Jan. 12 ’21 Kootenay CarShare 20th birthday, dissecting federal climate plan

As discussed last week, in December the federal government made a number of announcements on its climate policy. To get more details and analysis, we’ll talk to Mitchell Beer from TheEnergyMix.com about the federal climate plans.

The Kootenay Carshare Coop, the sponsor of the EcoCentric each week, is turning 20 years old this year.  And there’s lots going on, a special electric car weekend getaway contest and a new peer to peer Air Car share.   The CarShare Coops coordinator Colleen Doyle tells us more.



Tickets for Jan 14 Mir Centre Cindy Blackstock:


VIDEO The Six Steps: World Scientists’ Warning of A Climate Emergency.

EcoCentric’s Environment News for the week of January 12, 2021

Last week, Rossland City Council unanimously adopted the West Kootenay 100% Renewable Energy Plan on Monday evening.

It’s the third local government to adopt the 100% renewable energy plan that they have been collaborating on with eight other West Kootenay local governments and the West Kootenay EcoSociety. The renewable energy plan aims to save people money, make Rossland healthier and safer, support a stronger local economy and lower carbon pollution.

Rossland Mayor Kathy Moore said she is am confident that by working together our region can continue to lead the way towards a low carbon future by implementing the plan.” 

Actions in the plan that Rossland has identified as priorities include:

• Developing an electric vehicle charging strategy

• Supporting residents and builders to increase efficiency in new and existing buildings

• Establishing and improving the trail network within Rossland, and between Rossland, Warfield and Trail

• Participating in regional organics composting


Nelson City Council decided to put off a decision to require more energy-efficient housing, just days after passing the Nelson Next plan for climate that specifically called for improving housing efficiency.  Nelson is slated to move to Step 3 in the BC Building Code which would make homes and buildings much less wasteful of heat energy particularly.  That would still happen after Council and staff review concerns raised by contractors.  Meanwhile the Nelson Star reports that the City’s building inspector, Sam Ellison, told Council, building to the Step Three standard is not much more expensive. Most new houses are built at Step 3 now, he said, “it seems to be what the people want.”


In December the Canadian government made several policy climate announcements and among the most prominent details is on how much the federal government plans to raise the carbon tax on greenhouse gas emissions, which is moving to $50 per tonne in 2022.

Under the new plan, that price will continue to rise by $15 each year starting in 2023 until it hits $170 per tonne in 2030. The rebates Canadians get will also rise, and  move from an annual payment to quarterly payments

“The increasing price will make cleaner options more affordable and discourage pollution-intensive investments,” the government says in the 79-page plan.

The current price on carbon translates to Canadians paying roughly an extra 2.3 cents per litre of gasoline, which is set to rise to an extra 12 cents per litre under the $50 per tonne pricing in 2022.

Government officials speaking on background on Friday said the increase in the carbon tax after 2022 would translate to an increase of roughly 27.6 cents per litre from 2022 costs.

That means Canadians can expect to pay roughly an extra 39.6 cents per litre of gasoline by 2030.

Also included in the plan is a $3-billion fund for industry to help Canadian companies lower their carbon emissions by implementing things like carbon capture technologies.


One of the outgoing President Donald Trump’s moves, a gift he thought to the oil industry, was to open up  the ecologically fragile Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to exploration. The move was widely-criticized, and now it turns out the oil industry didn’t have much stomach for it either.

The sale of new oil and gas exploration leases in produced only a fraction of the revenue or industry that Trump’s administration expected. They were looking for  $900 million in lease land sale.

But in the end, the auction produced only $14 million, bidders only showed interest in 11 of the 22 tracts, and the state itself bought nine of the 11 leases, in the unlikely hope of eventually subletting the land to actual developers at some point in the future.


Information released this week by the province shows about one-third of the Oldman North provincial recreation area, a campground north of the Crowsnest Pass, is covered by an exploration lease granted last August to Elan Coal Ltd.  This is an area I know well, in the foothills, my old stomping grounds since I was a child.

Elan’s plans show a mine pit almost on the border of Oldman North recreation area. 

Maps compiled by environmentalists show four other areas—Livingstone Falls, Honeymoon Creek, Dutch Creek, and Racehorse—have become islands in a sea of coal exploration leases. 

Exploration typically involves drilling and road building. Mine construction would only happen if the company decides to go ahead and after a review by the Alberta government.


Parts of British Columbia could see massive losses if the province doesn’t start planning for flooding as ocean waters rise and storms surge because of climate change, according to UBC researcher Kees Lokman, a professor of landscape architecture and head of the university’s coastal adaptation lab.

B.C. lacks a much-needed overarching authority to oversee coastal flood management and ecosystem conservation, Lokman says.

The majority of B.C. residents live within a few kilometres of the province’s coastline, with more than 60% living in the Lower Mainland. 

Sea levels in the region are expected to rise around half a metre by 2050 and one metre by 2100, according to a report commissioned by the B.C. Environment Ministry in 2013.  Coastlines in Atlantic Canada may be even more sensitive to encroaching ocean waters.


Two northern resident killer whale families brought along a baby as they returned for the first time in 20 years to their traditional winter foraging grounds in British Columbia waters. 

Jared Towers, a scientist with the Fisheries Department, said he spotted the group, collectively known as A5, this week in the Broughton Archipelago, where they once fed on chinook salmon before being driven out by deafening acoustic “harassment devices” installed by fish farms.

They were meant to deter sea lions and seals, but the noise also kept orcas out of the territory that they have now reclaimed, said Towers.  The devices were removed several years ago because of their negative impact on killer whales.

“They just stopped using the area altogether for over two decades and now it’s a sign of hope that they’re revisiting these territories and perhaps feel safe enough going back into those waters,” he said of the group of islands near Alert Bay.

Towers said he saw nine whales, including a calf that appeared to be about a week old, alongside its mother, Midsummer; great-great-aunt Corky; and great-uncle Fife.


British Columbia’s energy minister says he has received the report on the status of the Site C dam project and will soon present its findings to cabinet.

But Minister Bruce Ralston would not make the key report public, and said the cabinet had to review it first.   He said the report by former deputy finance minister Peter Milburn is “helpful.”  

The BC NDP asked Milburn last July to conduct a review of the hydroelectric project after BC Hydro reported concerns about project risks, construction delays and rising costs on the dam.  THe dam was estimated at $10.7 billion in 2018, but current speculation is it will go billions higher.

Geotechnical concerns about soil stability to anchor the dam and reservoir have been mentionned frequently.  Although early reports on the site flagged the stability issue, construction has apparently turned up bigger problems that could make costs go far higher.

During last fall’s election campaign, the NDP and John Horgan said they were revisiting the Site C decision, one of the most controversial problems faced by the NDP. 

Campaigners across BC, and Canada have called on the government to cut billions in losses and cancel the project.  Shortly after the NDP announced it was going ahead with Site C, in neighbouring Alberta government announced plans to buy huge amounts of elecrity for wind and solar project, at far cheaper rates than Site C can provide.



Wondering about all the headlines about arctic warming, and hottest year ever and catastropic weather events?  It turns out the climate emergency has arrived and is accelerating more rapidly than most scientists anticipated, and many of them are deeply concerned. The effects of climate change are much more severe than expected, and now threaten both the biosphere and humanity.

Scientists now find that catastrophic climate change could render a significant portion of the Earth uninhabitable consequent to continued high emissions, self-reinforcing climate feedback loops and looming tipping points.



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