Column: Net Zero 2050? That’s Nothing – Hold My Beer


Serious goal-setting seems like a very good way to torment oneself, creating a new reason out of thin air. My New Year’s resolution is to avoid setting goals. Type A is not my type.

But maybe it’s time to turn over a new leaf. I’ve decided I don’t want to be a bedridden old coot. So it’s showtime.

By the year 2050, I’m going to be the first 80-something to run a sub-four-minute mile. I’m going to bench press 1,200 pounds and win the Tour de France five times in a row, all as an octogenarian. 

Aw come on. You’re laughing at me. Why do you have to be like that? 

I’m not crazy, I’m just trying to get with the times. Aspiration is everything, reality is nothing.

If you live in Alberta, you may have noticed we are in the midst of a provincial election campaign. Regarding the potential outcomes, all I can say is this: I’m grateful to live near some natural gas wells. I’m grateful to step outside the city and be farmers and farmland and have clean water.

Taken together, by 2050, it seems quite probable that only those living amongst such a collection will be the last people standing.

Our two main combatants in the provincial election are, to the extent I am paying attention (not really), duking it out over who has the best emissions reduction plan, and who’s the most apt to lead to net zero 2050.

You want to run towards that light? Here’s a sneak preview of what you’ll get. The U.S., more advanced than Canada in terms of wind/solar penetration – some states now producing significant proportions of power from wind or solar – recently received a very cold bucket of water over the head with respect to renewables plans from none other than FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) commissioners.

Note that these commissioners include chairman Willie Phillips, a Biden appointee. Here are quotes from commissioners (including Mr. Phillips) testifying at a Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing: “The United States is heading for a catastrophic situation in terms of reliability…We face unprecedented challenges to the reliability of our nation’s electric system…[there is a] looming reliability crisis in our electricity markets.”

What is the specific cause of their alarm bells? The fact that hydrocarbon power plants – gas and coal – are being shuttered faster than reliable replacements are available. That’s what happens when arbitrary goals are carved in stone.

And they’re only at a fraction of where they want/plan to get with wind and solar! How do you like those targets now? Who’s up for a ‘catastrophic situation in terms of reliability’?

Is anyone voting explicitly for an unreliable electrical grid? Because they certainly are implicit. That’s what we’re going to get in the race to net zero 2050 when unreliable power sources dominate at the expense of reliable ones.

And then let’s electrify everything in the meantime, to amplify the catastrophic consequences to the max. Let’s go all EV and further reduce the reliability of our grid. Let’s get rid of natural gas heat and roll the dice on sufficient wind speed to keep us alive some future January.

They’re all nuts. 

Is this what it takes to succeed in this world, join the zombies in chanting when none of them have a realistic game plan?

Where are the spines? When will someone stand up and say “Old Man, you’re not going to be able to walk across the room without taking a nap, never mind running a 4-minute-mile.” When will someone stand up and say “Enough with the stupid timelines with no technological or logistical or realistic hope of coming to reality?”

Where is someone with the courage to tell ignorant mobs of commentators to stand back because there is work to do, and not succumb to groupthink, to stop acting like the forced enthusiasm in North Korean crowds where, if you don’t cheer loud enough for Dear Leader, things will go very badly for you indeed? Is that what we’ve become? “I pledge allegiance to the primacy of bad weather as evidence that we must destroy our fuel system and take a wild swing at something else we don’t even understand yet?”

You want targets? By all means, set targets. But tether them to some form of reality. Make the Pathways Alliance (CO2 sequestration of oilsands emissions) a reality. Ensure 10 per cent of the home heating system is hydrogen by a certain date. Reduce methane emissions/leaks by x per cent by whenever is realistic. Make sure there are 500 hydrogen fuelling stations in the province by 2035. Whatever.

New technologies are being developed rapidly, as we speak. By all means, encourage them into existence. But don’t bank on the being there as replacements when unproven at scale, or when the cost of integrating is either a wild guess or subject to material availability of which there is no guarantee.

