Canada and losers in a global transition to climate-safe energy

2018-07-02

in Canada, Economics, Politics, The environment

Canada’s continued enthusiasm for new fossil fuel production not only helps undermine the world’s chances of dealing with climate change, but it also threatens Canada’s future economic prosperity as one of the dirtiest and highest-cost producers of a commodity that may see sharply declining demand.

A recent special report in The Economist said:

Yet the transition has plenty of potential to cause geopolitical friction, too. The most obvious example is the challenge it will pose to economies that depend on petroleum. A new book, “The Geopolitics of Renewables”, edited by Daniel Scholten of Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, argues that the clearest losers will be those blessed with ample fossil-fuel reserves and those who bet on oil for too long without reforming their economies.

Reforming the economy means doing several politically difficult things, including progressively shutting down the politically powerful bitumen sands, getting consumers to accept higher prices for fossil fuel energy, and working with enthusiasm and determination to curtail fossil fuel energy demand. There is little sign at present that Canada’s politicians are up to any of these tasks, or that the minority of voters who really understand the need to decarbonize will be able to bring them around, especially in time to live up to commitments like the Paris Agreement.

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