Last month, three Canadian premiers provided a public update on interprovincial efforts to develop a national energy strategy. While their update on the Council of the Federation’s plans opened a needed window on the negotiations, missing from public discussions so far is any reference to the stakes – and potential roles – for municipalities in READ MORE
By Charley Beresford Read this article on the Tyee at: http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2013/05/31/Canada-Energy-Plan/ On slashing emissions, many municipalities are already trailblazers. Bring ’em to the table! In April, three Canadian premiers met with media to provide an update on interprovincial efforts to develop a national energy strategy. While their update on the Council of the Federation’s plans opened READ MORE
A rapid expansion of mining activity puts local governments in a quandary. Mining operations offer significant opportunities for communities, bringing great potential for jobs, development, and growth. On the other hand, mining operations can affect communities in adverse ways, from compromising drinking water and air quality to reducing property values. What will it take to READ MORE
In July 2012, Premiers agreed to renew “A Shared Vision for Energy in Canada”. At the July 2013 Council of the Federation meeting in Niagara-on-the-Lake, the Premiers leading the Energy Strategy discussions tabled a report on their progress . The Premiers are targeting the summer of 2014 for release of the final product and say they are exploring further stakeholder READ MORE
New poll shows 87 % of Canadians agree that we need a Canadian climate and energy strategy to plan our nation’s energy future. “The success of a Canadian energy strategy will hinge on the extent to which it both reduces carbon pollution and positions Canada to compete in the global low carbon, clean energy economy READ MORE
Canada’s federal and provincial governments are actively developing a national energy strategy, and there are compelling reasons for municipalities to become a bigger part of this conversation. Municipalities can play an important role in ensuring that a Canadian energy strategy addresses the roles and interests of local communities across Canada. Canada’s federal and provincial governments READ MORE
This new report from Blue Green Canada shows if the $1.3 billion in government subsidies, now given to the oil and gas sector, were instead invested in renewable energy and energy efficiency, Canada would create more jobs: 18,000 more. The full report is available for download here. You can also read media stories covering the report, from The Vancouver Sun and The Star .
A new Climate Justice Project study from the BC office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives warns that “BC’s water and hydroelectric resources are at risk of being depleted by industrial users, thanks to lax reporting requirements and extremely low water prices”. The study identifies gaping holes in key information relating to the water that major industries use. For example, of the READ MORE
The World Trade Organization has come back with a preliminary ruling that find’s Ontario’s Green Energy Act is in contravention of some provisions of the GATT. The news broke in the Globe and Mail . Blue Green Canada is urging the Ontario and federal governments to step up the defence of Ontario’s Green Energy Act. To read more of Blue Green Canada’s response, click here .
Nelson Hydro’s EcoSave Energy Retrofits Program has exceeded the two-year pilot phase target in just three months. The goal was to have 200 homes register for a home energy assessment during the pilot phase of 2012 and 2013. This number has already been exceeded and continues to grow. The benefits of registering with EcoSave are READ MORE
After being on an energy diet for close to half a year, the residents of Rossland have reduced their annual energy use substantially—more than 2,220 gigajoules (GJ) of natural gas and 1,478,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity, all through making energy efficient renovations to existing homes and small businesses. This was accomplished through the first ever READ MORE
Homeowners in Ontario could soon finance efficiency retrofits and solar panel installations through an additional charge on their property taxes, but only if the province makes good on regulatory changes it proposed last month. Toronto councillor Mike Layton said proposed changes to provincial legislation would allow municipalities to enter into agreements with individual property owners READ MORE
Help your communities with meeting your Bill 27 targets with free energy efficiency assessments offered by LiveSmart BC. Just click on the map here to find the Business Energy Advisors that serve your area. They will help businesses with energy efficiency measures that have a short payback, as well as obtaining rebates from BC Hydro, FortisBC, READ MORE
Regional District of Nanaimo is now providing incentives to residents interested in reducing their energy usage and emissions, and protecting water. Nanaimo also renewed its Green Building Incentive Program to encourage residents to invest in energy efficiency, emission reductions and green building practices. Read more at the Municipal Information Network .
