Archive | Climate Change, Carbon Taxes and ENGOs

Make climate policy in legislatures, not courts – by Bjorn Lomborg (Financial Post – May 25, 2021)

Climate court cases undermine democracy, harm the poor and sidetrack us from smarter ways to fix the climate

Despite intense climate worries, electorates have been unwilling to spend the trillions needed to cut emissions dramatically. That is why climate campaigners have increasingly pursued a new strategy: forcing climate policy through courts.

Across the world, the UN now counts at least 1,550 such climate cases in 38 countries, including several in Canada, often filed by young people invoking a fear for their future.

Unfortunately, such cases undermine democracy, harm the poor and sidetrack us from smarter ways to fix the climate. Continue Reading →

What we need to know about the pace of decarbonization – by Vaclav Smil (Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy – April 2020)

University of Manitoba professor Vaclav Smil is regarded as an international authority on the history of energy transitions. Science Magazine calls him “the man who has quietly shaped how the world thinks about energy.” In the words of Bill Gates “there is no author whose books I look forward to more than Vaclav Smil.”

Energy transitions have been among the key defining processes of human evolution. The first millennia-long transition was from the reliance on traditional biofuels such as wood, charcoal, crop residues and animate sources of energy derived from human and animal muscles, to increasingly common reliance on inanimate energy converters. They included water wheels, wind mills and better harnessed draft animals for fieldwork and transportation.

Transition to fossil fuels to produce heat, thermal electricity and kinetic energy began in England during the 16th century. It took hold in Europe and North America only after 1800, and in most of Asia only after 1950.

This transition has been accompanied by increasing reliance on primary electricity, dominated by hydroelectricity since the 1880s, with nuclear generation contributing since the late 1950s. The transition from traditional biofuels to fossil fuels has resulted in gradual relative decarbonization, but also in enormous growth in absolute emissions of CO2. Continue Reading →

What Impact Will India’s ‘Clean Energy’ Shift Have on Its Minerals Economy? – by Lou Del Bello (Science The Wire India – May 12, 2021)


Despite what we often hear, the energy transition is not as simple as building solar panels and wind turbines everywhere. It requires an overhaul of some of the key systems underpinning our economy, minerals being one of them.

In a new report, the International Energy Agency (IEA) takes stock of which and how much mineral resources we’ll need as we decarbonise the world’s energy architecture.

I spoke with Jagabanta Ningthoujam, manager with RMI-India, who specialises on electricity, batteries and hydrogen. Formerly associated with the World Bank’s Climate Smart Mining Facility, he discusses the global race for mineral access through an Indian perspective. Continue Reading →

The climate of fear that gave way to unjustifiable environmental policies – by Conrad Black (Financial Post – May 8, 2021)

Upon being re-elected prime minister in 2019, albeit with a minority of MPs and fewer votes than his chief opponent, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that it was time to tackle “our greatest problem: climate change.”

It is routinely and endlessly bandied about by most of our politicians and practically all of our media that climate change is, in the second-most tedious and toe-curling platitude in the current political lexicon (after “systemic racism”), “an existential threat” — i.e., our existence as human beings is threatened by climate change.

Yet there is a great deal of learned dissent from that conclusion, and even those reports most frequently cited as evidence that the end is nigh if we don’t pull up our socks and, in the case of Canada, shut down Alberta, if read carefully, do not justify the terrifying headlines that the media normally attaches to them. Continue Reading →

Biden’s conundrum: Expand EVs without harming the Earth – by Sara Schonhardt (E&E News – April 30, 2021)

President Biden’s plan to rapidly shift to electric vehicles and renewable energy could find itself in conflict with another, less prominent commitment: improving the sustainability of the mineral and metals sector.

Much of that tension has to do with soaring demand worldwide for the rare earth elements used to make low-carbon goods, as well as the short amount of time the United States has set to reduce its carbon footprint.

“There’s an intrinsic conflict, yes,” said Kevin Book, who heads the research team at ClearView Energy Partners LLC. But “there’s got to be a first thing and a second thing, and right now it looks like climate is the first thing,” he said. Continue Reading →

Greenhouse gas emission targets boost enthusiasm for small modular nuclear reactors – by Dan Healing (CTV News Calgary/Canadian Press – April 25, 2021)

CALGARY — The worldwide battle to control greenhouse gas emissions to fight climate change is the best thing that’s happened for growth in the nuclear energy industry in decades, its proponents say.

They add that the development of smaller, scalable nuclear reactors to churn out reliable, emissions-free energy at a much lower than traditional cost makes nuclear an option that’s become impossible to ignore.

“Thirty years ago, the vision was that nuclear energy is going to be so cheap that we’ll be giving electricity away for free,” said Robby Sohi, president and CEO of Global First Power Ltd., a company trying to build Canada’s first small modular reactor or SMR. Continue Reading →

Read this book, then forget climate panic – by Terence Corcoran (Financial Post – April 23, 2021)

Former Obama aide blasts politicians, media and ‘broken science’

The floods of catastrophic projections and raging wildfires of extreme policy initiatives must, at some point in the evolution of humankind, come to an end.

Not today, that’s certain, as U.S. President Joe Biden’s virtual climate summit gives global politicians a platform to spread additional fear and even more extreme policies to rid the world of carbon emissions.

