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The Great U-Turn on the Road to Net Zero

A  judge I once knew used to tell the parties to his mediation sessions that they may have to bleed for a while longer, before accepting sensible settlement proposals. We in North America may also have the need to bleed for a while longer while our governments continue fighting to bring CO2 emissions to net zero by 2050 (and by 2030, a 40 percent reduction in just 7.3 years).

The government policy of mandating unreliable and unaffordable energy, forcing many families to choose between heating and eating, is not a socially just transition.  The energy catastrophe in Germany and the UK are already making their citizens bleed financially, due to massively increased energy costs. This started long before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine made European energy even costlier.

Natural gas prices in Europe skyrocketed more than 1,500% from August 2019 to July 2022.  Families in Germany and the UK have seen energy costs increase over ten times what they were a few years ago.  The top UK energy bill is set to be almost triple the level of last winter.

The [UK’s] energy-price cap is forecast to leap to a record … in January, to about £3,360 pounds [$5,079 Canadian].

Bloomberg: The Energy Price Shock:

Economic activity is energy transformed.

All of the economic activity that gives our societies food, home heating/cooling, transportation, and the jobs to provide our goods and services, comes from transforming energy. The cruelty of net zero — condemning millions of families to energy poverty — is unsustainable in a democracy.

Many thanks to Josh at for his kind permission to post his cartoon.

As Canadian energy guru Vaclav Smil has explained:

“Given that vegans extol eating plants, and that the media have reported extensively on the high environmental cost of meat, you might think that ….the energy cost of chicken [is greater than] the cultivation and marketing of vegetables.  ….  The opposite has been true, in fact, and there is no better example to illustrate these surprisingly high energy burdens than taking a close look at tomatoes.  They have it all – an attractive colour, a variety of shapes, smooth skin, and a juicy interior.…

This means that …, tomatoes …. have a stunningly high embedded production and transportation energy cost.  Its total is equivalent to… more than five tablespoonfuls… of diesel fuel per medium-sized tomato.…  How many vegans enjoying [their] salad are aware of its substantial fossil fuel pedigree?

Vaclav Smil, How the World Really Works, p. 59-61
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