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Trudeau’s Irrational And Immoral Emissions Plan Will Have Dire Results

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Trudeau’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan targets different segments of the Canadian economy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

As I explained in Trudeau’s 2030 Prosperity Reduction Plan, the overall plan is shambolic.

This analysis is about two specific parts of the plan that work against each other with foreseeable but dire consequences.

The Conflict in the Plan

In one economic sector, transportation, Trudeau is seeking significant carbon dioxide cuts by promoting the increased use of ethanol in gasoline and biodiesel in diesel.

Both ethanol and biodiesel are agricultural products. In another economic sector, agriculture, he is seeking to reduce nitrous oxide emissions, a greenhouse gas that causes photochemical smog, by reducing the use of fertilizers.

[Note on greenwashing: The Trudeau government has also introduced the Hydrogen Strategy for Canada, which calls for blending 50 percent natural gas with 50 percent hydrogen to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. While in theory, the simplified equation for the combustion of hydrogen produces only water; in practice it produces more nitrous oxide than burning natural gas due to the presence of nitrogen in the air and the higher combustion temperature of hydrogen. The Hydrogen Strategy for Canada will increase nitrous oxide emissions while the 2030 Emissions Reductions Plan seeks to lower them.]

Consequence #1

The first problem with this plan doesn’t take an economist to figure out. If you use less fertilizer, then the yields of crops used to produce food, ethanol (from corn), and biodiesel (from soybeans and canola) will all go down.

If you increase the production of ethanol and biodiesel from those crops, the amount left available for human consumption will take a second hit. Canada will produce fewer total crops and burn more of them in internal combustion engines, while our growing population will increase food demand.

In a nutshell: Producing more ethanol and biodiesel but less food from smaller crops will be highly inflationary for fuel and food.

Consequence #2

Ethanol and biodiesel do not physically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but paradoxically, they help meet emission reduction targets set by the 2015 Paris Agreement, which can mislead the public into believing they do reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The same amount of CO2 is physically released from ethanol-blended gasoline as from regular gasoline for the same distance driven. The fiction that ethanol reduces CO2 is based on the theory that physical CO2 emissions from ethanol should not be counted because they are offset by photosynthesis caused by the growth of the crops used to make the ethanol.

This premise is false. Either the corn would have been grown anyway or some other plant (crop, forest, or natural ground cover) would have grown.

[Another note on greenwashing: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued guidelines in 2019 to measure methane emissions (another greenhouse gas) from hydroelectric reservoirs. Canada has yet to adopt them and claims hydropower is non-emitting. Could that be because 60 percent of Canada’s electricity comes from hydrodams and we continue to build more?]

There is also a cost to your vehicle and the environment. Ethanol can cause engine stalling, accelerate the breakdown of aluminum and rubber components, and clog fuel lines.

It is not a stretch to estimate that four percent of all U.S. freshwater usage is for irrigation of corn grown for ethanol.

In a nutshell: Claiming ethanol or biodiesel reduces greenhouse gas emissions from internal combustion engines is a well-established accounting sleight of hand. Ethanol and biodiesel increase the domestic fuel supply but do not physically reduce emissions.

Consequence #3

That leads us to the third consequence of this troubling policy. If farm yields of crops are reduced because of less fertilizer usage, then the physical amount of photosynthesis caused by those crops will also diminish.

It is the other side of the coin of the Trudeau pledge to plant two billion trees to remove CO2 from the atmosphere: less photosynthesis on the farm means more carbon dioxide left in the atmosphere.

In a nutshell: Using less fertilizer to reduce crop yields runs counter to the objective of reducing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by increasing photosynthesis.

Consequence #4

The biggest issue with Trudeau’s ethanol plan is that it ignores the cost of human suffering.

When the 2007 U.S. Energy Independence and Security Act mandated an increase to 10 percent ethanol in gasoline to reduce foreign oil dependency (it had nothing to do with reducing CO2 emissions), the world price of corn surged by 40 percent.

Corn makes up 20 percent of all the calories consumed by humans, and in developing countries families spend up to half their household income on food. In the last two years, primarily due to the war in Ukraine, the price of corn and soybeans has more than doubled.

In a nutshell: This plan will cause Canada to exacerbate hunger in developing countries by growing less food and then converting even more food into fuel. This is morally unconscionable.

The Truth of the Plan

Here’s how Trudeau’s 2030 Emissions Reduction Plan works in the transportation and agricultural industries:

  • Reduce nitrous oxide emissions by producing and using less fertilizer. Ignore political events in The Netherlands and Sri Lanka, countries that followed the same idea.
  • Watch crop yields fall due to a lack of fertilizer. Ignore advice from farmers and experience in Sri Lanka.
  • Direct a higher percentage of the remaining crops to produce ethanol and biodiesel which will cause fuel and food inflation in a growing population. Ignore advice from economists.
  • Claim dubious greenwashing credits for reduced CO2 emissions from internal combustion engines, while physical CO2 emissions remain the same as per the U.S. Department of Energy. Ignore that reduced crop yields equal reduced CO2 consuming photosynthesis.
  • Deprive our allies and trading partners of Canadian-produced agricultural products and fertilizer during a global crisis caused by the war in Ukraine. Canada is the world’s fifth largest agricultural products exporter and third largest fertilizer exporter.
  • Economically damage the world’s poorest the most as they spend the largest part of their budget on food. Hide Canada’s moral compass.

The bottom line: Trudeau’s plan to reduce emissions by using more ethanol and less fertilizer combines the irrational with the unconscionable.


Ron Barmby (www.ronaldbarmby.ca) 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 (AmazonBarnes & Noble), explains in layman’s terms the science of how natural and human-caused global warming work.

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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