Biden lit the latest wildfire in his opening statement: “This is a moral imperative. An economic imperative. A moment of peril, but also a moment of extraordinary possibilities.” To fight the peril, Biden vowed to cut U.S. carbon emissions to between 50 and 52 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. Continue Reading →

This Earth Day let’s replace alarmism with smarter policy – by Bjorn Lomborg (Financial Post – April 22, 2021)

Irresponsible exaggerations are destroying our ability to make sensible decisions for the future

This Earth Day, dramatic warnings about climate change will be ubiquitous. At his climate summit, U.S. President Joe Biden will undoubtedly repeat that global warming presents an “existential threat.”

But most of the hype will be vastly exaggerated. This pervasive climate alarmism is the culmination of persistent eco-anxiety over the past few decades.

Already in 1982, the United Nations was predicting that, along with other environmental concerns, climate change could cause worldwide “devastation as complete, as irreversible as any nuclear holocaust” by the year 2000. Needless to say, that didn’t happen. Continue Reading →

Climate Change Activists Need To Get Serious About Nuclear Power – by John Stossel ( – April 21, 2021)

This Thursday, Earth Day, politicians and activists will shout more about “the climate crisis.” I don’t think it’s a crisis. COVID-19, malaria, exploding debt, millions of poor children dying from diarrhea—those are genuine crises.

But global warming may become a real problem, so it’s particularly absurd that Earth Day’s activists rarely mention the form of energy that could most quickly reduce greenhouse gases: nuclear power. When France converted to nuclear, it created the world’s fastest reduction in carbon emissions.

But in America, nuclear growth came to a near halt 40 years ago, after an accident at the Three Mile Island plant in Pennsylvania. The partial meltdown killed no one. It would probably have been forgotten had Hollywood not released a nuclear scare movie, The China Syndrome, days before. Continue Reading →

‘It’s hard, we’re neighbours’: the coalmine polluting friendships on Poland’s borders – by Pawel Wiejski (The Guardian – March 29, 2021)

When the Czech government announced it was taking Poland to Europe’s highest court it came as a surprise to Warsaw. After all, EU countries rarely sue one another. Prague’s demand is a politically explosive one.

Not only is it challenging the extension of mining activity at Turów, a vast lignite mine that has been in operation for nearly 100 years, it also wants the European court of justice to order its immediate closure.

Sandwiched between Germany and the Czech Republic in the Silesia region of south-west Poland, the open-pit mine is depleting the groundwater supplies of its neighbours and violates EU environmental law, the Czech government alleges. Continue Reading →

Carbon-tax green light flashing red – by Terence Corcoran (Financial Post – March 26, 2021)

It is better not to get too deeply immersed in the constitutional labyrinth embedded in the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision to legally green light the Trudeau government’s carbon tax plan.

Beyond the 200-plus pages of convoluted and contradictory legal verbiage lie the real issues, which are economic, environmental and political, not legal. And those issues are festooned with flashing red warning lights: Danger ahead.

A carbon tax regime is no closer to reality, on a national or international level, than it was before the Supreme Court’s decision. In light of current global economic conditions, the prospects for a carbon tax look doubtful — a point highlighted by Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole when he said a Conservative government “will repeal Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax. Continue Reading →

Guest Commentary | ‘Keep it in the ground’ movement deserves more scrutiny – by Seth Whitehead (News Gazette – March 28, 2021)

The Department of Energy and virtually every other reputable source forecasts
oil and natural gas remaining the country’s dominant source of energy for at
least the next 30 years.

Energy makes the high standard of living most Americans enjoy possible. Affordable, reliable energy is the lifeblood of our economy. And as University of Texas Bureau of Economic Geology director Dr. Scott Tinker recently noted, “All forms of energy come from the earth.”

It is with those fundamental facts in mind that keep-it-in-the-ground groups should be viewed as anti-U.S. energy.

Though it’s obvious that traditional energy sources such as oil, natural gas and coal come from the ground, it is often overlooked that wind, solar and battery technologies would not be possible without massive mining projects. Continue Reading →

Heavy industries could build on Canada’s low-carbon advantage – by Nelson Bennett (Business In Vancouver – March 24, 2021)

When it comes to decarbonizing the economy, it’s the stuff of modern life – steel, cement, fertilizer, plastics, chemicals – that will prove hardest to clean up.

Fortunately for Canadian industries, many of these products produced in Canada already have a comparatively low carbon profile compared to many other countries, thanks to its clean power grid (hydro and nuclear power).

Canada already can boast that it produces some of the lowest carbon aluminum in the world, thanks to hydro power in B.C. and Quebec. Continue Reading →

The World’s Three Biggest Coal Users Get Ready to Burn Even More – by Will Wade (Bloomberg News – March 16, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — The world’s three biggest consumers of coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, are getting ready to boost usage so much that it’ll almost be as if the pandemic-induced drop in emissions never happened.

U.S. power plants are going to consume 16% more coal this year than in 2020, and then another 3% in 2022, the Energy Information Administration said last week. China and India, which together account for almost two-thirds of demand, have no plans to cut back in the near term.

This means higher emissions, a setback for climate action ahead of international talks this year intended to raise the level of ambition from commitments under the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gases. Continue Reading →

What Countries Will Fight Over When Green Energy Dominates – by Marc Champion (BNN Bloomberg – March 16, 2021)

(Bloomberg) — The Rand Corporation’s been designing war games with the Pentagon since the 1950s, modelling such hard-nosed security scenarios as a two-front U.S. war with China and Russia.

Now the think tank is turning its realpolitik tool kit to a question more often associated with environmental dreamers: How will clean energy change the world?

Rand is among the small but growing number of research organizations, universities and at least one European government that have started gaming out the gritty geopolitical implications of a globe dominated by green energy. It’s the latest sign that the once quaint idea of renewable energy displacing fossil fuels has gone mainstream. Continue Reading →