Spiraling away from the Renewable

by vquach94 on November 28, 2016 - 6:09pm

The Pacific Northwest LNG project was announced in 2013; a $36 billion gas project that’s an extension of the Petronas Company. It would export 19 million tons a year of liquefied gas to markets in Asia, while contributing more than 5 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, annually. This project would be beneficial to Canada’s economy and as such, the Liberals have granted approval, alongside the federal government of British Columbia, who has granted conditional approval of the LNG project. Many conditions must be met, such as negotiations made on strategies to ensure that Canada continues to meet international climate commitments. It is expected that with the undertaking of the project, emissions will continue to increase instead of decrease. Despite this, the Environmental and Natural Resources Ministers have gathered to announce the acceptance of this project, thus showing commitment, though approvals are pending for the construction to begin. Environmentalists and First Nations People are strongly against the project due to concerns over climate change and salmon habitats. Indigenous people also feel that the project does not respect their rights. However, conservatives continue to believe that Prime Minister Trudeau needs to make the project a reality, as it’s important for job creation and potential investment within Canada.

I believe this controversial project continues to demonstrate that Canada is a staples economy. The fact that Canada is amongst the top energy producers demonstrates a desire to continue to diversify the markets in having this project extension exported to markets in Asia. Since Canada continues to thrive off exporting energy resources, I believe it is hard to stray away from this pessimistic view in having created a society that makes it difficult to move away from dependency on resources due to consumerism. Furthermore, though the project has the ability to create jobs, it also has ability to take away these jobs when the resource runs dry, recognizing that it is a non-renewable, finite resource. This would in turn have a negative effect on Canada’s economic stability. Inevitably, people don’t change the way they live until failure occurs and forces new change explaining the country’s reluctance to move away from a staples economy. After all, until now it has proven itself effective and beneficial despite obvious drawbacks and negative effects on the environment. Fuel is the preferred energy source due to its reliability, regardless of the available renewable energy sources with less significant environmental impact. The renewable energies “take the back burner” because they do not benefit Canada’s economy and because citizens don’t want to invest money into something that they are unsure of. In the end, without considering benefits to the economy, this project poses a unique opportunity for job injection, ultimately having a positive effect on the lives of Canadian citizens and making them happy. When people are unhappy, negative outcomes such as high crime rates could occur, for example, further demonstrating the importance of job injection. In this article, one can conclude that conflict of values exist due to varying viewpoints on the appropriate ways to protect the environment and salmon. Conflict of interest can arise from a disagreement of who should pay to preserve salmon habitats. Lastly, behavioral conflict exists even though both sides want to slow down climate change and preserve salmon habitat because there is a lack of trust between the Petronas with the indigenous people and environmentalists. I think the best option is to approve the project, but plan ahead for clean up solutions so that the potential environmental impact will not be as large of scale.

Sources:

Article: The Canadian Press. (2016). Liberal approve controversial natural gas project on B.C coast. https://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2016/09/27/liberals-to-decide-on-lng-plant-in-bc-seen-as-a-litmus-test-for-trudeau.html. Retrieved November 20 2016.

Comments

Thanks Vquach94 for your post, I find this topic very interesting and equally frustrating. In light of the government’s acceptance of the the LNG project it is quite easy to see that when the federal government is forced to chose between the environment and the economy- though it is worth saying that these two things are not polar opposites- that the economy will always win. I agree with you that Canada continues to follow this path because the sale of natural resources has been made so integral to the foundation of our country. I think that this idea has transferred to the general public as a whole and has worked to create an intergenerational apathy on the subject. People don’t care about the the impacts of climate change because the effects of it are less tangible than that of losing their jobs. I like that you highlight that eventually non-renewable resources will run out and jobs will be effected, but again I think that it is hard for people to feel the full impacts of this because likely this will not impact them in their lifetime. It is also worth noting that the effects of climate change will be felt by those who are less economically insulated. These people often have less political power making it difficult for them to change their own reality.

I find the shift to cleaner energy to be extremely exciting, but it is not something that we can depend upon our federal government to do, and frankly they don’t have the jurisdiction to make the greatest impact. It will be the responsibility of municipalities to make this change. Luckily enough are municipalities are taking action against climate change by investing in cleaner and more efficient infrastructure. If we want to enact change we need to do it at the local level, and I think we will see a greater uptake in the use of renewables within this realm. Municipalities have to deal with the everyday social justice effects of a rising climate and they will have to deal with the increased portion of their population that is at risk. This is one of the reasons why I think they will act with the greatest urgency and thus I have a great amount of hope that municipalities will lead the charge on renewables.

Vquach94

I think this is a very interesting and complex issue, and there are many factors that are not covered in the article that your blog post is based on. Like any news article, there is always some bias, if not a lot of it. For this particular article, one thing that is not covered is the comparative emissions that natural gas is responsible for relative to other energy sources. As discussed in the article, the main markets for this project are in Asia, which relies heavily on coal and petroleum. As we all know, natural gas is without a doubt far less degrading than coal and petroleum. While this does not mean that these countries will have lower emissions for this reason, there is however an opportunity for these countries to lower their dependence on less environmentally efficient energy sources.

Conversely, I think another issue is the economic benefits of the salmon market. Salmon not only has intrinsic natural value, but it is also a major part of the British Columbian economy. This proposal, despite having economic benefits for larger corporations and high skilled workers, may come at the cost of average local workers, which is harmful for the economy. Therefore I would not only say this is an interest conflict based on who should pay to preserve salmon habitats, but also in terms of who should benefit from the project.

Very well written!