Climate Change in Canada

climate change canada

(Image credit: Valerie on Flickr)

The issue of climate change in Canada has been controversial, with the federal government government often being criticized for its lack of action. 

See below to learn more about the latest news on climate change in Canada:

Mel Arnold, a federal Conservative candidate from the North Okanagan-Shuswap riding in B.C., told the CBC he remains “unconvinced” by climate science and that the role of human activity in the rise of global temperatures remains undetermined.

In an interview with the CBC’s Daybreak South radio show this week, Arnold told host Chris Walker he believes only 1.5 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions are human-caused.

Arnold also said cycles in climate could be responsible for recent changes in temperature.

“I don't know that it has been determined for sure that human activity is the main cause. It is part of the process,” he told Walker. “But how much of it is actually naturally occurring, that's I think where the debate is.”

“As you know, this area was once buried in kilometres of thick ice during the ice ages. And we have approximately 30-year cycles on weather conditions here. Those types of things are still in play.”

Cindy Derkaz, federal Liberal candidate from the North Okanagan-Shuswap riding said Arnold was simply toeing the Conservative Party line.

I wasn’t surprised,” Derkaz said. “I feel that he is following a party line and bound to do that and I’ve noticed that there’s been no rebuttal of [Arnold’s statements] from the party.”

A poll of more than 1,800 Albertans conducted by EKOS Research Associates shows more than half the population wants the province to take stronger climate action by introducing policies that limit carbon emissions.

The poll, commissioned by the Pembina Institute, also found 50 per cent of Albertans are in support of a broad price on carbon that would apply to both consumers and producers. Support for a price on carbon jumped by another 10 to 20 per cent if the money generated from the tax were to go towards carbon reducing technologies or projects.

Results also show a large portion of Albertans (66 per cent) want to diversify the province’s economy rather than up the competitiveness of the oil and gas industry (29 per cent). Forty-eight per cent of Albertans who took the poll said they feel the oilsands are large enough or should be downsized.

It’s encouraging to see such strong support among Albertans for action on climate change,” Simon Dyer, Alberta regional director for the Pembina Institute, said.

This poll shows that the public is open to many of the solutions being considered, such as an economy-wide price on carbon pollution, or phasing out coal power and replacing it with renewables.”

It’s no surprise, after California’s five-year drought that is now creeping northwards, experts have water on the mind.

The drought-plagued forests that burned across the continent this summer offered a glimpse of our future world, according to retired scientists David Schindler, who told an audience last week that the ash-laden air and sepia skies of summer 2015 are to become the new normal in a hotter and drier world.

Schindler, a Rhodes Scholar and professor emeritus at the University of Alberta’s Department of Biological Sciences, spoke at The Walrus Talks in Victoria, an event that brought together authors and experts all with stories to tell about our most overlooked resource: water.

When I agreed to give a Walrus Talk last spring on the topic of climate warming and fresh water I couldn’t have known that the summer of 2015 was going to be a poster child that would display most of these symptoms that I’ve been studying for 25 years or more,” he said.

In this part of B.C. you enjoyed the summer of water rationing and red suns set in a grey sky with air quality that you normally wouldn’t see outside of Beijing. You’re getting a good idea of quality of life that we’re facing ahead if we continue to operate as business as usual.”

An astonishing 720 million people around the world face falling back into extreme poverty unless we tackle climate change immediately, warns a new report by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI).

The report was published as world leaders gathered this week at the United Nations General Assembly and agreed the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), among which is the eradication of extreme poverty by 2030.

This goal is achievable, according to the ODI, but not without a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions peak in 2030, and a fall to near zero by 2100. “Climate change increases the probability that those who emerge from extreme poverty will be at risk of falling back into it,” it concludes.

Urgenda climate ruling in Dutch court

Leading climate scientists, lawyers, doctors and scholars from around the world are calling on the Dutch Government to reconsider its plans to appeal the historic Urgenda judgement by a Dutch Court ordering the government to dramatically reduce carbon emissions by 2020.

In a letter submitted yesterday to the Dutch Prime Minister Rutte and Vice Prime Minister Asscher, renowned climate experts James Hansen, Naomi Oreskes and Michael Gerrard were among the 20 signatories urging the government to “accept a judgement which is solidly based in existing law, jurisprudence and the need to protect people from the harm associated with climate change”.

