Emphasize the renewables

Green Party candidate challenges comments from the local MP

Colin Mayes, in a recent column, takes his usual shot at pipeline phobia and fears that the “underlying resistance could be “related to a backdoor approach to stopping the Alberta oil sands development.” This is why he promotes the Conservatives’ fast-track approach to environmental reviews, to “minimize the obstruction tactics used by some to compromise the applicant’s right to due timely process.”

In light of the fact that polls show the people of B.C. are opposed to the Northern Gateway project, and the Union of B.C. Municipalities recently voted against the Kinder Morgan proposal, Mr. Mayes’ view is offside with the will of the people while promoting the oil industry.

His inference is that opponents don’t understand where jobs and tax revenue comes from, so just get on board. Further, his comparison of pipeline to rail safety (which is correct) is based on the need to ship the massive expansion planned in the oil sands, not current production.

Mr. Mayes may have missed the recent move by Saudi Arabia to drop oil pricing to $80 a barrel, which is approaching break-even for the oil sands. This move is consistent with the growing realization that renewables are a rapidly growing percentage of world energy. The World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Trade Organization are all in agreement that carbon emissions by 2050 need to drop to 20 per cent of current levels.

The World Bank has written a strong proposal for phasing from carbon based fuels, called Why the World Can’t Afford Four Degrees of Warming. This proposal comes with a realistic financial action plan.

Guess which source of oil will be the first to be dropped as over-produced oil prices start to slide? The dirtiest and most expensive extraction of oil in the world is coming out of Alberta.

Large pipelines, based solely on oil sands expansion, are infrastructure that is based and financed on a 50-year time frame.

Based on the rapid drop in price of solar, and the rapid progress in electric cars and smart cities, in 2050, we will have a pipeline leading from a ghost town to an idled port. Pipeline investors are currently taking a hard look at whether they want to lay out the cash. And a bit of resistance is helping this good cause.

It’s time to put our emphasis on renewables and rebuilding the industrial base rather than put all our eggs in one shaky basket.

Dave Smith

Federal Green Party candidate,

Okanagan Shuswap