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Wed, 2014-12-17 12:38Kevin Grandia
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Fracking Bans in Quebec and New York Should Give B.C. Premier Christy Clark Pause

New York Fracking Ban, Quebec

Two big blows to the natural gas industry have come in less than 24 hours, with both the province of Quebec and New York state effectively banning shale gas extraction over concerns with the process of hydraulic fracturing (a.k.a. “fracking”). 

Fracking allows for the cheap extraction of natural gas from shale deposits that were previously inaccessible, and it is responsible for both the boom in natural gas production as well as the correlate controversy. 

Citing public health and environmental concerns, Quebec Premier Phillipe Couillard announced yesterday that there would be no shale gas development in his province. The day prior Quebec's environmental review board released a report finding that there are “too many potential negative consequences to the environment and to society from extracting natural gas from shale rock deposits along the St. Lawrence River.”

Today New York State made a similar move imposing an outright ban on fracking.

Thu, 2014-11-13 10:33Kevin Grandia
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Why Does Canada Give Tax Breaks to the World's Richest Polluters?

Oilsand smoke stacks

A really great analysis just posted by CBC's Senior Business Producer, Don Pittis, looks at why Canada (read: taxpayers) is subsidizing oil companies to the tune of $34 billion.

All this money is being spent on some of the world's richest companies to find more oil, which will subsequently pump more greenhouse gas emissions into our air — a viscious cycle that we as taxpayers are actively promoting with our own hard-earned money.

Wed, 2014-11-12 15:56Kevin Grandia
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U.S.-China Climate Pact Leaves Prime Minister Harper With Few Excuses Left Not to Act

President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping

While on a visit to Bejing, U.S. President Barack Obama yesterday announced with his Chinese counterpart President Xi Jinping a new bilateral agreement on hard reduction targets for climate change pollution in those two countries.

The United States agrees to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 per cent from 2005 levels by the year 2025 and China commits to levelling off its carbon emissions by 2030.

When China or the United States act on any major global political issue, other countries take notice. And when China and the U.S. work in partnership on a major global issue, other countries definitely take notice. Looking at early analysis of what these announced targets represent in terms of the impact on our climate, it is clear they don't go far enough. However, it is a grand gesture by two powerhouse countries and that will have big ripple effects.

This all leaves Canada and its Prime Minister Stephen Harper in a very awkward position.

Tue, 2014-07-15 15:53Kevin Grandia
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New Map Shows Dramatic Time Lapse of Tar Sands Deforestation

Alberta oilsands development tar sands

A time-lapsed map released today by the World Resources Institute using satellite imagery from Global Forest Watch shows how much forest is being lost in Northern Alberta to make way for major industrial operations, mainly to extract oil from the tar sands, also referred to as the oilsands.

According to the data compiled by Global Forest Watch, industrial development and forest fires in Canada's tar sands region have cleared or degraded almost 2 million acres (775,000 hectares) of boreal forest since 2000.

The pink regions depict forest loss. Watch what happens at year 2010:

Fri, 2014-02-28 13:40Kevin Grandia
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New Global Study Finds Canada Lagging Behind China on Climate Change Legislation

pollution from syncrude plant in the Alberta oilsands

A frequently used talking point from Prime Minister Stephen Harper is that Canada will only tackle the issue of climate change if countries like China agree to take action as well. 

Looks like that time has come.

A new study released this week that examines nearly 500 pieces of legislation in 66 countries finds Canada lags behind many countries, including China, when it comes to advancing a plan to reduce climate change pollution and fossil fuel usage. 

According to Globe International, the organization behind the study, Canada currently “has no comprehensive federal climate change legislation.”

In China on the other hand, “it was announced in 2010 at the GLOBE International legislators’ forum in Tianjin that China would begin work on [climate] legislation. A first formal draft of the law is expected to be produced in early 2014, after which a comprehensive formal consultation will begin with government ministries, industry and other stakeholders, with passage likely by 2015.”

Tue, 2014-02-18 10:03Kevin Grandia
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So Who Does Rex Murphy Work For?

Rex Murphy

There is a brewing controversy swirling around longtime CBC commentator Rex Murphy and his relationship with Canada's oil industry.

As long time readers of DeSmog know, Murphy has been a vocal supporter of the oilsands industry and a booster of those who attack the scientific realities of climate change. (Here's a compilation of some of the articles we have written on Rex Murphy over the years).

Now questions are going unanswered by the CBC, and avoided altogether by Murphy himself, about a conflict between Murphy potentially being paid to speak at oilsands industry events and his role as a commentator at the CBC.

First to report on the potential conflict was Press Progress, after analysing 25 of Murphy's public speaking engagements.* The outlet found sponsors for Murphy's pro-oil public appearances included the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, Enbridge, TransCanada and Suncor among others. Longtime investigative journalist Andrew Mitrovica wrote on iPolitics that he was taken on a “disturbing odyssey into the CBC’s Byzantine world of subterfuge, duplicity and plain lunacy,” as he tried to unravel Murphy's relationship with the CBC and the oilsands industry in Canada. 

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