When the prime minister's long-awaited announcement approving the twinning of the Trans Mountain pipeline finally came, few citizens concerned about environmental hazards and climate change could cheer it.

Nor could many Indigenous communities applaud ⁠— so many of those that signed agreements with the project felt enormous pressure to salvage at least some benefit, skinny as it might be.

The whole exercise has both exhausted and galvanized opponents, and few minds will be changed by any commentary.

And yet.

There's an extraordinarily compelling case to be made for Trudeau's climate plan, and how the TMX pipeline fits into the bigger picture.

For many Canadians, blocking TMX became synonymous with winning the climate war. If you support the pipeline, you're a sellout. If you don't, you're a climate hero.

If only things were that simple.

Canada’s challenge is that, while the carbon calculus is unforgiving, so are the economic and political realities.

As tempting as it is to imagine that the public is on board to address climate change, all the evidence suggests the opposite. Voters give lip service to climate change, but never at the expense of jobs.

'For many Canadians, blocking TMX became synonymous with winning the climate war. If you support the pipeline, you're a sellout. If you don't, you're a climate hero. If only things were that simple,' writes @garossino #opinion

Rachel Notley is out.

Kathleen Wynne is out.

Gone are their ambitious climate plans.

The same fate awaited Trudeau if he had cancelled TMX. Nothing else would have mattered ⁠— he'd have been gone by November, along with everything his government has achieved.

Yet there's an even better reason to look beyond TMX alone as the sole environmental litmus test.

Cancelling a pipeline has enormous symbolic appeal. Yet in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG), it's a wash, as the global supply chain would simply reshuffle and move ahead as if nothing happened.

We have to do better than rally around symbols. We have to do the much harder work of changing the game.

The fight we can't afford to lose

The real front line in the climate war is our transition to clean energy, as demand for all forms of energy, including oil, continues its inexorable rise.

This is the fight the world can’t afford to lose, and we’re losing it.

In 2018, the International Energy Agency issued a stark warning that governmental neglect of renewable energy constitutes a grave threat to the Paris Accord. The IEA estimates that clean energy will only account for 18 per cent of world consumption by 2040, well below the 28 per cent needed to meet the Paris goals, and global investments have stalled.

The chart below, from Natural Resources Canada, tells the story: only eight to 11 per cent of our energy production is in clean energy.

This is the chart we must change dramatically, and very quickly.

It's here, in the fight for clean energy transition, that the Canadian government has amassed a stunning war chest of more than $60 billion, with billions more on the way.

Source: Natural Resources Canada

The plan is to add up to $10 billion in TMX-generated tax revenue to this fight. In a nutshell, the government aims to help provide consumers and industry with affordable clean alternative options to complement and accelerate carbon tax impacts, while supporting jobs and investor confidence.

The $70-billion plan

Here's what the Canadian government has already committed to do, according to the Department of Finance:

  • $26.9 billion in green infrastructure over 12 years
  • $28.7 billion in public transportation infrastructure over 10 years
  • $2 billion in the Low Carbon Economy Fund over two years, starting in 2017-18
  • $1.5 billion in the Oceans Protection Plan over five years, starting in 2017-18
  • $1.3 billion in the Nature Legacy over five years, starting in 2018-19
  • $2.3 billion in clean technology funding over five years, starting in 2017-18
  • $1.0 billion in energy efficiency initiatives through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities in 2018-19 through investments in green infrastructure and the development of a Pan-Canadian Framework on Climate Change

The government is also:

  • Putting a price on pollution and investing 10 per cent of the proceeds to help improve efficiency and adoption of new technologies
  • Regulating reductions in methane emissions in the oil and gas sector by 40 to 45 per cent by 2025
  • Phasing out coal-fired electricity by 2030
  • Making historic investments through the Oceans Protection Plan
  • Establishing new marine protected areas on the British Columbia coast
  • Providing $167.4 million for the Whales Initiative, and an additional $61.5 million to address threats to the Southern Resident Killer Whale population
  • Committing $626.3 million to respond to recommendations from the National Energy Board, and to implement accommodation measures to address the concerns of Indigenous groups

The Finance Department estimates another $500 million annually in corporate tax revenue will be generated from oil producers accessing the TMX pipeline, and all of it will be committed as new funding to the clean energy transition. Even at a more conservative $300 million annually over the next 20 years, that would take government environmental commitments to $70 billion over 20 years.

