British Columbia to Introduce UNDRIP Legislation

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould says [Nov, 2017] the federal government will  endorse a private member’s bill that calls for the full implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

On February 12, 2019, the British Columbia government announced plans to introduce legislation that implements the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP) (the Legislation), as part of the provincial government’s reconciliation objective.

UNDRIP consists of 46 articles that offer guidance to governments on recognizing and promoting basic human rights of Indigenous peoples around the world, as well as their right to self-determination. The most contentious principles relate to obtaining the free, prior and informed consent (FPIC) of Indigenous communities before undertaking certain actions, including prior to approving any project affecting their lands or resources. If the Legislation is passed, then B.C. will be the first province in Canada to endorse UNDRIP through legislation.

This update summarizes the status of UNDRIP in Canada and discusses potential implications of the Legislation. MORE

Climate change: CO2 emissions fall in 18 countries with strong policies, study finds

‘You develop the policies, you fund them, and then you get emission decreases”

Countries moving away from fossil fuels and toward renewables such as solar and wind energy are finding that it’s making a difference in decreasing their CO2 emissions. (Pat Martel/CBC)

In a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change, researchers suggest that countries that are turning to renewable energy sources and moving away from fossil fuels are making progress in reducing CO2 emissions.

The study looked at emissions from between 2005 and 2015. Globally, CO2 was on the rise — about 2.2 per cent annually — but in 18 countries, their emissions saw a decline. These 18 account for 28 per cent of global emissions.

Another contributing factor, they found, was that these countries were also using less energy overall

“We went in these 18 countries and looked at what policies they had in place … and we found that, in the countries where there’s more policy in place, the decreases in emissions were larger,” said Corinne Le Quéré, a Canadian professor of climate change science at the University of East Anglia in the U.K. “That suggests that the policies do work.”



Democrat Antonio Delgado speaks to supporters at a democratic watch party in Kingston, N.Y., after defeating incumbent Republican John Faso Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Democrat Rep. Antonio Delgado speaks to supporters at a watch party in Kingston, N.Y., after defeating incumbent Republican John Faso on Nov. 6, 2018. Photo: Seth Wenig/AP

CALIFORNIA SEN. Dianne Feinstein may feel like she was treated unfairly by young activists who have hammered her for not backing the Green New Deal resolution, but she has plenty of company. In upstate New York, Utah, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania, voters who feel a much greater sense of urgency than their elected officials have been reacting furiously to politicians who say that the attempt to turn the fossil fuel-based economy around in the next 12 years simply isn’t realistic.

Rep. Antonio Delgado, the freshman from New York’s 19th District, was pressed repeatedly by constituents over his half-hearted support for the effort. He doesn’t support the Green New Deal, he told constituents at a town hall on February 16, though he noted that he backed certain aspects of the bill. Delgado said that he’s more interested in solutions that address the issues around climate change that can be solved now and that the bill as written does not sufficiently lay out a path for that kind of approach to the inevitability of climate crisis.

Democrats, especially freshmen in the House, are having to face voters in their districts who find the lack of action on climate change to be a major issue for the new representatives. And those complaints aren’t coming from blue districts — as with Delgado, freshmen Democrats from purple districts are facing resistance from constituents over their hesitancy to endorse progressive programs. Republicans aren’t immune either. On Monday morning, roughly 250 young activists from the Sunrise Movement occupied the office of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., with 35 getting arrested. MORE

High CO2 Levels Can Destabilize Marine Layer Clouds

clouds in the San Francisco Bay

At high enough atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations, Earth could reach a tipping point where marine stratus clouds become unstable and disappear, triggering a spike in global warming, according to a new modeling study.

This event—which could raise surface temperatures by about 8 Kelvin (14 degrees Fahrenheit) globally—may occur at CO2 concentrations above 1,200 parts per million (ppm), according to the study, which was published in Nature Geoscience on February 25. For reference, the current concentration is around 410 ppm and rising. If the world continues burning fossil fuels at the current rate, Earth’s CO2 level could rise above 1,200 ppm in the next century.

“I think and hope that technological changes will slow carbon emissions so that we do not actually reach such high CO2concentrations. But our results show that there are dangerous climate change thresholds that we had been unaware of,” says Caltech’s Tapio Schneider, Theodore Y. Wu Professor of Environmental Science and Engineering and senior research scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which Caltech manages for NASA. Schneider, the lead author of the study, notes that the 1,200-ppm threshold is a rough estimate rather than a firm number. MORE

SUPERFARM design envisions an urban vertical farm that is energy self-sufficient

rendering of people standing near tower with glass walls
SUPERFARM is envisioned as a six-story building erected over water

French design practice Studio NAB has proposed a large-scale vertical farm as a sustainable solution to urban population growth in the face of dwindling arable land. Envisioned for urban centers, the conceptual vertical agriculture facility — dubbed the SUPERFARM — aims to produce high-yielding food with high nutrition values, including but not limited to various seaweeds, edible insects and fish raised in aquaponic systems.

To minimize the SUPERFARM’s impact on the environment, the designers have also proposed that the futuristic indoor farming concept be powered entirely with renewable energy from wind turbines and solar panels.

