Environmental Protection

Russia flaring huge amounts of gas

An estimated 4.34 million cubic meters of natural gas is being flared daily by Russia at a new Gazprom liquification plant near its border with Finland even as it threatens to limits shipments to Europe this winter. The burn-off is considered an “environmental disaster” as it emits some 9,000 tons of carbon dioxide a day. [node:read-more:link]

Lessons for Organizational Resilience

Three well-known incidents highlight key aspects from which to learn from failure and then improve resilience. Approaching global uncertainty is not unlike going into battle with an unknown adversary. However, there are “known” unknowns, and while recognizing them makes them no less daunting, it does help to better understand the battle space. [node:read-more:link]

Sunken vessel threatens Orcas

Salvors are trying to drain fuel from a fishing vessel which sank in U.S. waters August 13 just east of Vancouver island, their task complicated by the wreck having shifted into deeper water. There are fears that leaking oil will foul the feeding grounds of resident Orcas already listed as endangered. An oil sheen estimated to be several kilometres long now covers waters west of San Juan Island. [node:read-more:link]

Drought causing power generation crisis

A record-breaking drought in much of Europe and Britain is causing major supply problems for electricity utilities. Hydroelectric generation has fallen by some 20 per cent since 2021 and output from nuclear power stations, which rely heavily on river or lake water for cooling, is down 12 per cent. A major environmental downside is that coal-fired stations’ output has risen by 11 per cent. [node:read-more:link]

Plastics lobby doubles down on Ottawa

Federal Court of Canada is being asked by two dozen plastics manufacturers to stop the government’s plan to ban several single-use plastic items such as drinking straws. The Responsible Plastic Use Coalition had already filed suit last year in a bid to overturn the government's decision to designate plastics as “toxic” materials under the auspices of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. [node:read-more:link]

Ukrainian nuclear plant “out of control”

Rafael Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said Aug. 2 that a major nuclear power station in southeastern Ukraine “is completely out of control” since Russian forces seized it shortly after their invasion of the region. “Every principle of nuclear safety has been violated,” he said, demanding IAEA access to the “extremely grave and dangerous” Zaporizhzhya site in the city of Enerhodar. [node:read-more:link]

Alberta minister “amazed” by federal push

The federal government’s push for a new emissions cap for the petroleum industry threatens the industry and thousands of workers nationwide, says Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage. “I’m a little amazed by the timing of it,” she says. “It’s tone deaf from the federal government to be pushing this at a time when the world is looking for more energy. And it’s looking like in Europe, they’re going to be rationing natural gas over the winter.” [node:read-more:link]

Constitutionality of environmental law at stake

The Supreme Court of Canada has been asked by the federal government to resolve a dispute with Alberta about the legality of 2019 legislation empowering federal regulators to consider the environmental and social effects of major construction. Alberta Court of Appeal struck down the Impact Assessment Act, calling it a “breathtaking pre-emption of provincial authority.” [node:read-more:link]

Gas and nuclear “green” options in EU

Despite objections from some members of its environment and economy committees, the European Parliament has backed an EU move to label investments in natural gas and nuclear power generation as climate-friendly. This sets the stage for legislative approval by gthe parliament unless 20 of the 27 member states oppose it. [node:read-more:link]

Brazil loses record rainforest area

New satellite imagery from Brazil’s space research institute shows that a record area of the country’s rainforests, some 3,750 km2, was lost in the first half of 2022, the worst deforestation since the institute began its monitoring program. Destruction of the world’s largest rainforest has surged since President Jair Bolsonaro took office in 2019 and weakened environmental protections. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. emissions agenda undermined

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has lost some of its ability to regulate greenhouse gas emissions as the Supreme Court upheld a challenge by 19 mostly Republican-governed states, led by major coal producer West Virginia, which said the EPA lacked authority to limit emissions state-wide. [node:read-more:link]

Chinese “agents” target mining projects

Individuals described as pro-Chinese agents have been using social media to pose as local residents and environmental activists unhappy with rare earth mining projects in the U.S. and Canada, according to a Virginia-based threat intelligence consultancy. The misrepresentation is designed to give China, the largest producer of rare earth minerals, a competitive advantage. [node:read-more:link]

N.B. power reactor relicensed

The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission has renewed the operating licence for the Point Lepreau Nuclear Generating Station in New Brunswick for 10 years only days before its current licence was set to expire. NB Power had requested a 25-year renewal for the reactor, which began generating power in 1983, but the regulator said June 22 that 10 years was “appropriate” due to “strong public interest” in a series of hearings. [node:read-more:link]

Renewed emissions challenge in EU

The European Commission and non-government organizations are concerned about several states’ reversion to coal-fired power generation to compensate for reduced natural gas availability from Russia. “We have to make sure that we use this crisis to move forward and not to have a backsliding on the dirty fossil fuels,” Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said. [node:read-more:link]

Trans Mountain costs balloon

The cost of twinning the federally-owned Trans Mountain pipeline to B.C. from Alberta has tripled, the Parliamentary Budget Officer reported June 21, topping $21 billion compared with an initial $7.4-billion estimate. Natural disasters along the right-of-way, coupled with environmental measures and increasing financing costs are cited but an aide to Finance Ministers said the project “is in the national interest and will make Canada and the Canadian economy more sovereign and more resilient,” [node:read-more:link]


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