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Politics, Re-Spun: What Yoko Ono Knows About Fracking

Today we are fresh off the tar soaked heels of Enbridge’s lie and spin machine in Kitimat, leading to a vote AGAINST their toxic future.

In Kitimat, in a non-binding plebiscite, the people of Kitimat, but not the first peoples who live outside the town boundary, voted about 60-40 to kick out Enbridge.

They’re liars, don’t you know, making up a fake map of BC’s coast to pretend that oil tanker risks are lower than they are.

But it also turns out that Yoko Ono knows a thing or two about fracking and carbon energy.

And we also know (Read more…)

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Bill 24 – Agricultural Land Commission Amendment Act: Undermining BC’s Food Security

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Following hot on the heels of the controversial Park Amendment Act (Bill 4), the BC government has introduced another bill that would open up some of the province’s most publicly valuable lands – in this case, its farmlands – to industrial development. Bill 24, the Agricultural Land Commission Amendment Act, weakens legal protection on some of the best of BC's scarce agricultural lands. If passed, Bill 24 would allow decision makers to prioritize short-term gains over the long-term goal of protecting farmland and food security for most of the province’s ALR lands.

Read on (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Energy East pipeline is all risk and no reward for Thunder Bay residents

by: Council of Canadians | Press Release | April 9, 2014

There will be a public forum held tonight in Thunder Bay as part of the Energy East: Our Risk – Their Reward six community tour. The event, part of a series of forums and meetings along the Energy East pipeline route coordinated by the Council of Canadians alongside local partners, features Council of Canadians Chairperson Maude Barlow and Eriel Deranger of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation (AFCN). Tonight’s forum will also feature Adam Scott of Environmental Defence and Jason MacLean from Lakehead University Faculty of Law.

Transporting 1.1 million (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Inflatable Wind Turbines For Remote Areas

This wind turbine which is designed to float in the air at a high altitude is meant to provide a small amount of power. The idea behind it is to bring sustainable power to remote areas or places where conventional wind turbines can’t be built.

The BAT uses a helium-filled, inflatable shell to lift to high altitudes where winds are stronger and more consistent than those reached by traditional tower-mounted turbines. High strength tethers hold the BAT steady and send electricity down to the ground. The lifting technology is adapted from aerostats, industrial cousins of blimps, which have lifted heavy (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: The IMF and Progressive Economics in Canada

It is interesting to note that the most recent IMF staff report on Canadian economic issues echoes some key concerns of progressive economists. I have reported these for the Broadbent Institute.

As noted in this summary, the IMF report that corporate Canada’s cash hoard is the biggest in the G7 and has been mainly amassed by energy and mining companies. (This story got picked up by the Globe and Mail.)

And as reported here they more or less endorse the view that linkages from tar sands development to the wider Canadian economy are very under-developed.

The IMF report can (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Stop Listening to the Big Oil Spin!

Do the math. Please.

For a great long time, I’ve been talking about how we must dump the oil, gas, fracking, tankers, pipelines, coal…all the carbon-based energy systems because of climate breakdown [aka climate change, aka global warming, aka the greenhouse effect]. We need to transform our society to a post-carbon energy infrastructure.

The lie that there are billions in government revenue and 90 gazillion jobs just waiting for us all (sigh) is so incredibly compelling. But if you look at some data, like…facts, you might find some startling surprises that indicate that you’ve been swallowed whole by the carbon-based (Read more…)

Susan on the Soapbox: Breakfast with Hillary Clinton

Hillary Rodham Clinton was in Calgary last week to give the keynote address at a breakfast meeting of 2500 Calgarians who paid about $500 to hear her speak. Luckily my friend, the Zen Banker, invited me to attend as her guest.

Hillary is like the Chloe Diamond—brilliant, mesmerizing, multifaceted and years in the making. Agree with her or not, it’s critical that Canadians understand how the woman who may become the 45th president of the United States views the world and our little part in it.

Here are the highlights:

Energy is the key: Energy is at (Read more…)

Things Are Good: The Amazing Impact Of Painting A Roof White

During summer heat air conditioners are used extensively and this can increased energy consumption can be crippling. Black outs occur in the summer thanks to people cooling their homes and workplaces – but these power issues can be avoided. By simply painting roofs white it can help cool buildings and lower energy bills. Painting multiple roofs white can a really positive effect on a large area.

They found that urban expansion alone could increase summer temperatures by up to 6°F in some areas in addition to greenhouse gas-induced warming by 2100. The Mid-Atlantic and Midwest seeing the biggest overall summer (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Science + Good Policy = Averting Climate Breakdown: Go!

Can you do it?

Can you be inspired by the strong possibility that we can move to a post-carbon energy infrastructure, like I wrote about yesterday?

