Is Kenney ignorant or stupid?

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney addresses panel in Washington.

There is ignorance and there is stupidity. Ignorance can be fixed. Stupidity cannot.

We see this daily in every single article, speech and telecast extolling the virtues of so-called green energy.

So it was disheartening to say the least to see Alberta Premier Jason Kenney talk about the inevitable transition to green energy.

In Don Braid’s column in the Calgary Herald, Kenney is quoted as telling a panel at Washington’s Wilson Center:

“Over the next decades as we go through the energy transition, we all know that there will be a continued demand for crude. It is preferable that the last barrel in that transition period comes from a stable, reliable liberal democracy with among the highest environmental, human-rights and labour standards on earth.”

As Braid noted, the words hang in the air for Albertans. “Energy transition. Last barrel. Transition period. Six not-so-little words we’ve never heard clearly from Kenney before.”

As Kenney sees it, “There is no reasonable person that can deny that in the decades to come we will see a gradual shift from hydrocarbon-based energy to other forms of energy.”

What Kenney doesn’t say is that it is government not the market that is attempting to drive this transition away from hydrocarbon-based energy.

Nor does the premier say that it is only the governments of the West that are pushing renewable energy.

In the rest of the world, fossil fuels are being embraced. India is building hundreds of coal fired electricity plants. China is building thousands.

Here in the West, however, too many of our politicians have fallen for the idea that CO2 emissions pose an existential threat to the world because of the mistaken belief that rising emissions will cause inordinate warming.

It is such nonsense. Anyone who has studied geology knows full well that 8,000 years ago, the earth was 3 C warmer than it is today. That was the Holocene Optimum.

It’s been cooling for 8,000 years while CO2 levels have been rising.

It’s called an optimum because the world was very livable. Northern Africa was a lush, green paradise where humans thrived along side giraffes, elephants, gazelle. Ancient art attest to this paradise.

rock art
Rock Painting with giraffes from Tassili in southern Algeria.

But the earth has been cooling since that time and today Northern Africa is a desert.

Now, the Holocene Optimum occurred when CO2 levels were 280 ppm. How was that possible if CO2 is the control knob of the climate? How have global temperatures declined in the following 8,000 years as CO2 rose?

Even if you accept that CO2 will increase temperatures, the wholesale embrace of renewable energy is hardly the answer.

Renewables are unreliable. The wind does not always blow and the sun does not always shine.

So how do you run a factory or heat a home when there is no electricity being produced? How?

Batteries? There are no grid size batteries capable of keeping the lights on for more than a few minutes. There can be days when the wind is not co-operating. In the winter there can be weeks when you do not see the sun.

If renewables were truly the answer, then developing nations would be leap frogging the West as they grow their economies. But they understand they CANNOT grow their economies without fossil fuels.

So when Kenney talks about transitioning away from fossil fuels, I shake my head. Is he merely ignorant or is he stupid? Pray it is the former and not the latter.

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