kyoto

Wed, 2014-08-06 10:01Guest
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Canada Needs Some Serious Climate Honesty

climate oilsands, kris krug, mark jaccard, harper government

This is a guest post by Mark Jaccard, professor of sustainable energy at Simon Fraser University. 

In 2007, Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government asked me and four other economists if we agreed with its study showing huge costs for Canada to meet its Kyoto commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2010. We all publicly agreed, much to the chagrin of the Liberals, NDP and Greens, who argued that Kyoto was still achievable without crashing the economy. It wasn’t.

As economists, we knew that the Liberal government of Jean Chrétien should have implemented effective policies right after signing Kyoto in 1997. It takes at least a decade to significantly reduce emissions via energy efficiency, switching to renewables, and perhaps capturing carbon dioxide from coal plants and oilsands. Each year of delay jacks up costs.

Mr. Harper’s government knew this too. Years later, when environment minister Peter Kent formally withdrew Canada from Kyoto, he charged the previous Liberal government with “incompetence” for not enacting necessary policies in time to meet their target.

Wed, 2013-11-20 15:05Stephen Leahy
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Canada Leads Race to Climate Disaster

Leona Aglukkaq UN Cop 19

WARSAW, Poland  Canada has led the way to scuttle the UN climate talks here in Warsaw, Poland taking with it nearly all hope of keeping global warming to less than 2C say members of various international organizations.

Along with 190-plus nations, the Harper government signed an international agreement to keep carbon emissions below 2C at the UN climate talks in Cancun in 2011. And yet here at these very difficult climate talks to create a new treaty to protect the climate, the Canadian delegation considers the 2C target “aspirational” and not especially important according to sources.

The government's official COP 19 Qs and As webpage fails to mention the 2C target.

Canada has unilaterally walked away from it's international climate commitments including the Kyoto Protocol and the 2009 Copenhagen Accord said Bill Hare, director of Climate Analytics, a German climate science research organization.

Thu, 2013-04-04 11:09Stephen Leahy
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Blame Canada Part 4: What is Happening to Canada?

Blame Canada is a four part series revealing how Canada has become a wealthy, fossil-fuelled energy superpower and an international climate pariah. Part 1 reveals Canada's emergence as a Petrostate, part 2 outlines Canada's climate crimes, and part 3 shows how energy 'wealth' contributes to the nation's poverty.

Canada's opposition to anything that might help developing countries is “mind-boggling” a delegate from Mali told me during a UN conference to slow the widespread extinction of species. “Canadians are known to protect the environment, I cannot understand why they are pushing policies that are clearly unsustainable,” he said.

Only a few days before Prime Minister Stephen Harper told delegates that losing wildlife was an urgent and alarming issue. Then as nearly 190 nations made plans to take action, Canadian delegates blocked those plans with legal and technical manoeuvres.

Do Canadians know what their government is doing here? You must tell them.”

That was in 2008. Since then at environmental or development gatherings around the world I've been asked dozens of times “what has happened to Canada?” And it's not just me.

Thu, 2013-03-07 08:00Stephen Leahy
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Blame Canada Part 1: The Country Has Become a Petro-State, Happily Drilling for Profits as the World Warms

Blame Canada is a four part series revealing how Canada has become a wealthy, fossil-fuelled energy superpower and an international climate pariah. Part 2 outlines Canada's climate crimes, part 3 shows how energy 'wealth' contributes to the nation's poverty and part 4 asks What is Happening to Canada?

What's happened to Canada? To the dismay of many a country with an international reputation for relatively progressive environmental policies (at least compared to the United States) is rushing headlong to dig up all the oil, gas, and coal it can. The country’s leaders can scarcely muster the effort to pretend to want to limit climate-heating carbon emissions. And the Canadian business establishment and media have largely gone along with the program. Put it all together, and you have a country that has become a full-blown “petrostate.”

People are starting to notice. Last December at the UN climate talks in Doha, Qatar, Canada beat out tough contenders like Saudi Arabia to be elected “Colossal Fossil” by environmental organizations from around the planet. Canada had the dishonor of being the most uncooperative country out of 193 nations at the climate summit. It was the sixth year in a row that international environmental groups gave Canada their 'highest' award for its persistent efforts to block any agreement on reducing carbon emissions.

What's happened to Canada is that it has experienced a steady takeover by the fossil fuel industry. Canada's is now the world's fifth largest crude oil producer and the biggest supplier of oil to the US. Canada is also the third largest producer of natural gas and one of the top ten miners of coal. This enormous boom in fossil fuel production has been underway since the late 1990s. Like Saudi Arabia, fossil energy is by far Canada's biggest export and has become the dominant economic and political focus.

Thu, 2013-02-28 08:01Jim Hoggan
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How the Harper Government Fuelled the Anti-Keystone XL Movement

As the Obama administration revisits its decision on whether to approve the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, DeSmog Canada decided to take a look at how the project became a cause célèbre.

We asked ourselves: Of all the environmental causes to fight, what was it that mobilized Hollywood celebrities, renowned scientists, environmental activists and a handful of Texans to face jail time protesting a proposed pipeline from Alberta to the U.S. Gulf Coast?

What’s more: How did a decision on the project - which Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper once brushed off as a “no-brainer” - get sidelined by the U.S. government ahead of a crucial 2012 presidential election?

While the Stephen Harper government has been quick to point fingers at so-called foreign-funded “radicals” and First Nations, we believe the answer lies much closer to home.

In fact, if the Obama administration decides to reject TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline, the Harper government will need to face facts: Its own environmental policies and PR tactics will be largely to blame.

Sun, 2013-02-17 10:19Guest
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Government Must Heed Environment Commissioner's Warning

By David Suzuki with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation Communications Manager Ian Hanington. This post originally appeared in the Science Matters blog on the DSF website.

When the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform exploded in 2010, killing 11 people and spewing massive amounts of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, it cost more than $40 billion to mop up the mess. In Canada, an oil company would only be liable for only $30 million, leaving taxpayers on the hook for the rest.

That’s just one of a litany of flaws Canada’s environment commissioner identified with the government’s approach to environmental protection. According to environment and sustainable development commissioner Scott Vaughan, who released a final series of audits before stepping down, the federal government’s failure to protect the environment is putting Canadians’ health and economy at risk.

Vaughan says the government has no real plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and is not even on track to meet its own modest targets (already watered down from the widely accepted emission-levels baseline of 1990 to 2005). It is unprepared for tanker accidents and oil spills in coastal waters. It lacks regulations governing toxic chemicals used by the oil industry.

He noted the federal government does not even require the oil and gas industry to disclose chemicals it uses in fracking, which means there is no way to assess the risks. And despite the fact that Canada has committed to protecting 20 per cent of its oceans by 2020, we have less than one per cent protected now and are not likely to meet our goal within this century.

Fri, 2013-01-25 05:00Carol Linnitt
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Canadian Scientists Must Speak Out Despite Consequence, Says Andrew Weaver

If people don’t speak out there will never be any change,” says the University of Victoria’s award-winning climate scientist Andrew Weaver. 

And the need for change in Canada, says Weaver, has never been more pressing.

“We have a crisis in Canada. That crisis is in terms of the development of information and the need for science to inform decision-making. We have replaced that with an ideological approach to decision-making, the selective use of whatever can be found to justify [policy decisions], and the suppression of scientific voices and science itself in terms of informing the development of that policy.”
 
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