10 October 2011 - Feds accused of creating a climate change plan ‘designed to fail’Edit
By CHRIS PLECASH, The Hill Times
The latest reports from the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy and the Environment Commissioner highlight fiscal and environmental mismanagement by the federal government, say opposition environment critics.
The NRTEE’s study was followed last week by the latest audit from Environment Commissioner Scott Vaughan, which reported that two decades of a “start-and-stop pattern of federal program planning” to combat global warming have sent mixed signals to industry, government and the public.
NDP Environment Critic Megan Leslie (Halifax, N.S.) accused the government of creating a climate change plan that is “designed to fail.” (more...)
27 July 2011 - Putting a Price on Carbon Edit
Kathryn Harrison, The Mark
Federal, provincial, and territorial energy ministers concluded their annual meeting last week by proclaiming a shared vision of Canada as a “global leader in secure and sustainable energy.” Energy conservation, the “transition to a lower-carbon economy,” and technological innovation are among the objectives for future intergovernmental collaboration.
That’s the good news. Worrisome and just as important, though, is what was not said. In particular, there was no acknowledgement of the profound tension between the development of Canada’s fossil-fuel resources – especially its tar sands – and its renewable-energy sources. If Canada is to obtain a “clean energy future,” it needs to adopt a harmonized carbon tax.(more...)
19 July 2011 - The Face of Climate Corruption in Canada Edit
by Graham Saul, The Mark
Energy ministers from across Canada have just returned from an all-expenses-paid tour of the tar sands, given to them by the oil companies themselves. Now, they are sitting down to debate the future of energy policy in Canada at a meeting in Kananaskis, Alberta. This is the face of climate corruption in Canada.
Canada is at a crossroads, and it appears that our leadership has been seriously compromised. While much of the world is investing heavily in the clean, safe, and reliable energy of our future, the Canadian government, along with some provincial support, is insisting that Canada watch from the sidelines while we cling desperately to a resource that is responsible for creating the greatest challenge of our time. I am, of course, talking about fossil fuels and global climate change (more...).
30 May 2011 - Global warming to turn ice roads to inaccessible slush, says studyEdit
By Margaret Munro, Postmedia News
Arctic transportation is about to change dramatically. While Canada's fabled Northwest Passage is not likely open up to shipping anytime soon, according to a recent study, it predicts global warming will make huge swaths of Canada's landscape inaccessible by road by mid-century.
The implications could be "profoundly negative" for remote communities and mining, energy and timber operations that now depend on winter ice roads, says the study by researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, that was published Sunday in the journal Nature Climate Change.
The Tibbitt-Contwoyto "diamond road" in the Northwest Territories, said to be the world's most lucrative ice road, is projected to lose about 17% of its 8-10 week operating season by 2020. And 400,000 square kilometres of Canada - most of it in the southern Northwest Territories and the northern Prairie provinces -is predicted to become inaccessible by road by mid-century because of milder winters and deeper snow will prevent the ground from freezing solid. (more...)
29 May 2011 - Tories left oilsands data out of UN reportEdit
By MIKE DE SOUZA, Postmedia News
The federal government has acknowledged it deliberately excluded data indicating a 20% increase in annual pollution from Canada’s oilsands industry in 2009 from a recent 567-page report on climate change that it was required to submit to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
The report, prepared by Environment Canada, was a national inventory on Canada’s greenhouse gas pollution. It revealed a 6% drop in annual emissions for the entire economy from 2008 to 2009, but it did not directly show the extent of pollution from the oilsands production, as it had done in the previous year, and which was greater than the greenhouse gas emissions of all the cars driven on Canadian roads. (more...)
1 May 2011 - Canada faces fight over oil sandsEdit
by Jonah Engle, BBC News Online
Investment in Canada's oil sands is picking up after falling during the depths of the global economic recession. However, mounting environmental concerns threaten exports and Canada's next government will have a growing fight on its hands to promote the industry.
A few weeks ago, the Canadian government was forced to deny it was threatening the European Union with a trade dispute after a strongly worded letter by its trade representative to the EU was leaked. The letter said the EU's plan to rate oil sands fuel as having a bigger carbon footprint than other sources, raised the prospect of "unjustified discrimination".
Meanwhile Canada's plan to expand its oil exports to the United States has been encountering growing resistance from politicians south of the border. (more...)
