MA, MALD (1980) Tufts University, Fletcher School, International Relations
PhD (1980) Tufts University, Fletcher School, International Relations
AB (1969) Princeton University, Politics
After languishing in the darkness for ten years, a national climate policy in Canada could take shape during an anticipated first ministers meeting in Vancouver next month. The meeting fulfills a...
Top corporate sponsors of the climate talks in Paris have long histories of destroying the environment and interfering in environmental policymaking that are at odds with the green image they’re seeking to project by being part of COP21.
Global banking giant BNP Paribas, French utility Électricité de France (EDF) and fossil fuel conglomerates Engie (formerly GDF Suez) and Suez Environnement, all official COP21 sponsors, are the focus of a new report from Corporate Accountability International that details the companies’ environmental abuses and aggressive lobbying efforts to undermine environmental and climate policy.
All four either directly own or have investments in some of the most emissions-intensive energy projects in the world, from oil sands in Canada to fracking in the UK and coal-fired power in India — conflicts of interest that make it impossible for them to contribute meaningfully to any sound climate policy, the report’s authors argue.
More than 500 institutions that manage $3.4 trillion in assets have now committed to divesting holdings in fossil fuels, divestment campaign groups announced today in Paris.
As recently as September 2014, just 181 institutions managing $50 billion in assets had made some sort of divestment commitment.
350.org and Divest-Invest, two of the key groups organizing the divestment movement, announced the new additions to the growing list of divestors this morning in Paris at the UN COP21 climate negotiations.
Thanks to a recent poll from ABC News and the Washington Post, we know that nearly two-thirds of American adults think global warming is “a serious problem facing the country.”
And now, thanks to a study published in the journal Nature Climate Change (full study available at this link), we know exactly how many people are out there taking money from dirty energy interests to try and confuse Americans about climate changeto derail overdue action and protect the fossil fuel industries' profits.
Justin Farrell, a professor of sociology at Yale’s School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and the author of the report, studied both the institutional and social network structure of the climate denier movement and found that there are some 4,556 individuals with ties to 164 organizations that are involved in pushing anti-climate science views on the public.
Nine and a half years. That’s how long Stephen Harper was prime minister of Canada — a long haul for environmentalists, who were all but shut out of Ottawa and often antagonized by the federal government.
Now that Justin Trudeau and the Liberals have taken the helm, advocates have high hopes for a course correction on the environment and energy files. But after nearly a decade of working under hostile conditions, environmentalists need to make a course correction of their own if they want to effectively influence public policy, experts say.
“If I was running a large ENGO and my file was climate, it’s a new day,” said Allan Northcott, vice-president of Max Bell Foundation, which runs the Public Policy Training Institute to train non-profit leaders in how to effectively advocate for policy changes.
“The opportunity is different, so it’s going to require a different plan, a different strategy.”
The days of infinite growth in Alberta’s oilsands are over with the Alberta government’s blockbuster climate change announcement on Sunday, which attracted broad support from industry and civil society.
“This is the day that we start to mobilize capital and resources to create green jobs, green energy, green infrastructure and a strong, environmentally responsible, sustainable and visionary Alberta energy industry with a great future,” Premier Rachel Notley said. “This is the day we stop denying there is an issue, and this is the day we do our part.”
Notley and Environment & Parks Minister Shannon Phillips released a 97-page climate change policy plan, which includes five key pillars.
The shift away from coal and towards renewable sources of energy is slowly beginning to gain traction, two recently-released reports from American and global energy agencies show.
“The biggest story is in the case of renewables,” International Energy Agency executive director, Fatih Birol, told the Guardian as this year's World Energy Outlook was released. “It is no longer a niche. Renewable energy has become a mainstream fuel, as of now.”
Almost half of the new power generation added in 2014 came from wind, solar, wave or tidal energy, the report found, and renewables now represent the world's second largest source of electricity after coal. Coal, whose share of the world's energy mix has been rising since 2000, has peaked, the agency indicated, predicting that within two decades, renewable energy sources will replace coal as the backbone of the world's electricity source.
Leaders in Canada’s environmental community are expressing optimism about the appointment of lawyer Catherine McKenna as Minister of Environment and Climate Change at a swearing in ceremony in Ottawa Wednesday morning.
“Including climate change in the environment minister’s title signals how high a priority this issue is to our new federal government,” said Merran Smith, executive director of Clean Energy Canada.
As a lawyer, McKenna focused on international trade and competition and co-founded a charity focused on advancing human rights in the developing world. She was also a legal adviser and negotiator for the United Nations peacekeeping mission in East Timor. A video on her website shows her biking around Ottawa with her three children.
A new study casts doubt on the long-term ability of the Athabasca River to supply the water Alberta’s oil sands industry relies on.
Water is allocated to oil sands operations based on river flow data collected since the 1950s, but that doesn’t necessarily represent an accurate assessment of the Athabasca River’s flow variability over the longer term, according to a report published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Earlier this year, Bank of America and Credit Agricole both announced they were moving away from financing coal, citing a number of factors, among them the threat of future regulation due to coal’s impact on the planet and human health and pressure from environmental activists.
Now the Rainforest Action Network is targeting Morgan Stanley with calls to meet or beat its Wall Street colleagues’ commitments by adopting policies to end its financing for companies involved in coal mining and coal-fired power.