In 2016, a future NDP Cabinet Minister told me that cancelling Site C was unlikely. The person said, “Would you be prepared to eliminate 3,000 jobs?” In retrospect, I conclude the concern was less about lost employment than about who would lose the jobs.
To fight the 2017 election, BC NDP had depended on union funding worth millions of dollars. That affected policy determinations when the Horgan government was formed.
PowerBC, a proposal issued prior to NDP election success, had promised a number of benefits, including:
> good-paying jobs close to home, in every community in British Columbia,
> careers in clean energy and retrofit construction, maintenance, manufacturing, and high-tech engineers.
But job opportunities with small employers distributed throughout the province are not valued by large unions. They face high costs to organize and serve workers in small companies. Megaprojects with many employees in few locations are preferred. As a result, clean energy segments of the economy have less union representation than established sectors.
With knowledge of favours owed union backers that empowered it, John Horgan’s NDP government ended opposition to Site C within six months and gave BC Hydro a blank cheque to proceed. PowerBC was dumped in the round file.
It was a short-sighted decision. A new report by the International Energy Agency (IEA) discusses global energy employment.
Clean energy employs over 50% of total energy workers, owing to the substantial growth of new projects coming online... Many clean energy segments rival the workforce in conventional energy segments. Low-carbon power generation, mainly solar and wind, employs 7.8 million, on par with oil supply...
The IEA’s seminal report, Net Zero by 2050: A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector (NZE Scenario), projects that the energy transition will create 14 million new jobs related to clean energy technologies and require the shift of around 5 million workers away from fossil fuel sectors...
New energy projects are the major driver of employment, with around 65% of energy workers employed to build and deploy new solar plants, wellheads, heat pumps, cars, and more.
If British Columbia’s government wanted to encourage high quality permanent employment, it would be promoting energy conservation and clean power sources instead of climate destroying projects and industries. Long-term human survival is at stake.
Could anthropogenic climate change result in worldwide societal collapse or even eventual human extinction? At present, this is a dangerously underexplored topic. Yet there are ample reasons to suspect that climate change could result in a global catastrophe. Analyzing the mechanisms for these extreme consequences could help galvanize action, improve resilience, and inform policy, including emergency responses.Climate Endgame: Exploring catastrophic climate change scenarios