“Dire Warning” means really DIRE!

A  Globe & Mail headline for a front page article on the latest UN Climate Change Report released by the IPCC (the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) described it as a “Dire Warning”.  The Globe found those words so alarming that it has withdrawn them from its online database of published articles. In our opinion … Read more

Toronto goes to the polls

Two of the three mayoralty candidates in this Toronto civic election had green credentials:  Olivia Chow, who was endorsed by Elizabeth May, and John Tory, who has been active in local environmental projects.  Both these candidates included environmental planks in their election platform directed at climate change.. Just before voting day, both the Toronto Star … Read more

Why are we marching in New York?

Why? Because our grandchildren’s future is at stake and thousands of people from all over North America are sending a message to world leaders. At least five chartered buses are travelling  from Toronto alone. The March starts at Central Park and world leaders in the General Assembly of the nearby United Nations headquarters will, we hope, take note of this outpouring over the climate crisis. We know that Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will urge leaders to take greater action than we did to defeat the Nazis in World War II.

We will be joined in New York by James Hansen, former head of NASA’s Goddard Institute, and author of Storms of My Grandchildren, along with a dozen of our grandparent friends from Norway. Bill McKibben, who started  <350.org>  (the organizers of the march) and James Hansen have been champions of the battle to bring about clean energy. And battle it has been. The Bush Administration even cut out parts of Hansen’s early report before releasing it !

Nonetheless, like other grandparents, my wife and I are looking forward to a positive future for all grandchildren. And the march on Sept. 21st could be the start of a quiet revolution as all of us begin to comprehend what the space travellers have told us for years: there is only one fragile, jewel of a planet and we have the responsibility to care for it, not poison it or exploit it.

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Setting a Price on Carbon

How should a Canadian Government set a price for carbon? By legislation, such as a carbon tax? Or by a market based system, such as cap-and-trade ?

In the 2008 Federal Election a majority of Canadians rejected a carbon tax proposed by the Liberal Party.  After this defeat, Jim Prentice, then the Federal Minister of Environment, announced that a carbon market was an important building block in the Conservative Government’s climate change plan.

The market was based on a a cap-and-trade system.   The system would limit emissions of greenhouse gases but emitters would be able exceed the limits by purchasing offset credits to compensate for their excess emissions.  These rules were never finalized and the proposal was effectively dropped.

In October 2010 Prentice resigned from the Government and joined the CIBC.  His departure was never explained.

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Northern Gateway: A Plea for the Future

The Joint Review Panel (JRP) was established by the National Energy Board (NEB) and the Minister of the Environment in December, 2009 to evaluate the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project (NGP). The three member panel was mandated to conduct a review of the environmental effects of the project and to determine if it was in the public interest. As part of the process, the JRP was required to consider comments from the public as well as groups with intervenor status, such as First Nations’ communities, government participants and the Northern Gateway consortium.

The panelists refer to the pipeline project in their report as the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project because Enbridge has formed a limited partnership to develop and operate the project. Enbridge is the only partner with an equity stake at this stage. There are 10 other corporate funding partners who have contributed financially to the pre-development work and have the option of becoming equity partners. Only 6 of the funding partners have chosen to divulge their participation, 3 are Canadian while the others are foreign owned companies. The names and the nationalities of the other 4 companies are not known.

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