Jan 19 2021, Kootenay climate plans overview, environmental veganism, Corb Lund on Alberta coal mines

EcoCentric host Keith Wiley loves the front ranges of Alberta’s Rockies,
now being explored for mammoth coal mines.

Nelson City Council recently adopted another climate change plan, Nelson Next.  It had earlier voted for the 100% Renewable Kootenay goal for 2050.  Is Nelson Next a step toward the goal? Montana Burgess, of the West Kootenay EcoSociety talks us through it.

We hear often about how meat production causes greenhouse gas emissions and eating no meat or less meat is an important environmental act. Nelson nutritionist Dr. Pamela Fergusson offers pointers and recently published Vegan 101, a guide for people looking to move toward veganism. She tells us about easy ways to change.

The Alberta government last year lifted a decades-old moratorium on coal mines in major Alberta watersheds. Alberta country rocker Corb Lund is taking issue with the plan and speaking publicly about it. He recently posted a pointed rant about it on Facebook.  We’ll have a listen.

Listen to the Jan 19 ’21 EcoCentric or download it here:


PamelaFergusson.com   Vegan recipes and much more.

https://westkootenayrenewableenergy.ca/.  The West Kootenay community’s plan to go 100% renewable by 2050.

Facebook:  Corb Lund… find his 6 minute video speech there.

Environment News for Jan 19 2021

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last week announced that Canada would commit up to $55 million to a United Nations initiative aimed at preventing further degradation of land and protecting vital ecosystems.

The investment will go toward projects in low- and middle-income countries. These are private sector land sustainability projects to restore land degraded by environmental damage and human activity.

“When sea levels rise, when droughts become the norm and not the exception, this has catastrophic effects on national habitats,” Trudeau told the virtual One Planet Summit.

The summit was hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron in cooperation with the UN and the World Bank.  It was aimed at creating momentum for action on climate change and biodiversity — progress that has slowed as governments focus on containing the coronavirus pandemic.



The Arctic is widely polluted by microplastic fibres that most likely come from the washing of synthetic clothes by people in Europe and North America, research has found.

The most comprehensive study to date found the microplastics in 96 of 97 sea water samples taken from across the polar region. More than 92 per cent of the microplastics were fibres, and 73 per cent of these were made of polyester and were the same width and colours as those used in clothes. Most of the samples were taken from three to eight metres below the surface, where much marine life feeds.

Other recent analysis estimated that 3,500tn plastic microfibres from clothes washing in the U.S. and Canada ended up in the sea each year.  Scientists showed modelling that showed how plastic dumped in the seas around the U.K. was carried to the Arctic within two years.



Each year the Provincial Government acquires new lands for parks and protected areas. These acquisitions are often augmented by individuals, corporations and conservation groups. the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy spent $6,779,350 on land acquisition in 2019-20, acquiring over 650 ha.   In the Kootenays, the land purchase added just 18 hectares to the Purcell Wilderness Conservancy with purchase of a lot at Birchdale on the east short of Kootenay Lake.  The larger Mt Willet packages that local groups wanted protected on the east shore from Birchdale to Argenta was NOT mentioned.

Another purchase was in Valhalla Provincial Park where the government bought a 32 hectare parcel with a trap line and private land west of Slocan Village. The inholding was purchased for $175 000.



The B.C. government has commissioned two expert reports to determine if BC Hydro’s proposed solution to the Site C dam’s geotechnical problems is safe, Premier John Horgan disclosed at a press conference on Thursday.

Horgan said the government will not make a decision about whether or not to cancel the publicly funded hydro project on B.C.’s Peace River until it has the two reports in hand. 

The Premier said there are several “decision points ahead” for cabinet, but did not elaborate on what they are or when the safety reports may be delivered. 

BC Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau said she was very surprised by Horgan’s “almost off the cuff” news that BC Hydro had proposed a new solution to the dam’s geotechnical problems and that the government had commissioned two safety reports to review it.

Horgan did not provide any information about the proposed solution, and BC Hydro has failed to file two quarterly reports with the B.C. Utilities Commission that would typically include such information. 


The UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) has expressed regret that work continues on the Coastal GasLink pipeline, the Trans Mountain pipeline and the Site C dam without the free, prior and informed consent of Indigenous Peoples. 

A letter from the committee to Leslie Norton, Canada’s permanent representative to the UN office in Geneva, says the federal government “has provided no information” on any measures it has taken to address concerns raised in the committee’s December 2019 decision statement — which included a request that work on all three projects be immediately suspended until consent is granted.


In its two-page decision statement, the UN committee urged Canada to immediately cease the forced eviction of Wet’suwet’en Peoples who oppose the Coastal GasLink pipeline and Secwépemc Peoples opposed to the Trans Mountain pipeline, to prohibit the use of lethal weapons —  notably by the RCMP — against Indigenous Peoples and to guarantee no force will be used against them. It also urged the federal government to withdraw the RCMP, along with associated security and policing services, from Indigenous lands. 


The federal government approved three new fossil exploration projects off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador last week. Environmental groups charged the chane will put Canada’s climate targets out of reach and will trigger higher carbon dioxide and methane emissions.

