1. Andrew Nikiforuk, OnEarth:

    Prime Minister Harper, the son of an Imperial Oil accountant, has described the megaproject as “an enterprise of epic proportions, akin to the building of the pyramids or China’s Great Wall. Only bigger.” Over the next 30 years Canada’s bitumen miners will excavate 1,850 square miles of forest, digging enough 250-foot-deep holes to swallow up the state of Delaware. The highly profitable industry has already created enough toxic sludge — six billion barrels — to cover New York’s Staten Island or Washington, D.C. in several feet of waste. Instead of restoring a land of low-lying boreal wetlands and peat bogs, the miners have a legal mandate to create something called “equivalent land capability.” This vague term translates into an engineered landscape made up of manicured, grassy hills and fake lakes containing tons of mining waste.

    The scale and pace of the endeavor have shocked Americans and Europeans alike. Canada has failed to conduct a basic risk and liability analysis of the oil sands from which the bitumen is extracted, and in 2008 the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development roundly criticized Canada for not properly assessing the project’s cumulative impacts or saving its oil wealth in a dedicated pension fund. While oil sands executives have attempted to rebrand Canada as a “clean” or “responsible” energy superpower, a government-appointed panel examining the state of environmental monitoring of the bitumen industry — co-chaired by Hal Kvisle, former chief executive of TransCanada, no less — found in 2011 that the existing monitoring system was “not a credible program because much of it is run by industry.” At the same time, the U.S. Congressional Research Office, having bluntly described the harmful impact of bitumen mining on forests, wildlife, water quality, and greenhouse gas emissions, warned that oil sands development could strain bilateral relations between Canada and the United States.

    Yet the Canadian government, which subsidizes the industry to the tune of $1.4 billion a year (the province of Alberta contributes another $1.1 billion), has been shameless in its defense of bitumen exports and pipelines. Diplomats have vigorously opposed both U.S. federal and state laws on carbon emissions and asked Big Oil to do likewise. The Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C., objected to the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 because restrictions on the use of high-carbon fuels by the U.S. military might jeopardize bitumen exports. Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs fought hard — though in the end unsuccessfully — against California’s low-carbon fuel standards. Canadian government officials have lobbied so forcefully for the Keystone XL pipeline that a congressional aide likened one Canadian diplomat to an “aggressive car salesman.”

    via

     

     Canada  tar sands  environment  Conservatives  Stephen Harper 

  2. jonathan-cunningham:

    waxpolitical:

    Physicists are notorious for believing that other scientists are mathematically incompetent. And University of California-Berkeley physicist Richard Muller is notorious for believing that…

    TL;DR- A climate change skeptic decides to do his own research to finally prove that Global Warming is overblown, and comes to this conclusion:

    In the press release announcing the results, Muller said, “Our biggest surprise was that the new results agreed so closely with the warming values published previously by other teams in the US and the UK.” In other words, climate scientists know what they’re doing after all.

    (Source: )

     

     environment  climate change  science 

  3. The Environment Commissioner’s Fall 2011 report, required under the 2007 Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act, assesses federal efforts to meet the abandoned Kyoto Protocol target of six per cent below 1990 levels. Of the $9.2-billion in federal funds allocated to fight climate change between 2008 and 2012, the report found that $5.9-billion in program spending would achieve no emissions reductions by 2012.
     

     environment  politics  Tories  Conservatives  Stephen Harper 

  4. With the Obama administration about to decide whether to green-light a controversial pipeline to take crude oil from Canada’s oil sands to the United States Gulf Coast, e-mails released Monday paint a picture of a sometimes warm and collaborative relationship between lobbyists for the company building the billion-dollar pipeline and officials in the State Department, the agency that has final say over the pipeline.

    Environmental groups said the e-mails were disturbing and evidence of “complicity” between TransCanada, the pipeline company, and American officials tasked with evaluating the pipeline’s environmental impact.

