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Guest Opinion: Canada is following a bad example on ’emissions’


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The Trudeau government, like other governments in the World Trade Organization/G8 orbit, has set Canada on an ambitious path to neutralize the impact on the global climate by 2050.

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By this arbitrary date, Canada will theoretically have regulated itself to a point where the emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere by human activities are fully offset by an equal amount removed from the atmosphere by other human activities, mainly in Canada.

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The name of this policy is Net-Zero-Greenhouse Gas emissions or NZ-GHG.

If you think NZ-GHG looks like another chimerical and probably painful political crusade based on exaggerated climate fears, a misunderstanding of the criticality of hydrocarbons to Canada’s economic productivity and a hubris of thinking about controlling the global thermostat by adjusting the Canada’s global GHG emissions output, you would be right.

But don’t take my word for it, let’s look at the European experience, which this government often seeks to emulate.

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As summarized in a recent article by the wall street journalEngland, Germany and France are learning a very painful lesson from pursuing NZ-GHG policies, including the pursuit of “renewable” energy generation via wind and solar, while allowing their capacity of conventional electricity generation (coal, natural gas, nuclear power) and the diversity of fuel sources to languish.

They have largely stagnated or reduced coal-fired electricity generation and nuclear power, which has left them at the mercy of Vladimir Putin’s energy machinations while unable to increase production from renewable sources – apparently, you cannot command the wind to blow harder or the sun to shine brighter.

Due to Europe’s reliance on increasingly expensive natural gas (most of the reliable/adjustable electricity generation that remains in Europe), electricity prices have risen so much in England that the new Truss government finds it necessary to cap consumer electricity costs for two years (at CA$3,170 per year), with costs beyond that being dumped on the general taxpayer (the same people are now paying too much for electricity).

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Germany plans to cap electricity bills for households and businesses with a new subsidy of around 65 billion euros (around C$85 billion), which will be clawed back via a “windfall profit tax” from electricity producers (who followed the wishes of the government concerning the production of electricity but could not take advantage of them).

And France, according to the the wall street journal“turned utility EDF into a subsidy piggy bank, ordering the company to cap energy price increases.”

Canada’s pursuit of NZ-GHG may not put that country in similar hot water, but that’s the way to bet.

As in Europe, the promises of renewable energies are not materializing.

Wind and solar energy cost curves are not falling as quickly as promised, battery technologies are not appearing as promised, and Canada’s conventional electricity generation, like Europe’s, is stagnating or declining.

Policy makers in Ottawa and provincial capitals should take a long look at Europe’s experience with the NZ-GHG, which is a pathway to a non-responsive, non-adaptive energy system with high costs, low reliability and great exposure to geopolitical risk.

Canada would do well to learn from Europe’s example and abandon the NZ-GHG framework before it becomes unsolvable, and look for ways to protect Canadians from potential future climate change risks. by other means.

Kenneth Green is a senior researcher at the Fraser Institute.

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