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The Progressive Economics Forum: Canada After Harper

Here is the link to buy a new book, Canada After Harper, edited by Ed Finn and with an introduction by Ralph Nader, just published by Lorimer.

Most Canadians know that Stephen Harper has had a tremendous impact on the country since becoming prime minister in 2006. But few have the in-depth knowledge of how far his transformation has gone — what has already been done, and what the consequences will be in the future.

This book brings together Canadian experts in a wide variety of areas. They document key changes put in place by the Harper government. There (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Obama Battles Harper Over Climate Change

Obama spoke the other day about climate change: “we’re the first generation to feel the impact of climate change; we’re the last generation that can do something about it.”

Stephen Harper denies the science.

It’s about that simple.

#HeaveSteve

February 19, 2015 Looking for Heroes? (0) August 3, 2015 11 Weeks of Daily Harper Protests (0) December 11, 2013 How Harper is Gutting Canada: THE LIST (0) July 8, 2014 The Occupy Movement Has Changed the Narrative, But We’re Not Done (2)

. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Obama Battles Harper Over Climate Change

Politics, Re-Spun: Harper’s Campaign Against a Mythical Netflix Tax Backfires, Badly

Check out our savvy PM, getting all hashtaggy on us all!

But to quote Mr. Layton from 2011, it’s become a #Fail, or, “Hashtag-Fail” if you will.

You see, our PM has decided to say that others want to bring in a Netflix Tax. So he opposed it. But he just made that up.

And now social media is punishing him. With the aplomb we’ve come to expect…remember #TellVicEverything?

Try the trending #NoNetflixTax to see what people are doing to our lying PM.

Harper's original #NoNetFlixTax and my improvement. #cdnpoli #elxn42 pic.twitter.com/nGaOAmB1wb

— Stephen Lautens (@stephenlautens) August (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: 11 Weeks of Daily Harper Protests

The Harper Re-election Disaster Bus Totalitarianism: daily, for 11 weeks!

Get used to this.

People hate Harper and his Conservatives. We will see through his weak attempt to wedge oppositions parties by running a long election campaign because he has more money to spend.

Saturation will come fast.

We will remember how much contempt he holds for people and democracy.

We will listen to his 5 non-answers to 5 media questions each day and we will be constantly reminded of how much we can’t stand what he has done to Canada.

And we will see this. Every day:

Harper campaign (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Using Giant Floating Turbines in the Future

Last year we looked at a company testing floating wind turbines in Alaska and how they want to use these turbines in remote locations. The testing seems to be going well and other companies have taken note. The amount of potential energy high in the atmosphere is massive and these floating turbines are well suited to capture that energy.

Over at Gizmodo they looked into the future of how these wind turbines can be used and their potential for transforming how we produce energy.

This is all to say that we use a lot of power, and could probably harness (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Coal Continues to Falter

Coal was a great power source at the turn of the last century because it was easy to transport and plentiful. The obvious problem is that it basically kills the planet when you burn it and that’s not going to change despite the whole ‘clean coal’ propaganda. The good news is as we enter the 21st century coal is losing out to better energy sources. This is great because coal is the worse thing ever.

Slate has an article looking into the fall of coal and notes that less-destructive natural gas is being used. We need to curb the use (Read more…)

Things Are Good: In Japan, Abandoned Gold Courses Become Solar Farms

Golf courses have a well deserved reputation of being absolutely horrible for the environment. Golf courses are responsible for deforestation and damaging local ecological systems all while consuming an absurd amount of water.

In Japan, where many golf courses have gone out of business, they are converting the massive chunks of land into something useful: solar farms. The open fields are located near where electricity needs to go and thus are in a prime location.

Last week, Kyocera and its partners announced they had started construction on a 23-megawatt solar plant project located on an old golf course in the (Read more…)

Susan on the Soapbox: The Cowboy Code and the Abuse of Grazing Leases

Alberta ranchers could teach Wall Street moguls a thing or two about leveraging other peoples’ money for personal gain.

The Auditor General just released a report showing that Alberta ranchers short changed Albertans about $25 million last year. Furthermore, they’ll keep doing it unless the new government does something about grazing leases on Crown land.

“Longhorns Gone Wild” by Robert Hurst

To be fair, the ranchers aren’t doing anything illegal. They’re using cowboy ingenuity to exploit a loophole in the law that’s big enough to accommodate a herd of Texas longhorns.

Grazing leases

Sixty percent of Alberta land is owned (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Community Solar Garden to Open in BC

Germany, and to a lesser extent other nations, have championed community-owned sustainable energy production. In many ways it gives power to the people. Indeed, one way to encourage mass adoption of sustainable energy is to make policies which favour decentralized and community owned production. This means that big utility companies often oppose such efforts.

