The Canadian government has long fought efforts by politicians and environmentalists in other countries, including the United States, to characterize oil sands production as “dirty oil.” But an analysis quietly released late last month by its environmental agency indicates that the tar-like deposits will become an increasingly significant source of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by the end of the decade.
“Canada’s Emissions Trends,” a peer-reviewed report by the agency, Environment Canada, forecasts that greenhouse gas emissions from the oil sands will triple to 92 million metric tons, or 101 million short tons, by 2020 from a base level of 30 million metric tons, or 33 million short tons, in 2005. more
Canada will lose out to Russia's Arctic shipping routes because it
is too small to finance the infrastructure, France's ambassador for the
polar regions said Monday.
Melting polar ice will make
Canada's Northwest Passage more accessible in the next decades, but
Canada does not seem interested in exploiting it for shipping, said
Michel Rocard, who recently returned from a tour of the Arctic aboard
the Canadian icebreaker Amundsen.more
Our collective attention spans are short. Public enemies are forgotten or ignored, and we move on to our next societal nemesis. In the 1980s, it was the war on drugs and communism. In the 1990s, it was AIDS and holes in the ozone. In the 2000s, it was terrorism. Most recently, it was global warming. But now we have a new enemy: government debt.
Environmentalists won’t be happy with this because nothing has really been achieved on the climate-change front, at least not in North America. A few U.S. states have some sensible policies in place, as do a couple of provinces. But Washington’s attention has turned to other priorities, and the environment isn’t one of them. It’s not to say climate change should fall off the agenda. But it will.more
MONTREAL— The humidex will be hovering around 30 this week and city buses will start to fill now that the construction holiday has ended.
But sweltering Montreal commuters will have to wait until the end of this year to know whether the Société de transport de Montréal will even think about giving the green light to air conditioning on its buses.more
OTTAWA—Meteorologists, scientists, chemists and engineers are among more than 700 Environment Canada employees on the chopping block as the department launches sweeping cuts to cope with federal belt-tightening. The shakeup could be a taste of further cuts in other departments to come as the Conservative government reins in spending to eliminate a $32 billion deficit. The cuts represent 11 per cent of the workforce at Environment Canada, calling into question the department’s ability to carry on its mandate, said Bill Pynn, national president of the Union of Environment Workers, which represents 476 of the affected workers.more
The Canadian government has been accused of an "unprecedented" lobbying effort involving 110 meetings in less than two years in Britain and Europe in a bid to derail new fuel legislation that could hit exports from its tar sands.
The allegation comes from Friends of the Earth Europe (FoEE), which claims Ottawa ministers have attempted to mislead European decision-makers by underplaying the carbon-heavy nature of their crude in assessing new petrol standards. more
Ontario’s governing Liberals are ratcheting up their campaign for the fall election, making the creation of jobs in the green energy sector the cornerstone of their bid for a third consecutive term.
A multibillion-dollar deal with South Korean industrial giant Samsung Group is at the centre of the Liberals’ ambitious goal to transform the province into a green energy powerhouse. But the same deal the Liberals are presenting to voters as evidence of their ability to create jobs is being attacked by their opponents for secrecy and “sweetheart” terms. The Progressive Conservatives have vowed to kill it if elected.more
An internal federal report is raising questions about the value of some recent government spending on clean energy initiatives, including hundreds of millions of dollars in research funding for the fossil fuel industry that has produced few tangible results in terms of a reduction in emissions.
The analysis, released to Postmedia News through access to information legislation, said that regulations, standards and other similar policy tools are the most cost-effective options for cracking down on industrial pollution. On the other hand, it said that a wide range of "incentive-based initiatives" was stimulating the economy and creating jobs, but was more expensive and less effective at reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.more
The waves in the world’s oceans contain enough energy to supply two-thirds of the world’s needs, says a paper by two Ryerson University researchers. And that doesn’t count the energy produced by ocean tides and currents, by the chemistry of ocean water or by the heat stored in its depths. As the country with the world’s longest coastline, ocean energy should be a natural for Canada. It hasn’t necessarily been the case, though.
“Most people overlook the potential from bodies of water to capture renewable energy,” says mechanical engineering professor Alan Fung, who co-authored the paper with Farshid Zabihian.more
The ethicaloil.org campaign is seeking to clean up the image of Canada's oilsands by comparing the project with crude production from less ethical regions of the world. In the CBCNews.ca story, Federal NDP environment critic Megan Leslie said debating whether Canada's oil is relatively more ethical misses the point. Canada should be working to move beyond fossil fuels toward renewable sources of energy, she said. more
An internal federal report is raising questions about the value of some recent government spending on clean energy initiatives, including hundreds of millions of dollars in research funding for the fossil fuel industry that has produced few reductions in emissions.
The analysis, released to Postmedia News through accessto-information legislation, said regulations, standards and other similar policy tools are the most cost-effective options for cracking down on industrial pollution. more
VANCOUVER: DURING Canada’s 2008 federal election campaign Stephen Harper, the Conservative prime minister, warned that an opposition promise to introduce a carbon tax would “screw everybody”. Partly for that reason, Mr Harper is still the prime minister. But in the same year, the provincial government in British Columbia introduced a carbon tax of its own. Despite the levy, its economy is doing well. What is more, the tax is popular: it is backed by 54%, says a survey in the province by Environics, a pollster. Gordon Campbell, the Liberal premier who introduced the tax, won a provincial election the next year.more
An NDP provincial government would not mean the end of The Green Energy Act (GEA) and industrial wind turbines, but provincial leader Andrea Horwath says if her party forms the next Ontario government, communities will have a lot more input than they currently do under the Liberals.
An NDP government, Horwath said, would remove control from the private sector when it comes to large turbine development. She envisions a much larger role for Ontario Power Generation (OPG) as the GEA evolves. more.
The current food crisis in the Horn of Africa is a humanitarian emergency, but it has a distinctly geopolitical dimension, say experts who follow the region.
Although the immediate problem facing the 11 million people aid agencies say need help is a shortage of food, the causes of the crisis take in a broader spectrum of problems affecting the region, including climate change, agricultural policy, military conflicts and the effects of global markets on local economiesmore.
With hundreds of fires scorching northern Ontario, and Alberta and Northwest Territories battling bigger blazes than usual, this is potentially shaping up as one of the nation’s most destructive wildfire years.
Forest fires have already left an indelible imprint in 2011. Flames razed or heavily damaged nearly 500 homes and businesses in the northern Alberta town of Slave Lake in May, while the threat of destruction has forced more than 3,000 people from their isolated northwestern Ontario communities.more.
UNITED NATIONS -- The U.N. Security
Council will debate climate change for the second time in four years,
its current chair announced yesterday.
The July 20 discussion, led by the German government, will be a
repeat of a 2007 attempt by the United Kingdom to put climate change on
the council's agenda. That earlier move garnered sharp criticism from
many developing country leaders, who accused the 15-member panel of
attempting to strip power from other U.N. groups. more.
HOUSTON (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp does not have a definite repair
plan yet for the ruptured Montana crude oil pipeline that it shut over
the weekend, and company and government officials are still trying to
determine the cause of the spill, a top executive said on Tuesday. more.
Washington - A group of prominent North American environmentalists and
progressives - including Danny Glover and David Suzuki - are urging
opponents of TransCanada Corp.'s Keystone XL pipeline to get arrested
this summer in protests at the White House against the project. more.
WASHINGTON — A U.S. congressional panel on Thursday passed
legislation that would force President Barack Obama to speed up a
decision on whether to approve Calgary-based TransCanada Corp.'s
Keystone XL oilsands pipeline.
The House Energy and
Commerce committee, in a 33 to 13 vote, advanced a bill that requires a
decision on the 2,700 kilometre pipeline bill by Nov. 1. more.
A $33-million deal for a wind farm project in Alberta with contracts
in California highlights the importance of green energy credits in a
carbon-sensitive North American market, said observers.
Edmonton's Capital Power announced it bought out the Halkirk I wind
project, a 50-50 joint venture the former city utility entered with
privately owned Greengate Power Corp. last December.more.
Opposition parties in Alberta unanimously oppose the government's
$2-billion carbon capture and storage (CCS) plan, but we think Albertans
need to separate the politics from the reality of living in an
oil-producing province such as Alberta.
The reality we face as a
society is that the future will be "carbon constrained." That means,
whether through taxation or international cap-and-trade schemes, CO2
emitters will be responsible for the cost of those emissions. more.
WASHINGTON — The health of the world’s oceans is declining much
faster than originally thought — under siege from pollution, overfishing
and other man-made problems all at once — scientists say in a new
The mix of interacting ingredients is in place for a mass extinction
in the world’s oceans, said a report by a top panel of scientists that
will be presented to the United Nations on Tuesday. more.
China's carbon dioxide emissions rose 10.4 per cent in 2010 compared
with the previous year, as global emissions rose at their fastest rate
for more than four decades, data released by BP on Wednesday showed. more.
OTTAWA — The federal government has told the international community
that its policies to reduce heat-trapping pollution linked to global
warming are up to 10 times more effective than what it told Parliament
at the beginning of the month.
The mixed messages were sent
less than a few weeks apart in separate reports required by Environment
Canada under Canadian and international law. more.
While most of the political world tuned in to the throne speech on Friday, the federal government quietly tabled a report showing that Ottawa's emissions-cutting efforts have barely made a dent to date. The report is a required annual accounting of what Ottawa's rules and regulations have done to bring down the amount of greenhouse gases produced in Canada. more.
The UN's climate chief urged negotiators gathering on Monday for new talks to heed a double dose of "bad news" that global warming could bust a threshold widely considered safe. Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), urged nations at the 12-day talks in Bonn to uphold their pledge to peg warming to 2C. more. ____________________________________________________________________________________________
About 42 million people were forced to flee their homes because of natural disasters around the world in 2010, more than double the number during the previous year, experts said. One reason for the increase in the figure could be climate change, and the international community should be doing more to contain it, the experts said. more.
Federal and provincial governments must do more to protect the forests and natural ecosystems that are providing hundreds of billions of dollars in free public services, including flood prevention and water filtration, says a new study released Monday. more.
The long-range forecast for Canadian cities is hot. And we’re talking for the next 100 years or so. As summer weather finally arrives, municipal governments across the country are preparing for the long-term impact of climate change, adapting everything from the trees they plant to how their emergency services personnel are trained in preparation for the gradual increase in temperature and wildly fluctuating weather patterns expected in decades to come. more.
MONTREAL — The cultural revolution a generation ago in the 1960s was
all about sex. Now, the latest research shows, it's all about
Not as titillating a revolution, perhaps,
but the outcome is sure important — young adults participating in the
new research equate the threat of global warming with the threat their
grandparents felt with the onset of the Second World War. more.
The British Geological Survey is investigating to determine any
connection between the two temblors and fracking at a shale gas project
near Blackpool. Cuadrilla Resources, the company involved, said today it
had temporarily stopped drilling in the area while authorities
WASHINGTON — U.S. lawmakers want the State Department to delay its
decision-making process on whether to approve a $7 billion pipeline that
would deliver crude from Canada's oil sands to Texas until a number of
environmental risks are addressed. more.
The call is out to strap on your roller blades, take a bus, carpool
with colleagues, clean up a beach or take a hike in a national park
starting June 5 to help celebrate Canadian Environment Week.more.
