A misguided policy

The Canadian Government has used a number of catch phrases to legitimize its support of fossil fuels.  The Government described its environmental monitoring and regulation of the tar sands as “world-class”, also referring to Canada in this context as “a world leader”.  Although the international community recognized these words as meaningless hype, many Canadians were re-assured that environmental risks were under control.

The value of Canadian dollar, also known as our petrodollar, soared.  Most Canadians considered that this development validated the goal of Canada as “an energy super-power”.

The Canadian Government countered criticism that an inflated dollar was detrimental to Canada’s manufacturing base. Supported by the Alberta Government and the fossil fuel industry, it emphasized that the exploitation of the tar sands resulted in substantial purchases of goods and services from suppliers in other Provinces.

In April of this year we noted that Canada was on track to being a failed energy super power.  Today’s (September 17th) Toronto Star re-emphasized this development in an editorial entitled “Is our energy superpower vision slipping away?”

Why this pessimistic view of the Canadian Government’s policy?

In 2013 Canada produced more fossil fuels than before, principally due to increased output from the tar sands. The US Energy Information Agency projects that for the period 2010 – 2040 Canada will have the largest increase in crude oil and condensate among non-OPEC Countries.  Clearly these are “business as usual” projections, consistent with Canadian government policy.

But it is clear that fossil fuels will not be the primary source of energy in the future, whatever the level of their consumption in an interim transition period.  This is the conclusion of the International Energy Agency (IEA), who advises the world community on energy and climate change.  The IEA points out that to stay within acceptable limits of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, there must be

  1. a dramatic shift towards renewable energy,
  2. greater energy efficiency,
  3. and reduced GreenHouse gas(GHG) emissions.

Canada will not make a dramatic shift towards renewable energy as this would mean limiting production of fossil fuels.  Canada’s failure to regulate tar sands emissions also makes it unlikely we will meet our Copenhagen target for reducing GHG emissions.

Unless there is a change of Government in the fall of 2015.

For More on Renewable Energy go toWriting on the Wall: the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report


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