There are a million sane targets, built on reality, built on real things, each of which makes an emissions difference.

But we’re getting hung up on the not-sane targets. We’re burning all the bridges. We are pledging to chain our economy to an arbitrary target at an arbitrary date with no demonstrably tested way to get there, and then charge off into the fog at full speed, foot flat to the floor. We will cut off existing avenues that work for ones that we don’t know will – arbitrarily, and rapidly. We will pledge to build insane amounts of infrastructure with metals and minerals of which there aren’t enough in the world.

The International Energy Agency is the only group I’ve seen that actually tried to generate a net zero 2050 roadmap, and even by their calculations, half the technology required to do so does not yet exist in the commercial world. (And then they pointed out in a separate report that we aren’t close to having enough metals/minerals to do it anyway. But hey, it’s a roadmap!)

Here’s what you get for trying to rush it. Look at Germany, a former industrial powerhouse turning into a wreck before our eyes. Yes, the Russian war has accelerated their energy woes, but German electricity prices were sky-high before the invasion as they covered every surface in solar panels and chased away hydrocarbons.

Now, Germany is burning coal because it shut down nuclear plants and remains at war with fossil fuels despite building LNG import terminals in record time.

And look at the consequences of a blind rush to an unrealistic target, this from the Financial Times: “Oliver Blume, VW’s chief executive, has since called for politicians to intervene in the European electricity market, arguing that prices must stay below 7 cents per kilowatt hour for the region to remain competitive. The average price of electricity for business consumers in Germany was just over €0.25 per kWh including taxes in the second half of 2022.”

Oh, and about even the realistic targets: they’re getting obliterated in the rush to net zero 2050 also. I mentioned the Pathways Alliance plan to get the oil sands to net zero; sounds excellent but not good enough in certain circles that wield inordinate influence.

Consider this G&M story outlining how Greenpeace and other environmental groups have Canada’s Competition Bureau investigating the Pathways Alliance net zero road map for false advertising. Their reasoning is that yeah, you might get to net zero as producers, but combustion of oil products contributes 80 per cent of the emissions. So no matter what you do, oil sands producers, you’ll only be getting 20 per cent of the way there.

In other words, Greenpeace won’t be happy until production grinds to a halt. Who the heck is Greenpeace to be dictating our national energy policy, you might say. Fringe activists don’t call the shots.

Oh, but they do. For anyone that hasn’t been paying attention, let me introduce you to Steven Guilbeault, Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and former Greenpeace activist. Well, not exactly former – Mr. Guilbeault recently told the New York Times that he remains the same activist, he is just working from the inside now.

“I see my role, and I think certainly the prime minister of Canada sees my role as being an activist inside the government as opposed to what I used to do, being an activist outside government…I left Greenpeace to go to Equiterre because I felt it was time for me to try and continue my activism but in a different way. The decision to leave the environmental movement and go into politics is for me a continuation of my life’s work.”

The biggest problem with activists in charge is their disdain for the existing fuel system, and the fact that they want it gone. Support for anything to do with it is muted or non-existent. The best emissions reductions ideas I’ve seen are offshoots of the existing system, and they face strong opposition solely for the reason that they are built off the existing system. I’ve sat in their offices and heard their frustrated stories. But that’s the only way an energy transition will work.

Net zero 2050. Great slogan. If only there was a known or knowable path to get there. It won’t be wished into existence when we don’t have the building blocks. Try to build a house like that sometime. The only thing dumber is pledging a net-zero electricity grid by 2035. Introducing vastly more wind and solar will simply destabilize the grid like it has everywhere else, and introduce more unreliability. 29dk2902l

Bottom line on the climate policy of whoever gets elected – if it’s a climate policy instead of an industrial policy geared towards emissions reduction and environmental well-being (as in, preservation, conservation, etc.), run for the hills.

 Warren Buffett said something interesting at the Berkshire annual festival (one of many interesting things, as usual): “What gives you opportunities is other people doing dumb things…I would say there’s been a great increase in the number of people doing dumb things.”

