback in the Amazon.

      Video: Learn more about Hothouse Earth and what it could mean for the future of humanity.