Trudeau’s 2030 Prosperity Reduction Plan
In response to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s request for comments on the 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan: Canada’s Next Steps for Clean Air and a Strong Economy (2030 ERP), I wrote An Open Letter To PM Justin Trudeau On His Shambolic Emissions Plan. I received quite a few nice responses, but none from JT or his staff.
Undaunted, I’ll go deeper into why the 2030 ERP is shambolic. From an engineering perspective, it cannot achieve even a small fraction of its 40 to 45 percent lower CO2 equivalent emissions reduction target by 2030, which is a reduction of approximately 300 million tonnes.
It will adversely affect the prosperity of every Canadian. Meanwhile, China has announced another 150 million tonne increase for new coal-fired power generation and blast furnaces.
By adding energy costs that are not borne in other jurisdictions, our poor economic productivity relative to other countries will suffer even more.
Canada’s finance minister recently acknowledged the importance of productivity when she said, “Productivity matters because it is what guarantees the dream of every parent—that our children will be more prosperous than we are.”
The 2030 ERP divides the Canadian economy into seven sectors and stipulates emission reduction targets for each. We will examine the 2030 ERP in the three biggest emitting sectors, which account for 63 percent of Canada’s total emissions.
Oil and Gas
Two of the most important facts about the Canadian oil and gas industry are that it is now the fourth-largest producer in the world and that it can keep up this pace of production for at least another century. Along with the U.S., we are the only other oil and gas superpower that is a free democracy.
The industry produces 26 percent of Canada’s CO2 equivalent emissions or 191 million tonnes. The Trudeau government states it wants to keep the cash flowing while reducing the emissions by 42 percent before 2030.
The silver bullet suggested in the 2030 ERP is a technology called carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS), however, only carbon caption and storage (CCS) is practical when large volumes of CO2 are generated.
CCS requires separating and collecting CO2 from the burning or other uses of natural gas at atmospheric pressure and injecting it into underground permeable rock formations, similar to where the natural gas originated.
The separation of CO2 from the other waste gases is expensive, as is the energy and equipment needed to compress the CO2 gas into a liquid for deep underground injection.
A good example of CCS in operation is the new Quest project near Edmonton, Alberta. It stores approximately one million tonnes of CO2 per year; however, about 22 percent of the stored CO2 is generated by the CCS process itself.
The cost of CCS at Quest for the net amount of CO2 stored in 2020 (latest available) was $125 CAD per tonne.
Eliminating 42 percent of the Canadian oil and gas industry’s annual CO2 emissions, or 80 million tonnes, would cost $10 billion a year and require 100 Quest-sized projects (allowing for the CCS facilities’ own carbon dioxide emissions).
It is unrealistic to have that capacity by 2030 as it took six years to construct Quest.
One-quarter of all Canada’s measured CO2 emissions are from transportation. This sector produces 186 million tonnes of CO2, and the government would like to reduce that by 23 percent.
The 2030 ERP focus includes technologies that are poorly suited to Canada, plus a truly inspiring level of greenwashing. These parallel a separate government plan to increase the carbon tax on fuel to 38 cents CAD per liter ($1.12 U.S. per U.S. gallon) by 2030.
The technology proposed is to mandate the purchase of Zero-Emission Vehicles (ZEVs), but they are unlikely to significantly reduce CO2 emissions.
The Canadian definition of a ZEV includes plug-in hybrids (the only type of hybrids that qualify as ZEVs) that can only go 27 km (17 miles) on a charge under ideal conditions before they need to switch to gasoline.
This means for the long driving distances between Canadian cities, the hybrid’s internal combustion engine would still overwhelmingly be the primary power source.
Plug-in hybrids are more expensive to purchase than conventional vehicles; the Toyota RAV4 plug-in hybrid is $16,000 (or 55 percent) more expensive than the base internal combustion model.
The second type of qualifying ZEV is fully electric battery vehicles. Independent testing suggests that during Canada’s cold, dark winters, the driving range should be derated by half. Otherwise, you could be stranded in the middle of a cold, dark place.
You can read more about ZEVs in my article Canada’s Zero-Emission Vehicles Mandate Is a Costly Political Ruse.
The epic greenwashing part of reducing transportation emissions is the Clean Fuel Standard. It pushes the blending of even more ethanol into gasoline, which, contrary to claims by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), does not physically reduce CO2 emissions.
Laboratory testing by the U.S. Energy Information Administration confirms that when ethanol-blended gasoline is used, the same amount of CO2 is emitted for the same distance driven in the same car as regular gasoline.
The IPCC claims an offset, stating that the CO2 absorbed by photosynthesis to grow the corn to make the ethanol equals the amount of CO2 emitted when the ethanol is burned. There is a serious flaw in this logic.
