Thursday, June 1, 2017

Get Real on Climate Change and NO IMPACT Fossil Fuel Use

When contemplating the management of the transition to no impact from fossil fuel, one must begin with an accurate map of reality. In listening to the recent debate that has flared up as a product of recent election dynamics in British Columbia, one realises that the map of reality being relied on in many cases is grossly inaccurate.

(Carbon Tax fails to deter fossil fuel use - the premise it is presented under)

Reality one - we have to transition over a period of 40 to 50 years and it takes money to find other solutions. Reality two - there is insufficient fungibility in energy products to permit demand to be met by none fossil fuels. Reality three - whether Canada produces oil or not, world demand for oil remains the same and world consumption remains the same.

As a young person, I used to worry a lot about the issue of fossil fuel use. There were very dire predictions about the year 2000, the predictions were made, 2000 came and they simply never transpired; so from my perspective, the “scientists” have a credibility gap. It is important to note that the perception of a credibility gap and the absence of concern are different; I believe attention to the issue is required – I just have heard the rhetoric before. So remain calm and let's think this through, people need to tone down the rhetoric.

The climate change solution lies in a multitude of approaches from conservation, to mitigation, to new energy sources AND no impact fossil fuel use. The transition time needs to be contemplated in terms of decades - 40 to 50 years. It will take strong leadership and clear vision to get there. The reality is we will be calling on all solutions, including mitigation, because, the inertia associated with fossil fuel use is so strong. To fail to weigh this reality fully is folly, folly in finding a solution, folly in caring for the earth and folly in damaging our economy and by extension our ability to drive change.

What is concerning to me is the degree of isolation there is in the contemplation of the issue, there is an inclination to ignore reality.  The fossil fuel nihilists scream for the end of fossil fuels and offer no viable alternative. Please see below, this is where we are, this is the reality check – transition to alternatives is a 40 to 50-year process. There is a demand for fossil fuel, it will be filled, Canada can supply it and extract the wealth necessary to facilitate transition OR we can give the money to Nigeria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela … it is more than stupid to curtail our industry, it is irresponsible in the extreme.

There is also an inclination within the environmental community to “reduce” the use of the natural environment. This inclination tends to shrink more than the impact on the earth, it tends also to reduce the expectation of possibility – a culture of limitation has evolved: in the 1950s we were going faster, farther, higher – in 2015 we are seeking to reduce movement. It is important to note, however, that the West has this inclination while many others are just forging ahead absent an aft glance. We can build pipelines and transport oil safely - and we have too for all the reasons stated above.


The effort people spend fighting the Oil Industry should be directed to developing technology and the safe use of fossil fuel. People tend to forget how good of a fuel fossil fuel is and using is in no way the problem, emissions are. We could, as a transition strategy, devote efforts to the safe use of fossil fuel more aggressively. A far better strategy is to dedicate substantive resources to new technologies rather than fighting Canada's oil industry. 

Finally, I believe in a market-based economy, I believe in that the efficiency of business can be directed in a manner that harmonises human activity with the earth. Many of the people I listen to speak on the issue have a blind spot when it comes to economics, worse they have a prejudice against economic thinking. The very best way to understand people and their interface with the earth is to look at the capsulized view of human activity financial data provides.


Post a Comment