Wake up and smell the methane

Open letter to ministers Currie Dixon (Environment and Economic development) and Scott Kent (Energy, Mines and Resources): I think I speak for all Yukoners who are concerned about the environment we share and wish to protect...

Open letter to ministers Currie Dixon (Environment and Economic development) and Scott Kent (Energy, Mines and Resources):

I think I speak for all Yukoners who are concerned about the environment we share and wish to protect for our children’s future.

The Yukon needs to reduce its fossil fuel dependency because it is a finite resource and a tremendous polluter. About 80 per cent of the Yukon energy needs come from fossil fuels and only 20 per cent is met by hydro. We have a long way to go.

Natural gas as a transition to renewables is a non-starter. You should cancel Yukon Energy’s proposed LNG plant and cancel future calls for oil and gas postings and I’ll tell you why in a moment. You will instead take our tax dollars that you’re spending on oil and gas and invest it into our new renewable energy economy.

The globe is warming to record levels and scientists are telling us to act now to reduce our fossil fuel emissions. They are dead serious about this.

Natural gas is not the clean transition fuel to renewables.

Recent research tells us that natural gas, whether it’s fracked or not, is worse than diesel as a greenhouse gas. The reason is that too much methane (natural gas) is leaking from the well site to the burner. The oil and gas industry has not been able to fix this problem, and it’s getting worse.

Both Yukon Energy and YESAB have ignored the supporting scientific studies that I have submitted to them. In response to my submission to the Watson Lake bi-fuel proposal, YESAB has stated that the methane leakage that goes on outside the territory doesn’t concern Yukoners. This says to me that YESAB doesn’t think global warming caused by natural gas leakage affects the Yukon. Since when were we not part of planet Earth?

I wish that you had attended Robert Kennedy’s talk earlier this week because he had some very important things to say about our collective energy future. Over 300 people were there, and they now know that we are not the only place on the continent whose democracy and environment has been sacrificed for the polluting oil industry.

We are not environmentalists. We are people who care about the free market economy having a level playing field. Large polluters, like oil companies, make profits from our resources by externalizing their costs and leaving us to pay for the mess that they leave behind.

The CYFN, three First Nation governments, and the Mount Lorne community have all passed a “frack free” resolution within their territories. Whitehorse will be next. How clear does the message have to be?

Wasting another $35 million on an LNG plant for Yukon Energy and supporting gas developments in the Yukon is subsidizing more pollution and expanding our problems, and that is radical behaviour.

If you continue to take us down this destructive path, it will come to a point that we, the people of the Yukon, who care for our children’s futures, will no longer tolerate this radical behaviour from our government.

JP Pinard, PEng, PhD

Whitehorse