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They figure you haven't suffered enough

21 Sep 2022 | OP ED Watch

Last week we noted an IRPP puff piece on renewable energy that breezed dogmatically past the extremely formidable engineering and physics obstacles and recommended massive electrification of major economies while relying entirely on renewables. It’s an attitude that is amazingly widespread. And we don’t just mean once and future Canadian Green Party one-woman show Elizabeth May, who tweeted about a recent protest “Thank you German climate activists! Cdn LNG is a climate killer. Fracked gas has same carbon footprint as coal. Bring on green energy. #ClimateEmergency #NoLNG #renewables #SupportUkraine”. Or Ontario Hydro, on the front line of generation and deliver, offering us “Canada’s renewable energy wake-up call/ The electricity grid is about to undergo another major transformation thanks to widespread electrification. As Canada moves to phase out fossil fuels and electrify buildings and vehicles to meet its net-zero targets, is renewable energy the answer?” We also mean that a Guardian columnist, Zoe Williams, ridiculed incoming British Prime Minister Liz Truss for thinking fracking or nuclear can solve the energy crisis instead of depending on more of what caused it. Talk about verdict first, trial afterward.

The Guardian’s Williams is actually in a cheerful mood, because “beneath these morbid symptoms” of skepticism about green energy given its dismal results, “the global energy crisis has sparked conversations that are real, perhaps for the first time – certainly, it’s the first time that so many nations have been having them simultaneously.” Real? Hardly. Especially not when she maintains with a straight word processing screen, “45% of UK electricity is already from renewables”. (And as Andrew Montfort just noted irritably on Net Zero Watch, the BBC is hallucinating over ten trillion pounds in savings from renewables in just 28 years.)

Digging hard into the fatuity pit, Williams says “It would be reasonable to split the energy market into clean power and fossil power, so that the price of gas was not setting the price of solar and wind, and the incentive to lean heavily on the latter and reduce consumption of the former became universal.” That last bit might seem incongruous to anyone who didn’t sleep through economics class or avoid it entirely, in light of the fact that a strangely euphoric story in the Financial Post just declared that “EV transition could add $48 billion to economy, but only ‘if Canada plays its cards right’”, which turns out to mean hands all its chips to needy manufacturers:

“Clean Energy Canada and the Trillium Network for Advanced Manufacturing, two think-tanks respectively based at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver and Western University in London, Ont., released a 28-page report this week that concludes the government needs to ramp up financial and policy support if Canada is to ever realize the full economic opportunities inherent in the transition to electric vehicles (EVs).”

No. That analysis is exactly backwards. If EVs offer these glorious economic opportunities they don’t need massive government support, and if they need it, they’re a money pit. And to know what’s what, you need to get rid of all subsidies and add in all costs.

Even Reuters’ “Sustainable Switch,” again presenting advocacy as reporting, just sent an email “Wanted: Clean energy solutions” linking to a story claiming “Soaring energy prices are highlighting more than ever the need to adapt to new and efficient energy sources around the world, and spurring some innovative responses” before saying, as though it were positive, that “This week the United States announced a sizable financial commitment in the fight against climate change. The U.S. government will spend more than $500 billion on climate technology and clean energy over the next decade.” So who’s getting the subsidies again? (Well, according to Canary Media, “As the wealthy go electric, who will pay for aging gas infrastructure? Electrification is ramping up. Advocates say we need plans to shield lower-income people from the costs of maintaining a deteriorating fossil-gas system.”)

Never mind. The Guardian’s Williams sends abuse to do the work of argument, pillorying “the brass-necked irrationality of Tory arguments – that somehow net zero targets were pushing everyone’s bills up” and “The idea that hardship is mainly down to personal inadequacy” for bad measure. But luckily she senses the Communist revolution: “There are the green shoots of a new solidarity across all nine bottom deciles.”

As for geopolitics, “Putin, meanwhile, has overplayed his hand” because threatening to disrupt energy worked but “Actually disrupting the energy supply, conversely, will force us and the EU towards renewable alternatives, and once that gains momentum, the link between geopolitics and carbon resources will ultimately be severed. Good luck with strongman politics when there’s nothing underpinning them but bot farms tweeting mean things.” And thus “for the want of alternatives, we will emerge from the next election with not only a new government but a radical and uncompromising plan for energy that will transform the way we live. We’ll look back on this as the inflection point that got us to net zero.” This time for sure.

Just hand us your wallet and button your lip.

One comment on “They figure you haven't suffered enough”

  1. A recent Soho Forum debate between Dr Stephen Koonin, author of Unsettled, and climate warrior Prof Andrew Dressler on the need for urgent action to achieve net zero is worth watching or listening too (podcast and Youtube) . Koonin shows how a 99.99% reliable grid using largely renewables is impossible without building back up power for the times when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine and this makes such a grid more expensive than a hydro carbon based grid. He concludes that net zero is unnecessary, because the impact of warming is minimal. Immoral because it will be the poor who suffer from higher energy costs and fantastical because it can not be done. He wins the debate hands down.

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