Hey, Minister of Energy Smith, Clean Energy Credits Should Benefit Ratepayers

Many Ontarians were pleased Premier Ford recognized (sort of) inflation was harming us and gave us short-term (6 months) relief from the sales tax on gasoline of 5.7 cents a litre. In the interim with high inflation driving everything up we should be pretty sure the foregone taxes were or will be fully recovered from sales taxes applied to everything else we consume. The tax relief started on July 1st and ends December 31st, 2022.  Looking at the recently released 2021-2022 Public Accounts it is obvious why he did that. Sales tax revenue from April 1, 2021, jumped from $26.6 billion to $30.4 billion by March 31, 2022, an increase of $3.8 billion (14.3%) so, presumably, sales taxes played a role in driving up inflation while increasing the government’s coffers to allow them to achieve an unplanned surplus! 

It is interesting the Ford led government chose just one of the many sources of energy we regularly use for the gesture and ignored “electricity” which is consumed daily by almost all businesses and residents in the province. Perhaps he was of the opinion the Ontario Electricity Rebate (OER) was more than we deserve as the Provincial sales taxes on our electricity bills represent only 76.5% of the OER but it only applies to residential users! If that’s the case, he ignores the fact; those who pay the costs of that rebate are present and future taxpayers who will have to pay the accumulated debt from the OER.  Kind of “in one pocket but out of the other one” tax!

Worth considering and related to the foregoing is the recent announcement by OPG stating they will be selling “clean energy credits” to Microsoft in a “firstof-its-kind deal”! 

One should wonder, will Microsoft be charged sales taxes for something intangible that will serve to improve their ESG (environmental, social and governance) disclosure scores? Those will reputedly be OPG’s “carbon-free hydro and nuclear assets”.  That seems quite strange as Ontario ratepayers (residential and businesses) already purchase the power that OPG hydro and nuclear provide in addition to: those contracted parties of unreliable and intermittent wind and solar generation also claiming to be “carbon-free”.  We ratepayers pay for the power to keep lights on and our manufacturing base, offices, restaurants, etc. etc. operating. We are also burdened to pay the power bill for our hospitals, schools, etc. via our taxes and obliged to pay sales taxes on what we consume.

What is particularly annoying, as a ratepayer; was, what the article noted about the revenue generation from those “clean energy credits”: “OPG said revenue from the credits would also help OPG in its own commitment to achieving net zero as a company by 2040. The funds received will either go toward investments in new clean generation in Ontario, back to the ratepayer or back to the taxpayer through the province.”

From all perspectives the funds generated for the province by OPG are already substantial as OPG’s December 31, 2021 financial statements indicate. OPG’s water rental costs were $415 million (paid to the province) including $26 million for spilling water during SBG (surplus baseload generation) situations plus $239 million in pseudo income taxes. Collectively that was $654 million.  What is missing from the foregoing however is the 7% sales taxes we ratepayers paid for the 77.6 TWh (terawatt hours) OPG generated and produced gross revenue of $6.877 billion. When that OPG generated power was delivered to us ratepayers we paid the sales taxes, and the province earned another $481.4 million giving the province $1.135 billion for our (taxpayers) investment in OPG.

It should be recognized the foregoing $1.135 billion doesn’t include OPG’s “Net Income Attributable to Shareholder” ie: the Province of Ontario; which was $1.325 billion. That means the “Province” claimed $2.460 billion for the 77.6 TWh OPG generated and delivered. The combined revenue added 3.2 cents/kWh to what we ratepayers consumed. The $2.460 billion is about six (6) times more than the savings of 5.7 cents a litre (approximately $400 million) we will save for the six months of a slight reduction in costs when filling our ICE vehicles with gasoline.

The return on OPG’s equity (December 31, 2021 was $15.532 billion) and the RoE (return on equity) is set by the OEB (Ontario Energy Board) at 8.4% so at $1.325 billion it is very close to the setting, however, if one adds the additional revenue the Province generated it becomes a collective RoE of 15.9% and above what most private sector power companies would hope to achieve! Unfortunately, no one sets the allowed “return on equity” for the province and there is no competition to keep rates down!

One should hope the Ford led ruling party will finally recognize their role in the gouging of ratepayers and ensure any revenues generated by the sale of those “clean energy credits” by OPG finds its way to reducing ratepayer bills rather than further spending by OPG or the province.

Vestas Wind System Awarded Top ESG Score by Corporate Knights

A recent and very long article in The Oregonian titled “How an airborne blade exposed broader problems at PGE’s flagship wind farm” went into considerable detail on the effects of a turbine blade that was spinning and suddenly was launched in the middle of the night plowing a four-foot furrow in the wheat stubble where it landed.  The foregoing led to a full shutdown of the 217 wind turbines in the Biglow Canyon by PGE (Portland General Electric) and lots of responses from locals pointing out many other issues associated with those IWT (industrial wind turbines). The article elaborates on six major reported issues which included oil spills, metal debris appearances, etc. etc. and also states, how over the years, those turbines (manufactured by Vestas and Siemens) underperformed in respect to generation they originally promised. The article reports on more unfavourable information about the Vestas turbines versus the Siemens ones but both are criticized. It is somewhat surprising the article does not even mention how those IWT also kills birds and bats or how their associated noises (both high decibel and infrasound) affects humans and animals in a negative way.

