Top News

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 - 11:54 • Carol Linnitt
environment canada, climate change, pr campaign

Facing criticism in the lead up to today’s UN Climate Summit, which prime minister Stephen Harper is not attending, the Harper Government released a new public outreach campaign through Environment Canada, praising the country’s action on climate change.

The campaign points to four pillars of Canada’s climate progress including efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, investing in climate adaptation, “world-class scientific research to inform decision-making,” and international leadership in climate action.

Already critics are pointing to the apparent disparity between the Environment Canada campaign and Canada’s waning reputation on the international stage for its climate obstruction, the muzzling of scientists, the elimination of environmental legislation and massive cuts to federal research and science programs.

Reading the Harper government’s claims about its climate efforts is like reading one of Orwell’s books,” Mark Jaccard, professor at Simon Fraser University’s School of Resource and Environment Management, said.

Eliminating policy is to implement policy. Blocking and abandoning global negotiations is to lead global negotiations. Muzzling scientists is to have science inform decision-making. Working hard to increase carbon pollution is to decrease it. Black is white. Dishonesty is truth.”

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 - 09:17 • Carol Linnitt
stephen harper, climate change, desmog canada, un climate summit

Although the heads of 125 states are gathering at UN Headquarters in New York today to discuss global commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, Stephen Harper will be elsewhere.

Instead Canada’s prime minister will arrive in New York in two days time to attend the UN’s Every Woman, Every Child event on September 25th.

The UN Climate Summit is intended to “galvanize and catalyze climate action” in advance of the Paris COP climate talks in 2015 where countries will form binding agreements to address global warming.

President Barack Obama will announce a new executive order today that directs all federal agencies to include climate concerns in international aid and development initiatives.

China’s president Xi Jinping, India’s prime minister Narendra Modi and Australian prime minister Tony Abbott have also announced they will not attend the summit.

China announced vice premier Zhang Gaoli will attend in the president’s place and Canada will send environment minister Leona Aglukkaq in Harper’s stead.

China is the number one emitter of greenhouse gas emissions, followed by the U.S. and India. Canada and Australia are eighth and fourteenth, respectively, according to data released by the European Commission.

In the lead up to the summit UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said “this is the time for decisive global action.”

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 - 06:13 • Carol Linnitt
evangeline lilly desmog canada, people's climate march

As a Canadian and a celebrated actress known for her roles in Lost and The Hobbit, Evangeline Lilly has a lot to contribute to current conversations about Canada, the country’s international reputation, and recent criticism leveled against the Harper government for its failure to meaningfully address climate change.

Critics expressed concern when Stephen Harper announced he would not be attending the U.N. Climate Summit in New York City, beginning tomorrow, even though world leaders are gathering to discuss international commitments to reducing greenhouse gas emissions worldwide in preparation for U.N. climate talks taking place in Paris in 2015.

Lilly said Canadians deserve to know their country is represented in the global movement to reduce emissions and limit climate impacts.

I’m here in New York City at the People’s Climate March and I feel that I’m here as a representative of all those Canadians who care about their natural wilderness and care so much about global warming, and who don’t have a government representative here to represent them on a worldwide stage.”

Of course, Mr. Harper has decided to avoid the event and he’s not here to make any commitments on behalf of Canada to do our part in making the world a greener, safer, healthier, more beautiful place. But I know at the heart of Canada is a massive groundswell of people who care so much about this issue.”

And I stand here as a Canadian saying: as Canadians we care, and we’re here and we’re represented.”

Monday, September 22, 2014 - 13:57 • Chris Rose
Clean Energy Canada, renewable energy

Renewable energy and other low-carbon technologies are now a successful mainstream business with investors spending $207 USD billion in the sector last year, according to a report released Monday by Clean Energy Canada.

The report — Tracking the Energy Revolution — also said that carbon-based fuels would remain an important part of the global energy system for decades but added that “for the first time in more than a century, multiple signs suggest that their dominance is beginning to wane.”

Global fossil-fuel power generation investment last year totalled $270 billion, the report said, only $63 billion more than for clean energy investments.

It is clear that falling equipment costs, strong investor interest, and government and business leadership are driving a global clean energy revolution, the 18-page report added.

When it comes to addressing climate disruption, the countries that succeed on the world stage are those taking action at home,” Merran Smith, director of Clean Energy Canada, said in an accompanying media release.

Saturday, September 20, 2014 - 19:14 • Chris Rose

A group of prominent Canadian academics has signed a letter that says the nation is “running a sustainability deficit” when it comes to climate change.

Unlike budgetary deficits, it does not seem to preoccupy our politicians,” said the letter, penned by at least 53 frustrated academics in advance of the People’s Climate March held in New York City and many other urban centres around the world on Sunday.

Canada has repeatedly missed its own climate change emission reduction targets. Last January, Environment Canada acknowledged that Canada won’t meet its least ambitious target to date, proposed in 2009 as part of international climate negotiations coined the Copenhagen Accord.”

The academics said that, as researchers who study climate change and sustainability, they strongly support Sunday’s global mobilization, which will include events in numerous Canadian cities.

Friday, September 19, 2014 - 12:30 • Mike De Souza
stephen harper, climate change, desmog canada, un climate summit

This article originally appeared on

On the eve of an international climate change summit of government leaders in New York, Canada is being challenged about its own domestic record in addressing the heat-trapping pollution that contributes to global warming.

Here’s a historical timeline of some of the major climate change policies, statements and related decisions made by Canada since 2006 when Prime Minister Stephen Harper was first elected to form a government.

From a pledge to introduce a carbon tax in 2007 to internal debates about climate change science, this timeline covers the promises and the action by the Canadian government in recent years.

Thursday, September 18, 2014 - 12:20 • Emma Gilchrist
Lake Winnipeg

In 2010, Gord Bluesky, the lands and resources manager for Brokenhead Ojibway Nation, received a disturbing photograph in his inbox.

One of my community members was at Patricia Beach. It was mid-November,” he told DeSmog Canada. “She sent me a picture of hundreds of dead frogs laying on the shoreline.”

Ever since then, Bluesky — whose community is located on the southern tip of Lake Winnipeg — has been especially concerned about his lake.

I’ve got little girls. We don’t even take them to the beach any more because it’s just too nasty,” he said.

In 2013, Lake Winnipeg was named the most threatened lake in the world by the Global Nature Fund. The biggest problem is toxic blooms of blue-green algae, sometimes so big they can be seen from space.

It’s one of the biggest tragedies of Manitoba and of Canada,” Bluesky said.