Thursday, September 08, 2016

Justin, Wake Up. Are You Listening?

Beijing has signed on to the Paris climate agreement. So too has Washington. Canada? No. According to our gilded leader, we're not ready yet. The Dauphin, our Baron of Bitumen, however, does assure us that he will let us know the moment Brad Wall lets him know that we are ready.

Justin, wake up. It's Bill McKibben on the line with a message, something about how man-made global warming is overheating our oceans:

On an ocean planet, we are wrecking the ocean. On an ocean planet, we are wrecking the ocean.

And we’re doing it needlessly. Engineers have done the work to provide us with the tools we need. We have solar panels. We have wind turbines (which, when placed offshore, have become nifty little artificial reefs). We have good data to show that if we deploy them with great speed, we can affordably power the planet without wrecking it.

Alas, we also have a fossil fuel industry, which has managed to prevent any real action for decades – it has lied, it has lobbied and it has poured uncountable largesse on our political class. (And on other elites: somewhat unbelievably, BP is currently sponsoring an exhibition on the relics of “Sunken Cities” at the British Museum.) As a result, we have disappearing ice caps, crackling forest fires and record rainfalls.


Anonymous said...

Anyong ....Many Canadians argue that solar and wind power are one of the biggest hoaxes foisted upon the world. And that solar and wind projects uses more energy than they produce. That this sort of energy production is a waste of effort and accomplishes nothing. Alternative energy shows that energy return o investment (EROI), available on the internet, favour solar and wind energy over oil and gas.Solar panels are estimated to produce about three to ten times more energy over their lifetime than is used to manufacture, install, and service them. Wind turbines produce eighteen to twenty times more energy over their lifetime than the energy used to create and maintain them. Oil is especially not economic. Gasoline from tar sands and oil from shale releases four to seven times as much energy as is needed to produce it. Include environmental costs like reclaiming production sites and cleaning up pipeline spills, the figure drops even more. Part one.

Anonymous said...

Some Canadians say we ought to focus on reducing fossil fuel consumption by making homes and vehicles more energy efficient. No problem there...that is common sense.
But fossil fuels are a limited and increasingly expensive. Using them ore efficiently while neglecting "green" is senseless. We need to accept what the EROI figures show. Solar and wind present major challenges, but the energy they produce far outweighs the energy needed to create and operate them.
Once built, the cost of production from solar and wind projects is essentially zero. The sun shines for free on your solar cells. The wind blows for free on an increasing number of wind farms. While neither of these "green" energy sources produces toxic tailing ponds or carbon dioxide emissions!
Canadian deniers need to "stop the massive destruction of the world's resources and the environmental damage being done by that destruction.", as do I. Instead of pumping oil and gas out of the ground while leaving your roof empty and the landscape scared, why aren't we investing in solar panels and learning to see beauty in wind turbines including Mr. Justin Trudeau and all Canadian deniers. How much easier can it get?

Anonymous said...

Anyong...Part Two

The Mound of Sound said...

Well said, Anyong.

Anonymous said...

"Some Canadians say we ought to focus on reducing fossil fuel consumption by making homes and vehicles more energy efficient. No problem there.."
No problem?
I see big problem. Plenty of Canadians buy bigger and bigger homes and vehicles. No amount of effort to make "homes and vehicles more energy efficient" will offset that.
Lip service to the environment, while over-consumption continues...

Anonymous said...

The writing is on the wall.
Canada has it'd head in the sand.
Profit comes between commonsense and the environment.
We still have a colonial attitude.


Troy said...

A..non, the best way to curb Canadian buying habits is by utilizing taxes.
Reduce taxes on green tech. Raise it on carbon energy. Easy peasy lemon squeezy. This would also be a solution toward encouraging investment into green tech, and divestment from carbon energy.
Taxes are a powerful instrument for any government. Look how a modest tax on foreign buyers has effected Vancouver's housing market. It hasn't quite cooled it off, but it has skived off some of the worst of the excess.
And if the Trudeau government isn't doing this, utilizing taxes to shape environmental policy, then it should become obvious whose interests they're serving. It's definitely not Canadians'.
It's not Canadian citizens who are the problem. It's the government. And once you realize that, things become simpler in whom you oppose.

Steve said...

I have no doubts JT has his heart in the right place. We must realize this is a country that had 10 years of Harper rule. You cant just tell people they are idots. Our supertanker economy was pumped up on tar sands oil, turning that ship around is not going to be easy.

The Mound of Sound said...

Troy has identified a tool the government of Canada may have already forfeited under one or more (or many) of our trade pacts (and those to come) - the power to use taxes to stimulate a shift from fossil energy. I expect that every American and transnational petro-giant that has invested in Canadian fossil resources and every pipeline giant would sue Canada silly. The record shows that the greatest segment of these trade suits relates to attempted environmental regulation.

Steve maintains that Trudeau needs time to turn this around. I disagree. He's not even trying to slow down our fossil trade. He's actually committed himself to increasing the extraction, transmission and export of high carbon fossil energy. A Green, like Steve, should not be under any illusions about where Trudeau's heart lies on this.

Anonymous said...

The average Canadian still thinks we will be saved by by some nerd inventing a phone app that will save the day and let us carry on as usual.


Hugh said...

Is the central problem the huge amount of govt and private debt?

If the GDP doesn't grow every year, the debt-burdened financial house of cards will collapse. That is govt's biggest fear and obsession.

So, is it the case that the govt is unlikely to impose an effective carbon tax, for example, since that would be seen as resulting in reducing GDP?

The Mound of Sound said...

I suspect, TB, that there's a lot of truth in that idea of ultimate, mass denial. As Jared Diamond writes, the Easter Islanders knew they were in mortal peril long before they chopped down the last tree. That didn't stop them from taking that final tree.

The Mound of Sound said...

Hugh, you pose a good question. Today's federal government remains in the same expansionist mode as every government before it during the postwar era. It's as though we were still in the 80s.

Placed in today's context, however, it's a bit like accelerating as you're nearing the cliff edge.

Anonymous said...

Anyong.....Yes indeed! Many Canadians build huge junk homes that won't last, just to show off. I would say within the next five years, we will be forced to build small sustainable homes. They don't use huge amounts of wood if other sustainable materials are used. We also ought to be heating our homes with in floor heating...much more efficient. Countries like S. Korea, China and others in Asia use this form of heating even building with 20 some floors use this form of heating. They also do not blast through mountains scaring the environment but tunnel through, and build around trees. Trees are considered to be part of their lives. That being....trees and oceans produce the oxygen we breath.