What’s Really Going On With Climate Change

There are too many people espousing their uneducated, or simply malicious views about the problem of climate change. There are enough of them in some places as to have totally halted progress against one of the greatest threats facing not only our species, but countless others. It’s equivalent to having spotted an Earth-directed asteroid with perhaps 50 years advance notice, but the urgency to solve the similar problem of climate change is no where close to what we’d expect for that pending disaster.

If you want to understand the problem, there’s this useful guide. Bill McKibben also provided this easy to understand summary of the magnitude of the problem.

[If] our goal is to keep the Earth’s temperature from rising more than two degrees Celsius—the upper limit identified by the nations of the world—how much more new digging and drilling can we do?

Here’s the answer: zero.

That’s a lot of not digging. Most people grew up with the idea of oil prospectors and the image of Jed Clampett getting sprayed with Black Gold is seared into the brains of everyone older than 35. Yet if we don’t stop digging in short years, we all might as well be at the bottom of a see-ment pool.

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We Hear #carbontax Won’t Work But It Will Change Behaviour

Coyne has a point:

Kevin replies, “I’m planning the purchase of a wood stove…”

Would you normally buy a wood stove?

There it is. An admission that the changes behaviour (just not in the way intended for everyone).

Foreseeable Future of Oil

Cameron MacGillivray, the president and CEO of Enform, says he’s not hearing [a year and a half ago] many concerns about the job market of the future. Rather than getting questions about the oil and gas industry prospects, he says he is asked about what kinds of jobs are most in demand and how much opportunity young people have for career advancement in their respective fields. Due to the still-high demand for oil and other fossil fuels in the medium term, and the size of global reserves, he sees them playing a major role in the energy supply chain of tomorrow. “All the indicators are that hydrocarbons are an important source of energy for the foreseeable future,” he says.

Enform is the upstream oil and gas industry’s advocate and leading resource for the continuous improvement of safety performance (training, resources, COR)”

OK, let’s examine MacGillivray’s claim a bit. First, I think it’s crucial you understand to avoid melting our ice caps, and flooding our coastal cities, requires us to remain somewhere below 1.5 degrees C climate change. To avoid exceeding 1.5 degrees means we cannot pollute our atmosphere with Green House Gases (GHGs) past our permissible “carbon budget”. Our carbon budget to hit 2 degrees change is exceeded 5 times over, if we burn the “global reserves” MacGillivray cited. Clearly not “all the indicators” are that hydrocarbons are with us for the “forseeable future”, so long as we accept that we must not burn them all in order to save some of civilization’s greatest cities.


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A Tax on Everything Is Coming

Run for the hills!

I realize several people who I’m friends with, think Premier Wall is great for Saskatchewan. I’ve never held a high opinion of the man, I think he’s arrogant, short sighted, and nothing close to a “man of the people” that he pretends to be. When was the last time you were invited to Bilderberg as he is?

For a decade we’ve endured his constant fiscal mismanagement of our province, giving us deficit budget after deficit budget, and what do we have to show for it? Our boom/bust economy is still so fragile, that Wall admits a $10/tonne #carbontax might cripple it, even though that’s the equivalent to a 2.4 cent/L gasoline price increase by reasonable calculations.

People who live in Regina may remember the last mayor refusing to raise property taxes. Not so hard when property values were stagnant, but then 2006/7 came around, and prices doubled or tripled here. Without the benefit of incremental changes, many were caught with their pants down.

Now the same has happened with the Liberals back in Ottawa, and with 10 years of Conservative stagnation on incremental environmental pollution controls, we’re going to experience a little sticker shock when we have to buy the next generation of technology to get by in the changing world.

There will be a lot of fear and ignorance on display, but what else could we expect after the Conservatives paid (using our tax money) to deliver black and white propaganda to our mailboxes, proclaiming that a “tax on everything” was coming with Dion and Goodale.

Canadian Debt

Jeremy Harrison, minister of the economy pointed to the fact the average Canadian family needs 42.8 per cent of its pre-tax income for housing while the average in Saskatchewan is 28.6 per cent.

“So I think that speaks as to the affordability of living here in this province,” said Harrison.

John Hopkins, CEO of the Regina and District Chamber of Commerce, said the survey indicates that Canadians are spending heavily on necessities like housing.

That’s created concern there could be real trouble for consumers if there’s a sudden increase in interest rates, but “we’re not seeing that anywhere on the horizon, thank goodness,” he said

Harrison’s comment could be very funny if the housing market crashes next year, and Hopkins’ too if interest rates go to 5%.

Bogus Brokerage Bull, and Other Online Obstructions

“by keeping that purchase threshold at $20 instead of giving Canadian shoppers a break and raising it to $80, Ottawa spends about $166 million to collect $39 million in additional taxes and duties.”

Here’s something the Industry Minister should fix this year. Especially in light of the Liberals’ support of the TPP, why are they dinging consumers for buying Chinese and American made goods? In the case of mid-range bicycles, there’s no Canadian manufacturer, yet they’ll easily make a beach cruiser (made in China) sold in California for $100US, cost over $350CAD in a Canadian bike shop.

Stranded Assets, Saskatchewan Style

A report by a little known government entity says what I have been saying about pipelines stranding assets:

Its overall conclusion, however, urges caution when it comes to long-term investments in pipelines and other oil and gas infrastructure.

Such investments “could be at high risk of becoming economically unviable as prices in renewable electricity further decline,” it warns.

I happened to also be writing the Leader Post to question why its columnist wrote that coal isn’t going away for a foreseeable 30-40 years!

Dear Editor:

In response to Bruce Johnstone’s “Carbon capture critics see the world the way it should be, not the way it is”, there are some apparent inaccuracies.

One needs only to look to SaskPower’s own predictions of the power mix in 2030 to learn that coal-fired generation as it exists today, will cease to exist in only 14 years. The Conservatives, hardly traditional climate change fighters, passed this into law. Johnstone’s prediction that it “is unlikely to decline significantly in the next 30 or 40 years.” seems out of step with what is most likely.
It’s unclear why a technology that doesn’t exist is listed as a possible silver bullet, rather than examining geothermal which the Premier and SaskPower both have said could come to our aid in short years.

Johnstone feels the $1.5 billion invested in CCS is a solution, but in his own words “defeat[s] its own purpose”, through its enhanced oil recovery. Isn’t it a bit like taking material to patch a hole in the bow of your boat, from the hull of the stern?

Johnstone cites MIT’s Herzog as believing “that renewables alone cannot help us achieve our climate change goals”, but there are other experts like Stanford’s Mark Z. Jacobson who believe they can. Regina’s Dr. Brett Dolter can explain other possibilities for Saskatchewan’s grid that leave coal and CCS in the past, while renewable energy sources build the province and economy.

“It is increasingly plausible to foresee a future in which cheap renewable electricity becomes the world’s primary power source and fossil fuels are relegated to a minority status,” concludes Policy Horizons Canada.
Yet Johnstone concludes with, “So it would be a huge mistake, not to mention a huge waste of taxpayers’ money, to give up on carbon capture now.”

This runs completely contrary to the advice from Policy Horizons Canada.
“[We] suggest that governments ensure that the risks of further investments in oil and gas infrastructure be borne by private interests rather than taxpayers,” the report reads.”

SaskPower is a public interest and bears the risk of CCS. While Cenovus, a private venture, benefits from the waste CO2 production.
Whose perspective is Johnstone arguing for?

John Klein


Alternate shorter version below, the word limit was 250, instead of 350.:
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