Op-ed Contributed by Michelle Stirling ©2019
In the Aug. 6, 2019, National Observer, reporter Juliet O’Neill thinks that the Alberta government has launched a campaign to silence Tzeporah Berman. I guess she can’t read. There is an inquiry to look into foreign funding of groups that people like Tzeporah work for, to see what, if any, outside competitive interests might be party to the decades of pipeline Blockadia and denigration of the oil sands. Nothing about silencing people.
Canada is a nation with rule of law and Freedom of Speech is a Charter Right. There are other laws about market manipulation and foreign interference. These are unrelated to an individual’s freedom of speech.
I was forwarded an email campaign from Stand.Earth where Tzeporah Berman was outraged that someone had held up a poster of her with the title “Enemy of the Oil Sands” during the recent announcement of the Alberta “War Room” –which is intended to counter misinformation.
In Tzippi’s email, she cried the blues about that for quite some time, as if no decimated Alberta oil sands worker has any right to be angry that pipelines have been blocked, cancelled and delayed, thanks to Tzeporah, her various environmental non-governmental organizations (ENGOs) and her followers.
At Friends of Science Society, we strongly object to threats of any kind, and advocate for open, civil, fact-based debate on climate and energy policies. But shouldn’t Tzeporah take responsibility for her success? Here’s what her email said:
“The federal government thinks Trans Mountain construction will start in just a few weeks’ time – but we know better. Our team at Stand.earth, working together with amazing allies, is ready to spring into action to delay construction, organize mass mobilizations and keep this project in headlines across the country. I know we can stop this pipeline.”
In a follow-up email a couple of days later she says:
“…we’re going to stop Trans Mountain for good this time.”
This sounds to me like she is an enemy of the oil sands – inciting people to delay, mobilize, and make headline news, affirming “I know we can stop this pipeline…. for good this time…” even though the pipeline has been legally authorized by the federal government.
And how about this?
Doesn’t that sound kind of like Tzeporah is the enemy of the oil sands?
Robert Lyman, Ottawa energy policy consultant with a lifetime of experience as a public servant and diplomat explains how “No Pipeline is a Problem – A Challenge to Democracy.”
Tzeporah’s argument against the oil sands is based on climate claims. She claims “…we need to stop new fossil fuel production if we want a chance at keeping the planet below a dangerous level of warming.”
In fact, there’s no climate emergency. These scientists explain it in simple terms.
In fact, the concept of a climate emergency was dreamt up by a psychologist, not a climate scientist. Doesn’t that make you feel a bit sick. Don’t you feel conned and manipulated?
And, as I mentioned, we are a country with rule of law – but here’s an interesting tweet from Tzeporah and comment from an expert in law:
Remember what I mentioned earlier? Canada is a country of Rule of Law. So the law has decreed the pipeline is authorized, Tzeporah’s “Stand.Earth” is telling its followers the pipeline will never be built – they will make sure of this.
The above screenshot is from Stand.Earth’s website. Does it sound like they are ‘enemies of the oil sands’? Just askin’ !
In 2013, the IPCC reported there had been no statistically significant warming for 15 years prior, despite a significant rise in carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere, much of it from human industry.
Dr. Judith Curry, an atmospheric scientist, not an activist like Tzeporah, has testified to the US Senate that carbon dioxide is not the control knob that can fine tune climate. She says that natural variability – solar and ocean cycles and the like, are more influential in climate change than human influence, and that the case for human-caused global warming is weakened by the evidence of the 2013 IPCC AR5 report. There are hundreds of recent peer-reviewed papers that show evidence that climate change is primarily driven by natural factors, not human industrial emissions of carbon dioxide.
So Tzeporah’s climate argument is false.
This means that for almost 20 years, Tzeporah has been peddling nonsense about the oil sands and climate, demarketing Alberta’s multi-billion dollar driver of the Canadian economy, destroying the reputations of Canada’s cadre of excellent oil sands experts, with her off-the-cuff smears about “Big Oil”, ‘dirty oil’ and climate change hysteria.
That’s dirty pool, Tzippi.
