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Saskatchewan Government Dubs Climate Change ‘Misguided Dogma’ in Throne Speech

It might not have packed quite the same visual punch as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s behaviour in the House of Commons on Wednesday, but the Saskatchewan government’s throne speech —  delivered just the day prior — may be remembered for being equally as bizarre.

Specifically, because of the implicit rejection of climate change science, which was described as “some misguided dogma that has no basis in reality.”

The throne speech, delivered by Lieutenant Governor Vaughn Solomon Schofield, pointed to “oil and gas, coal and uranium, livestock and grains” as allegedly victimized sectors.

They look at those jobs like they are somehow harming the country and the world,” she read. “To those people, my government has a message. You are wrong. You could not be more wrong.”

Christy Clark’s Hand-Picked Climate Team Voices Frustration at B.C.’s Lack of Climate Leadership in Open Letter

Seven members of Christy Clark’s hand-picked, blue-ribbon Climate Leadership Team are going public with their disappointment in the province’s lack of climate action in an open letter released Monday.

Signatories include noted environmental leader Tzeporah Berman, hereditary chief of the Squamish Nation, Chief Ian Campbell, professor of oceanography at the University of Victoria, Tom Pederson, B.C. associate director of the Pembina Institute, Matt Horne, Cayoose Creek Band chief, Michelle Edwards, professor Nancy Olewiler and executive director of Clean Energy Canada, Merran Smith.

The letter, addressed to Clark, states B.C. is in no position to shrug off the 32 recommendations made by the team last November in advance of the UN Paris Climate Talks. At the talks, Clark used the Climate Leadership Team’s work to bolster the province’s environmental credibility.

But the team itself is saying the B.C. Liberals have failed to implement the recommendations made by the group of experts. B.C has consistently pushed back the release date of a provincial climate plan.

The province, once an international leader in carbon pricing, has stalled action on climate by imposing a restriction on carbon pricing, creating loopholes for large industrial emitters and agressively advancing the creation of an LNG export industry. Compared to provinces like Ontario, which just announced $7 billion in funding for an ambitious climate plan, and Alberta, which announced an ambitious plan to phase out all coal-fired power plants last fall, B.C. is quickly falling behind.

Christy Clark's Answer to B.C.'s Early Forest Fires? Burn More Fossil Fuels

Christy Clark LNG

Christy Clark is our province’s very own natural gas salmon, swimming gamely upstream against the advice of evidence and experts from multiple fields, determined to spawn B.C.’s LNG business in the heart of the province and give it the best start she can — everything else be damned. Or dammed, or whatever.
 
On a visit this week to Fort St. John, which is currently on fire, the premier bragged that producing and burning LNG will help prevent wildfires by causing a net decrease in carbon emissions as it displaces coal in China.
 
“If there’s any argument for exporting LNG and helping fight climate change, surely it is all around us when we see these fires burning out of control,” she told reporters at a press conference.

Clean Power Remains a Major Challenge for Remote First Nations

Part two of a two-part series from The TyeeRead the first part of this story: B.C. First Nation’s Four-Decade Fight for Diesel-Free Clean Energy Caught in Bureaucratic Limbo.

By the time the Great Recession of 2008 hit, Hartley Bay's decades-long struggle to shed its reliance on diesel was in a precarious place. The complexity of navigating multiple funders and governments with limited funds and human resources was becoming overwhelming.

Then Enbridge came to town.

Roger Harris, a former BC Liberal MLA and Enbridge's Northern Gateway point man for aboriginal relations, visited the isolated reserve, 140 kilometres south of Prince Rupert on British Columbia's north coast, in February 2009. He arrived knowing the community of fishermen, dependent on salmon and eco tourism, was vehemently opposed to his company's plan to turn their coast into a high-traffic oil tanker route.

At a private meeting between Enbridge and Gitga'at leaders in February 2009, according to several band members, Harris argued that the Gitga'at rely on diesel for electricity, so why shouldn't people in foreign countries who need fuel for electricity be able to have that as well?

B.C. First Nation’s Four-Decade Fight for Diesel-Free Clean Energy Caught in Bureaucratic Limbo

Part one of a two-part series from The Tyee. Read part two: Clean Power Remains a Major Challenge for Remote First Nations. 

Cameron Hill will never forget the cold October night in 1975 when a diesel generating plant breakdown cut all power to Hartley Bay's homes and water treatment. Completely isolated 140 kilometres south of Prince Rupert on British Columbia's north coast, the village and home community of the Gitga'at First Nation (pronounced “Git-Gat”) was completely on its own.

“Six weeks later, the power was still out,” says Hill, 47, now the school principal and a 20-year Gitga'at band councillor. More than anything else, he remembers watching his family's winter supply of salmon, halibut, moose and berries defrost and spoil in their multiple freezers.

