Doug Ford’s government has made ‘next to no progress’ on plan to cut carbon emissions: report

Environmental Defence examines Ontario’s promised moves to reduce greenhouse gases


Ontario is ‘not on track’ to achieve its own targets for reducing carbon emissions, according to a new report from Environmental Defence. The report points to decisions by the government of Premier Doug Ford that have slowed the pace of electric vehicle sales and have delayed a push for more renewable content in fuel. (CBC)

Premier Doug Ford’s government has done almost nothing on the bulk of the promises in the greenhouse-gas reduction plan Ontario introduced last November, according to a new report by an environmental watchdog group.

The report published Thursday by Environmental Defence examines the seven key actions Ontario pledged to cut carbon emissions in the province, and finds that little or no progress has been made on all but one.

The actions were laid out in the “Preserving and Protecting our Environment for Future Generations,” the plan unveiled after the Progressive Conservatives scrapped the Wynne Liberal government’s cap-and-trade program.

“The government has acknowledged that the climate crisis is real, human-caused, and must be addressed,” said Environmental Defence in its report. “Ontario’s failure to act is a broken promise.”

Environment Minister Jeff Yurek was unavailable for an interview Wednesday.


Environment Minister Jeff Yurek’s office has told CBC the province ‘has already made significant progress toward further consultation and implementation’ on 19 commitments in its environmental plan. (CBC)

CBC News requested information about the government’s actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Yurek’s press secretary, Andrew Buttigieg, said in a statement the government “has already made significant progress toward further consultation and implementation” on 19 commitments in its environmental plan.

However, few of those commitments have anything to do with reducing emissions. They include “appointed a special adviser for Ontario Parks” and “released a discussion paper on reducing plastic litter and waste.”

The Environmental Defence report says the government is already “not on track” to achieve its own emission reduction targets, in part because of decisions that have slowed the pace of electric vehicle sales and delayed a push for more renewable content in fuel.

“So far, we haven’t seen any meaningful steps to reduce carbon pollution and fight climate change in Ontario,” said Sarah Buchanan, clean economy program manager for Environmental Defence.

“We’re quite concerned that Ontario isn’t taking its obligations seriously and is breaking its promise to reduce greenhouse gas emissions without a price on carbon,” Buchanan said in an interview.

The signature piece of the government’s plan — an emission performance standard for large industrial polluters — will actually increase greenhouse gas emissions rather than decrease them, according to the report.

It says the system is too lenient and offers too many exemptions to big polluters, and there’s no evidence to support the government’s forecast that the standard will contribute 15 per cent of the province’s overall target for cutting greenhouse gases.

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Doug Ford’s government broke the law when it scrapped cap-and-trade, court rules

 

 

It’s a No-Brainer — Tax the Billionaires!

A wealth tax wouldn’t just bring in revenue. It would curb the out-of-control political power of the one per cent.

JagmeetSinghSpeaksPodium.jpgThe NDP under leader Jagmeet Singh promises to implement a one-per-cent tax on wealth over $20 million. It’s an idea whose time has come. Photo by Sean Kilpatrick, the Canadian Press.

Canadians can be smug when it comes to comparing our political debate to politics in the United States. But we’re way behind our American neighbours when it comes to fair taxes on the accumulated wealth of the billionaire class.

Here, we’re still hearing the same tired arguments against a wealth tax.

But in the U.S., the debate now includes a serious discussion of how much we should tax wealth. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, two contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, both back a wealth tax but debate how high it should be.

Sanders has set out the foundation for his version of the tax bluntly. “Billionaires should not exist,” he’s stated. That’s not an attack on the individuals, but a statement that a relatively few people should not control so much of society’s shared resources.

And he’s right. Nobody “earns” a billion dollars. Such sums are only redistributed from the collective effort of many into the hands of the few.

Taxing the wealth of billionaires and the rest of the one per cent increases government revenue for programs or services for everyone.

More importantly, it decreases the ability of the wealthy to shape and control our political, social and economic life. The wealthy bankroll political campaigns and fund an entire infrastructure of media, lobbyists and think tanks to further a simple agenda — maintaining their disproportionate privileges. A wealth tax is about redistributing power as much as it is about redistributing wealth. It’s about restoring democracy.

And it’s sound economic policy. Gabriel Zucman and Emmanuel Saez, two of the world’s top scholars of inequality, have dedicated much time to assembling the wonky details that demonstrate the benefits of a wealth tax. Among other important voices, the two UC Berkeley economists have shown how a wealth tax could be practically implemented to tackle inequality, addressing issues like the challenge of assessing wealth and minimizing evasion.

