Mohawks prepare to enter 6th day of railway shutdown in support of Wet’suwet’en

Rail service between Toronto and Montreal disrupted since Thursday

Tyendinaga Mohawk member Jacob Morris says the injunction, which was issued by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on Saturday at the request of CN, won’t change the goal of demonstration. (CBC News)

The people staging a demonstration in support of Wet’suwet’en pipeline opponents that has led to a five-day shutdown of passenger and freight rail traffic through eastern Ontario say they won’t back down in the face of possible police action.

Tyendinaga Mohawk members say they won’t end their demonstration until the RCMP leaves the territory of the Wet’suwet’en.

RCMP began enforcing an court order against those blocking construction on the Coastal GasLink pipeline in Northern B.C. last Thursday.

Tyendinaga Mohawk member Jacob Morris said a court injunction that forbids any continued interference with the rail line under the threat of arrest, which was issued by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on Friday at the request of CN, won’t change the goal of demonstration.

“It’s a piece of paper in our eyes, another tree cut down so you can hand it to us,” said Morris.

“I’m not worried one bit.”

Via Rail has said at least 92 trains have been cancelled since the demonstration began, affecting over 16,000 passengers on one of Canada’s busiest rail corridors connecting Toronto to Montreal. CN said dozens of freight trains have been stopped, stalling shipments of everything from propane to feedstock for factories.

The CN-owned rail tracks run just outside the reserve boundaries of Tyendinaga, but are within a land claim area that stretches up to Highway 2 just north of the crossing.

The purple Haudenosaunee flag is attached to a dump truck, fitted with a snowplow shovel, that is parked near but not on the rail lines. (CBC News)A makeshift camp has sprung up along the rail tracks that now includes a porta-potty, green canvas tents and a barrel fire. The three-track crossing is about 250 kilometres west of Ottawa.

The purple Haudenosaunee flag is attached to a dump truck, fitted with a snowplow shovel, that is parked near but not on the rail lines. (CBC News)

The demonstrators have not put any obstacles across the tracks. A dump truck with a snowplow shovel attached is parked facing the tracks. However, their proximity to the rails has led to the shutdown of train traffic since Thursday.

Tyendinaga Mohawk Police Chief Jason Brant approached the demonstration camp Monday afternoon with a message that a sheriff from the court would arrive Tuesday morning to read the injunction to everyone there.

Demonstrations have flared across the country since the RCMP began enforcing the injunction on Wet’suwet’en territiory. Rail blockades have sprung up in B.C. near New Hazelton, B.C, and in Kahnawake, just south of Montreal, along with Toronto.

On Monday, demonstrators from Tyendinaga watched events unfolding in British Columbia over Twitter and Facebook as the RCMP conducted another operation against the Wet’suwet’en’s Unist’ot’en camp, and spoke with one of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs by phone.

Andrew Brant from Tyendinaga says the Mohawk are returning the support shown by First Nations in B.C. during the 1990 Oka crisis. (CBC News)

Andrew Brant from Tyendinaga said the Mohawk are returning the support shown by First Nations in B.C. during the 1990 Oka crisis when Mohawks of Kanesatake, Que., faced the Canadian military over the expansion of a golf course.

“They stood with us when there was Oka, so we are going to stand with them now,” said Brant.

“We’ve gotten driven out of so many places, this is all we have left. We can understand what they are going through.” SOURCE


Climate change and the 75% problem

The five areas where we need innovation.

Quick: Think of some inventions that help fight climate change.

What came to mind first? I bet you thought of solar panels and wind turbines. In my experience, that’s what people point to when they think about reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

They’re not wrong. Renewables are getting cheaper and many countries are committing to rely more on them and less on fossil fuels for their electricity needs. That’s good news, at least in places that get a lot of sunlight or wind. Everyone who cares about climate change should hope we continue to de-carbonize the way we generate electricity.

I wish that were enough to solve the problem. Unfortunately, it isn’t.

Making electricity is responsible for only 25% of all greenhouse gas emissions each year. So even if we could generate all the electricity we need without emitting a single molecule of greenhouse gases (which we’re a long way from doing), we would cut total emissions by just a quarter.

To prevent the worst effects of climate change, we need to get to zero net greenhouse gas emissions in every sector of the economy within 50 years—and as the IPCC recently found, we need to be on a path to doing it in the next 10 years. That means dealing with electricity, and the other 75% too.

Where do greenhouse gas emissions come from? I like to break it down into five main categories—what I call the grand challenges in stopping climate change:

  • Electricity (25%). Although there’s been progress in the renewable energy market, we still need more breakthroughs. For example, wind and solar need zero-carbon backup sources for windless days, long periods of cloudy weather, and nighttime. We also need to make the electric grid a lot more efficient so clean energy can be delivered where it’s needed, when it’s needed.
  • Agri
  • culture (24%)
  • . Cattle are a huge source of methane; in fact, if they were a country, they would be the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases! In addition, deforestation—clearing land for crops, for instance—removes trees that pull CO2 out of the air, and when the trees are burned, they release all their carbon back into the atmosphere.

