Climate Change

Ottawa urged to cancel carbon tax credits

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland is being urged by more than 400 climate scientists and other academics to abandon a planned tax credit for companies which build carbon capture and storage facilities. The idea was broached in last year’s federal budget and design consultations were completed last month. In a letter to Freeland, the scientists decry it as a huge subsidy to the petroleum industry and contradictory to the government’s climate change commitments. [node:read-more:link]

Canada criticized by human rights body

New York-based Human Rights Watch said today that Canada has serious domestic and foreign policy challenges on the watchdog’s issues list. Acknowledging that the Trudeau administration has made progress on rights during its six years in office, it has fallen short on, among other things, indigenous equality, climate change and Canadian companies’ foreign mining activities. [node:read-more:link]

Canada’s clean energy capacity inadequate

The International Energy Agency said today that Canada needs more electrical generating capacity to meet the government’s stated emissions reduction and climate change targets. “Canada's wealth of clean electricity and its innovative spirit can help drive a secure and affordable transformation of its energy system and help realize its ambitious goals,” IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol said. However, even with 83 per cent of its power coming from non-emitting power, more was needed. [node:read-more:link]

Global economy under seige

The World Economic Forum said today that cybersecurity and space are emerging risks to the global economy, adding to existing challenges posed by climate change and the coronavirus pandemic. In its latest Global Risks Report, usually released ahead of the annual Davos gathering of corporate and political leaders, the WEC predicts that the global economy will continue to shrink with richer nations faring better than poorer ones. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. GHGs spiked last year

There was a 6.2 per cent surge in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions last year as Americans who were mostly closeted during the first year of the coronavirus pandemic returned to more normal lives. “It is clear that the climate crisis is . . . having devastating consequences,” Tiernan Sittenfeld, senior vice president of government affairs at the League of Conservation Voters, said Jan. 11. “When we hear that emissions are going back up, that is extraordinarily worrisome.” [node:read-more:link]

Oceans warming up relentlessly

Results of a peer-reviewed study published today in Advances in Atmospheric Sciences shows that the world’s oceans last year were at their warmest in recorded history as average temperatures rose for the sixth consecutive year. “The ocean heat content is relentlessly increasing globally, and this is a primary indicator of human-induced climate change,” commented report co-author Kevin Trenberth, distinguished scholar at the U.S. National Center for Atmospheric Research. [node:read-more:link]

Another global warming warning

New European Union analysis of climate change data indicates that the last seven years have been the seven warmest on record for the planet, and that last year was the fifth-warmest on record. “The really important thing is not get hung up on the ranking of one particular year but rather kind of see the bigger picture.” Freja Vamborg, senior scientist at the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service, said today. “This is quite likely to continue.” [node:read-more:link]

Charity campaigner challenges papal statement

A declaration by the Pope last week that couples who prefer pets to children are selfish has prompted the campaign head of a U.K.-based charity, Population Matters, to challenge it as “totally wrong.” In a personal comment published today, Alistair Currie cited a 2017 study warned that continued global population growth likely means climate change goals won’t be met by the end of the century. [node:read-more:link]

Contentious “green” gas and nuclear plan

A European Commission plan to designate some natural gas and nuclear generating stations as “green” has drawn immediate criticism from Germany. “It is necessary to recognise that the fossil gas and nuclear energy sectors can contribute to the decarbonisation of the Union's economy,” the EU said Dec. 1. Germany's environment minister, whose government confirmed the day before that it was shutting down half of her country’s nuclear power plants, called the plan “absolutely wrong.” [node:read-more:link]

Germany accelerates nuclear decommissioning

Three of Germany’s six nuclear power stations were being shut down today, a year earlier than planned by the government two decades ago. The government says the three others will be decommissioned in 2022 and that it would stop the use of coal-fired power generation by 2030 as Germany pushes to become “climate neutral” by 2045. [node:read-more:link]

One solution to crowded prisons

Faced with prison overcrowding, Denmark has agreed to rent 300 prison cells from Kosovo at a cost of €15 million annually for an initial five years with deported criminals from non-EU countries subject to Danish laws. The deal also commits Denmark to helping to fund green energy development in Kosovo. [node:read-more:link]

Coal remains a key climate threat

The International Energy Agency said rising thermal coal consumption by power plants in China, India and the U.S. could mean record global demand once final figures for 2021 are available. The UN agency says coal-fired generation is projected at 10,350 terawatt-hours, up nine per cent from 2020 due to economic recovery which has “pushed up electricity demand much faster than low-carbon supplies can keep up.” [node:read-more:link]

Emissions-free technology still feared

Nuclear reactors are seen as a key factor in the global effort to combat global warming by curbing greenhouse gas emissions but memories of reactor accidents in Japan, Ukraine and he U.S. continue to fuel skepticism and fear. Coupled with upfront capital costs and the advent of wind and solar power sources, which also have critics, are deterring potential investment. [node:read-more:link]

Russia vetoes climate proposal

A draft UN Security Council resolution which would have defined climate change as a threat to peace has been vetoed by Russia Dec. 13. Ambassador Vassily A. Nebenzia explained Dec. 13 that said Russia saw the proposal as pretext by western powers to justify meddling in other countries’ internal affairs. [node:read-more:link]

Energy agency outlook conflicted?

The Canadian Energy Regulator (formerly the National Energy Board) says in its latest annual supply-and-demand report that domestic crude oil and natural gas production are expected to continue rising, to 2032 and 2040 respectively. Critics say the report effectively ignores an implicit contradiction with the federal government’s plan to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. [node:read-more:link]


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