Michael Binnion, president of Questerre Energy, which has long sought to produce oil and gas in Quebec, puts out a statement saying OK, we accept that we’ve lost and now “We just need Quebec Solidaire and environmental groups to accept they won.” We can’t import oil or produce it locally; fracking isn’t socially acceptable; we must do the impossible. And so he calls for a scientific study to find a new energy source with nearly no GHG emissions, no use of potable water and no toxic fluids underground because “To achieve the impossible we all need to change our way of thinking.”
Binnion’s blog entry is parody at its finest because, as you read it, you’re not sure he’s pulling your leg and because the essence of humour is the startling revelation of truth. The truth here is that the alarmists have won the debate with a position that makes for great opposition but lousy implementation.
Society needs its carping critics, its people who poke holes in orthodoxy without producing their own alternative, its bloody-minded contrarians who will never be satisfied. Even if they are obnoxious people, and sometimes they are, their barrage of objections keeps us honest and makes us think. (As British novelist G.B. Stearn once said, “Both optimists and pessimists contribute to our society. The optimist invents the airplane and the pessimist the parachute.”) But the paradox we now confront is that the critique is the orthodoxy.
The people who hate everything have won. The opponents of fossil fuels, unwilling to import or produce oil and gas, who also hate nuclear energy, are in charge. Admittedly they claim wind and solar will save us and some like the former Liberal administration in Ontario have tried, creating costly disaster. But essentially in Quebec, a province of SUV-drivers, fantasy has defeated pragmatism. Including the premier saying there was no social acceptability for pipelines in a province with some 12,000 km of the things, and suffering no loss of credibility in consequence.
So Binnion formally surrenders and asks them to take over. And they continue to attack on a battlefield from which all opposition is gone. It is grotesque. But also funny.