Contributed by Robert Lyman © 2019
Robert Lyman is a former public servant of 27 years, and a former diplomat of 10 years. His full bio is in the brief.
Energy Illiteracy Must Not be Enshrined in Law
A Response To “An Open Letter on Climate Accountability Litigation in Canada”
LINK TO FULL BRIEF: Energy Illiteracy Must Not Be Enshrined in Law Aug 17 2019 FINAL
On June 24, 2019 a group of Canadian law professors published an ‘open letter’ in which they supported proposals asking federal, provincial and local governments to “take legal and other action to recover a share of the local climate costs from global fossil fuel companies, as a means of shielding taxpayers from the full range of current and future costs resulting from climate change”. This open letter is a response to that appeal.
The law professors err on six specific points. I will show that:
- Carbon dioxide is not pollution.
- The purchase and sale of oil, natural gas and coal constitute free transactions made by sellers and buyers, who are well informed about the implications of their decisions.
- The products sold and purchased have major societal benefits that far exceed the alleged adverse effects.
- In fact, forcing fossil fuel producers to cease selling their goods and services would, given the lack of alternatives, have major adverse effects on society and the economy.
- Canadian environmental law does not support the actions they propose.
- Actions taken to harm Canadian fossil fuel companies would have at most a negligible effect on the global environment.
Energy illiteracy must not be enshrined in law.
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