Carbon Corner Doubling Down The Coal And Carbon Tax Debates

Date PublishedNovember 24, 2016
CompanyOilfield HUB
Article AuthorKevin Turko
Article TypeNovember 2016 Issue
CategoryArticles, Carbon Corner
Tags, , , , ,
PULSE Interactive

Carbon Corner Doubling Down The Coal And Carbon Tax Debates

We’re as Mad as Hell and We’re Not Going to Take This Anymore!

Even before the ink has dried on the U.S. federal election, our federal government is doubling down on its latest environmental ideological quest and clean energy strategy to eliminate coal-fired electricity generation by 2030. On November 21st, Catherine McKenna, our Minister of Environment and Climate Change doubled down on our federal government’s climate change dogma to announce their goal to make 90% of Canada’s electricity come from sustainable sources, up from the already lofty objective of 80%. Why the sudden jump? Perhaps to take a shot directly at President-Elect Trump!

Carbon Corner Doubling Down The Coal And Carbon Tax Debates

Average Electricity Bill by Province


Coal power in Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia accounts for 10% of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions. 10% seems like a massive amount, but when considering this is 10% of 1.6%, Canada’s contribution to global greenhouse gases, this amounts to 0.16% savings to the world as a whole. In Alberta our NDP government has taken the approach to phase out coal entirely and to replace it with lower emitting sources, while Saskatchewan is opting for more progressive carbon capture and storage technologies. I argue it is ‘progressive’ as the world needs these technologies to cure the ever increasing CO2 problem, perceived or not, scientifically proven or not! It is a fallacy to believe the rest of the world is actively working toward phasing out coal-fired electricity any time soon, let alone 2030, even in favour of renewables and cleaner burning natural gas. Particularly in third world countries who are starved for electricity which we in developed western countries have taken for granted for decades!

Carbon Corner Doubling Down The Coal And Carbon Tax Debates

Cost of energy by type


And now our biggest trading partner has pledged to revive coal to create jobs and return economic prosperity to several depressed States south of the border. The United States currently sits a distant second to China in the world rankings for carbon emissions and Canada is even further back in 10th spot. Placing 10th on this conspicuous list isn’t justification in itself to turn a blind eye toward tackling the problem of CO2 emissions, but you have to severely question the timing, strategies, and announced game plans that our federal and provincial governments are deploying. Their policies and proposed legislation are driving us more toward being part of the problem rather than being part of the solution. Rather than providing incentives and tax breaks to companies for research and development to solve the GHG problem, we are asking our businesses to pay more on an already very competitive world stage. We are also asking all Canadians to get used to having less because it’s now a bad thing to earn and want more!

Thank God we have an abundance of natural gas in Alberta that should, in theory, keep our electricity bills in check for the time being.

Carbon Corner Doubling Down The Coal And Carbon Tax Debates

Provincial Electricity Rates

In business I was taught to punish the guilty rather than punish the masses when something goes wrong. In Canada we seem to think we can solve this global issue by pushing all Canadians, and the businesses they rely upon for jobs, into clean energy poverty. Our politicians always counter this argument by saying there will be trillions in new global clean energy investment in the future. So in reality we are banking the wellbeing of every Canadian today, to position our country for potential investment that may or may not ever hit our shores at some unknown time in the future.

It’s like robbing Paul to pay Peter. Kathleen Wynne, the 25th Premier of Ontario is the latest politician to reluctantly admit she took her eye off the ball in her government’s quest to be part of the clean energy world haven. Why the sudden revelation? Well her electorate, and past ardent supporters, are starting to revolt when they see what is happening with our U.S. neighbors, and when for the first time ever, people are having to decide

whether to pay their electricity bill or to buy food and pay their rent. They simply can’t afford all three! It now costs more in Ontario to cool a 2,500 sq. ft. house in the middle of the summer in Toronto than it does to cool 2 comparable houses in the scorching heat of Phoenix in the Arizona Sonoran Desert. Total mismanagement by Wynne’s Liberal government, all to solve a social justice clean energy problem that did not exist in her province.

I will leave you with a few thoughts on what is happening in Alberta. Despite the worst economic downturn in decades our NDP government is moving forward with the phasing out of coal and is doubling down with the new Carbon Tax coming this January. Hardly news to anyone these days. But at what cost? Well the jury is still out. To get out of the power contracts is going to cost Albertan’s somewhere between $600 million to $2 billion dollars. On November 24th, Environment Minister Shannon Phillips announced that Alberta will pay TransAlta, Capital Power and ATCO $97 million a year over  the next 14 years to help them transition out of coal-fired power. That is a whopping $1.358 billion dollars. Where in the hell do they think that money will come from? Large carbon emitters, so they say, but in reality it is coming from our new found Carbon Tax. When they say Alberta will pay, they really mean we all will pay!

So there you have it, the cost of doubling down! I just can’t help but to wonder if these dollars could be better spent on innovation and technologies to reduce and/or

Residential Electricity Rates Across North America



eliminate GHG emissions rather than eliminating jobs and shuttering local communities. Thank God we have an abundance of natural gas in Alberta that should, in theory, keep our electricity bills in check for the time being. Or at least until our environmental warriors in the NDP government decide to double down once again on renewables and legislate that we can no longer burn natural gas to generate electricity!

Kevin Turko
Oilfield HUB Inc.

Carbon Corner: Doubling Down The Coal And Carbon Tax Debates






Originally published in the 

November 2016 Issue of Oilfield PULSE