“Expanding the offshore oil industry would make it virtually impossible for the province, or Canada, to meet its climate commitments,” said Julia Levin, climate and energy program manager at Environmental Defence. “The approval of three offshore exploration drilling projects highlights a lack of a framework for aligning energy decisions with what must be done to tackle the climate crisis.”


In a huge win for small farmers and Native communities, Mexican president Andrés Manuel López Obrador closed out 2020 by issuing a decree that will phase out the use of the herbicide glyphosate and genetically modified (GM) corn in the country by 2024.

The order was activated on January 1, 2021, and gives private companies until January 2024 to replace glyphosate with sustainable, culturally appropriate alternatives to “safeguard human health, the country’s biocultural diversity, and the environment.”


To follow a 1.5°C-consistent pathway, the world will need to decrease fossil fuel production by roughly 6% per year between 2020 and 2030. Countries are instead planning and projecting an average annual increase of 2%, which by 2030 would result in more than double the production consistent with the 1.5°C limit.

Between 2020 and 2030, global coal, oil, and gas production would have to decline annually by 11%, 4%, and 3%, respectively, to be consistent with a 1.5°C pathway. But government plans and projections indicate an average 2% annual increase for each fuel.

This translates to a production gap similar to that estimated in the 2019 report, with countries aiming to produce 120% and 50% more fossil fuels by 2030 than would be consistent with limiting global warming to 1.5°C or 2°C, respectively.



Troubling news from the Financial Post on global LNG prices, which had been atrock bottom since the beginning of March 2020. 

But record cold in Europe — where warmer countries like Spain had some of the lowest recorded temperature in history last week — and Asia have pushed up demand for LNG around the world and prices have increased by 15%.

The surge represents an 18-fold increase from the all-time low for the commodity less than nine months ago because of COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns.


“LNG prices have had a roller coaster year,” said Richard Holtum, global head of LNG and gas at Trafigura Group. “This is evidence of the increased seasonality and volatility” for the fuel increasingly used together with renewables.



The Alberta government’s inquiry into alleged foreign-funded campaigns against the province’s energy sector has released some of its research reports.  The inquiry spent approximately $97,560 commissioning reports that critics say downplay the climate crisis and border on ]conspiracy talk.

The reports were posted to the website of the Public Inquiry Into Funding of Anti-Alberta Energy Campaigns last week. The inquiry’s website says the reports don’t represent “findings or positions taken by the inquiry.”

One report by historian T. J. Nemeth claims a “transnational progressive movement” of environmental groups are seeking to “fundamentally transform the western industrial capitalist economic system” in an “international assault” on Alberta’s energy industry.

“The spark or catalyst for an acceleration of this Great Transformation has been the coronavirus pandemic of 2020,” Nemeth wrote.

Energy In Depth, a project by U.S. oil and gas lobby group Independent Petroleum Association of America, also contributed a report. It argues that environmental activists have been given a “free pass” by news media, and that energy producers face them on an “uneven playing field.”

The $3.5-million independent probe was started in 2019m, after a campaign promise from Premier Jason Kenney. It is supposed to show environmental groups used foreign funds to campaign against Alberta oil and gas while allowing fossil fuel production to expand in the Middle East and United States.



It has s been almost a year since the wave of blockades in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en land defenders known as Shut Down Canada. Since then, there has been no shortage of urgent issues, and public attention has moved on.

There are currently at least sixty people still facing serious criminal charges from the raids on Wet’suwet’en territory and the solidarity movement. These actions involved thousands of people in every province of the country.

In January 2020, solidarity actions began as the RCMP prepared another offensive against the decade-long reclamation of Wet’suwet’en territory. When the raid started in earnest in early February, Mohawks at Tyendinaga launched a rail blockade shutting down traffic between Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal. Rail disruption immediately became the preferred tactic for the movement and in the coming weeks, long-term, Indigenous-led blockades occurred as well in Kahnawake, Listuguj, Six Nations and New Hazelton. Shorter (and sometimes repeat) blockades happened in Halifax, Toronto, Victoria, Vancouver, Magnetewan, Coquitlam, Hamilton, Morris, Saint-Pascal, Edmonton, Saint-Lambert, Kamloops, Saskatoon, Elsipogtog, Saguenay, and across the border in Washington state. Demonstrations and road blockades occurred in many places as well.


Most British Columbians would like to see the provincial government invest in clean energy rather than LNG according to a new survey from Stratcom and Clean Energy Canada. A strong majority think the province should prioritize combating climate change,

Most British Columbians (61%) would like to see the government focus more on developing renewables such as hydroelectricity, hydrogen and clean technology, while fewer than one-quarter (22%) prefer a focus on LNG.

An even stronger majority (79%) say the government should include emissions requirements for all future LNG developments in line with its climate plan and 2030 pollution target—even if this makes them costlier and potentially less likely to happen. Only 9% disagree.

Almost one in five British Columbians (18%) think that combating climate change should be the government’s top priority, while 43% believe it should be among the top priorities. Only 11% think it should be considered less of a priority and that the government should deal with other issues first.

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