Canada and global warming: a state of denial 2

802 posts / 0 new
Last post
jerrym

A group of 15 young people will try again to have the courts force Ottawa to develop a climate recovery plan after it was denied by the Federal Court. However, as a result of a lawsuit brought by seven young environmental defenders, three of whom are indigenous, in Ontario, they now have a Canadian precedent to help them.  "The Ontario Superior Court of Justice has ruled the climate crisis does threaten fundamental rights protected under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and that Canadian citizens can therefore challenge their governments’ climate failures on constitutional grounds." (for details of this legal victory see post #544 - https://theenergymix.com/2020/11/16/ontario-youth-climate-defenders-win-...)

 

Thirteen of the 15 plaintiffs suing the Canadian government over its role in climate change stand together on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery in this 2019 file photo. (Our Children's Trust)

The youths have filed an appeal of the court's October decision that their claims don't have a reasonable cause of action or prospect of success so the case cannot proceed to trial.

They had argued the federal government's inadequate action on climate change is violating their charter rights to life, liberty and security of the person.

They said their right to equality is also damaged because the young are disproportionately affected by climate change.

They pointed to specific policies such as the federal government's support of fossil fuel through subsidies and the purchase of the Trans Mountain Pipeline.

Justice Michael Manson said the courts should not be involved in what is a complex political matter.

Their lawyer Joe Arvay disagreed. Documents filed with the Federal Court of Appeal say Manson was wrong to rule the issue wasn't appropriate for the courts. The appeal goes on to say the judge erred in finding no reasonable cause of action and dismissing the claim without giving the plaintiffs a chance to amend it.

The youths are being supported by the David Suzuki Foundation, the U.S.-based non-profit group Our Children's Trust and the Pacific Centre for Environmental Law and Litigation in British Columbia.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/bc-youth-climate-change-...

jerrym

The following article shows Canada is far behind other major economies in shifting its economy away from fossil fuels at a time when other countries are starting to do so. This is reflected in the fact that among the top 10 economies, only China produces less GDP per ton of carbon dioxide emissions than Canada. Canada is therefore in danger of being left behind as other nations, including China, continue to shift away from fossil fuels.

Unfortunately, this is not surprising as both Liberal and Conservative governments have increased greenhouse gas emissions by 20.9% between 1990 and 2018 (the last year for which data is available). Between 1990 and the economic crash of 2008 under Liberal except for the last two years, there was a 24.1% increase that fell off for a few years due to the global economic downturn. (https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/environment...)

Under the Trudeau Liberals and the Paris Agreement, this sad record has continued causing the auditor general in March 2018  to conclude  the Trudeau Liberal government "is likely to miss the 2020 Copenhagen target as well". (http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_otp_201803_e_42883.html) In April 2019 Environment Commissioner Julie Gelfand concluded "Canada is not on track to hit its 2030 target,". These targets were actually those of the Conservative Harper government that Trudeau adopted despite proclaiming himself the climate change candidate in the 2015 and 2019 elections. (https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/environment-commissioner-julie-gelfand-...)

The world’s nations are racing to rein in the climate crisis while maintaining strong economies. Troublingly, Canada is far behind in this time-critical race to build a low-carbon economy. Our decades of foot-dragging have put both our future prosperity and our climate at risk.

To illustrate Canada’s precarious position, I’ve turned to two reports comparing how dependent many of the world’s major economies are on climate pollution. These reports measure “carbon intensity,” which is the ratio of wealth created (GDP) per tonne of climate pollution emitted (tCO2).

The first of my charts compares the world’s top 10 economies. The coin stacks indicate how much GDP each economy produces per tonne of CO2. These 10 economies produce 70 per cent of the world’s GDP.

Carbon intensity of top ten global economies in 2018As you can see, Canada is second to last, and well below the global average. Our economy creates only $3,000 per tCO2 emitted. (Note: all monetary values are in U.S. dollars to allow comparison between countries.)

Only the coal-choked Chinese economy creates less GDP per tonne of climate pollution, at $2,600.
Our next closest competitor in the low-carbon economic race is our largest trading partner, the United States, which is running $1,000 ahead of us.

And take a look at the Europeans. The overall European Union economy is $3,400 ahead of us. They’ve essentially lapped us in this race, generating twice as much wealth as we are able to from each tonne of climate pollution. France is even further ahead, producing three times more GDP per tCO2 than us.

It gets worse. While being mired in second-to-last place in the low-carbon transition race is a decidedly risky position, the data shows our position is even more precarious than that. According to the PwC report, Canada's economy has also been one of the slowest at cleaning up over the last couple decades. We’ve been losing ground to all three of the world’s super-economies: the U.S., the EU and China.

My next chart tells that troubling tale. Even the coal-choked Chinese economy is set to pass us by in our efforts to transition to a low-carbon economy.

Carbon intensity of top ten global economies in 2000 vs 2018

I've added green to the coin stacks to show the changes since 2000. For example, the green part of Canada’s stack shows we’re up 35 per cent since 2000. That increased our GDP per tCO2 by $800.

But China was cleaning up twice as fast. They increased their GDP per tCO2 by 67 per cent. They've nearly caught up to us. In fact, if these rates continue, China will pass us in the next decade — leaving Canada dead last.

What do you think? Are you ready to face the metastasizing climate crisis with an economy even more climate-polluting than China’s? And China isn’t the only major economy that has been cleaning up much faster than we have. Back in 2000, we were neck and neck with the Americans. Since then, the U.S. economy has sprinted far ahead of us. They’ve improved their carbon intensity by 56 per cent, caught up to the world average and are on pace to pass both India and Japan in the coming decade. See ya later, Canada.

And the Europeans have likewise been racing ever further ahead of us.

The U.K. has been leading the way over there. It nearly doubled the amount of GDP it produces from each tonne of climate pollution. In fact, its increase of $3,700 is more per tonne than our economy can produce in total. How did our Commonwealth peer manage to sprint so far ahead of us? The short answer is that they reduced their climate pollution by 100 times more than we did (-250 MtCO2 versus -2 MtCO2). And they did that because they passed laws requiring it more than a decade ago.

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2020/11/26/opinion/canada-transition-to...

jerrym

As the last post descirbed, Canada is in a very poor position in terms of its all but missing attempts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, causing even the Governor of the Bank of Canada to warn that the country must pick up the pace or be left behind economically as well as environmentally. 

 News Photo

Bank of Canada Governor Tiff Macklem called on the country’s banks and businesses to act more quickly on disclosing their exposure to the risks posed by global warming.

In remarks on a panel organized by the Public Policy Forum, Macklem said it’s a competitive imperative for the country to do a better job at accelerating capital flows to areas that reduce climate risks and minimize potential destabilization from the transition to a low-carbon economy. The governor didn’t comment on current monetary policy.

“Information and disclosure are essential for the financial system to be able to do its job,” Macklem said in prepared remarks via video conference. “Companies need to assess, price and manage their climate risks, and they need to disclose these risks for markets to function well.”

Macklem’s speech comes amid a heightened push in the financial industry to address climate change. Global banks have rolled out climate-action plans this year, jockeying for position in the sustainable finance business and trying to curry favor with environmental-minded customers.

The governor highlighted the recent surge in environmental, social and governance bonds, saying it’s crucial for Canadian companies to be able to take advantage of that funding. He also said the country’s financial system, which weathered the global financial crisis and the challenges posed so far by the Covid-19 pandemic, must remain equally resilient in the face of climate change.

On Monday, the Bank of Canada announced a joint pilot project with the country’s banking regulator, OSFI, to help businesses explore how they may be exposed to climate-related risks. This would help the financial institutions better understand their exposures to transition risks and increase their ability to disclose them.

“We need to position Canada to seize the climate-smart opportunities that consumers, workers and investors are looking for,” Macklem said. “But to mitigate the threat and capitalize on the opportunity, we all need to mobilize. And we need to do it quickly.”

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/bank-of-canada-governor-says-country-needs-t...

 

jerrym

Another sign of the ever growing impact of global warming is the record number of hurricanes and damage that has occurred already with more still occurring after the record was broken less than two weeks ago. 

Hurricane Zeta’s storm surge inundated the landscaped grounds of the Golden Nugget Biloxi Casino and Resort in Biloxi, Miss., last month.

Hurricane Zeta’s storm surge inundated the landscaped grounds of the Golden Nugget Biloxi Casino and Resort in Biloxi, Miss., last month.Credit...Lukas Flippo/The Sun Herald, via Associated Press

It has been a record season for storms. On Monday night, Subtropical Storm Theta became the 29th named storm of the 2020 hurricane season, surpassing the total count from 2005. Theta formed after Tropical Storm Eta spent the day battering Florida, causing heavy rains and flooding in the state’s south and the Keys.

The tumultuous season has raised questions about how much climate change is affecting hurricanes in the Atlantic. Researchers can’t say for sure whether human-caused climate change will mean longer or more active hurricane seasons in the future, but there is broad agreement on one thing: Global warming is changing storms.

Scientists say, for example, that unusually warm Atlantic surface temperatures have helped to increase storm activity this season. The warmer ocean temperatures are “absolutely responsible for the hyperactive season,” said James P. Kossin, a climate scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “It’s very likely that human-caused climate change contributed to that anomalously warm ocean.”

Either way, he said, “climate change is making it more likely for hurricanes to behave in certain ways.” Here are some of those ways.

1. Higher winds There’s a solid scientific consensus that hurricanes are becoming more powerful.

Hurricanes are complex, but one of the key factors that determines how strong a given storm ultimately becomes is ocean surface temperature, because warmer water provides more of the energy that fuels storms.

“Potential intensity is going up,” said Kerry Emanuel, a professor of atmospheric science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “We predicted it would go up 30 years ago, and the observations show it going up.” Stronger winds mean downed power lines, damaged roofs and, when paired with rising sea levels, worse coastal flooding.

“Even if storms themselves weren’t changing, the storm surge is riding on an elevated sea level,” Dr. Emanuel said. He used New York City as an example, where sea levels have risen about a foot in the past century. “If Sandy’s storm surge had occurred in 1912 rather than 2012,” he said, “it probably wouldn’t have flooded Lower Manhattan.”

2. More rain Warming also increases the amount of water vapor that the atmosphere can hold. In fact, every degree Celsius of warming allows the air to hold about 7 percent more water. That means we can expect future storms to unleash higher amounts of rainfall.

3. Slower storms Researchers do not yet know why storms are moving more slowly, but they are. Some say a slowdown in global atmospheric circulation, or global winds, could be partly to blame.

In a 2018 paper, Dr. Kossin found that hurricanes over the United States had slowed 17 percent since 1947. Combined with the increase in rain rates, storms are causing a 25 percent increase in local rainfall in the United States, he said. Slower, wetter storms also worsen flooding. Dr. Kossin likened the problem to walking around your back yard while using a hose to spray water on the ground. If you walk fast, the water won’t have a chance to start pooling. But if you walk slowly, he said, “you’ll get a lot of rain below you.”

4. Wider-ranging storms Because warmer water helps fuel hurricanes, climate change is enlarging the zone where hurricanes can form. There’s a “migration of tropical cyclones out of the tropics and toward subtropics and middle latitudes,” Dr. Kossin said. That could mean more storms making landfall in higher latitudes, like in the United States or Japan.

5. More volatility As the climate warms, researchers also say they expect storms to intensify more rapidly. Researchers are still unsure why it’s happening, but the trend appears to be clear. In a 2017 paper based on climate and hurricane models, Dr. Emanuel found that storms that intensify rapidly — the ones that increase their wind speed by 70 miles per hour or more in the 24 hours before landfall — were rare in the period from 1976 through 2005. On average, he estimated, their likelihood in those years was equal to about once per century.

By the end of the 21st century, he found, those storms might form once every five or 10 years.

“It’s a forecaster’s nightmare,” Dr. Emanuel said. If a tropical storm or Category 1 hurricane develops into a Category 4 hurricane overnight, he said, “there’s no time to evacuate people.”

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/10/climate/climate-change-hurricanes.html

jerrym

Thanks to Bolsinaro's business above everything approach, the rate of deforestation of the Amazon is now the highest it has been in 12 years raising great concerns about what this means for carbon dioxide emissions from the world's largest jungle and for climate change. 

Burning rainforest in the Brazilian state of Pará in August.

Burning rainforest in the Brazilian state of Pará in August.Credit... In 2020, destruction of the world’s largest rainforest rose 9.5 percent from a year earlier to about 4,280 square miles according to data from Brazil’s national space research agency, Inpe.. That’s a little smaller than Connecticut. Victor Moriyama for The New York Times

The scale of deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest surged to a 12-year high in 2020, official government data showed on Monday, with destruction soaring since President Jair Bolsonaro took office and weakened environmental enforcement.

That means Brazil will miss its own target, established under a 2009 climate change law, for reducing annual deforestation to about 3,900 square kilometers. The consequences for missing the target are not laid out in the law but could leave the government open to lawsuits.

The Amazon is the world’s largest rainforest, and its protection is crucial to stopping catastrophic climate change because of the vast amount of carbon dioxide it absorbs.

The official annual measure of the extent of deforestation is taken by comparing satellite images. The latest annual destruction is a substantial increase from the 7,536 square kilometers that were deforested in 2018, the year before Mr. Bolsonaro took office.

While the total size of deforested land was a 12-year high, federal officials hailed the percentage-of-growth figure of 9.5 percent as a sign of progress, far lower than the 34 percent increase recorded in 2019.

“While we are not here to celebrate this, it does signify that the efforts we are making are beginning to bear fruit,” Vice President Hamilton Mourão told reporters at Inpe headquarters in the São Paulo satellite city of São José dos Campos.

Mr. Bolsonaro has weakened the environmental enforcement agency Ibama and called for more commercial farming and miningin the Amazon region, arguing that it would lift the region out of poverty. Environmental advocates say that emboldened illegal ranchers, miners and land grabbers to clear the forest.

The figures “show that Bolsonaro’s plan worked,” the Brazilian nongovernmental organization Climate Observatory said in a statement. “They reflect the result of a successful initiative to annihilate the capacity of the Brazilian State and the inspection bodies to take care of our forests and fight crime in the Amazon.”

European leaders like President Emmanuel Macron of France have fiercely criticized Brazil, arguing it is not doing enough to protect the forest.

President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. a said in a debate that the world should offer Brazil money to fund efforts to stop deforestation, and threatened economic consequences if it did not. The comment drew fierce criticism from Mr. Bolsonaro, who said it was a threat against Brazil’s sovereignty.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/30/world/americas/brazil-amazon-rainfore...

jerrym

There is growing evidence of a shift in Canadian's attitude to climate change when it comes to electric cars as more and more people show an interest in purchasing one. The question remains whether our federal and provincial governments will shift away from subsidizing fossil fuels and push to develop an electric car and other environmentally friendly industries or be left behind as this global shift continues. 

The winning Carleton U design of an SUV type all Canadian electric vehicle (APMA)

The Federal Government’s recent fiscal update committed to spend $150 million over three years to build new electric vehicle charging stations. This announcement comes as both BC and Quebec plan to ban the sale of new gas-powered cars and trucks in the coming years (by 2040 and 2035, respectively). In light of this changing context, we sought to understand how interested Canadians are in buying an electric vehicle.

Four in ten Canadians (41%) are considering a new or used vehicle purchase in the next year (including cars, SUVs and trucks), and of those, over half are considering an electric vehicle. Likelihood of considering an electric vehicle is highest in BC and Ontario, and lowest in the Atlantic Provinces.

Demographically, Boomers are the least likely to be considering an electric vehicle (34%), compared with Gen Z (65%), Millennials (59%) or Gen X (60%) Canadians. Interest rises with household income, and is also higher among those employed full time or self-employed.

When told that federal rebates of $5,000 currently exist, and asked if an additional provincial rebate would encourage them to purchase an electric vehicle, it is clear that rebates would have a significant impact on likelihood to consider this type of vehicle.  Indeed, over half of those who were less-than-fully interested in an electric vehicle indicated that rebates would make them more likely to consider one. This rebate ‘boost’ is strongest in Ontario, the Prairie Provinces and BC (60%, 56% and 53%), compared with Quebec or the Atlantic Provinces (47% and 45%). Importantly, the idea of rebates most pique the interest of those who were ‘probably’ considering an electric vehicle (84% of them said they’d be more interested with a rebate), but a significant minority of those who said initially that they were ‘probably not’ considering an electric vehicle are converted to interest by the availability of rebates (40%). Even one-in-ten of those who initially said they were ‘definitely’ not considering an electric vehicle would consider buying electric if rebates were on offer.

“Interest in electric vehicles is growing, and for good reason,” says Erin Burbidge, Director of Clean Transportation at Clean Foundation. “They are exciting to drive – quiet, smooth and with impressive power. We are seeing more models and options available at a wider range of prices. Even better, over time the costs to run and maintain an electric vehicle are significantly lower than a gas-powered vehicle.

https://narrativeresearch.ca/a-significant-number-of-canadians-are-consi...

 

jerrym

At the same time the Trudeau Liberals continue to subsidize fossil fuels the financial costs are going through the roof, having increased 1,250% since the 1970s and the number of catastrophic climate change events have more than tripled, to say nothing of the environmental costs, according to a report from the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices. However many effects of climate change still go unrecorded. The report also concludes that the government's adaptation processes fall far short of what is needed.