The conversation about the wealth tax in the U.S. should help clarify the discussion here. The research and analysis have debunked the common arguments against taxing wealth.

Some argue the wealth tax is self-defeating: the wealthy will hide their wealth or simply flee.

But the wealthy, while mobile, are also human and hold many personal connections to place that can be more powerful than their desire to pay less in taxes.

More importantly, while it may be relatively simple for a wealthy person to move, it’s not that easy for many forms of wealth to move or disappear. They are not hiding money under the mattress. Factories, offices, land and other physical things that constitute wealth largely stay in place, even when ownership changes or moves. They will still be useful and productive.

Another common argument against taxing wealth is that it’s too hard or costly to figure out how much wealth a person has. This objection ignores two important facts about wealth today.

First, many of the assets held by the ultra-rich are financial. Stocks, mutual funds, bonds and the like have well-defined value. Anyone can look up the price of a stock or bond. Forbes has a made science of calculating the wealth of the richest Americans. If a magazine can do it, so can governments.

And second, both the U.S. and Canada already have taxes on wealth, just not taxes on all wealth. Property taxes on real estate exist in most jurisdictions. They are levied based on detailed annual assessments; the same could be done for other forms of wealth.

Together, property tax assessments and financial markets would allow governments to assess the value of financial holdings and real estate, which together account for most wealth.

Zucman points out that the trouble of creating annual assessments is actually an argument in favour of regularly taxing wealth. Once the process is in place, it produces increasingly accurate results that can be used to better tax estates and help with public administration. SOURCE

Fossil Fuel Firms Spend Millions on Social Media Ads Against Climate Regulations While Portraying Selves as Green Heroes

“This is the playbook: deny, delay, confuse, blame ‘consumers’, spread economic fear, #greenwash, repeat.”

Flares burning off gas at Belridge Oil Field and hydraulic fracking site which is the fourth largest oil field in California.
Flares burning off gas at Belridge Oil Field and hydraulic fracking site which is the fourth largest oil field in California. (Photo: Citizens of the Planet/Education Images/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Major fossil fuel companies and other big polluters are pouring millions of dollars into social media advertising that touts perceived green initiatives while working to undermine climate regulations, The Guardian reported Thursday.

According to The Guardian, which studied the advertising funding with InfluenceMap, major polluters  have spent up to $17 million on social media advertising since May 2018.

“ExxonMobil spent $9.6m—by far the biggest sum—ConocoPhillips $910,000 and BP $790,000,” the paper reported. “These ads include PR highlighting low carbon alternatives and at the same time involve direct lobbying against climate initiatives and the promotion of continued fossil fuel extraction in the energy mix.”

The report lists a number of initiatives the companies fought against, including a measure in Colorado restricting fracking by ensuring wells were 2,500 feet away from homes, schools, and hospitals. An astroturf campaign opposing the measure, Prop 112, received “$41 million by the oil and gas industry and its trade groups between January and December 2018, according to campaign declarations to the Colorado Secretary of State.”

The Guardian reported that the money went into ad campaigns that had an effect:

BP gave Protect Colorado $300,000 in October 2018, a month after relocating its US onshore headquarters from Houston to Denver. The move was to help it tap the state’s estimated reserves of 1.3bn barrels of oil and exploit increased production, which has made Colorado the country’s fifth largest oil producer.

Guardian analysis of Facebook’s ad disclosure platform reveals Protect Colorado had an influence reach of up to 3.3 million impressions in the weeks before the vote, in a state with a population of about 5 million people.

“We lost by 200,000 votes, so yes, 100% we believe the vote was swayed by the social media push they financed,” said Prop 112 supporter Anne Lee Foster. “They created doubt. They exploited people’s fears that the setback would mean big job losses.”

Thursday’s reporting is part of a larger study from InfluenceMap which details the extent to which large corporations are involved in determining climate policy. SOURCE

 

Extinction Rebellion: What it is, what it wants

On Monday the activist group Extinction Rebellion blocked bridges in cities across Canada, including Halifax, Toronto, Edmonton and Vancouver.

While the climate action group may have been relatively unknown until now, it has been expanding rapidly around the world. Here’s a closer look.

What is Extinction Rebellion?

Extinction Rebellion (XR) was launched by British activists Roger Hallam and Gail Bradbrook on Oct. 31, 2018 — shortly after a report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said policymakers have only 12 years to stop global catastrophic climate change.

The group is also concerned about findings that suggest humanity has entered the sixth global mass extinction event. XR’s symbol is an hourglass in a circle that represents time running out. Its mandate is to draw attention to the mass extinction of life on Earth and “minimize the risk of social collapse.”

