Canada & the environment 2011 – Part I

Written by  //  June 27, 2011  //  Canada, Environment & Energy  //  Comments Off on Canada & the environment 2011 – Part I

Climate change on

A Green Economy for Canada: Consulting with Canadians
CIELAP’s national research study sought the perspectives of diverse Canadian stakeholders on what a Green Economy could mean for Canada in the lead-up to Rio+20. Between November 2010 and February 2011 CIELAP conducted 27 interviews with participants from Canadian provinces, territories and municipalities; professional business associations, and non-government organizations. The study summarizes what was heard. Executive Summary (PDF)


Bill McKibben: Canada and Its Tar Sands: What the Country Can Learn From Brazil About Protecting the Environment
(The New Republic) SHOULDN’T CANADA FEEL the same kind of responsibility to keep carbon safely in the ground that Brazil feels to keep its trees rooted? Absolutely. And another important question: Would the world stand by, as it has more or less done as Canada has accessed its tar lands, if Brazil’s president promised to find new markets so that “every splinter” of wood her country produced could be sold? It’s hard to imagine so.
23 June
Invitation to Washington D.C.
By Maude Barlow, Wendell Berry, Tom Goldtooth, Danny Glover, James Hansen, Wes Jackson, Naomi Klein, Bill McKibben, George Poitras, Gus Speth, and David Suzuki
Dear Friends,
This will be a slightly longer letter than common for the internet age-it’s serious stuff.
The short version is we want you to consider doing something hard: coming to Washington in the hottest and stickiest weeks of the summer and engaging in civil disobedience that will quite possibly get you arrested.
21 June
Dialogues put the focus on growing low-carbon economy
Survey estimates sector will generate $2.5 billion in B.C. this year
(Vancouver Sun) Public policy adviser Shauna Sylvester believes that the more she gives business leaders, legislators and academics a place to talk about moving toward a low-carbon economy, the faster they will get there.
That’s the theory behind Carbon Talks, the initiative she has launched within Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue at its downtown Vancouver campus.
Canada, according to Sylvester, has fallen behind at the national level when it comes to effective public investments in reducing carbon. Yet the country -particularly in provinces such as British Columbia -is home to significant innovations in clean technology on the business side.
Power struggle ends Encana, China gas deal
(Globe & Mail) The scuppered venture shows how Chinese firms are demanding greater control over their Canadian energy investments. That has proven to be an especially important consideration with the pools of so-called “shale gas” that formed the heart of the deal. Chinese authorities have estimated China is home to some 900 trillion cubic feet of shale gas – a surpassingly vast resource – and has looked to foreign investments as a way to secure the technological expertise to tap it.
Carbon project to protect Canada’s Darkwoods begins
The Nature Conservancy of Canada has raised more than $4 million through the sales of carbon credits equal to 700,000 tons of carbon-dioxide emissions, in what the group says in the largest North America forest carbon project. The sales help protect 55,000 hectares of forested mountains called Darkwoods in British Columbia. The Toronto Star (6/9)
1 June
Steven Lightfoot: Why Moore’s Law applied to energy generation is more like Moore’s curse
(Dimensions May/June 2011) There is increasing pressure to develop a low-carbon/sustainable energy future and there is a belief that this transition can and will happen quickly. Moore’s curse, or incorrectly believing that Moore’s law applies to energy systems, leads to over-optimistic views of how things can change, which leads to wasteful and ineffective public policy and distracts our society from pursuing real, if imperfect, solutions.
No doubt your new smart phone, iPad or computer is an amazing device and fully representative of Moore’s law as it applies to micro-electronics. Just don’t assume that its existence will tell you very much about where your electric power is going to come from in 18 months, let alone 10 years.
29 May
Canada leaves out rise in oilsands pollution from UN climate report
The federal government has acknowledged that it deliberately excluded data indicating a 20 per cent 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.
The numbers, uncovered by Postmedia News, were left out of the report, a national inventory on Canada’s greenhouse gas pollution. It revealed a six per cent drop in annual emissions for the entire economy from 2008 to 2009, but does not directly show the extent of pollution from the oilsands production, which is greater than the greenhouse gas emissions of all the cars driven on Canadian roads.
The data also indicated that emissions per barrel of oil produced by the sector is increasing, despite claims made by the industry in an advertising campaign.
Although the report was due in April, during the last election campaign, Canada was the last country to file its submission. Environment Canada even filed its submission after earthquake-stricken Japan, and was unable to explain in detail why its report was late.
27 May
Andrew Nikiforuk: Why Keystone Pipeline Will Weaken the US— It’s just a ‘tar sands road to China’.
Nikiforuk lays out a surprising analayis in this, his latest Energy & Equity column.
(The Tyee) TransCanada’s grandiose and troubled proposal to ship 1.1 million barrels of Canadian bitumen to the U.S. Gulf coast ably illustrates a good batch of petroleum hubris.
… Big, long pipelines don’t create resilient communities let alone healthy energy appetites for that matter. And in the case of Keystone XL the pipeline will actually raise, not depress prices at the pump. Nor will it improve energy security by one gallon. In the end the pipeline will simply become a Tar Sands Road to China. That’s right, China
21 May
Counsel from prominent Canadians
(Ottawa Citizen) With Prime Minister Stephen Harper having secured the majority he wanted, Carmen Chai asks some influential people what advice they would give him
Canadians want a functional Parliament that recognizes that it’s not a choice between the economy and the environment. Canadians want their economy to thrive in a healthy environment. They want Conservatives to conserve.
Most Canadians probably believe that we have a responsibility for the well-being of future generations. Stephen Harper should reflect on the steps required today to ensure that future generations are able to enjoy the same economic stability and ecological diversity that we currently enjoy.
Finally, he should read my new book Generation Us: The Challenge of Global Warming. In accessible language, it explains the phenomenon of global warming, outlines the threat it presents to future generations and offers a path toward solutions to the problem.
Green economy: Canada’s opportunity for prosperity
Achim Steiner UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director
(Toronto Star) A nation like Canada, with its Green Energy and Economy Act and Water Opportunities Act in Ontario alongside the engagement of several provinces in the Western Climate Initiative, underlines how the green shoots of a green economy are emerging everywhere. The challenge facing governments, cities and the private sector is how to accelerate and scale-up such transitions over the coming 20 years in both developed but also developing economies and ones that are more state or more market-led.
19 May
Harper government ready to take on oilsands emissions this year: Kent
The Tories have flatly rejected any ideas to reduce emissions through a carbon tax or by setting up a cap-and-trade emissions market. That means the only method Kent is left with is government regulation of emissions, sector-by-sector … widely recognized as the most-cumbersome and least-efficient one, but Kent says he is determined to make it work.
17 May
Q&A session marks first anniversary of boreal forest agreement
16 May
Andrew Nikiforuk: Debunking the ‘Shale Gale’
Industry has ‘overblown’ the benefits of shale gas, according to a new report.
(The Tyee) … a new report by J. David Hughes, one of North America’s foremost coal and gas experts, challenges every single one of these faith-based assumptions with hard science and clear-eyed math. … So the truth on shale gas burns down to this: It’s a small but important flame. Due to extreme depletion rates and costly economics, it won’t fuel the future or replace coal or imported oil. Like Alberta’s dirty bitumen, the resource requires such high water, energy and environmental costs, that regulation must demand greater accountability. Incredibly, the resource may produce more global warming gases than coal.
11 May
Enbridge faces off against critics to Northern Gateway pipeline
(Canadian Press) At the company’s emotionally charged annual meeting on Wednesday, several aboriginal groups along the pipeline’s route said their answer is still no.
26 April
Unmuzzle scientists, federal leaders urged
(CBC) A group representing 500 science journalists and communicators across Canada sent an open letter Tuesday to Conservative Leader Stephen Harper, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, NDP Leader Jack Layton and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May documenting recent instances where they say federal scientists have been barred from talking about research funded by taxpayers.
18 April
Election 2011 survey on the environment
(Pembina Institute) A group of Canadian environmental organizations asked the five main federal political parties to respond to 10 questions on key environmental issues.
This document presents the verbatim responses from the four parties that responded – the Liberal Party, the NDP, the Bloc Québecois and the Green Party. The Conservative Party did not respond. Press Release
15 March
Bouchard says Quebec shale-gas industry moved too fast, was ‘shock’ to citizens
The former premier, and champion of Quebec’s independence movement, is now handling public relations for the province’s embattled shale-gas industry. It faces vocal opposition in the province, even though the resource has quietly been extracted for decades in places like Alberta and British Columbia.
Mr. Bouchard also blamed the public concerns in Quebec on environmental mishaps and the lack of expertise in the province.
8 March
Quebec halts shale gas exploration
The provincial government announced the decision Tuesday just minutes after an environmental assessment board called for a full evaluation of potential risks involved in the drilling and extraction of natural gas from the shale rock formation near populated areas along the Saint-Lawrence River.
2 March
Sierra Club: Harper government cuts to environment programs bad policy and bad for future generations
23 February
Fix carbon tax by ending corporate tax breaks, using revenues for climate action and new tax credit: study

