Energy and Security

Post ImageThere were concurrent sessions right after lunch today, and I chose to attend the one entitled Energy and Security. Of all the sessions I attended, this one had the most discussion and was probably the most engaging from start to finish. All three topics presented by the panelists were tightly integrated and related, so the following notes are from all three. Marjorie Cohen talked about Public Electricity in Canada, Hugh McCullum talked about the End of the Oil Boom, and Duncan Cameron talked about The Chamber of Commerce and Energy Security.

  • The main theme of the session was that Canada does not have a national energy strategy or policy of any kind, and that in order to move forward in a sustainable fashion, we need to come up with one.
  • Resource nationalism is common around the world, but not in Canada.
  • There is no Canadian counterpart to FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) in the US.
  • The idea for Electricity Policy is to create Regional Transmission Organizations, so that privatization can occur. Canada has voluntarily gone with this plan, though some utilities in the US have opposed the idea.
  • Global demand for oil has for the first time eclipsed global supply – we are entering the last few decades of the oil era.
  • The oil that is left will be the oil which is hardest to extract, and which has the greatest impact on the environment.
  • More than half of all Canadians heat their homes using natural gas.
  • There was lots of discussion about Alberta’s oilsands. It was said that oil is a national security issue for the US, and Canada and it’s oilsands are the most secure source of oil.
  • American investment controls at least 40% of Alberta’s oil.
  • NAFTA is an international treaty as far as Canada is concerned, and so it supercedes domestic law. This is not the case in the United States.
  • A scheme for nationalization of Alberta’s oil was proposed: 1/3 ownership to the federal government, 1/3 to the other provinces, and 1/3 to Alberta (actually 34%, so they have a veto).
  • The main political question of the next five to ten years: how do we as Canadians share our resources?

Read: Globalism Conference

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