Friday, March 16, 2018 - 15:21 • Carol Linnitt

B.C.’s scientific inquiry into fracking won’t address risks to public health, the government quietly assured the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) nearly six weeks before government publicly announced the inquiry on Thursday.

B.C. also assured CAPP the inquiry would not address industry’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions, according to documents obtained by DeSmog Canada.

You have the preeminent industry association in the country given six weeks advance notice not only about the inquiry itself but a clear indication that key things are simply not going to be addressed,” Ben Parfitt, an investigative journalist with the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, told DeSmog Canada.

”I’m deeply troubled by that.”

Friday, March 16, 2018 - 14:06 • Judith Lavoie

One year ago, after scathing reports by international agencies, the federal government promised to better protect Wood Buffalo National Park, with Environment Minister Catherine McKenna saying a warning from the UNESCO World Heritage Centre, followed by an equally dire assessment by the International Union on the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), were a call to action.

But that action is moving at a glacial pace, even though the stated threats to the integrity of Canada’s largest national park, such as upstream oilsands development, climate change and construction of the Site C dam, are continuing unabated.

Change in the [Peace-Athabasca Delta] is undisputed and there are clear, consistent and conceivable hints at causal relationships with industrial development, confirmed by western science and local and indigenous knowledge,” the report warned. It also took aim at forestry, pulp and paper, uranium mining, agriculture and other resource development in the watershed.

Thursday, March 15, 2018 - 18:20 • Sarah Cox

Remember B.C.’s Clean Energy Act, championed by former Liberal Premier Gordon Campbell to position B.C. as a “world leader” in addressing climate change?

The act exempted hydro undertakings like the Site C dam from independent oversight by the watchdog B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC), an independent body set up to ensure that projects proposed by the government are in the public interest, and not promoted for partisan political gain.

The act further set the legal stage for building the Site C dam, a pet project of the B.C. Liberals, by closing the door on energy sources such as the Burrard Thermal natural gas-fired plant and the power to which B.C. is entitled under the Columbia River Treaty.

On Thursday, B.C.’s Auditor General Carol Bellringer — the province’s public interest watchdog — issued a report nudging the NDP government to review and amend the Clean Energy Act’s objectives, which the report describes as “too diverse and in many cases contradictory with each other.”

Thursday, March 15, 2018 - 17:21 • Jimmy Thomson

The federal government has announced over $12 million to enhance protections for endangered whales on the West Coast, especially the endangered Southern resident killer whale.

That population, at 76 animals, is at its lowest point since live capture for aquariums was banned in 1975, prompting urgent calls for federal intervention.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018 - 17:22 • Carol Linnitt

Fish farm opponents and proponents alike are waiting with bated breath as a bill to phase out open net pen aquaculture farms in Washington State sits on Governor Jay Inslee’s desk for final approval.

If Governor Inslee signs the bill, it would mean the end of farmed Atlantic salmon reared in open net pens in every jurisdiction on the West Coast of North America — except British Columbia. Alaska practices a controversial form of salmon ranching, but the state, along with California and Oregon, does not allow open net pen fish farm operations.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018 - 10:42 • Guest

Elizabeth Dubois, University of Ottawa and Grant Blank, University of Oxford

Information warfare” may be a top concern in the next Canadian election cycle, as a report on a workshop by CSIS suggests, but some fears about how people get their political information and the impact of social media are overstated.

In a recently published study, we show that fears about an “echo chamber” in which people encounter only information that confirms their existing political views are blown out of proportion. In fact, most people already have media habits that help them avoid echo chambers.

Monday, March 12, 2018 - 15:40 • Judith Lavoie

Underneath the picturesque Salish Sea there are churning currents, with water swooshing in from the open ocean and surges of nutrient-rich fresh water from creeks and rivers that alter the sea’s chemistry — and can make life tough for species trying to survive in a rapidly changing environment.

And that’s why scientists are increasingly interested in the Salish Sea as they study ocean acidification — often called the evil twin of climate change.

The impacts of ocean acidification range from coral reef bleaching in the Caribbean and South Pacific to the hardships faced by oyster and mussel aquaculture businesses in the Salish Sea because shellfish are unable to form calcium carbonate shells.

Saturday, March 10, 2018 - 12:03 • Carol Linnitt

From the historic agreement that created the Great Bear Rainforest to B.C.’s Dasiqox Tribal Park to uniquely co-managed forest resources in Labrador, Indigenous-led conservation efforts are transforming the way Canadians understand and practice conservation.

Far from the colonial idea of preserving natural landscapes from human incursion, Indigenous land use plans put sustainable human-nature relationships that seek to revitalize traditional cultural practices at the centre.

It’s a vision of conservation and land use planning that can help Canada deliver on its promise of reconciliation and a renewed nation to nation relationship, according to Valérie Courtois, director of Indigenous Leadership Initiative.