FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
GPC leadership campaign:
The End of Oil in Canada
Podcast transcript outlining risks when we have become blind to future events when our most trusted institutions no longer share with us certain truths.
The following represents the transcript of Don Elzer’s podcast released on May 22nd, 2020 from his home in Lumby, British Columbia.
Listen to the podcast from this link:
May 22, 2020
Good afternoon, thanks for joining me.
My name is Don Elzer and I’m seeking your support for the leadership of the Green Party of Canada leadership of the Green Party of Canada.
I would like to share with you some thoughts about the end of oil, and what we are in fact facing as we seek to transition from fossil fuels to different alternative energy solutions.
If you are a farmer do you have a 10 year plan that would address the end of oil and gas as fuels on your farm?
How about if you are a logger?
What about your community?
What if you are in the fishing business?
What if you are in a business with a fleet of trucks?
What if you are living in a rural area and you depend on your vehicle for a weekly supply run into town?
What if you live in a remote First Nations community that requires air service?
What’s your 10 year plan?
My guess is that you don’t really have one, and no one is suggesting any sort of urgency in this matter. We’re told to get ready, but that we have time.
We have already reached peak oil; however we don’t really have an accurate picture of what our oil and gas reserves are. We need to have a truly independent audit of all fossil fuel reserves in Canada and it must be determined through an auditing process that is arms length from both government and the oil and gas industry.
We are told that oil reserves are around a hundred years based on an equation of present and future consumption levels and based on a certain rate of supply, however both of these factors can change based on market demand fluctuations and political decisions that control the rate of supply.
We keep turning the taps on more, and we keep creating infrastructure to export more and more of this natural resource, which leaves the people of Canada and our economy vulnerable.
We have become blind to future events when our most trusted institutions no longer share with us certain truths.
Every time we turn the taps on a bit more, our actual oil reserves become less than what our predetermined forecasted reserves are. And every year we have been turning these taps on more and more, so today we have no idea what our fossil fuel reserves are. The people who are reporting to us that there is a safe supply, have a vested interest in keeping the supply constant and growing.
What happens when we wake to the fact, possibly next year or within five years that we only have 40 years of oil left? At that point everyone, particularly industries will become very nervous and as it stands those industries have the ear of government first and ahead of the people.
When the truth begins to surface about how shallow our oil reserves are, will the airline industry want its own fuel reserve that is sanctioned by the federal government? What about the shipping and rail industries and the military and so on?
So we may wake up one morning soon and learn that we have 40 years of oil left, and the next morning learn that as consumers we only have five years of oil left.
This is a real possibility, and we are without a tangible transition plan, a plan that should have been rolled out ten years ago. Instead we are offering up solutions to re-employ laid off oil patch workers to install solar panels.
This kind of answer might be well meaning, but it is also shallow and shows that we are without real tangible solutions. We do not have a workable model of energy transition in this country, instead we are in denial.
At present the narrative for sustainability is focused on transportation, electric vehicles, solar, but what about the regeneration of our other industries?
For example, at present there are no feasible industrial solutions for transitioning energy for the airline or forestry industries and certainly not for agriculture and the thousands of farm families that drive that industry.
It’s true, we have alternative energy solutions, but they are costly and it is questionable whether they meet the magnitudes required to be feasible. Many of the solutions presented to us are certainly not democratized. We are having to trust government, institutions and corporations when they tell us that everything will be fine, but collectively they do not share a plan that individuals, families and small businesses can foster.
Once again, family farms are being forgotten as is the scope required to retool the entire country. If you are a farmer carrying a million dollars of debt on farm equipment with perhaps another million in equity, that equity will be completely lost if your equipment becomes worthless. And with no viable cost effective alternative available for running the mechanical infrastructure on the farm you will be in dire straights – and then so will the country.
John Deere’s solution is a tractor with an extension cord on a huge spool and a robotic arm that keeps you from driving over the cord. Agriculture is not ready. And a farmer will need at least a decade to retool and have access to funds and banking that will allow for the loss of equity on the antiquated farm equipment.
