Robert Hornung, CEO of CanREA (Canadian Renewable Energy Association), recently finished a three-part series about the wonders of wind, solar and storage and indications (based on his verbiage) are; he is delighted with how the Trudeau led government are committed to achieving “net-zero” emissions by 2050. The final sentence in his last article “Cape diem, Canada” tells the reader: “We have a fleeting opportunity to avert a catastrophe for our children and grandchildren. We need to seize it. Today.” As one can imagine Hornung believes the world can be saved from the “changing climate” which he tells us is causing events showing: “our permafrost is melting, our coastal sea levels are rising, our snow-cover patterns are changing, and our weather is becoming more extreme, with floods, droughts, and intense storms on the rise.” As one would expect he says the foregoing can be stopped as our electricity needs “can easily be supplied by Canada’s massive untapped renewable energy resources”.
All Canadians should realize we are now all being asked/told to relive what Ontarians were told by the McGuinty led government back in 2009 when they ushered in the GEA (Green Energy Act). The GEA caused electricity rates to more than double due to the push for renewable wind and solar generation. Ratepayers and taxpayers in the rest of Canada should take Hornung’s gloomy prognostications and concern themselves about the “net-zero” aspirations he exudes!
Hornung goes further and touts “A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy,” the report released by Jonathon Wilkinson, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change (MECC) in December 2020 bringing us the $170/tonne carbon-tax. Hornung also seemed enamoured by another report from the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices whom I devoted four articles to in early 2020. The CICC was a creation of Wilkinson’s predecessor Catherine McKenna using $20 million of our tax dollars. The report Hornung referenced from the CICC is “Canada’s Net Zero Future” and it is 132 pages full of the fabrications Wilkinson and his boss, PM Trudeau, presumably ordered! Doing a word search in the report for “net-zero” provides only 14 hits but one for “net zero” (without the hyphen) provides 588 hits. The word “tax” only appears twice-ie: 2 mentions, and it’s not in respect to the $170/tonne carbon-tax as it is referred to as a “carbon price”!
The report breaks down the various existing “safe bets” and possible “wild card” technologies that will purportedly allow us to meet Canada’s 2030 and 2050 emissions reduction targets. The “safe bets” include renewables such as wind, solar, biomass, hydro and also include storage (battery) and nuclear and of course transformation of our transportation modes via conversion of personal vehicles to EV. The report claims using those technologies along with increased insulation and heat pumps for buildings limited carbon capture, etc. etc. will easily allow us to meet the emissions reductions by 2030. The “wild card” technologies include hydrogen, CCUS (carbon capture, utilization and sequestration), direct air capture, small modular reactors and a myriad of other technologies including changing our diet to consume less meat and dairy products and those will allow us to reach net-zero emissions by 2050.
Naturally they reference the UNIPCC (United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) several time as well as the UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) in a favourable fashion as well as utilizing their reports to augment their views and recommendations.
The report also uses scary references and their reputed costs such as suggesting air pollution causes 20,000 annual deaths in Canada: “Harmful air pollutants that increase the risk of disease and premature death—pollutants such as particulate matter and ground-level ozone—are common by-products of GHG emissions. Globally, air pollution represents the single largest environmental threat to human health, according to the World Health Organization (2016), and it also takes a significant economic toll. In Canada, estimates suggest that air pollution kills around 20,000 Canadians annually, with more than 17,000 of those deaths attributable to fossil fuel use (Lelieveld et al., 2020). The direct welfare costs of fine particulate matter and ground-level ozone in Canada is estimated at as much as $46 billion per year (IISD, 2017), while Health Canada (2019a) estimates the total annual economic damage to public health from air pollution is approximately $114 billion.” I should note Health Canada’s recent report echoed the same scary stuff and used the same reference perhaps to prepare us for the next pandemic and accompanying lock-downs.
Needless to say, the CICC report suggests the move to lower levels of carbon emissions coupled with the recommendations on using “safe bets” and evolving “wild card” technologies will not only help to reduce “global warming” and presumably reduce air pollution; but it will also reduce our expenditure on energy as a share of income.
We should view the graph above, suggesting energy expenditures as a share of income will drop as pure unadulterated fabrication! Not even the Ontario Liberal Government during the McGuinty/Wynne era promised our electricity costs would drop due to the adoption of clean energy from wind and solar. They suggested rates would increase one percent (1%) but Ontario’s ratepayers and taxpayers know we were lied to and the actual cost increase was well over 100% and we must live with that for 10 more years! One should doubt the CICC report has provided us with anything close to actual outcomes!
Some of those at the CICC, such as Bruce Lourie patted themselves on the back for being instrumental in getting the Ontario Liberals to buy into the renewable energy push. He and others* have played a big role in getting the CICC established and have continued to successfully push their agenda.
We should all suspect the Hornung forecast of the “catastrophe for our children and grandchildren” will be related to the unaffordable costs of just trying to survive a Canadian winter with those “baseboard”** electric heaters the CICC sees in our future!
*Rick Smith, a Lourie cohort has just been named as the new President of CICC
**Reminds me of the early sixties adds about how we could “live better electrically”.