A new study predicts that global sea levels could rise by up to 9 metres in the coming centuries, even if the world manages to keep temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. Previous studies underestimated sea level rise because they failed to account for accelerated ice sheet melting. The 2 degree figure is READ MORE
Jamie Biggar is a student at the University of Victoria and member of the Canada Youth Delegation. She attended the climate change conference in Copenhagen, and wrote a letter to environmental law professor Michael M’Gonigle regarding her experiences and insights. Read the full letter in The Tyee .
Author and journalist Naomi Klein spoke at the Copenhagen Klima Forum on ecological debt. Watch the video segment or read the transcript at Democracy Now! .
Our Executive Director, Charley Beresford, is in Copenhagen for the Climate Summit. She’ll be sending regular reports on issues raised and progress made along the way to a new agreement. Check back often to get the inside scoop. Charley Beresford, Executive Director of the Columbia Institute, arrived in Copenhagen December 9th, where she is READ MORE
The Communities Matrix is a free one page graphic representation of four phases of community development. It has been used on every continent (except Antarctica) as a starting place in communities.
Dr. Steffen Böhm and Siddhartha Dabhi’s new book, “Upsetting the Offset: The Political Economy of Carbon Markets”, challenges claims about carbon markets and carbon offsetting schemes. The authors argue that these schemes haven’t significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and have actually worsened the problem. Download the book here .
Stephen Harper consistently maintains that climate change action cannot, and will not, stand in the way of Canada’s economic growth. Harper’s continued ignorance in climate change negotiations reminds us that his position is deeply influenced in the conservative, profit-driven mindset of oil and gas industries in Alberta. Read the full story at The Center for Public Integrity .
The recent surge in climate change activism is drawing anger from Albertan and federal politicians, who want to exploit the Alberta oilsands in spite of the environmental cost. They argue that committing to climate change action will cut employment, but in reality it may actually expand the job market. Read the full story in The Toronto Star READ MORE
Canada’s global reputation has been tarnished by its exploitation of the oilsands and failure to uphold responsibilities to the Kyoto Protocol. Canadian representatives and politicians are seemingly trying to delay a potential international climate change agreement from being reached at Copenhagen. Read the full story in The Globe and Mail .
Prime Minister Stephen Harper will in fact be attending the climate change talks in Copenhagen next month. Harper will also be discussing climate change in the upcoming summit of Commonwealth leaders in Trinidad and Tobago. Read the full story in The Globe and Mail .
The Centre for Civic Governance is pleased to provide this list of municipalites who’ve passed resolutions declaring their support for strong commitments to climate actions at Copenhagen this December. Please check back frequently to see who’s been added and do let us know if your municipality is preparing a similar resolution. Municipal Climate Change READ MORE
Mayors of the largest European and American cities co-authored a mutual appeal to show their desire for the U.N.’s COP 15 meeting in Copenhagen to result in a global climate change agreement. The appeal, called the "Stockholm Appeal on Climate Change", recognizes that mayoral leadership in a primary impetus in climate protection. Read the full READ MORE
Scientists predict that the world is on path for the worst-case scenario in terms of climate change. Carbon emissions are expected to cause a global temperature rise of 6 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, and will potentially make large parts of the planet uninhabitable for humans. Next month’s Copenhagen conference will be READ MORE
The Dutch government announced that it wants to implement a green road tax, in hopes of cutting carbon dioxide emissions and reducing road congestion. The transport ministry explains that each vehicle will be equipped with a GPS device that tracks travelling distance, and a collections agency will bill car owners. Read the full story in READ MORE
The Copenhagen conference is intended to develop a new international framework for combating greenhouse gas emissions. The final round of preparatory discussions in Barcelona revealed opposing ideas from the conference participants, particularly between those representing developed and developing nations. Read this table from BBC News to compare countries. Read a summary of the "meaningful agreement" met by key READ MORE
Village Vancouver is a non-profit society that aims to inspire individuals and organizations to lead sustainable communities. They are actively helping communities in Vancouver become lower their carbon emissions and become more resilient. They use organizing tools such as blogs, conferences and informal gatherings to help facilitate the sharing of their visions. Learn more at READ MORE
The U.N. summit on climate change in Copenhagen will include discussions of "climate debt", a controversial proposal which argues that the costs of climate change should be the responsibility of the countries that created the crisis in the first place. The U.S. and other developed nations are reluctant to acknowledge the climate debt proposal. Read READ MORE
