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

South Surrey boy, 11, hopes to raise $3,000 for Sources – and be Prime Minister

White Rock Coldest Night of the Year event to take place Feb. 22

Recharged Sharks aim for playoffs after ‘well-earned’ break

Bayside rugby club mixes youth with returning veterans in quest for men’s Div. 1 title

Pedestrian fatality in Surrey

Police are investigating at 183 Street and Highway 10

Spring is looming – what are you most looking forward to?

Spring is looming – what are you most looking forward to?… Continue reading

VIDEO: Minister reports ‘modest progress’ after blockade talks with First Nation

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say Coastal GasLink does not have authority to go through their lands

B.C. man released from quarantined cruise ship in Japan

Because Spencer Fehrenbacher has American citzensip, he was evacuated by the U.S.

Henrique scores 2 as Ducks soar past Canucks 5-1

Vancouver tumbles out of top spot in Pacific Division

Trudeau cancels Caribbean trip amid pipeline protests across Canada

Protests against Coastal GasLink have disrupted rail service

B.C. VIEWS: Inaction on pipeline protests not a viable response

Columnist Frank Bucholtz on how the Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute got so bad

PHOTOS: Top 10 memories of the 2010 Olympics

Black Press Media’s Jenna Hauck, shares some of her most memorable images of 2010 Winter Games

#FoxForFiver: Support grows in B.C. to put Terry Fox on new $5 bill

Terry Fox’ Marathon of Hope raised money for cancer research

Registration opens soon for BC 55+ Games in Richmond

2020 55+ Games have been officially scheduled for Sept. 15 to 19

Trudeau confers with cabinet ministers as rail blockades continue

The Trudeau government has been criticized for not doing more to end the blockades

Most Read