April 6, ’21. Update on 100% Renewable Kootenays, how to discuss climate, new renewable energy institute

LISTEN OR DOWNLOAD THE MP3 of the FULL EPISODE:

We get an update from Montana Burgess Executive Director of the West Kootenay EcoSociety on the 100% Renewable Kootenays campaign and her take on other hot button environment news.  Last week a new working body on renewable energy started up as well, the Columbia Institute for Renewable Energy Society. Drawing from people and resources in the larger Kootenay Columbia region, it aims to push adoption of clean energy as well. We talk with one of the directors, Allan Early. 

Our society is getting increasingly fractured and polarized.  People have wildly diverging opinions on how to handle the pandemic, politics and so much more, including the climate crisis.  After years of disinformation on the climate problem from some of the biggest corporate powers in the world, the oil industry, we find our society quite divided on how dangerous the climate crisis really is.   It can be difficult just to have a reasonable discussion on the topic.  Yael Finer in Nelson is working to bridge the gap, to get people talking about climate, and to get us more unified in facing up to the crisis. How can we talk to each other on the subject deeply affected by denial?

Climate Strike Fridays for Future West Kootenay

April 9th Friday at 2 PM PDT – 2 PM PDT at Nelson City Hall.

Join us for the next major global climate strike! Please wear a mask and observe social distancing. Look forward to seeing you! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to send us a message!

350.org launches CLIMATE EMERGENCY ALLIANCE

April 9th Friday at 2 PM PDT Online.

is holding a kick-off event for a campaign that’s going to upend the political status quo in this country. 

RSVP to join us on April 9th at 2pm PT/ 5pm ET to kick-off our exciting new campaign in support of bold, ambitious climate action. 

Our planet can’t wait for Trudeau to start governing like we’re in a climate emergency. We need to break the Liberal climate delay vs. Conservative climate denial gridlock that is preventing us from acting at the scale this crisis demands. A Climate Emergency Alliance will elect more climate champions who can work together to pass bold legislation. Under our broken first-past-the-post voting system, climate delayers and deniers get elected in ridings where most people want bold climate action. By unifying the climate vote behind strong climate champions, this Alliance helps elect enough leaders to pass the kind of legislation we need.

ENVIRONMENT NEWS

The World Resources Institute is warning that deforestation in the tropics jumped sharply by 12% in 2020. 

The group estimated that in last year alone, 10 Million acres of tropical forests were destroyed, an area approximately the size of Switzerland.

Brazil’s forested areas fared the worst, with 1.7m hectares destroyed, an increase of about a quarter on the previous year. A gap being attributed to the economic policies of Brazil’s Far-Right President Jair Bolsonaro, who has facilitated a massive increase in deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest.

The climate crisis is also considered an attributing factor to global deforestation, with humid forests drying out, causing trees to die off and fires to burn for longer, in a vicious cycle.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/mar/31/destruction-of-worlds-forests-increased-sharply-in-2020-loss-tree-cover-tropical

https://www.democracynow.org/2021/4/1/headlines/global_deforestation_increased_by_12_in_2020_with_amazon_most_severely_affected

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/mar/31/destruction-of-worlds-forests-increased-sharply-in-2020-loss-tree-cover-tropical

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A new study from BC researchers estimates that Canada will lose $11.9 billion because of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project

“The $11.9 billion loss to Canada is primarily due to a more than doubling of the Trans Mountain construction costs from the original $5.4 billion to $12.6 billion, combined with new climate policies just confirmed by the Supreme Court that will reduce the demand for oil,” lead author and SFU professor Thomas Gunton said in a press release.

The researchers suggest the government would be better off shelving the project entirely and using the funds to invest in alternative energy projects.

The researchers place the chance of a tanker spill at 43 to 75 per cent during a 50-year operating period, and included a risk-adjusted cost of $2.6 billion in the total estimated losses for the country.

Meanwhile, the ballooning price tag for construction means that the tolls charged to shippers for using the pipelines, which were agreed upon in 2017, will not come close to covering the capital costs. The tolls were set to cover $7.4 billion in costs — or about 59 per cent of the current estimate for construction.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/bc-trans-mountain-losses-sfu-study-1.5970802

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A recent European studied showed, people who cycled on a daily basis had 84% lower carbon emissions from all their daily travel than people who did not use bicycles to travel.

They also found that the average person who shifted from car to bike for just one day a week cut their carbon footprint by 3.2kg of CO₂ – equivalent to the emissions from driving a car for 10km, eating a serving of lamb or chocolate, or sending 800 emails.

When comparffing the life cycle of each travel mode, taking into account the carbon generated by making the vehicle, fuelling it and disposing of it, we found that emissions from cycling can be more than 30 times lower for each trip than driving a fossil fuel car, and about ten times lower than driving an electric one.

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Despite the difficulties associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, the world added a record amount of new renewable energy capacity in 2020, according to data released Monday by the International Renewable Energy Agency.

IRENA’s annual Renewable Capacity Statistics 2021 shows that global renewable energy capacity grew by more than 260 gigawatts (GW) last year, beating the previous record set in 2019 by nearly 50%. Last year marked the second consecutive year in which clean energy’s share of all new generating capacity increased substantially, with renewables accounting for over 80% of all new electricity capacity added in 2020.

At the same time growth in fossil fuelled electricity production slowed slightly last year.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/04/05/remarkable-story-resilience-and-hope-renewable-energy-smashes-records-2020

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Last Saturday, two Indigenous land defenders locked themselves to equipment at a TransMountain pipeline pumping station in British Columbia. They vowed to continue resisting the oil pipeline.

