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…)
Occasionally a spark of hope interrupts the dreary flow of environmental news. Such a spark occurred in Alberta last week with the announcement by Premier Redford that Donna Kennedy-Glans would be the new Associate Minister of Electricity and Renewable Energy. The ministry will be the first of its kind in Canada.
Considering that Alberta’s heavy reliance on coal results in it being responsible
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.
- It shouldn’t be a surprise that more people are pointing out the importance of effective regulation in preventing disasters like the Lac-Mégantic explosion. But it may be somewhat unexpected to see that message from a CEO in the industry which stands to be regulated: Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. CEO Hunter Harrison warned that a catastrophic derailment like the one that levelled the centre of Lac-Mégantic could happen again if regulators don’t impose tougher safety rules for transporting hazardous materials.
Mr. Harrison, an outspoken industry executive who has been running railroads in Canada and (Read more…)
A long-belated companion to Steven Chu’s “Time to fix the wiring” essay I posted earlier, this is the white paper I co-authored for the same McKinsey & Company series. Given the roughly five-month delay in uploading this, I suppose “Time to post the writing” might be an apt subtitle…
Ever the stickler for citing sources (in university, while writing up a chemical engineering lab report, I once cited a colleague’s report I made use of, in my bibliography of sources – yes, I was a wild one) I was pleased McKinsey kept the footnote crediting the work John Robb (Read more…)
It doesn’t get much more naked than this (AP): A political group founded by billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch wants Georgia’s utility regulators to reject a plan requiring Southern Co. to buy more solar energy, but an Associated Press review ahead of a vote on the issue finds that it has used misleading figures to build its case.
Misleading figures? Quel surprise. Read the piece, the story is particularly egregious in terms of bald and bold lying to the public, claiming a 1% increase in solar energy purchased would increase residential electricity prices 40%. The Kochs (Read more…)
CTV was reporting that Peter Kent may be moving on and therefore would be out as Environment Minister. Not sure there’s much a new Canadian minister might do to sway the Obama administration but Keystone has got to be figuring into Harper’s thinking. Is Rempel, currently the Parliamentary Secretary to Kent, the one? Whoever it is, they’re also going to have to deal with this burgeoning – and very warranted – focus onpetcoke. This oil sands byproduct gained greater visibility recently given the Koch brothers’ piling of it on the Detroit waterfront to the discomfort (Read more…)
. . . → Read More: BigCityLib Strikes Back: On Environment Ministers And Petcoke
By Greenpeace International | Jan. 22, 2013: TORONTO – Canada’s tar sands ranked fifth of the 14 largest carbon intensive projects in the world, according to a new report from Greenpeace International. The “Point of No Return” notes government hypocrisy on major energy projects – like the tar sands – which increases climate change and places READ MORE
With Obama talking the talk on climate action in his State of the Union address yesterday, now seems a good time to start compiling a planned set of blog entries about renewable energy. Many many others have done so online already (as evidenced by the fact I’m linking to them!) but I’d like to communicate my cautiously nascent optimism in my own words.
I’m growingly confident that I’ll live to see renewables dominate global electricity production, as dominantly as oil dominates global transport today, with immense and commensurate environmental benefits.
That moment won’t come a moment too soon, either,
. . . → Read More: Eclectic Lip: Our Renewable Future part 1: clearing “myth”conceptions
Assorted content for your Friday reading.
- Paul Dechene interviews Marc Spooner about Saskatchewan residents left behind in the province’s boom: One way that our growing income gap can be hand-waved away is by pointing to the fact that every other province that goes through an economic boom faces this.
Perhaps it’s just a natural result of us going through a transitional phase?
Spooner doesn’t find that argument compelling.
“That implies a very non-responsive government,” he says. “Can we not learn from our neighbours in the west? Can we not see what happened in Alberta and be forward-looking and do
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links
Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.- Ed Broadbent comments on both the growing problem of inequality, and the one institution which can do something about it:Canada is not doing better. From 1982 until 2004, almost all growth in family i… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links
Eventually people will have to get it through their heads that cleaner alternative energy isn’t just for tree-hugging hippies. Eventually these energy sources — along with energy conservation, reducing/re-using other products, and population redu… . . . → Read More: The Ranting Canadian: Eventually people will have to get it through their heads that…
Read more: Sweden Wants Your Trash . . . → Read More: 350 or bust: Sweden Trashes Canada In Renewable Energy
Wednesday night was one to remember. After a scramble to get my passport renewed (I only noticed last week it had expired over the summer), my husband and I traveled by ferry from Victoria British Columbia to take in the first night of Bill McKibben… . . . → Read More: 350 or bust: Fossil Fuel Industry’s Bottom Line Will Destroy Our Climate: Do The Math
The PBS Frontline program “Climate of Doubt” masterfully exposed the strategies and tactics that climate denialists have used to delay, if not undermine meaningful action in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing climate change in… . . . → Read More: 350 or bust: Hurricane Sandy Reminds Us We’re All Paying The Price For Politically-Created Climate Of Doubt
One serious drawback of some forms of renewable energy, such as wind or tidal power, has been that they don’t conform to peak market demand. Some are intermittent, some work best at off-peak, low-demand hours. What’s been missing is a viable means of storing surplus renewable energy production.