Vestas is a company with their head office in Denmark and is touted as the world’s largest supplier of IWT.  It may seem oxymoronic to many that Denmark has the highest household electricity prices in the EU currently at “0.3448 euro per kWh”!  The prior fact illustrates what many around the world have experienced due to the favourtism, tax dollars and tax benefits accorded companies awarded contracts to erect IWT to save us from “climate change”! The end result of those IWT installations is much higher electricity prices and unreliability due to the intermittent nature of wind versus dependable energy generation from nuclear and fossil fuels!

Interestingly, Vestas was favourably recognized by Corporate Knights of Toronto* in their January 2022 ESG (environmental, social and governance) assessment of 6,914 companies with more than US$1 billion in annual revenues.  Corporate Knights ranked Vestas Wind Systems as the world’s most sustainable corporation, granting them as the only company, to achieve an A+ rank! Needless to say Vestas tout that ranking in their 74 page  2021 Sustainability Report stating they were “The most sustainable company in the world”. One should wonder about the qualifications of Corporate Knights staff and their ability to examine those 6,914 companies as it relates to ESG accounting standards.  Those ESG accounting standards have been widely criticized as being far too vague as noted in a recent article by Bloomberg.

So, one should wonder did the “top of the heap” award by Corporate Knights spotlighting Vestas ranking higher than the other 6,913 companies provide a benefit to Vestas’s shareholders? The quick answer is no!

If one looks at the Vestas share price on January 3, 2021 it was US$17.23/share but by September 9, 2022 it was US$8.17/share having dropped by 52%.  Looking at the share price on the Corporate Knights release date of the “World’s 100 most sustainable corporation” on January 19, 2022, the Vestas share price was US$9.21 but as noted it fell to US$8.17/share by September 9th down by 11.3%. 

It seems obvious those involved in investing our funds through assets management companies or private pension plans** are not convinced renewable energy is a sound investment.  A recent article notes fossil fuel companies have out performed renewable energy companies by a factor of ten in the current year. Renewable energy companies beat the S & P by an average of 4.3% whereas fossil fuel stocks have outperformed the S & P by an average of 43%.

From all appearances it should be apparent the population who view the possibilities of renewable energy providing the world with all the energy we need are in short supply no matter what Corporate Knights or politicians tell us minions!

*Corporate Knights describe themselves as “The Voice for Clean Capitalism” but seem quite happy to take tax dollars from the Federal Government for their “magazine” as well as obtaining contracts from them to report on “decarbonization trends in Canadian industry sectors”.

**Public pension plans have jumped on board to support renewable energy and have suffered the consequences as pointed out in a recent article about Caisse de Depot and OMERS who took a pounding on just one of their investments.

For Cement Plants, Natural Gas is Out but Biomass, and Garbage is in as an Energy Source

It is apparent the “greening” of the world is upon us as the politicians and bureaucrats in charge continue to tell us about their belief in “climate change” and the necessity for mankind to contain the emission of CO 2 by eliminating the use of fossil fuels!

The weird thing is they wonder into pits that make absolutely no sense.  The latter includes telling all sectors of our economy what they must do to contain those emissions.  They have applied their stupidity now to the manufacturers of cement and presumably bricks.  As it happens our township sits on an immense amount of limestone and a cement plant, Lehigh Hanson (LH), has operated here for decades as noted in an article about their contribution to the local hospital foundation. One should suspect the new hospital planned for the county will require a considerable amount of cement and bricks but depending on when the build starts the energy used to produce the cement will be the epitome of what eco-warriors consider “green” and reputedly non-emitting.

The following screenshot of part of a public announcement by LH discloses what their future energy source may be instead of natural gas.

According to the above, future energy used by LH to produce cement will be 200 tonnes per day of what are referred to as ALCF’s (Alternative Low Carbon Fuels) consisting of; wood from construction and demolitions, non-recyclable paper and plastic, textiles, tire fibre, fluff, as well as non-recyclable household waste. The “daily throughput” of 200 tonnes per day might mean the local community of less than 25,000 people will have to UP their generation of those “energy” sources to at least 3 tons of garbage per resident annually or will it be imported driving up the costs of producing the cement? 

The other issue not mentioned, concerns what the emissions will be after conversion, versus those from the natural gas previously used and that may be a concern!

Residents of Bowmanville raised the alarm a year ago about the use of ALCF as noted in an article on DurhamRadioNews!  “Some local residents say the Ministry of the Environment has failed to protect people living in Bowmanville, after St. Marys Cement plant was given the go-ahead to burn more types of waste as fuel.”  The article went on to state; “The group says the cement plant is “putting out approximately 14 times more dioxin, 29 times more cadmium, 82 times more mercury, and 260 times more lead than Durham-York incinerator. They’re calling on local decision-makers to “find their voices” and fight against this expansion.

Surely the local politicians in Bowmanville and those resident in the Provincial Government researched the potential pollutants before granting approval to St. Mary’s Cement or was it driven by the Federal Government who are pressing to eliminate natural gas due to its classification as a “fossil fuel”?

We should surmise it’s the Federal Government with PM Justin Trudeau and his minion, Steven Guilbeault, holding the title of Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, as the driver of this conversion!

