Our fear of single-use plastics is simply irrational

Any sane person understands that plastic-phobia is irrational and a non-problem

Our fear of single-use plastics is simply irrationalCanadian governments, like many around the world, are once again in the grip of toxic plastic-phobia: an irrational and potentially harmful fear of plastics. Proposals to ban “single-use” plastics (under varying definitions) are all the rage across Canada, where the plastic-phobes, like locusts, have re-emerged from the obscurity imposed on them by the imminent spectre…

Climate simulation models are not reality, nor are they science

Climate simulation models are no more real than your favourite video game

Climate simulation models are not reality, nor are they scienceIn a recent article about climate change, Associated Press science writer Seth Borenstein gave us a master class on how to sell the results of a computer model as if it represents reality. In his world, a group of scientists can take a short-term heat wave, crank it through an “ensemble” of theoretical mathematical climate…

Alberta government throwing money away on oil projects

The history of government attempting to pick winners and losers in a market-based economy is absolutely abysmal

Alberta government throwing money away on oil projectsOne of the eternal questions of public policy is: should governments get into bed with private businesses? Whether it’s called a public-private partnership, buying a controlling interest for taxpayers, investing in the technologies of tomorrow or just avoiding a business failure on our watch, the debate over whether the overall idea of government investing in…

Switching to electric vehicles won’t avert climate change

More greenhouse gases are released when making an EV than a comparable internal combustion engine

Switching to electric vehicles won’t avert climate changeI’m not a climate skeptic. As an environmental scientist/engineer by training, I think climate change is real. But it’s like every other environmental issue: a more-or-less routine engineering challenge, rather than a world-altering disaster justifying the fever-dreams of the radical greens. I am, however, an electric vehicle skeptic. Or, more broadly, I’m skeptical that electric…

Conservative climate plan falls into familiar traps

Remarkably similar to pretty much every past plan, whether dressed in conservative or liberal phrasing

Conservative climate plan falls into familiar trapsA lot has been written in Canada about the recently-revealed Conservative Plan to Combat Climate Change. Most of that (including my own first take) focused on the carbon tax part of the Conservative Party of Canada’s plan, which is just another rhetorically packaged tax-and-rebate scheme that has become the norm for carbon-tax implementation. Governments levy…

We still need plastics despite Trudeau’s vow to get rid of them

Plastics have allowed a revolution in material science that has vastly improved our quality of life

We still need plastics despite Trudeau’s vow to get rid of themBy now, most everyone has seen the memes of Dr. Evil ordering a change of focus in his campaign to maintain global fear: “Fear of [the last crisis] is no longer working. Release the murder hornets!” To judge from recent news articles, the meme should read: “Fear of COVID-19 is no longer working. Restart the…

Federal government’s vaccine rollout all about politics

Priorities based more on the shortage of vaccines than ensuring vulnerable populations are inoculated

Federal government’s vaccine rollout all about politicsRecent guidance for vaccine distribution published by the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) shows how horribly politicized Canada’s pandemic response has been. At the very point of administering the ‘jab of life,’ the government can still not play it straight and follow what’s actually the science, which is the reality of who gets sick,…

The wasted pursuit of social licence for oil exploration

Canada wasn’t targeted for international outrage because it was a threat to the global climate, but simply because it was an easy target

The wasted pursuit of social licence for oil explorationFor several decades, Canada was the focus of a global attack on its natural resource economy, with its oil sands deposits (the world’s third-largest oil reserve) ranked as public enemy number one. Though only a tiny contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions (about 1.6 per cent of the total), the oil sands were seen as…

New strategies for when a pandemic becomes endemic

What governments have done in response to COVID-19 has been remarkably injurious to humanity’s general health

New strategies for when a pandemic becomes endemicRecent pronouncements by the World Health Organization (WHO) suggest its view of COVID-19 is evolving from a pandemic threat that’s novel and spreading to an endemic threat that has established itself as just another new contestant in the vast ecosystem of organisms that interact periodically with humans. This suggests a need to change strategy. After…

Green enviro-dreams based on fantasy, not science

Energy analyst Mark Mills says we're decades away from renewables providing 100% of the power that drives our economy

Green enviro-dreams based on fantasy, not scienceEnvironmental groups, including the David Suzuki Foundation, remain enamoured of renewable energy, telling followers that the “global push for cleaner, healthier energy is on. With costs dropping dramatically, renewable energy is becoming the best choice for the environment and the economy.” The Green Party of Canada is on board, touting the idea that Alberta “should be ready”…

Mining permit waits hamper Canadian development

Exploration is the critical first stage in mining development. Yet many provinces don't meet their own guidelines

Mining permit waits hamper Canadian developmentEvery year, the Fraser Institute publishes a survey of senior mining company executives that assesses policy environments around the world and the mineral potential of jurisdictions. Those two components are used to create an investment attractiveness index. One thing miners repeatedly tell us is that they’re concerned about obtaining exploration permits: how long does it…

Activist ‘wall’ thwarting Canadian oil exports

The delay of Keystone XL, likely by at least a year, is another blow to Canada and a particularly sharp blow to Alberta

Activist ‘wall’ thwarting Canadian oil exportsProgressives (and some conservatives) have largely stymied President Donald Trump on getting his wall across the U.S. southern border built. Ironically, those same progressives have given the president another wall – encompassing Canada and thwarting oil exports to countries other than the United States. The latest slab in the wall is a ruling by a…

Why are investors souring on Alberta?

Policy uncertainty almost certainly plays a role

Why are investors souring on Alberta?Alberta’s economy has suffered in recent years. A major factor was world oil prices, which plummeted in 2014. And limited pipeline capacity, which fetches Canadian oil producers depressed prices for Canadian oil exacerbated Alberta’s economic woes. A number of metrics indicate that oil and gas investment in Alberta is in steep decline. According to a…

Fix Ontario’s disastrous power strategy

By subsidizing wind and solar power, the government put its green agenda ahead of Ontarians

Fix Ontario’s disastrous power strategyThere is still much work to be done on behalf of Ontario’s energy consumers and taxpayers. In 2005, I released a study called Pain Without Gain with two co-authors (University of Guelph professor Ross McKitrick and air quality analyst Joel Schwartz). The subtitle of the piece was that shutting down coal-fired power plants would hurt Ontario.…

Groundhog Day, Trans Mountain pipeline style

Once again, the National Energy Board will review the contentious project. It's paralysis by analysis

Groundhog Day, Trans Mountain pipeline styleOn Groundhog Day on Feb. 2, Punxsutawney Phil in the United States and Wiarton Willie in Canada ceremonially emerge from their dens. If they see their shadows (meaning it’s a sunny day), they return to their dens for an additional six weeks of winter. And who can forget the classic movie Groundhog Day? Bill Murray…
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