The pipeline protesters—self-described on social media as “accomplices” of the Braided Warriors and Tiny House Warriors—locked themselves to a crane at the TransMoutnain Blue River pumping station.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/04/03/we-will-not-stop-first-nations-land-defenders-take-direct-action-against-trans

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Climate justice campaigners with the youth-led Sunrise Movement are organizing online and in-person actions this week to demand U.S. congressional lawmakers back a federal jobs guarantee the group says will “be the backbone of building a just, sustainable, and people-centered new economy.”

Sunrise plans 65 town hall events nationwide as the group demands Washington sign the “Good Jobs for All” pledge.  They want a commitment to investing $10 trillion over the next decade to guarantee good jobs for all Americans and tackle the climate emergency with actions that match the scale of the crisis.

“On April 7th our movement is calling on every Member of Congress and Joe Biden to sign our Good Jobs for All Pledge to pass legislation that ensures a federal job guarantee to every American,” the group says.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2021/04/05/sunrise-plans-dozens-actions-nationwide-demand-jobs-guarantee-10-trillion

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The commercial fishing industry is massively destroying the world’s oceans in the pursuit of fish, according to a new documentary. Since its, the film Seaspiracy has gone viral and climbed to Netflix’s top ten across the globe. The exposé has motivated new investigation into the seafood industry’s claims and practices.

Seaspiracy says: Discarded plastic fishing gear accounts for most ocean debris and is killing whales and other animals;

The oceans will be emptied of fish in 27 years;

Safe seafood labels are compromised by “pay-to-play” profit structures and lack enforcement;

Overfishing is more damaging to the environment than deforestation;

Farmed fish are disease-ridden, pollution-creating and resource-intensive;

https://www.ecowatch.com/commercial-fishing-netflix-documentary-2651331648.html

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Australia’s leading scientists issued a major report on how the climate crisis will damage the planet. The report says the atmosphere is already “locked-in” for major changes and limiting global heating to 1.5C was now “virtually impossible”.

In what it described as a landmark report, the Australian Academy of Science painted a picture of what could happen to the country under 3C of global heating, including ecosystems made unrecognisable, food production being compromised and people’s ability to exist and survive in hotter and longer heatwaves regularly tested.

The central message? There is no time to wait.

‘Delay is as dangerous as denial’: scientists urge Australia to reach net zero emissions faster

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/apr/03/every-choice-matters-can-we-cling-to-hope-of-avoiding-15c-heating

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Scientist Suzanne Simard and colleagues recently reported to the Haida Gwaii Management Council that better managed and reduced forestry is essential to meet BCs climate targets.

British Columbia has committed to a 40% reduction in greenhouse gases by 2030 and 80% by 2050 as part of Canada’s commitment to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 

But BC’s emissions have been increasing annually, and more coming from forestry than all other sectors combined. In 2017, BC reported that annual emissions from fossil fuels had increased to 65 million tonnes of Carbon. By comparison, 2017 emissions from logging (removal of trees and woody debris, plus accelerated decomposition of forest floor and soil) were estimated as 42 million tonnes, and foregone carbon capture an additional 26.5 million tonnes, for a total of 68.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents added to the atmosphere annually from forestry practices alone. 

This has skyrocketed to 203 million tonnes with wildfires in recent years . While drastically reducing fossil fuel emissions to decarbonize the energy sector is essential, Canada cannot meet its commitments for carbon emission reductions without the provinces protecting carbon stocks in existing forests, or increasing sequestration capacity of managed forests . 

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A groundbreaking co-management decision by four First Nations and Fisheries and Oceans Canada will protect 17 crab harvesting sites on B.C.’s central coast for Indigenous food, social and ceremonial purposes starting April 1. 

After 14 years of collecting data and aligning Indigenous knowledge and fisheries science, the federal department and the four coastal first nations decided to close the commercial and recreational fisheries in those areas indefinitely. The decision was the first made as part of a collaborative governance framework that will guide future management decisions for several species in the region over the coming years.   

“There’s a lot riding on this type of decision-making,” Danielle Shaw, chief councillor of the Wuikinuxv Nation, said recently “If we can build a foundation from a more collaborative way of management, then it can really be a turning point for management of a lot of species across the country.”

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Canada’s environmental workforce grew by five per cent in 2020 — adding nearly 35,000 net new jobs — at the same the pandemic caused huge job losses across much of the economy.

That’s according to a new report from ECO Canada, which also forecasts thousands more environmental openings over the next five years.

ECO Canada is a national human resources group based in Calgary that tracks the green jobs market. Spokesperson Kevin Nilsen says tje sector is continuing to grow and continuing to broaden,”

ECO Canada’s count includes workers across various industries and occupations that drive or support environmental protection, resource management and sustainability. 

The report, released last week, says the environmental workforce added about 34,600 net new jobs last year, bringing the total to around 689,900 workers. The gains were largely driven by environmental employment in Ontario (35,704) and Quebec (11,460).

https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/new-green-jobs-added-1.5969629

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The Energy mix.com is reporting on retrofitting buildings as s key emission reduction strategy. Buildings “have a giant carbon footprint,” “Generating the power needed to run lights, heat, and air conditioning is responsible for more global emissions than the entire transportation sector. New buildings will be more efficient, but the reality is most of the buildings that will exist in 2050—when humanity’s carbon footprint needs to shrink to zero—already exist now. That means buildings will have to be renovated to become more efficient.”

In Canada, we haven’t done more building retrofits more quickly, has been the lack of effective business strategies and public policies directed at the financing and logistics end of the problem.  But, with post pandemic reinvestment coming, governments should have a leadership role in getting an industry moving that seems to have been stuck on one-by-one projects when this problem really needs an industrialized approach.

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