All this talk of 4,000 Quebecers signing a petition committing to civil disobedience is exciting. Living with a false sense of conflict is stimulating. Debunking the allegations of the bloqueux about local natural gas development is entertaining. It makes me hate to ruin everyone’s fun with my New Year’s wish for the Quebec energy debate.
My New Year’s resolution is to focus on the alternative to confrontation. I wonder if there are ten things we might be able to agree on next year. This is my 2013 straw man list:
- Energy efficiency is the best answer since there is no energy source cleaner than energy not consumed.
- Instead of hoping for ‘peak oil’ we should be working for ‘peak energy demand’.
- An energy consumption tax is better for our economy and our environment than income tax.
- There is no such thing as a purely clean energy because they all have externalities many of which are not captured in the price.
- The promoters of every form of energy are biased because someone makes money from every form of energy production.
- It may be easier and more productive to try to reach a consensus on the worst forms of energy (Having already eradicated the use of whale oil, Michael Binnion’s top candidates are brown coal & bunker fuel oil & wood).
- Strict, effective and evidence based regulation is better for everyone, especially industry.
- Locally produced energy under effective regulation is better than imported energy produced under unreliable or unknown regulatory jurisdictions.
- Access to affordable energy is essential to social welfare and a healthy modern society.
- We all live in our shared environment and we all benefit from thinking globally and acting locally to take care of it.
My wish for 2013 is that responsible environmentalists will join with responsible members of industry and find ten things to agree on about energy and the environment. Then work together with the public and government to make progress on those ten things for a better society for all of us.
Maybe it will be more fun if we call it an energy policy.
Happy New Year