New York City’s Green New Deal is music to Quebec’s ears

 

Missed opportunities: The Ontario Clean Air Alliance has been advocating for years that Ontario could save $1.1 to $1.4 billion a year and provide a more stable hydro system by simply buying Quebec’s emissions-free surplus hydro energy. But successive Ontario governments have opted for nuclear energy at the expense of renewable energy development. If you want to assess how successful Ontario’s energy policy is, just look at your hydro bill. It’s expected to rise substantially in the future.


Quebec Premier François Legault‏ speaks at the first ministers meeting in Montreal on Dec. 7, 2018. Photo by Josie Desmarais

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s Green New Deal is music to the ears of Quebec Premier François Legault‏.

Under de Blasio’s plan to tackle climate change, unveiled Monday, all city operations would run on 100 per cent “zero-emission Canadian hydropower” within five years. Negotiations would begin “right away” with the aim of signing a deal by the end of 2020.

The mayor’s plan to source clean power from Canada is exactly the sort of thing that Quebec’s right-leaning Coalition Avenir Québec government has been hoping for. Legault’s‏ strategy is to become the “battery of the American northeast” by replacing U.S. fossil fuel power generation with zero-emission energy generated by Hydro-Québec.

The provincial utility has been undergoing a “significant build-out” since the early 2000s, according to a representative, adding massive amounts of surplus capacity totalling over 5000 megawatts, including the Romaine complex on the north shore of the St. Lawrence with four hydro dams averaging an annual output of 8.0 terawatt hours (TWh). MORE

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Support for Extinction Rebellion soars after Easter protests

 

Climate activists say pressure growing on politicians to act as donations flood in


 The Extinction Rebellion camp at Marble Arch in central London. Photograph: Ollie Millington/Getty

Support for Extinction Rebellion in the UK has quadrupled in the past nine days as public concern about the scale of the ecological crisis grows.

Since the wave of protests began more than a week ago, 30,000 new backers or volunteers have offered their support to the environmental activist group. In the same period it has raised almost £200,000 – mostly in donations of between £10 and £50 – reaching a total of £365,000 since January.

The group said the figures showed the public was waking up to the scale of the crisis, adding that pressure was growing on politicians to act.

“What this shows is that Extinction Rebellion has spoken to people who have been wanting to act on this for such a long time but haven’t known how,” said a spokesperson for the group. “The debate on this is over – ordinary people are now saying it is time for politicians to act with real urgency.” MORE

 

 

The ban against oil tankers: Pleasing no one

 

“Everyone agrees that the coast needs to be protected, but Bill C-48 doesn’t offer real-time protection. It allows the government to exempt, arbitrarily, any number of tankers from the ban. It does nothing to address other marine traffic that pose spill risks and have damaged coastal communities…This bill is not a moratorium so much as a cynical distraction from our real obligation.” -Senator Elaine McCoy

The legislated moratorium comes at a time when pipeline capacity is particularly constrained in Canada, and the politics are sensitive.

Oil tanker off the coat
Oil Tanker

Depending on how you view it, Bill C-48, which proposes to ban oil tankers from transporting crude oil along most of Canada’s West Coast, either legislates a long-existing voluntary practice, thereby safeguarding coastal resources for generations to come, or threatens the very foundation of our confederation.

In substance, Bill C-48 places a moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic along the Northern British Columbia Coast. Part of Transport Canada’s Oceans Protections Plan, the bill largely consists of delineating the geographical scope of the prohibition, and instituting administration and enforcement mechanisms.  The federal government has promoted the legislation as an effort to protect shorelines and coastal waters from the risk of potential pollution.

But the moratorium also comes at a time when pipeline capacity is particularly constrained in Canada. Many in Alberta see the bill as being a final nail in the coffin to bringing Western resources to tidewater. The Trudeau government has also drawn criticism for trying to appease certain political lobbies while doing little to safeguard marine resources.

Members of the Lax Kw’Alaams, a First Nations community located on the North Coast of B.C, are amongst the most outspoken critics of the proposed legislation. Elected band leaders have launched the Eagle Spirit Energy Proposal, which would see a pipeline corridor built between Alberta and B.C. The moratorium would make the future of that pipeline proposal uncertain, if not impossible, prompting the Lax Kw’Alaams to file a legal challenge. The band is arguing that Transport Canada neglected its duty to consult in proposing the legislation and that the bill undermines efforts of self-determination.