My plan for fighting climate change

  • Manufacturing (21%). Look at the plastic, steel, and cement around you. All of it contributed to climate change. Making cement and steel requires lots of energy from fossil fuels, and it involves chemical reactions that release carbon as a byproduct. So even if we could make all the stuff we need with zero-carbon energy, we’d still need to deal with the byproducts.
  • Transportation (14%). Low-emission cars are great, but cars account for a little less than half of transportation-related emissions today—and that share will shrink in the future. More emissions come from airplanes, cargo ships, and trucks. Right now we don’t have practical zero-carbon options for any of these.
  • Buildings (6%). Do you live or work in a place with air conditioning? The refrigerant inside your AC unit is a greenhouse gas. In addition, it takes a lot of energy to run air conditioners, heaters, lights, and other appliances. Things like more-efficient windows and insulation would help. This area will be more important over the next few decades as the global population moves to cities. The world’s building stock will double in area by 2060. That’s like adding another New York City every month for 40 years.

(The final 10% is a sixth, miscellaneous category that includes things like the energy it takes to extract oil and gas.)

I think these grand challenges are a helpful way to think about climate change. They show how energy isn’t just what runs your house and your car. It’s core to nearly every part of your life: the food you eat, the clothes you wear, the home you live in, the products you use. To stop the planet from getting substantially warmer, we need breakthroughs in how we make things, grow food, and move people and goods—not just how we power our homes and cars.

These challenges are only getting more urgent. The world’s middle class has been growing at an unprecedented rate, and as you move up the income ladder, your carbon footprint expands. Instead of walking everywhere, you can afford a bicycle (which doesn’t use gas but is likely made with energy-intensive metal and gets to you via cargo ships and trucks that run on fossil fuels). Eventually you get a motorbike so you can travel farther from home to work a better job and afford to send your kids to school. Your family eats more eggs, meat, and dairy, so they get better nutrition. You’re in the market for a refrigerator, electric lights so your kids can study at night, and a sturdy home built with metal and concrete.

All of that new consumption translates into tangible improvements in people’s lives. It is good for the world overall—but it will be very bad for the climate, unless we find ways to do it without adding more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

This is undoubtedly a tough problem. It is not obvious what the big breakthroughs will look like. Most likely we will need several solutions to each challenge. That is why we need to invest in lots of research and development, across all five areas, now.

“The amount of funding available has gone up by more than $3 billion a year.”

Fortunately, governments and the private sector are stepping up. Since the 2015 launch of Mission Innovation—two dozen governments that committed to doubling their spending on clean-energy R&D—the amount of funding available has gone up by more than $3 billion a year.

Personally, I’m part of a group of investors in a private fund called Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV), which is putting more than $1 billion into helping promising companies take great ideas from the lab to market at scale. We’re using the five grand challenges I mentioned above as the framework for our investments. Every idea we’re supporting is designed to solve one of them—and our mission is about to get a big boost from a new partnership in Europe.

We’re still working out the details, but here’s what I can tell you today: I’ll be in Brussels this week to sign an agreement between Breakthrough Energy and the European Commission. Our goal is to create a joint investment vehicle called Breakthrough Energy Europe, which will serve as a pilot fund investing in European companies working on the grand challenges. The partners will commit €100 million, half from the European Commission and half from BEV.

But this isn’t only about funding. We’re creating a new way of putting that money to work.

Because energy research can take years—even decades—to come to fruition, companies need patient investors who are willing to work with them over the long term. Governments could in theory provide that kind of investing, but in reality, they aren’t great at identifying promising companies and staying nimble to help those companies grow.

That’s where this partnership can shine. It allows the European Commission, which is funding cutting-edge research and development, to partner with investors who know how to build companies well. Because the fund will be privately managed, it can avoid some of the bureaucracy that slows things down and makes it hard to support new companies. We’ll have the resources to make a meaningful difference, and the flexibility to move quickly. That’s a rare combination.

I hope this partnership is just the beginning. We need many more like this one around the world.

Over the next year, I will be writing a series of TGN posts about each of the five challenges, focusing on some of the promising solutions I’m learning about. (In the meantime, I’ve posted a short, fun quiz about energy and climate. See if you can beat my score.) I’m inspired by the ingenious inventors who are tackling climate change and all the partners who are supporting their work. I can’t wait to share their progress with you. SOURCE

Bill and Melinda Gates have given away $53.8 billion (so far): Here’s what they’ve learned

Two decades of philanthropy have resulted in some massive successes in global health—and also places where the couple needs to find new strategies.

Bill and Melinda Gates talk to the staff at Gugulethu CHC in Cape Town, South Africa about HIV and tuberculosis. [Image: The Gates Notes LLC]

Over the last two decades, since its founding at the turn of the millennium, the Gates Foundation has given away $53.8 billion. In this year’s annual letter about the foundation’s activities, Bill and Melinda Gates take a look at what’s worked (vaccines) and what hasn’t (education) over the lifetime of the organization—and look forward to how they plan to give away the next billions.

