Dear Canada: you are part of the problem
George Monbiot is a columnist on my favourite newspaper (The Guardian). This is the introduction to the Canadian edition of his new book “Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning“. There is also an interview which reveals that Jack Layton is reading this book.
He praises our R2000 standard. I wonder if he realises how few houses built in Canada actually meet this standard?
In 2004 alone, there were 233,431 housing starts across Canada (Statistics Canada, 2005). This translates into more than 200,000 missed opportunities to build more sustainable, more energy- efficient homes.
It’s not just a “model for the rest of the world to adopt” it’s one that we need to adopt!
But give George some credit. This book is actually a practical guide to things that can and should be done to save the planet – so it’s not just the usual doom and gloom. However, whether or not anything will be done is another question.
In my experience, probably not. I was part of the team that wrote BC’s first greenhouse gas action plan. Or “53 things the province could do to reduce its emissions and still come out ahead financially”. Yes, that’s right, every recommendation made economic and financial sense – we were, after all economists. And even at the energy prices of that time (1995) we only recommended things that would pay for themselves within a year or so. Shortly afterwards (1997), the Energy Management Branch was wound up, as part of Glen Clark’s reduction in the size of the civil service. And yes I did lose my job. Despite what the press said at the time about people being absorbed into existing vacancies, so did quite a few of my colleagues.
And nothing was done.
UPDATE November 24, 2006