Photo by tarsandsaction.

Here’s a multiple choice question for you. Please circle the correct answer on your screen with a permanent marker, using a Sharpie™-brand pen in blue or black, for our system to read it properly.

The question: Why would American organizations contribute money to Canadian environmental nonprofits that are fighting, among other things, against the expansion of Alberta’s oil sands and pipelines?

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  1. Because they support efforts to minimize the damage oil-sands development is doing to regions of Alberta.
  2. Because they believe that extraction and processing of oil sands and other fossil fuels is bad for the environment more broadly, given the challenge posed by climate change and other forms of pollution.
  3. Because they are concerned about ancillary environmental issues in Alberta and globally which the work of these nonprofits helps.
  4. Because they only want to help America’s renewable energy industry and couldn’t care less about Canada ha ha ha ha ha ha.

I’ll give you an hour to circle your choice.

Done? Well, if you’re Vivian Krause, a blogger based in Vancouver, your screen has a big, black circle around No. 4. (If you’re not Ms. Krause, and circled No. 4, and you wrote on your screen, you got it wrong in at least two different ways.)

In a presentation before the Canadian Senate, Krause argued that she had evidence that American foundations were donating to Canadian charities for the benefit of American renewable energy interests. The evidence? Things like this Rockefeller Foundation presentation from 2008 [PDF] which argues for halting development of pipelines and decreasing reliance on tar sands oil. Which is exactly what Big Wind wants (cue evil laughter, followed by some coughing, followed by general disorientation).

The correct answer to our quiz was basically Nos. 1, 2, or 3. American nonprofits working only to curb fossil fuel production and consumption in America isn’t exactly going to stop global warming. But to Krause’s credit, her argument isn’t the silliest accusation that has been leveled at Canadian environmental organizations. That honor goes to Sen. Don Plett:

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If environmentalists are willing to accept money from Martians, where would they draw the line on where they receive money from? Would they take money from Al Qaeda, the Hamas or the Taliban?

Hopefully none of you wrote in Al Qaeda as No. 5.