Siemens-led project to look for smarter ways to use renewable energy

Siemens Smart Grid and Accenture have teamed up to form a joint venture company called Omnetric Group with the aim of providing utilities with an integrated view of their systems and data to improve energy efficiency, grid operations and reliability.

AMHERST, N.S. — As a green community willing to take a chance on trying new things when it comes to renewable energy, Amherst is developing a can-do reputation.

That commitment to green power was recognized on Thursday when the federal Rural Economic Development Minister, Bernadette Jordan, and Karen Hutt, CEO of Nova Scotia Power, came to Amherst to announce a $93-million clean energy project being led by Siemens Canada Ltd., NSP and New Brunswick Power.

It is expected the project will help improve power delivery to underserviced communities, better integrate renewable energy into the power grid and reduce future electricity costs for consumers.

Under the Amherst project, Siemens Canada will research and develop smart grid technology to help better manage the two provinces’ electricity and build Canadian expertise that could improve the sustainability and efficiency of power grids around the world.

The project is receiving a $35-million investment from the federal government through its Strategic Innovation Fund. An estimated 241 jobs are expected to be created or maintained throughout Atlantic Canada as a result of the project.

Siemens Canada will work with the power corporations in both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick to develop and implement a powerful cloud-based energy system platform allowing everyone to participate in the energy market. MORE

Ten Compelling Reasons Why Carbon Pricing Works

After a multi-year fight for political acceptance, carbon pricing is suddenly under attack from all sides of the political spectrum.

Ten Compelling Reasons Why Carbon Pricing Works, Below2C

Anyone who is serious about climate action and climate solutions must absolutely support the carbon pricing fee and dividend approach. Here’s why.

  1. It’s a method of redistributing money from high carbon emitters to lower carbon emitters. Something like 70% of households will get more back than the additional costs they incur because of the carbon price. Redistributing money is progressive, not regressive.
  2. Carbon pricing is one of three main strategies endorsed by the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, in what she calls the “three-legged stool”. The other two legs are regulations and investment. We won’t make progress on the climate emergency by knocking out one of the legs of the stool. Commissioner Dianne Saxe said carbon pricing was working in Ontario, and that fee and dividend is a valid alternative method to cap-and-trade, which was working until the Ford government killed it off with Bill 4.
  3. Grassroot activists have been working for eight years to achieve this one leg of the stool at the federal level, and it has finally been adopted by the Trudeau government. We all wish they would stop buying pipelines, end all fossil fuel subsidies, and invest more in renewables. They’re doing some of this, and we should push them for more! But to fight against the one definite win by Citizens’ Climate Lobby and other citizen lobbyists is cruel and self-defeating. Instead, advocate for the leg of the stool you want—rather than attacking the climate community’s biggest win, learn from and emulate the organized lobby that made it happen. MORE

Climate change endangers half the world’s groundwater supply

Climate change today will effect the water supply for hundreds—possibly thousands—of years.

Humans exist on a short leash. A person can only last around three days without drinking water. Put that way, human life is absurdly fragile; plenty of other organisms can go far longer. Just think of your houseplant. To make matters more precarious, that essential substance is growing harder to come by. You’ve heard about this: climate change and population growth is a devastating twofer.

Scientists found that climate-related changes to rainfall in the next century will make it harder for 44% of the world’s aquifers to recharge, particularly the shallower ones we rely on to fill up faster.

But water scarcity doesn’t just apply to the water you can see. It isn’t just bathtub rings in Lake Mead. Of the seven and a half billion people currently residing on our fair planet, two billion rely on groundwater—water that’s seeped through the layers of soil and rock to become stored in underground deposits called aquifers. Some of this water is exceptionally old. Some of it did all its seeping when dinosaurs lumbered around. Filling some of these aquifers can take an extraordinarily long time, so on a timescale relevant to any human lifetime, much of it is not a renewable resource. MORE

David Suzuki: Canadian pipeline push promotes false and misleading claims


An Angus Reid poll found 58 percent of Canadians think lack of pipeline capacity is a national crisis. They can be forgiven for this. The company that owns a near monopoly on newspapers in Canada, aided by politicians and fossil fuel interests, has put significant effort into convincing them.

That the number rises to 87 percent in Alberta, with 96 percent believing that not building new pipelines would have a major impact on the Canadian economy, isn’t surprising. All mainstream newspapers there are owned by the same company, political parties across the spectrum prioritize oil and gas interests over everything, and even educational institutions like the University of Calgary have been compromised by industry influence.

