Canada Environment & Climate Change

Written by  //  July 17, 2019  //  Canada, Environment & Energy  //  No comments

Canada’s Changing Climate Report
Canada’s Climate Change Adaptation Platform

17 July
CPAWS calls for urgent and ambitious action to tackle Canada’s “Nature Emergency”
In advance of Canada Parks Day, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) is welcoming Canada’s efforts to meet our 2020 land protection commitments and urging the federal government to champion ambitious, evidence-based conservation targets for the next decade that will tackle the on-going catastrophic and accelerating decline of nature. In its latest report, Canada’s Nature Emergency: Scaling up Solutions for Land and Freshwater, CPAWS calls on Canada to champion a global goal of protecting and restoring half the earth, with a milestone target of protecting at least 30% of land and freshwater by 2030, and to commit to this at home.
Canada needs to triple the amount of protected land and water to tackle ‘nature emergency’: report
Biodiversity is declining faster than at any other time in human history, study finds
(CBC) Against a backdrop of shocking declines in the health of the world’s ecosystems and species, a new report from the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) says the federal government must commit to much more ambitious targets to protect the country’s land and water if it’s to have a chance of staving off a “nature emergency.”
The report says biodiversity is declining faster than at any other time in human history — over one million species worldwide are facing extinction, according to a recent, groundbreaking study. It argues Canada must adopt aggressive measures beyond current targets by promising to protect and restore 30 per cent of all the country’s land and inland waters by 2030 — about 330 million hectares.
That proposed goal would almost triple the amount of land currently protected through measures by federal, provincial and Indigenous governments. As of 2019, 11.8 per cent of Canada’s land mass had been set aside for conservation.
But the advocacy group says Canada shouldn’t stop at 30 per cent — that it should commit to protecting half the country’s landmass from development (including extractive industries like logging and oil and gas) at some point over the next century.
The federal Liberal government already has committed $1.3 billion over five years to nature conservation. CPAWS said that sum has given Canada a fighting chance of reaching its goal of protecting at least 17 per cent of land and freshwater by 2020.
Those government funds have helped already to buy new lands for preservation and conservation right across the country under the “Quick Start” initiative — through acquiring new protected spaces in Ontario’s Thousand Islands National Park, adding 30,000 hectares to Alberta’s Kitaskino Nuwenëné Wildland Provincial Park and expanding Quebec’s Parc des falaises and Halifax’s 927-acre Blue Mountain-Birch Cove Lakes Wilderness Park, among dozens of other projects.

27 June
Provinces agree on national zero plastic waste plan
The federal, provincial and territorial governments have agreed on a list of measures that could reduce plastic pollution, but a detailed action plan is still to come.
After a day of meetings in Halifax on Thursday, the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment released the first phase of a plan for zero plastic waste, listing extended producer responsibility (EPR) as a top priority.
The plan says that EPR, which holds companies accountable for the end-of-life management of plastics they produce, is “one of the most effective mechanisms for diverting plastic waste.”
Federal environment minister Catherine McKenna said she was happy that environment ministers from the provinces and territories agreed to work on the six priorities listed in the national plan, but it would “take time” to negotiate the implementation.
Details for the action items are due to come out gradually, with completion dates ranging from December 2019 to 2022. When those details are released, the plan says, they’ll be made available for application “at the discretion of jurisdictions.”

20 June
Nuclear power is the key to fighting climate change. So why don’t we embrace it?
By Dan Gardner, author of Risk: The Science and Politics of Fear and a principal at Tactix, an Ottawa consultancy
(Globe & Mail) One in three Canadians thinks nuclear power emits as much carbon dioxide as burning oil. Almost three in 10 think it emits more.
There are several reasons to marvel at these facts, which were uncovered by Abacus Data earlier this year. First, they’re spectacularly wrong. After construction, nuclear power is effectively zero-emission electricity, while oil is one of the leading causes of climate change. Second, the fight against climate change is about replacing fossil fuels such as oil with the short list of zero-emission energy sources. And yet it seems most Canadians don’t know what’s on the list.
Given that the three most successful decarbonizations in history heavily relied on nuclear power, one might think nuclear would be central to any discussion of how to fight climate change by decarbonizing. But one would be very wrong.
In Ottawa a few months ago, Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), said that in all his travels and discussions with top officials “the word ‘nuclear’ almost never comes up.” Canada is no different. Justin Trudeau and his ministers talk endlessly about climate change, but “nuclear” seldom slips past their lips.
But what’s most disheartening is that these are Canadians, of all people. Three countries have massively decarbonized with the help of nuclear power. France and Sweden are the first two. The third – and apparently this will be news to most Canadians – is Canada. … A few weeks ago, the IEA released a report revealing just how critical nuclear power is to the fight against climate change.

