When it comes to climate change and energy choices, many people think they know what it is that Albertans think and what Albertans want. I wasn't so sure that we had actually heard from the citizens of Alberta, and a group of others agreed. This past September, we launched a short-term initiative called ViewpointsAB to find out.
With the advent of new technology comes a cavalcade of fears and concerns surrounding that same technology. Wind turbines have been blamed for all sorts of health problems, ranging from sleep deprivation to cancer and yes, even death. One person, Dr. Nina Pierpont, even went so far as to coin a term for these diverse effects, "Wind Turbine Syndrome." But is there any truth to the hysteria? Let's find out.
The era of net-zero homes is upon us. These super-efficient homes use rooftop solar energy production and smaller, electric powered heating systems such as air source heat pumps to produce as much energy as they consume. That's some sexy technology, but it only gets us halfway to net-zero. The real secret is insulation.
Carl Lauren's company Tyee Custom Homes builds about 12 homes a year and about six of those are in Kimberley. Lauren says making homes energy efficient today is important because homes are going to last 50 years or more. The better the home, the more energy saved, and those lower emissions are going to be way into the future.
As the dust settles on COP21 we know that while historic steps have been taken, the demands of justice are still unfulfilled. Together we are challenging the fossil fuel system, we are ushering in the era of solutions, and we are moving the political yardsticks of what it possible. While our political leaders walk, our movements run.
All around the world people took to the streets to help give the earth a voice. From Mumbai to Australia, London to Berlin, Ottawa to Vancouver millions danced, sang, and marched to push our world's elected leaders, currently in Paris for COP21, to increase their ambition, listen to the science and the voices of those most impacted, and lead the world out of climate chaos.
Rachel Notley's challenge has been to reassure the fiercely skeptical Alberta business elites that were horrified to wake up last May to discover the NDP had risen to power. With the economy already hammered by plummeting oil prices, they feared that the New Democrats would inflict further damage through a climate change plan that would drive up costs and cripple the oil sands. But business leaders in the Alberta can read the financial press as well as the rest of us and now seem to be buying Rachel Notley's view that they better try to be part of the solution.
Blinders are often used to keep horses racing in a straight line and free from distraction. However, some horse race experts argue that true competitors want to see what's coming. They say expanding the field of vision expands possibilities. Blinders are fine if you're doing the same thing over and over like going around a track but adapting to a new set of circumstances requires you to see the whole context.
One aspect of the climate change debate I find particularly troubling is the extent to which CO2 has come to dominate the narrative. By limiting our discussions to CO2 we ignore the topics we can all agree upon. Today I will talk about a topic about which even the most dedicated denialists and the most excitable catastrophists should be able to agree on: black carbon.
History shows how energy and foreign policy issues have been closely intertwined. There is little doubt that this relationship will continue to strengthen in line with increased instability in the international political system. I do not need to say more than Ukraine/Russia and the Middle East to underline this point. For Norway, energy diplomacy is higher than ever on the priority scale. This recognizes that to understand and act in a rapidly changing energy world, there is a need to understand how market and foreign policy factors interact.