A private firm that conducted the environmental review for the highly contentious Dakota Access Pipeline was simultaneously working for Energy Transfer, the company behind the project, on a...
And rightfully so.
But sometime in the next few weeks, the federal Liberals will announce their verdict on whether the massive Pacific Northwest LNG export terminal can go ahead or not.
(In fact, given that the environment assessment has been wrapped up and submitted by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, cabinet may already have met and made their decision.)
And this verdict will be a very real window into how seriously the federal government is going to take climate change, its 2030 greenhouse gas emissions targets and Paris Agreement obligations. It’s a very big deal.
So far Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made a lot of the right moves when it comes to the important issue of climate change, but a new report this week makes it clear that Canada's PM cannot lead on climate change and support the expansion of oil sands pipelines at the same time.
There was a rumor circling earlier this month that the Trudeau government would approve the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline expansion plan in the name of “national interest”. If approved, the pipeline will increase the amount of oil produced and shipped to Vancouver's coastline for export by a whopping 590,000 barrels a day – nearly triple what the pipeline currently transports.
At the same time, the Trudeau government is expected to roll out a plan this fall to fulfill their election promise to take “bold action” on climate change.
These two positions held at the same time are irreconcilable.
On Sunday, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna announced that the federal government will stick with the previous government’s target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
The news, delivered via an interview with CTV’s Evan Solomon, attracted a significant amount of criticism.
Green Party Leader Elizabeth May described it as “nothing short of a disaster for the climate” and Press Progress suggested the news undermined election commitments and later statements by the Liberals.
Fair enough: McKenna had previously called the targets the “floor,” noting that “certainly we want to try to do better.” And in election materials, the Liberals stated: “We will work together to establish national emissions-reduction targets.”
Not exactly a broken promise, but some had hoped for more.
But here’s the thing: yes, the Liberals could have set a more ambitious target. And yes, to help keep global temperatures below two degrees of warming, they will need to in the future.
While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau maintains relatively high popularity numbers here in Canada, they pale in comparison to the borderline rock star status the Canadian Prime Minister currently has on the international stage. Most recently, he was in New York to address the United Nations’ General Assembly and attend the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants.
It’s the first-ever summit of its kind because there hasn't been a refugee crisis like this in our lifetimes — or in the UN’s lifetime. You’ve heard the facts by now. Right now, more than 65 million people have been forced from their homes. That’s more than at any other time since the end of the Second World War. And there’s no end in sight.
In his speech at the summit on Monday, Trudeau took a bow for Canada’s efforts to take in refugees. Yet when the applause died down, he emphasized how that isn’t enough.
“I don’t want to lose sight of the fact that Canada’s engagement must not stop at resettlement,” the Prime Minister said. “Now is the time for each of us to consider what more we can contribute. So, in Canada, we’re looking at our options.”
So what are those options? How can we address the forces that are driving people from their homes in the first place?
The tiny community of Klemtu has been transformed over the last decade as funding from Great Bear Rainforest agreements allowed members of the Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation to revamp their tourism strategy and come up with new business opportunities while protecting their traditional territory.
The Spirit Bear Lodge was expanded from six to 24 beds, the single wildlife viewing vessel was replaced with a new fleet of boats and business tripled.
“It has been huge for the community,” said Chief Councillor Douglas Neasloss.
About 50 people from the village of 320 are now employed in some way in tourism operations and have been trained for jobs ranging from chefs to tour operators.
By Mike De Souza for the National Observer.
Erik Solheim doesn’t mince his words when it comes to industry giants that fail to embrace change in the global economy.
Solheim, a former Norwegian cabinet minister, is the new top boss of the United Nations Environment Programme. Speaking at an early-morning breakfast with a mixed crowd of environmental stakeholders, policy experts and media in Ottawa, he said that Canada’s fossil fuel companies need to take stock of what’s happening before it’s too late for them.
“Many of you will remember Kodak,” Solheim said at the event hosted by the Winnipeg-based International Institute for Sustainable Development. “They didn't believe in digital photography. Where is Kodak now? In industrial museums somewhere.”
The 2016 finalists for the Canadian Online Publishing Awards have been announced and DeSmog Canada has made the cut in two categories — alongside Maclean’s Magazine, the Toronto Star, The Huffington Post, the Winnipeg Free Press and the National Observer.
In the Best Blog category, DeSmog Canada is nominated for its coverage of the indigenous youth suicide epidemic and its relationship to natural resource development.
Also featured in the nomination is DeSmog Canada’s coverage of the Mount Polley mine disaster and the provincial government’s failure to levy any charges or fines against the company responsible and our coverage of Canada’s enormous untapped geothermal energy potential.
In the Best Video Content category, Disturbing the Peace: The Story of the Site C Dam has been selected as a finalist.
Unmistakable grizzly bear prints in the soft sand of English Bay were enough to stop some dog walkers in their tracks Tuesday.
But, it was sculptor George Rammell, art instructor at Capilano University, marching down the beach, making prints with casts of bear paws strapped to his feet.
“There aren’t going to be bears out there if we keep on the way we are going,” Rammell, one of a growing number of British Columbians committed to stopping the province’s grizzly bear trophy hunt, said.
“Imagine if B.C. was a grizzly bear sanctuary, what a message it would send to the world,” Rammell said at the launch of Justice for B.C. Grizzlies, a newly formed group that wants supporters to actively lobby sitting politicians and candidates in the upcoming provincial election and then vote for those who support scrapping the hunt.
The Liberal government, which has received generous financial support from the Guide Outfitters Association of B.C, insists that the hunt, which kills about 300 bears a year, is sustainable as there are more than 15,000 grizzly bears in the province.