We must resist short-term focus and pressure to borrow more debt and waste more cash developing antiquated energy sources, and instead double down on developing longer-term prosperity and health with our vast sustainable resources. See Forget Trans Mountain, here’s the sustainable way forward for Canada’s energy sector:

As of 2015, two-thirds of Canada’s power generation was from renewable sources, mainly hydro power. The share of renewables in Canada’s power generation is already among the highest in the world, exceeded only by Norway, New Zealand, Brazil, and Austria, and roughly the same as Denmark. Yet far more is possible.

Canada has so much untapped zero-carbon energy that it can be a major exporter to the United States. And, as a bonus, Canada can provide energy storage services to the United States by deploying the hydroelectric reservoirs as giant storage “batteries” for an interconnected Canada-U.S. power grid…

Herein lies the real future for both Canada and the United States in energy competitiveness. Rather than building pipelines that will soon be shut, Canadians and Americans should be building a smart grid to carry renewable energy between the two countries. Canada’s renewable energy is vast right across the country. Alberta, fortunately, has vast wind and hydroelectric power potential to enable the province to continue to be a major exporter of energy, only this time with zero-carbon energy that is sustainable for the long haul.

With Donald Trump trying to break the Paris climate agreement and championing fossil-fuel development, it may seem convenient to Canada’s politicians to go along with the U.S. President’s fossil-fuel recklessness. Yet Mr. Trump will be gone and human-induced climate change will remain. Canada is clever enough to look beyond Mr. Trump to its true long-term interests and those of the world.

Even those who do not worry about climate change should care about our degrading air quality from burning fossil fuels, a leading cause of illness and death across the world.

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