The TMX math works whether or not the public company that will operate it ever sees a dime in profits. The price differential between Western Canada Select (WCS) and West Texas International (WTI) is long-standing and persistent. The new TMX pipeline will move between 400,000 to 600,000 barrels per day, most of which, according to sources familiar with the project, has already been contracted for 15 to 20 years.

Those figures also line up with Conference Board of Canada estimates and other expert analyses.

Transit, electrification, energy efficiency, research and development

The government's climate commitments constitute an unprecedented public investment in transit, infrastructure and renewable energy, all in addition to the national carbon tax, and all of which are proven to drive down GHG emissions.

In addition to transit infrastructure, we know there is already huge and growing demand for hybrid and electric vehicles⁠, which need charging capacity across the country. We need electrification across the country, and improved building systems ⁠— heating, air conditioning and energy-saving building materials. We need to drive down the cost of wind and solar power, and increase the supply of both. And we need to continue to drive down emissions from existing fossil fuel sources.

Pricing pollution is far more effective when consumers and industry have a competitive clean-energy alternative.

Driving down carbon emissions is much more complex and nuanced than stopping a pipeline. It will cost us billions, and the oil industry will pay a substantial part of it, through taxes on their oil production.

There is so much more to reaching our Paris climate goals than a single pipeline.

Our task as a nation is this:

To meet our commitments, Canada needs to reduce annual GHG emissions by 219 megatonnes.

According to the parliamentary budget officer, the proposed federal carbon tax alone will give us a drop of 140 megatonnes. We need to find another 79 megatonnes somewhere, or send carbon taxes through the roof, delivering huge shocks to the economy.

The Liberal plan is to push that 79-megatonne number down using a spectrum of transportation, electrification, building-innovation and infrastructure initiatives, funded by general revenues, long-term debt, and TMX-generated taxes.

That $70 billion will go a long way to getting 79 megatonnes to zero, maybe even further.

Politics and the art of the possible

Here's the dilemma.

We could cancel TMX tomorrow. The global network would recalculate supply routes faster than Google Maps, with no measurable GHG impact.

Canadian investor confidence would plummet, and in this challenging international environment Canada could enter recession very rapidly, eroding the government's ability to meet its existing climate commitments.

Trudeau would lose the next election, and Andrew Scheer would stop the Liberals' climate plan in its tracks, just as Alberta and Ontario have done.

That $70 billion for clean energy? Gone.

The carbon tax? Gone.

No environmentalist or supporter of Indigenous communities wants to see the oil industry's relentless expansion continue. But look at where we are.

We have $70 billion ⁠— $70 BILLION ⁠— committed to the clean energy transition and conservation.

Northern Gateway is dead. Energy East is dead. Keystone is on life support. British Columbia’s fragile north coast has been protected from oil tanker traffic. We have a drilling moratorium in the Canadian Arctic. The NEB has been replaced by a new Canadian Energy Regulator, with an Impact Assessment Agency to appraise the climate impact and consult with First Nations on new projects. Some $1.5 billion is being invested in the Oceans Protection Plan to improve marine safety and protect Indigenous and other coastal communities.

There's no way to describe this other than as a revolutionary, ambitious, comprehensive and powerful climate and conservation plan that makes compromises to preserve jobs and investor confidence.

Are there flaws? Of course there are, and will be. Specifically, this model could and should better prioritize Indigenous land interests and self-determination. The courts have yet to be heard on Indigenous consultation.

And the sooner we address oil and gas tax policies and subsidies, the better.

But in climate terms, this is a good bargain, maybe the best achievable plan we'll see.

It will set the course for decades into our children's and grandchildren's future.

This is the most momentous opportunity in Canada's climate history. The decisions we make now as a nation have consequences like no others.

Time is not on our side.

This chance won't come again.

