Three new powerful players said to join the BC West Coast LNG export rush

The race to ship liquified natural gas to Asia is getting hotter with three new powerhouses joining the scramble for west coast export terminals.

BG GroupThe Prince Rupert Port Authority announced Tuesday, Feb. 7, that it is working with an energy powerhouse BG Group, on a feasibiity study for an LNG terminal at Ridley Island.

At the same time The Globe and Mail reports that there are rumours that Exxon Mobile is “examining LNG options” in the northwest. The paper also quotes sources as saying the Japanese firm Itochu is looking to export gas via Kitsault, where there is an abandoned molybdenum mine, town and port.

British Gas was once the retail domestic supplier of natural gas to the UK market. The company split in two in 1997, with BG Group becoming an international exploration and energy production company.

Itocchu logoItochu is a 150-year old Japanese company which began as Chibou Itoh’s one man linen trading company, later adding drapery shops and over more than a century expanding operations to become a major international conglomerate with strong interests in the energy sector. According to the company website, Itochu is also a player in the solar energy and bio-ethanol fields.

“The Prince Rupert Port Authority has engaged with the BG Group to consider Prince Rupert for a potential LNG export facility. The BG Group is number two in the world in LNG, next to Shell and they are number two depending on what measurements you look at, so they are already a big player in that industry” according to Shaun Stevenson, vice-president of Marketing and Business Development for the Prince Rupert Port Authority.

“We have an agreement signed to provide them a site and to secure that site to examine the suitability of it and the feasibility of the facility…We have given them a period of time to conduct the feasibility and suitability study, and if it is determined to be viable from the preliminary work that is done then we will look at further development,” he said.

David Byford, spokesman for the BG Group in Houston, confirmed the deal has been signed but cautioned “Prince Rupert is one of the areas we are looking at, and we are in the very early feasibility study stage.”

“The west coast of Canada is certainly advantageous for LNG export, and there is a lot of natural gas in BC as well.”

Prince Rupert port spokesperson Michael Gurney says it will be 12 to 24 months before there’s a clear commitment on the project.

A spokesman with Itochu declined comment when contacted by The Globe and Mail. Kitsault, near Alice Arm, in the traditional territory of the Nisga’a nation, was the site of  a short lived molybedenum venture by the Phelps Dodge company. After the mine was abandoned, the town was bought by Indo-American businessman Krishnan Suthanthiran and is now promoted as a nature and wilderness retreat, called Heaven on Earth.

Exxon MobileThe Globe and Mail also quotes sources as saying that Exxon Mobil Corp., which has substantial natural gas reserves in northeastern B.C., has also been examining LNG options. Pius Rolheiser, a spokesman with Canada’s Imperial Oil Ltd., which is majority-owned by Exxon, said in a statement to the Globe and Mail: “Imperial continuously reviews a variety of opportunities to increase value to our shareholders. As a matter of practice, and for competitive reasons, we do not discuss specific strategies.”

Ecojustice challenges fairness of JRP, PMO responds with another attack on “foreign radicals”

Just who is interfering with the fairness of the Northern Gateway Joint Review panel hearings?

Almost every day since the hearings began in Kitamaat Village, intervenors have raised questions about the fairness of the hearings, especially after Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver began attacking what they called “foreign radicals,” the government say are “hijacking” the hearings.

Perhaps the most dramatic moment in the hearings, so far, came in Smithers, on January 16, 2012 (without the national media present) when the leaders of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation brought up the question of political interference in the hearings.

Chief Alphonse Gagnon, of the Laksamshu clan, summed it up this way.

Before this Panel started, we had Prime Minister Harper make a comment about how he agreed with this proposed pipeline and also the Minister in charge agreeing with the pipeline.

The Minister in charge talked about the effects if the pipeline don’t go through, the financial effects on the government and the financial effects on industry itself, on jobs that would be created.

This is the stuff that happened just before we got into this. This is the stuff that was coming onto the news last week.

Now, that’s them talking about the fact that this — what will happen if the pipeline don’t go through. My question is the other way around; what will happen if the pipeline goes through?

