climate change

More Ducks, Hungrier Bears: Climate Change is Altering Arctic Arithmetic

The effects of climate change can be complex and unpredictable. For one species of Arctic duck, the result is a tense standoff between population growth and decline.

Eiders are a species best known for their light, fluffy down. Each spring the birds return to their coastal tundra colonies and build nests on the ground, protected only by a low profile.

Elizabeth May: An Oilsands Bargain that Actually Makes Sense

alberta oilsands

In December 2015, the world agreed to the Paris Accord; to slash greenhouse gas emissions to hold global average temperature increase to 1.5 degrees C (over what it was before the Industrial Revolution), and, if we miss that target, to as far below 2 degrees as possible.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) is not an environmental agency. It advises governments about demand and supply of energy. Since 2012, IEA has warned that to avoid going over 2 degrees C, two-thirds of all known reserves of fossil fuels must stay in the ground until 2050.

How Kinder Morgan Could Sue Canada In a Secretive NAFTA Tribunal

Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline

All hell is breaking loose over the Trans Mountain pipeline.

On Sunday, Kinder Morgan announced it was putting all “non-essential spending” on hold until it could be guaranteed “clarity on the path forward.” That sent both the Alberta and federal governments into a near-frenzy — Premier Rachel Notley pledged to buy the entire pipeline if needed, while the federal cabinet held an “emergency meeting” (ministers literally ran from the media afterward).

It’s also come to light that Kinder Morgan could actually sue the government of Canada if it can’t build the pipeline. In a call with investors, Kinder Morgan chair and CEO Steven Kean said that it’s far too premature to consider.

But it certainly wouldn’t be unusual: between 1995 and 2015, Canada has been sued 35 times by investors and paid out at least $170 million.

It is extraordinarily easy for a deep-pocketed company like Kinder Morgan to sue Canada using NAFTA,” said Gus Van Harten, an associate professor at York University's Osgoode Hall Law School and expert in international investment law and arbitration, in an interview with DeSmog Canada.

Why Don’t Governments Limit Oil Production to Meet Climate Targets?

supply side environmentalism

The climate change component of Canada’s oil pipeline debate largely revolves around two big questions: should our country restrict the production of fossil fuels? And, if it does, does that mean other jurisdictions will just produce more and fill the gap?

This argument to restrict production is often called “supply side environmentalism” and it’s been pretty unpopular with economists and pundits who warn against restrictive supply-side policies as inefficient and overly moralistic.

But climate policy experts Fergus Green (of the London School of Economics) and Richard Denniss (of the Australia Institute) are questioning that.

That Time a Foreign-Owned Newspaper Called Out Environmentalists for Taking Foreign Money to Fight a Foreign-Funded Pipeline

Foreign Influence, foreign funding

On a certain level, Vivian Krause and her cadre are right when they accuse Canadian non-profits of taking foreign money. American philanthropists do give money to Canadian non-profits.

There’s just one thing: it’s neither surprising nor clandestine.

The success of their argument comes down to one simple trick: strip away all relevant context and then replace it with conspiracy.

So let’s start with some context.

‘We’re Talking Very Big Bucks’: New Bill Could Put Oil Companies on the Hook for Climate Change Costs

Fort McMurray wildfire

Oil companies have become some of the wealthiest organizations in history by producing a product that we now know is endangering the future of humanity.

Many of these companies have known about the effects of carbon dioxide for decades, yet while they adapted their own businesses to survive climate change, they actively undermined efforts to understand it.

Should Canadians be able to sue oil companies for that?

Canada's Governments Don't Have Real Plans to Fight or Adapt to Climate Change: New Audit

hurricane sandy

Canada talks the talk, but fails to walk the walk on climate change, according to a cross-country audit of climate change planning, emissions reductions and the likelihood of Canada meeting any of its targets.

The audit, conducted by federal environment commissioner Julie Gelfand and auditors general of nine provinces and three northern territories, paints a picture of a patchwork of incomplete plans, lack of clear targets and few roadmaps to show how the country can reach its goals.

Canada’s Overall Emissions Are Going Down But We’re Further Away from Meeting Our Climate Goals. Guess Why.

Canada climate targets

Canada is getting further away from meeting its climate target under the Paris Accord, despite an overall reduction in emissions, according to the government’s latest submission to the United Nations as part of its reporting requirements under the international climate treaty.

While most sectors of the Canadian economy have reduced their carbon output, the latest report shows growth in oil and gas and “demographic changes” are responsible for a widening gap between Canada’s greenhouse gas output and the country’s 2030 climate targets.

What Canada Can Learn From Germany’s Renewable Revolution

wind turbine germany

Changing from an energy system powered by fossil fuels to one based on renewable energy takes long-term planning, innovation and a buy-in from citizens, industry and all levels of government, says deep decarbonization expert Manfred Fischedick, an advisor to the German government during its transition from a country reliant on coal and nuclear energy to the global poster child for renewable energy.

Germany is aiming to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 95 per cent of 1990 levels by 2050. Strategies call for a 50 per cent reduction in energy consumption and a minimum of 80 per cent of the country’s energy to be generated by renewables by 2050.

Yes, it can be done, yes, there are skeptics, yes, it takes hard work and yes it is worth it, were the messages Fischedick brought to B.C. this week.

‘By That Logic, We All Go to Hell Together’: Mark Jaccard on Trudeau’s Pipeline Talking Points

Justin Trudeau and Rachel Notley

Mark Jaccard has seen it all before.

Over the decades, the leading energy economist from Simon Fraser University has watched as government after goverment pledge lofty climate targets and proceed to totally overshoot them: Brian Mulroney, Jean Chretien, Stephen Harper. But he certainly hasn’t been silent. In that time, Jaccard has authored dozens of books and papers based on modelling that points out the political hypocrisies and maps how to get back on track.

Now, his sights have turned to the federal and Alberta governments, which are loudly proclaiming that the proposed Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline can be reconciled with Canada’s international climate commitments.

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