Christy Clark, Rich Coleman and Liberal friends are like 1980 promoters excited to spend someone else’s money to open a giant disco club, despite unmistakable signs the dance craze was soon to end.
Focusing on a costly fossil fuel start-up is a mistake of giant proportion for British Columbia. The overwhelming consensus of climate scientists says we must curtail, not expand, output of greenhouse gases. Undoubtedly, fugitive methane from unconventional gas production is far worse as a greenhouse gas than CO2 and that is a fact ignored through contrived ignorance of industry and government regulators.
For people caught up in climate change denial, another argument to consider is that alternatives to current practices offer a safer and more certain path to economic prosperity. The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate is a major international initiative to analyse and communicate the economic benefits and costs of acting on climate change. The Commission comprises former heads of government and finance ministers and leaders in the fields of economics and business. The New Climate Economy is the organization’s flagship project and a lengthy report concludes:
…that countries at all levels of income now have the opportunity to build lasting economic growth at the same time as reducing the immense risks of climate change. This is made possible by structural and technological changes unfolding in the global economy and opportunities for greater economic efficiency…
The next 15 years will be critical, as the global economy undergoes a deep structural transformation. It will not be “business as usual”. The global economy will grow by more than half, a billion more people will come to live in cities, and rapid technological advance will continue to change businesses and lives…
Future economic growth does not have to copy the high-carbon, unevenly distributed model of the past. There is now huge potential to invest in greater efficiency, structural transformation and technological change… Rapidly falling costs, particularly of wind and solar power, could lead renewable and other low-carbon energy sources to account for more than half of all new electricity generation over the next 15 years. Greater investment in energy efficiency – in businesses, buildings and transport – has huge potential to cut and manage demand…
The report suggests nations focus on:
- Raising resource efficiency by phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, which are estimated to be six times higher than clean energy incentives;
- Investing in low-carbon forms of infrastructure;
- Stimulating innovation in technologies, business models and social practices to drive both growth and emissions reduction.
Observers and pundits understand that LNG was the Liberals’ brilliant, if cynical, election ploy for the 2013 election. However, ability to sell a big lie is not a quality much valued by historians. If, in the long term, Christy Clark wants respect, she should pay less attention to politics and have more regard for doing what is right for the future of British Columbia. However, that would require a thorough housecleaning of policy advisers.
Mike Myatt, a writer on leadership, innovation and problem solving warns about dangers that decision makers must consider when taking advice:
- Credibility: What is the track record of your source? Is the source reliable and credible? Are they delivering data, information or knowledge? Will the source tell you what you want to hear, what they want you to hear, or will they provide the unedited version of cold hard truth?
- Bias: Are there any hidden and/or competing agendas that are coloring the input being received? Is the input being provided for the benefit of the source or the benefit of the enterprise?
There is ample proof that the advisers within and without government are ideologues certain to deliver a tightly edited version of truth and their agendas could have Clark lead this province to economic disaster. Even in this late hour, the Premier should have independent experts conduct a unconstrained cost/benefit analysis of LNG proposals and subject the entire process to full public scrutiny. If the current plans are correct, they will stand up to examination. If they are not correct, the faults would be revealed.