    The e-mails, the second batch to be released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the environmental group Friends of the Earth, show a senior State Department official at the United States Embassy in Ottawa procuring invitations to Fourth of July parties for TransCanada officials, sharing information with the company about Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s meetings and cheering on TransCanada in its quest to gain approval of the giant pipeline, which could carry 700,000 barrels a day.

    “You see officials who see it as their business not to be an oversight agency but as a facilitator of TransCanada’s plans,” said Damon Moglen, the director of climate and energy project for Friends of the Earth. While the e-mails refer to multiple meetings between TransCanada officials and assistant secretaries of state, he said, such access was denied to environmental groups seeking input. Environmental groups argue that the pipeline, known as the Keystone XL project, would result in unacceptably high emissions and disrupt pristine ecosystems.

    Before he was TransCanada’s chief Washington, D.C., lobbyist, Paul Elliott was a top official in Mrs. Clinton’s failed 2008 presidential campaign.

    Many of the new e-mails are between Mr. Elliott and Marja Verloop, the counselor for energy and environment at the embassy in Ottawa. On Sept. 10, 2010, in response to an e-mail from Mr. Elliot announcing that Senator Max Baucus was supporting the pipeline, Ms. Verloop wrote: “Go Paul!” In an e-mail to David Jacobson, United States ambassador to Canada, she described TransCanada as “comfortable and on board” with some developments in the review process.

    Wendy Nassmacher, a State Department spokeswoman, disputed that the e-mails showed a pro-pipeline bias. “We are committed to a fair, transparent and thorough process,” she said in an e-mail Sunday. “Throughout the process we have been in communication with industry as well as environmental groups, both in the United States and in Canada.” She noted that the State Department had conducted hearings in communities along the route of the proposed pipeline last week.

     

     transcanada  xl pipeline  environment  news 

  5. inothernews:

Oil companies drilling for the stuff in places like North Dakota are happy to let perfectly good natural gas — a by-product of the drilling process — go to waste.  From the New York Times:

They are not wildfires caused by lightning strikes or other acts of nature, but the deliberate burning of natural gas by oil companies rushing to extract oil from the Bakken shale field and take  advantage of the high price of crude. The gas bubbles up alongside the  far more valuable oil, and with less economic incentive to capture it,  the drillers treat the gas as waste and simply burn it. 
 Every day, more than 100 million cubic feet of natural gas is flared  this way — enough energy to heat half a million homes for a day. 
 The flared gas also spews at least two million tons of carbon dioxide  into the atmosphere every year, as much as 384,000 cars or a medium-size  coal-fired power plant would emit, alarming some environmentalists. 
 All told, 30 percent of the natural gas produced in North Dakota is  burned as waste. No other major domestic oil field currently flares  close to that much, though the practice is still common in countries  like Russia, Nigeria and Iran. 

Yes, by all means, let’s trust oil and gas companies to do the right thing.
(Photo of natural gas being flared off near Ray, North Dakota by Jim Wilson for the New York Times)

    inothernews:

    Oil companies drilling for the stuff in places like North Dakota are happy to let perfectly good natural gas — a by-product of the drilling process — go to waste.  From the New York Times:

    They are not wildfires caused by lightning strikes or other acts of nature, but the deliberate burning of natural gas by oil companies rushing to extract oil from the Bakken shale field and take advantage of the high price of crude. The gas bubbles up alongside the far more valuable oil, and with less economic incentive to capture it, the drillers treat the gas as waste and simply burn it.

    Every day, more than 100 million cubic feet of natural gas is flared this way — enough energy to heat half a million homes for a day.

    The flared gas also spews at least two million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year, as much as 384,000 cars or a medium-size coal-fired power plant would emit, alarming some environmentalists.

    All told, 30 percent of the natural gas produced in North Dakota is burned as waste. No other major domestic oil field currently flares close to that much, though the practice is still common in countries like Russia, Nigeria and Iran.

    Yes, by all means, let’s trust oil and gas companies to do the right thing.