How big is XR?

The group says its first protest in 2018 drew 1,500 people to Parliament Square in London. It has now spread to more than 60 countries with 350 local groups.

According to its website, there are more than 30 XR groups across Canada, at both the local and provincial levels.

What is XR demanding and from whom?

Extinction Rebellion has three primary demands of governments:

    • Declare a climate and ecological emergency.
    • Act immediately to stop the loss of biodiversity and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
    • “Create and be led by the decisions of a Citizens’ Assembly on climate and ecological justice.”

What kinds of tactics does XR use?

According to the group
, it “uses nonviolent civil disobedience.” Its members’ tactics include blocking traffic on bridges and thoroughfares and glueing themselves to public buildings.

British author and environmental activist George Monbiot is a strong supporter of XR, and said the group is unlike anything he’s seen before.

“It’s really the first movement in my life that’s been of sufficient scale to address this issue,” Monbiot told CBC. “I’ve been an activist and journalist in this field for 34 years, and there’ve been lots of movements coming and going, and a lot of them have been great … but none of them has reached this scale and this impact.”

Why has this movement caught on so quickly?

Laurie Adkin, an associate professor at the University of Alberta‘s department of political science, said it’s unclear why XR has grown so quickly. One possibility is that in addition to the participation of many young people, we’re seeing an older generation of climate researchers and citizens concerned about climate change taking part after decades of political inaction. Adkin also said that XR might have staying power.

“I think it has a lot of growth potential because the crisis we’re facing is truly an existential one,” said Adkin.

Thunder Woman Speaks: Canada Misunderstands the First Nation Treaty relationship

Thunder Woman Speaks: Canada Misunderstands the First Nation Treaty relationship

Justin Trudeau continues to run his campaign on the false promises of repairing the relationship that exists between the original people and the greedy newcomers.

Since the time of Pierre Eliot Trudeau, Justin’s father, there has been a concerted policy effort to undermine the sovereignty of the original First Nation people here in this stolen land called Canada.

This policy effort has been the underlying sickness that has infected the colonial mind for 500 years. This policy or thinking has surfaced in legislation and in tests that are applied in the courts where they establishment of land “title” or rights is squarely put on the original people to prove.

There are differences in the two nations that agreed to share this land.

One distinct difference is that there is a belief in the Creator and a way of keeping the history alive in language and ceremony so that the oral traditions form the basis for record keeping and continuity. This unfortunately is not measurable in a whiteman made system where there must be documentation of facts.

Fact: There were no white men or people on Turtle Island 500 plus years ago.

Fact: The original settlers and explorers were part of hierarchical systems that believed in the hierarchy of men.

Fact: There was no initial clash at the initial meeting of two nations because the original people were welcoming, inclusive and helped the settlers survive.

The premise that forms the original treaty basis is simple; there would be a sharing of land and resources with both nations going forward without disturbing the autonomy or sovereignty of the other nation.

The original treaties according to the stories and oral history were that our people would go on with the same lifestyle and control that they exercised since time immemorial. There was no suggestion of subjugation or assimilation.

Unfortunately, this was not what happened for the original people. Upon the signing of treaties 1-11, the British Crown expected that the Canadian crown would deal fairly with the first peoples. From the Royal Proclamation in 1763, there is an understanding that the land “belongs” to the original people who were here when Britain or any other European nations stumbled into the western hemisphere.

Therefore, British law contained in the Royal Proclamation along with the British North America Act remains the foundation for Canada. Canada has been asked to produce a bill of sale to prove “ownership” of this land called Canada at the United Nations level and has failed to do so.

So an international higher than a contractual obligation exists between the Indigenous nations and Canada as the successor state. Canada is the successor state that benefits from the agreement made between Britain and the original nations.

This is why the Treaties remain important for the original people. But the Treaties also formed Canada so Canada has a duty and obligation to uphold the original promises because without the Treaties, they would not exist.

Our own indigenous people have to understand this treaty relationship. The Creator has given us a way of life, our languages, ceremonies, songs and teachings to uphold, as the original people of Turtle Island. The Creator entrusted our people with the safekeeping of the land, the waters and all Creation. We are Treaty people sharing the land, but we are also upholding our original obligations that we have held in our hearts, minds and blood memory.

Therefore within the current structure that exists in Canada today reconciliation must bring together the protection of land with an economic thinking capitalist society that seeks to destroy the land. Is reconciliation possible?

