Global warming? Nothing can be done about it!

So says Margaret Wente.  How can global warming be stopped if countries that are the largest contributors are not committed to the necessary reductions in their GHG emissions?

Ms. Wente referred to the proposed new US regulations on coal-fire electricity generating plants, such as the large Ohio plant in the attached image. (Source Wikipedia) As she points out, these regulations are subject to review and comment, a process that will last into next year.  Expected legal challenges could result in further extensive delay.  So there could be little reduction in US GHG emissions for some years, a circumstance that may result in the US missing its Copenhagen targets.

Read moreGlobal warming? Nothing can be done about it!

Writing on the Wall: the IPCC Fifth Assessment (mitigation)

The most important statement in the recently released IPCC Report from Working Group III on mitigation is the affirmation that disastrous effects of global warming can still be avoided.

In practical terms avoidance of disastrous climate change requires international agreement on a price for carbon. The price must reflect the emerging scarcity of disposal space for carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere.

With a price on carbon, fossil fuels will lose their competitive edge over renewable sources of energy. Canada and certain other countries will find that dependence on fossil fuels for energy cannot be sustained.

There is another consequence for Canada in the displacement of fossil fuels as a source of energy. In future Canada’s fossil fuel resource industry will progressively contribute less and less to our economy.

Read moreWriting on the Wall: the IPCC Fifth Assessment (mitigation)

Carbon Crash – Solar Dawn

In July 2011, 4RG carried a commentary on The Great Disruption, a book by Paul Gildings. The message was simple: In one sense our problem is not climate change, but the delusion that we can have infinite quantitative economic growth supported by fossil fuel energy.  Fossil fuel energy has two large problems:  it is a finite resource where …

Read moreCarbon Crash – Solar Dawn

No stopping the exploitation of the tar sands!

Andrew Gage, Staff Lawyer, West Coast Environmental Law, penned an article with the title “Dear President Obama: In Canada climate change affects none of our decisions!”

His article is a good analysis of the recent State Department Review of the Keystone XL Pipeline.  He compares the process followed by the State Department in conducting that Review with similar decisions of Canadian Government agencies.

We know that the State Department accepted that the tar sands bitumen would get to international markets whether or not the cross-border Keystone XL link was built.   Gage disputes this conclusion.

Regardless, he is right on the key issue!

Read moreNo stopping the exploitation of the tar sands!

Keystone and our image in the US!

Screen capture ForestEthics This image of Canada is far from flattering.  It headed an article in Treehugger.com that reviewed the status of the Keystone protests in the US. Stopping Keystone XL may be seen as a minor skirmish when compared with the significant battles that still must be fought to limit global warming.  Some environmentalists have criticized the choice of …

Read moreKeystone and our image in the US!

Ontario Leadership Required!

On May 6th last, the Ontario Government released a new policy for renewable energy. The new policy gives municipalities more control over the location of new large renewable energy projects. This change is a response to public criticism of the Government’s failure to consult with respect to the location of large gas-fired generating plants and placing of wind turbines.   While the new policy is politically necessary, it is administratively cumbersome. By way of contrast, a recent Report of the Ontario Distribution Sector Review Panel recommended consolidating the province’s local distribution companies (your municipal hydro company), which will encourage the development of “smart grids” that efficiently deliver electricity at a lower cost.

Read moreOntario Leadership Required!

A Cash Shower

On May 3 last,  the Canadian Government (described in its Press Releases as the Harper Government) showered cash on certain Canadian businesses and research institutions. Coordinated press conferences to announce these grants took place across Canada: in the Maritimes,  Quebec City (Harper was there), the Canada Cement Lafarge cement plant in Ontario, Toronto and the Yukon.  These grants approved in the 2011 budget under the Federal ecoENERGY Innovation Initiative total 85 million.

Grants for $17 million were awarded for research into Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS), larger  than amounts granted to any other research category.  Still the amount is relatively small in comparison with the Alberta Government committment to advance $1.3 billion to support the development of CCS as a solution to Alberta’s GHG emissions.

Read moreA Cash Shower