Canada's Energy Policy, an article by Shirley Farlinger
Canada’s Energy Policy
The premiers met recently with Alberta’s Alison Redford and decided to begin a discussion on Canada’s energy policy.
Here I outline what I believe should be the guiding elements.
Our energy policy has to be aware of the major crisis of our time – climate change. It is a fact that climate change is caused mainly by human-made CO2 emissions. This must influence our energy policy. It has been noted that climate change will be most detrimental to women so they must be equal partners in the process and final policies.
1.The easiest and the most urgent policy direction should be to phase out the use of coal. This also means that we should not be importing energy that has been produced from coal.
2. Since only 3 provinces have adopted nuclear power and for 2 of those nuclear power is a minor addition to energy we could now easily phase out some of the reactors. Nuclear power is part of a long chain with CO2 implications and is not the answer to climate change. Ontario has begun a welcome switch to green power and conservation. In any case Ontario has enough hydropower in the province or ready to be imported from Quebec and Manitoba that our supply is assured if the power transmission lines can be improved.
3. Energy from oil is a misuse of this resource. Oil should not be burned.
4. Since gas is only marginally preferable to oil it will have to be phased out as well.
5. Energy from crops is a threat to the growing of food. Increased prices of material for adding to gasoline is causing widespread hunger.
6. Hydro-electric power is an option where the dams are already in place. Small hydro and run of the river turbines could be a large part of Ontario and Canada’s energy supply.
7. Wind power is proving effective in other countries. We should continue to expand this.
8. Solar power in various forms is also making progress as a reliable source of energy.
9. Geothermal and cogeneration are also important sources of power ready to be installed now.
10. Tidal power is a good source of power given our longest coastlines in the world.
11. Biochar can make soil more CO2 absorbent.
These considerations lead to the following principles:
*No more subsidies should go to CO2-producing energy sources.
*Subsidies should go to all areas of green power until they become self-sustaining and sources of profitable exports.
*Conservation should be encouraged with advertising to describe best conservation examples. Conservation is a large part of the answer. It is more that just changing lights. It has to do with not using a car, not traveling by airplane or cruise ship, not using so much high-tech wired equipment, not eating meat, not being criticized for making simple lifestyle choices.
*All advertising of harmful energy sources should be stopped. There is no such thing as “ethical oil.”
*All ways of encouraging local self-sufficiency in power should be undertaken with the object of having local energy sources contribute to regional and national energy needs.
*Houses can be sources of power just as businesses can.
*Taxes and royalties on oil and gas projects should be retained in a fund dedicated to making the shift to greener energy.
*Fossil fuel companies should look to nature’s way of sequestering carbon, i.e., planting more trees around the world and helping the oceans absorb carbon. Companies should undertake an advertising campaign to make people aware of these new directions.
*In formulating a national energy policy it should be noted that best practices will include a variety of local initiatives all designed to lower our total energy footprint. National policy must assist these local solutions.
*Reducing CO2 must involve making new regulations instead of just fines. Profitable companies have no trouble paying fines while not altering behavior.
*Manufacturers will have to use more recycling which will help their bottom line and reduce the need for more resources. Goods will also have to be manufactured closer to the consumers to reduce CO2. Globalization of production has greatly increased our global carbon footprint.
* Canada has been basing its prosperity on the exploitation of our natural resources especially oil and gas. Some countries e.g., Ecuador, are being paid to keep their resources in the ground, e.g., to preserve indigenous lands.
*There is a move to make environmental destruction a Crime Against Humanity (Eco-cide) under the International Criminal Court. (See Polly Higgins). This would be a factor in the tar sands oil extraction.
Every country that uses, imports or copies our tar sands oil process is taking funding away from less polluting methods just when so many new more benign sources are being discovered.