climate change

It's Been 25 Years Since World's Prominent Scientists Released 'Warning to Humanity'

The longer we delay addressing environmental problems, the more difficult it will be to resolve them. Although we’ve known about climate change and its potential impacts for a long time, and we’re seeing those impacts worsen daily, our political representatives are still approving and promoting fossil fuel infrastructure as if we had all the time in the world to slow global warming.

We can’t say we weren’t warned.

Five Handy Facts About Alberta’s New Carbon Tax

Installing wind turbine

As of January 1, 2017, Alberta’s carbon tax has officially arrived.

And, as expected, there’s plenty of misinformation swirling around about what the tax will mean for Alberta citizens and businesses.

Ultimately, the idea behind the carbon tax is to put a price on polluting the atmosphere. Tweet: #CarbonTax encourages activities we do want (investment, innovation) & reduces those we don’t (GHG emissions) http://bit.ly/2hHsaNe #ablegIt sends a market signal to encourage the economic activities we do want (investment and innovation), while reducing those we don’t want (greenhouse gas emissions).

Doesn’t sound totally outlandish, right? But what will a price of $20 per tonne of carbon emissions really mean for Albertans?

DeSmog Canada did some digging to find out. Here are five handy facts to help you get clear on what the new tax means for you.

Canada’s New Climate Plan Could Shift Billions from Highway Expansion to Public Transit

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Premier Clark and most of Canada’s premiers recently signed the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change. ‘Framework’ is a good title for this agreement — it is barely a start on what is needed.

But it contains a policy shift that could dramatically reduce climate pollution from transportation.

Over the past decades the federal government has funded transportation infrastructure with little or no regard for climate pollution. They spent billions of public dollars every year on projects that increase climate pollution, such as urban highway expansion.

And since projects are usually cost shared, one billion of federal money is often matched by two billion from the province and region or municipality. Largely as a result of this perverse spending, between 1990 and 2014 climate pollution from transportation increased 32 per cent.

Trudeau’s first budget allocated new money to a public transit fund, which can reduce carbon pollution, but there was no commitment to shift money away from projects that increase pollution.

Canada Can Make Huge Climate Gains by Cleaning Up Transportation Sector: Experts

Two weeks before the premiers met in Ottawa to finalize the pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change, the federal government unveiled plans for a national clean fuel standard. If adopted, the measure could drive down greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the transportation sector, Canada’s second biggest contributor to climate change.

One of the root issues around our climate problem is the fuel that we use to heat our homes and move our cars and so I think this is an excellent first step,” Dianne Zimmerman, director of Pembina Institute’s transportation and urban solutions program, said.

The other piece of the puzzle is ensuring the infrastructure is in place to support alternative forms of fuel.”

In all provinces and territories, transportation ranks among the top emitters. Despite advances in vehicle fuel efficiency, emissions from transportation have barely moved up or down from 171 megatonnes annually or 23 per cent of Canada’s overall carbon footprint since 2005.

Yes, the Arctic's Freakishly Warm Winter is Due to Humans' Climate Influence

Iceberg

By Andrew King, University of Melbourne

For the Arctic, like the globe as a whole, 2016 has been exceptionally warm. For much of the year, Arctic temperatures have been much higher than normal, and sea ice concentrations have been at record low levels.

The Arctic’s seasonal cycle means that the lowest sea ice concentrations occur in September each year. But while September 2012 had less ice than September 2016, this year the ice coverage has not increased as expected as we moved into the northern winter. As a result, since late October, Arctic sea ice extent has been at record low levels for the time of year.

Arctic Drilling Ban Reveals Crucial Difference Between Obama and Trudeau on Climate

By Adam Scott for Oil Change International.

The historic announcement by President Obama and Prime Minister Trudeau that both countries would ban oil and gas development in Arctic and Atlantic waters was a major victory to protect our oceans and the people who depend on them, and a real victory for our climate.

But the difference between how the White House and the Prime Minister’s Office explained this announcement reveals a major rift between the leaders in their understanding of how to address the climate threat.

At the end of November, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau failed a key test of his understanding of what is required to stop climate change by approving the Kinder Morgan and Line 3 pipelines. During his speech he defended his actions:

Trudeau’s New Pipeline Talking Point — Straight From the Oil Industry

Justin Trudeau live interview with Vancouver Sun

In a Facebook Live interview with the Vancouver Sun this week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau trotted out a favourite talking point of the oil industry.

 “Where we have to recognize that we’re not going to find common ground is in the people who say the only thing we can do to save the planet is to shut down the oilsands tomorrow and stop using fossil fuels altogether within a week,” Trudeau said.

There are a few things wrong with this statement.

1) Who’s campaigning to shut down the oilsands tomorrow? I’ve been writing about energy and environment for nearly 10 years and I can’t name a single credible group that’s ever campaigned to shut down the oilsands. Heck, I can’t even think of one that’s campaigning to decrease production. They almost all campaign to limit expansion.

PHOTOS: Eleven Cities Showing What Bold Climate Action Looks Like

Eleven cities from around the world were celebrated recently in Mexico City at the C40 Cities Awards for their commitment to innovation in the fight against climate change.

The eleven-year-old C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group brings together officials from 85 of the world’s great cities that collectively represent one quarter of the global economy. The group’s focus is spurring urban initiatives that reduce greenhouse gas emissions while increasing the health, well-being, and economic opportunity of the more 650 million people who call those 85 cities home.

B.C. In No Position to Stonewall on National Carbon Pricing Plan

By Matt Horne for the Pembina Institute.

With Canada’s first credible national climate change plan within reach, Tweet: Now’s not the time to be watering down core climate policies that would help reduce emissions http://bit.ly/2h7vSCX #bcpoli #cdnpolinow is not the time to be watering down core policies that would help reduce emissions. That’s why the federal government should reject Premier Christy Clark’s posturing on carbon pricing and stick to the pan-Canadian carbon price committed to in October.

The Premier has been arguing that cap-and-trade systems to cut carbon pollution in Ontario and Quebec won’t be as stringent as B.C.’s carbon tax, and as a result that B.C. shouldn’t need to increase the carbon tax in line with Trudeau’s plan.

Can Trudeau Possibly Square New Pipelines with the Paris Agreement?

On Nov. 29, the federal government granted conditional approvals for the twinning of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline and the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline replacement project.

If built, the two pipelines will add just over one million barrels per day of export capacity from Alberta’s oilsands. Expectedly, many Canadians cried climate foul.

And, equally as predictably, there’s been a litany of arguments criticizing people for protesting the approvals.

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