Mayor Tory: Declare Homelessness An Emergency To Prevent More Deaths And Suffering

This past month there have been eight reported homeless deaths in the City of Toronto.

This past month there have been eight reported homeless deaths in the City of Toronto.

The City has failed to shelter the most vulnerable. All seven Respite Centres are full, the two 24-hour women’s drop-ins and the Out of the Cold program are over capacity on many nights. The Assessment and Referral Centre on Peter Street is unable to operate as a referral centre as there are insufficient beds in the system.

Instead, fifty people sleep in chairs there each night. They are the lucky ones. Hundreds upon hundreds of people are forced to sleep outside due to failed shelter and housing policies. They are in grave danger. Their precarious situation has been exacerbated by the onslaught of an early winter leaving them completely exposed and vulnerable.

A walk through the city confirms what front-line workers are telling us: there have never been this many people sleeping in our streets and parks before. The number of beds the City plans to bring on-line will not be sufficient to accommodate those in need. Furthermore, during an Extreme Cold Weather Alert there is only one Warming Centre that sleeps 50 people for the entire City.

In order to prevent more deaths and suffering, we request that you enact the City of Toronto Emergency Plan immediately.  

WHY THE CITY OF TORONTO EMERGENCY PLAN IS THE ONLY RESPONSE

The aim of the City of Toronto Emergency Plan is to provide the framework for extraordinary arrangements and measures that can be taken to protect the health, safety and welfare of the inhabitants of the City of Toronto. It would allow the Mayor to:

1. Make a formal statement declaring that homelessness and the social housing situation are an emergency necessitating immediate action.
2. Request help from the Federal and Provincial governments for funding and resources necessary to deal with this deadly crisis.
3. Establish an Emergency Task Force from relevant departments at the City, including Public Health; Shelter, Support and Housing Administration; Emergency Management; Real Estate; Parks, Forestry and Recreation; for the purpose of resolving issues related to the crisis.
4. Create a Building Team from all three levels of government that would identify vacant buildings owned by the City, Federal and Provincial governments that can be used to immediately shelter the hundreds who are homeless.
5. Redeploy staff from various City departments to implement the decisions of the
Emergency Task Force and to provide support at respite sites, warming centres, and overnight drop-ins.
6. Invite the Red Cross to assist with emergency respite and warming centre operations, as they did in the winter of 2017-2018.
7. Move the only Warming Centre that currently operates in a hallway at Metro Hall, to a more accessible and spacious site.
8. Create four to six additional Warming Centres throughout Toronto that would allow people to easily access them.
9. Improve the safety and health outcomes in all Respite Centres that have 100 or more people staying in them by reducing capacity by one third.
10. Fast track a 4th Sprung Structure.
11. Implement the recommendations of the Faulkner Inquest, including the distribution of survival equipment and supplies (sleeping bags, fire retardant blankets, safe heat sources) to people who are living outside. Tents must be added to this list. Fund additional outreach teams to distribute these items.
12. Impose a moratorium on evictions of people living in all public spaces, including parks, ravines, and encampments.
13. Impose a moratorium on the removal of all encampments.
14. Create an emergency rent supplement program to prioritize the housing of vulnerable people including seniors and those with disabilities.
15. Allow the Building Team to devise and implement a strategy for the creation of 2,000 permanent shelter beds.
16. Allow the Building Team to devise and implement a five-year strategy for the building of transitional, supportive and rent-geared-to-income (RGI) social housing.
17. Expropriate buildings, left unused and vacant by owners, for immediate conversion to RGI social housing such as single room dwellings or transitional housing.
18. Extend the timeframe of all emergency shelters and Respite Centres so they operate year-round.
19. Create one hundred beds to replace those lost when the Out of the Cold program shuts down in April.

We believe that homelessness needs to be declared as a state of emergency in the City of Toronto. We have witnessed homelessness increase in recent years and the municipal response has proved to be totally inadequate. Lives are at stake.