“At its best, philanthropy takes risks that government can’t and corporations won’t,” they write. Governments, they argue, should focus on scaling up solutions that are already proven to work, and businesses have to think about profit, but foundations can experiment with different approaches.

For the Gates Foundation, which has focused its efforts to date on global health and on education in the U.S., one of the first experiments involved vaccines. They realized that children in some countries were dying from diseases that were easily preventable. Through a new alliance that it created called Gavi, the foundation worked with governments and other organizations to raise funds to buy vaccines.


They didn’t know if it would work—or whether governments in low-income countries would succeed in getting the vaccines to children. But it was a success. By 2019, the program had helped prevent 13 million deaths and vaccinated more than three-quarters of a billion children. It helped bring down the cost of one key vaccine by more than 70%. Still, a segment of hard-to-reach children still isn’t getting vaccinated; the foundation now plans to work on getting basic vaccinations to all children.

Some of the foundation’s other work has been more challenging. The foundation made early bets on preventative medicine for HIV that had to be taken every day; while an effective daily preventive pill now exists, the team realized that it wasn’t something that people realistically want to use in many locations, and it hasn’t made a significant difference in preventing HIV in lower-income countries. In other cases, patients with HIV haven’t gotten treatment even when it was readily available because of the stigma. The foundation is now taking a broader look at what would help prevent the disease, including factors such as financial literacy and ending gender-based violence.

The foundation’s investments in education in the U.S. also haven’t gone as expected. “If you’d asked us twenty years ago, we would have guessed that global health would be our foundation’s riskiest work and our U.S. education work would be our surest bet,” Melinda Gates writes. “In fact, it has turned out just the opposite.” One Gates-funded effort spent hundreds of millions trying to improve high school graduation rates in a handful of states by continually assessing teachers and offering assistance, but it didn’t really help; most of the teachers were already rated as effective, and it wasn’t clear how to help teachers improve.

Overall, the letter reports, more students are now graduating from high school, but many still don’t go on to finish college. Part of the problem, Melinda Gates says, is that it still isn’t clear which interventions work best, and solutions are also hard to scale up—it’s better to tailor specific solutions to specific areas. The foundation is now focusing more effort on helping local networks of schools identify local solutions.

The foundation has sometimes been criticized for its choices; one editorial in the medical journal The Lancet, for example, argues that the Gates Foundation has focused on diseases such as malaria even in areas where other diseases cause more harm, diverting attention and resources away from necessary research. The foundation spends more on health than most countries and more than the World Health Organization but has less accountability.

Still, it’s clearly had an impact in the areas it does support, and it’s committed to continual improvement. “We now have a much deeper understanding of how important it is to ensure that innovation is distributed equitably,” they write in the letter. “If only some people in some places are benefitting from new advances, then others are falling even further behind.”

In the coming years, the foundation will also focus on two other key issues: climate change—including helping people in poorer countries adapt to the impacts caused by a changing climate—and gender equality. Melinda Gates writes that progress on gender equality has been slow because “the world has refused to make gender equality a priority.” That’s something that the sheer scale of the Gates Foundation could help change. And it plans to continue making what it calls big bets in all of its work, taking risks on solutions that may not be successful but will have an outsized impact if they are. “The goal isn’t just incremental progress,” the letter says. “It’s to put the full force of our efforts and resources behind the big bets that, if successful, will save and improve lives.” SOURCE

Why 100 per cent renewable energy production still isn’t enough

Windmills. Photograph from Wikipedia

Canada exports two-thirds of its oil production today. For our energy sector to prosper, we should export two-thirds of our renewables tomorrow.

With the first one-third of our renewables production satisfying 100 per cent of our domestic electricity consumption, the other two-thirds — equivalent to 200 per cent — would be for export. So our renewables target shouldn’t just be for 100 per cent of domestic use, but for 300 per cent (of domestic use).

Over the past decade, the idea of 100 per cent emission free electrical grids has gone from infeasible to inevitable. This is particularly so in Canada, where our electricity is anchored by hydro (60 per cent) and nuclear power (15 per cent).

But it’s time to move the goalposts from 100 per cent of our domestic needs to 300 per cent.

With almost seven per cent of the world’s land mass and less than 0.1 per cent of the world’s population, Canada is a natural exporter of resources. We export roughly 10 per cent of our electricity, one-third of our natural gas and the aforementioned two-thirds of our crude oil. To meet the needs of a low carbon world, we can build clean new industries on the scaffold of our fossil fuel expertise.

Whether exported as electrons or molecules, across the border or overseas, large surpluses of clean Canadian energy can provide pan-Canadian community prosperity and help in the generational race against the climate crisis.

The glass half empty

Wherever our enthusiasm takes us, we should look through the skeptical lens of others’ eyes.

If our neighbours boasted that they could afford 100 per cent of the mortgage payment on the property they just bought, we might nevertheless wonder: “What percentage could they afford if they get laid off or interest rates rise? Suppose property taxes or insurance costs go up?”

