Battery-electric buses hit the roads in Metro Vancouver

TransLink hopes to operate its fleet using renewable energy by 2050


The new battery-electric buses are part of a two-and-a-half year pilot project. A prototype is pictured here. (Alex Lamic/CBC)

TransLink’s first battery-electric buses are taking to the roads in Metro Vancouver as part of a pilot project to reduce emissions.

The first four zero-emission buses picked up commuters in Vancouver, Burnaby and  New Westminster on Wednesday. Six more are expected to be brought in.

“With so many people taking transit in Vancouver today, electric buses will make a real difference,” said Merran Smith, executive director of Clean Energy Canada, a think tank at Simon Fraser University, in a release.

According to TransLink, each bus is expected to reduce 100 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions and save $40,000 in fuel costs per year compared to a conventional diesel bus.

“Buses already help tackle climate change by getting people out of cars, and Vancouver is ahead of the game with its electric trolleys,” Smith said.

She added there is still more work to be done to get every bus off diesel.

The buses will run along the No. 100 route connecting Vancouver and New Westminster. They recharge — it takes about five minutes — at new charging stations installed at both ends of the route while passengers load and unload or while the driver has a short break. MORE

 

Eight Hard Questions for the PM of Pipelines and Climate Emergency

He says Canadians can have it both ways. The facts say otherwise.

COVER.Trudeau-Two.jpg
What Trudeau’s Liberals have done cannot be reconciled. Photo via Justin Trudeau Flickr.

As the planet slowly stews in its increasingly sultry juices, sled dogs are walking on water, but Justin Trudeau no longer is.

Polar bears are starving, the Arctic permafrost is melting, and glaciers are retreating faster than the PM on electoral reform and government transparency. And oh yes, as of yesterday, Canada is expanding the Trans Mountain Pipeline. That is called renovating the outhouse when indoor plumbing is the answer.

I picture Sheriff Jason Kenney’s posse, spurs ajingle and six guns flapping on their chaps, saddling up and galloping off to their war room at my imagery.

They do that now when they hear any “radical environmentalist” rearing his pesky head as opposed to those petrol Pollyannas of the energy sector who, as everyone knows, are full of philanthropy, mercenary science, and boffo marketing. The guys who make profits and tailings ponds.

But even those with their heads buried in bitumen have to resolve the latest development in what’s left of their social conscience. The Liberals and the rest of parliament have declared that Canada is experiencing a climate emergency. (There was one notable dissenter — those permanent campers in Jurassic Park on all matters touching the environment, the Conservative Party of Canada. Emergency, what emergency?)

Yet on the same day the “emergency” is declared by everybody but the fossil heads, the government says yes to the Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion. As Shakespeare observed in Macbeth “Such welcome and unwelcome things at once. ’Tis hard to reconcile.”

Eight questions for Justin Trudeau

So a few blunt questions for the PM, who continues to publicly peddle the dubious line that Canadians can have it both ways, while privately linking arms with the CEOs.

1. Since Canada is already on track to miss its emission targets set in Paris by 79 megatonnes (only Gambia and Morocco are on target), how do you justify greenlighting a project that will add 20 per cent to carbon emissions from the Alberta tar sands?

2. You once said that only communities could issue the social license for mega projects like this. So what do you say to the Squamish Nation, and the cities of Vancouver and Burnaby who have not granted that social license?

3. If expanding Trans Mountain is such an economic winner, why did Kinder Morgan happily unload this project on the Canadian people? Where were the rugged captains of private industry when this “jewel” went up for sale? MORE

David Suzuki, prominent environmentalists launch cross-country tour warnings of global crisis

David Suzuki
David Suzuki makes an appearance at United Church on Bloor Street on June 10, 2019.

Some of Canada’s leading environmentalists are trekking across the country to illustrate what they are calling global climate crisis.

Toronto marked the first stop on a seven-city tour for The Leap, a collective of prominent activists who are backing a Green New Deal, an ambitious U.S. plan to curb climate change and transform the economy by investing in clean energy jobs.

The movement is gaining traction among members of the Democratic Party in the United States.

Among those who were touting its virtues in front of a sold out crowd at United Church, located near Tuesday night were author and activist Naomi Klein and environmentalist-turned-broadcaster David Suzuki, who blamed the media for not properly highlighting the perils of planet-wide climate change.

“In May, the United Nations released a study saying we are causing a catastrophic rate of extinction threatening a million species of plants and animals,” Suzuki said. “The next day, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle had a baby and pushed everything out of the news.”

“Fundamental changes are urgent,” he warned, saying consequences to ecosystems, food supplies and economies will be dire by the year 2100 if global temperature increases aren’t capped to within 1.5 degree Celsius above pre-industrial era averages.

His sentiments were echoed by Pam Palmater, who works as a professor, lawyer and aboriginal rights activist.

“What will it take for people to wake up and realize we don’t need to just change things around the edges? Stop using plastic straws, yes! But that won’t save the world. This isn’t about who you vote for. The most irresponsible a citizen can do is vote and then call it a day.”

