Thursday, January 19, 2017 - 14:59 • Carol Linnitt

Canada’s great, white north seems to be getting a little less white as the years go by thanks to above-average increases in Arctic temperatures and increasing levels of industrial development.

Still, the north remains great, and there’s nothing more emblematic of that greatness than the astounding 1,000-kilometre seasonal migration of the region’s barren-ground caribou herds.

Named for their habitat — sprawling Arctic tundra which extends beyond the northern tree line — barren-ground caribou have experienced alarming population declines for years, according to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), and those declines are occurring alongside unprecedented levels of climate change and habitat disturbance.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016 - 09:52 • Carol Linnitt
Climate talks in Marrakesh, Morocco
Climate talks in Marrakesh, Morocco

Last year the Canadian government enjoyed a positive reception at the UN climate talks in Paris. After 10 years of climate inaction under a Conservative government, the international community anticipated the new Liberal government would mean good things for the nation’s climate governance.

But Canada’s contribution to the world’s first climate treaty remains “inadequate” according to a new report released by the Carbon Action Tracker in light of the climate talks.

The Paris Agreement, designed to limit global warming to as close to 1.5 degrees Celsius as possible, was signed in France last year and ratified, with incredible speed, less than one year later on November 4. Although a proud signatory of the agreement, Canada will not meet its climate targets, according to the new analysis.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016 - 07:00 • Judith Lavoie
Mount Polley Mine Spill
Mount Polley Mine Spill

Fallout from environmental assessments or development decisions that don’t meet the highest scientific standards will land on the shoulders of the younger generation, which is why Canada’s lack of scientific rigour and transparency must be addressed now, say more than 1,300 young scientists who have written an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and six cabinet ministers.

As the next generation of scientists in Canada, we are professionally and personally affected by how government evaluates the pros and cons of development, especially large-scale infrastructure and energy projects,” said lead author Aerin Jacob, a University of Victoria postdoctoral fellow who specializes in tradeoffs between conservation planning and sustainable development.

Reviews based on limited or biased scientific information potentially put the environment and the well-being of Canadians at risk,” she said.

Friday, November 11, 2016 - 15:47 • Kai Nagata
President-elect Donald Trump
President-elect Donald Trump

I was in my last year of high school when U.S. President George W. Bush decided to invade Iraq. Driven by grief and a sense of helplessness (I couldn’t even vote, let alone in America) I did the only thing I could: I joined protest marches. During that spring in 2003, I watched the crowds grow beyond anything I’ve seen before or since in Vancouver: 10,000 at a rally in January, then 40,000 in February as millions of people across the globe cried out for the President to stop.

It wasn’t enough. The war went ahead, and the whole world is still suffering the consequences. But the outpouring from Canadians was enough to cement the Chretien government’s position against the invasion, despite support from the Canadian Alliance party, led by Stephen Harper. The Alliance subsequently lost the 2004 election.

Friday, November 11, 2016 - 13:16 • Guest

This article originally appeared on The Climate Examiner at the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions.

British Columbia’s first major liquefied natural gas project is set to go ahead with Woodfibre LNG’s announcement last week of funding to build a $1.6 billion processing and export plant in Squamish.

The project, which promises some 650 construction jobs and 100 permanent operating jobs to the small town with a population of 17,000, aims to begin exporting some 2.1 million tonnes of LNG annually to Asia from 2020.

The plant is much smaller than the highly controversial $11 billion Pacific NorthWest (PNW) LNG terminal planned near Prince Rupert that received conditional approval from the federal Liberal government in September and which would ship some ten times the amount of the Woodfibre project each year.

It is however the first of 20 proposed LNG export projects in British Columbia to be given company approval — a development that will bring much cheer to the provincial government which is facing an election next May and for whom a flourishing LNG industry is the centerpiece of its economic development plans.

Thursday, November 10, 2016 - 13:46 • Andrew Nikiforuk

By Andrew Nikiforuk for The Tyee.

Every day, methane promoters in British Columbia’s government manage to out-trump Donald Trump.

The hoopla over the $1.6-billion Woodfibre LNG terminal, which will industrialize Howe Sound and the city of Squamish,
Tweet: ‘The hoopla over #WoodfibreLNG illustrates how far the @ChristyClarkBC gov’t will go to subvert the truth’ http://bit.ly/2eOzjgi #bcpoliillustrates just how far the Christy Clark-led BC Liberal government will go to subvert the truth.

The government billed the event as maker of economic prosperity and the beginning of a winning fight against climate change.

Both claims read like Trump balderdash with no basis in reality.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016 - 14:43 • Carol Linnitt

Gaps in basic knowledge about salmon in the estuary near Flora Bank call into question the review — and approval — of the Pacific Northwest LNG terminal proposed for the mouth of the Skeena River, according to new research from fisheries biologist Jonathan Moore.

Data published Wednesday in the journal Marine Ecology Progress Series shows salmon species don’t merely transit through the Skeena River estuary, as advanced by Pacific Northwest LNG in its environmental assessment, but can linger in the unique estuary environment for much longer periods of time than previously thought.

Tweet: ‘Young salmon in the #FloraBank estuary are rearing from days to weeks & some individuals for months’ http://bit.ly/2fEqSSs #PNWLNGThe young salmon in the Flora Bank estuary are rearing from days to weeks and some individuals for months,” Moore told DeSmog Canada.

In its environmental assessment Pacific Northwest LNG stated young salmon were moving through the estuary. Our data states that’s not true; the salmon are residing in the area.”

Monday, November 7, 2016 - 11:23 • James Wilt

Implement an economy-wide carbon tax, attain “social licence,” score a federal approval for the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline.

That’s been the advertised logic of the Alberta NDP since the introduction of its Climate Leadership Plan a year ago. Nearly every mention of carbon pricing and associated policies — a 100 megatonne oilsands cap, coal-fired power phase-out and methane reduction target — has been accompanied by a commitment to “improve opportunities to get our traditional energy products to new markets.”
 
Such a sentiment was reinforced with Premier Rachel Notley’s retort on Oct. 3 to the announcement of federally mandated carbon pricing: “Alberta will not be supporting this proposal absent serious concurrent progress on energy infrastructure.”

But for some, Tweet: #Alberta NDP’s rhetoric represents a fundamental misunderstanding of #sociallicence http://bit.ly/2fzLs7Y #ableg #bcpoli #cdnpolithe Alberta NDP’s rhetoric represents a fundamental misunderstanding of the point of social licence, with the government assuming that moderate emissions reduction policies allows it to ignore serious concerns about Indigenous rights and international climate commitments.

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