Editor's note: Headline was changed at 9:15 a.m. PT, June 26, a couple of hours after publication

Keep reading

You have completely overlooked the real and valid concerns of the people of British Columbia who live along and at the terminus of this pipeline. The remaining southern resident orcas doomed to extinction by the seven-fold increase in tanker traffic out of Burrard Inlet, the horrific mess of the inevitable spill and the damage to the environment and economy of coastal BC, the lives of the residents of Burnaby Mountain living with a tank farm in their back yard, doubled in capacity yet packed into the same small area, a mere couple hundred metres from an elementary school, against the clearly expressed concerns of the Fire Chief of the CIty of Burnaby: these might be merely symbolic to you, but these are of far greater than symbolic concern to those of us in BC who are most unreasonably being asked to live with these risks.

Apparently to get the attention of anyone in Ontario, a political leader must rant, rave, threaten, pout, and generally behave like a spoiled toddler until they get their way. For having a premier not engaging in temper tantrums over the issue but rather asking for direction from the courts on the constitutional matters raised by Ottawa's insistence on ramming this pipeline down BC throats, BC be damned, the people of BC are rewarded by being completely ignored, our concerns not even part of the discussion when you consider the pros and cons of Trudeau's idiotic "grand bargain" with Notley's Alberta to get this pipeline built. Now with Notley gone, the bargain broken, we are told - big surprise - we still must have this pipeline regardless.

Yes, Trudeau's Liberals would be less bad than Scheer's Conservatives. But from BC's perspective, the differences between those two parties are merely symbolic.

I am a British Columbian. I agree with these comments. I have been dismayed by the complete lack of consideration for the opinions or wants of the population (those concerned about these issues) of BC. The various government and industry pundits across our nation go on and on and on about the good of the nation yet BC with it's ten years of CARBON TAX history is never mentioned and never complimented for acting far ahead of the nation regarding these issues. BC pays the largest transfer payments to the equalization plan. Yet the government does not yell and demand in the media so that all departments of government ignore all others save us. Our coastal waters must be protected against major environmental damage risk. The cost to the NATION would be tremendous if the west coast economy was struck by a disaster similar to the one last January in the East China sea where an oil tanker burned for days and then sank. We will never be able to fight such a disaster no matter which government promises "Marine Protections" particularly when mentioning "World Class" in it's promises. Burrard Inlet, the Salish Sea, Boundary Pass, the Haro straight and out into Juan de Fuca to the Ocean are no place for loaded (explosive) tankers on a daily basis. If accidents can happen they will and no amount of money will recover us from the resulting disaster.

I think you are completely overlooking that the article is about the national picture. There are local impacts to everything we do. We can't shut the country down.

"Cancelling a pipeline has enormous symbolic appeal. Yet in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG), it's a wash, as the global supply chain would simply reshuffle and move ahead as if nothing happened. We have to do better than rally around symbols."

And damn the BC coast to hell, you might add. This pipeline is a disaster waiting to happen for more reasons than just the GHG emissions it would bring.

And anyway, since when is, "But everyone else is doing it" an argument for keeping on doing the wrong thing? When you use the adult phrase "global supply chain"? No. And changing the headline on this article doesn't change how angry I and many others in BC are about the dismissive attitude to BC's very real and serious concerns displayed by certain journalists and politicians in the rest of Canada.

The ‘someone else will supply what we don’t’ is the drug dealer argument, i.e. there is no point in arresting drug dealers, because they will be quickly replaced.

Which is absolutely true. The problem with drug dealers is not the dealers but the legislation. Garossino is talking about the legislation.

Dear editors:

Please correct the blatantly false claim made in the first section of Garossino's article, and then repeated in the last section, that to "cancel TMX" would have "no measurable GHG impact". And please note this correction at the bottom of her article.

Your own author Peter Erickson shows why this claim is false (https://www.nationalobserver.com/2018/06/13/analysis/global-impact-oilsa...):
"[I]n the long term, for each 1 billion barrels of oil added to the global market, global oil consumption increases between 0.2 billion and 0.6 billion barrels... These simple economics also show the fallacy of the line that if Canada fails to produce oil, someone else will, one-for-one. That may offer a convenient alibi for leaders, like Justin Trudeau, who both recognize that the climate crisis is caused by burning fossil fuels and also want to sell oil. But that is plainly wrong, as considerable research has shown that if more oil is available in the long term, more will be consumed in global markets."

