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Canada’s Most Priceless Commodity Is Not Oil

During a 2008 visit to Ottawacanadian fresh water Senator John McCain commented, “Water exports will be the defining issue of the 21st century but it must be done with the consent of the people.”

So why wouldn’t Canadians consent to exporting water, which Matthew Simmons pointed out, “is even more priceless than oil.”?

To the Council of Canadians such a prospect is abhorrent. Its chair declares “The wars of the future are going to be fought over water,” and yet opposes sales because water shipped halfway around the world will only be affordable to the privileged and will deepen inequities between rich and poor.”

How the water needs of the poor are to be serviced goes unaddressed by the Council.  

It is said that wheat prices helped to fuel the Arab Spring.

Any elite that would deprive its public of a staple such as water would do so at their peril and yet that is what the opponents of water exports seem to counsel. Nature has been generous enough to desalinate massive amounts of ocean water and deposit it within our borders in the form of rain and snow and yet they would have use hoard.

Not only is this inhumane, it imperils our water and food supplies and as the Council points, out makes us a potential object of aggression.

Canada has the third most renewable fresh water in the world, ranking behind Brazil and Russia. According to Environment Canada we have 20% of the world’s total freshwater resources but only  7% of the global renewable supply because our non-renewable or fossil water is retained in lakes, underground aquifers, and glaciers.

For example it takes 191 years for the water in Lake Superior to recycle.

One of the most compelling reasons, beyond the inclination to capitalize on a valuable asset, for Canada to export its water excess is, it is the country’s best opportunity to address the climate issue while still benefiting our economy.  

Sea-level rise is one of the most important and threatening risks of climate change. It is caused three ways; thermal expansion of sea water as it warms up, melting of land ice and changes in the amount of water stored on land.

The first two are the result of fossil fuel burning, which as a significant source of carbon fuels Canada is often vilified for exporting.

The latter however provides an opportunity to compensate for the damages consequent to our carbon exports while at the same time servicing the country’s economic and environmental needs.   

Jason Box, a glaciologist from Ohio State University, suggests humans have already set in motion 69 feet of sea level rise. Though it will take centuries to reach this extent, the result will be the inundation of low lying fresh water sources, such as Vancouver Island’s Kennedy Lake, as well as fertile river deltas, such as the Fraser Valley of British Columbia, which furnish much of the world’s food supply.

A recent study “Source found for missing water in sea-level rise” by Yadu Pohkrel et al., determined “The drawing of water from deep wells has caused the sea to rise by an average of  .77 millimeters every year since 1961,” which is about 42 percent of the total measured over the period.

A BC study “Groundwater and Climate Change” co-author by Diana Allen of Simon Fraser University has confirmed Dr Pohkrel’s finding and notes that low lying crop lands in B.C. are at risk as a consequence. It further notes, “about half of British Columbia’s food supply is imported, much of it from California, which has suffered from drought and is projected to become even more reliant on groundwater as precipitation declines due to climate change.”

There are numerous regions of British Columbia where annual rainfalls average in excess of 3 meters which ends up back in the ocean providing no benefit.

Williston Lake is the largest freshwater body in British Columbia. It is an artificial lake created by the W. A. C. Bennett Dam, which refills from snow and rainfall every 2 years and drains into the Arctic. Actually about 60% of Canada’s fresh water drains to the north, whereas the need is to the south.

Canada needs to be diverting as much of this flow to the south as possible because currently it is simply contributing to sea level rise even as we pump aquifers dry to counter drought which exacerbates the sea level problem. North American and global food supplies are at risk due to this miss match, the damage from sea level rise will be costly, water exports would be lucrative for Canada and hoarding water may imperil our national security.

Diane Katz of the right leaning Fraser Institute recently suggested, “Canadians’ general refusal to consider bulk water export defies logic.”

From the other side of the political spectrum, as Quebec Minister of the Environment, Thomas Mulclair, current leader of the New Democratic Party, was also interested in pursuing water exports.

The problem of sea level rise never entered into the calculus of either nor has it with the Council of Canadians.

The North American Water and Power Alliance project and the Great Recycling and Northern Development Canal scheme are two projects that would divert northern flowing fresh water to the south. They each offer a large hydro electric component as well. And here too support comes from both sides of the political spectrum, Lyndon LaRouche and the Center for American Progress.

As holders of 20 percent of the world’s fresh water, Canada is in a unique position to capitalize on the defining issue of the 21st century. In fact it is in a more dominant position with water than with oil where its reserves account for only 13 percent of the global total.

