Matthew Carroll

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Matthew Carroll is an environmentalist, scientist, and campaign strategist, currently living in Grimsby, Ontario, Canada. He has a masters degree in atmospheric chemistry from University of Leeds and University of Toronto, and over eight years’ experience educating, facilitating, and engaging youth in local, regional, national and international decision making. Matthew firmly believes that climate change is the defining social justice issue of this generation, and that young people have a pivotal leadership role to play in building a just transition to a zero-carbon future.

Matthew got his start representing UK progressive youth organisation The Woodcraft Folk at the United Nations Earth Summit in Johannesburg in 2002. Since then he has worked tirelessly to advocate for youth engagement at all levels, merging his passion for climate action with his belief in the power of youth to make a difference. He has worked as youth engagement coordinator at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change 9th Conference of Parties in Milan, 2003; communications and lobbying lead for the international youth delegation at COP 11 in Montreal, 2005; and for five years at the UN Commission on Sustainable Development in New York. From 2005-2007 he was honoured to serve as the international coordinator for the UN Commission on Sustainable Development’s Youth Caucus during the cycle on Climate Change, Energy, Air Pollution and Industrial Development.

Matthew has worked for and volunteered with, the British Columbia Provincial Government (Ministry of Environment), Sierra Youth Coalition, Youth Environment Network, Rising Tide, Climate Outreach Information Network, C-Change, University of Guelph, University of British Columbia, Free The Children, and the Canadian Youth Climate Coalition among others, and has served as a trustee for Woodcraft Folk and a council member for Energy Action Coalition. In 2005 he co-founded, Dispatches from the Global Youth Climate Movement, and has received the Crest Gold Award for science and technology research, the Millennium Volunteers award of excellence, and a Dr Bessie F. Lawrence ISSI Scholarship. In his spare time Matthew loves rock climbing, ski-mountaineering, singing, and eating cherries straight from the tree with no hands at his wife‘s 7th-generation fruit farm.

European Fracking Lobby Group Caught Peddling Bogus Report

You know, it’s a hard life being a multinational oil executive. Billion dollar profits to reap, climate deniers to fund, indigenous and impacted community rights to trample all over. So I thought I’d help them out with some strategic planning advice. Here’s my quick guide on how to lobby based on bogus information, in three easy steps:

Step 1. Find a report that’s related (at least somewhat) to the issue you want to lobby on.

Step 2. Rewrite it completely, twisting up all the facts and drawing the opposite conclusion. Publish.

Step 3. Wine and dine all of your government friends while exhalting that you’re “just trying to help them” by providing them with some “useful analysis” that will save them money.

Sounds far fetched, doesn’t it?

It’s not.

European Union Pushing Back on Canada's Taxpayer Funded Tar Sands Lobbying

Canada Europe flags oiled

Canada does not - as yet - export much tar sands oil to Europe. So why, you might ask, have the Canadian and Alberta governments been working overtime using tax dollars to fund a massive misinformation and lobbying campaign on the other side of the Atlantic?

There’s a clue in this press release from January announcing Alberta Energy Minister Ron Liepert’s $40,000 lobbying jaunts to the US and Europe: “The European Union is not currently a major market for Alberta’s oil sands products, but any legislation or tariffs adopted by the union’s government can serve as a model for individual nations around the world. We want to continue to share our story with the legislators so they have the facts about our clean energy strategies”

(I’ll let the “clean energy strategies” rubbish slide for now.)

It’s not about protecting existing markets. At the moment the vast majority of exported tar sands oil goes to the US. For the most part, it’s not even about securing a regulatory environment in Europe that protects future potential markets (although that is no doubt a contributing factor). I’ll tell you why the Canadian and Albertan governments are so worried that they’ve been applying pressure on European legislators to a degree at least one EU parliamentarian has declared “unacceptable”.

It’s about precedent. And they’re scared.

Controversial TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline Criticized By U.S. Farmers and Mayors

Map of the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline route across America Farm Belt

A new policy adopted by the US National Farmers Union slams the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would pump bitumen from the Athabasca tar sands in Alberta thousands of miles across America’s farm belt to Gulf Coast refineries in Texas. The Nebraska Farmers Union notes:

“The proposed route of the 1,980-mile pipeline would slice through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. It would cross the Ogallala Aquifer in Nebraska - source of 30 percent of the nation’s agricultural water and drinking water for millions - with a pipeline carrying diluted bitumen, a thick, heavy, corrosive and toxic form of crude oil associated with pipeline ruptures at 16 times the rate of conventional crude.”

Waterless Tar Sands Extraction Misses the Point

Just in time for world water day, researchers at Penn State university have discovered a new “waterless” method for extracting oil from the thick mix of clay, water and bitumen that makes up the tar sands.

The current method for getting the oil out of the sand involves using huge amounts of both fresh water and energy. Hot water is mixed into the sand, which is then piped to an extraction plant and shaken up to release the bitumen. Some of the water from the process is recycled, but huge amounts are simply dumped into toxic lakes.

The new process, according to the Penn State scientists, uses ionic liquids - salt in a liquid state - to separate out the oil from the sand, and, since it doesn’t use water, doesn’t create the tailings ponds. It has been widely reported as cleaner and eco-friendly.

There is not, and never will be anything intrinsically eco-friendly about the tar sands.