Thursday, October 23, 2014
Why Does Stephen Harper Hate Renewable Energy?
Born into an oil company family, Stephen Harper's rise to petro-politics has been uninterrupted from his days in the Calgary mailroom of Imperial Oil all the way to his arrival at Sussex Drive.
Harper doesn't like to talk about climate change and he's even less disposed to doing anything about it. That's hardly surprising given that he's Canada's top fossil fueler.
We know that Harper is a bitumen booster but how many of us realize that he's deeply, ideologically predisposed against renewable energy? It's something Naomi Klein explores in her new book, "This Changes Everything."
Klein contends that clean, renewable energy and the private sector simply don't mix. The focus of fossil fuels is profit, first and foremost. The focus of renewables is clean energy. Renewable energy can be competitive with fossil energy for the consumer but it's more of a break-even proposition for the producer. Break-even is not the desired outcome for the private sector but it's just fine for the public sector.
Renewable energy, therefore, threatens the neoliberal mantra of 'the private sector does everything best'. Renewables, in effect, transfer a sizeable segment of the economy out of the private sector and back into the public sector. This directly clashes with Harper's free market prime directive. It offends his worldview. He'll have no part in revealing just how much the public sector can do far better than the private sector. He seeks to dismember government, not to make it work for the people.
And so the world will be held hostage to the fossil fuel fetish of people like Stephen Harper and his Aussie boy toy, Tony Abbott. Unfortunately both sides of the aisle in the House of Commons are awash in fossil fuelers. Still it's a good and ample reason to finally purge neoliberalism from the ranks of the Liberals and New Democrats.