July 02, 2020

What does the Paris Agreement mean for energy affordability?

What does the Paris Agreement mean for energy affordability?

In 2015, Canada, along with 194 other countries, signed on to the Paris Agreement. This Agreement, devised by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), called on all signees to make a commitment to lower their carbon emissions by the year 2030. However, it set no objective baseline - each nation could set its own. So what was described as an “agreement” was really just a collection of individual statements, some - like those for China and India - which meant absolutely no change to the status quo. 

Canada’s commitment - one of the most aggressive - was to reduce Canada’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030. This is not an insignificant number - particularly for one of the world’s most advanced, efficient, and energy-intensive economies, a country which has consistently led the world in the application of new and better technologies in a host of sectors.

In other words, even though we already met some of the highest standards, the Trudeau government decided to make it much, much harder on Canada, while much of the rest of the world could carry on doing next to nothing. 

As author and noted climate commenter Bjorn Lomborg pointed out in his 2016 study on the Agreement, even if all 125 countries achieve their Paris goals, the effect on temperature will be so small (approximately one tenth of one degree lower by the year 2100) that the changes will be essentially negligible. This is because only a few countries are as determined to make onerous emission reductions as is Canada. 

The Paris Agreement is essentially virtue-signalling. Our Prime Minister, never one to miss a virtue signalling parade, jumped right out in front. But he went further: he actually laid out a ridiculously aggressive and economy-killing target. 

And not surprisingly, Canada is not even close to achieving the targets we have set. In a November 2019 report, the UN stated that Canada was on track to have emissions 15% higher in 2030 than its Paris Agreement goal. Environment and Climate Change Canada admitted that even with the best possible scenario, by 2030, emissions will only be lowered by 19% below 2005 levels. This is under conditions that include a rapidly rising carbon tax, and a host of other taxes and regulations and restrictions. 

Why is it, then, that the Paris Agreement continues to be upheld by our own government as an achievable goal? Could it be that as long as the Liberal government uses the Paris Agreement as the rationale to hide behind, the current government can continue to pursue an ideological agenda of making energy less affordable, killing jobs and sending business out of our country?

In other words, the phrase “we have to live up to Paris” is used as the reason for: the overbearing carbon tax - which is already hurting Canadian’s at the pumps, driving up the costs of goods and services, and crippling specific groups like farmers with unmanageable costs; the clean fuel standard, (delayed for now, but under aggressive development as a more onerous regulation than originally conceived) which amounts to a new carbon tax in disguise; and the recently passed Bills C-69 and C-48 which continue to crush any hopes of new resource development projects across our country. 

Creating an illusion of a significant commitment - when in fact it is an arbitrary target we set for ourselves and no one else will meet - has worked wonders. Countless Canadian political and business leaders are terrified to speak against Paris for fear of being called “climate-change deniers”, or “uncaring” about the environment, or whatever other criticism is leveled. In fact, any who do not condemn the Agreement should be ashamed: their virtue-signaling has only hurt Canadians and the future of our country.

The effect of continued support for the Paris Agreement is killing the Canadian resource sector and the affordability of energy along with it. 

As we have said time and time again, Canada provides the world with clean, inexpensive, and reliable energy. Canadians and citizens around the world rely on this energy to heat and feed their families, drive their cars, and fuel their daily lives. 

Out of touch politicians continue to sign their names to treaties with aspirational goals and targets. But these aspirations have real and costly repercussions for you and me. 

When will political leaders get real and give up on these targets which cannot be achieved and which will inevitably end up as additional costs for Canadian taxpayers struggling to get through a recession? 

Government must stop putting climate ideology ahead of Canadians. We must abandon the Paris Agreement.