Your Gas Stove Is Bad for You and the Planet

This article lists several things you can do to reduce your family’s carbon emissions.  Switching to induction cooktops, heat pumps, and electric heating are options that result in far fewer emissions, and not a moment too soon.

To help solve the climate crisis, we need to electrify everything.


Credit: Angie Wang

OAKLAND, Calif. — We have some good news that sounds like bad news: Your gas stove has to go.

We know how you’ll feel reading those words. We used to love cooking with gas, too. But if our society is going to solve the climate crisis, one of the things we must do is stop burning gas in our buildings.

Nobody is going to shed a tear about having to switch to a more efficient furnace or water heater. But people feel emotional about gas stoves, and the gas industry knows it. Seeing this fight coming, the industry is already issuing propaganda with gauzy pictures of blue flames.

What the gas companies will not tell you is that your stove is a danger not just to the world’s climate but also to your own family’s health. We’ll explain in a moment.

First, here’s the larger situation: The need to tackle climate change is beyond urgent. We are running out of time. Within the next decade we need to cut climate pollution in half in the United States, roughly, to do our fair part in preserving a livable planet.

Despite the Trump administration, the nation is actually making progress in some areas. We are retiring coal-burning power plants at a record pace, and half of them are already gone. A new wave of ambition to address climate change is sweeping across state legislatures this year as more and more commit to 100 percent clean electricity or debate doing so. But despite this progress, the Rhodium Group estimates that climate-altering emissions in the United States increased 3.4 percent last year from the year before, one of the biggest jumps in decades.

Burning gas is now a bigger source of such pollution than burning coal, and nearly a third of that gas is burned in homes and commercial buildings. But despite the rising chorus of climate pledges by state and local governments, none of them has really tackled the problem of gas in buildings. In fact, gas companies are still being allowed to spend billions extending new lines, connections that will have to be capped off long before the end of their useful lives if we are to meet our climate goals.  MORE

Federal carbon tax favours coal-fired plants, could “diminish” renewables investment, new report says

 

Image result for climate clockAs far as a sustainable energy policy goes, the Liberal’s attempt to square the circle  is doomed to failure: allow tar sands to expand and their emissions to rise; give coal production a pass; meanwhile ship the world’s dirtiest oil to foreign markets via the TransMountain pipeline. But in the real world, it just makes no sense. Still Catherine McKenna, with a straight face , zealously attempts to sell this preposterous program. Meanwhile the doomsday clock keeps ticking as we approach global ecocide

A regulatory proposal introduced in December could ‘diminish’ investment in renewable power in Canada, according to the C.D. Howe Institute

A giant drag line works in the Highvale Coal Mine to feed the nearby Sundance Power Plant near Wabamun, Alberta on Friday, Mar. 21, 2014. JOHN LUCAS/EDMONTON JOURNAL

OTTAWA — The federal carbon tax could favour coal-fired power plants over clean sources like wind and solar in its approach to industrial emissions, a new report says, potentially undermining a central aim of the Liberal government’s policy.

Environment Minister Catherine McKenna released a regulatory proposal in December 2018 that provided details on the heavy emitters portion of the carbon tax, including how levies would be applied to electricity generators. Independent think-tank The C.D. Howe Institute reviewed the proposal and found it would actually give a leg up to higher-intensity emissions like coal and “diminish” investment in renewables, due to a decision to raise a critical threshold on certain producers.

“This is indisputably a carve-out for coal that departs from the principle of an economy-wide carbon price,” said Grant Bishop, who wrote a report on the institute’s findings published Tuesday.

The report could add weight to claims that the federal carbon tax introduced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau does little to target high-intensity industrial emissions. It could also have an impact on coal-related emissions in Alberta, which still depends heavily on the fuel source to generate power.

In December, McKenna released a regulatory proposal for the [output-based pricing system]  OBPS that would force coal-fired facilities to pay levies based on a threshold of 800 tonnes per gigawatt hour (GWh), compared with a threshold of 370 tonnes per GWh for natural gas. That higher target effectively provides more space for coal providers to sidestep levies, giving them a comparative advantage over natural gas or even emissions-free energy sources like hydro, wind and solar. MORE

RELATED:

Kenney defiantly challenges Trudeau on climate

After a decade of research, here’s what scientists know about the health impacts of fracking

This is important scientific health information that you need to know to protect your family. It’s also important to get this information to policy makers. For example, Alberta and British Columbia are embarking on major LNG developments. The bottom line is these developments will further frustrate our efforts to meet our climate targets.

“This should be of serious concern to policymakers interested in protecting public health.”


