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The Big Stall
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The Big Stall

How big oil and think tanks are blocking action on climate change in Canada

By Donald Gutstein

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In fall 2015, the newly elected Trudeau government endorsed the Paris Agreement and promised to tackle global warming. In 2016, it released a major report which set out a national energy strategy embracing clean growth, technological innovation and carbon pricing. Rather than putting in place tough measures to achieve the Paris targets, however, the government reframed global warming as a market opportunity for Canada's clean technology sector.

The Big Stall traces the origins of the government's climate change plan back to the energy sector itself — in particular Big Oil. It shows how, in the last fifteen years, Big Oil has infiltrated provincial and federal governments, academia, media and the non-profit sector to sway government and public opinion on the realities of climate change and what needs to be done about it.

Working both behind the scenes and in high-profile networks, Canada's energy companies moved the debate away from discussion of the measures required to create a zero-carbon world and towards market-based solutions that will cut carbon dioxide emissions — but not enough to prevent severe climate impacts. This is how Big Oil and think tanks unraveled the Kyoto Protocol, and how Rachel Notley came to deliver the Business Council of Canada's energy plan. Donald Gutstein explains how and why the door has been left wide open for oil companies to determine their own futures in Canada, and to go on drilling new wells, building new oil sands plants and constructing new pipelines.

This book offers the background information readers need to challenge politicians claiming they are taking meaningful action on global warming.




Chapter 1 Big Oil Takes Control

Chapter 2 Containing Environmentalism

Chapter 3 Rio to Kyoto: The Road Not Taken

Chapter 4 Tom Gets His Way; Murray Enters the Fray

Chapter 5 Big Oil and Think Tanks Besiege Kyoto

Chapter 6 Carbon Pricing: Economists vs. the Public Interest

Chapter 7 From Environmental Crisis to Business Transition

Chapter 8 The New Gospel

Chapter 9 The Mechanic and the Architect

Chapter 10 Paris: Big Oil Gets Its Deal

Chapter 11 Oil Sands Binges, Rebrands

Chapter 12 Notley: A New Deal?

Chapter 13 Welcome to the Clean Growth Century

Chapter 14 Two Degrees Too Late (A Shell Game)

Chapter 15 The Corporation vs. Nature






"Gutstein's painting of how powerful business interests and their propagandists have succeeded in blocking action on climate change is loud, proud and defiantly left wing."

- The Tyee

"[The Big Stall] makes clear that direct regulation is detested by the fossil fuel regime above all else, providing a clue for policy alternatives."

- Watershed Sentinel

"A compelling investigation of how corporations and businesses have manipulated us and our governments to serve their best interests."

- The National Observer

"[Gutstein] draws a picture of intrigue in an interconnected Canadian web."

- The National Observer

DONALD GUTSTEIN is a former professor in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University and co-director of NewsWatch Canada, a media-monitoring project at the school. He is the author of Harperism: How Stephen Harper and his think tank colleagues have transformed Canada as well as four other books on the links between large corporations, politics and the media. He lives in Vancouver.

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Publication Details:

Binding: Paperback, 304 pages
Publication Date: 2nd October 2018
ISBN: 9781459413474
Format: 9in x 6in

Binding: Electronic book text, 304 pages
Publication Date: 2nd October 2018
ISBN: 9781459413481
Format: EPUB

BISAC Code:  BUS070040, POL041000, POL044000, POL056000, SCI092000
Imprint: Lorimer


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