After working on the inside of a former Progressive Conservative majority government, Elizabeth May has returned to Parliament as a member of the opposition and the first national representative of the Green party to be elected on the continent. more. _____________________________________________________________________________________________
Aid agency Oxfam in its new report, Growing a Better Future, says the global food system is “ broken” and warns that we have entered “a new age of crisis where depletion of the earth's natural resources and increasingly severe climate change impacts will create millions more hungry people.” more. _____________________________________________________________________________________________
Greenhouse gas emissions increased by a record amount last year, to the highest carbon output in history, putting hopes of holding global warming to safe levels all but out of reach, according to unpublished estimates from the International Energy Agency.
organizing trips for international leaders to promote
Canada's oilsands industry, while fighting back
against foreign climate change policies requiring it to
reduce its pollution, a newly released federal
document has reveale
The federal government has explored hiring a professional public relations firm and organizing trips for international leaders to promote Canada's oilsands industry, while fighting back against foreign climate change policies requiring it to reduce its pollution, a newly released federal document has revealed. more.
Audi believes the electrification of the automobile is the right route, but only as long as the power needed to recharge the main battery or create the hydrogen that will feed the fuel cell comes from a sustainable, renewable resource. more
KELOWNA At 5:30 a.m. on market day, Kelowna, B.C. farmer Curtis Stone is busy loading two custom-made trailers with 10 bins of salad greens and radishes. He adds two small totes, three folding tables and a canopy tent packed into a duffle bag. more
OTTAWA . Auditor-General Sheila Fraser says a stark choice lies ahead
for Ottawa: Raise taxes or cut back on government programs.
her final public address as auditor-general, she warned the federal
government that Canadians need to be told much more about the looming
costs of the aging population, climate change and this country's
deteriorating infrastructure. more.
Central China's worst drought in more than 50 years is drying
reservoirs, stalling rice planting, and threatens crippling power
shortages as hydroelectric output slows, state media said Wednesday.
levels from January to April in the drainage basin of the Yangtze,
China's longest and most economically important river, have been 40 per
cent lower than average levels of the past 50 years, the China Daily
Over the last six weeks, Albertans have had a rare opportunity to
shape the environmental management of the oilsands by commenting on the
provincial government's draft plan for the Lower Athabasca region.
plan is an important first step, as Albertans have consistently
demanded improvements in oilsands environmental management. But as that
window of opportunity closes, the question is whether the province will
take the public's input into account by making much-needed improvements
to the draft plan before it goes to cabinet next month.more.
The CAP budget does so while boosting clean energy research and
deployment funding roughly $10 billion a year — and instituting a high
and rising CO2 price. The plan achieves the CO2 reduction targets from
the 2009 House climate and clean energy jobs bill (Waxman-Markey). more.
Norway wants to channel billions of dollars to renewable energies in developing nations, building on a scheme to protect tropical forests to which Oslo has been the biggest donor, officials said. more.
With the federal election over and Prime Minister Stephen Harper's
majority entrenched, a monumental battle is looming over the oilsands. The provincial PCs have known for at least two years, of course, that
the feds would come after Canada's most valuable resource.more.
ONLY God can make a tree, the poem says. But scientists are working on
making artificial leaves that can produce fuels directly from sunlight,
water and carbon dioxide, just as real leaves do. One day, the new
leaves could help people heat their homes and drive their cars.more.
Graham Thompson, writing in the Edmonton Journal, observes that climate scientists are beginning to discern an emergin pattern between human-engendered climate change and the increasing frequency and scope of forest fires in Canada and around the world. more.
CALGARY — As Ottawa prepares to regulate Alberta’s oilsands, the
Stelmach government says it’s “very concerned” about federal
intervention and is accusing the Harper Conservatives of being
hypocrites when it comes to the lucrative resource.more.
For many Tea Party leaders and their representatives in Congress, it is an "article of faith" that the Earth was given to humans by God for their exploitation and dominion. Many have used this distorted theology
to support destructive mining and drilling projects, and to pass
legislation attempting to strip the Environmental Protection Agency of
its ability to regulate planet-warming carbon pollution. Conservative
members of Congress would rather the federal government subsidize oil companies than invest in clean energy technology. more.
Quebec City – Joëlle Taillon says two-day-old caribou can outrun
adult humans. She knows because she’s tried – and failed – to chase them
down in Nunavik.
“They can really go,” said the biologist, who
has studied the calves as part of the groundbreaking research she is
conducting for her doctoral thesis at Université Laval here. “They are
Her findings, however, have her worried that the
tens of thousands of caribou that are born in the first two weeks of
June every year in northern Quebec won’t be able to outrun the threats
posed by human encroachment on their birthing habitat. more.
EDMONTON - If there's a silver lining to the clouds of smoke roiling
over Slave Lake, it's the response by Albertans to the catastrophe.
as fine a demonstration as any that, for all its faults, the system
seems to work when we need it most -from the firefighters on the front
line to the police officers safely evacuating the community, to the
premier and cabinet ministers holding an emergency meeting. more.
42 governments, including from earthquake-stricken Japan, have
submitted their data on emissions of the heat-trapping gases that warm
the atmosphere, Canada is the only one behind schedule in reporting to
the UN's climate change secretariat as part of its international
obligations under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. more.
Ontario’s green energy plan, with its “feed-in tariff” that pays high
prices for renewable power and its incentives for local manufacturing,
has met with intense opposition, mainly from critics who say the
province’s power prices will be pushed sharply higher. more.
May 9, 2011 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
The Special Report on Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation (SRREN),agreed and released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on May 9th
in Abu Dhabi, assesses existing literature on the future potential of
renewable energy for the mitigation of climate change. It covers the six
most important renewable energy technologies, as well as their
integration into present and future energy systems. more.
Little Buffalo, Alberta – Greenpeace is calling on the Alberta
government to release all the information it has on the Rainbow Pipeline
following the leak last Friday on 4.5 million litres of oil and in
light of a spill of 1 million litres from the same pipeline in 2006.
Greenpeace climate and energy campaigner, Melina Laboucan-Massimo, a
member of the Lubicon Cree First Nation, is in Little Buffalo bearing
witness to the response to the spill and the impact on the community,
including the impact on members of her family. Greenpeace has taken
aerial photos of the spill and made them available to media. more.
The majority of Canadians tell pollsters that they'll vote based on
the policies offered by the parties. An even greater proportion of
Canadians claim to have serious environmental concerns. So why are
we on the brink of electing a Conservative government whose platform
provides more details about celebrating Canada's victory in the War of
1812 than protecting the air and water upon which life and health
Everyone loves a good political scandal and the Bruce Carson affair squarely fits the bill. A 66-year-old former senior policy advisor
to Prime Minister Stephen Harper seemingly lobbies the government on
behalf of his 22-year fiancée, a former sex worker. She dresses in sexy lingerie. Newspapers publish lurid photos. Ottawa talks, yet its busy gossipers
recognize Carson as your average political fixer with an active sex life
and a couple of criminal convictions.
One of the world's best known climate scientists, an
Australian, watched in amazement earlier this month as Canada's four
federal leadership contenders debated the country's future. "I was mystified to see that the environment just didn't rank at all," Tim Flannery, best-selling author of the Weather Makers. more.
There’s a hole in the Conservative platform…a
hole so big, you could fit Canada’s oil and gas sector or every single
one of our fossil-fuel power plants into it. The hole is projected to
get bigger, and will be large enough to fit every single car, truck,
SUV, train, bus, and ATV in Canada into it by 2020. more.
April 25, 2011by CSWA National Office, Canadian Science Writers' Association
Dear Misters Harper, Ignatieff, Layton, and Duceppe, and Ms May:
The Canadian Science Writers’ Association (CSWA) represents science
journalists, communicators, publicists and authors—500 and growing. For
almost a year now, the CSWA has pushed for changes in the government’s
current communication policy to enable timely access to government
scientists who have published studies and research in journals.more.
The Conservative party's approach to tackling industrial pollution
would be the most costly for governments, the most damaging to the
economy and the least effective at cleaning up the atmosphere, says a
federal government analysis of climate change policies. "This
option is the most expensive, both in terms of overall economic impact and costs to government," says the government-prepared report: A
discussion paper on Canada's contribution to addressing climate change. more.
A Canada-U.S. study, described as a "game changer" for climate
science, says Australia can blame its increased rainfall on the
Antarctic ozone hole. The hole has had a profound impact on the
Southern Hemisphere, altering the climate all the way to the equator,
changing wind patterns and increasing rain in southern Australia by
about 35 per cent, according to a study published Thursday in the
journal Science. more.
The European Union is preparing to slap a dirty fuel label on Canada’s
oil sands, a move that would increase political pressure on Europe’s
major oil companies to curb their investments in the Alberta projects.
The Conservative government has been lobbying furiously to prevent the
EU from targeting the oil sands – so much so that one member of the
European Parliament has condemned Canada’s intervention as
Michael Ignatieff is dismissing the NDP's budgeting as "science
fiction" as the Liberals launched an all-out assault on Jack Layton.
The NDP is now taking heat from all sides as the Liberals,
Conservatives and Bloc Québécois try to push Canadians away from
Layton's party with more polls suggesting increasing support for it. more.
Canada, an emerging petro state that now supplies the failing U.S.
empire with a fifth of its oil, is in the midst of a surreal federal
election. Although the country pretends to be a
"clean energy superpower," most analysts recognize the place as a cheap
energy supermarket with a poor environmental record and absolutely no
national energy strategy. more.
Today as we celebrate Earth Day, we would be wise to focus on the role
of women as environmental leaders. All over the world, women are
advancing the green revolution -- from transforming farming in rural
Africa, to creating businesses around clean technology in India, to
investing in renewable energy. more.
Ottawa fights EU's dirty fuel label on oil sands
March 27, 2011by Shawn McCarthy, Globe and Mail
The federal New Democrats say they might not be able to pay for $3.6
billion worth of green spending initiatives that were promised in their
platform for the first year of a new mandate if elected to form a
government. The party quietly explained in a statement over the weekend that it
would be forced to delay the promises, in government, if it is unable to
launch a market-based system forcing polluters to pay for greenhouse
gas emissions by buying credits from those that reduce emissions. more.
The minority Conservative government downplayed new revelations
Wednesday that a former adviser to the prime minister facing allegations
of influence-peddling continued to be called upon by federal cabinet
ministers even after he had supposedly left Stephen Harper's office to
work for an academic think tank and an oilpatch industry lobby group.more.
How did Bruce Carons, 66, come to be appointed as the executive director of the Canada School of Energy and Environment, a federally-funded think-tank that links academics from the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary and the University of Lethbridge? more.
Canada’s ambassador to the EuropeanUnion
privately promised EU politicians a year ago that the government would
bring in regulations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the oil
sands, newly released documents indicate. But Ottawa has yet to act on
that commitment. more.
March 21, 2011by Lisa Gue, David Suzuki Foundation
Tomorrow is budget day in the House of Commons. For weeks, pundits have
been speculating that Parliament's vote on the budget — a confidence
measure — may trigger a federal election. So with the spotlight focused
on the Government of Canada's spending priorities, what will Budget
2011, mean for the environment? more.
Canada’s oil and gas industry is distancing itself from Bruce Carson,
the former top adviser to Prime Minister Stephen Harper who was one of
its strongest allies until this week, when he found himself at the
centre of influence-peddling allegations. more.
Federal clean-energy programs on the chopping block have slashed megatonnes of pollution and created thousands of jobs, according to an internal government report.
Although the harper government has delayed releasing the findings that it received more than a week ago, Postmedia News has learned they reveal some climate programs were among the most cost-effective at reducing pollution and stimulating the economy. more
When some 3000 Communist Party delegates gather inside the Great Hall of the People for the once-a-year sitting of China's rubber-stamp parliament, which starts Saturday, they will pass a document that is expected to finally set the world's second largest economy - and largest polluter- on a greener course.
