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Bill Longstaff: Finally, a voice Harper may listen to

A carbon tax is an eminently fair and sensible approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. And big oil agrees. At least Steve Williams, CEO of Canada’s largest oil and gas producer, Suncor Energy, does. Speaking to a downtown Calgary crowd on Friday, Williams stated, “We think climate change is happening. We think a broad-based carbon price is the right answer.”

He emphasized the “

Carbon49 - Sustainability for Canadian businesses: Four Ways to Reduce Your Business Travel Carbon Footprint

What is your carbon footprint? Each Canadian causes 15 tons of CO2 emission per year, American 18 tons, Australian 17 tons, Dutch 11 tons, German 9 tons, British 8 tons, Chinese 6 tons, Indian 2 tons. How much of these emissions are caused by business travels? What can you do to reduce your business travel footprint? Let’s find out.

Go Digital

According to a report from the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), videoconferencing can reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 2,271 tons over five years — equivalent to the emissions from 400 passenger cars. The study, (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Time for some adult supervision

The latest Con dodge on greenhouse gas emission regulations for the oil and gas industry is to say that they’ll promise to deal with a few collateral activities, just as long as actual production continues to receive a free pass: Aglukkaq also announced new rules to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector, such as industrial leaks and gas flares, which makes up a significant portion of the industry’s total emissions.

Notably omitted, of course, is the rest of the industry’s total emissions.

So how does that painful level of parsing to avoid what has to be done (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: The U.S. military’s war on the environment

One of the American institutions most alert to the threat of global warming is the military. The Pentagon has issued several reports stating that the greatest threat to U.S. national security is climate change. Ironically, the military itself is the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter.

The Department of Defense devours about 330,000 barrels of oil a day, more than the great majority of the

The Disaffected Lib: "It Was Only a Matter of Time"

It’s taken two million years but we’ve done it!  Finally, we’ve reached CO2 levels exceeding 400 parts per million everywhere on the planet, even the Arctic.

The milestone was announced by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa).

They said it was the first month that the entire globe broke 400ppm, reaching levels that haven’t been seen for about two million years.

Noaa’s Pieter Tans said that reaching the mark was “a significant milestone”.

Scientists announced that CO2 had passed the 400 ppm level for the first time in the Arctic in 2012, and then at Mauna Loa (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On radioactive proposals

Never mind Brad Wall’s hand-picked group of nuclear industry shills using public money to further their own profits found that nuclear power is not price-competitive even among an artificially limited set of options absent a substantial carbon price – and that Wall himself refuses to set one.

And never mind that a subsequent public consultation found that “the overwhelming response…was that nuclear power generation should not be a choice for Saskatchewan”.

When it comes to locking in a high-cost, high-risk nuclear plant just as renewables are emerging as a viable large-scale alternative, Wall won’t take “no” for an answer. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on Brad Wall’s appalling admission that the Saskatchewan Party’s plan for a low-carbon economy is to move into Ontario’s basement rather than pursuing sustainable development in Saskatchewan.

For further reading…- Wall’s comments and other provincial positions in the lead up to this week’s premiers’ meeting can be found here. – Geoffrey Vendeville reported on the earlier cap-and-trade agreement between Ontario and Quebec. And Yasmine Hassan discussed the massive Quebec climate change rally.- The Saskatchewan greenhouse gas bill which has been passed but never proclaimed in force can be found here (PDF).- Joe Romm reports on (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: Our wise men have spoken—will the politicians listen?

Last week a report produced by 60 Canadian scholars stated that we can create a clean, sustainable future for our country with only a minimal effect on the economy. The scholars, representing every province as well as climate change expertise in areas from engineering to sociology, offered a consensus on viable, science-based solutions for greenhouse gas reduction.

The report, Acting on

Bill Longstaff: Cluster bombs and climate change—the good news

The media infamously saturate us with bad news. If it bleeds, it leads … and all that. Nonetheless, good news does surface from time to time. This week saw two good news stories that particularly caught my attention.

The first was that Canada ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions, the 90th state party to do so. Cluster munitions are bombs that open up in mid-air and release dozens

The Disaffected Lib: A Closer Look at Oil and Climate Change.

Stephen Harper will not be pleased.  The Carnegie Endowment is fingering his cherished Tar Sands.

Not all oil is created equal.  Sweet crude, of the Saudi sort, comes out of the ground almost ready to use.  It’s pumped out of the ground easily, free of most contaminants (sulphur, water, sand, natural gas).  The amount of energy required to extract and refine a barrel of oil is modest.  That, then, provides the benchmarks by which other oils from other places can be judged.

A new report from the Carnegie Endowment, “Know Your Oil: Creating a Global Oil-Climate Index,” (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: It’s taboo to talk climate change at NEB’s Energy East hearings

By excluding climate change from the forthcoming review of the proposed Energy East project, the NEB is prioritizing Big oil’s anti-environment interests.

The post It’s taboo to talk climate change at NEB’s Energy East hearings appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Accidental Deliberations: How to destroy the climate in three easy steps

1. Abandon all previous targets and commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.2. Set a new target which one intends to ignore.3. Make clear to the world that developing policies to actually meet the new target is somebody else’s problem, no matter how obvious it is that the result will be failure.

Of course, we recognize how asinine and ineffectual that combination is when it originates with Stephen Harper. Who’s willing to do the same when it’s the Anointed One?

reeves report: Melting Glaciers to Release Billions of Kilograms of CO₂ by 2050

A new study finds sea-level rise isn’t the only thing to fear about melting glaciers.

Antarctic Ice Shelf Loss Comes From Underneath by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center \ CC BY 2.0 via Flickr

WE KNOW SEA levels are rising as climate change causes glaciers to melt. But it turns out rising seas may not be the only catastrophic by-product of glacier melt we need to worry about.

