Human beings need food, clothing, and shelter. If you doubt this statement stand outside at minus 35 degrees Celsius in a pair of shorts and bare feet until common sense once again floods the synapses of your gray matter. Civilization needs energy and minerals. It needs raw materials to build our world. Iron for steel, magnesium, bauxite, silver, and gold, are but a few from the periodic table of elements that human beings have learned to fashion into usable goods.
Energy in all its forms, burning wood, coal, oil, and electricity from hydro, wind, photovoltaics, or nuclear is necessary for gathering and manipulating these materials. Industry converts these minerals to provide humans with a roof, a coat, and food in the cupboard. To combine energy and manufacturing forms the basic premise of life.
Canadian airwaves are teeming with the endless controversy of getting a pipeline to tidewater. Revenue, or lack of it, threatens the economic prosperity of this province and this country. Technology will advance our economy. Conversely, it could work against our current strengths, relegating the country to a depressed, marginal state. When multiple countries of the world capitalize on “blue fuel,” solar, wind, tidal and nuclear, fission and fusion, the market will change. Western Canada’s hydrocarbon, already demonized by the “greens” as the “world’s largest environmental threat” could lose market share.
If every political and cultural jurisdiction large or small worldwide were to produce their required energy, the need for importing conventional fuels with their integral production and transport expenses would become pointless.
The complete transition to sustainable, environmentally safe energy will take
decades. However, this transition will happen, environmental considerations, economics, and energy independence will make it unavoidable. Many countries of the world lack abundant natural assets. It is this selfsame lack that drives their rapid pursuit of energy sources, which should eventually allow them energy autonomy.
Canada is myopic in its vision due to its reserves being plentiful. Politicians, lose sight of the real world, they become driven to satisfy what a minority of foreign lobby groups draw their attention too, discounting the basics ideas of civilization. If Canada does not pull its head out of the permafrost, we will find ourselves trying to sell ice cubes to the Inuit. We will squander the market on which we have spent countless funds to expand transport. In short, the economy will suffer, Canada will decline with no sales, no credibility, and a diminished economy.
The world is transitioning to alternate sources of energy; this is certifiable fact. Petroleum-rich Norway and Saudi Arabia are using the funds from revenues to finance the transition to eco-friendly sources of energy. Their effort is commendable. Equally, Canadian innovators have impressed the world with their technological competence. Continuing will require political leaders in the country learning to give right-of-way to inventor citizens. The caveat is revenue. Without funds innovators, are shackled, and resource revenue provides that funding. Our existence as a world leader in original thought and creative action may depend on it.
Lorne Oja can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.