Earlier this month, the Dutch Government announced plans to appeal the decision. The deadline for filing an appeal is September 24, leaving just one more day for the government to formally submit an appeal – and just one more day for others to try and persuade it otherwise.

At this time last year, building on the momentum generated by Climate Week and the New York People’s Climate March, divestment advocates made an ambitious announcement: a plan to triple the $50 billion in assets individuals and organizations had pledged to divest from fossil fuels by the time of the 2015 Paris UN climate negotiations.

That was an ambitious plan.

But in the year since, according to a new report from Arabella Advisors, the divestment movement exploded in scope and scale increasing fifty-fold, bringing the total combined assets of those divesting to an incredible $2.6 trillion.

It’s safe to say that no one, not even the most optimistic divestment dreamers, could have anticipated this outcome.

So what’s behind the global momentum for divestment?

By now, it’s an almost entirely predictable routine: a celebrity takes a tour of the Alberta oilsands for a day or two and quickly harnesses apocalyptic rhetoric in press conferences to detail the experience. Chagrined industry spokespeople lash out. News coverage dissipates after a few days. Rinse and repeat. Thus far, Neve Campbell, Leonardo DiCaprio, Darren Aronofsky, Desmond Tutu and James Cameron have partaken in the ritual.

Now, at long last, we can add Bill Nye to the already stacked roster, thanks to his recent two-day stint in the area for a climate change documentary he’s working on.

Producing all this oil that’s producing all this carbon dioxide, that’s not good from a global stand point,” the Science Guy said in an interview with the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network, which was tweeted by the likes of Bill McKibben and

Nye’s statement is very true. Alberta’s oilsands represent fossil fuel development on an unprecedented and highly visible scale. Canada won’t meet its 2020 emissions reduction targets as a result of the growing sector (by that year, the oilsands are expected to churn more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere annually than all the passenger transport in the country).

But do celebrity visits help push the dialogue out of gridlock?

A new report from Clean Energy Canada finds that in 2014, the value of clean energy projects approached $11 billion, an increase of 88 per cent from 2013.

Here’s a good news story on the clean energy front—investment is pouring in, and employers are hiring,” said Merran Smith, executive director of Clean Energy Canada. “Canadians are concerned that we’ve put too many eggs in the oil and gas basket, and the clean energy sector can help round out the Canadian economy.”

In 2013, the most recent year for which reliable data exists, Canada’s clean energy industries were together responsible for 26,900 direct jobs — up 14 per cent over the previous year, a rate of growth that outpaced every other sector in the country.

The report, Tracking the Energy Revolution — Canada 2015, contrasts Ottawa’s current “missing in action” approach with the strong leadership of the U.S. government, and highlights how Canada’s next federal government could help boost clean energy investment.

Windmill ribbon cutting

Climate change stories that give local information and emphasize positive achievements are more likely to encourage people to become active participants in climate change action than stories of political failures, a new study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has found .

Researchers worked with focus groups made up of 53 people from the Metro Vancouver area who were concerned about climate change, but had little involvement with climate politics, causes or organizations. After reviewing news stories with the groups, researchers found that the overwhelming response to news about climate politics was cynicism.

While there was a strong desire for more aggressive political action to address climate change, virtually all expressed considerable skepticism that governments, corporations or their fellow citizens could be convinced of the need to address the problem,” the paper says.

cheryl gallant climate change

This summer, alongside stories about the community fair and demolition derbies, the Ottawa Valley's Renfrew Mercury ran an advertorial “Report from Parliament” written by Conservative Member of Parliament Cheryl Gallant on the much heavier subject of climate change. 

While most governments have accepted that climate change is an urgent issue to be taken seriously, it appears Gallant is taking a much different tack, making exaggerated claims and employing a divide and conquer rhetoric clearly designed to score a few cheap political points.

Gallant writes in her June 2015 “report” that, “alarmist claims about 'man-made' global warming have cost the Ontario government tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs.”

Note the quotations Gallant uses on “man-made,” in an obvious bow to the global warming conspiracy theorists.