Letter of the day | Fossil fuel – complexity superimposed on paradox | Letters
THE EDITOR, Madam:
Few people had heard of climate change in 1976, when the UK experienced temperatures of 30 degrees Celsius and Dennis Howell was appointed drought minister to oversee water conservation. Three days later it started to rain and broke Britain’s unprecedented nine-week drought. Today, several European countries are experiencing temperatures of 40 degrees Celsius, as the UK’s government emergency committee meets to fight the heatwave. Known as COBRA because of its meeting venue, Cabinet Office Meeting Room A, hopefully its Tory chairman, Cabinet Minister Kit Malthouse, will get a quick rush similar to his Labor counterpart nearly a year ago. ‘a half-century.
Headlines from another perpetually hot part of the world see US President Joe Biden meet Saudi Arabia de facto Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Al Saud (MBS). From television footage around the world, the meeting appeared quite cozy and cordial – in stark contrast to the harsh words Presidential candidate Biden used during his election campaign, when he branded MBS a pariah after death bloody at the Saudi embassy in Istanbul from Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. MBS is seen smirking as President Biden demands more Saudi oil for the global market, in a bid to drive down US gas prices ahead of the midterm elections. Of course, as the Biden nominee, he pledged to restrict the use of fossil fuels to fight climate change.
Russia’s attack on Ukraine has only brought more confusion and contradictions regarding fossil fuels and climate change. It was highlighted on July 12 during the completion of a pipeline linking Greece to its neighbor, Bulgaria. It is 182 kilometers (115 miles) long and was built in three years to supply Bulgarians with natural gas from Azerbaijan; their supply from Russia was cut off in April following the invasion of Ukraine. This branch line from Komotini in Greece is part of the Trans-Anotolian Gas Pipeline which begins in the gas fields of Azerbaijan before crossing Georgia and Turkey to Greece, where it becomes the Trans-Adriatic Gas Pipeline, continues through Albania, and again under sea, in Italy.
Remember that this is just one of many pipelines in Europe and consider the cooperation needed between countries to move energy between them. Contrast that with Canada, which has the world’s third-largest proven oil reserves, mostly contained in the oil sands of the landlocked province of Alberta.
We have witnessed decades of ideological disagreements between provincial governments; environmental campaigns, sometimes financed by foreign entities; the indigenous authorities who have hitched their wagons to those who wish to hinder the production of fossil fuels, etc. The result is that there are no pipelines to get oil from Alberta to marine terminals to ship it overseas, or even to neighboring provinces for refining. As a result, Canada imports approximately 600,000 barrels of crude oil every day from countries like the United States, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Norway and Venezuela, making the fossil fuel industry a complexity layered on top of a paradox.