Have your say at the Green New Deal set up

The Sunrise Movement is promoting the Green New Deal via posters like this one - Photo courtesy of Nancye Belding

The House of Commons saw two separate motions calling on Canada to declare a climate change emergency. This is a big deal, since it means many of our politicians are finally waking up to see climate change as what it is — a global crisis that demands urgent action.

But, actions speak louder than words. If, and likely when, it passes next week, this emergency declaration will still be backed up by a climate plan that misses the Paris targets and puts us on track to exceed 4ºC of global temperature rise.

That’s why a Green New Deal for Canada is so important, because a climate emergency demands an emergency level response. This weekend kicks off more than 150 town halls across the country where people from all walks of life will get together to craft the ambitious climate solutions that we need response.

This energy to declare a climate emergency didn’t come of out of nowhere. For the past few months student strikes have poured out of classes and into our communities calling for bold action. The Our Time campaign has launched across the country, bringing in thousands of young people committed to winning a Green New Deal for Canada by building a once in a generation voting alliance for climate justice. And, earlier this month, the Pact for a Green New Deal launched, collecting tens of thousand of signatures from people who believe we can, and we must, do more to tackle climate change and inequality.

All of this has pushed our politicians to respond with platforms, pledges to show us their vision of a Green New Deal for Canada and now, climate emergency declarations.

This energy to declare a climate emergency didn’t come of out of nowhere. For the past few months student strikes have poured out of classes and into our communities calling for bold action. The Our Time campaign has launched across the country, bringing in thousands of young people committed to winning a Green New Deal for Canada by building a once in a generation voting alliance for climate justice. And, earlier this month, the Pact for a Green New Deal launched, collecting tens of thousand of signatures from people who believe we can, and we must, do more to tackle climate change and inequality.

All of this has pushed our politicians to respond with platforms, pledges to show us their vision of a Green New Deal for Canada and now, climate emergency declarations.

With over 150 town halls confirmed in cities, towns and First Nations, we’re just getting started. If you’ve been waiting for it, this is the moment to get involved. MORE

SEE ALSO:

Pact for the Green New Deal: “Now is the time to build power behind the solutions we need.”

The big battle over climate change is just starting

In the House of Commons’ emergency debate on climate change, Elizabeth May  laid out the dangers of inaction and the promise of a Green economy in a remarkable, impassioned speech HERE. 

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. Photo: Wayne Polk/Flickr

On Wednesday, May 15, the federal NDP will use an opposition day in the House of Commons to focus like a laser on climate change. Jagmeet Singh’s party will make some sweeping and bold policy proposals.

That is only one sign that the war of words over global warming is getting hotter. In that war, the who-cares-about-climate-change side seems to have gotten the jump on the pro-environment side.

The Doug Ford government of Ontario will soon be airing blatantly one-sided ads with a simple and simplistic message: carbon taxes make everything more expensive.

The ads devote a few seconds to say there are better ways than taxation to deal with climate change. But their list of those better ways is bizarre: hold the biggest polluters accountable, reduce trash, and keep Ontario’s lakes clean. The first way is part of the current federal government’s carbon emission reduction plan, while the latter two would no doubt be salutary, if they were to happen. The ads do not explain, however, what, if anything, they have to do with reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

“It’s time to call climate change what it is — an emergency — and act accordingly.” -deposed Ontario environment commissioner Dianne Saxe

During Liberal premier Kathleen Wynne’s time, the Ontario auditor general criticized government ads that looked and sounded too politically partisan. She advocated that her office should have the power to vet all government advertising for accuracy and context.

The Ford Conservatives, then in opposition, promised to heed that advice. Doug Ford did not wait even a full year before he brazenly broke that promise.While Ford and his allies, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, take an axe to efforts to combat climate change — in the courts, in their legislatures and in their propaganda — sympathetic right-of-centre pundits are working overtime to provide something resembling an ideology for their movement.

