Whispers of the wind

August 17, 2023   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

Like it or not, the effect of human activity is negatively impacting our home planet. Oil executives are hollering against science and demanding more access to drill in new and increasingly sensitive areas of the world, particularly into the ocean floors. Governments are caught between the facts of a deteriorating world and a terrifying assault on the global wildlife, our fellow inhabitants to whom we owe everything of value (especially to bees) and for whose well being we are responsible and the lunatic pressure oil companies impose, using false predictions of catastrophe without their filthy production.

It is, as Patricia frequently makes the point, money that tells the story, pointing clearly to what is true and what is not. Like it or not, the speedy transition from fossil fuels and taking on the urgency of adopting renewable energy solutions to human needs is by far the best economical way for our immediate and long term future.

According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) [it] “has analysed the socio-economic benefits of renewable energy since 2011. An initial focus on employment creation and skills was subsequently extended to cover aspects such as gross domestic product (GDP), broader measures of welfare, local economic value creation, improved livelihoods, gender and other benefits. The assessments include present-day global, regional1 and selected national impacts, as well as projections to 2030 and 2050.”

The conclusions drawn from these studies show over and over the increase to GDPs keeping in line with the Paris Agreement of reducing global carbon dioxide emissions would “boost GDP by 0.8% by 2050,” which translates “into a cumulative gain of USD 19 trillion, roughly equivalent to the combined market capitalisation of all companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange.”

This increased economic activity is stimulated by investment in renewables and energy efficiency, as well as by supporting policies, like carbon pricing and recycling revenues from reduced income taxes.

This feature which I am quoting opens the doors to the real reason for turning to renewables which is the socio-economic reality that renewable is smarter money than fossil. All those lies the oil companies are pushing about job and energy security are just that: lies. Nothing new there.

Yet, the real mystery is: why are oil companies themselves not abandoning fossil fuel and the whole disastrous mess and turning their considerable fortunes to renewable energy when the research from IRENA and so many other organizations and governments shows the socio-economic benefits of such a transition? Their employees have much of the skills and knowledge which can be converted to working in renewables. For example, IRENA makes the point that workers from the offshore oil and gas sector possess valuable expertise for offshore wind projects. As well, drilling experts from the petroleum sector can be employed in geothermal development.

All this is only a partial take on the extent to which present-day workers can readily shift to jobs in the renewable energy fields.

In fact, this IRENA report makes the point that skills in renewables should be part of standard education in schools in order to maintain the numbers of qualified people needed to fill the many jobs open in the industry.

The obvious benefits stemming from cleaner air and water, following the significant reductions in pollution to our health reinforce the case for change with the weight currently pressing on our health care systems. 

It is not sentimental, not a cry to protect our tender and beautiful world and the cute little bunnies, the magnificent lions – all that side of the appeal to clean up our act – no- take the absolute necessity to change as a strictly practical matter: more money, better economics, improved GDP…..

Never mind the evidence everywhere: the fires, the flooding, the 783 million people starving, [according to World Hunger Facts and Statistics] – never mind the hundreds of creatures becoming extinct or endangered. Maybe all that means little or nothing to you but just look at the inevitable benefits to all of it and all of us by the -as speedy as possible – conversion to renewables. Changes to renewables that are happening around the world and must continue to happen but, in particular, with the suspension of oil production and exploration; the cessation of building and installing pipelines over Indigenous lands, over any land. Yes, fortunes have been invested in spite of the calls to stop. What matters is to stop piping bitumen to harbours in B,C. 

Specifically in Port Stewart where the ships are dangerous for the cetaceans population – whales, dolphins and porpoises that inhabit Canadian Pacific waters and who are vulnerable to being struck by large vessels, as well as the water and noise pollution the thousands of ships create.

We don’t have to do it. We don’t have to be this force of harm that can only – because of some major flaw in our psyches? – provide ourselves with what we need by doing harm.

Truth is we are a highly intelligent and developed species. Our basic flaws of avarice and violence hold us back from noble and worthy. Somehow, the worst of us land in positions of power and it is them whom we must vote out or persuade in some measure that even doing the right thing can make them money.

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