Small Modular Nuclear Reactors – The Pied Piper Strikes Again!


Source: ‘A Canadian Roadmap for Small Modular Reactors’ (NRCan, November 2018).

Without any adequate consultation with Canadians,
including First Nations, the Government of Canada is
unilaterally moving ahead with the development and
deployment of a whole new generation of nuclear reactors
all over Canada, especially in the north, directly impinging
on indigenous lands and rights.

These “small modular nuclear reactors” (SMNRs, or SMRs) will ALL generate post-fission radioactive wastes of all varieties: the high
level waste which is the irradiated nuclear fuel, and the
low & intermediate level wastes such as decommissioning
wastes (radioactive rubble from dismantling shut-down
reactors or — more likely — just grouting them in place.)

Meanwhile we have learned that the CNSC has been trying
to “rig the game” by getting the Canadian Government to
EXCLUDE most of these new reactors from the requirement
of having a FULL PANEL Environmental Assessment
Review. This has been done by CNSC lobbying government
officials behind closed doors without any public process,
debate, oversight or discussion. MORE

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Jens Wieting and Torrance Coste: Logging B.C.’s ancient forests adds to extinctions

Governments everywhere must safeguard ancient forests, their webs of life and the life support systems upon which we all depend.


Old-growth western red cedar, western hemlock and Pacific silver fir in the Capilano River watershed near North Vancouver. AMANDA STAN / SUN

Human destruction and disruption of the natural world have sped up the natural rate of species extinction by at least 100 times. A recent study found that globally billions of populations of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians have been lost in recent decades with habitat destruction as the leading cause, now exacerbated by global warming. They referred to the massive loss of wildlife as “biological annihilation.”

Here in “Super, Natural B.C.,” we often celebrate our biological richness and spectacular landscapes. Many of us hang on to the belief that things are not so bad in our neck of the woods, despite the fact that 1,900 B.C. species are at risk of disappearing.

For a reality check, consider this: Vancouver Island’s remaining intact rainforest is being destroyed three times faster than the remaining Amazon rainforest in Brazil. MORE

HOW POLICE, PRIVATE SECURITY, AND ENERGY COMPANIES ARE PREPARING FOR A NEW PIPELINE STANDOFF

Activists protest the Line 3 decision, Thursday, June 28, 2018, in St. Paul, Minn. Minnesota regulators approved Enbridge Energy's proposal to replace its aging Line 3 oil pipeline, angering opponents who say the project threatens pristine areas and have vowed Standing Rock-style protests, if needed to block it. (Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune via AP)
Activists protest the approval of Enbridge’s proposal to replace its aging Line 3 pipeline on June 28, 2018, in St. Paul, Minn. Photo: Richard Tsong-Taatarii/Star Tribune/AP

MINNESOTA POLICE HAVE spent 18 months preparing for a major standoff over Enbridge Line 3, a tar sands oil pipeline that has yet to receive the green light to build in the state. Records obtained by The Intercept show that law enforcement has engaged in a coordinated effort to identify potential anti-pipeline camps and monitor individual protesters, repeatedly turning for guidance to the North Dakota officials responsible for the militarized response at Standing Rock in 2016.

Enbridge, a Canada-based energy company that claims to own the world’s longest fossil fuel transportation network, has labeled Line 3 the largest project in its history. If completed, it would replace 1,031 miles of a corroded existing pipeline that spans from Alberta’s tar sands region to refineries and a major shipping terminal in Wisconsin, expanding the pipeline’s capacity by hundreds of thousands of barrels per day.

The expanded Line 3 would pass through the territories of several Ojibwe bands in northern Minnesota, home to sensitive wild rice lakes central to the Native communities’ spiritual and physical sustenance. Given that tar sands are among the world’s most carbon-intensive fuel sources, Line 3 opponents underline that the pipeline is exactly the kind of infrastructure that must be rapidly phased out to meet scientists’ prescriptions for mitigating climate disasters. MORE

Canada Without Poverty: National Inquiry Coalition

Coalition calls for urgent action to stop violence against Indigenous women and girls

Image result for violence against indigenous women and girls

OTTAWA – A coalition of human rights organizations has released their report of recommendations to the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls in which they call for a crisis-level response to the increasing rates of violence against Indigenous women and girls.

The Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA), Canada Without Poverty, and Dr. Pamela Palmater, the Chair in Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University, made their oral submissions to the National Inquiry and filed written submissions in December of last year. In the report, made public today, the group calls for urgent, comprehensive, and transformative action from all levels of government in Canada.

“Canada is in the midst of a human rights crisis of its own making. Discriminatory laws, policies, and practices have created an infrastructure of violence and Indigenous women and girls are dying because of it,” said Dr. Palmater.

“Simply tweaking programs and services or making minor amendments to laws will not end the violence. We need immediate, radical and strategic action – substantive remedies that match the scope and character of the human rights violations.”

Shelagh Day, Chair of the Human Rights Committee of FAFIA, said “Indigenous women, civil society organizations, and international human rights authorities have repeatedly urged Canada to act strategically and urgently. So far, Canada’s responses have been un-coordinated, piecemeal, and ineffective. Our coalition is calling for a national co-ordinated action plan to attack the root causes of the violence with resources to support change and timelines for implementation. Nothing less will do.” MORE

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Power Shift: Electric car program also funding natural gas stations

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Matthew Eglin, director of the Electric Vehicle Council of Ottawa, says money in the fund that’s being spent on natural gas stations would have been better spent on expanding electric vehicle charging stations. SOURCE

First Nations water problems a crisis of Canada’s own making

Returning lands and resources to First Nations would go a long way to ensuring that First Nations have sustainable governments – and clean water.

Image result for First Nations water problems a crisis of Canada’s own making

Photo: Garden Hill First Nation. Photo by Timkal/Wikimedia Commons.

It is hard to imagine that in 2019, First Nations in Canada could lack access to clean drinking water in their own territories — but many do. In fact, 400 of 618 First Nations were under at least one water advisory between 2004 and 2014. A recent CBC investigation revealed that 180 homes in Garden Hill First Nation, Manitoba, lack running water and indoor plumbing. Some of the residents don’t have central heating or power either.

How many Canadians would settle for water infected with fecal matter, sewers backing up into their bathtubs or being able to bathe only once a week due to lack of access to water? In all likelihood, if this were happening in any Canadian municipality on the same scale as in First Nations, a state of emergency would be declared and all resources would be brought to bear to address the crisis. While some First Nations have seen their advisories lifted, others have seen little substantive action. If recent statements from federal officials are any indication, even Garden Hill is unlikely to have its water crisis addressed any time soon — or at all.

Michel Burrowes, a deputy director at Indigenous Services Canada, bluntly refused to commit to funding to alleviate the water crisis in Garden Hill and instead told the CBC, “Frankly, people should be living in other places.” It is ironic that the same government that pledges reconciliation with Indigenous peoples would be so quick to suggest that First Nations should simply abandon their homes instead of addressing the water crisis. This callous response to an urgent public health crisis that has affected so many First Nations is not only irresponsible; it shows a real racism and indifference toward the health and well-being of First Nations people in general, and the crisis in Garden Hill specifically. MORE

 

Health Professionals to Federal Political Parties: Action Needed to Prevent Catastrophic Climate Change

February 5, 2019 – Ottawa (ON) – On February 5, CAPE joined forces with the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA), the Urban Public Health Network (UPHN) and the Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA) and made a public Call to Action on Climate Change and Health to Canada’s federal political parties.

“Last summer, tens of thousands of Canadians had their lives disrupted by wildfires, millions in western Canada were forced to breath  harmful levels of air pollution for days or weeks at a time, while millions in central and eastern Canada were exposed to extreme heat for prolonged periods” noted Kim Perrotta, Executive Director of CAPE.  “In the fall, the International Panel on Climate Change painted a bleak picture of a world if we allowed global warming of 2 degrees Celsius.  There is an urgent need for deep action on climate change and the election platforms of our political parties must reflect that reality.”

“We are the generation in charge during the last time window for humanity to decrease its emissions enough to maintain a livable climate. The next 12 years are critical: Members of Parliament elected in the 2019 federal election will ultimately have the opportunity to ensure a healthy response to climate change or be responsible for devastating climate-related impacts that will be visited on our children and future generations,” said Dr. Courtney Howard, President of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment (CAPE). “Just as when we do CPR during a code blue in the hospital, we need to push hard, push fast, and not stop in order to ensure a healthy outcome.” TAKE ACTION!

