Tue, 2014-04-01 11:57Carol Linnitt
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All the Positive and Helpful Things in the IPCC Report No One Will Talk About

climate change, IPCC

If you’ve come across any of the recent headlines on the release of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, you’re probably feeling pretty low. The doom and gloom levels were off the charts. And understandably so. Major nations across the globe – especially Canada – are dragging their heels when it comes to climate change action. Canada, sadly, doesn’t have any climate legislation.

But maybe that’s because Canada was waiting for a group of the world’s most knowledgeable scientists to come up with a report for policy makers — you know, something to outline useful guidelines to keep in mind when looking to get your country out of the climate doghouse.

Well, Canada, you’re in luck. Here are some of the IPCC report’s most useful guidelines for responding to the multiple and growing threats of climate change:

Tue, 2014-02-04 10:13Kai Nagata
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Is Keystone in the National Interest? Of Canada, That Is?

keystone xl

It's up to the U.S. President to decide whether the cross-border leg of the Keystone XL pipeline is in the national interest of his country. Ultimately, his criteria are less scientific than political. Does he stand to lose more by alienating those who support or oppose the project?

With midterm elections coming up in November, Obama doesn't have time to worry about Canada's hurt feelings. Our economy, environment and opinion are very low on his list of priorities.

But the strongest pro-Keystone arguments on the American side raise an uncomfortable question: if the pipeline is approved, who benefits a little bit — and who benefits a lot? In other words, who gets the short end of the stick?

Fri, 2014-01-10 10:37Indra Das
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Survey Suggests Canadians Displeased With Government's Balancing of Economy and Environment

Prime Minister Stephen Harper

A public opinion survey commissioned by Environment Canada suggests that many Canadians are unhappy with the way the Harper government is balancing environmental issues and economic priorities.

Two in five, or 40 per cent, of Canadians who took the telephone survey “disagreed or strongly disagreed that the government is striking the right balance between addressing environmental and economic concerns,” reports Postmedia News.

26 per cent agreed or strongly agreed with the statement.

Wed, 2014-01-08 13:19Kai Nagata
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Christy Clark and the Great False Choice of 2014

Christy Clark Tokyo Luncheon

Our premier capped off 2013 — the most impressive year of her political career — with a trade mission to Asia, where she hopes to sell fracked-in-B.C. natural gas. Speaking in Tokyo on December 2, Clark offered a startling glimpse into her vision for our province’s economy.

It could be that Clark was simply telling some overseas businessmen what they wanted to hear. Or perhaps her new messaging reflects her true economic beliefs. Either way, British Columbians are about to be offered a false choice.

Here’s what Clark said in a speech at a natural resources conference, according to the Globe and Mail’s Justine Hunter:

The fundamental challenge for B.C.– and in fact, all developed economies in the world – goes beyond the recent global downturn and a fragile recovery. We need the courage to take a broader and deeper look, and admit the truth about most of the developed economies around the world.”

Amen, Premier. You’re absolutely right. Please continue.

Fri, 2013-09-27 13:58Guest
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Take Me to Your Compost!: Hipsters are Cool with the End of Economic Growth

Celine Trojand No Growth Economy on DeSmog Canada

By Kai Nagata

Vancouver! Gateway to the fabled markets of the Orient. Headquarters to the world's more discerning mining barons. Soon to be North America's largest exporter of coal - fuel of the future! Vancouver, my hometown, where you can dream of owning a million-dollar stucco bungalow while you intern as a busboy.

That's not a joke. Earlier this month, the Fairmont Waterfront hotel actually put up an ad for an unpaid internship as a “Busperson.” Perhaps we should applaud the Fairmont for offering young candidates an honest lesson in modern economics: if you're just putting on the apron now, chances are, you'll never catch up to the people you're serving. Now smile while you clear away those oysters.

If I sound sarcastic, that's because I'm 26. My generation is on the wrong side of some grim mathematics. Consider this: the largest segments of the B.C. economy are those relying on real estate and retail. At the same time, British Columbians have the largest, fastest-growing consumer debt in the country. For the economy to grow as it is currently structured, people have to buy new houses and shop more. But how do you pay off a mortgage if you're interning as a busboy? Most of my peers couldn't put together a down payment in the first place.

