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The Common Sense Canadian: Canada’s green cities take lead on climate change

Vancouver is Canada’s climate leader (photo: Wendy / flickr)

Amid the dire warnings about global warming’s impacts, what’s often overlooked is that actions to reduce or prevent them will lead to livable communities, improved air quality, protection of natural spaces and greater economic efficiency, to name just a few benefits. So it’s not surprising that tangible positive action on climate change is happening in Canada’s cities.

My hometown, Vancouver, is the real leader on Canadian urban climate initiatives. Oil and gas capital also pursuing energy efficiency

Plenty of examples can be found in the National Measures Report, released in (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Consider the global impacts of oil pipelines

Read this June 25th story by Wendy J. Palen, Thomas D. Sisk, Maureen E. Ryan, Joseph L. Árvai, Mark Jaccard, Anne K. Salomon, Thomas Homer-Dixon& Ken P. Lertzman in Nature on how debates over oil-sands infrastructure obscure a broken policy process that overlooks broad climate, energy and environment issues.

The debate over the development of oil sands in Alberta, Canada, is inflaming tensions in and between Canada and the United States.

In April, US President Barack Obama deferred a decision on the fate of the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline, despite escalating pressure to approve it from Canadian Prime Minister Stephen (Read more…)

reeves report: Transportation sector key to reducing GHG emissions in Ontario: ECO

GETTING SERIOUS about tackling greenhouse gases has to start with dramatically cutting emissions from Ontario’s transportation sector, the province’s environmental watchdog warned recently.

In releasing his latest update on efforts to curb climate change-inducing emissions in Ontario, Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller told reporters at Queen’s Park the biggest sector emitter of greenhouse gases has witnessed the smallest efforts at reducing GHGs.

“The biggest section is transportation emissions and that’s a section where we have achieved only miniscule changes,” Miller said. “The growth in transportation means our emissions are increasing from the 1990 base.”

Since 1990 — the baseline year (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Paths old and new: beyond the tar sands

This is an expansion of my last piece on the tar sands. The expanded form was republished as a Bullet at Socialist Project. I’ve decided to post the new bits here as they can stand alone.

On a path to nowhere

One way to see how this happens is to turn to the concept of path dependence from the language of mainstream economics. Path dependence is the idea that history matters and reverberates strongly in the present; more metaphorically, economic decision-making (whether about production or consumption) can follow increasingly well-worn grooves. Indeed in many ways, path dependence is actually a (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Energy East pipeline: TransCanada told to “cease and desist”

The Council of Canadians this week told TransCanada to “cease and desist” from the deplorable practice of purchasing the silence of Canadian towns likely to be affected by the Energy East tar sands pipeline.

The post Energy East pipeline: TransCanada told to “cease and desist” appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

350 or bust: Take Time To Renew Your Spirit

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Joseph Stiglitz writes that while we should expect natural resources to result in broad-based prosperity, Australia (much like Canada) is now turning toward the U.S. model of instead directing as much shared wealth as possible toward the privileged few: There is something deeply ironic about Abbott’s reverence for the American model in defending many of his government’s proposed “reforms.” After all, America’s economic model has not been working for most Americans. Median income in the US is lower today than it was a quarter-century ago – not because productivity has been (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: While Harper Fiddles, Canada Burns

There have been so many developments on the climate front of late that, collectively, give us a pretty stark warning and yet the media, the public and our political leadership are tuning out. We seem to be culturally embracing a sort of Andean fatalism that seems to precede abrupt civilizational decline. Perhaps we’re hampered by the fact that it’s a moving target that repeatedly exceeds our ‘worst case scenarios’. Far from being pessimists we constantly underestimate the onset of climate change even as severe events increase in frequency, intensity and duration. Maybe that’s why Harper (and his rivals) aren’t coming (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Marc Lee looks in detail at the risks involved in relying on tar sands development as an economic model: The UK outfit Carbon Tracker was the first to point out this means we are seeing a “carbon bubble” in our financial markets – that  fossil fuel companies, whose business model is the extraction of carbon, are over-valued on the stock markets of the world. This analysis was subsequently picked up by Bill McKibben in his now-famous article, “Global Warming’s Terrifying Math,” which launched the fossil fuel divestment movement, plus some local (Read more…)

350 or bust: How To Save The Climate In One Simple Step

There’s one simple step that will start to turn around around the climate crisis. Price carbon, get industry to pay the cost of their own pollution, and return the money collected to citizens. It can be done – British Columbia has introduced a carbon tax that includes a 15% reduction in the finance minister’s pay […]

Politics and its Discontents: From The Climate-Change File: The Signs Are Getting Increasingly Ominous

A note from The Mound of Sound with the header, The Tundra’s a poppin’ alerted me to this strange tale from the far north in Siberia, where a giant crater has appeared.

Says the Mound:

Russian helicopter crews stumbled across what appears to be an 80-metre wide crater in Siberia. They thought it might have been a meteor. Wrong. Russian scientists believe it was gas, probably methane, from melting permafrost that formed a bubble and finally blew up. The helo crew posted a great video of it on YouTube. No one has any idea how deep the hole is but (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- The New York Times editorial board chimes in on how Kansas serves as an ideal test case as to illusory benefits of top-end tax cuts: The 2012 cuts were among the largest ever enacted by a state, reducing the top tax bracket by 25 percent and eliminating all taxes on business profits that are reported on individual income returns. (No other state has ever eliminated all taxes on these pass-through businesses.) The cuts were arrogantly promoted by Mr. Brownback with the same disproven theory that Republicans have employed for decades: There will (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: Financial Risk and Alberta’s Tar Sands

When it comes to global warming, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change notes that what matters is the total volume of greenhouse gas emissions going forward. This amounts to about 30 years of emissions at current levels – a global carbon budget that would provide the world a 66% chance of staying below 2°C. There is some debate about whether an upper limit of 2°C is itself too high – it poses unacceptable and catastrophic consequences for the most vulnerable countries – but nonetheless the 2°C target has been adopted in international negotiations towards a new treaty to address climate change.

