2010 SFT – climate and energy

2010-03-04

in Canada, Economics, Law, Politics, The environment

Here are the sections from today’s Speech from the Throne (SFT) that relate to climate and energy:

  • “Our energy resource endowment provides Canada with an unparalleled economic advantage that we must leverage to secure our place as a clean energy superpower and a leader in green job creation. We are the world’s seventh largest crude oil producer with the second largest proven reserves. We are the third largest natural gas producer, the third largest hydroelectric generator, the largest producer of uranium, and by far the largest supplier of energy resources to the world’s largest marketplace. To support responsible development of Canada’s energy and mineral resources, our Government will untangle the daunting maze of regulations that needlessly complicates project approvals, replacing it with simpler, clearer processes that offer improved environmental protection and greater certainty to industry.”
  • “Our Government will continue to invest in clean energy technologies. It will review energy efficiency and emissions-reduction programs to ensure they are effective. And it will position Canada’s nuclear industry to capitalize on the opportunities of the global nuclear renaissance – beginning with the restructuring of Atomic Energy of Canada Limited.”
  • “The Joint Review Panel on the Mackenzie Gas Project has completed its report. Our Government will reform the northern regulatory regime to ensure that the region’s resource potential can be developed where commercially viable while ensuring a better process for protecting our environment.”
  • “Nowhere is a commitment to principled policy, backed by action, needed more than in addressing climate change. Our Government has advocated for an agreement that includes all the world’s major greenhouse gas emitters, for that is the only way to actually reduce global emissions. And it has pursued a balanced approach to emissions reduction that recognizes the importance of greening the economy for tomorrow and protecting jobs today.”
  • “The Copenhagen Accord reflects these principles and is fully supported by the Government of Canada. Together with other industrialized countries, Canada will provide funding to help developing economies reduce their emissions and adapt to climate change. Here at home, our Government will continue to take steps to fight climate change by leading the world in clean electricity generation. And recognizing our integrated continental economic links, our Government will work to reduce emissions through the Canada-U.S. Clean Energy Dialogue launched last year with President Obama’s administration.”

None of this is very encouraging. Rather than celebrating our huge fossil fuel reserves, we should be recognizing the risks associated with burning them. Similarly, brushing aside regulations that reduce the pace of fossil fuel exploitation will hardly help us avert catastrophic climate change.

The pledge to “review energy efficiency and emissions-reduction programs to ensure they are effective” is also discouraging. Canada still hasn’t deployed any sort of carbon price: a vital component of an overall climate change response.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

. March 5, 2010 at 2:31 pm

2010 Federal Budget: Canada hits rock bottom on investments in environment

Tim Weis — Mar 04, 2010

We must be close to a turning point in investing in the environment, because the budget tabled today couldn’t do much less.

A token $25 million for the next four years bizarrely allocated only to renewable energy in the forestry sector shows that this government sees renewable energy technologies as “boutique” experiments, not the mainstream solutions that they are in other parts of the world, and more importantly what they need to be in Canada. If this government is going to live up its commitment 2008 throne speech when it promised Canada would generate 90 per cent of its electricity from sources that don’t produce greenhouse gas pollution by 2020, we will need a ten-fold increase in renewable power in the next 10 years. Currently, 77 per cent of our electricity comes from “non-emitting sources” (defined by the government as large hydro, nuclear, carbon capture and storage and renewables) – but making up the extra 13 per cent will require a serious ramp-up of investment in renewable power. New nuclear or carbon capture and storage cannot be rolled out in a meaningful way in only 10 years, in spite of the $1.5 billion allocated to them over the last 2 years.

R.K. March 5, 2010 at 2:42 pm

To support responsible development of Canada’s energy and mineral resources, our Government will untangle the daunting maze of regulations that needlessly complicates project approvals, replacing it with simpler, clearer processes that offer improved environmental protection and greater certainty to industry.

They certainly don’t seem open to the possibility that environmental protection and responsible development might require leaving some fossil fuel resources unexploited.

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