Wednesday, May 24, 2017 - 17:35 • James Wilt
kinder morgan IPO climate change

Kinder Morgan is providing potential investors with shoddy information, according to a complaint filed with the Alberta Securities Commission by Greenpeace Canada last week.

The formal complaint contends the company’s draft prospectus — a legal document prepared for investors ahead of its massive $1.75 initial public offering (IPO) — failed to properly disclose future Asian oil demand and the financial impacts of climate policy.

It turns out that Kinder Morgan used demand forecasts that assume “business as usual” for oil consumption, which effectively means no serious attempt to keep global warming below two degree celsius.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017 - 14:09 • Judith Lavoie
Steve Thomson, former minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations

A plan to form a new, independent wildlife management agency in B.C., which would relieve the provincial government from managing contentious wildlife issues such as grizzly, wolf and caribou populations, is generating anxiety among some conservation groups who fear the structure of the new program could prioritize the interests of hunters over wildlife.

The proposal for the new agency, first announced in March, was scant on details, but Steve Thomson, then minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, set a fall start-up date and set aside $200,000 for consultations with conservation and hunting groups.

Government is afraid to manage wolves, for example, or afraid to manage grizzly bears in some cases because of the politics of that,” then energy and mines minister Bill Bennett, an avid hunter and supporter of the controversial grizzly bear trophy hunt, told an East Kootenay radio station.

Hopefully an agency that is separate from government can make decisions that are in the best long-term interest of wildlife and just forget about the politics and do what is best for the animals,” Bennett said.

Friday, May 19, 2017 - 10:20 • Guest
Wave energy

This article originally appeared on The Climate Examiner

British Columbia now has sufficient detailed information about the height, frequency and direction of its coastal waves to start developing and testing wave energy converters in the ocean, according to a new report.

Quantifying the amount of energy contained in waves as they propagate — or more simply, the ‘wave energy transport’ — is more complex and intricate than assessing the energy contained in wind, tidal or solar resources. In general, these energy sources can be described using a single variable; air speed, water speed and incoming solar irradiation, respectively. In contrast, wave energy transport is multi-dimensional and depends on a variety of factors.

Thursday, May 18, 2017 - 13:45 • James Wilt
Christy Clark, Andrew Weaver, John Horgan B.C. leaders debate

The prospect of a new provincial government in B.C. has sparked fresh political debate about Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline, which is opposed by B.C.’s NDP and Green Party, despite already receiving provincial and federal approval.

There are no tools available for a province to overturn or otherwise block a federal government decision,” stated Alberta Premier Rachel Notley this week.

But is that really the case?

The short answer is no.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 - 15:51 • Matt Jacques
Northwest Territories Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk Ice Road, Matt Jacques|DeSmog Canada

Each winter in Canada’s far north, a series of ice roads take form, providing people and supply trucks temporary access to the region’s otherwise isolated towns. But rapid changes to Canada’s north means this spring marks the final melt of one of the north’s famed ice highways, the ‘Road to the Top of the World,’ stretching across 187 kilometres of frozen Mackenzie Delta and Arctic Ocean in the Northwest Territories, linking Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk.

It’s taking longer for everything to freeze up, and the ice isn’t as thick,” Wally Schumann, the minister of infrastructure for the Northwest Territories, told the New York Times in April. The Northwest Territories is warming at four to five times the global rate.

Under construction right now is a new permanent $300-million all-weather road — but its long-term stability is also challenged by the unpredictable, warming landscape says Phil Marsh, professor and Canada Research Chair in Cold Regions Water Science at Wilfred Laurier University.

This area is continuous permafrost with massive amounts of ground ice,” Marsh explained.

In the spring, melting water can carve sizeable channels through the ground ice, “which can rapidly drain a lake in less than twenty four hours.”

Tuesday, May 16, 2017 - 11:56 • Sarah Cox
BC Hydro President Jessica Mcdonald

An association representing B.C.’s commercial sector and business interests says it has compelling evidence that B.C. Hydro has over forecasted electricity demand over the past 50 years — leading to anticipated revenues “that won’t show up” and creating a large existing electricity surplus roughly equal to the power from the Site C dam.

The end result, according to David Craig, the executive director of the Commercial Energy Consumers Association of B.C., could be cumulative new hydro rate increases so significant that that some industries in B.C. may no longer be able to compete as well in their world markets, potentially risking the viability of some businesses and the jobs they support.

Craig confirmed that his association is challenging B.C. Hydro’s projections of power demand — known as “load forecasts” — in an on-going proceeding at the B.C. Utilities Commission, the agency responsible for approving hydro rate increases.

We just want to get the truth,” said Craig, who previously spent more than 20 years working for B.C. Hydro in various management positions, including as the head of the utility’s accounting group and internal audit function.

Monday, May 15, 2017 - 19:40 • Chris Tollefson
Idle No More, Zack Embree

By Chris Tollefson, Executive Director Pacific Centre for Environmental Law and Litigation.

Early on in its remarkably candid treatise released today, the Expert Panel tasked with advising the Trudeau government on how to modernize the National Energy Board (NEB) observes that the issue it was asked to grapple with “is much larger than simply the performance of the NEB in and of itself”: read the panel report here.

Indeed.

Since the 2013 Northern Gateway pipeline hearings, our national energy regulator has been buffeted by one controversy after another.  The NEB must bear some of the blame for this.  Its work on the Northern Gateway, Kinder Morgan and Energy East files underscore that its expertise does not lie in the realm of environmental assessment.  But it is also a victim of history — an institution conceived and born in an era (almost 60 years ago) long before Indigenous rights, climate change and decarbonization had political, let alone legal, salience.

Monday, May 15, 2017 - 16:41 • James Wilt
Justin Trudeau National Energy Board Modernization

After six months of consultations, the National Energy Board (NEB) Modernization Expert Panel has delivered its long-awaited report.

The results are damning.

In our consultations we heard of a National Energy Board that has fundamentally lost the  confidence of many Canadians,” the five-member panel wrote. “We heard that Canadians have serious concerns that the NEB has been ‘captured’ by the oil and gas industry.”

The 87-page report issued 26 key recommendations to repair the oft-criticized quasi-judicial tribunal, responsible for regulating interprovincial and international oil, gas and electricity projects.

Those include establishing a one-year review process by cabinet to ascertain whether a major project meets “national interest” prior to regulatory review, replacing the NEB with a “Canadian Energy Transmission Commission” and placing a broader focus on interprovincial transmission lines and renewable energy.

In addition, the panel recommended the government create a new agency responsible for collecting information about energy, relocate board headquarters back to Ottawa, considerably improve consultation with Indigenous peoples including an Indigenous Major Projects Office and extend the timelines for review of major projects (which were accelerated under the previous Conservative government).

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