The true cost of unreliable renewable energy

Longer days are coming! Cheaper solar power, not so much

The true cost of unreliable renewable energyWe are constantly being told that wind and solar power are really cheaper than fossil-fuel power if you tot up the true costs of using each type. These arguments have always been dubious on their merits, if not outright disingenuous. Yes, the wind is free and the sunshine is free, but nothing about capturing either…

Hydrogen hype defies reality: it’s an impractical energy source

Dreams of a hydrogen future just another energy scheme to extract money from gullible governments

Hydrogen hype defies reality: it’s an impractical energy sourceOnce again, the world staged ClimateFest 26, aka the United Nations Conference of the Parties, where peddlers of alternative energy schemes try to plunge their dippers into the river of climate change funding that flows around the world. This funding is generated by governmental pledges cadged out of economically developed countries at prior COPs. One…

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…
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