Category Archives : Energy

Canada’s energy strategy: it’s not just a federal-provincial issue

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

Don’t Exclude Cities from Canada’s Energy Plan

By Charley Beresford Read this article on the Tyee at: 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

Mining: The Challenge for BC Local Governments

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.

Canadian Energy Strategy Update

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

A Canadian Energy Strategy: Why should local governments care?

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. Local governments have key stakes READ MORE

More Bang For Our Buck – A new study from Blue Green Canada

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 .

Depleting natural gas reserves makes no sense for the province – Study

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

Unions and Environmentalists Urge Continued Support for Green Energy and Green Jobs

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

Ontario proposes new path for financing energy, water conservation

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

Nanaimo Provides Incentives for Water Protection and Green Building

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

Equinox Blueprint: Energy 2030 – A technological roadmap for a low-carbon, electrified future

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

Gateway pipeline will hurt Canada’s economy says report

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

Gerald Amos, Chief of the Haisla Nation responds to claims that foreign radicals are hijacking the pipeline debate

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. 

Fracking – a likely source of groundwater contamination

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

Greater regulatory power allows BC municipalities to move ahead on sustainability

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

Our energy infrastructure must change dramatically within 5 years to halt catastrophic climate change

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

Increased earthquake activity linked to hydrofracking

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

Community Energy Association announces release of “Funding Your Community Energy and Climate Change Initiatives”- a guide for local governments

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

New CCPA report makes recommendations to help reduce “energy poverty”

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 Creek – BC’s first municipality to create a carbon fund

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

A building that will live off rainwater, generate electricity and compost sewage

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

CCPA sheds light on “murky world of carbon credits and a “carbon neutral” B.C. government”

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

Wild Weather Hammers Home Case for Green Jobs

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

On-bill financing could help make energy retrofits more enticing for homeowners

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

Japan’s nuclear disaster raises concern about Canada’s nuclear power

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

Alberta’s Conservatives’ Push to Expand Electrical May Backfire

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 .

Cowichan Valley, BC Issues Report Card on the Environment

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

Toronto’s Mayor Tries to Crush Tower Retrofit Project

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

Electricity bills in Ontario set to rise $300 a year by the end of 2011

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

A New Climate for Conservation – Nature, Carbon and Climate Change in British Columbia – Full Report

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

Beyond Copenhagen: what kind of bottom-up climate activism do we need?

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