Marc Patrone Show Sauga 960 AM July 13, 2022

Marc Patrone had me on his show today and we covered a lot of ground and much of it was about the Farmers Protests in the Netherlands, Poland, France and Italy as well as the overthow of the government in Sri Lanka. We also spent some time talking about politicians and the Ford led 2nd term majority and what he might do about the electricity file if anything. Rising energy costs and the upcoming “Clean Fuel Standard” (another tax) were also discussed!

You can listen to the podcast here starting at 49:00 and ending at 1:04:30:

Enbridge Inc Stymied by Ottawa Energy Evolution

As noted in the OEB’s (Ontario Energy Board) recent “Decision And Order” Enbridge Gas had applied to the OEB in March 2021 for approval to replace 19.8 kilometres of aging gas pipeline in Ottawa.  The pipeline is associated with the St. Laurent Pipeline which services approximately 165,000 Ottawa and Gatineau area customers. 

The OEB recently refused the replacement pipeline and basically told Enbridge to; “Plan for Lower Gas Demand” according to an article in The Energy Mix which noted: “The Ontario Energy Board sent minor shock waves through the province’s energy regulatory and municipal energy communities earlier this month with its refusal to approve the final phases of a $123.7-million pipeline replacement project in Ottawa proposed by Enbridge Gas.”  The article went on to note: “Several observers said this was the first time the OEB had refused a “leave to construct” application from a gas utility,”. 

The OEB, under Anthony Zlahtic,* the Presiding Commissioner, laid out the principal reasons for the decision and three of the five reasons were: City of Ottawa’s Energy Evolution Plan,”,Integrated Resource Planning Alternativesand “Downsizing the Pipeline due to Reduced Future Demand for Natural Gas.

Anthony Zlahic’s Background

Curiosity about Zlahic’s background led to examining his “Linkedin” file which lists his former jobs and co-incidentally claims he spent over 11 years working for Enbridge after which he worked for a subsidiary of EPCOR an electricity generation and distribution company owned by the City of Edmonton. EPCOR has subsidiary operations with one of those being Capital Power Corp of Toronto where Zlahic was employed and actively and successfully pursued wind power projects under the Ontario GEA (Green Energy Act).  He notes working with companies such as Pattern Renewable Energy as well as Samsung on industrial wind turbine projects for Capital Power and suggests he increased their “influence among key government agencies and companies directly and through the Association of Power producers of Ontario (APPrO) and Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA)”. 

Based on Zlahic’s background and activities with both Enbridge Gas and his obvious belief in IWT (industrial wind turbines) as a reliable energy source one should wonder why the OEB appointed him and WHY he didn’t recuse himself (due to his background with Enbridge) from this hearing?

Also note, Zlahic ruled; Enbridge was responsible for all intervenor costs!

Ottawa’s Prejudicial Intervenor

One of the intervenor’s whom Enbridge is obliged to pay costs to is Pollution Probe** and they were represented by Michael Brophy both a director and team member of Pollution Probe.  Interestingly enough Brophy also was a former employee of Enbridge Gas.  One should wonder, did both Zlahic and Brophy part terms with Enbridge in a favourable way or do they hold some prejudices against them?

Another important fact associated with the ruling is in respect to the City of Ottawa’s Energy Evolution Plan which was actually written by Pollution Probe as an earlier article noted.  The foregoing was confirmed by another intervenor who advised that Michael Brophy told him he was a co-author of the 101 page “plan”. The “plan” suggests the costs to Ottawa for net-zero will be $57.4 billion and result in 3,218 MW of IWT capacity and 1,060 MW of solar capacity on rooftops by 2050!

Was the OEB outcome a result of self-flagellation by Enbridge?

It seems very ironic when examining the March 2021 annual statement of Pollution Probe and note their list of “Sponsors, Major Supporters and Partners” includes none other than Enbridge Inc.  

The Pollution Probe statement filed with the CRA indicates gross revenue of $1,839,737 for the year ended March 31, 2021 but only $113,516 or 6.1% was tax receipted by them so; is this an indication they are not much of a worthwhile “charity”?  

What is not surprising to see in their annual report are numerous government donors listed including: Environment and Climate Change Canada, Government of Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Transport Canada, Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks (Province of Ontario) and TAF (Toronto Atmospheric Fund [Municipality of Metro Toronto]).

Interestingly enough Michael Brophy is also listed as a “Major Donor” meaning taxpayers are hit with a double whammy in that their taxes support the government grants which supply Brophy income from Pollution Probe and his donation(s) provides him with a personal tax receipt!

The tax dollars doled out to Pollution Probe according to a Federal Grant search is in the millions of dollars and is additional to the money handed out by them via Federal Contracts worth hundreds of thousands of our tax dollars!

More self-flagellation by Enbridge

Another exampleof Enbridge’s self-flagellation is related to the net-zero push and ESG (environment, social, governance) issues. A four-page letter sent to Larry Fink, the CEO of BlackRock back in March 2022 clearly demonstrates the foregoing.  The President and CEO of Enbridge, Al Monaco goes into detail on how the company is changing. In in Monaco tells Fink how they have invested in wind farms and solar facilities and enshrined ESG related initiatives, etc. into their business model. An example from the letter related to ESG states: “By 2025 we’re aiming for a workforce that will include 28% racial and ethnic group representation, 40% women, 6% persons with disabilities, and 3.5% Indigenous peoples.”

We should all find it dismaying that one of Canada’s most successful companies is basically kowtowing to BlackRock and in effect, the WEF (World Economic Forum) instead of fighting back knowing the world cannot survive with the wind and solar intermittent and unreliable energy pushed by the WEF and the numerous eco-warriors like Pollution Probe.

