Faced with federal impotence on the climate file, Canada's provinces are taking independent steps to reduce their carbon consumption. At the same time, new international trade agreements, such as the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA), that the provinces areactively negotiating along side the Harper government threaten to undermine these new provincial efforts to mitigate climate change.
It's 10 to 20 years late, but we're finally getting some realistic talk about what we're facing regarding energy. The government's renewable electricity plan, unveiled a week ago, raises consciousness about this much higher than what we've been used to.
It acknowledges the problems and limitations of the various options -- including its controversial biomass project. It damps down our longstanding Nova Scotian fantasy of an electricity strategy based on exports and does the same with the bizarre and pointless claim cooked up by former premier Rodney MacDonald that we'll be leading the world in green energy by 2020.
Big wind farms in financial or deadline trouble, sometimes being bailed out by Nova Scotia Power, are almost daily fare on the business pages these days. Like much of the rest of the world, we've cast wind as the saviour in our quest for green energy. Here's stuff we should know while we still have time to reset our options.
In Spain, Italy, the U.S. and elsewhere, big wind power scams have erupted, the result of hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies being pumped into wind with little control. Some politicians and entrepreneurs are already in jail.
Canadians know that our built environment -- homes, offices, factories, roads and infrastructure -- holds the key to an environmentally sustainable and healthy future. The energy and environmental demands of the built environment will undergo substantial changes in the years ahead. Several pressures exist: looming carbon cap and trade legislation, shrinking energy resources and, perhaps most importantly, evolving attitudes toward our consumption and production patterns.
The dust has not settled from the recent Saskatchewan NDP leadership convention where Dwain Lingenfelter was narrowly elected leader. Ryan Meili, the candidate to whom the progressive vote rallied, got 45 per cent of the vote, and Lingenfelter, who entered the race with a coronation in mind, won with 55 per cent of the vote.
Free public talk by Dr. Christine Woerlen, former head of the German Renewable Energy Agency; now an independent consultant with governments around the world. You will not want to miss this timely, important discussion that relates to our environment, jobs and economy. If you are not able to attend in person, you can watch it online on Quicktime Player (open url: Rtsp://acsweb.ucis.dal.ca/webcast.sdp ). Germany leads the world in development of Renewable Energy.
When I first arrived in Toronto, after several months out of the country, I thought I had returned to the land of enlightenment. The recycling program was much more effective and extensive than anything I had seen in London, England, and the Ontario government was busily advertizing its new Green Energy Act, stating it wants to make Ontario “a green economy leader.”
I felt I had moved through an invisible portal from the 20th Century -- where the UK’s New Labour government plans to build new coal-fired power stations and expand Heathrow Airport -- to the 21st where clean, green and renewable thinking predominated. It was a wonderful relief.