Carbon budgeting is (Read more…)

350 or bust: Tom Steyer: How Climate Change Changed Me

* Tom Steyer is founder and president of NextGen Climate, an organization that acts politically to avert climate disaster and preserve American prosperity. He recently responded to a New York Times article that detailed how he made his fortune as a hedge fund manager with portfolios in the fossil fuel industry, and claimed his recent […]

350 or bust: 2014: Hottest Three Months On Record, Ever

The hottest 3 months ever recorded. 2014 is on track to break a lot of records, in a bad way. * * Earth Just Finished Its Warmest Quarter-Year Ever

Politics and its Discontents: A Mound Of Sound Guest Post: Climate Change By The Numbers

One of the great malignancies of the 20th century was the spread of neo-classical economics. the macro- and micro-stuff that you probably had to learn in university.

I did a good bit of fraud work in my legal career. One of the key ways to unravel a well-crafted fraud was to ferret out the inconsistencies, the gaps, the irreconcilable contradictions. Neo-classical economics, being a work of fraud, also is replete with inconsistencies, illogic and irreconcilable contradictions, but it bundles them all up and jettisons them under the category of “externalities.” It’s sort of like your teenager shoving all the (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Ralph Surette highlights the dangers of a pollution-based economy which fails to account for the damage we’re doing to our planet and its ability to provide food for people: This is something to behold. A more-or-less hurricane in early July. Has anyone ever seen such a thing?

This is climate change, and it’s getting worse. And whereas the news of the day is about people with the power out, the long-term story is about the hit to agriculture, now and in future, here and worldwide — keeping in mind that farming is more (Read more…)

350 or bust: Building Momentum For A Price On Carbon

Citizens’ Climate Lobby held its 5th Annual Conference in Washington DC June 22 – 24th. It was my second international CCL conference; at last year’s meeting there were 365 CCLers from across the United States, with a few Canadians thrown in for good measure. This year the number of climate-concerned citizens nearly doubled, with 600 […]

Susan on the Soapbox: Alberta’s Climate Change Strategy Goes Up in Smoke

Alberta’s Auditor General blew a gasket. He called the government’s performance on climate change strategy “troubling” and “disturbing”. Hey, he’s a mild mannered accountant; this is as in-your-face as he gets.

Our feisty Auditor General

Mr Saher kicked off the July 2014 audit report with a lesson on the role of government. A good government puts the right people in place to get the job done. It exercises ministerial oversight (gee, there’s a thought) and most importantly, is accountable and ensures Albertans receive value for the money spent on government programs and services.

Mr Saher tested Alberta’s climate change strategy (Read more…)

350 or bust: Take Time To Renew Your Spirit

Politics, Re-Spun: Lego Pimps Your Kids’ Brains For Shell Oil

This is just too much.

Lego has teamed up with Shell Oil to pimp your kids’ brains for Shell.

We need to be helping our children understand that our future lies in the post-carbon energy infrastructure and things like solar roadways.

Here’s one way to do that, at Lego Block Shell.

Another is to share this priceless video, so that everything CAN BE awesome!

 

Related articles across the web Hey, BC: Want More Jobs? Dump the LNG and Pipelines! Stop Listening to the Big Oil Spin! Enbridge: What Now? We Escalate Our Fight Most BCers Want to Get Off (Read more…) . . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Lego Pimps Your Kids’ Brains For Shell Oil

Politics and its Discontents: The Lethal Dysfunction Of The Far Right: A Mound of Sound Guest Post

Problem: you’re already getting hammered by early-onset climate change. Solution: deny it’s happening, look the other way, think happy thoughts.

It sounds ridiculously dysfunctional and it is but that is the approach being taken by governments, state and municipal, in parts of the American south.

Take North Carolina, for example, where the uber-rightwing state legislature has found a solution to scientific projections of at least a metre of sea-level rise this century – pass legislation banning any mention of that.

And then there’s posh Miami, Florida where real estate prices are sky high and still climbing. Miami now floods regularly (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: World Council of Churches Endorses Fossil Fuel Divestment

The fellowship of over 300 churches representing some 590 million people in 150 countries, this week endorsed fossil fuel divestment.

The post World Council of Churches Endorses Fossil Fuel Divestment appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on the importance of coming together and putting people first in a time of crisis – contrasted against Stephen Harper and Brad Wall’s apparent view that the real tragedy is that the oil sector might find it tougher to extract profits when it’s causing humanitarian disasters.

For further reading…- Harper’s statement on the Lac-Mégantic oil-by-rail explosion is here. In addition to the callous focus on economic messaging, you’ll also note a conspicuous lack of words like “oil”, “rail” and “explosion”.- Similarly, here‘s Wall lamenting the fact that massive flooding might affect the accessibility of oil (Read more…)

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Field Notes From the Fifth (and Final) Tar Sands Healing Walk

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

June 28, 2014 marked the 5th and final Tar Sands Healing Walk, a grassroots event organized by local Indigenous communities in the heart of the tar sands development. This was not a protest or a march, nor was it about disrupting the work of the energy companies; it was about the people and their land and maintaining the ecological and spiritual connection to it. As Cleo Reece of Fort McMurray First Nation explained, “this walk is not just for the people, it is also for the eagles, and the bears, and the water.” Seeing the (Read more…)