John Ivison: PBO report on Trans Mountain purchase is sombre reading for a government that likely overpaid

Morneau may not have been fleeced, but certainly paid at the high end of the valuation scale, apparently assuming that everything would proceed smoothly


Finance Minister Bill Morneau speaks with reporters about the Parliamentary Budget Officer’s report on the Trans Mountain pipeline outside the House of Commons Thursday.Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press

The sticker price Kinder Morgan put on the Trans Mountain pipeline when it entered negotiations with the federal government last year was $6.5 billion. Hence, finance minister Bill Morneau and his team thought they’d scored a bargain when they sealed the deal at $4.4 billion.

But it looks increasingly like he may bought a cat in a sack.

In all probability, the pipeline will take longer to build than anticipated; the construction costs will be greater; and the risks associated with the project mean the discount rate will be higher.

If any of those variables moves in the wrong direction, the value of the pipeline falls off a cliff. For example, PBO estimates that it is not worth the government proceeding with construction if the project is delayed a further two years and construction costs rise just 10 per cent.

What are the chances of that? As one veteran of the government infrastructure projects commented: “I’ve never seen one come in ahead of schedule or below budget.” MORE

 

‘Shocking’ failure to cut emissions from biggest-polluting sector in UK as others improve

Concerns lack of progress cutting greenhouse gases from cars will hamper future climate targets even as overall emissions fall

Transport is the sector responsible for most of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions
Transport is the sector responsible for most of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions ( Getty/iStock )

Zero progress has been made in reducing climate-harming emissions from the UK’s most polluting sector, according to new government figures.

In 2017 levels of greenhouse gases from cars and other forms of transport did not fall at all.

Campaigners accused the government of ignoring the “elephant in the room” and investing in new roads at the expense of the nation’s future climate targets.

With more and more electricity coming from renewable sources, transport is now firmly established as the biggest polluter, responsible for over a quarter of the UK’s emissions.

“We could be starting the kind of decline on transport emissions as we’ve done with power but instead both the government and the car industry are idling on the issue.”

Overall the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions have fallen by 42 per cent since 1990, with a 3 per cent drop between 2016 and 2017, the most recent period for which figures are available. However, while most sectors have seen considerable declines of up to two-thirds in the past three decades, transport pollution has fallen by just 2 per cent. MORE

The glaring hole in Trump’s address: Climate change


(Al Drago)

President Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday night zigzagged between paeans to unity and sops to his hardcore base. He eulogized World War II soldiers and then wheeled on immigrants and leftist rivals at home. But absent amid the nativist demagoguery and partisan jockeying was any reference to the threat looming above all others: climate change.

That’s no surprise. Trump is an avowed climate skeptic who casts environmentalist efforts as challenges to American sovereignty, not ways to stave off a planet-wide disaster. As much of the United States endured a deep freeze last month, Trump took to Twitter to plead for more “global warming.”

Donald J. Trump

@realDonaldTrump

In the beautiful Midwest, windchill temperatures are reaching minus 60 degrees, the coldest ever recorded. In coming days, expected to get even colder. People can’t last outside even for minutes. What the hell is going on with Global Waming? Please come back fast, we need

Experts quickly noted that the president was confusing weather with climate — and that the warming of the Arctic could lead to sharper, snowier cold spells in the North American winter.

“Only with an ill-informed citizenry could you plausibly dismiss the consensus of the world’s scientists based upon a single cold spell,” wrote climate scientist Michael E. Mann. “Trump and, more to the point, the fossil fuel interests whose bidding he is doing have weaponized the public’s poor understanding of science.”

Trump is certainly at odds with the global scientific community — including leading scientists in the United States and even in his own government. In November, the Trump administration tried to bury the terrifying findings of its own National Climate Assessment by releasing it the day after Thanksgiving. In that report, researchers affiliated with a number of federal agencies offered alarming conclusions about the increased risk of natural catastrophes because of the changing climate. MORE

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