Thu, 2013-08-22 10:09Guest
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How the Oil Sands Industry is Distorting Canada's Economy

alberta tar sands by kris krug

This is a guest post by Thomas Homer-Dixon, professor of global governance at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, University of Waterloo. It originally appeared in the Globe and Mail and is republished here with permission.

By 2030, Canada’s output from the oil sands will reach about five million barrels a day, more than twice today’s output. Yet, by 2030, chances are also good that the world will have placed a price on carbon emissions to spur energy innovation and wean humanity off carbon-based fuels.

By then, climate change’s impact on global food security will have become starkly obvious. Already, heat waves and droughts in major grain-producing regions have caused food-price shocks and political unrest around the world.

On a planet with a rapidly changing climate, Canada should be figuring out now how to wind down carbon-intensive resource extraction. Otherwise we may soon find that we’re producing masses of stuff we can’t sell.

Sun, 2013-05-12 08:00Indra Das
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Tar Sands Dependence Could Lead to Negative Fallout for Canadian Economy

That Alberta Tar Sands

Recent forecasts from the International Energy Agency (IEA) and British Petroleum (BP) have cast new doubts on the long-term economic viability of exploiting the Albertan tar sands.

In a November report, the IEA predicted that demand for tar sands production in 2035 will be 3.3 million barrels a day, lower than the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers’ (CAPP) more optimistic estimate of 5 million barrels a day. BP’s Energy Outlook 2030, published in January, also forecasts that US oil imports will fall 70 percent by 2030 from 11 million barrels a day in 2011.

Citing the BP and IEA forecasts, author and former Oilweek editor Earle Gray writes in the Toronto Star, that “a host of factors dims the prospects for the oilsands.” Gray lists “slower growth in world oil demand, increasing energy efficiency, alternative fuels and possible caps on global warming emissions of carbon dioxide” as reasons the Harper government should be weaning the Canadian economy off the tar sands.

Mon, 2013-04-01 08:50David Ravensbergen
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UBC New Economy Summit to Develop Real Economic Action Plans for BC

For those who sense that something isn’t quite right with endless growth as an economic model, developing alternatives can be an isolated task. The evening news rarely leads with a story extolling the virtues of co-ops and community currencies, and the language of sustainability has been coopted by the status quo.

Although more and more people are busy creating new production models to meet the twin challenges of climate change and social justice, the hardest part may be getting them all together in a room.

For Justin Ritchie, this is exactly the opportunity that the New Economy Summit at UBC from April 4th to 6th is hoping to provide. Ritchie, one of the conference organizers and co-producer of a podcast on alternative approaches to social and economic organization called The Extraenvironmentalist, sees the 3-day event of panels and discussions as an opportunity to unite the efforts of a diverse network of people working with new economic models.

Fri, 2013-02-22 13:18Evangeline Lilly
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Our Climate Choice

I boarded a jet plane this past Friday and traveled 16 hours through the night to Washington, DC. I was back on a plane again on Monday morning flying the reverse 16 hours back home.  

I was in Washington for the Forward on Climate rally, to call on President Obama to say “no” to the KXL pipeline. 

The journey was long and on the way there I read Tim Flannery’s Now or Never, an inspiring (short) read on the state of the planet in the face of climate change. On the way back I was too exhausted to read or do anything productive, so I watched b-movies and contemplated my experience at the largest climate rally in US history.  
Tue, 2013-02-19 08:00Guest
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The Resurgence of an Evolving Climate Movement, Part 2

Ken Wu is executive director of Majority for a Sustainable Society (MASS) and co-founder of the Ancient Forest Alliance

For Part 1 of this article, click here.

In the first part of this article, I described what specific challenges the climate movement faces when confronting its own limiting tendencies as well as industry funded public relations campaigns. In this second part I outline what I think are four essential ways the climate movement must evolve in order to overcome these obstacles.

FIRST, we must become a lot more political, in the sense that it’s fundamentally the laws, policies, and agreements that shape our greater society and economy. And it’s our society and economy which are the foundations of our personal lifestyles. What is available, affordable, practical, and possible in our lifestyles is largely a product of the society in which we live – what clean energy sources exist at what price relative to dirty energy, how available public transit is, how well or poorly our cities are designed for walking, cycling, and accessing our needs, how energy efficient our buildings are, and so on.  

No individual is an island unto himself; the way we live is fundamentally shaped by the economy and society in which our lifestyles are nested.  


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