A Report from the independent Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) released on December 8 examines the financial viability of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, and includes updated employment and economic impact forecasts. The press release summarizes the findings, including that the Trans Mountain pipeline has increased in value from $4.4 billion when the federal government purchased it in 2018, to $5 billion, using net present value calculations. However, that value is conditional on global demand for oil, on construction delays and costs, and – the crux of the matter – “the profitability of the Trans Mountain assets is highly contingent on the climate policy stance of the federal government. Consistent with modelling from the Canada Energy Regulator (CER), if policy action on climate change continues to become more stringent, it is possible for the Trans Mountain assets to have a negative net present value.” In other words, as 350.org says: “two government agencies have said the exact same thing. The Canada Energy Regulator and the Parliamentary Budget Officer have made it clear that Trudeau has to choose between building Trans Mountain and confronting the climate emergency. It’s past time that Trudeau was honest: does he want to build a pipeline or tackle the climate crisis? He simply can’t do both.” (The 350.org sign-on online campaign is here ; B.C.’s Dogwood Institute also has an online petition to Chrystia Freedland to Rethink TransMountain)
Discussion of the PBO report appears in the National Observer in “Budget officer provokes fresh round of suspicion over Trans Mountain profitability” (Dec. 9) , and in The Energy Mix and the CBC .