Johnstone: Supports Coal, But Calls Out Wall’s Lack of Plan

A notable column in the Star Phoenix from Bruce Johnstone, as he chastises Premier Wall’s “grandstanding” and for having no plan to deal with climate change.

Wall called the plan, […] a “betrayal” of the PM’s promise to develop a collaborative climate change policy with the provinces.

This despite the fact that Wall and the other premiers were told months ago to develop a carbon pricing plan, or have one imposed upon them. They were reminded of this again last week by Environment Minister Catherine McKenna.


Wall has also threatened to take the feds to court, claiming that the carbon tax infringes on provincial control of resources, which is protected under the constitution. While provinces are exempt from federal tax under the constitution, the courts could allow a carbon levy if used for regulatory rather than revenue-generating purposes, legal experts say.

Another Wall argument against carbon pricing is that it “holds the lowest potential for reducing emissions, while potentially doing the greatest harm to the Canadian economy.” Yet many economists say carbon pricing is more effective at reducing emissions than regulation or cap-and-trade systems because it changes consumer behaviour by increasing the cost of carbon consumption.

Wall’s weakest argument is that Canada accounts for only 1.6 per cent of GHG emissions, and Saskatchewan accounts for 10 per cent of Canadian emissions, or 75.5 million tonnes. “I deny the fallacy that a new tax on Canadians whose CO2 emissions are 1.6 per cent of the global emissions is the best way for Canada to help fight climate change.”

So what is your plan, Mr. Wall? If not carbon pricing — either through a carbon tax or cap and trade — what is it? Carbon capture and storage (CCS), tougher regulations, like the Management and Reduction of Greenhouse Gases Act that was passed in 2010 but never enacted, a carbon tariff on imports, with an offsetting rebate on exports, as suggested by Regina-Lewvan MP Erin Weir?

The fact is a majority of Canadians support some form of carbon pricing.

Also, in the Leader Post is a flawless column by Murray Mandryk:

Absolutely nothing Moe has said or done in the past week has had anything to do with him being an environment minister.

Whether or not you agree or disagree with the government’s decision to storm out of the federal/provincial environment ministers’ meeting, that its initial reaction was to call Trudeau’s proposal “National Energy Program II” tells you all you need to know about why the government has not, and will not, address GHG emissions in a meaningful way.

So why have an environment minister at all?

If these two keep writing entirely sensible columns, they’re going to put my blog out of a job pointing out their earlier mistakes in logic and worse.

This Morning In Police Shootings…

Even When It Tries To Be Good, It’s Not

The Mainstream Media, or MSM, has failed the people. Maybe because the majority is not owned by the people, but by large debt holders, billionaires, and the government. Their attempt to be “fair”, still overlook elephants in the room.

Yes, the American MSM is failing in their efforts to be fair to Trump. They rarely call his positions “lies”, or “racist”, and continue to give him excessive screen time when he’s clearly manipulating the media to manipulate the public in his favour. The only time the MSM will talk about the Green and Libertarian Party candidates, is when something goes wrong in their campaigns.

Canada’s foremost news anchor has been paid by Big Oil to speak to them in person. Why bother, when he can do so every weeknight on the taxpayer’s dime?

Fortunately, there are exceptions in Canadian media, but not it seems at the largest media creators:

Leader Post Sees Coal Future As Reality

The Leader Post published my letter, and a couple weeks later Murray Mandryk cites the same inexplicable 30-40 years canard. He also makes the same conclusion as Johnstone, which is to not cut our losses on the project.

“Even some strident environmental groups recognize clean coal technology”
Can anyone name even one?

“replacement of dirty coal with clean energy (wind, hydro and solar) comes at a substantial cost we cannot instantly bear.”
Wind Water Solar 100% conversion costs less than #climatechange and other air pollution costs on society, actually.

“The simple reality is, as Wall has repeatedly noted, 40 per cent of world’s electrical needs still come from coal-powered generation. And this will remain the reality for the next three or four decades.”
Why do Leader Post columnists insist on pushing this false “reality”, which it’s actually a prediction about power sources that we must make incorrect if we’re to avoid damaging climate change? The reality remains that if all built coal plants continue to operate until their constructed Ends of Life, we’ll end life as we know it on Earth. The International Energy Agency has calculated this about coal plants, at least 6 years ago when their calculations gave us a deadline of 2015 to stop building new coal plants to avoid 2 degrees of warming.

Oil’s Four Letter Word Defender

Brad Wall seems to only ever be speaking to oil executives about oil and gas. Does he understand anything else? Are there any examples of our Premier meeting recently with organizations other than Big Oil and Gas? Anytime he’s trying to boost the province’s economy, it’s coal this, oil that.

Meanwhile, the renewable energy sector is growing significantly, and BP the petrol company, admits that it’s competing with fossil fuels already. Yet, how many renewable energy companies has Wall courted to come and provide manufacturing jobs in Saskatchewan? I bet it’s a goose egg.

Brad Wall claims the most powerful companies (Big Oil) on the planet are under an “existential threat” from such powers as the Raging Grannies and the Sierra Club.

Don’t know if he’s checked their comparative bank accounts or the number of oil lobbyists checking into the Prime Minister’s inbox over say, the last 100 years, but he’s out of touch with reality.

His hack calls plans to deal with pollution “a set of incredibly stupid proposals that would lock in poverty for all Sask people and families”, but makes budget cuts to poverty reduction programs. No,  Wall thinks the Sierra Club and Naomi Klein are coming for Saskatchewan’s economy. He’s attempting to portray good people as boogeymen, so he can ‘protect’ us and be the hero.

The Government of Saskatchewan released the Poverty Reduction Strategy on Wednesday (Feb. 24, 2016).

The strategy aims to reduce the number of people who experience poverty for two years or more by 50 per cent by the end of 2025.

“We’re going to need a lot of help from community based organizations, from the community, from all levels of government,” Social Services Minister Donna Harpauer said.

Mandryk about Wall’s speech to Big Oil in Calgary:

Wall must do more than shill for the oil industry

“That might seem alarmist or overly dramatic, but it’s not,” Wall said.

Well, sir, it was both alarmist and overly dramatic.

“”It’s not borne of science. It doesn’t respect the reality of where our energy sector is at in this country or even its proportionate share of global emissions in the case of climate change,” Wall said.”

Sorry Wall. That excuse sounds like you’ve been caught peeing in someone’s pool, and you say the reality is that the amount of pee isn’t proportionate to any problem we need to worry about, because it would have been more bothersome for you to go to a proper washroom.

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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