Canada Must Rethink Its Energy Production
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has recently stated that all fossil fuel exploration needs to end this year. The IEA has traditionally promoted a conservative energy policy focused on fossil fuel extraction so such a statement highlights that the fossil fuel contribution to global warming truly is a dire threat. Despite that, Canada continues to ignore the global climate crisis and double down on fossil fuel extraction as a major part of its economy.
Recently, Enbridge was in the news when Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer called for the shutdown of line 5, a Canadian pipeline which runs through the US. Activists in the US are also calling for shutdown of line 3 and it appears that the Biden administration may follow through on that. First Nations groups in Canada backed the shutdown of line 5 as well. Despite this, the Liberal government has thrown its weight behind the pipeline, with our ambassador calling the shutdown a threat to Canada’s national energy security. Despite repeated platitudes from our Liberal government regarding climate action, it continues to be a staunch proponent of fossil fuel extraction and has done nothing to shift our economy away from it.
Not only are we continuing to double down on fossil fuel extraction, we’re also failing to prepare ourselves to deal with the disruptions caused by climate change. The fact that a single pipeline shutting down can have a catastrophic impact on our energy security clearly shows that the system is both fragile and unreliable. There is no slack or redundancy built into it, and a single unexpected event can have devastating impacts on the entire country.
This problem has to be considered from the perspective of the climate change that’s currently unfolding. We’ve already seen massive fires hit both Australia and the US last year. Similar kinds of fires are projected to become a risk in Canadian Boreal forests in the near future. This is just one of the types of disruptive events that are looming on the horizon. As weather patterns change we’ll see more events such as the recent Texas cold snap, droughts, hurricanes, floodings, pandemics, and other kinds of disasters. Our global economy is not structured to accommodate these disasters, and that translates to the disruption of the lives of millions of people whenever such events occur.
Canada needs to start treating climate breakdown seriously and to refocus our economy locally. We need to strive to create a self-sufficient localized economy that can withstand global disruptions. Such refocusing will also make a direct positive contribution towards reducing the impact of climate change as it will reduce the need to ship goods to-and-from Canada. Localizing our economy will also benefit Canadian workers by creating jobs in Canada and contribute to the development of new industries. We must immediately shift our economy from fossil fuel extraction and invest in the clean energy sector to replace fossils. The world is running out of time, and Canada must do its part to address the crisis.
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