Carol Linnitt

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Carol Linnitt is Managing Editor and Director of Research for DeSmog Canada. Carol is a writer and researcher focusing on energy development, environmental policy and wildlife. She joined DeSmog in June 2010 as a researcher, focusing much of her time on the natural gas industry and hydraulic fracturing.

Carol is the lead author of DeSmog's original report Fracking the Future: How Unconventional Gas Threatens Our Water, Health & Climate. Her work also led to the DeSmog micro-documentary CRY WOLF: An Unethical Oil Story and the Cry Wolf investigative series.

Carol began her environmental career writing and performing interviews for The Canada Expedition, a non-governmental sustainability initiative, and while working in dispute resolution with communities affected by resource scarcity.

Carol has a Master's in English Literature from York University where she studied political theory, natural resource conflicts and Aboriginal rights. She also has a Master's in Philosophy in the field of phenomenology and environmental ethics and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Victoria in the English and Cultural, Social and Political Thought programs.

If Saskatchewan Can Build a Geothermal Power Plant, Why Can’t B.C.?

Geothermal Energy

While news of Saskatchewan’s plan for a small geothermal power plant was met with excitement by renewable energy advocates,  experts say British Columbia is far better situated to capitalize on the technology yet has failed to do so.

It should be a little bit of a shock that a less good resource is being developed in Saskatchewan over a world-class resource in B.C.,” said Alison Thompson, chair and co-founder of the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association (CanGEA).

B.C. is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, a geothermal hot zone. Maps produced by CanGEA found B.C. has enough geothermal potential to power the entire province.

There are geothermal projects all up the coast but they stop at the border. There’s nothing in B.C.,” Thompson said.

This is clearly not technical, not economic. This is policy driven.”

Special Committee Says Canadians Should Have Legal Right to Healthy Environment...Like the Rest of the Developed World

Canada right to a healthy environment

When it comes to developed nations Canada is a laggard on the environmental rights front. Legally speaking, Canadians don’t enjoy the right to a healthy environment like the citizens of 93 per cent of UN member countries do.

But that could all change in light of a new set of recommendations delivered to Ottawa by a standing committee tasked with reviewing the federal Canadian Environmental Protection Act.

Among those recommendations were instituting legal minimums for air and water quality standards, annual reporting on the state of Canada’s environment, new rules around disclosure of toxic substances in consumer goods and the creation of special protections for Canada’s vulnerable populations including children, the elderly, First Nations and poor communities most likely to be affected by poor environmental health.

We’re celebrating this as a first step,” Kaitlyn Mitchell, Ecojustice lawyer, told DeSmog Canada.

No, Asian Markets Will Not Fetch Better Prices for Canadian Oil: New Report

CCPA Trans Mountain pipeline tidewater access myth

One of Ottawa and Alberta’s main arguments in defence of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline — that Alberta oil sold to Asian markets will command a higher price — is a myth, according to a new report released Wednesday by scientist and energy resources expert David Hughes.

Contrary to the common claim, Hughes’ research, conducted on behalf of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Parkland Institute, found “a ‘tidewater premium’ does not exist.”

My research shows that Canada’s oil is not being unfairly discounted by the U.S.,” Hughes said.

Oil prices internationally and in North America are now nearly identical. That means Canadian crude producers are likely to receive lower prices overseas than in the U.S. because of the higher transportation costs involved in transporting bitumen by pipeline to B.C.’s coast and then exporting it by tanker.”

Site C Dam Set to Finally Undergo Review of Costs and Demand

Horgan Weaver NDP-Green Agreement Site C

The controversial $9 billion Site C dam project will be sent for immediate review with the B.C. Utilities Commission if NDP Leader John Horgan becomes B.C.’s premier, according to a landmark agreement between the NDP and Greens.

The agreement outlines the terms of a power-sharing agreement as well as a path forward on key election issues, including the future of the Site C dam.

The agreement sets out a requirement to “immediately refer the Site C construction project to the B.C. Utilities Commission” to investigate the economic viability and consequences of the project for British Columbians.

During the election campaign the Greens vowed to stop the Site C project outright while the NDP committed to send the project for independent review by the B.C. Utilities Commission, a body designed to regulate BC Hydro and electricity rates. The B.C. Liberals exempted Site C from utilities commission scrutiny.

Kinder Morgan ‘Misleading’ With Claim Trans Mountain ‘Approvals Are in Hand,' Says Chilliwack Resident

Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline

Kinder Morgan Canada’s president Ian Anderson may have misled potential investors in a statement released Thursday that claimed “execution planning is complete, our approvals are in hand” for the Trans Mountain pipeline, according to Ian Stephen, resident of Chilliwack B.C. and campaign director at the Waterwealth Project.