SIGN THE PETITION: Toronto affordable housing and homeless crisis

 

 

Mayor John Tory pitches substantial property tax increase to fund transit and housing projects

Driving a Smarter Future

IRENA analysis explores the potential and impact of smart charging electric vehicles on the energy transition

Today the average car runs on fossil fuels, but growing pressure for climate action, falling battery costs, and concerns about air pollution in cities, has given life to the once “over-priced” and neglected electric vehicle.

With many new electric vehicles (EV) now out-performing their fossil-powered counterparts’ capabilities on the road, energy planners are looking to bring innovation to the garage — 95% of a car’s time is spent parked. The result is that with careful planning and the right infrastructure in place, parked and plugged-in EVs could be the battery banks of the future, stabilising electric grids powered by wind and solar energy.

An electric car charging station powered by solar PV

“EVs at scale can create vast electricity storage capacity, but if everyone simultaneously charges their cars in the morning or evening, electricity networks can become stressed. The timing of charging is therefore critical. ‘Smart charging’, which both charges vehicles and supports the grid, unlocks a virtuous circle in which renewable energy makes transport cleaner and EVs support larger shares of renewables,” says Dolf Gielen, Director of IRENA’s Innovation and Technology Centre.

Looking at real examples, a new report from IRENA, Innovation Outlook: smart charging for electric vehicles, guides countries on how to exploit the complementarity potential between renewable electricity and EVs. It provides a guideline for policymakers on implementing an energy transition strategy that makes the most out of EVs.

Smart implementation

Smart charging means adapting the charging cycle of EVs to both the conditions of the power system and the needs of vehicle users. “Smart charging is one of the innovations IRENA is closely following that presents multiple benefits. By decreasing EV-charging-stress on the grid, smart charging can make electricity systems more flexible for renewable energy integration, and provides a low-carbon electricity option to address the transport sector, all while meeting mobility needs,” says Gielen.

The rapid uptake of EVs around the world, means smart charging could save billions of dollars in grid investments needed to meet EV loads in a controlled manner. For example, the distribution system operator in Hamburg — Stromnetz Hamburg — is testing a smart charging system that uses digital technologies that control the charging of vehicles based on systems and customers’ requirements. When fully implemented, this would reduce the need for grid investments in the city due to the load of charging EVs by 90%.

IRENA’s analysis indicates that if most of the passenger vehicles sold from 2040 onwards were electric, more than 1 billion EVs could be on the road by 2050 — up from around 6 million today —dwarfing stationary battery capacity. Projections suggest that in 2050, around 14 terra-watt hours (TWh) of EV batteries could be available to provide grid services, compared to just 9 TWh of stationary batteries.

The implementation of smart charging systems ranges from basic to advanced, says Francisco Boshell, an IRENA analyst monitoring the development and implementation of EV strategies around the world. “The simplest approaches encourage consumers to defer their charging from peak to off-peak periods. More advanced approaches using digital technology (PDF), such as ‘direct control mechanisms’ may in the near future serve the electricity system by delivering close-to real-time energy balancing and ancillary services,” explains Boshell.

Advanced forms of smart charging

An advanced smart charging approach, called Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G), allows EVs not to just withdraw electricity from the grid, but to also inject electricity back to the grid. V2G technology may create a business case for car owners, via aggregators (PDF), to provide ancillary services to the grid. However, to be attractive for car owners, smart charging must satisfy the mobility needs, meaning cars should be charged when needed, at the lowest cost, and owners should possibly be remunerated for providing services to the grid. Policy instruments, such as rebates for the installation of smart charging points as well as time-of-use tariffs (PDF), may incentivise a wide deployment of smart charging.

“We’ve seen this tested in the UK, Netherlands and Denmark,” Boshell says. “For example, since 2016, Nissan, Enel and Nuvve have partnered and worked on an energy management solution that allows vehicle owners and energy users to operate as individual energy hubs. Their two pilot projects in Denmark and the UK have allowed owners of Nissan EVs to earn money by sending power to the grid through Enel’s bidirectional chargers.”

