Depending on where you are, it's been getting hotter, colder, drier, wetter, stormier. Indeed, the changes, particularly the intensity of heatwaves and droughts, have been occurring faster than many scientists predicted. And that's made it a bit easier to feel there is something real about climate change.
The National Energy Board (NEB), Canada's chief energy regulator, has come out with a new report projecting energy development in Canada out to 2035. The potential for growth (and economic benefits to Canadians) is massive, but the NEB shares our concerns that the potential for bottlenecks and infrastructure short-falls imperil this projected growth.
Areas of Earth that have remained relatively free of industrial development have taken on a special significance. In Canada, they include awe-inspiring landscapes like the Sacred Headwaters in northwestern B.C. But the Sacred Headwaters is not protected under law. It remains at risk from a multitude of proposed mines, railways, transmission lines and other projects that will eviscerate the landscape if approved.
This weekend's tragic rail disaster in Lac Megantic, Quebec should serve as a reminder that there is no completely safe method of transporting oil, gas and other volatile substances. There are just magnitudes of risk. Canada and, especially, the U.S., need to curb carbon emissions and step away from their addiction to fossil fuels. But will blocking new pipelines in the U.S. or across Canada lead to a faster end to this addiction? Or will it simply lead to the substitution of rail transport -- by most measures relatively safe, but statistically not as safe as pipelines? These are valid questions on both sides of the border and ones brought into sharp focus by Lac Megantic.
I don't know anything about bulls, and bears, candlesticks or hanging men, but as a resident of the Middle East I can testify that green technologies make nations and communities proud to be part of them. Green technologies make places better. Solar projects change people too: they bring jobs, and sweep away pollution. They give security to people without energy security.
As I write this thousands of people are gathered in Victoria, B.C. risking arrest to send a clear message that Canada's west coast is united in opposition to the expansion of tar sands pipelines and tanker traffic. There is no one size-fits-all solution to environmental issues, but that's exactly what PowerShift is all about.
This fall, hundreds of youth will come together in Ottawa for a weekend of education, training, networking and more to empower our generation to build the movement we need for a just and sustainable future. Called PowerShift, this is both a gathering but also a call for what Canada desperately needs. We need to shift the way we power our society and give people the power to build the future they want. Don't believe me? Here are 10 reasons Canada is in desperate need of a PowerShift.
During this past week Arctic sea ice retreated to all-time lows, shattering the previous record set in 2007 by an area roughly the size of (ironically) Alberta. This past week, the much-anticipated new and improved federal regulations on greenhouse gas emissions from coal-fired electricity plants leaked out. To no one's surprise, they are significantly weakened from what we had been told to expect.
A confidential memo proposing a massive fossil-fuel corporation funded campaign to build opposition against wind power was uncovered this week. As our transition to using windmills, solar panels and electric vehicles gains momentum, it's easy to see how peddlers of oil and coal might be freaked out. What if we don't want to buy what they are selling anymore?
Canadians are generally an obedient lot, so what gives with the plan of a group of Canadians to block Warren Buffett's coal trains near Vancouver this Saturday? Those on the train tracks and those standing up for alternatives to the tar sands, while maybe considered radical, might just be the new responsible.