18 April 2011 - Acute danger of resource wars says Canadian militaryEdit
By Mike De Souza, Postmedia News
The planet is running out of oil and heading toward a future that could trap Canada in a violent spiral of decline in the economy and the environment, a special research unit within the Canadian military is predicting. "It all depends on what kind of steps are taken today that could lead to various futures," Peter Gizewski, a strategic analyst on the team, told Postmedia News.
The team has noted that the world is now consuming oil faster than it's being discovered. "Globally, we find more (oil) all the time, but we haven't actually found as much as we've used in a given year since 1985," said Maj. John Sheahan, another member of the team.(more...)
7 December 2010 - Canada couldn't handle big oil spill: watchdogEdit
By David Ljunggren, Reuters
Canada's government is not ready to handle a major oil spill from a tanker, in part because its emergency response plan is out of date, Parliament's environmental watchdog said in a damning report on Tuesday. "I am troubled that the government is not ready to respond to a major spill," Vaughan said in the report. "We note several areas of concern ... these must be addressed."
Vaughan, noting that his office had complained for decades about the record of various governments, criticized Ottawa for "common and long-standing weaknesses" in the way it managed green issues.(more...)
28 November 2010 - Canada won't follow new U.S. plan to slash industrial greenhouse gases: BairdEdit
By Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press
The Harper government has no plans to follow a U.S. initiative to slash the greenhouse gas emissions of big polluters — even though Ottawa has pledged to harmonize its climate policies with the Americans.
Canadian climate experts say this country could contain the pollution growth from its own industries, notably the oilsands, by introducing similar standards north of the border. But Environment Minister John Baird downplayed the plans from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [which are set to go into effect Jan. 2nd] as "patchwork." (more...)
Just last summer then Environment Minister Jim Prentice said clearly that "alignment is a core element in Canada's environmental policy-specifically as it relates to our relationship with the United States. And rather than an abstract expression of goodwill and warm intentions, it's an overwhelmingly practical, hard-edged consideration. Aligning the approach of Canada and the United States to climate change and its multiple challenges is the most effective and realistic way for us to make the progress to which we have firmly committed.(more...)"
22 September 2010 - Obama’s fiscal stimulus no substitute for cheap oilEdit
by Jeff Rubin, the Globe and Mail
...What’s being overlooked [by the Obama administration] is that last cycle’s rate of growth was fueled for the most part with cheap oil — oil was below $30 a barrel for the first half of the period. Even today’s oil prices weren’t encountered until the last year of growth. That’s not incidental to the performance of the U.S. economy, which relies on imports for over half of its 19-million-barrel-a-day requirement.
Feed the U.S. economy cheap oil, and you’ll see robust growth rates and a drop in the jobless rate to four-decade lows—no matter who’s in the White House. But throw in $147-per-barrel oil, and the U.S. economy stops dead in its tracks...
Trying to substitute fiscal stimulus for cheap oil won’t make the American economy grow any faster. It will just make an already record-sized deficit that much bigger.(more...)
12 September 2010 - An abundance of oilEdit
by Chris Sorensen, Macleans
Fears over dwindling supplies of energy, ‘peak oil’ and future spikes in fuel prices may be overblown.
People are basing their view on the price of oil on expectations of demand. That’s why prices, now around US$75 a barrel, are once again on the rise in anticipation of a global economic recovery, even though oil supplies are at their highest level in more than a generation, with some 50 million more barrels of crude on hand than two years ago — the result of oil companies rushing to increase production during the last boom.
The current abundance of crude also suggests concerns about “peak oil”—the idea that global production is about to hit its zenith, sending prices skyrocketing and causing economies to crash—could be overblown. Part of the problem is that the “peak” itself is a moving target. As existing supplies dwindle, prices go up and oil companies are coaxed into spending more money on new exploration and new technologies to recover oil that was otherwise believed to be uneconomical. (more...)
15 April 2010 - Bill C311 inches forward in Canadian ParliamentEdit
Bill C311, the Climate Change Accountability Act, passed another hurdle in Canada’s Parliament yesterday, with the support of the NDP, Liberals, and Bloc Québécois. The Act will face another vote in the House of Commons in mid-May and the three opposition parties have all said they will vote for it. Among other things, the Act will set a national greenhouse gas target for Canada based on the science; require the government to publish a plan and implement regulations to meet that target; and mandate transparency and accountability measures to make sure that the government is on track to cut greenhouse gas pollution.
