Naomi Klein to write On Fire, a book on creating a blueprint for tackling climate change

Naomi Klein is an award-winning journalist, bestselling author and syndicated columnist. (Kourosh Keshiri)

Naomi Klein is publishing a new book about climate change. Titled On Fire, the book will examine how bold climate action can be a blueprint for a just and thriving society.

On Fire is scheduled for a Sept. 10, 2019 release.

The Montreal-born Klein is an award-winning journalist, bestselling author, political thinker and outspoken advocate regarding climate change and the ills of corporate globalization.

The book’s publisher, Knopf Canada, says Klein makes connections between climate, today’s “unravelling world” and humanity’s past, present and future. MORE


A Carbon Footprint Game That You Can Play, Too!

What happens when 27 high schools across Norway participate in a climate emissions challenge?

Over 6000 participants together saved 273,471 kg CO2e in just 3 weeks. And that’s equivalent to flying 27 times around the earth. In fact, if all Norwegians copied the top 20 classes in the challenge, the country would save 40% of its total annual carbon emissions. Imagine what a comparable effect would be if the world accepted a carbon footprint challenge …

The students logged their everyday activities using the fun Ducky web-app from a local startup. The algorithm calculates the effect of authentic user behavior in real time. That means each action the students took was based on simple things they could do to reduce their carbon footprint, like walking instead of driving or eating less meat. In total, they logged a staggering 312,175 actions, which showed how, by tracking their individual climate footprints over time, they could visualize and reduce their carbon footprints. That meant that each student reached important climate goals.

The Ducky Climate Challenge Game is based on established climate and environmental research data. The calculator simplifies data so it becomes understandable for everyone. It has the potential to show how all global emissions can be allocated to individual consumption of products and services, and how we, as individuals, have the power to ensure that we reach critical climate goals. MORE

The Green New Deal: What It Does and (Mostly) Doesn’t Do

group of people sitting near round brown wooden tablePhoto: Thomas Drouault/ Unsplash


  • Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) on Feb 7, 2019, released companion resolutions that provide a framework for prospective legislation on a Green New Deal (GND), an ambitious climate policy.
  • The GND proposals are instructive and can serve as a blueprint for a potential climate and energy package for the next Democratic president to propose to Congress, or to help inform a bipartisan infrastructure bill.
  • This alert details what is and isn’t included in that framework, and provides some thoughts on where a GND goes from here. MORE


A good summary of the Green New Deal proposals: Green New Deal Goes Beyond Green 

Growth Energy Applauds Made-In-Ontario Environment Plan

Methane emissions and ground water contamination are not mentioned

Texaco gas station at night
Texaco gas station at night. Photo: Unsplash

On January 28, 2019, Growth Energy, an ethanol supporters group, submitted joint comments with the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) to the Government of Ontario, Canada, in support of the Made-in-Ontario Environment Plan (Plan).

The Plan outlines the government’s commitment to addressing climate change through the protection of land, air, water, and reduction of waste and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Posted by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, the Plan would increase ethanol use in gasoline by 15 percent in 2025, increase the use of renewable gas and fuels, establish emission performance standards for large emitters, and provide financial assistance for emissions reduction initiatives.

Pleased with the Ontario Government’s proposal to increase the ethanol content of gasoline, Growth Energy and USGC highlight the “tremendous benefits to the public” MORE


Ontario Considers E15 in Environmental Plan

Can Eating Organic Lower Your Exposure to Pesticides?

A new study tracks the pesticides and residues in a small cohort of eaters, and found significant reductions when they switched to an all-organic diet.

For consumers uncertain about the value of organic food, a new study adds evidence to a larger body of research showing that eating organic very well may reduce pesticides in the human body. The study, which was just published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Research, finds that families eating a 100 percent organic diet rapidly and dramatically reduced their exposure to four classes of pesticides—by an average of 60 percent—over six days.

Conducted by researchers at the University of California at Berkeley School of Public Health and funded in part by the nonprofit environmental group Friends of the Earth, the study builds on prior studies—including one conducted on adults in Australia, and two on children in Seattle and California—which all similarly found that switching to organic food quickly and substantially reduced pesticide exposures.

“It’s striking that the levels dropped so dramatically after only six days,” said Kendra Klein, senior scientist at Friends of the Earth and one of the report’s authors. “That’s the good news,” she said. “We’re seeing that something you ingest can clear from your body in a few days. The problem is that we’re eating that food so continuously that we’re getting a daily exposure despite the excretion.” MORE

Bill Gates Gets Why People Are Doubting Billionaires—And He Has A Defense (Even For Mark Zuckerberg)

Simon Dawson / Bloomberg

“I think it’s fascinating that for the first time in my life people are saying, ‘Okay, should you have billionaires?’ ‘Should you have a wealth tax?’ I think it’s a fine discussion.”

It’s a discussion that took place yesterday just a block from Trump Tower, home of America’s first-ever billionaire president. “My opinion is that there should be an estate tax and maybe even higher than we have today. Among The Forbes 400, I don’t think we’d get a majority—Warren [Buffett] and I are sort of against interest on that,” says Gates. “So I think there’s plenty of debate about how capital should be taxed, how estates should be taxed.”