The same day, Chief George Williams of the Tsayu clan, said to the Joint Review panel:

Wakoos; somebody should tell Stephen Harper of what wakoos meant.
Wakoos means respect. It is our job, Tsayu, Laksilyu, Gilseyhu, Laksamshu, to
protect our territories. Our language, our culture comes from the territories. Harper should show wakoos, respect, and come to our territory and put on a feast and let us know what his plans are.

The first day of the hearings weren’t as dramatic, but on that day, on the first morning, Haisla chief Henry Amos said:

I have nothing against the Panel but I’m concerned. I’m concerned about the decision making of this project; that Ms. [Sheila] Leggett and Mr. [Kenneth] Bateman both work for the National Energy Board, one as a Vice-Chair and the other one as a Chair of the Regulatory Policy Committee, I believe — correct me if I’m wrong — and Mr. [Hans] Matthews, First Nation from the Eastern Province of Ontario.

When I think about it — and this is my own personal opinion — we, the Haisla are already at a disadvantage. We have no representation from the Province of British Columbia.

I realize your tasks. I also know that you’re an independent body, which is good in a way, but what bothers me the most is that you’re appointed, I think from your information it was from the Minister of Environment and the National Energy Board. You’re appointed by the Federal Government and it’s the same government
that is telling the world that this project should go ahead. That is my biggest concern.

Chair Sheila Leggett then cut off any discussion of the fairness of the hearings, as she would from then on, by saying:

Chief Amos, we’re here today to listen to your oral evidence that wouldn’t be able to be put in writing, and the example we’ve been using in the Hearing Order and the information we’ve been publishing is that it would be traditional knowledge.

So I’m hoping that your comments will be along those lines because that
is what we’re here to listen to today.

Just a few hours later, Haisla chief counsellor Ellis Ross wrapped up the first day of hearings by saying: “I came into this meeting today thinking I was going to rant and rave about the comments made by Harper and Oliver and then I found myself basically trusting you guys to assess everything we said here and take it into consideration.”

Ecojustice motion

After three weeks of hearings, on Friday, January 27, the Vancouver environmental umbrella group, Ecojustice, a coalition of the Raincoast Conservation Foundation, the Living Oceans Society and Forest Ethics, filed a motion with the Joint Review Panel calling into question the fairness of the hearings.

The motion asks the panel to

determine if recent statements by the Prime Minister or by the Minister
of Natural Resources who is responsible for the National Energy Board constitute an
attempt by those Ministers to undermine or have had the effect of undermining the
Panel hearing process or the credibility of any intervenor or any person appearing
before the Panel resulting in unfairness in the hearing process, and if so, that the Panel identify the steps it will take to correct such unfairness.

It also calls on the panel to

determine if recent statements by the Prime Minister or by the Minister
of Natural Resources have contributed to an appearance that the outcome of the Panel’s proceedings has been predetermined, undermining the Parties’ and public confidence in the independence of the Panel.

It wants the panel to issue a statement confirming that is independent of and not influenced by statements of the Prime Minister, the Minister of Natural Resources or other Ministers of the Crown.

As well, Ecojustice wants the panel

to confirm that the credibility of Parties and witnesses will be tested only through information requests and cross examination and will not be influenced by statements of the Prime Minister, the Minister of Natural Resources or other Ministers of the Crown.

It calls on the panel to confirm

that the Panel will be guided only by the principles of environmental
assessment and the requirements of the National Energy Board Act and the
Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.

Ecojustice also wants the panel to hold hearings with witnesses to determine whether or not the hearings are fair.

Joint Review Panel spokeswoman Annie Roy told the media that Ecojustice motion will be considered and ruled on “at a later date.” Roy’s e-mail to the media also said:
“The joint review panel for the Enbridge Northern Gateway project is an independent body that was established jointly by the federal minister of the environment and the chairman of the National Energy Board.”

PMO response

Within hours of the Ecojustice filing, the Prime Minister’s Office issued an “InfoAlert,” saying that it was Ecojustice who was interfering with the fairness of the Joint Review Hearings

Foreign radicals threaten further delays

Today, Ecojustice attacked the independence of the Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel.  ForestEthics, Living Oceans Society and Raincoast Conservation Foundation joined them in their attack on the Joint Review Panel.

Here are the facts:

The Northern Gateway is currently going through a careful and comprehensive review process to ensure the proposal is safe and environmentally sound.

Radical groups are trying to clog and hijack the process, rather than letting the panel do its job independently, expeditiously, and efficiently.