Premier Wen Jiabao will open the National People's Congress with a prepared speech that will lay out the broad principles for the country's next five-year plan. It will include hard new energy efficiency and pollution-reduction targets aimed at putting the country's notoriously dirty industries on a more sustainable path. more
A poll conducted on behalf of WWF has found that Canadians are increasingly convinced about the need for urgent action on climate change. WWF's year-over-year data shows that 84 per cent of Canadians are as convinced or more convinced than last year that urgent action is necessary.
At its core, climate change is about energy: how we produce it and how we use it. Switching from non-renewable to renewable energy, coupled with energy efficiancy and conservation, is the only effective solution to climate change. more
A scientific panel has backed research that indicates oil sands development is releasing contaminants into northern Alberta watersheds. The panel also concludes that government monitoring programs weren't even trying to determine if the industry was polluting the Athabasca River.
Alberta Environment Minister Rob Renner said the results from the panel's review will be used in an ongoing redesign of how the province keeps track of industry's impact on land and water. more
Environmental groups are stepping up their campaign against subsidies to Canada's oil and gas industries, which they say are costing taxpayers more than a $1 billion a year while the companies make bumper profits.
The groups, under the banner of the Climate Action Network, are lobbying the government to cut handouts to the sector in the upcoming federal budget. In an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Finance Minister Jim Flaherty to be delivered next week they argue the subsidies encourage exploration in highly polluting fossil fuels rather than researching greener technologies. more
Canada will soon be joining with other world leaders to establish a climate fund to help poor countries adapt to the droughts and floods caused by climate change. We want to make sure this fund recognizes that women are often the first adn worst affected by these disasters. Watch the video and hear Lorenza Aguilar speak about the amazing work women have done to save lives put in danger by hurricanes in Honduras.
Please email Minister of the Environment Peter Kent to ensure that women play a key role in envisioning and implementing climate change solutions. more
March 8, 2011by Caroline Howe, Itsgettinghotinhere.org
On International Women's Day, it's hard not to think about the most vulnerable, the women all around the world whose lives are being most impacted by climate change. As Kingsolver described, it's women and girls who are travelling farther to bring water to their homes, walking for hours a day, eliminating many girls already-slim chance to attend school.
It's women who cook for hours in the kitchens, breathing in the smoke from cookstoves that pollute their lungs and their air. And, it's women who are often last to eat, even when the first responsible for putting food on their families plates, even in the face of increasing food scarcity. more
March 7, 2011by Keith Stewart, Greenpeace Canada blog
We often hear that wind and solar power are nice, but they can't deliver the power that we need. So there were probably a few raised eyebrows last week when I was quoted saying that "Wind and solar energy are the Niagara Falls, as they can do a similar job of replacing polluting power from coal or nuclear plants to power a prosperous Ontario in the twenty-first century." more
Ontario acted properly in setting regulations for the placement of large wind turbines, an Ontario court has decided.
A Superior Court of Justice panel has rejected the application from anti-wind activists. They had sought to strike down regulations governing how close turbines can be erected to dwellings. Turbines must be located at least 550 metres from dwellings. But the anti-wind groups had argued that the province had no scientific basis for setting that standard. more
New agencies are reporting that the Harper government is planning a $222-million or 20% reduction in spending at Environment Canada. This includes a $141 million cut to climate change and clean air initiatives!
Tell the Prime Minister, Environment Minister Peter Kent and the leaders of the opposition that you are opposed to this decision! more
February 28, 2011by Julia Kilpatrick, The Pembina Institute
When James Hansen says there's a "silver bullet" in the fight against climate change, I'm inclined to keep listening.
The author, professor and NASA climatologist is world- renowned for both his scientific expertise and his outspoken views on the need for world governments - particularly his own - to take strong and swift action to deal with climate change by curbing fossil fuel use. He's also well aware of the economic forces driving nations to develop their natural resouces. more
The fate of the World will be in your hands and time is running out!
"Fate of the World is a great way to introduce people to the challenge of slowing down and reversing climate change and engage them in the solutions which will eventually save the planet. Many are now willing to roll up their sleeves, and we hope that the master plans for the planet in this game will also inspire people to design their own missions for positive change in the real world." more
After two years of stimulus spending and years of tax cuts, Canada's debt has ballooned to $56 billion. NOw the Harper government is sharpening the axe. Who will feel the cut? Given the Conservative's position on social spending, they will likely focus on provincial transfers that support healthcare and social welfare.
Meanwhile, the federal government subsidizes oil sompanies to the tune of $1.4 bilion every year, according to the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD). It's more if you factor in other fossil fuels such as coal. If the government is looking for ways to pay down the debt, ending fossil fuesl subsidies in the 2011 - 12 budget is a good place to start. more
A battle over foreign environmental policies that target Alberta's oilsands has spilled over into a meeting between Prime Minister Stephen Harper and European Union President Jose Manuel Barroso, according to newly released EU documents.
The briefing notes prepared by EU officials for the negotiations reveal Canadian officials at the highest levels were pressuring their European counterparts to turn away from stringent environmental policies in order to protect the oilsands industry. more
The Government of Canada gives out $1.4 billion annually in tax subsidies to the fossil fuel sector. Although Prime Minister Harper and other world leaders committed to phasing out these subsidies at a G20 meeting in Pittsburgh in 2009, the federal government has not moved to end the tax breaks it offers to companies producing carbon-polluting fuels in Canada.
Please email the Prime Minister and your Member of Parliament to call on the federal government to use the 2011 budget as an opportunity to end special tax breaks for oil, coal and gas companies. more
Far more Canadians than Americans believe climate change is real. according to a report produced by U. S. and Canadian think tanks. The report, based on the results of two national surveys of public opinion on climate change, was to be released Wednesday by the Public Policy Forum and Sustainable Prosperity and their project partners.
Respondents on both sides of the border were asked their opinion on a range of issues on climate change, starting with whether they believed it was real. In Canada, 80 per cent believe in the science behind climate change, compared with 58 per cent in the United States. more
There's been some disturbing, yet oddly reassuring news on the climate front recently. A report in the scientific journal Nature has for the first time linked a specific weather event to human induced climate change - in this case, to heavy rainfall that led to devastating floods in Britain in 2000.
A second report also in Nature - this one from Canadian scientists - has detected a link between climate change and more severe storms hitting the Northern Hemisphere since 1950. more
February 21, 2011by Douglas Fischer & The Daily Climate, Scientific American
Bad news for - achoo! - those who sniffle, er suffer their way through ragweed - sniff, snort, itch - season: A team of researchers have found that increased warming, particularly in the northern half of North America, has added weeks to the fall pollen season.
It's enough to make you grab a tissue: Minneapolis has tacked 16 days to the ragweed pollen season since 1995; LaCrosse, Wisconsin has added 13 days, Winnipeg and Saskatoon in Canada have added 25 and 27 days, respectively. more
Canada has threatened to scrap a trade deal with the European Union if the EU persists with plans that would block imports of Canada's highly polluting tar sands, according to documents and sources.
The European Union has already told its fuel suppliers to reduce the carbon footprint of fuels by 6 percent over the next decade, and is now fine-tuning "default values" to help suppliers identify the most carbon-intensive imports. more
February 14, 2011by Marcus Gee, The Globe and Mail
When not-in-my-backyard groups fight to kill a garbage dump or a gravel pit, it is at least possible to see where they are coming from. When they kill something like an offshore wind farm, designed expressly to help the environment, things are getting weird.
Last week, the government of Ontario quietly announced it was placing a moratorium on building wind farms in the Great Lakes. Well-organized residents groups have campaigned tirelessly against the idea. The transparently political decision, taken just months before a provincial election, douses Toronto Hydro's hopes of erecting a complex of wind turbines off the Scarborough Bluffs. more
A campaign launched against Environment Minister Peter Kent in his Toronto-area riding is not going to ``scare`` the government into backing down on their views of the Alberta oilsands, the minister said Friday.
`They don`t scare me.` said Kent in an interview with Postmedia News. `As long as they deal in the facts and the science...we have nothing to be embarrassed about.`more
Video showing Enbridge deny responsibility for its major oil spill in Michigan. Are we going to let them bring disastrous oil spills to BC's pristine Great Bear Rainforest? Keep Enbridge out of the Great Bear! Share this video with your networks and community to get the word out!! more
February 4, 2011by Lauren Morello & ClimateWire, Scientific American
A severe drought last year in the Amazon rainforest outpaced a 2005 dry spell thought to be a once-in-a-century event, a new study finds.
Researchers from the UK and Brazil also said the pair of droughts have raised concerns that the forest could be approaching a point where it ceases to be a carbon "sink," absorbing more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than it produces, and flips to a carbon source. more
February 4, 2011by Elizabeth Shope, NRDC's staff blog
Today, while President Obama met with Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper at the White House, environmental groups staged a rally in Lafayette Park outside the White House. The protestors held colorful signs depicting each of the states along the Keystone XL pipeline's right-of-way, as well as other states put at risk by tar sands pipelines and refineries. Both the press conference held by Obama and Harper after their meeting and the rally were well attended by media.
Tar sands, a high-carbon fuel which causes much more environmental destruction and health risks than conventional oil, was on today's agenda for the Obama-Harper meeting. Canada has been lobbying heavily for the U.S. - and European and Asian countries - to import more of this dirty fuel. Nevertheless, President Obama held strong in their meeting. more
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper will travel to Washington Friday February 4 to meet with President Obama. "Clean Energy is reportedly on the agenda. But more likely to come up is dirty energy from tar sands, and the proposed TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline from Alberta to Texas.
Download a photo with a blank cartoon-style speech bubble. Using an image editor such as Photoshop, add what you think harper or Obama will say, or should say, on the topic of dirty oil from the Alberta tar sands. Extra points for humour. Upload your image and it will be added to a gallery of images. more
The office of newly-minted Environment Minister Peter Kent went ballistic Wednesday over a Postmedia report that Canada is on pace to be nearly 30 per cent above its 2020 target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions under the international Copenhagen agreement on global warming
The article was in response to a speech Kent gave last Friday in which he blasted critics for daring to suggest the government has no plan for the environment. more
February 2, 2011by Tony Iallonardo, National Wildlife Federation
President Obama and Canadian Prime Minsiter Stephen Harper will meet Friday and "clean energy" is reportedly on the agenda according to the Canadian Broadcasting Company. More likely to come up however is dirty energy from tar sands.
A decision on the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline is probably only weeks away after all. The maligned project would lock the U.S. into decades of dirty tar sands oil from Canada. more
February 1, 2011by Clare Demerse, The Pembina Institute
I watched one of Peter Kent's very first interviews as Environment Minister - on CBC's Power and Politics back in early January - with a few of my colleagues. Comparing notes afterwards, we were all puzzled by a comment he made about Canada's national greenhouse gas emission target, which is to cut emissions to 17 per cent below the 2005 level in 2020. Based on his initial briefings from Environment Canada, Minister Kent said, he had some good news: "we've already achieved almost a quarter of that 17 per cent reduction."
We'd love to see that, but we knew that isn't what the data shows. more
The Haroer government's existing climate change policies won't stop greenhouse gas emissions from increasing to levels that are nearly 30 per cent higher than its new target for 2020 under the Copenhagen Accord, Environment Canada has revealed.
According to newly released figured posted on the department's website, Canada's annual emissions would rise by about 16 per cent above 2005 levels by 2020 if there is no government action to fight climate change. more
Less than a week after its members were announced, an Alberta oil sands panel has lost one of them over strict confidentiality rules she felt would prevent her from involving other groups, including aboriginals, in the panel's work.
