Photo: flickr/M.RICHI

Most people now understand the dangers of climate change but 70 per cent still doubt it can be curtailed (according to a recent Tyee poll). How can climate change be changed and how is it already changing? 

Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute points out that climate change can be curtailed. And not only that, but it can be curtailed without reducing production. The technology is already here.

The auto industry is rapidly responding to change. Conventional vehicles are now far more efficient — not to speak of hybrids and electric cars. A few years back Toyota was the only company making hybrids and the Chevrolet “Volt” was the only electric car. Now many companies are making them.

New houses are more comfortable than ever, while using half the energy. Cities like Vancouver are planning for greater density along public transportation corridors and as a result, many people are using their cars less — some are even giving them up.

BC Hydro is in the process of updating B.C’s aging hydro facilities with modern turbines and generators, resulting in significant increases in electrical output and without additional dams being built. Every year, hundreds of improvements are being made in the production of energy and also in the efficient use of energy.

And these improvements bring new jobs with them. This is very apparent in the European Union (EU). There were 230,000 employed in renewable energy in 2005. Just four years later, some 550,000 were employed and today, closer to 1,000,000. Canada’s oil industry would have us believe that they are the only ones who can create jobs.

Other countries are progressing to the “new world” far better than Canada. Statistics on “climate change” have been kept by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Canada was at the bottom of the 27 countries studied. Overall, there have been great improvements since 2003. Every single country had improved its score — except Canada. Bob McDonald of CBC’s “Quirks and Quarks” recently stated, “Canada is part of the problem, not the solution.”

Canada’s sluggish behaviour is because the Harper government is financed and controlled by the oil industry, which has no interest in curtailing the use of fossil fuels. Whoever pays the piper calls the tune. And this isn’t the first time the oil industry has prevented desirable change. In
the documentary, “Who Killed the Electric Car?” — General Motors had produced a very successful electric car in the 1990s, which would have kick-started the world in a better direction. But the oil industry feared a reduction in oil sales and brought the whole business to a stop.

For too long now, Harper and the oil industry have been mired in the tar sands, preventing us from entering the “new world.” But sometimes change happens quickly — a tipping point is reached. In the case of Canada, the removal of the Harper government would do the trick. A new progressive government would allow us to get on with the necessary changes — perhaps even encourage us — perhaps even lead us. We could then rejoin the community of civilized nations.

My father came from England in 1914. He used to talk about the, “Old Country” as if it was some fossilized entity. Now it is Canada that is fossilized — while Europe progresses into the “new world.” It is they who are getting all the jobs in the new technology and establishing the new
markets. It is they who are taking action to prevent global warming and the acidification of the ocean — in other words, taking moral leadership. 

Photo: flickr/M.RICHI