A few days ago Stephen Harper was filmed commenting that he is just being more "frank" than others in that he won't do anything to jeopardize jobs or curb economic growth because of climate change.
I haven't tapped his phones or overheard private conversations but it seems likely his thinking or his public outburst is tied to that of his corporate oil supporters. I agree it may be awhile before alternatives are available on a mass scale at affordable prices, but the time to speed up the process is right NOW. It is not at all certain that there would be immediate job losses as in fact most actions would require increased human efforts. The oil workers and all those tied into it (which indirectly includes a huge number of people) will not immediately be let go just because more solar panel installers enter the work force.
A few economic realities should be recognized. Actions get more expensive when they are delayed. Oil by-products are very likely to get more expensive, and so will the cleanups. We shouldn't overlook the costs associated with pollution which include major health problems.
I prefer to believe scientists more than oil executives and politicians funded by them when they say climate change is real. Most are still reluctant to link specific current weather anomalies to climate change, but I think increasingly the general population is becoming suspicious and will hold politicians to account. Insurance companies just raise rates in areas they deem to be at greater risk. Military planners now take climate change into account.
I admit I have mixed feelings about the Keystone Pipeline and the Northern Gateway Pipeline. Banning them would be a strong symbol of serious anti fossil fuel political future. I admit I own stock in both Trans Canada Pipeline and Suncor and am
reluctant to sell as I anticipate the prices will go up and the money
will help my retirement. My anticipation of political and corporate resistance leads me to believe no matter what I or anyone says there will be a long transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy. One factor of course is when the price of fossil fuels rises beyond the average household's ability to absorb, there will a greater push for renewables. But blocking the pipelines by itself will do little to slow down use of fossil fuels. At present, at significant risk rail cars ship much of the Oil Sands fuel. China will make all sorts of efforts to make sure they get the necessary energy to keep their economy going. If the powers that be insist on persisting with fossil fuels I hope I can weather the future with what resources I can command, but I would rather have normal weather with less pollution.
Ironically China is preparing itself for energy alternatives. They are aware that pollution is choking their major cities. They have undercut Americans on solar panels. Can we afford to let them make a smoother transition than we will?
What Stephen Harper and other "leaders" need to do is analyze the reality of climate change and I believe they will realize it is THE challenge of a lifetime. It doesn't take much courage to look at the immediate future, but frankly it does take loads of guts to think long term. If Mr Harper were to have a conversion on his climate change views the corporate oil managers would probably switch to those whose political platforms they could support. Eventually they will be not only numerically and morally in the minority, but even power wise.
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