Appeal of the Masses

For the will of the people Mr. Monaco please stand up for the enormous benefits of fossil fuels and how they have lifted billions of people around the globe out of poverty and saved so many lives!

*The 2021 Ontario Sunshine list indicates Anthony Zlahtic’s annual salary was $169,349.82!

**One of the original founders of the Strathmere Group which this writer has written a series of articles about was Pollution Probe.

The Liberal NDP/Cartel Working to Eliminate Billions in Tax Revenue by increasing Taxes

Many of Canada’s economists must be scratching their heads trying hard to follow the Trudeau/Singh marriage that seeks to overturn economic concepts by “Building Back Better” or via “The Great Reset”!

The basic premise; from the writer’s perception, seems to be; by further taxing fossil fuels they will create utopia eliminating its use and the future will see us all using only clean, green electricity. In order to achieve their goal, increasing taxes for using fossil fuels will not only create those “green” jobs and eliminate poverty but will also save the planet as we (Canada only) aim to achieve net-zero emissions.

Taxes (Levies) Imposed on Fossil Fuels

Natural Resources Canada have posted a chart referenced as “Fuel Consumption Levies in Canada” which sets out what should be called taxes as they simply raise the price of the fuel(s) for the benefit of the Federal and Provincial governments.  The page is inclusive covering those “levies” for: gasoline, diesel, propane (motor vehicle), furnace oil and natural gas (for heating). The chart also includes the 2021 Federal and Provincial “Carbon Levies”. Funnily enough “biomass” and coal are not included in the chart, however, interestingly enough Canada is one of the 120 members of the “Powering Past Coal Alliance” and has committed “$275 million to the World Bank in December 2018 to create the Energy Transition and Coal Phase-Out Program.” Your tax dollars at work somewhere else in the world!

Annual Taxes (Levies) on Natural Gas

According to CIEC Data Canada’s average consumption of natural gas “was reported as 10.868 Cub ft/Day bn in Dec 2020”. That translates to 11,466.35 gigajoules and for a full year is just under 4.2 million gigajoules.  Based on the current levy referenced as the Federal Carbon Charge the tax (Levy) would generate approximately $10.4 billion per annum. On a personal basis I noted on my latest natural gas bill: the Federal Carbon Charge (tax) was 45.7% of the “Gas Supply Charge” and coupled with the HST total taxes represented 80.3% of the cost of the natural gas our household consumed. 

In the future we should wonder; how will the Federal and Provincial governments replace that $10.4 Billion of taxes/levies?

Annual Taxes (Levies) on Gasoline and Diesel Fuel

The number and amount of taxes and levies on gas and diesel fuel is mind-blowing and include; Federal Excise Tax, provincial fuel tax which can vary within each province (highest is Vancouver, BC at 27.5 cents/litre and lowest is the Yukon at 6.2 cents/litre), the carbon tax and  of course, the PST and GST either combined (HST) or individual (Quebec).

So, lets look at the revenue those numerous taxes/levies generate annually from their consumption to get us to work and back, take our kids to school and to move goods and services across our very large country.   

As it turns out the most recent information of consumption Statistics Canada posted is for 2020 which was the first year of the Covid-19 outbreak.  The Covid outbreak created lockdowns, business and school closures, etc. and as a result our consumption of gasoline and diesel fuel fell from 2019. Gasoline consumption fell by 13.8% from 44.8 billion litres to 38.6 billion litres and diesel fuel consumption fell from 17.8 billion litres to 16.2 billion litres or 8.9%.  Despite the drop in consumption the taxes/levies funds rolled into the Federal and Provincial coffers. 

Based on the taxes levied if one does a simple calculation using fifty cents a litre (.50 cents/litre) which is approximately what they would be in Ontario one discovers those 38.6 billion litres would have generated approximately $19.3 billion from gasoline sales.  Diesel taxes are slightly higher so at fifty-two cents a litre (.52cents/litre) the 16.2 billion litres would have generated about $8.4 billion.   Collectively gasoline and diesel sales contributed around $27.7 billion dollars to Federal and provincial revenues.

Once again how will the provincial and Federal governments replace that $27.7 billion of taxes/levies they collected and spent?

Provincial kickbacks due to high fossil fuel costs

As if to make the potential drop in taxes more acute a few provinces have kicked back some of their taxes/levies as a response to the costs associated with fossil fuel consumption as the price of both gasoline and natural gas climbed to record levels.  Ontario has dropped license fees no matter if you drive an EV (electric vehicle) or a vehicle labelled as an ICE (internal combustion engine) saving vehicle owners $120 per year. That will result in lost revenues of almost $1.1 billion annually based on over 9 million vehicles registered in the province.  Alberta has dropped it’s .13 cents/litre fuel tax until the price of WTI (West Texas Intermediate) drops below $80/barrel! BC’s Premier Horgan, said vehicle owners insured with ICBC (a provincially owned monopoly) will be receiving $110 each to “relieve the pain at the pump” which should result in approximately a $400 million payout. What the foregoing suggests is those three provinces will be short of about $2 billion plus during the current year.  As we get closer to the complete elimination of fossil fuel use to drive our ICE cars or to heat our homes, we should expect these kickbacks to disappear due to the billions of taxes/levies that will be lost along with the jobs they support.