Alberta firefighter in 2014. The Fort McMurray wildfire of 2016 was the "largest single weather-related insurance loss event in Canadian history," a new report states. Alberta government photo

The institute pored over decades of data on the costs of weather-related disasters from both government relief and insurance industry payouts. Its findings make it clear that volatile weather events have already become more frequent, and more costly. But it also revealed how climate change-related costs are still barely understood today, and these unknown costs are likely to explode far beyond those that are known. “The lack of understanding of risk, plus the lack of tools to be able to address risk, create this dead zone, where it’s really hard to do anything,” said adaptation director Ryan Ness in an interview. ...

What is already known is stunning: the average cost per weather-related disaster has soared by 1,250 per cent since the 1970s, and the number of catastrophic events has more than tripled since the 1980s. In the nine years from 2010 to 2019, there was over $14 billion in disaster costs — the same amount as over the previous 40 years, save for the one-time $7-billion Eastern Canada ice storm in 1998. As the title of the Dec. 3 report, “Tip of the Iceberg,” indicates, these numbers are just the beginning. There are many more long-term impacts from climate change, such as an estimated $1.3-billion cost to dozens of communities across the Northwest Territories due to permafrost thaw.

The average cost per weather-related disaster has soared by 1,250 per cent since the 1970s, and the number of catastrophic events has more than tripled since the 1980s, according to a new report from @ClimateChoices. #climatechange

Such a cost will add to the stretched budgets of northern governments already coping with unaffordable food prices and other stressors such as long-term drinking water advisories.

And all of this doesn’t even take into account the many impacts that are just not recorded at all in Canada — things such as the impact on health care that climate change is creating. “Canada lacks up-to-date evidence on the potential economic impacts of climate change,” reads the report. The institute said the last effort to “examine a broad range of costs at a national scale” was done in 2011, by the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy. ...

Ness said there are many reasons why it is difficult to cost out climate impacts, but one main issue is that there are so many different ways that climate change affects Canada in the first place. Not only are disasters and extreme weather linked to death, disease and mental health challenges, for example, but there are a range of other consequences.

Wildfire smoke harms lungs, for example, while extreme heat makes kids miss school. The Fort McMurray wildfire of 2016 was the “largest single weather-related insurance loss event in Canadian history,” the report states.

Ocean warming and acidification will also likely impact fisheries, and therefore the food security and prosperity of First Nations that depend on them, while early heat waves can cause havoc for farmers depending on seasonal harvests. Then there are the economic impacts of extreme weather on Canadian small business operations, or the disruptions to household budgets, as well as the impact of climate refugees on domestic politics and international conflict. “Pick an economic sector, pick an infrastructure type, pick a health impact — each one of those is extremely complex to try and figure out what a changing climate means for those impacts, and then how those impacts play out in terms of costs,” Ness said.

Another concern is how all these issues will interact with each other. Ness gave the example of how climate change could impact the electricity supply, causing power outages in the summer, at the same time as climate-driven heat waves drive up demand for air conditioning. “We don’t know how much the climate’s going to change in the end. We don’t know if there’s weird things that are going to happen in those systems ... we could see impacts that are way bigger than science might predict, because science is based on past climate and past behaviour,” he said. ...

The institute said this all suggests that the debate over Canada’s progress in tackling climate change needs to broaden from its current focus on reducing carbon pollution to one that also addresses adaptation — or the ways that Canadians can adjust to account for the widening range of climate impacts.

“Current adaptation policies and investments in Canada fall far short of what is needed to address the known risks of climate change, let alone those that are still unclear and unknown. This has to change,” the report states. Its three recommendations are for all orders of government to increase funding for adaptation, more closely co-ordinate their adaptation efforts and examine the current levels of transparency over climate risks. While the federal and provincial governments have come together previously over climate change, such as the Pan-Canadian Framework, Ness said more detail was needed over which authorities do what and how they work in unison.

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2020/12/03/news/canada-climate-change-c...

jerrym

The Ford government's anti-climate change policies have unsurprisingly led to an increase in Ontario's greenhouse gas emissions for the first time in almost a decade, as we speed down the road to ever increasing climate catastrophes. 

Doug Ford

Doug Ford

 

Ontario's annual greenhouse gas emissions rose for the first time in nearly a decade during the first year the Ford government was in power. It's a sign that the province's climate change targets are in jeopardy, according to a new report.  The report, to be released Thursday by the group Environmental Defence, calls the increase "a big step backwards" in Ontario's progress toward reducing carbon emissions.

"Ontario is trending dangerously in the wrong direction on climate change, and the gap between
Ontario's carbon reduction targets and actual emissions levels is growing," says the report, a copy of which was provided to CBC News ahead of Thursday's publication.  The report — entitled Ontario Climate - Yours to Recover — also says the government has an opportunity to make investments that would both stimulate economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and reduce emissions, yet hasn't made moves to do so. ...

The latest federal figures, which are published with a two-year lag time, show the province's emissions rose by 10 megatonnes (MT) in 2018 over the previous year. This marks Ontario's first annual increase in emissions since 2010, the year the province's economy emerged from the last recession.  

The increase in emissions in 2018 means the government will have to make even more reductions than previously promised just to hit its own targets, said Sarah Buchanan, clean economy program manager for Environmental Defence. ...

Yurek's predecessor as environment minister, Rod Phillips, now the finance minister, set new, less-stringent targets for reducing emissions in what the government dubbed the Made-In-Ontario Environment Plan. ... 

"Our plan is an evolving document, and our estimates will continue to evolve as policies and commitments are reviewed and refined, and as we begin to see results of initiatives already in motion," said Buttigieg. 

The Environmental Defence report examines how much progress Ontario has made on each of those promised reductions. It builds on work by the province's auditor general last month that concluded the government is at risk of missing its emission targets.  ...

The government's plans for economic recovery from COVID-19 don't reflect a climate-friendly approach, says the report. "Ontario's recovery actions announced to date have not incorporated any programs promised in the Environment Plan to reduce GHG emissions, despite many actions with high potential for economic stimulus," the report says. "This is a missed opportunity to invest in proven job-creating solutions like public transit, energy efficiency, and green building."

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ontario-greenhouse-gas-emissions-...

jerrym

The following article discusses efforts to start an all-Canadian electric car industry, rather than depending on American and other manufacturers. 

The Arrow would be 100% Canadian from design, to all parts, to assembly. (APMA)

The winning Carleton U design of an SUV type all Canadian electric vehicle (APMA)

While major carmakers around the world are putting electric vehicles into their lineup, the Canadian and Ontario governments have just offered hundreds of millions of dollars to American-based multinational Ford to upgrade its Canadian facility to start producing EV’s in Ontario.

But these are all foreign designed vehicles. Now a group wants Canada to get back in the EV game. I say back, because few may know it but Canada was one of the first in the world to make an electric vehicle well over a century ago, back in 1893. ...

Along the way Canadian designed and built motor companies either lost their way or were bought out by U.S firms,  Names like Russel, Gray-Dort, and McLaughlin, Bricklin, and many others came and went as U.S designs dominated.

With  several huge carmakers (Fiat-Chrysler, Honda, Toyota, Ford, GM) building vehicles here, Canada is one of  few countries with a substantial automotive sector, but no domestic designed car. ...

Now a group is planning to get Canada into the new technology of EV’s. This week the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association (APMA) announced “Project Arrow” a plan to produce an all Canadian designed and built vehicle.

The name is taken from the groundbreaking 1950’s jet intercepter Avro Arrow, a world-leading technology that almost thrust Canada into a world leadership position in aerospace. However it became a victim of politics, and is forever now shrouded in myth and conspiracy.

The new “arrow” concept created by Carleton University students in an national competition, is currently undergoing engineering in Windsor, Ontario.  The finished design ‘virtual vehicle’ is expected in 2021 with a full-build concept vehicle rolled out in 2022.

It may or may not however actually go into production. While some 93 Canadian suppliers and related  tech firms have signed on, APMA president Flavio Volpe, said the idea is to show investors that Canada has the skills and technology to develop an entirely new vehicle from the ground up with all the parts supplied from Canada. He said it may inspire someone here to become an “original equipment manufacturer” i.e, carmaker to continue and commercially build the vehicle, or some other all-Canadian model, but it is primarily designed to showcase Canadian industry capabilities in the emerging EV and hi tech market.

Quoted in the Globe and Mail, economist Mike Moffat said, “One of the things any possible EV assembler will worry about, when deciding where to put a plant, is the local supply chain – will they be able to get all the parts they need close by, as well as engineering talent. This is a great ‘show, don’t tell’ way of signalling that all the ingredients are in place.”

https://www.rcinet.ca/en/2020/10/14/an-all-canadian-electric-car-in-the-...

jerrym

Global youth held a Mock COP 26 conference this month that demanded "climate education at every level of formal education, tougher ecocide laws, stronger regulation on air quality, banning the offshoring of emissions and a commitment to limiting global heating to below 1.5C above pre-industrial levels."

'Mock Cop26' activists vote on treaty ahead of 2021 climate summit

Young people from 140 countries presented policies to UK climate action champion

Mitzi Jonelle Tan, 22, from Manila, Philippines, one of the student organisers of Mock Cop26.

Mitzi Jonelle Tan, 22, from Manila, Philippines, one of the student organisers of Mock Cop26. Composite: Jessica Murray/Guardian Design Team

Young people from 140 countries who attended an online “mock Cop26” climate summit have presented a treaty of 18 policies to Nigel Topping, the UK’s high level climate action champion.

After two weeks of negotiations, delegates from the international youth-led conference presented their formal treaty to Topping during the event’s closing ceremony on Tuesday, and called on world leaders to prioritise the policies during Cop26, which was postponed for a year because of the pandemic and is now due to be held in Glasgow in November 2021.

Their demands include climate education at every level of formal education, tougher ecocide laws, stronger regulation on air quality, banning the offshoring of emissions and a commitment to limiting global heating to below 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

Suphane Dash-Alleyne, a delegate from Guyana, South America, said: “Mock Cop26 sends a strong message to world leaders that young people can coordinate global negotiations and we have the solutions. Now is the time for us to have a seat at the table.”

A legal team, including lawyers from the legal charity ClientEarth, worked with delegates to formalise the statement into a treaty, which countries could adopt into law.

James Thornton, chief executive and founder of ClientEarth, said: “The youth behind Mock Cop26 have created a powerful statement calling on governments to take action to protect future generations from the worst impacts of climate change. Decisions taken by governments now will affect the youngest generation for many years to come.” ...

The Mock Cop26 policies were voted on by 330 young people across the globe who attended the event, with priority given to countries most affected by the climate crisis – people from the global south made up 72% of delegates.

Sainey Gibba, a 23-year-old delegate from the Gambia, said: “My country is very vulnerable to the impact of climate change, particularly rising sea levels and coastal erosion, so I feel like Mock Cop26 has really helped us raise our concerns and speak for the voiceless.

“Cop26 should never have been postponed, they should have done it virtually like how we have done it. They should really learn from us because there is so much urgency.” ...

“If we have been able to organise a conference online where we got more than 300 delegates from more than 140 countries to come together and make policies, I think our leaders could too,” said Sonali, a 21-year-old event organiser from Patna, India. “It reduces the carbon footprint massively when people don’t have to travel.”

The delegates and volunteers involved in Mock Cop26 now plan to spend the next 12 months urging politicians to implement their policies nationally to raise ambition on the run up to Cop26.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/dec/01/mock-cop26-activists...

jerrym

Global youth held a Mock COP 26 conference this month that demanded "climate education at every level of formal education, tougher ecocide laws, stronger regulation on air quality, banning the offshoring of emissions and a commitment to limiting global heating to below 1.5C above pre-industrial levels."

'Mock Cop26' activists vote on treaty ahead of 2021 climate summit

Young people from 140 countries presented policies to UK climate action champion

Mitzi Jonelle Tan, 22, from Manila, Philippines, one of the student organisers of Mock Cop26.

Mitzi Jonelle Tan, 22, from Manila, Philippines, one of the student organisers of Mock Cop26. Composite: Jessica Murray/Guardian Design Team

Young people from 140 countries who attended an online “mock Cop26” climate summit have presented a treaty of 18 policies to Nigel Topping, the UK’s high level climate action champion.

After two weeks of negotiations, delegates from the international youth-led conference presented their formal treaty to Topping during the event’s closing ceremony on Tuesday, and called on world leaders to prioritise the policies during Cop26, which was postponed for a year because of the pandemic and is now due to be held in Glasgow in November 2021.

Their demands include climate education at every level of formal education, tougher ecocide laws, stronger regulation on air quality, banning the offshoring of emissions and a commitment to limiting global heating to below 1.5C above pre-industrial levels.

Suphane Dash-Alleyne, a delegate from Guyana, South America, said: “Mock Cop26 sends a strong message to world leaders that young people can coordinate global negotiations and we have the solutions. Now is the time for us to have a seat at the table.”

A legal team, including lawyers from the legal charity ClientEarth, worked with delegates to formalise the statement into a treaty, which countries could adopt into law.

James Thornton, chief executive and founder of ClientEarth, said: “The youth behind Mock Cop26 have created a powerful statement calling on governments to take action to protect future generations from the worst impacts of climate change. Decisions taken by governments now will affect the youngest generation for many years to come.” ...

The Mock Cop26 policies were voted on by 330 young people across the globe who attended the event, with priority given to countries most affected by the climate crisis – people from the global south made up 72% of delegates.

Sainey Gibba, a 23-year-old delegate from the Gambia, said: “My country is very vulnerable to the impact of climate change, particularly rising sea levels and coastal erosion, so I feel like Mock Cop26 has really helped us raise our concerns and speak for the voiceless.

“Cop26 should never have been postponed, they should have done it virtually like how we have done it. They should really learn from us because there is so much urgency.” ...

“If we have been able to organise a conference online where we got more than 300 delegates from more than 140 countries to come together and make policies, I think our leaders could too,” said Sonali, a 21-year-old event organiser from Patna, India. “It reduces the carbon footprint massively when people don’t have to travel.”

The delegates and volunteers involved in Mock Cop26 now plan to spend the next 12 months urging politicians to implement their policies nationally to raise ambition on the run up to Cop26.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/dec/01/mock-cop26-activists...

jerrym

Here's more on the Mock COP 26 conference where young climate activists demanded "jail terms for people who harm the planet".

 

 Mock Cop 26 conference

 

Once again, our young people are showing us how it’s done. COP26 may have been postponed by our political leaders until 2021 but the younger generation know better than anyone that the Climate & Ecological Emergency can’t be postponed. So they are carrying on with their own COP26 this November regardless of dithering by our World leaders. (https://wehavethepower.org/mock-cop-26/)

Young delegates thrashed out a climate treaty at a virtual conference, which they hope governments will implement (Picture: Getty/MockCOP26) 

Hundreds of young people from across the world are demanding that ‘ecocide’ becomes recognised as a crime for those who damage the environment.  The call forms part of a treaty that the youngsters thrashed out at a virtual summit on climate change aiming to pressurise world leaders, after a major conference was delayed. 

They accused older decision-makers of being ‘shackled by political short-termism and national self-interest’, claiming that they had instead prioritised ‘science, optimism and ambition’. They also want politicians to ensure young people are given comprehensive teaching on the climate, based on the best science available.  

The two-week youth event, called ‘Mock COP26’, has seen 330 delegates from 140 countries agree the formal treaty and 18 environmental policies they say world leaders should adopt. It comes after COP26, due to be hosted by the UK in Glasgow, was postponed by a year because of coronavirus – a move criticised by the Mock delegates, who are aged 11 – 30.

https://metro.co.uk/2020/12/01/young-climate-activists-want-jail-terms-f...

jerrym

Here is  the youth delegates letter to world leaders to the Mock COP 26 conference addressed to the world leaders: 

https://www.mockcop.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/act-now-e1606807744435-1000x1355.jpg

Date: 01 December 2020
From: MockCOP26Delegates
To: The Heads of State of all countries, and the Secretary General of the UN

Dear Leaders

Re: Our treaty for urgent climate action this side of COP26

We are writing to inform you that we, the young people of 140 countries, ran our own inclusive online climate conference, Mock COP26, which we concluded today. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, many of you presumably thought it was a lesser priority to take climate action through the UNFCCC COP this year, and hence the UN postponed it. We remind you that we are still in a climate emergency as well as an ecological crisis and every moment of inaction makes things worse for our generation. We felt strongly that you should not further delay action, so we decided to run our own youth-led COP this year. We are tired of empty climate promises and are purely motivated by a desire to see real action.

With just three months of planning, we delivered a full two-week global conference, from 19 November to 01 December 2020, comprising 330 delegates, ages 11 to 30, representing 140 countries. We set out to improve upon the structures of the real COP to reflect the mandate of young people to build inclusive, equitable and fair systems. We made the following improvements:

  • ●  Our conference amplified the voices of marginalised and underrepresented communities. We made time to hear the uncomfortable truths about the Global North’s neglect for the most vulnerable people in our world, and we recognised the valiant efforts of the leaders of nations who have contributed least to climate change but whose people are suffering first and worst;

  • ●  We actively sought the advice and experience of Indigenous elders, whose innate knowledge of, and respect for, our dependence on the natural world has mostly been ignored;

  • ●  We did not allow any corporate lobbyists into our Mock COP26 and were free to think outside growth-based economic narratives. We were not shackled by political short-termism or national self- interest. We gave science, optimism and ambition the centre-stage and were not held back by the pace of the slowest;

  • ●  72% of our delegates were from the Global South; 63% were female or non-binary; delegates’ average age was 22. The student staff team of eighteen young people was a 50% Global North / Global South split, with 73% of student staff female or non-binary.

