The World of Daman Beatty

Canadian Climate Policy Pancaking – Economic Suicide to Meet Mythical Paris Targets


Two new reports by Ottawa energy policy consultant, Robert Lyman, published by Friends of Science Society, show that Canada is committing economic suicide, attempting to meet self-imposed, mythical Paris Agreement targets, then pancaking clean fuel standards on top of this hot mess. Robert Lyman is a former public servant of 27 years and a diplomat for 10 years. Lyman’s bio can be read here.

In “Litigating Climate in Canada”, Lyman points out that the Paris Agreement has few obligations for Canada. Canada’s obligations under Paris Agreement:

  • do not include any requirement to meet any specific GHG emissions reduction target;
  • do not include any requirement to pay any penalty if it fails to meet its voluntary emissions reductions targets;
  • do not include any requirement to pay any specific amount or share of the collective financing for developing countries;
  • do not include any requirement to use any specific set of policy instruments (e.g. taxes, regulations, subsidies, etc.) in pursuing its voluntary emissions reductions goals.

However, every climate activist and environmental, non-governmental organization is demanding more robust carbon taxes, more stringent GHG emissions reductions measures, a climate accountability law, a resilient ‘green’ recovery with vast investment in renewables – ‘to meet Paris targets’ – as if these are carved in stone. These strident demands are all premised on the notion that Paris targets are attainable and are required by international diktat, when these targets are self-imposed, and Canada has no such obligations under Paris Agreement.

Consequently, it is unclear how climate litigation can proceed when there are no requirements under the voluntary Paris Agreement.

Lyman’s second report, “The Clean Fuel Standard – The Latest in Climate Pancaking” offers a plain language tour through the Byzantine world of effectively counting carbon dioxide molecules in grams of CO2e per megajoule.

“The ‘intensity standard’ measures the carbon dioxide emissions per unit of energy output, but with a twist. The fuel companies will be regulated on the basis of the emissions from the entire fuel cycle. In other words, in the case of a gasoline supplier, he or she will be held accountable for the emissions per unit of the gasoline taking into account the emissions at the production, transportation, refining, marketing, distribution, and final combustion stages….Just trying to figure out what these intensities are will prove challenging,” writes Lyman.

Robert Lyman notes that the regulatory system proposed is extremely complex, requires large amounts of data and modelling, and there are difficult-to-understand inter-relationships with existing programs and new carbon credit systems and the Clean Fuel Standard (CFS) reporting system.

He points out that: “In this respect, it is reminiscent of programs implemented under the 1980’s National Energy Program (NEP),” a much-hated program that destroyed Western Canada’s then thriving oil and gas industry. Lyman’s report states that: “The CFS is arguably more important for its economic impact on Canadian business firms, and especially the emissions-intensive trade-exposed industries, than it is for emissions reduction.

Yet, its administration is being handled by ECCC, a science-based department of government whose Minister and political staff have shown themselves to be very closely aligned with and influenced by environmental non-governmental organizations.

One might have thought that, if such a measure were really required, it could be delivered by a new organization with an economic as well as environmental policy mandate that stood at arms’ length from the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change.” Canadian climate and energy policies have driven off at least $100 billion in the past two years according to Lyman’s power point “Prosperity Foregone.”

Friends of Science Society notes there is a groundswell of business and public demand for more common sense climate policies, such as the petition by the Canadians for a Responsible Recovery. Friends of Science Society says Canada is attempting to be a ‘climate leader’ with no followers, on the edge of a steep economic cliff with no scientific justification for such policies. Carbon dioxide is not the control knob that can fine tune climate. This has been clear since the 2013 IPCC AR5 report.

In a public presentation for the recent Conference, “Firewall Plus: Alberta’s Options to get a Fair Deal. Now!“, Michelle Stirling, Communications Manager for Friends of Science Society, presented a number of surprising geopolitical aspects of the climate movement, drawing on various reports by Robert Lyman. Her talk was entitled “The Last Time I Saw Paris“.

About Friends of Science Society

Friends of Science Society is an independent group of earth, atmospheric and solar scientists, engineers, and citizens that is celebrating its 18th year of offering climate science insights. After a thorough review of a broad spectrum of literature on climate change, Friends of Science Society has concluded that the sun is the main driver of climate change, not carbon dioxide (CO2).