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Five misconceptions about driving an electric car in winter

“A lot of people compare these batteries to their cellphones. But those batteries are designed for different operating conditions — it’s not designed for cooler temperatures.”

Electric vehicle owners and advocates Jason Cruickshank (left) and Pat Keyser stand next to their electric cars at the Preston Crossing charging station in Saskatoon, SK on Friday January 18, 2019. (Erin Petrow/ Saskatoon StarPhoenix) SASKATOON

With the numerous financial and environmental benefits of driving an electric vehicle (EV) becoming increasingly apparent, more people are opting to make the switch — but some consumers are still worried about how cold temperatures affect the vehicles’ performance.

StarPhoenix reporter Erin Petrow spoke with electric vehicle owners and advocates with SaskEV, Jason Cruickshank and Pat Keyser, to dispel some of the popular myths about driving an EV during winter.

As with a vehicle with an internal combustion engine (ICE), it does take more energy to run an EV in the colder months, although Keyser noted that the battery powering her Tesla Model S is much more reliable in winter than the battery needed to start an ICE vehicle. MORE


Close to half of Canadian program touted for electric cars is funding natural gas stations

Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi at a G7 meeting in Halifax on Sept. 19, 2018. Photo by Alex Tétreault

Almost half of the funding in a federal program Canada has promoted as a boon for electric vehicles is being used for natural gas refueling.

The Trudeau government has funded a nationwide rollout of 102 electric vehicle (EV) chargers, as part of a Natural Resources Canada program called the “Electric Vehicle and Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Deployment Initiative.”

Electric vehicle advocates feel slighted that a program they thought was advancing the cause of electrification is also being used to fund transportation options that still produce tailpipe emissions.

The program has been promoted as fulfilling a commitment to put more zero-emission vehicles on the road. Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna recently touted the program as part of her announcement on new EV chargers across Quebec. What is less known, is that this program has also funded the installation of seven natural gas refueling stations, and three hydrogen refueling stations. MORE


Ottawa, Queen’s Park spar over federal plan for more zero-emission vehicles

‘We’re not convinced’: Groups criticize draft plan to restore Wood Buffalo National Park

‘If this is all we’ve got to save the park, we don’t have a very good outlook’

The world’s largest beaver dam in Wood Buffalo National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Parks Canada)

The draft for a federal plan to restore Canada’s largest national park suggests Ottawa is unlikely to ease international concerns about threats posed to its status as a World Heritage site, say environmental groups and First Nations.

“If this is all we’ve got to save the park, we don’t have a very good outlook,” said Kecia Kerr of the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, one of the groups worried about the impact of development and climate change on Wood Buffalo National Park.

The federal government has until Friday to respond to concerns raised by UNESCO about the park, which straddles the Alberta-Northwest Territories boundary.

The area’s Mikisew Cree First Nation warned UNESCO in 2014 that the sprawling park — one of the world’s largest inland deltas — was in trouble. UNESCO investigators agreed and that triggered a federal study. A 561-page report released last summer concluded that 15 out of 17 measures of ecological health were declining. MORE


Trans Mountain pipeline work destroyed salmon habitat, scientist says

A tanker arrives at Trans Mountain Westridge Marine Terminal in Burrard Inlet, In Burnaby, BC. H
VANCOUVER — Work on a Trans Mountain pipeline crossing in a British Columbia stream has destroyed salmon habitat, raising concerns about the Crown corporation’s ability to build infrastructure through waterways if the expansion project proceeds, a scientist says.
Mike Pearson says the “amateur hour” work on the Stewart Creek crossing in Chilliwack will reduce food sources for coho and chum salmon and limit their ability to hide from predators. The fish are part of the diet of endangered southern resident killer whales.
“There was no consideration given whatsoever to the habitat, which is just not acceptable,” said Pearson, a biologist with 30 years’ experience, in an interview. MORE

How Humans Get in the Way of Clean Water

There are many cheap and effective ways to provide safe water to the world’s poor regions. But projects often fail due to inadequate planning, maintenance or persuasive power

How Humans Get in the Way of Clean Water
Credit: Yuji Kotani Getty Images

For more than 2 billion people, safe drinking water isn’t a given. Not for them a clean, reliable supply of treated water splurting out on demand from a kitchen tap—instead, they face often long treks to wells, rivers, pools of rainwater or faucets that yield water laced with disease-transmitting feces and other contaminants.

More than 500,000 deaths a year from diarrhea are linked to this very basic lack, and public health officials, philanthropic groups and researchers have worked to move the needle on the problem for decades.

“One thing we know from the social sciences is people are not all the time driven only and exclusively by health considerations. Every single person I know has a gym membership they don’t use, including myself.”

In 2009, came the bucket of cold water. A newly published review argued that there was little solid evidence that household water treatment in poor rural regions was working: Placebo-controlled trials in Ghana, Gambia and Brazil found no effect on incidence of diarrhea. MORE

How a group of Charleston kids spoke out against plastic, and won

Betty Henderson James Island Ocean ActKIDvist

When the activists presented the hundreds of signatures they collected in support of banning single-use plastic, one of their moms proudly pointed out their names were all written in crayon.

At a recent James Island Town Council meeting, a group of four children who call themselves the James Island Ocean ActKIDvists walked up to the microphone to speak for the animals who cannot speak for themselves.

“We have collected over 300 signatures from local children who want to protect our ocean, our ocean and beaches,” said 8-year-old Betty Henderson after her 6-year-old brother, Louis, passed her the microphone.

“We care about the sea turtles or whales that get sick or die,” said Makena Ryan, 8. While Makena spoke, her 6-year-old brother, Liam, held an orange sign that said “Ban plastic bags.” MORE

To fix climate change, fix the obesity and starvation epidemics, reports say

Image result for Why climate change worries Coca-Cola, Apple and Nike

(CNN)The world needs to come up with solutions to fight three interrelated pandemics — obesity, starvation and climate change — and it needs to do it fast before the planet is “burning,” according to a report released Sunday in the Lancet.

The Lancet Commission, a group of 43 experts from 14 countries with a broad range of expertise recruited by the journal, has tackled the topic with high-profile reports in 2011 and 2015, but “little progress has been made” other than acknowledging the epidemic, the authors of the newest report argue; in fact, the problem is getting worse.
Around the world, not one country has reversed its obesity epidemic, and often, powerful companies driven by profit influence policy that is “at odds with the public good and planetary health,” the report says. It’s a problem that has become what the authors call a global syndemic.
A syndemic is “a synergy of pandemics that co-occur,” interact and share common causes. These three pandemics represent the “paramount challenge for humans, the environment and our planet.”
Together, obesity and malnutrition are the biggest cause of premature death. Globally, more than 2 billion adults and children are overweight or obese and have health problems because of it, research shows. People don’t or can’t exercise, and that’s the fourth leading risk factor for death. MORE
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