Our government has asked that the review process be conducted efficiently and without excessive delays.  We believe reviews for major projects can be accomplished in a quicker and more streamlined fashion.

We do not want projects that are safe, generate thousands of new jobs and open up new export markets to die in the approval phase due to unnecessary delays.

Our Government’s top priority remains the economy and creating jobs.

Canada is on the edge of a historic choice – to diversify our energy markets away from our traditional trading partner in the United States or to continue with the status quo.

The one problem with the statement from the Prime Minister’s Office is that it appears to confirm the fears about the fairness of the hearings. That’s because the PMO release pre-judges the hearings, which are will be ongoing for a year or more by saying that the Northern Gateway is one of the “projects that are safe, [will] generate thousands of new jobs and open up new export markets.”

It is the Joint Review Panel’s decision whether or not the pipeline is safe, and will generate thousands of jobs. It is the Joint Review Panel’s task to decide whether or not the Northern Gateway pipeline is in the national interest.

In its news release, Ecojustice says

The proposed pipeline project is one of the most significant, and controversial, public interest issues in recent memory. The decision around whether or not to build this pipeline is going to affect our country — both the people who live here and the environment — for a long time to come…

This review process is rooted in facts and science — not politics — and it is the most comprehensive and transparent way to fairly weigh the project’s environmental consequences against its economic merits. Given the impact this project would have on our country, it’s absolutely critical that this process is objective, representative of all interests and conducted with integrity and fairness.
This isn’t just an ethical issue – it’s about the principles of fairness and due process.
We filed this motion because Ecojustice believes those participating in the process — and all Canadians — need to hear from the JRP that its process has not been compromised by recent political controversy.

This month, the Prime Minister and Natural Resource Minister Joe Oliver singled out “environmental and other radical groups” for threatening to “hijack” the regulatory system to achieve a “radical ideological agenda” and undermine Canada’s national economic interest.

Minister Oliver has gone so far as to say that he expects the JRP to rule in favour of the project.

The news release points specifically to documents obtained the Climate Action Network and released by Greenpeace, which includes lists of “supporters” and “adversaries” of the bitumen sands.

Adversaries list

According to Greenpeace, the March 2011 “Pan-European Oil Sands Advocacy Strategy” was prepared by by federal bureaucrats to help undermine support in the European Union for cleaner fuels legislation by targetting national and European level politicians

The strategy documents says the government’s “adversaries” as Canadian NGOs and environmental organizations, Aboriginal groups, competing industries. It also singles out the media in Europe, although identification of the media is blacked out.

Most important the document lists the National Energy Board as a government ally, even though it is supposed to be,under the law, an independent quasi-judicial body.

According to the document, government allies include Shell and BP and European industry associations as well as the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, federal government departments, Alberta, business associations and unidentified NGOs.

Controversial ally

The Oil Sands Advocacy document mentions the Royal Bank of Scotland as a supporter of the Canadian oil sands that has faced anti-oilsands protests. The Royal Bank of Scotland is currently the centre of a huge controversy in the United Kingdom over an almost one million pound bonus payment to the company CEO, Stephen Hester. Reuters reports, RBS chief’s £1 million bonus sparks anger. The conservative UK media are coming down as  hard on the bonus, Daily Telegraph, MPs may summon RBS pay chief after Hester bonus as the left-leaning Guardian, which reports Anger grows over RBS chief’s £900,000 bonus. The Guardian also exposes the fact that the Royal Bank of Scotland is spent £2.5 million in UK taxpayer’s bailout money on Washington lobbyists in Bailed-out RBS spends millions on Washington lobbyists. (Again it seems foreign interference by big corporations is different than foreign interference by NGOs and environmental groups).

Despite what the Prime Minister’s Office news release has said, so far, not one foreign radical has appeared before the Joint Review Panel to question the fairness of the hearings, rather it has been intervenors, First Nations leaders or local residents.

On the second day of the hearings at Kitamaat Village, Cheryl Brown of Douglas Channel Watch described how the small group at first paid the expenses out of its own pocket.

We paid the expenses from our own pockets and from local donations. We sent out leaflets to make sure that everyone, warning people of the looming deadline. And we sent those out to make sure that everyone in Kitimat was aware of the deadline so they could sign up to speak at the hearings.

