Thursday, September 29, 2011

 

WATER: NOT JUST FOR THE COMMODE

Media personalities, screen actors, winners of the Nobel Prize have been pushing back publicly against the Keystone XL oil pipeline project set for President Obama's final approval any day now.

Demonstrators have recently moved the protests to Ottawa as it has become increasingly obvious that in Washington's politically charged atmosphere, one year out from a Presidential election, green-flagging the pipeline is a "slam-dunk"; or a no-brainer as Stephen Harper described it to Bloomberg News in New York last weekend.

The 2700 Kilometer Keystone XL pipeline will draw unrefined oil from northern Alberta through Saskatchewan to enter the United-States in Montana on its way to the petroleum refineries along the Gulf Coast of southern Texas. The economic impact and the number of jobs created along its multi-states route are simply too overwhelming for the Obama Administration, which is fighting to regain control of America's troubled economy, to ignore.

Moving-on: Every step of the way along the Harper Government's efforts to improve trade relations with the United-States (pipeline included); Canada's strategy for negotiating the enhanced "Perimeter Security" arrangements has butted-heads and been hampered by America's steadfast resolve that homeland security trumps trade. Even when trade is with its neighbourly and overwhelmingly largest international business and trading partner. Though it may be unrelalted, The Government of the United-States has already declared that "water supply" is a national security issue.
A significant element of the problem already affects several states south of our shared 49th parallel. They have now allocated their maximum existing water supplies to farming, industry and urban development. Either they will have to do with less water, or tap large new sources as the North American climate continues to change and erode largely because of our human habits and indiscretions.

Back in 2010, Canada was one of a handful of countries which abstained from a vote at the United-Nations declaring water to be a universal right. Flushed with renewable fresh water resources along with our miniscule population which is less that 0.5% of the planet's, we Canadians are already the world's largest per capita consumers of water. The simmering debate given recent new life by trend spotters, some investment gurus, and conversely little attention by policy makers, seems to suggest: Forget oil and gas -Invest in water! Back in July, the Chief Economist at Citibank, William Buiter, pretty much said so in a memo to investors: "I expect to see in the near future a massive expansion of investment in the water sector, including the production of fresh, clean water from other sources (desalination, purification), storage, shipping and transportation of water. I expect to see pipeline networks that will exceed the capacity of those for oil and gas today." (Quoted from the Alphaville Blog)

An analysis prepared by the Canadian military, and so far (it seems) largely ignored by the escalating level of incompetents responsible for our Department of National Defence, (I digress!) claims that up to 60 countries could fall into a category of water scarcity or stress by 2050. It would place Canada and our abundance of water on the path to "a key source of (political) power" or a "basis for future conflict." Parts of the draft report titled: 'Army 2040 - First Look' were seen by Postmedia News in June, before the Citibank memo was issued by the Chief-Ecnomist.

The draft of the Army report concludes that Canada's path into this hazardous and problamic future depends on the policy decisions made by the government today. Haven't seen any. - Sure hope the planned largely discredited "Law and Order" legislation before the House of Commons isn't a sign-post precursor of the road ahead.

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