climate change

Wed, 2014-07-09 16:53Derek Leahy
Derek Leahy's picture

Soaring Transportation Emissions Preventing Ontario From Meeting Climate Targets: Environment Watchdog

Ontario may have shut down its last coal plant earlier this year, but the province still needs to make major cuts to the amount of greenhouse gas emissions it produces if the provincial government is serious about tackling global warming, according to a new report.

The provincial government hasn’t even delivered on commitments it made seven years ago,” Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller said in a statement on Wednesday.

Miller, who is Ontario’s independent environmental watchdog, did not mince words in his report on the province’s slow progress in reducing its overall carbon footprint. He says Ontario will not meet its 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets “because [Ontario] has taken very little additional action to implement the Climate Change Action Plan it released seven years ago.”

We need to limit the increase in global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius. But that can only be done if we leave two-thirds of the existing oil and natural gas reserves in the ground. People need to understand that brutal fact,” Miller warns.

Wed, 2014-07-09 08:44Emma Gilchrist
Emma Gilchrist's picture

Toronto Residents Deserve to Know When Sewage is Overflowing into Lake Ontario: Waterkeeper

Lake Ontario

Toronto residents should be alerted when sewage is being dumped into public waters, argues a legal request filed with the Ontario government Tuesday by Lake Ontario Waterkeeper.

The request was filed on the anniversary of last year’s widespread flooding, which resulted in 1.3 billion litres of sewage flowing into the Humber River and Lake Ontario over the course of 28 hours without residents being informed.

We see it as a slam dunk,” Waterkeeper president Mark Mattson told DeSmog Canada. “We’ve never met anyone who thought it shouldn’t happen. If there’s a heat alert, you publish it. If there’s a smog alert, you publish it. It should be the same for sewage.”

The Ministry of the Environment has two months to respond to Waterkeeper’s request.

In 2013, 4.2 billion litres of sewage bypassed treatment plants and went straight into Toronto’s waterways.

Tue, 2014-07-08 15:56Guest
Guest's picture

Addressing Global Warming is an Economic Necessity

David Suzuki

This is a guest post by David Suzuki

Those who don’t outright deny the existence of human-caused global warming often argue we can’t or shouldn’t do anything about it because it would be too costly. Take Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who recently said, “No matter what they say, no country is going to take actions that are going to deliberately destroy jobs and growth in their country.”

But in failing to act on global warming, many leaders are putting jobs and economic prosperity at risk, according to recent studies. It’s suicidal, both economically and literally, to focus on the fossil fuel industry’s limited, short-term economic benefits at the expense of long-term prosperity, human health and the natural systems, plants and animals that make our well-being and survival possible. Those who refuse to take climate change seriously are subjecting us to enormous economic risks and foregoing the numerous benefits that solutions would bring.

The World Bank — hardly a radical organization — is behind one study. While still viewing the problem and solutions through the lens of outmoded economic thinking, its report demolishes arguments made by the likes of Stephen Harper.

Sat, 2014-07-05 09:00Chris Rose
Chris Rose's picture

U.K., U.S. Militaries Prepare For Severe Global Warming Consequences

U.S. and Germany navy ships

Two new reports prepared for the U.K. and the U.S. militaries suggest that the consequences of climate change are immense in scope and will create severe, sustained challenges for the world and its growing population.

The fifth edition of Global Strategic Trends, prepared for the U.K. Ministry of Defence, says climate change will likely create a lengthy list of defence and security implications in the next three decades.

Key predictions include more sexual violence in war zones, failed and failing cities posing major security repercussions for nations and more extreme weather events causing widespread damage and loss of life. The report also raised the prospect of the increased use of nuclear energy increasing the likelihood of fissile material being obtained by non-state actors,

Written for military and political leaders, the 172-page report is stark, frightening and pulls no punches.

In the process of identifying threats, challenges and defence and security implications for policy- and decision-makers, there may be a tendency for the document to seem rather negative in its outlook. This is an inevitable consequence of its purpose. There is of course scope for human ingenuity to have a significant impact on the future, and hence there are considerable grounds for optimism.”

Fri, 2014-07-04 12:15Carol Linnitt
Carol Linnitt's picture

New Poll: Canadians Overestimate Oilsands Contribution to Economy, Yet Still Want Clean Shift

Alex MacLean, oilsands, keystone xl, tar sands

A new poll released Friday shows the majority of Canadians assume development in the Alberta oilsands has a much larger impact on nation’s economy than it actually does.

According to the poll, conducted by Environics and commissioned by Environmental Defence, 41 per cent of Canadians believe the importance of the oilsands to the economy is six to 24 times higher than it actually is. And a full 57 per cent of Canadians overestimate the value of oilsands to the country’s economy.

The oilsands, according to Statistics Canada, account for only 2 per cent of the national GDP.

Despite the misconception, however, 66 per cent of Canadians still support a transition to a cleaner economy that would limit dependence on the oilsands.

In addition, 76 per cent of Canadians believe that, in light of climate change, the country should shift from fossil fuels to cleaner energy.

Wed, 2014-06-25 15:10Chris Turner
Chris Turner's picture

How Shoddy Reporting is Stunting Canada's Climate Change Conversation

Stormtrooper vs. Obi-Wan

This week, Natural Resources Canada released a major report on climate change and its potential impacts in Canada. The report is novel-thick, the first significant NRCan missive on climate change since 2008, and it rattles off a list of near-future worries that will be familiar to anyone watching climate news closely — heavier rains, more extreme weather events, rising sea levels and acidifying oceans.

You can be forgiven if this is the first you heard of it, since the report was published without so much as a press release. I can only assume this is because the report represents a straightforward, data-driven, thoughtful analysis of the status of the planet’s climate and the likely impact of a changing climate on Canada’s environment, economy and society. And this kind of serious talk is just not how you talk about climate change in Ottawa these days.

