A letter writer argues climate change must be a part of the assessment for deciding whether or not a new coal terminal will go ahead at Fraser Surrey Docks.

A low-carbon future is possible

Port Metro Vancouver's mandate should include public consultation that considers the climate change implications of coal port expansion.

Metro Vancouver’s board of directors should be lauded for their recent decision to oppose a new coal port at Fraser Surrey Docks. While their concerns focused on the health impacts of coal dust, they effectively helped safeguard our climate.

Coal is the fossil fuel with the greatest global warming potential. Scientists tell us that to avoid the worst of climate disasters, 65 per cent of the world’s coal plants must shut down by 2020.

I am particularly worried about the future of my nine year-old daughter because climate change is here already and only getting worse.

November 2012 marked the 333rd consecutive month of above-average global temperatures. The six-per-cent rise in global food prices that occurred that year was not a coincidence. My daughter’s generation will have to live with the rising costs of food production, the rising frequency of extreme storms like Hurricane Sandy, the rise of sea levels, and the rise of social and economic unrest associated with those events.

Under current emission trends we are heading towards a greater than four-degree increase in temperature by 2100. And 30 per cent of all the extra carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is absorbed by the oceans, where the change in chemistry already threatens marine life and fisheries.

A shift towards a low-carbon economy is unlikely to even begin without a moratorium on new infrastructure for fossil fuels.

And that shift is entirely possible. Calculations by Stanford engineer Mark Jacobson show that barriers to large-scale use of renewable energies are “primarily social and political, not technological or economic.”

SFU economist Mark Jaccard has written that “when the BC government cancelled one natural gas plant and two coal plants, the resulting hydro, wind, and wood waste projects created twice as many jobs.”

These are only two of many examples telling us that new coal ports are the opposite of sustainability.

I have no doubt that my daughter’s generation will look back and applaud Metro Vancouver’s decision. Yet the ultimate power to prevent coal port expansions still rests with the port authority itself, Port Metro Vancouver.

The port consistently reminds the public that caring about climate change is not in their mandate. I could tell them that human health is not in the mandate of cigarette companies, or that preventing genocide is not in the mandate of arms traders.

Instead I will tell them that their mandate does not preclude legitimate public consultation that explicitly considers the climate change implications of coal port expansion.

Now, that would be something special for my daughter’s generation to look back on with appreciation.

Alejandro Frid

Bowen Island

Surrey North Delta Leader

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey RCMP look for missing man

Tyler Ridout, 36, last seen near Balsam Crescent and 136th Street

Police watchdog investigating death of man in Delta

Independent Investigations Office asking for witnesses to May 29 incident at Tsawwassen ferry terminal

Safe Surrey under fire for ‘sickening’ social media posts accusing RCMP of murder

Mayor Doug McCallum says tweet, Facebook post ‘sent out by unauthorized person’

B.C. government releases designs for new Pattullo Bridge

Project expected to cost $1.377 billion, completed by end of 2023

11 new COVID-19 cases in B.C. as top doc urges caution amid ‘encouraging’ low rates

Dr. Bonnie Henry also announced that two care home outbreaks would be declared over

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

We’re asking you to lock arms with us, as we look to better days ahead

Father’s Day Walk Run for prostate cancer will be virtual event this year throughout B.C.

The annual fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Foundation BC has brought in $2.5 million since 1999

Dr. Bonnie Henry announces official ban on overnight kids’ camps this summer

New ban comes after talking with other provincial health officials across the country, Henry says

Senior man in hospital after unprovoked wolf attack near Prince Rupert

Conservation officers are on site looking for the wolf

VIDEO: NASA astronauts blast off into space on SpaceX rocket

Marks NASA’s first human spaceflight launched from U.S. soil in nearly a decade

‘I knew what he wanted’: Kootenay man spends hours in tree as black bear patrols below

Francis Levasseur is no stranger to the outdoors, but a recent run-in with a bear caused quite a scare

B.C.’s police watchdog probing death of Richmond man in alleged shoplifting incident

Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is asking any witnesses to come forward

PHOTOS: U.S. cities brace for increasing unrest over police killing of George Floyd

Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz has fully mobilized the state’s National Guard

Most Read