How Clean Energy R&D Policy Can Help Meet Decarbonization Goals

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With roughly a decade left to avoid locking in dangerous climate change, swift action is required to identify where the greatest emissions are coming from and then rapidly decarbonize those sources. The most effective path to decarbonization is cutting fossil fuel consumption, but developing and urbanizing countries require new energy and efficiency technologies – making clean energy research and development (R&D) critical.

The good news is that advances in the last two decades have cut renewable energy costs, making new renewables cheaper than operating existing coal power in many parts of the world.

Consider solar photovoltaics, which date to the 1950s, but were too expensive to be used commercially for many years. In 1977, the price per watt of crystalline silicon solar cells was $76.67, but over time, R&D drove down prices, making more commercial applications for solar feasible.  This accelerated deployment, starting a feedback loop that further reduced prices. Solar cell prices per watt reached $0.26 in 2016, a decline of 99.6% in 39 years. MORE

Liberals’ Indigenous child welfare bill just about ‘politics,’ says prof who saw draft

Draft bill suggests only Indigenous groups with provincial, federal agreements could create own rules


Dennis McPherson, associate professor of Indigenous learning at Lakehead University, said the draft child welfare bill does not recognize true Indigenous jurisdiction over child welfare or guarantee any funding for communities. (Submitted)

Ottawa’s promised “turning point” Indigenous child welfare legislation seems to have been designed with politics in mind because it sounds good but doesn’t change much, according to an Ojibway academic who reviewed a draft version of the bill.

Dennis McPherson, associate professor for Indigenous Learning at Thunder Bay’s Lakehead University, said the draft version of the bill does not recognize true Indigenous jurisdiction over child welfare or guarantee any funding for communities.

“It doesn’t change a whole lot as far as I can see, in that the ultimate voice is still the minister,” said McPherson. MORE

Inuit leader says Trudeau government’s new language bill imposes a ‘colonial’ system

File photo of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami president Natan Obed in November 2017 in Ottawa. Photo by Alex Tétreault

The national Inuit organization in Canada says the Trudeau government’s new Indigenous languages bill has failed to address Inuit rights.

Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK) expressed “disappointment” Tuesday in Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez’s new legislation, Bill C-91, the Indigenous Languages Act, calling it a “symbolic gesture.”

The statement has put ITK at odds with both Ottawa and another major Indigenous organization, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), which welcomed the tabling in Parliament of the bill and said it “deserves the support of all Parliamentarians and all Canadians.”

Inuit Express Disappointment With National Indigenous Languages Bill

Inuit express disappointment with national Indigenous languages bill and lament the missed opportunity to end discriminatory language policies in Canada

February 5, 2019, Ottawa, ON – The national indigenous languages bill that was introduced by the Minister of Canadian Heritage in the House of Commons today is a symbolic gesture that does not address Inuit rights to speak our language, nor does it include provisions that are necessary to support its revitalization, maintenance, and promotion.

“Despite being characterized as a reconciliation and co-development initiative, the Government of Canada engaged Inuit in bad faith throughout this legislative initiative,” said Natan Obed, president of ITK. “The absence of any Inuit-specific content suggests this bill is yet another legislative initiative developed behind closed doors by a colonial system and then imposed on Inuit.”

Eighty four percent of Inuit within the 51 communities that make up Inuit Nunangat report the ability to speak our language – Inuktut – making it the most resilient indigenous language spoken in Canada. Inuktut has official language status in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, and is an official language of the Nunatsiavut Government, whose jurisdiction encompasses northern Labrador.

ITK initially welcomed this legislative initiative when it was launched in July 2017 as an opportunity to build on existing rights for Inuktut and to close the longstanding legislative gap that enables continued discrimination against Inuktut speakers.

“Our efforts to revitalize, maintain, and promote Inuktut are often blunted by inequitable federal funding policies that task us with doing much more with far fewer resources than what French and English speakers receive,” said Natan Obed. “At the same time, our people do not have the right to access federal services in Inuktut, relegating it to a status beneath English and French,” he said. MORE

Supreme Court decision means windfall for Yukon First Nations, grand chief says

Court ruling says Ottawa should fund First Nations based on citizenship, not status


‘We as Nations here in the Yukon look at all our citizens, regardless of status or non-status, as all our people,’ said Council of Yukon First Nations Grand Chief Peter Johnston. (Mike Rudyk/CBC)

he Grand Chief of Council of Yukon First Nations is hailing this week’s ruling by the territory’s Supreme Court as a huge win. Peter Johnston says the court decision will have implications throughout the territory, and result in a significant increase in federal funding for self-governing First Nations.

The Teslin Tlingit Council’s 1993 self-government agreement established the definition of citizenship.

“This definition of citizenship was a monumental achievement because it terminated the colonial and divisive status versus non-status distinction that artificially divided Yukon First Nation members,” Veale wrote in his decision. MORE