Outside the bubble of Metro Vancouver — the Canadian tropics — even the eco-inclined might worry whether fully emission-free grids could meet all of Canadians’ needs when our energy use peaks. We need to move away from fossil natural gas as part of our energy transition, but in the cold, cloudy and sometimes windless depths of the boreal winter, Canadian monthly residential natural gas use spikes five-fold. At these times solar will be insignificant, while wind will remain intermittent.

Calling for a 300 per cent (of domestic use) emission-free grid will change the conversation. If their kids could afford 300 per cent of their mortgage payment — clearly hypothetical given today’s housing market — what parent would worry? A 300 per cent target (versus domestic use) accomplishes the same thing: it creates an enormous clean energy surplus that will allow us to plan comfortably for even the biggest mid-winter needs.

To meet the needs of a low carbon world Canada can build clean new industries on the scaffold of our fossil fuel expertise.

There’s still another reason for targeting 300 per cent. A recent report by the Canadian Gas Association estimated that — after factoring in population growth, significant electrification of transport and industry, extensive building retrofits as well as rapid advances in cold climate air source heat pumps (to replace electric baseboard and natural gas heating) — Canada’s peak electricity demand in 2050 would be 315 per cent as high as it is today.

Their solution, unsurprisingly, is to use the gas network to help meet Canadians’ heating needs in the coldest of weather (below -10 C). Then peak electricity demand in 2050 would then only be about 185 per cent as high.

If we focus on achieving 300 per cent of our domestic needs, the renewables build-out will help us hit and easily exceed the higher of those peak demand projections. The renewables surplus will help us “electrify everything,” focus entrepreneurs on enormous, transformational clean energy export opportunities, and mitigate fears of fossil-sector workers.

The glass overflowing

Climate-conscientious readers might object to referencing a report from the Canadian Gas Association. The danger is that we might blind ourselves to challenges as completely as some fossil advocates have blinded themselves to the realities of climate change, the renewables revolution and the energy transition.

The climate cost of using fossil natural gas might not be worth the benefit of reducing peak electricity demand — but what if by 2050 it was all renewable, facilitated by the surplus from a 300 per cent (of domestic use) emission-free grid?

Repurposing and retrofitting Canada’s natural gas infrastructure for emission-free gas — as hydrogen, most likely — would be the national energy equivalent of cities’ spectacular success in reclaiming fossil automobile-centric streets into protected bike lanes. The United Kingdom plans to methodically accomplish this in six phases with its H21 program.

Renewables would benefit, thanks to the demand for enormous amounts of clean electricity required to generate the hydrogen through electrolysis (splitting water). Some hydrogen may come from biogas and biomass gasification. In British Columbia and Alberta, stranded natural gas is so inexpensive that even with the cost of carbon capture, it may be the lowest-cost feedstock. A detailed analysis is made in the BC Hydrogen Report, which the writer co-authored.

British Columbia’s CleanBC plan already has a 15 per cent Renewable Gas mandate by 2030. In 2016, the province consumed about 225 petajoules (PJ) of electricity — and 350 PJ of natural gas. And unlike oil combustion for transport, where only a fraction of the chemical energy is turned into forward motion, natural gas is primarily consumed for heat, at very high efficiency.

Under CleanBC, 50 PJ (15 per cent) of the gas energy will soon have to be renewable gas. If fully supplied by renewables through electrolysis about 75 PJ of electricity would be needed: a 33 per cent increase in BC consumption, and a tremendous opportunity for renewable energy project developers and advocates, immigrant and First Nations communities alike.

This concept is no longer abstract. On January 17, Renewable Hydrogen Canada — led by Juergen Puetter, who built British Columbia’s first wind farm — announced it had secured financing to build an electrolyzer to produce green hydrogen for injection into BC’s gas grid. (A project overview is available on their website.) The necessary electricity will be provided by a new 200 megawatt wind farm which will be the second-largest wind farm in western Canada. Waste heat will be used for First Nations-owned greenhouse agriculture.

The green hydrogen will represent three per cent of the Enbridge pipeline’s natural gas flow, and the project could begin operations three years after Enbridge approves the injection request. (Natural gas pipelines, equipment and appliances are designed to tolerate modest amounts of hydrogen. As this proportion increases, perhaps beyond 10 to 15 per cent, retrofits and upgrades will be required.)

Even as we decrease fossil gas use by electrifying everything, we can replace our remaining gas energy with emission-free gas — not just in British Columbia, but Canada-wide. This will create still further demand for renewable energy, and still further demand for clean energy workers.

Aiming for a ‘true north’ of 300

For climate advocates, a renewables target of 300 per cent of domestic electricity consumption would create a persistent electricity surplus large enough to direct toward every climate solution.

As we “electrify everything” and domestic electricity use increases, we should build more renewables to maintain that 300 per cent (of domestic use) target. The implied surplus should assuage skeptics that we will find solutions to meet Canadians’ peak mid-winter energy needs.

