Net-Zero in 2050: Rhetoric and Realities

By Dr. Henry Geraedts, Adjunct Prof. Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Saskatchewan, July 22, 2021

In November 2020, the federal government signaled its intention to move Canada’s economy to net-zero greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2050, tabling the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act in the House of Commons. This is a daunting challenge, as Canada is not on track to meet even its softer, non-binding Paris Climate Accord target of a 30 per cent reduction in GHG emissions from 2005 levels by 2030.

Assuming that setting a goal will therefore make it inevitable involves considerable wishful thinking. In practice, achieving Net Zero 2050 requires changing both the structure and modus operandi of our societies, forcing systemic electrification and eliminating hydrocarbons. Absent from the political rhetoric is whether existing energy alternatives to hydrocarbons allow us to rationally undertake such a transition. Broad, compelling evidence suggests not. 

Historically, the world has successfully navigated several energy transitions, but only when doing so was demand-driven and socio-economically advantageous. In contrast, top down, policy-push, political programs rapidly face hard-edged socio-economic and physical obstacles.

This paper explores the “green” energy technologies promoted by governments as Net-Zero solutions, to identify the limits of what they can deliver. Applying a ground rule from venture capital, we identify issues that ceteris paribus cause the case to fail, and use those observations to outline consequences and outcomes.

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NY plans for ‘net zero’ power grid make zero logical or financial sense

By Francis Menton, May 3, 2022

Today I trekked out to Brooklyn to testify at a public hearing on New York’s plans to achieve “net zero” electricity by 2030 or so, and a “net zero” economy by 2050. The organization holding the hearing was the New York Climate Action Council. This body was created under New York’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act of 2019 (Climate Act), and is tasked with figuring out how to achieve the statutorily mandated net zero targets.

The first statutory target is 40% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, which as a practical matter means that fossil fuels must be almost completely eliminated from the electricity sector by that date. … Today’s hearing allowed members of the public to comment on the Draft Scoping Plan, supposedly so that any appropriate adjustments can be made before the Plan becomes final later this year.

The Climate Action Council has some 21 members. … It is dominated by environmental activists and political functionaries with no background or interest in how a huge electrical grid might actually get converted to “net zero” as an engineering matter.

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Steven Koonin: Climate science is far from ‘settled’

By Ken Wilson, P.Eng.(ret)

Dr. Steven Koonin, an American theoretical physicist and author of Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What it Doesn’t, and Why it Matters, was invited to give the Global Warming Policy Foundation’s 2021 Annual Lecture in England last November. The 43-minute lecture is available on YouTube here.

The video is worth watching by anyone interested in the issues surrounding global warming. I am sure most people who watch the first few minutes of the video will want to see all of it.

Koonin’s book Unsettled reviews documents in the 2021 release of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Report 6 (AR6).

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Temperature in Canadian cities: Where’s the scary warming?

By Paul MacRae, March 15, 2022

Weatherstats.ca is a website that offers data on weather conditions in Canadian cities now and over time since 1913. The site draws its data from Environment and Climate Change Canada and so should be fairly reliable.

Astonishingly, as economist Ross McKitrick pointed out in a 2019 Vancouver Sun article 1, the site shows that for more than a century the average temperatures for most Canadian cities have been pretty much flat. Yes, flat.

Figure 1: The IPCC’s “hockey stick” graph, which shows massive warming in the 20th century

If you are looking for the IPCC’s “hockey stick,” which is flat for centuries with massive temperature zooms in recent times (Figure 1), you won’t find it in the Canadian city data, or in the data for most of the world’s cities.

Fortunately, as with Woodfortrees (see article on the Background page), you can check the data for yourself on this website. Here’s how.

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  1. Ross McKitrick, “Reality check — there is no ‘climate emergency’ in Vancouver.” Vancouver Sun, July 23, 2019

Global warming myths: A ‘sixth mass extinction’

Claims of a modern ‘human-caused biotic holocaust’ are based on computer models and guesswork, not scientific facts

By Paul MacRae

In a popular textbook on writing creative non-fiction, the authors echo a familiar claim of global-warming alarmists: that thanks to our carbon emissions, we are creating a “sixth mass extinction” that will wipe out most of the planet’s animals and possibly humanity itself. The authors write:

Your [the reader’s] life has witnessed the eclipse of hundreds of thousands of species, even if they passed out of this world without your awareness. (The current rate of species extinction is matched only by that of the age of the dinosaurs’ demise.)[emphasis added] 1

This belief in a “current” mass extinction (usually blamed on climate change but also, much more plausibly, on habitat encroachment) is widely held and often cited by the environmental and anti-global-warming movements.

For example, eco-crusader and former U.S. vice-president Al Gore, in his 1992 book Earth in the Balance, contended that we are losing 100 species a day, or almost 40,000 species a year.2 Gore took this figure from a book by biologist Norman Myers; where Myers got his numbers is discussed below.

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  1. Brenda Miller and Suzanne Paola, Telling It Slant: Writing and Shaping Creative Non-Fiction. Toronto: McGraw-Hill, 2005, p. 35.
  2. Al Gore, Earth in the Balance: Ecology and the Human Spirit. Toronto: Penguin Books, 1993 (1992), p. 28.

Jeffrey Foss: Why I am not an environmentalist

By Jeffrey E. Foss

Note: This is a slight update of a lecture by our Climate Realists colleague Dr. Jeffrey Foss, philosophy professor emeritus at the University of Victoria, given in December 1999. The talk caused a controversy—as Foss notes, he was attacked by environmentalists for embracing science rather than nature, and by scientists for not embracing environmentalism.1 In fact, as you will see below, Jeff proposed an environmentalism that embraced humanity as a creation of and friend of nature, rather than, as so many environmentalists believe, nature’s enemy. Jeff died in March, 2022. He will be missed by all of us.

I love nature, and I believe that the natural world must be protected from the depredations of human beings—let’s be absolutely clear about this from the start.

Nevertheless, I also believe that humans are part of nature, hence that there is no contradiction between the flourishing of nature and the flourishing of human beings. Unfortunately, environmentalism, as we all know, pits us against nature, painting us as Mother Nature’s misbegotten children, convicting us without trial or jury as born enemies of our planet.

This is especially obvious when it comes to so-called “Climate Change,” the doctrine that tells us that human flourishing will cause apocalyptic warming. Every day we are asked to sacrifice the plentiful fossil fuels that have made possible our recent escape from starvation, hard physical labor, disease, ignorance, tyranny and world wars.

It is falsely drummed into us that our very escape itself is destroying “The Environment”—a horrendous crime for which we must pay penalties, suffer punishment, shrive and repent. Storm, flood, and disease are fictionalized as nature’s way of striking back at us for our environmental sins. 

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  1. Jeff describes the controversy in the Introduction to his book Beyond Environmentalism: A Philosophy of Nature. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2009, p. 1. The text of Beyond Environmentalism is available at https://www.beyondenvironmentalism.com.