At that time, I was very willing to pay for the printing and distribution costs, and I actually had it on my credit card intending to pay it, but I was pleasantly surprised to be reimbursed by Friends of Wild Salmon. We are truly a grass roots organization, and I don’t like the untruths that are being told to discredit groups such as ours.

Personally — personally, not speaking on behalf of Douglas Channel Watch because maybe they wouldn’t want to accept help from the Mafia; I don’t know. But personally, I would welcome any support, financial or otherwise, from any organization, any institution, any country that will help us protect our land and water from oil spills.

Unless polluted by crude oil, our productive, beautiful environment will be around long after the oil has been depleted. The Enbridge project is not worth the
risk. Please do the honourable thing and say no to this dangerous project.

In Burns Lake, on January 17, 2012, on the second day of testimony from the Wet’suwet’en, Chief Ron Austin, Laksilyu Clan, from the House of Ginehglaiyex, the House of Many Eyes,  said.

And to talk a little about the federal and the provincial government, they have to respect our title and rights. Creatures and things of our environment are also involved in our title and rights, how we maintain them.

Government has to live up to the honour of the Crown and deal in good faith. Prime Minister Harper says that it will be a Canadian process that decides whether this project goes through. He should concentrate on respecting our title and rights before any project is slated for our territories.

The Wet’suwet’ens, Nat’oot’ens, Gitxsans of this area all respect our territory, respect living things in our territories, from the smallest creature to the biggest creature.

Another excuse is energy security for Canadians is the reasoning for Harper’s allowing Gateway Project to proceed. Energy security is not enough for destroying the beautiful, pristine environment of northern British Columbia.



Each time in the hearings, when someone brings up the question of fairness, or asks whether or not the outcome has already been predetermined,  wonders if the Joint Review Panel is rigged in favour of the government, chair Sheila Leggett repeats the same words.

In Burns Lake, after the welcoming ceremony, Leggett said:

I was particularly struck with some of the opening comments. This is a tremendous opportunity of learning, certainly for this Panel, of a variety of cultural ways and one of the things that struck me was the explanation, which I appreciated, about the rattle cry and how that signifies straight talk and serious business.

The other thing that I’ve heard over the days that we’ve been in the community hearings to date is the use of the word “respect”. That word “respect” has come up at all of the community hearings that we’ve had.

I wanted to just take a moment before we get into more of the process to
talk about where we’re at at the process at this point. The purpose for the Panel being here at this point is to gather oral evidence. This is the — what we’ve — as cited as examples is the Oral Traditional Knowledge. That’s the information that we’re after at this point.

This process will unfold as we’ve outlined in some of our information and
there will be a point, later on during Final Argument, for all parties to present and bring forward their positions on the Application that’s in front of this Panel.

With the motion from Ecojustice, Leggett’s attempts to put off the continuing question of the fairness of the hearings until the final argument stage more than a year from now are facing a new and formal challenge. At some point soon, the Joint Review Panel will have to rule on whether the hearings themselves are fair and respect Canadians. If the panel doesn’t rule expeditiously, there will likely be a court challenge.

The bigger question is whether or not Stephen Harper and Joe Oliver, as Chief Williams asked, have wakoos, respect, not just respect for the First Nations of British Columbia, but respect for Canadian democracy.


EcoJustice Motion before JRP on fairness (pdf)

ATIP_Oil Sands Advocacy Strategy (pdf)

Five energy companies reveal backing for Northern Gateway pipeline

Five major energy companies have filed documents with the Northern Gateway Joint Review Panel saying they are backing the pipeline project in one way or another

Cenovus Energy Inc., which runs the condensate operation at the old Methanex site in Kitimat and MEG are funding participants, that is they are investing in the pipeline.

MEG and Cenovus have also signed a precedent agreement, meaning that the company will transport diluted bitumen along the pipeline. Other companies signing the precedent agreement are Suncor Energy, Nexen Inc., and Total E&P Canada.

The Chinese state oil company Sinopec announced earlier it was one of the pipeline funding participants.

In October, Enbreige spokesman Paul Stanway said that ten companies have contributed $10 million each to help Enbridge finance the regulatory approval process, meaning that four backers remain to be revealed.