Not only that, but the Liberal Party also decided to introduce its own strong motion, calling on the government to implement a number of measures to step up its efforts in the fight against climate change. This motion calls on the government of Canada to implement a domestic legally binding long-term emissions-reduction target; implement a national climate change plan with economy-wide regulations; put strategic investments into renewable and clean technology; reverse its decision to cancel the ecoENERGY program that supported Canadians in making their homes more energy efficient; and convene a First Ministers’ Meeting within 90 days of the motion’s passage to start moving Canada forward on a plan. This motion also passed with support from the three opposition parties.
8 April 2010 - Ontario's landmark investment in wind energy will create new jobs and attract additional investment to the province Edit
by the CANADIAN WIND ENERGY ASSOCIATION
The Canadian Wind Energy Association (CanWEA) applauds the Ontario government for recognizing the significant contribution wind energy can make to Ontario's green energy supply as well as its economy and job base. With 48 new wind energy projects awarded today - representing more than 1,500 MW of new generating capacity - this represents one of the largest single investments in wind energy in Canada's history.
"This is a very significant step for the government of Ontario and the Ontario Power Authority in realizing the huge potential for wind energy under Ontario's Green Energy Act," said CanWEA president Robert Hornung. "Ontario has established itself as a clear leader in North America in moving towards a Green Economy. Going forward, the long-term success of the GEA will ultimately depend on a continued commitment to open and fair access to the Feed in Tariff, as well as accelerated investment in new transmission infrastructure." (more...)
21 January 2010 - Ontario's green deal raises ire of energy developersEdit
by Karen Howlett, the Globe and Mail
The Government of Ontario signed a $7-billion deal yesterday with a consortium led by South Korean industrial giant Samsung Group that will cost every electricity customer in the province an extra $1.60 a year on their bill for 25 years.
The centrepiece of the project is an investment in enough wind and solar electricity to light up more than 580,000 homes in the province...But the Samsung deal could make it difficult for other companies to enter the market, because the province has limited capacity to transmit electricity to consumers' homes. Transmission power will be held in reserve to support Samsung's projects. (more...)
7 October 2009 - Real ways to save the world. A special report on sustainabilityEdit
You can’t argue with the logic of sustainability. It makes perfect sense—if we want humanity to last, we need to start saving the planet now.
So why has progress been so slow? Why are people still driving SUVs instead of hybrids? Why aren’t homeowners lining up to install solar panels on their rooftops? Why don’t they ?
The truth is, when we implore people to adopt sustainable practices, what we’re really suggesting is that they voluntarily lower their standard of living now for the sake of future generations they will likely never know. It’s a lot to ask.
If we want consumer behaviour to change quickly, we need to offer some short-term rewards, and consequences. In this special report, Macleans magazine examines ways to do that. For starters, we should stop government subsidies that actively encourage people to waste resources. If something is cheap, we waste it—so why do governments insist on policies that keep prices low for water, electricity and food? (more...)
26 September 2009 - Canada, the LaggardEdit
Editorial, The Ottawa Citizen
This country risks becoming an international pariah with an obsolete economy.
Reducing emissions is difficult, but not impossible. Other industrialized countries have managed to maintain or reduce their emissions levels, while Canada's have steadily risen despite our Kyoto commitments.
In a meeting this week with the Citizen's editorial board, former Indian environment minister Suresh P. Prabhu expressed polite dismay at Canada's performance. How is it possible, he asked, that a wealthy country, a technologically advanced country, has so spectacularly failed to innovate? Yes, Canada's vast distances and cold climate make transportation and heating a challenge. But our natural resources, and even our sheer size, make energy diversity possible. We've got plenty of room for geothermal, biomass, wind, solar, low-impact hydro, nuclear -- you name it, Canada can do it. Canada just chooses not to. (more...)
25 September 2009 - Proponents see red over green planEdit
by Lee Greenberg, The Ottawa Citizen
The tricky business of going green in Ontario just got more complex on Thursday as the McGuinty government introduced a mandatory 'Buy Ontario' component for new solar and wind projects. The changes were part of a bundle of key policies designed to spark home-grown green manufacturing, as well as the wide deployment of its products -- everything from small, rooftop solar panels to industrial-sized wind farms.
But in trying to strike a balance between competing interests, the Liberals appear to have rattled all sides in the debate. "The back and forth here is remarkable," said York University professor Mark Winfield, who teaches environmental studies. "It's almost erratic." (more...)
