To produce the power needed to offset fossil fuels, Canada would have to build two and a half $13-billion hydro dams every year
Judging from the headlines, Canada and the world are on track to ratchet up renewable energy and begin the rapid scale-down and ultimate phase-out of fossil fuels. Most energy analysts consider the fossil-fuel phase-out to be a scientific, economic and political fantasy, akin to levitation and time travel, but the movement keeps making news.
Governments everywhere — from Canada to the United Kingdom to states in Australia — are declaring climate emergencies and committing to variations on zero emissions. The international organization promoting emergency declarations claims “a fast transition to zero emissions is possible.”
Canada’s Green Party, said to be gaining ground, has a new platform plan, headlined “Mission: Possible,” to eliminate fossil fuels by 2050. A proposed Green New Deal in America aims to eliminate fossil fuels from the U.S. power grid by 2030 and phase gasoline out of the transportation sector.
NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says Canada’s oil industry is on its way out: “It’s the direction the world is headed.” The newly announced Liberal and Conservative programs are leaning in the zero-carbon direction, although less explicitly.
So what are the carbon zeroists talking about? Aside from massive amounts of government intervention — almost a total takeover of the economy — the practicality of it all looks a bit impossible, to put it mildly. As the graph below suggests, the required technological and economic change could be a little overwhelming.