Best of all, the 300 per cent (of domestic use) renewables target would allow us to export two-thirds of our renewables tomorrow, exactly as we export two-thirds of our oil today. This would perfectly symbolize Canada’s transition from a country scouring for its wealth below ground, to a nation claiming its wealth above it. SOURCE

Catastrophic Fires Released Billions of Tons of CO2 in 2019

Image result for Catastrophic Fires Released Billions of Tons of CO2 in 2019

Smoke rises after fires burn through the Amazon rainforest in Rondonia state, Brazil, on Aug. 24, 2019. Photographer: Leonardo Carrato/Bloomberg

Last year’s mammoth wildfires in the Amazon, Indonesia, and the Arctic Circle triggered a global conversation about the environmental and economic consequences of climate change. So it was with shock and still-raw emotion that, as 2020 began, the world absorbed the images of Australia’s devastating bush fires.

These enormous blazes—some the size of a small country—aren’t just destroying native forests and vulnerable animal species. They’re also releasing billions of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, potentially accelerating global warming and leading to even more fires.

Fire Trend

Carbon dioxide emissions from wildfires have declined in past years, but 2019 saw an uptick.

Total carbon emissions from forest fires in 2019 weren’t anomalously high compared with previous years’ counts. They rose last year by 26%, to 7.8 billion metric tons, the highest since 2002, according to the Global Fire Emissions Database (GFED). But overall they’ve been declining since the beginning of the century.

While emissions from fires have been going down, total human-generated emissions have been going up much more quickly. Fires were responsible for as much as a fifth of the 36.8 billion tons of carbon released last year from burning fossil fuels, down from about a quarter at the beginning of the century.

Emissions from fires increased last year from 2018 and 2017 levels, “but it was still a fairly average year,” says Mark Parrington, a senior scientist at Copernicus. “What seemed to stand out was the unusual fire activity in places where we didn’t necessarily expect to see fire, or so much fire.”

In general, scientists agree that global warming will result in more wildfires. The big question now is whether last year’s spike is a one-time result or the start of a new trend.

Australia’s fires

Australia’s fires emitted 409,700,000 metric tons of CO2 in summer 2019

Fires across the continent burned more than 6 million hectares, including national forests, with smoke reaching as far as Argentina.

Time-lapse satellite image for Dec. 31, 2019, from Japanese Meteorological Agency, Colorado State University, and NOAA. Data for Sept. 1, 2019-Jan. 29, 2020. Source: Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service/ECMWF

In Australia, savannas, grasslands, and open woodlands burn every year. But last year’s bush fires were unprecedented, especially because the rate of destruction in the southeast, which is full of temperate forests that don’t usually burn, far exceeded the norm. According to researchers at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, about half of Australia’s carbon emissions during this fire season came from the southeast.

Carbon emissions from fires are typically reabsorbed a few years later when grasses regrow, says Rebecca Buchholz, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. But this year that cycle “may be being pushed out of balance,” she adds.

What made 2019 extraordinary wasn’t the overall number of fires, or total fire emissions, but where they happened and how intense they were. Scientists were baffled to record fires burning in some parts of Siberia and Alaska for longer than they’d ever seen. MORE

‘Get out of the way of our province’: Alberta urges Teck oilsands mine approval, rejects federal aid idea

Any economic assistance for Alberta is ‘separate and distinct’ from the Teck decision, Finance Minister Bill Morneau said Friday

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says a rejection of Teck Resource’s oilsands project would send the wrong message to foreign investors.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says a rejection of Teck Resource’s oilsands project would send the wrong message to foreign investors.Jim Wells/Postmedia files

OTTAWA — Officials from the energy-rich province of Alberta on Friday insisted the federal government approve a massive oilsands project, rejecting the idea that aid from Ottawa would soften the blow if it were to be quashed.

Reuters reported on Thursday that Canada is preparing a financial package that would help dull the pain if it blocks Teck Resources Ltd.’s plan to build the $20.6 billion (US$15.7 billion) Frontier mine that has raised climate and wildlife concerns.

“We’re not looking for a handout from the federal government, we’re looking for the federal government to get out of the way of our province,” Alberta’s Environment Minister Jason Nixon told reporters in Calgary.

Any economic assistance for Alberta is “separate and distinct” from the Teck decision, Finance Minister Bill Morneau told reporters in Ottawa.

Alberta strongly backs the project on the grounds it would create 7,000 jobs and help revive a struggling provincial energy industry. The federal cabinet of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau must make a decision by the end of this month.

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said Teck had spent close to $1 billion over a decade as it cleared a series of regulatory hurdles. A rejection now would show global capital markets that major projects could obey all the rules and still fall afoul of what he called an arbitrary political decision, he said.

“I think that would be a devastating message to send in terms of investor confidence at a time when we are struggling to attract foreign direct investment to the Canadian economy,” Kenney told a business audience in Washington, D.C.

Alberta sits on the world’s third-largest proven reserves of crude, most of it in the form of thick bitumen-like deposits that require intensive use of energy to exploit.

