Bali: Canada Puts Energy Before Environment in Delegation

Canada's governing Conservative party, which clings to power with a slim minority in Parliament, banished its usual traveling partners - the political opposition and Canadian environmental organizations - from its Bali delegation, choosing instead to bring along executives from one of the largest Canadian-owned energy firms, Encana.

The Conservatives' almost exclusive reliance on oil company executives for advice on climate change policy could help explain why the country ranks as the fourth-worst in the world for its performance in addressing global warming. On policy alone, the Germanwatch ranking of 56 industrialized nations puts Canada in 55th spot.

No wonder Environment Minister John Baird sounds so relentlessly self-serving when calling on developing nations to take the first step in addressing greenhouse gas emissions.

Thanks to the Globe and Mail and to DeSmog reader VJ for the spot.


It’s not just the oil companies; it’s the biofuel companies, one of which also went to Bali with Baird (I’m not sure what the other company does). I think Harper and Baird are building a big biofuel trough to pour our tax money into.

Corn is not the only possible source of biofuel.

I knew there was something that was bothering me about this conference in Bali but I couldn’t remember ‘til now….biofuel…
Indonesia is destroying its peat forests in a mad rush to plant palm oil plantations to satisfy the growing need for bio-diesel as well as for vegetable oil for the food industry.
Much the same problem is happening in Brazil where huge sections of the Amazon are being cleared for soy bean farms, again mainly for bio-diesel.
In the case of both nations CO2 emissions are huge since the easy way to clear the land is…fire…

Hey Tom,
Isn’t the other problem with clearing forests that all the roots, etc, under the soil rot and release CO2? And that the carbon sequestered as subterranean biomass isn’t replaced by crops? If you know, please fill me in. I’m presently getting off my high horse for choosing soy milk over cow’s milk….

The problem with peat forests is the peat.
From what I’ve been reading, the first thing they do when clearing such a forest is to drain it of water since they’re swampy in nature. The peat dries out and if, or when, fires are set to clear the ground cover the peat catches fire as well. The ground burns.
I did a quick search this morning and found a report of a fire that took 3 months to put out.
The palm trees do pull CO2 from the air, as do soy beans, but they can never make up for all the sequestered CO2 that was released.
No high horse in my case, I can’t drink cow’s milk, so I use soy milk as well. But these are North American beans.
Brazil’s beans are mainly targeted to the European market for biodiesel.

It would also appear that someone is trying to be me. I wonder who….

Plasco (based in Ottawa, I think) is an Energy-From-Waste company that uses a plasma arc to heat waste which turns it into a synthetic gas which they then filter and burn for power generation.

It’s not quite incineration as all the nasty’s are contained in the leftover waste from the process which comes out as a bunch of melted glass.

However, it IS just another excuse to not address the creation of the waste in the first place.

You are mistaken about the nature of the PlascoEnergy process. The process you describe is classic plasma waste destruction, not the waste conversion that PlascoEnergy does. Their website, ( that the company uses recycled hot air, and not plasma, to heat waste and drive off gas. The gas is refined with a plasma torch, and then drives gas engines to produce electricity. Power output is very high, and emissions extremely low, far less than the Ontario A7 standard used for permitting incinerators.
Plasma conversion is far from incineration, which oxidizes waste. Most of the “nasties” are converted to clean hydrogen and CO and used to fuel the engines. Only the heavy metals are left, at less than 1% of the weight of the waste. The ash is melted by the process, locked up in non-leachable slag.
Plasco Energy is so confident of its technology that it has built its own $30+M demonstration plant in Ottawa at its own expense to prove out the environmental worth. Apparently others think highly of its technology as well…the company just closed a $54M equity offer with some very sophisticated investors, including Black River Asset Management, First Reserve, and RAB. They apparently believe that it can compete in the marketplace while providing a substantial return to their shareholders.
You are right that the best solution for treating waste is not to produce it. However, since we have not found a way to revoke the 2nd law of thermodynamics, it is highly unlikely that we will stop producing waste. While we wait for people to voluntarily reduce their consumption, for entropy to cease to exist, and for other utopic events, we could do worse than give disruptive technologies like those proposed by PlascoEnergy a chance to prove themselves.

Correct, “biofuel” can be made from rain forests too. Mr. Harper displays his true colours hitching his political fortune to those of the guys who hope to “milk this thing for just 10 more years.” Actually I’m glad he has, having thus committed himself to a walk back across the floor in Commons. And as the slick follows the tanker, on out the door. There was a time I had hoped for better from him.

“Canada’s governing Conservative party, which clings to power with a slim minority in Parliament”

When you see the above kind of disconnect from reality, you know the enviro-cult are starting to flail desperately.

“Stephen Harper and Angela Merkel are among the most admired current heads of government, according to a nine-country poll conducted by Angus Reid Strategies for Maclean’s.”

“Conservative party is ahead in Canada’s federal political scene, according to a poll by Harris/Decima released by the Canadian Press. 36 per cent of respondents would support the governing party in the next election to the House of Commons.”

Brilliance! Sheer brilliance, Tom!

So people in other countries who were polled think Harper is a good head of state - that is relevant to Canadian voters how? Out of the 9 countries polled in that study, he got the lowest score from Canadians.

And 36% to me still spells a minority government - a number that hasn’t really climbed since he was elected a year ago. He may not be losing votes right now, but he’s sure not winning any to strengthen his government.

In any case, it certainly puts the lie to the bizarre fantasy that the CPC is somehow “desperately clinging to power”. Obviously, quite the oposite is the case.

Out of date again Rob: the Conservatives are sinking in the polls, especially in Quebec; no majority for them, and they will not even be the minority government in the near future.