The Con government has announced that Canadian energy companies who cause an environmental disaster will be liable for a much larger amount. Currently, it’s just $30 million for the east and west coasts and $40 million for the Arctic. Now it will be $1 billion.
That’s fine, but when one considers Exxon Valdez has cost Exxon / Mobil $7 billion to date (and this disaster happened in 1989),
Today’s CBC Edition Business Panel focused on the proposal by Fraser Surrey Docks to build a new coal terminal on the Fraser river to export US thermal coal (if you missed it, here’s the recording starting at 1:50). This may seem like a local issue for the West Coast, but the arguments stand for most of the debates on new fossil fuel based infrastructure debates Canada is facing.
My co-panelist, Jock Finlayson from the BC Business Council, kept trying to narrow the conversation to technical aspects of jurisdiction and whether the Metro Vancouver council or local citizens have the legal (Read more…)
It turns out that not only is eating organic food better for you than processed foods, growing organic food is better for everyone. Organic farms (and likely home gardens) are better at capturing and retaining carbon than farms that are focused on mass production.
Last year, researchers reexamined all 74 studies that had looked at organic farming and carbon capture. After crunching the numbers from the results of these studies they concluded that, lo and behold, organic farms are carbon sponges. … Recently, a team of scientists decided to compare the microbes in organic and conventional plots (plus one “low (Read more…)
Rest Stops : Vanishing Relics of the American RoadsideLiterally, before our eyes, rest stops are vanishing from the landscapes of America. All over the country, rest areas are losing the fight to commercial alternatives: drive-thrus at every exit and mega-sized travel centers offering car washes, wi-fi, grilled paninis and bladder-busting sized fountain drinks. They’re on the chopping block for many states, their upkeep giving way with tight highway budgets. Louisiana has closed 24 of its 34 stops, Virginia, 18 of its 42; pretty much every state in the country has reduced its number of rest areas, or at least cut (Read more…)
Climate change is happening and it’s costing a lot of money to deal with. More floods, tornados, hurricanes, and other natural events are happening with greater frequency thanks to planetary temperature increase. The reason the planet’s temperature is increasing is thanks to the way previous generations have dealt with waste.
One such waste product comes in the form of exhaust from cars and other air pollution from various sources. This much is obvious, but very few countries have acted on this issue (in fact, Canada has gone out it’s way to stop action). In the USA, the Obama administration has (Read more…)
Let’s say that you’re one of the world’s largest producers of synthetic crude and also Canada’s largest single-source producer of crude derived from oil sands.
Imagine that you are also the biggest greenhouse gas emitter in Alberta! (“Psst, we’re working on being the biggest in all of the nation, baby. Don’t count us out yet!”)
Your tailing ponds are a great place for suicidal waterfowl to go to die, and those outstanding environmentalists at Sinopec are one of your major share-holders.
How do you convey your misunderstood love and respect of Mother Earth to the public?
You go (Read more…)
I found a new way to appreciate my home town through the eyes of astronomers this weekend. Also, I used the astronomers’ telescopes, which is a great way to look from their perspective on the universe. Wood Mountain is the gateway to the East Block of the Grasslands National Park which is designated as a Dark Sky Preserve. The Park and the RASC Regina branch had Peter McMahon from SkyNews Magazine come out to check out the park and give a presentation.
As the presentation ended, uncommon noctilucent clouds lit up on the northern horizon, illuminated by the set Sun.
. . . → Read More: Saskboy’s Abandoned Stuff: Dark Sky Preserve at Wood Mountain
Assorted content to end your week.
- David Miller makes the case to take aim at inequality in Canada: With globalization being the holy grail of efficiency, it became a race to the bottom as international capital sought the lowest cost and the lowest wages. The result in Canada and many other countries was the closing of industries, the gutting of union organizing through new laws that attack unions and limit their ability to operate, and the gradual rise in income inequality since 1990. Canada now ranks 12th out of 17 first-world economies for income inequality, and were given a (Read more…)
If I were asked what I felt were the top priorities facing human beings today, in the 21st century, I would have to say there are four that top the list, in my mind. 1. Halt the global corporate coup. Defeat the corporate war on democracy, which is now escalating daily, and take democracy back. […]
If we pass the point of no return, we will have runaway global warming and the end point is human extinction. I don’t think people quite get that yet.
I know many who don’t take the issue of civilization’s survivability very seriously. Most of my peers have grown up hearing that climate change is happening, and we need to do something about it, but we assumed the older generations were doing something. Turns out, the problem is much worse today than in 1990, and we’ve spent the majority of our lives hearing that it’s been worked on. The efforts to (Read more…)
In honour of Canadian Environment Week — currently underway amidst accelerating tar sands development, hot on the heels of withdrawals from the Kyoto Protocol and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification — let us reflect upon what the federal government, if it were so inclined, could be doing differently. In other words, broadly speaking, how might Canada move beyond the symbolic in pursuit of true environmental sustainability?
1. Get serious about climate change.
By and large, there are three basic policy tools available to the government here: standards, carbon taxes, and cap-and-trade. To the extent that they have acted at all, (Read more…)
By: Mining Watch Canada | Press Release
OTTAWA – The situation around Eldorado Gold Corporation’s mining projects in northern Greece is extremely tense. In the face of negative official response to social and environmental concerns from the company, Greek authorities, and even the Canadian Ambassador – a delegation from the affected area has come to ask Canadians for help.
