A misguided policy

The Canadian Government has used a number of catch phrases to legitimize its support of fossil fuels.  The Government described its environmental monitoring and regulation of the tar sands as “world-class”, also referring to Canada in this context as “a world leader”.  Although the international community recognized these words as meaningless hype, many Canadians were re-assured that environmental risks were under control.

The value of Canadian dollar, also known as our petrodollar, soared.  Most Canadians considered that this development validated the goal of Canada as “an energy super-power”.

The Canadian Government countered criticism that an inflated dollar was detrimental to Canada’s manufacturing base. Supported by the Alberta Government and the fossil fuel industry, it emphasized that the exploitation of the tar sands resulted in substantial purchases of goods and services from suppliers in other Provinces.

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The New Economy

There are countries whose existing industry interests create problems for adoption of renewable energy.   Australia and Canada have very large investments in fossil fuels.  Australia has enormous coal reserves, and Canada has its tar sands.  The US has large investments in coal, gas and oil.

The US also has perhaps the world’s largest investment in new technology. Technology heavyweights such as Apple and Google have committed to expand use of renewable energy. So the current political struggle pits the fossil fuel industry (coal mining states) against the technology sector (California, New England states).

Many countries leading the transition to renewable energy do not have to overcome opposition from local fossil fuel interests. Germany, a manufacturing powerhouse, is shutting down its remaining coal mines by 2018.  So . . .  without a large fossil fuel industry, Germany has had an easier task in developing both the infrastructure for renewable energy and investment in renewable installations.

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Climate Change: Key to Canada’s 2015 Federal Election

Our last blog, A Ray of Hope, suggested that the Federal Government might become active on renewable energy after two years of indifference.   What is the basis for this optimism?

First, the Ontario Liberals, who have been very active in promoting renewable energy, now have a comfortable four-year mandate.  The Ontario Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Glenn Murray, understands the importance and challenges of renewable energy better than any Federal Minister.

Secondly, Quebec, a Province where a great majority of people have constantly supported mitigation of climate change, now has a Liberal Government that intends to move forward on this neglected area.

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A Ray of Hope

Three years ago For Our Grandchildren (4RG) submitted a petition requesting the Federal Government to cooperate with the Provinces to develop a national policy on Renewable Energy by 2014.

In January 2012 we received a response from the Honourable Joe Oliver. He said nothing whatsoever about a national policy on Renewable Energy by 2014 or any other year!    See our blogFederal Government short-changes Renewable Energy”.

At the 2007 a meeting of the Council of the Federation, the Provincial Premiers explored the prospects for a national policy.  They did not anticipate the indifference of the Federal Government, which was too busy selling the tar sands internationally to be concerned about renewables.

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Climate Change Policies “down under”

So – has Australia progressed in reducing GHG emissions to meet its 2020 targets?  And, if not, what steps will it take to do so? Australia is the source for about 1.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions.  On a per capita basis these emissions are nearly twice the OECD average and more than four times … Read more

Fossil Fuels Promotion = Horse Manure

So, Canada’s federal government has finally approved construction of the proposed Enbridge pipeline that is intended to carry bitumen from Alberta’s tar sands to Kitimat, and thence by ocean to China.

If we do not go ahead, the Prime Minister warns us, Canada’s economy will be in grave danger. “No country is going to take actions that are going to deliberately destroy jobs and growth in their country,” he declared a week ago, in a joint statement with the openly climate denying Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott.  Read more at “Prime Minister Harper ups the ante!”

But what if none of this is true? What if there were two possible directions that Canada’s future economy could take, not just one? What if there was another future built on clean technology, renewable energy, sustainable transportation and zero-carbon buildings, in which Canada could prosper without the tar sands and the unwanted pipelines, and without all the fracking, the oil-polluted waters, the exploding trains, the waves of public opposition and the legal challenges from First Nations?

To Stephen Harper and his supporters, such a future is unthinkable. He would far rather we dwelled on the danger of not supporting fossil fuel expansion than the far graver danger of a world that is four, five or even six degrees warmer due to the carbon released by the fossil fuels. Read more at  “A Half Truth or a Suppressed Truth”.

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