Can you not reject science like the tarsands-addicted bad employee of ours, Mr. Harper?

Can you see that, as a species, we must choose policy that is based on science and evidence to avert climate breakdown?

If not, leave this website and never come back. I don’t want you here.

If so, click here:

Abrupt climate change is not only imminent, it’s already here.

– David Biello, December4, 2013 [before the polar vortex (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: How We Keep the Tarsands in the Ground

NOT actually science-fiction.

In your science-fiction news today:

Imagine a power system that could harness the energy of 2,000 suns and provide fresh water and air conditioning in remote locations.

Not only that but it would be completely renewable, be able to provide the entire world’s energy supplies and only take up two per cent of the Sahara Desert’s land area.

via IBM’s New Solar Collector Power System (HCPVT) Could Power The Earth.

But it’s not actually science-fiction.

I recall debates with friends in the 1980s who went on and on about how technology will save us from the greenhouse (Read more…)

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Dear President Obama: In Canada climate change affects none of our decisions

Friday, February 21, 2014

When U.S. President Obama met with Prime Minister Harper earlier this week, he highlighted the importance of considering climate change in key energy decisions, like the Keystone XL, but was polite enough not to highlight that Canadian energy decisions do their best to ignore climate change.  The reality is that building fossil fuel infrastructure, and dramatically expanding the oil sands, cannot be divorced from the consequences of those actions.  Canadians would all benefit from a decision-making framework that transparently and realistically assessed the costs of the fossil fuel future that we are building. (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: BC proposes LNG tax

I posted this on CCPA’s BC Policy Note blog but others across Canada should pay attention to BC’s quest for LNG gold. I’d also recommend this comparison of the Quebec and BC budgets by Michal Rozworski, which highlights the stubborn emphasis on natural resource development in both budgets. It’s like the tax cut culture has so permeated Canadian politics that our political class cannot see beyond the lure of resource revenues to pay for essential services. Bad fiscal policy and bad environmental policy, not even good policy in terms of job creation, but seemingly good politics in the Age of (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Fracking in Canada: Why the Council of Canadians’ new “Fracktivist’s Toolkit” matters

by: Obert Madondo

In this age of the Harper Conservatives and a rampaging fossil fuel industry, Canadian anti-fracking activism requires more than a sense of environmental and social justice. It requires a toolkit of knowledge about what’s happening and how to effectively respond at the local, national and global level.

The Council of Canadians’ new “Fracktivist’s Toolkit” is one such toolkit.

The toolkit empowers Canadians to push back against fracking, protect Canada’s water sources, combat climate change, and partner with First Nations in their ongoing struggle to protect their besieged rights. It was inspired by the Council of (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: It’s Spelled Climate BREAKDOWN

Calgary’s massive flood.

Let’s stop saying “global warming” because whenever climate breakdown events occur that are COLD, deniers try to say global warming isn’t happening. Sigh.

Let’s also stop saying “climate change” because that sometimes makes people feel that yes, we’d like a climate more like Palm Springs. Especially in Vancouver on a pouringrainwindcold day like today.

Let’s recognize that systems theory and positive and negative feedback loops are highly complex, which means that our carbon use is leading to a breakdown of our climate such that it will not be sustainable for us human people.

And if you’d like (Read more…)

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Strict timelines for environmental assessments, but not for government

Friday, February 14, 2014

It feels a bit like déjà vu. Once again we’re faced with a federal government study that was highly relevant to the environmental assessment of the Enbridge pipelines and tankers project, but which was not considered in the assessment because it was released too late.  Like an earlier Environment Canada report, this Transport Canada report is highly relevant to the issues that were before the Enbridge JRP.  In fact, the Transport Canada report directly considers the marine risks posed by Enbridge’s pipelines and tankers proposal, concluding for example that Enbridge’s project would raise the (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: This Week Will Clobber You, Politically

I apologize in advance, British Columbia.

This will be the week from hell, and it started yesterday while we were all Family Day-ing. Hold your breath:

Yesterday, the Conservative Soft Fascist Party of Canada rammed through the “Fair (sic) Elections Act” that will further protect us from the possibility of fair elections into the future. The next Fair Elections Act will likely give corporations the vote. Because why not, they’re people too! Actually, they’re more human than us in so many ways. And it’s actually called corporatism, not so much the fascism. In recent weeks we heard that the (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: Because You’re Not As Dumb As They Think You Are!

Today is Friday. Let’s make it “think for ourselves Friday.”

It’ll work: the government/corporations/1% won’t see it coming!

Twitter / occupythemob: http://t.co/doHx1xWO4l.

