If we connect the dots between all the natural gas, coal and tar sands proposals in B.C., a big picture emerges and the choice we face becomes both stark and clear: B.C. needs a government with leadership and vision to make the hard decisions. The province needs courage to stop building pipelines that would put at risk thousands of jobs and lock us into global warming. We need stewards to protect our collective future wisely, by investing in green jobs and saying yes to a clean energy future.
The U.S. State Department released its long-awaited report on the Keystone XL project last week. Most media focused on the executive summary, but several scenarios in British Columbia are outlined in the full report, even though the province is thousands of kilometres removed from the proposed pipeline.
The proposed Northern Gateway pipeline carrying raw bitumen to the B.C. coast is a bad idea, but it's ultimately the wrong fight. Let's assume the momentum of bringing Enbridge to its knees leads to a mass protest across Canada and all the proposed pipelines are stopped. Oil companies still have other options.
As Canadians, we are well aware that we are sleeping next to an elephant, and that the choices made by the American president have broad implications not only for Canada but for rest of the world. Much to the chagrin of many conscientious Canadians, the implications of a changing climate were off the radar in the American election before Hurricane Sandy swept in. The topic was not raised even once during the 2012 U.S. presidential debates. You would think it would be a no brainer to talk about this issue, given that the United Nations has called climate change "the single biggest threat facing humanity today."
As our government proposes that we become a "super highway" for oil tankers they are simultaneously reducing both the prevention and the response capacity to deal with an accident in what is already Canada's busiest port. This represents a perfect storm of the conditions that could lead to an oil spill.