  • ●  Our conference was run entirely online, resulting in just c14 tonnes of CO2 emissions, compared to c40,000 tonnes from the real COP. 

https://www.mockcop.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/20201201-Letter-to-Wo...

jerrym

The url below contains a video of the Mock 26 conference closing ceremony detailing their demands:

Ontario teen Malaika Collette, top row, centre, worked with 17 other youth from around the world to organize a virtual climate change conference called Mock COP26. (Submitted by Malaika Collette)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LBbw2uJQSHQ

jerrym

After the NDP requested that the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) examine the benefits/costs  of the Trans Mountain (TMX) pipeline, the PBO is warning about the dilemma Trudeau faces because of his purchase and construction of TMX: if he introduces measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the PBO warns this will decrease revenue from TMX driving it  predicted net losses of $1.5 billion instead of making the profit Trudeau claimed it could generate for social and climate change programs. I think the estimates are way off because most professional evaluators believe the Trudeau Liberals way overpaid for the pipeline. After all, Kinder Morgan would not have been so eager to get rid of it if it was profitable. Furthermore, the construction costs have ballooned from $7.4 billion to $12.6 billion by February 2020 with no end in sight to higher costs. (https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/vassy-trans-mountain-pipeline-1.5455387

The NDP argues that shutting down TMX now would save taxpayers $9 billion in construction and operating costs. 

So out of this Trudeau has overpaid for the pipeline, allowed construction costs to go through the roof for a project that he knew had no chance of ever being profitable while claiming its profits could provide environmental and social benefits and knew that it would operate at cross purposes to whatever feeble climate change measures he introduced. Nothing says more about the cynical nature of the Trudeau Liberals than their declaring a climate change emergency one day and the next day buying this environmental boondoggle. 

Construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline is seen underway in Kamloops, B.C., on Sept. 1, 2020. JONATHAN HAYWARD/THE CANADIAN PRESS

As the Trans Mountain project proceeds with the expansion of its Edmonton-to-Burnaby, B.C. pipeline, the report warns that "risks and uncertainties" hang over its future viability. The government-owned asset could become less viable if pipeline demand and construction costs and delays increase, the analysis shows. The pipeline's financial outlook could worsen further, the report adds, due to economic uncertainties driven by the COVID-19 pandemic and the specific climate and environmental policies the federal government adopts to meet its net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target. ...

For example, the report suggests that if the pipeline's completion were to be delayed by just one year, the government could lose about $400 million of its purchase value. The pipeline also could lose millions or even billions of dollars more if other factors such as delays, soaring budgets and contract commitments change over time, the report says. ...

The Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer, meanwhile, notes that Canada and many other governments have set target dates for reducing their carbon emissions to zero that land roughly when Trans Mountain's contracts expire — making it hard to anticipate demand beyond that point. "After these initial 20 years, it's a big unknown as to how much of the pipeline will be used," said Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux. "Over the long-term horizon we don't know exactly what proportion of the pipeline will indeed be needed."

If Trans Mountain were to cease operations "to address the climate policy of the Government of Canada to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050," the report says, it would cost the federal government roughly $1.5 billion. ...

NDP MPs asked the PBO to provide an update on the costs of the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project in July. New Democrats Laurel Collins and Peter Julian asked for the review because of what they called "delays and rising costs during the pandemic." On Tuesday, Julian said investing more money in Trans Mountain would be a risky gamble for the Liberals. "We're simply calling on Mr. Trudeau today to stop rolling the dice on Trans Mountain," he said. "What we really need to do is invest this money in clean energy production." ...

New Democrats and a group that opposes the pipeline's expansion today called for a halt on construction, saying it could save taxpayers about $9 billion. "Unless the federal government can show how it plans to reconcile its climate goals with Trans Mountain, and prove that this project is in Canada's best economic interests, we need a moratorium on any new federal spending on this boondoggle of a project," said Alexandra Woodsworth, the campaigns manager with Dogwood, a B.C. non-profit.  

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/trans-mountain-pbo-pipeline-1.5832398

jerrym

In Natural Resources Canada first report on the effects of global warming on the regions of Canada, it predicts a "hot, dry and fiery future for the Prairies", as it warms faster than any other southern region of the country and could end with drought conditions similar to the 1930s.

 Glenbow Archives NA-2496-1

Image credit: Glenbow Archives NA-2496-1 Canadian Prairies 1930s

"In a warming climate, you can expect extreme weather events to occur with increased severity," said Dave Sauchyn, a professor at the University of Regina and a lead author in an extensive report released Monday by Natural Resources Canada. ...

The Prairies report begins with a warning that the West is warming the quickest of any area in southern Canada and that those effects are already being seen.

"In winter, much of Western Canada is warming at three times the global rate," Sauchyn said.

The look of the West can be expected to change.

The report says southern grasslands and central parklands will spread north. The boreal forest will shrink and some alpine ecosystems are likely to disappear entirely. Aspen trees are already growing 200 metres higher up mountain slopes as they take advantage of that vanishing habitat.

Overall precipitation is likely to increase, but only in the spring and fall, leading to shoulder-season floods and summer droughts.

"Almost none of the future scenarios include sufficient increases in precipitation to compensate for the drying effect of warmer temperatures," the report says.

"The worst-case future scenario for the Prairie provinces is the reoccurrence of consecutive years of severe drought, such as those that occurred in the 1930s."

Some impacts are already here in the form of extreme weather events. The report says 13 of the 20 most costly weather-related disasters since 1983, when record-keeping began, happened on the Prairies. Recent research suggests climate change has increased the risk of extreme fires in Western Canada by a factor of between 1.5 and 6.

"These events occurred with somewhat greater severity because they were occurring in a warmer climate," Sauchyn said.

The figures don't tell the whole story. Droughts, which don't show up in tallies of insured losses, have cost billions of dollars in lost or unplanted crops.

In years with adequate rainfall, some crops are predicted to do well under climate change. Spring wheat, the biggest crop in the West, could see yields increase anywhere from eight to 37 per cent in the next 50 years, depending on action against greenhouse gases. Canola, the second biggest crop, would be likely to decline by about the same amount. 

Water management is going to become a critical issue, especially in the southern plains. "There is some response (from governments), but it's more of a reaction," Sauchyn said. "What we advocate is more proactive, more of a planning approach."

He suggested governments should be cautious of new, water-intensive industries planned for southern watersheds, such as the renewed push for coal mining in southern Alberta.

"Any kind of development has to be viewed through a climate change lens," Sauchyn said. "It just seems due diligence these days that any kind of a proposal be evaluated for its climate risks. If I was a shareholder in a mining company, I would want to know if there's sufficient water in the future."

https://www.castanet.net/news/Canada/318590/Federal-scientists-predict-P...

NDPP

Alberta oil sector lauds changes in federal climate plans

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/article-alberta-oil-sector-laud...

"The oil industry and Alberta government say Ottawa's removal of gaseous and solid fuels from Canada's long awaited Clean Fuel Standard will avoid an exodus of investment in the fossil fuel sector..."

Another problem solved!

jerrym

A caricature of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada at a protest against Kinder Morgan’s pipeline expansion near Vancouver, Canada, in March. The company is threatening to quit the project under sustained pressure by environmentalists.

A caricature of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada at a protest against Kinder Morgan’s pipeline expansion near Vancouver, Canada,

The Trudeau Liberals launched their new climate change plan last week by raising the price on carbon by $15 a ton each year between 2022 and 2030 and $15 billion  in a vague commitment to "integrate climate considerations throughout government decision-making". Note that Trudeau says he expects an election in 2021 before one cent is raised in new carbon taxes is raised, once again following the strategy of previous Liberal and Conservative governments over the last 30 years to make commitments that somehow are never met. Even in 2030 the objective is to meet the Harper government goal in greenhouse gas emissions reductions, which virtually every environmental scientist now says is inadequate. 

How much should we trust these promises? Lets look at the Liberal record. 
 

Under Trudeau the corporations get off lightly. "The Liberal government is curtailing its plan to price carbon pollution after hearing concerns from Canadian industry officials about how the tax would affect their ability to compete. ... they've adjusted the proposal to set the benchmark at 80 per cent of the industry average of emissions — and 90 per cent for producers of cement, iron and steel, lime and nitrogen fertilizer." (https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/liberals-carbon-price-lower-1.4769530)

The Liberals were deeply involved in negotiating the 1997 Kyoto Accord agreeing that "Canada's Kyoto target was a 6% total reduction by 2012 compared to 1990 levels of 461 Megatonnes (Mt)". Instead the 1997 emissions of 671 Mt during the year of the signing of the Kyoto Accord had risen to 747 Mt in 2005, the last full year of a Liberal government before the Conservatives took over. This was 33% above the 1997 Liberal Kyoto target. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada_and_the_Kyoto_Protocol)

The Liberals declared a climate emergency in June and then announced today the tripling of the Trans Mountain pipeline to carry bitumen to the coast bringing about a massive expansion of the fossil fuel production.

In March 2018 the auditor general concluded  the Trudeau Liberal government "is likely to miss the 2020 Copenhagen target as well". (http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_otp_201803_e_42883.html)

In April 2019 Environment Commissioner Julie Gelfand concluded "Canada is not on track to hit its 2030 target,". These targets were actually those of the Conservative Harper government. (https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/environment-commissioner-julie-gelfand-...)

“Canada has been making and missing climate targets since the early 1990s. There is clearly something off about the way that we take action on climate change,” said Catherine Abreu, executive director of Climate Action Network Canada, referencing every pledge this country has made to slash emissions since the Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit in 1992. “We keep making these promises and letting the world down,” she said. “We need to figure out how we are going to keep our promises when it comes to climate change in the future.” (https://www.thestar.com/politics/federal/2020/11/16/canada-hasnt-hit-a-c...)

Once again the burden has been placed on the individual, while corporations remain largely free riders. "While we busy ourselves greening our personal lives, fossil fuel corporations are rendering these efforts irrelevant. The breakdown of carbon emissions since 1988? A hundred companies alone are responsible for an astonishing 71%. You tinker with those pens or that panel; they go on torching the planet." (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/true-north/2017/jul/17/neolibera...)

jerrym

Here's further analysis of the failure of the new Trudeau climate change plan. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signed the Paris agreement on climate change during a ceremony at the United Nations in New York on Friday.

Bill C-12 on its own lacks the ambition required to steer Canada toward a truly sustainable future. The federal government under Justin Trudeau has consistently vowed to exceed its 2030 goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels. Reaching that goal – itself a holdover from the Stephen Harper era – would mean a reduction from 730 megatonnes of emissions in 2005, to 511 megatonnes in 2030. Federal government data from December 2019 showed that Canada is on track to miss that target by roughly 35 per cent, some 77 megatonnes. As it stands, Bill C-12 appears too passive to substantially close the gap. ...

It pales in comparison to the climate plans of other industrialized nations, and criticsrightly identify some glaring flaws. There is no enforcement mechanism – a government that fails to meet its self-imposed targets must only admit it failed to do so and then create a plan to do better – and no assigned budget to conduct environmental performance audits. The legislation also omits any defined structure for the role that the provinces must play in the success of any future national climate strategy. This alone could sink the most well-intentioned plans, as illustrated by how the future of the Trudeau government's signature climate policy, the carbon tax, now hinges on a decision from the Supreme Court after legal challenges by Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario. ...

Then there is the crucial action time that's lost, given that the initial milestone target is set for a decade from now, in 2030. An editorial in The Globe and Mail dryly noted: "Trudeau proposes net-zero emissions plan – for the next government." That should be cause for serious concern. While it's true that Canada's emissions represent a small portion of global emissions overall, as one of world's richest nations and the second-highest per-capita emitter, Canada's treasured moral authority on the world stage is being eroded by the absence of a proportionate climate policy.

Meanwhile, Canadian communities are becoming more susceptible to the ruinous effects of climate change, from the increase in so-called "100-year floods" that cause billions of dollars in property and infrastructure damage, to worsening wildfires in B.C. Warming in the Arctic is happening at a rate two to three times faster than the rest of the world, something that federal government scientists say is "effectively irreversible." Canada's peatlands, dense layers of partially decayed vegetation that blanket large swathes of the country, have been described as "tinderboxes" ready to ignite in a drier world.

Also of consequence is the fact that the longer Canada delays fully embracing a green transition, the more Canadian businesses and industry lose out on the immense financial opportunitiesthat such a transition represents. This includes an estimated $3.5 trillion in potential annual investment to enable a global transition in the energy sector alone. Roughly $135 billion of that is in carbon capture and storage as well as biofuel technologies, two areas where Canadian clean-energy exports are already outperforming fossil fuel exports despite Canada's unwavering support for the oil and gas sector. ...

A contributor to Climate Action Tracker speaking to BBC News offered a word of caution: "Long-term targets are easier, they are far away. But short-term actions are happening right now and they affect citizens, they affect voters. And that's why this is much more difficult."

https://www.cbc.ca/news/opinion/opinion-federal-climate-change-bill-c12-...

jerrym

Minnesota utility commissioners vote down a motion from two American First Nations seeking to stop the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline project from proceeding, so construction has now started on the final phase of the pipeline. The Trudeau government had already approved and allowed the completion of Enbridge's Line 3 from Alberta  to Manitoba in December 2019 that " will have oil export capacity of 760,000 barrels per day (bpd)" when the US portion is finished this year (https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/enbridge-line-three-shipping-oil-1.5377031). This allowed construction of the Line 3 oil pipeline replacement to proceed, dashing the hopes of two First Nations in Minnesota that sought to halt the project.

In the same month that Trudeau announced a new climate change plan to greatly reduce emissions by 2030 and eliminate them by 2050, while critics note he has no targets for earlier, such as 2025 that are necessary now and no penalties for not meeting targets, his approval of the Canadian portion of Enbridge Line 3 means he once again increases Canadian fossil fuel production while speaking out of both sides of his mouth. 

Bemidji Pioneer

Map of line 3 project (Enbridge graphic)

Enbridge staff and supporters took a virtual victory lap Thursday as construction on Line 3 gets underway in Minnesota.

In a digital construction kick-off event, elected officials and Enbridge leadership spoke about their excitement in getting the work started and the expected impact on the economy. The event comes after Enbridge received the last of its needed permits last month after about six years of review and legal work.

Enbridge's project will build a new oil pipeline to replace the current Line 3, which was installed in the 1960s. Currently, the existing pipeline is operating at half capacity because of its age and condition.

Unlike the existing pipeline's 34-inch diameter, the new Line 3 will be 36 inches. More than 1,000 miles long, the new pipeline will carry an average of 760,000 barrels of oil per day from Edmonton, Alberta to Superior, Wis., where a terminal is located. In Minnesota, 337 miles of pipeline will be installed. ...

Both the original and new pipelines follow a route from Canada to North Dakota and through northwest Minnesota until they reach Clearbrook. The original pipeline takes a more direct path east toward Superior, going through the Leech Lake Nation. The new route will instead go south from Clearbrook, to the border of Hubbard and Wadena Counties, and then extend east toward Wisconsin. Once the new Line 3 is operational, the current pipeline will be decommissioned and remain Enbridge's responsibility to monitor and maintain. ...

The project has been met with opposition over the past several years, which has continued in recent months. For example, recently the White Earth Nation and Red Lake Nation filed a motion to stay, or pause, the project from starting in Minnesota. However, that motion was voted down 4-1 by the Public Utilities Commission on Dec. 4.

https://www.bemidjipioneer.com/news/6796523-Enbridge-holds-virtual-event...

jerrym

A new study from the University of Waterloo illustrates why the shift away from fossil fuels must occur primarily in the developed countries, such as Canada, while countries with per capita GDP less than $10,000 currently produce less than 7% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Helping these low income countries transition now away from fossil fuels would save far greater costs of transitioning them away from fossil fuels later as global warming does ever more damage around the globe. 

The Sermsang Khushig Khundii solar power project in Mongolia in December 2019. Photo from Asian Deve

The Sermsang Khushig Khundii solar power project in Mongolia in December 2019.

Developing nations have an opportunity to avoid long-term dependence on fossil fuel-burning infrastructure as they move toward economic stability, even if they are slow to cut carbon emissions, say the authors of a new paper in Environmental Research Letters.

Countries with low per capita incomes can keep their contributions to global warming to 0.3 degrees Celsius with careful foresight and planning, urge Carnegie's Lei Duan and Ken Caldeira with Juan Moreno-Cruz of the University of Waterloo. However, fueling economic development with coal, oil, or gas risks locking societies into a fossil-fuel burning infrastructure in the long-term, the authors caution.

"People in less wealthy countries are often motivated to use fossil fuels to drive their economic development and meet basic human needs," said lead author, Carnegie's Lei Duan. He continued, "While the direct climate effects from emissions from poor people will be minor, the world will care what kinds of energy systems they have as they increase their wealth."

More than half of the world's population resides in countries that have a per capita gross domestic product of less than $10,000 per year. But these nations produce less than 7 percent of global carbon dioxide emissions.

So Duan, Caldeira, and Juan Moreno-Cruz of the University of Waterloo set out to determine the consequences to the climate if only richer countries focused on decarbonization and developing countries delayed emissions cuts until they achieved economic stability.