In addition to limiting the time period for an environmental review process to 24 months, the federal government has also announced it will be cutting the number of review agencies from 40 to 3. Minister of Natural Resources, Joe Oliver has justified the cuts, saying, “We need to tap into the tremendous appetite for resources READ MORE
Two studies, one from the US geological service and another commissioned by the government in the UK have concluded that fracking, the process of blasting water, sand and chemicals deep into the ground to fracture rock to obtain oil and natural gas, causes earthquakes. Both the US and the UK have witnessed a spike in READ MORE
Imagine a world with abundant, clean energy. How different would our human civilization be with fewer energy limitations – less risk of climate change, no peak oil, and more renewable ways to provide power to an exploding global population? To explore this future, the Waterloo Global Science Initiative (WGSI) launches the Equinox Blueprint: Energy 2030 READ MORE
A new report says the Northern Gateway pipeline would boost crude oil prices $2 to $3 per barrel annually over the next 30 years, causing significant damage to consumers, businesses and the Canadian economy. The economic assessment of the $5.5-billion project by former Insurance Corporation of British Columbia CEO Robyn Allan says the price shock READ MORE
Chief Gerald Amos Chief of the Haisla Nation has written a response to claims by Minister of Natural Resources, Joe Oliver, that radical environmental groups funded by foreign interests are hijacking the debate surrounding the proposed Enbridge pipeline. Read his response in the Huffington Post.
A decade ago, Alberta allowed consumers the option of buying electricity from private companies. Those that took the plunge, roughly 30% of Albertans, are now facing significantly higher energy costs than those who stuck with the provincial regulated option. In some cases, energy costs are double what the public sector is charging. Read more in the READ MORE
The BC government’s plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by one third will not be attainable if plans for three new liquid nitrogen plants go through. While the first two will be powered by electricity the third and the largest one, will be fueled by natural gas. The government has said it hopes to stores READ MORE
The Fredericton Region Solid Waste Commission will be selling the methane gas emitted from its landfill’s waste to NB Power. The methane will be converted to electricity, enough to run 2,000 homes. The 6 million dollar project is expected to generate 20 million dollars over 20 years . Read more at the CBC
After complaints about the water started to flood in from residents of Pavilion, Wyoming, the EPA decided to do some testing. Results showed “that ground water in the Pavilion aquifer contain[ed] methane, benzene, other petroleum hydrocarbons and other chemical compounds.” The toxic chemicals are suspected to be the result of nearby fracking. The long list READ MORE
In 2009 the Province handed BC municipalities more regulatory power. Local governments have taken advantage of new bylaws and regulatory powers to promote sustainability. From curbside composting, to encouraging energy efficiency to promoting cycling through bike lines, local governments are accomplishing many great things despite the limited revenue at their disposal. Read more in the READ MORE
The International Energy Agency (IEA) is warning that time is running out for halting the dangerous effects of climate change. The agency is warning that current fuel-based energy initiatives that are continuing to be built will create a lock-in effect within 5 years that will cause irrevocable damage to the earth. The warning comes as READ MORE
Hyrdofracking, the process of extracting natural gas from shale deposits involves injecting a pressurized mix of water and other substances into the rock to release trapped natural gas. In BC’s Horn River area, where there is intensive hydrofracking a noticeable jump in seismic activity has been noted. Over 30 earthquakes have occurred since 2009 when READ MORE
The Community Energy Association’s latest funding guide for climate change initiatives provides a comprehensive list of programs and grants that offer financial incentives for climate change initiatives. The guide also provides tools and resources for accessing up-to-date information on energy planning. Download the 2011 release of Funding Your Community Energy and Climate Change Initiatives here READ MORE
The CCPA’s report “Fighting Energy Poverty in the Transition to Zero-Emission Housing,” examines the impacts increased energy costs are having on low income households. The term “energy poverty” is used to describe households who are not able to meet their basic energy needs due to rate increases. The report’s recommendations include: keeping a two-tier system READ MORE
Dawson City is one of many BC municipalities that have voluntarily signed on to be carbon neutral by 2012, but it hopes to achieve neutrality without purchasing carbon offsets. To reach this goal the city is setting aside $100 for every tone of carbon produced from its government offices, recreation facilities and trucking fleets. That READ MORE
The groundbreaking has begun on the world’s greenest building, Seattle’s Bullitt Centre. The building will generate its own electricity with solar power, including enough for winter months, live off its own rainwater and compost its own sewage to be sent off site as fertilizer. The building will cover over 10,000 square feet and will be READ MORE
A pilot program being launched in Victoria, BC – The Capital Regional District, City of Victoria, Township of Esquimalt and Town of View Royal will allow home sellers to advertise the energy efficiency of their home through a rating system similar to the EnergyStar system for appliances. The program is a partnership with BC Hydro READ MORE
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA) has released a commentary questioning the legitimacy of the BC Government’s carbon neutral policy. The CCPA takes issue with the fact that not only do schools and hospitals have to buy credits from the crown corporation Pacific Carbon Trust , where carbon offsets cost as much as four times what they would at a private offset READ MORE
Last month, thirty-six BC communities adopted a policy requiring all new homes to be solar ready, meaning they will be built with space to accommodate a solar hot water heating system. The Canadian Solar Industries Association(CanSia) is pleased with the policy noting that “Solar energy creates more jobs than any other energy resource through production, READ MORE
Two years ahead of schedule, Harrison Hot Springs, BC has just announced it has met its goal of going carbon neutral. The town took measures to reduce its corporate GHG emissions and also bought offsets to create a net -zero output. “By taking a leadership role in measuring and reducing corporate GHG emissions, the municipality READ MORE
Columbia Institute Executive Director, Charley Beresford, argues last month’s intensive floods, tornadoes and hurricanes should serve as reminder that we can’t wait any longer to start actively reducing our greenhouse gas emissions and energy use. A report released by the Columbia Institute, This Green House: Building Fast Action on Climate Change examines the role Canadian READ MORE
Nova Scotia is about to become the first jurisdiction in North America to make LED lights mandatory on all roads and highways. It is expected the new lights will save 30,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions per year and will use half the energy of regular lights. Read more here .
