Canada: Energy, environment & climate change 2020

Written by  //  July 14, 2020  //  Canada, Environment & Energy  //  No comments

A Canadian Province Killed 463 Wolves for No Good Reason
A study showed that culling wolves could save caribou. But a second group of researchers saw a flaw in that conclusion.
In the spring of 2019, British Columbia’s government was embroiled in a series of high-profile community-feedback sessions concerning the conservation of mountain caribou. The endangered ungulates depend on old forests targeted for logging that also happen to grow on top of highly coveted oil-and-gas deposits. … while the 463 dead wolves represent needless tragedy, the damage from the 2019 study has and will most significantly affect the caribou, the researchers say in the rebuttal. From 2014 to 2019, 350 square miles of crucial deep-snow-caribou habitat have been lost to logging, according to a study in Conservation Science and Practice.
“wolf culls are a blunt instrument that have no real track record of protecting caribou. They do, however, offer a way for the oil-and-gas industry to fulfill caribou-conservation requirements.”

4 July
Pandemic stimulus could be a game changer for climate goals — if focus switches from fossil fuels, say some
(CBC) The economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic have forced governments around the world to resort to massive spending in order to calm the nerves of people and businesses alike.
But one question has been troubling many economists and environmental advocates: Will stimulus plans help move the world toward a cleaner, greener future or will they largely maintain the status quo, which includes protecting the interests of fossil fuel industries?
“It is a really vital moment and the reason is that we are basically out of time to turn our economies around” in terms of climate action, said Cameron Hepburn, professor of environmental economics and director of the Smith School at the University of Oxford, in an interview for the first episode of What on Earth, a new CBC Radio show focused on climate change.

2 July
Nestlé sells Pure Life bottled water business as changes to Ontario groundwater rules loom
Ice River Springs to take over Pure Life brand of bottled water
(CBC) Nestlé Canada Inc. says it is selling its Pure Life bottled water business to Ice River Springs as Ontario prepares to give its municipalities veto power over new water bottling permits.
Ice River, a Canadian family-owned bottled water producer, says the acquisition fulfils its ambition to expand beyond its private label business for retailers.
Ice River Springs runs a plastics recycling operation, BMP Recycling, that takes bottles and plastic food packaging collected by municipalities and produces food grade recycled PET plastic.
Canada’s most populous province recently announced new rules for taking groundwater, three years after the former Liberal government enacted a moratorium on new and expanded permits to take water for bottling.

30 June
How to build a better Canada after COVID-19: Launch a fossil-free future
(The Conversation) Demand for fossil fuels collapsed during the COVID-19 pandemic as lockdown measures were introduced. In the second quarter of 2020, experts predict that global oil demand will be down 20 per cent from this time last year. Although demand is likely to recover somewhat in the next two years, some major oil company executives believe that it may never return to pre-2020 levels.
At the same time, the world remains “on fire” due to climate change, caused primarily by the burning of fossil fuels. The year began with fires ravaging Australia, and in June, temperatures in the Arctic hit a record-breaking 38C.
As governments look for ways to help the Canadian economy recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, they must be guided by one incontestable principle: We cannot afford to invest in and expand the fossil fuel industry any further.
While emissions from other sectors in Canada have levelled off or are declining, oil sands emissions increased by 456 per cent between 1990 and 2018. Emissions from conventional oil production have also increased, but only by 24 per cent.
Despite a valiant attempt by the Alberta NDP government in 2015, successive provincial governments have failed to reduce oil sands emissions. And since the COVID-19 crisis, “green initiatives,” such as Suncor’s plan to replace coke-fired boilers with natural gas units at its base operations, have been shelved to cut costs, undermining claims from the industry that it is part of the solution.

14 June
Rolling back Canadian environmental regulations during coronavirus is short-sighted
(The Conversation) Both the United States and Brazil have lifted limits on pollution, carbon emissions and forestry, and made it easier to approve pipelines. Governments in Canada have also used the COVID-19 crisis to curb environmental protections for communities and ecosystems.
But these changes can come with large risks. Although they may only last a few months, the environmental impact may be much longer. Short-term environmental damage can have long-term effects.
There are situations, of course, where the rules need to change to decrease the spread of the coronavirus, such as when work requires travel to remote and vulnerable communities. But many of the changes made to environmental regulations have removed the requirements for environmental monitoring altogether or reduced or eliminated environmental observers, which means no data will be collected.
For example, Alberta suspended reporting requirements under several environmental acts, except for drinking water facilities. Later changes by the Alberta Energy Regulator removed many monitoring requirements for oil companies, including monitoring surface water, ground water and wildlife in tailings ponds. The changes were requested by the oil industry so that companies could follow public health orders, but were passed without public consultation or reasons why the changes were needed for public health reasons. Given that spills can happen quickly, even small gaps in the data during a public health crisis may affect future decisions such as changing pollution limits or approving new projects. Monitoring was also temporarily put on hold in fisheries. The at-sea observers who monitor what is being caught and discarded were suspended in Canada for 45 days. Without observers, it is much harder to know how sustainable a fishery is, and a monitoring gap could put endangered species at greater risk.
Some of the changes that have occurred in Canada since the start of the coronavirus pandemic have removed public participation in decision-making processes. For example, Ontario removed the requirements for consultation on environmental issues during the current state of emergency. Normally, projects that affect the environment have a 30-day consultation period

12 May
Flawed environmental assessment of offshore drilling in Newfoundland and Labrador puts marine ecosystems at risk
(WWF) Environmental groups are taking legal action against the federal government for failing to properly assess the impacts of exploratory drilling for oil and gas in Newfoundland and Labrador’s offshore waters. It is the first Regional Assessment (RA) to be conducted under the new Impact Assessment Act.
The application, filed by Ecojustice lawyers on behalf of Ecology Action Centre, Sierra Club Canada Foundation and WWF-Canada, alleges that the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada relied on a deficient assessment report to accelerate exploratory drilling in the region. The organizations aim to prevent the government from exempting similar activity from future impact assessments and setting a dangerous precedent for future RAs in the country.

18 April
As Earth Day Approaches, Climate Change and the Environment Cracks Top 5 Most-Concerning Issues in Canada
(Ipsos) Canada Over-Indexes on Concern about Climate Change and Waste Production; Under-Indexes on Air Pollution

Leave a Comment

comm comm comm