Sunday, 23 October 2011

Wind is fair and good. Let's celebrate its wise use

Collingwood Connection
October 03, 2011
Douglas Nadler

"The Province of Ontario is on course to phase out the use of coal by 2014 and has adopted what is probably the single most effective piece of legislation promoting renewable energy in North America.{The Green Energy Act} This kind of action takes vision and know-how and shows the strong potential for Canada to be a world leader in tackling climate change." Excerpt from Nobel Women's Initiative 
The excerpt quoted above is from the eight women Nobel Laureates as well as Archbishop Desmond Tutu who sent a letter to Stephen Harper on September 28th asking him to take a leadership role in stopping climate change. Harper has not acted despite having said that climate change is "perhaps the biggest threat to confront the future of humanity today". Harper is not the only one to realize that there is a monumental crisis happening but is doing little to confront it but yearly tax subsidies worth 1.4 billion are given to the gas and oil industries that directly contribute to climate change. This will have a a tragic effect on the quality of life for all species. Some of the smartest and greatest visionaries-Nobel Laureates- on the planet know that climate change is something we have to act on now. Do the anti-wind advocates know this? Are they acting out of pure self interest and don't care about the vital need to scrap the 20th century vision of more growth through fossil fuels? 

A recent analysis of the three leading Ontario political groups' positions on such issues as green energy, sustainable transportation and climate action, by the highly respected Pembina Institute, shows the Liberal and New Democrat parties far in the lead of Tim Hudak's Progressive Conservatives. (If the Green Party of Ontario was part of the inquiry I expect it too would score high in its desire to support renewable energy.) In fact there is nothing progressive or conservation oriented about the P.C.'s platform. Please see for a detailed report. Out of eight different catagories related to transportation, renewable energy or climate change action the P.C's received a zero for five areas of concern. The publication states that zero ratings are policies that "would take a step back from the current situation and would lead to increased greenhouse gas emissions and other negative environmental consequences." The other three areas were just a step above this reactionary outlook while both the New Democrats and  Liberals were far more progressive with regards to a more secure, Earth-balanced future for Ontario youth. If Canada as a whole cared about its youth, we would start by having a separate ministry for energy and climate change, as does Britain. 

There is a small group of overly zealous people in our area who have latched onto the anti-wind turbine diatribe. The level of hypocrisy in their "platform" and their inane and unsubstantiated views finds me speaking out. After writing over ninety thousand words for these newspapers on Nature and the rights of youth to inherit a healthy planet, it's time to respond. The 'foul wind' (their placards call the wind 'foul')group rarely has any people associated with it under the age of thirty. It is the under thirty age group that will be most affected by the inertia that is being generated by an entitled few. These few rage about foreign corporations, for example Samsung's wind project, coming to Ontario and making big profits. However, in many instances, they continue to support through stock holdings or products, mining, oil and gas multinationals as well as foreign car and cell phone manufacturers who make yearly multi-billion dollar profits. Despite what reactionaries will tell us about "ethical oil", the only true ethical oil is what stays in the ground. 

Ontario citizens are told by the anti-wind group that we'll be subsidising the wind turbines but the Conference Board of Canada tells us that the development and operation of offshore wind energy "would add between $4.8 billion and $5.5 billion to Ontario's economy by 2026 and would add up to 4,400 jobs per year during the construction phase." If we wish to truly save tax dollars and future generations the efforts of this ill-informed 'foul wind' group would be better placed by stopping the obscene billion dollar plus hand-outs given to the nuclear industry by Ontario's government. 

The 'foul wind' group and the P.C's rhetoric say that our electricity prices will rise as a result of the Green Energy Act and demand that the Act is scrapped. This is not in any way a substantial reason for our rising electricity prices; nor are the feed- in- tariffs to blame. "The outcome of the current debate over the GEA will have no meaningful impact on these future price increases, which reflect the inevitable costs of modernizing Ontario's aging electricity infrastructure. However, the choices facing Ontarians today will have an impact on air quality, greenhouse gas pollution, economic diversity and employment." Please see and read "Understanding Ontario's Electricity Prices" and "behind- the-switch" as well as 

The intransigent anti-wind coalition wants to convince us that, all of a sudden, Not In My Back Yard(NIMBYism)is just great and even heroic. They'll take on clean wind and even call it "foul", as well as creating propaganda concerning house prices and neighbor fighting neighbor. They spread spurious information about the Green Energy Act, that I doubt few have read, and which the Nobel Laureates praise. (It should be noted that the Liberal government has placed a moratorium on off-shore wind generation.)The magazine, "On The Bay", takes an extreme pro P.C stance that was blantantly expressed in four separate articles this summer and even states, "Which party you choose to vote for on October 6 will depend on where you stand on the wind issue." (Page 14)This is sheer nonsense and is meant to create division and fear instead of actively working on real issues such as poverty in our area; the Conference Board of Canada recently declared the divide between the rich and poor is growing faster in Canada than even the USA. 

In early September the Toronto Star published a report/poll that mentioned the lamentably small interest of the public in energy matters. This brings us to the heart of this matter: neither the Conservatives nor the 'foul wind' group care about energy concerns for the future. If they did, they would have been protesting against coal-power plants that are known to kill. They would recognize that communication towers kill more birds by fifty to one than wind turbines. Please see I If this group of people were concerned about using our tax dollars they would be protesting the billions already spent on nuclear plants and petition that no new ones are built. 

If we are to incorporate one of the many elements, wind power for example, of the renewable energy matrix, as Germany has successfully done, it is undeniably best for citizens to come together and make wind a real community project instead of complaining about foreign ownership and doing nothing to make it our own. Positive action by voters is urgently needed to resolve the energy crisis. Do something positive by setting up co-operative community ventures that help our youth see a passage through the horrible maze of complacency and hypocrisy that has been manufactured by adults who are more concerned about their aesthetic views of wind turbines (Why not get rid of the hundreds of communication towers that are a deadly blight on our landscape?)than their grandchildrens' right to have a healthy biosphere.

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