Environmental activism has come of age. As recently as twenty-five years ago, its adherents were commonly disparaged as tree huggers and extremists. In the years since, thanks mostly to such disasters as the Exxon Valdez and Deepwater Horizon oil spills, they have outgrown these pejoratives—in the eyes of reasonable people, at least. A turning point was Al Gore’s 2006 documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, which for millions of viewers settled the debate on climate change.
OTTAWA - Canada announced on Tuesday its latest set of regulations on cars and light trucks to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as the UN climate talks entered its second day in Doha, Qatar.
The proposed regulations - expected to be finalized in 2013 - would require cars with model years 2017 to 2025 to cut on-road emissions by an average of 5 percent every year.
Light trucks, with model years 2017 to 2021, will be required to achieve an average of 3.5 percent reduction in annual GHG emissions, and a 5-percent cut for model years 2022 to 2025.
"Compared to 2008 models, vehicles rolling off the line in 2025 will produce almost 50 percent fewer greenhouse gas emissions and consume up to 50 percent less fuel," said Environment Minister Peter Kent while announcing the newly proposed regulations at a car dealership.
Energy giant Shell Canada Energy plans to increase bitumen production at the Jackpine Mine site by 100,000 bpd, bringing mining production to a total of 300,000 bpd.
The expansion would include space for new mining and processing facilities along the east side of the Athabasca River, approximately 70 km north of Fort McMurray.
Interested individuals and groups are now invited to provide comments and questions to a joint review panel in Ottawa. The panel, which was created to assess the environmental effects of the proposed project, must receive all comments in writing by Aug. 3, in order to be considered. All comments received by the panel will be considered public and will be posted online.
Comments, both in French or English, can be sent by mail, email or fax to:
Ontario’s last coal-burning power plants will close by the end of this year, Premier Dalton McGuinty is expected to announce Thursday.
The closure is either one year earlier than scheduled, or six years late, depending on your perspective.
The current deadline for closing the coal plants is Dec. 31, 2014 — which makes the new deadline a year early. But the McGuinty government had ridden into office in 2003 promising to close the coal plants by the end of 2007.
OTTAWA – A species of dragonfly may be the next victim of the federal government’s gutting of environmental protection laws, says Sierra Club Canada. The Laura’s Clubtail Dragonfly (Stylurus laurae) along with the Coast Manroot (Marah oreganus), and Four-leaved Milkweed (Asclepias quadrifolia) had their applications to be included on the Wildlife Species at Risk list denied by Environment Minister Peter Kent earlier last month (the July 4th announcement went unnoticed in the media).
Nuclear planners are not considering the possibility of a Fukushima-scale accident at Ontario’s Darlington nuclear station, critics told a regulatory hearing Monday.
The comments came as the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission opened hearings about the mid-life overhaul of the Darlington station, which provides 20 per cent of the province’s power.
“We would like to see them plan for an accident as severe as happened at Fukushima or Chernobyl,” said Theresa McCleneghan of the Canadian Environmental Law Association. “We’re not satisfied there’s been any serious attention paid to the capability to respond to such an accident.”
McCleneghan noted that if Ontario Power Generation gets approval for the overhaul, the plant will continue operating until 2055. OPG shouldn’t be allowed to proceed until more extensive emergency measures are in place, she said.
Canada’s scientific and environmental community received a huge blow last week with news that the Government of Canada plans to shut down the ELA. Employees of Fisheries & Oceans Canada learned on May 17, 2012 that research at ELA no longer fits within the government’s mandate and the world-renowned facility will be terminated in March 2013.
The abrupt closure means invaluable water research projects—not being done anywhere else in the world—will be lost, and their future findings lost with them. This includes a one-of-a-kind climate change study and the only investigation in the world looking at what happens in a lake polluted by nanosilver, the increasingly popular antimicrobial agent found in everything from household cleaning sponges to socks and even children’s teddy bears.
OTTAWA - Canadian courts should order Chevron to hand over its Canadian assets to compensate Ecuadorian villagers for the toxic legacy they are forced to live with as a result of the cost cutting polluting practices of the company. This court action comes just the Canadian government is attempting to gut environmental laws.
“We have launched #BlackOutSpeakOut because Environmental laws are essential to protect public health and the environment. Without them companies like Chevron will leave a toxic legacy for our children,” said John Bennett, Executive Director of Sierra Club Canada.
I had originally intended to write this column about my trip to Washington, DC on February 7-8, when I met with United States Senators and Congresspersons about climate and the Keystone XL pipeline. In brief, the trip was very successful in making links with strong proponents of climate action. Things are moving. The US General Accountability Office had decided that as a threat to federal government finances, climate change is now classed ‘high risk’.