Fort Nelson geothermal clean-energy permit approved

Fort Nelson geothermal clean-energy permit approved

FORT NELSON, B.C. – The province of British Columbia has awarded a permit to Fort Nelson First Nation to move forward on a geothermal energy project.

The permit grants geothermal resource rights to Deh Tai GP Inc., a development company of the Fort Nelson First Nation, and includes 25 parcels of land. The land totals about 6,800 hectares in the mature Clarke Lake gas field near the community of Fort Nelson in the northeast corner of the province.

“Fort Nelson is not connected to B.C.’s electricity grid, so geothermal energy could replace power currently generated from fossil fuels or imported from Alberta. This permit gives the Fort Nelson First Nation the certainty it needs to attract investment and move forward with developing a geothermal energy project that will reduce climate pollution while creating new jobs and opportunities,” provincial minister of energy mines and petroleum resources Bruce Ralston said.

“With the Clark Lake Geothermal Project, Fort Nelson First Nation is proudly demonstrating Indigenous leadership that will help pave the way for Western Canada’s transition toward a cleaner and more energy secure future. We look forward to continuing to work with our federal and provincial partners to make this project a model success that benefits our community members and the surrounding territory,” Fort Nelson First Nation Chief Sharleen Gale said.

Both the provincial government and BC Hydro voiced enthusiasm at the potential of geothermal to add to B.C.’s energy resource mix with a reliable, consistent form of energy production according to a release from the province of B.C.

The province provided $5 million to Geoscience BC in the 2019 budget to launch new projects including a regional assessment of geothermal energy potential in the Garibaldi Volcanic Belt and Fort Nelson First Nation received $1 million from Natural Resources Canada in August 2019 to assess geothermal energy at Clarke Lake.

The project falls under the umbrella of CleanBC, an initiative where the province works in collaboration with Indigenous peoples to “seize new clean energy and economic development opportunities,” the release stated.

World’s first commercial green H2 project powered by surplus renewables unveiled

Hyport Oostende in Belgium, to be powered solely by excess offshore wind, is also set to become the first project to use green hydrogen as energy storage

Port of Ostend in BelgiumPhoto: Port of Oostende

The world’s first commercial-scale green-hydrogen plant to be powered solely by surplus offshore wind energy has been announced by a trio of Belgian companies.

Offshore engineer DEME, Flanders-focused financier PMV and the Port of Ostend plan to build a 50MW demonstration project at the port — set to be the world’s largest electrolyser plant — before completing an even bigger, commercial-scale unit in 2025.

It has long been suggested that excess renewable energy that cannot be absorbed by the grid should be diverted into the production of green hydrogen, rather than being curtailed, via a process known as electrolysis — using electricity to split water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. But this is the first project to be announced that specifically aims to power electrolysers using only excess renewable power.

Other green H2 projects announced to date are seeking to receive their power from dedicated renewables projects, as green hydrogen becomes cheaper to produce the more hours per day the electrolysers are operating.

The three companies point out that Belgium will have 2.26GW of offshore wind installed by the end of this year, with a further 1.75GW to be developed.

“However, the wind turbines’ production peaks rarely coincide with consumer demand peaks, meaning that there is an opportunity to compensate for the discontinuity between production and consumption,” they explained in a statement.

The green hydrogen at the Hyport Oostende project would “serve as an energy source for electricity, transport, heat and fuel purposes and as a raw material for industrial purposes”, the companies said.

“With our energy transition in mind, we need to be able to temporarily store our green energy surplus using hydrogen as an energy carrier or to use hydrogen as an alternative raw material for converting the industry away from fossil fuels.”

Hydrogen can be converted into electricity using a fuel cell or burned like natural gas to produce power (via a turbine) and/or heat, with both processes emitting only water vapour. As hydrogen can be stored indefinitely, it is being touted as a long-term form of energy storage. MORE

B.C. lawsuit claims Hershey failed to disclose ‘rampant’ child labour in supply chain

The lawsuit claims that Hershey’s “failure to disclose these practices amount to a misrepresentation to Canadian consumers.”