They tested several future scenarios in which carbon emissions were cut only when countries reached specified levels of economic growth.

If every country in the world started to cut emissions by 2 percent annually in 2020, the world would warm to the climate-stabilizing Paris Agreement goal of 2 degrees Celsius over the pre-industrial era. However, Duan explained, "we determined that if decarbonization began only when a country reached a $10,000 per capita GDP, it would cause less than 0.3 degrees Celsius additional warming. This demonstrates that the onus of fighting climate change really falls on the shoulders of more developed nations."

This is, in part, because developing nations tend to prioritize low-cost and easy to operate energy sources. In fact, the authors said that the biggest risk to allowing these countries to delay emissions cuts would be the possibility of their constructing more-permanent fossil-fuel-burning infrastructure that would be too costly to eliminate.

In fact, last year, a study on which Caldeira was a coauthor determined that the world's power plants, boilers, furnaces, vehicles, and other fossil fuel technology must be retired early to meet the Paris Agreement goal.

"My professional career has been focused on addressing the climate problem, but I could do that because I had access to food, and shelter, and education, and energy and a thousand other things," Caldeira said. "If I didn't have those things, I would be focused on getting those things. We in the rich world can't fault anybody for trying to meet basic needs. We need to be thinking about ways to help people meet their basic needs today, while we help them and ourselves to transition to an energy system that does not use the sky as a waste dump."

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/12/201216104629.htm

jerrym

Despite the warnings from the Auditor-General and Environmental Commissioner in 2018 and 2019 described in  post #569 that the Trudeau government would not meet its 2020 and 2030 greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and the growing scientific evidence of the rapidly growing impacts of climate change in Canada and globally, the Trudeau Liberals kept pushing further fossil fuel development.  

Trudeau is not only allowing new oil exploration offshore in Newfoundland that has resulted in two discovery wells that could be the beginning of a new oilfield, his government is redefining greenhouse gas emissions so they look lower. 

The Trudeau government, supposedly committed to dealing with global warming, continued to push forward in its two-faced approach with:

(1) the Trans Mountain pipeline to the BC coast to triple tarsands oil transportation;

(2) looked at approving the Frontier Mine in Alberta, which "would  cover 24,000-hectares (roughly double the size of the City of Vancouver) and would produce 260,000 barrels of bitumen each day at its peak (https://thenarwhal.ca/10-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-massive-new-o...) making it one of the largest oilsands mines until the company pulled out of the plan;

 (3) completed Enbridge's Line 3 to Manitoba in December 2019 that " will have oil export capacity of 760,000 barrels per day (bpd)" when the US portion is finished this year (https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/enbridge-line-three-shipping-oil-1.5377031)

ETA: The final approval and start of construction of the American portion began at the beginning of December 2020 over the legal objections of two American First Nations, thereby contributing to more Canadian greenhouse gas emssions in the future (for more details on this see post #571).

(4) proposed a $14 billion LNG pipeline from Ontario to Saguenay Quebec for export to Europe, Asia and Brazil that only failed to come to fruition when Warren Buffet concluded it was not going to work financially (https://policyoptions.irpp.org/magazines/may-2019/quebecs-natural-gas-ex...).

(5) The Trudeau government "treated Donald Trump’s election as “positive news” for Canada’s energy industry and welcomed the help of Canada’s main corporate oil group in lobbying the US administration, documents show." (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/true-north/2018/feb/09/trudeau-g...) Therefore, there is no doubt the Trudeau Liberals are celebrated the announcement that work on the US portion of the XL pipeline would resume in February. Again this fell through, this time because of US court action, not because of the Trudeau government. 

(6) Once again the Trudeau government is speaking out of both sides of its mouth as it changes offshore drilling rules in Newfoundland in order to make it easier for the fossil fuel industry to meet them and then proclaiming that the industry must live up to those standards while environmental organizations complain about the changes.  The Liberal government has also excluded new drilling from environmental assessment there. This has become even more important with the announcement of the discovery of oil in two new places in the Newfoundland offshore. 

(7) The Trudeau Liberals are redefining emissions to make them look lower. 

Canada's vast managed forest lands used to be critical allies in our climate fight and efforts to build a sustainable, carbon neutral forestry economy. That's because these forests used to be healthy enough to absorb the huge amounts of CO2 created by the logging industry's harvests — plus lots more. ...

Unfortunately for all of us, our forests' deep and valuable carbon sink has nearly dried up. Decades of human abuses — from climate disruption to clearcutting — have left them too battered and weakened to even keep up with business-as-usual logging. Put simply: Our continent-spanning managed forests are now being cut down faster than they are growing back. The result has been a rising flood of CO2 pouring out of our managed forests and accumulating in our atmosphere — worsening both the climate and ocean acidification crises. ...

Canada logging CO2 emissions vs amount absorbed by managed forests

Ottawa continues to exempt one of our largest sources of climate pollution — the roughly 155 MtCO2 per year emitted by the logging industry's harvests. ...

In addition, Ottawa also exempts logging emissions from our other emission-reduction policies and targets. For example, under Canada's 2030 Paris Agreement pledge, the target for all other sectors is a 30 per cent emissions cut. But Ottawa created a separate target just for these logging emissions that allows them to rise, not fall. ...

Efforts in Canada to push this clear and growing threat off our books with creative accounting simply allows the crisis to spiral out of control. What we need instead are new policies from Ottawa to address this threat.

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2020/11/02/opinion/co2-forestry-Canada-...

As the climate change activist he claims to be, Trudeau is truly unique. No doubt his new climate change plan that is aimed at either sustaining him in power or provoking an election where he will again claim to be the climate change hero, will have as much success should he be re-elected as all the other Liberal climate change plans of the last 25 years. 

jerrym

The following article summarizes some findings on global warming that came into sharper focus in 2020: the high temperatues giving even more concern despite a La Nina cooling effect; more evidence of the much greater rate of change in Arctic, including in Canada, and Antarctic due to climate change; sea level rise accelerating at close a doubling of previous decades primarily because of melting conditions in the polar regions, but also because of higher temperatures causing water expansion; the ever more evident links between social justice and global warming that threaten the lives of the poor to a much greater extent; and finally some good news that if we can stop greenhouse gas emissions, the process of global warming will level off, unlike predictions from older models. 

Icebergs near Ilulissat, Greenland. Climate change is having a profound effect in Greenland with glaciers and the Greenland ice cap retreating.

Icebergs near Ilulissat, Greenland. Climate change is having a profound effect in Greenland with glaciers and the Greenland ice cap retreating. Credit: Ulrik Pedersen/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Parts of the world economy may have been on pause during 2020, dampening greenhouse gas emissions for a while. But that didn’t slow the overall buildup of atmospheric carbon dioxide, which reached its highest level in millions of years.  If anything, research during the year showed global warming is accelerating. Symptoms of the fever include off-the-charts heat waves on land and in the oceans, and a hyperactive and destructive Atlantic hurricane season

And through November, the last year was on pace to end up as either the hottest, or second-hottest on record for the planet, almost 1 degree Celsius above pre-industrial times, inching closer to the 1.5 degree limit set by the Paris climate agreement. Here are five aspects of climate change that were new and unexpected in 2020:

The La Niña Effect? Some scientists noted that the persistent heating came even with the tropical Pacific Ocean tilting toward a cyclical cooling phase that suppresses the global average temperature slightly. November’s warmth across the planet was “stunning, especially considering the ongoing La Niña,” Zack Labe posted on Twitter

During La Niña, cooler than average sea surface temperatures spread across a large part of the tropical Pacific. During the warm El Niño phase every few years, it’s the opposite, and that’s usually when global temperatures spike to new records, most recently in 2016. ...

This year’s warming is another sign that “heat being trapped by greenhouse gases” is overwhelming the planet’s natural variability, said Jennifer Francis, a climate scientist with the Woodwell Climate Research Center in Massachusetts (formerly the Woods Hole Research Center). “I hate to think what the global temperature would have been this year if we’d been in an El Niño rather than La Niña,” she said.

The Polar Breakdown Warming in the Arctic and Antarctic continues to accelerate faster than the global average, scientists reported this year.  In September, NASA Earth wrote on Twitter that, “The Arctic region is warming three times as fast as the rest of the planet, with effects beyond the ocean.” In recent years, the rate of Arctic warming was widely reported at twice the global average. And in June, a team of scientists tracked a similar rate of warming in Antarctica. Their research, published in Nature, found that, since 1989, the average temperature at the South Pole increased about 0.6 degrees Fahrenheit per decade, also three times as fast as the global average. ...

The warming of the polar regions disrupts global climate patterns in ways that can cause more extreme droughts, floods and heat waves, and changes in climate-regulating ocean currents. ... The rapid Arctic warming has also triggered permafrost thaw that is “now releasing carbon at the same scale as many larger nations,” the scientists wrote. “Rising sea levels from melting glaciers and polar ice sheets have accelerated clear-day flooding and storm damage. ...

Swamped by the Seas? As polar ice melts more quickly, sea level rise also accelerates. But sea level is complicated, because it doesn’t rise at the same rate everywhere, at the same time. The global average rate recently increased from about 1.3 inches to about 2 inches per decade. ...

In early November, researchers with the agency said a decades-long lull in sea level rise is ending. Large-scale changes in the Pacific Ocean are accelerating the inundation of beaches and marshes, as well the erosion of the coastal bluffs where millions of people have built homes and businesses. ...“You’re going to see more of what we’re already seeing on the East Coast. San Diego is a stand-out spot already. There’s more nuisance flooding these days, and they’re going to see a jump.” ...

Climate Justice and Science are Connected California, one of the wealthiest parts of the world, may be able to adapt to sea level rise, but it’s a matter of life and death for millions of other people in developing countries with small carbon footprints that contribute little to global warming. But new research in 2020 showed that researchers have done relatively little to study impacts of global warming extremes in areas where the most people are affected. And this year, climate impacts were compounded by the coronavirus pandemic. ...

 University of Oxford climate scientist Fredi Otto, co-author of a recent study that outlines the challenges of understanding climate extremes in lower income countries, said “It became very obvious that scientists research what’s in their backyard, but not in Africa, large parts of Asia, or South America.” As climate extremes intensify, the information gaps become “a lot more obvious,” she said. ...

Making it Stop Some scientists punctuate their alarming warmings with hopeful messages because they know that the worst possible outcome is avoidable.  Recent research shows that stopping greenhouse gas emissions will break the vicious cycle of warming temperatures, melting ice, wildfires and rising sea levels faster than expected just a few years ago.

There is less warming in the pipeline than we thought, said Imperial College (London) climate scientist Joeri Rogelj, a lead author of the next major climate assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “It is our best understanding that, if we bring down CO2 to net zero, the warming will level off. The climate will stabilize within a decade or two,” he said. “There will be very little to no additional warming. Our best estimate is zero.” The widespread idea that decades, or even centuries, of additional warming are already baked into the system, as suggested by previous IPCC reports, were based on an “unfortunate misunderstanding of experiments done with climate models that never assumed zero emissions.” ...

Those models assumed that concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere would remain constant, that it would take centuries before they decline, said Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann, who discussed the shifting consensus last October during a segment of 60 Minutes on CBS. The idea that global warming could stop relatively quickly after emissions go to zero was described as a “game-changing new scientific understanding” by Covering Climate Now, a collaboration of news organizations covering climate.

https://insideclimatenews.org/news/03012021/five-aspects-climate-change-...

jerrym

2020 tied with 2016 as the hottest year ever.

Map showing land surface temperature anomalies from 19 March to 20 June 2020

 The Arctic and northern Siberia saw particularly extreme average temperatures in 2020, with a large region 3C higher than the long-term average.

Last year tied with 2016 as the world’s warmest year on record, rounding off the hottest decade globally as the impacts of climate change intensified, the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service said on Friday.

After an exceptionally warm winter and autumn in Europe, the continent experienced its hottest year on record in 2020, while the Arctic suffered extreme heat and atmospheric concentrations of planet-warming carbon dioxide continued to rise.

Last year tied with 2016 as the world’s warmest year on record, rounding off the hottest decade globally as the impacts of climate change intensified, the European Union’s Copernicus Climate Change Service said on Friday.

After an exceptionally warm winter and autumn in Europe, the continent experienced its hottest year on record in 2020, while the Arctic suffered extreme heat and atmospheric concentrations of planet-warming carbon dioxide continued to rise. ...

The Paris accord aims to cap the rise in temperatures to “well below” 2 degrees C and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees C to avoid the most devastating impacts of climate change.

“The key here is to… reduce the amount we emit,” Copernicus senior scientist Freja Vamborg told Reuters.

Last year also saw the highest temperature ever reliably recorded, when in August a California heatwave pushed the temperature at Death Valley in the Mojave Desert up to 54.4C (129.92°F).

The Arctic and northern Siberia continued to warm more quickly than the planet as a whole in 2020, with temperatures in parts of these regions averaging more than 6C above a 30-year average used as a baseline, Copernicus said.

The region also had an “unusually active” wildfire season, with fires poleward of the Arctic Circle releasing a record 244 million tonnes of CO2 in 2020, over a third more than in 2019.

Arctic sea ice continued to deplete, with July and October both setting records for the lowest sea ice extent in that month.

Scientists who were not involved in the study said it was consistent with growing evidence that climate change is contributing to more intense hurricanes, fires, floods and other disasters.

In the United States, the costs in lives and damage is fast rising, said Adam Smith, a climate scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). ...

Smith said that the 16 billion-dollar disasters that occurred in the United States in the first nine months of 2020 matched previous annual records set in 2011 and 2017. A preliminary tally found that 13 of last year’s disasters led to at least 188 deaths and costs of $46.6 billion, Smith said. 

https://globalnews.ca/news/7563132/climate-change-2020-hottest-year/

 

jerrym

Climate Action Network took a look at Trudeau's and Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson's  December climate plan and concluded it was quite inadequate. 

Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson

Unfortunately, at a moment where other economies are putting a stop on the expansion of fossil fuel investments, this plan does not change the fact that Canadian governments continue to double down on fossil fuels, subjecting workers and our economy to the ever-increasing volatility of oil and gas markets.

Increasing Canada’s price on carbon is essential to cut carbon emissions over time, make polluters pay and put more money in Canadians’ pockets. Carbon pricing is now a global norm with over 70 jurisdictions around the world operating with a price on pollution. Carbon pricing in Canada is here to stay, and it has to stay to give us any hope of avoiding the most irreversible climate impacts.

It’s good to see policies that can, if implemented quickly and with the greatest stringency possible, take Canada’s climate ambitions further than our current insufficient Paris pledge – reducing emissions up to 40% below 2005 levels by 2030. It is also good to see a significant investment of $15B in climate action. However, these numbers pale in comparison to commitments being made by our closest trading partners in the EU and the U.S. (under a new Biden administration). 

As we look to the preparation of Canada’s new Paris pledge – to be released in time for the next UN climate negotiations in 2021 (COP26) – provinces and territories have to step up their game to push Canada’s climate ambitions to where they need to be, and all governments need to bring much larger investments to the table to get the transformative changes we need. As well, we look forward to the announcement of Canada’s climate finance pledge.

Finally, acknowledging and being led by Indigenous climate leadership is important – truly supporting Indigenous climate leadership means interweaving it throughout all of Canada’s climate plans. 

https://climateactionnetwork.ca/2020/12/11/can-racs-catherine-abreu-reac...

jerrym

Scientists found that in 2020 Arctic sea ice has shrunk to the second lowest level in recorded history.

The floes withdrew to just under 3.74 million sq km (1.44 million sq miles) last week, preliminary data indicates.

The only time this minimum has been beaten in the 42-year spacecraft record was 2012 when the pack ice was reduced to 3.41 million sq km.

Shorter autumn days and encroaching cold mean the floes are now starting to regrow. ...

  • Arctic ice 2020

It's normal for Arctic sea-ice to expand through the winter each year and then melt back again in the summer, but the September minima, accounting for some variability, are getting deeper and deeper as the polar north warms.

The downward trend since satellites started routinely monitoring the floes is about 13% per decade, averaged across the month.

Computer models project the summer sea-ice will regularly be below one million sq km later this century. 

That's bad news for the climate. Extensive sea-ice helps cool the Arctic and the rest of the planet. In its absence, more sunlight will be absorbed by the darker surface waters of the ocean, which will promote further warming and further loss of ice. 

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-54211760

jerrym

Another sign of the rapid climatic change occurring in the Arctic is the increasingly rapid breakup of the Greenland ice sheet in 2020, thereby increasing a wide range of problems, including sea level rise, which is especially problematic for Canada, the country with the longest coastline in the world by a factor of three over second place Norway.

A big chunk of ice has broken away from the Arctic's largest remaining ice shelf - 79N, or Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden - in north-east Greenland. The ejected section covers about 110 square km; satellite imagery shows it to have shattered into many small pieces. 

The loss is further evidence say scientists of the rapid climate changes taking place in Greenland.

"The atmosphere in this region has warmed by about 3C since 1980," said Dr Jenny Turton. "And in 2019 and 2020, it saw record summer temperatures," the polar researcher at Friedrich-Alexander University in Germany told BBC News. Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden is roughly 80km long by 20km wide and is the floating front end of the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream - where it flows off the land into the ocean to become buoyant.

SpalteIMAGE COPYRIGHTCOPERNICUS DATA/ESA/SENTINEL-2B The ice is being attacked from above and below

The ice feature was already heavily fractured in 2019; this summer's warmth has been its final undoing. Spalte Glacier has become a flotilla of icebergs. 

