This rebuttal was submitted to the Edmonton Journal on May 1, 2020. Since it was not accepted for publication by this time, we are posting it here.
By Michelle Stirling © 2020
In Bronwen Tucker’s recent op-ed, she is critical of Premier Kenney’s exasperation that a Calgary-based reporter proposed a Green New Deal as a recovery initiative. Bronwen goes on to claim, with no substantiation, that oil and gas are dying industries. Some “Inconvenient Facts” from Natural Resources Canada put that notion to bed and Ottawa energy policy consultant, Robert Lyman, offers this power point that explains energy trends worldwide.
One must ask Bronwen how she thinks things get made? As Professor Emeritus Vaclav Smil explains, to get wind, you need oil. Not only oil, you need natural gas and coal. And, as the COVID19 pandemic has shown, safe, sterile treatment and modern medicine is only possible with the energy of fossil fuels.
Bronwen’s comments that Alberta’s crude oil has bounced from negative territory to hovering about a $1 a barrel is not evidence of the value or demand for oil. This only exhibits her lack of understanding of global oil market trading and geopolitics.
Samuel Furfari, energy author, professor of energy geopolitics at Free University of Brussels and former EU civil servant with the Directorate General for Energy of the European Commission, writes in “But what an oil shock!?” …“A similar phenomenon occurred on September 11, 2001 and during the Subprime crisis in 2008, but this time it is the whole world that is affected, longer and more deeply. So that oil stocks are saturated, tankers and supertankers still have some capacity, but storage prices have exploded. It is sometimes cheaper to sell at a loss than to pay for storage.”
In a subsequent article in La Tribune, in French, Furfari explains that the oil price yo-yo is demonstrating a shift in the global paradigm on oil. From the 1970’s fears of ‘peak oil’ and Western reliance on Saudi and Middle Eastern oil, new technologies and new discoveries, including Alberta’s oil sands, have led to a profusion of oil and natural gas reserves worldwide.
Where once the OPEC block held the world hostage with their Black Gold – their only national ‘product’ of any value, now the United States has become energy independent and an exporter of oil, rather than a hapless importer, enslaved to a volatile nations. OPEC nations have been deposed.
Bronwen claims local and long-distance transit, retrofits and renewables should be the new focus of investment. Robert Lyman, shows that transit is Squandered Money, that retrofits are also an expensive pipe dream: “…the cost to halve GHG emissions (in Canada) would be $3.6 trillion.” The report “In the Dark on Renewables”, like Michael Moore’s “Planet of the Humans” exposes the fact-free fallacies renewable advocates promote.
Bronwen signs her op-ed as an activist with Climate Justice Edmonton, but she is also listed online as part of Oil Change International. Oil Change International was paid $500,000 USD in 2014 and $1,000,000 USD in 2016 by the Oak Foundation out of Switzerland to work with Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), “to bring taxpayer-funded fossil fuel subsidies to an end” making the implicit assumption that they exist.
Browen claims that Alberta’s oil and gas sector has been “…receiving billions a year in government subsidies.”
However, Chris Ragan of the Ecofiscal Commission stated on TVO in an interview with Steve Paikin that “one of the things that I learned at Finance Canada is that in fact we as a country do not have explicit fossil fuel subsidies.”
Oil Change International’s partner, NRDC, is the main party behind the Tar Sands Campaign, as documented in the CBC’s Nature of Things 2011 co-production of “The Tipping Point: Age of the Oil Sands”.
It is the Tar Sands Campaign that has crippled the Alberta Oil Sands and our economy.
No wonder Premier Kenney expressed exasperation. Green New Deal ideologues don’t even understand that oil, natural gas and coal are required to create their Utopian goals. They have no concept of global energy markets and make completely false or unsupported claims. Despite 50 years of failed climate prophecies, activists use the ‘climate’ umbrella and the word ‘justice’ to add a dab of moral authority to their fact-free demands.
Where is the justice in the job losses, suicides and the economic devastation of the foreign funded Tar Sands Campaign?
Michelle Stirling is Communications Manager with Friends of Science Society. This article expresses her personal view. Stirling is also a member of the Canadian Association of Journalists.