The class-action suit claims that Hershey’s “failure to disclose these practices amount to a misrepresentation to Canadian consumers.” Photo: Hershey chocolate Kiss/Shutterstock

A Toronto man claims in a class action that Hershey Canada Inc. and its corporate parents misleadingly market their candy products by failing to disclose “rampant” child labour and slavery used in their supply chains.

Mark Reynolds filed a notice of civil claim under the Class Proceedings Act in B.C. Supreme Court on Jan. 20, naming Hershey Canada, the Hershey Co. and Hershey Chocolate & Confectionary Corp. as defendants.

The proposed class consists of Canadian residents who bought chocolate products who “were unaware of the use of child labour and slavery in the Defendants’ supply chain; and would not have purchased chocolate products manufactured and/or marketed by the Defendants as often or at all, or would not have paid as much… if they had been aware of the use of child labour and slavery.”

Reynolds claims that Hershey’s “failure to disclose these practices amount to a misrepresentation to Canadian consumers.”

According to the lawsuit, Hershey touts its practices as “socially and ethically responsible” and that it opposes the use of child labour while they allegedly “permit, encourage and benefit” from child labour, listing the Ivory Coast as one of its primary sources of raw cocoa for more than 50 years. In the period between 2008 and 2014, the number of children working in the African country’s cocoa industry grew 46 per cent, a period during which “the Defendants realized a profit in excess of $15 billion.” A U.S. Department of Labour report, according to the lawsuit, found that from 2013 to 2014 more than 1.1 million children “were engaged in the Worst Forms of Child Labor, including hazardous work, the use of dangerous tools, transport of heavy loads, and exposure to dangerous pesticides.”

Reynolds claims studies and surveys show “consumers have become sensitive to the human cost of the products that they buy.”

“Hershey is well aware of the consumer concern about human rights abuses in supply chains and has thus mounted its extensive public relations effort to position itself as a company that does not permit child and slave labor in its supply chain,” the claim states. “Its hollow public relations statements mask the tragic truth that millions of African children are engaged in the Worst Forms of Child Labor to produce the Defendants’ product.”

Reynold’s lawsuit seeks class certification and damages for misrepresentation, unjust enrichment and Competition Act violations. The allegations have not been tested or proven in court, and the defendants had not responded to the lawsuit by press time. SOURCE


246 academics call on government to act now to avoid global collapse

XR encampment on the steps of the Office of the Prime Minister and Privy Council building, January 31, 2020. Photograph by Kai McCall.

In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published an alarming report confirming that climate change is posing a serious and unprecedented threat to the diversity and stability of life on earth. We face the imminent possibility of global eco-system collapse and mass social upheaval, and have little time to act.

For this reason, we the undersigned are united in the call for the Canadian government to take radical action in addressing the climate emergency. We are also united in the call for Canadian universities to divest funds from the fossil fuel industry that is contributing to the climate crisis, and to redirect investments toward the renewable energy sector and other climate-enhancing technologies.

In doing so, we support the efforts of the international group Extinction Rebellion (XR), which is calling attention to our extreme predicament. With XR, we are particularly concerned about the threshold for runaway climate change, which would lead to irreversible catastrophic changes that would impact us all. To keep below the 1.5°C increase in temperature that the IPCC report strongly urges we do not exceed, we must cut global CO2 emissions by 45% by the year 2030. MORE

Kellogg Canada phasing out controversial weed killer

File photo of a combine in British Columbia. BC Grain Producers photo

Kellogg Canada, the maker of packaged foods such as Pringles, Eggo waffles and Corn Flakes, says it will work with its suppliers to phase out use of a popular pesticide — a move that has left the agri-food industry craving more details.