The Vertical Farm: Feeding the World in the 21st CenturyStudio NAB created its SUPERFARM utopian architecture in response to the startling statistics put forth by Dickson Despommier, an emeritus professor of microbiology and public health at Columbia University. Considered a pioneer in vertical farming, Dr. Despommier authored the book The Problem, in which he proposed indoor urban agriculture as a sustainable alternative to traditional farming methods and a potential solution to feeding the world’s growing urban populations. MORE

B.C. legal group plans to go back to court after 6 arrested at homeless camp

Image result for maple ridge homeless camp rcmp
Police stand outside the Maple Ridge homeless camp known as Anita’s Place on Sunday, where the city was enforcing a court injunction.

MAPLE RIDGE, B.C. — Pivot Legal Society says it has filed leave to appeal the B.C. Supreme Court injunction used by RCMP to enter a homeless camp in Maple Ridge, B.C., and arrest six people.

Ridge Meadows RCMP said in a release officers made the arrests as Maple Ridge fire department officials and bylaw officers entered the Anita Place encampment on Sunday to enforce the injunction granted earlier this month.

Officials say they were concerned about propane heaters and stoves posing a fire hazard when used in or near tightly spaced tents.

Pivot said in a news release Monday that some of its members witnessed the enforcement and both city officials and RCMP contravened the injunction order.  MORE

Liberals try to bend the rules again to save SNC-Lavalin from corruption charges

Quebec police working with DCPC to lay charges on SNC-Lavalin

The Liberal government has its eyes on changing the ethical procurement rules that regulate the length of time a company can remain banned from bidding on federal contracts, a revision of policy that could offer SNC-Lavalin another means of dealing with the fraud and corruption charges it faces.

SNC-Lavalin faces charges stemming from an RCMP investigation into shady business dealings done in Libya. If SNC-Lavalin is found guilty, it could be banned from bidding on federal contracts for 10 years.

Trudeau’s turning a blind eye to allegations of corruption has led to a media fiasco.

Public Services and Procurement Canada is proposing granting itself more flexibility in deciding how long a company is banned from bidding when convicted.

SNC-Lavalin is seeking out a type of “plea bargain,” in which they admit wrongdoing and pay a fine, but also get to avoid going to trial by doing so. Last September, the federal director of public prosecutions rejected the request to do so. With this, the prosecutions would continue in court. MORE


Trudeau government clears Wilson-Raybould to give details to Commons committee on SNC-Lavalin

Old Harry case has ‘far-reaching implications for Canadian oceans’: activist


Image result for Old Harry drilling site gulf of st lawrence

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — Environmentalists fearing the consequences of an oil spill in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, home to thousands of marine species, went to court Monday to fight an offshore exploration licence.

The province’s offshore oil and gas regulator re-issued Halifax-based Corridor Resources Inc.’s licence to explore oil and gas prospects in the Old Harry site in 2017.

Environmental groups including the David Suzuki Foundation and Sierra Club Canada Foundation argued in provincial Supreme Court Monday that it could set a dangerous precedent for managing the risky but lucrative industry.

The Old Harry site sits about 80 kilometres off the southwest tip of Newfoundland, near the border with Quebec.

“This isn’t just about this one licence, this is about what happens in the Gulf of St. Lawrence forever more.”

Gretchen Fitzgerald of the Sierra Club Canada Foundation said the case could have “far-reaching implications for Canadian oceans” as the industry prepares for rapid growth.

“I think this is an important case for showing what are the bounds of the powers of these boards,” she said.

Representing the applicants, Ecojustice lawyer Josh Ginsberg said the area in question is a sensitive ecosystem that houses not just marine species but also fishing and tourism industries, and offers an important food source for surrounding First Nations. MORE

Electric vehicles are approaching a tipping point — here’s why

EVs are starting to overcome the 4 top reasons many Canadians say they’re wary of going electric
CBC’s David Common tops up the batteries of a Kia electric car at a public charging station in Chatham, Ont., during a trip from Toronto to Detroit. The road test in -20 C conditions revealed some of the challenges still faced by electric vehicles on longer trips. (Jill English/CBC)

Canadians are buying electric vehicles like never before, with a near doubling of sales in 2018 over the previous year. But while one in 11 new cars now being sold is considered an EV, Canadians lean heavily toward electric-gas hybrids and remain reluctant to buy electric-only options.

With the upcoming crop of improved electric vehicles, however, the market could be poised for a shift.

“It’s a no-brainer,” says Arthur Potts, an EV proponent and renewable energy consultant. “They’re a little more expensive, but I think with the cost-benefit, you’re nuts to buy an internal combustion engine if you’re driving around the city.”

Indeed, electric-only EVs seem built for urban and suburban commuters. More than 11 million Canadians drive to work or a transit hub every weekday. That commute, on average, is 23 kilometres each way — easily within the range of most plug-in, all-electric vehicles currently on the market.

So why are many drivers reticent to give up gas? MORE


Are you waiting for the perfect electric car?

Jagmeet Singh claims House of Commons seat with byelection win

Jagmeet Singh and Svend Robinson appear at an event in Burnaby on Jan. 19, 2019. File photo by Michael Ruffolo

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has won his do-or-die bid to capture a British Columbia seat in the House of Commons.

With more than half the polls reporting results in Burnaby South, Singh had just over 38 per cent of the vote, comfortably ahead of Liberal Richard T. Lee’s 26 per cent and Conservative Jay Shin’s 22 per cent.

But while victory tightens Singh’s shaky grip on the reins of the NDP, the challenge ahead was underscored by the simultaneous loss of the Montreal riding that launched the NDP’s orange wave that swept Quebec in 2011. MORE


Singh survives byelection test. Can he shift focus from his leadership to NDP policies?
Jagmeet Singh’s win was make-or-break for the NDP leader