What won’t help is continuing to dig up, frack, and sell climate-disrupting fossil fuels as quickly as possible

The economic and societal costs from the pollution and climate impacts of rapidly digging up, shipping, and consuming these fossil fuels, whether the end product is burned here or in other countries, continue to rise along with global emissions and temperatures. That’s a crisis! MORE


Quebec listens to the Québécois but not First Nations


Image result for Legault Quebec firearms registration
 Premier Francois Legault

Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador: 

WENDAKE, QCJan. 23, 2019 /CNW Telbec/ – The AFNQL is responding to the simplification measures announced by the Minister of Public Security earlier today and considers that the Legault government’s approach does not address specific First Nations issues. Among other issues, firearms’ registration is an irritant in the search for an open and positive political relationship with the Quebec government.

The AFNQL is also extremely concerned that any information intended to facilitate registration for those who wish to do so is only made available in French when many Nations use English. In addition, it should be remembered that many firearm owners in our Nations only speak in their original languages.

The start up position, as far as we are concerned, was clearly expressed by the AFNQL before the parliamentary committee on Bill 64 in March 2016, to the effect that First Nations have jurisdiction and can adopt regulations of their own. Moreover, we will never insist enough on the specific First Nations’ framework whose Aboriginal and treaty rights are recognized by the Canadian Constitution. MORE


Opitciwan First Nation taking Canada and Quebec to court over land rights after long wait


Beekeepers are struggling to adapt their hives to the use of dicamba, a pesticide that kills many of the flowering plants that bees depend on.

While soybean farmers watched the drift-prone weed killer dicamba ravage millions of acres of crops over the last two years, Arkansas beekeeper Richard Coy noticed a parallel disaster unfolding among the weeds near those fields.

When Coy spotted the withering weeds, he realized why hives that produced 100 pounds of honey three summers ago now were managing barely half that: Dicamba probably had destroyed his bees’ food.

In October, the Environmental Protection Agency extended its approval of the weed killer for use on genetically modified soybeans and cotton, mostly in the South and Midwest, for two more years. At the time, the EPA said: “We expect there will be no adverse impacts to bees or other pollinators.”

But scientists warned the EPA years ago that dicamba would drift off fields and kill weeds that are vital to honeybees. The consequences of the EPA’s decisions now are rippling through the food system. MORE

Who owns Canada’s fossil-fuel sector?

Mapping the network of ownership and control

This study shows that substantial ownership and strategic control over Canada’s fossil-fuel sector are in the hands of a few major players, including all the Canadian big banks and several US investment funds, governments and some wealthy families—many of which are located outside Canada.

And, these investors have high stakes in maintaining business as usual rather than addressing the industry’s serious climate issues. They have both an interest in the continued growth of the sector and the economic power to shape its future.

The study highlights the important role of banks and institutional investors despite the relatively small ownership stakes any given investor tends to hold in a single fossil fuel company. Each institutional investor may own less than 10 per cent of any single company, but as a group they own far more, placing them in a position to exert control as a “constellation of interests”.


Download the report.          Download the Summary.

Doug Ford government loses attempt to quash cap and trade case

Greenpeace Canada and Ecojustice will see Ontario in court in April over government’s failure to consult the public after cancelling cap and trade

Image result for doug ford

Ontario Prime Minister Doug Ford attends a meeting of the premiers of Canadian provinces on Dec. 7, 2018, in Montreal. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called the meeting. MARTIN OUELLET-DIOTTE/GETTY IMAGES

TORONTO, 26 January 2019 — The Ford government’s attempt to dismiss a court case against them brought by Greenpeace Canada, represented by Ecojustice, has failed. The organizations filed a lawsuit against the Government of Ontario for unlawfully failing to consult the public when it ended Ontario’s cap and trade program. In early January, the government brought a motion to stop the case, arguing that there was no point in proceeding because the regulation to revoke cap and trade is no longer in force. On Friday, the court rejected this argument and said the case should proceed.

Keith Stewart, Senior Energy Strategist with Greenpeace Canada, said:

“We are eager for Doug Ford’s government to have to answer for their actions over cap and trade, and glad that Greenpeace will get our day in court to protect the environment and Ontarians’ democratic rights. This is an important reminder that not even Doug Ford is above the law.”

Professor Amir Attaran, lawyer for the Ecojustice-uOttawa Environmental Law Clinic, said:

“The Ford government broke the law when it illegally failed to consult the public. We’re going to court to remind Premier Ford that winning an election does not give his government carte blanche to ignore the legal rights of Ontarians to be consulted on major changes to the laws and regulations that protect them from climate change.