Thursday, March 03, 2016

Jeffrey Simpson - Think Small, Think Slow. Better Yet, Just Don't Think.

In today's column, the Globe's Jeffrey Simpson wades into the thorny problem of Canada and climate change. His proposals are less than inspiring. In fact, scientists, or 98% of them, tell us that Simpson's approach pretty much dooms our grandkids to a really miserable existence. But that's 20 years away (maybe) so let's leave that for another day.

Simpson employs a lot of weasel words to carve out some impressive wiggle room in his call to - almost nothing or at least as little as possible.

" warming is happening and needs, over the long-term, to be combatted"

"Fossil fuels – not renewables – will be the major source of energy in Canada for the foreseeable future."

"Renewables are fine in their place"

Simpson suggests Canada is missing out on juicy Asian contracts for natural gas because of "interminable Canadian/British Columbia reviews of liquefied natural gas projects."

"If the U.S. slows down its efforts to reduce GHG emissions, as the Republicans certainly wish, would Canada want to accelerate its own plans?"

"No government has yet figured out how to share the cost of GHG reductions fairly across the country, as between provinces whose per-capita output is large compared with those where it is small."

Simpson offers up a fine piece of skewed logic on behalf of the fossil energy producers and their client governments. He posits greenhouse gas emissions as a problem to be dealt with 'over the long term' which, in Canada, translates into as close to never as we can manage. Renewables need to remember 'their place' and that's at the very back of the national energy bus. And, by all means, let's socialize the costs of GHG reductions so that everybody pays and not just the polluters.

It's too bad the Easter Islanders had no printing presses. Simpson would have made a fine editor.


Oh this is just too sweet. On the same day the Globe publishes Simpson's capitulation, The Guardian reports on a US government agency's breakthrough in cheap, efficient and scalable storage battery technology. This agency, created by Barack Obama, has been in a race with Bill Gates and Elon Musk to develop the Holy Grail, the key to affordable, renewable clean energy.

With Canada mired in the muck of bitumen that probably means we'll be shelling out to buy the Americans' technology while we figure out what to do with the nightmarish ecological aftermath of the Tar Sands.

Bill Gates recently said we would be on clean energy within 15-years. Our petro-pols and their Big Fossil masters apparently weren't listening.

Today's announcement may be a swift kick in the crotch for Justin Trudeau and Stephen Harper, for Brad Wall, for Rachel Notley and Christy Clark. Good, they all deserve it.


Toby said...

The problem with Simpson's weasel words is that he and a lot of other people believe them. I find that when I try to stress the urgency of global warming I am generally dismissed as shrill and paranoid. Does Plato's allegory of the cave ring any bells?

Dana said...

Simpson's a shameless courtier who'd have been right at home in Versaille. Of course in a way he is in Versailles. Phillip Crawley signs his cheques and Simpson will say what he's told to say.

The Mound of Sound said...

@ Toby - it didn't ring any bells with me but I was never a student of philosophy. After I looked it up I suppose it did.

@ Dana - yes he is a dispenser of corporatist crap.