A new study from researchers at Florida State University published this week in the journal Nature Geoscience has discovered there will be a substantial carbon impact resulting from the loss of (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: I see what you did there

Let’s face it: a broken Red Book promise, an ignored Kyoto Protocol commitment and zero policy action later, nobody would have had reason to believe any Lib policy promises on greenhouse gas emissions anyway. So why wouldn’t Justin Trudeau try to spin continued neglect at the federal level as a feature rather than a bug?

Of course, anybody who actually wants to rein in climate change might recognize that an opt-in approach to a collective action problem is set up to fail. But apparently, “anybody who actually wants to rein in climate change” isn’t in the Libs’ pool of target (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Leehi Yona: Canadians’ best interests “certainly not represented” at COP20

Canada’s best interests weren’t represented at the recent COP20 climate conference in Peru, argues Leehi Yona, a Canadian youth delegate recently named one of Canada’s top environmentalist under 25.

The post Leehi Yona: Canadians’ best interests “certainly not represented” at COP20 appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Canadian Progressive: Harper Breaks Promise To Regulate Oil And Gas Emissions

In Parliament today, PM Stephen Harper said “it would be crazy economic policy” to regulate the Canadian oil and gas industry’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The post Harper Breaks Promise To Regulate Oil And Gas Emissions appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- The OECD reports on the relationship between equality and growth, and concludes that rising inequality is as toxic for economic development as it is for our social fabric. And David Rider discusses how increasing inequality is manifesting itself in several Toronto neighbourhoods.

- Meanwhile, Daniel Tancer finds finds that Canada’ workers receive a significantly lower share of income than in other developed countries: Our modern economy is anything but egalitarian, and labour’s share of income has been shrinking for decades as business profits soar while wages stagnate.

On this measure, Canada is (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Excuses, excuses

Shorter Leona Aglukkaq: It’s absolutely essential that we align our greenhouse gas emissions policies with the U.S. if that means delaying regulations which could limit pollution from the tar sands. Also, it’s absolutely essential that we refuse to align our greenhouse gas emission policies with the U.S. if they’re committing to targets which could limit pollution from the tar sands.

Carbon49 - Sustainability for Canadian businesses: From Ground to Store: We Look at Carbon Neutral Wines

When you see a product that says carbon neutral, what does it mean? I recently enjoyed a bottle of Italy’s number one selling wine in Canada, Santa Margherita’s Pinot Grigio. Each bottle has a green label that says “Carbon neutral from ground to store. Measured and offset with Carbonzero”. It is produced in Italy, imported into Canada by Lifford Wine, and certified by Carbonzero as carbon neutral. I investigate its Italian supply chain and production, shipping to Canada, and sales and consumption in Canada to learn what it means to be carbon neutral.

Carbon neutrality, or having a (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: Energy East—another reason why we need Quebec

Among the arguments that might be made to keep Quebec in Canada is simply that it’s our most progressive province. One can cite ample of evidence for this: it showed the strongest support for the Kyoto Accord and gay marriage, it has the most advanced child care program, it is probably the major reason we said no to the Iraq war … the list goes on.

Earlier this month, the province

The Canadian Progressive: Naomi Klein: Reject Keystone XL Pipeline, Radical Change Needed [VIDEO]

Naomi Klein calls on Barack Obama to reject TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, urges “radical change to prevent catastrophic warming.”

The post Naomi Klein: Reject Keystone XL Pipeline, Radical Change Needed [VIDEO] appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

This and that for your weekend reading.

- The Economist discusses how a tiny elite group is taking a startling share of the U.S.’ total wealth: The ratio of household wealth to national income has risen back toward the level of the 1920s, but the share in the hands of middle-class families has tumbled (see chart). Tepid growth in middle-class incomes is partly to blame; real incomes for the top 1% of families grew 3.4% a year from 1986-2012 while those for the bottom 90% grew 0.7%. But Messrs Saez and Zucman reckon the main cause (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Why the Obama-Xi Emissions Deal is Window Dressing.

The CO2 emissions deal reached this week by the presidents of the US and China is a positive step, no doubt about that.  It’s also far too little, much too late, although it’s reflective of how inflexible our global society has become even in matters of our very survival.

Even the numbers are squishy.  Obama has pledged that America will reduce CO2 emissions by 25 to 28% from 2005 levels by 2020.  The Chinese pledge is even more obscure.  It commits China to cap its emissions by 2030 and then begin reductions.

What’s wrong with this?  Well, for starters, these (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Dear Tony, You Can Kiss Our…

A group of Australians gathered on Bondi Beach to bury their heads in the sand in protest of their prime minister’s fossil fuel fetish.

More than 400 protesters stuck their heads in the sand on Australia’s Bondi Beach on Thursday, mocking the government’s reluctance to put climate change on the agenda of a G20 summit this weekend. Prime minister Tony Abbott’s perceived failure to address climate change is all the more galling in the wake of an agreement between the United States and China on Wednesday to limit their carbon emissions, they said.“Obama’s on board, Xi Jinping’s on (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Eugene Lang discusses the importance of fiscal choice in the lead up to the 2015 federal election. And Don Cayo reminds us that the Cons’ determination to hand free money to the wealthy – most recently through income-splitting and increased TFSA limits – means that everybody else has to pay more for a lesser level of public service.

- Jordan Press reports on the latest conclusions from Canada’s Environment Commissioner, who finds the Harper Cons predictably doing nothing whatsoever to meet greenhouse gas emission targets. And Karl Nerenberg looks at the Environment Commissioner’s (Read more…)