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The Common Sense Canadian: New book asks: Can civilization survive unprecedented climate crisis?

Water scarcity and resulting wars will be a key consequence of the climate crisis

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that human-caused climate change is already responsible for 150,000 deaths annually. If we continue our current trajectories of “business as usual” as our response to climate change, the WHO expects that between 2030 and 2050 climate change will cause approximately 250,000 additional deaths per year.

According to the WHO, the yearly death rate will include, “38 000 due to heat exposure in elderly people, 48 000 due to diarrhoea, 60 000 due to malaria, and 95 000 due to childhood under nutrition. (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Landowners launch Site C Dam court challenge, First Nations next

On Monday, a group of landowners and farmers from BC’s Peace River Valley launched the first of seven legal challenges that threaten to derail the government’s $9 Billion planned Site C Dam.

This challenge is rooted in the government’s decision to ignore key concerns raised by the Joint Review Panel for the project – including cost and the fact that the need for the project had not been demonstrated, while alternatives were left unexplored.

“This is about applying the rule of law,” counsel Maegen Giltrow told media outside the court Monday morning, explaining that the government had violated its own terms (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Paul Krugman highlights the policy areas where we need to look to the public sector for leadership – including those such as health care and income security where we all have a strong interest in making sure that nobody’s left behind. And Andre Picard reminds us of one of the major gaps in Canada’s health care system, as expensive prescription drugs can make for a devastating barrier to needed care.

- Meanwhile, Paul Buchheit duly criticizes the combination of increasing wealth for the lucky few in the U.S., and increasing (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Canada takes water for granted amid melting snowpacks, glaciers

BC’s Glacier National Park has seen decreasing snowpacks in recent years (Sesivany/Jiri Eischmann/Wikipedia)

How long can you go without water? You could probably survive a few weeks without water for cooking. If you stopped washing, the threat to your life might only come from people who can’t stand the smell. But most people won’t live for more than three days without water to drink. It makes sense: our bodies are about 65 per cent water.

According to the United Nations, about 750 million people lack access to safe water — that’s one in nine! One child dies every minute from (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: David Suzuki: Water is life; we can’t afford to waste it

Water is life, and its management and conservation is about global social justice, argues renowned environmentalist David Suzuki.

The post David Suzuki: Water is life; we can’t afford to waste it appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Common Sense Canadian: Lawyer warns LNG industry: Don’t count on power from Site C dam

Lawyer Rob Botterell represents First Nations and landowners in the Peace Valley region

The following is an open letter sent by lawyer Rob Botterell to the BC LNG Alliance, key BC Liberal ministers, and Treaty 8 First Nations. Site C Dam is being looked to as a possible source for the additional power required for proposed LNG plants on the BC coast.

Dear Respected First Nations, LNG Industry and BC Government Leaders:

In my capacity as a lawyer who has represented First Nations for many years, I am writing to you about the relationship between the planned Site C dam and the proposed new (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- In advance of this weekend’s Progress Summit, Robin Sears comments on the significance of the Broadbent Institute and other think tanks in shaping policy options: The Center for American Progress was the wakeup call for progressives around the world. Independent-minded, massively funded, deeply professional, it was created to develop winning agendas for a new Democratic president. Key Obamites trained there. Core strategies and goals were polished there. Their success helped to spawn a third generation of think tanks who understood that to have real impact, good ideas had to be married (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…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Shocking critique from Site C Panel Chair should have govt pulling plug

Site C Joint Review Panel, with Chair Harry Swain seated in middle (250 News)

In a highly unorthodox move for a person in his position, the chair of the Joint Review Panel for Site C Dam has come out with harsh words for the $9 Billion project and the BC government’s hurry to get it built.

Harry Swain, a former federal deputy minister with deep experience in the environmental assessment business, made the comments in an eye-opening interview with Desmog Canada’s Emma Gilchrist, almost a year after the panel he led issued its report. Speaking for himself, Swain said:

There’s a whole bunch (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Emily Badger discusses Robert Putnam’s work on the many facets of increasing inequality in the U.S.: For the past three years, Putnam has been nursing an outlandish ambition. He wants inequality of opportunity for kids to be the central issue in the 2016 presidential election. Not how big government should be or what the “fair share” is for the wealthy, but what’s happening to children boxed out of the American dream.