But the industry has struggled recently due to low oil prices and a lack of pipeline capacity.

Unhappiness with the government’s energy and pipeline policy cost Trudeau’s Liberals all their Alberta seats in October 2019 elections.

Kenney said it would be “hard to overstate” the reaction of Albertans from a rejection of the project.

Teck President and Chief Executive Don Lindsay recently questioned whether the mine would ever be built, in part because oil prices were not high enough.

Several proposed Alberta oil extraction sites have been approved but are not going forward.

“The Teck mine proposal would just join the twenty other oilsands projects sitting on the shelf because they don’t make economic sense in a world moving away from oil,” said Keith Stewart of Greenpeace Canada. SOURCE


Wind power: What next for Europe?

With Denmark’s Vestas, Europe had the world’s leading wind turbine manufacturer in 2018. [Vestas]

Europe is the cradle of the wind energy industry and is still rightly perceived as a global leader in the sector. But fresh projects have slowed in recent years, pointing to new challenges for the EU’s wind energy sector in the face of growing competition from China. Read this EURACTIV Policy Brief for an in-depth overview.

Modern wind power is considered to have first been developed in Denmark, where a 22.8-metre wind turbine began operation in 1897, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

Germany, for its part, was one of the first to develop wind energy on a large commercial scale, a process that was initiated in the 1990s and was amplified by its Energiewende laws passed in 2010.

With Denmark’s Vestas, Europe still had the world’s leading wind turbine manufacturer in 2018. MORE


Power shift: EU coal output falls 24% in 2019

Steam rises from the brown coal-fired power plant Weissweiler operated by RWE in Eschweiler, 21 January 2020. [EPA-EFE/SASCHA STEINBACH]

Global warming emissions from the power sector fell by 12% last year, led by a steep decline in coal power generation, which was replaced half by natural gas and half by renewables, according to fresh data published on Wednesday (5 February).

The power sector’s CO2 emissions declined at record speed in 2019 – by 12% or 120 million tonnes, according to climate think tanks Agora Energiewende and Sandbag.

Hard coal and lignite-fired power generation fell in every EU country – and by 24% overall – according to fresh data on European power sector emissions, covering all EU member states, including the UK.

The drop was sharper in 2019 than in any year since at least 1990, and could be attributed chiefly to Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, the UK, and Italy, which together accounted for 80% of coal power decline, the two think tanks said.

“If you look at Western Europe, 70% of all coal plants will have been phased out in the next five years,” said Kristian Ruby, secretary-general of Eurelectric, a trade association.

“By the end of the 2020s, coal will remain in place only in a minority of markets such as Germany, Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Czechia and Slovenia,” Ruby told EURACTIV



RCMP arrests another 7 as Wet’suwet’en efforts wrap up

Exclusion zone will be lifted pending word from Coastal GasLink, Mounties say

Coastal GasLink has signed agreements with numerous Indigenous communities. But the Unist’ot’en clan of the Wet’suwet’en Nation opposes the pipeline project through its traditional territories. (Chantelle Bellrichard/CBC)

CMP say they wrapped up enforcement of a court order in the traditional territory of a northern B.C. First Nation on Monday, after arresting another seven people who were blocking a service road needed for construction of a natural gas pipeline.

Mounties arrested seven people for breach of the injunction and on Monday evening said — once Coastal GasLink confirms that it can access the Morice West Forest Service Road and its infrastructure — they plan to lift a exclusion zone along the logging road.

“I am very satisfied that this operation was conducted safely and there were no injuries sustained by anyone,” Chief RCMP Supt. David Attfield said in a news release.

“This was a very challenging situation, and I am proud of the professionalism displayed by our members.”

Earlier in the day, police moved into Unist’ot’en, where the Wet’suwet’en have, for more than a decade, been re-establishing a presence in what began as an effort to block proposed energy projects through the area.

People at the site, including journalists, provided updates on Twitter and Facebook on Monday, reporting that RCMP arrived with dogs, tactical members of the force and that some police had been dropped on the backside of the checkpoint via helicopter.

In one of the livestreams posted by the Unist’ot’en, police were heard reading the injunction to a group of women standing in the road — but the women didn’t acknowledge the RCMP presence and instead continued drumming and singing in a circle.

Among those arrested Monday were Karla Tait, the director of clinical programming for the Unist’ot’en Healing Centre, and Freda Huson, longtime spokesperson for Unist’ot’en and one of the named efendants in the injunction brought forward by Coastal GasLink.

Tensions are rising in Wet’suwet’en territory where the RCMP are following through on an injunction and blocking access to an area where supporters of the hereditary chiefs are trying to prevent the construction of a major natural gas pipeline. 2:22

The Wet’suwet’en set up an access checkpoint at Unist’ot’en in 2009, controlling who could come into the area. But that checkpoint has since grown, and the area has morphed into a permanent settlement that includes a healing centre.