In British Columbia the city of Nelson may be the first city in Canada to take on this German-insipred approach. They are looking to open a solar facility which not only provides energy to the people it provides added revenue.

A community solar garden is a (Read more…)

Things Are Good: How to use Geothermal Energy in your Home

What is Geothermal? from Austin Wendenburg on Vimeo.

Geothermal energy is one of the most sustainable energy sources because it works off of heat transferring from the ground to your home. In Iceland, the majority of the electricity comes from geothermal energy because the country sits in a prime location. You can make use of geothermal energy at your home in a much smaller way.

The post How to use Geothermal Energy in your Home appeared first on Things Are Good.

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Dutch judicial lessons for Canada

Friday, June 26, 2015

In the recent Dutch court decision ordering the Dutch government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 25% (relative to 1990 levels) by 2020, the court made some specific findings that might be relevant to Canada and the Canadian government. Here's 5 of the most Canada-relevant findings from that precedent setting decision. 

In a recent post, I wrote about the broad significance of the recent Dutch court decision ordering the Dutch government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

read more

The Progressive Economics Forum: Energy and climate in the Harper decade

The costs of climate change are piling up, and can no longer be ignored. 2015 is poised to be a landmark year, with a new global treaty on climate to be signed in Paris. In contrast, the Harper decade succeeded in stalling any meaningful climate action. The PM’s record is not just of neglect, but of moving the yardsticks backwards in both the international arena and within Canada.

Climate change is primarily caused by human use of fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) for energy, whereas extraction and export of those fossil fuels is central to the Harper government’s (Read more…)

Environmental Law Alert Blog: What does an NDP Alberta mean for Climate, BC Pipeline campaigns?

Friday, June 5, 2015

Last month’s dramatic NDP win in Alberta led to much speculation (at least among those interested in such issues) as to what this means for the oil and gas industry, for climate change and for the battles over controversial pipelines. That speculation even showed up last Thursday in at the climate talks in Bonn, when U.S. diplomats asked Canada whether Alberta’s plans to develop new climate rules (announced Tuesday) would change our national target. While there is reason for optomism, we believe that the NDP’s win brings both opportunities and challenges for those concerned about (Read more…)

Susan on the Soapbox: CNRL Enters the Political Debate

“This is not about sending a message or a shot across the bow.”—Murray Edwards, billionaire oil tycoon

Are you kidding me?

Murray Edwards’ message couldn’t have been clearer if he’d fired a cannonball with neener neener written on it into Premier Notley’s office.

Mr Edwards ponders “uncertainty”

Murray Edwards is the chairman of the board of CNRL, a multibillion dollar oilsands producer. Last week CNRL issued a press release deferring its annual investors’ open house because the uncertainty surrounding the NDP government’s review of royalties, taxation, environmental and greenhouse gas policies meant it couldn’t finalize future capital allocation plans.

(Read more…)

Northern Insights: Gordon Campbell making history

First published in December, 2009 History is indeed little more than the register of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind.- Edward Gibbon, English historian of Rome (1737 – 1794)

Doug McArthur at SFU’s Public Policy School cast his eye on one of British Columbia’s crime scenes: I have suggested that since this whole system essentially involves a non-earned transfer of billions of dollars from BC citizens to private power producers, and that this result is perfectly obvious to anyone who takes the time to follow the money, the whole arrangement is essentially corrupt. The fact that the whole (Read more…)

Things Are Good: MIT Encourages Solar Energy to Power the Future

Solar roof

Now that climate change has reached the point that it is happening regardless if we stop all human produced carbon output we desperately need to change how we generate electricity. MIT has concluded that a mass adaptation of solar energy is the best route to go. They argue that by installing solar panels far nearly everywhere we can generate more than we need to power the planet.

Solar electricity generation is one of “very few low-carbon energy technologies” with the potential to grow to very large scale, the study said. “As a consequence, massive expansion of global solar-generating (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Let’s Give Green Energy $5.3 Trillion This Year

What fraction of a decade would it take to completely get off fossil fuels [oil, gas, coal] and create a post-carbon energy/transportation infrastructure if the clean, green energy sector were publicly subsidized at $10,000,000 per MINUTE, or $5,300,000,000,000 [yes, that’s $5.3 trillion] for 2015?

Please, I dare you to attack me for the numbers. They don’t come from some tree-hugging enviro-hippie think tank. They come from the spinal fluid of neoliberalism: the IMF.

