With the election approaching, the Pembina Institute brought together prominent candidates from B.C.’s three major political parties to debate the province’s road to a more planet friendly future. Despite the underlying tension, everyone was polite. There was laughter. Yet Pembina’s clean energy & climate debate illustrated very “alternate” realities.
The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWea) recently announced that “with the commissioning of the K2 Wind Power Project in southwestern Ontario this month, Canada has now become the 7th country in the world to surpass 10,000 MW of installed wind energy capacity.” Ontario has more turbines than any other province and is also the center of Canada’s anti-wind movement.
The transition to renewable energy is coming faster than most people realize. The technological advances that make it the adoption of larger amounts of intermittent energy possible are also needed to reinvigorate North America’s aging grid. Though there is still much resistance from corporations and governments with vested interests, the future of the fossil fuel sector lies in finding ways to fit into a more environmentally sensitive economy. The struggle to avoid Climate Change is not over. There are still many battles ahead, but the outcome has been decided. The next big issue is social license.
Canada will not meet its emissions targets for 2020. There has been improvements since 2005, but the oil sector is expected to produce 28% more emissions by the end of this decade. Prime Minister Stephen Harper said he would like to regulate the oil sands, but that “would be crazy” in light of economic developments. Despite the global trend towards adopting renewable energy and smart technologies, the Canadian government continued to tie this nation’s economic future to the fossil fuel industry. So what is Canada missing?