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Natural gas key to withstanding winter and Ottawa’s assault

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4 minute read

From the Fraser Institute

By Kenneth P. Green

Mother Nature has reminded everyone that the stakes in the battle to preserve and expand Alberta’s natural gas power production are very high—basically, life or death.

Last week’s polar vortex drove temperatures into record negative territory across western Canada. Nighttime temperatures in Alberta, for example, reached -51 degrees Celsius at Keg River. Without sufficient power for running the heat on high, these are killing temperatures. Demand for electricity in Alberta soared, pushing the power grid toward potential need for rolling blackouts. Only voluntary cutbacks in electricity use by Albertans allowed the system to avoid curtailment.

What did the grid look like last week?

On Jan. 13, according to one report, natural gas generated 80.5 per cent of power on Alberta’s grid followed by coal (7.9 per cent), biomass (2.9 per cent), hydropower (2.5 per cent), solar power (1.3 per cent) and wind (0.99 per cent). But wind and solar’s low combined output was not the major cause of Alberta’s energy crunch last week—two of Alberta’s natural gas power plants were down for maintenance and not generating what they otherwise would have.

And yet, while gas and coal combined produced nearly 90 per cent of Alberta’s life-saving electricity, these fuels remain in the crosshairs of Ottawa and the Trudeau government’s proposal that greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from electricity production in Canada must decline to “net zero” by 2035.

In the battle over the Trudeau government’s plan, Alberta Premier Danielle Smith argues that Ottawa intends to shut down natural-gas power generation, and because alternatives such as wind and solar power are unaffordable, Alberta will be unable to generate sufficient electricity for Albertans. Meanwhile, federal Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault denies that Ottawa wants to end fossil fuel use and argues that his government’s proposed regulations already allow for natural gas power production, so long as GHG emissions are “mitigated” via carbon capture and storage. Even unmitigated natural gas power would be allowed in emergency situations, according to Guilbeault, who recently accused Premier Smith of “trying to tear Canada down.”

Guilbeault’s argument, however, rests on what he likely knows is a false hope—that carbon capture and storage technology will evolve and be deployed at sufficient speed and capacity to allow Alberta to attain the net-zero emission target by 2035. This is highly unlikely. Carbon capture and storage has many critics including the International Energy Agency (IEA), which recently published a report suggesting that carbon capture and storage is inadequate for capturing carbon dioxide at the scale necessary to reach net-zero emissions by 2035 or beyond. Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA, threw cold water on the idea, saying the oil and gas industry must help the “world meet its energy needs and climate goals—which means letting go of the illusion that implausibly large amounts of carbon capture are the solution.”

The potential peril of power outages during a polar vortex shows the importance of ensuring that Alberta has a reliable dispatchable electrical generation capacity able to meet even extreme demand. Wind and solar power, favoured under the Trudeau government’s proposed clean electricity regulations, can’t supply that. Premier Smith is right to bank on natural gas generation for Alberta’s future, and she should stand fast. As remaining coal power plants are closed, natural gas will be the foundation of Alberta’s energy stability and it must be defended.

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Economy

Trump’s Promise Of American Abundance, Fueled By ‘Liquid Gold’

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From the Daily Caller News Foundation

By JAMES P. PINKERTON

 

One of the brightest nuggets of policy in Donald Trump’s July 18 acceptance speech to the Republican convention in Milwaukee was his ode to “liquid gold.” That is, oil.

As part of his inflation-fighting plan, Trump offered a gleaming solution: increase energy production, thereby decreasing energy prices. “By slashing energy costs,” Trump declared, “we will in turn reduce the cost of transportation, manufacturing and all household goods.”

He continued: “We have more liquid gold under our feet than any other country by far. We are a nation that has the opportunity to make an absolute fortune with its energy.”

Indeed. According to the Institute for Energy Research (IER) technically recoverable oil resources in the U.S. total 2.136 trillion barrels. At the current price of around $80 a barrel, that’s some $171 trillion. And so, Trump concluded, “we will reduce our debt, $36 trillion.”

As former Alaska governor Sarah Palin would say, “You betcha.” In Palin’s Alaska, oil is so abundant, relative to the population, that everyone gets a check from the state. Last year, it was $1,312. For a family of four, that’s more than $5000. Our goal should be that every American gets such an energy dividend.

Moreover, the abundance of America’s carbon fuels is not limited to oil. According to IER, we have 3.391 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. That’s worth $165 trillion.