“Philanthropy is there because the government is not very innovative, doesn’t try risky things and particularly people with a private-sector background—in terms of measurement, picking great teams of people to try out new approaches,” says Gates. “Philanthropy does that.”

But as for the kind of disincentivizing economics lamented by the Beatles in “Taxman” and increasingly championed by America’s far left, Gates remains clear: “The idea that there shouldn’t be billionaires—I’m afraid if you really implemented something like that, that the amount you would gain would be much less than the amount you would lose.”  MORE


Canada funds first net-zero multi-res building in London

The newest addition to the West 5 sustainable community is a high-rise. (Kate Dubinski/CBC News)

The Government of Canada is investing $3.9 million toward the construction of Canada’s first net-zero, mixed-use, multi-unit residential building in the West 5 sustainable community in London, Ont. The investment is being provided through Natural Resources Canada’s Energy Innovation Program.

The residential building, Helio, hopes to demonstrate the possibility of net-zero energy for residences, and inspire change across the country’s construction industry. Net-zero buildings are designed and constructed to produce at least as much energy as what they consume on an annual basis.

“This project will demonstrate first-of-its-kind net-zero energy construction in high-rise residential buildings, making it a model for the future,” said Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Natural Resources, in a press release.

The building, which will be constructed by Sifton Properties Limited, will include a monitoring system that will be used to optimize energy-efficiency performance, which may become a boon to the industry, going forward. MORE


‘First in Canada’ sustainable apartments get federal funding boost

How can Canada’s North get off diesel?

Diesel generation has outstayed its welcome in the North. It costs hundreds of millions of dollars per year while polluting the air, soil and water. But breaking the addiction is proving to be the challenge of a generation

Map of remote communities in Canada that are dependent on diesel.

The Northwest Territories and Yukon have energy grids that include large-scale hydro dams. In Yukon, fast population growth and increased energy demand from electric heating means the utility, Yukon Energy, is scrambling to bring in new power.

Its solution? Diesel and liquefied natural gas (LNG) generators.

“Maybe 10 months of the year now we’re burning LNG,”  explains Cody Reaume, energy analyst at the Yukon Conservation Society.

That isn’t much of a solution, according to Craig Scott, executive director of Ecology North, a non-profit that works on issues like climate change, waste reduction, water quality and food sovereignty.

“The focus is on electricity because it’s easy,” he says. “People can see it.”

But efficiency retrofits to homes and businesses, and switching to wood or wood pellet stoves, can be as effective as switching energy systems. MORE



Politicians denounce Trudeau government for sexist treatment of Jody Wilson-Raybould

Jody Wilson-Raybould, former Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, seen in the foyer of the House of Commons, in Parliament in Ottawa on June 20, 2018. File photo by Alex Tétreault

Female politicians from all parties have come to former federal justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould’s defence after anonymous Trudeau government insiders labelled her difficult to work with and self-centred — an attack one Conservative calls a “disgusting” and sexist character assassination.

Wilson-Raybould — Canada’s first Indigenous attorney general — is at the centre of a political scandal sparked by a Globe and Mail report that someone in the Prime Minister’s Office pressed her to stop the prosecution of Quebec engineering giant SNC-Lavalin on fraud and corruption charges.

report by The Canadian Press exploring the relationship between Wilson-Raybould and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s office quoted a handful of anonymous government sources saying for example, that she “had become a thorn in the side of the cabinet,” and was “difficult to get along with, known to berate fellow cabinet ministers openly at the table, and who others felt they had trouble trusting.”

The report said these were cited as among the reasons Wilson-Raybould was demoted to the veterans affairs portfolio in a recent cabinet shuffle. They noted too that she had four chiefs of staff in three-and-a-half years and “only showed up to meetings when she felt like it,” according to the report by The Canadian Press . MORE

The Tiny Swiss Company That Thinks It Can Help Stop Climate Change

Two European entrepreneurs think they can remove carbon from the air at prices cheap enough to matter.

Image result for The Tiny Swiss Company That Thinks It Can Help Stop Climate Change
Christoph Gebald, left, and Jan Wurzbacher, the founders of Climeworks, at their plant in Hinwil, Switzerland.Credit: Luca Locatelli for The New York Times

…The machines themselves require a significant amount of energy. They depend on electric fans to pull air into the ducts and over a special material, known as a sorbent, laced with granules that chemically bind with CO₂; periodic blasts of heat then release the captured gas from the sorbent, with customized software managing the whole catch-and-release cycle.

Climeworks had installed the machines on the roof of the power plant to tap into the plant’s low-carbon electricity and the heat from its incineration system. A few dozen yards away from the new installation sat an older stack of Climeworks machines, 18 in total, that had been whirring on the same rooftop for more than a year.

So far, these machines had captured about 1,000 metric tons (or about 1,100 short tons) of carbon dioxide from the air and fed it, by pipeline, to an enormous greenhouse nearby, where it was plumping up tomatoes, eggplants and mâche. During a tour of the greenhouse, Paul Ruser, the manager, suggested I taste the results. “Here, try one,” he said, handing me a crisp, ripe cucumber he plucked from a nearby vine. It was the finest direct-air-capture cucumber I’d ever had. MORE