American water policy expert Helen Ingram submitted her resignation to Alberta Environment on Tuesday, five days after Environment Minister Rob Renner announced the composition of the panel. It's the latest blow as the province continues to pledge it will strengthen monitoring of the oil sands. more
February 1, 2011by David Suzuki & Faisal Moola, Straight.com
Ripping a page - or the cover - from fellow Conservative and former tobacco industry lobbyist Ezra Levant's book, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his new environment minister, Peter Kent, have taken to referring to the product of the Alberta tar sands as "wthical oil"
The Prime Minister and Mr. Levant go back a long way. It was Mr. Levant who reluctantly stepped aside as the Alliance candidate in Calgary Southwest so that Mr. Harper could run in a by-election there in 2002. But the "ethical oil" argument they promote has holes as big as the ones in the ground around Fort McMurray. more
It has been three years since the federal government promised to come up with a national strategy to reduce greenhouse gases and to help the country adapt to the impacts of global warming. Where there should be an adaptation policy or a list of priority actions, there is still a void.
Whether the federal government chooses to believe it or not, Canada is not immune to the effects of climate change. No country is. more
January 31, 2011by Hanneke Brooymans, Edmonton journal
The organization charged with monitoring aquatic impacts of the oilsands industry was hit with a highly critical external review report Monday.
The report says that the existing Regional Aquatics Monitoring Program is not sufficient to detect changes if they occur, couldn't identify potential sources for change if the changes are detected, is not asking the types of questions that the program should be asking, nor is it monitoring the kinds of things they should be to answer the proper questions. more
Federal Environment Minister Peter Kent has only been on the job for three weeks but says he's already tired of the criticism from people who think the government is not taking any action on the environment.
"As an aside, just weeks into this job let me say how especially frustrating I find the constant, critical refrain that this government has no environment plan," he said Friday in Toronto during a noon-hour speech with the Economic Club of Canada. more
January 27, 2011by Hanneke Brooymans, Edmonton Journal
The Alberta government has abandoned efforts to increase energy efficiency in the building code, says the Pembina Institute.
In its 2008 Climate Change strategy, the province declared that increasing energy efficiency would be one of the plan's three prongs. Since then, public consultations and two technical reports have been completed, along with a poll in 2010 that found 87 per cent of Albertans support implementing stronger energy-efficiency standards on new homes, the institude noted. more
Stop Government Handouts to the Oil Industry in Budget 2011
Time: Jan 26 at 4:30pm - Mar 31st at 7:30pmLocation: Your MP's Office
Get the Government to End Tax Breaks to Dirty Fuels!
We are only weeks away from the 2011 federal budget and the federal government continues to give billions of dollars in tax breaks to the companies producing oil and gas in Canada. Analysis shows a total of $1.4 billion per year in federal tax breaks alone, with a disproportionate share going to dirty fuels such as the Alberta Tar Sands.
Lets take action and ensure the government stops these irresponsible tax-breaks in 2011!! more
January 26, 2011by Jeffrey Simpson, The Globe and Mail
It was a pity, although quite predictable, that new Environment Minister Peter Kent should have leaped to defend the oil sands even before being briefed by his department. Mr. Kent was briefed, of course - by the Prime Minister's Office, where the lines had been scripted for the oil sand's new song-and-dance man.
The oil sands are going to be developed. The issue is how, at what rate and under what circumstances. In that connection, it's too bad Mr. Kent didn't read, smong other things, the latest report by the Royal Society of Canada. more
Deadline: February 4, 2011Held by: Environmental Defence
On his first week on the job as Environment Minister, Peter Kent came out swinging to defend the tar sands as 'ethical oil' and claiming the tar sands are 'regulated'. Mr. Kent needs to know that leaking toxic waste, soaring global warming pollution, and habitat and species destruction are anything but ethical.
Enter to win an iPad while helping our new federal Environment Minister understand the ethics of his role as the elected official responsible for reversing the growth of pollution from the tar sands! more
Canada's ambassador to the United States wrote to the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last fall, asking it to disregard greenhouse gas emissions from Alberta oil extraction as it decides whether to support a proposed massive Canadian pipeline to Texas.
As well, one Alberta bureaucrat warned the EPA its greenhouse gas policies could place at risk "the longstanding energy trading relationship between our two jurisdictions." more
Time: January 23rd 10am to January 29th at 5pmLocation: Dalhousie Killam Atrium
Feel strongly about Climate Justice? Do you think the issue needs more attention? If so, join us for a moment, an hour, a day or an entire week as we camp out in the Killam Atrium to raise awareness of the environmental crisis we are facing and demand that the government take more action! more
The province of Ontario has leapt ahead of New Jersey to take second place in solar photovoltaic (PV) rankings for 2010. ONtario still trails California. At the current rate of growth ,however, the solar upstart could rival California in 2011. The only other competitor for the top slots is Colorado. more
Canada and the European Union have entered the sixth round of trade talks this week for what could be the largest free trade agreement since NAFTA. But critics from both sides of the Atlantic are protesting outside the EU Headquarters in Brussels to voice their concerns the deal will be neither good for the environment nor the economy.
The Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), which has largely gone unreported, has been in the works since October 2009 and INternational Trade Minister Peter Van Loan has said negotiations could be wrapped up by the end of this year more
New Environment Minister Peter Kent has a big problem. For five years, the Conservative mantra on climate change has been that Canada must harmonize our targets and programs with the U.S.. That was an easy cop out, as long as the Americans were doing what Harper's government was doing -- nothing.
It's now show time for the new Minister and the Harper government, because the Americans are at last doing something. more
Since I arrived home in December, people have been asking me about my experience as a Canadian Youth Delegate to COP 16, the sixteenth round of climate change negotiations at the United Nations. The conversation usually starts off with them asking, "did you have fun in Mexico?"
The first couple of times this happened, I wasn't quite sure what to say. Did I have fun in Mexico...did I meet a lot of interesting people? Definitely. Did I learn more in two weeks than I ever thought was humanly possible? WIthout a doubt. Was I glad that I went? Absolutely. But did I have fun in Mexico? No, not really. more
On the morning of January the 14th a group of protestors invaded the Department for BUsiness, Innovation and Skills and are demanding a meeting with Stephen Green, the new Minister for Trade. Calling themselves the "Big Society Trade Negotiators", they are concerned that trade negotiations between the EU and Canada, due to start in Brussels on MOnday, will dramatically boost Europe's involvement in the Canadian Tar Sands - the most destructive project on earth.
Unbeknownst to most citizens, the EU and Canada are in the midst of negotiating an ambitious free trade deal (the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA) that could open up the European market to imports of carbon-intensive Tar Sands oil for the first time Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the talks is the plan to allow multinational companies like BP and Shell to sue national governments over social and environmental regulations. more
Crews hired by Enbridge to clean up its oil spill in a wetland area of MIchigan last July are still on site.
Beth Wallace, the National Wildlife Federation's global warming program assistant, grew up in a town called Battle Creek, close to the spill site. Next Thursday (January 20, 2011), she will speak at a panel discussion in Kitsilano, organizaed by environmental froup ForestEthics. more
Global investment in clean energy reached a record of $243 billion in 2010, a 30% increase on 2009 levels, according to research house Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF)
2011 will have to be a very strong year to beat 2010. "At this stage, the signs are encouraging," said Michael Liebreich, chief executive of London-based BNEF, citing that costs will come down for solar panels and wind turbines, and the increasing availability of private sector debt and equity finance. more
January 14, 2011by UK Tar Sands Network, Rabble.ca
On Friday morning, a group of protesters invaded Britain's Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and are demanding a meeting with Stephen Green, the New Minister for trade.
Calling themselves the "Big Society Trade Negotiators," they are concerned that trade negotiations between EU and Canada, due to start in Brussels on Monday, will dramatically boost Europe's involvement in the Canadian tar sands -- the most destructive project on earth. more
For the third time in two month, Texas officials have lost a legal bid to keep the Obama administration from regulating carbon dioxide emissions from power plants in the Lone Star State.
Wednesday, a federal appeals court rejected a request from Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) and state attorney general Greg Abbott to bar the Environmental Protection Agency from taking over the state's greenhouse gas permitting program. more
Judging by the turnover rate alone, it's clear that being Stephen Harper's environment minister isn't easy for anyone. But for the newest recruit, Thornhill MP Peter Kent, the assignment might be even tougher than usual.
That's because Kent took the job just as new U.S regulations are shining a spotlight on our government's inaction on climate change. more
A Saskatchewan farm couple say greenhouse gases that were supposed to be stored permanently underground are leaking out, killing animals and sending groundwater foaming to the surface like shaken-up soda pop.
Cameron and Jane Kerr, who own land above the Weyburn oilfield in eastern Saskatchewan, have released a consultant's report that claims to link high concentrations of carbon dioxide in their soil to gas injected underground every day. more
January 10, 2011by P.J. Partington, Pembina Institute
As anticipated for many months now, the US environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) new regulations for industrial greenhouse gases took effect on January 2. And despite dire warnings from some U.S. industry lobby groups, the sky appears to have remained in place!
This is hardly a surprise, given that requiring major new and modified facilities to apply the most energy efficient technology available (keeping in mind economic costs) is hardly a bank-busting proposition. more
January 6, 2011by Renata D'Aliesio, Calgary Herald
Canada's new Environment Minister Peter Kent says the oilsands have been unfarily demonized as an ecologically destructive development, lauding the resource as "ethical oil" and an economic boon for the entire country.
On his second day in the federal environmental portfolio, the Toronto-areas Conservative MP reiterated his predecessor's pledge to enhance water monitoring in northern Alberta's vast oilsands region. However, he said labels such as "dirty oil" and claims that bitumen extraction is the most destructive industrial activity on the planet are overblown.
Former California governor and Hollywood actor Arnold Schwarzenegger is coming to Canada for a cross-country speaking tour which will include stops in Calgary and Winnipeg on Jan. 25, Toronto on Jan. 26 and Montreal the next day.
The tour represnets Schwarzenegger's first formal public speaking engagements since he completed his term as governor on Monday.
Canada is getting used to winning the "fossil" awards for being a bad actor in the international climate negotiations. It begs the question of who Canada is actually representing in the climate talks? The Canadian people? Or the tar sands oil industry?
Whereas in the past Canada was one of the leaders in developing the existing climate treaty (the Kyoto Protocol), under the current federal government, Canada has tried to undermine the international negotiations at every step.
Listening to the discussions in Cancun at the climate negotiations, I wondered what would happen if the delegates focused on actions that are undermining reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Perhaps the countries here should take a look at some domestic decision coming up where they have the choice between clean and dirty energy - and take the opportunity of the international climate negotiations to announce their clean energy choice. For the US, this would mean saying no to the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.
At the Copenhagen climate conference, I had more optimism for international leadership to fight climate change. Here in Cancun, at this international climate conference, I am not as optimistic.
I do not see a country stepping up to the plate to take the strong action that we need. And what is more disturbing, Canada is undermining the fight against climate change in order to protect the interests of oil companies investing in tar sands extraction in Canada.
The year 2010 is expected to be one of the warmest years worldwide since the collection of reliable climate data began - and Canada's on track to record its hottest year yet.
The data released Thursday by the UN's weather agency, the World Meterorological Organiization, provides further evidence of a warming trend that has been seen for many years. Scientists blame a steady rise in man-made greenhouse gases, which have been building up in the atmosphere, trapping heat in. more
To be accurate, Canada wasn't exactly caught with its hand in the cookie jar. It was more as though it was caught by one of those traffic cameras, blatantly running a red light, making traffic with the green light screech to a halt to avoid an accident. But it took awhile before the photographic evidence could be processed and the ticket issued.
Except, it wasn't a one-time-deal - it has continued to run red lights in even more dangerous situations and with greater frequency and refuses to acknowledge that putting others in peril this way is at all wrong. more
November 30, 2010aege, Climate Action Network International
Let's say you're a tar sands loving North American government with a bit of a carbon dependency problem. You need a clever way to get away with doing nothing on climate change.