So, when people say it’s not feasible to get off carbon energy, let them know that worldwide, taxpayers are subsidizing them more than everyone in the (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Community-Owned Green Businesses Seeing Great Growth

Community-Owned sustainable energy companies aren’t new, but they are successful! One of the reasons Germany’s push to a sustainable energy grid has worked is that local community own and operate solar farms, wind farm, and so on. Now that citizen-empowering model is

According to a new report from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), there was a 31% jump in renewable energy sector investment across Canada in 2014 with $8 billion spent on developing green energy projects. Locally, community co-ops have developed over 75 projects in the Greater Toronto Area, including on rooftops in Toronto, Hamilton, Brampton, Vaughan, Markham and (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: BC’s Carbon Emissions on the Rise

It was a good story while it lasted. Over the past few years, the BC government and many in the policy community have spun a tale about the remarkable success of BC’s climate action policies, with a big spotlight on the carbon tax as a driver of lower emissions while BC’s economy outperformed the rest of the country. In BC’s case, the carbon tax was announced in the February 2008 “green” budget, and implemented in July (starting at $10 per tonne, with annual $5 increments to the current $30 per tonne, in place since July 2012).

Because of time lags, (Read more…)

Things Are Good: New Solar Cell Technology, Perovskite, Shows Promise

Solar power is getting cheaper every year and that trend seems to never end. Now there’s a new (and maybe even cheaper) technology for solar energy generation. The reason this new approach of using perovskite solar cells is important is that it permits the easy implementation of solar technology into area previously considered impractical.

First created in 2012, perovskite solar cells have shown great promise in recent years as an affordable alternative to other solar technologies, such as photovoltaic cells typically used in solar panels. Now scientists from Wake Forest University and the University of Utah have described the very (Read more…)

Susan on the Soapbox: Fearmongering or Hopemongering? It’s Your Call Alberta

“I think it has deteriorated into groundless name-calling, and it’s certainly not the strategy that I would take.”—Rachel Notley reflecting on comments made by Jim Prentice and Brian Jean

To hear Jim Prentice and Brian Jean tell it, Rachel Notley’s plan to create a royalty commission and increase corporate taxes to 12% is an anti-free market experiment that will plunge Alberta into economic armageddon.

Once everyone stops hyperventilating we’ll take stock…

…okay, ready?

Impact (or lack thereof) on Big Oil

On the last day of the spring legislative session, Brian Mason tabled Bill 209 which would create a resource (Read more…)

Northern Insight / Perceptivity: Greenhouse gas emissions

It seems Canada is about to end a long tradition of coordinating greenhouse gas reduction targets with the United States. With much of the densely populated east coast at risk from rising sea levels, Americans know that climate change action is necessary. The Harper government, more firmly in the grasp of the fossil fuel industry, prefers change that is merely symbolic.

The Washington Post reported recently: The Obama administration on Tuesday outlined an ambitious plan for slashing U.S. greenhouse-gas pollution over the next decade, calling for accelerating the shift from fossil fuels to clean energy to stave (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Vancouver Aims to be Powered by 100% Renewable Energy

Vancouver has a new goal: be powered by only renewable energy. This announcement was made the same week that an oil spill hit the city’s shores. Indeed, the city is so sick of wasting money on carbon-based power sources that their 100% goal even includes cars, trucks, buses, etc.

This is great news for the people of Vancouver and will hopefully inspire other Canadian cities to follow.

Andrea Reimer, Vancouver’s deputy mayor told the Guardian: “There’s a compelling moral imperative but also a fantastic economic case to be a green city.” The 100% goal is likely to be set (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Disaster Tourism at the English Bay Oil Spill

By Emily Griffiths

In the wake of the oil spill a few days ago, I set out this morning with my partner to see the aftermath first hand. I really didn’t want to go, because I don’t enjoy feeling depressed or enraged, but denial isn’t a healthy choice, either.

We arrive at English Bay around noon. It’s almost as if nothing has happened. It’s like any Saturday, folks are just out here, doing their thing; people jog, walk, or cycle along the seawall, a mass of tankers blocks the horizon. We know something’s up, though, as a helicopter hovers by (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Faster Than Oil, Clean Energy on the Rise

Economists are really bad at predictions, but their views carry sway over large amounts of capital. Their most recent inaccuracies have been in the energy sector. Clean, renewable, energy is making faster progress than previously predicted.

Renewables have seen faster implementation, more investment, and quite massive technical gains in the past few years. And all of these gains have happened despite the fact that oil is so cheap (in terms of money, not carbon).

Each of these trends — cheaper batteries and cheaper solar electricity — is good on its own, and on the margin will help to reduce our (Read more…)