The following article (by David Suzuki, entitled Energy Shift Requires Shift in Conversation) has been circulated by email by the David Suzuki Foundation. “Where is the political leadership and will to confront climate change?” asks Suzuki. I’m pleased to publish it on BoomerWarrior. (Rolly Montpellier, Managing Editor).

Shift in Conversation

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Abundant, cheap fossil fuels have driven explosive technological, industrial and economic expansion for more than a century. The pervasive infrastructure developed to accommodate this growth makes it difficult to contemplate rapidly shifting away from coal, oil and gas, which creates a psychological barrier to rational discourse on energy issues.

The ecological and true economic costs of energy use force us to scrutinize our way of living. And because our infrastructure doesn’t allow us to entirely avoid fossil fuels, we must face the contradiction between how we should live and constraints against doing so.

Canada has no national energy plan, other than governmental desire to be a fossil-fuelled energy-export superpower. Given the consequences of human-induced climate change already hitting home, you’d think the highest priority of governments at all levels would be to decide on the lowest-emission energy path. But politicians focused on election intervals have difficulty dealing with generational issues.

Real, important conversations and decisions are instead delayed by diversionary and often irrational arguments and tactics: accusing critics of being hypocrites, claiming foreign money drives environmental agendas and labelling activists as eco-terrorists or enemies of Canada among them. In place of true progress, we get consolidated political power and greater corporate profit and control. Enough already!

Sustainability requires conservation and abundant energy employed with minimal ecological upset. Yet the inability to consider the need to shift quickly from fossil fuels means governments and industry look to mega-technologies like carbon capture and storage to justify inaction on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, while dismissing solar and wind as impractical, too expensive or unable to meet energy needs. Nuclear power may be an alternative to GHG-emitting fossil fuels, but it’s extremely expensive and would not be online were it not for enormous subsidies. Nuclear fuel is also finite, so costs will rise while the problem of radioactive-waste disposal remains unsolved.

The Shift in Conversation: From Fossil Fuels to Renewables, boomer warriorAs a northern country, Canada is especially vulnerable to climate change. Polar regions heat faster than temperate and tropical zones — Inuit have noticed the growing impacts for decades. With the longest marine coastline of any country, we’re also subject to sea-level rise. And our economy relies on climate-dependent activities such as agriculture, forestry, fisheries, tourism and winter sports, all of which are already feeling climate change impacts.

Where is the political leadership and will to confront climate change? We’re seeing some from individuals, grassroots organizations and municipalities. But what about our provinces? Just as the catastrophic loss of northern cod off Newfoundland warned against unsustainable practices, the destruction of $65 billion worth of B.C. trees by mountain pine beetles — once kept under control by winters with temperatures below -30 C for a week or more — should make the province take notice.

Where’s the leadership? Once lauded for policies such as the carbon tax and energy agreements with California, B.C.’s political leaders have now embraced liquefied natural gas, claiming industry expansion will create hundreds of thousands of jobs and add billions of dollars to provincial coffers — never mind that no one in power now will be held accountable for these promises because they’re several elections from being realized.

LNG should be labelled LFG: liquefied fracked gas. Hydraulic fracturing — fracking — requires pumping millions of litres of chemical-laced water deep underground to shatter shale and liberate embedded gas. It’s a short-term way to get energy with long-term ecological impacts on water and whatever organisms might be down there. (It was once thought life disappeared at bedrock, but we now know bacteria are found at least 10 kilometres down.)

Fracked gas is mostly methane, a greenhouse gas more than 30 times as potent as carbon dioxide. Studies reveal leakage around fracking sites may be high enough to affect climate change more than coal! Calling it a “transition fuel” between coal or oil and renewables is nonsense. And fracking is known to cause seismic activity.

B.C. is also planning the Peace River Site C dam, yet a report by the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association claims geothermal could generate similar amounts of power at a much lower cost.

If our leaders are serious about long-term health and prosperity, they need to stop focusing on short-term profits from rapid fossil fuel development and export and start engaging in serious conversations about our energy future.

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Rolly Montpellier, boomer warriorRolly Montpellier is the Founder and Managing Editor of BoomerWarrior.Org. He’s a Climate Reality leader, a blogger and an Climate Activist. Rolly has been published in several online publications – Climate Change Guide, World Daily, Examiner, The Canadian, 350Ottawa, ClimateMama, MyEarth360, GreenDivas, The Elephant, Countercurrents, Georgian Bay News.

Some of Rolly’s articles have also appeared in newspapers such as The Hill Times and the Kingston Whig. You can follow him on FacebookTwitter and Linkedin.

1 COMMENT

  1. Suzuki asks us;“Where is the political leadership and will to confront climate change?” Well I can tell you that Suzuki doesn’t have it. I laid out my collaboration proposal for him look over and consider and his response was “I don’t have time to discuss this with you.” He’s all talk.

    Those who are concerned with the alarming path we find ourselves on, and are interested in moving beyond talk, I invite you to contact me so that I can tell you how I propose moving to direct confrontation and mitigation of the climate threat. I’ll email the “Blevins Plan” and I’ll explain why I believe we will do better if we can show the world a much more viable means of enabling greenhouse emissions reductions globally, and a way to power society on extraction of greenhouse gases already emitted into the atmosphere. My small firm is seeking support from any and all who may care to support us. I’m claiming to be the ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking inventor of the “jackhammer” needed to break us out of the reinforced concrete box fossil fuel firms and government dithering and inaction have humanity boxed up in.

    Here is a notice being posted on Linkedin and elsewhere.

    STRATEGIC ALLIANCE OR INVESTMENT NEEDED FOR NEW CONCEPT WORLD REPOWERING TECH ONLY SIX MONTHS FROM MARKET ENTRY.

    Advanced Alternative Energy Corp. (AAEC) is for those who understand that distributed alternative/renewable energy derived from biomass and waste is a viable pathway to stall global warming and produce a better future for our descendants, our communities and for humanity. AAEC also offers a way for environmental activists to move beyond talk.

    AAEC has developed a new concept low-carbon energy technology we’ve designed for serving as the core technology for cleaner renewable energy production systems and energy efficiency improvements across the North American landscape and around the world. AAEC’s novel new concept technology consists of a biomass, fossil fuel, and/or waste combustion, gasification and pyrolysis conversion technology that can provide scalable heat and power requirements as well as biofuel production for stand-alone use or for backup for other alternative energy systems that depend on solar, wind or other intermittent sources of energy, and in this way it will help double the deployment of alternative energy projects around the world in the coming decades.

    AAEC’s product lines can be manufactured in the US and in most any locality on any continent for the local and regional market. This AAEC believes could create licensing opportunities and many thousands more good paying jobs, and these are among the things we propose offering to an alternative energy hungry world.

    For further details please contact:

    Les Blevins, President

    Advanced Alternative Energy
    1207 N 1800 Rd., Lawrence, KS 66049
    Phone 785-842-1943
    Email LBlevins@aaecorp.com

    For more info see
    http://aaecorp.com
    http://advancedalternativeenergy.com
    https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=45587557
    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Advanced-Alternative-Energy/277213435730720

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