Perfect solution?

While EVs have a lot to offer towards accelerating variable renewable energy deployment, their uptake also brings technical challenges that need to be overcome.

IRENA analysis suggests uncontrolled and simultaneous charging of EVs could significantly increase congestion in power systems and peak load. Resulting in limitations to increase the share of solar PV and wind in power systems, and the need for additional investment costs in electrical infrastructure in form of replacing and additional cables, transformers, switchgears, etc., respectively.

An increase in autonomous and ‘mobility-as-a-service’ driving — i.e. innovations for car-sharing or those that would allow your car to taxi strangers when you are not using it — could disrupt the potential availability of grid-stabilising plugged-in EVs, as batteries will be connected and available to the grid less often.

Impact of charging according to type

 

It has also become clear that fast and ultra-fast charging are a priority for the mobility sector, however, slow charging is actually better suited for smart charging, as batteries are connected and available to the grid longer. For slow charging, locating charging infrastructure at home and at the workplace is critical, an aspect to be considered during infrastructure planning. Fast and ultra-fast charging may increase the peak demand stress on local grids. Solutions such as battery swapping, charging stations with buffer storage, and night EV fleet charging, might become necessary, in combination with fast and ultra-fast charging, to avoid high infrastructure investments.

To learn more about smart charging, read IRENA’s Innovation Outlook: smart charging for electric vehicles. The report explores the degree of complementarity potential between variable renewable energy sources and EVs, and considers how this potential could be tapped through smart charging between now and mid-century, and the possible impact of the expected mobility disruptions in the coming two to three decades. SOURCE

EDITORIAL: Ontario should restore funding to legal aid system

Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey has cancelled scheduled cuts to the province’s legal aid system.Doug Downey, Ontario’s Attorney General 

In Doug Ford’s Ontario, we are apparently supposed to be grateful for small mercies. It may be too much to expect good things, so we are expected to be thankful when we avoid really bad ones.

In this spirit, then, we are glad that the Progressive Conservative government has come to its senses and cancelled a scheduled cut of $33 million in next year’s budget for the province’s legal aid program.

Attorney General Doug Downey deserves a modest cheer for reversing course and deciding to “keep current funding going forward.”

But the fact remains that the Ford government has already damaged the legal aid system by cutting a lot more — $133 million — from its budget this year. Downey’s retreat does not restore that money, or reverse the harm already caused. It just prevents the situation from getting any worse.

The government’s decision last April to cut funds for legal aid was both unjust and short-sighted.

Unjust, because it inevitably reduces services for poor people who can’t afford to pay a lawyer out of their own pockets to help them navigate the legal system.

They are more likely to come out with a worse result in everything from criminal cases to custody battles and tenants’ rights issues. Legal Aid Ontario no longer pays private lawyers to represent people in bail hearings, so they have a greater chance of spending more time behind bars even before their guilt or innocence is decided.

And short-sighted, because having more people trying to represent themselves in court causes delays and jams up the system. It runs against all the efforts to streamline the court system and ensure that accused people get justice that is both fair and timely. And of course it drives up costs when trials are delayed and people spend longer in custody. SOURCE

‘The Tipping Point I Dread the Most’

The melting of the Arctic permafrost.

Credit…Felipe Dana/Associated Press

The headlines about scientists’ annual report card on the Arctic are alarming enough: warming temperatures, melting ice and rising seas. But the detail that The Washington Post’s Andrew Freedman highlighted is terrifying.

Permafrost — the frozen soil that makes up much of the Arctic, and that is filled with carbon — is thawing. As it does, it could release that carbon into the atmosphere, accelerating climate change. Freedman writes:

There has been concern throughout the scientific community that the approximately 1,460 billion to 1,600 billion metric tons of organic carbon stored in frozen Arctic soils, almost twice the amount of greenhouse gases as what is contained in the atmosphere, could be released as the permafrost melts.