As East Vancouverites Laura Lee Schultz and Jacqueline Gullion found out, most people don’t know how inefficient their home are, and know less about what to do about it. Mayor Gregor Robertson recently announced a pilot program that will allow homeowners to pay for energy retrofits through on-bill financing. Clean energy specialists say this approach READ MORE
The growing nuclear crisis in Japan is raising concerns regarding the safety of Canada’s nuclear reactors, particularly as Ontario considers an expansion of its current fleet. Nuclear safety reps claim that Canadian plants are seismically stable and designed to withstand an earthquake that could be expected every 1000 years, however government officials and anti-nuclear activists READ MORE
The Niagara Region is uniting with nine other southern Ontario municipalities to lure green energy firms and investors. Niagara has been attempting to shift to a green economy for the last decade, and the newly-established Green Energy Act and provincial tariff program for renewable energy projects has allowed them to pitch southern Ontario as a READ MORE
In a push to increase Alberta’s power grid, the Conservative government has introduced several pieces of legislation that concentrate power into the hands of government while severely limiting, or in some cases eliminating, individual land rights. These draconian policies may result in new party governing the province. Read story in the Tyee .
The Cowichan Valley Regional District, BC, has issued a report card to measure the following areas of environmental concern: Overall Environmental Footprint, Population Growth, Biodiversity, Agriculture, Water, Climate Change, Air Quality and Waste Management. The report card is but one piece of a larger plan for building a “strong, resilient community.” Find report card here . READ MORE
A new article in the Tyee illustrates how building green can be done on a budget by spending more on the construction components that matter e.g.: building envelope, foundation and windows and less on “short term fixtures, “e.g.: countertops and flooring. Read article here . This story is part of a larger Tyee series titled Green From the Ground Up READ MORE
In 2008, the City of Toronto released a study titled The Mayor’s Tower Renewal Opportunities Book . The study looked at ways that Toronto’s outdated and inefficient apartment housing stock could be retrofitted for energy efficiency and liveability. The current Mayor’s office however, has deemed the program a waste of taxpayers money, despite the energy and financial savings that would be READ MORE
A new Living Planet report shows that humanity’s ecological footprint has more than doubled since 1966. In 2007 humans used "the equivalent of 1.5 earths in 2007 to support their activities." Find report and summary here .
The Community Energy Association has just released a guide providing information on over 60 funding programs and resources that provide financial and educational support to BC local governments and climate change initiatives. To access the guide click here .
Ontario will soon have the highest electicity prices in Canada, as residents will see a 25% increase in their electricity bills by the end of 2011, and more increases will come by 2012. These increased rates will stem from new wind, solar and biomass energy projects that are expected to provide cleaner air and a READ MORE
The Scottish Government and Crown Estate have announced multi-million pound plans for wave and tidal energy projects. These projects are expected to provide power for up to 750 000 homes, create new businesses and jobs, and attract inward investment. Read the full story at the Edie Legal Resource Centre .
This report reviews scientific and technical literature on climate change and biodiversity in B.C., and provides scientific support for ecosystem conservation as part of a climate action plan. It recommends a climate conservation network comprising at least 50% of B.C.’s land base, and notes that laws and land tenure systems must be altered to accommodate READ MORE
In the wake of failed climate negotiations in Copenhagen, more people are looking to bottom-up approaches to climate activism. However, these small-scale contributions will not be enough to successfully address global climate change. The poor nations, who are the true victims of climate change, should propose the international framework necessary to target this global problem. READ MORE