Look closely at the satellite pictures and the higher air temperatures recorded in the region are obvious from the large number of melt ponds that sit on top of the shelf ice.

The presence of such liquid water is often problematic for ice platforms. If it fills crevasses, it can help to open them up. The water will push down on the fissures, driving them through to the base of the shelf in a process known as hydrofracturing. This will weaken an ice shelf.

Oceanographers have also documented warmer sea temperatures which mean the shelf ice is almost certainly being melted from beneath as well.

"79N became 'the largest remaining Arctic ice shelf' only fairly recently, after the Petermann Glacier in northwest Greenland lost a lot of area in 2010 and 2012," explained Prof Jason Box from the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland (GEUS). What makes 79N so important is the way it's attached to the interior ice sheet, and that means that one day - if the climate warms as we expect - this region will probably become one of the major centres of action for the deglaciation of Greenland." ...

The fast pace of melting in Greenland was underlined in a study last month that analysed data from the US-German Grace-FO satellites. These spacecraft are able to track changes in ice mass by sensing shifts in the pull of local gravity. They essentially weigh the ice sheet. 

The Grace mission found 2019 to have been a record-breaking year, with the ice sheet shedding some 530 billion tonnes. That's enough meltwater running off the land into the ocean to raise global sea-levels by 1.5mm. 

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-54127279

 

 

jerrym

In the same week it is confirmed that Biden plans to quickly terminate the Trans Mountain pipeline, the Trudeau government not only assures us that they are pushing Biden to reverse his call, it is also gave out three new oil drilling premits, while proclaiming itself the champion of dealing with climate change. 

Keystone XL pipeline

In this Oct. 4, 2012 file photo, large sections of pipe are shown on a neighboring property to Julia Trigg Crawford family farm, in Sumner Texas. Keystone XL is expected to be cancelled on President-elect Joe Biden's first day in office. (AP Photo/Tony

A source close to the transition team of U.S. president-elect Joe Biden has told CTV News that the new president will kill the Keystone XL pipeline after taking office.

According to the transition briefing documents, reviewed by CTV News' Washington Bureau Correspondent Richard Madan, the plan to use an executive order is listed under Wednesday, Jan.20, his first day of office.

The Keystone XL pipeline extension is a controversial cross-border project that seeks to build upon existing infrastructure transporting Canadian crude oil into the U.S. It aims to deliver 830,000 barrels of oil from Hardisty, Alta. to Steele City, Neb., and would cost approximately US$8 billion. ...

A Canadian source close to the matter told Madan that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau brought up the subject in a congratulatory phone call with Biden following his victory in the U.S. election.

They spoke for around 10 minutes, the source said, and agreed to continue discussions later down the road.

In an emailed statement Sunday, Kirsten Hillman, Canada's ambassador to the U.S., told CTV News that the Canadian government still stands by the project, and that "Keystone XL fits within Canada's climate plan." ...

In 2019, the existing Keystone pipeline suffered a leak in eastern North Dakota, spilling 1.4 million litres of oil and impacting more than 19,000 square metres of land.

Critics of the project have also pointed out that sinking more time and money into oil in a time when the world is looking to move away from it makes little economic sense, particularly in the face of plummeting oil prices.

"This is what true climate leadership looks like," Annamie Paul, leader of the federal Green Party, said in response to news of Biden's expected cancellation of the Keystone deal. She added in a tweet that the Trudeau government had announced three environmental assessment decisions for three offshore drilling projects this week, implying it showed a "contrast in leadership." ...

Rachel Notley, leader of Alberta's NDP, said in a tweet Sunday that the Keystone project had been "a risk," and criticized Kenney for the "massive gamble" that is now unlikely to come to fruition, despite Kenney's call to the federal government to intervene.

https://www.ctvnews.ca/world/america-votes/biden-to-prioritize-blocking-...

jerrym

Despite the $17 billion spent on buying and constructing the Trans Mountain pipeline that Kinder Morgan walked away from, the money poured into the Keystone XL that has now been blocked by President Biden, the Frontier oilsands mine that fell through because the Teck company dropped out of because it didn't make financial sense, the $14 billion proposed Ontario to Saguenay pipeline that fell through when Warren Buffet saw no way of it working financially, etc. (see post #573 for details), the Trudeau Liberals can't stop giving more money to the wealthiest fossil fuel firms to keep drilling and building. 

The latest example is in Newfoundland  the $41.5 giveaway to Husky Oil in December by the Trudeau government to keep the "idled West White Rose offshore oil project going, particularly to "protect the option of restarting" in the next year — although there is no guarantee that will happen." Meanwhile Trudeau continues to proclaim his devotion to stopping greenhouse gas emissions. I guess he is just following his strategy before the last election of proclaiming a climate change emergency one day and literally the next day buying the Trans Mountain pipeline. 

The $41.5 million, which is half the project cost, is in addition to the $325 million the Trudeau government handed the Liberal Newfoundland government to support the Newfoundland oil industry, after Husky stopped construction on the project in April due to the low price of oil. More subsidies poured into a sunsetting industry.

Federal Natural Resources Minister Seamus O'Regan called a strategic investment in the oil industry. When a company cancels a 60% complete project you know its in very bad shape. A strategic plan would actually be to stop throwing good money down the drain trying to keep alive an industry in a slow death spiral. The $41.5 million investment came a few days after Cenovus bought Husky for $4 billion. Cenovus quickly said that all options were on the table and a quick shutdown of the project was possible. Cenovus even admitted that it might walk away from the project as soon as the merger is complete. 

On the other hand provincial NDP leader Coffin, facing reality, said " 'We're putting money into an industry that I don't think is sustainable at all. We're hearing time and time again that the oil industry is in decline.' — Coffin commenting on the $41.5 million in federal funds handed to Husky Energy on Dec. 3, 2020.(https://www.kamloopsthisweek.com/alison-coffin-newfoundland-and-labrador...)

ETA: I'm sure Husky-Cenovus won't walk away from the $41.5 million. I'll also bet they won't announce the cancelling of the project before the February 13th Newfouondland election. After all, Husky-Cenovus wouldn't want to piss off a government that has been so generous to them and other fossil fuel corporations in the past when there is likely more payola coming in the future.

 

The West White Rose project was about 60 per cent complete when construction was halted. (Husky Energy)

Husky Energy is getting $41.5 million from the Newfoundland and Labrador government to keep the idled West White Rose offshore oil project going, particularly to "protect the option of restarting" in the next year — although there is no guarantee that will happen. ...

It's known as "warm suspension," and it's only an option, not a certainty, that the project will fully restart.

O'Regan called the announcement "one heck of a Christmas surprise for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians and their families." He said the announcement was not merely a government handout but instead called it a "strategic investment" in the offshore oil industry, which was thrown into turmoil this spring when the COVID-19 pandemic caused oil prices to plummet. 

The announcement came Thursday morning in a news conference that involved Premier Andrew Furey, provincial Energy Minister Andrew Parsons, federal Natural Resources Minister Seamus O'Regan and Husky senior vice-president Jonathan Brown. ...

O'Regan called the announcement "one heck of a Christmas surprise for Newfoundlanders and Labradorians and their families." He said the announcement was not merely a government handout but instead called it a "strategic investment" in the offshore oil industry, which was thrown into turmoil this spring when the COVID-19 pandemic caused oil prices to plummet. ... O'Regan acknowledged there will not be an entirely smooth road in the coming months.  ...

Following the press conference, NDP Leader Alison Coffin voiced concern over the project's continued precariousness, citing the agreement's reliance on unnamed "conditions. We've been given no idea of what those conditions are," she told reporters Thursday. "Do we have to put even more money into this? Are the conditions that the price of oil has to go up?... We have no guarantees."

That Oil and Gas Industry Recovery Fund was announced Sept. 25, with the federal government allocating $320 million for the N.L. government to support direct and indirect employment. 

The announcement is the latest development in a saga that started in April, when Husky announced it was stopping construction on the project, as the global pandemic battered oil markets. Hundreds of workers were laid off. At the time, the project was nearly 60 per cent complete. ...

That news came just days after Cenovus Energy announced it would buy Husky Energy in a deal worth nearly $4 billion. In a statement, Cenovus said regarding Husky's operations in the province "the WWR [West White Rose] project is key to extending the life of the White Rose field. As we have said before, all options are on the table and accelerating abandonment remains a possibility." ...

That news came just days after Cenovus Energy announced it would buy Husky Energy in a deal worth nearly $4 billion. In a statement, Cenovus said regarding Husky's operations in the province "the WWR [West White Rose] project is key to extending the life of the White Rose field. As we have said before, all options are on the table and accelerating abandonment remains a possibility." When asked about Cenovus walking away from the project once the merger is complete, Brown said it's too early to know. 

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/west-white-rose-1.5...

jerrym

The cleanup of oil and gas wellsites in Alberta is another fraud committed by the fossil fuel industry. In 2018 internal documents of the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) that were discussed at a meeting with the fossil fuel industry but not revealed to the public were leaked to the press. The documents concluded "Cleaning up the Alberta oilpatch could cost an estimated $260 billion, internal regulatory documents warn. The staggering financial liabilities for the energy industry’s mining waste and graveyard of spent facilities were spelled out by a high-ranking official of the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) in a presentation to a private audience in Calgary in February." (https://globalnews.ca/news/4617664/cleaning-up-albertas-oilpatch-could-c...'s%20oilpatch%20could%20cost%20%24260%20billion%2C%20internal%20documents%20warn,-By%20Mike%20De&text=Cleaning%20up%20the%20Alberta%20oilpatch,billion%2C%20internal%20regulatory%20documents%20warn)

The ongoing total corporate capture of AER regulator has been shown this month by its failure to do nothing more than issue a warning letter to fossil fuel companies that have fraudulently claimed to have cleaned up numerous abandoned wells when they have done nothing, despite many oil and gas firms getting money from the government for the cleanup and despite the resulting large environmental damage caused by the wells.

In AER's OneStop regulatory program, inspectors do not even have to visit cleanup sites, making fraud so easy. The action AER did take in issuing a warning letter and reversing its cleanup certification came only after local landowners complained of the pollution and after they "received reclamation certificate packages in the mail that indicated they had signed off on cleanup work. They hadn’t." For years the landowners had not even received payment on the leases for the land used by oil and gas companies, yet AER had done nothing about that either. 

An Aeraden Energy natural gas well site in Jenner, Alta. 

Close to 60 natural gas well sites near the hamlet of Jenner, in southern Alberta, are supposed to have been shut down, cleaned up and the land returned to its natural state. Instead, scattered equipment, holes in the earth, dead vegetation and divots deep enough to swallow the wheel of a pickup truck dot the landscape, evidence of what one regulator called a “really serious case of falsification of documents.”

The 59 wells belong to one Calgary-based company. Another, an environmental services provider, applied to the provincial regulator for reclamation certificates that affirmed all the sites had been returned to natural prairie. But after local landowners complained, the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) launched a two-year investigation and cancelled every certificate.

Aeraden Energy Corp. owns the wells and a company called CEPro Energy & Environmental Services Inc. signed off on the cleanup of the sites.

The AER investigation found that Aeraden had left groundwater monitoring wells, fences and berms on sites, failed to fix slumping soil and dead vegetation, and – in one case – filed for a reclamation certificate for a site that was still active.

The probe also included an audit of all reclamation certificate applications lodged by CEPro since 2016. It found the company had submitted site photos that weren’t of the wells being reclaimed, and signed off on cleanups at many sites despite holes in the ground and various infrastructure left behind.

But neither company will face financial penalties, despite the breadth and seriousness of their contraventions of Alberta’s Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA) and regulations governing conservation and reclamation. Instead, each company received a warning letter from AER, calling the matter “very serious.” ...

Aeraden was also ordered to complete remediation of the sites. However, the case will have no implications for several other oil and gas sites Aeraden operates across Alberta and Saskatchewan, the AER said. ...

Matthew Oliver, who is deputy registrar and chief regulatory officer of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA), “This is a really, really serious case of falsification of documents” amounting to “more than a casual slip,”. ...

But the AER said it has no evidence of a deliberate attempt by either company to mislead regulators. It’s also standing by OneStop, the online system used for reclamation applications.

The OneStop program removes the requirement for inspectors to even lay their eyes on sites before issuing certificates saying land has been returned to its pre-well state. Instead, it relies on energy companies and those that sign off on their cleanup work – agrologists and engineers, for example – to attest the information attached to their applications is true and correct. ...

For years, Aeraden has failed to pay those local farmers and ranchers the money they’re contracted to receive for the leases on their land. ...

Mr. Bower said landowners started raising red flags when they received reclamation certificate packages in the mail that indicated they had signed off on cleanup work. They hadn’t.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/article-energy-firms-misled-alb...

 

jerrym

Biden's climate change plan is not nearly enough but it is far better than Trudeau's which promotes fossil fuel development and pipelines while mouthing climate change platitudes. Biden is already proposing to spend ten times as much as Trudeau on a per capita basis on dealing with global warming and the related shifts in industry and employment that that requires. 

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speaks on Friday in Wilmington, Del.

Most Canadians don’t think of Joe Biden as a climate hero. The long-time senator, former vice president, and incoming president has often occupied the centre of the U.S. political spectrum. But this year, after securing the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, Biden did something that astonished those hoping to prevent a climate breakdown.

He announced a bold plan to invest US$2 trillion over four years on a climate plan that would create millions of union jobs rebuilding infrastructure and expanding public transportation. It would upgrade four million buildings and weatherize two million homes, making them far more energy efficient. The overarching goal was to put the country on a path to achieving net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050 across the entire economy. ...

One of those expressing glee over the plan was Vancouver lawyer Tim Louis, a Che Guevara–admiring left-wing rabble-rouser and not a typical Biden supporter. What turned this Bernie Sanders fan around was the response of the Sunrise Movement, an influential group of young climate advocates.

“Now the Sunrise Movement has come out very strongly in support of Joe Biden’s bold green economic recovery plan,” Louis wrote on his blog. “They assess it as being more progressive than even Bernie’s climate action plan in 2016.”

Biden has followed through with appointments that have energized some climate activists. He started by naming former secretary of state John Kerry as his climate envoy. Kerry played a key role in negotiating the 2015 Paris Agreement, which aimed to limit the global average temperature increase to 1.5° C above where it stood at the start of the Industrial Revolution.

Lindsay Meiman, senior U.S. communications specialist with the climate-justice group 350.org, said she is delighted with the appointment of Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico as interior secretary. If the Senate confirms Haaland, she will become the first Indigenous person in history to hold this position.

“That’s absolutely massive and a huge testament to the Indigenous-led people-power movement that pushed for that nomination,” Meiman said.

Biden’s national climate adviser will be Gina McCarthy, who headed the Environmental Protection Agency in the Barack Obama administration. In early 2020, McCarthy became president and CEO of the Natural Resources Defense Council, which is one of America’s better-known environmental groups....

“Really, Biden has a climate mandate with massive support behind him and his administration – and working to hold them accountable,” Monica Medina, a lawyer, former principal deputy undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere, and cocreator of Our Daily Planet said. She added that Biden has already committed to stop the Keystone XL pipeline, which will is slated to deliver diluted bitumen from Alberta to the United States. “This is a zombie pipeline. Not only should they not be built in a pandemic, but there’s no such thing as a safe fossil fuel project,” Meiman said. ...

“The Biden approach on climate is substantially better than the Trudeau government’s,” Seth Klein, the Vancouver-based author of A Good War: Mobilizing Canada For The Climate Emergency, said. “So, really, we are shifting gears massively where we just spent four years with the Canadian climate plan being way ahead of the federal U.S. plan and now they’re leapfrogging ahead of us. And now you’re going to have the Canadian government running a bit to catch up.” ...

This prompted speculation about the possibility of a future ban on internal-combustion engines. That’s something the Liberals didn’t contemplate in their December climate plan. ...

In A Good War, Klein outlined four markers that demonstrate if a government is willing to address a crisis.

They include a willingness to spend what’s necessary; the creation of new economic institutions to get the job done; the implementation of mandatory measures rather than merely focusing on incentives; and telling the truth. ...

According to Klein, this happened when Canada mobilized to fight the Second World War. And the Trudeau government is taking similar action in response to COVID-19. But to date, Klein doesn’t think the federal government is hitting any of these markers in connection with the climate crisis.

Biden, on the other hand, appears to be moving further in that direction, hitting a financial target outlined in the 2006 Stern Review On The Economics Of Climate Change. Canada, though, is only spending $5 billion a year, according to Klein, which is 10 times less than Biden on a per capita basis. Plus, Biden has started telling the truth by saying the fossil-fuel sector will need to be wound down. But it’s unclear yet whether Biden is prepared to create new economic institutions and embrace mandatory measures to curb the release of greenhouse-gas emissions.

“So there’s some clear indication that the U.S. under Biden will be more serious about climate than Justin Trudeau is,” Klein commented. 

https://nowtoronto.com/news/joe-biden-ambitious-climate-plan-ups-the-ant...

jerrym

Even when Trudeau promises to shift away from fossil fuels he makes the wrong choice. One example is his promise to help develop hydrogen energy. Instead of producing 'green hydrogen' from non-carbon dioxide emitting electrical sources, Trudeau and the Liberals are pushing the development of 'blue hydrogen' energy, "which comes from natural gas but its emissions are stored underground. However, this process is in its infancy so it is still increasing greenhouse gas emissions and locking Canada into further fossil fuel development should it be successful in grabbing market share. "Canada is already one of the top ten producers of hydrogen in the world, but most of our hydrogen is grey , or dirty, hydrogen, which releases CO2 directly into the atmosphere in the manufacturing process." (https://energy-cities.eu/50-shades-of-grey-and-blue-and-green-hydrogen/#....)