Kellogg’s told National Observer its subsidiary, Kellogg Canada, would be following in the footsteps of its parent company, which decided at the end of 2019 it would be working with suppliers to stop them from spraying the weed killer glyphosate on crops before harvest to dry them out.

The company said it would complete this “by the end of 2025” in a post on its “Open For Breakfast” blog.

Kellogg Canada will also “build an action plan with our suppliers” to phase out the pre-harvest use of glyphosate for drying, chief sustainability officer Amy Senter confirmed. MORE

Green Party’s Race To Replace Elizabeth May Off To A Bumpy Start

The party announced the rules of the contest Monday.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May delivers speech following election night at Crystal Gardens in Victoria,...

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May delivers speech following election night at Crystal Gardens in Victoria, B.C., on Oct. 21, 2019. CHAD HIPOLITO/CP

OTTAWA — The Green Party’s leadership contest is getting off to a rough start with at least three people reconsidering a run after the party established a $50,000 entry fee and a secretive vetting process.

The race to replace long-time former leader Elizabeth May, who decided to step down after the fall election, officially starts Tuesday morning. Interested candidates must submit an initial, non-refundable deposit of $10,000, plus another $40,000 by the end of July. A three-member vetting committee will review applications and can deny any candidate the chance to run without explaining why.

Interim leader Jo-Ann Roberts, who unveiled the rules Monday in Charlottetown, said the fees were set low enough to encourage a wide-range of candidates but high enough to weed out those who can’t fundraise — a critical skill for a national party leader.

“This is a reasonable expectation and a reasonable amount of money,” said Roberts.

At least three potential candidates disagree.

Alex Tyrrell, who leads the Green Party of Quebec, declared his intention to run two weeks ago but is now reconsidering.

“They are saying they are putting the party for sale,” said Tyrrell. “It’s like they’re looking for candidates who hang out in country clubs.”

Constantine Kritsonis, who ran for the Greens in seven elections, immediately withdrew his name from the race after seeing the rules. He said he agrees there has to be some fee in place and was willing to put out up to $10,000 but $50,000 is too much.

“The leadership contest should be about getting our ideas out there and encouraging debate among Greens, about the direction that we’re going in,” he said. “I think it’s unfair that money gets to be the deciding factor of who gets to participate and who does not get to participate.”

Quebec lawyer Dimitri Lascaris said he was holding off making his decision about running until he saw the rules, because he was afraid the party’s centralized power system would arrange things to keep certain types of candidates out. The secretive vetting process is entirely against the Greens’ structure as a participatory democracy, said Lascaris.

“It’s preposterous,” he said.  MORE

‘Shady’ Anti-Teachers’ Union Ads Might Break Election Rules: Taras Natyshak

The ads, placed by a group called “Vaughan Working Families,” accuse teachers’ unions of using kids as pawns.

Ontario MPP Taras Natyshak speaks to reporters about ads placed by a group called

Ontario MPP Taras Natyshak speaks to reporters about ads placed by a group called “Vaughan Working Families” at Queen’s Park in Toronto on Feb. 3, 2020. ONTARIO LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

TORONTO — The provincial NDP is calling on Elections Ontario to investigate “shady” advertisements that appeared in major newspapers over the weekend.

“There’s something concerning here,” NDP MPP Taras Natyshak told reporters at Queen’s Park Monday.

Felipe Pareja@FAPareja

Full-pagers in Star & G&M. Maybe we should ask @SFLecce who’s behind these. Using the moniker of “Working Fams”. Which fams are those, Stephen? The super-rich ones that contribute the max amount they can every yr to your riding assoc?

Reeks of desperation.

View image on Twitter
“Whoever placed this advertisement had the full intention of causing more chaos … This does nothing to de-escalate any of the tensions that might exist at the bargaining table. In fact, it escalates the tensions.”

The ads, placed by a mysterious group called “Vaughan Working Families,” show a frowning woman holding a report card graded with a “F” and the message: “Teachers’ Union leaders are risking student success. Children are not pawns.”