Warming temperatures allow microbes within the soil to convert permafrost carbon into the greenhouse gases — carbon dioxide and methane — which can be released into the air and accelerate warming.

Kendra Pierre-Louis of The Times put it this way:

Researchers say that if too much permafrost thaws it will create a self-reinforcing cycle wherein thawing permafrost will lead to still more thawing permafrost, which in turn will make climate change worse. Recent observations of carbon flows in Alaskan permafrost have found that more carbon is being released than stored.

Clara Jeffery, the editor of Mother Jones, wrote simply: “This is the tipping point I dread the most.”

I know that a lot happened yesterday — the unveiling of impeachment articles; President Trump’s continued flirtation with the Russians; the House Democrats’ dubious decision to hand Trump a political win on trade; and more. But the melting of the Arctic will have a more profound effect on our lives than any of these things.

It’s still unclear how quickly the permafrost thaw — and carbon release — will happen, and it’s not too late for our actions to affect the pace. SOURCE

RELATED:

We Are Failing to Protect the Arctic From the Climate Crisis, Report Card Shows
The Arctic Is Undergoing Changes Scientists ‘Never Expected Would Happen This Soon’

Why is the president of the United States cyberbullying a 16-year-old girl?

What it says to girls is: no matter what you do, no matter how much you achieve, powerful men will try to cut you down

 ‘Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend!’ Trump tweeted on Thursday. ‘Chill Greta, Chill!’ Photograph: Cristina Quicler/AFP via Getty Images

The morning after election day 2016, I got a call from a girls’ school in New York where I was scheduled to speak. “We have to reschedule,” said a representative from the school. “The girls are too upset.”

Girls across the country were upset when Trump was elected, but not simply on partisan grounds. They were upset because Donald Trump was a bully, a cyberbully, and he bullied girls and young women like them – women like the former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, who revealed that, when she was 19, he called her “Miss Piggy,” a dig at her weight.

In a New York Times poll in the run-up to the election, nearly half of girls aged 14 to 17 said that Trump’s comments about women affected the way they think about their bodies. Only 15% of girls said they would vote for him if they could.

And now Trump has a new target for his bullying: Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old environmental activist. Thunberg seems to be really making Trump upset, without meaning to. She doesn’t fit into any of his ideas of how girls are supposed to act. She isn’t trying to be a contestant in one of his beauty pageants. She’s too busy trying to get world leaders like him to do something about the climate crisis. She’s too occupied by giving speeches at places like the UN – where Trump was laughed at, when he gave a speech in 2018, and Thunberg was met with respect, despite slamming the entire body for “misleading” the public with inadequate emission-reduction pledges.

In the last couple of weeks, while Trump was seemingly mocked by his peers at the Nato summit in London, and impeachment hearings against him began, Thunberg was named Time’s person of the year, an honor Trump reportedly wanted. And so he did what he always seems to do, on Twitter, when he’s upset: he lashed out by accusing the person upsetting him of the very things he’s feeling, or is guilty of.

“Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend!” Trump tweeted on Thursday. “Chill Greta, Chill!”

Poor Trump. This tweet didn’t sound very chill. And Thunberg knew it. Like the majority of girls growing up in the digital age, she has been cyberbullied before – by Trump himself, who, after her celebrated speech before the UN General Assembly, sarcastically tweeted, “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future. So nice to see!”

Both times Trump has tweeted about her, Thunberg’s responses have been jocular, and sarcastic in kind. This week, she changed her Twitter bio to: “A teenager working on her anger management problem. Currently chilling and watching a good old fashioned movie with a friend.”

In her handling of being cyberbullied by the president of the United States, at age 16, Thunberg has become an inspiration for girls two times over – first as a climate activist, then as a social media ninja.

But that doesn’t mean that Trump’s cyberbullying of Thunberg is any less despicable, or dangerous. What it says to girls all over the world is: no matter what you do, no matter how much you achieve, powerful men can and will try to cut you down.