We are now ready to commence construction activities this fall,” Anderson told the public this week during Kinder Morgan Canada’s $1.75 billion initial public offering — one of the largest offerings in Canada’s history — expect to close May 31.

But according to Stephen, Kinder Morgan is “misleading potential investors,” because the company has yet to receive National Energy Board approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline route through Chilliwack.

The company’s current plan routes the pipeline directly over the city’s aquifer, a source of drinking water for over 90,000 residents in Chilliwack and Yarrow.

The key thing for me, and for most people in Chilliwack, is the aquifer. It’s our sole source of drinking water for one of the fastest growing communities in B.C.,” Stephen told DeSmog Canada.

Five Handy Facts About the Northern B.C. Oil Tanker Ban

Nathan E Stewart Heiltsuk Nation April Bencze

A bill to restrict the movement of oil off the north coast of British Columbia has been formally tabled by the federal government in the House of Commons, according to a statement released by Transport Canada Friday.

The proposed legislation, which would restrict tankers carrying more than 12,500 metric tons of crude oil from entering or exiting north coast ports, must now make its way through Parliament.

Today is a positive day for us,” Gavin Smith, staff counsel at West Coast Environmental Law, told DeSmog Canada.

We’re very happy to see the federal government follow through on its promise to introduce a tanker ban.”

Smith said the legislation will prevent megaprojects like the Northern Gateway pipeline from being built in northern B.C. but added he has yet to review the text of the bill in detail.

A B.C. Liberal Minority Government? Not So Fast

christy clark bc liberal minority government

In the wee hours of Wednesday morning major news outlets like the CBC made the official call: the B.C. Liberals had won a minority government in the 2017 provincial election.

Except they haven’t … quite … yet.

Here’s how the numbers are currently being reported: B.C. Liberals 43 seats, NDP 41 seats, Greens 3 seats.

These numbers are far from final. As Elections B.C. states right up there on its website, these are primary voting results from an initial count. “Final voting results will not be available until after the conclusion of final count, which will commence on May 22, 2017,” the site states.

There are about 160,000 absentee ballots waiting to be counted and some too-close-to-call ridings like Courtenay-Comox are facing a recount.

But, as Simon Fraser University student Steve Tweedale put it, we don’t need a final count to know it’s false to report the election resulted in a B.C. Liberal minority government.

Scientists Find Methane Pollution from B.C.’s Oil and Gas Sector 2.5 Times What B.C. Government Reports

Methane pollution B.C.

New, groundbreaking research from a group of scientists shows B.C.’s estimates of methane pollution from oil and gas activity in the province’s Peace region are wildly underestimated.

Using infrared cameras and gas detection instruments at over a thousand oil and gas sites during a three-year period, scientists from the David Suzuki Foundation in partnership with St. Francis Xavier University recorded fugitive methane emissions being released from facilities directly into the atmosphere on a perpetual basis.

The study estimates methane pollution from industry in B.C. is at least 2.5 times higher than the B.C. government reports. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas with the warming potential 84 times that of carbon dioxide over a 20 year period.

B.C. Scales Down Energy-Saving Measures to Manufacture Demand for Site C: UBC Report

Christy Clark Site C dam, energy conservation cancelled

Way back in the good ole days of 2010, B.C. released the Clean Energy Act, a plan that required the province to conserve massive amounts of energy.

And, all in all, B.C. has been pretty good at that. But that all changed in 2013 when the B.C. government approved the Site C dam.

According to a new report released this week by the University of British Columbia’s Program on Water Governance, since 2013 B.C. has “moderated” energy conservation measures even though those measures would have reduced B.C.’s power demand, at a significantly cheaper cost than building Site C.

These measures include codes and standards for building efficiency, stepped rate structures to reduce energy consumption, and programs like low interests loans and tax breaks designed to encourage the adoption of more energy efficient technologies and practices.

Five Facepalm-Worthy Facts from UBC’s New Analysis on the Site C Dam

Site C dam

The Site C dam no longer makes economic sense and construction on the project should be halted immediately, according to researchers from the University of British Columbia.

That recommendation comes on the heels of a major new study that examines the business case for Site C given major changes in economic and energy market conditions since the project was first proposed in the 1980s.

We brought together a team of experts in energy and engineering and took a look at the business case for Site C as it stands today,” Karen Bakker, professor at the University of British Columbia and co-author of the report, told DeSmog Canada.

In fact it’s so weak, we’re arguing the project should be paused.”

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