We can resolve the climate crisis

Image: Fabrice Florin/Flickr
Image: Fabrice Florin/Flickr

There’s no shortage of solutions to the climate crisis. Rapidly developing clean-energy technology, reducing energy consumption and waste, increasing efficiency, reforming agricultural practices, and protecting and restoring forests and wetlands all put us on a path to cleaner air, water and soil, healthier biodiversity and lower climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions.

Clean energy technologies, including energy storage methods, are improving as costs are dropping. Exciting new inventions like artificial photosynthesis, machines that remove atmospheric carbon to create fuels, and windows that convert light to electricity show what people are capable of when we put our minds to resolving challenges.

It’s critical that we continue to develop, deploy, and scale up solutions, so why are we still mired in outdated ways and business as usual? For decades, experts have been warning about the consequences of rapidly burning fossil fuels, yet greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise as the planet heats up faster.

Europe is in the midst of a record heat wave; Chennai, India, has run out of water; farmers in Canada and the U.S. are seeing diminishing returns after prolonged droughtsrefugees are flooding borders as extreme conditions, water scarcity and failing agriculture increase conflict and displace millions — all caused or exacerbated by climate change. Even in rainy Vancouver where I live, the city implemented early water restrictions when the usual spring showers didn’t arrive.

People and organizations from the entire spectrum of society are calling for action. Students are marching in the streets, progressive decision-makers are putting climate disruption at the top of the political agenda, and Indigenous peoples are asserting their rights to protect lands and waters from fossil fuel projects.

In the U.S., more than 70 leading health organizations — including the American Medical Association, Lung Association, Heart Association, and College of Physicians — issued a statement urging political candidates “to recognize climate change as a health emergency.” The Canadian Medical Association, Nurses Association, Public Health Association, Association of Physicians for the Environment, and the Urban Public Health Network issued a similar statement.

To their credit, every major political party in Canada has a climate plan, some more detailed than others, and the current federal government has implemented many strong policies, despite its continued approval of fossil fuel projects. But we’re still not on track to meet our Paris Agreement commitments.

Here and elsewhere, the fossil fuel industry still rules, enjoying massive government subsidies and tax breaks and government and media promotion. If we understand the problem and its urgency — and mountains of scientific evidence amassed from around the world over decades confirms we do — and we have solutions, why are we so slow to act? MORE

Geothermal energy is taking off globally, so why not in Canada?

Image result for the narwhal: Geothermal energy is taking off globally, so why not in Canada?The world’s largest geothermal power plant in Iceland. Photo: WikiImages / Pixabay

Despite being one of the most well-positioned countries in the world to capitalize on geothermal energy, Canada seems stuck at the starting line. But behind the scenes, a few game-changing developments hint at a new horizon for this underestimated renewable energy.

New research released in April estimates the value of the global geothermal energy industry will grow to $9 billion by 2025, up from $4 billion in 2018.

While this growth is translating to geothermal heated greenhouses in the Netherlands, a zero-emissions power plant in Italy and geothermal chocolate bars in the Philippines, it hasn’t meant much for Canada — despite the country’s substantial documented potential.

Geothermal energy comes from natural heat in the earth’s crust. Steam from hot spots near volcanic ranges, such as those in B.C., can be used to spin turbines to generate electricity, while warm water from cooler areas can be used as direct energy to heat homes, melt snow or grow food in greenhouses, like the Icelanders do.

The form of renewable energy, which provides uninterrupted baseload energy as opposed to intermittent alternatives such as wind and solar that rely on the weather, seems an obvious choice for many provinces and territories looking to increase sources of electricity while also decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.

Thus far, Canada is the only country on the Ring of Fire, a tectonic zone where the earth’s heat is abundant, that doesn’t have a single commercial geothermal power plant in operation. MORE

Stay cool this summer without increasing your energy consumption

Summer is here, and many of us are relishing the long, warm days — not to mention our summer holidays. But higher temperatures can warm our homes significantly. And summer vacation can mean more people at home, which can result in higher energy consumption and bills.

It doesn’t have to, though. With the help of some simple tips and tricks, you can cool your home and save energy this summer.

  1. Instead of cranking up an air conditioner, shed some layers of clothes
  2. Get a programmable thermostat so you’re not cooling your home while no one is there
  3. Close your blinds and curtains to keep the sun’s rays out
  4. Eat fresh fruits, vegetables and other foods that don’t need to be cooked
  5. Use fewer large appliances during the day
  6. Change your air conditioner’s filters


Itemizing the daunting downsides of climate change

Solar + Battery Price Killing #Coal #NaturalGas #Nuclear

The latest on renewables is all good. Or is it? Mark Jacobson, the developer of transition to 100% renewables roadmaps for some 139 countries took to Twitter recently to comment on the world’s largest and cheapest + battery-storage project.The new project will begin operations in 2023 and produce power at 50% the cost of power compared to a new natural gas plant.

