10 Key Questions for 2010 – Question 3
Did you ever just wake up one day and know deep down that something important was going to happen to you? That was the way I felt last month at the turn of the New Year. Something deep down told me the first year, of the second decade, of the third millennium, was going to be a pivotal year.
How we, and our political leaders, choose to answer the questions below will shape the kind of world our children will grow up in.
Will the huge expansion of coal mining in BC come under scrutiny in 2010?
Few British Columbians are aware that coal is British Columbia’s largest fossil fuel export at over $5 billion. In 2008, ~26.6 million tonnes of coal was mined in BC, a majority of which was exported to markets abroad mostly in Asia (70%). When burned, or used in making steel, BC coal creates ~65.7 million additional tonnes of CO2 emissions each year, which are not currently counted in the government’s emissions calculation. Including coal virtually doubles BC’s emissions from all other sources.
While other jurisdictions are phasing it out, coal mining is expanding in BC. Currently, there are nine operating coal mines, six proposed coal mines (awaiting environmental assessment approval), one mine (Herman Mine) that received environmental assessment approval in 2008, and five other projects in the very early stages of development.
Coal is becoming the poster child for inaction on global warming. In Australia, the U.S. and Europe coal facilities are increasingly facing blockades and other forms of civil resistance. But so far in BC hardly a peep. That will change in 2010 and coal becomes an increasing focus for activists from around the province. Dogwood initiative will be releasing a report documenting the impacts of existing and proposed coal mining in BC. Perhaps this will inform British Columbians and become a catalyst for action.