By Matt Palmer
The attached link is to an article in Maclean’s magazine about the economic case for Canada building more pipeline capacity. Don’t be put off by the graphs, because the content is interesting.
No matter how you feel about the pipeline, read the article because it lays out an interesting perspective on the issue. The pipeline debate is far more complex than what some of the conversation has been about. Environmental concerns are critical, but we must always realize that there are thousands and thousands of pipelines already in existence. In fact you likely have a gas pipeline going right to your home.
This is not to argue then that we should build more pipelines because we already have lots, but rather to point out there is a reality to how our world already exists.
I have read or heard many arguments stating that building more pipelines keeps us dependent on oil and is preventing greater investment in alternative energy systems. However, I would argue this is not the case for the simple reason that oil has nothing to do with electricity production, and alternative energy is all about electricity. Oil is used for transportation fuels, and once converted to petrochemicals, as the feedstock for everything in our modern world. This is a critical distinction.
Reducing our reliance on oil as a transportation fuel is an important goal. How we get there will require creative and innovative thinking. The solution may not be what we think. The current technology for electric cars may not be the answer we desire because of the reliance on rare earth metals.
The point in all this is to encourage less demonization, and more critical thinking.