canada climate change

Sun, 2012-01-15 10:48Evan Leeson
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Ethical Oil, the Sub-Prime Mortgage Scandal and The Next Great Generation

We are living in difficult times. The ongoing economic crisis started by the 2008 Sub-Prime Mortgage Scandal has all of us thinking about our future. We are vulnerable to unethical appeals to our anxiety in the form of quick fixes and easy profits. The promise of “Ethical Oil” is the worst of these appeals. We have to resist. Even more, we have to take decisive actions that the current leadership will not. To quote a famous man, we have an ordeal before us of the most grievous kind and we need a new generation of leadership to tackle it. We need the next Great Generation.

In 2008, world financial markets collapsed in dramatic fashion due to unethical investment practices, particularly in the previous five years. Toxic subprime mortgages had been injected like a virus into securities like Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs). Investment banks around the world were in on this scam and kept pushing it far beyond the point where it was obvious something had to give. Last year, the U.S. Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission concluded:

“the crisis was avoidable and was caused by: Widespread failures in financial regulation, including the Federal Reserve’s failure to stem the tide of toxic mortgages; Dramatic breakdowns in corporate governance including too many financial firms acting recklessly and taking on too much risk; An explosive mix of excessive borrowing and risk by households and Wall Street that put the financial system on a collision course with crisis; Key policy makers ill prepared for the crisis, lacking a full understanding of the financial system they oversaw; and systemic breaches in accountability and ethics at all levels.“

Tue, 2011-10-04 13:43Brendan DeMelle
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Government Watchdog Report Confirms Canada's Failures on Tar Sands Monitoring and Climate Action

 

Canada's top environmental watchdog official released a damning report today acknowledging the federal government's complete failure to account for the cumulative impacts of Alberta tar sands development. The report from Environment Commissioner Scott Vaughan also confirmed that information about Canada's greenhouse gas emissions is so poorly collected that the country really has no idea whether it is on track to meet its pollution reduction targets - targets which Canada has repeatedly scaled back despite its legally-binding international commitment to action dating back 20 years. 
 
According to the report, “The government has not put in place management systems and tools needed to achieve, measure and report on greenhouse gas emission reductions.” 
 
Vaughan describes the government's current climate action plan as “disjointed, confused, non-transparent.”
“I think it's next to impossible that Canada is going to be able to reach its Kyoto target, that's a given. The gap is so wide now, but I think what we've said as well is the basic problems that we've seen now, and the overall federal-wide co-ordinaton of these climate change programs really needs to get its act together. And if they don't, then we have some doubts on whether or not they are going to be able to meet any target, Vaughan said at a news conference today.
The report also slammed Canada's oversight of the filthy Alberta tar sands industry. By failing to collect baseline data prior to the industrialization of the area - and then adding insult to injury by failing to conduct regular monitoring of impacts from tar sands development - Canada has dropped the ball on its responsibilities to protect the health of local communities and the environment in northern Alberta and beyond. 
Sat, 2011-04-09 04:45Jim Hoggan
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Canadian Leadership Has Failed To Honor Its Commitment To Curb Climate Pollution, It’s Time For Action

An Environment Canada report recently published in Geophysical Research Letters confirms that Canada’s lack of action on climate change is likely going to mean an inevitable 2 degrees Celsius of warming projected by 2100.  The report, entitled Carbon emission limits required to satisfy future representative concentration pathways of greenhouse gases, suggests that Canada must “ramp down to zero [carbon emissions] immediately” to avoid a 2 degree Celsius rise in worldwide temperature.

That will be nearly impossible, since current Canadian leadership still has no climate policy in place to deliver on such an uncompromising action plan. The Vancouver Sun notes some of the consequences of inaction: “Allowing temperatures to climb more than 2 C could wipe out thousands of species, melt Arctic ice and trigger a rise in sea level of several metres.”

Environment Canada’s latest study confirms that Stephen Harper and other leaders have not honored their international commitments to avoid the dangerous climate disruption that will ensue with 2 degrees C or more of rising temperatures. Unfortunately, the Harper government remains a master at climate change inaction.  