His manifesto, “Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis,” will be published Tuesday. It places brain science, sociology (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Tavia Grant, Bill Curry and David Kennedy discuss CIBC’s analysis showing that Canadian job quality has falled to its lowest level recorded in the past 25 years: Several reports have concluded that the country’s job market is not as strong as it looks and now a study from Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce paints an even worse picture. According to the bank’s analysis, job quality has fallen to its lowest level in more than two decades. A CIBC index that measures 25 years worth of data on part-time versus full-time work, paid versus (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Landmark Treaty 8 lawsuit challenges Site C Dam, LNG

A sweeping lawsuit filed this week by the Blueberry River First Nations from northeast BC threatens the province’s resource agenda – including the proposed Site C Dam and shale gas and LNG development.

As a party to Treaty 8, the First Nation was guaranteed the right to continue practicing its traditional way of life on the land, but that promise has been repeatedly broken over the last century, the suit alleges. An time lapse map presented by the nation at a press conference in Vancouver yesterday graphically demonstrates how over 90% of critical watersheds have been heavily industrialized since 1950.

Chief Marvin Yahey calls (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Federal Court denies BC Hydro’s request to hurry up Site C challenge

Peace Valley ranchers Ken and Arlene Boon are plaintiffs in several Site C Dam challenges (Damien Gillis)

A federal court judge has denied BC Hydro’s motion to rush a legal challenge against the crown corporation’s planned Site C Dam project. Hydro sought to expedite the hearing in May in order to keep to its planned construction start this summer – after receiving its provincial and federal environmental certificates late in 2014 – but that’s now up in the air.

According to a media advisory from the plaintiff, the Peace Valley Landowners’ Association (PVLA), the hearing will likely be scheduled for sometime this summer, depending (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Energy From Drinking Water

Drinkable water right from a tap in your home is a relatively new and amazing thing. Just when you thought water delivery systems couldn’t get any better a company has converted pipes into energy generators. Their new pipes can capture energy from water as it flows to its destination to provide a small amount of energy for communities.

“We have a project in Riverside, California, where they’re using it to power streetlights at night,” Semler says. “During the day, when electricity prices are high, they can use it to offset some of their operating costs.”

In Portland, one of (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Why BC Hydro always overestimates future power demand: Economist

What BC Hydro says about its own work clearly establishes the forecast as a foundation document for future planning for new generation and distribution investments:

Load forecasting is central to BC Hydro’s long-term planning, medium-term investment, and short-term operational and forecasting activities. (1)

Because of this importance, the forecast needs to be as accurate as possible and that is where matters get interesting.

Getting the numbers wrong

An illustration of getting the numbers wrong can be seen on page 21 of the 2012 Load Forecast: “Comparison of 2011 and 2012 Forecasts”. There is a forecasting error of about 4% in (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: A Gram of Prevention is Worth a Kiloliter of Benzine

If you don’t know how to fix things, stop breaking them.

Stewart, however, said it could take months for the steam to cool and the pressure to drop. He said that means any leaks from the well could continue for months.

He also expressed doubts that a cleanup is possible

“I don’t know how you get benzine out of an aquifer. There’s no process for filtering it out. It’s basically a mix of carcinogenic chemicals into this underground water system. It’s not like you can put in a scrubber and clean it all up,” Stewart said.

“The only solution (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Why Site C Dam isn’t a done deal

Damien Gillis and Kootenay Co-op Radio’s Keith Wiley discuss the hurdles still facing Site C Dam following the BC Liberal government’s approval of the project before Christmas. From 6 lawsuits to mounting financial challenges, Gillis explains why the $9 Billion-plus project is far from a done deal.

First broadcast on Jan 6 on Kootenay Co-op Radio’s EcoCentric program (25 min).

The post Why Site C Dam isn’t a done deal appeared first on The Common Sense Canadian.