Thus, through such measures as expanding the Trans Mountain Pipeline, "Canada is undermining, even perhaps entirely counteracting, its own climate plan by allowing oilsands production to expand."

I hoped you've emailed this to the NO. I find they're good about responding to emails. But I wouldn't be optimistic about them reading and responding to comments under opinion pieces.

This piece sounds a lot like Liberal propaganda. That the plan is to keep extracting oil for export for another 20 years is akin to criminal negligence at this point when we've been warned that emissions must be cut by 50% in 11 years. As well, I'm surprised to read that "most of [this oil], according to sources familiar with the project, has already been contracted for 15 to 20 years." Really? What is the source for this statement? I'm surprised that NO would allow this statement to be published without some verification. Show us the contracts.

Agreed. I can't even bring myself to read it. It's patently ridiculous to claim that twinning the pipeline will have no effect on emissions.

About a dozen oil companies have contracts with Trans Mountain to pay for space on the new pipeline whether they use it or not. I suspect that is what the writer is referring to. There are no guarantees that they will ship oil. The oil companies are currently guaranteed space on the existing pipeline to load tankers at the Westridge terminal; they have not been using all the guaranteed space for several years, so I am wondering whether or not they would use more space if it were to become available on the new pipeline.

There are possibilities for getting out of these contracts - read Robyn Allan on the subject.

I support the objections to this article by other commenters, including that it is transparently a Liberal Party election pitch. Another point: it focuses entirely on Canada meeting its Paris agreement goal, a goal that, with other Paris goals, promises catastrophic +3C temperature rises. This is no where near the "revolutionary, ambitious, comprehensive and powerful climate and conservation plan" the author claims. It the same old Liberal having its cake and eating it too. Will the Observer now publish a comprehensive rebuttal? I hope so.

If we had Proportional Representation, the Liberals would have earned a shred of credibility, but I don't see any point in listening to Trudeau or his handlers now.

Relax, Sandy.

We no longer have to worry about an extremist Conservative government getting elected with a false majority on 35% of the popular vote.

Justin's comprehensive reforms to the electoral system have licked that one.

So rest easy.

Oh, wait ...

If this is "the best achievable plan we'll see," and it may well be, what does that tell us about the way we do politics in the 21st century? As much as we have to totally transform the way we do energy, and the way we do an economy, we have to totally transform how we do self-governance. In fact, we cannot do any one without the other.

Eh, no big deal. Don't mind the hundreds of thousands of people living next to a pipe carrying POTENTIALLY FATAL AIRBORNE TOXINS.

Even the US DOE has classified bitumen as being more dangerous than crude.

How is Canada so damn behind?

I don't buy it. Where is all this $70 Billion coming from, and how much is deficit financed, and how much is coming from TMX revenues? How much of that amount is put aside to handle the increased risk of oil spills, etc. or to clean up the existing unfunded tar sands tailing ponds or abandoned gas wells, or the unfunded fracking liabilities waiting in the wings. Any suggestion that TMX revenues are guaranteed for the next 15-20 years is baloney. Revenues from oil and gas production is based on price, which is not guaranteed and is based on all sorts of factors uncontrollable by Canadians. The plummet in oil prices in 2008 was caused by a drop in consumption of 6%. Any serious attempt by world governments to reduce consumption would likely generate another but permanent slump in oil prices to a point way below that necessary to generate further investment in the tar sands. Any one reading this article should also read the following NO opinion piece debunking Liberal claims like these.


Personally, I'd like to see a climate plan that doesn't involve increases in Canadian oil and gas production. Less production means less money spent on reducing our GHG footprint since we'd be producing less by simply not expanding O&G production. How easy is that? Hmmm, that leaves out the Liberal grand plan, to produce more and spend more to counteract it, and of course the Conservative non-plan. The Green Party plan seems to do just that address climate change without expanded O&G. How about an analysis by NO of the Green plan?

It would be a delicious irony if we could get the industry most responsible for the climate crisis to pay, at least in part, for fixing it. But the slippery buggers have a way of slipping away. Just ask Albertans about the mess left all over Alberta's landscape. Jason K doesn't care. Cleaning up is women's work.

