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Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Eric Morath points out that a job (or even multiple jobs) can’t be taken as an assurance that a person can avoid relying on income supports and other social programs. PressProgress offers some important takeaways from the Canadian Labour Congress’ study of the low-wage workers. Angella MacEwen writes about the spread of the $15 minimum wage movement in Canada.

- Meanwhile, Carol Goar writes that while we should be looking to improve our social safety net, we need to do so while taking into account the real experience of the people relying upon (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Harper, BC Tory MPs have oil on their hands from English Bay spill

Richard Hughes-Cowichan Conversations

It is when events like the recent bunker oil spill in English Bay take place that the value of independent writers, thinkers, and bloggers like Rafe Mair display their real value.

Here is Rafe’s take on this mess in English Bay that has spread around the harbour.

It is a disgusting, but only a drop in the bucket to what lies ahead if we do not put a halt to the insane notion of shipping oil, refined or compressed from Tar sands products, through our coast and harbour.

Whether it be by water or rail the certain accidents will (Read more…)

Canadian Dimension: Green energy won’t save the earth without social change

Photo by Chris Lim

The most popular techno-fix for global warming is green energy. If energy companies would only deploy wind, hydro, solar, geothermal or nuclear, then emission-intensive fossil fuels will eventually disappear. But will that actually work?

A new study by Richard York of the University of Oregon shows that it isn’t that simple. Rather than displacing fossil fuels, green energy sources have proven to be mostly additive.

“Do alternative energy sources displace fossil fuels?” published this month in Nature Climate Change, discusses what happened when alternative energy sources were introduced in countries around the world, over (Read more…)

Canadian Dimension: 61% of Canadians say protecting the climate more important than pipelines and tarsands

Photo by Mark Klotz

Canadians believe climate disruption is a moral issue and that climate protection trumps development of the tarsands and pipelines. They want politicians to control carbon pollution and give citizens a say in energy decision-making.

Canadians believe:

Protecting the climate is more important than building the Energy East pipeline and further developing the tarsands (61% agree/strongly agree). Building the Energy East pipeline to export tarsands oil is unethical because it is harmful to the environment (by a 3 to 1 margin that 56% agree/strongly agree; 18% disagree/strongly disagree).

For provinces along the Energy East Pipeline route, results (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Ontario Joins California and Quebec’s Cap and Trade Program

Ontario is launching a cap and trade carbon program that matches with the existing programs in Quebec and California. This is a good thing for adoption of carbon-conscious economics even if the system isn’t perfect. The program is being praised by Greenpeace and other environmental NGOs.

And this program is happening despite the obvious incompetence of Canada’s federal government, including their support of the shameful tar sands.

The plan would increase the scope of the market to 61 million people and half of Canada’s economy.

Premiers and territorial leaders are poised to meet in Quebec City Tuesday to discuss an (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…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Andrew Jackson argues that contrary to the attempt of the Ecofiscal Commission to impose right-wing values like tax slashing and devolution on any action to deal with climate change, we in fact need the federal government to take a lead role: While it is sensible in the current political context that provinces not wait for federal leadership, this does not mean those pushing for climate action should lessen our pressure on the federal government to lead. At a minimum, the federal government should be requiring all of the provinces to take some modest (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Energy East pipeline: Maude Barlow raises alarm in Saskatchewan and Manitoba

Beginning April 11, communities along TransCanada’s proposed Energy East route in Manitoba and Saskatchewan will hear why the pipeline is all risk and little reward for them.

The post Energy East pipeline: Maude Barlow raises alarm in Saskatchewan and Manitoba appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Accidental Deliberations: Surely, Kinder Morgan is celebrating the increased economic activity in English Bay

Just think how many cleanup- and remediation-related profits might be lost if we’d retained the capacity to contain a fuel spill before it spreads.

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…)

A Puff of Absurdity: On Helping People Get Outraged

John Oliver’s show about surveillance is a must see:

Amazing, right!?!

But what sticks with me most, as a teacher and an environmentalist, is this line:  ”Is this a conversation we [American citizens] have a capacity to have?”