Site C, LNG Break Trudeau's Promise to First Nations

This article originally appeared on the Common Sense Canadian.

It all started off so well. Justin Trudeau launched his career as Prime Minister with big promises to First Nations and the growing number of Canadians concerned about the environment. He installed indigenous MPs in key portfolios like Justice and Fisheries; vowed a new respect for Aboriginal people and their rights; re-introduced the climate to Environment Canada.

But five months later, it appears former New York Governor Mario Cuomo was right when he famously said, “You campaign in poetry. You govern in prose.” And the prose Justin Trudeau is authoring these days tells a very different story than it did on the campaign trail.

Four Whopping, Face-Palm Inducing Realities About Christy Clark's LNG Obsession

By Andrew Nikiforuk for The Tyee.

The B.C. budget claims the province is making money from shale gas. But last month The Tyee showed the province is pouring more cash into the industry than it is getting back.

In fact the only time the B.C. government made any money from shale gas was during a land lease boom nearly a dozen years ago. Ever since then, revenues have dwindled to next to nothing due to low royalties and taxpayer-funded subsidies to the ailing shale gas industry.

Dig deeper, and four more claims made by the B.C. government turn out to be liquefied natural gas whoppers as well.

New information on employment numbers, shale gas reserves, transmission lines and the LNG promise of economic prosperity show that stretching the truth remains a persistent trend in the Christy Clark administration.

Canada-U.S. Plan to Nearly Halve Methane Emissions Could Be Huge Deal for the Climate

Obama and Trudeau at White House

At the Canada-U.S. bilateral talks last week President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an ambitious plan to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40 to 45 per cent below 2012 levels by 2025.

40-45 percent below 2012 levels by 2025 from the oil and gas sector - See more at: http://www.pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2016/03/10/us-canada-joint-statement-climat...
40-45 percent below 2012 levels by 2025 from the oil and gas sector - See more at: http://www.pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2016/03/10/us-canada-joint-statement-climat...

The announcement came as welcome news to many environmental groups concerned about the high global warming potential of methane. The gas is 25 to 34 times as potent as carbon dioxide over a century.
 
Methane is a component of natural gas and the recent fracking boom in both Canada and the U.S. has dramatically increased methane emissions from gas production and transportation as well as fugitive emissions leaked from processing stations and pipelines.
 
Scott Vaughan, executive director of the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and former Canadian environment commissioner, said the cross-border plan to limit emissions is “really impressive.”
 
“The announcement, if implemented, will lead to reducing [absolute] emissions from Canada’s oil and gas sector by about 20 per cent,” Vaughan told DeSmog Canada.

Fact Checking the Coal Industry’s 'Information Meetings' in Alberta

This is a guest post by Benjamin Thibault and Andrew Read of the Pembina Institute

These are not good days for the global coal industry. There is bad news at every turn, with countless reports of “sputtering” and even falling demand.

Alberta has been a bastion for coal use in Canada. For now, the province burns more coal for electricity than all other provinces combined. But the writing has been on the wall for some time; over the long run, dirty coal-fired electricity is not compatible with credible climate change reduction strategies or with the public demand for cleaner air. These are the realities behind the province’s commitment to improve Alberta’s air quality and climate reputation by phasing out coal power pollution by 2030.

It is within this context that the Coal Association of Canada (CAC) is touring Alberta with “ACT information meetings.” But the “information” simply does not reflect coal’s stark modern reality. Let’s do some fact checking.

Low Expectations for Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall’s High Emissions

 
The summer of 2010 was a bad year for Saskatchewan. Record floods, winds, and hailstorms led to 175 communities declaring states of emergency, and costing the province over $100 million. “The Summer of Storms” also made it the worst year ever for insurers, with $100 million in crop insurance payouts.
 
Premier Brad Wall, a man once described by Maclean’s as “standing athwart history yelling ‘I’m not sure about this!’ ” responded to the string of natural disasters with a telling quote: “The one thing the province cannot control is the weather,” he said.
 
Unfortunately for Saskatchewan, the type of extreme weather that cost it so dearly in 2010 is symptomatic of what models predict for the province under a changing climate.
 
Sure enough, extreme weather was yet again making headlines and shutting down entire cities in 2014.
 
On carbon emissions, the province is Canada writ small: both are small emitters in their larger contexts, yet large emitters per capita. Saskatchewan is the biggest carbon source per capita in the country, with three quarters of the province’s energy coming from coal and natural gas, although it plans to reduce that to 50 per cent by 2030.
 
Wall’s philosophy on climate change appears to be to downplay the significance of actual emissions while encouraging innovation in Canada that can be exported to larger emitters — tackling carbon on a larger scale than what can be done in the Canada’s relatively small arena.

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