Kevin Grandia's blog

If Democrats Want a 'Green New Deal,' These Congressional Investigations Need to Happen

Read time: 11 mins
Sunrise Movement campaigners holding signs

A startling new report on climate change from the Trump administration makes clear that if the U.S. government and other major polluters don't do more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the resulting climate impacts will be dramatic and costly, both to the U.S. economy and the long-term livability of the planet.

These dire warnings are nothing new, but they come at a time when the Democratic party appears potentially willing to invest serious political capital on the issue of climate change. A new generation of Democrats, like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the freshly elected New York representative, are pushing the old guard towards a “Green New Deal.”

But if Dems want that effort to succeed, they have some work to do first.

The Dream of Capturing Coal's Carbon Emissions Is Dead. Someone Should Tell Trump.

Read time: 7 mins
Power station in South Africa

This week, a Trump official at the U.S. government's pro-fossil fuel event at the United Nations climate talks made clear that the idea of burying carbon emissions from coal plants is still alive. 

Wells Griffith, an advisor to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), said at the event: “For the U.S. energy policy, it’s not about keeping [fossil fuels] in the ground but about using them cleanly.”

Griffith added: “Alarmism should not silence realism. This is a forum for fact science-based discussions on climate realities.”

His conclusions make for great talking points, but they're far from reality. After more than a decade of failed demonstration projects, a recently rescinded $1.1 billion DOE research program, and the Trump administration's move to roll back requirements that all new coal plants have “carbon capture and storage” (CCS) capabilities, the promise of so-called “clean coal” technology is dead.

Trans Mountain Pipeline a Serious Misstep for Trudeau

Read time: 5 mins

In a serious blow to Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline project, Canada's federal court of appeal ruled today that the pipeline cannot proceed with construction due to a lack of consultation with First Nations.

In their ruling, the court stated that the Canadian National Energy Board’s [NEB], “process and findings were so flawed that the Governor in Council could not reasonably rely on the Board’s report; second, Canada failed to fulfil the duty to consult owed to Indigenous peoples.”

What appears at the heart of the decision is that while Kinder Morgan undertook consultation with concerned communities, the consultations did not lead to any real meaningful changes in the plan. In other words, First Nations leaders felt they were paid lip service over their concerns raised about important issues like how risks to our freshwater aquifers would be mitigated in the case of a spill. 

Will Mainstream Media Be Duped in 2018 by Climate Denial Spin Doctors?

Read time: 4 mins

Will 2018 be the year that mainstream media is not duped by professional spin doctors and fake experts paid to downplay and deny the realities of climate change?

Call me cynical, but after more than a decade of research and writing into the role big fossil fuel companies have played in sponsoring coordinated attacks on climate science with public relations spin, I remain unconvinced we won’t see a resurgence in climate denial.

Later this year, a major update on the state of climate change research — the impacts, solutions, scientific underpinnings, etc. — will be released by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

International Implications of Trudeau's Kinder Morgan Pipeline Approval

Read time: 6 mins
justin-trudeau-kinder-morgan-pipeline

Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau's decision this week to approve a major expansion of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline has negative implications that go well beyond the borders of the Great White North.

Canada is currently the largest supplier of oil to the United States. We export more oil to the US than Saudi Arabia, Venezuela and Mexico combined. We are a secure, stable and reliable trading partner with the US for a product that can make or break their economy.

Canadian Taxpayers Fork Out $3.3 Billion Every Year to Super Profitable Oil Companies

Read time: 3 mins

Some of the largest, most profitable companies in Canada are collectively receiving an estimated $3.3 billion in subsidies every year from Canadian taxpayers, according to a new analysis.

The report, released today by the International Institute for Sustainable Development, a Canadian-based think tank, outlines how billions in federal and provincial tax breaks and corporate incentives benefit companies in the oil and gas sector like Imperial Oil, whose earnings in 2015 were CDN$1.1 billion.

The new analysis comes as Trudeau is in China for the G20 Summit. In 2009 G20 leaders committed to a complete phase out of all fossil fuel subsidies over the medium term and Justin Trudeau, while on the campaign trail, made an election promise to fulfill that commitment.  

Tweet: Fossil fuel subsidies work against Canada’s progress in putting a price on carbon http://bit.ly/2bMVAII @JustinTrudeau #cdnpoli #oilandgasFossil fuel subsidies work against Canada’s commendable progress in putting a price on carbon — they give money and tax breaks to the sources of carbon pollution that we’re trying to scale back,” Amin Asadollahi, North American Lead on Climate Change Mitigation at the International Institute for Sustainable Development, said.

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