All of Ontario’s major teachers’ unions are engaged in rotating strikes or work-to-rule campaigns amidst contentious contract negotiations with the government.

Natyshak, who serves as his party’s ethics critic, alleges the ads break election financing rules because voters in two Ottawa ridings are set to elect new MPPs in byelections on Feb. 27. Any groups that conduct political advertising during election periods are subject to Elections Ontario rules.

Natyshak said there is no evidence to link the ads to the government at this time, but that the ads have “all the hallmarks of a Doug Ford smear campaign.”

Elections Ontario would not confirm whether or not it would investigate the matter, but said that any third party that spends more than $500 on political ads during a by-election campaign must register.

“Political advertising also includes advertising with respect to an issue of public policy during an election for which one or more registered political parties or candidates may also have taken a position,” spokesperson Lisa Camps said by email

Premier Doug Ford and Education Minister Stephen Lecce, who represents the riding of King-Vaughan, have previously accused the unions of using children as “pawns” and regularly blamed “union leaders” for hurting families by going on strike. But the government denied having any knowledge of the ads.

“The government was not aware of the advertisements and not familiar with the group Vaughan Working Families,” Lecce’s spokesperson Alexandra Adamo told HuffPost Canada by email Monday.

There is no website or Facebook page for any group called “Vaughan Working Families.” A Twitter account by the name, with Vaughan misspelled “Vaughn,” appeared online this weekend. It follows only four accounts: Ford, Lecce, the Ontario PC party and the federal Conservative party.


Greta Thunberg nominated for 2020 Nobel Peace Prize, report says

The climate activist was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year in 2019.

Image result for Greta Thunberg nominated for 2020 Nobel Peace Prize, report says"

Greta Thunberg founded the Fridays For Future Movement. Ronald Patrick / Stringer / Getty Images

Greta Thunberg, the 17-year-old Swedish climate activist, has been nominated for the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize by two lawmakers in Sweden, according to a Monday report from the Associated Press. This is the second time Thunberg has been nominated for the esteemed award. Jens Holm and Hakan Svenneling, both members of Sweden’s Left Party, nominated her this year. Last year, three members of Norwegian Parliament did so.

In 2018, Thunberg began weekly protests at her school each Friday demanding action for climate change, and founded the Fridays For Future Movement. What started with Thunberg sitting alone with a sign soon gained worldwide attention.

Thunberg addressed world leaders at the UN in September. She was among four winners of the Right Livelihood Award, or the “alternative Nobel” award, and was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year in 2019.

The Norwegian Nobel Institute has made it a policy not to confirm whether someone is a nominee, according to its website. Nominations were due last week. A winner will be announced in early October.  SOURCE


Federal Court to decide fate of Trans Mountain expansion

Judges to rule whether Ottawa did enough to consult with Indigenous peoples before approving project

Pipe for the Trans Mountain Pipeline is unloaded in Edson, Alta., on June 18, 2019. Four First Nations filed court challenges last fall asking justices to overturn approval of the project. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press)

The Federal Court of Appeal will decide on Tuesday whether the Trans Mountain expansion project lives or dies when it rules on an appeal from Indigenous communities who have long opposed its construction.

Four First Nations from B.C. filed court challenges last fall asking justices to overturn the federal cabinet’s second approval of the project.

The court will issue its decision at 1 p.m. ET.

While construction has already begun on key segments of the expansion, a ruling that sides with the Indigenous applicants would effectively halt all of that work. The court could order the federal government do more to bring Indigenous peoples onside with the $7.4 billion project, among other possible rulings.

The Indigenous communities challenging the project maintain that the Liberal government’s consultation efforts, led by former Supreme Court justice Frank Iacobucci and dozens of Crown consultants, were insufficient because they did not adequately consider their concerns about the risk of an oil spill.

