Saturday, May 06, 2006

So Canada's current government is reducing funding for / scrapping a bunch of environmental programs. Is it just me, or does it seem a little myopic of the Conservatives to roll back commitments to saving energy, reducing emissions, and developing renewable energy resources? I saw the documentary "The End of Suburbia" last year, and it was pretty dire in its predictions of our fate if we, in North America, do not soon start curtailing our use of oil. What I don't understand is why, in the face of such a grim future, the government would not be pouring billions into the development of the next great source of energy? Instead, Western governments see fit to pour billions into annihilating countries that have the energy resources we need.

By ending subsidization for retro-fitting homes to be more energy efficient, the government is not only adding strain to the environment, but also ensuring that energy prices will continue to rise to unprecedented levels. It is a simple problem of supply and demand. By not working to curtail the demand, no matter what may be happening supply-side, we are setting ourselves up for ever-increasing energy costs.

Imagine if we, here in Canada, developed a replacement for oil. Right now residents of Arab countries are using their oil-driven wealth to buy up hotels, casinos, retail stores, and even American ocean ports. Why would Canada not want to reap the same rewards in the future? The payoff is obvious, but the investment needs to be made now in order to realize the benefits in the future. It upsets me that we seem to be moving in the opposite direction.

I am encouraged by some grass roots movements developing fuel alternatives for cars. One of the most interesting things I have read about in recent years is the use of discarded cooking oil to replace diesel fuel in cars. The idea is catching on slowly, and I am sure needs some refinement, but just the fact that someone is working on alternatives is a step in the right direction.

Now if only we could get our government to buy in.


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