Some quick facts on Ontario's Green Energy Act :
- The Green Energy and Green Economy Act was introduced into the Ontario Legislature on Feb. 23, 2009.
- Over 50,000 jobs in the next three years are expected to result from implementation of the Green Energy Act.
- Canada’s two largest wind farms are located in Ontario and by the end of 2009, nearly 1,200 megawatts of wind capacity will be on-line, enough to power almost 325,000 homes.
- Investments in new renewable energy projects already in place or under construction in Ontario total about $4 billion.
- The Green Energy Act is designed to build on the government’s earlier initiatives on the province’s power supply, including a plan to eliminate coal-fired power by 2014, the single largest climate change initiative in Canada.
For more information Ontario's Green Energy Act
25 July 2009 - Apocalypse Soon Edit
By Mike Blanchfield, Canwest News Service
Flooding. Drought. Wildfires. Mass migrations of desperate people. Mike Blanchfield explains why security experts fear climate change will lead to war on a scale we have yet to see on this planet ... Climate change has been linked to predictions of massive flooding, droughts, population explosions and massive migrations of uprooted and desperate people facing life-threatening food and water shortages."Climate security" is a phrase that is now being heard well beyond the war rooms of the West.The trepidation is that these threats will fuel a drive for war on a scale we have yet to see on this planet, bringing tension to stable parts of the world, making the tense places worse...
Here in Canada, the connection between climate change and global instability is not discussed publicly. No one seems to know why. (more...)
3 July 2009 - The time to deal with climate change is nowEdit
By Ed Miliband, special to The Ottawa Citizen
A make-or-break moment for our planet is now only six months away. In Copenhagen this December, the world will try to find a deal on climate change -- and we have to succeed. Whether we do so cannot be left until the winter, and cannot be left to politicians alone. As part of our contribution and to open up debate, the British government is publishing our position for what the deal should include. Ed Miliband is the British secretary of state for energy and climate change. (more...)
1 June 2009 - Energy shock and oil mythsEdit
Macleans, by Colin Campbell
Jeff Rubin was, for years, a lonely voice among economists when it came to predicting the price of oil. In 2007—when crude began the year at a relatively modest $50 a barrel—Rubin, then the chief economist at CIBC, all but staked his reputation on a prediction that oil was about to hit triple-digit prices and never look back. In his reports, speeches and even addresses to skeptical oil executives, he preached the end of the era of cheap fossil fuels. “The bottom line is, we’re in the bottom of the ninth inning of the hydrocarbon age,” he declared... (more...)
30 April 2009 - Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions soaring Edit
Canada represents one of the fastest rates of growth in greenhouse gas emissions in the developed world. In 2007, emissions were 26 percent above the 1990 levels. Now Canada aims to end traditional coal power in the future. (more...)
3 April 2008 - Peak oil Edit
By Eve Savory, CBC News
The authors of , Richard Gilbert and Anthony Perl, tell CBC news correspondent Eve Savory they foresee radical social and political changes as the world's oil supply dwindles.
If one accepts that climate change could be catastrophic for many ecosystems, including the multiple ones humans inhabit, what could possibly be considered more critical, more demanding of our full attention, ? The mother of all asteroids intersecting with our planet's orbit? All-out nuclear war? Aliens?
Well, try peak oil (put simply, the point at which the rate of global oil production begins to decline). Peak oil has "the imperative of urgency," according to Richard Gilbert, an urban-issues consultant based in Toronto. "The likely outcome of not dealing with this issue is not an environmental catastrophe. It's an economic and social catastrophe that may leave us unable to deal with the environmental catastrophe," he said in an interview. (more...)
9 February 2006 - When the oil runs outEdit
Macleans, by Jonathon Gatehouse
Are we heading for the end of civilization -- or are the warnings of a coming apocalypse just another case of Chicken Little? The Four Horsemen have upgraded to SUVs. Not the hybrid ones either, but those gas-guzzling, bunny-crushing behemoths that Arnold Schwarzenegger favours. In oil-rich Babylon, whores are so thick on the ground that it's a little hard to pick just one. Although everyone can agree on what the Antichrist is up to -- running a multinational petroleum company. Yes, the End is nigh, if you believe the consensus that has been brewing in the halls of academe and the non-fiction aisle at the local bookstore. Starting in 2010, no later than 2020 or 2030, according to the latest vision of secular apocalypse, global oil supplies will peak, and the world will begin to unravel at the seams… (more…)