I’m sure he’s not wrong, but it’s a tough way to live. What makes this election so dreary is that it’s evident that the province is extremely divided, and that the two sides really hate each other. The bilateral loathing is palpable, and whoever wins, it will remain an ugly, hateful scene until the next election. And probably far beyond. 

To compound the misery, the divide will to a certain extent likely be broken along the lines that give me more despair than anything – urban vs. rural. One of the reasons we’re in such an energy mess is that urbanized people have become distanced from where stuff comes from – raw materials, energy, and food. A political outcome that increases that divide is a tragedy. Let’s hope for calm and sanity come June, and try to find some way to work together because…

It looks like the province will be, one way or another, signing on to an arbitrary goal with an arbitrary deadline and with no realistic path to get there. So be it. [Strokes chin like a Marvel villain.] Yes, Mr. Buffett, maybe we can’t bench press 1,200 pounds in our 80s, can we, and maybe we can’t prevent the hypnotic tide of insanity. But dumb things lead to opportunities, and wisdom dictates we look for them. 

Rather than dwelling on politics (if your side loses) or celebrating too hard (if your side wins), you’ll be better off focusing on the fact that we live in one of the glorious corners of the world with abundant food, energy, clean water, and natural resources. (For those fighting the worst fire season in decades, hang in there and hoping all goes well.)

Chaining ourselves to arbitrary deadlines that are not even understood will bring down many of the world’s economic engines (see Germany). Be grateful if you live in one of the places with the resources to survive the onslaught.

Energy conversations should be positive and, most of all, grounded in reality. Life depends on it. Find out more in  “The End of Fossil Fuel Insanity” at, or Thanks!

Read more insightful analysis from Terry Etam here, or email Terry here.

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Ron Long
May 18, 2023 6:32 am

Thanks to Terry Etam for a thoughtful Reality Check and to WATTS for posting it. The irrational rush toward energy disasters, like grid failures and rolling blackouts, is so stupid that it seems deliberate rather than unintentional. Press on and stand guard.

William Howard
Reply to  Ron Long
May 18, 2023 8:54 am

well you have the former head of the UNIPCC staring that the goal of environmentalism is more about the destruction of capitalism than the environment – why all climate alarmists are called watermelons – green on the outside & red on the inside

Reply to  Ron Long
May 18, 2023 9:52 am

fear monger

Reply to  Steven Mosher
May 18, 2023 10:17 am

Heretic!! burn him!…

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Steven Mosher
May 18, 2023 1:26 pm

Fearmonger? How about this:

These US States Most At Risk For Blackouts This Summer, New Report Says

As temperatures climb, attention is turning toward the nation’s power grids and whether they can handle the added demand this summer.

“Though the Northeast should fare well, much of the US is facing an elevated risk of power blackouts between June and September, according to a report from the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC).

The risk assessment found that the entire western half of the US is in the “elevated” risk category, meaning the potential for insufficient operating reserves in above-normal conditions.

Regulators said a number of factors could disrupt the power supply, including drought, supply chain issues, and potential cyber attacks.
States from the Midwest down to Arkansas and Louisiana are facing a high risk of blackouts thanks to a 2.3% drop in generation capacity compared to summer of 2021, according to NERC.”

I guess NERC is fearmongering, too, huh?

Last edited 18 days ago by Tom Abbott
Reply to  Steven Mosher
May 18, 2023 2:26 pm

Yep.. fearmongering is all that Net Zero is built on. !

Last edited 18 days ago by bnice2000
Reply to  Steven Mosher
May 18, 2023 2:38 pm


David Blenkinsop
Reply to  Ron Long
May 18, 2023 7:12 pm

Oh, really, just Great! Look, I can appreciate that Terry Etam writes in the spirit of political compromise, and for some issues that might still be a basis for good planning, possibly. What I don’t understand is how he can maintain that a fraud like the desirability of Net Zero can be the basis for good planning, whether the target year is 2050 or any other year.

