Monday, June 23, 2014

Danger - Horse Manure Ahead!

From our Canadian cousins:
A hundred and twenty years ago, our economy was so dependent on horses that unless something was done, we were warned, we would drown under a sea of horse-manure. But what happened? Change happened - we invented our way into a different world.
And change is happening again. The Age of Fossil Fuels, which started with coal-fired steam engines, is winding down. Around the world, financially viable oil is running out; investors are beginning to walk away. By 2030 it may all be over, and the Solar Age will have stepped in to take over.
Once upon a time, iron replaced stone. Then cars replaced horses, and fossil fuels replaced whale oil. Today, renewable energy is replacing fossil fuels. The transition is upon us: you just need to know where to look.
And here’s the usual vested interest bullshit:
So, Canada’s federal government has finally approved construction of the proposed Enbridge pipeline that is intended to carry bitumen from Alberta’s tar sands to Kitimat, and thence by ocean to China.
If we do not go ahead, the Prime Minister warns us, Canada’s economy will be in grave danger. “No country is going to take actions that are going to deliberately destroy jobs and growth in their country,” he declared a week ago, in a joint statement with the openly climate denying Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott.
But wait:
… what if none of this is true? What if there were two possible directions that Canada’s future economy could take, not just one? What if there was another future built on clean technology, renewable energy, sustainable transportation and zero-carbon buildings, in which Canada could prosper without the tar sands and the unwanted pipelines, and without all the fracking, the oil-polluted waters, the exploding trains, the waves of public opposition and the legal challenges from First Nations?
To Stephen Harper and his supporters, such a future is unthinkable. He would far rather we dwelled on the danger of not supporting fossil fuel expansion than the far graver danger of a world that is four, five or even six degrees warmer due to the carbon released by the fossil fuels.
Another Canada is possible
Another Canada is possible. Picture a future in which our future prosperity is driven not by oil, but by investments in renewable energy; in which Ontario has become an electric vehicles innovation hub and renewable energy from Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba is being exported to cities in the US; a future in which British Columbia’s expertise in clean tech innovation is sought all over the world; a future in which we no longer need to spend billions every year subsidizing the oil industry and where the money spent on renewable energy remains here in Canada, creating demand and supporting new business activity.
It’s a good future, and it sets us on the path to a long-term future that is fairly amazing, since renewable energy is not just clean—it will also never run out. The curtains will fall on the Age of Fossil Fuels after just 300 years. The Solar Age will last for as long as the Sun sends us energy.
So the next time you hear a politician warning that if we don’t develop the tar sands and the pipelines, all hell will break loose, remember that there is an alternative. We have two options, not one. And while we may be metaphorically drowning in political horseshit, we never did drown in actual horse-manure.
Read the full article here.


  1. Horse manure - or bovine excreta?

  2. I appreciate your enthusiasm B21 and I realise there is always scope for diversity, but what on earth has Canada got to do with Barkingside? Last time I was there they didn't even know about Barkingside 21!

    1. The place that, it was predicted, would be under several feet of horse manure by 1920 was Piccadilly Circus. Nobody foresaw the rapid spread of the internal combustion engine, so perhaps there is something out there about to be discovered that we have no inkling of.

      The Canadian debate is relevant to us as our very own Prime Minister has come down firmly on the side of fracking in this country despite widespread objections and almost universal concern. The problem is that we are not governed by those whom we elect but by the faceless multinational corporations who can bully governments merely by threatening to move a factory or a head office.