I speak often to a wide range of Canadian audiences – from conventional and renewable energy professionals to academic crowds to municipal officials – about the status of the green economy’s vanguard, much of which is situated in western Europe. And I frequently encounter some variation on the same question: Why has Canada lagged so far behind in building a low-carbon society? There’s no single answer, but when I’m in need of a shorthand, I say that we’ve failed for the most part to develop and maintain a serious public conversation about climate change. We talk about climate change – a ubiquitous, universal problem of epochal scale – as something distant in time and space, self-contained and inconsequential, unworthy of intense and sustained scrutiny. Sometimes, our government doesn’t even tell the public when it has issued a major report on the subject.

Tue, 2014-06-24 14:04Chris Rose
Chris Rose's picture

Tackling Global Warming Would Increase GDP (And Save 94,000 Lives a Year): World Bank Report

High-speed train

Aggressively tackling global warming through better public transportation and increased energy efficiencies could increase global GDP by between $1.8 trillion and $2.6 trillion annually, a new report has found.

Released on Monday, the report by the World Bank and the ClimateWorks Foundation said tackling global warming now would also save as many as 94,000 lives a year from pollution-related diseases and reduce crop losses.

The report — Climate-Smart Development: Adding Up the Benefits of Actions that Help Build Prosperity, End Poverty and Combat Climate Change — shows the potential gains from scaling up pro-climate policies.

The report’s findings show clearly that the right policy choices can deliver significant benefits to lives, jobs, crops, energy, and GDP — as well as emissions reductions to combat climate change,” World Bank President Jim Yong Kim said.

Written in advance of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Climate Summit in New York in September, the report looks at benefits that ambitious climate mitigation policies can generate across the transportation, industry and building sectors, as well as in waste and cooking fuels. It focuses on Brazil, China, India, Mexico, the United States and the European Union.

Tue, 2014-06-24 07:16Emma Gilchrist
Emma Gilchrist's picture

B.C.’s Natural Gas Hypocrisy Leaves Consumers Paying the Price

One of the thorniest issues raised in the joint review panel’s report on BC Hydro’s Site C dam proposal is that of the B.C. government’s hypocritical policy on the burning of natural gas for electricity. 

The LNG developers have been promised a free hand to burn their gas here for their own purposes, but BC Hydro has been denied the same privilege,” the panel wrote in its report on the $7.9 proposed dam.

The controversy revolves around the 2010 Clean Energy Act — and who it applies to and, perhaps more importantly, who it does not.

The act limits BC Hydro’s options for generating electricity by demanding that 93 per cent of the province’s energy needs be met by “clean or renewable resources” — eliminating the use of gas turbines and sending the gas-fired Burrard Thermal generating station into early retirement.

It’s a reasonable policy from a climate change perspective — but there’s a catch.

In June 2012, the province exempted the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry from the Clean Energy Act, enabling plants to burn as much natural gas as they’d like to power their giant compressors — despite originally promising they'd be powered by clean electricity — and, as of now, that’s exactly what they intend to do.

If it is acceptable to burn natural gas to provide power to compress, cool, and transport B.C. natural gas for Asian markets, where its fate is combustion anyway, why not save transport and environmental costs and take care of domestic needs?” the Site C panel wrote.

Mon, 2014-06-23 10:18Derek Leahy
Derek Leahy's picture

Ecologically Unique ‘Ring of Fire’ Needs More Study Before Development, Groups Say

Ring of Fire mining, DeSmog Canada, Ontario

Two Ontario-based environmental organizations are calling on the recently reelected Ontario Liberal government to assess the potential cumulative social and environmental impacts of mining projects in northern Ontario's ‘Ring of Fire’ before mining begins. The ecological services Ontario’s Far North provides Canada and the world are too valuable to take for granted the organizations argue in a report released last week.

Simply put, this is not a place that can be “offset” or restored if it is damaged or destroyed by poorly planned development,” the report, Getting it Right in Ontario’s Far North, states.

Northern Ontario is the single largest intact extant of boreal forest in the world. It is the last refuge for species at risk such as caribou, wolverine and lake sturgeon and the nesting grounds for thousands of songbirds. The region is a “critical storehouse” of carbon in the fight against climate change. The forests and peat lands of Ontario’s Far North absorb 12.5 million tonnes of global warming carbon dioxide emissions annually, and store ninety-seven billion tonnes of carbon.

The federal government estimates between thirty to fifty billion dollars worth of mineral resources lay beneath ground of the so-called Ring of Fire, a five thousands kilometer squared area (roughly the size of PEI) five hundred kilometers north of Thunder Bay in the northern James Bay Lowlands.

We need a planning process that is equal to the scale and complexity of the challenge, rather than continuing to depend on piecemeal efforts that put wildlife species and human communities at higher risk in the face of global pressures like climate change and a race for resources,” Cheryl Chetkiewicz, associate conservation scientist with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) Canada, said.

Sun, 2014-06-22 14:10Raphael Lopoukhine
Raphael Lopoukhine's picture

Top Five Craziest Things Climate Change Recently Did in Canada

melting permafrost canada

Climate change “has moved firmly into the present” as “evidence of human-induced climate change continues to strengthen” and “impacts are increasing across the country,” concluded a recent in-depth U.S. government report.

With no equivalent in Canada of the U.S. team of “300 experts guided by a 60-member Federal Advisory Committee” to prepare a report on climate impacts in Canada, DeSmog Canada has made its own report. And by report, we mean a list of… the top five craziest climate change impacts in Canada. Drum roll please….

Pages

Subscribe to climate change