This is likely to happen before the hearings open at the Haisla Recreation Centre, at Kitamaat Village, on Tuesday January 10.

U of Calgary reports says exporting oil through west coast will bring billions, but no info on environmental costs


A report issued by the University of Calgary School of Public Policy says if Canadian heavy oil is piped to the west coast and then shipped to Asia and possibly California, that could add $131-billion US to the Canadian economy between 2016 and 2030.

The report suggests it offers solid numbers in favour of pipeline construction to government and industry. For example it says 649,000 person years of jobs could be added to the Canadian economy over the next few years.

The report is based on differentials on oil prices in various world markets and while the final figures are not certain, the overall tone of the report is optimistic.

There is one flaw in the report. There is no consideration whatsoever by the Calgary economists of the costs of a pipeline breach, major or minor, in the wilderness of northwestern British Columbia nor the cost of a tanker disaster on the west coast. That just does not just include the costs of an extended cleanup of a spill, it also doesn’t consider the costs to the fishery and tourism industries by any such disaster. There is no estimation of the costs to the overall business and the economy of any community affected by any spill.  Nor is there any consideration of the long term effects on the environment itself of any such accident.

Read the report here. University of Calgary report on oil exports (pdf)

Related Globe and Mail Blocking pipelines to B.C. would entail loss of billions: study

Cleanup worker files whistle blower lawsuit over Kalamazoo oil spill

Energy Environment Law

The Kalamazoo Gazette reports in
Judge to hear whistle-blower lawsuit of Kalamazoo River oil spill worker

A Calhoun County judge next week will hear a whistle-blower lawsuit from a former Kalamazoo River oil spill cleanup worker who said he was fired after telling the media and state and federal agencies that crews were told to cover up oil instead of cleaning it up.

John Bolenbaugh, of Athens, filed suit Nov. 9 against his former employer, SET Environmental Inc.

[A] brief says that the lawsuit stems from “massive operations engaging in cover-ups, lies and deceit.”

Enbridge, the brief claims, ordered contractors including SET to “deliberately and intentionally engage in improper
clean-up efforts, which included covering up oil, spreading out oil, and hiding spilled oil from the public and EPA.”

The lawsuit also claims that Bolenbaugh was wrongfully fired because he “reported and threatened to further report to the EPA and other public bodies what he believed to be illegal activities relating to the improper cleanup efforts.”

Enbridge spokesman Jason Manshum said Wednesday night that the company “would never instruct a contractor to cover oil.”

“Since the outset of the incident, our goal has been to restore the area as close as possible to its preexisting condition,” Manshum said. “That is our only goal and we remain fully committed to that goal.”

Derrick writes opinion piece for Vancouver Sun, Gitxaala say they are “unified” against Gateway

Energy Environment First Nations

The dispute over who  represents that Gitxsan First Nation became a media duel Wednesday, with an opinion piece by Gitxsan Treaty Office leader Elmer Derrick published in The Vancouver Sun and an almost simultaneous  news release from the coastal  Gitxaala First Nation from Kitkatla, emphasizing that nation’s opposition to the pipeline.

The two headlines also tell opposite stories:

Vancouver Sun: Gitxsan Nation supports Enbridge pipeline

The Gitxsan are positive people with a clear vision towards economic prosperity. We like to be creative in our thinking, and approach opportunities — such as the one presented by the Northern Gateway Pipelines project — with an open mind. We also wish to be self sufficient, and we intend to do this through joint ventures in oil and gas, logging, ecotourism and run-of-river power projects…

[T]he status quo is not working. We own 33,000 sq. km of productive land which has sustained us for thousands of years. Yet for too long we have watched resources leave our territories, without a say in its destination or a share in the profits.

We as Gitxsan believe we have a huge potential. Our people know how to work, and Gitxsan country continues to be the foundation of a prosperous economy — as it has throughout our long history…

More than that, the Northern Gateway project supports the vision and leadership demonstrated by the Gitxsan Nation. We believe that there should be the development of a legislative framework that would serve Canada’s interests in energy security and supply, and access to world markets. We believe that the construction of this pipeline is of vital importance to the future of Canadian energy security and prosperity.

