Environmental Protection

Indigenous conservation effort funded

The federal government will spend up to $800 million to support four major indigenous-led conservation projects covering nearly a million square kilometres in the North and along the B.C. coast. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement alongside Environment & Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault and indigenous as a UN conference on biodiversity began in Montreal. [node:read-more:link]

France banning short-haul flights

The European Commission has approved a proposal by France to abolish short-haul commercial flights between cities linked by a train journey of less than 2.5 hours. Confirmed December 2, it is part of climate change legislation passed last year and specifically applies for now to flights between Paris Orly and Nantes, Lyon and Bordeaux. France also will limit the use of private jets for short journeys. [node:read-more:link]

Canada protests EU deforestation plan

Canada's ambassador to the European Union, Ailish Campbell, has protested a proposed EU requirement that goods being sold to the 27 bloc members must be certified as “deforestation-free.” In a newly-disclosed November 17 letter, she said that while Canada supports the broad objective, “burdensome” requirements would hamper trade. She also said that Canada is a “world leader on forest management” with an annual deforestation rate of 0.02 per cent. [node:read-more:link]

Stage set for constitutional confrontation

Alberta Premier Danielle Smith introduced her draft Alberta Sovereignty Within a United Canada Act today, a proposal she says will enable her cabinet to direct cities, police, health authorities, universities and other entities to ignore federal laws her government believes would be unconstitutional or harmful to the province. The bill does not define “harm” and legal scholars have panned the idea as unconstitutional and it has been divisive within Smith’s own party. [node:read-more:link]

Federal carbon cheques for Atlantic provinces

Residents of Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland & Labrador will begin receiving consumer carbon cheques next summer to offset the impact of higher energy prices when the federal government imposes its emissions levy on their provinces. The provinces were able to use provincial pricing programs when national standards took effect in 2019, but that will no longer be the case after stronger standards take effect. [node:read-more:link]

California nuclear plant gets a boost

The U.S. Administration announced today that it is donating $1.1billion to Pacific Gas & Electric to maintain operations at California’s sole nuclear power station. The first reactor at the Diablo Canyon plant on the coast between Los Angeles and San Jose is slated for shutdown in 2024 and the second in 2025, but the power-hungry state wants them to continue generating for five more years despite decades of anti-nuclear activism and concerns about earthquakes [node:read-more:link]

Green Party leadership shuffle continues

Elizabeth May, who led the Green Party of Canada from 2006 to 2019, representing a B.C. coastal riding as the party’s first MP, returned to the position November 19 after the organization went through several years of internal turmoil. Acknowledging the déjà vu” situation, she noted that Jonathan Pedneault, a former activist with Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, has been elected deputy leader. [node:read-more:link]

Arctic mine expansion vetoed for now

Northern Affairs Minister announced November 16 that Baffinland Iron Mines’ plan to double production at its operation in Nunavut won't be going ahead for the foreseeable future. He said that he and other cabinet members, mindful of the “economic significance” and having consulted Inuit organizations, agreed with an environmental impact review panel’s recommendation that the expansion “should not proceed at this time.” [node:read-more:link]

Amazon a priority for Brazilian leader

Newly-elected Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said November 16 that curbing Amazon basin deforestation will be a high priority as his government tries to undo aggressive development policies promoted by his predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro. “We are going to undertake a big fight,” Lula said at the latest UN climate change summit, promising to strengthen oversight and monitoring systems dismantled over the last four years. [node:read-more:link]

Trudeau presses Xi on issues at G20

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke only briefly today on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Bali, buy Trudeau broached alleged Chinese interference in Canada’s electoral system, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, climate change and the upcoming UN biodiversity summit in Montreal. A Canadian readout of the chat did not say how Xi reacted, only that the leaders “discussed the importance of continued dialogue.” [node:read-more:link]

Canada’s northern presence ineffectual

A report today from the Office of the Auditor General says that Canada lacks a complete picture of who is entering or traversing Arctic waters, partly due to the fact that a naval surveillance station can only operate four weeks a year. Overall, it says, the country cannot stay on top of threats to national security, illegal fishing or pollution posed by marine traffic which has tripled in recent years as sea ice diminishes. [node:read-more:link]

Emissions cap or carbon pricing?

Environment & Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault said today while at the global climate change summit in Egypt that capping greenhouse gases has one advantage over a pricing system in that “a cap would allow the government to predict with some degree of accuracy that Canada’s emissions targets would be met.” However, he said, the government has not decided which option is preferred as it contemplates regulation by the end of 2023. [node:read-more:link]

NWT mine cleanup costs balloon

The bill for remediating a defunct gold mine in Yellowknife now is estimated aa $4.38 billion, more than four times the original estimate in 2010 as the project, which is expected to run to 2038, has proven more complicated that expected. Most of the cost is being borne by the federal government, which assumed responsibility after Royal Oak Mines, based in Washington state, went into receivership in 1999. [node:read-more:link]

Natural gas: cleaner but not “clean”?

Canada’s natural gas industry is under a Competition Bureau microscope after the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment accused the industry’s lobby group of misleading claims about its carbon emissions. The CGA’s latest advertising campaign promotes gas as a form of low emission energy but the CAPE argues that natural gas is not as “clean” as the industry claims and that extraction and production “pose a serious health risk.” [node:read-more:link]

Fracking in Alberta problematic

TransAlta, a Calgary-based electricity producer, concerned that petroleum industry fracking near a decades-old hydroelectric dam, is suing the Alberta government and its regulator. Two companies have applied for permits to use the injection technology with five kilometres of the dam despite evidence that the practice can cause seismic activity. [node:read-more:link]


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