This message is depressing, scary and not without potentially dire consequences. It’s a message that has contributed to a precipitous rise in the suicide rate among girls. It’s a message that has contributed to rising anxiety and depression among girls and young women. It’s a message that Trump’s wife, Melania, is supposed to be combatting, with her campaign against cyberbullying.

But girls don’t need Melania Trump to be their role model in fighting against online harassment. They have each other, and they have Thunberg. SOURCE

RELATED:

Michelle Obama posts in solidarity with Greta Thunberg after Trump tweet
Thunberg trolls Trump after he mocks her in tweet

 

China’s great wall motor debuts ORA R1, the world’s cheapest electric car

Claiming to catalyze a ‘new generation of electric cars’, china’s great wall motor debuts the ORA R1 from their newly created EV-subsidiary. the car delivers a maximum cruising range of 351km thanks to a 35kw motor. all of this is available for between 59,800 and 77,800 yuan ($8,680 to $11,293 USD), making it the world’s cheapest electric car.

ORA stands for ‘open, reliable and alternative’ and is aimed at the young and upcoming city dweller (image credits)

All  images courtesy of great wall motor

With most vehicles ‘built from oil to electricity’ at present, great wall motor has created their first dedicated platform for EVs. called the ‘ME’ platform, the system arranges the overall layout of the core components such as the motor, battery and electronic control, and full integration of the three-electric system. the construction also enables it to be lightweight and long-lasting, with a 16% reduction in volume and 12% in weight.

The ORA R1 focuses on delivering five core principles: high value, large space, smarter, safer and higher quality. with a size of 3495 x 1660 x 1560mm, the spacious car also offers security with a body made from more than 60% of high-strength steel. the design itself is simple, unique and cute in style – highlighted immediately with its big eye headlights. finally, the vehicle is also equipped with an artificial intelligence system that can be woken up by simply saying, ‘hello, ORA’. the car is available in 5 color models to fit individual needs: titanium white, cadet blue, sky blue, combination titanium white and glitter black, and combination cadet blue and titanium white.

MORE

 

100% by 2050 – Vancouver’s roadmap to urban sustainability

Responsible for two-thirds of the world’s carbon emissions and facing rapid urbanisation, cities are embracing new and innovative solutions to meet climate and development objectives. Vancouver, Canada’s third largest city, is leading this urban energy transformation by committing itself to 100% renewables by 2050 through an ambitious, well-defined roadmap that unifies different sectors, stakeholders and communities under its vision for a sustainable, carbon-free future.

As growing evidence confirms, sustainable energy can be promoted at the municipal level through planning, regulation, public procurement, direct investment, provision of services and awareness-raising. City planners and policy makers possess several available levers to steer urban energy systems towards renewables and reap their benefits. IRENA, in collaboration with ICLEI and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), examined Vancouver’s Renewable City Strategy in a recent case study, showcasing how bringing together different stakeholders and unifying their outlook is critical for cities to succeed with ambitious renewable energy goals.

With 69% of its energy sourced from fossil fuels, half of which is used to heat buildings, Vancouver’s Renewable City Strategy – in conjunction with the Zero Emissions Building Plan – aims to reduce 70% of emissions from new buildings by 2020, 90% by 2025 and 100% by 2030, phasing in changes to building standards that allow the construction industry to adapt over time. Twenty of the 75 largest greenhouse gas (GHG)-emitting municipal buildings will be retrofitted to a zero emissions standard over the next 25 years. This measure will contribute 20% of the GHG emissions reductions required to make all municipal buildings carbon neutral by 2040.

Furthermore, the city is looking at district energy – referred to as ‘neighbourhood energy’ in Vancouver – which can be powered by renewables and is viable in densely-settled parts of the city where capital and operating costs can be recovered at rates that are competitive with natural gas. Low-density areas, such as single family homes and low-occupancy apartments, will most likely be supplied with electricity from solar PV or solar thermal, heat pumps which utilise grid-supplied electricity, or on-site wind power.

