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Letter to the Editor – Globe and Mail July 16, 2018

Re Political Rhetoric Clouds How Carbon Pricing Could Work (Report on Business, July 11)

Konrad Yakabuski’s conclusion that carbon pricing alone is unlikely to be sufficient to prompt a viable low-carbon transition in the economy comes as no surprise to those who follow climate change policy. It has long been recognized that carbon pricing is but one of the range of tools – regulatory, economic, and informational – that will need to be employed if we are to avoid what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has termed “dangerous” climate change.

In technological terms, the major barriers to the deployment of the key transitional technologies – low-impact renewable energy sources, energy storage, energy efficiency, and the smart electricity grids needed to manage and integrate these resources – are no longer the economic or technological barrriers they once were.

Rather, the central obstacles are regulatory and institutional structures, which remain oriented around conventional, unsustainable technologies, of which the nuclear options which Mr. Yakabuski so favours are prime examples.

The costs, security and weapons proliferation risks, and legacy of wastes that will last over hundreds of thousands of years of nuclear energy, rule it out as a significant component of a sustainable low-carbon transition strategy.

Mark S. Winfield, Co-Chair, Sustainable Energy Initiative, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University