Thursday, 11 October 2007

A Letter the Premier of Alberta

Today Gord and I sent the following letter to Ed Stelmach, the Premier of Alberta. We are both in favor of increasing the royalties that the oil companies have to pay to Alberta for the extraction of fossil fuels. Not surprisingly, the oil companies have really been putting the pressure on the government to keep the royalty structure the same, so we thought we'd do the Canadian thing and write a letter. If there are any other Albertans out there reading this, please consider writing a letter yourself.

Thanks to Kyle at Green With A Gun in Australia for permitting me to use his summary of the slow absorption/fast emission problem for inclusion in the letter.

Dear Premier Stelmach;

We are writing to you today as two very concerned Alberta citizens. We have a number of concerns, including the prospect of a nuclear power plant being forced on the citizens of Alberta, as well as the rampant progress of industry, and the destruction of rich farmland, wetlands and natural green spaces in the service of urban sprawl. Every day our water becomes more scarce and polluted, our air more foul, and our climate more erratic, all in the name of providing increased profits to industry.

We are writing to you today to remind you that the purpose of a government is to safeguard the interests of the public by protecting public commons: our air, water, land, and all of our natural resources. These things belong to all Albertans, not just to industry. A government is commissioned to be the steward of these resources, on behalf of the people.

We take our own personal stewardship of the planet very seriously, and as such have undertaken the challenge to reduce our household’s energy and commodity consumption, and our resultant greenhouse gas emissions by 90% of that of the average North American household. This is the level of reduction that George Monbiot, in his book “Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning” recommends as a measure everyone will have to undertake if we are going to minimize the now inevitable effects of global warming. We have not yet achieved this goal, but we are working towards it daily.

As persons committed to doing our part, we ask you to do yours: Ensure that industry pays its fair share of royalties to the people of Alberta for the privilege of making a profit from the “trust fund” that is in the ground and belongs to all of us. Fossil fuels were created over hundreds of millions of years. Humanity has been using them up in just a few hundred years. That is, we are burning them one million times faster than they were created. Concomitantly, we are putting carbon into the atmosphere a million times faster than it went into the ground.

If the oil industry has to slow down its extraction of this resource because it is only permitted to make a decent profit instead of an obscene one, this can only be a positive result for Albertans and for the well-being of this one planet we all share.

Thank you for weighing our concerns, ones shared by many Albertans young and old, in your decision-making process.

Picture courtesy this Flickr site

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