A few weeks ago, Bruce Anderson, a popular pundit and pollster, wrote an opinion piece criticizing the NDP’s Leap Manifesto as a clumsy political misstep. Canadians, Anderson argues, would never go for bold action addressing climate change. We’re a mild people. A simple people. He wrote:
“Canadians want 'pro-growth environmentalism.' They want to tap entrepreneurship, innovation, technology, science, capital and yes, capitalism, to help create ideas that marry our desire to put food on the table, money away for our kids’ education, and some sense of security about how we’re going to live in retirement.”
This last sentence caught my eye. If you read it closely, you’ll notice two lists. First are the feel-goodisms the oil industry likes to drape itself in: innovation, science, entrepreneurship; second are the actual anxieties of average Canadians. Rather artfully Anderson has fused the interests of everyday Canadians with the rhetoric of the oil patch; perfectly aligned and indistinguishable.
Gravel-bed rivers and their floodplains are the lifeblood of ecosystems and need to be allowed to run and flood unimpeded if species are to be protected and communities are to cope with climate change, a ground-breaking scientific study has found.
The broad valleys formed by rivers flowing from glaciated mountains, such as those found throughout B.C. and Alberta, are some of the most ecologically important habitats in North America, according to the team of scientists who have done the first extensive study of the full range of species that rely on gravel-bed rivers, ranging from microbes to bears. The paper was published online Friday in Science Advances.
In the region that stretches from Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming to the northern Yukon, gravel-bed river flood plains support more than half the plant life. About 70 per cent of the area’s bird species use the floodplain, while deer, elk, caribou, wolves and grizzly bears use the plains for food, habitat and as important migration corridors.
While everyone knows that fish rely on rivers, the scientists found that species such as cottonwood trees need the river flood to reproduce and the ever-changing landscape of changing channels and shifting gravel and rocks supports a complex food web.
First-time visitors to Australia are often drawn to the big city attractions of Sydney and Melbourne or the fabulous beaches of Queensland’s Gold Coast. I’ve always had a soft spot for Adelaide in South Australia, a city built more on a human scale, where downtown can be easily navigated on bike, foot or tram. For me, Adelaide’s greatest attraction is a huge market right in the city’s centre.
When I first visited Adelaide in 1993, I met Mike Rann, a young, charismatic aboriginal affairs minister in South Australia’s Labor government. His party lost the election that year, but Rann later became party leader and then state premier in a minority government in 2002. I met him again in 2003 when he outlined ambitious plans to address climate change by aggressively moving South Australia into renewable energy. Wind and solar were the obvious opportunities, but he was also enthusiastic about “hot rocks”, superheated pockets that could create steam to drive turbines for electricity.
The fossil fuel industry has spent many millions of dollars on confusing the public about climate change. But the role of vested interests in climate science denial is only half the picture.
Interest in this topic has spiked with the latest revelation regarding coalmining company Peabody Energy. After Peabody filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, documentation became available revealing the scope of Peabody’s funding to third parties. The list of funding recipients includes trade associations, lobby groups and climate-contrarian scientists.
This latest revelation is significant because in recent years, fossil fuel companies have become more careful to cover their tracks. An analysis by Robert Brulle found that from 2003 to 2010, organisations promoting climate misinformation received more than US$900 million of corporate funding per year.
The B.C. Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations (FLNRO) granted BC Hydro several exemptions from the B.C.Wildlife Act to keep Site C dam construction from falling behind expected timelines, DeSmog Canada has learned.
The exemptions have some local First Nations and legal experts concerned Premier Christy Clark’s promise to “push the project past the point of no return” is occurring at the cost of B.C.’s own permitting rules and wildlife management.
“BC Hydro has gone rogue,” Chief Roland Willson of the West Moberly First Nation told DeSmog Canada. “Worse yet, the province is aware of the situation and chooses to look the other way. What’s the point of having a regulator if it refuses to regulate?”
E-mail correspondence obtained by DeSmog Canada show BC Hydro requested last-minute permission from the Ministry of Forests to undertake “emergency amphibian salvage” along the banks of the Peace River. The ministry granted BC Hydro several exemptions from the Wildlife Act to conduct the work — something legal experts say is against the law.
Since 2005, domestic demand for electricity in B.C. has been essentially flat, making it difficult to justify the dam which will flood 107 kilometres of the Peace River and destroy thousands of hectares of prime agricultural land.
“There is no need for Site C,” Swain says. “If there was a need, we could meet it with a variety of other renewable and smaller scale sources.”
A Canadian climate change denial group has popped up in a U.S. coal giant's bankruptcy proceedings that have lifted the curtain on the funding of a sophisticated continent-wide marketing campaign designed to fool the public about how human activity is contributing to global warming.
A document, nearly 1,000 pages long, lists the Calgary-based Friends of Science Society as one of the creditors expecting to get money from the once-mighty coal company, Peabody Energy.
Climate scientists and environmentalists have long suspected that the so-called “Friends” group was a front for fossil fuel companies trying to block government action to reduce carbon pollution, but Friends of Science members always declined to reveal their source of funding.
U.S. oilfield workers are facing a big problem, and it’s not just the depressed prices in the worldwide oil markets.
Those who have jobs, especially the lowest level and dangerous jobs in the oilfields, are at high risk of being stiffed in a variety of ways. And they’ve started to fight back.
Five years ago, when the price of oil was high and fracking operations were ramping up throughout Pennsylvania, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Colorado and other states, there were plentiful stories about oilfield workers, many with minimal experience, pulling down six figure incomes. But even though the industry is known for paying high wages, the big paydays are more often due to the total number of hours worked, sometimes with workweeks exceeding 100 hours.
And these workers are very likely to be victims of “wage theft,” a denial of wages by employers wrongly classifying them as exempt from overtime, or paying them flat salaries regardless of the number of hours worked, or reneging on production bonuses.