letter to the editor251

Put energy into alternative energy Open letter to Dennis Fentie, re climate change: At a time where hardly a day goes by without hearing in the…

Put energy into alternative energy

Open letter to Dennis Fentie, re climate change:

At a time where hardly a day goes by without hearing in the media about climate change and its dire consequences, it is puzzling if not irritating to see that our current Yukon government does not come out with any concrete plan or even decent ideas to address the issue.

Anybody who cares to look through the 12–page report called “Yukon Government Climate Change Strategy” will find that, apart from quoting common knowledge platitudes, this so-called strategy does not contain anything close to a plan or a strategy.

It only makes it clear to any reader that the present legislature intends to do the exact same thing as the past one: nothing.

This is not acceptable, Fentie, especially when there are simple, cheap and efficient measures that could be implemented almost immediately for the sake of future generations.

These measures are nothing new and were recommended to the Yukon government seven years ago in a document commissioned by the government and prepared by the Pembina Institute called “Economic Development from Renewable Energy.”

Fentie, if you are not aware of this document, it can be found on the department of Energy, Mines and Resources website.

Any individual or family that wishes to cover some of its energy needs with a renewable source of energy, such as a solar plant, a windmill or a solar hot-water system should receive financial assistance.

Simple idea, no?

And cheap, too, as I am going to prove in a minute.

Take a look beyond the Canadian border.

Sometimes one can learn something from others!

Look at Europe, for instance, where there is hardly a single country or even province or municipality that has not some kind of financial incentive to help individuals make the change towards a more responsible way of living.

There are many ways to financially promote individual investments in renewable energy and I will only describe the incentives in effect in Geneva, Switzerland, as an example of many programs that currently run in various European countries and cities.

In Geneva, any private person wanting to build a solar hot-water installation can apply for a subsidy amounting to $2,200 plus $200 per square metre of panels.

If you choose to invest in solar panels to produce electricity your surplus production (everything that is produced after your battery bank is charged) is bought by the equivalent of Yukon Energy at a preferable rate.

Not only do you cover you own needs but you also inject clean energy into the grid and get paid for it.

This goes hand in hand with a new plan where, as a consumer, you are able to subscribe to an electricity delivery plan that is slightly more expensive but guarantees that you get up to 70 per cent of your electricity from renewable resources.

The extra money you pay is then used to push investment in renewable energy production!

And believe it or not, it was a huge success in Geneva when it first was launched and the demand for clean energy could not be met.

It is also interesting to note that the German government has massively invested and subsidized renewable-energy production during the 10 last years and the economic outcome is simply amazing. There are six million square metres of solar collectors in Germany and it is the world leader in manufacturing and exporting windmills.

The renewable energy industry has created 120,000 jobs (40,000 alone in the wind industry; 15,000 in the solar industry) not to mention the direct benefits to the German economy.

A good return on investment, I would say…

Now to the cost of such a program for your government, Fentie: imagine that there are 300 households in the Yukon that wish to invest in clean energy each year (and particular encouragement should be given to the communities that are depending on generators for their electricity).

The average cost of a simple windmill installation or a solar one is around $8,000.

Let’s imagine, again, that the government would cover half these costs and maybe grant a loan for the other half, according to each applicant’s financial situation.

The annual budget would be around $150,0000.

The lifespan of a solar or wind plant is about 30 years (close to 50 for many new products).

There would be new businesses and qualified employment created (in construction but also in research and product development).

For a modest yearly budget, in 50 years, the Yukon could become a leader in the northern hemisphere when it comes to producing clean energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions (this first goal was taken from your own climate change strategy mentioned at the top of this letter).

For this to happen though, there must be a clear political vision and a commitment to act.

Maybe you don’t care, Fentie, or you are still so ignorant of the effect of climate change that you naively imagine that Yukon will make money growing canola and exporting beef?

I don’t think so and leading scientists don’t think so either.

Sadly, it’s not going to be Yukon in Wonderland, but rather a Yukon hit by heavy snow and ice storms, bug infestations ravaging forests, die-outs of wildlife and the destruction of our northern ecosystem and of the way of living linked to it.

Yukoners do care, Fentie, and there is absolutely no excuse for your lack of movement in that matter.

Many expect action and will hold you and your government responsible if, during the new legislature, nothing is done to efficiently combat climate change.

Please, go to work.

Yasmine Djabri

Faro

Fur trapping is cruel

Untold numbers of wolves, wolverine, beaver, coyote, fisher, coloured fox, Arctic fox, lynx, marten, mink, muskrat, otter, squirrel and weasel are trapped for their fur in the Yukon.

Leghold traps, snares, and body-crushing Conibear traps are used to destroy the lives of these animals for their fur!

All these inhumane traps can and do cause unimaginable suffering as animals desperately try to free themselves, they  may experience broken teeth, dislocated joints, and torn ligaments. Some free themselves by chewing off their own paws.

All these traps can and do pose a threat to so-called “non-target” animals including eagles, ravens, deer, moose, family companion animals, etc..

The fur industry wants to promote that fur is “fun” and “chic”; the truth is fur trapping is cruel and unnecessary, and causes horrible deaths for millions of animals all over the world!

Compassion is always in Fashion.

Fur is dead! Please check out anti-fur websites.

Please boycott fur products.

Mike Grieco

Whitehorse