As a former NDP MLA, Okanagan-Penticton, I am adding my voice to those many British
Columbians who are passionately calling for the provincial government to act more decisively on global heating. When it comes to reducing global heating, the current British Columbia government has made two structural and, in my view, damaging long-term decisions: to complete the Site C Dam and to promote and subsidize, at the
highest level ever, Liquid Natural Gas (LNG).
From a common-sense economic, technical and land protection point of view, Site C should have been cancelled. A negative of Site C not often cited is how this project has undermined the overall impetus to build a more diverse and sustainable energy grid using solar, wind and geo-thermal, built with private and public funds.
And when it comes to LNG, science and common sense informs that one does not save a world on fire by throwing gas on it. LNG is not an “acceptable transition fuel”! From cradle to grave it produces a dangerous level of climate altering green house gas (GHG) that our failing atmosphere and burning earth cannot support.
So where do we stand?
We British Columbians will be burdened with the costs of a Site C dam that both NDP and Liberal governments have been determined to build. The intention of both Parties is that, to a great extent, the power generated will supply the electricity for processing natural gas. More global heating, stranded infrastructure and falling returns for the commodity is what our future holds.
No! That carbon must be left in the ground. Rather, the power generated by Site C must be used creatively to build a truly sustainable renewable energy economy in British Columbia while meeting BC’s growing clean power needs.
To begin, concerned citizens of BC must demand of our government to abandon the ill-conceived subsidies to the LNG industry and to direct these monies towards building a vibrant renewable energy economy using the new power from Site C and other renewable sources. Making this happen will not be easy! Call, write and stand with signs in front of the offices of Premier Horgan, Minister Heyman, Minister Conroy and your MLA. Let them know we need courageous action on our heating climate. We must not fail in our effort to change course: let this government know we do not want heat domes, fires and floods to become our new normal.
It is BC taxpayers who are going to be saddled with the huge impact and cost of Site C, so, at the very least, we should ensure the power generated will be used to reduce, not increase, our contribution to climate heating.
Jim Beattie, former NDP MLA