Move to renewable energy overdue

Never before has our economy been more directly underpinned by the health of our ecology, our environment.

  • Apr. 2, 2013 1:00 p.m.

Never before has our economy been more directly underpinned by the health of our ecology, our environment.

On the negative side: the financial costs of climate change are striking home even before we reach the pivotal climate change make-break levels forecast by scientists.  The devastation to property and lives, the loss of jobs and other economic setbacks, from natural catastrophes like Hurricane Sandy are considerable.  Record-breaking heat and drought in Australia is merely another example of how threats to our environment are devastating our economies as well.

On the positive side: the renewable green energy industry has not only proven to be viable in Germany and China, it has also been shown to be of much greater net economic benefit to national economies than fossil fuels.  (Despite its maturity the fossil fuel industry still relies upon and receives substantial subsidization in Canada and the USA.)  Green energy tends to create employment at 5-10 times the rate of fossil fuel projects.  And profits and spin-off economic benefits tend to be more broadly distributed.  Moving to renewable energy is not only seriously overdue, its good business.

The Feb. 27 press release from Laurie Throness (BC Liberal candidate for Chilliwack-Hope) calling on NDP incumbent Gwen O’Mahony to declare the same unequivocal support for the LNG industry – proposed by the BC Liberal government in the recent Throne Speech – is based on a great assumption, and a tenuous thread.  The assumption is that LNG proliferation is widely to the benefit of B.C., and the tenuous thread is that 1,000 local jobs are affected by said proliferation.

The current bonanza in LNG production across the continent is based on the fracking process – one that poses sober questions about harm to our environment, serious health risks to the public, and wasteful and destructive uses of other natural resources such as water.  These need to be addressed; in the meantime the Liberal government’s Throne Speech proposal is widely seen as wild speculation based on 30 year projections that fly in the face of current period economics.

Throness’ blind support for this speculative program – and implication that other candidates’ lack of vocal support is tantamount to betrayal of local economics – is frivolous.  It is built on a house of cards.


Wayne Froese