Solar + Battery Storage
Developments and Trends

Other developments and trends are highlighted in the Renewables 2019 Global Status Report (GSR), an annual overview of the status of renewable energy in the world. The report confirms that “for the fourth consecutive year, more renewable power capacity was installed than fossil fuel and nuclear power combined – 100 gigawatts (GW) of solar PV alone was added in 2018, enough to meet more than 25% of electricity demand in France.”

The report has 4 key findings:
    1. Solar PV and wind are now mainstream options in the power sector.
    2. Global renewable energy uptake no longer depends on just a few countries.
    3. Cities are increasingly becoming strong drivers in renewable energy deployment.
    4. There is a huge opportunity for countries to drive action by expanding the transition to the heating, cooling and transport sectors.

Writing in VOX, David Roberts says “The shift in the electricity sector has effectively become unstoppable. Globally, more renewable energy capacity has been installed than new fossil fuel and nuclear capacity combined, for four years running.” MORE

Letter Mayor Ferguson and Council: Bridgewater, NS, is an excellent role model

Mayor Ferguson and councillors,

One of our CSG members , Susan Holtz, who had lived in Wellington with her late husband Fred ( who we named our CSG student environmental bursary in honour of ) now lives back in Bridgewater, NS. Susan was a former member of the Environmental Round Table for Canada before it was terminated by Steven Harper.

Bridgewater was 1 of the 4 winners of this Canada wide award recently.

She comments: “The focus of Bridgewater’s plan is simultaneously to tackle energy poverty and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, using efficiency investments as a means of financing change. We have a committed mayor and Council, not to mention a fantastic Sustainability Planner in Leon deVreede!”

This is yet another role model for PEC and there are many others all across the country where lessons can be learned and actions taken to move into the future.

The status quo is seriously broken and clinging to it is destroying hope for change when we have no time to waste. Below are 2 links to the useful information.

Thank you.

Don Ross

2 links to the useful information:

Bridgewater: Smart Cities Challenge
The Government of Canada Announces Winners of the Smart Cities Challenge

New regulation under the Environmental Protection Act to close the White Pines Wind Project

“Prince Edward County is the first jurisdiction in the world to my knowledge to destroy a wind farm.” — Don Ross

View of the White Pines wind turbines  taken from Maypul Lane Rd, Millford. Photo: Don Ross

Environmental Registry of Ontario Decision summary

We decided to make a new regulation to require that the closure of the White Pines Wind Facility is carried out in a way that is protective of human health and the environment.

In Ontario, you need a renewable energy approval for large wind, solar or bio-energy projects.

The White Pines Wind Project Termination Act, 2018, came into force on July 25, 2018.  It revoked the Feed-in-Tariff contract awarded by the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO); the renewable energy approval issued for the project by the Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks (MECP) and the permit issued for the project under the Endangered Species Act, 2007, by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

The renewable energy approval issued by MECP included requirements forconstructing, operating and decommissioning the facility at the end of its useful life, including restoring lands affected by the project. Because the renewable energy approval has been revoked, the MECP has made a new regulation under the Environmental Protection Act and an associated technical closure document, to govern the closure of the facility in a way that is protective of human health and the environment.

The new regulation and technical closure document include requirements for the proponent, wpd White Pines Wind Incorporated (the proponent), to follow to safely and securely dismantle and take down the nine fully or partially constructed wind turbines. 

The documents include measures that will protect the local community and surrounding wildlife and cover the following general themes:

  • Pre-dismantling activities;
  • Equipment dismantling and removal;
  • Site restoration;
  • Stormwater management;
  • In-water works;
  • Water takings;
  • Necessary precautions to avoid impacts on the Blanding’s Turtle;
  • Restoration of natural and cultural heritage features;
  • Archaeological resources;
  • Emergency response and communications plan;
  • Consultation/Notification;
  • Record keeping; and
  • Handling of complaints.

The documents also allow for consideration of existing agreements between landowners and the proponent and require that the proponent conduct monitoring at the project site after it is decommissioned. SOURCE

Related imageCOMMENT:  Take action! Todd Smith will be in Trenton today,  and a large rally is being organized,  Metro Parking lot,   12  til 2.


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