The next stop on The Leap’s cross country tour is Thursday in Montreal, with appearances scheduled to follow in Ottawa, Halifax, Edmonton, Vancouver and Winnipeg.  MORE

RELATED:

A GREEN NEW DEAL FOR ALL

Get tickets here

Inside the Race to Unify Progressives Behind a Canadian Green New Deal
Climate Activists Hold Town Hall for Green New Deal

Proposed “Big Moves” on climate could transform Vancouver in ways residents might not have imagined

This posting is a teaser to get you to read the common sense, realistic plans Vancouver is making in the full article. It contains all sorts of initiatives that the Prince Edward Council should be considering. If you wish to send an email to all Members of Council as a group, please email council@pecounty.on.ca.

Coun. Christine Boyle's motion last January declaring a climate emergency has set the stage for dramatic recommendations from Vancouver city staff.
Coun. Christine Boyle’s motion last January declaring a climate emergency has set the stage for dramatic recommendations from Vancouver city staff.

…Vancouver city council will deal with two major staff reports focusing on greenhouse gas emissions.

The first includes recommendations on the city’s response to a “climate emergency”, which was declared in January by council.

It’s hard to underestimate the impact that this report could have on the city and possibly other countries in the years to come….

Local governments can change the world. That’s been seen in everything from antismoking efforts to cannabis regulation to the peace movement to the trend across the globe to viewing drug addiction as a health issue.

In all four of these areas, Vancouver was a leading player in North America, just as it has been in responding to climate change.

Local actions can persuade senior governments to follow because municipalities are often hothouses for innovation. And this has also been the case with climate change.

Witness the role that municipal governments, including Vancouver, had in strengthening the backbone of world leaders to set hard limits in the Paris Agreement of 2015.

“In Canada and around the world, there is a growing movement of hundreds of local governments recognizing the emergency that climate change represents, accelerating their own actions, and calling on provincial/state and national governments to ramp up their responses,” the city report states. “Given the world’s increasingly urbanized population is on the front lines of the fight against climate change, the world’s urban population will disproportionately experience the effects of global warming.”

Forest fires have brought shrouds of smoke to Vancouver in recent summers. City staff have proposed
Forest fires have brought shrouds of smoke to Vancouver in recent summers. City staff have proposed “clean air” rooms as one possible response. METRO VANCOUVER 

The city report recommends six “Big Moves”, which will be voted on by council. Below, I’ve listed them, as well as their implications for city residents. MORE

‘Glimmer of hope’: Will modular housing make dent in Vancouver homeless numbers?

This year marks the first chance to see the impact of modular housing in Vancouver. Some hope to see a slight reduction in the city’s homeless numbers.

With the City of Vancouver’s 10th annual homeless count underway this week, some in the Downtown Eastside see a “glimmer of hope” that this could mark the first time in years that the city sees a significant drop in its homeless tally.

Volunteers were conducting the homeless count in Vancouver shelters Tuesday evening, to be followed by the “street count” starting early Wednesday. Between 2005 and 2018, the overall number of homeless recorded in the annual count — combining both sheltered and unsheltered people — increased 60 per cent, from 1,364 in 2005 to 2,181 last year. Out of the last six homeless counts, the only year-over-year decrease recorded was in 2015, when it dipped about three per cent, before bouncing back the following year.

temporary modular housing
Vancouver city council wants another 600 units of temporary modular housing in the city, but funding is still needed. The mayor will be writing to the province requesting the money. Photo Dan Toulgoet

It will still be some time before the final tally of this year’s homeless count is known. But based on one early indicator, Union Gospel Mission spokesman Jeremy Hunka holds out some hope that this year might show an improvement — and, he believes, the city’s modular-housing program deserves credit.

The number of people turned away from the mission’s shelter on East Hastings Street this past winter was less than a third of the annual number from each of the previous three winters, Hunka said. MORE

Money laundering key focus


Photo: Twitter

Money laundering in British Columbia has become a top issue for the federal and provincial governments with federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau vowing a “crack down” Friday, while the province considers a public inquiry.

“The importance of dealing with money laundering concerns is something that is clearly on our agenda,” said Morneau at a news conference in Victoria. “We need to be very clear, we crack down on any issues around money laundering.”

Last year, an international anti-money laundering organization said in a report that up to $1 billion annually was being filtered through some B.C. casinos by organized crime groups. The B.C. government also cited an RCMP intelligence report that estimated up to $1 billion from the proceeds of crime was used to purchase expensive Metro Vancouver homes. An RCMP official said Friday the Mounties are searching their data bases to find the report the government has cited.  MORE

 

Vancouver City Councillor Pushes Vancouver to Declare Climate Emergency

OneCityFlood_-_medium.png

January 16th, 2019 (Vancouver/Musqueam, Squamish, Tsleil-waututh Territory) — The City of Vancouver joins cities around the globe like London, England and Los Angeles, California in declaring a Climate Emergency.

Councillor Christine Boyle with the political party OneCity Vancouver moved a resolution supported by a majority of Council for the City of Vancouver to declare a climate emergency, direct staff to take immediate action to ramp up ambition in the city’s climate action plans, and embed an equity framework to prioritize vulnerable communities within those plans.

Today, City Council recognized the need to dramatically strengthen our climate action plans, to match the urgency that scientists are reporting, and to ensure those closest to the impacts are being supported first. MORE