    (Photo of natural gas being flared off near Ray, North Dakota by Jim Wilson for the New York Times)

     

     oil  natural gas  north dakota  environment  energy 

  6. discoverynews:

The Sticky Problem With Tar Sands
To understand what tar sands are and why they have a slippery  reputation with environmentalists, here’s a cheat sheet on these  unconventional oil fields:
WHAT: Tar sands, also known as oil sands,  are a mixture of roughly 90 percent sand, clay and water and 10 percent  bitumen, a thick hydrocarbon liquid. After extracting that 10 percent  of bitumen from the tar-sand mixture, the bitumen can be purified and  refined into synthetic crude oil.
Read the rest here

    discoverynews:

    The Sticky Problem With Tar Sands

    To understand what tar sands are and why they have a slippery reputation with environmentalists, here’s a cheat sheet on these unconventional oil fields:

    WHAT: Tar sands, also known as oil sands, are a mixture of roughly 90 percent sand, clay and water and 10 percent bitumen, a thick hydrocarbon liquid. After extracting that 10 percent of bitumen from the tar-sand mixture, the bitumen can be purified and refined into synthetic crude oil.

    Read the rest here

     

     science  environment  tar sands  news 

  7. thegreenlightdistrict:

I Want You To Recycle
Made by Mark Langan out of corrugated cardboard 

    thegreenlightdistrict:

    I Want You To Recycle

    Made by Mark Langan out of corrugated cardboard 

    (via chos)

     

     advertising  art  design  environment  mark langdan  recycle 

  8. climateadaptation:

Official map of the Keystone Pipeline XL, from the U.S. Department of State. The State department has dedicated a special website, www.keystonepipeline-xl.state.gov, dedicated just to the controversial pipeline plan. The pipe will flow oil sand crude from Canada all the way to Texas. This oil be sold in international markets, not U.S. markets. The project is now under review by the EPA, and a decision will be made at the end of the year to approve, reject, or alter the plan. 
If you haven’t heard, about 100 protesters, some famous, have been arrested in acts of civil disobedience this past weekend at the White House. 

    climateadaptation:

    Official map of the Keystone Pipeline XL, from the U.S. Department of State. The State department has dedicated a special website, www.keystonepipeline-xl.state.gov, dedicated just to the controversial pipeline plan. The pipe will flow oil sand crude from Canada all the way to Texas. This oil be sold in international markets, not U.S. markets. The project is now under review by the EPA, and a decision will be made at the end of the year to approve, reject, or alter the plan. 

    If you haven’t heard, about 100 protesters, some famous, have been arrested in acts of civil disobedience this past weekend at the White House. 

     

     Bill McKibben  Environment  cognitive dissonance  ecosystems  federal planning  infrastructure  map  oil  pipeline  politics  protests  state department 

  9. From leadnow.ca:

Environment Minister Peter Kent is about to announce  new rules for coal power that will require any new plant to drastically  cut its pollution. But the coal industry is trying to cheat, and build a massive coal power plant just before the new rules take effect.
Maxim Power’s new coal plant would pump out three million tonnes of pollution per year - which is like adding 600,000 cars to Canada’s roads. It is the only new coal power plant being proposed in Canada, and it’s far more dirty and dangerous than the new rules will allow.
Minister Kent needs to make a choice right now: is he  going to keep his own government’s promise to put real limits on coal  pollution? Or, will he hand Maxim Coal a free pass to pollute our air  and our climate for decades?
In June 2010 the federal government promised Canadians they would  phase out conventional coal in Canada. Then-Environment Minister Jim  Prentice made a clear commitment: “We will guard against any rush to  build non-compliant coal plants on the interim.” Yet the coal industry is now doing just that - rushing to break ground to avoid taking responsibility for its pollution.
The coal industry knows there’s no way this plant can meet Canada’s new environmental standards. That’s why they’re trying to sneak in under the wire and lock-in this polluting mega project before the new rules take  effect. Alberta’s utilities regulator just fast-tracked approval of the  500 megawatt plant, skipping public consultation completely to help Maxim Power evade the new federal regulations. But expert analysis of Alberta’s power sources shows Alberta does not need any new coal power plants. The province can easily keep the lights on with conservation and smart investments in renewable energy.
Over forty of Canada’s First Nations, environmental, faith,  business, and public interest groups just launched a challenge to  Minister Kent. This campaign has widespread support, and now it  needs direct people power to back it up. Minister Kent is making his  decision now - he needs to hear from Canadians like you.