For Canada's Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, the solution surely seemed obvious: announce that you just can't lift a finger to deal with climate change unless the U.S moves first. As they say in Canada: problem solved, eh?more
Back again as Canada's environment minister, JOhn Baird wins an unprecedented three Fossil of the Day awards on the first day of UN climate talks in Cancun.
The Canadian government, led by reincarnated Environment Minister John Baird, has kicked off United Nations (UN) climate talks in Cancun, Mexico, by winning three Fossil of the Day awards - first, second and third place simultaneously! more
November 28, 2010Andy 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.
The White House, stung by its failure to legislate a cap-and-trade bill before the recent congressional elections, has a Plan B set to be implemented within weeks. The new U. S. rules - passed by executive order - are aimed at curbing emissions from large industrial facilities like refineries and cement factories. They go into effect Jan 2. more
A Canadian climate-change research foundation is celebrating its 10th anniversary, but has already begun winding down its operations after failing to get new funding from the Harper government.
The budget crunch at the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences comes on the heels of revelations that the government is leasing out the Amundsen, a coast guard icebreaker equipped to monitor climate change in the North, to a pair of fossil-fuel companies for oil exploration in the region. more
Canada will head into U.N climate talks in Cancun next week with a part-time environment minister, little chance of meeting its own emissions targets and under broad attack for the development of its oilsands.
The country regularly wins "Fossil of the day" awards from green groups at international meetings. more
November 24, 2010 Clare Demerse, Pembina Institute
Like a lot of climate collegues from around the world, I'll be packing my flip-flops later this week for the UN climate talks in Cancun, Mexico. Although I've never been much of a beach person, I'm hoping that the two-week conference can deliver some of the bulding blocks we need for a global effort to tackle climate change.
A year ago we headed into a similar meeting in Copenhagen hoping to see countries agree to a binding deal. Those negotiations fell far short, and as a result, expectations are more modest this time: Cancun is widely understood as a potential stone on the path to a full agreement a year from now, at the South Africa talks in 2011. more
The Harper government is on the defensive over its climate-change policy amid charges it is conspiring with the oil industry and Alberta to lobby for weaker emissions rules in the United States and Europe.
Environment Minister John Baird, brushed aside a report released by environmental groups on Monday that suggested the government has launched a co-ordinated campaign with Alberta and the oil industry to persuade governments to weaken U.S. and European greenhouse-gas emission regulations that would hurt oil sands producers. more
The federal government and Alberta are working to weaken climate policies in the U.S. and Europe in order to support the oilsands, according to environmental group Climate Action Network Canada.
The group released a report Monday finding "a concerted effort to weaken climate policies outside our borders, with the aim of ensuring that no doors are closed to Canada's highly polluting tar sands."more
Newly released federal documents reveal that, three major departments in the federal government have been actively co-ordinating a communications strategy with Alberta and its fossil-fuel industry to fight international global-warming policies that "target" oilsands production.
The documents obtained by Postmedia News, suggest that Environment Canada, Natural Resources Canada as well as the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, have collaborated on an "advocacy stradegy" in the United States to promote the oilsands and discourage environmental-protection policies. more
Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s defiant views on democracy and the environment have exploded together in one Parliament Hill uproar, as unelected Conservative senators killed a climate-change bill passed by a majority of elected MPs in the Commons.
The bill was killed without debate - the first time in at least 70 years that the Senate has killed legislation from the Commons without a hearing, according to parliamentary experts more
A report released last week by the Climate Action Network Canada tells the story behind the government's nearly $1.4 billion per year in tax breaks and subsidies to the oil, gas and coal industry in Canada. It shows that despite obvious problems, as well as domestic and international pressure, this government has actively tried to protect tax breaks to big fossil fuel companies.
With the forthcoming budget in early 2011, there is an urgent opportunity for the government to stop being reckless and end these giveaways.more
What do you do when your entire homeland is slipping into the sea? This is the earth shattering reality facing the Polynesian nation of Tuvalu, rapidly being reclaimed by the Pacific owing to rising sea levels.
For the families of this small, slivered island nation, climate change is not something to prepare for in the distant future; it is a reality leading to the melting of the polar ice caps and currently stripping them of their homes, their livelihoods and their ancestry. more
In just four short weeks UN delegates return to the table at the 2010 UN climate summit to be held in Mexico with the hope of making progress on fair, ambitious and legally binding climate treaty. Though the outcome of this meeting is as of yet uncertain, one thing at least is clear - the climate movement has blossomed, growing into a powerful positive force for action that reflects a broaddiversity of stakeholders.
If the climate movement in the past was defined by iconic images of polar bears floating on ice and desperate pleas to world leaders, this year it is being defined by thousands of outspoken voices who are moving into action - from those in the poorest communities already suffering the impacts of climate change, to those working to protect our last rainforests or cutting CO2 emissions by installing solar panels on their rooftops.more
Environmental groups say they may have lost their "best hope" for change within Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government following the departure of Jim Prentice as environmental minister.
But after three ministers in the same portfolio, they say they remain skeptical about whether anyone can get Harper to take significant action to protect the environment, rather than the interests of oil and gas companies.more
November 4, 2010 David Ljunggren, Allan Dowd & Rob Wilson, Yahoo News
Canadian Environment Minister Jim Prentice announced his resignation on Thursday, saying he will leave the high-profile government post for a senior position at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.
Prentice said the time had come for him to leave public service, but he has been frequently mentioned as a possible contender for the Conservative Party leadership should Prime Minister Stephen Harper decide to step aside.more
November 3, 2010 Richard Blackwell, The Globe and Mail
The one bright spot for Canadian environmentalists in Tuesday’s U.S. midterm elections was the defeat of Proposition 23, the California proposal that would have suspended that state’s emissions-reduction law until unemployment rates fell sharply. more
Environmental groups today urged the governments of Ontario and Quebec to move forward on promises to clamp down on large polluters in the wake of a vote in California that saw citizens reject a ballot proposal to put that state’s climate efforts on hold. If the vote had succeeded, a North American push on large polluters that Ontario and Quebec are a part of – the Western Climate Initiative – may have stalled, since California is seen to be the anchor state in the effort. more
A widely agreed international target to avoid dangerous global warming must take account of local impacts and may need to change, said the chief scientist at the MetOffice Hadley Center, Britain's biggest climate research center.
Julia Slingo said the target of limiting global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius (2C) may need adjusting to take into account research into local and regional effects, particularly on rainfall patterns, as climate science advances. more
November 4, 2010 Suzanne Goldenberg and John Vidal, Guardian
Governments in the industrialised world must have a clear climate aid plan for developing countries if they want to avoid a fiasco at the Cancún climate conference this month, Brazil's environment minister, Izabella Teixeira, has warned.
In an interview with the Guardian before this week's preparatory ministers' meetings in Cancún, Teixeira said negotiators needed to show they can produce concrete agreements to restore faith in the international talks for a global climate deal. more
The carbon footprint of oil sands mining projects caused by land disturbance is greater than that of highly destructive bio-fuel projects in Indonesia, says a new study by U.S. and Canadian researchers. more
Let's begin with what may be a surprise: we at Environmental Defence agree with much of what federal Environment Minister Prentice has said in theTyee.ca recently regarding the tar sands industry. In particular, we were pleased with his comment on that industry's role in meeting national greenhouse pollution reduction targets -- that he intends ". . . to deal with all sorts of emissions in Canada in order to achieve those targets," and that "No one, including the oil sands, will receive a bye in that process." more
The science is clear. Carbon dioxide and methane are causing real climate change and the source of excess greenhouse gases is human activity. Among scientists, there is little debate. The theory is accepted.
That's not to say there is no debate. Outside the cloistered world of science, debate rages but this is a scientific question, non-scientists don't get a say. If ten doctors tell you that you have lung cancer, you understand the consequences and they frighten you. You don't ask the cigarette retailer for his opinion. You take action. more
The world is ill-prepared for the human toll from the expected increase in floods, droughts and extreme storms and hurricanes on the horizon.
So say experts like Peter Walker, director of the Tufts University-based Feinstein International Center near Boston. In late 2008, his organisation authored a report titled "Humanitarian Costs of Climate Change" for the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. more
The panel of experts concluded that the UN talks will not force countries to reduce emissions, the only way to stop run away global warming, only economic self interest will do that. Instead environmentalists should be putting pressure on their own governments, business and wider society to act.
Michael Jacobs, a former adviser to Gordon Brown on climate change who is now at the Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College London, said that the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) had made a “fundamental mistake” by expecting countries to sign up to binding targets to reduce emissions. more
Developing nations, particularly those lying near the equator, will need to adapt to increasing higher temperatures as the impacts of climate change threaten their agricultural output, and in turn, food security. more
The Alberta government provides about $1 billion a year in subsidies to the oil industry, but not necessarily to the benefit of the province's workers or the environment, according to a new report examining the benefits and trade-offs of government support. more
November 3, 2010 Richard Cuthbertson, Calgary Herald
American voters will likely turf Democrats in favour of Republicans, but the shift in U.S. politics expected in Tuesday's mid-term election won't suddenly spell smooth sailing for Alberta's efforts to sell the oilsands south of the border. more
A Chinese climate change official said countries share “a common duty and responsibility” to tackle the issue, even in the absence of an international agreement on what steps to take.
Nations shouldn’t delay acting on climate change, Sun Zhen, deputy general counsel at the National Development and Reform Commission’s department of climate change, said at a global warming forum in Hong Kong today. “Evidence of the effects of climate change is there,” he said. more
It has all the makings of a blockbuster movie -- Arnold Schwarzenegger battles alien powers while planet Earth's future hangs in the balance. But what sounds like Hollywood boilerplate is actually the story reaching its climax today in California.
And how people vote in that state will be felt soon enough here in British Columbia. Because the success or failure of Proposition 23 is going to have a major effect on whether the climate policies set in motion by Premier Gordon Campbell will gain momentum or lose a key regional partner. more
November 2, 2010 Rick Smith and Marlo Raynolds, Troy Media
Tough on crime. Tough on people smugglers. Tough on prison pensions. The list of things the federal government is getting tough on continues to grow – with a glaring exception. If the intention is to project a “getting tough” image, we need to be consistent and get tough on polluters.
Specifically, why is the federal government standing weakly on the sidelines while the oil sands industry makes a mockery of its national commitments to reduce global warming pollution? more
November 2, 2010 Carol Christian, Fort McMurray Today
Premier Ed Stelmach will be going to Fort Chipewyan, but when that trip happens has yet to be determined.
The trip from Fort McMurray to the aboriginal community downstream from oilsands development is thanks to the efforts of Stand With Fort Chipewyan, a student advocacy group spearheaded out of the University of Alberta. more
Federal Environment Minister Jim Prentice expects a North American cap-and-trade plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions will move to the back burner if Republicans make expected gains Tuesday in U.S. midterm elections. more
An oil price range of $70-90 per barrel is needed to stimulate investment in unconventional oil resources, Nobuo Tanaka, executive director of the International Energy Agency (IEA), said on Tuesday. more
One could be forgiven for thinking that the ducks, who are once again dying in the hundreds in Albertan tar sands tailings ponds, are trying to tell us something.
