January 2017 - ICBA

BC Construction Monitor – Winter 2016/17

A balanced and realistic energy future

We get and use our energy in very different ways today than we did just a decade or two ago. But does that mean we’re on pace to make the changes we need to, or should we be trying instead to end fossil fuel use as completely and quickly as possible?

The federal government has clearly signaled that it foresees a long-term transition away from fossil fuels: One that will involve continued carbon-reduction, as well as new infrastructure to get responsibly produced conventional energy to world markets where the long-term demand outlook is strong.

Demand growth will be driven by an expanding global population, and a determination on the part of developing countries to improve their living standards. It’s true that renewables are poised to make up a much bigger part of the energy mix. But they’re starting from a low baseline and won’t be able to fully meet demand without more modest but still significant growth in conventional energy sources as well.

Even putting demand growth aside, a quick and complete transition to renewables is simply not viable. Their costs are coming down, and technical challenges such as the irregular availability of sources like wind are being tackled. But these remain big hurdles. Carbon-free energy sources can also have significant ecological footprints of their own. Continue reading “BC Construction Monitor – Winter 2016/17”