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Norm Farrell

Gwen and I raised three adult children in North Vancouver. Each lives in our community with seven grandchildren, 12 years and younger. I have worked in accounting and financial management and publish IN-SIGHTS.CA with news and commentary about public issuesv.

Planning fallacy

John Horgan’s crew had a truckload of hard hats ready to go when they formed government in 2017 and the last thing they intended to do was alter the controversial Site C project, secret deals BC Hydro had with private power producers, LNG promotion, and science-free facilitation of fracked gas production. Going forward with the status quo would cost tens of billions of dollars in unneeded construction and fossil fuel subsidies. It would also exacerbate extreme events from climate change. But following BC Liberal policies would dull the Official Opposition and silence many right-wing critics. The Premier decided that was smart politics for his party…

Deceit and distraction

BC Hydro and government overseers have long claimed electricity demand is growing at a rate of 40% over 20 years. In fact, demand has not grown since 2005. What did grow was the average unit price consumers paid BC Hydro. That increased 115% in the 20 years from 2001 to 2021.During that time, natural gas production in BC more than doubled and public revenues from gas almost disappeared…

Lotus Land turned to La La land

John Horgan is involved in a political game that could be called, “Look at This, Not at That!” No one can argue with the need for energy consumers to use non-destructive, clean renewable electricity in place of fossil fuels. Encouragement of that shift is vital to human survival. But another part of the Horgan plan is to increase use of fossil fuels while pretending there are no harmful emissions of carbon caused by burning coal exported from BC ports or by liquefaction, transportation, regasification, and consumption of natural gas in other jurisdictions.

Northeast BC — a sacrifice zone

While John Horgan’s government has been using billions of public dollars to improve profitability of private producers of fossil fuels, University of Toronto Scarborough (UTSC) professor Élyse Caron-Beaudoin has been examining effects of natural gas production on people living near BC gas fields…

Enough said

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always gotten.” That was the advice of Jessie Potter, the featured speaker at the opening of the 1981 Woman to Woman conference.

Bonhoeffer on Stupidity 

In 2021, we see strange people in BC — humans I suspect Dietrich Bonhoeffer would categorize as stupid — mobbing to prey on politicians, healthcare workers, hospital patients and now school children. For thousands, the restraints of decency are lost. Bonhoeffer’s words might help to explain the behaviour…

A spendthrift public utility

There is much written here about BC Hydro and 17 years of flat demand for electricity by the utility’s residential, commercial and industrial customers. Despite that, in the first quarter of fiscal year 2021-22, the volume of BC Hydro’s purchases of private power from IPPs increased 21% over the same period the year before…

Unnecessary risk to people and property in BC

The NDP government is blundering on with construction of the Site C hydro dam on unstable ground, despite availability of much lower-cost energy sources. It is the same government that BC’s Auditor General found has not effectively overseen the safety of dams in BC and did not adequately verify or enforce compliance of safety standards…

What we can’t see will hurt us

Fossil fuel producers — and governments captured by the industry — know full well that methane is a serious contributor to climate change. Invisible and odorless, the super powerful greenhouse gas has greater — variously estimated from 25x to 84x — global warming potential than carbon dioxide in the 20 years following release. Scientists believe methane is responsible for about a quarter of the increase in global temperatures caused by humans…

Canadian leaders ignore deadly risks

The science is clear. We must act today to address climate change. Goals for reduced emissions in 2030, 2040 or 2050 are simply inadequate. Yet politicians sitting on both sides of Canada’s parliament — along with the governments of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan — are determined to keep increasing production of fossil fuels. They say production must increase today so that we can afford reductions in the distant future.

Stuck in the 20th century

Climate science demands immediate reduction of greenhouse gases. Electricity can replace fossil fuels for many uses, but how that energy is generated and distributed is vitally important. As a monopoly able to charge whatever it needs to survive, BC Hydro can stumble along, perhaps for another 20 years, relying on legacy technology. But as the utility’s prices rise, customers will look for other solutions. When that happens, call the corporate undertaker.

2030 is the new 2050

British Columbia is not just North America’s largest coal shipper, it plans to be a major LNG exporter. Destructive public policies demonstrate the hold on Canadian politicians enjoyed by private vested interests and lobbyists. Otherwise intelligent people have turned into fools who pretend climate change can be ignored or dealt with by comforting words as long as money can be made from fossil fuels.

Money for nothing…

In the year ended March 2021, BC Hydro bought 14,630 gigawatt-hours of electricity from independent power producers (IPPs). The utility paid $1,403,000,000 for that power, an average of $95,899 per gigawatt-hour. Meanwhile, BC Hydro sold surplus electricity on trade markets. It realized $42,520 per gigawatt-hour on those sales, a per-GWh difference of $53,379.

Inept or worse?

At the legislated deadline, and just before the last holiday weekend of summer 2021, BC Hydro released its financial results for the period April 2020 to March 2021. The utility’s annual service report contains pages of interest to serious analysts, but most of it is bumf, likely read only by the company’s PR minions. But a few pages reveal information that government would rather people ignore…

Truth in labeling?

It is interesting that Jonathan Wilkinson’s federal department is called the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change and George Heyman’s BC job is Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy. Neither is called the Ministry of Climate Action or Ministry of Climate Change Solutions…

It was what it was; it is what it is

When John Horgan’s government refuses to deal appropriately with climate change in 2021, it is because they made cold-blooded decisions based on the business of politics. If people of BC are harmed, if the Earth is harmed, they don’t care. They have joyfully experienced the smell of money, and the smell of power.