Monday, May 30, 2016

Tote that Barge, Lift that Bale, Time's a Runnin'

Now there's a good reason to invest heavily in the hazmat fossil energy business with all its hazmat dilbit and its hazmat pipelines to tidewater and its hazmat lumbering supertankers floundering through our coastal waters like wallowing time bombs. Not.

A federal government think tank, Policy Horizons Canada, says the global dominance of fossil fuels could be all but gone in 10 to 15-years.

"It is increasingly plausible to foresee a future in which cheap renewable electricity becomes the world's primary power source and fossil fuels are relegated to a minority status," reads the conclusion of the 32-page document, produced by Policy Horizons Canada.

The little-known government organization provides medium-term policy advice to the federal bureaucracy, specializing in forecasts that peer a decade or two into the future.

The findings aren't radical or surprising. This is becoming a global consensus. It's actually not "becoming" anything. It is the global consensus.

"It's absolutely not pie in the sky," said Michal Moore from the University of Calgary's School of Public Policy. "These folks are being realistic — they may not be popular, but they're being realistic."

Marty Reed, CEO of Evok Innovations — a Vancouver-based cleantech fund created through a $100-million partnership with Cenovus and Suncor — had a similar take after reading the draft report.

"You could nit-pick a couple of items," he said. "But at a high level, I would say the vast, vast majority of what they wrote is not even controversial, it's very well accepted."

So, Justin, you better stop dreaming of the low hanging fruit and get working on a viable industrial policy that reaches beyond carbon energy. The IMF says governments in Canada are squandering $35 billion each and every year in direct and indirect subsidies to the fossil energy giants. Enough. You've got other needs for that money that can have a lasting value to the country and our people. 


Toby said...

Reports like this make hash of pipeline prospects. Why build new pipelines that will be obsolete before they will be fully paid for? It looks more and more that the push for pipelines and other projects is a not so subtle grab for government largess.

The Mound of Sound said...

Who is more ludicrous - government, for handing out these subsidies, or industry, for taking them?

rumleyfips said...

The Financial Times ran a bit that warned oil companies they need to accept their impending demise.

I think we are pretty ludicrous as a group for agreeing to pay these subsidies out of our Guiness funds.

The Mound of Sound said...

The scourge of Harperism was its belief-based decision making. The classic example came when Harper wanted his caucus behind his prison construction initiative. In addressing them he noted that even the latest reports claimed yet further decline in crime rates. Harper urged his caucus to ignore the statistics and, instead, go by their gut instincts.

Our energy policy has likewise been faith-based thinking. Ignore the facts, dispute reality. Trudeau promised his government would make evidence-based policy yet he routinely breaks that promise.

the salamander said...

.. we truly must demand our public servants work to develop rational economic planning. The old goat rush.. faith based nonsence, dominion over earth, sky & waters is simply idiotic monarchist colomialism dreamworld.. but what do we expect from political 'leaders' who annoint the like of Rob Anders, Cheryl Gallant et al.. or hoary old political caricatures such as Tony Clement or rabid repupnican Jason Kenney.. To let an egotistical professional politician like Stephen Harper unleash those asshats to prop up his experiments and bizarre worldviews for 10 years was a tragedy for Canada.. So get a grip there Justin Trudeau.. and get some serious & intelligent advice

The Mound of Sound said...

All true, Sal. And yet we cannot blame the present nor the future on the actors of the past. Harper's blend of social conservative/neoliberal fundamentalism was consistent with, even true to his core belief system. Flawed? Deeply but, in his own mind, honest. I expected nothing better of him.

Are we to judge the Liberals and this new prime minister by that same, disastrously low, standard? Why? I've long since given up expecting much genuinely progressive or even particularly liberal of the Liberals but I do expect them to be considerably more enlightened, less hidebound, than the Conservatives.

Trudeau himself assured us his government would be evidence/fact/science-based in its policy making. Yet he continues to pursue the policies of the neoliberal era when even the IMF warns they lead to disastrous outcomes. He continues Harper's energy/bitumen/dilbit policies, seemingly intent on finishing his predecessor's unfinished work of pipelines to "tidewater." He may not even meet Harper's laughably inadequate targets for greenhouse gas emission cuts. His completely unbalanced and egregiously biased support of Israel, his support of Saudi Arabia, on and on, Mr. Trudeau and his government are standing in his predecessor's shadow.

He arrived with a flourish of faux progressivism but it was all the low-hanging fruit, the easy stuff, mandate letters that held the promise of a bright future for Canada. Where are those mandates now?