But before we get too smug, imagining that the fowl message is intended only for missing-in-action government regulators in Ottawa or Calgary or the conscience of oil executives, we should consider that they might be trying to warn us about a much more pervasive curse. more
November 2, 2010 Gina-Marie Cheeseman, TriplePundit
By now if you know anything about California’s ballot initiative Proposition 23 then you are familiar with the Texas oil company Valero. Besides being the largest donor to the pro-Proposition 23 campaign, Valero has ties to the tar sands in Alberta, BC, Canada. The Texas oil company owns several Alberta area refineries. Bill Day, Valero spokesperson, calls Canada “a tremendous potential supplier for us.” more
With another round of preparatory climate change talks starting in Mexico City this week to get ready for the Cancun climate summit, WWF is publishing a list of “policy prescriptions” for eleven of the world’s most influential nations to bring to the table of the UN climate negotiations. more
November 2, 2010 Lee Bergquist, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
A new study led by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison underscores the often conflicting goals of feeding a growing global population and working to combat climate change.
The study, published online Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, provides a detailed picture of how clearing land for farming also releases greenhouse gases into the environment. more
Polar bears and coral reefs are the usual poster children for victims of climate change—human children don’t usually come to mind. But it turns out that kids, too, are at special risk, especially if they live in the developing world, according to a new report published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. Already, 86 percent of deaths linked to climate change happen in children under five years old, according to the World Health Organization. more
Although there is an important role for scepticism in science, for almost 30 years some corporations have supported a disinformation campaign about climate change science.
It may be reasonable to be somewhat sceptical about climate change models, these untruths are not based upon reasonable scepticism but outright falsification and distortions of climate change science. more
Scientists are urging governments around the world to pour billions of dollars into a high-tech network of devices that would monitor the ocean's vital signs and warn of floods, droughts and other natural disasters.
An international consortium of researchers is in Beijing this week to press for an expanded ocean-based system that could identify salinity, temperature and anomalies that might alert countries to everything from earthquakes to tsunamis and droughts. more
Last month, Madeleine Bunting visited Mali to see the impact of climate change on the west African county. In Anakila, the effects are stark, as the community tries to prevent a sand dune encroaching on the remote town. more
The extreme fallout from the decision to slash people’s water entitlements in the Murray-Darling Basin highlights the significance of water as an environmental issue.
This water shortage is closely linked to climate change. The 13-year drought might have broken in Australia, but the problem is not going away. Research released by the South Eastern Australian Climate Initiative, reported here, reveals that the Murray-Darling Basin and much of the south-east of Australia is getting drier, despite the long overdue rains this year. more
Alberta’s rapidly expanding tar sands are creating double trouble: an environmental mess that feeds a public relations disaster. The latest example: hundreds more ducks were killed after landing in yet another tar sands tailings pond this week.
The province’s response has stressed damage control so far: a high-octane public relations counterattack bankrolled by Alberta’s $25 million war chest. Meanwhile, the federal government has basically abdicated responsibility to the province. more
The attacks on climate science that were made ahead of the Copenhagen climate change summit were "organised" to undermine efforts to tackle global warming and mirror the earlier tactics of the tobacco industry, according to the vice-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). more
Futuristic schemes for slowing climate change such as dimming sunlight are fraught with risks but will get a serious hearing from the U.N. panel of climate scientists, a leader of the panel said on Wednesday.
Thomas Stocker, co-chair of the panel's working group examining climate science, said some so-called geo-engineering solutions could disrupt world rainfall and might backfire by causing abrupt temperature rises if they go wrong. more
Oxfam has won the right to continue to claim in marketing campaigns that climate change is directly responsible for killing people, after the advertising watchdog dismissed complaints that the assertion could not be proven.
The charity ran a poster advertising campaign that stated: "People dying thanks to climate change is a long way off. About 5,000 miles, give or take ... Our politicians have the power to help get a climate deal back on track." more
There has never been a major oil spill in Vancouver harbour, but last week protesters who say a spill is inevitable took kayaks and canoes out into the water to stare down any oil tankers they could find. more
October 26, 2010 Jason Fekete, Calgary Herald; Postmedia News
Piccadilly Square in London is the latest international site in the Alberta government's oilsands marketing campaign.
On the heels of an Alberta government ad in New York's Times Square, the government of Premier Ed Stelmach is spending $30,000 on prooilsands electronic billboard ads in the heart of the British capital. more
Washington, Oct 26 (ANI): Scientists have revealed that as the ice-capped Arctic Ocean warms, ship traffic will increase at the top of the world.
And if the sea ice continues to decline, a new route connecting international trading partners may emerge - but not without significant repercussions to climate, says a U.S. and Canadian research team that included a University of Delaware scientist. more
Seoul, Korea, October 26, 2010 — The World Bank today announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding later this year with the Government of Korea, to strengthen cooperation and sharing of expertise in disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation among Asian nations. This is "both timely and relevant, given the increasing convergence of the disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation agendas," said World Bank Sector Director for Sustainable Development in the East Asia and Pacific region (EAP), John Roome, pledging Bank's support for the implementation of the Incheon road map at a high level plenary of the 4th Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction here today. more
Some people, such as Judith Curry, raise questions about the way climate policy is conducted and criticize specific aspects of climate science, but scientists--including Curry herself--broadly agree on the fundamentals: that the climate is warming, and that greenhouse gas emissions from human activity is the leading cause. Scientific American has covered aspects of this issue for 50 years, starting with an article in July 1959 ("Carbon Dioxide and Climate," by Gilbert N. Plass). We offer a selection of articles about root causes of climate shifts, possible solutions to the problem, and policy-related aspects. We hope these articles will help in continuing the discussion of this issue--perhaps the most important facing humans today. more
Negotiators may be able to agree on ways to adapt to climate change, transfer technologies and slow deforestation when they meet next month in Cancun, Mexico, a senior European Union official said today. more
This post examines the question of whether some US companies are guilty of a new kind of vicious crime against humanity that the world has yet to classify. This post is not meant to be a polemic but a call for serious engaged reflection about deeply irresponsible corporate-sponsored programs that have potentially profound harsh effects upon tens of millions of people living around the world, countless millions of future generations, and the ecological systems on which life depends. more
The biggest funder of a campaign to suspend American climate change legislation has strong ties to Alberta's oil sands.
Proposition 23, as the initiative is known, has become one of the most contested issues of California's upcoming election. It would put the state's strict greenhouse gas standards in limbo, and could imperil an international climate deal that B.C. helped pioneer. more
Even in the remote villages in eastern Mali when we pitch up, dusty and tired, children crowd around us eager for photographs. They love looking at the replay to find their faces reproduced in tiny form on the back of the camera. As I flicked through the images, I found an old one of my 14-year-old daughter and explained who she was. A group of elderly women pressed forward to have a look at this unfamiliar image of a blonde English girl. One woman, her face creased and lined with age, looked at me with astonishment, "So, you are an old woman," she said to me. I laughed and agreed that I was, indeed, an old woman. But as we looked each other in the eye, we both saw the gulf in our life experiences: we were probably about the same age but she looked 20 years older. more
BP and several other big European companies are funding the midterm election campaigns of Tea Party favourites who deny the existence of global warming or oppose Barack Obama's energy agenda, the Guardian has learned.
An analysis of campaign finance by Climate Action Network Europe (Cane) found nearly 80% of campaign donations from a number of major European firms were directed towards senators who blocked action on climate change. These included incumbents who have been embraced by the Tea Party such as Jim DeMint, a Republican from South Carolina, and the notorious climate change denier James Inhofe, a Republican from Oklahoma. more
JEFF Rubin says he believes that regardless of the scientific debate about how much oil might be left in the ground, its price will continue to escalate -- maybe even back to $100-plus per barrel level in a matter of weeks. more
Last night, I went to see the documentary Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change, which was a sold -out event at the Al Green Theatre. Directed by Zacharias Kunuk and Ian Mauro, the doc was shot in Inuktitut with English subtitles and preceded by Inuit High Kick, a short film made by Aleathea Arnaquq-Baril.
Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change explains how the thawing permafrost, shrinking ice and warmer weather of the Arctic affect its people. It also reveals the realities of indigenous and scientific thought, and what can happen when the two intersect. more
Why are so many people flat-out wrong about climate change? Why is it that there's a huge, sturdy foundation of scientific evidence supporting the idea that humans are warming the atmosphere, with a nearly unprecedented consensus among scientists that this is the case--and yet plenty of people still don't believe it? I caught up with Kathryn Schulz, the author of Being Wrong and former editor of Grist, at this year's Poptech to get her take: more
October 23, 2010 Jeffrey Simpson, The Globe and Mail
The Harper government, to its credit, put in a great deal of money to fund Canada’s participation in the International Polar Year, 2007-2008. For a government that doesn’t like talking about climate change and has among its supporters many who don’t think the Earth is warming, the results might be disturbing. more
October 23, 2010 Nathalie Heiberg-Harrison, The Delta Optimist
The World Wildlife Federation just released its 2010 Living Planet report, which includes more than 100 exceptionally uplifting pages about how, at this rate of consumption, we would need about 1.5 planets to sustain our habits. By 2030 the federation estimates we'll need two. more
The Harper government is falling short on its "fair share" of a $30-billion international fund to deal with climate change, according to a breakdown provided by Environment Canada and a recent analysis by an environmental think-tank. more
I was in the same room as his Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama for approximately 1.5 hours this afternoon. He made a visit to Toronto, Canada to address a crowd of over 30,000 in what could be summarized as a lesson of kindness. more
An economic study released yesterday on ongoing and worsening water shortages in municipalities from Georgia to California is sending a warning signal to the investment community and highlighting the link between environmental and financial security.
Called The Ripple Effect , the study warns investors of the hidden risks embedded in bonds backing public water utilities and municipal power plants, increasingly vulnerable to water shortages due to climate change. more
Changing climate conditions and the massive invasions of exotic species introduced by human migration and the global economy are two of the biggest factors driving native species and habitats toward extinction. Now a new study finds that the combination of climate change and invasive species is compounding the devastation of ecosystems. more
A U.S. court has ruled in favour of Enbridge Inc.' s Alberta Clipper bitumen pipeline in a case that pitted environmental and aboriginal groups against high-ranking government offi-cials, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. more
A couple of years back I bought a tiny device that looks like a cross between a windmill and one of those oil pump-jacks scattered across Alberta.
When I place the device on a cup of hot coffee it begins to slowly pump and spin. After a few seconds of gathering momentum it moves quite fast, powered only by the hot air rising from the coffee cup. more
The temperature is rising again in the Arctic, with the sea ice cover dropping to one of the lowest levels on record, climate scientists say.
The new Arctic Report Card, released Thursday, "tells a story of widespread, continued and even dramatic effects of a warming Arctic," said Jackie Richter-Menge of the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers facility. more
BEIJING, China - A global agreement to curb carbon emissions is possible at an upcoming U.N. climate conference but hinges on the efforts and political will of countries, the U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern said Friday in Beijing. more
A second report in as many weeks points to a much drier planet emerging as a result of climate change.
Researchers from the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research conclude that the warming global climate will likely create increasingly dry conditions across much of the globe over at least the next 30 years. more
New Delhi, Oct 22, 2010 (Coal Geology) The World Health Organisation (WHO) said next month’s climate change conference in Mexico must address health concerns in any legally-binding agreement on mitigating the impacts of global warming as it threatens human health. more
ST. ALBERT, Alta. — A judge will sentence Syncrude Canada Friday on federal and provincial charges stemming from the deaths of more than 1,600 ducks on one of its oilsands tailings pond two years ago. more
What's wrong with this picture? In B.C., taxpayers spend millions to subsidize mining, oil and gas industries, which create a third of all our climate-wrecking green house gases but only 1.2 per cent of provincial employment. Add in the manufacturing sector and the freight and transportation sector, and the imbalance is equally striking. Creating 81 per cent of B.C. emissions, these sectors only employ 15.5 per cent of B.C. workers. more
A scientist for the National Wildlife Federation, Doug Inkley, has criticised what he described as America's "addiction to oil". Inkley stated it is ultimately responsible for the Deepwater Horizon disaster earlier this year.
