Dalton Mcgunity and the Ontario Liberal party have once again come under fire for their ailing Green Energy act. This time the issue isn’t provincial, rather it seems that the negative effects of Mcguinty’s energy policy have gone global.
Last week at the WTO conference Japan submitted an appeal criticizing the projectionist nature of Ontario’s energy policy. They claimed that the nature of the act drives up the cost of renewable energy and ultimately slows its adoption.
The WTO responded to the complaint Thursday of last week in a statement issued in front of government officials and energy executives. They sided with Japan stating that, “We all would agree barriers to trade in these areas do penalize the planet”. The World Energy Council joined the pack arguing that “preferential” policies like those of Ontario’s result in higher energy costs and hinder the commercialization of renewable energy and other clean technologies. The Mcguinty policies under fire are the Green Energy Act’s controversial subsidy plan that pays premium prices for renewable energy projects that take place in Ontario.
The Irony is in the name – the green energy act was promoted as a means to creating a sustainable Ontario whilst creating jobs and making Ontario a pioneer of advanced renewable technologies. However, it seems Mcguinty’s drive to be a pioneer has led him to forget one of the most alarming elements of climate change – it is a global issue. The advancement of green technologies should be viewed as a global effort, not as an economic or identity building opportunity that works to impede technological progress rather than advance it. Regardless of ones views on the negative effects of free trade, it is undeniable that it speeds development and drives down prices (keep in mind I do not mean State development). I agree the applicability of free trade deserves caution in some areas – but not here. When it comes to developing and adopting renewable energy, speed and cost should come before economic opportunity. To be competitive in renewable technologies you will simply have to find a way to make yourself competitive – don’t slow the progress to get try and get ahead.
What makes this issue all the more frustrating is that Mcguinty already has all the power to be a green energy pioneer. Ontario has a well established nuclear power infrastructure that, despite popular belief, is safe, clean and efficient. The advancement of renewable technologies is obviously important, but the technological state of wind, solar, and biomass retain them as purely supplemental energy sources. Nuclear should be considered the ultimate clean segue into the renewable era – which unfortunately appears to be years away. Mcguinty’s Green Energy Act largely ignores Nuclear energy as part of the solution to climate change, making the act seem more about looking Green than being green. Nuclear is a wrongly stigmatized and publicly misunderstood technology. If Mcguinty really wants to be a pioneer he should lead a global de-stigmatization of Nuclear. Revealing to the world that the means to generating environmentally sustainable energy production is already here? How hip would you look then Dalton?