The Tsleil-Waututh Nation, Squamish Nation, Coldwater Indian Band and a coalition of small First Nations have said the constitutionally necessary consultations were akin to “window-dressing, box-ticking and nice-sounding words.”

The government has said the project, which will twin an existing line and carry nearly a million barrels of oil a day to the B.C. coast for export, is in the national interest and must be built to get Canadian oil to markets overseas.

Ottawa met with more than 117 communities along the project’s route and imposed conditions on the project — based on its consultations — to mitigate environmental risks and assuage worried Indigenous communities.

The Trans Mountain expansion project went through a years-long federal review by the National Energy Board (NEB) and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (CEAA) and has been approved by the federal Liberal cabinet — twice.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the project is needed because it would help deliver Canadian oil to tidewater for shipment to lucrative markets in Asia, reducing price pressures on Alberta oil producers.

“To the hard-working men and women in natural resource sector — I know you’re facing tough times. We hear you. We’re going to keep working hard to get resources to market,” he said at a recent news conference.

The Federal Court of Appeal has already quashed cabinet approvals once before. In a stunning ruling in August 2018, judges nullified construction permits citing inadequate Indigenous consultation.

Justice Eleanor Dawson, who wrote the decision, did not mince words in her ruling, describing the Trudeau government’s first attempt at consultation a “failure” — and using that word well over 100 times in a 272-page decision.

Dawson called previous federal consultants glorified “note-takers” who recorded concerns without acting.

The previous Crown consultation team believed, erroneously, that it could not add more conditions to the project than those the NEB already imposed.

This time, Iacobucci and his team were empowered to turn feedback into action.

The project has already cleared one major legal hurdle at the Supreme Court. Last month, the top court dismissed B.C.’s appeal of a lower court decision that quashed provincial legislation designed to block the project.

B.C. Premier John Horgan has sought to stop construction of the expansion. His NDP government had drafted amendments to provincial environmental law to all but ban interprovincial shipments of heavy oil — bitumen and diluted bitumen — and other “hazardous substances” through pipelines, including the Crown-owned Trans Mountain.

The amendments would have required companies transporting these substances through B.C. to first obtain provincial permits.

The top court ruled that sort of legislation is unconstitutional because it sought to regulate a project that is clearly under the jurisdiction of the federal government. SOURCE

James Hansen: Climate Models vs. Real World

Climate models are most useful when used so as to help us understand climate mechanisms in the real world, and thus improve our ability to understand ongoing and future climate change.

Comparison of climate model predictions against real world outcome provides one way to gain improved understanding. There is recent discussion in the media of early predictions of human-caused global warming, including simulations made with early climate models at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), specifically (1) 1981 paper in Science that used a simple one-dimensional (1-D) column climate model, and (2) 1988 paper in JGR that used our first coarse-resolution 3-D climate model. The media discussions miss the most important lessons.

The 1981 model did a pretty good job, slightly underpredicting global warming. The main reason for this was that the 1-D model has ocean heat capacity at its foot. Although we reduced the ocean’s heat capacity by the factor 0.7 to account for the fact that ocean covers only 70 percent of Earth’s surface, a 1-D model using that procedure yields a result closer to that for the ocean (see figure above) than it should. This is discussed in Chapter 20 of Sophie’s Planet.

A 1-D model can be doctored to do a better job of accounting for land and ocean fractions, but, because of the dynamical exchange of marine and continental air, it is still better to use a 3-D model that allows realistic mixing of marine and continental air.

Our group had the good fortune to interact with Jule Charney when we started to build a 3-D climate model in the late 1970s. We were at least a decade behind Suki Manabe, and our computer, more than 10 years old, was much slower than those at GFDL and NCAR. Yet Charney treated us with the respect accorded more established researchers, despite the coarse resolution and unpublished status of our climate model (Chapter 17 of Sophie’s Planet).

Fig. 2. Climate model simulations in our 1988 paper and subsequent real-world data.

