Social Licence

Jeffrey Simpson, one of our favourite columnists, criticized aboriginals and environmentalists for tying up approvals for major pipeline projects.  He rejects their use of “social licence” objections as irrelevant to the process for the approval of these projects.

He suggests that social licence encourages critics to believe that they decide what project “should proceed, when and how – a breathtaking arrogation.”

Breath taking arrogation may be too strong a tag for the efforts of a Federal Government that ignores science as it promotes the sale of Canada’s fossil fuels in world markets.  Yet it is these efforts that have contributed to the development of social licence arguments based on the need to limit burning of fossil fuels.

It has been obvious that the consequential increase in GHG emissions is the principal objection to the tar sands.  Just as non-burnable carbon is a significant objection to Arctic drilling – an activity that also risks the Arctic environment.  Nonetheless the Federal Government supports both.

So it is that, in its approval process, the National Energy Board does not take into account the downstream contribution of a pipeline to increased emissions.  In this respect, Canada is out of sync with the US and the European Union.

If the NEB had this authority to consider and objectively apply this criterion, there would not be the same need to raise “social licence” objections in the approval process.

If the NEB had this power, the rush to build pipelines would taper off!  And Canadian energy companies would then be forced to turn to the only future there is – renewable energy.

For further information on this issue go to our previous blogs

Fossil Fuels Promotion – Horse Manure!  – an article by Guy Dauncey

The Northern Gateway: what the National Energy Board didn’t consider – highlighting commentary by Hugh Robertson


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