However, using electricity for building heating and hot water in low-density areas is still expensive in comparison to natural gas. Therefore, the city is emphasizing increased density with current estimates projecting that only 10-15% of households in Vancouver will be single family homes in 2050 compared to 80% of the land in Vancouver currently dedicated to single-family housing.

To reach its sustainability goals, Vancouver is also targeting the other major emitter of carbon in cities – transportation. Three of its Renewable City Strategy priorities are focused on increasing the use of renewable transportation options, reducing motorized transportation demand and the increasing supply of renewable transportation fuels. Even though the city has limited jurisdiction over automobile standards, Vancouver has already taken steps to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles (EV).

For example, the city’s Electric Vehicle Ecosystem Strategy sets out 32 actions intended to increase the number of EV charging spots in homes, workplaces and public spaces in the period from 2016 to 2021. Because Vancouver’s electricity is almost exclusively generated from hydropower, electrification can reduce personal vehicle emissions by up to 97%. Projections show that by 2050 approximately 25% of personal vehicles in Vancouver could be fully electric vehicles, with another 45% comprising plug-in hybrids using a combination of renewable electricity and bio-methane, and the remainder being conventional hybrid vehicles running on bio-methane.

In addition to synergizing existing strategies and plans, Vancouver realises the importance of stakeholder engagement and has taken steps to introduce the public to strategy planning and implementation, collect feedback, and build dialogue between the public and the municipal government, through initiatives such as the ‘Bright Green Summer’ and “100% RE Talks”.

Beyond electric vehicles, Vancouver’s Transportation 2040 Strategy promotes sustainable transportation infrastructure and encourages increased walking, bicycling and public transit use, was key for the city to achieve its Greenest City 2020 Action Plan goal of having over 50% of trips made by walking, cycling or public transit five years early, in March 2015. With the help of the Mobi bicycle sharing programme, cycling is Vancouver’s fastest-growing mode of transport. The city exceeded its target of reducing the average annual distance driven per resident by 20% relative to 2007 levels, having already overachieved a reduction of 32%. MORE

Jonathan Wilkinson: the Minister of Greenwash

After working for ExxonMobil and Shell, it looks like his job now is to grow Canada’s oil sands

Image result for dogwood: Jonathan Wilkinson: the Minister of Greenwash

After the 2019 federal election, Alberta premier Jason Kenney laid out his demands for Ottawa. He wanted Environment Minister Catherine McKenna, whom he called “anti-pipeline,” replaced with someone the oil companies could trust.

Prime Minister Trudeau tapped North Vancouver MP Jonathan Wilkinson, a former Saskatchewan bureaucrat and CEO of a company that partnered with ExxonMobil and Shell to develop gas recovery systems for refineries.

Now it seems Wilkinson’s job is to gaslight the public on oil sands expansion.

Since his appointment as Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Wilkinson has embarked on a media blitz to promote the taxpayer-funded Trans Mountain expansion, which would export crude oil via hundreds of tankers a year.

“There’s no inconsistency between ensuring that people have access to sell oil and gas products in the short term, while we go through the energy transition, and fighting climate change,” the minister intoned on CBC radio. “There’s absolutely no conflict.”

If Wilkinson were serious about fighting climate change, he would take a stand against fossil fuel expansion. Instead, he’s poised to approve an oil sands mine that would pump over a quarter-million barrels of bitumen into new pipelines.

Then and now

It was a warm fall evening in 2015. The church was packed. Candidates at the North Vancouver debate were joined on stage by celebrated climate change and policy experts Kathryn Harrison, Simon Donner and Nancy Olewiler. In the traditionally Conservative federal riding of North Vancouver, the mood had shifted dramatically in the leadup to the 2015 election.

Looming large in the church sanctuary that night was the controversial Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion. The project would bring a seven-fold increase in tanker traffic: huge Aframax tankers that would barely fit under the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge, carrying diluted bitumen past the shores of the North Shore riding and its newly revitalized residential waterfront.

