Environmental Protection

Stepping up Down Under on climate change

Australia has legislated a commitment to achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese called the initiative an end to a decade of inaction by a half dozen predecessors, but independent MPs want a 50 per cent reduction by the end of this decade while the Green Party called it a “small step” and most want an end to new coal and natural gas projects. [node:read-more:link]

Alberta sued by First Nation

A First Nation in northern Alberta is suing the provincial government for what it says is the cumulative negative impact of the sale of Crown land and industrial and agricultural development. “Alberta has engaged in a pattern of conduct that has significantly diminished the . . . right to hunt, fish and trap as part of their way of life,” the plaintiff says in its statement of claim. [node:read-more:link]

UN nuclear chief very worried

After leading an International Atomic Energy team to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station in Ukraine, the UN agency’s director general said today that the situation remains “very worrying” and warned that ongoing conflict in the area is “playing with fire.” Rafael Grossi called for a safety zone around Europe’s largest station. “This is a measure that one way or the other must be put in place.” [node:read-more:link]

New CCG base in B.C.

The Canadian Coast Guard commissioned a new station at the remote northern tip of Vancouver Island August 30 to facilitate more efficient responses to marine rescues or environmental emergencies in the ecologically-vulnerable area. The 16,000-square-foot CCG Hardy Bay Base include a drive-on floating dock as well as maintenance and office facilities. [node:read-more:link]

B.C. shipbreaker at odds with community

Union Bay, a small community on the east coast of Vancouver Island, has become the centre of a dispute between local residents and a company which dismantles ships. The residents say that Deep Water Recovery, headquartered in Vancouver, is ignoring a provincial cease-and-desist order due to concerns about potential pollution. [node:read-more:link]

Canada invokes energy treaty

Canada has invoked a 1977 energy treaty with the U.S. in a bid to prevent the shutdown of an Enbridge pipeline. Echoing similar legal action by neighbouring Michigan, Wisconsin fears that a break could cause a catastrophic spill. Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly said “the economic and energy disruption and damage . . . from a Line 5 shutdown would be widespread and significant . . . on both sides of the border.” [node:read-more:link]

Judge lambastes logging protest tactics

A B.C. judge has accused a conservation group of using frontline protesters as “sacrificial lambs” in blockades designed to draw attention to the group’s broader political agenda. In granting a conditional discharge to a 30-year-old who participated in repeated demonstrations against old-growth logging, Provincial Court Judge Laura Bakan called him “a person whose personal attributes are easily preyed on”, but a spokesperson for the group dismissed the judge’s comment as “speculation” to get the accused off lightly. [node:read-more:link]

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]


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