Thanks to the financial aid from foreign sources, and influential people associated with her groups, she’s gotten lots of high-profile press.
Thanks to her scare campaigns, the coffers of her various ENGOs have been filled, using the Greenpeace business model.
It must be galling for all the Professional Geoscientists and Professional Engineers and other scientists and researchers who work in the oil sands industry, who spent 20 or more years in school and university, years of study and many exacting exams to get their certifications, to have a former fashion designer turned bullhorn cheerleader destroy their reputations, jobs and our national pride with her smears, backed by millions of dollars of foreign money to jumpstart the #TarSandsCampaign, which she then used to turn Canadians against their own people and natural wealth.
Those experts I spoke of are people whose jobs require that they make sure you are safe – they have to check, cross-check and check again when making recommendations on geophysical/geological work or when designing and building critical infrastructure.
Tzeporah never has to pass such stringent tests. Just a bullhorn will do. And her BS.
In the National Observer article, Tzeporah exhibits her ignorance of how things are made, by claiming that the end of fossil fuels is nigh because ‘the price of renewables drop.’
As Mark P. Mills noted in the Wall Street Journal of Aug. 5, 2019 :
“Building one wind turbine requires 900 tons of steel, 2,500 tons of concrete and 45 tons of plastic.”
You can only make steel with coal and fossil fuel power; you can’t make or pour that much concrete without fossil fueled equipment, and where do you think the plastic comes from? Fossil fuels.
As Robert F. Kennedy pointed out, when you build a wind or solar plant, you’re actually building a natural gas plant.
It’s funny and sad to think that the kind of ignorance about how things work and how things are made, exhibited by Tzeporah, makes headline news in the National Observer under the banner that the Alberta government wants to silence her?!
Tzeporah says “as more and more countries set dates for banning the fossil fuel car”…claiming of oil and gas companies:
“They’re trying to hold on for their lives. This is their last gasp.”
But obviously she is ignorant of the reality that Mills writes in the WSJ:
“A single electric-car battery weighs about 1,000 pounds. Fabricating one requires digging up, moving and processing more than 500,000 pounds of raw materials somewhere on the planet. The alternative? Use gasoline and extract one-tenth as much total tonnage to deliver the same number of vehicle-miles over the battery’s seven-year life.”
As Ottawa energy policy consultant, Robert Lyman, explains on transportation, “You Can’t Get There from Here,” there’s no quick change in the offing for transportation.
And Tzippi is dreaming if she thinks EVs are about to conquer the world…reality check.
Likewise, Robert Lyman wrote this report on “Transition to Reality” – renewables don’t cut it and many other alternatives have a long way to go and lots of technical and safety barriers to jump before they enter the market.
Not only that, if you want to go all EV as Tzippi’s comments suggest, you better have enough power generation plants to support the demand – and we don’t, in Canada. So, it is likely we will end up bankrupt and in the dark if the net zero electrification and all-EV plans go ahead without further due diligence and cost-benefit analysis. Thanks to Tzeporah Berman, once labelled enemy of the oil sands, she’ll end up being the enemy of all of us.
This could stop if she just did some reading of our report “Shocking Reality”.
Isn’t it great that in Canada, a country that cherishes Freedom of Speech, Tzeporah Berman is free to spew this nonsense and not even the editorial staff at National Observer cross-check her claims or correct her? This is the newspaper that featured a twitter masthead that said #FactsMatter ! No kidding!
Take a look at this graph of world consumption of primary energy by source below. Does it look like renewables are about to conquer the world…or that oil, gas or coal producers are at ‘their last gasp’?
If Tzippi has been in this activist field for over 20 years but can’t get these basic facts right, or keep up with new insights on climate science, why should we listen to anything else she says?
So, there’s no need to silence her – just let her continue to make a fool of herself, hope the Alberta “War Room” will correct her ignorant comments in the press, and then let the inquiry follow the money behind her.
Michelle Stirling is the Communications Manager for Friends of Science Society, a member of the Canadian Association of Journalists, AAAS, and APS.
Tar Sands Campaign Affects YOU Canada