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Wall Street Warns About Cost Of Doing Nothing On Climate Change

As President Obama heads to the Arctic to discuss climate change, just mere weeks after approving Shell Oil’s bid to drill for oil in the treacherous Chukchi Sea, a very different group is sounding the alarm over the dangers of a warming climate. That group, surprisingly, is Wall Street bankers.

Citibank has released a new report showing that taking action now against the growing threat of climate change would save an astonishing $1.8 trillion by the year 2040. Conversely, the report says that if no action is taken, the economy will lose as much as $44 trillion during that same time period.

Ontario Energy Board Report Highlights Risks of Energy East Pipeline in New Report

A new report released Thursday by the Ontario Energy Board finds the risks of TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline, destined to carry Alberta oilsands crude to eastern refineries and export facilities, outweigh the project’s benefits.

The board’s vice-president, Peter Fraser, said the report, prepared at the request of Ontario Minister of Energy Bob Chiarelli, finds “an imbalance between the economic and environmental risks of the project and the expect benefits for Ontarians.”

The Energy East pipeline, projected to transport 1.1 million barrels of oil per day, is the continent’s largest proposed pipeline, outsizing the company’s controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which has become a political boondoggle in the U.S. in recent years due to growing concerns over oil spills, private property and climate.

The Ontario Energy Board traveled to communities along the pipeline route to gauge public sentiment about the project and, according to the report, found fears over potential water pollution running high throughout the province.

Former Grassy Narrows Chief Endures Hunger Strike in Face of Ongoing Mercury Poisoning Tragedy

Steve Fobister Sr. Grassy Narrows Mercury Poisoning

Former Chief of the Anishinaabe of Grassy Narrows, Steve Fobister Sr., is enduring a hunger strike to “call for justice for mercury survivors” suffering from the negative health effects of a mercury crisis that dates back to the early ‘60s. (Update: On July 30th, one day after publication of this article, Fobister announced he would end his hunger strike to continue his advocacy work for Grassy Narrows victims).

The Grassy Narrows First Nation said it has just obtained a copy of an unreleased government report that confirms there is “no doubt” community members near Kenora, Ontario have suffered from mercury-related neurological disorders. The band says this is something the government has never before acknowledged.

The Grassy Narrows mercury crisis, which first began 1962, occurred after a nearby paper mill poisoned the Wabigoon-English river system, contaminating local fish and communities. The Dryden Chemicals pulp and paper mill leaked an estimated 9000 kilograms of mercury in the river system between 1962 and 1970. By 1970 the community was forced to stop commercial and sport fishing due to high levels of mercury contamination although, at the time, the government of Ontario maintained the fish were safe for consumption.

Fobister, with a body crippled from mercury poisoning, met with Aboriginal Affairs Minister David Zimmer on Tuesday in Toronto, telling a news conference “the struggle goes on.”

Climate Change "Has Moved Firmly into the Present," Latest NCA Federal Report States

Climate change is already negatively affecting every region in the United States and the future looks even more dismal if coordinated mitigation and adaptation efforts are not immediately aggressively pursued, according to the third U.S. National Climate Assessment report released Tuesday.

Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present,” notes the massive NCA report.

Corn producers in Iowa, oyster growers in Washington State, and maple syrup producers in Vermont are all observing climate-related changes that are outside of recent experience. So, too, are coastal planners in Florida, water managers in the arid Southwest, city dwellers from Phoenix to New York, and Native Peoples on tribal lands from Louisiana to Alaska.”

The report adds evidence of human-induced climate change continues to strengthen and that impacts are increasing across the nation. The report says Americans are already noticing the results of climate change, from longer and hotter summers to shorter and warmer winters. Rain falls in heavier downpours, there is more flooding, earlier snow melt, more severe wildfires and less summer sea ice in the Arctic.

New IPCC Report: Climate Hazards a “Threat Multiplier” and the World is Not Ready

climate change, IPCC

Human interference with the climate system is occurring, and climate change poses risks for human and natural systems.” IPCC WGII AR5

Every five years or so thousands of scientists from around the world release a major report on the state of climate science. These reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are the most definitive source of information for understanding not only the planet’s geologic and climatic history, but how humans are now influencing earth’s systems, most notably by altering the composition of the atmosphere.

The second part of the most recent report, released today in Yokohama, Japan, focuses on the impacts of climate change and how well governments are adapting to those impacts. This newly-released portion of the report, from the IPCC’s Working Group II, does not bode well for the future of people on this planet. The report predicts massively negative effects on crops, extinction of species, devastating heat waves, acid oceans and geopolitical conflict.

And that’s being called a “conservative” outlook.