The corn might have been grown anyway for food, and if not, some other crop would have been grown on that farmland. There is no increase in photosynthesis just because a crop became ethanol instead of food. Please refer to Why Ethanol In Gasoline Doesn’t Reduce CO2 Emissions.
The Canadian Clean Fuel Standard double-dips on greenwashing because much of the “offsetting” photosynthesis does not even happen in Canada. From the latest figures available (2019), 40 percent of the ethanol used in Canada was imported from the U.S.
A disturbing consequence of converting corn to ethanol for blending in gasoline—and its twin technology of converting soybeans to biodiesel—is that it drives up food prices, which hurts the world’s poor the hardest.
The war in Ukraine has already more than doubled the price of corn and soybeans compared to two years ago. On its own it is morally questionable to exacerbate hunger in developing countries by burning food in our vehicles; it is downright unconscionable when no physical reduction of carbon dioxide emissions is achieved.
Twelve percent of Canada’s CO2 emissions come from buildings, and most are for heating spaces or water. The 2030 ERP calls for the current 91 million tonnes to be reduced by 37 percent or 38 million tonnes.
The only technically feasible way to decarbonize buildings in the next eight years is to completely electrify them from a non-emitting grid. Even if this were available the costs would be prohibitive to the average family.
In my city, the current cost of electricity is 11 cents per kWh and the cost of natural gas is $4.76 per GJ. We heat our homes and water with natural gas. Since a GJ is equivalent to 278 kWh, electricity is 6.4 times more expensive than natural gas on an energy-equivalent basis.
The 2030 ERP pushes heat pumps for space heat. Sales promotions claim that heat pumps are more efficient than natural gas. This is true only on an energy input basis, not on an energy cost basis.
Heat pumps are on average three times more efficient on an energy consumption basis than natural gas. That equates to heat pumps being twice as expensive to operate, or only half as efficient with your money.
On the same basis, a typical natural gas-fueled hot water tank consumes 35 percent more energy than the electric equivalent; therefore, a simple water heater would cost about 4.7 times more to heat with electricity than with gas.
The Prosperity Reduction Plan
The decades-long engine of growth of the Canadian economy, the oil and gas industry, will be hobbled by the high costs of CCS to meet CO2 emission limits.
High-paying jobs will disappear and the Canadian dollar will weaken, both of which will harm national prosperity. Our western allies’ energy security will be compromised while foreign dictator oil will benefit.
Transportation emissions are targeted by mandating sales of more expensive EVs, higher carbon taxes, and the phony Clean Fuel Standard. Plug-in hybrids will be operated mostly in the internal combustion mode as the battery mode is unsuited for Canada’s cold and vastness.
The driving range of 100-percent electric-battery vehicles will be another winter driving risk. Personal transportation will become so expensive that Canadians will have less freedom to travel.
Blending more ethanol into gasoline will not reduce CO2 emissions, but will reduce the amount of food the world’s poor can afford to buy.
The plan for reducing emissions in buildings appears to be to add carbon taxes to natural gas until it is no longer far cheaper than electricity. That’s a direct hit to every Canadian family’s prosperity for generations to come.
The 2030 ERP states that with increasing electrification of the economy—including transport and space heating—combined with the shutting down of fossil fuel electrical power generation, the non-emitting electrical generation will have to double or triple by 2050.
The report does not make a 2030 prediction, but a straight-line extrapolation suggests Canada needs to add between one-third and two-thirds more non-emitting electrical power by 2030.
Since our electrical power generation is already 82 percent non-emitting, that equates to increasing the total national power generating capacity by between 25 percent and 50 percent in the next eight years; all from non-emitting sources. This is another fantasy.
The 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan is shambolic because the technology offered is either too expensive, untested, or unobtainable on the scale and time frame proposed, or it does not physically reduce CO2 emissions on top of all those things. The plan would make no difference in the global atmosphere while creating economic hardship for Canadians.
No leader alert to his country’s national interests would allow it to happen.
Except Canada has Justin Trudeau.
Ron Barmby is a Professional Engineer with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree, whose 40+ year career in the energy sector has taken him to over 40 countries on five continents. His book “Sunlight on Climate Change: A Heretic’s Guide to Global Climate Hysteria” (Amazon, Barnes & Noble) explains in understandable terms the science of how both natural and human-caused global warming work. Over two dozen other articles and presentations can be found at ronaldbarmby.ca. Please listen to Michael Parker and Joseph Arthur on TNT Radio – Today’s News Talk – Listen Live for interviews with Ron.
Permission to use this content is granted freely to all, provided that any such use is accompanied by author attribution and source link. —CCD Ed.
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