Inkley commented on the incident, six months after the explosion which killed eleven rig workers and resulted in over 170 million gallons of crude oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico causing damage to marine and wildlife habitats as well as the Gulf's fishing and tourism industries. more
October 21, 2010 Ed Brayton, The Michigan Messenger
Gov. Dave Heineman of Nebraska has written a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton raising concerns that the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry tar sands crude oil from Alberta, Canada to Texas and span some 300 miles through his state, could leak and contaminate the nation’s largest and most important aquifer. more
The United Nations should impose a moratorium on "geo-engineering" projects such as artificial volcanoes and vast cloud-seeding schemes to fight
climate change, green groups say, fearing they could harm nature and mankind.The risks were too great because the impacts of manipulating nature on a vast scale were not fully known, the groups said at a major U.N. meeting in Japan aimed at combatting increasing losses of plant and animal species. more
Researchers have indicated that as the Earth's climate gets warmer, species are expected to shift their geographical ranges away from the equator or to higher elevations.
"This study illustrates the critical need for long-term research to address our most pressing ecological challenges," Nature quoted Saran Twombly, program director in the National Science Foundation (NSF)'s Division of Environmental Biology, which funded the research, as saying. more
Some of the "big economies of the future" are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change, according to a new study published today.
UK consultancy Maplecroft identified Bangladesh and India as the two countries facing the greatest risks to their populations, ecosystems and business environments after ranking 170 countries based on their exposure to climate-related natural disasters and their social, economic and political ability to adapt to a changing climate. more
October 20, 2010 Caitlin Sislin, High Country News
George Poitras of the Mikisew Cree First Nation – a tribal nation whose traditional homeland lies downstream from Canada’s Athabascan tar sands – articulated the devastating impacts of oil development on traditional peoples when he said, “if we don't have land and we don't have anywhere to carry out our traditional lifestyles, we lose who we are as a people.” A decision by the U.S. State Department this week represents a significant step towards the preservation of the homeland and culture of indigenous peoples impacted by the tar sands. more
OTTAWA — The federal government is contributing to international controversy over the oilsands by failing to live up to its legal and constitutional responsibilities to regulate the industry, says a new report released on Wednesday.
The analysis, Duty Calls: Federal responsibility in Canada's oilsands, highlights at least five different laws that require the government to act, not including its constitutional responsibilities toward aboriginal peoples. more
High-ranking Canadian officials and several of the world's largest oil companies are fighting attempts by the European Union to deal with climate change. They're lobbying heavily against a fuel standard provision proposed last year, which they fear will restrict energy imports from Alberta's oil sands, a high emitter of greenhouse gases.
This informal coalition scored a major victory earlier this March, and is now doing all it can to defend it. more
October 20, 2010 Jeffrey Simpson, The Globe and Mail
Forget Hollywood director James Cameron, who swept through Alberta recently to draw attention to the environmental problems of the oil/tar sands. He came and went, cameras in tow, his visit largely (if wrongly) dismissed by defensive locals as a publicity stunt.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development in Paris, however, can’t be so easily dismissed. In diplomatic language, the organization tore a strip off Alberta for its short-sightedness in energy policy. In contrast to Norway and Chile, the OECD found that Alberta isn’t building up a fund from oil and gas revenues to be used for the benefit of future generations. more
October 20, 2010 Mark Schleifstein, The Times-Picayune
Economic losses along the coasts of Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi and Alabama caused by rising seas, subsidence and hurricane damage could total $350 billion by 2030, if no steps are taken to counteract the effects of subsidence and global warming, according to a new report commissioned by Entergy Corp. and the America's WETLAND Foundation. more
October 20, 2010 Tommy Dharmawan, The Jakarta Post
Climate change is responsible for 2.4 percent of all cases of diarrhea worldwide and for 2 percent of all cases of malaria, according to the WHO.
Moreover, an estimated 150,000 deaths and 5.5 million “disability-adjusted life years” were recorded in 2000 due to climate change. “There is growing evidence that changes in global climate will have profound effects on the health and well-being of citizens in countries throughout the world. more
TOKYO — Bear attacks have shot up in Japan this year and sightings of the animals have spiked, a trend blamed on climatic changes and shifting land use patterns, officials and media reports said on Wednesday. more
Cava growers are battling to keep the wine's fizz, Burgundy is struggling with pinot noir grapes that ripen more quickly, and Argentina and Chile are moving wine production higher into the cool Andes - as climate change threatens the world's wines. more
Imagine how this feels: The land and weather are turning erratic and dangerous. Warmer, unpredictable winds are coming from strange directions. Severe floods threaten to wash away towns. And native animals, the food supply, aren’t behaving as they used to, their bodies less capable in the changing climate. more
October 19, 2010 Jeremy Brecher, Brendan Smith, and Lisa Hoyos, AlterNet
What will be the impact of climate change on California workers if the US and other countries around the world fail to significantly reduce green house gas emissions? In other words, what happens in a "do nothing" scenario? more
October 19, 2010 Ben Gorssman-Cohen, The Huffington Post
Every day seems to bring a new story of the impacts of climate change on poor farmers and families around the world. Last week, the New York Times brought us a dramatic report of scorched farmland in the "heartland of the Fertile Crescent" where hundreds of thousands of people have fled as dispossessed farmers and their families in Syria and Iraq adjust to four consecutive years of drought. more
WASHINGTON — Large swathes of the planet could experience extreme drought within the next 30 years unless greenhouse gas emissions are cut, according to a study released Tuesday.
"We are facing the possibility of widespread drought in the coming decades, but this has yet to be fully recognized by both the public and the climate change research community," said National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) scientist Aiguo Dai, who conducted the study. more
October 19, 2010 Jeffrey Rubin, The Huffington Post
America is banking on a lot more Canadian bitumen exports to supply it with oil in the future. Already the single largest source of the US's imported oil, the Alberta tar sands' supply could soon comprise as much as almost a third of America's total oil imports--apart from the fact that it's far from clear whether or not the rest of the Canadian economy could afford the consequences. more
October 18, 2010 Fabrice Taylor, The Globe and Mail
The preliminary prospectus for the initial public offering of Whistler Blackcomb Holdings Inc. offers plenty to regale the ski enthusiast cum investor. But what it doesn’t much talk of, strangely enough, is the weather, particularly climate change.
There are only two references to the topic in the documents filed by the famed ski resort and they both gloss over the subject, although the issuer does acknowledge that a warming trend could lead to “material” consequences. more
With the cost of regular gasoline hovering above $1 a litre, wasting this precious commodity is an expensive proposition that is placing a needless burden on the environment. With this in mind, the following are 10 fuel-saving tips that will help keep the air cleaner and more of your hard-earned cash in your wallet. more
October 18, 2010 Leslie Kaufman, The New York Times
SALINA, Kan. — Residents of this deeply conservative city do not put much stock in scientific predictions of climate change.
“Don’t mention global warming,” warned Nancy Jackson, chairwoman of the Climate and Energy Project, a small nonprofit group that aims to get people to rein in the fossil fuel emissions that contribute to climate change. “And don’t mention Al Gore. People out here just hate him.” more
The Hoover Dam may be the Eighth Wonder of the World, but to me the more impressive achievement has always been Lake Mead, the man-made reservoir—which can contain nearly 10 trillion gallons of water—that the dam holds back. Lake Mead is a vast, living tank of water in the middle of the Nevada desert, as unexpectedly remarkable as Las Vegas itself. But the lake is also a keystone in the complex irrigation system that keeps the parched states of the American Southwest wet with the waters of the Colorado River. Las Vegas gets 90% of its water from Lake Mead, and the sight of the rocky reservoir filled to the brim has always been a reassuring sign for a town built on luck. more
October 18, 2010 Michael Posner, The Globe and Mail
Global warming will wreak havoc on Canada’s infrastructure unless governments and individuals start adapting now, a panel of experts has told a Toronto gathering.
“We have a real crisis,” said Paul Kovacs, executive director of the London, Ont.-based Institute for Catastrophic Loss told a meeting on the environment held by the Royal Canadian Geological Society and the National Round Table on the Economy and the Environment. more
Former Vice President Dick Cheney has to be smiling. With one exception, none of the Republicans running for the Senate — including the 20 or so with a serious chance of winning — accept the scientific consensus that humans are largely responsible for global warming. more
Four medical associations signed up to the 10:10 campaign today, acknowledging climate change could pose the "biggest global health threat of the 21st century": the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Royal College of Nursing, the Royal College of Psychiatrists and Great Ormond Street hospital.
Tens of thousands of GPs and thousands of psychiatrists and the RCN will be encouraged to increase energy efficiency to reduce carbon emissions. more
Bruce March, chief executive officer of Imperial Oil — 70 percent owned by ExxonMobil — delivered a dispassionate assessment of unconventional resource development (especially the oil sands and shale gas) earlier in October. more
James Hansen is a physicist and head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space
Studies in New York. He is also a well known climate change expert and activist. Earlier this month he travelled to Alberta to address a public hearing into Total's plans to expand its Joslyn oilsand mine.
Here is an edited version of media interviews with Hansen. more
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - Climate change is causing growing internal population migrations and displacements in Africa, a top official of the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), Chrysantus Ache, said Friday. Ache, the UNHCR representative at the African Union and the Economic Commission for Africa, said more and more people were on the move, escaping climate change-induced disasters such as droughts and flooding. more
Alberta Finance Minister Ted Morton visited The Globe and Mail editorial board on Thursday, October 14. The following are some excerpts from that conversation, which touched on the environment and energy, health care, Alberta’s finances, and provincial and federal politics. more
GENEVA — A senior World Trade Organisation official said Thursday that hard thought must be given to WTO-enforced restrictions on multibillion dollar subsidies for polluting fuels such as oil and coal.
October 14, 2010 Lucia Graves, The Huffington Post
Pennsylvania Senate candidate Pat Toomey drew headlines when he said in a local radio interview on Friday, that the degree to which human activity is to blame for global warming is being "very much disputed" and "debated."
It's not the first time he's made the argument.
"There is much debate in the scientific community as to the precise sources of global warming," Toomey claimed in June. more
Not to use an overly technical term here, but there's a neat paper in this week's Science that explains clearly why carbon dioxide (CO2) is the main agent behind changes in the Earth's climate—now and in the geologic past. First a bit of background: one argument you might hear from skeptics of manmade climate change is that CO2 is much less important as an atmospheric warming agent than water vapor. more
Although water is plentiful in Canada today, studies suggest there may not be enough to go around for the generations to come.
Available water in southern Canada has been on a steady decline since 1971, according to research by Statistics Canada. The effect of climate change, poor management of stormwater run-off and antiquated sewage plants are contributing factors. more
Toronto – The Green Energy Act Alliance (GEAA), a coalition of farmers, First Nations, trade unionists, environmentalists and builders of clean energy, applauded today's announcement by the Ontario government that it is shutting down four coal-fired units today. more.
James Cameron, one of the world's most famous story tellers, is the sort of Black Swan that multinational oil companies and Alberta politicians never imagined would land anywhere near their huge toxic tailing ponds in Canada's oil sands. Although imperfectly prepared for ducks and geese, neither big oil nor Canada's Saudi princes had any idea how to deter let alone welcome a big Hollywood bird.
Yet after three days of sponging up the energy-intensive nature of bitumen and the corrosive politics of oil sands development, Cameron, the Canadian-born son of an electrical engineer and a physics major, managed to say what no Canadian politician has had the courage to declare about the mega project: "It will be a curse if not managed properly or it could be a great gift if managed properly... Right now it's going in the wrong direction... I think the federal and provincial government need to play a stronger role." more
September 30, 2010 Jodie Sinnema, Edmonton Journal
A Fort McMurray doctor plans to approach Alberta's health minister in the coming days to ask him to change or throw out a proposed staff bylaw that encourages doctors to advocate for patients internally before speaking publicly about public health issues.
