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Agriculture, not Energy, Will Fuel Canada’s Economy in Coming Decades: Experts

The agriculture sector will rise in importance in coming decades as the world warms and moves away from fossil fuels.

That’s the most recent prediction from Jeff Rubin, former chief economist for CIBC World Markets, whose latest book, The Carbon Bubble, forecasts a not-so-distant future in which climate change will open up the possibility for cultivating crops, historically grown in places like Kansas and Iowa, much further north. At the same time, Rubin argues, global dependence on fossil fuels will drop, freeing up capital to migrate to crops like corn and soy.

There could be some tremendous opportunity for Western Canada, in the same provinces that are likely to be victims of the carbon bubble,” Rubin told DeSmog Canada. “Food is the only real sector in the commodity field that has been resilient, that’s kept its pricing power. You could argue that just that alone is sufficient.”

Agriculture has always played a major role in Canada’s economy. Rod MacRae, associate professor of environmental studies at York University and national food policy expert, notes the food sector trails directly behind energy and automobile manufacturing, employing one in every eight Canadians.

10 Things We Learnt From Reddit About Understanding Climate Change

Two professors of cognitive psychology – Stephan Lewandowsky, from the University of Bristol, and Klaus Oberauer, from the University of Zurich – did a Reddit AMA (ask me anything) this week.

The topic up for discussion was: “The conflict between our brains and our globe: How will we meet the challenges of the 21st century despite our cognitive limitations?”

Evidence Released at TransCanada’s Keystone XL Permit Renewal Hearing Sheds Light On Serious Pipeline Risks

Keystone XL protest by Doug Grandt

Just because TransCanada continually states that the Keystone XL pipeline will be the safest pipeline ever built, doesn’t mean it is true.

The company’s pipeline construction record is facing intense scrutiny in America’s heartland, where many see no justifiable rationale to risk their water and agricultural lands for a tar sands export pipeline.

New documents submitted as evidence in the Keystone XL permitting process in South Dakota — including one published here on DeSmog for the first time publicly — paint a troubling picture of the company’s shoddy construction mishaps. This document, produced by TransCanada and signed by two company executives, details the results of its investigation into the “root cause” of the corrosion problems discovered on the Keystone pipeline.

B.C.’s Jumbo Municipality, Created to Support Failed Ski Resort, Hangs in Balance as Proponents Fight to Build Luxury Project

There are no residents or buildings in the municipality of Jumbo, B.C. The only development proposal planned for the voterless town — the Jumbo Glacier Ski Resort — has been sent back to the drawing board by the province and a Supreme Court judge is considering an application to dissolve the municipality.

But, for now, activity in the Jumbo Glacier Mountain Resort Municipality will continue as usual, says Mayor Greg Deck.

The Kootenays municipality of Jumbo was created by the provincial government (some say undemocratically) in 2012 for the sole purpose of dealing with the controversial Jumbo Glacier Resort project, but in July the Environment Ministry allowed its environmental certificate to expire after ruling the project had not been substantially started in time to meet its permit deadline.

David Suzuki: Premiers' Energy Strategy Falls Short

This is a guest post by David Suzuki.

On July 15, a state-of-the-art new pipeline near Fort McMurray, Alberta, ruptured, spilling five million litres of bitumen, sand and waste water over 16,000 square metres — one of the largest pipeline oil spills in Canadian history. Two days later, a train carrying crude oil from North Dakota derailed in Montana, spilling 160,000 litres and forcing evacuation of nearby homes.

At the same time, while forest fires raged across large swathes of Western Canada — thanks to hotter, dryer conditions and longer fire seasons driven in part by climate change — Canadian premiers met in St. John’s, Newfoundland, to release their national energy strategy.

The premiers’ Canadian Energy Strategy focuses on energy conservation and efficiency, clean energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions to combat climate change. But details are vague and there’s no sense of urgency. We need a response like the U.S. reaction to Pearl Harbor or the Soviet Sputnik launch!

