Environmental Protection

Federal emissions caps challenged

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith said today that she is prepared to use her province’s Sovereignty Act in a pushback against the federal government’s planned emissions reductions over concerns that they could result in local power blackouts. “I’m hoping we don't have to use it,” she said. “But we are going to defend our constitutional jurisdiction to make sure that we develop our oil and gas industry at our own pace, and that we develop our electricity system so that it achieves the goal of reliability and affordability.” [node:read-more:link]

Huge battery plant for Quebec

Northvolt, a Swedish battery manufacturing giant, confirmed today that it plans to build an electric vehicle battery plant east of Montreal, its first outside Europe. The first $7-billion phase would have annual cell manufacturing capacity of up to 30 gigawatt-hours and the plant is expected to create 3,000 jobs at full production. [node:read-more:link]

Emissions curbs falling short

The independent Canadian Climate Institute estimates that national carbon emissions rose slightly in 2022 from 2021, leaving the country well short of its goal of a 40-45% reduction from 2005 levels by 2030. Petroleum production and buildings remain the key underlying factors, part of a long-term trend the CCI expects to offset progress elsewhere and underscoring “the pressing need to speed up policy action at all levels of government.” [node:read-more:link]

PM defends emissions plan

When it was noted by a moderator at a UN Climate Ambition Summit September 20 that Canada remains a major fossil fuel source, Prime Minister Trudeau replied that Canada is on track to address the industry’s methane emissions. Draft regulations due before year’s end would allow Canada to meet or exceed its goal of a 75% reduction from 2012 levels by 2030. [node:read-more:link]

What to expect at UN

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, along with the challenges of climate change, sustainable development, poverty, the coronavirus pandemic aftermath and even the UN’s fundamental roles are casting a gloomy shadow over New York this week. There is particular focus on a potential September 20 face-off between Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. [node:read-more:link]

Wildlife Refuge leases cancelled

President Joe Biden’s administration today cancelled oil and gas leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge approved by his predecessor but has not reversed his own recent approval of a drilling project in the same region. The reversal of Donald Trump’s decision is being lauded by some indigenous groups but Republicans in the state argue that it will reduce those populations’ potential economic opportunities. [node:read-more:link]

Saskatchewan cabinet shuffle

In a cabinet shuffle today by Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, which leaves it unchanged at 18 members, Paul Merriman, the former health minister, has been moved to the Corrections, Policing & Public Safety portfolio. He replaces Christine Tell who has been shuffled to Environment. [node:read-more:link]

Japan releases reactor coolant

The scheduled release August 24 of treated radioactive coolant water from Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, irreparably damaged by a tsunami in March 2011, prompted China to immediately ban imports of Japanese “aquatic products.” Korea also protested the slow staged release into the Pacific, which the UN nuclear agency said is within safe limits. [node:read-more:link]

EU carbon emissions decline

European Union greenhouse gas emissions fell 2.9% in the first quarter of 2023 from year-earlier levels even as the bloc's economy grew by 1.1% in the same period. As the EU pushes toward net-zero emissions by 2050, its statistics agency reported August 16 that 21 of its 27 members had reported reduced emissions in the latest period. [node:read-more:link]

First Nations split on fish farms?

A coalition of 19 First Nations and the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs have applied to the Federal Court to intervene in a case involving open-net fish farms off northern Vancouver Island and their impact on wild salmon. They say they are obliged to protect wild salmon for current and future generations. The closures are being challenged by two other indigenous communities in the area as well as three fish-farming companies. [node:read-more:link]

Major plug for electricity

Nearly 85% of Canada’s electrical power grid is already “clean” but the federal government today released a proposed regulatory framework designed to further reduce carbon emissions from non-renewables even as demand is projected to surge. Already opposed by Alberta and Saskatchewan which both rely heavily on natural gas-fired generation, the draft is open for comment until late October, potentially setting the stage for a final version in January. [node:read-more:link]

Ottawa threatening Alberta?

Alberta Environment Minister Rebecca Schulz has suggested that federal Energy & Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson is being disingenuous about funding electricity projects that do not curb carbon emissions “We see Wilkinson saying it isn’t his style to have fights and wanting to work with the provinces,” she said August 8. “Announcing in a press conference a threat to withhold funding isn’t really the right way to start a conversation.” [node:read-more:link]

B.C. admits water pollution

A month after farmers and officials in neighbouring Washington state complained about fecal pollution of a river, British Columbia has admitted that it has identified “multiple sources of poor water quality.” The province says it is reviewing permits for discharge limits for various operations in the watershed feeding the river. [node:read-more:link]

No G-20 climate consensus

Environment and climate change ministers from Canada and the other members of the G-20 group ended their latest summit July 28 without an agreement or joint statement despite calls for a united front. Their countries emit some 80% of global greenhouse gases. [node:read-more:link]

Four federal ministers quitting

Two days ahead of an expected federal cabinet shuffle, four ministers confirmed July 24 that they would be stepping down. They include Transport Minister Omar Alghabra, Public Services & Procurement Minister Helena Jaczek and Mental Health and Addictions Minister Carolyn Bennett, all from Toronto ridings, and Fisheries & Oceans Minister Joyce Murray of Vancouver, who also is responsible for the Canadian Coast Guard. [node:read-more:link]


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