Jim Baird's picture

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Discussions

Pierre Guimond's picture
Pierre Guimond on March 22, 2013

The Council of Canadians does not speak for all or even most Canadians.  In this case, I think support for its water position would be quite extensive.  We are touchy about water.  A few decades ago some US industrialists wanted to divert water from James Bay by digging a trench all the way to the Great Lakes and then reversing the flow south.  Talk about environmental damage.  Americans are our friends, neighbors and family and it pains us to witness the droughts, floods, wild fires, hurricanes, twisters and other natural disasters you endure.  The fact is that we need all of our water and have none to spare.  The North is developing and much of it is a frozen desert with little annual waterfall.  The environment is fragile and changing as global warming takes place. We are fighting climate change. Canada has carbon type taxes in three provinces and regulations in many more. Most of our electricity generation is from non-emitting sources. Our air quality is better than US air quality based on strong regulation. With shale gas and oil being developed in the USA and arriving as product in our markets, who knows what the future holds in terms of climate change.   I would be willing to bet that my fellow citizens would seriously consider helping our US friends if it got to the point where your water issues are so badly deteriorated you need help.  However, we would want a reasonable assurance that you will not deplete our water resources as well.   

Rick Engebretson's picture
Rick Engebretson on March 22, 2013

I won't express an opinion on your water export theme. Nor on OTEC's applicability. Because I simply don't know.

But I do know if this drought continues in the US Southwest, there will be a lot of hot Texans angry because their power plant shuts down due to lack of cooling water. And Texans always let everybody know when they are angry. Same with ethanol in Nebraska.

At our age, perhaps you also wonder what has happened to people. Our peacenik flower power generation has given way to tattoos and ear-rings where the sun don't usually shine. I totally don't get it, or their drugs and guns. Sometimes you can't fix things.

So my sentiment leans toward let the insane go insane somewhere else, and protect the better part of the world that works.

Pierre Guimond's picture
Pierre Guimond on March 23, 2013

The US produces oil and gas (shale and conventional) and has the largest coal reserve in the world. I have no doubt that the US will continue to develop its hydrocarbons just as the UK dicovered, developed and depleted the North Sea find.  

Jesse Parent's picture
Jesse Parent on March 23, 2013

Pierre, I have to agree with you. I can't see the US as anything other than a petrol state, for better or worse. This is why it continues to lag behind in developing (or implementing...) advanced nuclear power, or trying to significantly update its infrastructure. There's a lot of inertia in hydrocarbons, and the compulsion to innovate away from that, in terms of 'necessity' or domestic market incentive, is fairly low. 

There are a lot of people working very hard to change this, and I salute them. Some of them post here. I can't in my right mind or heart tell them not to continue their work, it's just that it might not be implemented very well within the US - unless some other things happen first. 

dennis baker's picture
dennis baker on March 24, 2013

water you say ????

In my opinion 



We need to replace the fossil fuel power plants, the primary source of GHG. Now! 

At a scale required to accomplish this task : 

Ethanol starves people : not a viable option. 

Fracking releases methane : not a viable option. 

Cellulose Bio Fuel Uses Food Land : not a viable option 

Solar uses food land : Not a viable option 

Wind is Intermittent : Not a viable option 



All Human and Agricultural Organic Waste can be converted to hydrogen, through exposure intense radiation! 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/DennisearlBaker/2012-a-breakthrough-for-r_b_1263543_135881292.html 

The Radioactive Materials exist now, and the Organic waste is renewable daily. 

Ending the practice of dumping sewage into our water sources. 

Air, Water, Food and Energy issues, receive significant positive impacts . 

Reducing illness / health care costs as well ! 



Dennis Baker
Penticton BC V2A1P9 
cell phone 250-462-3796 
Phone / Fax 778-476-2633

dennis baker's picture
dennis baker on March 24, 2013

water you say ????

In my opinion 



We need to replace the fossil fuel power plants, the primary source of GHG. Now! 

At a scale required to accomplish this task : 

Ethanol starves people : not a viable option. 

Fracking releases methane : not a viable option. 

Cellulose Bio Fuel Uses Food Land : not a viable option 

Solar uses food land : Not a viable option 

Wind is Intermittent : Not a viable option 



All Human and Agricultural Organic Waste can be converted to hydrogen, through exposure intense radiation! 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/DennisearlBaker/2012-a-breakthrough-for-r_b_1263543_135881292.html 

The Radioactive Materials exist now, and the Organic waste is renewable daily. 

Ending the practice of dumping sewage into our water sources. 

Air, Water, Food and Energy issues, receive significant positive impacts . 

Reducing illness / health care costs as well ! 



Dennis Baker
Penticton BC V2A1P9 
cell phone 250-462-3796 
Phone / Fax 778-476-2633

GeorgeYuri Mogiljansky's picture
GeorgeYuri Mogiljansky on March 29, 2013

Jim,

http://www.theprovince.com/technology/Scientists+energize+your+house+wit...

 

The era of cheap (big) oil will not be redeemed or repeated by an era of cheap (big) water. Yes, the standard of living may decrease (gasp!) during the transition to a “technologically sustainable” economic model.

One very telling example – today’s “action” films (and their respective human growth hormone-laced heroes) are using computer projections (digital effects is a slightly older term). The cheaper films don’t even bother trying to fool you.

 

I have an older website, here: transitions.stumbleupon.com.

