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reeves report: Toronto offering on-bill financing for home energy retrofits

A homeowner installing fiberglass insulation as part of Penticton, B.C.’s energy retrofit loan program.

It might be time to replace that aging water heater in the basement. Or that thinning insulation in the attic.

The City of Toronto is here to help, announcing last week that it’s taking steps to make it easier for property owners to make their homes more energy efficient through the Home Energy Loan Program (HELP).

Under the initiative, homeowners will be able to apply for low interest loans (from five years at 2.5 per cent, up to 15 years at 4.25 (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how Brad Wall is again joining Stephen Harper in putting oil lobbying over the public interest – making excuses for doing absolutely nothing to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change.

For further reading…- I’ve written before about the federal Cons’ apparent strategy of standing in the way of consensus on action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And lest there be any doubt, the Cons have been well aware of both the need for action in order to keep their own promises – and have  responded by slashing Environment Canada for telling inconvenient truths.- (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline would increase Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions

By: Pembina Institute | Press Release

OTTAWA — The proposed Energy East pipeline would enable a significant increase in Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions, says a new report from the Pembina Institute.

Climate Implications of the Proposed Energy East Pipeline is the first public estimate of the west-to-east pipeline’s upstream climate impact. It shows that producing the crude needed to fill Energy East could generate up to 32 million tonnes of additional greenhouse gas emissions each year — an even greater impact than the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

TransCanada is expected to file its regulatory application for Energy East with the (Read more…)

the reeves report: Europe looks to coal to reduce electricity prices

One year after The Economist signalled an ”unwelcomed coal renaissance”, Bloomberg News reported Jan. 6 that Europe’s lust for lower energy prices was reviving lignite mining for coal-fired generation in a big way.

Lignite, a low-quality form of coal that contains less units of energy and greater volumes of carbon than traditional coal, is once again the prize European energy firms are seeking in open-pit mines in Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic in an effort to wrestle high-energy prices to the mat.

According to Bloomberg, new coal developments “go against the grain of European Union rules limiting (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: The tar sands—our climate change nemesis

While Neil Young very publicly feuds with the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers and its ally the Canadian government, tar sands production continues to systematically advance Alberta’s position as the country’s pollution province. Already producing more greenhouse gasses than Ontario, despite having less than 30 per cent of its population, tar sands expansion will have it producing

Bill Longstaff: The folly of aping U.S. emissions policy

Our federal government’s policy on greenhouse gas emissions is simple: whatever the United States’ policy on greenhouse gas emissions is. And that means a target of reducing emissions by 17 per cent from 2005 to 2020. But, as the Pembina Institute pointed out this week, there is a very large fly in that particular ointment. And the fly is that the two countries have very different emissions

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Andrew Jackson writes that Canada needs far more investment in infrastructure – rather than the austerity that’s constantly being prescribed by the Cons: The fiscal policy choice we face is often miscast as one between austerity to deal with public debt and short-term Keynesian-style stimulus. But the real choice, Mr. Summers argues, is whether or not to finance public investments that would have positive long-term impacts on both the economy and on public finances.

Take the case for repairing or replacing Canada’s crumbling basic municipal infrastructure, some 30 per cent of which is (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- The Economist discusses research by Miles Corak and others on intergenerational inequality. And interestingly, other studies seem to suggest Corak has actually underestimated the barriers to social mobility: THE “Great Gatsby curve” is the name Alan Krueger, an economic adviser to Barack Obama, gave to the relationship between income inequality and social mobility across the generations. Mr Krueger used the phrase in a 2012 speech to describe the work of Miles Corak of the University of Ottawa, who has shown that more unequal economies tend to have less fluid societies. Mr Corak (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- George Monbiot discusses how another corporate investment agreement – this time one between Europe and the U.S. patterned after CETA – will transfer yet more power from people and their elected governments to corporate elites: The purpose of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is to remove the regulatory differences between the US and European nations. I mentioned it a couple of weeks ago. But I left out the most important issue: the remarkable ability it would grant big business to sue the living daylights out of governments which try to (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- David Green asks whether decades of corporate insistence on “flexible” labour markets (i.e. ones which offer no stability for workers) have resulted in the improved wages promised at the outset: Increased wages are how we share the benefits of economic growth among a wide range of people in our society. It’s hard to see the fairness in policies that seek to stamp out wage increases wherever possible.

