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Is ESG a Necessity or more Climate Hype?

Shane Wenzel

The most common street talk now is around ‘ESG’ reporting. So what does that mean for Canada, and in particular Alberta? We know it is tied to climate change, but then when isn’t that the popular excuse for all rising costs?

 

Money managers on Wall Street are echoing federal politicians that climate change is their main concern. Seriously? Is that all that is wrong with Canada? Or is it an excuse for more interference in our lives and justification to fulfil political agendas? What we can easily interpret from all of this is a possible shift of trillions of investment dollars away from oil and gas, a push for ownership of electric vehicles, more mass transit in cities and the way we view car ownership all together. Will we even be allowed to own one is the big question. Has anyone been noticing the additional bike lanes being added in Calgary to the extent some streets are becoming impossible to manoeuvre? How will all of this affect the global transportation industry, the billions of dollars of the export industry and food delivery? Only completely naïve politicians believe the need for vehicles will end. We will continue to need them for work, for shopping, taking our children to school and other activities. Mass transit is not the answer that municipal governments are pushing for, and particularly in Cold Canada. All of this is foolishness is making relocating outside of larger cities incredibly attractive.

As a result of this new direction, new and onerous emissions reporting standards will affect every industry from small to large, and include everything from food services, home building and everything in between. It is most definitely destined to kill our fossil fuel industry and jeopardize Canada’s energy security. So what incentive will companies have to invest in exploration and development if it leads to lenders, insurers and investors walking away? Net zero does not appear to be the name of the game now, but rather ‘absolute-zero.’ While Mark Carney likes to refer to it as the most important innovation in accounting since the 14th century, it is heavily biased against any type of emissions and without question will exponentially increase compliance costs for everyone along with a decreasing modern lifestyle.

Not only will this move create additional costs and burdens on companies, but non-compliance will inhibit access to financial services and investment. Public companies will be required to calculate their own greenhouse emissions, and choose their suppliers and customers, accordingly.

Can’t you just visualize the wild expansion of government hiring to manage this process? Canada needs more paycheck writers not more regulations and more regulators! There are plans underway for a compliance police force with unlimited powers and a compliance armory in Manitoba with all kinds of purposes unheard of in modern civilized times. Regulation officers have already been roaming onto farm property in Saskatchewan without owners’ permission testing slough water. Is this what our future is going to look like?

Some pension plans, including Quebec’s Caisse, no longer hold shares in oil and gas producers because of these new restrictions. Unfortunately, Quebec pensioners lost out on the industry gains this year as they will in the future. Without question, it is time for our own Alberta pension plan!