Jim Warden's picture
Jim Warden on March 29, 2013

GreenNH3 was invented in Canada. It is a way to store energy from times of excess for later use. It is also a great transportation fuel. Matt Simmons was going to partner with GreenNH3 before his untimely death.

dennis baker's picture
dennis baker on March 29, 2013
GeorgeYuri Mogiljansky's picture
GeorgeYuri Mogiljansky on March 29, 2013

Jim,

Pardon my (c)rudeness, but the world will survive even if McGill doesn’t. Provincial politics (with the help of Ottawa, I’m afraid) have reduced this institution to a second rate one.

Just two examples of water manipulation gone terribly wrong: a body of water in the ex-USSR that is now a dried out lake bed laced with salt that gets dispersed by the wind and pollutes farmable land, and the Aswan dam in Egypt.

KISS – apply simpler solutions to foster economic growth and recovery. Sounds conservative, backward or dull? How much of a buffer do we need (e.g. in terms of insurance, cost of opportunity, keeping up with the Jones’)? I remember an estimate from the 1960’s that required the then entire world’s GDP to build a starship (entirely inter-generationally sustainable) to reach the then nearest M class plant 100 light years distant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

GeorgeYuri Mogiljansky's picture
GeorgeYuri Mogiljansky on March 29, 2013

 At the risk of sounding cynical, what is the cost / benefit? I would rather curtail the use of fossil fuels.

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ocean_thermal_energy_conversion

http://www.otecnews.org/2012/10/how-much-ocean-thermal-energy-can-be-con...

http://www.makai.com/e-otec.htm

 

Some economic discussion and detail about the implementation. Can you say “grid” without grinning?

 

 

GeorgeYuri Mogiljansky's picture
GeorgeYuri Mogiljansky on March 29, 2013

Thanks, Jim.

What about this discussion?

http://diggingintheclay.wordpress.com/2013/03/07/arrhenius-revisited/#mo...

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paul Felix Schott's picture
Paul Felix Schott on March 31, 2013

WE THE PEOPLE need to send all local officials that have anything to do with Poisoning are ground and water a message stop worrying  get to love Jail.

SAFE DRINKING WATER RUNNING OUT FASTER THEN YOU THINK WORLD WIDE.

Hydraulic Fracturing a Danger to us All.

Why would anyone think we have water to waste.

Some one forgot to tell all about all the poison chemicals that this ungodly Lisa Jackson gave a green light to put in are ground and water.
And help the Industry, so to they will never have to disclose all the poison chemicals they have used.

Only the wicked in mind Leaders in this Nation and around the world would let anyone Pipe Pollution into the ground to get gas in return from the Ground. Most all scientist have know this for many years that this will end safe drinking water for all that are in the area of where they are fracturing, in which Millions of Gallons of Dangerous Poison Chemically Treated Water are forced underground to break up rock and free gas. We need regulations from GODLY People that will stop  10,000+ wells a year drilled using hydraulic fracturing to free and make the Dangerous Poison Chemicals underground into gas. The primarily affect will be unsafe drinking water and many will become sick. THE HEALTH OF MANY WILL DETERIORATE because of A Few Wicked Greedy Leaders. Those who have made these decisions do not know Jesus Christ. Soon He will say i know you not. They belong in jail soon it will be hell for them. What sick in mind would let or want anyone to put Dangerous Poison Chemicals underground or into the ground anywhere.

The wicked are trying to sell and tell all if it is not near your home or land it is safe. This is the biggest ling of horse manure. Do they think most of  We The People are that dumb or that most Americans lack any intelligence at all. What ever is put on or in the ground makes it way to our underground Aquifers, Rivers, Lakes and the Oceans. Every Scientist on Earth knows this and most all that have made it to eighth grade in school.

So why would any Leader with a good healthy mind ever say or want this?

Vote any wicked that has anything to do with this out of office they work for WE THE PEOPLE. Then need to go to jail. Soon it will be not jail but Hell. Revelation 11:18

United We Stand In GOD We Trust

The Lord’s Little Helper
Paul Felix Schott

P.S.

Wicked Leaders telling their friends as long as you can cover it up and it will not get back to me it is ok with me. Are you sure we will not go to jail for making money by Polluting the ground and water. Of course not we make the laws to fit our needs not the health and welfare of others or as they used to say We The People. Its now the Wicked Leaders and rich Rule. Till our Lord GOD comes!

Solar Energy the way to go.
Many States Are and are Banning Fracking.

Archimedes and Albert Einstein
These two are at the top of the list of the World’s Greatest Scientists,
Viewed by Scientist around the World.

Sad that for the last 25 years or so of every teacher asked no matter what
Grade k through 16. At least 80% of them did not know Archimedes. Even sadder 90%
of them could not tell you what one of the most Brilliant Scientist to ever
live on Earth. Won the Nobel Prize for.

It was for the work Albert Einstein did to show the World it could get
Free Energy, Electric from the SUN. (THE PHOTOVOLTAIC EFFECT).
There is enough Energy from our SUN to power all are needs and more.

dennis baker's picture
dennis baker on March 31, 2013

Canada’s Kyoto withdrawl and  UN desert convention pull out. are examples of selling Canada’s most priceless commodity, our contribution to a better planet!

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