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For Trudeau, Fighting Climate Change Is All Hugs And Puppies

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It’s worse than you think: an ominous phrase that could cover any number of issues, but here refers to the impending closure of the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline that brings vital oil to Ontario. Or, if you’re Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, “carbon pollution.”

As my colleague Kelly McParland argued in Tuesday’s National Post, Trudeau is in a cleft stick trying to keep this pipeline open, because Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s arguments against it are precisely the sorts of things our prime minister has been saying all his adult life about oil spills, etc.

But it’s worse than you think, and possibly than he does because the extinct polar bear in the room is Trudeau’s belief that fossil fuels are useless rubbish.

I don’t just say he thinks they are bad on balance. You could be a global warming alarmist who’s committed to phasing out fossil fuels fast enough to reach net-zero by 2050, yet acknowledge that oil, coal, and natural gas have brought enormous benefits and still do, so ditching them will hurt.

But Trudeau is not in that camp. On the contrary, like U.S. President Joe Biden, he seems to believe getting rid of fossil fuels will be so great, we should do it even if there is no climate crisis.

Clearly, the prime minister is not a man given to practicalities. Thus, as McParland pointed out, like Gov. Witmer, he can easily believe a pipeline that has operated safely for seven decades is incredibly dangerous.

Or that if we get rid of fossil fuels, starting with the half-million barrels of crude oil and natural gas liquids that Line 5 brings through Michigan to Ontario a day, nobody will miss them.

McParland said the situation “reflects once again the perils that arise from the prime minister’s eagerness to leap into any mosh pit of idealistic fervor that happens along.”

And it is true that, like his father, the younger Trudeau is quick-witted but flippant. But there are forms of idealism to which he is not remotely susceptible, like saving unborn babies.

So I would suggest there’s considerable consistency in his enthusiasms, driven by a deep investment in a worldview that turns on two key related points.

First, good intentions are a mighty instrument for good in human affairs. And second, all utilities can and even must be maximized simultaneously.

Thus to fight climate change is to fight racism, gender inequality, poverty, crime, and anything else bad, and vice versa.

Which makes the remarkably large number of adults who think this way strikingly obtuse about the reality of the trade-offs that are ubiquitous in life, including in government.

Here is Trudeau in his own words, specifically his opening words in an April 22 press release about his address to Biden’s climate summit, where he announced an increased commitment to crack down on greenhouse gases:

“Climate change is the greatest long-term threat that we face as a global community, but it is also our greatest economic opportunity. By taking bold climate action, we will create new jobs for the future, strengthen our economy, and grow the middle class, while also ensuring clean air and water for our kids and grandkids.”

See? Once he resolves to get rid of fossil fuels, instead of it being a massive bummer requiring remedial actions, belt-tightening, and loss of political popularity, it’s the greatest.

New jobs, a stronger economy, and a middle class 98 feet high. Plus “clean air and water,” as if CO2 really were “pollution” like volatile organic compounds or particulates. This man is not a climate scientist. Or an economist.

Biden also spoke at the summit of this being a “moment of peril, but also a moment of extraordinary possibilities.” And if you think the “peril” is chucking fossil fuels, guess again.

It was all fun and games posing for the cameras in Kyoto or Paris and making vague noises about a better future.

But now we’re talking a 40 percent-plus cut in GHGs within nine years and net-zero in 19, so we actually have to start doing stuff. Like getting rid of most fossil fuels.

Which makes having that nasty pipeline shut down so it stops spewing such garbage into our gas tanks and furnaces a win-win.

Trudeau doesn’t even have sufficient political leverage to keep the pipeline open, partly because he certainly doesn’t have sufficient intellectual leverage.

Not because he believes in a man-made global warming crisis. Because he believes the transition to the green economy is all hugs and puppies, like public policy generally.

Alas, as Philip K. Dick said, “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, it doesn’t go away.”

So we’re about to discover, or rediscover, the obvious truth that fossil fuels bring enormous benefits, and getting rid of them would hurt terribly.

And that the utopian, effortlessly polemical philosophy of progressives is seductive but childish.

Read more at National Post

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