There are doubts the argument will succeed. In its ruling last year in Mikisew Cree First Nation v. Canada, the Supreme Court of Canada held that the duty of consult does not apply to the legislative sphere. Further, the government contends that they did consult with communities, even hereditary leaders within the band, who are favourable. MORE

Federal carbon tax favours coal-fired plants, could “diminish” renewables investment, new report says

 

Image result for climate clockAs far as a sustainable energy policy goes, the Liberal’s attempt to square the circle  is doomed to failure: allow tar sands to expand and their emissions to rise; give coal production a pass; meanwhile ship the world’s dirtiest oil to foreign markets via the TransMountain pipeline. But in the real world, it just makes no sense. Still Catherine McKenna, with a straight face , zealously attempts to sell this preposterous program. Meanwhile the doomsday clock keeps ticking as we approach global ecocide

A regulatory proposal introduced in December could ‘diminish’ investment in renewable power in Canada, according to the C.D. Howe Institute

A giant drag line works in the Highvale Coal Mine to feed the nearby Sundance Power Plant near Wabamun, Alberta on Friday, Mar. 21, 2014. JOHN LUCAS/EDMONTON JOURNAL

OTTAWA — The federal carbon tax could favour coal-fired power plants over clean sources like wind and solar in its approach to industrial emissions, a new report says, potentially undermining a central aim of the Liberal government’s policy.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna released a regulatory proposal in December 2018 that provided details on the heavy emitters portion of the carbon tax, including how levies would be applied to electricity generators. Independent think-tank The C.D. Howe Institute reviewed the proposal and found it would actually give a leg up to higher-intensity emissions like coal and “diminish” investment in renewables, due to a decision to raise a critical threshold on certain producers.

“This is indisputably a carve-out for coal that departs from the principle of an economy-wide carbon price,” said Grant Bishop, who wrote a report on the institute’s findings published Tuesday.

The report could add weight to claims that the federal carbon tax introduced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau does little to target high-intensity industrial emissions. It could also have an impact on coal-related emissions in Alberta, which still depends heavily on the fuel source to generate power.

In December, McKenna released a regulatory proposal for the [output-based pricing system]  OBPS that would force coal-fired facilities to pay levies based on a threshold of 800 tonnes per gigawatt hour (GWh), compared with a threshold of 370 tonnes per GWh for natural gas. That higher target effectively provides more space for coal providers to sidestep levies, giving them a comparative advantage over natural gas or even emissions-free energy sources like hydro, wind and solar. MORE

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‘The Wet’suwet’en Need to Lead This. That’s All There Is to It’

NDP MP Romeo Saganash is behind a private member’s bill that aims to clarify the federal government’s role in ensuring Indigenous human rights. The bill has already made it through the House of Commons. If it passes a second reading in the Senate, Bill C-262 will head to a committee, before a final vote in the Senate would make it law. The push is on now because there’s a short window to get the law passed before the fall federal election. Demand action!

Today, Chief Na’Moks briefs the UN on Canada’s Indigenous rights progress. He’s well prepared.

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Chief Na’Moks at the Gidumt’en checkpoint, December 2018. Photo by Michael Toledano.

Three years ago, Wet’suwet’en hereditary Chief Na’Moks stood in full regalia before the United Nations in New York City. He propped his cellphone in front of him, took a deep breath and began to speak.

“They thought I was reading a speech. I was looking at a picture of that mountain,” he says, gesturing toward Hudson Bay Mountain, the glaciated peak that presides over Wet’suwet’en territory in northwest British Columbia. “That’s all I had in front of me. You’ve got to speak from the heart.”

It was May 2016, the day after Carolyn Bennett, minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations, announced that Canada would remove its objector status to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), which had been accepted nearly a decade earlier by the UN General Assembly.

Na’Moks, whose English name is John Ridsdale, was there to make a promise to the UN: That he would return one year later to provide a full report on Canada’s progress implementing the declaration.

Today, Na’Moks addresses the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York, his second update to the UN since that first visit.

Again, he’ll prop his phone before him, but this time he’ll be reading from notes. It’s important he stick to the talking points — in particular, those addressing Article 10 of UNDRIP, the section that deals with forcible removal of Indigenous peoples from their lands.

“Nothing’s really changed from the time that they accepted it,” he says about Canada’s promise to implement UNDRIP. “They’ve really not done anything.”

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Heavily armed RCMP officers arrived Monday to shut down Indigenous checkpoints blocking a natural gas pipeline. Photo by Michael Toledano.

Na’Moks, the highest-ranking chief of the Tsayu clan, stood and watched with chiefs of three other Wet’suwet’en clans on Jan. 7 as RCMP carrying automatic weapons forcefully removed a checkpoint put in place by the Gidumt’en clan to prevent Coastal GasLink pipeline workers from accessing the territory. MORE

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