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

NDP bring Green New Deal to the Kootenays

MPs Wayne Stetski and Peter Julian held climate change talks in Nelson, Cranbrook and Revelstoke

Activist, author Libby Davies coming to Nelson

Davies will talk about the intersection of activism and politics in pursuit of social change

LETTER: An alternate view of colonialism

From reader Charles Jeanes

COLUMN: Teens take to the water with Columbia River Field School

From Nelson Star columnist Eileen Delehanty Pearkes

LETTER: NDP and Greens should team up

From reader Diana van Eyk

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

BC SPCA overwhelmed with cats, kittens needing homes

Large number of cruelty investigations, plus normal ‘kitten season’ to blame

B.C. Hydro applies for rare cut in electricity rates next year

Province wrote off $1.1 billion debt to help reverse rate increase

Speculation tax forces sale of Greater Victoria’s iconic ‘Tulip House’

Bob and Jan Fleming selling their retirement home famous for its thousands of tulips

New police force in Surrey must avoid VPD, RCMP errors made in Pickton case: Oppal

Boots are scheduled to be on the ground by spring 2021

Man at centre of dropped HIV-disclosure case sues province and 10 cops

Brian Carlisle of Abbotsford says Mission RCMP defamed him and were ‘negligent’ in their investigation

Conan turns to the Property Brothers for tips on buying Greenland

Jonathan Scott suggests removing glaciers and mountains to bring in ‘more natural light’

Forests minister visits B.C. town rocked by multiple mill shutdowns

A third of Mackenzie turns out for rally, not much to cheer about

Most Read