Wed, 2011-02-09 22:31Brendan DeMelle
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Environment Minister Peter Kent Claims Climate "Plan Is Working" and Canadians Are "Proud" of Tar Sands

Peter Kent, Canada’s Minister of the Environment, suggested in a raucous Parliamentary exchange on Tuesday that Canadian leaders “have a plan, and the plan is working” to address climate change.  He also suggests that “Canadians are proud of the Canadian oil sands” which are “well regulated” and operated in an “environmentally sensitive and sustainable manner.”

Check out this video from the floor Q+A session from Tuesday February 8th when MP Kent was asked to respond to a question about Climate Action Network’s demands that Canada come up with a credible plan to deal with the climate crisis, and to move toward clean energy solutions instead of sinking deeper into the dirty tar sands. Here is the exchange:

Fri, 2009-04-10 18:59Mitchell Anderson
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Motivating Canada on Climate Change

Saskatchewan might be picking a fight with Uncle Sam in the latest wierd chapter of Canadian climate policy – or lack thereof.

Oil-producing Alberta and Saskatchewan just told Ottawa they will not tolerate a federal carbon system with anything more meaningful than “intensity-based” reduction targets.

No wonder. These provinces collectively have only 14% of the Canadian population yet crank out close to 45% of the emissions. So called “intensity” targets would keep the petroleum party going by allowing absolute carbon emissions to balloon for decades into the future.

Meanwhile, the Canadian government is finally being forced to draft meaningful climate policy - only because the US will impose trade sanctions if we don’t. With that ultimatum looming over Canada, the provinces presumably expect Ottawa to pass their ultimatum on to the Obama Administration.

Good luck with that.

Many lawmakers in the US might be hard pressed to find Saskatchewan on a map, let alone water down American cap and trade legislation for the benefit of a Canadian province with the same population Rhode Island.

“Depending on what comes out of Washington, the reality is the Americans may have the whip hand on this stuff,” observed Environmental Lawyer Doug Thomson. “And if they do, it’s not going to be a matter of keeping all sides happy but reflecting the reality of the situation. … We may have no choice.”

All this means Ottawa may have to deviate from the long-standing Canadian tradition of caving to pressure from regions or provinces. It also seems to be the unlikely and ignoble way in which Canada will finally get serious about climate change.

Mon, 2009-03-02 09:54Kevin Grandia
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Canada Expects to Sell George W. Bush's Climate Plan to President Obama

Jim Prentice, Canada’s Environment Minister, lands in the US capital today as part of the Conservative government’s attempt to ride on Obama’s green coattails on climate change.

But he won’t get too far with the George W. Bush playbook on climate change he’ll be trying to sell the Obama administration.

The problem for Canada and the Harper government is that President Obama is actually planning to do something significant about the issue of climate change, while Canada’s Conservatives continue to spend their time trying to spin a plan that will see their country’s emissions continue to rise.

The Globe and Mail rightly points out this morning that during Obama’s visit to Canada two weeks ago:

“The President gave no indication during his trip to Canada that he was enthusiastic about Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s idea for a bilateral agreement on climate change.”

No kidding. Obama and his team see right through Canada’s weak, ineffectual plan. After all it’s pretty much the plan set out by former President George W. Bush.

Wed, 2009-02-18 14:00Emily Murgatroyd
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Obama, Canada's government not worth its salt on global warming [pic]

This full page ad by the grassroots group Avaaz appeared on page A3 of the Washington Post today in advance of Obama’s trip to Canada scheduled for tomorrow. (click to enlarge)

obama-canada-global-warming-avaaz

Sat, 2007-12-22 08:43Mitchell Anderson
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Canada's Global Warming Grinch

Stephen Harper seemed positively grumpy the other day as he described the implications of his government actually doing something about global warming.
 
In a year-end interview with CBC, Harper said “”As soon as you're dedicated to actually reducing emissions, that imposes costs on the economy…Once we start [and] these things start biting, the criticism we're going to be getting is that we're doing too much.”
 
Harper seems like a man bragging to his neglected wife that if he ever made love to her, she might die from exhaustion.
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