It has been quite the year in the energy sector. Oil prices have suddenly dropped, rocking that industry and threatening thousands of jobs in North America, while giving a temporary relief at the pumps, ferries and elsewhere. Aren’t roller coasters fun?
Meanwhile, the renewable energy sector continues to quietly but quickly expand. Even generous government tax breaks to the dirty fossil fuel industries are not preventing renewable energy from gaining ground. Canada now has more workers in renewable energy than it does in Alberta’s tar sands. The spread will now widen as the oil industry contracts.
The news for the natural gas export market is also not good. Russia has far more natural gas available for export than does B.C. and their infrastructure is far more developed. Meanwhile, in order to keep alive B.C.’s dream of joining the big leagues, our government just slashed the revenues that will be earned from that industry. This is a gamble that we will all lose.
There are more troubles ahead for the oil and gas industry. Law-suits similar to those used against cigarette companies may next target the oil industry. So, too, international carbon taxes are threatening to make their product increasingly more expensive. Even some U.S. Republicans and the oil-friendly federal government are beginning to warm to the idea.
Why not? Per invested dollar, clean, renewable energy generates more good-paying jobs than those temporarily created by the fossil fuel industries. More often those jobs are found closer to home, helping families and employees enjoy a higher quality of life.
More woes for the dirty industries: the increasing resistance to oil and gas pipelines by many First Nations, ordinary citizens and even municipalities such as was recently seen in Burnaby. So desperate are oil and gas companies to pacify this growing movement that they are using green-friendly language such as “sustainable development,” “environmental protection” and even “clean/green energy.”
Given the fact that energy bills for electrical-powered vehicles is about a tenth that of fossil fuel vehicles, that 90% of fossil fuels can today be replaced by clean, renewable energy -and immediately boost world economies in the process- it is only a matter of time before companies and governments give up their addiction to dirty energy and provide us, and the planet, with superior options.
In 2015 Canadians will be given the option to retire fossil-loving politicians and usher in a clean, sustainable and economically improved government.
None too soon!