Connecting extreme weather events with climate change isn't exactly a new thing; from Hurricane Sandy to the California droughts, it's a conversation that goes hand in hand with every natural disaster, and it's usually handled in a reasonable fashion. So how did the climate conversation around the still-raging Fort McMurray wildfire that destroyed thousands of homes become so befuddling-ly messed up?
Clark said the power from the Site C dam could potentially provide electricity to Alberta -- where the government has recently committed to closing all of its coal-powered energy plants. Clark's suggestion that Site C may power the oilsands shines a spotlight on the B.C. government's ever-changing rationale for building the project.
The Alberta government clearly has a reason for wanting to facilitate the export of more oil and gas via the proposed TransCanada Energy East and Kinder Morgan Trans-Mountain pipelines. But the NDP committed in its election platform to implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and to "work with Alberta Indigenous Peoples to build a relationship of trust and ensure respectful consultation."
In a recent panel discussion, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna assured Albertans that the Liberal government would not risk damaging "national unity" by acting quickly on climate change. For some, her comment begs the question: when exactly will the Liberals be ready to start acting on their emissions reductions targets?
High in the trees that have been growing in the Walbran Valley on Vancouver Island for up to 1,000 years, unique colonies of insects and invertebrates are thriving. However, new plans to log Central Walbran, outside of borders of Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park, are once again threatening a unique and vital ecosystem.
The group of countries, known as the Climate Vulnerability Forum, argues current efforts to limit global temperature rise to two degrees Celsius is insufficient to protect many nations from the dangers of climate change. The leaders say lives, rights and the prosperity of billions are at stake in the globally agreed temperature limit.
For more than two decades, Mark Jaccard has been penning "report cards" about Canada's environmental track record. The results haven't been pretty. His annual evaluations were harnessed in the mid-2000s by Stephen Harper as arguments for why the Conservatives deserved a shot at governing the country. Jaccard's latest report card, released on October 6, concludes the Conservative Party has since "implemented virtually no policies that would materially reduce emissions" despite making significant emissions pledges for 2020 and 2050. Jaccard concludes the absence of such actions shows "they must have had no intention" of dealing with climate change.
Alaskans emphasize they are not against resource extraction, provided there are adequate environmental and financial safeguards, but believe Canada's record -- most recently illustrated by the Mount Polley mine tailings dam collapse -- shows that B.C.'s regulations are not strong enough to protect downstream communities.
By now, it's an almost entirely predictable routine: a celebrity takes a tour of the Alberta oilsands for a day or two and quickly harnesses apocalyptic rhetoric in press conferences to detail the experience. Chagrined industry spokespeople lash out. News coverage dissipates after a few days. Rinse and repeat.
If the recent frufrah over NDP candidate Linda McQuaig's comment that "a lot of the oilsands oil may have to stay in the ground" is indicative of anything, it's that Canada's election cycle is in full spin. May all reasonableness and sensible dialogue and accountability be damned. Perhaps that's the blunt and singular reason behind the Conservative Party and Stephen Harper's outrage at McQuaig's entirely non-contentious assertion that, because of our international commitments to curtail global climate change, Canada won't exploit the entirety of its oil reserves.