Messsage from our Board Treasurer-
Diana Sollner

Dear Members and Donors,

June 5 was World Environment Day.  This year Sweden  hosted events with the theme #OnlyOneEarth.  This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the first United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, held in Stockholm.  It was at this conference that sustainable development was first put on the global agenda and led to the establishment of World Environment Day.  In honour of this anniversary, I thought it would be interesting to look at our energy picture, then and now.

Sweden is widely recognized as a leader in greening its economy.  It has legislated its goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2045 and has one of the lower carbon content energy systems in the world.  As a northern country with a similar GDP per capita, Sweden also makes for an interesting comparison to Canada, keeping in mind Sweden has 1/19 the land area of Canada and therefore does not need as much energy for transporting people and goods across its country. 

The energy mix for Sweden and Canada over time is shown in the graphic below.

Sweden and Canada started out in 1970 with a similar split between carbon and non-carbon energy sources.  However, by 2020 Sweden essentially reversed the carbon/non-carbon energy source split whereas Canada reduced its reliance on carbon based energy, but is still reliant on it.  Looking at the energy sources over time, one can see the source of this difference – the choice of nuclear power or natural gas to replace oil and coal.  Sweden chose to use nuclear power whereas Canada chose natural gas.  The other notable difference between Sweden and Canada’s energy mix in 2020 is the higher contribution of wind energy in Sweden.

So how does BC compare nationally and to Sweden in 2020?

Surprisingly, a bit worse than Canada overall.  Approximately one third of our energy consumption is oil, which is mostly for transportation.  Electricity in BC (95% of which is produced from renewable sources) is only about 16% of the total energy consumed in BC.  Another interesting feature of BC’s energy supply is biofuels (shown in the graphic above as other renewables).  Much of the wood waste from the forest industry is combusted to produce energy and is on par with electricity production in this province.

Let’s celebrate the progress we have achieved over the past 50 years while noting the work we still need to do.  At BCSEA, we are advocating for the expanded use of electric vehicles and the infrastructure to support that use to make BC a greener place.  On behalf of the Board, thank you to our members, donors and supporters for helping us to achieve a more sustainable future.