climate change

Sat, 2015-02-07 11:14Carol Linnitt
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DeSmogCAST 10: California Fracking Waste, Keystone Climate Impacts and Energy East Pipeline

In this episode of DeSmogCAST our team discusses an ongoing investigation into hundreds of aquifers in California that may have been contaminated with fracking waste. 
 
We also discuss a letter submitted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the State Department which gives new weight to concerns the proposed $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline, destined to carry crude from the Alberta oilsands to export facilities along the Gulf of Mexico, will have significant climate impacts.
 
Finally we discuss the Energy East pipeline, a massive project currently proposed by TransCanada, the same company behind Keystone. 
Wed, 2015-02-04 19:18Emma Gilchrist
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Five Poll Results That Are Gonna Cause Oil Execs Some Headaches

Alberta Oil Magazine just published its National Survey on Energy Literacy, the culmination of 1,396 online interviews of a representative sample of Canadians conducted by Leger.

The results are particularly interesting coming from Alberta Oil, a magazine destined for the desks of the energy sector’s senior executives and decision-makers.

Summing up the survey’s findings about “The Issues,” Alberta Oil editors write that opposition to energy projects is “not just for West Coast hippies anymore.”

Indeed. There are quite a few nuggets in the survey’s findings that are probably causing a headache or two in Calgary’s corner offices this week. We round up the Top 5.

1) Opposition to the proposed Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline is just as serious as opposition to Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway pipeline — if not more so, according to the survey. What’s more, the more highly educated citizens are, the less likely they are to support Trans Mountain or Northern Gateway. Hmph, maybe the anti-pipeline crowd isn’t all unemployed hippies after all?

Wed, 2015-02-04 12:17Carol Linnitt
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Low Oil Prices, High Oilsands Emissions Should Influence Keystone XL Decision: EPA

tar sands, oilsands, kris krug

A letter submitted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to the State Department gives new weight to concerns the proposed $8 billion Keystone XL pipeline, destined to carry crude from the Alberta oilsands to export facilities along the Gulf of Mexico, will have significant climate impacts.

The EPA letter suggests existing analyses – which downplay the importance of greenhouse gas emissions associated with the project – are out of date and require revision in light of low global oil prices.

Due to the plummeting of oil prices and related market changes “it is important to revisit [the] conclusions” of previous reports, EPA told the State Department.

Given recent large declines in oil prices and the uncertainty of oil price projections, the additional low prices scenario in the (State report) should be given additional weight during decision making, due to the potential implications of lower oil prices on project impacts, especially greenhouse gas emissions.”

The State Department is due to release a revised analysis of the Keystone XL project and is currently gathering comments from the EPA and other agencies.

Tue, 2015-02-03 11:21Guest
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Why (and How) the PICS Divestment Report Misses the Point

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This is a guest post by Cam Fenton, Canadian tar sands organizer with 350.org.

Last week the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions released a report criticizing the fossil fuel divestment movement. While the report came as a surprise, the arguments didn’t, especially given that they were based more on building a straw man to support the report’s conclusions than actually understanding the movement.

At best the report fails to accurately reflect the demands and the theory of change of fossil fuel divestment movement, and at worst it fails to understand the true role and power of organizing, action and social movements.

The report gets a lot wrong and a little bit right, but most of its problems are undercut by three assumptions at the core of its argument – assumptions which seem to have been cherry-picked by the authors to support their own conclusions rather than reflecting those articulated by the movement. In fact the divestment movement has only ever been founded on one assumption that “if it’s morally wrong to wreck the climate, it’s wrong to profit from that wreckage.”

Fri, 2015-01-30 05:00Guest
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Federal Leadership Critical for Climate Action

This is a guest post by Tim Gray, executive director of Environmental Defence. It originally appeared on the Toronto Star.

It was troubling last week when Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau seemed to suggest that provinces could just do their own thing on climate action without much federal involvement other than hand holding. Government action addressing climate change is evolving quickly at the provincial level but that does not absolve the federal government of its responsibility to set a level playing field and spur action.

