LETTER: Fossil fuels going the way of the whaling industry?

Reader Paul Grace-Campbell: "Whalers were shocked to run out of customers before they ran out of whales."

In the 19th century, whale oil was the first “electricity” — illuminating homes and businesses. As technological innovations provided alternatives, and whale oil prices became volatile, the bottom dropped out of this once massive energy industry. Whalers were shocked to run out of customers before they ran out of whales.

Does the same fate await Big Oil? Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute wrote recently that “the unsubsidized wind and solar average price-per-kWh now beats (subsidized) fossil fuel plants by two to three times, closing many plants as simply uneconomical.” What if the biggest challenge to oil companies wasn’t the falling price of oil, but instead vanishing demand? A cautionary tale for oil-dependent economies, such as Canada’s?

Markets are on the right track, the big question is whether governments (Canada?) will join the party and do their part to accelerate the next big energy sector transformation.

As Mr. Lovins puts it, “Paris may mark the crucial shift of the climate conversation from cost, burden, and sacrifice to wealth creation, jobs, and competitive advantage. That recognition of market realities could so simplify and sweeten the politics that any remaining resistance can melt faster than the glaciers.”

In the Kootenays, where we watch glaciers vanish almost daily, one can only hope.

Paul Grace-Campbell

Kaslo

Just Posted

BC BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care

Fees reduced for licensed daycare operators

BC BUDGET: NDP cracks down on speculators, hidden ownership

Foreign buyers’ tax extended to Fraser Valley, Okanagan, Vancouver Island

BC BUDGET: Payroll tax replaces medical premiums

Health spending to increase $1.5 billion for drugs, primary care teams

B.C. freestyle skier wins gold

Cassie Sharpe of Comox shines in the halfpipe

Winlaw man dead after collision near Slocan Park

Nelson RCMP are asking for witnesses after Sunday incident

South Nelson sings ‘Wheat Kings’

Grade 4 and 5 students performed at Nelson city council

Castlegar Complex goes to referendum

Area-by-area voting will happen before summer

Reconciliation explored in play at LVR

Off-site presentation by the Capital Theatre

Let the playoffs begin! Nelson Leafs host Grand Forks in Game 1 on Friday

The Leafs finished the season with the third best record in the KIJHL

COLUMN: What’s up with the low grad rates?

SD8 numbers are far below the provincial average

SS Moyie gets $113,000 boost from CBT

Funds will help upgrade historic sternwheeler

Fundraiser for Kootenay Co-op Radio

BBQ and blues at Finley’s

Canucks blow three goal lead, lose to Avalanche in overtime

Vancouver struggled on the penalty kill, as Colorado scored all five goals on the powerplay

Widow of avalanche victim sues Golden lodge operator

A woman from Alberta is suing guides, their mountain guide association and the lodge operator for negligence

Most Read