Monday, February 26, 2007

Oh, Suzuki.

Mel Knight, Energy Minister, announced that the government is prepared to help pay for a project into Canada's first wind forecasting study. The study will analyze varying wind patterns from the mountains to the prairies and substantially contribute to developing a made-in-Alberta solution for wind power that will work for the system operator, wind developers, the competitive power market and citizens of Alberta. Currently, there are 360 megawatts of power in Alberta's grid from wind generation, with a further 185 megawatts expected to enter the system by the end of 2007.

Knight said, "As a renewable energy source, wind power offers an environmentally friendly way to generate electricity for Alberta's homes and businesses."

Baby steps to environmental-friendliness are better than no steps at all. This is particularly interesting since on Friday, David Suzuki said in Calgary that if the premier "doesn't realize not doing anything about greenhouse gases is going to wreck the economy," he doesn't deserve to be a leader, according to a story in the Calgary Herald.

Even more interesting was Suzuki's response when questioned about it in Edmonton.
During a stop Saturday in Edmonton on his "if you were prime minister tour," Suzuki attempted to distance himself from his controversial remarks. "That was written by a headline writer, not me," Suzuki told about 800 people who packed a theatre at the University of Alberta. Suzuki said he was told by reporters that the premier, whose name he didn't know, was not going to do anything about the oilsands in order to slow economic growth. "I said: 'For the richest province in Canada to be saying we've got to bring onstream this very, very polluting oil development, well, you don't need that for your economic well-being.' It just doesn't show any economic vision or leadership as far as I'm concerned."

In my opinion, Suzuki is losing some credibility. I agree that being environmentally responsible will increase economic well-being in the long run, however, if Suzuki really wanted to make a difference and make change, he'd be up on the issues rather than simply making comments to what other people have told him. He's been known for years as an environmental expert and it's not like the oil sands has never been an issue (and it's increasingly an issue now). Maybe it would be good to look into the facts before traveling to Alberta to speak? It's poor preparation on his part.


Large David said...

While senile and personally obnoxious, I think it's a stretch to say that Dr. Suzuki is losing credibility on issues related to climate science. Certainly in a contest of environmental credibility between Suzuki and Ed Stelmach, it's a knockout before the bell even rings.

Throughout February, Stelmach has done nothing but talk about how he will not implement environmental reforms that could affect the economy. At the same time, he's asked for more federal money to "address emissions," which strikes me as a request that lacks credibility considering his stance on not slowing down the oilsands, and especially considering Alberta's relative prosperity and environmental impact.

Stelmach told a group of economists in Calgary this month that he thinks the climate change issue is as much about emotion as it is about science. This Tucker Carlson-esque statement doesn't seem puts the cart before the horse: People who have accepted the thoroughly credited science of climate change do get emotional about the thought of their planet being decimated. Tossing a million dollars at alternative energy studies is nice, but it's an aside from the main issue, and I don't think it can even really be seen as a "baby step" coming from a premier who considers environmentalism to be "a runaway train."

I told you I'd be fact checking the revolution, darling ;)

Elle Bee said...

Oh I agree that it's definitely no contest between Stelmach and Suzuki. In my humble opinion, Suzuki is losing credibility in and of himself. Had he done a little fact checking prior to his Alberta stop he could have been confident in the comments he was making and absolutely have blown everyone away.

Any step is a good step, in my opinion. Not necessarily the best steps that could be taken, but better than nothing.

Stelmach is not that great regarding the environment, it is one thing that bugs me about this government actually. There's a $7 billion surplus just sitting there... such a waste. It would be so much better invested in things such as environment.

Alberta wants to attract people to move here from across the world and be seen as a leader in its own right... what better way to do it than by proving to be even remotely environmentally responsible? If I were Prime Minister... I would invest money in the environment. Because the long run results would attract business, attract people and, in turn, better the economy.

Large David said...

I could think of a few more things that might bug you about this government if you have a few hours of your time to spare. ;)

But seriously, even though Suzuki is 71 and bad at political communication to begin with, I don't even see anything particularly erroneous about what he said. I don't think it's a mischaracterization to say that Stelmach's rhetoric has been very light on environmental substance and very heavy on warning the feds not to do anything he sees as hurting Alberta. To an extent, this is his job, but it's not what many would see as a.) understanding of the context of environmental issues or b.) a nuanced understanding of federalism.

Elle Bee said...

I think the fact that he was simply responding to a comment fed to him by reporters without knowing even the name of the Premier was not the greatest situation. However, reporters sell news and controversy, so a "Suzuki slams Stelmach" approach works better for them... which is undoubtedly why they brought it up in the first place.

I know you could think up plenty LD. You're always helpful like that. ;)