Climate Change

The global impacts of Russia's invasion

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused a short-term spike in prices, prompting governments to rethink their energy plans, which could have profound impacts on issues ranging from a burgeoning food crisis to global efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Potential solutions all come with potential repercussions that could play out over the coming years or even decades. [node:read-more:link]

PM says nuclear power “on the table”

The 2022 federal budget includes plans to expand the use of electric vehicles across the country, including extensive support for charging infrastructure but there are concerns about the fundamental supply of power. “We’re going to need more electricity and I know there are a lot of brilliant innovators ... across the country who are leaning in on that,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said April 11. “Absolutely,” he replied when asked whether power from nuclear reactors is an option. [node:read-more:link]

Offshore oil project approved

A Newfoundland offshore oil project with the potential to produce at least 300 million barrels of crude over its operating life, starting later this decade, has been approved by Environment & Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbault. The former activist said April 6 that while “it was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make”, the Bay Nord venture is subject to strict conditions and a net-zero emissions target by 2050. [node:read-more:link]

Climate change: too little too late!

The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said April 4 that there must be “rapid, deep and immediate” cuts in carbon dioxide emissions go stave off the worst impacts of global warming. However, it added, even if all current governments’ policies had been implemented already, global average temperatures will still rise by 3.2 degrees this century. “Some government and business leaders are saying one thing but doing another,” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres commented. “They are lying, and the results will be catastrophic.” [node:read-more:link]

Federal carbon levy staying put

A call by premiers of the Prairie provinces to suspend the latest scheduled increase in the federal carbon levy has been rebuffed by Natural Resources Minister Jonathan Wilkinson. The increase took effect last week atop surging retail fuel prices and while the premiers argued for relief, Wilkinson says “94 per cent of the price of gas has nothing to do with the price on pollution” and is due largely to global price increases resulting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. [node:read-more:link]

Aggressive emissions cuts proposed

Environment & Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault today released a federal government' plan to dramatically curb greenhouse gas emissions over the next eight years. It relies heavily on large reductions by the petroleum, transportation and power-generation sectors as the government hopes for at least a 40 per cent reduction in GHGs from 2005 levels by 2030. The plan also includes some $9.1 billion in new investments to incent zero-emission vehicles and tax relief to encourage carbon capture, utilization and storage technology. [node:read-more:link]

Four provinces plan small nuclear reactors

The Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick governments have confirmed plans to develop small nuclear reactors, modular designs they say will provide safe clean power to local users while helping to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The first would be built in Ontario with four to follow in Saskatchewan between 2034 and 2042. [node:read-more:link]

First federal “green bonds” snapped up

Attracted by the prospect of a 2.25 per cent annual return on new federal green bonds for 7.5 years, investors have bought up the $5-billion first issue. Yielding a quarter point higher than regular governments, the issue will be used to address climate change issues. “During the time I was an environmental activist, you had to convince people to pay attention to climate change,” Environment & Climate Change Minister Steven Guilbeault said March 23. “Today's announcement is proof that an economic win is an environmental win.” [node:read-more:link]

Liberals form pact with NDP

A “supply and confidence” agreement with the New Democratic Party is designed to ensure the Liberals’ hold on governance until 2025 in return for commitments to cooperate on key policy areas. Those include climate change, health care spending, indigenous reconciliation, economic growth and efforts to make life more affordable. However, the deal confirmed March 22 does not give the NDP a seat at the cabinet table. [node:read-more:link]

Antarctic sea ice loss continues

Sea ice around the Antarctic shrank to 1.92 million square kilometres in late February, its lowest extent since satellite records began 43 years ago, according to the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center. That was some 190,000km2 less than the previous low recorded in 2017. Both events were due to earlier than average maximum sea-ice extent followed by rapid declines, but coverage returned to near-average conditions in 2020. [node:read-more:link]

Global warming response woeful

A report released today by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says countries are not doing nearly enough to protect against disasters expected as global warming continues. UN Secretary General António Guterres calls the report compiled by 270 researchers from 67 countries “an atlas of human suffering and a damning indictment of failed climate leadership.” [node:read-more:link]

France planning nuclear power expansion

President Emmanuel Macron announced Feb. 10 that his country plans to build up to 14 new nuclear reactors in a bid to reduce greenhouse gases and provide a buffer against volatile energy prices. Plans for an initial six reactors are confirmed and Macron said eight more are being considered. Construction is to begin in 2028 with a view to commissioning by 2035. [node:read-more:link]

EU “green” technology plan challenged

A proposed European Commission plan to designate nuclear and natural gas power plants as “green energy” sources if they meet “sustainable investment” targets is proving politically divisive. “I cannot understand the decision,” says Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer, supporting a proposed challenge in the European Court of Justice. Luxembourg has said it would join the lawsuit. [node:read-more:link]

Suzuki apologizes for explosive remarks

Environmentalist David Suzuki has apologized for saying that pipelines could be “blown up” by activists if governments don’t act on climate change. He made the comment last weekend in a radio interview, prompting Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and others to say that he was inciting eco-terrorism. “Any suggestion that violence is inevitable is wrong and will not lead us to a desperately needed solution,” he said today. “My words were spoken out of extreme frustration and I apologize.” [node:read-more:link]

Failing grade on climate report card

Despite three decades of effort, Canada's carbon emissions have risen 20 per cent since 1990 and the federal Environment and Sustainable Development Commissioner says the country is unprepared for climate disasters. Jerry V. DeMarco also said in his Nov. 24 report that petroleum industry subsidies, which various governments have promised for years to eliminate, have not yielded promised reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. “We can't continue to go from failure to failure,” DeMarco said. “We need action and results, not just more targets and plans.” [node:read-more:link]


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