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.

Friday, November 4, 2016 - 18:53 • Carol Linnitt

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s performance at the UN Climate Summit in Paris last December wooed and amazed the international community.

Fresh off the election circuit, Trudeau proudly proclaimed, “Canada is back,” to a cheering crowd of global delegates.

Just days later Canada, along with the rest of the international community, signed the Paris Agreement, a historic treaty designed to limit global temperature rise to two degrees Celsius (or as close to 1.5 degrees as possible) that came into effect Friday, November 4.

But A LOT has happened in the interim in Canada, between signing the document and its coming into force.

Much of that does not bode well at all for climate action.

Thursday, November 3, 2016 - 09:45 • David Suzuki

In July, a pipeline leak near Maidstone, Saskatchewan, spilled about 250,000 litres of diluted oil sands bitumen into the North Saskatchewan River, killing wildlife and compromising drinking water for nearby communities, including Prince Albert. It was one of 11 spills in the province over the previous year. 

In October, a tugboat pulling an empty fuel barge ran aground near Bella Bella on the Great Bear Rainforest coastline, spilling diesel into the water. Stormy weather caused some of the containment booms to break. Shellfish operations and clam beds were put at risk and wildlife contaminated.

Governments and industry promoting fossil fuel infrastructure often talk about “world class” spill response. It’s one of the conditions B.C.’s government has imposed for approval of new oil pipelines. But we’re either not there or the term has little meaning. “This ‘world-class marine response’ did not happen here in Bella Bella,” Heiltsuk Chief Councillor Marilyn Slett told Metro News

Wednesday, November 2, 2016 - 16:39 • James Wilt

Alberta companies, many involved in the oil and gas sector, contributed more than $2 million to Premier Brad Wall’s Saskatchewan Party between 2006 and 2015.

That’s according to a new online searchable database created by Progress Alberta, a progressive, non-profit government watchdog group, that compiles nine years worth of party donation disclosures.
Energy companies topped the list, including $126,923 from Crescent Point Energy, $83,347 from PennWest Petroleum and $68,108 from Cenovus Energy.
An additional $850,000 has flowed into the party’s coffers from other provinces, bumping the total of out-of-province donations to around $3 million since 2006 (banks and pharmaceutical companies from Ontario make up another significant chunk). Tweet: Out-of-province $$ makes up ¼ of all recent SK Party corporate donations @PremierBradWall #skpoli #oilmoney #cdnpoliCollectively, out-of-province corporate donations make up one-quarter of all recent corporate donations.
Tuesday, November 1, 2016 - 18:11 • Carol Linnitt

Oil and gas workers struggling in the wake of collapsed oil prices want to try their hand at clean energy jobs and have asked the federal government to help make that transition a reality.

Members of Iron and Earth, a Canadian non-profit led by skilled trades workers, released the Workers’ Climate Plan Tuesday, calling on Ottawa to support skills training, increase manufacturing of renewable energy, support trades and unions advocating for renewables and integrate renewables into Canada’s existing energy projects.

The plan demonstrates strong support for the clean energy sector from within the industry workforce — a narrative that conflicts with industry support groups like Canada Action that vocally advocate for continued fossil fuel development.

Tweet: ‘This isn’t about taking jobs away from people, it's about opening up sustainable opportunities for skilled workers’ isn’t about taking jobs away from people, this is about opening up sustainable opportunities for skilled workers so their families can thrive,” Lliam Hildebrand, a boilermaker in the oilsands and executive director of Iron and Earth, said in a statement.

We’re giving a voice to real oil and gas workers who deserve a say in these issues and who want a better future.”

Tuesday, November 1, 2016 - 16:28 • Graham Readfearn

Canadian conservative commentator and climate science denialist Ezra Levant has won his battle with the United Nations to have staff from his media outlet accredited  to cover climate talks starting next week in Morocco.

Three staffers from Levant’s online outlet, The Rebel, were initially denied media accreditation for the COP22 talks in Marrakesh, after the UN described Rebel as “advocacy media”. The Financial Post is reporting that the UN has granted Rebel two spots, but Rebel is pushing back for a third.

Friday, October 28, 2016 - 16:24 • Carol Linnitt
Oil rig
Oil rig

A Trilogy Energy pipeline leak has spilled an estimated 250,000 litres of oil emulsion, a mixture of oil and water, into an Alberta wetland near Fox Creek, according to the company.

Although the spill was first reported on October 6, neither Trilogy nor the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) released any information about its size until this week.

Trilogy initially reported the spill covered three hectares, the equivalent of 21 tennis courts in a remote wetland location some 15 kilometres outside Fox Creek.

Less than half of that is impacted by actual oil staining,” John Williams, president and chief operating officer of Trilogy, told DeSmog Canada in an interview Friday.

Thursday, October 27, 2016 - 12:29 • Carol Linnitt

The federal government’s approval of the $36-billion Pacific Northwest liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminal proposed for Flora Bank near Prince Rupert, B.C. violates First Nations rights and was based on flawed information, according to three separate legal challenges filed Thursday at the Federal Court of Canada in Vancouver.

Representatives from the Gitwilgyoots and Gitanyow First Nations as well as SkeenaWild Conservation Trust filed court actions requesting judicial reviews of the project’s approval which granted majority Malaysian-owned Petronas permission to build an industrial export facility atop sensitive eelgrass beds at the mouth of the Skeena River in a region scientists have identified as a ‘salmon superhighway.’

It’s important to bring this forward in a court of law so that a spotlight can be shone on not only the deficiencies in the law, but deficiencies in the way the law was applied here,” Chris Tollefson, legal counsel for SkeenaWild, told DeSmog Canada.