On the other hand a number of countries are already heavily into developing 'green hydrogen, including Spain, Saudi Arabia and Japan, and Biden has promised to follow the same path in the US. 

Workers at Toyota Motor Corp. set hydrogen-stored tanks, in yellow, to be placed into a fuel cell vehicle...

Workers at Toyota Motor Corp. set hydrogen-stored tanks, in yellow, to be placed into a fuel cell vehicle in Toyota, Japan on Oct. 30, 2017. Toyota is banking on hydrogen fuel cells for its zero-emissions vehicle option

The [Canadian] federal government is betting on hydrogen as a fuel of the future — a low carbon alternative to oil and gas that could one day heat our homes, power electric vehicles, buses and transport trucks, and make industrial processes cleaner, such as steel manufacturing and mining. 

Countries looking to cut emissions — Spain, Saudi Arabia and Japan, for example — are already building up their hydrogen infrastructure in what Forbes dubbed the “green hydrogen revolution.” The light, energy-dense fuel is attractive because it doesn’t directly emit greenhouse gases.

Canada’s first hydrogen strategy came in mid-December. Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan framed it as a way to spur investment and position Canada as a world leader in hydrogen production in the coming decades. ...

The federal government has not revealed how much money it plans to spend to grow the sector, instead pointing to future tax credits, subsidies and attracting private investment. 

While the strategy supports the development of “green hydrogen,” derived from renewable power and water, it also relies heavily on “blue hydrogen.”

Blue hydrogen is derived from natural gas, which is a fossil fuel. Creating blue hydrogen therefore emits carbon that will be trapped by carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies, said O’Regan.

Environmental groups are critical, saying the federal government is missing an opportunity to make hydrogen production as clean as possible. 

CCS is largely unproven, expensive and perpetuating a false narrative that Canada can maintain a thriving fossil fuel industry while significantly reducing emissions, Environmental Defence’s Julia Levin said. 

“This strategy will lock Canada into a future of fossil fuel use,” she said.

https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/climate-change-stories-2021_ca_5feca...

jerrym

There is starting to be major movement in the auto industry towards electric cars with many companies investing heavily in this sector as global warming and emissions restrictions hit home.  How many more years will Canada keep building pipelines and oil drilling sites that take years to become fully operational in an environment where demand will be rapidly shrinking?

2021 Tesla Model S P100d

2021 Tesla Model S Electric Car

The electric-vehicle market made big gains in 2019, across multiple car manufacturers — and the industry has even bigger plans for the years to come. 

Tesla turned a profitdebuted the Cybertruckdelivered the first Model 3s built in its Shanghai plant, and announced a boosted range on its Model S and Model X. On the luxury end of the spectrum, the Audi E-Tron went up for sale, Porsche started production on the Taycan performance car, and Lamborghini announced its first hybrid supercar.

 As of late last year, auto manufacturers had pledged to spend a total of $225 billion developing new EVs in the near future. ...

Increasingly restrictive emissions and fuel-efficiency regulations around the globe — but not so much in the US — are compelling carmakers to roll out vehicles more able to fit within those restrictions. ...

Toyota — whose cars currently make up more than 80% of the global hybrid vehicle market, according to Reuters — announced plans to generate half of its sales from electrified vehicles by 2025, five years earlier than it previously estimated. ...

Last year, Volkswagen said it will spend more than $30 billion developing EVs by 2023. The manufacturer also aims for EVs to make up 40% of its global fleet by 2030. Not to mention, Volkswagen plans to reach its target of 1 million electric cars produced by the end of 2023, two years ahead of its prior predictions. ...

In 2019, General Motors said Cadillac will be its lead brand when it comes to electric vehicles. Cadillac's president said the majority of the brand's models would be electric by 2030, and left open the possibility that the lineup would go entirely electric by then. ...

Last year, Ford unveiled the Mustang Mach-E, an electric crossover that gets its name from the company's iconic sports car. But that wasn't the only EV Ford had plans for. In 2018, Ford's CEO said an increased investment in electric-car initiatives would result in a 2022 model lineup that includes 40 electric and electrified vehicles.  In 2019, Ford Europe said it will offer an electrified option for all of its future nameplates and announced at the Detroit Auto Show that a fully electric F-150 would launch in the coming years. ...

Last year, Volvo released its first electric vehicle, the XC40 Recharge, which it expects will go on sale in the US in the fourth quarter of 2020. The brand also doubled down on its pledge to generate 50% of its global sales from EVs by 2025 and promised that, by the same year, it will reduce the total carbon footprint of each vehicle manufactured by 40%. Plus, Volvo said it will release a new EV every year for the next five years. ...

Honda revealed its Honda E city car in 2019, and also said every model it sells in Europe will be at least partially electrified by 2022. That's a big jump from Honda's earlier projections of a full lineup of electrified cars by 2025. The fully electric Honda E and hybrid Jazz, known as the Fit to US consumers, will jumpstart the initiative. ...

In 2017, BMW Group projected that electrified vehicles — a term that doesn't necessarily equate to fully electric vehicles — would account for 15% to 25% of its sales by 2025. In working toward that projection, BMW Group unveiled the electric Mini Cooper SE last year, targeting it toward "urban mobility." In June, the Bavarian brand said it will offer 25 electrified vehicles by 2023, two years earlier than it had initially planned. One of those new models — an electric version of the 1 Series hatchback — may arrive as early as 2021.

Nissan launched the Leaf Plus with a longer range last year, and plans to introduce eight new electric cars by 2022. ...

In 2018, Fiat Chrysler announced it would invest $10.5 billion in electrification through 2022. By that year, FCA plans to offer at least 12 hybrid and all-electric powertrain options and launch more than 30 electrified nameplates. ...

In 2017, Daimler, the parent company to Mercedes-Benz, unveiled plans to plunge more than $11 billion into developing its EQ series of electric cars, with the aim of introducing more than 10 EVs by 2022. The company also plans to offer at least one electric option in every Mercedes-Benz model series.

https://www.businessinsider.com/promises-carmakers-have-made-about-their...

jerrym

The last post talked about what many automobile makers are doing in response growing to carbon emission restrictions and increased demand for electric cars triggering a relatively shift to electric vehicles. However, it did not mention the two biggest potential players in this shift as they strive to dominate global car production through leading in electric car production: India and China. Chinese electric cars were already 8.5% of the market in 2019 and China is aiming for a 20% share by 2025. India plans to sell only electric cars by 2030. In addition, the French auto industry is another player that I did not mention in the last post that also believes it has to shift to electric cars or disappear. In fact " French automaker Renault said that it would start building only electric vehicles for China's huge passenger car market" (https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/international-business/rena...)

Once again Canada seems about to be left behind as the Trudeau Liberals and most provincial governments continue to build pipelines and plan more for production as demand looks likely to decrease in a major way over the next five years, let alone the next decade. 

Nio's New Energy Supercar 'EP9' is Showed at Guangzhou International Automobile Exhibition 2018

Chinese automaker Nio's new electric energy supercar 'EP9' Getty Images

China and India have both announced plans to ban petrol and diesel vehicles as the new energy vehicle (NEV) insurgency gathers momentum. The declaration from two of Asia’s spearheads follows earlier commitments in several European countries. In July, Ecology Minister Nicolas Hulot announced France would cease sales of petrol and diesel vehicles by 2040. Soon after, Britain disclosed an identical timeframe as part of the government’s new clean air plan. Norway has publicised even more impressive plans, confirming all new passenger cars and vans sold in 2025 should be zero emission.

While China and India are clearly not the first to announce such sweeping changes, the world’s two most populous nations clearly have designs on becoming global forerunners in the electrification of vehicles. Fulfilling obligations as signatories of the Paris Climate Accord is a key driver, though reducing the devastating impact of pollution in certain areas of each nation remains of utmost importance.

India, home to 1.3 billion people, is the world’s fifth-largest auto market with 21 million vehicles sold annually. The South Asia nation plans to shift entirely to electric vehicle sales by 2030, arguably the most ambitious new energy transformation of any country. ...

Aside from the obvious environmental benefits, many of India’s cities are among the world’s most polluted, the Indian government has highlighted substantial economic benefit from this change. 82% of India’s oil requirements are currently imported.

https://www.fuelsandlubes.com/fli-article/china-vs-india-the-battle-for-...

 

A few years ago, the cars coming out of China were the object of derision. ...

But times have changed, and as with most other areas of technology, China has caught up with the West’s automotive design abilities and even overtaken, with one area of particular note: electric vehicles. By 2019, there were already 2.58 million battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in China, compared to just 0.97 million in Europe, and 0.88 million in the USA, according to the International Energy Agency. China also has more home and work chargers than any other part of the world, more public slow chargers than the rest of the world put together, and 82% of the global fast charger installations. ...

BYD Auto, which is 25% owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, produces lots of different electric vehicles but the one receiving the most interest currently is the Han, a luxury sedan. The long-range version has a Tesla Model S-rivalling 376-mile range while the high-performance option can hit 62mph in 3.9 seconds – not as fast as a Model S Performance but still highly commendable. Prices will range from $32,800-$40,000. ...

If it was a pure free market based on value for money, Chinese electric cars would be giving European and American manufacturers sleepless nights already. But it’s likely that politics and economic protectionism will keep them at bay for a while. How long it will be before the dam breaks and Chinese EVs flood in is uncertain, but it probably won’t be possible to hold them back forever.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/jamesmorris/2020/07/18/chinese-electric-car...

jerrym

Its not just Keystone that is a problem for Canada's fossil fuel promoters. There are new threats to other existing pipelines, specifically lines 3, that Trudeau pushed through from Alberta to Manitoba that is now facing indigenous resistance after six years of court battles in the US similar to that of Standing Rock North Dakota, and line 5, which the Michigan governor is threatening to shutdown. Trudeau was questioned in Parliament yesterday about the threat of the Michigan governor to shutdown  line 5, which "the move would have a devastating impact on the Canadian economy, vaporizing thousands of jobs and cutting off a crucial supply of gasoline and jet fuel to Ontario and Quebec. " 

Line 3 demonstrators protest the pipeline construction in January in Minnesota

Line 3 pipeline On January 2, 2021, during the first weekend of the New Year, dozens of water protectors gathered to demonstrate and pray along Great River Road near Palisade, Minnesota. They joined in song, protesting a controversial tar sands oil pipeline called Line 3, which is currently being constructed through northern Minnesota and traditional Anishinaabe lands. Ojibwe tribes have helped spearhead the opposition to this pipeline, alongside Indigenous and environmental groups.

A clash with police hours later resulted in the arrest of 14 demonstrators. As one water protector, Shanai Matteson, described the confrontation: “There were more police, and fewer Water Protectors, in an unreasonable show of force by officers … who escalated the situation.”     ...

This Indigenous-led resistance to the Line 3 pipeline is reminiscent of Standing Rock in North Dakota, where, since 2015, the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe has led fellow Native and non-Native water protectors in taking a stand against the Dakota Access pipeline, which ultimately went into operation in 2017. Both of these battles over new tar sands pipelines also have featured direct action demonstrations and legal challenges, all with significant stakes for Native rights and sovereignty, the integrity of impacted water bodies and land, and the global climate.

In Minnesota, the fight over Line 3 has dragged on for over six years. Now, with the Canadian-based energy pipeline giant Enbridge Corporation commencing construction, opponents are continuing their resistance on the ground and in the courts.

https://www.desmogblog.com/2021/01/08/enbridge-line-3-pipeline-indigenou...

 

Line 5 piepline The Canadian government continues to press U.S. officials to avoid the shutdown of a key pipeline supplying southern Ontario, marking another point of conflict in the energy relationship between the two countries after Keystone XL was scrapped last week.

Officials in Michigan are looking to force the shutdown of Line 5, a pipeline carrying 540,000 barrels of Canadian oil and other petroleum products each day from Superior, Wis., to refineries in Sarnia, Ont. 

https://nationalpost.com/news/politics/its-a-big-threat-canadian-officia...

jerrym

While the Trudeau government continues to push pipelines and fossil due development even the Canadian financial sector is beginning to move away from fossil fuel investments, although a lot more needs to be done by these financiers. 

Former Bank of Canada and Bank of England head Mark Carney

Two Canadian investment leaders endorsed a transition to clean energy at a virtual DavosWorld Economic Forum on Wednesday as more investors worldwide push for concrete sustainability commitments.

Former Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney said that politicians can help markets finance the transition to zero-emission economies by setting credible forward commitments. ...

Carney, who is also vice-chairman at Brookfield Asset Management, said that financial and economic markets will adjust to future goals, such as upcoming bans of internal combustion engines in Europe. ...

Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan chief executive Jo Taylor said the pension plan tries to push its portfolio companies toward sustainability, rather than immediately divesting in carbon-intensive companies. The pension plan said last week it would commit to reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

"Through that engagement, rather than divestment, I think we can particularly push these companies to do a better job and actually provide some additional help and services in and around the world where they may not be immediately available," said Taylor. Carney and Taylor's comments at Davos came as 61 global business leaders said at the forum they would begin using a standardized set of environmental, social and governance metrics and disclosures. 

Global investment firm BlackRock Inc. also said this week it would start giving "heightened scrutiny" to investments that posed a climate-change risk, calling for more company disclosures not only on climate change but also social goals such as equity, diversity and inclusion. In his letter to CEOs, BlackRock chief executive Laurence Fink said that between January and November 2020 there was a 96 per cent year-over-year increase in sustainable asset investments in mutual funds and exchange traded funds. ...

At a separate event at the Canadian Club of Toronto on Wednesday, business leaders made a similar case for businesses to boost diversity within their companies and support clean energy.  "The pain points today are revolving around climate change, and we see what's happening. It's real. Sheets of ice are melting, the ocean water levels are rising, investors are paying more attention this," said CIBC chief executive Victor Dodig. "If we want to make sure that capital comes to Canada, we need to make sure that companies, the private sector — publicly traded companies and private companies — are focused on that. Because capital won't come here otherwise."

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/01/28/news/davos-canadian-investme...

kropotkin1951

Meanwhile in Burnaby Trudeau's pipeline company has got a ruling from his appointed regulatory Board that allows over 1,300 trees in part of Burnaby's green space to be cut down. This story highlights the fact that Canada is a facade of a democracy. In the heart of Canada's third largest Metro area, when all of Burnaby's elected politicians, at all three levels of government oppose this pipeline, an unelected group of appointees from the oil industry get to make the final decision.

“Over and over again, this captured energy regulator has put the interests of international oil companies ahead of those of the people of Burnaby and B.C.,” said Alexandra Woodsworth, Dogwood campaign manager, in an email. “Allowing Trans Mountain to break city laws in the name of the 'national interest' is anti-democratic, and all the more unjust when experts are lining up to tell the federal government that this project is unnecessary and a losing bet for Canadian taxpayers.”

A pair of resident groups similarly said they were “infuriated” by the decision, but Karl Perrin, a spokesperson for Burnaby Residents Opposing Kinder Morgan Expansion (BROKE), said it was “not at all surprising.”

“Considering that Trudeau appointed the CER and Trudeau bought the Trans Mountain pipeline, both may as well be unelected branches of the federal government,” Perrin said. “This really is a David and Goliath story, and BROKE commends the city for their brave efforts over many years fighting against this tree- and bitumen-hungry Goliath.”

One group has set up a campaign – the 1308 Trees project – intended to gather letters, art and poems about trees in order to bring attention to the 1,308 trees slated for removal.

https://www.burnabynow.com/local-news/trans-mountain-cleared-to-remove-b...

 

jerrym

Below is a look at how Trudeau's new climate plan, announced in December, fails to deal effectively with reducing greenhouse gas emissions and global warming, just like all the Liberal and Conservative federal government plans of the last 30 years. 

The good news is that for the first time, Canada has proposed a way to meet a climate target. The government’s recently announced Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy (HEHE) plan contains enough new climate policy proposals that, if implemented, will allow Canada to reach its 2030 target.

The bad news is, promises don’t cut emissions. Laws do. Climate laws enacted by Canadian politicians to date don’t come anywhere close to meeting our 2030 target. With time running out and a gigantic emissions gap to close, Canada needs to enact climate laws now — not just add to the "maybe later" pile.

For an example of how a proposed policy ends up delayed and watered down, consider Ottawa’s long-promised Clean Fuel Standard. It was going to be broadly applied and lead to a reduction of 30 million tonnes of CO2 (MtCO2) per year. But the policy still hasn’t been enacted, and the latest draft has a narrower scope that is expected to cut only 20 MtCO2 per year. As we will see in more detail below, Canada needs a lot more climate laws on the books.

The ugly part of the plan is how it ignores the flood of emissions pouring out of Canada’s managed forestry sector and instead claims this sector is a source of "net GHG removals." Over the last decade, logging emissions have vastly exceeded what our nation’s managed forests have absorbed. This carbon imbalance has created a flood of net GHG additions into, not removals from, the atmosphere, worsening the climate crisis. ...