Bingo.

When intelligent people speak passionately about what they think is most important for the world to understand, they often go over people’s heads or provide too many details that nobody really cares about, and then their message is lost.  Are you paying attention, Naomi Klein??*   Maybe Oliver could interview her next!

If we can’t find a way to (Read more…)

Progressive Proselytizing: Ontario’s brave new cap and trade program

The Globe and Mail just broke the story on what will likely be the defining component of Kathleen Wynne’s legacy: The Ontario Liberals are introducing a big cap and trade plan. Details are sparse as yet, but it looks like they will be joining the Quebec/California regime. This is huge news, especially given Ontario’s relative prominence in Canada’s economy.

While BC (under the Liberals as well, incidentally) were moving forward with their carbon tax, Ontario Liberals had made big moves on the green energy file. With cap and trade, they are now tackling the greenhouse gas production side of the (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Costa Rica Only Powered by Renewables

Costa Rica has been 100% powered by renewable energy for the first quarter of the year and this may continue. This is fantastic for the central american country as it has been making huge strides as a an eco-friendly tourist destination. You can see the beginnings of the country’s environmental focus when we looked at it back in 2006.

Costa Rica continues to impress!

This year has been a pretty special one for Costa Rica — for the first quarter, the country’s grid has required absolutely no fossil fuels to run, the state-run power supplier the Costa Rican Electricity Institute (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: Rather Than Considering a “Communications Officer”, It Would Seem That Certain Regional Directors Would Derive More Benefit From a Hearing Aid.

Richard Hughes- Political Blogger

Lavonne Huneck is one of my favourite political free thinkers in the Cowichan Valley. Here is her take on the CVRD and the confusion that lives there.

It appears that a number of our regional directors are unaware of the final outcome of the Eco-depot. This is disquieting. To be on record at a Regional District Board meeting opining that “had the public only known” appears either disingenuous or simply a failure to understand that a private citizen requested a legal judgement regarding a CVRD bylaw.

I doubt that the judge who made the decision really (Read more…)

reeves report: Opposition Bill Wants Ontario to Ban Fracking

NDP MPP Peter Tabuns speaking with reporters at Queen’s Park. (CBC News Image.)

New Democratic MPP Peter Tabuns introduced a private member’s bill Wednesday encouraging the Liberals to adopt a ban on hydraulic fracturing in the province.

Tabuns, a former executive director of Greenpeace Canada and his party’s Environment and Climate Change critic, said the Liberal government of Kathleen Wynne should follow the lead of Ontario’s neighbours, many of whom — Quebec and New York state, in addition to the Maritime provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia — have already outlawed the disputed oil and gas extraction procedure.

“There (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Dennis Howlett reminds us that we can raise enough money to strengthen our social safety net merely by ensuring that a relatively small group of privileged people pays its fair share. And Seth Stephens-Davidowitz examines the glaring nepotism which festers in the absence of some policy counterweights.

- But Robert Kuttner offers seven reasons why the 99% keeps losing on policy grounds despite having the obvious theoretical ability to ensure reasonable political outcomes. In a similar vein, Sean McElwee discusses the connection between racism and poverty politics in the U.S.

- Meanwhile, (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Alternatives Journal Spells Out Canada’s Map to Sustainability

Canada has a horrible international reputation when it comes to the environment. The federal government even has climate change deniers and actively supports the shameful tar sands. At Alternatives Journal they have worked with some of the smartest people in Canada to show Canadians there’s no reason to continue down the self-destructive path we are on.

Within the issue they look at many aspects of Canadian life from cities to mining.

THIS IS THE most important issue that A\J has ever published. It will land in the hands and mailboxes of more Canadians than any issue in A\J’s 44-year existence. (Read more…)

Things Are Good: In France New Buildings Need Green Roofs

Green roofs or solar panels are now required on all new commercial buildings in the country of France. This is great because now buildings can have either a zero energy impact or contribute to their local environment.

Rooftops on new buildings built in commercial zones in France must either be partially covered in plants or solar panels, under a law approved on Thursday.