Debunked: Eight Things the U.S. State Keystone XL Report Got Wrong About the Alberta Oilsands

kris krug oilsands tar sands

Last week the Alberta government responded to the U.S. State Department's final supplemental environmental impact statement (FSEIS) on the Keystone XL project by emphasizing the province's responsibility, transparency, and confidence that the pipeline is in the “national interest” of both Canada and the U.S.

In a statement, Alberta Premier Alison Redford appealed to the relationship between the U.S. and Canada. Premier Redford pointed out that the FSEIS had “recognized the work we're doing to protect the environment,” saying that “the approval of Keystone XL will build upon the deep relationship between our countries and enable further progress toward a stronger, cleaner and more stable North American economy.”

Environment and Sustainable Resource Development Minister Robin Campbell also issued a statement, mentioning Alberta's “strong regulatory system” and “stringent environmental monitoring, regulation and protection legislation.”

Campbell's reminder that the natural resource sector “provides jobs and opportunities for families and communities across the country” was similar to Premier Redford's assurance that “our government is investing in families and communities,” with no mention made of corporate interests.

In order to provide a more specific and sciene-based response to the FSEIS report on Keystone XL, Pembina Institute policy analyst Andrew Read provided counterpoints to several of its central claims.

Proposed Energy East Pipeline Could Exceed Keystone XL in GHG Emissions, Finds Report

Climate Implications of the Proposed Energy East Pipeline: A Preliminary Assessment

A new report from Pembina Institute says that the proposed TransCanada Energy East pipeline could generate up to 32 million tonnes (Mt) of additional greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the crude oil production required to fill it. Thirty-two million tonnes of carbon emissions is the equivalent of adding 7 million cars to Canada's roads, exceeding the projected emissions of the Keystone XL pipeline proposal.

The Keystone XL pipeline, in comparison, would generate 22 Mt of additional GHG emissions through oilsands production, according to a previous report by Pembina. The estimated emissions impact of Energy East is “higher than the total current provincial emissions of five provinces.”

The $12 million Energy East pipeline, proposed by TransCanada in August 2013, would have the capacity to transport 1.1 million barrels per day (bpd) of oilsands and conventional crude oil from Alberta to New Brunswick. According to the report, the volume of new oilsands production associated with Energy East would represent up to a 39 per cent increase from 2012 oilsands production levels.

B.C. Gitxaala Nation Files Lawsuit Contesting JRP Northern Gateway Pipeline Report

BC pipeline protest

British Columbia's Gitxaala Nation filed a lawsuit on January 17 claiming the federal Joint Review Panel's (JRP) report that recommended approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline was flawed and unlawful.

The B.C. First Nation's lawsuit is one of many filed in response to the report, including one filed by the Environmental Law Centre on behalf of B.C. Nature and another filed by Ecojustice on behalf of three different environmental groups.

Rosanne Kyle, lawyer for the Gitxaala Nation, said that the “Gitxaala were given the opportunity to speak, but were not heard.”

Caribou, Humpbacks May Legally Stand in Way of Northern Gateway Pipeline, According to B.C. Nature Lawsuit

humpback whale

Not even a month has passed since the federally appointed Joint Review Panel (JRP) released its official report recommending approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline, pending the fulfillment of 209 conditions. Yet already two separate suits have been filed against the integrity of the report, with groups requesting cabinet delay a final decision on the pipeline project until the federal court of appeals can assess the complaints.

One of the suits, filed today by the Environmental Law Centre on behalf of B.C. Nature (the Federation of British Columbia Naturalists), requested the panel’s report be declared invalid and that cabinet halt its decision on the pipeline project until the court challenge is heard. The second suit, filed by Ecojustice on behalf of several environmental groups claims the panel's report is based on insufficient evidence and therefore fails to constitute a full environmental assessment under the law.

Chris Tollefson, B.C. Nature’s lawyer and executive director of the Environmental Law Centre at the University of Victoria, says “we have asked that the federal court make an order that no further steps be taken by any federal regulator or by Cabinet until this request is adjudicated.”

Environmental Groups Respond to Northern Gateway Report, File Lawsuit to Block Pipeline Approval

Northern Gateway Pipeline

Environmental groups, including ForestEthics Advocacy, Living Oceans Society and Raincoast Conservation Foundation, filed a lawsuit today to block cabinet approval of the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline.  

Ecojustice lawyers representing the three groups filed the lawsuit at the federal court level, saying that the Joint Review Panel's (JRP) final report on the pipeline is based on insufficient evidence and does not satisfy the legislated requirements of the environmental assessment process.

“The JRP did not have enough evidence to support its conclusion that the Northern Gateway pipeline would not have significant adverse effects on certain aspects of the environment,” said Karen Campbell, Ecojustice staff lawyer.

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