340 meters per second

Trust only movement. Life happens at the level of events, not of words. Trust movement.

&mdash Alfred Adler (1870-1937)

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Will wonders never cease?

Usually, Gazette editorials are targets for carefully-crafted loogies, phlegmatic projectiles summoned forth by my contempt for the facile, pretentious blowhards who pen these thinly-veiled neo-con tracts. Usually. Today's one of those rare days when I actually find myself nodding as I read the editorial board's criticisms of Harper's incomprehensible plan to scrap EnerGuide:

Axing EnerGuide is short-sighted

The Gazette

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

No matter what kind of made-in-Canada solution the Harper government proposes to the problem of greenhouse gas emissions, it will inevitably involve cutting back on energy consumption.

The amount of the reduction, and the speed with which any target can be met, is what's under consideration, not the need to reduce consumption.

This makes the Conservatives' decision to cancel the EnerGuide program all the more puzzling. The program seems to fit perfectly with Conservative values: It calls on the private sector; encourages homeowners to take matters of energy conservation in hand themselves and provides public money only after private money has been spent and the work verified.

The savings from the program launched in 1998 are substantial. Homeowners received federal grants, on average worth $1,000, to retrofit their homes to make them more energy efficient.

In Saskatchewan, for instance, homeowners who participated in the program were able to cut back by a third on their energy consumption. Retrofit changes cost, on average, between $10,000 and $15,000.

Under the EnerGuide program, between October 2003 and March this year, about 52,000 homeowners received $75 million from Ottawa once they improved their energy efficiency rating.

Homeowners invested three and a half times as much in renovations to achieve the higher rating. The resulting savings, according to a published report, were roughly 28 per cent.

Residential energy consumption is far from negligible in Canada. According to the federal government's own figures, the residential sector's energy use increased by 13 per cent between 1990 and 2003. The resulting greenhouse gas emissions increased by 15 per cent, or 10.3 megatonnes.

But--and this is crucial--without energy efficiency improvements, residential energy use would have climbed by 32 per cent between 1990 and 2003.

Improvements to the thermal covering of Canadian homes, coupled with more efficient appliances and heating equipment, whether for air or water, led to a gain in residential energy efficiency.

This is a significant step forward. There is no reason to jeopardize these gains. Global warming will be contained when everyone puts their effort into it. Countries, large and small, developed and developing, and citizens at all economic levels must be involved in saving the planet we all share.

The beauty of a program like EnerGuide is that it not only helps stop energy waste, it also makes individual citizens aware of how they contribute to a global problem. That is how people learn to stop polluting the world beyond the point of no recovery.


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