The Conservative Case For Sustainable Energy

May 1st, 2022 | DS

Sustainability is something we all strive for in our daily lives. When confronted by shortages, dependencies and disruptions, the need for sustainable and reliable food sources, income sources and energy sources becomes paramount. Our lives since the onset of the pandemic have been fraught with labour shortages, unreliable production lines and significant, unwanted changes to how we consume and behave. Many of us have tasted the consequences of scarcity and experienced what may soon become a common occurrence in the future. For this exact reason, more of us should bring ourselves to accept the slow and painful move toward sustainable and renewable energy.

Conservatives are the quickest to mock and lament sustainable energy and to denounce it as a scam. The wind turbines are made from petroleum and produce a fraction of the energy required to power houses during Canada's long winters. Solar power is much of the same. However, technology is advancing and the move toward solar and wind is becoming less painful. This fact seems to find a way to be excluded from most conservative dinner tables and discussions about energy. To most conservatives, the move toward renewable energy is an affront to Canada's oil industry by the Trudeau government and is designed to make us all poor. In conservative circles, any policy designed to bolster renewable energy is a part of a vast, global conspiracy to impoverish wealthy countries.

There is no doubt that many Liberal policies and environmental taxes are indeed misguided and damaging. Imposing a carbon tax on a country that contributes less than 2% to global emissions is anything but productive, yet it has become standard among the parties that aim to solve climate change. Allowing China and India to escape any kind of enforcement when it comes to global greenhouse emissions is nothing short of travesty, yet scrutiny against either country on the global stage is rare from Canada's loudest green mouthpieces.

The sooner our society realizes that Liberal policies are not the solution to climate change and pollution, the sooner we will shed the idea that left-wing parties know better than the rest of us. If conservative parties were to adopt policies that stimulate and promote renewable energy without useless taxes and destructive economic policies, they would gain a foothold in the places they have been slipping for years. In combination with their existing ideas about forest management, environmental grants, recycling and investments in innovations, the Conservative Party has the potential to make strides in convincing Canadians that they can be stewards of the environment.

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Liberal policies on the environment are as good as their policies on economics, affordability, inflation and most social issues. Liberal policies have failed at achieving their goals on nearly every front, yet Canadians in the East have continued to put their faith in Justin Trudeau to solve climate change. With more open-minded conservatism, Canadian culture could see a massive shift toward a new “natural governing party” within a few short years.

Justin Trudeau's jet-setting hypocrisy on carbon emissions has turned Canadians sour, leaving the door wide open for a strong, Conservative response.

The party's previous leader, Erin O'Toole, didn't have much of an imagination. He merely attempted to re-package a carbon tax and sell it to his party as “not a carbon tax”. In all honesty, it was an insult to Conservative voters and a betrayal of those who supported his bid for leadership. Hopefully, the old ideas on what it means to take the environment seriously have been thrown out with O'Toole and the party can now re-imagine a new path forward.

Why We Need Sustainable, Renewable Energy

Even without the prospects of climate change and global warming, renewable sources of energy are important for the long-term health and longevity of civilization. Fossil fuels are abundant now, but they will eventually run out. Fear-mongering campaigns about “peak oil” are nonsense and fossil fuels are not on the verge of running out any time soon, but the switch to renewable sources is inevitable on a longer timeline.

The societies that make the switch will be far ahead of the ones that don't.

When peak oil does happen, whether it is in 100 years or 1000 years, the societies that failed to make the transition will crumble. The non-renewable fossil fuels that fuelled their economies and their food production will eventually run out, or become too expensive under the weight of their scarcity. In such a case, the societies that made the transition to nuclear, hydro, solar and wind will have a clear advantage going into the future.

Making the transition sooner rather than later could prove to be a wise choice. With supply disruptions ongoing, the need for homemade and local products has never been more evident. By investing in solar and wind production at home, while the technologies continue to advance, Canada would set its path to a more sustainable future and become less dependent on resources that will only continue to decline and become more expensive in the coming decades.

"The sooner our society realizes that Liberal policies are not the solution to climate change and pollution, the sooner we will shed the idea that left-wing parties know better than the rest of us."

This concept isn't rocket science, so it shouldn't be treated as such. The idea that expendable, non-renewable fuels will eventually run out is based on common, basic scientific and mathematical facts. No matter our views on climate change and whether it is a fiction or not, our views on acquiring and building a sustainable future should be unanimous across all party lines. It comes down to forward planning and common sense.

Homemade Energy Resources

We have plenty of oil in Canada and we shouldn't stop extracting and refining it. Not until we complete our plan to become fully sustainable. Even then, petroleum products will be required for the production of some of the sustainable products we would need. If we continued to extract and fully refine our fossil fuel products at home, without imports, we could become one of the most successful and self-sustaining countries in the world.

The idea that we will one day be able to stop extracting any resources at all is purely fictional. Batteries to power electric cars will need lithium and cobalt, two resources we have plenty of in Canada. Wind turbines and solar panels will require petroleum lubricants and accessories for the foreseeable future. Nuclear requires uranium.

By refining 100% of our own crude oil, we would have fewer concerns about global prices. By halting all foreign imports, our energy sector would heighten the economy of the whole country and employ millions of Canadians at a maximum capacity. By accepting nuclear as a reliable way to power millions of homes and to upgrade the power grid to support millions of electric cars, we could employ thousands more in uranium mining and the field of fission.

With mining lithium and cobalt on the prairies and in the Maritimes, we could begin manufacturing electric car batteries at home and in every province. Any excess we produce from either resource could be exported, but never at the expense of those who need it in Canada.

Conservatives Can Do This

Rather than scoff and sneer at efforts to make Canada a more sustainable country, Conservatives should be looking for ways to make it happen. Forget carbon taxes, unless they go directly to building solar fields and nuclear plants to power communities without ending up in the bank accounts of lobbyists and politicians. By implementing traditional conservative cutbacks to wasteful programs and re-allocating the savings, Conservatives could achieve the financial means of funding these efforts without carbon taxes.

Simply by defunding the CBC, Conservatives could reallocate more than $1.5B to investments in sustainable energy.

Conservatives could achieve everything Liberals couldn't on the environment merely by being conservative. They could even go ahead an plant the two billion trees Trudeau promised in the previous election cycles. They could fund Saskatchewan's nuclear power ambitions, build battery plants and more refineries across Ontario and Manitoba, cut off Saudi Arabian oil imports and crank up homegrown oil production to fill the demand, use the revenues from these ventures to fund even more sustainable alternatives and create more nature preserves and national parks.

Conservatives could be the party Canadians trust to conserve nature, conserve prosperity and conserve Canada's place in the world as a self-sustained, energy independent country.

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