Credit: Mark Dixon/Flickr

Fracking has been linked to preterm births, high-risk pregnancies, asthma, migraine headaches, fatigue, nasal and sinus symptoms, and skin disorders over the last 10 years, according to a new study.

Fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing, is a process of extracting oil and gas from the Earth by drilling deep wells and injecting a mixture of liquids and chemicals at high pressure.

The study, which was published in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Global Public Health in February, looked at several hundred scientific articles about the community and health impacts of fracking. The researchers focused on the design of those studies to ensure that the ones they included in their study were scientifically valid, then summarized what’s been learned about the industry in the last decade.


Credit: Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Global Public

They found evidence that water pollution, air pollution, and soil contamination caused by the industry have been linked to adverse health impacts through both exposure to toxic chemicals released during fracking, and through increased stress and anxiety caused by the increased light, noise, and truck traffic associated with fracking.

“As a fossil fuel, natural gas extraction and use is contributing to climate change, of course,” Gorski said, “but before conducting this study, I didn’t realize the amount of of evidence we have that it may be even worse than coal.”

MORE

Ajax’s Anti-Idling Campaign

Potential $38 fine for those who idle more than two minutes

Image result for car idling ajax
AJAX — Ajax resident and Antarctic expedition guide Geoff Carpentier, left, stopped to talk to Mayor Steve Parish and sign an anti-idling campaign. October 19, 2009 – Laura Stanley photo

In an effort to stop unnecessary idling, the Town of Ajax wants you to kick the idling habit and is promoting three anti-idling initiatives through the Every Minute Counts campaign:

  • An anti-idling bylaw
  • A community education program
  • Idle free zones.

On September 14, 2009 Ajax Council approved an anti-idling bylaw. The bylaw limits the idling of vehicles engines to less than two minutes. The bylaw also sets out a fine of $38.00 for those that don’t adhere to the limit. SOURCE

Editorial: It’s decision time for Weaver and the Greens

VKA-greens-1760.jpgGreen Party MLAs Adam Olsen, left, and Sonia Furstenau, with party leader Andrew Weaver shortly after they were elected. Photograph By DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

Now that the B.C. government has offered financial inducements to ensure the construction of a liquefied-natural-gas plant in Kitimat, the question must be asked: How should Andrew Weaver respond?

The B.C. Green Party leader has already expressed disbelief that his NDP partners would usher in what he called the biggest single source of greenhouse-gas emissions in Canadian history.

This is not the first time a promise to protect the environment has been broken by the current government. Shortly after the NDP was elected, Premier John Horgan announced that B.C. Hydro’s Site C dam would go ahead. This reversed his party’s pre-election stance and infuriated Green supporters.

Weaver declined to bring down the government on that occasion, a choice that can be understood. The referendum on electoral reform lay ahead, and had it carried, his party would have been the major beneficiary.

But now that hope is gone, what other reason is there to preserve the marriage? It has become clear that on controversial environmental issues, the NDP will stick with middle-of-the road voters. MORE

 

Climate emergency demands less traffic, more walkable cities


Wikimedia Commons photo of Paris street

The climate emergency exploded onto the headlines in 2018, with a relentless series of disasters leading up to the UN COP 24 climate conference in December. But the people cutting climate pollution by creating delightful urban spaces on an unprecedented scale should be headline news in 2019.

I experienced some of this climate action in October, joining throngs of Paris residents enjoying warm fall days on the new linear park along the River Seine. At the time the national government of France was in court attempting to get this well-loved park turned back into the noisy, congested national highway it was previously (except during summer festivals). The court ruled in favor of year-round access and climate action while I was in Spain.

Photo of busy riverside park in Paris, which was formerly a highway, by Eric Doherty

 

Anne Hidalgo is the Mayor of Paris and Chair of C40 Cities, a group of large city governments committed to the most ambitious goals of the Paris Agreement. “Cities have been the loudest voices calling for bold and urgent climate action, because we are conscious of the threat it poses to our citizens […] Cities are ready to lead on the transformations necessary to secure the future that we want” said Hildago in a C40 media release.

Hildago is aiming to rapidly cut automobile traffic by 50 per cent, and has already cut traffic volumes significantly. Paris’s successes have largely been achieved by re-allocating space to transit lanes, protected bicycle lanes, pedestrianized streets and plazas, and most famously by creating linear parks along the River Seine. These actions are popular, and not just because they create nicer urban spaces and reduce local air pollution. MORE

Copenhagen Wants to Show How Cities Can Fight Climate Change


The beginning of a ski run on the roof of Copenhagen’s new trash incinerator, which will help heat buildings in the city. Photograph by Charlotte de la Fuente

COPENHAGEN — Can a city cancel out its greenhouse gas emissions?

