It is hard to read the decision of the current government to support the Mackenzie Valley gas pipeline as anything aside from a disappointment. To begin with, it was inappropriate to have the decision announced by the minister of the environment. After all, he should be the one in cabinet demanding that the environmental impacts of the plan be fully investigated. Secondly, it seems inappropriate to offer such aid while the Joint Review Panel is still examining the likely social and economic impacts of the plan.
If we are going to successfully address climate change, we are going to need to leave most of the carbon trapped in the planet’s remaining fossil fuels underground. By the same token, we will need to develop energy sources that are compatible with that goal. At this juncture in history, I can see the case for providing government funding to help with the up-front capital costs of concentrating solar, wind, or geothermal plants. It is a lot harder to see why oil and gas companies that were recently pulling in record profits deserve financial support at taxpayer expense.