Saturday, December 12, 2015
I Know This. We Won't Be First, But...
Our prime minister lives in the shadow of his father. Wisely, Justin is not setting out to emulate Pierre but to walk to his own path.
During the election campaign he went to lengths in Alberta to distance himself from Pierre Trudeau's National Energy Policy. He assured Albertans he'd be his own man. What if he got that one wrong?
The Paris climate summit, COP21, commits the nations of the world, especially the major emitters, to decarbonize their societies and their economies sharply enough and rapidly enough to keep global warming within a 1.5C "do not exceed" limit. I have already explained why that's a wonderfully well-intentioned pipe dream.
That said, if the developed world is to even have a hope at the 1.5C target it'll require what the Potsdam Climate Institute's Hans Joachim Schellnhuber calls an "induced implosion" of the fossil fuel industry.
Big Fossil isn't going to shut down voluntarily. If it's to come down it'll have to be brought down or, as Schellnhuber puts it, "induced." It's hard to imagine just how that can be achieved without nationalizing each country's fossil fuel resources. Part of the process of a rapid transition to alternative, clean energy will require careful regulation, production and distribution of fossil fuels to keep society and the economy afloat while the switch occurs.
It can't happen overnight but it can't happen soon enough either. There is much to be done and no time to spare. There's certainly no time to tolerate a rearguard, delaying action by the energy giants. They can't survive the transition. We know that. It would demand wiping trillions of fossil fuel reserves from the asset column of their financial statements - fiscal doom.