But this raises the second question – has the policy of increased labour market flexibility worked? Has it delivered a better life for most Canadians?

(Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Don Braid comments on Alberta’s complete lack of credibility when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental issues. And Andrew Leach nicely sums up the PC/Con position in trying to put a happy face on growing emissions: Suppose you run into an old friend whom you haven’t seen for some time. You notice that he looks a little thicker than you remembered around the waist, but, since you aren’t one of those academics who shuns basic manners, you keep mum.

“How are you doing?” you say, “What’s new? (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Thomas Walkom writes that the Harper Cons’ much-hyped economic record in fact offers ample reason to demand a change in government: The Conservatives insist that the economy is their strong suit. And for a while it was. In 2011, voters bought Harper’s pitch.

But voter patience can last only so long. For too many Canadians, life is not improving. Income gaps are becoming more blatant. Wages are sluggish. Students are taking on massive debts to prepare themselves for jobs that, in the end, fail to materialize.

Those lucky enough to have jobs — (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On bad-faith negotiations

I’ve written before about the Cons’ blatant strategy of saying just enough about regulating greenhouse gas emissions from the oil industry to confuse voters about the issue while blocking the way toward any action. And so the real news in their offer to let the U.S. write the regulations they’ve been promising “next year” for seven years and counting is the prospect that it might actually result in some policy coming into effect.

That is, assuming one thinks the same prime minister who’s gleefully played Lucy-with-the-football with the Canadian public on this exact issue will voluntarily follow through after (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Matthew Yglesias sums up the effects of four decades of U.S. union-busting, and points out how the supposed benefit from pointing a fire hose filled with money in the general direction of the corporate sector hasn’t materialized: If you turn back 30 or 40 years, the policy rationale for crushing labor union influence went something like this: In the short-term crushing private sector labor unions is going to lead to a surge in corporate profits, but profits are the fuel of investment and long-term economic growth. Companies with high profits have the (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: The tragedy of Canada’s environmental denial

Ray Grigg, a weekly environmental columnist and author of seven internationally published books on Oriental philosophy, discusses the “tragedy” of Canada’s environmental denial.

The post The tragedy of Canada’s environmental denial appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Canadian Progressive: President Obama showed leadership on climate change: Environmental Defence

President Barack Obama (Photo: Pete Souza)

In his much-anticipated speech on climate change and the environment this week, US President Barack didn’t exactly kill TransCanada’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline as environmentalists had hoped. He simply stated that Keystone should only be approved if it doesn’t lead to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions.

Still, Environmental Defence, one of Canada’s leading environmental action organizations, believes Obama showed leadership on climate change. The kind that may actually result in the US rejection of Keystone XL. That’s because pipeline is “a gateway to tar sands expansion and the scientific community agrees (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: On key decisions

I’ll generally concur with Paul Wells’ take on Barack Obama’s reference to Keystone XL yesterday. But it’s worth taking a slightly closer look at both the broad issue framed by Obama, and the Cons’ narrow means of avoiding it.

The point of greatest significance in Obama’s speech was indeed the mention that as a general rule, any project which exacerbates climate change isn’t in the U.S.’ national interest. But it’s hard to see how that standard could be applied to Keystone XL and not to a wide range of regulatory and trade arrangements – meaning that a single (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: New column day

Here, on how the one point of agreement about the environmental impact of the tar sands is that we still don’t have enough information to so much as evaluate the effects of the industry at the core of the Harper Cons’ economic strategy.