Pencil-pushing this huge source of CO2 off the books won’t fool the climate. We need to rein in all our excess CO2 emissions if we want a safe and sane climate future. ...

Canadian politicians have been promising to cut our too-high emissions for 30 years. And yet, all the climate laws enacted over those three decades are too weak to even knock our emissions back to the 1990 starting line, which was already too high. ...

Decades of Canada’s climate laws continue to be, even now in 2021, massively undersized compared to Canada’s promises. 

Before moving on to look at the current crop of promises, it’s worth underlining the three sectors that dominate the chart above.

Electricity — As the top green bar on the chart shows, under current policies, almost all of Canada’s emissions cuts are expected to come from the electricity generation sector. It’s on track to reduce its annual emissions by nearly 100 MtCO2. This is being driven by two major climate policies. First, Ontario’s decision to eliminate coal-fired generation. Second, laws passed by the federal government to phase out coal-fired generation nationwide.

Oil and gas — At the other extreme, the red bar for the oil and gas extraction sector shows that it is on track to significantly increase its climate pollution. Under current policies, this sector is projected to emit 36 MtCO2 more in 2030 than it did in 2005. The primary driver is rising amounts of fossil carbon being extracted by the Alberta oilsands industry.

Transportation — The other big red bar on the chart is the transportation sector. Canadians continue to purchase and drive the world’s most climate-polluting cars. Clearly, all the climate laws enacted so far haven’t done much to rein in this pollution beast. As a result, transportation emissions under current policies are projected to be 17 MtCO2 higher per year by 2030 than they were in 2005. ...

The government says it plans to close it using "net GHG removals" from Canada’s forestry sector.

The idea that our forestry sector claims to remove climate pollution from the atmosphere is mind-boggling to me. Take a look at this next chart showing forest carbon data from Canada’s latest official National Inventory Report.

Cumulative logging CO2 in Canada, from 2010 to 2018

The rising black line on the chart shows the CO2 emitted by all the wood logged in Canada. It has totalled nearly 1,200 MtCO2 over the last decade. To be clear, this is the CO2 emitted into the atmosphere when the wood was burned for energy, or rotted after being discarded.

Now compare those CO2 emissions from the logging sector, to the green area on that chart. That’s how much CO2 Canada’s managed forests absorbed over those years — just 300 MtCO2.

The excess 900 MtCO2, shown in red, has been piling up in our atmosphere, worsening the climate crisis. This flood of CO2 has grown into a serious and surging climate threat. Pretending it doesn’t exist won’t make the threat magically disappear.

If we want to stop the climate crisis from worsening, we must shut down this rising tide of CO2 into the atmosphere. It now totals more than a billion tonnes of CO2 over the last decade. That’s more than most Canadian sectors or provinces emitted over those years.

Ottawa’s 2030 climate plan, however, ignores these emissions. That certainly hasn’t been easy, because all those emissions used to be on Canada’s official carbon books. The effort to push this CO2 off the books has required a series of creative carbon accounting changes over the last few years.

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/01/18/opinion/canadas-2030-climate...

 

jerrym

Despite setback after setback in pursuit of ever larger fossil fuel production, Premier Kenney continues down the same oil-drenched path as prospects grow dimmer and dimmer. Not only has Kenney lost on Keystone and the taxpayer money he poured into it, he is now facing massive resistance to his plan to greatly expand coal production along the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains with fossil fuel companies already grabbing many leases in the area. This region is a wilderness ecosystem that is vital to the province's water supply, in addition to the damage to people's health caused by coal air pollution and the increase in greenhouse gases that coal, the largest producer of carbon dioxide per energy unit, generates. All of this was done without public consultation. 

Kenney shoots himself in the foot again over fossil fuels

Fossil fuels suffered some big hits in Alberta last week. And yet Premier Jason Kenney still can’t seem to get his head around the idea that the province needs to eventually pivot away from oil, natural gas and coal if it is to have a sustainable economy. ...

He’s stuck like a needle on a vinyl record. And no matter the aggravating sound of fossil fuel investment being scratched over and over again, he simply won’t move on to a more realistic path.

The big hit last week was delivered courtesy of U.S President Joe Biden who revoked the permit for the Keystone pipeline, which would have shipped oil from Alberta’s tarsands to refineries south of the border. ...

The cancellation was especially painful for Kenney, who just last March put $1.5 billion of public money, along with the promise of $6 billion more in loan guarantees, into the pipeline project so it would be completed sooner rather than later. ...

As Alberta columnist Jen Gerson wrote: “The thing that continually baffles me about the UCP is its combination of limitless self-aggrandizement coupled with its incredible parochialism.”

Kenney is also facing an insurrection at home over the development of another fossil fuel — coal. Last May the UCP government quietly revoked a policy put in place by Peter Lougheed in 1976 that protected most of the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains from coal mining. The policy covered a wilderness ecosystem that is key to the province’s water supply and protection of endangered species and stretches about 700 kilometres northward from the southwest corner of the province.

It is such a stunningly beautiful part of the world it takes your breath away time after time. Yet the policy was revoked before consultation with anyone except the coal industry and means that open-pit and mountaintop mining for metallurgical coal destined for steel plants in Asia is now permitted in areas where it was once prohibited.

Dozens of coal companies have snapped up new leases. Two already have project proposals on the drawing boards for previously restricted land.

But the opposition from ranchers, farmers, First Nations, town and city councils, environmentalists, hikers, and campers has been furious. Celebrity musicians k.d. lang, Paul Brandt, and Corb Lund have joined the campaign. Two well-known ranchers are challenging the government in court. More than 100,000 signatures have been collected on two petitions.

Kenney steadfastly proclaims coal mining is warranted because it will create jobs. But these are jobs that look to the past not to a future that Alberta must pivot to if it is to transition to an economy that isn’t solely focused on extracting fossil fuels. ...

But their days are numbered. And so may be Jason Kenney’s if he doesn’t stop sounding like a broken record.

https://www.thestar.com/opinion/contributors/2021/01/25/a-disastrous-wee...

jerrym

The resistance to Kenney's opening up the eastern slopes of Alberta to corporate leases for coal production has become massive from First Nations, environmentalists, farmers, ranchers, regional municipalities, and wilderness lovers has grown and brought about cancelling of a few of the recent the coal leases, but many more are still in place, so the resistance continues. 

 

aerial view of oldman dam

The Oldman dam is located just north of the town of Pincher Creek, Alta. Under the current Oldman order, just 1.4 per cent of water is allocated to industry, including for coal operations. Proposed changes would make 80 per cent of allocations potentially available to industry, some of which is currently allocated to other uses. Photo: Russ Heinl / Shutterstock

Alberta has decided to cancel recently issued coal leases in the Rocky Mountains, as public opposition grows to the United Conservative government’s plan to expand coal mining in the area. Earlier this week, Energy Minister Sonya Savage issued a press release saying the sale of 11 recently purchased coal leases would be cancelled. Savage added that no further leases would be sold on lands that were protected from open-pit mines under a policy the government revoked last May. ...

The cancelled leases are a small portion of the coal exploration leases the government has issued since revoking a policy that protected the eastern slopes of the Rockies – home to endangered species as well as the water source for millions downstream – since 1976.

The decision came as more than 100,000 signatures had been collected on two petitions opposing increased mining on two related fronts. One, sponsored by environmental groups on Change.org, was addressed to the provincial government and had 77,000 signatures Monday afternoon – an increase of about 10,000 over the weekend. Another, sponsored by a private citizen and addressed to federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, had nearly 28,000 names opposing the Grassy Mountain Coal Project by Benga in southern Alberta, which is undergoing a federal-provincial environmental review.

Members of the Blood Tribe or Kainai First Nation in southern Alberta have sent more than 700 postcards to Wilkinson asking him to block coal development in the Rockies and another 2,000 have joined an online group to that end, said organizer Latasha Calf Robe.

As well, a Facebook site called Protect Alberta’s Rockies and Headwaters has more than doubled its membership over the last week to more than 10,000. The Benga review has received more than 4,000 statements of concern from members of the public, the vast majority opposing the project.

Before the cancellations, at least eight provincial recreation areas would have been mostly or completely surrounded by coal exploration leases. 

The Bearspaw, Kainai, Siksika, Ermineskin and Goodfish Lake First Nations kept the right to bring separate constitutional arguments, which are not part of the application filed by rancher Macleay Blades.

https://www.aptnnews.ca/national-news/coal-mining/

jerrym

Here's just part of what's at risk from Kenney's folly of pursuing the exploitation of a masive region of the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains for coal development. More leases have been given out. While Kenney has been handing out the leases, Trudeau has done nothing to block this exploitation. 

Montem - Tent Mountain (20 sq km)

Montem Resources Tent Mountain mine location.png

Montem -Chinook Project (100 sq km)

Montem Resources Chinook Project location.png

Atrum/Elan - Isolation South, Elan South (230 sq km)

ATrum-Elan coal projects map.jpg

Impact of Mountain Top Removal Mining on the Region

T eck Coal Mine near Sparwood                                            photo/Narwhal

Teck Coal Mine near Sparwood, which is just across the BC border from the six proposed mines in Alberta shows the damage that strip mining does.         photo/Narwhal

The Livingstone Landowners Group (LLG) represents landowners and supporters of the Livingstone-Porcupine Hills area in southwest Alberta, some of the most biodiverse and sensitive ecosystems in the province. ...

Alberta’s vulnerable South Eastern Slopes and the heart of southern Alberta’s water supply are being offered up to international coal firms intent on mountain top removal mining of the area’s metallurgical coal.

An Alberta government decision to rescind the Coal Policy protections that have been in place since the 1970s has opened the door to intensive coal development in the region. Coal leases cover an area greater than 500 sq kms (50,000 ha) of public and private lands from the Castle Park boundary north to Chain Lakes.  Significant exploration activity has already been completed and more is underway. ...

Three large Australian-owned coal mining companies are in various stages of regulatory approval for six extensive mountain top removal coal mines. If approved, these mines could blanket the region south and north of Crowsnest Pass with a series of 40-50 kilometre long swaths of industrial destruction.

Several of the proposed Alberta mine locations (by Riversdale Resources and Elan Coal) are only about 30 km east of Teck Resource’s massive mines in the Elk Valley of B.C. These Teck mines have had a devastating impact on the Fording River and the Elk River waterways. ...

Impact of Mountain Top Removal Mining on the Region The Eastern Slopes of the Rocky Mountains in southwest Alberta have been flagged for decades as an area that should be protected. Land use plans have identified multiple key wildlife and biodiversity zones.  The area between the Alberta/B.C. border and the Livingstone Range provides sensitive habitat for at risk and endangered species and is a popular region for backcountry recreation (camping, fishing, hunting, hiking, exploring). Cattle grazing lease operations have co-existed in the area for a century. ...

Mountain top coal mining is extremely invasive, stripping the soil, vegetation and rock from thousands of hectares of land, dumping the waste rock into the valleys, leaching toxins into natural waterways and destroying or severely disrupting native wildlife.

Independent research over many decades has identified serious issues with mountain top removal mining, including human health risks, environmental risks related to water volumes and quality and destruction and fragmentation of critical habitat for plant and animal species relying on these unique ecosystems for survival. Open pit coal mines are intensive water consumers and generate a range of toxic waste from the coal mining processing and from the leaching of dangerous chemicals from the massive piles of waste rock dumped on the valley floor.

Selenium Poisoning Release of elements like selenium are notoriously difficult to control and often result in fish deformities and deaths.  This can prove devastating to an area renowned for its fly fishing, pristine mountain rivers and outstanding recreation and tourism potential. 

Water Supply and User Impacts Water from the Oldman River headwaters (located in the heart of the newly targeted mining area in Alberta) provides the bulk of southern Alberta’s water supply, supporting communities with drinking water and water for irrigation.  The Oldman River watershed supplies water to 40% of the irrigated land in Alberta and all of the water used by the City of Lethbridge. The watershed is already under tremendous pressure with declining flow rates, highly variable water flows and increasing demand.  Multiple mines diverting water for their operation and dust-suppression could prove to be devastating for downstream users.

Air-borne Contaminants The frequent and extreme wind conditions of the region also create high risk for air borne contaminants to affect residents and communities long distances from the actual mine sites. Mining activities provide multiple pathways for the generation and distribution of mineral dusts that are readily transported by the wind over large distances. Airborne contaminants pose human health risks.

Summary The South Eastern Slopes are an important landscape. They provide for biodiversity, water supply, agricultural industry and recreation use.

https://www.livingstonelandowners.net/coal-mining

 

jerrym

The Siksika First Nation is taking the Kenney government to court over its plan to carry out massive development of coal mines along the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains. Many rural residents also oppose the coal mines. 

Siksika First Nation is launching a legal challenge against the province’s decision to rescind its coal policy, effectively allowing open-pit coal mining in the Rockies.

The coal policy, launched in 1976, aimed to protect parts of the Rocky Mountains from open-pit mining and designated the area, from Jasper to Waterton National Parks, into four categories. ...

The province’s “hasty” decision to allow mining in Category 2 areas, particularly in the Crowsnest Pass region, “will be an environmental disaster that cannot be undone,” Siksika leadership — who are working with the Kainai First Nation on the challenge — said in a statement. “Several coal mine projects are being proposed in very sensitive and mostly undisturbed areas of the Crowsnest Pass Region that have the potential to impact Grizzlies, Big Horn Sheep, Bull Trout, the largest herd of Elk in Alberta as well as the headwaters of the Oldman and Livingstone Rivers, which are source water to Kainai and Piikani reserve lands,” the statement reads. ...

In B.C.’s Elk Valley, Siksika chief and council say similar mining developments have had significant effects on the environment and that many communities have to truck in water due to river contamination.

They argue environmental assessments have not been “rigorous” enough and that the regulatory systems operate “in isolation from one another and other regional factors.” ...

Siksika said the province’s decision to cancel “a handful” of the leases are “merely political gestures and will not protect these fragile and highly valued areas of the Rocky Mountains.” ...

At least eight communities, including Lethbridge, Turner Valley, High Level and Okotoks, have expressed concerns, with some sending letters to the premier urging the provincial government to reinstate the old policy.

Canmore mayor John Borrowman said public engagement must take place and that project-by-project reviews are no substitute for an overarching plan. “Municipal governments are legally obliged to engage with our residents before approving or rescinding high-level plans. It seems to me the provincial government should apply the same level of rigour,” he said. He noted that much of the most heated opposition to coal mining is coming from rural areas.“I don’t think this is an us-versus-them conversation. There’s concerns that have been voiced from a broad spectrum of our provincial residents.” ...

Siksika is, however, in favour of the proposed 2,800-hectare Benga Resources Grassy Mountain Coal Project, which is set to operate in the Crowsnest Pass north of Pincher Creek within a Category 4 area, where mining was permitted under the former policy. Since 2013, Siksika has been working closely with Benga on consultation and say they’ll continue to do so over the course of the 25-year project.

https://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/first-nations-launch-legal-cha...

jerrym

The Narwahl did an excellent detailed article describing what is at stake if Kenney OKs the coal mining developement of Alberta's eastern slope of the Rockies. The two graphs below of who gets water resources tells a large part of the risk to the environment and the people it supports, but of course their is also the air pollution from coal mining and the enormous increase in greenhouse gas emissions that coal presents.  First Nations have already filed several lawsuits over the failure of the Kenney government to consult them. 

water had previously been applied for, leaving 64 per cent potentially available to industry.

Under the current Oldman order, almost all water is reserved for irrigation or other uses such as municipal or recreation activities. Source: Alberta Environment and Parks. Chart: Carol Linnitt / The Narwhal

The new proposal from the Alberta government could see the majority of the water under the Oldman order potentially available for industry use. Source: Alberta Environment and Parks. Chart: Carol Linnitt / The Narwhal

Due to droughts and water shortages, the region already faces strict limits on the amount of water users can withdraw. “With climate change there’s no doubt we’re going to get more and more into this situation,” Cheryl Bradley, a retired biologist who has spent much of her career advocating for healthy rivers, told The Narwhal. 

The Alberta government’s decision, in June, to rescind the 1976 coal policy has opened up 420,000 hectares of land classified as Category 2, a designation that had prohibited open-pit coal mining. Much of the area is already covered by coal leases, meaning companies can begin coal exploration and apply to build new open-pit mines.

In January, the Alberta government signalled it had heard the increasingly loud chorus of opposition and cancelled 11 coal leases it had approved in December. But those leases represented a small fraction of the total in the eastern slopes.

Meanwhile, open-pit mining proposals are moving ahead. At least six coal projects are already proposed in the Oldman watershed. 

Experts are concerned about impacts on the mountains themselves, Indigenous ways of life, wildlife, at-risk species and — like Herbert — water. 

The issue, according to Lorne Fitch, a retired fish and wildlife biologist with the Alberta government, is “whether or not there is actually enough water in those headwater tributaries to satisfy both coal mines, keep the aquatic environment healthy and also satisfy all downstream water [users].”

But in addition to opening up protected areas to mining, the Alberta government is also proposing a plan that would allow it to give away some water allocations, including in the headwater tributaries of the Oldman River, to coal companies. Under the proposed changes, billions of litres of water could be made available to coal companies — for free. 

And that, experts say, would come at the expense of local communities and wildlife. ...

One coal company, Benga, has already applied for that full amount for one project — to make up a fraction of its total water needs for its proposed mine. 

Then in November, the Alberta government signalled its intention to change the breakdown of which users would be able to access water under the Oldman order.