The foregoing implies the Federal and Provincial Governments will miss the almost $40 billion dollars annually extracted from taxpayers for using fossil fuels! The $40 billion doesn’t even include the billions coming directly from the fossil fuel companies or the income taxes from those they employ!

Maybe it doesn’t make economic sense to raise taxes to eliminate taxes!  Perhaps it’s time for many of our politicians to take an economics course or spend a little time with some of those impacted by their efforts to achieve “net-zero”!

What Should Ontarians Take Away from Energy Minister Todd Smith’s recent Speech

The very recent article concerning where Minister Smith said Ontario ratepayers are heading in directives issued to IESO and his speech at the Empire Club noted responses were sought from a few knowledgeable individuals that had been intimately involved with the province’s energy sector! Here is their Feedback:

From the first responder who didn’t watch the speech:

“However, I did read the associated press release:

My initial impression is that it strikes me a lot like the “buy wind” BullFrog material.

All I can see it giving is an opportunity for some friends of the government to make an extra buck.  Trouble is, every time somebody is making an extra buck, someone else at the bottom of the pile has to pay a buck-fifty to ensure that the administrative charges get dealt with.  Does it make anything better?  Not very likely.

Will it be used to justify more expensive power, wind solar, and battery / storage – for sure.

Does it mean the government are devoting the attention they should – to actually addressing the problems with wind turbine located too close to homes, or paying non-dispatchable sources a premium, instead of those who should be paid a premium, who can be available 24/7.  Not that I see,

So, in summary, am I impressed … no. I’m finding myself stuck between the proverbial rock and hard spot.  The PC’s have had 4 years and done next to nothing to improve the situation with our energy supply, or addressing the harm done to citizens.  Conversely, had we had a Liberal or NDP government, they might have made the situation even worse.  Not much of a choice.”

From the second responder:

“Good Morning Parker. I am about 20 minutes into the Todd Smith epistle. The PC’s are sounding more like Liberals and NDP every day. Here’s why. They have no shame.

Small Modular Reactors – Doug Ford – LIUNA – BWXT (subsidiary of AECON).
FYI … it is AECON whom are the prime contractor in the nuclear reactor refits for both OPG Darlington and for Bruce Power at Tiverton / Kincardine.

Aecon has their collective labour agreements with ….. (drum roll svp) …. LIUNA.

It was AECON who sought suitors in 2016 and 2017 … offering control of the company in exchange for access to greater amounts of working capital; which in turn would increase the leverage of Aecon to build the massive P3 regional rail electrification projects proposed by Metrolinx; as well as the municipal LRT projects in GTA, Hamilton and Ottawa (2nd phase).

Aecon went so far as to sell their lucrative Ft Mc Murray oil sands mining division in order to raise more cash.

You may recall the Chinese takeover of the company that was quashed by Ottawa in May 2018 … due to concerns of “national security”.

Aecon was bullish on building all of the electric rail projects proposed for Ontario. They formed a new division by poaching people from other companies. To my knowledge as of this date their record of rail electrification contracts obtained still remains at .. zero. As a result, some of those whom were “poached”; left Aecon and went elsewhere.

I will finish listening to the Todd Smith epistle … but so far, it is crystal clear the PC’s are heading in the direction that LIUNA and Aecon wants them to go.”

As is obvious the responses received to the direction Minister Smith has put forward, are not seen as very positive by those whom I consulted despite the enthusiasm exhibited by the Minister in the press release and his speech.  I was particularly struck by the following comment from the first responder:

The PC’s have had 4 years and done next to nothing to improve the situation with our energy supply, or addressing the harm done to citizens.

ESG is Fully Endorsed by Public Sector Pension Plans

The Beatles song “Revolution” lyrics should be required reading for all the “woke” generation pushing the “net-zero” concept. When discovering something recently it brought to mind the words of that classic!  Pre-chorus 3 even had the following words: “But if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao You ain’t going to make it with anyone anyhow“!  

The ESG Revolution

We often discover, after it happens and behind the scenes; bureaucrats (federal, provincial and municipal) support politicians advocating for what they perceive as beneficial to them and do so, without regard for taxpayers obligated to pay the price for their indulgence.

Such was the case when unbeknown to most of us taxpayers those bureaucrats got together via eight publicly supported pension plans  (PPP) and in a press release dated November 25, 2020 united for a cause advocated by the Federal Liberal Party. The cause was their undated agreement to push for ESG (environmental, social and governance) factors when investing our taxpayer dollars (federal and provincial) in any future investments for the benefit of their member’s pensions.

What the foregoing meant was; those “PPP” agreed to impose ESG standards on publicly traded and private companies.  The impact would be on those companies ability to attract PPP as either shareholders or lenders for debt raising via bond issues, etc.  Those public sector pension plans at the time of the signing of the agreement held $1.6 trillion in assets which was close to what Canada’s GDP (gross domestic product) was in 2020 at US $1.57 trillion. A reflection on the power they hold over us lowly taxpayers!  The agreement is not only undated and mind boggling but also not in tune with most taxpayers as to how they should allocate our tax dollars that created their $1.6 trillion value.