For further reading…- The Canada-Alberta Oil Sands Environmental Monitoring Information Portal is here, with the disclaimer mentioned in the column here. – CBC reports on the EPA response (PDF) to the State Department’s current environmental assessment of Keystone XL. – And Joe Oliver is doing what Joe Oliver does by publicly bashing climate science (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: Clean energy progress too slow to limit climate change, says report

By: Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive: An annual report by International Energy Agency (IEA) says the development of low-carbon energy is progressing too slowly to limit climate change. “The drive to clean up the world’s energy system has stalled,” said aid Maria van der Hoeven, the IEA’s executive director, during the presentation of the report [...]

The post Clean energy progress too slow to limit climate change, says report appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Disaffected Lib: Canada’s Carbon Black Eye – Bitumen Peddling

Across Canada, provincial  and local governments have achieved great things in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the Harper government has grabbed as much undeserved credit for that as possible.

Yet Harper and his slackjawed EnviroShill, Peter Kent, can’t hide the impacts of their bitumen-peddling policies, no matter how much credit they steal from others.

Canada’s annual heat-trapping greenhouse gases continue to level off or decline in most sectors of the economy, outside of Alberta’s oilpatch, says the latest annual inventory report submitted by the Harper government to the United Nations.   The government report, prepared by Environment Canada, noted (Read more…) country’s average temperatures were 1.5 degrees C above average in 2011, which makes it more likely to observe impacts such as rising sea levels and increasing extreme weather events that could intensify in the future.

“In some regions, the impacts could be devastating, while other regions could benefit from . . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: Canada’s Carbon Black Eye – Bitumen Peddling

Carbon49 - Sustainability for Canadian businesses: The Real Price We Pay for Fossil Fuel Energy

Did you know our government spend money subsidizing fossil fuel energy to keep prices artificially low? A new International Monetary Fund study uncovers just how much these subsidies are and urge our governments to stop these market distortion practices. I calculate the real price we pay for fossil fuel energy and the results are astonishing.

The release of the study by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is widely covered by mainstream media around the world in the New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, and in a particularly good analysis from the Wall Street Journal. But it was (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- John Greenwood and CBC News both report on the offshore tax avoidance being revealed through the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. And Susan Lunn observes that Canada’s federal parties are all at least paying lip service to the issue – though of course the Cons’ cuts to tax enforcement speak louder than their spin.

- Meanwhile, Paul McLeod notes that income inequality will also receive at least some much-needed attention in Parliament. And Danyaal Raza’s discussion of the damage done to public health by inequality looks to offer one important point worth

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: On contradictions

Aaron Wherry nicely points out some of the jaw-dropping contradictions in the Cons’ climate change messaging. But let’s not forget a few more worth adding into the mix.

Having refused to implement any meaningful regulations or carbon pricing at the federal level, the Cons have tried to take credit for provincial attempts to fill the vacuum – even ones they’ve fought against with every fiber of their being. And they’ve not only scrapped the public organization which dared to highlight that difference, but they’ve since gone out of their way to hide its work.

Which is to say that in

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On contradictions

The Canadian Progressive | News & Analysis: British Columbia study advocates postconsumerist model of zero waste

By: Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive: A new study from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and the Wilderness Committee calls for a radical rethink of British Columbia’s waste management policies. It argues that recycling can’t solve the province’s pollution problems and calls for a postconsumerist model of zero waste. While acknowledging [...]

The post British Columbia study advocates postconsumerist model of zero waste appeared first on The Canadian Progressive | News & Analysis.

The Canadian Progressive | News & Analysis: CAW Owned and Operated Wind Turbine Begins Operation in Port Elgin, ON

By: Canadian Auto Workers Union | Press Release PORT ELGIN, ON – A CAW owned and operated wind turbine started operating today generating clean wind energy to the electrical grid in Port Elgin, Ontario. “This is an important day as the start-up of this wind turbine marks an environmental milestone for our union [...]

The post CAW Owned and Operated Wind Turbine Begins Operation in Port Elgin, ON appeared first on The Canadian Progressive | News & Analysis.