Finland wants EU to agree plan for net-zero carbon footprint

Image result for Finland wants EU to agree plan for net-zero carbon footprint
FILE PHOTO: Activists protest against the carbon dioxide emissions trading in front of the World Congress Centre Bonn, the site of the COP23 U.N. Climate Change Conference, in Bonn, Germany, November 17, 2017. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Finland wants the European Union to agree to achieve a net-zero carbon footprint by 2050, Environment Minister Kimmo Tiilikainen said on Monday as the bloc’s ministers met to discuss a climate protection plan.

Finland, which will take over the EU’s rotating presidency in the second half of 2019, has called for leadership in combating climate change after U.S. President Donald Trump decided to pull out of the global Paris deal.

The EU executive proposed last year that the bloc aims for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

“The European Union must align our climate and energy policy according to the 1.5 degree target. That means that the EU must achieve carbon neutrality by 2050,” Tiilikainen told reporters. MORE

UK Government throws its weight behind offshore wind power expansion

Deal with wind sector aims to produce one third of UK’s electricity needs by 2030

The government also hopes the deal will cement Britain’s leading position in the technology. Photograph: Bob Strong/Reuters

The government will throw its weight behind an expansion in the use of offshore wind power in the hope the renewable energy source will provide a third of the UK’s electricity by 2030.

In a deal between the government and the offshore wind sector, industry players have agreed to invest £250m over the next 11 years in exchange for participation in £557m of state subsidies for renewable energy.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said the deal could result in the number of jobs in offshore wind tripling to 27,000 by 2030, boosting the economies of coastal communities near major projects.

Reaching a target of more than 30% of electricity coming from offshore wind [by 2030] would also mean that 70% of Britain’s energy would be from renewable sources by the end of the period. MORE


Prince Edward County could be carbon emissions free by 2030

EU sued to stop burning trees for energy; it’s not carbon neutral: plaintiffs

Image result for EU sued to stop burning trees for energy; it’s not carbon neutral: plaintiffsThe Drax power stations in the United Kingdom, one of the largest users of woody biomass for energy production. The Drax biomass dome, seen here, once burned coal but now burns wood pellets and chips. Photo credit: DECCgovuk on VisualHunt / CC BY-ND.

Plaintiffs in five European nations and the United States filed an unprecedented suit Monday, 4 March, in the European General Court in Luxembourg against the European Union.

They charge that the EU’s 2018 Renewable Energy Directive, known as RED II – which obligates member nations to generate at least 32 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2030 – will produce a surge in demand for wood pellets and wood chips because a current United Nations policy considers the burning of biomass for energy carbon neutral.

As a result, emissions from burning wood are not counted against a country’s total carbon emissions. The Kyoto Protocol originally defined the carbon neutrality of so-called bioenergy more than 20 years ago, but many scientific studies since have shown this finding to be wrong. This new conclusion identified as the “bioenergy carbon accounting loophole” is at the heart of the lawsuit. MORE

Swedish technology could make geothermal as mainstream as wind and solar

Climeon units in action.

Geothermal power is the best of both worlds. It is flexible, like natural-gas power, providing energy whenever needed. And it’s green, like wind and solar power, producing almost no emissions.

Current technology, however, limits its applications. Large geothermal power plants depend on accessing very hot water, which can only be recovered in small regions around the planet. That’s why places with volcanoes, like Iceland and Indonesia, are able to use large amounts of geothermal energy, but others like France or the UK aren’t.

The Swedish company Climeon claims it can make geothermal power as accessible as wind and solar. Its technology can make use of low-temperature heat, which opens up economically viable geothermal power to much more of the world. And Climeon now seems poised to scale up beyond the five countries it operates in today, after the Bill Gates-backed fund Breakthrough Energy Ventures (BEV) said on March 6 that it will provide $12.5 million in funding.

