Environmental watchdog group ForestEthics is hoping that a newly published report from them will get the ball rolling on initiatives to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.
The report, which included information compiled from the Pembina Institute on sustainable transportation methods, looked at active transportation (cycling, walking, etc) in Whistler; a ride sharing program in the Kootenays; public transit systems in Wisconsin; electric vehicles in use in Terrace; and potential for enhanced passenger rail service between Edmonton and Prince Rupert.
“The truth is we need to ween ourselves off of fossil fuels,” said Nikki Skuce, senior energy campaigner for ForestEthics.
The report calls on leadership from all levels of government to provide incentives and leadership to provide a green shift in the economy.
“I think that not all solutions will work everywhere…but I think there are opportunities for people to think outside the box and pull from these case studies in order to apply them here across the north,” she said.
In releasing this report, ForestEthics were in part reacting to a perception Enbridge CEO Pat Daniel had called Northern BC residents hypocrites for opposing the pipeline yet benefitting from energy infrastructure.
However, Enbridge Northern Gateway’s Communications manager Paul Stanway said Daniel never called anyone a hypocrite.
And he provided the actual quote by Daniel: “They say, not in my backyard, not in your backyard, not in anybody’s backyard. They basically say ‘no’ to energy infrastructure development, whether it’s oil sands and we hear that a lot in this city, whether it’s pipelines, whether it’s refineries, whether it’s power stations, whether it’s transmission lines. But, they are the very same people that say ‘yes’ to light switches, to cooked food, to school buses, to ambulances and to gas pedals. And you can’t have it both ways.”
Stanway said the point Daniel was trying to make was about society in general, “That we demand all the goods and services and transportation that existing fuels can supply for us, but some people take the attitude they don’t want anything to do with the transportation and development of those traditional fuels. You simply can’t have it both ways,” said Stanway.
Skuce remained unconvinced.
“Whether they use the word hypocrite or not, that’s what they’re saying,” she said.
Stanway also took issue with wording in the report which stated “Enbridge wants the status quo, to keep us addicted to fossil fuels so that they can go on making money transporting it.”
In fact, he said, renewable energy is the fastest growing segment of the company.
“Enbridge is one of the largest renewable energy suppliers in the country,” he said. “We’re involved in wind power, solar power. These are all issues we deal with on a daily basis.”
He said the reality is that it will take a number of decades for the shift to renewable energy sources to take place and in the meantime the world will continue to need existing sources of fuel.
“We don’t make any apologies for doing that.”