We are working towards building a renewable energy industry that will create jobs and a more sustainable economy in the Yukon. We have heard, loud and clear, that the majority of Yukoners would like to see this happen.
Unfortunately, the belief exists that if we tackle the carbon crisis we will all end up living in caves. This is a myth perpetuated by Big Oil. We already have most of the technology and know-how we need, we can afford it, it will likely save us masses of money, and the economy will be fine.
Hard to believe? Here is one study, amongst many, that supports this assertion. According to a 2014 International Energy Agency report it will cost $44 trillion in new low-carbon investments by 2050 to keep us below the two degree Celsius mark. This investment will save the world $115 trillion in fossil fuel expenses alone; this is a net saving of $71 trillion.
The world now spends $600 billion annually on direct subsidies to the fossil fuel industries, compared to $100 billion to subsidize the emerging renewables. $600 billion a year could go a long way to building the low carbon economy.
How do we get started?
Progressive energy policies are key. We need our government to stop spending our tax dollars supporting the development of an oil-and-gas industry in the Yukon and redirect it towards renewable energy.
John Kerry, U.S. secretary of state, recently said that “We still have time to make a difference - but it’s fast running out. Make no mistake: If we let this opportunity pass us by, that may be the only thing our generation is remembered for.”
Right now our government is being informed by the oil-and-gas sector lobbyists, and unfortunately the 8,000 signatures against is not stopping the fracking and liquefied natural gas build-up in the Yukon.
We must become more vocal. We need to talk to our elected officials, we need to write open letters to tell them we want a renewable energy economy, not an oil-and-gas industry. We need to stand up for our children’s future.
On Sunday May 3 at 3 p.m. we will gather by the LNG plant and tie black balloons to the fence. On Monday, May 4 at noon we will gather at the legislature to voice our concerns to the politicians. Maude Barlow and First Nation leaders will be speaking at the May 4 gathering.
Please join us so that you can be heard too. Please do it for your children. 2015 is the year we have to start turning this ship around. Thank you for caring.
Sally Wright, Kluane Lake
and JP Pinard, Whitehorse.