It would have been great had the federal government implemented a pan-Canadian climate change plan eight years ago — when it promised to. Or better yet 13 years ago, when the Canadian government ratified the Kyoto Protocol. But it’s not too late for the federal government to act, especially given the big advantages to doing so: fairness and effectiveness.

Thu, 2015-01-29 07:36Judith Lavoie
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“There is No Them, Only Us”: Perspectives Collide at University of Victoria Climate and Divestment Forum

Pressure is mounting on the University of Victoria Foundation’s board to rid itself of investments in fossil fuel related stocks, but, for now, the board is continuing to gather information and is sticking with the investing approach it fine-tuned last year.

Divestment supporters turned out in force Monday evening for a forum on climate change and divestment, organized by UVic and Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, with speakers ranging from Suncor Energy Inc. vice-president Steve Douglas to Malkolm Boothroyd, a spokesman for Divest UVic, and wild applause for those in favour of immediate divestment showed where the sympathies lay.

If it’s wrong to wreck the Earth’s climate, it is wrong to invest in fossil fuels, Boothroyd said.

Responsibility means leaving those fossil fuels in the ground. We can’t have it both ways. UVic has got to make a decision and I believe it is UVic’s responsibility to divest from fossil fuels,” he said to a standing ovation from some of the audience.

Mon, 2015-01-26 12:59Renee Lertzman
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Permission to Care: From Anxiety to Action on Climate Change

Over the past few years, I’ve been fortunate to participate in discussions about climate change threats and environmental issues with people across private, public, governmental, and research sectors. Whether at an island retreat in Puget Sound, a corporate conference at a resort or in the halls of our esteemed universities, the same questions get asked: How can we get people to care more? How do we motivate people? What’s it going to take?

What if these are the wrong questions to be asking?

Let’s consider this question by first reconsidering the context.

Sun, 2015-01-25 13:22Carol Linnitt
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DeSmogCAST 9: U.S. Oil Exports Up, Kinder Morgan's Secrets and Teens Sue for the Climate

In this episode of DeSmogCAST host Farron Cousins joins DeSmog cast Carol Linnitt and Justin Mikulka to discuss how recent changes in the global oil market, combined with a language change regarding crude oil, have led to an increase in U.S. oil exports.
 
We also discuss a new ruling in Canada that allows pipeline company Kinder Morgan to keep its emergency response plans for the Trans Mountain pipeline in British Columbia a secret.
 
We end on a positive note, reflecting on the bold actions of two teenagers in Oregon who are taking their elected leaders to court for failing to act meaningfully on climate change.
Tue, 2015-01-20 12:15Scott Vrooman
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VIDEO: By Investing in Oil Companies, You're Essentially Betting on How Long They Can Fool People

One hundred and ninety-five countries, including Canada, have formally agreed that we need to limit the Earth’s temperature rise over pre-industrial levels to two degrees. It’s uncontroversial.

Because going much beyond a two degree increase would be “incompatible with an organized global community” in the words of one of the UK’s top climate scientists. And if you’re not sure what that would look like, imagine the movie Mad Max but replace Mel Gibson’s character with a pile of hot dirt.

To have a decent chance of staying below two degrees, the world can only burn around a thousand more gigatonnes of CO2. But current fossil fuel reserves in the ground are about 3000 gigatonnes.

Tue, 2015-01-20 10:40Guest
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The Oil Shock is a Climate Opportunity and We Need to Seize it

This is a guest post by Cameron Fenton, Canadian Tar Sands Organizer with 350.org.

This week, the cover of the Economist proclaimed “the fall in the price of oil and gas provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fix bad energy policies.” The article teased on the cover explains how low oil prices create the space for governments to make rapid leaps to change energy policy instead of “tinkering at the edges” urging policy makers to use this moment to “inject some coherence into the world's energy policies.”

The article gets a lot of things right. Eliminating fossil fuel subsidies and forcing big polluters to pay for the mess they're making are crucial policy steps, but the piece also presents some more dubious proposals. The last paragraph of the Economist piece is the perfect example of the inherent dangers ahead.

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