17 June
Margaret Wente: Justin Trudeau’s climate mess
Last week the Parliamentary Budget Officer reported that Justin Trudeau’s carbon tax – his signature initiative on global warming – won’t be nearly high enough to make a difference. To get people to change their carbon-hungry habits, the tax would eventually have to double from the $50 level it is scheduled to reach by 2022 (if the Liberals are still in power, that is).
So now, Mr. Trudeau is stuck with the worst of both worlds: a carbon price that’s irritating and also ineffective. “It’s always been something that I feared, that this government would design a carbon price … but they wouldn’t actually rely on it to do most of the heavy lifting,” Christopher Ragan told The Toronto Star. As chair of the influential Ecofiscal Commission, he has been one of the chief cheerleaders for a carbon tax.
At every turn in the road, the Liberals’ environmental ideals are compromised by messy reality. But Mr. Trudeau has simply discovered what many other governments already have. People take climate change very, very seriously – until you ask them to do something painful about it.
This inconvenient truth was once again confirmed by a new CBC poll. It found that more than 80 per cent of Canadians think global warming is important. Thirty-eight per cent said that “our survival depends on addressing” climate change, and 25 per cent said it is a top priority. But half of those polled also said they were unwilling to fork over even $100 a year in extra taxes to do something about it.As commentator Eric Grenier wrote, “The findings point to a population that is both gravely concerned about the heating of the planet but largely unprepared to make significant sacrifices in order to stave off an environmental crisis.”
Translation: Despite the enthusiastic endorsement of economists, Mr. Trudeau’s carbon tax is DOA.
National climate emergency declared by House of Commons
The House of Commons passed a motion to declare a national climate emergency in Canada on Monday night.
The motion was put forward by Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna, and it passed with 186 votes to 63.
READ MORE: Reality check: Declaring a climate emergency sends a message but does little else
It declares a national climate emergency and supports the country’s commitment to meeting the emissions targets outlined in the Paris Agreement.
A scientific report from Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) released in April found that Canada is warming up at twice the rate of the rest of the world and that the warming effect is “effectively irreversible.”

11 June
Canada Plans to Ban Single-Use Plastics, Joining Growing Global Movement
(NYT) Canada on Monday joined a growing global movement with a plan to ban single-use plastics blighting the environment.
The World Economic Forum estimates that 90 percent of the plastic ending up in the oceans comes from 10 major rivers, and that currently there are 50 million tons of plastic in the world’s oceans. Environmental experts say plastic bags can take centuries to degrade.
The move by Canada comes as countries and cities across the world have been seeking to ban or phase out the use of plastic products, and plastic bags in particular. In March New York State announced plans for a ban on most types of single-use plastic bags for retail sales after similar bans in California and Hawaii.
Mr. Trudeau noted that Canada threw away 8 billion Canadian dollars’ worth of plastic material each year. According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, the national environmental agency, that includes more than 34 million plastic bags each day. By recycling and reusing plastic, Mr. Trudeau said, the country could reduce pollution, create 42,000 jobs and protect the environment.
Mr. Trudeau said Canada expected to follow the example of the European Union, which voted in March to ban 10 single-use plastics that most often end up in the ocean, including plastic cutlery, plates and cotton-swab sticks.

1-2 April
Canada’s Changing Climate Backgrounder
(Gov. of Canada) Climate change knows no borders, and its effects are being felt across Canada and abroad. Climate change is affecting the frequency, duration and intensity of many climate-related hazards and disasters around the world, such as floods, wildfires, droughts and extreme weather events.
Advancing our understanding of the issue for Canada requires a range of scientific expertise to assess the current state of knowledge on how and why Canada’s climate has changed and what changes are projected for the future. For the first time, changes specific to Canada’s climate are detailed in Canada’s Changing Climate Report. This report is a contribution to the National Assessment Canada in a Changing Climate: Advancing our Knowledge for Action.
Led by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), Canada’s Changing Climate Report is a result of collaboration between ECCC, Fisheries and Ocean Canada, Natural Resources Canada, and Canadian university experts. The development of Canada’s Changing Climate Report also benefited from consultations with a broad range of assessment users, such as governments, Indigenous organizations and academia. The results of this report will help inform adaptation decision-making and help increase public awareness and understanding of Canada’s changing climate.
Canada’s Changing Climate Report
Report on climate change shows Canada warming at twice the rate of rest of world
Federal scientists and academics are warning that Canada’s climate is warming rapidly and faster than the global average, saying human behaviour must change to slow the shift.
Officials from Environment and Climate Change Canada presented the first study of its kind, titled Canada’s Changing Climate Report, on Monday. It has been in the works for years and is the first of a series aimed at informing policy decisions and increasing public awareness and understanding of Canada’s changing climate.
The report says that Canada is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world and that Northern Canada is warming even more quickly, nearly three times the global rate. Three of the past five years have been the warmest on record, the authors said.

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