December 17, 2013 Fried Squirrels (0) December 20, 2013 Enbridge: What Now? We Escalate Our Fight (4) January 7, 2012 Day Two of Tragedy of the Market: From Crisis to Commons (0) January 7, 2012 Opening Panel from the Tragedy of the Market: From Crisis to Commons (0)

Things Are Good: Solar Power Rising in the Gulf

2013 saw great things happen on the Arabian Peninsula in relation to energy production. The region has invested heavily in installing solar power plants and reducing their own reliance on oil (so they can export more). In fact, the UAE is looking to start export in renewable energy!

For the Gulf’s solar industry, 2013 was a year of firsts: In addition to the opening of Abu Dhabi’s Shams 1 plant, Dubai’s first solar power plant became operational, and Kuwait and Oman decided to build their first as well. In Saudi Arabia, one energy analyst found the cost of generating electricity (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Cities Are The Key For Adjusting To Changing Climate

Readers of this site have seen lots of evidence that in the 21st century the best place one can live for a small carbon footprint is in urban areas. Things like increased infrastructure costs and higher costs of living associated with automobile use in rural & suburban places are obvious reasons why denser areas are better.

Now we can add even more reasons to live an urban life thanks to research from the IPCC and WWF.

The latest assessment by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) indicates a global carbon budget, or the estimated amount of carbon available to (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: The Media Corruption Trifecta!

It’s a trifecta of moral corruption!

Rex Murphy shills for Big Oil and Gas. Postmedia consigns its editorial control to the Oil and Gas Lobby[TM]. Postmedia, naturally, fires one of the best energy/environment reporters in the nation.

Film at 11.

Ok, it’s 11. Let’s drill down.

Journalists should declare when they receive money to speak at events. Sooooo many of them don’t. They think it’s OK because, shut up. But it’s a compromise to their credibility and can fuel speculation about conflicts of interest and bias. Many journalists pretend they’re objective. It’s humanly impossible to be objective. We all have (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Iceland Demonstrates Magma Power Plant

Iceland recently demonstrated that it’s not only possible to use the core of our planet to generate power, but it’s feasible. Iceland’s geothermal operations are the envy of the world and they tend to push boundaries in their search for more energy. Due to this recent development geothermal operations in places like Hawaii are looking to build their own power plants.

The borehole is located in Krafla, in northeast Iceland, near a volcanic crater. The hole created a shaft with high-pressure, super-heated steam that could power a nearby electrical plant, the project leaders said.

“According to the measured output, the (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: BC’s Big Favour? LNG Exports and GHG Emissions

The hype on LNG has grown to staggering proportions. I have not had much time to debunk all of the government’s grotesque exaggerations and outright falsehoods. But Christy Clark’s claim that BC is “doing the world a favour” by exporting LNG to Asia made me write this oped, which got picked up in today’s Vancouver Sun:

Is LNG B.C.’s big favour? It’s unlikely exports will reduce global greenhouse gas emissions

Is British Columbia “doing the world a favour,” as Premier Christy Clark put it, by developing a liquefied natural gas export industry? Or is this just wishful thinking (Read more…)

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Why the NEB downplayed the impact of a major bitumen spill

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

So how did the National Energy Board’s Joint Review Panel (JRP) considering Enbridge’s proposed pipelines and tankers project conclude that a catastrophic spill of diluted bitumen (untreated oil sands oil, diluted so that it can be transported by pipe) on BC’s North Coast would only have a short-term impact on the environment? We suggest that the Enbridge JRP report is illustrative of two concerns that we’ve raised about changes to Canada’s environmental assessment laws:

Having environmental assessments done by the National Energy Board (NEB) undermines the potential for an unbiased and independent assessment; Putting in place (Read more…)

Politics, Re-Spun: What’s With Pipeline-Loving Old Men?

High 5′s to people are aren’t old men! [on average, 19 times out of 20, +/- 3.6% of the time.]

My apologies if you’re a man, or over 55, but those two demographics love the Big Oil, and they’re giving you all a bad name!

Here’s why.

I know lots of men and people over 55 who know that moving to a post-carbon energy infrastructure is the only sustainable future. The problem is convincing their peers that getting rid of their Lexus [it used to be Hummer] is in everyone’s best interest.

Maybe it’s because some of those (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Wind Becomes Largest Source of Energy in Spain

Spain makes use of a plethora of energy sources and they are leaders in Europe when it comes to utilizing solar and wind energy. Energy policy is always under debate in the country and hopefully they will continue their overall trend of helping sustainable energy develop.

Wind accounted for 20.9 percent of the country’s energy last year — more than any other enough to power about 15.5 million households, with nuclear coming in a very close second at 20.8 percent. Wind energy usage was up over 13 percent from the year before, according to the report.

The (Read more…)