In the past five months, North Cowichan and the CVRD have been visited by representatives from local climate groups, some with ties to larger, global non-governmental agencies. These individuals were instrumental in urging all local governments to declare a ‘climate emergency’ in 2019, a dubious decree based on a hyperbolic letter devoid of solid scientific grounding – a resolution that, unfortunately, every local government succumbed to.
Since this orchestrated declaration, the councils and regional districts have been inundated with letters, links, and visits from the same groups, prominently featuring Climate Hub, Carbon Busters, and Transition Cowichan. Their persistent mission: to champion bylaws targeting the ban of natural gas.
The crescendo of this eco-crusade echoed during the debate in North Cowichan regarding the premature adoption of step codes three and four for new builds, a six-year leapfrogging maneuver ahead of the province that essentially functions as a de facto natural gas ban. (Refer to previous editions for an in-depth exploration of this debate.)
What ploys do these groups employ in their advocacy? Among their arsenal is a dubious study attempting to establish a link between natural gas stoves and childhood asthma. The study, severely criticized for its absence of a control group, resorted to a simplistic calculation based on the number of gas stoves in homes with asthmatic children in the U.S. Adding a layer of skepticism, this study was crafted by the Rocky Mountain Institute, financially backed by the “Energy Foundation China” – a patron that has generously poured $3.8 million into initiatives advocating coal and gas phase-out and the proliferation of electric vehicles, as per Fox News, who obtained their tax records.
Steve Milloy, a discerning figure from the Energy and Environmental Legal Institute and the mind behind JunkScience.com, expressed little astonishment at revelations that China is financing green energy initiatives. Considering China’s monopolization of global critical mineral supplies and its potential windfall from the surge in wind and solar, funding climate action groups and orchestrating dubious studies becomes a calculated play.
While global governments engage in strategic games for energy dominance, it is disheartening that the supposedly noble global non-governmental organizations fail to transmit superior information, sound science, and coherent arguments to their foot soldiers dispatched to sway government policies and decision-making processes. The lack of such expectations being met, unfortunately, remains par for the course.
By A. Richards