Before anyone truly ‘in the know’ could even begin to engage in this, we’d first of all have to have proof that restricting fossil fuels is necessary, or that *not* restricting causes any serious issue. Alarmism over a possible gentle warming (that fuel burning may not even cause) will never be a basis for rational planning! No wonder the anti fuel folks are panicked into setting near term dates. The prospect now is that the fraud is failing, leaving no long term planning prospect at all for this stuff.

David Blenkinsop
Reply to  David Blenkinsop
May 20, 2023 7:09 am

I just now happened to come across a highly relevant article here, with mention of the premier of the province where I live taking a stand against the Canadian Government’s ‘Net Zero’ impositions.

Scott Moe’s not buying any net-zero nonsense | National Post

May 18, 2023 6:51 am

“a very good way to torment oneself”

Reading that only reminds me of how utterly joyless the post-modern world really is.

The English I can speak for – within reason – and Orwell was entirely correct, only minor details have changed as such.

“In intention, at any rate, the English intelligentsia are Europeanized. They take their cookery from Paris and their opinions from Moscow. In the general patriotism of the country they form a sort of island of dissident thought. England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals are ashamed of their own nationality. 

In left-wing circles it is always felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution, from horse racing to suet puddings. It is a strange fact, but it is unquestionably true that almost any English intellectual would feel more ashamed of standing to attention during ‘God save the King’ than of stealing from a poor box.” – “England, your England”, 1941, George Orwell

For Moscow read Greenpeace, WWF, UN etc. 

Guilt tripping and inducing anxiety gets results in children.

May 18, 2023 7:14 am

It’s the economy stupid and they’re on schedule to destroy it

Last edited 18 days ago by Mikeyj
Reply to  Mikeyj
May 18, 2023 9:53 am

the sky is falling

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Steven Mosher
May 18, 2023 10:22 am

Unlike the imaginary “climate crisis,” the crisis of climate POLICIES is all too real.

These idiots are attacking production of food, reliable energy, and transport. All to “save us” from the imaginary “crisis” of a warmer (read: BETTER) climate. And by employing actions that wouldn’t do a damn thing about their imaginary “crisis” if it was real.

Maybe you’re in love with poverty, misery and suffering, but most humans aren’t.

Reply to  AGW is Not Science
May 18, 2023 3:15 pm

Mosh is still suffering from the ethical and moral degeneracy he had to undergo when he took on the position of mouthpiece for BEST.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
May 18, 2023 11:32 am

Steven I understand the desire to provide counterpoint but “the economy” really is “in trouble”. Too many people who checked out of the rat race when covid lockdowns started have not checked back in. I can’t see anyone building robots to finish their work from my sheltered little box.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
May 18, 2023 2:29 pm

The chicken little is AGW and the anti-CO2 cult.

It lives on fear and baseless cult-like predictions.

At least when there is no electricity being produced, we can be pretty much sure there is none being supplied.

Or is that reality too difficult for you to grasp..

May 18, 2023 7:22 am

Better check the expiration date on a lot of countries.

story tip

China’s loans pushing world’s poorest countries to brink of collapse (

Reply to  ResourceGuy
May 18, 2023 11:38 am

A dozen poor countries are facing economic instability and even collapse under the weight of hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign loans, much of them from the world’s biggest and most unforgiving government lender,

Read it before, the only change is the name of the donor country. There are about 200 total countries on earth. “A dozen” can all fit in the bottom 10 percent.

John Oliver
May 18, 2023 7:22 am

Based on human social and psychological history- I would say prepare for the worst maybe even the unthinkable. Never say” It can’t happen here”

Reply to  John Oliver
May 18, 2023 9:54 am

be afraid, be very afraid

Reply to  Steven Mosher
May 18, 2023 2:31 pm

Yep, be afraid of the moronic responses to a tiny amount of atmospheric CO2 and slight natural warming.

That is how you have lived your life. in adject fear of CO2.