 Alberta OK’s coal power plant, angering eco groups - CBC
Coal power plant races against regulation - The Globe and Mail

    From leadnow.ca:

    Environment Minister Peter Kent is about to announce new rules for coal power that will require any new plant to drastically cut its pollution. But the coal industry is trying to cheat, and build a massive coal power plant just before the new rules take effect.

    Maxim Power’s new coal plant would pump out three million tonnes of pollution per year - which is like adding 600,000 cars to Canada’s roads. It is the only new coal power plant being proposed in Canada, and it’s far more dirty and dangerous than the new rules will allow.

    Minister Kent needs to make a choice right now: is he going to keep his own government’s promise to put real limits on coal pollution? Or, will he hand Maxim Coal a free pass to pollute our air and our climate for decades?

    In June 2010 the federal government promised Canadians they would phase out conventional coal in Canada. Then-Environment Minister Jim Prentice made a clear commitment: “We will guard against any rush to build non-compliant coal plants on the interim.” Yet the coal industry is now doing just that - rushing to break ground to avoid taking responsibility for its pollution.

    The coal industry knows there’s no way this plant can meet Canada’s new environmental standards. That’s why they’re trying to sneak in under the wire and lock-in this polluting mega project before the new rules take effect. Alberta’s utilities regulator just fast-tracked approval of the 500 megawatt plant, skipping public consultation completely to help Maxim Power evade the new federal regulations. But expert analysis of Alberta’s power sources shows Alberta does not need any new coal power plants. The province can easily keep the lights on with conservation and smart investments in renewable energy.

    Over forty of Canada’s First Nations, environmental, faith, business, and public interest groups just launched a challenge to Minister Kent. This campaign has widespread support, and now it needs direct people power to back it up. Minister Kent is making his decision now - he needs to hear from Canadians like you.

    Alberta OK’s coal power plant, angering eco groups - CBC

    Coal power plant races against regulation - The Globe and Mail

     

     Conservatives  Energy  Tories  coal  environment  Peter Kent 

  10. From the UTNE Reader:

    In 1998 Holy Wisdom became the first Catholic monastery in the country to become ecumenical, extending full membership to single women of all Christian traditions—not just Roman Catholics. And in 2010 the sisters’ new monastery became one of the greenest buildings in the nation, earning Platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification from the U.S. Green Building Council—an honor awarded to fewer than 5 percent of LEED-certified buildings.

    From the “green” roofs to the 100 percent recyclable carpet, every nook and cloister of the building embodies the women’s commitment to “use what we need, but not more than that.” High-performance windows and solar tubes grace interior spaces with bright, natural light, while photovoltaic panels generate 15 percent of the building’s energy. Buried 300 feet beneath the parking lot—which is itself lit by solar-powered lights and paved with runoff-reducing cement—39 geothermal wells harness the earth’s natural temperatures to provide the monastery with efficient, year-round heating and cooling. And when the weather outside is pleasant, the central air-conditioning shuts off and residents automatically receive an email inviting them to open their windows.

    The sisters made sure that the environment was considered throughout the process, not just in the end product. Instead of demolishing the old building and carting the mess to the dump, the sisters carefully deconstructed it so materials such as fiber-optic cables and organ pipes could be reused. “As we took the building down with care and reverence, it prepared us to put up a new building with the same care and reverence,” says Sister Joanne.