The full text of the short but “undated” and compelling agreement follows:

Companies and investors must put sustainability and inclusive growth at the centre of economic recovery

COVID-19 continues to impose a huge toll on our daily lives, impacting families, businesses, public institutions and civil society worldwide. The pandemic and other tragic events of 2020 have revealed pre-existing business strengths and shortcomings with respect to social inequity, including systemic racism and environmental threats.

It is imperative we rebuild our economies in ways that create greater systemic resiliency and inclusive growth. The time to act is now, and each of us has a role to play. We call on companies and investment partners to help drive lasting change by placing sustainability at the centre of their planning, operations and reporting.

As CEOs of Canada’s eight largest pension plan investment managers, representing $1.6 trillion in assets under management, we are committed to creating more sustainable and inclusive growth by integrating environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into our strategies and investment decisions. It is not only the right thing to do, it is an integral part of our duty to contributors and beneficiaries. Doing this will unlock opportunities and mitigate risks, supporting our mandates to deliver long-term risk-adjusted returns.

To deliver on our mandates, we require increased transparency from companies. How companies identify and address issues such as diversity and inclusion, human capital, board effectiveness and climate change can significantly contribute to value creation or erosion. Companies have an obligation to disclose their material business risks and opportunities to financial markets and should provide financially relevant, comparable and decision-useful information. While we recognize companies face a myriad of disclosure frameworks and requests, it is vital that they report relevant ESG data in a standardized way.

We ask that companies measure and disclose their performance on material, industry-relevant ESG factors by leveraging the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) standards and the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) framework to further standardize ESG-related reporting. While the SASB standards focus broadly on industry-relevant sustainability reporting, the TCFD framework calls for climate-specific disclosures across several reporting pillars (governance, strategy, risk, and metrics and targets). Both are useful to investors and informative to companies working to frame their ESG reporting.

We are confident the ability to successfully address and adapt to these 21st-century business risks and opportunities is a distinguishing feature of great companies. While for many this will require greater ambition than in the past, we believe companies demonstrating ESG-astute practices and disclosure will outperform over the long-term.

For our part, we continue to strengthen our own ESG disclosure and integration practices, and allocate capital to investments best placed to deliver long-term sustainable value creation.

Inspired by this historic opportunity to help confront the most urgent challenges facing our global community, we ask others committed to our vision to join us on this journey towards a more sustainable future.“   

The eight CEOs who signed the agreement represented the following public pension plans:

Alberta Investment Management Corporation, British Columbia Investment Management Corporation, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Healthcare of Ontario Pension Plan, Ontario Municipal Employees Retirement System, Ontario Teachers Pension Plan and the Public Sector Pension Investment Board!

The reference to SASB and TCFD in the agreement suggests these two UN inspired creations from a 2004 letter sent by Secretary General Koffi Annan to 50 CEOs of major financial institutions have completely revised the way we have been measuring financial performance over the centuries. It suggests 2 + 2 no longer equals 4!  To pretend companies will become “great” by adopting ESG factors flies in the face of all logic. The “E” (environmental) in ESG is what the Mark Carney, Michael Bloomberg political fans and eco-warriors have focused on and if the punishment of the middle and lower classes continues under their direction and the politicians they have influenced, we should expect:

As the Beatles opined “You say you want a revolution”!

NB: The Washington based “Institute for Pension Fund Integrity” in a report concluded: “Although there are over $20 trillion in ESG assets under management, it lacks a standardized definition under which all firms can unite and under which regulators can address legitimate concerns.“  

Some Naked Facts (?) on – Batteries, Solar and Wind

NB: I received this from a friend and felt it was worth posting as it is full of interesting facts!

When I saw the title of this lecture, especially with the picture of the scantily clad model, I couldn’t resist attending. The packed auditorium was abuzz with questions about the address; nobody seemed to know what to expect. The only hint was a large aluminum block sitting on a sturdy table on the stage.

When the crowd settled down, a scholarly-looking man walked out and put his hand on the shiny block, “Good evening,” he said, “I am here to introduce NMC532-X,” and he patted the block, “we call him NM for short,” and the man smiled proudly. “NM is a typical electric vehicle (EV) car battery in every way except one; we programmed him to send signals of the internal movements of his electrons when charging, discharging, and in several other conditions. We wanted to know what it feels like to be a battery. We don’t know how it happened, but NM began to talk after we downloaded the program.

Despite this ability, we put him in a car for a year and then asked him if he’d like to do presentations about batteries. He readily agreed on the condition he could say whatever he wanted. We thought that was fine, and so, without further ado, I’ll turn the floor over to NM,” the man turned and walked off the stage.

“Good evening,” NM said. He had a slightly affected accent, and when he spoke, he lit up in different colors. “That cheeky woman on the marquee was my idea,” he said. “Were she not there, along with ‘naked’ in the title, I’d likely be speaking to an empty auditorium! I also had them add ‘shocking’ because it’s a favorite word amongst us batteries.” He flashed a light blue color as he laughed.

“Sorry,” NM giggled then continued, “three days ago, at the start of my last lecture, three people walked out. I suppose they were disappointed there would be no dancing girls. But here is what I noticed about them. One was wearing a battery-powered hearing aid, one tapped on his battery- powered cell phone as he left, and a third got into his car, which would not start without a battery.

