Climate change ‘frightening,’ says Comox Valley Green candidate

Chris Aikman is the Green Party of B.C. candidate for the Comox Valley in the May 14 provincial election.

Chris Aikman is the Green Party of B.C. candidate for the Comox Valley in the May 14 provincial election.

Aikman spent most of his working years on Little Saanich Mountain outside Victoria as an astrophysicist with the National Research Council of Canada. He enjoyed giving observatory tours for school classes, probing the secrets of stellar chemistry and tracking wayward asteroids careening by earth.

While the risk of civilization being wiped out by an asteroid has diminished, the threat of climate change “is a big one today.

“The evidence that humans are driving it and that it’s happening is frightening,” said Aikman, a Green candidate in the 2005 provincial election. “This far in we have no real plan to migrate us off fossil fuels. It’s not a technical problem, it’s not an economic problem because countries that are doing it are prospering for the most part. It’s a political will, and unfortunately that’s lacking here.”

While carbon tax is a “small step in that direction,” Aikman feels we need to plan a migration towards sustainable energy.

“That’s not hard to do these days,” he said, noting the cost of electrical generation is cheaper than wind and gas fire generation, for example.

He said the big question in this province is B.C. Hydro’s Integrated Resource Plan, which indicates 23 per cent of sustainable energy would be the maximum amount the corporation could handle.

“We really need to plan beyond that boundary,” Aikman said. “But nobody’s advocating that. The opportunity is right there for us to seize. There’s great possibilities for our energy future. If any place on earth can do it, B.C. can.”

As for the proposed Raven coal mine in Baynes Sound, he feels government is systematically ignoring public input from the public and municipalities.

“The process is flawed very deeply from the outset because it doesn’t recognize environmental effects more than five kilometres from Fanny Bay,” Aikman said. “The

Green Party is certainly not against mining but coal mining is a whole different dimension because it involves energy and a lot of other questions.”

He says the Liberal’s and NDP’s “fantasy” that liquified natural gas exports will generate billions will not happen.

“It may play a role, but it’s certainly not going to be the backbone of our economy. In the long term it can never compete will a local source of natural gas. It would be very foolish to bet the house on that particular project, which is what both the NDP and Liberals are doing, basically.”

Since his first retirement, Aikman has worked for the provincial Ministry of Health, seniors’ housing and as a technical writer. He has served on boards of the Canadian Astronomical Society and several Abbeyfield Housing societies.

He and his wife Hennie divide their time between Hornby Island and Comox.

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