News release: Gitxaala Nation Opposed to Northern Gateway Pipelines Project

Gitxaala expresses dismay at the approach that Enbridge has taken in its dealings with the Gitxsan in relation to the proposed Northern Gateway Pipelines Project. Enbridge’s abrupt announcement of its dealings with the Gitxsan in relation to the Northern Gateway Pipelines Project has created deep divisions in an aboriginal community, and appears to incorrectly suggest that there is aboriginal support for the Project. The time has come for the Government of Canada to step in to assume its proper role in managing and carrying out consultation and ensuring that accommodations and agreements are fair, transparent and properly approved.

What ever happens in Gitxsan Territory, the leaders and people of Gitxaala are unified in their opposition to Enbridge’s efforts to impose dangerous tanker traffic on their people. Gitxaala expects Enbridge and the Government of Canada to respect Gitxaala’s governance rights and its aboriginal title and aboriginal rights in these waters. Gitxaala will also be challenging the many deficiencies and information gaps found in the Environmental Assessment for the Project. As Chief Elmer Moody noted: “Our leaders and people have been shocked that a massive project like this could be brought forward for consideration with such profound deficiencies.

Protests won’t stop Northern Gateway pipeline, Oliver tells Postmedia

Energy Politics

In an interview with Postmedia News, Natural Resources minister Joe Oliver repeated his contention that the Northern Gateway is vital to the national interest of Canada and suggested the government won’t be pushed around, adding:    “We can’t let unlawful people oppose lawful development.”

See Protests won’t stop Northern Gateway pipeline, minister says

The oil industry’s “nation-building” attempt to link Canada’s vast oilsands resources to Asian markets can’t be stopped by protesters using civil disobedience, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said Tuesday.
He said he will respect the regulatory process that Enbridge Inc. must go through to get approval for its $5.5-billion Northern Gateway pipeline, but said the project, if approved by the National Energy Board, shouldn’t be held hostage by aboriginal and environmental groups threatening to create a human “wall” to prevent construction.

Enbridge boss points to ‘curious’ funding of pipeline opposition by U.S. charities: Edmonton Journal

Energy Politics

The Edmonton Journal reports Enbridge boss points to ‘curious’ funding of pipeline opposition by U.S. charities

The man chosen as Canada’s top executive of 2011 has added his voice to those who argue that major U.S. charities have a hidden agenda when they finance Canadian environmental and aboriginal groups opposed to a pipeline that would open up Asian markets to the oilsands industry.

Enbridge Inc., president Patrick Daniel joins Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who recently delivered an even more blunt accusation about the possible ulterior motives of American trusts providing millions to the anti-oilsands movement.

They assert, directly or by inference, that the foundations and trusts oppose Enbridge’s $5.5-billion pipeline to Kitimat, B.C., because the link to Asian markets would end the U.S. near-monopoly on below-market-priced oilsands bitumen.

“I guess one’s mind runs to why do U.S. foundations feel they need to come here to fund opposition to a project that is obviously not in the U.S. national best interests. It is curious,” Daniel, named Canada’s 2011 chief executive of the year by Caldwell Partners, told the Edmonton Journal.

Enbridge unswayed by Gitxsan controversy: Vancouver Sun

Energy First Nations

The Vancouver Sun reports Enbridge unswayed by Gitxsan controversy

Enbridge Inc., on Monday, remained unruffled by the growing controversy in north western British Columbia communities surrounding the participation agreement it signed Dec. 2 with the Gitxsan First Nation.

“I’ve seen some comment, I don’t know that that’s a considerable amount,” said Paul Stanway, Enbridge’s spokesman on the project. “As I said, we’re comfortable with the agreement we reached.”

Kent attacks foreign “mischief” in opposition to Gateway:Sunmedia

Politics Environment

Environment minister Peter Kent  has attacked critics of the Northern Gateway pipeline while speaking to reporters at the climate conference in Durban, South Africa,  Sunmedia/Quebecor reports.

Foreigners funding ‘mischief’ against Canada’s oilsands: Kent

Environment Minister Peter Kent has warned that some of the opposition to the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, which would run from Alberta’s oilsands to a new marine terminal in Kitimat, B.C., is not genuine.

“Our government is concerned about some outside finances that have come in to interfere and obstruct what is a legitimate development of … responsibly developed and sustainably developed Canadian resources,” Kent said from a climate conference in Durban, South Africa.