Alberta’s New Policies: False Optimism

Over dinner with friends I was complaining about the lack of understanding by our leaders about anything that matters.

They countered with optimism based on recent statements by the premier of Alberta about her commitment to do something about climate change. I said I was not aware of her statements but I was willing to bet a significant sum that her policies would have no meaningful impact on CO2 emissions.

Tonight I looked up her policy. It’s a carbon tax that will be reinvested in “green initiatives”. This will at best have no effect on CO2 emissions and at worst will increase emissions. If she really wanted to reduce emissions she would bury the tax receipts so they could not be spent. We can’t spend our way out of this problem. We have to spend less.

She’s also planning a cap on oil sands emissions. This policy may appear to work but not because of the policy. Oil sands operations are in long term decline because civilization can no longer afford its high cost of production.

What’s the objective? To feel good or to do something that will actually help?

I’m sure Alberta has good intentions, and I’m sure some Albertans will feel good about these initiatives, but they won’t work.

If we want to do something that will help we have to shrink the economy and reduce the population.

The economy is going to collapse with or without a push from us due to peak debt and peak oil, but if we accelerate the decline then we might out-run the self-reinforcing feedback loops that threaten to overtake human CO2 emissions, and we might also maintain more civil order with a planned contraction rather than an uncontrolled crash.

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