Garry Brown’s Plan B letter Jan. 11 regarding alternatives for exporting tar sands oil to Asia through Tsawwassen instead of the extremely risky (both overland and offshore) Kitimat route is by far the most rational note we have seen, as regards conventional oil-resource thinking.
In a similar vein, in the same issue, Henry Irizawa proposes an alternative, and to me, more rational coal-exporting route, by ship, using Texada as a staging-base.
But both schemes are anchored in conventional thinking about energy use and trading.
We have all seen images this summer of record ice retreat on the Arctic Ocean.
The extra exposed open water will absorb more of the sun’s heat, causing even more rapid melt-back, and erosion of the thawing shores, and hence the release of ever-more methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
Even more frightening is the graph of loss of summer sea-ice volume, which is plummeting from values of 16,000 cubic kilometres in 1980 to near zero in 2015. (It was about 4,000 cubic km this summer.)
The fall is exponential — picture a baseball arcing down from the apex of its flight, against a headwind. (Those who argue selectively about climate change may quote the increase in Antarctic sea ice. The volume of new ice — caused by changes in wind patterns — is a small fraction of the loss of Arctic ice. Likewise, some parts of Antarctica are seeing an increase in snowfall — but the overall mass loss, measured by satellite technology, is much greater.)
Ice changes are of course only one of the effects of climate change. Humankind, and our fellow inhabitants on this planet are in serious trouble.
Thus, both writers concerned with the means of export of fuels miss the crucial point. We should not be exporting this stuff.
Furthermore, in the case of the oil-supply in particular, once this Asian supply is turned on, it will be near-impossible for either party to turn it off.
It is far past time for people, energy companies and governments to change their thinking.