Andrew Nikiforuk writes that we are trapped between two false narratives:
We are now trapped in what I have called “the poverty of two narratives” that pits the business-as-usual crowd against the green transitionists. This supposed debate avoids unpleasant realities such as rising global consumption and growing rates of energy use in a finite world. Moreover, both groups believe unlimited economic growth is the only answer to our multiplying emergencies.
Both narratives are false because they refuse to recognize a very hard fact. Our present economic model is unsustainable. The business as usual folks think things are just fine:
They celebrate the endless spending of fossil fuels as an economic miracle and political right with no catastrophic ecological consequences let alone any moral quandaries.
Investigative reporter Amy Westervelt documented that the messaging of this death cult has found a new impetus in response to inflation and Putin’s war. Business-as-usual elites now clamour that “American fossil fuel production ensures freedom and national security, high gas prices are caused by climate policy and the solution is more drilling, and climate change is something only liberal ‘woke’ elites care about.”
Amid all this bluster we rarely hear talk about reality. About 20 years ago a real energy transition actually occurred. That’s when the petroleum industry started, by geological necessity, to extract extreme and costly resources such as fracked oil, bitumen and deep-sea oil. As a consequence energy price volatility began to rock the globalization project. Extreme resources make ugly ecological footprints, require mountains of cash and deliver fewer energy returns.
We are getting to the point where all of this is about to implode. But there is another narrative, which Nikiforuk calls the "techno-green" narrative:
Meanwhile the green technocrats offer an equally distorted narrative about the state of things. They get climate change, but pretend a transition to renewables can be achieved without a massive investment of fossil fuels (try making a solar panel or windmill without oil) and the brutal mining of rare earth minerals. They even pretend that inflation, which makes every renewable more expensive, is not a barrier.
They also ignore that it took 160 years to build the current energy system at a time when petroleum and minerals were abundant and cheap. Now they propose to “electrify the Titantic” as ecologist William Ophuls puts it, at a time of expensive fossil fuels, indebted financial systems and mineral shortages.
The techno-greens also pretend that civilization can substitute fossil fuels, which are densely packed with energy, with renewables, which are less energy dense — and do so without subsequent reductions in demand or changes in behaviour.
It's the problem of demand that trips up both narratives. Both narratives refuse to recognize that there are limits to growth. We cannot continue to expand our population and gobble up resources as we have for the last two hundred years.
Bob Dylan warned us that "it's a hard, hard rain gonna fall."
Image: AZ Quotes