Trudeau defends pipeline project leading to crisis in Canada

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, on an official visit to France in the coming days, defended on Sunday the plan to expand an oil pipeline to the Pacific, causing an oil-related political crisis in his country.

"Canadians and people around the world know that we can no longer choose between what is good for the environment and what is good for the economy. same time, and above all, we must finance the transition to reduce the use of petroleum products, "Trudeau pleaded in an interview published Sunday on the website of the French newspaper Les Echos, on the eve of his visit in France Monday and Tuesday

M. Trudeau is scheduled to arrive in France Sunday after attending the Summit of the Americas in Peru which ended Saturday. But before his departure for France, he was forced to return to Ottawa Sunday and change at the last minute his international agenda to try to resolve this crisis.

His government authorized in 2016 the American company Kinder Morgan to pass from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels per day the capacity of its Trans Mountain Pipeline, which moves the oil sands from Alberta to the suburbs of Vancouver.

But the province of British Columbia – from where this oil should be loaded on ships to Asia, which fears that an accident will pollute its majestic coasts – is staunchly opposed to this and has decided to take the case to court, supported by a coalition of ecologists and indigenous communities.

Alberta, the third largest reserve of black gold planet, threat in return this neighboring province of economic reprisals "very aggressive".

The Kinder Morgan company threatens to abandon the project. The US group's project is currently the only one that in the short term will allow the Alberta oil industry to sell its growing output while Canada's pipeline system is saturated.

M. Trudeau to receive premiers of both provinces in Ottawa on Sunday

"To achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement (on climate, Ed), Alberta (…) has put an absolute limit on greenhouse gas emissions, because we were able to show that the new pipeline would be supported … ", continued Mr. Trudeau.

"It is certain that people on the left, environmentalists are concerned, but also right-wing people who do not like the idea of ​​carbon taxation, but the vast majority of Canadians understand that to be responsible for future generations, "he said.

Nearly 200 countries and organizations had agreed in Paris at the end of 2015, after intense negotiations, pledging to reduce carbon emissions, up to 2030.

Canada: Oil pipeline causes unprecedented crisis for Justin Trudeau

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau finds himself forced to change at the last minute a busy international agenda to try to resolve a political crisis related to oil, which his country is a major producer.

He will have to return to Ottawa Sunday between the Summit of the Americas that ends Saturday in Peru and a tour of France and the United Kingdom that begins Monday.

The expansion of a pipeline to the Pacific, authorized by the Canadian government, is at the origin of this crisis. The US proponent of the project threatens to abandon it because of fierce opposition from the province of British Columbia.

It is a blow for the Prime Minister who is particularly fond of this Trans Mountain pipeline whose objective is to triple the oil sands production capacity from the Province of Alberta to the Port of Vancouver from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels a day.

The $ 7.4 billion project Canadian dollars (4.8 billion euros) of the US group Kinder Morgan is currently the only short-term allow the oil industry in Alberta, the third reserve of black gold planet, to sell its growing production while the Canadian pipeline system is saturated.

But British Columbia, from where this oil should be loaded on ships to Asia, is staunchly opposed and intends to take the case to court again. , supported by a coalition of ecologists and indigenous communities.

 March against the Trans Mountain pipeline of Kinder Morgan, a US company in Burnaby, British Columbia, on March 10, 2018 (AFP / Archives - Jason Redmond )

March against the Trans Mountain pipeline of Kinder Morgan, a US company in Burnaby, British Columbia, on March 10, 2018 (AFP / Archives – Jason Redmond)

return this neighboring province of economic reprisals "very aggressive"

M. Trudeau to receive premiers of both provinces in Ottawa Sunday "to discuss next steps to advance the pipeline project," tweeted Cameron Ahmad, his spokesperson.

Fearing further delays in this authorized project in 2016, Kinder Morgan suspended the expansion on Sunday, calling for "clarity" for future events, and in particular "the possibility of doing work in British Columbia."

The American Group gave himself until May 31 to get along with "the different parties" in this file and "allow the project to move forward."

– More gas? –

The refusal of British Columbia, which fears that an accident will pollute its majestic coasts, has triggered the ire of the Government of Alberta, which depends on the exploitation of oil and is lacking oil pipelines to expand production

The Canadian oil industry is struggling to build new pipelines, particularly to the eastern provinces (Ontario, Quebec and the Maritime Provinces). In their absence, Canada, seventh largest producer of black gold in the world with a capacity of 3.9 million barrels a day, is forced to import from abroad 670,000 barrels per day to serve these regions, noted this week the National Energy Board.

