Misspoke – but accurate!

At a recent town hall meeting Prime Minister Trudeau commented: “We can’t shut down the oil sands tomorrow. We need to phase them out. We need to manage the transition off of our dependence on fossil fuels.” These remarks led to a storm of protest, to which Trudeau responded (apologized?) : “I said something the … Read more

A Positive: Ontario’s increase in Electricity Rates!

One of the main reasons for an increase in Ontario electricity rates is the recent change from fossil fuels to renewable energy as a source for generation of power.  Germany and Denmark are in the front rank of countries who are switching to renewable energy, and their residents pay the highest rates in the world. Canadians have … Read more

A misguided policy

The Canadian Government has used a number of catch phrases to legitimize its support of fossil fuels.  The Government described its environmental monitoring and regulation of the tar sands as “world-class”, also referring to Canada in this context as “a world leader”.  Although the international community recognized these words as meaningless hype, many Canadians were re-assured that environmental risks were under control.

The value of Canadian dollar, also known as our petrodollar, soared.  Most Canadians considered that this development validated the goal of Canada as “an energy super-power”.

The Canadian Government countered criticism that an inflated dollar was detrimental to Canada’s manufacturing base. Supported by the Alberta Government and the fossil fuel industry, it emphasized that the exploitation of the tar sands resulted in substantial purchases of goods and services from suppliers in other Provinces.

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Climate Change Policies “down under”

So – has Australia progressed in reducing GHG emissions to meet its 2020 targets?  And, if not, what steps will it take to do so? Australia is the source for about 1.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions.  On a per capita basis these emissions are nearly twice the OECD average and more than four times … Read more

Yorklands Green Hub

Methane is a powerful GreenHouse Gas.  Methane emissions, such as the potential emissions from the Arctic waters, present a longer-term threat to our climate. There are other sources of methane that contribute to this threat, such as emissions from extraction of natural gas, and the recycling of organic waste.

Harvest Power is an American company that specializes in processes that generate electricity from organic waste.  A Harvest Power subsidiary in B.C. received a $4 million grant from the Federal Clean Energy Fund to develop a high efficiency system for producing renewable energy from food and yard waste. The proposal is to extract purified methane from waste that would otherwise be landfill.  This methane is then used to generate electricity.

This development is timely.  Unfortunately there are many municipal waste sites that still vent methane to the atmosphere.

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Fairness as between Provinces in the Canadian Confederation

We write this blog hoping that the citizens of Alberta can appreciate that exploitation of the tar sands leads to an inequitable distribution of responsibility for reducing GHG emissions among provinces.

In the January 5th, 2014 edition of the Vancouver Observer, Barry Saxifrage comments on a global energy report by ExxonMobil (“The Outlook for Energy: a view to 2040”).

“Amazingly, ExxonMobil’s emissions projections aren’t a ‘business-as-usual’ scenario.

They assume ‘that governments will continue to gradually adopt a wide variety of more stringent policies to help stem GHG emissions.’ This includes a carbon price rising to $80 per tonne of CO2 (tCO2) in OECD nations, like Canada and the USA. A carbon price of $80 is much too low to prevent climate disaster according to ExxonMobil. And yet it is also far above what we have the political will for so far.

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Collaboration is not action!

Attendees at the 2013 Energy and Mines Ministers Conference were provided with considerable information, including a pamphlet entitled Canada’s New Energy Landscape. These dramatic one-liners appeared on the cover of this pamphlet:

  • enabling continuing collaboration on Energy
  • the Energy Landscape is changing dramatically.
  • A new energy era is dawning for Canada.
  • An integrated system that balances energy production and use is required.

The pamphlet also contained quotes from publications of the International Energy Agency (IEA):

The years ahead will see “A vast international reordering of energy supply and demand patterns” and “If, as of 2017 there is not a major wave or new and clean investments, the door to 2 degrees will be closed.” (Fatih Birol, Economist IEA)

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