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Thu, 2015-04-16 13:12Carol Linnitt
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The Faulty Logic Behind the Argument That Canada's Emissions Are a ‘Drop in the Bucket'

At the premiers' climate summit this week, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall brought up a statistic that has received a fair amount of attention lately: Canada’s emissions account for fewer than two per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions.

He's not wrong, but used as an argument against doing our part to combat climate change, his point does contain some flawed logic.

“Showing leadership matters, signals matter, examples matter, but the numbers are the numbers,” Wall said.

Essentially, Wall appears to be suggesting that because no single action by itself will solve the problem, we shouldn’t take that single action.

Applying this logic to other situations reveals just how faulty it is.

Sat, 2015-04-11 08:00Carol Linnitt
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DeSmogCAST 14: Canada's Silenced Scientists, Tanker Train Industry Fights and Coal's Climate Secret

In this episode of DeSmogCAST host Farron Cousins discusses DeSmog Canada's recently unsuccessful attempt to interview an Environment Canada scientist.
 
Steve Horn from DeSmogBlog gives the background story to the in-fighting between oil refiners and tanker train operators who don't want to pay extra to transport dangerous fuels like Bakkan oil or diluted bitumen from the Alberta oilsands.
 
Finally Cousins asks DeSmogBlog's Mike Gaworecki to explain new revelations that coal companies are taking climate change very seriously - but only behind closed doors.
 
Fri, 2015-04-10 13:14Carol Linnitt
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Majority of Canadians Say Climate More Important than Oilsands, Pipelines

On Saturday, April 11, thousands of Canadians are expected to gather in Quebec City for a national day of action on climate change (update: an estimated 25,000 attended the march). The march will occur in advance of an unprecedented gathering of the nation's premiers, who will meet in Quebec City April 14 to discuss provincial climate plans (Premiers Christy Clark, Jim Prentice and Stephen McNeil declined to attend the summit).

According to a new poll released by the Canadian arm of the Climate Action Network, the majority of Canadians feel addressing climate change is a higher priority than developing the Alberta oilsands or building pipelines.

Canadians believe climate disruption is a moral issue and that climate protection trumps development of the tarsands and pipelines. They want politicians to control carbon pollution and give citizens a say in energy decision-making,” the network said in a press release.

Thu, 2015-04-09 09:22Carol Linnitt
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To Be or Not to Be Charitable? Canada’s Law Stuck in Shakespearean Times

You may be surprised to hear this, but the history of charitable case law in Canada involves a little-known story about war, political deception and a group of ‘United Brethren’ known as the Moravians. Really.

It should read like a Dan Brown novel.

Unfortunately, it’s not nearly that scintillating. Mostly, I’m sure, because the history of charitable law has been written by…well…lawyers.

But there is an interesting story of the protracted history of charitable law in our country and it reaches way back to Shakespearian times. That history continues to have a profound effect on the contemporary Canadian political landscape.

To make that loooooong story short, what you need to know is this: Canadian charity law is old and full of holes.

Wed, 2015-04-08 11:08Carol Linnitt
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Wolves Scapegoated While Alberta Government Sells Off Endangered Caribou Habitat

Culling Alberta’s wolves without prioritizing caribou habitat protection and restoration is like “shoveling sand,” according to Mark Hebblewhite, associate professor of ungulate habitat biology at the University of Montana.

Hebblewhite says the Alberta government is sponsoring a wolf cull without doing the one thing that could possibly scientifically justify it: conserving and restoring critical caribou habitat.

That’s the tragedy here: the Alberta government blew the opportunity to do the right thing,” he said.

It’s all shoveling sand without real commitment to habitat conservation.”

Wed, 2015-04-01 12:33Carol Linnitt
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Oilsands Companies Scramble to Reclaim Seismic Lines in Endangered Caribou Habitat

Companies in Alberta’s oilsands are scrambling to find a way to reclaim tens of thousands of kilometres of seismic lines cut into the boreal forest before regulations that mandate the recovery of endangered caribou habitat are implemented in late 2017.

But while crews experiment with planting black spruce in piles of dirt during minus-25 degree weather in a bid to repair the forest, the Alberta government continues to lease massive segments of the region for further exploration and still hasn’t mandated reclamation of seismic lines.  

The controversy over caribou habitat and wolf culls in Alberta has stewed for years, but the issue of seismic lines has been largely overlooked. It’s these linear corridors cut through the forest (used to set off explosive charges to locate oil and gas deposits) that encourage predators like wolves to infiltrate what remains of fragmented caribou habitat.

I don’t think a lot of people thought these seismic lines were a big deal,” said Scott Nielsen, an Alberta Biodiversity Conservation Chair and University of Alberta professor. “But … there are these cascading effects that you can’t anticipate.”

In a century of oil and gas development, hundreds of thousands of kilometres of these wolf freeways have been cut through Alberta’s forest. In one section of the Lower Athabasca region alone, south of Fort McMurray and extending out to Cold Lake, there are 53,000 kilometres of seismic lines.

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