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Subject to Interpretation: The Environment Minister’s Earth Day Statement

April 23, 2014

Neil Salmond picked up on this: Environment Minister Mary Polak’s Earth Day Statement – with, he says, the sneaky rhetoric (in bold).

Earth Day is a time to not only reflect on and appreciate British Columbia’s natural splendour, but to also consider the role we want our province to take in the global climate challenge.

British Columbia has a deserved reputation as a climate action leader. Our revenue-neutral carbon tax and our status as a carbon-neutral government are just two of our well-documented climate achievements. In terms of government action, those accomplishments were ground breaking and have since been emulated by other jurisdictions.

But, though only less than a decade old, they were also conceived in a different time – in a time before the worst economic recession in generations touched the entire world, and in a time before we could imagine how clean natural gas could revolutionize the global fight against climate change.

Is this “buttering up readers for the end of the carbon tax”?

Neil is not alone:

It was renewables lawyer Warren Brazier that spotted it first – here. And UBC’s George Hoberg – here – and Edmonton Energy Economist Andrew Leach – here – agreed.


The optimist’s counterpoint points to the Pacific Coast Collaborative at the end of last year – here – and this trumpeting in March – here.


One thing for sure, it’s another example of doublespeak: We will address climate change by burning more fossil fuels.

Our proven track record of climate leadership and our unwavering commitment to sustainable economic growth will also guide the development of B.C.’s liquefied natural gas industry. Climate change is a global issue. By exporting our abundant natural gas, B.C. will supply growing markets with the cleanest burning fossil fuel from the world’s cleanest LNG plants.

It’s certainly an example of how “sustainable” becomes a totally co-opted word when used next to “economic growth.”

4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 23, 2014 4:39 pm

    The Environment Minister’s Earth Day statement should be the easiest most unremarkable statement in the world, if a statement is even needed. “Green is good, birdies is good, yadda yadda.”

    Instead it gets begrimed with this doublespeak.

  2. David permalink
    April 23, 2014 4:52 pm


    Our revenue negative carbon tax that exempts the fossil fuel extraction industry

    …and in a time before we could imagine how much money our campaign supporters could make exporting a fuel that’s only a little less damaging to the environment than the one they’re currently using.

  3. April 23, 2014 5:09 pm

    8B+ people impact the environment. Get used to it.

    The climate is always changing, always has, always will be. Get used to that too.

    Burning LNG is better than burning coal or heading back to the caves with firewood x 8B people !!

    BC has ZERO alternatives to LNG exploitation ! BC’s major advantage is its location on the Pacific Coast where all pipelines, railways or roads end. As such EXPORT, FAR MORE EXPORT, is the name of the game for BC !!

    BC government needs revenue, far more revenue ! Where is this coming from if there is no exports and no LNG or coal or oil exports ? from the film industry ? From software companies ? From biotech firms ? The volume of tax revenue is just not there !

    In time, we will have e-boats and e-trains and e-trucks, but those pesky electric batteries are also pretty dirty !!

    People require energy. The economy requires energy. Let’s use LNG (or oil or coal if we must) until that is so expensive that other alternatives are cheaper than those prices, be it hydro or nucleo or solar plants or windfarms or waves.

    THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE TODAY TO LNG (or oil) at reasonable costs.

    Cars with combustion engines will be here for another 100 years as they have such high energy density .. about 20-50 times that of an electric battery per kg of weight

    I love the Left Coast. Let’s all live off “the environment” for our pensions, social services, police forces, health care services .. hurrah !

    I wish the minister had said THAT !

  4. Thomas permalink
    April 23, 2014 9:29 pm

    Sustainability in construction is essentially codeword for “smaller units”

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