A Green New Deal for Canada — what’s next?

Canada’s first electric bus assembly plant to open in Newmarket

The 45,000-square-foot facility here is the first new electric bus plant to open in Ontario in a generation.

2019 06 25 BYD buses - Edited
Newmarket will be the first Canadian assemby site for BYD (Build Your Dreams), which manufactures zero emission buses. Supplied photo

BYD (Build Your Dreams) has expanded its North American operations with the opening of its first bus assembly plant in Canada. The 45,000-square-foot facility in Newmarket is the first new electric bus plant to open in Ontario in a generation.

“We are dedicated to partnering with municipalities across Canada, and we are passionate about our mission to create a cleaner environment here in North America and across the globe,” said BYD President Stella Li.

While the Newmarket facility is BYD’s first Canadian assembly plant, the company is already active in the Canadian market with buses on order (or in operation) in Toronto, Victoria, Longeuil, St. Albert and Grand Prairie. The new plant will first focus on assembling buses for the Toronto Transit Commission, the country’s largest transit operator. The agency will receive 10 pure electric buses with an option for 30 more.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, each zero-emission bus like those manufactured by BYD, eliminates approximately 10 tons of nitrogen oxides, 350 pounds of diesel particulate matter, and approximately 1,690 tons of CO2 over the 12-year lifecycle of the vehicle.

“We’re proud to establish a home in Canada; it re-affirms our commitment as a company to be rooted in this country and in this province,” said Ted Dowling, Vice-President, BYD Canada. “We look forward to creating new partnerships across the nation.”

Canada to collaborate with California on vehicle emissions standards

Canada has agreed to collaborate with California on vehicle emissions standards, setting the stage for a split with Washington if the Trump administration follows through on a proposal to weaken the national standards for fuel economy in the United States.

OTTAWA—Canada has cast its lot with California on vehicle emissions regulations, setting the stage for a split with the U.S. federal government if the Trump administration follows through on a proposal to weaken rules that dictate the fuel economy of vehicles sold in North America over the coming years.

In a joint conference call with California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna announced a new agreement to collaborate with the state on regulations to slash greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles in the two jurisdictions.

The deal comes as the United States federal government considers whether to weaken national vehicle emissions standards that have been in harmony with Canadian regulations since 2011. The prospect has alarmed environmentalists who consider the standards a key climate achievement of Barack Obama’s presidency, and has raised concerns of a regulatory rift in an auto industry that has been integrated across the Canada-U.S. border since the 1960s.

“It looks like there will be two standards in effect in the U.S. That’s certainly not anybody’s first choice. Competitiveness is incredibly important, and I think having an integrated market with one standard would be preferable,” McKenna said Wednesday.

“But, you know, look — if there are two choices in the U.S., our focus is really how about how do we get meaningful cuts to climate pollution.”

The federal governments in Canada and the U.S. have worked together on vehicle emissions rules for more than a decade. Since 2011, regulations for emissions from new automobiles and light trucks have been aligned, creating a uniform standard for those vehicles across the Canada-U.S. auto industry.

Those standards were set to increase each year until 2025, so that new models would have to keep getting more fuel efficient. McKenna said Wednesday that, according to the current standards, a new light duty vehicle in 2025 will need to burn 50 per cent less fuel than a 2008 model.

McKenna said Wednesday’s agreement with California is meant to ensure emissions standards continue to get more stringent every year, but she and Newsom did not rule out the possibility that the U.S. federal changes could match their ambitions and still allow for a regulatory harmony across the two countries. They said 13 other U.S. states have signalled they intend to stick with California on stricter standards, even if the Trump administration pulls back on the federal regulations. MORE

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Airships to ferry goods to Northern Manitoba?

Innovation is going to result in profound changes in the new Green Economy. Airships, for example, could open up Canada’s vast northern territories, dramatically lowering the price of food, medicine, housing,  and essential supplies for development. Imagine a better future!

Airships Are Going to Redefine the Logistics Industry

Northern Manitoba chiefs are hoping an idea to help their communities avoid the high cost of fresh produce will get lift-off next month. Meagan Fiddler reports. 1:51

MKO Grand Chief David Harper said the goal is to make shipping cargo up north more cost-effective.

“There’s no reason that First Nations can’t operate these airships,” he said. “And there’s no reason they can’t build these airships.”

“Instead of sending six trucks up, you could be sending one of these, and your goods are delivered year round,” he said. Harper said climate change is making winter roads unreliable, sometimes open for just a couple of weeks. And he said a permanent road won’t be a reality for a long time.

Barry Prentice said Manitoba spends almost $5,000 per kilometer building some 2,200 kilometers of ice roads every year.

“So it’s about $10 million a year spent on ice roads,” he said. “And at the end of the year, it all melts away, and it’s gone. If we had 10 years of that money, we’d have a whole airship industry started.” MORE

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Airships Are Going to Redefine the Logistics Industry

Biodiversity crisis is about to put humanity at risk, UN scientists to warn

Apart from human overconsumption, agriculture, transportation, and energy production are the clear drivers that are leading to mass extinction and threatening human well-being.

