Addicted to Revenue

<P>When commentators refer to a global ‘addiction’ to fossil fuels, the addiction is typically meant to refer to the actual use of oil, gas, coal, etc. to power the mechanics of our modern, everyday lives -&nbsp;in&nbsp;essence&nbsp;the royal ‘we’ are&nbsp;addicted to the conveniences and status that cheap energy continues to provide. </P>
<P>The price of this addiction is global warming, as the carbon dioxide we pump into the atmosphere acts as a heat trapping blanket and the planet gets hotter.. </P>
<P>We enjoy being able to drive our 4Runners to look like the hip outdoorsy type; being able to throw down some relative chump change to&nbsp;visit family by&nbsp;WestJet; to get our dose of potassium&nbsp;every morning in&nbsp;the imported bananas on our&nbsp;cereal.</P>
<P>But I’m&nbsp;inclined to think that these types of&nbsp;addictions are more akin to&nbsp;circumstantial habits, and that the majority of&nbsp;us&nbsp;would be perfectly&nbsp;happy and comfortable&nbsp;replacing these cheap-energy-habits with more sustainable ones, especially as the old habits become increasingly cost prohibitive. </P>
<P>The tougher addiction to break, and the addiction that will only get stronger as the price of energy increases, is the addiction of fossil fuel producing jurisdictions to revenue generated by the development of remaining reserves. </P>
<P>British Columbia is heavily addicted. </P>
<P>BC’s&nbsp;provincial administration&nbsp;and beauracracy have gotten used to the idea that there will be billions of dollars/year flowing from natural gas associated revenues, and have convinced themselves that, essentially, the province would not be able to sustain itself without stimulating and chasing this influx. This is the attitude of the junkie -&nbsp;anything to justify the addiction. <BR><BR>The problem for Gordon Campbell is that this addiction creates an obvious contradiction – with one arm of government aggressively pursuing fossil fuel <IMG class=image-left src=”http://www.dogwoodinitiative.org/images/bulletin/2005-bc-ghg-overview”>extraction at the same time as&nbsp;another arm is raising its fist and expounding the need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions&nbsp;in the battle against&nbsp;global warming (~ 1/5th of BC’s annual GHG emissions are from fossil fuel production, accoding to the most recent national inventory data). </P>
<P>The Campbell government has proven some sincerity and dedication to the fight to curb our emissions, through the Climate Action Secretariat and Climate Action Team for example; both are struggling to identify and implement measures to get us to our 33% by 2020 targets.</P>
<P>But government officials are typically defensive when asked to address BC’s fossil fuel addiction. The addiction is too strong, and runs too deep. ‘We just have to be patient’, is the line.</P>
<P>This is a cop-out. </P>
<P>The government’s own policies obstruct any chance that the Climate Action Secretariat, Climate Action Team, and all those working on the 2020 goal have of achieving their targets. While BC encourages coalbed methane extraction in places such as the Sacred Headwaters, the NE and the interior, while it states a desire to begin drilling for oil off BC’s coast and to facilitate the movement of oil from Alberta’s tar sands, there is little chance&nbsp;that even the most heroic of efforts will get us to our targets, or meaningfully reduce global emissions.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</P>
<P>Government officials know they won’t be able to remain silent on these contradictions for long. The public’s patience is running out.</P>
<P>It takes courage to face up to ones addictions and see the destruction they cause. It’s this courage we need and expect from our leaders. If they can’t step up we have to let them know we will find someone who will. </P>
<P><EM>For more on the numbers of BC’s addiction, </EM><A href=”http://www.dogwoodinitiative.org/bulletins/subsidies_and2007_budget/”><EM>click here</EM></A><EM> and read Will Horter’s bulletin&nbsp;focused on&nbsp;the addiction&nbsp;analogy written last year.&nbsp; It is doubtful that the 2008 budget will show anything but BC continuing to&nbsp;seek their fix.</EM> <BR></P>

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