So I’d like you to think about your day for a moment; how many batteries do you rely on?” He paused for a full minute which gave us time to count our batteries. Then he went on, “Now, it is not elementary to ask, ‘what is a battery?’ I think Tesla said it best when they called us Energy Storage Systems. That’s important. We do not make electricity – we store electricity produced elsewhere, primarily by coal, uranium, natural gas-powered plants, or diesel-fueled generators. So, to say an EV is a zero-emission vehicle is not at all valid. Also, since forty percent of the electricity generated in the U.S. is from coal-fired plants, it follows that forty percent of the EVs on the road are coal-powered, n’est-ce pas? He flashed blue again. “Einstein’s formula, E=MC2, tells us it takes the same amount of energy to move a five-thousand-pound gasoline- driven automobile a mile as it does an electric one. The only question again is what produces the power? To reiterate, it does not come from the battery; the battery is only the storage device, like a gas tank in a car.” He lit up red when he said that, and I sensed he was smiling. Then he continued in blue and orange.

“Mr. Elkay introduced me as NMC532. If I were the battery from your computer mouse, Elkay would introduce me as double-A, if from your cell phone as CR2032, and so on. We batteries all have the same name depending on our design. By the way, the ‘X’ in my name stands for ‘experimental.’ There are two orders of batteries, rechargeable, and single- use. The most common single-use batteries are A, AA, AAA, C, D. 9V, and lantern types. Those dry-cell species use zinc, manganese, lithium, silver oxide, or zinc and carbon to store electricity chemically. Please note they all contain toxic, heavy metals.

Rechargeable batteries only differ in their internal materials, usually lithium-ion, nickel-metal oxide, and nickel-cadmium. The United States uses three billion of these two battery types a year, and most are not recycled; they end up in landfills. California is the only state which requires all batteries be recycled. If you throw your small, used batteries in the trash, here is what happens to them.

All batteries are self-discharging. That means even when not in use, they leak tiny amounts of energy. You have likely ruined a flashlight or two from an old ruptured battery. When a battery runs down and can no longer power a toy or light, you think of it as dead; well, it is not. It continues to leak small amounts of electricity. As the chemicals inside it run out, pressure builds inside the battery’s metal casing, and eventually, it cracks. The metals left inside then ooze out. The ooze in your ruined flashlight is toxic, and so is the ooze that will inevitably leak from every battery in a landfill. All batteries eventually rupture; it just takes rechargeable batteries longer to end up in the landfill. In addition to dry cell batteries, there are also wet cell ones used in automobiles, boats, and motorcycles. The good thing about those is, ninety percent of them are recycled. Unfortunately, we do not yet know how to recycle batteries like me or care to dispose of single-use ones properly. But that is not half of it.

For those of you excited about electric cars and a green revolution, I want you to take a closer look at batteries and also windmills, and solar panels. These three technologies share what we call “environmentally destructive embedded costs.” NM got redder as he spoke. “Everything manufactured has two costs associated with it, embedded costs and operating costs. I will explain embedded costs using a can of baked beans as my subject. In this scenario, baked beans are on sale, so you jump in your car and head for the grocery store. Sure enough, there they are on the shelf for $1.75 a can. As you head to the checkout, you begin to think about the embedded costs in the can of beans. The first cost is the diesel fuel the farmer used to plow the field, till the ground, harvest the beans, and transport them to the food processor. Not only is his diesel fuel an embedded cost, so are the costs to build the tractors, combines, and trucks. In addition, the farmer might use a nitrogen fertilizer made from natural gas. Next is the energy costs of cooking the beans, heating the building, transporting the workers, and paying for the vast amounts of electricity used to run the plant. The steel can holding the beans is also an embedded cost. Making the steel can requires mining taconite, shipping it by boat, extracting the iron, placing it in a coal-fired blast furnace, and adding carbon. Then it’s back on another truck to take the beans to the grocery store. Finally, add in the cost of the gasoline for your car. But wait – can you guess one of the highest but rarely acknowledged embedded costs?” NM said, then gave us about thirty seconds to make our guesses. Then he flashed his lights and said, “It’s the depreciation on the 5000 pound car you used to transport one pound of canned beans!” NM took on a golden glow, and I thought he might have winked. He said, “But that can of beans is nothing compared to me! I am hundreds of times more complicated. My embedded costs not only come in the form of energy use; they come as environmental destruction, pollution, disease, child labor, and the inability to be recycled.”

He paused, “I weigh one thousand pounds, and as you see, I am about the size of a travel trunk.” NM’s lights showed he was serious. “I contain twenty-five pounds of lithium, sixty pounds of nickel, 44 pounds of manganese, 30 pounds cobalt, 200 pounds of copper, and 400 pounds of aluminum, steel, and plastic. Inside me are 6,831 individual lithium-ion cells. It should concern you that all those toxic components come from mining. For instance, to manufacture each auto battery like me, you must process 25,000 pounds of brine for the lithium, 30,000 pounds of ore for the cobalt, 5,000 pounds of ore for the nickel, and 25,000 pounds of ore for copper. All told, you dig up 500,000 pounds of the earth’s crust for just – one – battery.” He let that one sink in, then added, “I mentioned disease and child labor a moment ago. Here’s why. Sixty-eight percent of the world’s cobalt, a significant part of a battery, comes from the Congo. Their mines have no pollution controls and they employ children who die from handling this toxic material. Should we factor in these diseased kids as part of the cost of driving an electric car?” NM’s red and orange light made it look like he was on fire.

