A PostMedia article discusses what it calls America's "quiet environmental revolution," a nationwide, broadbased movement away from fossil fuels toward non-carbon alternatives.
Even the most unlikely Americans are taking up the carbon-free
challenge, often viewing it as a path to energy independence. Kentucky
Republican congressman Thomas Massie, for instance, built himself a
solar home and lives off the grid. He also drives an electric car. Yet
at the same time he opposes government attempts to impose environmental
In the greater scope of America’s gluttonous fossil
fuel appetite, these clean energy initiatives could be mistaken as
insignificant. Yet they carry all the signs of a quiet revolution
gradually emerging in cities and states across the nation. They are
slowly reshaping the energy landscape in spite of a federal government
that remains gridlocked over climate change legislation.
have seen regarding energy policy is that almost all Americans
regardless of their political orientation are decidedly for clean energy
future for America,” said Edward Maibach, a professor at George Mason
University who tracks public opinion on climate change.
“It’s a transition that they would like to see happening now,” he said.
Being PostMedia, the article frames the discussion in the context of a threat to Canada.
In light of Maibach’s research, Obama’s recent attack on Keystone
does not appear so puzzling and off-the-cuff as it did at first blush.
Rather, it appears part of a grand strategy — supported by the majority
of Americans — to wean the nation off fossil fuels.
slightly more than 25 states have set energy efficiency targets and 35
have renewable energy targets. The U.S. energy picture is changing
faster than predicted and posing new economic and political challenges
for Canada that go well beyond Keystone.
Canadian energy companies
might have to seek new and more distant markets. And Prime Minister
Stephen Harper, who has tied his energy and climate change policies to
those of the U.S., might have to think up new ones.
What the article avoids mentioning is the Sword of Damocles hanging over Athabasca's head - the Carbon Bubble. (more here, here, and here.) Of all the unconventional fossil fuels, Athabasca bitumen is perhaps the most exposed to the Carbon Bubble. Leaving aside the environmental problems associated with its production, bitumen is expensive to extract, expensive to transport and expensive to refine. It may be the ultimate high-cost/high-carbon fossil fuel.
It's not going to take much to burst that Carbon Bubble. That will come when institutional investors finally flee the high-carbon fossil fuels and America's quiet environmental revolution could be just the thing to trigger the stampede.
It's a safe bet, judging from Harper's unseemly haste to get bitumen "to tidewater" that he's only too aware that the clock is ticking, time is running out.