     

     environment 

  11. From the Toronto Star:

    David Suzuki, Canada’s most famous environmentalist, is urging Ontarians to re-elect Premier Dalton McGuinty this fall to save the Liberals’ “groundbreaking” green energy policies.

    In an exclusive interview with the Star, Suzuki made a rare foray into partisan politics, warning it is “absolute insanity” for Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak to want to scrap wind and solar power initiatives that the Tories claim are too expensive.

    “I don’t get it, because it’s a job creator — I would have thought that the Conservatives would be banging away at the need to create jobs,” the host of CBC’s The Nature of Things said during a stroll with McGuinty in Stanley Park on Wednesday.

    “Ontario right now is a leader in North America. Why would anybody come in and throw that out the window? It doesn’t make any sense.”

    Suzuki expressed concern at Hudak’s pledge to kill the “feed-in tariff” subsidy program that promotes green electricity generation by enabling farmers and other producers to sell hydro, wind, and solar power to the grid.

     

     Ontario  politics  environment  David Suzuki  Liberals  Conservatives 

  12. From Wayne Roberts:

    One nice thing about early posting of the fixed date for Ontario’s upcoming election (October 6, don’t you know?) is that the delay offers lots of time to dump stupidities without too many people noticing.

    The NDP would be smart to use the head start to bury their promise to phase out the harmonized sales tax on car fuel, home heating and electricity.

    […]

    In the NDP plan, Ontario residents would pay $1 billion less in energy taxes by 2015. Since the tax cut isn’t targeted, that annual billion-dollar windfall would apply equally to rich and poor – with one difference. The rich plug in more appliances, fill more tanks of oversized SUVs and heat more spacious and luxurious homes, and therefore would bag a bigger tax cut than the middle class.

    By contrast, the NDP pledge to freeze public transit fares and top up public transit operating costs – matters of greatest relevance to those facing inequity in travel costs and transit subsidies – gets budgeted little more than a third, $375 million, of the money lost to taxes on energy consumption. 

    The “you deserve a tax break today” approach to government borrows too much from ultra-conservative theory and practice. Traditionally, New Democrats identified a positive role for government, doing things for communities that individuals can’t do alone, like pooling the costs of health care, using public purchasing to encourage local sustainable farming or installing energy conservation equipment in seniors’ homes to reduce their energy bills.

    Government by tax cut reduces the power of government to fund programs in the public interest. Yet NDP tax cutters claim that an NDP government will be able to cap fuel prices set by the biggest companies in the world. Realistically, oil prices will only be capped when demand shrinks significantly thanks to either conservation or renewable fuels. 

    Energy tax cuts give no break whatsoever to those who conserve, and no premium to those who use renewable fuels. In this way, they indirectly support the high demand that keeps prices up.

     

     Ontario  politics  NDP  environment  energy  Andrea Horwath 

  13. Dale Marshall, climate change policy analyst at David Suzuki Foundation:

    Environmentally minded people and parties understand that higher energy prices can provide an additional incentive for people and businesses to conserve energy and invest in energy efficiency. Parties also understand that there’s political gold in proposing to bring down energy prices. Unfortunately, like the Ontario Progressive Conservatives, the NDP allowed politics to rule over good policy. After all, it is difficult to justify the removal of $2.8 billion in taxes on fossil fuels such as oil and gasoline. What a way to spend tax dollars!

     

     ontario  politics  environment  NDP 

  14.  

     Canada  oil  environment 

  15. From Inhabitat:

    Last year, in the midst of the Deepwater Horizon crisis in the Gulf of Mexico, we wrote about a study that said that microbes in the Gulf had consumed a lot of the rogue oil plume caused by the disaster. Now a group of scientists have joined together to argue against those findings. They have published a comment in the May 27th issue of the journal Science that points out flaws in the original study and other data from oil and methane leaks around the world that prove microbes in the ocean aren’t capable of consuming large quantities of oil or methane.

     

     environment  oil  Deepwater Horizon