After boycotting BC wine this winter and ceasing to buy electricity, Alberta threatens to introduce a bill Monday to cut off gasoline supplies.

The Federal Government being the only authority to authorize an oil pipeline between two provinces, Justin Trudeau called on British Columbia to "stop its obstruction" of this "project of national interest."

Ottawa and Alberta are also considering taking a stake in pipeline to reassure Kinder Morgan investors.

After rejecting a year and a half ago another pipeline supposed to connect Alberta to the coast of British Columbia, Mr. Trudeau defends this time the Expansion of Trans Mountain and insists that the economy and the protection of the environment can go hand in hand.

This position poses risks for him in view of the parliamentary elections of October 2019: he was elected on the promise e to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, one-quarter of which come from oil sands operations in Alberta

But British Columbia is one of three provinces, with Ontario and Quebec, having elected the most members of the party of Justin Trudeau in 2015, while Alberta has only three of the 183 Liberals in the House.

The situation is more perilous for the Prime Minister from British Columbia, John Horgan, who came to power last year while campaigning against the pipeline. The survival of his minority government depends on the support of three Green elected officials, who are very hostile to the project.

In Saint-Barth, tourism leaves but housing remains in crisis

Six months after hurricane Irma, tourism is gradually returning to the island of Saint-Barthélemy. But the housing crisis persists and the lives of the inhabitants remain very complicated.

All the visitors who set foot in St. Barthelemy are surprised by the beautiful appearance of the port of Gustavia and the surroundings of the airport. However, by pushing the walk in some neighborhoods, the stigmata of Irma are present. Torn roofs, rickety houses whose only walls remain …

In the Saline district, there are several hundred tons of waste to be evacuated. This single budget item has already cost 7 million euros to the Collectivité of Saint-Barthélemy, and it is not finished. At the center of cleanliness, the teams are overwhelmed.

Same observation on the side of the artisans, too few to answer all the requests for reconstruction. They work hard, construction site in a general desire on the island to rebuild as quickly as possible.

"We are overwhelmed with calls, quotes, we all postponed our holidays and we works six days a week, "says a refrigeration specialist. However, they are hampered by another problem: the transport of materials, which works in slow motion.

In Saint-Barthélemy, where Johnny Hallyday was buried at the end of 2017, the tiny commercial port can not handle all the containers that arrive. It was necessary to make up for the delays related to Irma, to manage the influx of goods. The swell of the hurricane has moved the seabed, and several cubic meters of sand in the channel have created a shoal that prevents some cargo ships from approaching with their full load capacity. Thus, for building materials, such as car repair parts, not forgetting the supply of stores, the whole island is waiting for its parcels.

– And soon the hurricane season …-

Between homes still stricken and the workforce that companies bring, St. Barthelemy is experiencing a severe housing crisis. The rental market, already very tense, has become a battlefield. Entrepreneurs drive up rent prices, conflicts between landlords and tenants explode

"If I do not find in July, I'll have to leave," worries Sophie. In one month's search, she did not visit any homes, received any calls, found no leads. "My life is here, I live there for seven years …" On an island where the price of a rent is about 2,500 euros per month for a 2-3 rooms, many residents have thrown in the towel and left, including families.

In parallel, the tourism professionals s 'activate to bring visitors, without whom the economy of the entire island is threatened. Thus, the port, the airport, the beaches and Gustavia, the capital district of Saint-Barth, have regained their cachet. The Bucket Regatta, a luxury nautical event held in mid-March, saw the return of dozens of wealthy Americans to the island. Not enough, however, for shops and restaurants

The hurricane season, which begins in two months, haunts the spirits. The Irma trauma is still very present. The Community and EDF are working on a tight program of work to bury the maximum of networks, as soon as possible. Those whose homes are damaged are anxious about not being able to repair in time.

The equestrian center, which lost several horses in the hurricane, is looking for a safe place for its surviving equines, and is trying to repatriate the maximum of animals towards the metropolis. At the beginning of March, a general cut in the telephone and internet network brought the inhabitants six months back, in the aftermath of Irma. "Some residents have panicked," says a social worker. "There, if we take a level 2 cyclone, it's going to be very hard."

Desalinize seawater, insufficient to solve the water crisis (expert)

Desalinizing seawater on a large scale or capturing moisture from the atmosphere are two options that may soon become a reality, but this will not solve the global drinking water crisis, said Wednesday Peter Thomson, sent UN Special for Oceans at the Brasilia Water Forum

"Solutions, ideas, are all here, now it's about working to define which are financially viable and which are scientifically However, there are solutions for almost all the problems that arise, "said Mr. Thomson.