Nexen’s Brand New, Double-Layered Pipeline Just Ruptured, Causing One of the Biggest Oil Spills Ever in Alberta

A pipeline at Nexen Energy’s Long Lake oilsands facility southeast of Fort McMurray, Alberta, spilled about five million liters (32,000 barrels or some 1.32 million gallons) of emulsion, a mixture of bitumen, sand and water, Wednesday afternoon — marking one of the largest spills in Alberta history.

According to reports, the spill covered as much as 16,000 square meters (almost 4 acres). The emulsion leaked from a “feeder” pipe that connects a wellhead to a processing plant.

At a press conference Thursday, Ron Bailey, Nexen vice president of Canadian operations, said the company “sincerely apologize[d] for the impact this has caused.” He confirmed the double-layered pipeline is a part of Nexen's new system and that the line's emergency detection system failed to alert officials to the breach, which was discovered during a visual inspection. 

Exclusive: B.C. to Pay Millions to Subsidize Petronas Pollution Due to Secretive LNG Emissions Loophole

The B.C. government plans to subsidize Malaysian gas giant Petronas to the tune of $16 million, in part due to a promise to exclude a significant chunk of the greenhouse gas emissions from the Pacific Northwest LNG project from compliance penalties, DeSmog Canada has learned.

British Columbia’s politicians are in a special summer sitting at the legislature right now to debate Bill 30, the Liquefied Natural Gas Project Agreements Act, which will allow the government to enter into a $36 billion agreement with Petronas and pave the way for B.C.’s first major liquefied natural gas export plant, located near Prince Rupert.

Under the terms of the 140-page deal, the province would compensate the LNG consortium if future governments raise income tax rates for LNG operations, add carbon taxes that specifically target the industry or make changes to rules on greenhouse gas emissions. That could result in the province paying out $25 million a year or more.

While the compensation clause has commanded the lion’s share of attention, DeSmog Canada has learned that the B.C. government has quietly excluded two sources of Petronas’ emissions from compliance standards, which will result in the province paying out millions of dollars in subsidies.

Which Advanced Country Has the Most Climate Sceptics? Hint: It's Not the United States

It's not necessarily a competition you should be particularly keen to win, but which country in the world has the most climate change “sceptics”?

Most people would probably hazard a guess at the United States, what with its preponderance of climate science denialist think tanks, conservative television and radio hosts and politicians who think it’s all a hoax.

But a new study that analysed identical surveys carried out across 14 industrialised nations has found that when it comes to climate science denial, Australia tops the pile.

Construction on Site C Dam Will ‘Indefinitely Scar’ B.C.’s Relationship with First Nations: Chief

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip

The Treaty 8 First Nations have received notice from BC Hydro that work on the Site C dam could start as early as July 6 — despite court proceedings still being underway.

Treaty 8 First Nations have applied for judicial review of the federal government’s decision to grant an environmental assessment certificate, arguing the Site C dam infringes on their treaty rights. The joint review panel’s report on Site C found the dam will result in significant and irreversible adverse impacts on people in the Treaty 8 communities.

The federal appeal begins the week of July 20, 2015. But Treaty 8 First Nations say that BC Hydro has ignored requests to put construction on hold until the outcomes of the court proceedings are known. BC Hydro did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.

The provocative activities that the B.C. government is recklessly trying to advance are irreversible, and will leave an irreparable and permanent scar on the land,” said Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs. “These deliberate actions will also indefinitely scar B.C.’s relationships with First Nations.”

Truth and Reconciliation Recommendations Could Change 'Business-As-Usual' in Energy Sector

Residential school survivors, their families, indigenous and non-indigenous Canadians alike packed the ballroom of the Delta Ottawa hotel on Tuesday for the release of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's (TRC) monumental report on 130 years of ‘Indian’ residential schools in Canada. 

The eyes of the world and the gaze of history is upon us. What we do now and in the years ahead matters a great deal,” the commission’s chair, Justice Murray Sinclair, said during the report’s launch.

Six years of research and thousands of survivor testimonies led Sinclair and fellow commissioners Dr. Marie Wilson and Chief Wilton Littlechild to conclude residential schools were central to a century-long Canadian government indigenous policy that “can best be described as 'cultural genocide.'”

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