Forum Keynote: Robert Pollin Robert Pollin is the founding Co-Director of the Political Economy Research Institute (PERI) at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and one of the leading researchers on green jobs in North America. He co-authored the reports “Job Opportunities for the Green Economy” (June 2008) and “Green Recovery” (September 2008) which explore the READ MORE
Scientists believe that global oceans contain immense gyres of waste and plastic debris, some of which are believed to be twice the size of Texas. Marine animals feeding on waste products transfer toxins to their own tissues, which accumulate over time. Recent research suggests that the amount of plastic in these gyres is increasing, and READ MORE
Portland, Oregon is the only city in North America that has managed to reduce emissions below 1990 levels, despite an 18% population growth. The city recently passed the Climate Change Action Plan (CAP), which commits the city to reducing overall emissions by 80% below 1990 levels by 2050. A notable element of CAP is that READ MORE
Polls and surveys show that there has been a recent surge in climate change denial across the globe. Some researchers propose that this may be attributed to human psychology, rather than scientific scepticism. The predicted climate change disaster makes it difficult for people to repress thoughts of death, and they may respond by antagonizing scientists READ MORE
“How Canada Performs: A Report Card on Canada compares quality of life in Canada with peer countries, and publishes comparisons in a report card that measures the following categories: Economy, Innovation, Environment, Education and Skills, Health, and Society. In the most recent report, Canada received one “B”, 2 “C”s and 9 “D”s. Countries with the READ MORE
Analysis of global climate policies indicate that plans to slow climate change will fail by 2020, and that nations will be required to make further reductions to keep temperatures from advancing 2 degrees Celsius. Representatives from Deutsche Bank say that countries must look outside of carbon trading, and look for other options for implementing low-carbon READ MORE
The latest climate change research brings good and bad news. The good news is that this new research will better provide policymakers with accurate information for taking action. The bad news is that if we fail to act fast in reducing emissions, the effects of climate change will be more rapid and severe than originally READ MORE
The Sunshine Coast town of Gibsons has earned an award for livability from the International Awards for Livable Communities. The award recognizes Gibsons’ sustainable development practices and a unique geo-exchange district energy system, which will use below-ground thermal energy to supply heat to residential and commercial buildings. Read the full story on Canada.com .
Zero GHG has a simple and easy-to-use emissions calculator. Click here to calculate GHG emissions from your home.
On September 1, Franny Armstrong launched a new climate change campaign in the U.K. called "10:10", which aims at committing individuals, organizations and businesses to a 10% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by the end of 2010. The focus of this campaign is to get individuals to make personal choices about the environment, rather than READ MORE
The Centre for Civic Governance at Columbia Institute presents Inspire, Inform: Half-day forum held on Tuesday, November 3 Featuring Keynote speaker Jeb brugmann Forum included sessions on smart growth, children’s nature deficit, talking sustainability with constituents, and more. Epcor Centre for the Performing Arts — 205 8 Avenue SE, Calgary Keynote speaKer Jeb Brugmann is READ MORE
Delegates to the upcoming annual meeting of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) will discuss a resolution to declare a moratorium on any further development of for-profit medical service clinics in BC. Vancouver is in the midst of a healthcare crisis, with large homeless and low-income populations. UBCM members and medical professionals argue that READ MORE
The BC Liberals decision to cut arts funding is devastating to cultural sector, and longstanding organizations are at risk of folding because of 90% cuts to their provincial funding. Political figures, such as Heritage Minister James Moore, argue that arts funding is an essential component of an economic stimulus program during the recession, and that READ MORE
As the economic recession strains budgets, cities in B.C. are looking for ways to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid bylaw fines. At the UBCM’s annual convention the community of Courtney will be proposing that fines be applied to property taxes. This strategy would be difficult to implement in Vancouver, where half of READ MORE
As of Sept.1, the European Union stopped manufacturing and importing incandescent lightbulbs and will turn to more energy-efficient bulbs. This move precedes the United Nations climate conference in Copenhagen in December, which will significantly impact the success or failure of producing a binding global plan of action for the climate change crisis. Meanwhile in the READ MORE
The latest idea in urban agriculture is vertical farming, where high-rise buildings are used to grow crops without natural ecological processes. This idea is met with harsh criticism however, and professionals maintain that best approach to urban agriculture is to use natural ecosystem processes on a local scale. Find tips for urban farming and the READ MORE
Simcoe County councillors voted in favor os a 1-year moratorium on the development of the Site 41 landfill in Tiny Township, northwest of Barrie, Ontario. Activits in opposition of the development feared that it would contaminate an underground reservoir that provides drinking water. Tiny Township mayor Peggy Breckenridge says the next step will be to READ MORE
Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) personally endorses ambitious goals to cut carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations to below 350 parts per million (ppm). The IPCC originally reported in 2007 that woldwide CO2 concentrations must be kept below 450 ppm to prevent critical global temperature rise, however a growing body of READ MORE
EarthTronics Inc., an American developer of small wind turbines, is expected to announce next month that it will begin manufacturing its products in Windsor, Ontario. Windsor has the highest unemployment rate in the country as a result of Ontario’s declining auto sector, and an established EarthTronics plant could generate up to 200 new jobs. Read READ MORE
Community Energy Association and Centre for Civic Governance present: Collaborating on Carbon Commitments – October 19, 2009 – A training ground for Gaining Ground For local elected officials and staff, school trustees and facilities managers as well as hospitals and health region representatives. This all-day workshop focused on the tools that the public sector can use READ MORE
A recently published study in the Harm Reduction Journal finds that injection drug users rank security issues, such as housing and physical safety, above concerns about catching diseases such as HIV/AIDS. Activists suggest that housing is a key issue in preventing AIDS infection, and emphasize the need for secure, barrier-free housing for street-involved populations. Read READ MORE
Comox Valley is launching its own currency, called ‘Community Way Dollars’, to strengthen and unite the local community in the wake of a strained economy. Community Way Dollars operate similar to an open money concept, where people contribute federal dollars to community organization and businesses, and receive the equivalent amount of community money in exchange. READ MORE
Premier Campbell admits that harmonized sales tax (HST) shifts $1.9 billion per year in tax from businesses to B.C. families. He claims that HST will boost business investment, and garners support from a case study the Maritime provinces, where the adoption of HST had positive economic impacts. The study does however have several significant flaws, READ MORE
The Fraser Basin Council’s Transportation Demand Management toolkit offers advice on how to expand sustainble transportation options and reduce vehicle use in small to mid-size communities. It includes 10 case studies that show how bicycle programs, intercommunity transit, carpooling, car-sharing and parking strategies are successfully implemented in communities in B.C. Find the full toolkit here READ MORE
The U.K. has committed to a massive increase in domestic food production to feed growing populations, and intends to play a full part in meeting the U.N. target of raising food production by 70% by 2050. This new commitment to self-sufficiency raises questions from environmental groups, who fear that unsustainable rates of agricultural intensification will READ MORE
The province of Ontario made its final approval for the Site 41 landfill only one day after passing the Clean Water Act, which some see as hypocritical. Landfills are notorious polluters, and have the pose potential risks to the surrounding environment and water systems. Proponents of the Site 41 plan maintain that this landfill operation READ MORE
Blair Redlin of the Canadian Centre for Policy Altnernatives (CCPA) argues that the biggest threat to the Canadian economy and job market is apparently the U.S. government’s “Buy American” provisions. Stephen Harper is telling Canadians that in order to entice the U.S. to give up these provisions and maintain trade agreements, Canadian municipalies and provincial READ MORE
Portland, Oregon is an urban cyclist utopia. Smart city planning, some of the strictest land-use laws in North America and consultation with cycling groups now allow almost 30% of residents to claim cycling as their primary or secondary mode of transportation. Vancouver has the potential to become a world class bike city, however it first READ MORE
The T’Sou-ke First Nation in Sooke has become the largest solar energy producing community in B.C. Solar energy will power a large portion of the community’s infrastructure and provide hot water tanks to a nearby village. The band aims to adopt more green initiatives in the future, and are looking at wind power and organic READ MORE
UBC students have criticized Translink’s failure to represent campus residents in transit planning processes. The UBC campus, which has a population of 11 000, is currently the second greatest transit destination in the region, and members of the UBC Alma Mater Society (AMS) are asking for an elected member of the Mayor’s Council to represent READ MORE
Translink’s 30-year long-term plan, called Transport 2040, sets broad goals for reducing greenhouse gases and increasing the use of transit, cycling, and walking. To achieve this system, Translink says it needs $450 million in new funding. Translink has proposed the option of using new property taxes to fund the plan, however regional mayors are strongly READ MORE
The Local Government Operations (LGO) Protocol is a set of program-neutral greenhouse gas protocol designed to allow local governments to quantify and report emissions. It helps local governments to provide standardized information regarding emissions rates, and allows for better scientific observations to be made. Find the full set of protocol here .
Victoria is taking the Transition Initiative by working to address peak oil and climate change issues, in an effort to enhance community sustainability and resiliency. To date the Victoria Region Transition Initiative (VRTI) has participated in public forums, given presentations, provided film screenings, and completed a Strategic Plan. Get more information on the VRTI here READ MORE