Pathetic really.

Reply to  bnice2000
May 19, 2023 5:57 am

I guess he doesn’t do irony. We’re supposed to be afraid of a possible 1.5C increase in average temperature. Very afraid.

Hans Erren
May 18, 2023 7:27 am

There is a pledge, but no plan and no budget.

Michael in Dublin
May 18, 2023 7:52 am

I told a son who will be approaching 70 if alive in 2050 that he will highly likely have seen the disintegration of the EU and perhaps even the USA. That will be an end to globalism and climate alarmism. I cannot see into the future but as one who takes a keen interest in history sees we can forget a utopia and need a sober realism.

Reply to  Michael in Dublin
May 18, 2023 11:47 am

Politically and socially USA seems to follow an Americanized version of Euro member philosophy delayed by 20ish years. If China has been following a Chinese version of USA’s philosophy delayed by 20ish years we might be okay – except their version included the one child policy. The one child policy would be maximally scary to me if I were a mid-forties middle-class Chinese woman.

More Soylent Green!
Reply to  KevinM
May 18, 2023 4:02 pm

We may be approaching “peak China.” China needs to force it’s maximum expansion soon, before the full effects of the One Child Policy kick in. China faces an aging population, a rising pension bubble, a slowing economy and a wakening international coalition against it.

May 18, 2023 7:52 am

Horse shit…..3 stories high…..thanks to heaven for internal combustion engines…

Onthe Move
May 18, 2023 8:07 am

I am all for Net Zero Now.

Let’s accelerate the collapse so we can actually rebuild without the our idiot “leaders” and climatards.

May 18, 2023 8:34 am

Why is Canada — of all places — panicky about the weather getting too warm? Canada is among the coldest major countries.

Besides, the entire country has fewer people than Shanghai metro; fewer than half the people of Guangdong Province, one of the warmest, most industrialized regions in China.

China is NOT worried about climate change, except to take advantage of countries that are.

In any event, nothing Canada does or doesn’t do will even show up on a pie chart.

Don’t be dumb like Germany. Look after your own interests.

Last edited 18 days ago by tom_gelsthorpe
Reply to  tom_gelsthorpe
May 18, 2023 11:58 am

Northwest Territories… I think the same about Siberia. Livable, arable, resource-rich and empty – land like a 13th century colonization of the Western Hemisphere executed with 21-st century technology.
If “we” were not so screwed up in thinking it could be grand. At the moment I’d expect it to be a Chinese venture due to physical location, but I don’t know where the money and desire will arrive from if global average increases at least 10C.
Earth would have to warm by 10C to be “worth it”.
Now why would “they” be worried about 2C?
Maybe someone told them 2C is all they can get, and they thought, aw fudge, it won’t be enough?

Last edited 18 days ago by KevinM
More Soylent Green!
Reply to  tom_gelsthorpe
May 18, 2023 4:04 pm

Imagine how Canada would benefit if the climate is truly warming.

Reply to  tom_gelsthorpe
May 19, 2023 6:06 am

And for much of the year, CO2 absorbed by all that wide open space in Canada exceeds human emissions.

William Howard
May 18, 2023 8:52 am

wonder why all the people wetting the goals won’t be around to see if they are ever achieved

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  William Howard
May 18, 2023 10:29 am

Maybe they see themselves as being revered in history for “saving” us. In reality, they’ll be seen as the Lysenkos of the west.

May 18, 2023 9:51 am

Serious goal-setting seems like a very good way to torment oneself, creating a new reason out of thin air. My New Year’s resolution is to avoid setting goals. Type A is not my type.

im predicting another chicken little WUWT post

  1. we are destroying our grid
  2. theres not enough copper
  3. theres not enough cobalt or rare earths


dont set goals, youll succeed

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Steven Mosher
May 18, 2023 10:27 am

Nobody needs windmills, solar panels, electric cars or vegetarian starvation diets to “save” us from the Chicken Little “climate catastrophe” that, after 35 years of the “climate rain dance,” still hasn’t come and never will.