$500 million "extra' annnually? Tell me again how much we've spent on buying, essentially, the right (which wasn't actually owned by anyone!) to build TMX ... and how much the actual build will cost, not to mention the interest on it?
And then, after that, we'll have to bail out the banks again -- the banks that took over 100% exposure on the prospective build -- because neither the "parent" company nor their usual funders put in a red cent. They still have those in the USA.
Clearly, Mr. Trudeau and the author of this article both need to have the calculations laid out for them by someone willing to do them, because they haven1.5
This isn't advanced math, folks, it's arithmetic.

I am shocked that the National Observer has published such a misleading Opinion piece.

If Canada chooses to expand oil sands pipeline and related production, we will fuel the horrors of extreme weather, rising seas and species extinction around the world. We will make the same mistake as Germany under Angela Merkel. She inherited a booming, world-leading renewable sector but oversaw a rise in emissions because she allowed the development and export of coal power.

Germany’s coal is of the most emission-heavy kind, like Canada’s oil. It is likewise controlled by an industry with a lot of money and political power.

Having dragged down Germany’s environmental record for years, the German coal industry has now succeeded in obtaining massive compensation of 40 billion Euros to reduce production in conformity with EU emissions standards. They are delaying full phase-out to 2038. Explaining this situation at a recent conference at Carleton University, EU political analyst Stefan Cetkovic said that both the huge pay-out and the delay were obtained because of the industry’s power, not for any real technical or economic reasons.

Is that what it will take in Canada, paying off the oil industry to shut down, after the worst damage is done?

Canada’s oil producers tell us that they use cutting edge technologies to decrease emissions. That’s apparently true: it gives us the fourth highest greenhouse gas emissions intensity in the world, instead of the highest. Ours are lower than those of Algeria, Venezuela and Cameroon.

Research by Barry Saxifrage in the National Observer shows that the emissions from Canada’s oil sands are what will make Canada incapable of meeting even its weak Paris targets. Those targets do not bring Canada anywhere close to playing our part in keeping temperature increase to 1.5 degrees.

It doesn’t matter how much money the government puts into renewable energy, if we keep developing the oil sands we will increase emissions and drive environmental catastrophe. We are already among the top ten emitters of greenhouse gasses in the world.

We have no excuse for tripling the capacity of the Trans Mountain pipeline, vastly increase oil sands production and export. Certainly not that “other countries aren’t doing as much as they should, so we don’t have to either.” Other countries are wrestling with their own troubles and changing as much as they can. Germany has just elected a very strong Green contingent, which is likely to improve their policies soon. We could do that too.

After many years of organizing without much result, the movement to abolish slavery finally grew strong enough to win in the mid nineteenth century. Many who opposed slavery lived in economies that directly benefitted from it, but they opposed it anyways because it was an abomination.

The collapse of the environment on which we all depend is the ultimate abomination. The environmental movement is finally rising and I believe that we must all support it in whatever way we can. I don’t believe that progressive publications should publish misleading arguments that undermine our chances for survival.

"The Finance Department estimates another $500 million annually in corporate tax revenue will be generated from oil producers accessing the TMX pipeline, and all of it will be committed as new funding to the clean energy transition."

So....the price paid for TMX so far is $4.4B. And the cost of the twinning will be $9B or more. So, if the $500M a year actually materializes - a big if - the government will get the money it invested back in only 26 years or so (not adjusting for inflation). And it will have to now address the added emissions associated with the half million barrels per day of new oil sands production the government claims the pipeline will allow. Sounds like a great move!

Throwing the government's carbon tax, which should theoretically increase the cost of oil sands oil in comparison to other global oil sources, into this plan really displays the Liberal Party's baffling logic on climate.

"As tempting as it is to imagine that the public is on board to address climate change, all the evidence suggests the opposite. Voters give lip service to climate change, but never at the expense of jobs."

So why not help the public face up to the realities that investing in the oil sands is no longer a money- or job-making proposition? Why prop up and subsidize an industry that is the biggest source of emissions in Canada while claiming that you are trying to reduce emissions and touting climate targets you know we have no chance of achieving under this plan?

