In regard to the Energy and Sustainability Framework, I expect Council to pass it. My only concern with it is that it doesn’t go far enough, or fast enough. Instead, it focuses on a political target of 2050, while ignoring the 1.5 degree scientific target by planning to exceed the carbon budget for that life-saving goal. It seems unethical at a deeply human level to plan to exceed a life-sustaining level on our planet.
In a province where the Premier describes the oil industry as “sustainable”, one can’t have high hopes for meaningful climate action from its capital city. I mean, we should have hopes, except that mine have been dashed one too many times to naively think that Saskatchewan’s primary power holders will permit Regina City Council to take useful steps toward decarbonizing its transportation and energy systems.
When City Council took a basic step to investigate banning fossil fuel ads from City owned properties, the Premier had a meltdown and launched a blistering attack that left one Councillor fired from their other job, and at least one other Councillor writing a yes-man letter that would put to shame the groveling of any sidekick to any Disney villain.
Regina could be #100Renewable in its energy use as promised half a decade ago by the last Council. However, their target for useful action remains 2050. There’s no enforcement beyond me and a few others trying to hold their feet to the fire. Well, the Premier has lost to the Supreme Court too, but didn’t face any personal loss, just a humiliating professional one. That’s absurd in the face of news about what’s happening right now at Earth’s poles. We need dramatic, concrete actions, not more political dickering about taxes, incentives, and gradual market solutions.
I couldn’t read this letter by Councillor Jason Mancinelli without double face-palming. If I think about it, I touch my face with a glum chin on hand slouch. It’s so depressing, even angering taken in the context of him being a City Councillor who voted to make Regina 100% Renewable by 2050.
“As someone who makes a living so directly tied to this sector, I absolutely recognize the benefit it extends our community as well as my own family. I acknowledge that fossil fuels will continue to have a role in our future, even as we look to adapt and investigate alternative fuel options in the years and decades ahead. But that’s not today. Oil and gas are necessary commodities to my livelihood and life, and I am grateful, not embarrassed of that.”
Does he see how he’s declaring a conflict of interest when it comes to making decisions about “alternative fuel options”? Better transportation technology is here, today, in Regina, and he’s made some of it illegal, while pledging fealty to the fossil fuel industry from which his day job derives its money. Have you read another letter on a government website by a politician so cowed by Big Oil?
UPDATE Jun 26:
Sent him this message:
Dear Councillor Mancinelli: In January you wrote, “As your councillor, it’s my responsibility to support our oil and gas sector and acknowledge the importance of this industry.”
It is absolutely not your responsibility to support oil and gas. Your day job as a mechanic may depend upon it to some extent, but you and the rest of Council put the city on a course to be 100% renewable by 2050. You’ve a responsibility to ensure the safety of your constituents, and furthering delay in the transition away from combusting fossil fuels, is working against that responsibility.
People working in the oil industry are doing a job like most people, but it’s no more special or noble than other work, and plenty of other jobs don’t produce a product that as a known result of its typical use has negative health and environmental consequences on a planetary scale.
You weren’t ready in January to accept that the time to move past oil and gas was here, but it’s June now, and time to get started.