Time to kick fossil fuels

Time to kick fossil fuels Open letter to Yukon's politicians: How would you like to go into the history books: as someone who had the courage to save our environment? Or as the ones who drove the last nails into the world's coffin and got stuck with old-

Open letter to Yukon’s politicians:

How would you like to go into the history books: as someone who had the courage to save our environment? Or as the ones who drove the last nails into the world’s coffin and got stuck with old-fashioned fossil fuels?

It is time to start the change on a large scale to avoid total disaster. Look what happens in Tornado Alley, Europe, in California! Weather patterns unheard of a hundred years ago.

The scientific knowledge is there, the historical knowledge is there and the new technology to produce energy in large scale with renewable, free sources is there too.

Solar energy alone could produce 2,850 times our planet’s total energy needs. Why don’t we use it? Because no one can make money off it yet. It can’t be taxed, it can’t be sold, yet. And I hope no banker ever will be allowed to do that.

There is also a huge potential for energy below our feet in geothermal heat – it just has to be tapped. This technology is used much more in Europe.

The Yukon has a big opportunity to be the first jurisdiction in North America to become first in being totally green energy-wise. It just needs the political will to get started. Direct the subsidies the oil and gas industry receives towards renewable energy. You won’t even have to increase your budgets, just shift the money from oil and gas and coal to renewable technology to be installed. After that, there is no further energy cost, only maintenance.

The highway maintenance cost alone for oil and gas production could bankrupt Yukon. Right now there are around 40,000 big trucks a year travelling the Yukon highways. To frack from one well pad takes about 1,000 trucks of equipment, drill pipe, casing, explosives, fuel, water, sand and chemicals. Now multiply these by four well pads per square mile for thousands of square miles. You talk about total destruction of highways and total dissection of wilderness. This will be a never-before-seen destruction.

A mine, even a large mine, is fairly localized. Fracking is done in a systematic way and will cover large areas. It will destroy water sources and interrupt wildlife habitat, never mind human habitat. It will also release large quantities of methane gas, which is 20 to 100 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas.

Yes, wind turbines may not be the greatest thing to look at, but so far they have not killed anyone. Yes, they should be a minimum of a mile away from residences because of the noise disturbance. The highrise glass towers of the oil companies kill many more birds than wind turbines do.

Solar panels on rooftops and vertical walls or on the land are no worse to look at than oil rigs, pumping jacks or the oilsands. The land that ground-level solar farms are built on is not destroyed – it still can be used for grazing or farming.

Dear politicians, it is up to you to get informed and to decide. The important thing is to get information that is neutral and not just coming from industry-paid studies.

Werner Rhein

Whitehorse

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