Monthly Archives: November 2016

Response to the election

by Rev. Canon Sally G. Bingham

guest-blog-sealIn light of last night’s election results, Interfaith Power & Light (IPL) has a more important role to play than ever before. We can’t afford to backslide on our hard won victories: the Clean Power Plan, the Paris climate agreement, cleaner automobiles. Our work may have just gotten harder, but we are not giving up. There is far too much at stake.

IPL is rooted in theology -answering God’s call to be the stewards of Creation and to love each other. Our focus for 16 years has been protecting the climate while recognizing the injustice and inequality of who and where harm is experienced. We believe that climate change is a critical global challenge and we are committed to meeting that challenge by advocating to limit carbon emissions, energy efficiency and transitioning to a clean energy economy. We believe that fossil fuels belong in the ground. The IPL campaign is not politically motivated, but rather motivated by moral responsibility. Therefore we will continue to work for the things we believe will protect the climate and the future of the planet.

In these times of doubt and confusion, we can draw on the strength of our spiritual traditions and our communities, our ongoing efforts to care for Creation, and on our long history of “bending the arc toward justice.” We encourage you to talk with each other, be with each other, and above all, do not despair. Let any despair quickly turn to positive action. This election was in no way a repudiation of the science and urgency of global warming. It doesn’t change the fact that a majority of Americans, of both major parties and all religions, understand that global warming is happening and that our country should be a leader in building the clean energy economy of the future. Our job is to make sure that the new Congress and new administration understand that people of faith care deeply about being good stewards of Creation. We all breathe the same air. We all want a better world for our children and future generations. We all want to revitalize our communities. The faith community and IPL will have a critical role to play. We will continue to build bridges, and speak to people of all political persuasions from the perspective of shared values. We will act locally, and continue to win local victories. We will find ways to cut pollution and protect the health of our communities, as we always have. The transition to a clean energy economy has begun, and it won’t be stopped by an election. Working together with faith, we will succeed.

 

The Rev. Canon Sally G. Bingham is President of Interfaith Power & Light, San Francisco, U.S.A., a coalition of Episcopal congregations set up to educate people of faith about the moral and ethical mandate to address global warming.  Further information is available at their website http://www.interfaithpowerandlight.org.

This blog reproduced with permission.

 

 

Watching you Prime Minister

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau;

You will recall that at your book launch in Park Royal you graciously autographed below my comment ‘Watching You!

An autumn of sheer delight over your victory, boosted by a blossoming ’SunnyWays’ atmosphere across the land culminated in Canada’s strong and confident performance at COP21 where you and your team were instrumental in persuading the world of the imperative to hold global average temperature rise to no more than 1.5oC above pre-Industrial Revolution levels. Bravo! Elizabeth May was over the moon!

The letdown began during Spring Break with Cabinet’s nonchalant approval of Woodfibre LNG despite very strong opposition by the people of Howe Sound and in the face of outright rejection by every local government in the region. That was an unexpected kick in the face.

June brought the deeply contentious NEB approval of the Kinder Morgan Expansion. Your TMX Ministerial Panel, hastily assembled as a means of damage control, suffered blatant conflict of interest, professed no mandate but to listen, appeared listless and disinterested, was toothless, and achieved little if anything useful except, perhaps, furtherance of your agenda.

Over the summer I have been watching you with mounting unease as a flurry of MP-organized ‘Democracy Talks’ across BC gave every indication of having been rigged to distract our attention from the stark realities and colossal environmental risks posed by major fossil fuel-to-tidewater projects, aimed instead at softening us up for cabinet approval of one or more projects by year’s end.

As a British Columbian and retired mariner who lived through the 1964 bunker fuel spill in Howe Sound, I cannot overstate my concern regarding the risk of massively expanding diluted bitumen tanker traffic through Burrard Inlet and the Salish Sea. Reaction time, heavy tides, bad weather and human fallibility militate against significant spill recovery. Brave promises of a World Class oil spill clean-up capability become meaningless when dilbit sinks (according to a US National Academy of Sciences finding which was disallowed from evidence by the NEB).

Dilbit is exceedingly noxious stuff. A big spill near Vancouver could be catastrophic for the marine environment and precipitate a major health crisis across the Lower Mainland. Trans Mountain’s own experts have calculated a 10% probability of a dilbit spill of 8.25 million litres or more during a 50 year operating cycle. That’s 3000 times the size of the Marathassa spill (of mere fuel oil) in English Bay last year that caused so much fuss.

The Kinder Morgan expansion is incompatible with Canada meeting even our admittedly weak global climate commitment, yet the word is out that you are determined to approve an oil tanker project and Kinder Morgan is the favourite. Will you count that as a science-based decision?

What happened to your promise to overhaul the pipeline approval process? When are you going to step up and assume the climate action leadership role we saw in you? Most importantly, what will happen to our grandchildren if we fail to take the climate action so urgently needed right now?

Your father’s infamous middle finger salute to BC will be seen as nothing compared to your own hypocrisy if you, our climate savvy Prime Minister, – you, a grandson of Vancouver’s North Shore, – break faith with us who worked so hard, and with such good reason, to see you elected.

I beseech you, Prime Minister: do not approve Kinder Morgan Expansion!

Social licence not granted. British Columbia will not forget.

Watching You!

Regards

Roger Sweeny, Cdr RCN ret.