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LETTER – Budget treats environment, climate change as an afterthought

Artist's conception of Site C dam.

Artist’s conception of Site C dam.

This budget offers 1950s thinking in response to 2017’s challenges.

It’s a budget blind to the need to transform our economy away from fossil fuels. It’s a budget blind to the potential jobs and prosperity that can be created with a realistic road map to a post-carbon economy. And it’s a budget that shows no meaningful commitment to climate action.

Where are the investments in the affordable, renewable energy alternatives and innovation that will power our economy and provide jobs now and far into the future? Nowhere.

Instead, we get support for the Kinder Morgan pipeline and tankers project, increased fracking and the Site C megadam—a boondoggle that will subsidize fossil fuel exploitation and drive ever increasing Hydro bills for decades to come.

Every million dollars invested in fossil fuels generates two jobs. That same million dollars would deliver 15 jobs via renewable energy projects.

If we want a thriving economy and good, green, family-supporting jobs, we need a budget that will drive a shift to a sustainable, post-carbon economy.

We need affordable, climate-friendly energy sources that will create jobs in communities throughout B.C. and drive innovation in clean technology.

We need a genuine commitment to forest health, not the re-announcement of last year’s reforestation funding and no real plan for how our forests will aid in climate action.

For years, this government has treated the environment and climate change as an afterthought. This budget is no exception.

It’s a blindness that will hurt our economy and rob us of jobs, as other jurisdictions leave us behind in innovation, as the market for fossil fuels evaporates and as British Columbians are left to pay down mountains of debt.

TIM PEARSON

Director of Communications,

Sierra Club of B.C.

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About Mel Rothenburger (5006 Articles)
ArmchairMayor.ca is a forum about Kamloops and the world. It has more than one million views. Mel Rothenburger is the former Editor of The Daily News in Kamloops, B.C. (retiring in 2012), and past mayor of Kamloops (1999-2005). At ArmchairMayor.ca he is the publisher, editor, news editor, city editor, reporter, webmaster, and just about anything else you can think of. He is grateful for the contributions of several local columnists. This blog doesn't require a subscription but gratefully accepts donations to help defray costs.

2 Comments on LETTER – Budget treats environment, climate change as an afterthought

  1. Please don’t let my comments steer you into thinking I am anti-environment but whenever I read something like this from the sierra club the tone of the authors and the misinformation provided always irritates me to the point that it completely takes away from the intent of the article. And the recent stories about carbon tax haven’t read much better either.

    While I have no idea whether the job statistics quoted above are correct, the fact is that they have nothing to do with one another. The BC gov’t isn’t spending the million dollars, Kinder Morgan is and Kinder Morgan isn’t in the business of creating alternative energy jobs. If the author chose to make an argument about using the tax revenue from this project to create alternative energy funding, he might have been on to something.

    As another contributer correctly stated the other day, unfortunately the only way to move our society towards improved environmental consciousness is by hitting us in the pocket books. Penalizing fossil fuel usage to the point that alternatives make good financial sense to businesses and the average consumer will be what it takes. We need to think further out of the box and tackle this from a consumer perspective not an idealized one.

    While current incentives like 1 time rebates on the purchase of electric vehicles, or allowing them in the HOV lane are steps in the right direction. The reality is for many Canadians the technology hasn’t reached a point that it makes sense to have an electric vehicle as their only form of transport or a heat pump as the only heat source in their house.

    If we can create incentives for complimentary uses (insurance rebates for having a a second car that’s electric, reduced rates for energy efficient homes based on total consumption (gas and electric)…the dreaded stepped pricing, I know) we ease the change management process for the average consumer while at the same time making the technology work for us.

    And while companies like Tesla are helping to evolve the technology, creating expensive electric cars to replace small cheap fuel efficient ones is not the best way to make an impact, Using something like the x platform to create a fleet of electric trucks for the postal service, that will trickle down to other delivery companies, then local tradesman, would be a much larger step towards solving the problem, then creating sports cars for the few. Has anybody even heard of what happened to Vancouver’s ill fated attempt of this from 5 years ago?

    Then again if we all went out and bought electric cars tomorrow what site (c?) would be generating the power for them, but that’s a topic for another day.

  2. In short, good letter!
    To read how out to lunch some people can be, please read the
    Canadian Taxpayers Federation letter on this same blog.

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