Dave Fair
Reply to  Steven Mosher
May 18, 2023 10:28 am

Goals are grounded in reality. Nut Zero is grounded in ideology.

Reply to  Dave Fair
May 18, 2023 12:05 pm

Business goals for the last 20 years seem to have been set just on the fringe of achievability. Some form of statistical analysis must indicate that fringe-set business operating goals are optimal for realizing personal financial goals.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
May 18, 2023 12:00 pm

Why should anyone care what an unserious individual such as yourself muses about…..oh, wait?

Reply to  Steven Mosher
May 18, 2023 2:35 pm

Your goal of being a voice of insanity for your AGW cult, has succeeded.

In everything else, reason, rational thought.. you have FAILED.

Blinker your eyes, close your ears and mind, and refuse to see the massive damage your AGW cult is now causing.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
May 18, 2023 4:09 pm

Got yet battery car yet, mosh?

Of course you won’t answer, hypocrite.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Steven Mosher
May 19, 2023 8:50 am

Still can’t figure out how to use quote marks.

AGW is Not Science
May 18, 2023 10:15 am

Sorry, but you start losing me when you forget that “emission reductions” ARE NOT NEEDED.

We don’t need to “encourage” ANY “alternate” energy sources, because that leads to universally BAD outcomes. Government picking winners and lovers MAKES ALL OF US LOSE, plain and simple.

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  AGW is Not Science
May 18, 2023 11:47 am

I had the same thought when I saw the endorsement of oil sands CCS. CO2 emissions are either a problem (alarmist view) or they aren’t (realist view). Until there’s actual evidence of the former, there is absolutely no reason for realists to pay lip service to any form of CO2 mitigation, particularly CCS.

Reply to  AGW is Not Science
May 18, 2023 4:29 pm

makes sense (even with the typo)

May 18, 2023 11:26 am

The essay will probably do okay here, but even the oldest and whitest should recognize a defunct ally combatting a defunct opponent. Greenpeace? I haven’t seen video of inflatable rafts chasing fishing trawlers for a long, long time.

Reply to  KevinM
May 18, 2023 12:41 pm

That is because Greenpeace transitioned away from such activities to direct destruction of human society quite some time ago.

Dave Fair
Reply to  KevinM
May 18, 2023 12:43 pm

I could probably be considered one of the older and whiter people on this Thread. Unlike Elizabeth Warren, however, my great-grandmother registered herself, my grandfather and his sister on the 1896 Cherokee Indian Nation Federal Dawes rolls. FU2, White-eyes.

Reply to  Dave Fair
May 18, 2023 2:57 pm

Thanks. But you must detect the tone.

Reply to  KevinM
May 19, 2023 7:05 am

Greenpeace has always been under control of the USSR and now Russia, their main funders.

May 18, 2023 1:48 pm

Article says:”Where are the spines?”

Why don’t you just write that all of it is unnecessary? Lots of folks have had spines just no authority to stop the folly.

Your last article came across as you accept CO2 is doing harm you just want the solutions put forth to go slower.

All of it is a waste.

May 18, 2023 2:41 pm

These “Net Zero” goals are the modern-day equivalent of the old Soviet, Maoist Five Year Plans, and will have similar results.

Tombstone Gabby
May 18, 2023 5:35 pm

For an electric VW, the perfect ‘personalized’ license plate: “HUMBUG”

May 19, 2023 5:06 am

A great rant, but sadly my multi-decade suspicion is quickly turning to reality: the Green nonsense about alternative energy won’t stop until 3rd world standards of reliability are achieved.
The really sad part is the rest of the world (outside the West) is going to achieve 1st world standards of reliability by then.

May 19, 2023 5:52 am

Canada – a country where the Prime Minister is an ex substitute drama teacher that flunked out of engineering school, the finance minister is an ex journalist with no indication of basic math understanding, and the environment minister is a communist, convicted eco terrorist

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