In the pages of the National Post, former oil sands executive Gwyn Morgan engages in a sophisticated form of climate-change denial. He argues that the disastrous floods we have been experiencing in parts of Canada are the result of a long and cold winter, with record high snowfalls. “Isn’t climate change supposed to be about global warming?” he asks rhetorically.

The answer is yes — with a big qualification. Climate change is, indeed, producing far higher temperatures, overall, than in the past. But what does this warming trend do? It melts glaciers, raises sea levels and adds moisture to the air. All of these effects drive erratic, fluctuating and often violent weather events. MORE

 

Why mining justice must be central to the Green New Deal

 

Between May 18 and May 31, people across the country will be holding town halls in their communities to shape a vision for a Green New Deal. There is a Green New Deal set up for Belleville on Monday, May 27th at St Thomas Church, 7 to 9 pm.

Mining in Kailo. Photo: Julien Harneis/Wikimedia CommonsIt is imperative that we win a bold and profoundly transformative Green New Deal to avert the catastrophe of deepening climate breakdown.

We need a rebellion against a toxic system that Extinction Rebellion co-founder Stuart Basden has highlighted includes colonialism, white supremacy, patriarchy, Eurocentrism, hetero-sexism/heteronormativity, class hierarchy and other oppressions.

That toxic system also includes extreme violence and environmental damage by transnational mining corporations, many of them headquartered in Canada.

…a green colonialism that claims leadership and ignores the lived experience of the global majority “is no victory worth claiming, and it is the default left position if we do not actively fight for a different vision.”

Afro-Colombian anti-mining activist Francia Márquez, who recently survived an assassination attempt, frames her broader vision of challenging climate change as follows:

“I am one of those people who raise their voices to stop the destruction of rivers, forests, and wetlands; one of those people who dream that, one day, human beings are going to change the economic model of death, in order to build a model that guarantees life.”

A conscious and explicit recognition of the need for mining justice — and the impacts of mining injustice on racialized communities around the world — are critical components of the Green New Deal and the economic model of life that we need to build. SOURCE


 

The antidote to Kenney is an ambitious Green New Deal for Alberta

“As young people living in Alberta, we know what it feels like to be forced to cast a ballot for an unlivable future. And we refuse to do it again.” An important rule: Never vote against yourself.

Image: Climate Justice Edmonton/Facebook

…In the lead up to the federal election, we’re building the vision we wish we could have voted for a month ago: a vision that finally meets the scale of the crises we face. Because it’s clear that the rise of white supremacy, growing income inequality, and the deepening climate crisis will not be resolved without visionary politics and a ground game to support it.

And that’s why, on election night, instead of sitting and mourning with our pints of beer, Climate Justice Edmonton organizers ran around collecting names and emails from other despondent faces around the bar. Because we knew that with anger and fear comes a spark of hope that things could look different — and more than that: the resolve to make it happen.

It’s why, just one week after the [Alberta] election, Climate Justice Edmonton’s list of young volunteers willing to throw their weight behind a Green New Deal for Canada with the Our Time movement had grown to over 120 people. It’s why hundreds of people from across the country have donated more than $15,000 to fund Climate Justice Edmonton’s “war room to beat Kenney’s war room.” And it’s why, week after week, our meetings have been overflowing with new organizers committed to building power behind this vision.

Because as young people living in Alberta, we know what it feels like to be forced to cast a ballot for an unlivable future. And we refuse to do it again. SOURCE

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Postmedia hires former Kenney staffer to lobby Alberta government on involvement in ‘energy war room’

Read with care: By joining Jason Kenney’s ‘war room’, Postmedia is apparently going to be supporting neoliberal resource development and attacking environmental concerns more openly.  