Dr. Michel Sauve says the bylaw will muzzle doctors. They will be afraid they may lose their jobs or their hospital privileges if they talk to the media about their concerns before seeking permission internally from Alberta Health Services, Sauve said. more
September 30, 2010 Miriam Geronimus, The Daily Princetonian
Science is inherently uncertain. When scientists test a hypothesis, they can reject the hypothesis or support it, but they can never prove it. There is always the possibility that future research will qualify or even nullify previous work. But if I were to tell you that gravity is just a theory, you would laugh at me. The theory of gravity may have its limitations, but the understanding we gain from not rejecting its implications is vastly beneficial. The uncertainty of science is no reason to stand paralyzed in inaction. And it is no reason to pretend that something like climate change is still controversial or to refer to a skeptic like S. Fred Singer GS ’48 as an expert on par with leading climate scientists. more
The Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of science, has today launched a new short guide to the science of climate change. The guide has been written to summarise the evidence and to clarify the levels of confidence associated with the current scientific understanding of climate change. It makes clear what is well-known and established about the climate system, what is widely agreed but with some debate about details, and what is still not well understood. more
September 27, 2010 Paul Bickford, Northern News Services
Francois Paulette is pleased with his recent trip to Washington, D.C., as part of a delegation lobbying against Alberta's oil sands project with American legislators, particularly against a proposed pipeline to the U.S.
Paulette, a resident of Fort Fitzgerald, Alta., and a member of Smith's Landing First Nation, said the three-member delegation met with about nine representatives and senators during their Sept. 20 to 22 visit, along with several environmental organizations. more
September 29, 2010 Richard Gilbert, Journal of Commerce
Suncor Energy claims to be the first oilsands producer to complete the surface reclamation of a tailings pond, but a sustainable energy think tank is not so sure this historic milestone has been achieved.
“We said we would be first to complete surface reclamation of a tailings pond and we have delivered on this important commitment,” said Rick George, Suncor president and CEO. more
With Alberta already enduring this week's tension-filled tour of the oilsands by Canadian-born Avatar director James Cameron, another high-profile oilsands controversy -- this one with links to Brad Pitt and Robert Redford -- is about to move into the spotlight.
A U.S. court hearing Friday could put a major roadblock in front of a contentious bid by Imperial Oil to send more than 200 oversized truckloads of oilsands equipment along a highway that winds through Idaho and Montana en route to an open-pit bitumen operation in northern Alberta. html">more
The Copenhagen Accord is so full of holes that even if countries stick to their targets there could still be a 4.2-degree rise in temperature by 2100, says a new report.
As the United Nations Climate Change Conference kicks off, a new report in IOP Publishing's Environmental Research Letters describes how, due to lack of global action to date, there's little chance of keeping the global temperature increase down to two degrees, as targeted in the Accord. more
Film director James Cameron has promised to help people in Fort Chipewyan fund possible litigation against the government over oilsands development in northern Alberta, according to the local chief.
"He didn't express the fact that how much he would be able to contribute, but he did express the fact that he will help in some way," said Allan Adam, chief of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation. more
September 28, 2010 Dennis Maschmann, Deutsche Welle
Energy giant Vattenfall is currently testing its procedurascript">e for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) in a part of eastern Germany known as Lausitz.
"We're working on a process to remove CO2 from waste gas. That way we're hoping to make the process of generating electricity from brown coal climate-friendlier", said Vattenfall's Lutz Picard who shows visitors around daily to explain how the company wants to make coal production green. more
In late July, a group of Inuit hunters set off by boat along the west coast of Banks Island to search for Peary caribou, which inhabit the Arctic archipelago of Canada. Roger Kuptana, a 62-year-old Inuit who had grown up on the island, didn’t give his fellow hunters much chance of success in their hunt for the animals, the smallest caribou sub-species in North America.
“I think it’s a waste of gas,” Kuptana told me when I visited his modest home in Sachs Harbour, a traditional community of roughly 100 people on the island, not far from the Yukon-Alaska border. “There used to be a lot of caribou around here when I grew up. But now you have to travel pretty far north to find them on the island. It’s not just here. It seems like this happening everywhere.” more
September 24, 2010 Scott Highleyman and Henry Huntington, Guelph Mercury
As the Arctic melts due to climate change, its iconic marine mammals are feeling the heat. The Arctic Ocean held less sea ice in June of this year than any previous June on record. For the last four summers, the ice melt has exceeded what even pessimistic climate models predicted only a few years ago.
Yet ice and its inhabitants define this region: take away the ice, take away the Arctic. Without wildlife conservation measures and a serious attempt to address climate change, the adverse impacts will only grow. more
Top officials, including Canada's environment minister, are lowering expectations that countries will leave a coming round of UN climate talks with a signed deal in hand.
The negotiations in Mexico have been touted as the saving grace of last year's Copenhagen summit. Negotiators in the Danish capital agreed they needed more time to broker a climate deal after deep schisms between countries threw the conference into disarray. more
Every week the financial media make a big deal out of reporting the weekly crude oil inventories in the US. Traders will then bid the price of oil up or down based on these reports. The reporting is done with much fanfare from a correspondent who is strategically positioned on floor of the NYMEX to give the whole affair a sense of authority and importance. In fact the whole spectacle is Kabuki Theater unless you are a trader. There is never any discussion or analysis of long term secular demand trends in the emerging markets or what will have to be done on the supply side to accommodate this increased demand. My view is that commodities, and energy in particular, are going to become significantly more expensive and that this represents a huge long term investment theme. more
Is it safe? That was the question posed last July when Mayor Gregor Robertson convened a special meeting of Vancouver city council to discuss increased oil tanker traffic through the treacherous waters of Burrard Inlet.
Vancouver has quietly become a major oil port, as the capacity of the Kinder Morgan pipeline from Alberta to Burnaby has recently been scaled up to 300,000 barrels per day. Every week several oil tankers squeeze through Second Narrows at the highest tides with less than two metres of water under the keel. These shipments have doubled over the last two years. more
September 27, 2010 Craig and Marc Kielburger, The Star
Oil executives can’t go far without meeting young people doused in molasses.
You could call it a fashion statement of sorts. Hey, if Lady Gaga can wear a dress made of raw meat to sustain her outrageous image, these activists can surely point out our society’s dependence on oil with a baking essential. more
September 26, 2010 John Lichfield, The Independent
Responsibility for climate change should be transferred to the Ministry of Defence as the single most important threat facing the nation, the Green MP Caroline Lucas said yesterday. Only if global warming is classified as an issue of "national survival", like a military threat, will it be treated with the urgency it now needs, she told the Sustainable Planet conference in Lyon. more
Sweltering summers and melting glaciers aren't the only effects of a warming planet. As global temperatures rise, weather patterns change, food becomes scarce and diseases spread. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that 150,000 people are killed by climate change-related issues every year, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said that global warming poses as much of a threat to the world as war.8 ways climate change can kill yo
September 24, 2010 Mother Nature Network
Sweltering summers and melting glaciers aren't the only effects of a warming planet. As global temperatures rise, weather patterns change, food becomes scarce and diseases spread. In fact, the World Health Organization estimates that 150,000 people are killed by climate change-related issues every year, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said that global warming poses as much of a threat to the world as war. more
September 24, 2010 Dr. Tony Owens & Dr. Paul Liebow, The Portland Press Herald
As emergency room doctors, we face crises every day. We recognize when vital signs are weak and we know what we need to do to restore health. We also know that sometimes it is too late for intervention.
Global warming and climate change are real and so are their impacts on public health. People with heart problems, asthma, the elderly, the very young and the homeless are vulnerable to extreme heat, like the record-breaking temperatures we had in Maine this summer.more
China wants the world to seal a binding climate change treaty by late 2011, a Chinese negotiator said in a newspaper on Friday, blaming U.S. politics for impeding talks and making a deal on global warming impossible this year.
Li Gao, a senior Chinese negotiator on climate change, said his government would remain unyielding on issues of "principle" in the talks aimed at forging a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. The first period of that key treaty on fighting global warming expires at the end of 2012. more
Consumers, industries and governments must scale up efforts toward a low-carbon energy revolution centred around renewable power to prevent economic and environmental catastrophe, a senior official with the International Energy Agency said Thursday.
In an interview with Postmedia News, Richard Jones, the deputy executive director of the France-based agency which advises governments on energy policy, said consumers will see prices going through the roof based on current trends unless the world stabilizes its energy system. more
September 22, 2010 Sheldon Alberts, Postmedia News
In the ongoing battle to sway American opinion about Canada’s vast oilsands, Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach scored a public relations coup last week when he hosted three U.S. senators on a tour of some of the biggest projects around the northern Alberta community of Fort McMurray.
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham returned to Washington with a glowing report, declaring Canadian oil “reliable, safe and secure” and vowing to do “everything I can” to ensure there are no obstacles to its future production and export to the U.S. market. more
September 23, 2010 Hanneke Brooymans, Edmontonjournal.com
An oilsands company executive said Wednesday he wants to sit at the table with environmentalists to work out a "progressive solution" to issues in the industry.
Marcel Coutu, CEO of Canadian Oil Sands and chairman of Syncrude's board, met with broadcaster and environmentalist David Suzuki last Friday in an apparent attempt to further that cause. Suzuki, however, said he rebuffed a request from Coutu, who asked him to broker a truce between energy companies and environmentalists. more
September 21, 2010 Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate
The eighth Meeting at the Leaders’ representative level of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate took place in New York City, September 20 - 21, 2010. It was attended by officials from the seventeen major economies, as well as the United Nations, with Barbados, Denmark, Egypt, Singapore, and Spain also participating in the session. Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Grenada, Peru, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen were invited but unable to attend. Participants discussed how to advance prospects for a successful outcome at the climate negotiations in Cancun. more
Under attack from North American environmental groups over its tarsands, Alberta launched a charm offensive Monday extolling the economic benefits to Ontarians of extracting oil from the western soil. more
The Canadian government is ramming its lumbering, secretive, bureaucratic ignorance into science. As of the spring of 2010, scientists at Natural Resources Canada aren’t able to talk freely to the media — they require pre-approval from the office of Christian Paradis, the Minister of Natural Resources, who is a lawyer. And it doesn’t matter whether they’re studying something as non-political as ancient floods or as contentious as the oil sands — they still require his word before they can open their mouths. A politician has no business telling scientists which of their discoveries are suitable for the consumption of the press, and which are apparently so controversial the government must censor them. more
A Republican senator who once declared global warming an urgent issue – and willing to fight his party over it – referred last week to Alberta’s carbon-polluting oil industry as “a national treasure for Canada and the United States.”
One prominent climate change blogger is now convinced Graham has drunk the “tar sands Kool-Aid.” more
A delegation of indigenous leaders from Canada and the U.S. will hold a media briefing in Washington D.C. on Wednesday, September 22. The leaders are in the U.S. capital this week to discuss their concerns over the impacts of tar sands development with high-ranking officials in light of deliberations over the Keystone XL pipeline project. more
The closer it comes, the worse it looks. The best outcome anyone now expects from December's clim
November 5, 2010 David Ljunggren, Allan Dowd & Rob Wilson, Yahoo News
Canadian Environment Minister Jim Prentice announced his resignation on Thursday, saying he will leave the high-profile government post for a senior position at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.
Prentice said the time had come for him to leave public service, but he has been frequently mentioned as a possible contender for the Conservative Party leadership should Prime Minister Stephen Harper decide to step aside.more