Alberta premier must not support the climate scare when promoting her province’s hydrocarbon fuel resources in Washington DC this week
By Tom Harris
History is replete with tragic examples of those who collaborated with the enemy or sought to appease political correctness and wishful thinking for their own short term benefit. Nowhere is this more evident than in today’s climate change debate. Politicians from across the political spectrum, fossil fuel companies and academics who should know better, not only bow to the climate scare, but actively support it. They even use the unscientific, misnomer-riddled language of their opponents.
The situation is especially alarming in oil-rich Alberta, Canada. There, a supposedly conservative government feeds the fire that threatens to destroy the province’s, and indeed the country’s, main source of wealth, their vast hydrocarbon resources. In an attempt to please the Obama administration so as to secure approval for the Keystone XL pipeline project, and to keep climate campaigners and Canada’s mostly left wing media at bay, Alberta Premier Alison Redford has completely capitulated to climate alarmism.
Her approach is doomed to failure. After all, the primary threat to Keystone XL is the feared impact of oil sands expansion on global climate, and XL will certainly facilitate oil sands expansion.
If approved, the pipeline will pump 830,000 barrels of crude oil every day from Alberta’s oil sands, the world’s third-largest proven reserves, to refineries in Texas. That is over 4% of U.S. daily oil consumption and about 20% of all U.S. imports from the Middle East and Venezuela combined. Besides enhancing America’s energy security, thousands of jobs and billions of dollars are at stake in both countries. Significant tax revenue will flow to provincial, state and federal governments and industry and ordinary citizens alike will see enormous benefits.
But oil sands processing produces more carbon dioxide (CO2), the gas of most concern in the climate debate, than does the refining of conventional crude oil. So activists have drawn a line in the sand with Keystone XL. Even though the oil sands contribute only just over 1/10th of 1% of humanity’s total CO2 emissions, anything that helps the oil sands grow must be stopped, they say. XL is symbolic of our dependence on fossil fuels, an addiction that campaigners believe is destroying the climate.
If science supported the hypothesis that CO2 emissions are causing climatic Armageddon, then anti-Keystone protesters would have a point. To the degree possible, we should then be looking for less CO2-intensive energy sources and trying to ramp down, not up, projects such as the oil sands. Rejecting Keystone XL would then be a cogent symbol that President Barack Obama is serious about tacking global warming, a legacy he would dearly love to be remembered for.
But the science is too immature to know how much influence our CO2 emissions have on climate.
Computerized climate models clearly do not work—even the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) admits there has been no overall warming for the past 17 years, something the models failed to predict. Applied mathematics professor Christopher Essex of the University of Western Ontario emphasizes that “the big policy questions are beyond the best models we can currently make. Climate is far from a simple solved scientific problem.”
The geologic record does not support dangerous CO2-driven planetary warming either. “CO2 has played no role in the dramatic climate change of the ice ages, or at any other time over the past 500 million years”, said University of Ottawa Earth Sciences Professor Ian D. Clark. “Only in unverified computer models cited by the IPCC does CO2 drive climate change.”
It is not surprising that the Alberta government dare not contest the scientific foundation of the climate scare. Perhaps they even believe Al Gore when he says that the science is settled. But it makes no sense for Redford and her cabinet to accept, let alone promote alarm. While they do not have the training to know which side of the science is right, they must know that ending our use of fossil fuels entirely, the ultimate aim of climate activists, would cripple the province’s economy, and eventually that of Canada and the United States.
Redford meets with lawmakers in Washington DC this coming week to lobby for the Keystone XL pipeline project and the oil sands. By more carefully crafting her message, and not simply caving in to political correctness, Redford can boost these important projects effectively without helping her strongest opponents.
The 14 minute video just release by ICSC lays out how to do this.
The public can judge for themselves whether Alberta’s premier continues to support the main argument of Keystone XL opponents. Her Tuesday afternoon presentation to the Washington DC-based Brookings Institute, strong proponents of the climate scare themselves, may be heard in line in real time at http://www.brookings.edu/events/2013/04/09-alberta-energy-redford.