Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Green Election

In Canada, only one party is called Green. However, the 2008 election could be the greenest on record and not just because the so-named party is actually running candidates in 305 of 308 ridings.
Every party has put forward a position on the environment. Some, like the Conservatives offer a few token gestures. The big, red Liberals have donned green tunics, tied their entire campaign hopes tightly to the anchor known as the "Green Shift" and recklessly tossed it into the deep election waters with a very short rope. Needless to say, their boat is tipping badly and not moving anywhere. Incredibly, nobody in Liberal leader Stephane Dion's party read the financial papers or even gas station signs prior to committing his political future and the party's fortunes to this huge gamble. Dion has shown that he is completely out of touch with the needs of the population and the world. Doesn't he realize that an enormous spike in oil and gas prices have frightened the green out of people? They've also done more to reduce emissions, or at least expediate the development of alternatives, than he or any tax policy could ever do.
Last year, everyone was basking in the warm glow of Al Gore and his empowering message of hope. This year, people wonder what their meals will look like when produce costs twice as much to be imported or harvested and their jobs have disappeared in the midst of a global recession.
As for the other two parties on the left, the Green party is benefitting from the remaining environmental sentiment as well as having no hope of forming a government. With nothing to lose, all promises and statements are on the table. The NDP is trying to balance the popularity of green initiatives with its need to maintain employment for its union-based supporters. Yes Mr.Layton, no industry means no jobs.
What we get is a whole lot of dancing around the subject. Nothing any party says will make a dent in the economy, our energy needs or the environment. If a party was serious about helping all three of these things, they would promise to mandate a certain percentage of cars sold in Canada must be electric or alternative fuel within 10 years, subsidize factories making electric cars and pump billions of dollars into nuclear power plants. This party unfortunately does not exist.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Summer Seige on Driving: When is Gasoline Renewable?

Summer was busy so I haven’t blogged. So here is a brief recap of my thoughts at the end of summer.

In the beginning of summer, I felt like my cul-de-sac-filled suburb was a war zone under occupation. The gas stations were outposts for the army of oil speculators - checkpoints that must be passed to prove one’s worthiness and loyalty. Approval, in the form of available credit is all that is required. Pay at the pump allows the worthy to pass the check-point without even seeing the poorly paid representative of our occupiers.

Finally, relief came towards the end of the summer in the form of merely stratospheric gas prices. Well, within a year of the $1+ gas signs being unveiled, we celebrated gas dropping below $1.25. It’s funny that the biggest surprise in the 13 cent jump in gas prices during Hurricane Ike was that it was unannounced; a sharp reminder that the oil companies are back in control while the speculators portfolios are dwindling.

Observations from the summer:

I saw a bumper sticker that said, “I’m driving as fast as I can afford.”

There is only one time when gasoline is renewable energy: when it is stored as kinetic energy in a coasting car. I don’t get people who speed up and then hit the brakes at the last minute when the light just turned red. I coast along side them and speed past as the light changes to green.

Most people have not changed their driving habits as far I can tell.