- Paul Krugman writes that we're far closer to a major energy transformation than many people realize - but that public policy decisions in the next few years may make all the difference in determining whether it materializes:
According to a recent report by the investment firm Lazard, the cost of electricity generation using wind power fell 61 percent from 2009 to 2015, while the cost of solar power fell 82 percent. These numbers — which are in line with other estimates — show progress at rates we normally only expect to see for information technology. And they put the cost of renewable energy into a range where it’s competitive with fossil fuels.- Ian Welsh argues that the 2008 bank bailout - which effectively prioritized financial gambling over real economic development - is largely responsible for the lack of any real recovery afterward.
Now, there are still some issues special to renewables, in particular problems of intermittency: consumers may want power when the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine. But this issue seems to be of diminishing significance, partly thanks to improving storage technology, partly thanks to the realization that “demand response” — paying consumers to cut energy use during peak periods — can greatly reduce the problem....I’d argue that the kind of progress now within reach could produce a tipping point, in the right direction. Once renewable energy becomes an obvious success and, yes, a powerful interest group, anti-environmentalism will start to lose its political grip. And an energy revolution in America would let us take the lead in global action.Salvation from climate catastrophe is, in short, something we can realistically hope to see happen, with no political miracle necessary. But failure is also a very real possibility. Everything is hanging in the balance.
- Jim Stanford explains why Canada's auto sector in particular stands to suffer under the Trans-Pacific Partnership. And Shachi Kurl finds that Canadians in general are rightly concerned about what the TPP means for jobs.
- Finally, Laura Tribe comments that we shouldn't have to wait indefinitely to change the civil rights abuses pushed through in Bill C-51:
[Ralph] Goodale has said that reforms on C-51 won't likely be introduced until the fall at the earliest. Sadly, in the meantime, Canadians' rights are being violated everyday C-51 remains in place.
Oversight can't retroactively undo the damage that current legislation is doing. Each day, we're being subjected to excess surveillance. Our data is being shared without any checks and balances in place. There is no recourse for innocent Canadians.
C-51's overreaching powers are being normalized.
Many of the effects of this legislation won't be felt for years to come -- but in the meantime, we go on with our lives. Canadians remain on no-fly lists. Our private data is being collected. Information is being shared and compiled between government agencies. Rights are being violated. And all of this is happening without the oversight to ensure it's being done legally, effectively and safely.
It will take some time for public consultations, expert input, and analysis to determine the best policies and legislative solutions for Canada's security mechanisms. But we do know that right now, C-51 is quite simply incompatible with our Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Why do we have to spend the best part of yet another year subject to laws that even the Liberals, the party ruling with an overwhelming majority, thinks are problematic?