A troubling solution
Although somewhat buried in its Jan. 26 report entitled “The 2021-22 Surge in Inflation,” the Bank of Canada, the country’s central bank, admitted that the “ongoing transition from fossil fuels to green energy … requires an immense reallocation of investments, which raises costs due to higher demand for new investments and lack of investment supply into fossil fuel production.”
“These cost pressures are exacerbated by the long time required to build green energy infrastructure, further boosting prices for fossil fuels,” continues the report. “This shift to relatively higher energy prices will also contribute to challenges for monetary policy to keep inflation on target over the long term.”
According to the report’s authors, this transition — largely away from stable and ethical North American oil to purported alternatives frequently reliant on instable foreign supplies of rare minerals — is “perhaps the most persistent trend” adding to inflationary pressures in Canada.
The report references a March 2022 speech by Isabel Schnabel, a member of the executive board of the European Central Bank, in which the Greek economist underscored that “there is a price to be paid for going green at a pace that reflects the dual objective of safeguarding both our planet and our right to self-determination.”
Schnabel reckons it’s a price worth other people paying.
She further suggested that the “fight against climate change is one factor that is contributing to making fossil fuels more expensive.”
Oil and its byproducts do not just fuel transportation and keep the economy moving but are used in plastics, protective equipment, chemicals, fertilizers, drugs, clothing, and even in the construction of the materials needed for the means of their planned substitution, such as solar panels and wind turbines.
Schnabel suggests that in this transition, countries like Canada will also have to contend with “greenflation.”
“Many companies are adapting their production processes in an effort to reduce carbon emissions,” she said. “But most green technologies require significant amounts of metals and minerals, such as copper, lithium and cobalt, especially during the transition period.”
Here is a cobalt mine in the Congo where the mineral is extracted to help achieve the vision of climate alarmists like Trudeau and Biden:
“Electric vehicles, for example, use over six times more minerals than their conventional counterparts. An offshore wind plant requires over seven times the amount of copper compared with a gas-fired plant,” added the Greek economist.
The heightened demand for these minerals and the constrained supply accounts for the spike in prices, contributing to the problem of the so-called green solution.
Mark Mills of the Manhattan Institute wrote in apparent concurrence in the Wall Street Journal last April, stating, “Just as inflated prices for oil and natural gas rip through the economy, so do the costs of basic minerals, which are needed to build every class of product from appliances and houses to computers and cars. And while materials have for most of recent history constituted a minor share of the final cost of products, that share becomes major if mineral prices balloon.”
Schnabel of the European Central Bank distilled the trouble in the climate alarmists’ remedies down to: “The faster and more urgent the shift to a greener economy becomes, the more expensive it may get in the short run.”
Trudeau’s liberal government is keenly aware of the impact this will and has had on citizens.
Liberal member of parliament Ryan Turnbull stated on June 6, “Achieving net-zero is not going to be easy, that’s for sure. … We are going to have to switch our lifestyles and that is going to be painful at times.”
Liberal millionaire Chrystia Freeland, Trudeau’s deputy prime minister, confronted that pain, telling working- and middle-class Canadian families overwhelmed by inflation that they could improve the situation her government’s policies worsened by dropping their Disney+ subscriptions.
Under the Trudeau government, federal carbon taxes imposed on Canadians have gone up drastically and are set to rise even more.
Global News reported that the price of the carbon tax hit $50 per ton of emissions on April 1, 2022, working out to approximately 11 cents CDN per 0.2 gallons, which is in addition to various municipal and provincial climate taxes.
The Trudeau liberals announced that by 2030, the price would be $170 CDN a ton, or nearly 40 cents a liter.
Adding insult to injury, Liberal natural resources minister Jonathan Wilkinson recently announced that he will introduce green-transition legislation to move the oil and gas workers Ottawa has or soon will put out of work into so-called green energy jobs.
CTV News reported that to meet the Liberal government’s emissions targets, millions of Canadians could be put out of work, including 300,000 agriculture workers; 35,000 forestry workers; 202,000 energy workers; 193,000 manufacturing workers; 1.4 million buildings workers; and 642,000 transportation workers.
Danielle Smith, the conservative premier of Alberta, noted that her province, which boasts the world’s fourth-largest oil reserves, would be severely impacted by the liberals’ fanciful vision.
“He has no business dictating to us,” said Smith. “‘Just Transition’ is extreme environmental language.”
Smith added, “It was coined by extreme environmental groups who want to completely phase out the oil and gas and fossil fuel sector. They [Ottawa] use that knowing that was going to be the way it was interpreted.”
If liberal politicians’ efforts to decarbonize will not be held up by the will of carbon-based workers, scientist and policy analyst Vaclav Smil suggested reality will do the trick.
“Annual global demand for fossil carbon is now just above 10 billion tons a year — a mass nearly five times more than the recent annual harvest of all staple grains feeding humanity, and more than twice the total mass of water drunk annually by the world’s nearly 8 billion inhabitants — and it should be obvious that displacing and replacing such a mass is not something best handled by government targets for years ending in zero or five,” he wrote in “How the World Really Works.”
Smil emphasized that “both the high relative share and the scale of our dependence on fossil carbon make any rapid substitutions impossible: this is not a biased personal impression stemming from a poor understanding of the global energy system — but a realistic conclusion based on engineering and economic realities.”
Until the time the transition supposedly under way meets with reality or significant opposition, inflation and joblessness will likely continue to be problems. However, per Freeland’s suggestion, it may not be so intolerable for the financially overwhelmed and the unemployed who drop a streaming subscription.
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