To be sure, these staggering dollar totals can’t be counted directly against the national debt—or in support of some future tax cut. Yet every dollar of our energy assets would contribute to the economy, and if even 10  percent of the humongous total could be available to the public, we could, in fact, pay off the national debt.

Moreover, thanks to fracking and other enhanced recovery techniques, we keep finding more energy: Human ingenuity has upended old beliefs about energy shortages, ushering in an almost Moore’s Law-ish surge in production.

Indeed, there’s so much oil and gas (and coal) that an emerging school of thought holds that carbon fuels aren’t “fossil” at all, but rather, the product of earth’s vulcanism. The core of this earth, after all, is the same temperature as the surface of the sun. Perhaps all that heat is cooking something.

In any case, we keep finding more oil, and not just in the U.S.

So how, exactly, do we take advantage of this planetary cornucopia? As Palin said, as Trump said, and as the convention crowd chanted, “drill, baby, drill.”

Okay, but what about climate change? Most Republicans don’t worry too much about that, but if Democrats do, they should be reassured that we can capture the carbon and so take it out of the atmosphere. Trees and other green vegetation have been capturing carbon for eons; the element is, in fact, vital to their very existence. Similarly, the human body is 18 percent carbon. Yes, all of us ourselves are carbon sinks.

So we, being smart, can capture vastly more carbon — capturing it in everything from wood to cement, from plastics to nanotubes. These in turn can be landfill, construction materials — maybe even a space elevator.

We can, in fact, establish a a circular carbon economy: carbon fuels extracted, burned, and then recycled back into feedstocks. By this reckoning, carbon fuels are renewable. Such creative thinking can power all those energy-hungry data centers on which Big Tech and AI depend. So there’s the makings of a bipartisan “Grand Carbon Bargain,” uniting mostly blue-state tech with mostly red-state energy. More energy + more tech = more wealth for all.

In Milwaukee, Trump spoke of American “energy dominance,” and that’s great. But with all the energy we can produce and consume, we can speak of economic abundance — and that’s even greater.

James P. Pinkerton served in the White House domestic policy offices of Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. He is the author, most recently, of “The Secret of Directional Investing: Making Money Amidst the Red-Blue Rumble.”

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Trudeau pledges another $500 million to Ukraine as Canadian military suffers

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From LifeSiteNews

By Clare Marie Merkowsky

Despite the nation’s own armed forces grappling with an alarming recruitment crisis, Justin Trudeau and his government have poured over $13.3 billion into Ukraine.

More Canadians tax dollars are being sent overseas as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised an additional $500 million in military aid to Ukraine. 

During a July 10 meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Trudeau announced that he would send another $500 million to Ukraine as it continues its war against Russia, despite an ongoing decline in Canada’s military recruitment.  

“We’re happy to offer we’re announcing today $500 million more military aid this year for Ukraine, to help through this very difficult situation,” Trudeau said. 

In addition to the $500 million, Canada will also provide much of Ukraine’s fighter jet pilot training as Ukraine receives its first F-16s. 

Trudeau’s statement comes after Canada has been under fire for failing to meet NATO’s mandate that all members commit at least two percent of their gross domestic product (GDP) to the military alliance. 

According to his 2024 budget, Trudeau plans to spend $8.1 billion over five years, starting in 2024-25, and $73.0 billion over 20 years on the Department of National Defence.   

Interestingly, $8.1 billion divided equally over five years is $1,620,000 each year for the Canadian military. Therefore, Trudeau’s pledge of $500 million means he is spending just under a third on Ukraine compared to what he plans to spend on Canadians.  

Indeed, Trudeau seems reluctant to spend money on the Canadian military, as evidenced when Canadian troops in Latvia were forced to purchase their own helmets and food when the Trudeau government failed to provide proper supplies.  

Weeks later, Trudeau lectured the same troops on “climate change” and disinformation.       

However, at the same time, Trudeau readily sends Canadian tax dollars overseas to Ukraine. Since the Russia-Ukraine war began in 2022, Canada has given Ukraine over $13.3 billion, including $4 billion in direct military assistance.    

In May, Trudeau’s office announced $3.02 billion in funding for Ukraine, including millions of taxpayer dollars to promote “gender-inclusive demining.”  

Trudeau’s ongoing funding for Ukraine comes as many Canadians are struggling to pay for basics such as food, shelter, and heating. According to a recent government report, fast-rising food costs in Canada have led to many people feeling a sense of “hopelessness and desperation” with nowhere to turn for help.  

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