Will BC prioritize green jobs and energy conservation or simply more subsidies to fossil fuel companies?
Like many British Columbians I await next week’s budget with some anticipation. Will Gordon Campbell prioritize taxpayer money to ease the transition to a more efficient, sustainable economy or try to resurrect the old comodity export driven economy?
In last year’s budget, the his priorities were clear. Gordon Campbell’s government allocated $539 million in subsidies to oil and gas companies, a 65% increase over the previous budget. The goody bag of taxpayer money was particularly large for oil and gas companies promoting “unconventional” projects like shale gas and coalbed methane. The giveaways were increased by $50 million in August.
In contrast, funding for LiveSmart was cut. Overall, only $60 million was budgeted for energy conservation initiatives.
Every energy expert acknowledges that the best investment toward meeting future power needs is in energy conservation. Investment in retrofitting houses and commercial buildings, and energy efficiency, will create jobs and better position our economy for future productivity.
Is Campbell listening?
All indications are that he isn’t. I predict there will be little new investment in energy conservation incentives for individuals, but more taxpayer-funded goodies in the form of subsidies for climate-unfriendly oil and gas and mining corporations. This is particularly true given recent government announcents for new taxpayer-funded transmission lines in the northwest to promote mining and in the northeast to promote shale gas.
Previous Questions for 2010
Will budget shortfalls trump action on global warming?