What Happens When All The Fish Are Gone?

Swimmy little swimmers once swam so supremely by St. John’s that you just had to scoop your little sac along the saline shore to satisfy your Sally.

Once. Once this was so.

I intend to go on doing just what I do! And, for your information, you Lorax, I’m figgering

on biggering and BIGGERING and BIGGERING and BIGGERING, turning MORE various Trees into steeds which everyone, EVERYONE, EVERYONE needs!

And at that very moment, we heard a loud whack! From outside in the fields came a sickening smack of an axe on a tree. Then we heard the tree fall. The very last various Tree of them all!

No more trees. No more steeds. No more work to be done. So, in no time, my uncles and aunts, every one, All waved me good-bye. They jumped into my cars and drove away under the smoke-smuggered stars.

Now all that was left ‘neath the bad-smelling sky was my big empty factory…

the Lorax…

and I.

Now all that’s left is a memory and a dream that isn’t lived but re-lived. This happened in a land of boundlessi plenty – a land of laughs – a land called New-found-land. This happened because people “just tried their best” and thought that bad things could never happen to them.

Now the fish are gone and no government regulation in the world can bring them back. The lifeblood of Newfoundland now smells, ever-so-faintly, of dingy dinosaur oil instead of the fragrant huile de poisson that once hung in the breeze. The new oil is something, yes, but it’s not enough.ii Not by a long shot. And this is the tragedy ; this is the canary in the coal mine.

nubbins`:iii There have been several “take half your pension or take none of it” type situations in these parts, the past couple years.
mircea_popescu: Orly ? Links ?
nubbins`: Maybe still winding thru arbitration. I’ll dig. Ok this was actually a couple years ago. Link 1: Bondpapers. Govt coffers in a bad way as well: Link 2: The Muse. And federally: Link 3: CFIB.
mircea_popescu: o.O. Interesting. I didn’t know it actually got THIS bad.iv

nubbins`: Same outlook as Social Insurance (Social Security for yanqis), but from a different angle. “Well if my old-age pension won’t be there, at least i’ll have my… uh..”
mircea_popescu: Reddit account. Full of reddit gld.
nubbins`: Heh. At least we’ve got our natural resourc…OH FUCK

This foreshadows post-Oilberta, which will come either at the hands of Mother Naturev or Mother Wahhabi.vi It matters not. No petrol, no pension.

So what a to-do to die today, at a minute or two to two?

A humble proposal might be made: Bitcoin mining. Alberta has the coal reserves, the sunshine, the cold climate, the physical space, and the remote geography to make this a reality.vii There’s no reason Oilberta couldn’t be Coinberta.viii The second best time to plant the tree is now.

Indeed, a thing distinctly hard to say, but harder still to do.

___ ___ ___

  1. Things are boundless, things are impossible, until they aren’t. “Bitcoin could never…,” etc.
  2. Newfoundland has US-levels of unemployment. For those over age 15, the maritime province reports 12% unemployment and 53% employment. This is compared to national levels of 6.5% and 62%, respectively. Alberta reports 4.2% and 69%, respectively. Don’t ask me about the unaccounted remainders because I have nfi.
  3. nubs lives in Newfoundland and is #b-a’s resident “shirt and posters” guy. He’s therefore quite qualified to speak on matters of the aesthetic and, more germane here, matters of Newfoundlandian economics.
  4. “The single biggest fiscal challenge facing the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is its unfunded pension liabilities, which constitutes almost 75 per cent of the province’s net debt.” via The Muse, and: “Buried within federal government pension plan assumptions are an expected annual rate of return of between 5.8% and 6.2%” […] “It is not unreasonable to suggest that combined federal and provincial net unfunded liabilities in Canada nears the $300 billion mark. If one attempts to include the broader public sector plans, we may be dealing with true unfunded liabilities well above that. The amounts are not trivial—a $300 billion unfunded liability scenario is equivalent to about $9,000 per capita or $100,000 per government employee plan member.” via CFIB.
  5. The Athabasca River will eventually dry up, ending the environmentally egregious practises of the oil sands. Currently, for every barrel of oil produced, 2.5 barrels of fresh water are used, not even counting the other sources of fresh water lost to contaminated effluent and other “accidents,” of which there have been oh so many.
  6. The Saudi Royal Family is currently tanking the price of oil to, in my estimation, simultaneously choke one of the USG’s vital revenue streams, to steal market share in the growing Chinese market, and to raise funds for ISIS. But no matter why, Alberta’s oil sands have a breakeven between CDN $85-109, according to the Canadian Energy Research Institute (PDF), which spells trouble with a capital “T” for the province’s cashcow.
  7. Alberta’s coal reserves are currently estimated at 33 bn tons, representing 70% of Canada’s known reserves and 1000x the province’s current annual output. This annual output of 25-30 mn tons is currently used to meet 43% of the province’s electricity needs with plenty left over to export to Asia.

    As to sunshine, 320-330 days per year isn’t unusual, making the province’s wide-open plains an ideal location for PV panels.

    As to temperature, Central and Northern Alberta are really quite cool. In this part of the world, the July mean temperature ranges from 12C to 15C and January mean temperature ranges from -14C to -24C, though there are probably 5 days per year over 30C and another 5 days per year below -40C. Nothing modern PV can’t handle. In fact, they quite like the colder clime. Around here, it’s not unheard of for wintertime efficiency of PV panels to exceed their rated specification. Plus, you’ll certainly spend far less cooling your facility in Central Alberta than you would in Central China.

    At 661,848 km2, Alberta is about the size of Texas, but with only ~3 mn residents, its population is 1/9th that of the continent’s other major oil state. There’s no shortage of space, allowing your Bitcoin mine to be more geographically isolated and thereby slightly reducing, if far from eliminating the risk of, the probability of physical attacks.

  8. Or is Bitberta better?

8 thoughts on “What Happens When All The Fish Are Gone?

  1. […] water tax in Oilberta would put an end to the oil sands cashcow faster than you can say “Athabasca River.” […]

  2. […] Another way forward, one that will be even more outrageous to the average politician but I’d be remiss if I didn’t at least mention it: Bitcoin mining. As I previously explored in What happens when all the fish are gone? […]

  3. […] it’s a less efficient burn and that the energetic inputs to corn are so vast as to make the greasy black oilsands of Alberta look like fresh-cut farmer’s market daisies. Pity the cornbelters. Poor fellers. […]

  4. […] girl manned the mouse and clicked where I told her to. Unfortunately, in the land of free money (as Alberta‘s been for the last two decades), the patience of customer service providers is far from […]

  5. […] economic future for Oilberta Alberta is pretty bleak : somewhere between Newfoundland and Ontario on the Canadian Bleak-o-meter. […]

  6. […] friends in Fort Mac about 5 hours North of Edmonton are definitely feeling the heat atm! The whole oiltown is evacuated due to raging forest fires. […]

  7. […] isn’t taking off (yet) but the use of sea-can-sized mobile mining operations that utilise the wasted energy (typically […]

  8. […] the Saudis, Russians, Venezuelans, and other ultra-low-cost producers at the expense of my beloved Albertans and its pricey oil […]

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