It’s unclear how many people are currently staying in Unist’ot’en. The RCMP said in an email to CBC News on Sunday it would be taking action there on Monday as part of the injunction enforcement.

Acts of civil disobedience and solidarity gatherings have been taking place across the country to show support for the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, who maintain no pipelines can be built through their territory without their consent.

Supporter camp growing

The chiefs and their supporters have defied the injunction, asserting Wet’suwet’en law instead and demanding that the province and federal government come to the table to sort out their rights and title to the territory.

In recent days, their access to that territory has been shrinking.

The hereditary chiefs and their supporters have been slowly pushed farther out of the area as police move, camp by camp, down the Morice West Forest Service Road.

As of Sunday, police were not allowing people past the four-kilometre mark on the road, saying that would be the boundary of an expanded exclusion zone that had previously been applied at the 27-kilometre mark.

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chief Kaliset at the four-kilometre police checkpoint on the Morice West Forest Service Road on Sunday. (Chantelle Bellrichard/CBC)

“You know, I never ever thought that we as We’tsuwet’en people would ever be faced with such a crisis as we’re facing today,” hereditary chief Kaliset told CBC News on Sunday while being kept out of the territory at the police roadblock.

“Us elders, we’ve sat back and we’ve watched — we support our young people with the work that they’re doing. Today we’re speaking out.”

On Monday morning, hereditary chief Smogelgem said police had once again shifted their checkpoint to the 27-kilometre mark.

The $6-billion, 670-kilometre Coastal GasLink pipeline has received approval from the province, and 20 First Nations band councils have signed agreements in support of the project, including five of the six band councils in the Wet’suwet’en Nation.

First Nations that signed agreements with the company stand to benefit through a number of avenues — with direct cash payments at different stages of the project’s lifespan, contracting and employment opportunities, and other agreed upon conditions.

However, the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say those band councils are only responsible for the territory within their individual reserves because their authority comes only from the Indian Act. The hereditary chiefs — leaders in place before the Indian Act — assert authority over 22,000 square kilometres of the nation’s traditional territory, an area recognized as unceded by the Supreme Court of Canada in a 1997 decision.

Not everyone within the Wet’suwet’en nation is standing behind the chiefs, however.

Bonnie George is a Wet’suwet’en woman who previously worked with Coastal GasLink. She told CBC News she believes the conflict has become “blown way out of proportion.”

She stressed there are Wet’suwet’en people who want the project to go ahead and have taken jobs with the project. She also said that the nation is “hurting terribly” through this conflict and welcomed those who are taking action in solidarity with the hereditary chiefs “to refocus that energy on helping us try to live in harmony.”

Construction elsewhere

Construction continues along the length of the project at other sections, but Coastal GasLink says it can only put off getting back into the area subject to the injunction for so long before construction timelines are disrupted.

For weeks the company has not been able to move freely along the forest service road at the geographic centre of this conflict.

The Morice West Forest Service Road leads into the heart of Wet’suwet’en territory, about 300 kilometres west of Prince George. It is also the only access road for workers to build the Coastal GasLink pipeline through the area.

Weeks after the injunction decision came out on Dec. 31 it became increasingly clear that those involved in the dispute were at an impasse.

Early Thursday morning, police began the first wave of arrests on the road, at a camp set-up at the 39-kilometre mark.

After that, enforcement took place at the 44-kilometre Gidimt’en checkpoint.

The next day, people were cleared from an area established as a warming centre and gathering space at the 27-kilometre mark.

Between Thursday and Monday, police arrested a total of 28 people as they worked to gain control over the area to ensure Coastal GasLink contractors could clear the road of obstructions from Houston past Unist’ot’en.

Several of those arrested were scheduled to make court appearances on Monday.

Police continue to investigate alleged criminal acts on the territory, including mischief and setting traps likely to cause bodily harm.



One of the hundreds of protesters who marched in Vancouver on Monday. Small protests have emerged across Canada in support of the Wet’suwet’ens fight against a gas pipeline. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Wet’suwet’en RCMP standoff sparks national protests
Hundreds rally in Metro Vancouver and Victoria in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en
RCMP breach final Wet’suwet’en camp in the path of Coastal GasLink pipeline

Today is the International Day of Solidarity with Wet’suwet’en: Reconciliation is Dead

The RCMP are raiding the Unist’ot’en Camp as we speak. As Unist’ot’en matriarchs sang and drummed on the bridge, officers approached the 66km checkpoint and threatened to arrest land defenders there, with helicopters circling overhead.

The RCMP are detaining journalists, arresting land defenders and legal observers, and preventing the Wet’suwet’en from moving freely on their own territory — all in violation of Wet’suwet’en and Canadian law.

Today is the International Day of Solidarity with Wet’suwet’en. All of us must show up with our bodies, our hearts, and our resources to stop this colonial invasion of Indigenous lands.

Join an action near you.