‘We are in trouble if we don’t act,’ say experts, with up to 1m species at risk of annihilation


Students protest in Adelaide. UN experts warned people alive today are at risk unless urgent action is taken. Photograph: Kelly Barnes/EPA

The world’s leading scientists will warn the planet’s life-support systems are approaching a danger zone for humanity when they release the results of the most comprehensive study of life on Earth ever undertaken.

Up to 1m species are at risk of annihilation, many within decades, according to a leaked draft of the global assessment report, which has been compiled over three years by the UN’s leading research body on nature.

The 1,800-page study will show people living today, as well as wildlife and future generations, are at risk unless urgent action is taken to reverse the loss of plants, insects and other creatures on which humanity depends for foodpollination, clean water and a stable climate.

“We need to appeal not just to environment ministers, but to those in charge of agriculture, transport and energy because they are the ones responsible for the drivers of biodiversity loss.”

“There is no question we are losing biodiversity at a truly unsustainable rate that will affect human wellbeing both for current and future generations,” he said. “We are in trouble if we don’t act, but there are a range of actions that can be taken to protect nature and meet human goals for health and development.” MORE

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Why Don’t You Have an Electric Bike Already?

The Bloomfield Bicycle Company’s Guide to Cycling in the County maps several PEC road routes  for cyclists to enjoy. [See video below] Now ebikes are available from local vendors and offer an additional way to get around and enjoy our island treasure.  But as this article explains, using an ebike as your go-to mode of transportation also comes with a raft of health benefits.  They’re fun. Really fun. And they’re the most energy efficient mode of travel on the planet.

If you’re already making most of your daily trips by bike or on foot, you don’t need to read further. An electric bike is unlikely to improve your life. For everyone else, read on!

Would you like to be stronger and smarter? Would you like to be happier and healthier? Would you like to keep depression at bay without medication? Would you like to reduce your stress by 40% and sleep better? Would you like to do all this in everyday clothes, without sweating, and have fun while you’re at it?

It’s time to get an electric bike. It will change your life. Seriously. I’m not kidding.

The benefits to cycling are legion. If a pill or a gadget could make you happy, improve your immune function, make you less likely to take sick days, make you less likely to get depressed, cure your depression better than current medications, give you more energy throughout the day, help you sleep, improve your skin, promote your brain health, prevent heart disease and type 2 diabetes, prevent dementia, reverse heart disease and diabetes, prevent multiple kinds of cancer, help you age well, and help you stay mobile and active until a few short years before your death, you would see people standing in line for days to purchase it. But the fact is exercise can accomplish all of the above for you. Indeed, 30 minutes of exercise a day is basically a wonder drug that is cheap, available to all, and has few side effects. Since you already have errands and commutes to do, walking or biking these trips is an easy way to ensure you get your vital 30 minutes a day. I’m a big fan of walking, but due to how our poorly US suburbs are designed (as opposed to The Ten Minute Neighborhood) most people can do few of their daily trips on foot. However, daily trips on an e-bike are very doable because e-bikes are just that great. Even better, they’re fun. Really fun. And they’re the most energy efficient mode of travel on the planet. MORE

Alberta commits $100M to 16 green transportation projects; Governments provide $90 million for Canadian Natural clean tech projects

Environment Minister Shannon Phillips announces $100 million to kick-start new green transportation projects. Edmonton Tuesday, March 12, 2019.
Environment Minister Shannon Phillips announces $100 million to kick-start new green transportation projects. Edmonton Tuesday, March 12, 2019.

Alberta is ponying up $100 million to kick-start new green transportation projects, including a truck that can drive long distances while delivering net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.

The truck project is being developed by the Alberta Motor Transport Association.

The province is funding 16 such projects that it says will create 114 new jobs while, in terms of GHG reductions, taking the equivalent of more than 530,000 cars off the road.

Another project will see the City of Edmonton test market a more cost-effective charging system to transition buses from diesel to electric.   SOURCE

Governments provide $90 million for Canadian Natural clean tech projects

CALGARY – The federal and Alberta governments are pledging almost $90 million to fund clean technology developments at major oilsands producer Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.

The commitments are expected to result in a total investment of $415 million in three projects.

Ottawa and Alberta are pledging almost $90 million to fund clean technology developments at Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., Canada's largest producer of heavy oil. Murray Edwards, left, Executive Chairman, and Steve Laut, centre, President of Canadian Natural Resources, prepare to address the company's annual meeting in Calgary, Thursday, May 4, 2017.
Ottawa and Alberta are pledging almost $90 million to fund clean technology developments at Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., Canada’s largest producer of heavy oil. Murray Edwards, left, Executive Chairman, and Steve Laut, centre, President of Canadian Natural Resources, prepare to address the company’s annual meeting in Calgary, Thursday, May 4, 2017.  (JEFF MCINTOSH / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

More than half of the federal commitment of $72.3 million, about $45 million, will go to Titanium Corp., a company working with Canadian Natural on a technology to recover valuable minerals and residual bitumen while remediating tailings at the Horizon oilsands mine in northern Alberta.

An additional $10 million has been committed by Emissions Reduction Alberta, the provincial body in charge of reinvesting carbon tax proceeds.

Canadian Natural is also to receive $5 million in federal funds and $5.6 million from the province for its in-pit extraction process which aims to separate bitumen from oilsands ore in the mine before transporting it to the processing centre, thus reducing transportation costs and emissions. MORE