Environmental Protection

Quebec abandons LNG project

Having initially supported a planned liquified natural gas facility in the Saguenay region north of Quebec City, the provincial government has done an about-face in response to public opposition. The $14-billion project would have carried Western Canadian gas across the province for shipment to export markets. [node:read-more:link]

Renewed U.S. climate push

Allison Crimmins, who has worked on climate issues for the past decade at the Environmental Protection Agency, has been put in charge of the next major U.S. climate assessment required by law every four years. Her appointment and others are seen as the end of turbulence in the Global Change Research Program office which coordinates the efforts of 13 departments and agencies. [node:read-more:link]

Deforestation hampering carbon uptake

Significant parts of the Amazon, the world's largest tropical forest, have begun emitting more carbon dioxide that they absorb, according to a team of researchers led by a scientist from Brazil's National Institute for Space Research assessing the impact of deforestation. Among other things, their report notes that regional temperatures rose by three times the global average during the hottest months. “This is . . . accelerating climate change,” says lead author Luciana Gatti. [node:read-more:link]

Europe urged to decelerate ICE transition

A European Union plan to phase out sales of new cars with internal combustion engines by 2035 is facing pushback from France, which wants a more flexible approach and an extension for hybrid vehicles. French President Emmanuel recently met with company and union representatives to discuss an eventual transition to electric vehicles. [node:read-more:link]

Railways ordered to improve fire protection

Canadian Pacific and Canadian National railways have been ordered by the federal government to step up their fire prevention efforts as wildfires continue to scorch British Columbia. Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said July 11 that the companies must ensure a 60-minute response time to any fires detected along their rights-of-way. [node:read-more:link]

Another German emissions scandal

Volkswagen and BMW were respectively fined €502 million and €373 million today by the European Commission for colluding to curb the use of emissions-cleaning technology the companies developed a decade ago. “This is a first,” European Union Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said. “We have never had a cartel whose purpose was to restrict the use of novel technology.” [node:read-more:link]

Climate change to reshape the planet

A draft report prepared for the UN concludes that climate change will fundamentally reshape life on Earth, presenting major societal and strategic challenges in the coming decades even if greenhouse gases are tamed. It warns about, among other things, ecosystem collapse, species extinction, more disease and severe coastal flooding before mid-century. [node:read-more:link]

B.C. lauded for carbon tax policy

The World Economic Forum says putting a price on carbon-based fuels is an effective way of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and global pollution. Moreover, it says carbon taxation can generate significant revenues which then can be used to address the economic harm from fossil fuels. It cites, among others, British Columbia’s implementation of a tax in 2008 as “a textbook example” of how to tackle the issue. [node:read-more:link]

EU carbon plan potentially illegal

Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister, Alexander Novak, said today that a European Union plan to impose carbon emissions costs on imports is a potential breach of global trading rules and threat to energy security. “Artificial restrictive measures of the traditional fuel and energy sectors may reduce the profitability and investment attractiveness of the sector, and as the result, the threat to the safety of energy supplies will emerge,” the former energy minister added. [node:read-more:link]

Unprecedented human rights lawsuits

A former security chief at a Guatemalan mine once owned by Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals has pleaded guilty to killing a critic in 2009. Adolfo Ich was campaigning against the project and for Mayan land rights when he was killed. The mine was sold to a Swiss company in 2011 but an Ontario court ruled in 2013 that three civil suits could continue against Hudbay, the first time foreign claimants were allowed to pursue a lawsuit against a Canadian company in Canada for alleged human rights abuses elsewhere. [node:read-more:link]

NS testing for blue-green algae toxins

Responding to the deaths of two dogs on Wednesday and one person being hospitalized after being in Grand Lake, the Nova Scotia Department of Environment and Climate Change is testing water samples taken from Grand Lake and Fish Lake, near the Wellington and Enfield areas, for two types of toxins produced by blue-green algae. [node:read-more:link]

Water contamination suspected in NS

An emergency alert from the Nova Scotia system was sent out just before 1am this morning. “There is an unknown issue with the water in Grand Lake that has caused animals to die and has sent one citizen to hospital,” it said. “All consumption is banned […] Do not go in the water by foot or by boat at anytime, unless this order is rescinded.” [node:read-more:link]

Turkey announces plan to tackle slimy "sea snot"

A thick slimy layer of organic mucilage has spread through the sea south of Istanbul, posing a threat to marine life and the fishing industry. Turkey’s environment minister announced plans to make the entire Sea of Marmara a protected area, reduce pollution and improve treatment of waste water from coastal cities and ships which has contributed to the sea snot spread. [node:read-more:link]


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