Speaking at the International Water Forum, which holds its 8th edition in Brasilia this week, this Fijian However, it was felt that these different options should be part of a broader solution and that we should first succeed in stopping global warming.

And "desalination is a problem. obtained during the process? ", he explained, saying that the distinction between freshwater and marine is" artificial, because everything is connected: the land, the sea, the climate. "

The expert insisted on the need to have a healthy sea to be able to design solutions to the lack of drinking water that could suffer 5.7 billion people by 2050, according to a UN report released on Monday.

" We put the sea in great danger and we must understand this connection (with fresh water, ed) before moving forward, "he pleaded, referring to excessive fishing, pollution by plastic waste, warming water or sunscreen residues that fall on corals as threats to the oceans

"Greenhouse gases warm the oceans and raise their levels. In addition, they deprive them of oxygen, making it more difficult to live in the sea. "

Mr. Thomson is however optimistic:" When I am told that the next war will be for water, I answer: + These are nonsense! The supply of water on this planet is infinite + ".

The planet at the bedside of biodiversity in crisis

More than 750 experts from around the world gather for a week in Colombia to assess the "crisis" of biodiversity facing the Earth and advocate for solutions against the massive extinction of species, the first since the disappearance of dinosaurs

"Protecting biodiversity is as important as fighting climate change," said President Juan Emmanuel Santos, opening the sixth plenary session of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). 19659002] This forum brings together scientists and decision-makers from 116 of the 128 member states of IPBES until March 26 in Medellin, the second largest city in Colombia, the most bio-diverse country on the planet after Brazil.

" What happens to one happens to all, and if we are aware of it, we can be more responsible for protecting the environment and preserving peace. " Mr Santos, whose country is slowly emerging from more than half a century of armed conflict, is one of the world's biggest

"Today, the world is at a crossroads," said Sir Robert Watson, President of the United Nations. IPBES, lamenting that "the historical and current degradation and destruction of nature sabotages human well-being for the present and countless future generations."

According to IPBES, the Earth is facing a "massive extinction" of species, the first since the disappearance of dinosaurs about 65 million years ago, the sixth in 500 million years.

– Five reports, three years of work –

In Medellin, experts will assess the damage on the fauna, flora and soils of the Earth. Then will be revealed the outline of five bulky reports, as well as solutions to minimize the impact of human activities on the environment.

"By degrading biodiversity, we also reduce people's food, the clean water that we must drink and the forests that are our lungs, "warned the executive director of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Erik Solheim, in a message relayed from Brasilia, where he participated in the World Water Forum.

To take stock of its situation, IPBES has divided the planet into four regions: Americas, Africa, Asia-Pacific and Europe-Central Asia. Each has been the subject of a thorough analysis and a report of 600 to 900 pages, which experts will study behind closed doors. Then the diagnosis will be made next Friday.

A second report will be extracted Monday, March 26 from a fifth report, the first of its kind on the state of the world's soils, more and more degraded by pollution, deforestation, Mining and unsustainable agricultural practices that impoverish them

"An immensely ambitious challenge awaits us this week," said Anne Larigauderie, executive secretary of IPBES.

For three years, some 600 Researchers have volunteered on these assessments, which synthesize data from about 10,000 scientific publications. The final result covers the entire Earth, apart from the international waters of the oceans and the Antarctic.

The IPBES delegates are in a country with more than 56,300 species of plants and animals.

Colombia, number 1 for the number of orchid species and birds (more than 1,920, 19% of the world), is crossed by three Andean Cordilleras, a complex topography that allowed the evolution of 311 different ecosystems.

– The challenge of deforestation –

The war, which claimed more than eight million lives between the dead, missing and internally displaced, has long converted into banned areas of huge areas of the country. thus paradoxically preserved.

But 1,200 species are threatened by deforestation and pollution, due in particular to extensive agriculture and livestock farming, illegal plantations of marijuana and coca, a raw material for cocaine, which has used to finance the conflict, and underground mining operations.

"We are still facing a huge challenge related to the control of deforestation", admitted in February the Colombian Minister of Environment and Development Luis Gilberto Murillo, reporting about 170,000 ha deforested in 2017.

The experts will also prepare summaries of about thirty pages, addressed to the leaders of the member countries of IPBES, in order to guide them in protecting biodiversity. The content will be negotiated "word by word."

Moving from transportation to education, through agriculture, these "summaries" are not binding. These are "suggestions," Larigauderie told AFP before the forum.

"Some countries may not be satisfied with what the report says about the state of their biodiversity," he said. warned

According to the World Wide Fund for Nature, by 2080, climate change could threaten between a quarter and half of the world's 33 richest biodiversity species.