The Ontario Election and Climate Change

Many voters concerned about climate change grudgingly accepted the Liberals over its principal challenger, the Ontario Conservative Party. These voters gave the Liberal party credit for what it had accomplished in reducing GHG emissions.  They were prepared to give some breathing room before expecting more action on the subject.  Their choice was made easier by the Conservative’s indifference … Read more

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.

Read moreNorthern Gateway: A Plea for the Future

Will Canada ever respect GHG targets?

B.C. Premier Christy Clark wishes to establish LNG plants in British Columbia, tapping into reserves of natural gas in that Province and possibly in the neighbouring province of Alberta.  Her problem is that LNG generating plants are sources of Greenhouse gases.  The contemplated plants would probably make it impossible for BC to meet its 2020 emission targets.

Her solution: reduce the BC target.

Her rationalization:  China will import the LNG, which it will use to replace coal as the energy for electricity generation.

The happy result:  overall China’s Greenhouse Gas emissions will be reduced.

Read moreWill Canada ever respect GHG targets?

The State of the Planet

We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. . . We will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God.

President Obama, Inaugural address, January 2013.

These stirring words gave hope to millions around the world who were despairing for the future of the planet. At last, a major international leader was taking a stand. But facing Congress a few weeks later, the president was more muted about the environment in his State of the Union address. A brief reference to combating climate change “for the sake of our children and our future” was tucked away in the middle of his speech, sandwiched between the need for energy self-sufficiency and curbing climate change using market-based solutions while “driving strong economic growth.”

Why had the lofty sentiments about the state of the planet dissipated in a matter of weeks? Was it the reality of dealing with a fractious legislature who opposes action on climate change? Was it the need to placate the business community and the fossil fuel lobby? Perhaps he was pandering to consumers who also happen to be voters.

In Canada, however, there were no stirring words about the state of the planet in the last Speech from the Throne in 2011. There was no ennobling vision for the future of our children and grandchildren. There was not even a reference to the dangers of climate change.

Read moreThe State of the Planet

Nobody’s speaking! Nobody’s listening!

The 2012 US Presidential election campaign has seen a few surprises.  Instead of being a walkover, it appears to be a close race. Governor Romney is emphasizing the economy: are you better or worse off than in November 2008?   President Obama appeals to his experience as “Commander in Chief”, to use the US political tag. … Read more

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