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The pandemic has changed the way we live and use energy. Many people are working from home, thereby omitting the long commute that many workers made each day. The airlines have greatly reduced their flights, with a resulting decline in energy consumption. It’s expected that the economy will rebound once the pandemic is over, but it could take another year to return to a normal state, if we ever do.
On the other hand, the isolation and disruption brought on by the pandemic has emboldened opportunists. For example, loggers in the Amazon have stepped up their illegal logging under the approval of Brazilian President Jair Bolsanaro. Indigenous leaders have been killed, and logging and forest burning have reached record levels.
Across North America, right-wing authoritarian leaders deny the effects of climate change and continue to pursue an antiquated economy based on fossil fuels. The Trump administration in the United States continues to roll back environmental regulations in favour of oil, gas and coal extraction.
In Alberta, Jason Kenny continues to cling to the slim hope that somehow the Athabasca oil sands will come back and be the driver of the Alberta economy. Sadly, that ship has sailed. The worldwide price of crude oil has dropped below the cost of mining and producing Alberta’s synthetic crude. On Friday, a barrel of the benchmark Brent crude was selling for US$43.28 and West Texas intermediate was going for US$41.21. Meanwhile, Canadian Syncrude was going for US$39.47