Contributed by Robert Lyman @2019
Robert Lyman is an Ottawa energy policy consultant, former public servant, and diplomat. His full bio is here.
A common Canadian response when asked whether there is a global climate problem is to declare that “we should do our part” to solve it. While typically generous-spirited, the attitude is dangerously naïve and uninformed. This paper explains why.
There is now ample and broadly published evidence that the scientific claims of those who say humans are causing catastrophic global warming are wrong.
- The sensitivity of the global climate to increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide is far less than assumed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
- The actual movement of average global temperatures over centuries, but especially over the last twenty years, bears no relationship to what the IPCC models predicted.
- The most widely-publicized claims about future adverse climate effects are all being proved wrong (e.g. sea levels are rising at 8 inches per century; polar bear populations are thriving).
- There have been no increases in extreme weather events, (e.g. hurricanes, floods and droughts) over the last century.
These points are well documented in thousands of peer-reviewed articles and in the publications of the Non-Governmental International Panel on Climate Change.
If Canadians were to “do their share” in reducing carbon dioxide emissions, what would that be a share of? In other words, what is the rest of the world doing? In fact, over the last 25 years, global CO2 emissions from energy consumption grew by 40 per cent, and they continue to rise every year. Over the last decade, 165 of the 195 countries of the world increased their emissions. This is especially true in the developing countries of Asia and the Middle East. Nine of the ten largest country emitters are not on track to meet even the relatively modest emission reduction commitments they made at the United Nations COP21 conference in 2015. China and India alone are on a track to increase their emissions to perhaps 20 billion tonnes per year in 2030.
The poorer countries of the world are determined to increase their economic development and standards of living. To do this they need to gain access to the secure and plentiful energy services provided by fossil fuels that we in the more developed countries take for granted. They will not be deprived of this right because of the concerns of some about carbon dioxide emissions.
The costs to Canada of present policies and programs to reduce emissions are already high, especially in terms of increased electricity rates in provinces that are forcing the introduction of high cost wind and solar energy generation and in Alberta and Saskatchewan where radicals have successfully blocked the construction of additional oil pipelines needed to deliver Canadian oil to export markets. The costs in terms of lost revenues, unemployment, and foregone investment are in the tens of billions of dollars per year.
These costs will only rise far higher if, as now planned, carbon dioxide taxes continue to rise, and governments continue to increase the over 600 programs and regulations already in place to reduce emissions and halt development. This will affect every sector of the economy, not just oil and gas, but also mining, steel, petrochemicals, metal fabrication, auto and parts manufacturing and other emissions-intensive industries, as well as transportation, residential housing, and agriculture. Yet, Canada’s emissions are just 1.6% of the world’s total.
One has to ask why Canadians think they bear responsibility to solve the world’s problems, when we lack the means to do so and the world does not want our “help” anyway. Why do so many share this tragic delusion?
Canada’s current emissions policies and targets will inevitably impose immense costs on Canada’s economy and business, with negligible, if any, benefits in terms of changing global emissions. In short, the costs of present and future climate policies are extremely high, and the benefits are virtually nil.