Latest posts in Climate & Clean Energy
Have you ever had a co-worker or classmate take credit for your hard work? It's infuriating. You don't get the recognition for your efforts and some opportunistic freeloader is held up as an example. This deception may result in a lasting impression that opens doors for someone else and leaves you out in the cold. It can also happen at the government level. A prime example is the federal government trying to bolster its own environmental reputation by taking credit for Ontario's leadership in getting rid of coal-fired power.Continue reading »
To get a sense of how far B.C. has strayed from its status as a climate leader with a meaningful understanding of the threat of climate change look no further than its recent announcement on gas reserves. In a news release, the provincial government proudly proclaimed that B.C.'s natural gas reserves are twice as large as the previous estimate. B.C. has doubled the size of its reserves to 2.9-quadrillion cubic feet. (Yes, quadrillion is a real number.) The implication is that we can start exporting liquefied natural gas (LNG) with little concern for domestic energy security. What is not said, however, is how developing even a fraction of this gas is consistent with our atmospheric, environmental and physical security based on avoiding dangerous climate change.Continue reading »
Empathy in a global environmental commons: How do we react when bad things happen to other countries?
The world is more populated and interconnected than ever before. As with the web of ecosystems that environmentalists have sworn to protect, what happens in one corner of the globe can have effects far away. The communications boom has enabled our awareness of emerging issues almost instantaneously. But what do we do with this information? Take the tragic stories that often have an environmental underpinning: a flood, a fire, a famine. If any of these things happened in our community we would care. There has been debate about whether humans are a naturally empathetic species, but we generally have a fondness for those who are most like us and those with whom we share a community. That humanity tends to dissipate as the scope is expanded; we simply can't spend our emotional capital worrying equally about every community and country around the world. But have we reached a point where our own bandwidth has been so saturated by tragedies that our sense of compassion and proclivity to help has been numbed? What is the appropriate way to feel in response to a 24-hour news cycle that constantly reminds us of the difficult world in which we live?Continue reading »
The federal government has a problem. It has committed to reduce the country's greenhouse gas emissions to 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020. But Canada can't do it alone. The government made overtures to the United States back in 2008 and again in a recent letter to President Barack Obama, asking the U.S. for help in reaching emissions targets through coordinated policy or by clarifying what environmental progress would allow the U.S. to approve trans-border pipeline plans.Continue reading »
Working for the oil industry made me an environmentalist. You might find this surprising from someone at the David Suzuki Foundation. But it's not so unusual.
I met fantastic people and friends in the oil and gas business and my experience taught me that these workers believe cleaner forms of energy should be a priority and more efficient use of natural resources should be a reality.
But it may seem surprising because the media often portray climate change and energy decisions as highly charged, polarized political battles. And there is a lot of political manoeuvring. Take the recent efforts by the federal government to fuel this fire by referring to environmental groups, B.C. First Nations and the more than 4,000 British Columbians who signed up to a public review process over their concerns about the Enbridge oil sands pipeline proposal as “radicals”. For a democratic government to resort to name-calling instead of gathering the views of citizens to make an informed decision is sad and unfortunate. But that's our reality.Continue reading »