OPINION: Pretending oil is dead makes bad climate policy – by Campbell Clark (Globe and Mail – May 19, 2020)


The problem with Elizabeth May’s warning that “oil is dead” is not just that she’s wrong. It is that she ignored the lesson that the coronavirus crisis offered about oil, and reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.

There was a strange triumphalism in Ms. May’s obituary for the Canadian oil industry, when she said “the idea that we’ve got this product that everyone wants is delusional.”

That sparked angry reaction from the oil patch, but it is climate-change activists who should tell Ms. May she got it wrong.

If anything, the coronavirus crisis made it clearer that people campaigning to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions should focus their attention on demand. A lot of activism in Canada has focused on supply – on bottling up the supply of oil by blocking pipelines and projects. But crisis has shown us demand is king.

The main point Ms. May was making should not surprise anyone: She was arguing, as she long has, that government should not bail out stricken oil companies. And she argued those companies are doomed anyway.

For the rest of this column: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/politics/article-pretending-oil-is-dead-makes-bad-climate-policy/