Ignoring the problem is the problem

Rousing the Rabble by Gazette columnist Roy Ronaghan; Dec. 17.

Why are residents of Boundary Country so reluctant to talk about the influence that climate change will have on the region in the future? It might have been talked about during the recent election campaign but it got no mention.

Food security and farming opportunities for a new generation of farmers were on the agenda’s of a couple candidates but there was no mention of the fact that climate change will be a critical factor in future agricultural activities in the Sunshine Valley was ignored. The most recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) told us that the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions must be taken more seriously because of the risks inherent in not doing so.

If we know that climate change will affect us, would it not be wise to become well informed on the matter and do some strategic planning on ways to cope with it.

Politicians and proponents of the fossil fuel industry tell us that our choice is between a strong economy and a healthy environment. What they are telling us is simply not true. We cannot survive without the healthy natural systems that support us.

There is proof that energy conservation and the use of cleaner fossil fuels have measurable benefits and conserving energy from non-renewable sources does the obvious. They last longer, pollution and green house gas (GHG) emission levels are lowered, consumers save money, and there are significant economic benefits.

According to Environment and Energy Publishing (E&E), a source of information on energy policy and markets, there are over 100,000 Canadians employed in improving energy efficiency. Their total wages were estimated at $8.25 billion for 2014. E&E also reports that the global market for energy efficiency is worth $310 billion and rapidly rising. If the fast growing clean-energy and clean-technology sectors canoffer such benefits, why is Canada focusing on fossil fuels? Worldwide energy spending on clean energy was $207 billion in 2013. Canada spent only $6.5 billion.

Germany now gets one-third of its energy from renewable sources and has realized a 23 per cent reduction in GHG emissions from 1990 levels and created 370,000 jobs. In contrast, Canada subsidizes the fossil fuel industry in the amount of  $1.3 billion in spite of a commitment at the 2009 G20 summit to phase out subsides.

It should be well known that the federal government has no plan to reduce carbon pollution and meet its international commitments. Canada has failed to enforce oil and gas sector regulations for the tar sands in Alberta, a promise first made in 2006 and there is concern that the government response to the recent agreement between the United States and China on GHG reductions will be to do nothing.

In a recent posting on line, David Suzuki of the David Suzuki Foundation states, “People around the world want leadership from elected representatives on climate change and pollution. Business leaders are getting on board. Will we take advantage of the numerous benefits of energy conservation and clean energy or remain stuck in the old way of just blindly burning our way through? The choice is clear.”Unfortunately Canadians cannot expect the federal government to provide the leadership Suzuki says we need any time soon. Prime Minister Harper’s approach is to broker deals with any country that will buy Canada’s oil, gas and minerals.

Hans Nisson, a Swedish board member of the European Council for an Energy Efficient Economy is reported to have stated, “By increasing energy efficiency 40 percent by 2030, we gain in using less energy and paying less, but the GDP  (Gross Domestic Product) will actually grow and unemployment will shrink, which is amazing.”Should we listen to the scientists, and people like Suzuki and Nisson and take action, or should we bury our heads and pretend that the suggestion of climate change is a myth?