Jule called me four or five times while writing his famous 1979 report on climate sensitivity, as he was trying to understand the physical mechanisms that caused our model to have a sensitivity of almost 4°C for doubled CO2, while Manabe’s current model had 2°C sensitivity. Cloud feedbacks were to be the biggest factor causing this difference.

We had to keep our 3-D model fixed once the climate runs were started, because it required a few years to complete them on our computer! So all runs were done with the model having sensitivity near 4°C, even though we had reasons to believe that real-world climate sensitivity was closer to 3°C for doubled CO2. The 1-D model used in our 1981 paper specified climate sensitivity as 2.8°C, which was probably a good choice.

Real world climate forcing turned out to be close to that in our Scenario B, which is the scenario that we expected to be most realistic. So what are the main reasons for the moderate overshoot of Model B (see figure) compared to the real world?

  • In the spirit of Jule Charney, we should look not only under the street light (factors that we can quantify), but also at other factors that we know about and believe to be important. The list I come up with in Sophie’s Planet is, in order of estimated importance:
    Aerosol (direct and indirect) forcing: no aerosol forcing is included in our 1988 model
    Model sensitivity (equilibrium and response time, i.e. modeling of ocean inertia effect)
    Energy imbalance at model start (warming in pipeline): zero imbalance in 1958
    Ice sheet/ice shelf freshening effect: Southern Ocean/North Atlantic cooling
    Greenhouse gas (GHG) forcing errors

1. Global aerosols presumably increased during 1958-present, reducing the global warming caused by increasing GHGs, but we have no good observations. This is a sad state of affairs that I dwell on in Sophie’s Planet, so much so that I am removing the aerosol chapters and some of the planetary chapters to another book (Battleship Galactica, if I can get away with that name). Ignorance allows speculation. Could aerosols from the enormous upshoot in global coal burning between 2000 and 2015 (Fig. 3) contribute to the minimal warming during that period (Fig.2)?

Fig. 3. Global energy consumption and fossil fuel CO2 emissions.
2. The equilibrium sensitivity of our GCM in 1988 (4°C for doubled CO2) is higher than our best estimate for the real world (3°C for doubled CO2). This difference by itself might approximately account for the difference between the model B simulation and observations.3. By starting the model in energy balance in 1958 we do not account for any ‘unrealized warming’ that is ‘in the pipeline.’ This reduces the warming, perhaps as much as 0.1-0.2°C, thus partially compensating for the above two overestimates.4. We do not include the effect of increasing meltwater on the North Atlantic and Southern Oceans (our ocean ‘model’ consisted of specified, unchanging dynamical transport of heat), which has been shown to already be occurring. Observations confirm that minimal warming, or even slight cooling, is occurring southeast of Greenland and in the Southern Ocean.5. Real-world GHG forcing turned out to be almost exactly Scenario B, when we examine effective forcings. There are several definitions for radiative forcings (instantaneous forcing, adjusted forcing, effective forcing, etc.). The most relevant forcing should be the effective forcing, which accounts for the ‘efficacy’ of each forcing.Furthermore, it makes sense to include within the effective forcings those indirect GHG forcings that are reasonably well understood. For example, an increase of methane leads to an increase of stratospheric water vapor via simple chemistry. A methane increase also causes an increase of tropospheric ozone, because methane and ozone are competing for the hydroxyl radical (OH), which is the cleansing agent in the troposphere.The bottom line is that #1 and #2 almost surely caused our model to yield too much warming, but this was partly compensated by #3. #4 reduces the real-world warming, contributing to the gap between predicted and observed global temperatures. #4 will become more important in the future, if the rate of mass loss from the ice sheets and ice shelves increases.The sad part of this story is that the biggest uncertainty, #1, is not being measured to a useful accuracy. It is hard to measure, because it includes the effect of aerosols on clouds, but there is no good excuse for why we are not monitoring the aerosol direct and indirect climate forcings. That is the main subject of Battleship Galactica.  SOURCE