“Finally,” he said, “I’d like to leave you with these thoughts. California is building the largest battery in the world near San Francisco, and they intend to power it from solar panels and windmills. They claim this is the ultimate in being ‘green,’ but it is not! This construction project is creating an environmental disaster. Let me tell you why.

The main problem with solar arrays is the chemicals needed to process silicate into the silicon used in the panels. To make pure enough silicon requires processing it with hydrochloric acid, sulfuric acid, nitric acid, hydrogen fluoride, trichloroethane, and acetone. In addition, they also need gallium, arsenide, copper-indium-gallium-diselenide, and cadmium-telluride, which also are highly toxic. Silicon dust is a hazard to the workers, and the panels cannot be recycled.

Windmills are the ultimate in embedded costs and environmental destruction. Each weighs 1688 tons (the equivalent of 23 houses) and contains 1300 tons of concrete, 295 tons of steel, 48 tons of iron, 24 tons of fiberglass, and the hard to extract rare earths neodymium, praseodymium, and dysprosium. Each blade weighs 81,000 pounds and will last 15 to 20 years, at which time it must be replaced. We cannot recycle used blades. Sadly, both solar arrays and windmills kill birds, bats, sea life, and migratory insects.

NM lights dimmed, and he quietly said, “There may be a place for these technologies, but you must look beyond the myth of zero emissions. I predict EVs and windmills will be abandoned once the embedded environmental costs of making and replacing them become apparent. I’m trying to do my part with these lectures. Thank you for your attention, good night, and good luck.” NM’s lights went out, and he was quiet, like a regular battery.

Wow, Quite the Party at Glasgow with 39,509 registered for COP 26

Recently, a friend and ardent advocate for the truth about “climate change” sent me the link to the Provisional list of registered participants (PLOP) to the COP26 festivities just ended in Glasgow. While most of the Provincial Governments sent participants to COP26, Quebec stands out with over 20 attendees whereas Ontario sent only 4. The provincial number of attendees however pales compared to those attending from the Federal Liberal government which includes Trudeau’s Lead Speechwriter as well as his Official Photographer! 

It is worth noting from the below chart (posted on the 1616 page PDF file of attendees at COP26) the number of (NGO) “Non-governmental organizations” (1,823) who attended the conference with 14,033 participants. Many of those NGO are “charities”.   Now, try to imagine the millions of dollars they spent and why this should be considered a charitable activity?

One assumes the “charitable attendees” were not included in media reports stating: “Canada sent 277 delegates and 17 press aides along for the ride. That’s a lot of emissions – and a lot of taxpayer dollars“.  Despite the foregoing, in a search of PLOP many Canadian registered eco-warrior charities did send lots of delegates. The PLOP listing attendees frequently fails to indicate the country associated with individual names but in doing the “ctrl/f” search a number of Canadian charities, etc. are identifiable! 

To wit:

Those eco-charities with a few identifiable attendees from Canada included: Environmental Defence, WWF, Sierra Club, David Suzuki Foundation and a new charity established by none other than Bruce Lourie, called; “The Transition Accelerator” (TA) where he is Chairman of the Board! The TA’s aim is, “to support Canada’s transition to a net zero future while solving societal challenges“.  Based on their CRA financial filings they have not had to issue a “tax receipt” since their formation as their revenue ($867K) came from other “registered charities” such as the “Ivey Foundation” where Lourie sits as President.

The Ivey Foundation has also handed out grants to Environmental Defence where he spent time as Board Chair and built his relationship with Rick Smith when they coauthored a book. Smith was also an attendee at COP26 but more on him below! 

Another attendee of COP26 was IISD (International Institute of Sustainable Development), a Winnipeg based charity which also received funding from the Ivey Foundation.  The big money for IISD however comes from the UN, the Canadian Federal government and some from the provinces or province of Manitoba.  Total tax receipted funds were a miserly $53,617. (0.2% of gross revenue or enough to cover about 20% of their highest paid employee’s income) out of total revenue of $25.6 million based on their most recent filing with the CRA. IISD appear to have sent at least 12 people to COP26 and will, presumably, claim all their expenses as a “charitable activity”!

The other Canadian entity I was able to identify is a “not-for-profit” named Climate Action Network (CAN-Rac)* who sent at least 30 individuals to COP26. CAN-Rac are a coalition of over 100 organizations which includes Environmental Defence, Sierra Club and the David Suzuki Foundation.  CAN-Rac has been known to spin untruths as pointed out in an article yours truly penned over a year ago.

Now, let’s return to Rick Smith who was an attendee of COP26 as head honcho of the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices (CICC), along with one other CICC officer.  CICC is the institution created by Catherine McKenna when she held the Ministerial post of Environment and Climate Change and handed out $20 million of our tax dollars to create it.  Presumably Smith is not only happy with his presidential position but also pleased to have reconnected with Bruce Lourie who is one of the many members of the Board of Directors.

 As is obvious, Canada once again had the highest number of attendees at COP26 with 277 attendees! If one does the simple math of dividing the Total Party attendees by the number of countries the average is approximately 110 per country.  Canadian attendees were two- and one-half times that average which suggests the Canadian contingent emitted 250% more CO2 per attendee than any other country in attendance!.

Sure, doesn’t appear our Trudeau led Government are practicing what they preach to us minions!

It appears to be an unmitigated “PLOP”!

*CAN-Rac also had a former Board member in attendance in the form of the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Steven Guilbeault.