The International Energy Agency thinks we all need to work harder to fight climate change. The International Energy Agency also supports the development of the oil sands. Greenpeace calls the IEA “intellectually and morally inconsistent.” As usual, Greenpeace is wrong.
What the IEA is, is realistic. Demand for fossil fuels is growing, period. Greenpeace can illegally break into as many refineries, or office buildings as it wants to protest the production and use of oil, but it won’t break our demand for oil. Not until it can offer the world an economical and reliable alternative to the world’s most efficient, useful, and portable energy resource.
Richard Jones, the deputy executive director of the International Energy Agency gets that. In releasing its annual report this year, the IEA warned about climate change: “As each year passes without clear signals to drive investment in clean energy, the ‘lock-in’ of high-carbon infrastructure is making it harder and more expensive to meet our energy security and climate goals,” it said.
And yet, oil will be with us for some time yet, Jones is candid enough to admit.
“Obviously we think over time fossil fuels should be phased out, but we recognize that for the foreseeable future there’s going to be major demand for oil and gas,” he told Postmedia this week.
“We don’t have any inhibitions in saying we support the development of the oilsands because it’s an important resource,” he said. And because it’s a more reliable, peaceful source of oil than the OPEC stuff, which funds tyranny, war and terror. “As an American I’d rather send my dollars to Canada than to Kuwait, even though I have a lot of friends in Kuwait. They’re in a pretty volatile part of the planet and who knows where that money might end up?” said Jones, a former ambassador to Kuwait.
Greenpeace, not surprisingly, evidently thinks replacing the world’s energy supply currently powered by fossil fuels with uneconomic, unreliable wind and solar power is as simple as building a few more wind turbines and throwing more government money at unsustainable solar power. Working at Greenpeace means never actually having to be realistic about things.
The IEA, like the rest of us, has to live in the real world.
Says Jones: “We think the people who just say, ‘you can wave a magic wand and replace all of these other technologies with renewables’ are smoking dope.”
That would certainly explain a lot.