Each political party prepping for the 2019 Canadian election, is speaking about the importance of people. They put human beings ahead of the land, water, environment and climate which is not the way of the original people. The original people believe they are equal to their environment. They acknowledge the Creator, the land, waters, plants and animals because they understand the relationship that exists is one of mutual respect and survival.

Now what current political parties are acknowledging the importance of this relationship? Canada speaks of mutually created policies or legislation but how is this mutual when there is opposition in what the two worldviews value?

Each political party is talking about what they think Canadians want to hear as Indigenous issues. They speak at or about the Indigenous without having had any indigenous instruction in the heart of our own communities, instead listening to those indigenous who are willing to play tokenized Indian and play within the system that undermines who we are as true Indigenous people.

This continues to be the problem. From the European explorers who came and saw an “empty land” with savages without Christianity, how far have we progressed? The non first nations still believe that the Indigenous will truly benefit from becoming “Canadian”; we are referred to as Canada’s indigenous. Can a settler state own a sovereign people?

The settler parties look at colonized boxed thinking in their assessments or promises for the Indigenous people. They talk about statistics and “bettering” the existing Indigenous situation without taking responsibility for the harms.

The settler parties point fingers at one another and play up what they think Indigenous people want to hear and what the non-native people are willing to “accommodate”. How is this a solution?

Alberta Created a Way to Help Fossil Fuel Workers. Kenney Is Wrecking It

Jason Kenney with Andrew Scheer
‘Empty promises.’ While Alberta Premier Jason Kenney stumps for federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer, his province’s coal workers, their jobs phasing out, are angry he’s stalling the deal to financially support them. Photo: public domain.

he coal workers that Roy Milne knows are pissed-off, stressed-out and worried about their futures. Like many Albertans, they figured that voting in the United Conservative Party of Jason Kenney this spring would bring more prosperity and stability to their lives than the New Democratic Party of Rachel Notley. But instead they feel more precarious than ever.

“They’re going ‘hmmm,’” said Milne, who has worked in coal since the 1980s and is president of the United Steelworkers Local 1595 in the town of Wabamun, about an hour’s drive west of Edmonton. “They were mad at the NDP to begin with for phasing out coal so quickly. But they’re equally as mad at the new government for leaving them hanging in the breeze.”

With a federal election on Oct. 21, Premier Kenney has been off in Ontario campaigning for federal Conservative leader Andrew Scheer.

But Milne said back at home, Kenney’s government has at various times frozen and delayed assistance programs for coal workers that were brought in under the Notley government, leaving laid-off workers, along with their families and communities, in nerve-wracking financial limbo.

When Notley unveiled the Coal Workforce Transition Program as part of the NDP’s commitment to phase out all coal-fired generation plants by 2030, it was hailed as a model for how to protect workers while responding to the climate crisis. On that score, “no other provincial government in Canada has worked as cooperatively with workers and communities,” Joie Warnock, Unifor Western regional director, said at the time.

But the Kenney government stalling on that promised support makes workers’ lives “extremely stressful,” Milne said. “You’ve got probably a mortgage, and a family and bills. You can’t sit around and wait.”

Kenney has promised that a decision about whether to continue helping workers shift away from a fossil fuel that is destroying the climate and rapidly becoming unprofitable will be announced on Oct. 24 when the UCP releases its first budget. But until then nobody, not even the mayors of towns most affected by the phase-out, has any clue what’s in store for them.

582px version of Roy Milne
Roy Milne says the coal workers he knows are ‘mad at the NDP to begin with for phasing out coal so quickly. But they’re equally as mad at the new government for leaving them hanging in the breeze.’ Photo by Amber Bracken for the Narwhal.

 

“If there’s any new dollars for coal transition, I wouldn’t know,” said Wabamun Mayor Charlene Smylie, despite the nearby Highvale Mine expected to lay off several dozen unionized workers by the end of this month.

Milne isn’t so sure it’s a coincidence that news about the support program is coming shortly after the federal election. MORE

 

Save Picton Bay Critical Meeting Oct 7, 5:00 pm

Please plan to attend this critical meeting at the Prince Edward Yacht Club on October 17th at 5:00pm.

The Appeal may be our last chance to influence regulation against pollution of Picton Bay.

Hear an update of what SPB has accomplished to date and where it needs to go. Special guests: Chief Miracle of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte and our legal counsel Eric Gillespie. Your RSVP would be greatly appreciated for planning purposes.