Allies acting in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en have been taking peaceful action from coast to coast to shut down the Canadian economy until the RCMP stand down from Wet’suwet’en territory. In Vancouver, folks shut down the Port of Vancouver for more than 48 hours, until the early hours of this morning when Vancouver Police arrested more than a dozen individuals for blocking the port. In Ontario, the Tyendinaga Mohawk have shut down crucial CN rail lines in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en. In Victoria, Indigenous youth are occupying the BC legislature.

If you can’t be there in person, there are many other ways to support:

  • Donate to the Unist’ot’en Legal Fund
  • Donate to Gidimt’en Camp
  • Call these Ministers and demand that the RCMP stand down, and the sovereign rights of the Wet’suwet’en be respected:
    • John Horgan (BC Premier): 250-387-1715
    • Scott Fraser (BC Minister of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation): 250-953-4844
    • Mike Farnworth (BC Minister of Public Safety): 250-356-2178
    • George Heyman (BC Minister of Environment and Climate Change strategy): 250-387-1187
    • Chrystia Freeland (Canada’s Deputy PM): 416-928-1451
    • Carolyn Bennett (Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations): 416-952-3990

Make no mistake — the RCMP is engaging in an act of war on a peaceful Indigenous nation, while trying to hide behind a media black-out of their own creation. We need to keep making as much noise as we can. Share widely, take action in solidarity, and keep all eyes on Wet’suwet’en.

For live updates, follow and share posts by Wet’suwet’en Access Point on Gidimt’en Territory and Unist’ot’en Camp on Facebook, as well as @gidimten @unistotencamp on Twitter.


Unist’ot’en Territory, Feb 10, 2020 – A convoy of armed RCMP tactical units has invaded sovereign and unceded Unist’ot’en Territory to enforce Coastal GasLink’s injunction. Our Unist’ot’en Matriarchs and lands defenders have been forcibly removed off their lands.

Unist’ot’en Matriarchs Freda Huson (Chief Howihkat), Brenda Michell (Chief Geltiy), and Dr. Karla Tait have been forcibly removed off our territories and arrested. Our matriarchs were arrested while holding a ceremony to call on our ancestors and to honour missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. We, the Unist’ot’en, know that violence on our lands and violence on our women are connected. During ceremony, we hung red dresses to remember the spirits of the murdered women, girls and two spirit people taken from us. We were holding a cremation for the Canadian Indigenous Reconciliation industry as the RCMP battered through the gates. Land defenders, including Victoria Redsun (Denesuline), Autumn Walken (Nlaka’pamux), and Pocholo Alen Conception have also been arrested.

Unist’ot’en condemns these violent, colonial arrests and stark violations of Wet’suwet’en law, Canadian law, and of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP). This is also a clear violation of the recent directive from the UN Committee on Racial Discrimination (CERD) requiring Canada to halt the Coastal GasLink pipeline project and withdraw RCMP from our territory in order to avoid further violations of Wet’suwet’en, constitutional, and international law.

We, as Wet’suwet’en, have never ceded our sovereign title and rights over the 22,000 square kilometers of our land, waters, and resources within our Yintah. Our ‘Anuc niwh’it’ën (Wet’suwet’en law) and feast governance systems remain intact and continue to govern our people and our lands. We recognize the authority of these systems. The Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs are the Title Holders, and maintain the authority and jurisdiction to make decisions on unceded lands.

Our Wet’suwet’en Territory is divided into 5 clans and 13 house groups. Each clan within the Wet’suwet’en Nation has full jurisdiction under our law to control access to their respective territories. We have governed ourselves sustainably since time immemorial. The Unist’ot’en (Dark House) is occupying and using our traditional territory as we have for centuries. Our homestead is a peaceful expression of our connection to our territory and demonstrates the continuous use and occupation of our territories in accordance with our governance structure. Our Unist’ot’en Yin’tah is a place of healing. It is home to Wet’suwet’en people seeking refuge from colonial trauma. People recovering from addiction. People reconnecting with the land.

We have the strength of our ancestors within us. We have the solidarity of our Indigenous relatives and allies with us. We have the power of people shutting down railways, highways, ports, and government offices all around this country. Thank you to people all around this planet making our struggle your struggle. The flames of resistance and the resurgence of Indigenous land reclamation give us strength. We know our neighbours and relatives are with us. We know the two-leggeds and the four-leggeds are watching over us. These arrests don’t intimidate us. Police enforcement doesn’t intimidate us. Colonial court orders don’t intimidate us. Men in suits and their money don’t intimidate us. We are still here. We will always be there. This is not over.

Stand with Unist’ot’en Now!


Share This Breaking Full Press Release from Unist’ot’en

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(Actions are being posted in real time, check discussion section for most recent updates)

Wet’suwet’en and supporters are gathering at 27 KM on Morice Service Road

Vancouver supporters are regrouping at VANDU office 380 East Hastings at 1 PM

Protests are Escalating across the Country and around the world with many new rail blockades, and occupation of government and finance offices!

See previous email for more details and full action update

Most recent live updates are on Unist’ot’en Twitter Feed

Live Streaming Happening on Unist’ot’en Facebook

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-Unist’ot’en Solidarity Brigade