Calgary Herald building

Lobbyist registration reveals company that publishes newspapers in at least 34 Alberta communities has hired former UCP campaign director Nick Koolsbergen to lobby Alberta government

Documents filed with the Alberta Lobbyist Registry reveal that Canadian media behemoth Postmedia — which owns the National Post, Edmonton Journal, Edmonton Sun, Calgary Herald, Calgary Sun, Vancouver Sun, The Province, Ottawa Citizen and many others — is actively seeking to become “involved” in Premier Jason Kenney’s “energy war room.”

The lobbying records state Postmedia hired Kenney’s former campaign director Nick Koolsbergen to “discuss ways Postmedia could be involved in the government’s energy war room.”

Kenney proposed the creation of a “war room” during Alberta’s most recent election campaign. The war room — which the UCP said in its campaign platform will run on a $20 million budget — will “fight fake news and share the truth about Alberta’s resource sector and energy issues.”

Kenney named several organizations, including prominent charities, environmental groups and multinational companies, suggesting they may be early targets of the war room. MORE

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Doug Ford cuts 70 per cent of money for centre helping First Nations protect wildlife and resources

Perhaps the Ford Government was best described by T. S. Eliot in 1925:

“We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men
Leaning together
Headpiece filled with straw. “


Ontario Natural Resources Minister John Yakabuski seen at his swearing-in ceremony on June 29, 2018. Photo by Alex Tétreault

Premier Doug Ford’s Ontario government has cut 70 per cent of provincial funding to a non-profit organization that helps more than three dozen Indigenous communities protect endangered wildlife and natural resources, National Observer has learned.

The organization, the Anishinabek/Ontario Fisheries Resource Centre (A/OFRC), provides independent scientific information to the communities in order to help them manage both resources and wildlife. But the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry told it on April 12, the day after the Ford government delivered its first budget, that “the Ministry is seeking changes to the existing three-year Transfer Payment Agreement.”

The money was part of a critical program designed to help about 40 First Nations participate in government decision-making related to conservation policies.

The payment agreement was in its second year, providing a budget of $860,000 for the arms-length organization to continue to provide independent, non-partisan information relevant to resource management in First Nations territories. This involves providing scientific recommendations to sustain the health and habitat of Ontario’s fish population and other species like moose, turtles and wild rice, and offering technical support to First Nations to help protect their natural resources. MORE

These flexible solar cells bring us closer to kicking the fossil-fuel habit

The dream: the Green Economy that could be fueled by  tandem perovskite-on-silicon devices, a potentially transformational technology, that  could achieve around 43% efficiency.

No solar material has managed to supplant silicon. Perovskites, which are far cheaper and can be made into flexible modules, could change that.

Photo illustration of a perovskite

    • Perovskite solar cells can be cheaper, lighter, more energy-efficient, and easier to produce than traditional silicon
    • They could be put on windows, irregularly shaped surfaces, or even moving vehicles and open up a whole new range of uses for solar power, like desalination
    • The biggest challenge: making them durable enough

While silicon panels might dominate the market—with around 95% market share—silicon is not an especially good solar material. It mainly uses light from the red and infrared end of the solar spectrum, and it has to be fairly thick and bulky to absorb and convert photons. The most efficient silicon solar panels on the market achieve less than 23% efficiency, while the theoretical maximum for a single layer of silicon is around 29%.

Perovskite, on the other hand, can use more of the light that reaches it and can be tuned to work with different parts of the spectrum. Oxford PV has opted for the blue end. Paired in a cell, the two materials can convert more photons into electrons together than either can deliver on its own.

Oxford PV plans to deliver solar cells based on perovskite and silicon to the market by the end of next year, using a German factory it acquired in 2016 from Bosch Solar. The two materials will come in a package that otherwise looks, ships, and installs the same way as a standard solar panel, in a kind of half step that the company believes will make it easier to introduce the technology to the market.

Oxford PV's manufacturing plant in Germany.
Oxford PV’s manufacturing plant in Germany. OXFORD PV

Perovskites… can be produced at low temperatures and used in liquid form to coat flexible materials like plastic, enabling a roll-to-roll manufacturing process similar to newspaper printing. MORE