A new study from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and Sierra Club BC calls on the provincial government to scale up BC’s carbon tax, and makes a number of recommendations to scale up BC’s carbon tax, and to make the tax more effective and fair.
26 January
Don’t wait for U.S., set emission rules on industry now, panel says
(Globe & Mail) A government-appointed panel has taken aim at Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s climate-change policy, arguing that Ottawa should move now to impose emission rules on industry rather than wait to harmonize with the Americans.
The Harper government has proceeded cautiously on climate change, delaying several times any measures that could drive up costs for industry, such as the oil sands. The panel insists the time for delay on enacting emissions regulations is over. Download report: Degrees of Change: Climate Warming and the Stakes for Canada
14 January
Meet Harper’s oil-sands muse
(Globe & Mail) Ezra Levant has become an unlikely muse for Stephen Harper. The simple yet provocative phrase he invented – “ethical oil” – which is the title of his new book on the Alberta oil sands, is now part of the Harper Conservative lexicon.
7 January
Harper’s embrace of ‘ethical’ oil sands reignites ‘dirty’ arguments
6 January
Peter Kent’s green agenda: Clean up oil sands’ dirty reputation
The oil sands have a new defender: freshly minted Environment Minister Peter Kent, who calls Canada’s tarry resource an “ethical” source of energy that should take priority in the U.S over foreign producers with poor democratic track records.

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