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Jane Fonda leads climate change protests, plans to get arrested on her birthday

 


Photograph: Arthur Mola/Invision/AP

Two-time Academy Award and seven-time Golden Globe winner Jane Fonda has played many roles, most recently on television as the wife of a gay husband who comes out about his closeted relationship with his best friend…

But this week, Fonda takes on the role of climate activist and brings it to a new stage: the Capitol, where she will demonstrate until she is arrested. And she will do the same thing for 14 Fridays – until she has to film another season of the television drama “Grace and Frankie.”

“I’m going to take my body, which is kind of famous and popular right now because of the [television] series and I’m going to go to D.C. and I’m going to have a rally every Friday,” Fonda said in an interview with The Washington Post. “It’ll be called ‘Fire Drill Friday.’ And we’re going to engage in civil disobedience and we’re going to get arrested every Frida

Call her the Greta Thunberg of the octogenarian set

The 16-year-old Thunberg, a Swedish high school student, has rocked the world with her blunt denunciations of generations that have failed to slow climate change. The 81-year-old Fonda, who says she was moved reading about Thunberg, says she believes she can have her own impact.

When Thunberg studied climate change, “she realised what was happening and that this was barrelling at us like an engine,” Fonda said. “It so traumatised her that she stopped speaking and eating. And when I read that it rocked me, because I knew that Greta had seen the truth. And the urgency came into my DNA the way it hadn’t before.”

“Greta said we have to behave like it’s a crisis,” Fonda added. “We have to behave like our houses are on fire.”

Fonda has a distinguished acting career, including political films such as “Coming Home” about Vietnam War wounds both mental and physical, “9 to 5” about working women, and “The China Syndrome” about a nuclear power plant that was released shortly before the Three Mile Island nuclear accident.

This time Fonda is planning to go about things differently

Every Thursday evening, starting Oct. 17, there will be online teach-ins featuring climate scientists talking about different aspects of global warming. Fonda said she would like to “draw connections” by discussing how violence against women increases in communities suffering from climate change.

Then on Fridays, she will go to the steps of the Capitol building holding a placard and will refuse to obey three requests by the Capitol Police to cease and desist. She’s not expecting a mass rally, more like a handful of people.

Actress and activist Jane Fonda talks to a crowd of protestors during a global climate rally at Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. A wave of climate change protests swept across the globe Friday, with hundreds of thousands of young people sending a message to leaders headed for a U.N. summit: The warming world can’t wait for action. (AP Photo/David Swanson)
This Friday’s launch coincides with bigger protests scheduled worldwide

She has invited some of her celebrity friends: Actor Ted Danson of “Cheers” fame, who has become involved in ocean conservation; “The Vagina Monologues” playwright Eve Ensler; and actresses Kyra Sedgwick and Catherine Keener.

She’s reached out to leaders of Black Lives Matter and the Sunrise Movement. Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, will join the demonstrations, which will start at 11 a.m. Fridays on the side of the Capitol facing the Supreme Court.

Fonda said she also intends to make demands

“The number one thing is cutting all funding and permits for new developments for fossil fuel and exports and processing and refining,” she said. She said that if efforts go into discouraging demand for oil and gas and coal, “it’s not going to do any good” if companies are still developing prospects. “It’s not going to make any difference,” she said.

Fonda also wants to get out the vote, not only for presidential ballots but also down to local government to make climate policy a litmus test.

People take part during the Climate Strike, Friday, Sept. 20, 2019 in New York. Young people afraid for their futures protested around the globe Friday to implore leaders to tackle climate change, turning out by the hundreds of thousands to insist that the warming world can’t wait for action. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez)

It’s not Fonda’s first climate protest

In 2016, she spent Thanksgiving with protesters gathered in an effort to block an oil pipeline through land claimed by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe in North Dakota. She has protested in Los Angeles, Vancouver and Seattle.

But she said she wanted to “step it up” after reading two books: Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz’s book “People, Power, and Profits: Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent” and Naomi Klein’s “On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal.”

Klein opens her book with an essay about Thunberg and her Asperger’s syndrome. Fonda says it showed her that some people on the autism spectrum are “totally laser focused” and “information comes at them pure and direct.”

“It’s as simple as this. We have according to the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] 12 years, but that was a year ago,” Fonda says. “So according to their report we have 11 years left. Eleven years to do something that has never been done in human history. And if we don’t do it, huge parts of the planet are going to be uninhabitable, by the way.”

Fire Drill Fridays@FireDrillFriday

Vote, speak & act in support of the demands of youth climate strikers:

🔥A Green New Deal
🔥Respect of Indigenous Land & Sovereignty
🔥Environmental Justice
🔥Protection & Restoration of Biodiversity
🔥Implementation of Sustainable Agriculture

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