Green roofs have an isolating effect, helping reduce the amount of energy needed to heat a building in winter and cool it in summer

Read more.

reeves report: Toronto Fish Health Improving – But You Can’t Eat Them Yet

Local man fishing in Toronto Harbour.

THE LATEST STUDY from the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change and the University of Toronto analyzed government data on mercury, dioxin/furans and polychlorinated biphenyl(PCB) in local and migratory fish populations from 1975 to 2011.

What they found was not surprising, per se, but it did confirm that efforts to curb pollution in the Toronto waterfront over the past four decades have shown positive results in the health of sport fishes, said Satyendra Bhavsar, a research scientist with the ministry and the universities of Toronto and Windsor.

Their study, published in (Read more…)

A Puff of Absurdity: Criminalizing Protest

Now, legitimate protest is under threat once again. Not just overseas, in some far-off dictatorship with cockroach-infested prisons, but here, where the divide is economic and political and increasingly bitter. It’s environmentalists who are the new fifth columnists, and new mechanisms are being forged to squash them.

That’s from Elizabeth Renzetti’s article yesterday. We’re no longer environmentalists who recognize the need to keep fossil fuels in the ground, we’re “anti-petroleum extremists.”

This two-minute video explains the importance of being anti-petroleum (h/t Lorne):

Bill C-51will criminalize “activities that undermine the security…economic or financial stability of Canada.” They’re (Read more…)

Cowichan Conversations: CVRD Failed To Enforce Their Land Use Authority–Shawnigan Faces 5 Million Tonnes of Contaminated Waste

Richard Hughes-Political Blogger

Here is the CVRD response to the BC Liberal governments decision to allow 5 million tonnes of contaminated soil into the Shawnigan Watershed property on Stebbings Rd.

Truth is the CVRD blew it from the outset by refusing to enforce their land use authority.

The anaemic response by then Director Bruce Fraser, supported by the then mostly Liberal friendly CVRD Board proved to be a deadly combination.

When the finger pointing and blame game commences look first to the ‘do nothings’ at the CVRD. This should and must serve as an example of how the Board works, (Read more…)

Northern Insight / Perceptivity: LNG in Howe Sound – Dr. Eoin Finn

Eoin (Owen) Finn B.Sc.,Ph.D., MBA, a 30 year resident of Bowyer Island, Howe Sound, retired KPMG consultant.

From Vancouver Observer

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Dana Nuccitelli discusses new research into the real costs of fossil fuels which aren’t reflected in the sticker price for a dirty energy economy: A new paper published in Climatic Change estimates that when we account for the pollution costs associated with our energy sources, gasoline costs an extra $3.80 per gallon, diesel an additional $4.80 per gallon, coal a further 24 cents per kilowatt-hour, and natural gas another 11 cents per kilowatt-hour that we don’t see in our fuel or energy bills.

…Shindell estimates carbon pollution costs us $32 per (Read more…)

Left Over: A California Cautionary Tale…Served Dry

Drought-ravaged L.A. looking to ‘sponge up’ every bit of rainwater New storm drains built to let rainwater ‘piddle out’ into soil, $1B emergency plan to add more

By Kim Brunhuber, CBC News Posted: Mar 20, 2015 4:39 PM ET Last Updated: Mar 20, 2015 10:20 PM ET

 

Having grown up in SoCal, I can attest to the fact that it was either drought or semi drought when I lived there…and that was decades ago… LA was ‘created’ on what was essentially a desert, so no surprise here that this is going on..sometimes it didn’t rain for three years, (Read more…)

A Puff of Absurdity: Changing the Curriculum

Months ago, Kathleen Wynne proposed guidelines for sex ed in Ontario, and many parents are still furious.  A group called Campaign Life Coalition has put quite a spin on it all.  In grade one, kids learn all the correct names for all the parts of their body. CLC calls that “graphic lessons on sexual body parts.” And at grade three, when kids learn about fluid gender identity, they call it “normalizing a mental disorder.” The teachers will also “normalize homosexual family structures without regard for the religious/moral beliefs of families.” Piece of work.

Wynne tried this before, (Read more…)