Under its proposed changes, 80 per cent of the water would now be categorized as available for any use, including industry, at the discretion of the minister. Sixteen per cent of that water had previously been applied for, leaving 64 per cent potentially available to industry. ...

The Oldman River has already seen decreases in flow over the past century. From 1912 to 2003, researchers found the summer flow had decreased by nearly 60 per cent. Many water licences span back to the last century, when flows were substantially higher. And the Oldman River isn’t alone. It’s a tributary to the South Saskatchewan River, a major waterway that flows to Saskatchewan and whose waters ultimately end up in the Hudson Bay. Researchers have determined summer flows have reduced by 84 per cent in the South Saskatchewan between 1912 and 2003. ...

According to Bankes, the law professor, the government could face challenges to its proposed changes to the Oldman order, particularly when it comes to First Nations. The Kainai (Blood Tribe), Siksika Nation, Ermineskin Cree Nation and Whitefish (Goodfish) Lake First Nations have already filed court cases about the lack of consultation when the government rescinded the 1976 coal policy.

“There is generally either a duty to consult [First Nations] when making any change in law that may affect rights and interests of Indigenous communities,” he said. That would include the proposed changes to the Oldman order. 

https://thenarwhal.ca/alberta-coal-mining-rockies-oldman-river/

jerrym

Literally breaking news. The Kenney government has just caved in to the pressure from First Nations, environmentalists, farmers, ranchers, regional municipalities, and wilderness lovers to not open the eastern slopes of Alberta to corporate leases for coal production. However, NDP leader Rachel Notley warns don't be fooled - the fight is far from over, while the article below also makes clear that the NDP's hands are not entirely clean on the issue. 

 Kenney had tried to divide the province, last wekk saying city  dwellers living their comfortable lives didn't how desperate things were for Albertas living in the country. Turns out he didn't realize the country folks weren't buying his argument for coal development either.

aerial view of open-pit coal mine in B.C.

Critics say the Alberta government failed to consult First Nations when they proposed allowing for the development of open-pit coal mines in the Rocky Mountains’ eastern slopes. These types of mines, also found in B.C.’s Elk Valley, could result in a negative environmental impact that could also directly impact the First Nations in the region. Photo: Callum Gunn

The UCP’s coal turnaround was so abrupt it leaves skid marks all over provincial politics. ...

Only last week Premier Jason Kenney said the old 1976 coal policy that protected the eastern slopes was “obsolete.” The UCP abolished it last May 15. This month, the outcry over open-pit mines was rising by the day — from municipal councils, First Nations, country entertainers, ranchers, hunters and many more. This was not just a southern Alberta uprising; it came from all over.

The UCP decision to reverse gears was made late last week amid major shuffling of ministers’ staffs, including communications people. On Monday morning, Energy Minster Sonya Savage announced the reversal — the 1976 policy is back in force, and mountaintop mining is banned forever. ...

Six leases already granted can still be pursued. The UCP intends to create a policy, after wide consultation, that will allow new open-pit mines for metallurgical coal.

Opposition Leader Rachel Notley says this fight is far from over; the UCP has shown so much enthusiasm for coal that it must be watched at every step. Yet Notley also said there’s “some value” in new metallurgical coal with stringent regulation. And it was her NDP energy minister, Marg McCuaig-Boyd, who in 2016 sent a letter to the energy regulator saying: “The coal category 2 designation does not preclude surface coal mine development.” ...

For many Albertans, policy isn’t the point — open-pit mines are simply not acceptable in an area as precious as the Eastern Slopes.

https://calgaryherald.com/news/braid-ucps-retreat-on-coal-mining-is-a-st...

jerrym

The Arctic, the fastest warming region in the world, has temperatures this winter 20 degrees Fahrenheit (12 degrees Celsius) above normal, as global warming hits home with an ever greater impact while the Great Lakes are showing record low levels of freezing (Lake Erie only 1.6% compared to a historical 60% in early February).

north-hemisphere-polar-circle-temperature-anomaly-analysis-january-2021

Temperature analysis for January 3rd, shows the large-scale strong positive anomalies, along with streamlines that show the air transport. We can see that the air is being transported from the North Atlantic, Scandinavia, and eastern Europe.

A strong temperature wave is developing in the Arctic circle, with surface temperatures more than 20°C above the long-term average in the Siberian sector.

https://www.severe-weather.eu/global-weather/arctic-circle-unusual-tempe...

 

The Great Lakes have been setting records this winter for the lack of ice. Lake Erie is well below where the lake should be as far as ice concentration goes. The lake is only about 1.6% frozen at the moment, and should be around 60% right now, according to the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.

https://www.cnn.com/2021/02/02/weather/polar-vortex-forecast-freezing-co...

jerrym

Scientists think that the extreme and destructive cold spell in Texas may be linked to global warming. 

Kaleb Love, a municipal worker, breaks ice on a frozen fountain in Richardson, Texas, on Tuesday, as freezing temperatures grip the state.

Kaleb Love, a municipal worker, breaks ice on a frozen fountain in Richardson, Texas, on Tuesday, as freezing temperatures grip the state. Photograph: LM Otero/AP

Associating climate change, normally connected with roasting heat, with an unusual winter storm that has crippled swaths of Texas and brought freezing temperatures across the southern US can seem counterintuitive. But scientists say there is evidence that the rapid heating of the Arctic can help push frigid air from the north pole much further south, possibly to the US-Mexico border.

 

This week, a blast of winter weather has reached deep into the heart of the US, causing several deaths and knocking out power for about 5 million people. Sleet and ice have battered Oklahoma and Arkansas, while many people in Texas have been left marooned, amid unsafe travel conditions, in homes with no electricity.

“The current conditions in Texas are historical, certainly generational,” said Judah Cohen, the director of seasonal forecasting at Atmospheric and Environmental Research. “But this can’t be hand-waved away as if it’s entirely natural. This is happening not in spite of climate change, it’s in part due to climate change.”

Last year, Cohen co-authored a paper that found a strong uptick in winter storms in the US north-east in the decade leading up to 2018. This, Cohen and some other scientists argue, is a symptom of heating in the Arctic, occurring at a rate more than twice the global average, that is disrupting long-established climatic systems.

Cold air is normally concentrated around the north pole in the polar vortex, an area of low pressure that circulates in a tight formation in the stratosphere during winter. This rotation is likened by scientists to a spinning top, one that can meander if it is interfered with.

This interference, researchers say, is occurring through changes to the jet stream, a band of strong winds that wraps around the globe at lower elevations than the polar vortex. The warming of the Arctic, it is thought, is causing the jet stream to shift. “The energy escaping from the jet stream bangs into the polar vortex so it starts to wobble and move all over the place,” said Cohen. “Where the polar vortex goes, so goes the cold air.”

This phenomenon has shown itself to a dramatic degree over the past month, with a splitting of the polar vortex helping cause huge flurries of snow in Europe as well as record cold temperatures in parts of the US more accustomed to milder winters.

“I’d say the situation this winter is consistent with research that has connected what’s happening in the Arctic with extreme weather patterns in the mid latitudes,” said Jennifer Francis, a senior scientist at Woodwell Climate Research Center who has studied the issue. “The polar vortex can elongate, stretch into different shapes and even split. We have seen a very big disruption this year.”

There is no consensus among scientists over the interaction between Arctic heat and cold weather further south – Francis calls the topic an “active area of research”. Global heating is causing warmer winters, and record cold temperatures are now being clearly outpaced by record hot temperatures, but the complex interplay of climatic conditions still requires further scrutiny, to the consternation of some and even mockery among others, including former US presidents.

“We still have a lot to learn on this,” said Francis. “I think this year will be studied for a long time.”

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2021/feb/17/arctic-heating-winter-st...

jerrym

The federal Trudeau has pushed the ever growing purchase and construction costs of the $17.8 billion boondoggle of the Trans Mountain pipeline on BC despite widespread opposition. 

On the other hand, the provincial BC NDP government have both pushed LNG pipeline and plant development as good for BC and Canada  despite questionable economics. "The economics of LNG are highly questionable. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, LNG was trading in Asia at $3-5 per million BTU, whereas the Canadian Energy Research Institute has calculated a breakeven price for BC LNG landed in Asia of about $8. In April, LNG was trading at $2.16 in China." (https://www.policynote.ca/bc-lng-nightmare/)

It's time for BC to shift toward green clean energy development both for economic and financial reasons as the following article demonstrates. The same shift is necessary for the rest of this country before it is too late and Canada is left behind as a fossil fuel backwater. 

 

Technicians work on a test bed in the General Fusion lab, Burnaby BC. 

When I was growing up, the story British Columbians told themselves about economic opportunity went like this: You worked in forestry (directly or indirectly), for BC Hydro, or left the province. That story started shifting during the 1980s financial crash and was pretty much obsolete by the year 2000. That’s not to say forestry isn’t still an important part of the economy, but the reality is kids in B.C. today are much more likely to find work in tourism, tech and film.

But while our economy has evolved, our government’s approach to it hasn’t changed much at all. The antiquated stories it tells about our path to growth still revolve around resource extraction.

Which is why most of us don’t know we are sitting on a $100-billion opportunity for clean economic growth that could pass us by without more focused provincial government leadership. Our greatest opportunities are now in technology, specifically cleantech.

In 2008, the B.C. government created the world’s first carbon tax and the next year, the City of Vancouver declared its intention to be the greenest city in the world. Together, these helped propel B.C.’s cleantech sector to the top 10 in the world. When the third B.C. Cleantech Report Card came out in February 2020, the sector boasted 293 companies, employed 16,300 people and earned $2.4 billion in revenues.

Cleantech is growing fast; in the last three years, revenues have increased by 33 per cent. Almost half of the $7 billion in investment dollars it has attracted since the sector’s inception have been since 2016.

It’s good news, but before we start celebrating, we must consider the context. B.C.’s main competitor — the U.S. — was functionally on the sidelines under the Trump administration. Joe Biden’s aggressive climate plans in the White House are a totally different ball game, and judging the future success of B.C.’s cleantech sector by its performance over the last three years is like judging whether a team will win the Super Bowl by how well they scrimmaged in practice before their rival arrived.

Will we be well-positioned to compete with California, Boston and other U.S. cleantech hubs with the full weight of a president focused on climate recovery behind them? That remains to be seen. It would certainly help if the B.C. government was as focused. B.C.’s cleantech sector has grown up without a lot of provincial government help. ...

Federal support gives every province in Canada the same advantage, and with American money mobilizing quickly to bank on Biden’s big climate moves, B.C.’s early lead in North America could slip. Lost opportunity is not the only thing at stake. If the centre of cleantech gravity moves east or south, what has been built in B.C. over the last 12 years could follow.

The pipeline we really need to build to B.C. is one that carries talent. There are two ways to do this, and they aren’t mutually exclusive. The first is reorienting our university business schools beyond bland mass production that perpetuates a bygone economic era to become engines of ubiquitous entrepreneurship aimed at a 21st-century economy. ...

Talent attraction is also key. In the U.S., 25 per cent of all startups were founded by immigrants, and more than half of U.S. tech "unicorns" — those valued at $1 billion or more — had at least one immigrant founder. With Trump, the field for immigration was tilted towards Canada. Now we may have to compete. ...

Ultimately, though, it comes down to social licence. That doesn’t cost the government money, but it does require it to let go of the fairy tales it tells itself about how LNG and other resource extraction ventures are the drivers that will fuel B.C.’s economy. We need to instead embrace the narrative of cleantech companies like Ostara, Axine, MineSense, Semios, Carbon Engineering, General Fusion and Svante that are building our future.

There is opportunity on the table. Even before COVID-19, the global cleantech opportunity was $2.5 trillion, making it one of the largest economic markets in the world. Post-COVID economic recovery is super-charging cleantech as governments connect their ambitions to meet the challenge of the climate emergency with the urgent need for economic recovery. By comparison, forest products are only $510 billion and pre-pandemic tourism was only $1.5 trillion.

B.C. is well-positioned to be a global green superpower. Can we scale up to be the $100-billion cleantech sector that lets our province be a leader in the global green future? It’s within grasp if we grab the pen and start writing a 2021 edition of a made-in-B.C. economic success story.

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/02/18/opinion/cleantech-bcs-100-bi...

jerrym

  A recent study found that the Canadian prairies are warmig faster than any other part of southern Canada.  Scientists are therefore warning that global warming will hit the Canadian prairies hard, especially its agricultural industry. In fact, it already is doing so threatening a $143 billion industry.

30+degree map (map by PCC)

As the climate continues to warm at an alarming rate, experts warn if dramatic steps to mitigate global warming are not taken, the effects in Canada’s Prairie region will be devastating to the country’s agriculture sector.

According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, the country is warming, on average, about double the global rate.

Scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the U.S. recently found 2020 was earth’s second-hottest year on record, with the average land and ocean surface temperature across the globe at 0.98 of a degree C above the 20th-century average.

However, the agency found the northern hemisphere saw its hottest year on record, at 1.28 degrees C above the average.

“(In Canada) we are looking at about 6.4C degrees of warming this century, which isn’t much less than one degree per decade, which is just a terrifying rate of warming,” Darrin Qualman, the director of climate crisis policy and action at the National Farmer’s Union said. ...

Qualman said there is “massive change coming” to Canada’s Prairies, which will be “incredibly destructive.”

“It’s not going too far to say that if we made that happen, parts of the Prairies wouldn’t be farmable anymore,” he said.

According to the federal government, in 2018 Canada’s agriculture and agri-food system generated $143 billion, accounting for 7.4 per cent of the country’s GDP.

The sector employed 2.3 million people in 2018. The majority of the 64.2 million hectares of farmland in Canada is concentrated in the Prairies and in southern Ontario.

The effects of climate change are already being felt on the ground in the Prairies, Qualman said, adding that the NFU has already heard from farmers complaining of “challenging weather.”

“People are sharing pictures of flattened crops and buildings, et cetera, that have been damaged,” he said. “And we’re still at the beginning of this.”

study released earlier this year by Natural Resources Canada (NRC) titled Canada in a Changing Climate: Regional Perspectives Report, found the Prairies and Western Canada have had “the strongest warming to date across Southern Canada, especially in winter.”

“Extreme weather events of amplified severity will likely be the most challenging consequences of climate change in the Prairie provinces,” the report said. “The impacts of flooding, drought, and wildfire in recent years are unprecedented, and climate models suggest increased risk of these events in the future.”

Additional chapters of the report are scheduled to be released on a rolling basis throughout 2021. Each will outline how climate change is projected to affect the different regions of Canada.

So far, the majority of the warming seen in the Prairies has been in the winter months, Danny Blair, a professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Winnipeg who studies climate change told Global News. “But in all seasons – including the summer – there’s a lot of warming still to come,” he said.

https://globalnews.ca/news/7610723/climate-change-canada-prairies/

NDPP

A Rhode Island-sized piece of ice just broke off Antarctica (and vid)

https://twitter.com/RaniaKhalek/status/1366086524396204033

"Maybe cardboard straws and shorter showers can fix this! Whatever you do, pay no attention to things like capitalism, which requires infinite resource extraction on a finite planet or the US military, one of the biggest polluters in the world."

jerrym

The Earth's ice is now melting 57% faster than in the 1990s, thereby demonstrating the ongoing acceleration of global warming with major implications for the world. The photo below shows how fast things can change in just a nine year period for a glacier.

 

Trift Glacier, Switzerland, has retreated by 1.17 km (0.7 miles) between 2006 (left) and 2015 (right)

Trift Glacier, Switzerland, has retreated by 1.17 km (0.7 miles) between 2006 (left) and 2015 (right)

Earth's ice is melting faster today than in the mid-1990s, new research suggests, as climate change nudges global temperatures ever higher.

Altogether, an estimated 28 trillion tonnes of ice have melted away from the world's sea ice, ice sheets and glaciers since the mid-1990s. Annually, the melt rate is now about 57 per cent faster than it was three decades ago, scientists report in a study published Monday in the journal The Cryosphere.

"It was a surprise to see such a large increase in just 30 years," said co-author Thomas Slater, a glaciologist at Leeds University in Britain.

While the situation is clear to those depending on mountain glaciers for drinking water or relying on winter sea ice to protect coastal homes from storms, the world's ice melt has begun to grab attention far from frozen regions, Slater noted. ...

The melting of land ice — on Antarctica, Greenland and mountain glaciers — added enough water to the ocean during the three-decade time period to raise the average global sea level by 3.5 centimetres. Ice loss from mountain glaciers accounted for 22 per cent of the annual ice loss totals, which is noteworthy considering it accounts for only about one per cent of all land ice atop land, Slater said. 

Across the Arctic, sea ice is also shrinking to new summertime lows. Last year saw the second-lowest sea ice extent in more than 40 years of satellite monitoring. As sea ice vanishes, it exposes dark water that absorbs solar radiation, rather than reflecting it back out of the atmosphere. This phenomenon, known as Arctic amplification, boosts regional temperatures even further.

The global atmospheric temperature has risen by about 1.1 C since pre-industrial times. But in the Arctic, the warming rate has been more than twice the global average in the last 30 years.

Using 1994-2017 satellite data, site measurements and some computer simulations, the team of British scientists calculated that the world was losing an average of 0.8 trillion tonnes of ice per year in the 1990s, but about 1.2 trillion tonnes annually in recent years.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/ice-melt-1.5886228

Pages