Good & Bad News – March 2017

Here’s a collection of some of recent good and bad news about climate change that Al Slavin has compiled from around the web. Some bad news While some technological and political progress is being made to slow the rise in greenhouse-gas emissions, almost all the climate science news is bad, showing an accelerating problem that … Read more

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

Fossil Fuels Promotion = Horse Manure

So, Canada’s federal government has finally approved construction of the proposed Enbridge pipeline that is intended to carry bitumen from Alberta’s tar sands to Kitimat, and thence by ocean to China.

If we do not go ahead, the Prime Minister warns us, Canada’s economy will be in grave danger. “No country is going to take actions that are going to deliberately destroy jobs and growth in their country,” he declared a week ago, in a joint statement with the openly climate denying Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott.  Read more at “Prime Minister Harper ups the ante!”

But what if none of this is true? What if there were two possible directions that Canada’s future economy could take, not just one? What if there was another future built on clean technology, renewable energy, sustainable transportation and zero-carbon buildings, in which Canada could prosper without the tar sands and the unwanted pipelines, and without all the fracking, the oil-polluted waters, the exploding trains, the waves of public opposition and the legal challenges from First Nations?

To Stephen Harper and his supporters, such a future is unthinkable. He would far rather we dwelled on the danger of not supporting fossil fuel expansion than the far graver danger of a world that is four, five or even six degrees warmer due to the carbon released by the fossil fuels. Read more at  “A Half Truth or a Suppressed Truth”.

Read moreFossil Fuels Promotion = Horse Manure

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.

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Green Innovation on Our Street

When collecting signatures for our petition on renewable energy, we made an interesting discovery.  One of our neighbours is associated with a company that specializes in renewable energy technology.  Green Syndications, working with George Brown College in Toronto, has developed a line of Vertical Axis Wind Turbines, with models designed to generate a maximum output of electricity from 2.5 to 10 KW.  The structure is also fitted with small solar panels that supplement output in calm wind conditions.

These small wind turbines have many advantages: they can be easily transported and set up; they are silent; they can operate in turbulent air flows; they are a good size for roof-top installation.  As they are less costly to manufacture, they will be priced less than other roof installations.

Read moreGreen Innovation on Our Street

Does it matter?

Our previous two blogs referred to proceedings occurring in a quiet sedate place where news media do not penetrate: the Canadian Senate. The Senate Standing Committee on Energy, the Environment and Natural Resources has been conducting hearings on climate change, renewable energy and related issues. At these hearings “Climategate” surfaced – once again!   “Scientific witnesses” … Read more