Carol Linnitt

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Carol Linnitt is Managing Editor and Director of Research for DeSmog Canada. Carol is a writer and researcher focusing on energy development, environmental policy and wildlife. She joined DeSmog in June 2010 as a researcher, focusing much of her time on the natural gas industry and hydraulic fracturing.

Carol is the lead author of DeSmog's original report Fracking the Future: How Unconventional Gas Threatens Our Water, Health & Climate. Her work also led to the DeSmog micro-documentary CRY WOLF: An Unethical Oil Story and the Cry Wolf investigative series.

Carol began her environmental career writing and performing interviews for The Canada Expedition, a non-governmental sustainability initiative, and while working in dispute resolution with communities affected by resource scarcity.

Carol has a Master's in English Literature from York University where she studied political theory, natural resource conflicts and Aboriginal rights. She also has a Master's in Philosophy in the field of phenomenology and environmental ethics and is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Victoria in the English and Cultural, Social and Political Thought programs.

National Energy Board to Consult Public on Pipeline Emergency Response Plans Following Kinder Morgan Secrecy Scandal

Secrecy surrounding pipeline emergency response plans will soon be the subject of public consultation conducted by the National Energy Board (NEB), according to the board’s CEO Peter Watson.

As the CBC reports, speaking to a group of business leaders in Vancouver on Monday Watson said, “Canadians deserve to be consulted on the transparency of emergency management information for NEB-regulated pipelines.”

Pipeline operator Kinder Morgan recently made headlines for refusing to disclose emergency response plans for its TransMountain pipeline expansion project, planned nearly triple the capacity of the existing line. Kinder Morgan refused to release an unredacted version of the emergency plan despite repeated requests from the province of B.C.

As DeSmog Canada first reported, the same emergency response plans were released in full to the public in the U.S. for portions of the pipeline that extend down into Washington State.

Redacted from the B.C. plans were contact details for company officials and first responders, information regarding spill response measures and cleanup equipment as well as spill response timelines for each unique segment of the pipeline.

Internal Documents Show Feds Doubted Their Own First Nations Consultation Process for Northern Gateway Pipeline

Internal documents obtained by B.C.'s Haisla Nation show the federal government had concerns about the consultation approach proposed for Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline since at least 2009.

The documents, requested by the Haisla Nation nearly four years ago, were released through Access to Information legislation recently and show the federal government was warned it wasn’t fulfilling its duty to consult Aboriginal peoples as required under Section 35 of the Canadian Constitution.

An Environment Canada e-mail included in the documents contained a list of concerns regarding the consultation process, stating, “it is not clear that [the process] would meet the honour of the Crown duty.”

The e-mail also acknowledged “First Nations were not involved in the design of the consultation process” and that there was a “lack of clarity” concerning First Nations’ rights and title.

Haisla Nation Chief Councillor Ellis Ross said he received the trove of documents with “mixed emotions.”

We’re very satisfied to know the staff of Environment Canada agreed with us in terms of the inadequate process in place to address rights and title,” Ross said. “But it’s disappointing this information is in our hands now when we can’t do anything with it legally or politically.”

Most Canadians Support Carbon Pricing, See Climate as Election Issue: New Poll

A new poll released today by Angus Reid finds the majority of Canadians support carbon pricing programs and more than half the population would like to see a national climate policy instituted at the federal level.

Although Canadians say they’re ready for climate action, there’s a lot less certainty surrounding climate leadership at the federal level, according to poll results.

There also appears to be some question about the actual impact of a carbon price but, despite the uncertainty, 75 per cent of Canadians support the idea of a national cap and trade program, and 56 per cent support the idea of a national carbon tax.

Currently Canada has a smattering of province-led carbon price initiatives — B.C.’s celebrated carbon tax being perhaps the most notable — although no national program to reduce emissions exists.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

Canada Will Miss Its Climate Target And We’ll All Miss Out

I don’t think anyone in Canada expects our good country to meet its climate target — even with the imminent pressure of the UNFCCC meeting in Paris later this year weighing down on our collective shoulders.

We have no reason to harbour that expectation given that our own federal government via Environment Canada has been telling us for years that Canada is running off the climate track and — because of growing emissions largely from the oil and gas sector — we are getting farther and farther away from meeting our government's self-imposed climate targets.

Because of that climate failure, Canada is holding all of us back from prosperity, jobs and better health.

That’s according to a new study of benefits from international emission pledges made in the lead up to December’s UN climate summit.

Developed countries around the world — with the exception of Canada and Japan — are unveiling their individual climate plans, which are due today.