It was the first time many locals had heard from Jonathan Wilkinson, and he made an impression. His twenty years in “clean tech”, his overarching concern about climate change leading him to seek public office — he was talking the talk, and the crowd ate it up.

For folks in the pews at St. Andrews that October night, Wilkinson’s mention of “the transition” was music to their ears, conjuring images of wind farms and solar panels. Wilkinson the climate warrior, who had gone to battle first in the corporate sector, now turning to government as an even more effective way to advance his agenda.

“The world is going to be moving to a lower-carbon economy,” Wilkinson said over and over that fall. And while talking to the local Dogwood team at a meeting in November 2015: “It’s important to determine which sectors will be the new drivers for growth as fossil fuels recede in value. Our job includes how to create strategies and encourage new sectors for Canada’s economic future.”

Decades in ‘clean tech’

Before entering politics, Wilkinson held executive positions at QuestAir, Nexterra and BioteQ over a period of 16 years. At QuestAir, a major focus of the business was hydrogen recovery for oil refineries. As Exxon documents explain, QuestAir’s technology helped the global oil giant save money and expand production.

“We regard our joint development agreements with ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Company and Shell Hydrogen and our worldwide network of existing customers as validation of our plans for the future,” CEO Jonathan Wilkinson said after taking the company public in 2004.

The same media release states: “QuestAir management believes that the principal drivers of this growth in refinery hydrogen demand will be: an overall increase in worldwide oil production; regulations requiring lower amounts of sulphur in diesel fuel; and increased consumption of ‘heavy’ low quality crude oil.” They got that right.

Fast-forward to December 2019, and Wilkinson still sounds bullish about Alberta’s heavy oil industry.

“Over the next number of decades, people are going to continue to consume oil and gas,” the environment minister told CBC. “And so for Canada, it’s important that the folks that produce these goods get full value for their products.” Translation: more pipelines.

Wilkinson’s real plan?

In the frenzy to defeat Stephen Harper in 2015, Wilkinson rode the red wave into power in his riding, buoyed by the support of hopeful climate voters looking for a hero. But the honeymoon was soon over. Talk of Canada moving to a low-carbon economy soon took a backseat to repetitive mansplaining about how the Kinder Morgan expansion was in the national interest.

Dogwood supporters in North Vancouver were outraged when the federal government bought out the pipeline’s Texas owners. Wilkinson’s government sent billionaire Rich Kinder back to Houston with $4.4 billion of public money in his pocket, while locals grappled with a growing affordability crisis.

Wilkinson is now in charge of Canada’s climate plan, ranked among the weakest in the G20. With emissions still rising, the global oil and gas sector plans new extraction projects totalling $1.4 trillion USD in the next five years. 85 per cent of that expansion would happen in the U.S. and Canada.

And a big chunk is planned in the Alberta oil sands. Teck’s open-pit Frontier mine would sprawl across an area twice the size of Vancouver, swallowing 3,000 hectares of old growth forest and 14,000 hectares of wetlands. Once built, it would churn out 260,000 barrels of bitumen a day. But only if Trans Mountain is there to carry all that crude away.

Teck’s proposal has already been approved by a joint review panel in spite of “significant and irreversible impacts on the environment”. And in the first weeks of 2020, Minister Jonathan Wilkinson will have the final say on approving its permit. If he rubber stamps Teck’s mine, Canada can kiss its international climate goals goodbye.

So what’s the minister’s actual climate plan?

Rather than halting fossil fuel expansion, he wants to double down on ‘clean tech’. As the Canadian Press reports, “Wilkinson said the forthcoming plan will lean heavily on developing clean technology to reduce the emissions from oil and gas production”.

The idea is to rely on experimental and future technologies to reduce the ‘intensity’ of fossil fuel extraction, while producing more and more crude oil.

It’s called greenwashing, and Jonathan Wilkinson has been doing it for years. SOURCE