As a convoy of “United We Roll” trucks concerned about the Alberta oil industry leaves Ottawa to abuse from the left (“White Nationalist” “anti-Indigenous” “racist” etc. from the Council of Canadians, while the CBC was also not impressed) and indifference from the Trudeau Liberals, Devon Energy exits the oil sands. The very real crisis in Canada’s oil industry simply seems not to concern most of our chattering classes who apparently believe energy and tax money fall from the sky.
There is a certain logical consistency in welcoming the collapse of the Canadian oil industry if you believe we must, can and will stop using fossil fuels by 2030. But as Greenpeace co-founder turned carbon dioxide enthusiast Patrick Moore recently observed, “City folk think food comes from a supermarket” and their great schemes à la Green New Deal simply don’t provide for us to grow food or transport it to the massive cities where most of our populace lives. Or, indeed, accomplish almost anything; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wants to retrofit every single building in the United States while making it impossible for the (admittedly non-existent) massive workforce needed for this project to move about or transport the materials needed for the enterprise which, one might argue, doesn’t matter because they couldn’t be manufactured without energy anyway.
Now there are those moderate voices who think that we do need to transition away from fossil fuels over time and that, in the meantime, we should favour Canadian oil because it is produced with far higher environmental, labour and in many cases political standards than rival products. Some have adopted the slogan that the last barrel of oil extracted should be Canadian. That too is based on an exaggeration, we believe, namely the “crisis” created by human emissions of CO2, CH4 and so forth. But at least they have one foot on the ground, grasping that wind, solar and other trendy fuels are not yet in a position to replace oil, natural gas and even coal, and that while nuclear in principle could do much of the work we would need to undertake a lengthy and expensive construction program to be ready in practice.
Those who claim we can simply get rid of oil by 2030 are dealing in fantasy and, in many cases, also hypocrisy; as has been observed, the “AOCs” of this world live a globalized lifestyle with smartphones made in China (terrible on the GHG front as in many other ways), coffee imported from the other side of the world and frequent air travel. And they aren’t merely ungrateful for the fossil fuels that make it possible, they are wilfully clueless that these fuels do so.