The price of electricity produced using Climeon’s technology varies based on factors like the size of the project and access to the heat source. In some cases, Climeon’s electricity-generating units have provided electricity for €40 ($45) per MWh, according to Joachim Karthäuser, the company’s chief technology officer. For context, that’s about the low end of costs for wind or solar power in Europe.  MORE

Attorney General David Lametti sought outside legal advice on SNC-Lavalin

OTTAWA—Attorney General David Lametti has sought an external legal opinion on “issues” raised by the controversial SNC-Lavalin case, which has seen two ministers resign over the PMO’s handling of the affair, the Star has learned.

“The minister has sought outside advice on some of the issues raised by the matter, which is typical on high-profile or otherwise important questions,” said Lametti’s spokesperson David Taylor, in response to questions from the Star.

Attorney General David Lametti appears at the Commons justice committee last month. Lametti was named to the Justice Ministry in January, when Jody Wilson-Raybould was moved to Veterans Affairs. (ADRIAN WYLD / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILE PHOTO)

Asked to clarify if Lametti went outside to get the external legal advice that former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould testified she refused to seek, Taylor said: “To be abundantly clear, the advice is not of the variety that PMO is alleged to have suggested to the former minister to get. It’s not in that realm.”

…So it remains an open question why Lametti went outside his own department in the matter, and what advice he got. MORE

Trudeau’s verbal porridge and serene smile have carried him along. Until now: Neil Macdonald

He either doesn’t think the public deserves a straight answer, or just isn’t capable of delivering one


Trudeau could have answered his former justice minister fact for fact. Instead, his statements have been as stilted and contrived as the optics. (Eddy Kennedy/CBC)

If you’re looking for some instructive reading, go look up an aggregation of utterances by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Some are already famous for their loopiness: budgets balance themselves, the government shouldn’t call honour killings barbaric, we need to rethink the definitions of space and time, we should say “peoplekind” instead of “mankind” (he may actually have been making fun of himself with that one).

Most, though, are just syrupy, unmemorable banalities about values and optimism and respect and caring for one another.

Like this masterpiece of tautology the day he was sworn in as prime minister: “The diversity that makes this country so strong is a diversity of views that will carry us forward.”

Trudeau’s happy blather was digestible enough at first, particularly after nearly a decade of Stephen Harper. Like tapioca after heartburn. But as it kept coming, picked up and amplified by his cabinet ministers, it began grating on the nerves, the way retail Christmas-carol Muzak does by late November. Eventually, it became clear that our prime minister didn’t really have much else to say. MORE

Trudeau tries to change the channel on SNC-Lavalin, part VII

Politics Insider for March 6: Trudeau to show ‘contrition’ over SNC-Lavalin affair

Justin Trudeau


Last month, a day after Gerald Butts resigned as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau‘s principal secretary, Canada’s ambassador to the United States David MacNaughton happened to be sitting for a #MacleansLive Q&A when Paul Wells asked a simple question: Is that a job opening for you? After which MacNaughton spent close to two minutes not saying “no”.

He may not have the title, but MacNaughton might as well have been auditioning for the role Tuesday. He spent the day huddled with Trudeau in the PMO trying to find a way for the Federal Liberals to get out of the mess they’re in with SNC-Lavalin and Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott. The Prime Minister had avoided reporters and cancelled events in Saskatchewan earlier in the day. By the afternoon Liberal sources were telling any reporter who’d listen that Trudeau was ready to try a new approach: a statement of “contrition” and showing “some ownership over the actions of his staff and officials” towards former attorney general Wilson-Raybould. (CBC News)

If the show of contrition comes, it would follow Trudeau’s initial claims that the Globe and Mail‘s political interference story was first, “false” and then second, a misunderstanding. MORE

GOLDSTEIN: How Canada is ‘faking it’ on climate change

The steel mills on the Hamilton waterfront harbour are shown in Hamilton, Ont., on Tuesday, October 23, 2018. Canada’s push to be a world leader in the fight against climate change may be hampered by its distinction for producing the most greenhouse gas emissions per person among the world’s 20 largest economies. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government has come up with a new way to meet Canada’s greenhouse gas emission targets under the Paris climate accord.

