Dan McTeague of Canadians for Affordable Energy warns of a “collision course” between the Net Zero obsession of our elites and the reality of energy in Canada. As Joe Oliver noted: “It can happen almost anywhere, but should be unlikely in Alberta — an emergency alert asking residents to reduce electricity usage to avert rolling blackouts. After all, Alberta has the world’s fourth-largest proven oil reserves and enough proven natural gas to meet Canada’s domestic needs for hundreds of years. So the crisis was self-inflicted, a result of excessive reliance on intermittent renewable energy. It’s a wake-up call for Alberta but it should be for the rest of Canada, too.” If we were in Oz, then green energy would deliver more power more cleanly at less cost. But what if it doesn’t? If there are real-world trade-offs, how shall we make them?
To ask the question is to take an approach not everyone shares. And in this context we will take partial issue with one thing McTeague said:
“Welcome to 2024 where the threat of looming power outages in a resource-rich, developed country is a reality. And we have Justin Trudeau and his ideologically-driven caucus to thank for it.”
He’s right on the first. But on the second, this notion that I am pragmatic, you are dogmatic and he is an ideologue just won’t wash.
Nobody can seem to come up with a definition of “ideology” as a crippling mental disease other than “maintaining your own opinion after hearing mine”. An ideology is just a world-view, and without a coherent and reasonably robust world-view nobody could reach conclusions or make decisions. The problem isn’t having an ideology, it’s having a bad one. Like Bolshevism. Or certain types of climate alarmism.
Thus a recent National Post story began:
“Two climate activists hurled soup Sunday at the glass protecting the Mona Lisa at the Louvre Museum in Paris and shouted slogans advocating for a sustainable food system. This came amid protests by French farmers against several issues, including low wages.”
And later it quoted these addled vandals from “Food Riposte”:
“What’s the most important thing? Art, or right to a healthy and sustainable food?”
Which would be a reasonable position if you believed in man-made climate change and thought art supplies were a major contributor. Or perhaps not even then, since the Mona Lisa was done in the early 16th century and presumably has emitted nearly all the CO2 it’s ever going to, even if it would be a crime against humanity to produce modern art (which might very well be so on other grounds). As things stand, it is only their decision to hold masterpieces vastly beyond their mediocre capabilities hostage to their petulant demands that turns this from absurd rubbish into the insolent kind.
In the real world “What’s the most important thing? Warmth, or a right to a healthy and sustainable food?” might be a question if you believed that modern agriculture were destroying the planet because of some or all of the impacts of methane from cattle, the huge footprint of corn grown for ethanol, the nitrogen in fertilizer and so on.
Even there the position of these nitwits is hard to unravel:
“On its website, the ‘Food Riposte’ group said the French government is breaking its climate commitments and called for the equivalent of the country’s state-sponsored health care system to be put in place to give people better access to healthy food while providing farmers a decent income.”
So do they want more farming, less farming, more efficient farming, less efficient farming or all of them at once? It seems to be the political equivalent of surrealism. More food, more farmers, less CO2 via tomato soup.
It would remind us of the joke about how many surrealists it takes to screw in a lightbulb. Answer: Two, one to screw it in, and the other to fill the bathtub with brightly painted machine tools. But at least in that joke the surrealists get the light on. In the real world, the French government caved in to farm protests without knowing what they wanted or what to do.
To be semi-fair, in their consequence- and trade-off free world these “vandals” actually know the art they target is protected behind glass. If it took real sacrifice on their part to convey the message, they’d be somewhere else doing something else.
They should be anyway. Art school maybe. But somewhere.