Guterres on additional fossil fuel production and stranded assets

United Nations secretary general’s remarks on the ongoing release of the IPCC’s sixth assessment report are remarkable for their directness and candour:

“Climate activists are sometimes depicted as dangerous radicals,” said UN Secretary-General António Guterres during the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) news conference on Monday. “But the truly dangerous radicals are the countries that are increasing the production of fossil fuels.”

“Investing in new fossil fuel infrastructure is moral and economic madness,” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said at the report’s release Monday. “Such investments will soon be stranded assets, a blot on the landscape, and a blight on investment portfolios.”

Canada’s government, despite taking more action on the issue than its predecessors, remains firmly on the side of the production-increasing radicals. In part that is from how emission statistics treat the GHGs from fuels we export as someone else’s responsibility, along with the GHGs embodied in what we import. Avoiding climatic catastrophe requires an end to such numerical evasions and a firm commitment to fossil fuel abolition, with production falling by a significant percentage every year until the world no longer runs on coal, oil, and gas.

You can blame the government for their inadequacy, but at some level that becomes like blaming corporations for emissions rather than the consumers of their products. By continuing to select governments that misrepresent what the consequences of their climate change plans will be while dodging the question of ending production, Canadians are ensuring that they will be lied to. When both the Liberals and Conservatives promise that climatic stability and a growing fossil fuel sector can be compatible, they perpetuate the cycle where we sacrifice the welfare of all future generations and non-human nature for the sake of our short-term comfort and the temporary perpetuation of unsustainable ways of life.


4 thoughts on “Guterres on additional fossil fuel production and stranded assets”

  1. Earlier this week, an Alberta newspaper published an op-ed by Nixon in which he called the new federal plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions “insane.”

    In his letter, sent Friday, Guilbeault says Nixon misread a graph and got his facts wrong.

    “I want to correct the record on what this plan does and does not do,” he writes.

    The first sentence of Nixon’s column, published Saturday, read “Alberta will not accept production cuts in the insane climate plan released by the Liberal-NDP coalition.”

    He backs that up with reference to numbers pulled from the federal document. He writes they prove the federal plan is an attempt to reduce oil and gas production and economic activity in Alberta that would destroy the province’s quality of life.

    That’s not what the numbers say, wrote Guilbeault.

    reductions Nixon points to refer instead to the differences in projected production with and without the emissions reduction plan. The plan actually allows the oilpatch to increase output, he said.

    “Oil production could grow by about one million barrels per day and emissions would remain aligned with Canada’s 2030 goal of 40 to 45 per cent reductions relative to 2005. The plan is focused on cutting the emissions.”

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