In keeping with our “people believe their beliefs” theme, we want to note that after German chancellor Olaf Scholz got short shrift and imaginary green hydrogen when he came to Canada seeking LNG, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida came here and… it happened again. As the Fraser Institute’s Kenneth Green put it in the Financial Post, “Trudeau flatly refused Japan’s request for assistance in securing additional natural gas supplies from Canada to protect Japan’s economy and quality of life in the face of gas shortages caused by Russia’s war on Ukraine. Adding insult to injury, the prime minister instead focused on Canada’s interest in working with Japan on alternative energy sources conforming to Trudeau’s ‘net-zero’ carbon energy policies.” Like many people, possibly including Scholz and Kushima, Green seemed startled. But what else could happen?
In fact we would very much enjoy seeing the briefing notes compiled for these visitors about how to approach Canada’s Prime Minister, his character, his beliefs and so on. For instance that he is smug and patronizing? After rejecting the Japanese plea, which included telling Canadian journalists they had “high expectations” of getting natural gas from this country, Trudeau burbled:
“We know that being a reliable supplier of energy is important and we’re going to continue to look for ways to be that reliable supply of energy. We know the world is moving aggressively, meaningfully towards decarbonization, towards diversifying.”
The Trudeau administration has a chronic, nasty habit of pledging to “continue” to do things it is caught not doing and would have no idea how to do if it tried. And of gripping someone’s shoulder and gazing into their eyes while inserting the blade. As the Japanese PM noted tersely afterward, “We didn’t get any concrete commitment”.
Were they warned? We’d love to know. But then we would also enjoy seeing the briefing notes compiled for them about themselves. As Green also wrote, Trudeau “gave the same lecture to Chancellor Scholz, despite Germany’s almost suicidal devotion to its renewable energy transition — the ‘Energiewende’ — over the past 13 years.”
And while one imagines Scholz, with dismay and headache growing, thinking “Yeah, yeah, kid, we said all that stuff ourselves long ago and it didn’t work” one also savours the poetic justice of it and wonders just how much Scholz has actually learned. Certainly he doesn’t have much to say.
Unlike, say, Michael Shellenberger, who just noted acerbically that:
“German leaders said their nation didn’t need nuclear or natural gas because it could rely 100% on renewables. Since then, they’ve been forced to deploy a massive excavator to destroy forests and villages to get at the dirtiest form of coal underneath them”.
We do not know how dumb Scholz feels about this development, or plans by his Federal Network Agency to ration power to those vaunted heat pumps and EV charging stations to keep the grid from collapsing. Or indeed whether he feels dumb at all, or just regards it all as a weird minor distraction from the splendid policy that made it necessary. And we also do not know whether either visitor expostulated as Green does that “Trudeau’s natural gas snubbing of Japan and Germany is really bad policy for Canadians.” How bad? Well:
“First, it’s bad for Canada’s trade and economy…. We have a resource that does less damage to the environment than available alternatives and that we could sell at a good profit to people who are eager to buy it. Yet we simply won’t do it. Second, snubbing our allies in this way undermines Canada’s reputation as a reliable trade partner and raises red flags to other countries that might want to develop trade relations with us. Third… It makes no sense to slap down countries with shared geopolitical interests that you’ve partnered with in the past and might want to partner with again in future in order to influence world policy.”
On the last point we doubt Trudeau is refighting World War II here. We are not very sure he has much idea what it was all about; if he got his information from his father it wouldn’t be worth very much since he spent it driving about the countryside in a German helmet trying to scare people, and even years later had no idea there were, for instance, U-boats right in the St. Lawrence. But we digress.
Green seems to believe that man-made global warming is real and dangerous, since he says methane “does less damage to the environment than available alternatives” including coal, a point that either eludes or irritates most alarmists. But the big point here is his last complaint:
“Finally, our actions perpetuate the fiction of rapid decarbonization of global energy systems and an accelerated transition to electrification based on renewables.”
While absolutely true and important in one sense, it is misleading in another. Trudeau has no idea it’s fiction. None at all. He has never had much grasp of where wealth comes from, in the practical or theoretical sense, and his background in science is not impressive. But he knows what he thinks, including about climate and the “just transition” and he will bore you to tears with it given half a chance no matter who you are.
As Green rightly concludes:
“I would normally end an opinion column like this with a call for the prime minister to abandon his manifestly terrible policy positions on fossil fuels, trade and foreign affairs. But I fear he’ll never relent.”
Alas, true. If only it were a scam, eventually the perpetrators would tire of the lies. To all the people talking about a “climate scam” or “hoax” or “fraud”, we say again that unfortunately the alarmists really believe what they are saying. As with a great many terrible ideas over the centuries, what you see is what you get. To Justin Trudeau LNG is the past, and a harmful one, and he’s focused on this shimmering green future so close he can almost reach out and touch it past these dense visitors and their petty preoccupations.