Copenhagen intends to, and fast. By 2025, this once-grimy industrial city aims to be net carbon neutral, meaning it plans to generate more renewable energy than the dirty energy it consumes.

Here’s why it matters to the rest of the world: Half of humanity now lives in cities, and the vast share of planet-warming gases come from cities. The big fixes for climate change need to come from cities too. They are both a problem and a potential source of solutions.

The experience of Copenhagen, home to 624,000 people, can show what’s possible, and what’s tough, for other urban governments on a warming planet.

The mayor, Frank Jensen, said cities “can change the way we behave, the way we are living, and go more green.” His city has some advantages. It is small, it is rich and its people care a lot about climate change.

Mr. Jensen said mayors, more than national politicians, felt the pressure to take action. “We are directly responsible for our cities and our citizens, and they expect us to act,” he said.

In the case of Copenhagen, that means changing how people get around, how they heat their homes, and what they do with their trash. The city has already cut its emissions by 42 percent from 2005 levels, mainly by moving away from fossil fuels to generate heat and electricity. MORE

Canadian cities ‘missing the bus’ on electric transit, report finds


Clean Energy Canada wants to see the federal and provincial governments earmark funding specifically for electric vehicles to help offset the higher upfront costs of electric buses.  (JENNIFER GAUTHIER / STAR FILE)

VANCOUVER—Canadian cities are lagging global leaders when it comes to electric buses, according to a new report by Clean Energy Canada released Thursday.

Shenzhen, China is leading the way with more than 16,000 electric buses and a fleet that’s 99.5 per cent emissions-free, the report notes. Cities such as Amsterdam and Los Angeles, meanwhile, are pushing forward with targets for 100 per cent electric buses by 2025 and 2030 respectively.

But Canadian cities are taking too long to transition from diesel-powered buses to electric, according to the new report — even though shifting to more electric buses could improve air quality, fight climate change and support Canadian e-bus companies.

“We’re missing the bus on this one,” said Merran Smith, Clean Energy Canada’s executive director. MORE

Greta Thunberg, schoolgirl climate change warrior: ‘Some people can let things go. I can’t’


Greta Thunberg … ‘I have always been that girl in the back who doesn’t say anything.’ Photograph: Michael Campanella/The Guardian

Greta Thunberg cut a frail and lonely figure when she started a school strike for the climate outside the Swedish parliament building last August. Her parents tried to dissuade her. Classmates declined to join. Passersby expressed pity and bemusement at the sight of the then unknown 15-year-old sitting on the cobblestones with a hand-painted banner.

Eight months on, the picture could not be more different. The pigtailed teenager is feted across the world as a model of determination, inspiration and positive action. National presidents and corporate executives line up to be criticised by her, face to face. Her skolstrejk för klimatet (school strike for climate) banner has been translated into dozens of languages. And, most striking of all, the loner is now anything but alone.

On March 15, when she returns to the cobblestones (as she has done almost every Friday in rain, sun, ice and snow), it will be as a figurehead for a vast and growing movement. The global climate strike this Friday is gearing up to be one of the biggest environmental protests the world has ever seen. As it approaches, Thunberg is clearly excited.

“It’s amazing,” she says. “It’s more than 71 countries and more than 700 places, and counting. It’s increasing very much now, and that’s very, very fun.”  MORE

 

Germany: Parents support young climate activists

The Fridays for Future climate protests by schoolchildren have divided opinion. Now, a group of parents has come out in support of the youngsters protesting in Germany.

 Students' demo in Hamburg (Getty Images/A. Berry)

This coming Friday, thousands of youngsters in Germany will once again skip school and take to the streets to protest against global warming, joining a movement that has gained worldwide momentum.

But not everyone supports the campaign. Like Andreas Scheuer of Germany’s conservative Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) party, who said on Wednesday that “we do not want kids playing hooky from school.”

Some parents, however, have now come out in support of the youngsters. One of them is Thomas Stegh, a father of four who lives near the western German city of Cologne. He helped create the Parents of Future initiative (link in German).

“We support our kids and their demands, and explicitly support school strikes,” he says.

Both the young and the older activists have a simple demand: They want global leaders to honor the Paris Climate Accord, which was agreed in 2015 by 196 countries in an effort to keep global warming below 2 degrees Celsius. So far, the commitments made by individual countries leave much to desire,making this goal seem ever remoter. That is why the protesters are urging the world’s governments to deliver on their promises. MORE