Except it doesn’t reduce emissions. It’s an accounting trick.

Since there’s no way we can meet our looming target for 2030 that Trudeau agreed to when he signed the 2015 Paris climate deal — lowering Canada’s emissions to 30% below 2005 levels — the Liberals have started moving the goalposts closer to the target.

But it has nothing to do with what we’ve been told is the real problem — industrial emissions from man-made activities when burning fossil fuels (oil, coal and natural gas) for energy.

Canada’s emissions in 2016 were 704 megatonnes, the last year for which figures are available, while Trudeau’s commitment under the Paris deal for 2030 works out to 512 megatonnes annually, or 192 megatonnes less. MORE

Tell Singh: NDP must run on a Green New Deal in 2019

Dear Jagmeet Singh,

Humanity faces a historic, existential challenge. Scientists say we have less than 12 years to reduce emissions by half, globally. Living in a country that has benefitted from greater per capita emissions than most of the world, we in Canada have an obligation to exceed that target and play a leadership role.

This isn’t about ideology. The laws of physics do not make political compromises.

It’s non-negotiable: we need to transform everything about the way we provide housing, transportation, and food. We have to stop extracting fossil fuels and break the stranglehold that industry has on our political system. And then we have to share our knowledge with everyone else.

The laws of physics do not make political compromises.

The right-wing political establishment, aligned with oil and gas interests along with  other extractive industries, will try to derail any such effort with racism and fear. That’s why we need to make sure the massive investments benefit the people first. Our ideas include a federal jobs guarantee, an expansion of Canada Post, free public transportation and a massive increase in green, non-market housing. (Read more of our proposal here.) The important thing is that we hit the targets science says we have to hit.

In the US, this frame – the Green New Deal – has already overcome tremendous odds to become a winning issue. Even Republicans support it. If you are looking for a popular policy framework that no Liberal campaign could copy, this is it.

Not only can the New Democratic Party win with a real transition plan; it has to.

  • That the NDP create a credible plan to reduce Canada’s emissions by more than 50% by 2030, and base its next election campaign on it
  • That the plan link climate transition with the priorities of as many progressive social movements as possible, to achieve the broadest possible resonance
  • That the NDP bring representatives from social movements into its campaign decision-making in order to ensure broad mobilization

In short, we demand that you adopt a winning strategy, one that that will also ensure our survival.

With love and courage,

Justin Trudeau, imposter

Paul Wells: The phoniness of the Prime Minister’s handling of the SNC-Lavalin file is a trait he shows the Canadian people all too often

Prime Minister Trudeau in his Centre Block office in Ottawa on Dec. 8, 2016. (Adam Scotti/PMO)

The story a few Liberals were telling privately, in the early hours after Jody Wilson-Raybould delivered her extraordinary testimony to the Commons justice committee about the endless procession of men who tried to make her cancel a criminal trial for SNC-Lavalin, was that she just didn’t get it.

The former attorney general is a nice enough sort, the story went, but she doesn’t really understand the way the world works. The whole point of amending the Criminal Code to provide for deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs) was to make that option—a sort of negotiated fine in lieu of a trial for fraud and bribery—available to SNC-Lavalin. And if the option was available, why not use it? Jobs were at stake. Elections were at stake. Elections, plural, for Pete’s sake. First an election in Quebec last autumn, then a federal election this autumn.

So you could drag SNC through the mud of a court trial, long after the individual executives who actually did any frauding and bribing had fled the company, for what? To visit punishments upon everyone else in the company? To maybe scare it out of Montreal for good? To endanger the jobs of thousands of fine upstanding Quebecers and other Canadians? On the eve of elections? Plural? MORE


Trudeau and senior Liberals kept linking SNC-Lavalin prosecution to elections
 SNC-Lavalin’s allies in its push to avoid prosecution
Why we broke our electoral reform promise. Signed, a Liberal MP.