The Common Sense Canadian: Site C Dam: Govt ignores own rules, faces multiple lawsuits

Peace Valley ranchers Ken and Arlene Boon are part of several law suits over Site C Dam (Damien Gillis)

Even if the BC Liberal government decides today to approve the now $8.5 billion Site C dam, the project still faces some big legal hurdles – based on mistakes the government made following the environmental review process.

In a nutshell, Site C faces 6 different lawsuits from three different groups – each bringing both provincial and federal challenges. The plaintiffs include Alberta First Nations, BC First Nations and the Peace Valley Landowners’ Association (PVLA). Each case boils down to two main issues (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Christy Clark admits Site C not needed for LNG; Cracks forming in her support for project: Bloomberg

BC Premier Christy Clark would choose the LNG industry over Site C Dam

According to this Dec. 10 story from Bloomberg, BC Premier Christy Clark remains bullish on the beleaguered LNG industry – but, more notably, she has finally given up on the notion the Site C Dam is needed to power LNG plants. Her comments here show cracks forming in her government’s support for the $8 Billion-plus dam:

British Columbia will prioritize LNG over a proposed hydroelectric dam, the C$8.5 billion Site C project, if labor estimates show it will put LNG projects at a disadvantage in securing (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Who Needs Water Anyway?

A delusional remark in a CBC article: “Canada, which has long been criticized for being heavily dependent on shipping natural resources to the rest of the world.” Our Prime Minister, and Saskatchewan’s Premier spend millions, hundreds of millions actually, to tell Canadians and the world how many resources we should be sending elsewhere.

Consider the stat from Gasland II, where about 60% of some wells’ casings are expected to fail within 30 years. Naturally that stat is going to err on the sensational, but even the more conservative ~10% estimates are extremely worrying. “Leaky plumbing on energy (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Are Gore, Suzuki, and Neil Young Hypocrites for Using Oil?

No. They are victims of circumstance, and despite their wealth and fame, they alone cannot change ‘the system’.

A voice from the Facebook-sphere intones: “I appreciate your commitment and respect what you are trying to achieve but bashing fossil fuels while you continue to use them adds no value to your cause.”

Not true. As Shane’s made plain, there’s no means for someone to hop off the oil bandwagon, because we’ve built our society around it for generations. It will take generations to leave it behind (completely), but that isn’t an argument to stop trying. Quite the opposite, (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: David Suzuki: Clean drinking water should be a human right in Canada

The lack of access to clean drinking water for hundreds of First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities across Canada, is a national shame, says environmentalist David Suzuki.

The post David Suzuki: Clean drinking water should be a human right in Canada appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Things Are Good: New York City’s Simple, and Green, Flood Prevention

New York, like other large cities, has a lot of impermeable services which means that when it rains there is little to contain the water. By using green infrastructure of soil, broken stone, shrubs, trees, etc. the bioswales can capture a lot of water. This green infrastructure is good for water management and obviously benefits the local environments through cleaner air and more pleasant views.

The Big Apple’s pretty new bioswales, built into city sidewalks much like standard tree pits and more modest in size than their suburban brethren, will join about 250 of these aesthetically pleasing drainage ditches that (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: IPPs an even worse rip-off than Site C Dam, SFU economist warns

Construction of a private power project on the Ashlu River (Photo: Range Life)

The following article by renknowned energy expert and SFU economist Dr. Marvin Shaffer is republished from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ Policy Note

You would think that the fiasco of the government forcing BC Hydro in recent years to buy run-of-river and other IPP supply that it didn’t need, resulting in losses of hundreds of millions of dollars per year, would have put that unfortunate policy on the back burner for a long time.

Not so. Clean Energy BC, the lobby group very ably representing (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Surfing Oceanic Data

The ocean is massive and it’s experiencing massive change thanks to climate change and humans depleting its resources. We know this, but we don’t know the extent of the harm done to the oceans nor many other aspects of life in the seas.

A surfer and engineer, Benjamin Thompson, decided to do tackle these problems. He invented a special fin for surfboards that can collect data about the planet’s waters while one enjoys some fun recreation

In a world that grows more “Big Data”-obsessed by the day, the amount of information we have on the world’s oceans remains curiously small. (Read more…)