Thursday, October 31, 2019

Western Alien Nation

While researchers noticed the trends relating to greenhouses and the possible impacts on climate in the 1970's, it wasn't until the 1990's that computer modelling allowed a consensus position to form:  greenhouse gases were deeply involved in most climate changes and human-caused emissions were bringing discernible global warming.

It was in the 1990's that I took notice, and recognized that artificially cheap energy was always going to be far more costly than the promoters advertised.  This is the case for fossil fuel based energy, as well as nuclear.  The only viable future was one in which the full costs of energy was paid by the consumer, preferably with costs included directly by the producer with minimal or no exceptions.  The goal is energy efficiency, and not continuously switching between false claims of "too cheap to meter".

Due to the undue influence of the energy sector on the federal government, there has been considerable delay in doing anything.  It has been painful to watch decade after decade of politicians pretending there was no problem.

The best time to have started diversifying the western economy was in the 1990's, but successive provincial and federal governments did nothing.  This was especially true of self-called "conservative" governments who stuck their head in the (tar)sand and pretended that there was no problem.

I find it sad that the same "conservative" politicians are now talking about #Wexit, a western exit from the Canadian federation, largely due to their own failure to act on well established science.  It is understood that the Canadian economy as a whole will be impacted by a decline in one region, but angry talk of separation seems only to be dishonest politicians trying to deflect from decades of their own ineptitude.

If we want nation-building projects, it should be in the form of national publicly managed high-speed rail and (structurally separated) high-speed communications.  Increasing pipeline capacity for export markets only delays the inevitable downturn as ongoing fossil fuel (ab)use as an energy source is no longer tolerated.  The longer the delay, the higher the costs to Canadians.

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