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by Michelle Stirling © 2020

Graham Thompson and Max Fawcett have had a field day with the news that the Norwegian Sovereign Fund (Norges Bank Investment Management) has decided to pull investment from the Alberta oil sands companies, allegedly on climate change grounds. Both of these journos miss the big picture.

The geopolitics of oil and gas has changed significantly in the past few years. Where once the US was hostage to supply of oil from OPEC nations, most of which are in the Middle East, today with the advent of shale gas and shale oil, the massive find in the Permian basin, new offshore drilling technologies and recovery methods, the US is now a net exporter of oil.

Thus, European oil producing nations like Norway have a big competitor in the US, and an even bigger competitor in Canada, if we could just get more of our oil to market. Not only that, European oil and gas companies are competing for institutional investors. Now with the Canada-European Union Trade Agreement – CETA, Canadian oil and gas companies have the potential to sell into the EU. Think any of the existing suppliers want to give up market share or help a competitor?

Part of the Tar Sands Campaign was to drive off investors. An Oak Foundation grant to Greenpeace specifically states this as the “Phase-out Tar Sands” campaign objective. The 2011 CBC Co-produced documentary “The Tipping Point: Age of the Oil Sands” shows Chief Francois Paulette attending the Norway’s Statoil (now Equinor) AGM and telling them to get their money out of his backyard. (*Statoil = State Oil, get it?)

For Europeans, who generally hold romantic notions of an aboriginal person as a “Noble Savage”, this was a stunning blow to their psyche! To have a real aboriginal person on their podium shaming them for the crime of investing in a highly regulated essential industry in Canada!

Canada was then considered to be one of the most stable and rewarding countries for resource and infrastructure investment.

There was Chief François Paulette, shaming them for allegedly making his people hungry for driving off their country food; claiming they are destroying his civilization! The film later shows him and a few colleagues going hunting on fossil fuel powered ATVs with rifles, dressed in military-style camouflage gear, and fishing in a fossil fuel powered boat. Just sayin’….

The CBC documentary also stars film director James Cameron, who was then fresh off his big win with Avatar, the backdrop of which was….tar sands-like in every way. Who would not look at Chief Paulette, standing on stage at the AGM of Norway’s Statoil in his beaded necklace, long ponytail of unbraided hair, jacket and blue jeans, castigating a room full of WASPY nature-loving Norwegian executives in suits…who could not think of the innocent Navi as he spoke of the buffalo and the four-leggeds?

Paulette told them: “Fundamentally, I think your nation is rich in investing in protecting nature, and you need to practice that ethical reality where the tar sands are…” Ethical.

Then that shaming scene was shown round the world, 24/7 on the web and in the theatrical version as “The Tipping Point: End of Oil”, narrated by Sigourney Weaver (who starred as Dr. Grace Augustine in Avatar).

Journos Thomson and Fawcett have capitulated their reason to the “Fear and Loathing” of the oil sands, showing that this goal of the Tar Sands Campaign has been perfectly met in many of the Climate-Stockholm-Syndrome-blinded geopolitically naïve Canucks: “In Canada we need to penetrate with the message that the tar sands is holding Canadians hostage in their desire to tackle global warming – which consistently polls as one of the highest national concerns.” (pg. 6)

One of the reasons the Harper government pulled out of Kyoto in 2011 was that Canada was going to have to pay $14 billion in penalties/compensation to countries like oil/gas competitor nation Russia, for us not meeting our climate targets. Russia did not have to do anything about climate change or meet any targets. In fact, Putin thinks it is climate hysteria that is a hoax. And this eminent Russian solar scientist says we are heading into a Little Ice Age due to solar cycles.

So, instead of Graham Thompson and Max Fawcett mindlessly going on about emissions per capita, climate change, the oil sands, and how wonderful Norway is, maybe they should do a little investigative reporting into the geopolitical green trade war against Canada.


Michelle Stirling is the Communications Manager for Friends of Science Society. These are her personal views. Stirling’s work on the 97% consensus, climate change and wildfire, and petro-gender politics can be found on SSRN. She has also published an ebook of letters called “My Tar Sands Tipping Point with CBC”. Stirling is a member of the Canadian Association of Journalists.