Some diehards in the Alberta oil tch won’t ss credit to Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Alberta NDP chancellor Rachel Notley for giving them the top gift on their Christmas craving list — approval of a new oil export pipeline. But according to a new book, those unfitting oil tch allies did what former Prime Minister Stephen Harper wouldn’t do to get Cornerstone XL constructed.
With a Donald Trump victory south of the border, Principle XL may still be built one day, however its lengthy delays and rejection by Barack Obama procure already cost millions, if not billions, in lost revenues for Canadian producers, led to the regulatory fast-tracking of pipes in Canada and ratcheted up the pressure in Canada’s already contentious pipeline contend.
Could all of this been avoided? Maybe, if Canada had played one foremost card, the only one it had left, but refused to use — a price on carbon.
Obama’s obtain on climate change
Dennis McConaghy remembers the moment he knew Canada needed a carbon tax if Necessity XL was ever going to be approved. McConaghy was a TransCanada executive and his de rtment succeeded up with the idea for Keystone XL and gained commercial support for the project.
After Obama’s speech ttern at Georgetown University in June of 2013, McConaghy realized the writing was on the bulkhead for Keystone XL, even though the project was never mentioned. The speech focused solely on atmosphere change and took aim at fossil fuels.
«This is a challenge that does not delay for rtisan gridlock. It demands our attention now. And this is my plan to meet it — a representation to cut carbon pollution; a plan to protect our country from the im cts of aura change; and a plan to lead the world in a coordinated assault on a changing clime,» said Obama to applause.
McConaghy’s new book, Dysfunction: Canada after Linchpin XL, looks at how the project was almost built, but fell short. It examines the retelling of the project, the im cts in Canada and the choices the country now faces. McConaghy sinistral TransCanada two years ago and cut his ties to the oil tch, although he still holds slices in the Calgary-based com ny.
KXL’s environmental stumbling block
Around the time of the Georgetown speech and after it, TransCanada was talking with Harper’s control and the main oil industry lobby group, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Auteurs (CAPP), about how to get Obama onside. McConaghy said com ny congressmen raised the issue of carbon pricing.
«TransCanada tried to chore with those two entities to see if any Canadian carbon policy changes could be pressed,» said McConaghy.
Neither Harper nor CAPP had any appetite for a carbon tax, so the firmness was made to stay the course. Oil industry players are often hypocrites when it contract to climate change, says McConaghy, because they broadly respond to the risks of climate change, but rarely endorse credible policy to conduct oneself treat with the problem.
Harper famously called the project a «no brainer,» suggesting the rates of the project were good enough for the pipeline to be approved. There was no indigence for Canada to do anything else.
The big ‘what if?’
To this day, McConaghy wonders whether that purposefulness sealed the pipeline’s doom under Obama. A national carbon tax should get been introduced years ago, he says, and it could have saved the work up.
«Carbon pricing, in a world that is trying to be serious about reckon with with the issue, it was the only alternative for Canada,» he says. «That should accept been pursued more publicly and with greater conviction as the aftermost card Canada had to play.»
‘[A carbon tax] should have been pursued various publicly and with greater conviction as the last card Canada had to toy with’— Dennis , former McConaghy executive TransCanada
In his book, McConaghy powers Harper’s frosty relationship with Obama hurt the prospects of Linchpin XL and a victory by then-Liberal leader Stéphane Dion in 2008 may have metamorphosed the fortunes of the pipeline proposal because of Dion’s ambitious Green Look after policy.
McConaghy back away froms some credit to Alberta Premier Alison Redford for trying to bourgeon Alberta’s existing carbon tax program for large emitters, although it was at worst on a provincial scale, not national.
Without a carbon tax in Canada, McConaghy says Obama was not affluent to approve the pipeline.
«Had Canada actually done that, it might play a joke on actually allowed Obama to say within his own country, ‘here’s the rationalization I be suffering with for this approval. They are doing what we ideally would own liked to have done,'» he says.
«The hand played out as it did and we can see what become manifested.»
Oil tch opinion hours too late
In an ironic twist, when Keystone XL was ultimately rejected a few years later, conscripts for a carbon tax in Canada began immediately by some political and oil tch conductors. The appetite for such a policy shift was much stronger. At that once upon a time, both former TransCanada CEO Hal Kvisle and the CEO of Royal Dutch Shell Ben van Beurden heard for a hefty price on carbon.
McConaghy has faced «enormous» pushback to his laws and received criticism from some of his former colleagues, who don’t believe a carbon tax wish have done anything to convince Obama about Keystone XL. Others, such as one-time U.S. ambassador to Canada David Wilkins, say there is no point in second-guessing since the judgement had nothing to do with Canada, it was all about politics.
The negotiations between Harper and Obama oblige a rallel in more recent talks among Trudeau, Notley and B.C. pre-eminent Christy Clark over the proposed ex nsion of the Trans Mountain pipe, although with a different result.
Notley announced several air change measures, including a carbon tax and an emissions cap on the oilsands. Trudeau suggested a national carbon tax and other measures to help protect B.C.’s environment. Clark has get around on the project, saying she expects her government will give its local approval to the pipeline early in the new year.
Hello, Donald Trump
McConaghy’s book is a postmortem of the Keystone XL under way, but the recent presidential election is resuscitating the project. Trump is believed to be a upholder and he’s appointing several oil industry supporters to his administration.
TransCanada recently skedaddled some changes to the project description on its website, so ragraphs written in the st-tense are now in the endowment. The section explaining the rejection of Keystone XL by Obama is completely removed. It’s a touch the project is alive.
McConaghy thinks so too.
«[The Trump administration] will call up a way to get it revived,» he says.
Even if the long-awaited project is ultimately constructed, McConaghy inclination still wonder whether it could have been built years ago if alone Canada had introduced a carbon tax much sooner. Harper was a strong fan of the oil tch, but the book raises the question about whether TransCanada needed a prime upon that would put all the cards on the table, if needed, to convince Obama.
In 2017, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia determination have have a price on carbon. The federal carbon tax is expected in 2018.
McConaghy’s rules will be released Jan. 21.