Report Recommends Renewables for Canada’s West Coast

A new report from the David Suzuki Foundation says that renewable energy is needed in British Columbia to address rising energy costs and global warming.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – A Canadian environmental group says that renewable energy is needed in British Columbia to address rising energy costs and global warming. “Rising natural gas prices are hurting consumers, so we need a wise energy policy with a range of conservation and renewable energy options,” says Gerry Scott of the David Suzuki Foundation. “We cannot separate high energy prices and calls for new supply from the need to reduce air pollution and global warming. We need to start designing compact communities with more efficient housing, improve the fuel efficiency in vehicles and make our industries and transportation systems cleaner.” The report, ‘Climate Crisis: Energy Solutions for BC,’ outlines options for the provincial government to become more energy efficient. “BC is heading into a provincial election and faces difficult energy policy questions,” says Scott. “It’s time our leaders began to seriously address the way we produce and consume energy. Applying the practices and technologies described in our report will strengthen the economy as well as addressing climate change and reducing pollution.” The report includes studies on four energy-consuming sectors of the economy: urban land use and transportation, commercial and industrial operations, oil and gas production, and freight transportation. These sectors produce most greenhouse gas emissions in the province, and Scott says effective policies are needed to put the province on the path to increased sustainability. “We simply can’t keep developing the wrong kinds of energy projects,” he says. The plan for BC Hydro to lay a natural gas pipeline from Vancouver to Vancouver Island must be shelved, and the expansion of PowerSmart as a key energy conservation program must be significant and made into one of BC Hydro’s permanent energy supply resources, not just an add-on. “The 20 per cent target for renewable sources of electricity should be a clear mandate, with provisions for ongoing, upward revisions of that goal in the context of a long-term plan,” it states. “It is time to channel significant private and public resources into conservation measures for homeowners and businesses,” explains Scott. “That will provide long term financial benefits, create more jobs and change energy use patterns – short-term energy rebates, for example, cannot and will not achieve the changes that will bring long-term relief.” The effects of climate change on the west coast are being felt, with coastal temperatures increasing by 0.6oC and the interior warming by 1oC during the past century.

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