One from column A, two from column B. None of these plans match what climate scientists have been telling us for years. And their conservative projections have come about but in spades. The permafrost is melting at a rate they projected wouldn't happen until 2090. We are in serious trouble. An emergency being treated like a few reforms will fix it. Insane! Canada has made little or no plans to address the crisis. When the insurance companies file bankruptcy and the government can't deal with the mess, we'll be on our own. I urge you to read the science and join the Extinction Rebellion!

This does sound like a Liberal infomercial. Ms. Garossino is a lawyer and journalist who seems to accept as sound what she's hearing from a political party heading into a general election. How are we or Ms. Garossino to assess these promises especially after this government's record of promise-keeping in the wake of the previous election?

Why is there no probative input from the scientific or the economic sectors? I would feel better if she first ran this past the Tyee's Andrew Nikiforuk. Instead she chooses to vouchsafe these proposals, taking them at face value as if proven.

Your writer glosses over the incredible differences between oil and bitumen as though the two are indistinguishable. That's not the case and it seems a bit disingenuous. Which poses the greatest threat to coastal British Columbia? Why is this not addressed?

Your writer speaks of various projects to be implemented over the next 12 years, perhaps, maybe. What are this government's plans to meet the IPCC call for a 50 per cent cut in emissions within the next 11 years? That is the currently accepted threshold if we're to have a reasonable chance of averting catastrophic climate change.

Ms. Garrosino seems to believe that there are political solutions to what is a matter of powerful scientific consensus. The "climate emergency" does not seem to be taken as real. Churchill knew that true emergencies such as the existential threats we face require a different politics. He said, "Sometimes it is not enough to do our best; we must do what is required."

As for the economic reality, she would have done well to consult the current governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney. I expect he would have disabused her of some of her assumptions.

We're told the feds are going to invest more than $60-billion to fight climate change. What is the sufficiency of that amount over that period of time? A drop in the bucket? Back in 2013 when Calgary endured its second, once-a-century flood in just eight years, the World Council on Disaster Management held its annual conference in Toronto. Dr. Saaed Mirza, structural engineering professor emeritus (McGill) was asked what it would cost to repair, rehabilitate and, where necessary, replace Canada's essential infrastructure. He estimated a trillion dollars price tag, largely due to decades of negligence that have left Canada particularly vulnerable to catastrophic events. A trillion versus 70 billion?


And where will the funding come to deal with 140- to 200-thousand orphaned gas and oil wells in Alberta plus more in Saskatchewan and BC? Then there's the Alberta government's leaked estimates of nearly a quarter trillion dollars in unfunded costs to remediate the Athabasca tailing ponds.

While I have great respect for Ms. Garrosino's journalism, this does not meet her own standards. It comes across as a fluff piece.


This is absolutely the best thing Canada could do, if it were 1919. There might be some justification if it were still 1970. Then the transition might have been relatively painless.
But now, having burned our resources like drunken sailors; we just don’t have the time.

We have a choice between economic disaster and ecological calamity leading to ecological disaster.

Kinder Morgan pulled out of the TransMountain project because it could not see a viable tar sands industry and export market. Faced with a world glut of oil, low oil prices for a long time to come, the poor quality of tar sands bitumen which has to be sold at a below market price, the high cost of transporting and refining the bitumen and a general consensus that peak oil will occur in the 2020's - even Shell thinks so -- there is no credibility to the statement that building TMX will have no impact on GHGs. This is a Liberal greenwashing ad from the same party that brought us Budget 2019 with pitiful investments in clean techs and voluntary zero emission vehicle sales targets. The Liberals still have the same GHG reduction targets as the Harper administration and had 4 years to come up with a plausible climate plan but instead offered some symbolic measures. Why should anyone trust them AGAIN to make the transition from election campaign hype to come up with a plethora of measures comparable to China and to a lesser extent the European Union?

If oil supply and consumption were "simple supply and demand", and throwing more oil into the global tub caused people to jump on it and burn it, then we would have seen huge increases in oil consumption when prices plummeted from $140 to $50/bbl a few years ago. And huge drops in consumption as it marched up to $140/bbl in the dozen years before that.

None of that happened.