A Brit engineer seems to have come up with a solution, liquid air, that is nearly as efficient as conventional battery technology. Water vapour and oxygen are removed from the air. The remaining nitrogen is then super-cooled until it liquifies using off-peak renewable energy production. The liquid
This is a guest post by Stefanie Penn Spear. Originally published at EcoWatch.
In 2009 it seemed as though Congress was finally going to pass legislation that would transition our country to a renewable energy future. The American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, also known as the Waxman-Markey Bill, would have created a cap and trade system on greenhouse gases, required electric utilities through a renewable electricity standard (RES) to meet 20 percent of their electricity demand through renewable energy sources and energy efficiency by 2020, subsidized renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies, and
. . . → Read More: DeSmogBlog: Congress: Expedite Renewable Energy
From a long time friend of the blog who has written to Health Canada in the wake of news of their study on wind turbines, this letter below. He advises he has “absolutely no financial or corporate involvement in any wind project. My interest social, economic and environmental.”
These are the kind of concerns I’m sure Health Canada will be hearing much more about. For submissions to Health Canada, comments are open until September 7th and you can find more information at this link. 18 July 2012
To: David S. MichaudConsumer and Clinical Radiation Protection BureauHealth
. . . → Read More: Impolitical: Dear Health Canada – part II
This and that for your Tuesday reading.
- Dave Coles writes that the Harper Cons are using their power to protect the privacy of international arms dealers, while at the same time demanding stringent reporting requirements for labour unions and their members: Labour unions are among the few institutions that can and do provide a counterbalance to the power of corporations. Yet the Conservatives are not requiring companies that bargain with trade unions to file detailed reports to the Canada Revenue Agency on their salary, political or lobbying spending. Additionally, they are not requiring other professional associations that collect fees
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links
Assorted content to end your weekend.
- Will Hutton discusses how the increasing gaps in economic equality are leading to radical differences in opportunity – with the U.S./U.K. push toward private schooling serving as a particular source of exclusion: (T)he middle class of whatever ethnic background is spending more on what Putnam calls its children’s “enrichment activities” so important for psychological wellbeing and character building; in fact they are spending 11 times more than those at the bottom. In 1972, working-class children from the bottom quartile of earners were just as likely to participate in a wide
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links
News yesterday that Health Canada has decided to do some research: “Health Canada to probe possible health effects of wind turbines.” This study is going to be very carefully watched.
Early indications from its rollout are not good on the impartiality front, what with Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre immediately using the announcement to wield it against the McGuinty government to seek a halt to a wind project in the Ottawa area. Further, there was the phone call from the PMO to Wind Concerns, a leading opponent of wind energy who were very active politically during the Ontario election
. . . → Read More: Impolitical: Dear Health Canada
This and that for your Thursday reading.
- The OECD is the latest independent observer to confirm Thomas Mulcair’s point that dutch disease is a real problem for Canadian manufacturing. And Marc Lee calls for a green industrial revolution as a better path toward economic development and environmental responsibility than the Cons’ focus on resource extraction alone.
- Andrew Coyne sees the ongoing opposition resistance to the Cons’ omnibus anti-environment bill as a battle for the very soul of democracy: This is how it happens. This is how it has happened: the more powers government acquires at the expense of
. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links
Republicans on the U.S. House Armed Services Committee have decided that the military’s push for clean, renewable energy has gone far enough, and have proposed for next year’s budget that the Pentagon not spend a dime on renewable energy sources that cost more than traditional dirty energy.
This news comes on the heels of the Navy’s announcement of their new “Great Green Fleet,” which features an aircraft carrier and strike group that are all powered by renewable, cleaner energy sources.
The shift in policy came from the House Armed Services Committee, chaired by California Republican Howard “Buck”
. . . → Read More: DeSmogBlog: House Republicans Attempt To Nix Military’s Clean Energy Initiatives
Ever wonder why a blooming green energy industry has faced such harsh opposition? Now, as the old adage goes, "the cat's out of the bag."
The Guardian today revealed the network of fossil-funded groups coordinating the ongoing onslaught of attacks on renewable energy, particularly wind power. A memorandum passed to The Guardian from the Checks and Balances Project details the organizations and personnel acting as ringleaders to build an astroturf echo chamber of clean energy critics.
Guardian reporter Suzanne Goldenberg writes in "Conservative thinktanks step up attacks against Obama's clean energy strategy,"
"A number of rightwing
. . . → Read More: DeSmogBlog: The Guardian Exposes Fossil Funded Groups Coordinating Renewable Energy Attacks