There is no guarantee that banks and other lending institutions will support this transition which will have problems amplified to include not only thousands of farms and small forest and fishing companies but also the lion’s share of small and micro businesses.
This transition will impact all value chains within the economy.
Imagine the loss of equity that will be experienced by both families and businesses as their vehicles will no longer function without fuel, not to mention every single gas or diesel device within a household or farm having to be replaced and retooled.
Imagine every homeowner in the country having to upgrade their electrical service from 100 amps to 200 amps in order to be able to carry the electrical load required to charge all of this extra battery operated equipment.
Imagine all of the people in rural and remote Canada who depend on personal transportation for their families and work travel? There is no transit solution for these areas and culturally it will not be welcomed as an option. Instead we are depending on these people to purchase a new electric vehicle when most have never purchased a new vehicle in their lives.
The redirection of disposable and discretionary income into replacing fossil fuel dependent equipment will be staggering – and that’s if the alternative green products and solutions are even available.
There are a few viable solutions however few are localized. It’s one thing to have the new technology and alternative energy available; it’s quite different to have it affordable and accessible to everyone.
So what needs to be done?
First, the House of Commons needs to establish a Royal Commission tasked with measuring the state of supply for both fossil fuels and alternative energy. The commission will manage an independent audit which will determine with accuracy the remaining fossil fuel reserves as well as determining an “accurate” potential for delivering alternatives.
Second we need to engage with manufacturers so that they get serious about offering alternative solutions for retooling Canada. We need product overviews, guarantees of efficiently, price and delivery dates of when they can be in the marketplace. We need to know that the retooling is affordable and effective for all Canadians.
We need to have workable consumer and business financing plans, and we need them now. We need banks and lenders to be on board with financing retooling, and we need them to write-off the value of the equity losses experienced by every part of the economy.
We need a vast array of government supported programs that will assist with this transition. And we need to engage with provinces and municipalities in problem solving the many issues that will emerge like what will happen when 100 gas stations in a community are shuttered; how will the oil and gas workforce transition; how will we make up for the loss of export revenues within our economy – the issues are endless.
Imagine a world in a decade where there are no used cars for sale, the only option is a new one, and your present vehicle has no trade-in value.
What will you do?
The Green Party needs to lead the way in tackling this tough issue and offer real workable solutions for all Canadians and not just a few.
A word to the critics, who believe that sticking with an oil-based economy is the only way to go, and that climate change is just fiction. My answer to them is this.
We will run out of oil, and it’s happening quickly, there will be a point that the remaining oil reserves will have to be dedicated to other uses outside of energy and transportation.
Oil and gas are finite natural resources and when they are gone, they are gone - that is a fact. The quick depletion of fossil fuels and the end of that industry will actually be part of the climate change solution.
In this decade we will be experiencing one of the greatest transitions ever to face humanity and much of it is anchored within climate change and the end of fossil fuels – and we are not ready. As the leader of the Green Party of Canada I will be relentless in a mission of demanding that Canada form a tangible 10 year plan that will transition and retool, households, communities, small enterprise and industries away from fossil fuels to safe, accessible and affordable alternative energy that works for both urban and rural Canada.
Canada’s future depends on how we quickly and effectively we transition away from fossil fuels.
The Green Party of Canada has a great responsibility; we plant the seeds for change. We present the ideas and the passion so that all Canadians can become engaged and excited about the future of their communities, their nation and planet Earth.
Thanks for taking this time to listen to this podcast, I’m Don Elzer, leadership contender for the Green Party of Canada.
Don Elzer has launched an exploratory effort to become the leader of the Green Party of Canada. Elzer is a long-time environmental activist from British Columbia who has had a history of work within rural planning in Canada. He’s seeking the party leadership in order to address a long list of issues in the country which he suggests require “tangible systematic change.”
For more information Don Elzer can be reached at: 250.547.2001
By email: firstname.lastname@example.org