Consumption is somewhat affected by price, but demand is very inelastic. So much of it is backhoes, container ships, and farm tractors that have to run the same amount every day or they are not in business. It's airlines where the fuel cost is a small component of the total flight cost and people don't take the bus for three days because the four-hour flight went from $800 to $850.


...you can see a little dip of about 12% for the Arab Oil Embargo in the late 70's - when the price more than doubled. Then it plummets and consumption rises again, but funny thing, consumption keeps going up all through the price rises of the early 21st.

I'd never saw that withdrawing a production source has no effect, but the ONLY effect is a tiny price-increase pressure, which will probably be countered by price-decrease pressures of higher tech. So it has very, very little effect on consumption compared to other factors like industrial consumption and overall economic activity.

Your time would be far better spent lying down in front of new consumption infrastructure, like airports and highways, than production infrastructure.

Interesting and iconoclastic piece. Good for NO in not sticking to one side (my side - which is becoming very partisan) and trying to look at various perspectives.

Of course, the weakness in the argument is the assumption that shutting down the pipeline will not make a difference globally. It won't, but that doesn't stop us from acting. The question is if there are OTHER alternatives to taking the taxes from the TMX.

Garossino: "There's an extraordinarily compelling case to be made for Trudeau's climate plan, and how the TMX pipeline fits into the bigger picture."

No need to lavish praise on your own argument before you even make it. Make your argument — and let readers judge for themselves. Garossino's hyperbolic self-testimonial predicts a lack of substance and rigor in what is to follow.

Garossino: "The same fate awaited Trudeau if he had cancelled TMX."
This claim remains unsubstantiated. No argument is offered.

Garossino: "the global supply chain would simply reshuffle"

"If I don't sell it, someone else will." Where have we heard that before? Oh yes, the classic drug dealer's defence.

The govt is not short of funds for a shift to renewables.
The problem underlined by climate change, fossil fuel pollution, environmental devastation, etc. is that the costs of burning more fossil fuels exceed the benefits. If fossil fuels generated net wealth, no need to shift away.

Fossil-fuel boosters would have us believe that the path to renewable energy and a sustainable future runs through a huge spike in fossil-fuel combustion and emissions.
Yes, let's double down on fossil fuels so we can fund action on climate change. Let's sell munitions to fund world peace. Expand the tobacco industry to build cancer clinics. Let the govt sell crack cocaine to build rehab clinics. We need a healthy asbestos industry so we can fund research into mesothelioma.
Pure sophistry. This disingenuous argument completely ignores reality. In fact, the opposite will happen.

The proponents of this argument never explain how and when the shift to renewables would ever take place. If previous fossil fuel revenues did not boost public investment in renewables, why would that change in future?
In fact, expanding fossil fuel infrastructure locks in fossil fuels for decades and DELAYS renewables. If the oil industry goes all out to protect its profits now and obstructs climate action, how much more will it resist once it expands its investment? Feeding the fossil-fuel monster only whets its appetite.
Govts are not now and have never been short of funds for renewables and sustainable infrastructure. It is a matter of political will and priorities. Governments have simply chosen to invest their resources elsewhere. Including on fossil fuel subsidies. There is no reason to believe that will change anytime soon.
Govts are throwing billions of dollars in subsidies at the fossil fuel industry. One solution is to divert those funds to renewables or end energy subsidies altogether.
Headline from June: "Feds spend $275 million on $40-billion LNG Canada project, including cash to buy gas turbines"

Who believes that if we just give the industry more money and more power that it will voluntarily surrender its profits and cease operations?
Industry-captured politicians and governments serve industry. Therein lies the problem.
The solution is to break the economic power and political stranglehold of the fossil fuel industry. More of the same just gets us more of the same.
The answer is to put the real, full, true price on pollution. Climate change is the biggest market failure in history. Market failure requires a market solution.
When you're in a hole, stop digging.

Naomi Oreskes (CBC Radio, Sep 14, 2017): "It's such an idiotic argument, it's really hard to give a rational answer to it. If you are building pipelines, you're committing yourself to another 30, 50, 75, 100 years of fossil fuel infrastructure. If we're really serious about decarbonizing our economy, it means we have to stop building fossil fuel infrastructure."

Garossino's campaign for TMX is hopelessly disingenuous.