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The B.C. provincial government has been throwing around some big numbers and promises with the planned expansion of natural gas operations, but one large number missing in the discussion is the millions of tonnes of heat-trapping methane gas they are not reporting in official government documents. And, with the planned expansion of natural gas extraction and exports, B.C.'s climate targets are set to rise by as much as 25 per cent, or the equivalent of adding three million cars to our province's roads.
Any socially transformative movement gets to a point where it needs to be fully embraced by the people it impacts. The green power movement within Canada is at just such a point. The past decade has seen an increase in the number of options available to Canadians to support renewable energy -- often associated with a premium cost to the consumer.
Newly appointed U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet on Friday with his Canadian counterpart, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. If I were advising Kerry, I would suggest one question he should ask of John Baird to see if he is an honest broker. The question is: "Is Canada committed to confronting climate change?"
Church Point, a little-known dot on the map in rural southern Nova Scotia, isn't exactly a tourist hotspot. But for sustainability nerds it's an unexpected haven. It's home to St. Anne University, or Université Sante Anne as it's called in French and it may be the greenest little university in Canada.
If Alberta devotes even a portion of the brains, money and time it devoted to turning the oilsands into a useable resource to doing the same with solar, we might be onto something. Alberta has certainly taken a lot of black eyes for the way it develops its non-renewable resources, developing it's other greatest natural resource might be a way to address them.
Following so closely on the heels of the horrific droughts and wildfires of this past summer, Hurricane Sandy should be making it abundantly clear to all of us what lies ahead if we don't get serious about reversing climate change. Climate change is changing our weather patterns, often making weather more extreme.
The slow sway of the oilfield pumpjack, or nodding donkey as some call it, is one of the most familiar sights in Alberta. Drive around long enough and they become just another part of the landscape. But a small, innovative company based in Edmonton, Alberta named Canadian Control Works is re-imagining pumpjacks as green micro-generators. A pumpjack is like an iceberg. The vast majority of it is hidden, mysterious and out of sight. Underneath the pumpjack there are two to three kilometers of rod string which can weigh between five and 10 tons. Moving that weight requires a lot of electricity. Canadian Control Works is the group behind the Enersaver, a device which generates electricity from otherwise wasted kinetic energy created by the downswing of a pumpjack.
It might actually be easier to fit a camel through the eye of a needle than to find investments that not only produce a healthy return but also contribute to a better society. Enter Solar Bonds from SolarShare in Ontario. The investment side is solid. A $1,000 bond has a return of five per cent for five years. The kicker? That money is invested in getting solar energy projects up and running in Ontario.
According to lobbyist registry data, there are currently 57 lobbyists representing the natural gas industry to elected officials and government agencies in the province of British Columbia. This is a pretty astounding number when you consider that the provincial government only consists of 85 elected representatives.
Alberta and Ontario are, from an outsider's perspective, remarkably similar. Their residents sing the same anthem, they drink the same double-double's and a vast number of people in both places live vicariously through the local hockey team. But in one key aspect Ontario is practically another world. It has embraced renewable energy like nowhere else in North America.
Just yesterday we saw a huge pipeline spill in northwest Alberta dumping 22,000 barrels of oil and water into the surrounding wilderness. And how could we forget that 19,500 barrels of oil our little baby spilled into Michigan's Kalamazoo River? Now, of course the tar sands have a long way to go -- in many ways he is still just a clumsy teenager, tripping over himself.