The Canadian government strongly supports extractive resource development in Canada and internationally, where Canadian companies dominate the mining sector. It relies on “host” countries to regulate such operations in the absence of any relevant and binding international regulations. MiningWatch Canada (Read more…)
At Exxon Mobil’s annual meeting in Dallas this week, shareholders rejected a motion to set greenhouse gas reduction targets for the firm. CEO Rex Tillerson argued that such an extreme measure would hurt the world’s poor, stating, “What good is it to save the planet if humanity suffers?”
So begins, I expect, the newest form of corporate philanthropy, wherein titans of industry the world over seek to ease their troubled consciences and aid the downtrodden by — what else? — frying the planet. Companies like Exxon already benefit from myriad government handouts, so why not do the obvious (Read more…)
Original Production by Irene Kock. Updated by Anna Tilman, April 2013, International Institute of Concern for Public Health
Ontarians may have no idea of the volume of nuclear-related facilities in the Great Lakes basin, but a new map offers a clear picture. The Great Lakes Nuclear Hot Spots Map recently created by Great Lakes United and the International Institute of Concern for Public Health is a comprehensive depiction of all facilities related to nuclear power production in the region. And it is intended to get our attention.
“The objective was to wake people up,” said John Jackson, program director (Read more…)
This is Trevor Hache earlier today, quitting the Ontario NDP over their rejection of revenue models to expand transit options for families in the Greater Toronto and Greater Hamilton Area.
Hache twice ran for the NDP in Ottawa-Vanier, and as Policy Director for Ecology Ottawa, a major Ottawa-area environmental organization which he was also a founding member of. (In the interest of full disclosure, I also worked for Ecology Ottawa for several months as a fundraising canvasser.)
Horwath moved the ONDP away from promoting public transit and sound environmental policy in the last election when the ONDP platform included (Read more…)
This and that for your Thursday reading.
- Paul Krugman makes the case for significantly higher taxes on the rich: What would raising tax rates at the top accomplish? It would, to some extent, mitigate the rise in inequality, which some of us consider a good thing in itself: You don’t have to be a leftist to acknowledge that extreme inequality of income and wealth has a corrosive effect on democracy.
Mainly, however, the benefit of higher tax rates on the wealthy would simply be that it would raise more revenue. We live in a time when politicians are trying (Read more…)
The world’s deep freeze in the north is thawing out quickly. As a result we’re making interesting discoveries as bodies get uncovered. There are two big problems. We’re losing thousands of years of preservation in short years, giving scientists only in our time period and before access to direct collection of this unique and precious data. Two, it’s an indicator of climate change being well underway.
As I explained to a friend the other day, if you’re not at least a little worried about climate change, you betray ignorance of the subject. I contend there’s no way an educated, and (Read more…)
Over at Global, David Skok and his team have created a very nice visualization of the over 28,666 crude oil spills that have happened on Alberta pipelines over the last 37 years (that’s about two a day). Indeed, for good measure they’ve also visualized the additional 31,453 spills of “other” substance carried by Alberta pipeline (saltwater, liquid petroleum, etc..)
They’ve even created a look up feature so you can tackle the data geographically, by name, or by postal code. It is pretty in depth.
Of course, I believe all this data should be open. Sadly, they have to get at it through (Read more…)
The IEEE Spectrum recently interview William Meyer who is the author of the book The Environmental Advantages of Cities: Countering Commonsense Antiurbanism. The book’s central thesis is that we need to change the discourse around cities from a negative one to a more positive conversation about the efficiencies of cities compared to lower density areas.
Steven Cherry: Good. Let’s go back to the list then. Cities are ravenous consumers of natural resources, true or false?
William Meyer: Okay, well, they are in an absolute sense, yes, and that’s the distinction between absolute and proportional impact. Cities do consume a lot (Read more…)
From Warren Bell’s devastating comparison between the Peter Kent of yesteryear and the embarrassment he’s become, here’s Canada’s environment minister on why we shouldn’t worry our pretty little heads about the environment effects of the tar sands: “One of the opposition parties has taken the treacherous course of leaving the domestic debate and heading abroad to attack a legitimate Canadian resource which is being responsibly developed and regulated,” Kent told reporters.
So what is Kent doing to any system of responsible regulation which might once have existed? Let’s ask James Munson: The federal government is quietly removing in situ (Read more…)
This and that for your Thursday reading.
- The Broadbent Institute has released a new set of polling (PDF) as to Canadians’ values. And it’s particularly worth noting that even on the Cons’ signature issues such as tax cuts, austerity and crime – where millions upon millions of public dollars have been spent in a combined effort at branding and persuasion – 60% or more of respondents (including new immigrants) side with a more progressive option.
- But as Steven Shrybman notes in criticizing Jeffrey Simpson’s blase view of universal public health care, we still have our own Village working (Read more…)
In the Confessions of a Science Librarian blog, John Dupuy writes about the Harper Conservatives’ war against science. He’s logged and linked activities from 2006 to 2013 that show how the Conservatives have muzzled, cut budgets, and otherwise attacked Canada’s scientific research programs. The article is good, the situation is awful. But one area that is a little misleading is the article’s title, it’s not a Canadian war on science but Harper’s Conservatives’ war on science. Most Canadians, if you follow the party vo … Continue Reading →
From Science Blogs – The Canadian War On Science: A Long Unexaggerated, Devastating Chronological Indictment by John Dupuis.
Excerpt: This is a brief chronology of the current Conservative Canadian government’s long campaign to undermine evidence-based scientific, environmental and technical decision-making. It is a government that is beholden to big business, particularly big oil, and that makes every attempt to shape public policy to that end. It is a government that fundamentally doesn’t believe in science. It is a government that is more interested in keeping its corporate masters happy than in protecting the environment.
Click the link for the details.