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Another old-logging protest blockaded Columbia Avenue in Castlegar, this one overnight June 12-13. Local activist Jamie Hunter reports. Mount Sentinel High School students want their school to support the energy transition with solar. The School District jumps in and its underway. The Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society pushing back against the invasive Japanese Knottweed, and other intruders Erin Bates explains.
The news of the discovery of 215 children’s bodies at the Kamloops residential school hit Canada hard. (Despite the fact the Truth and Reconciliation Report showed many more than 6,000 kids never came back from residential schools). Green Party MLA Adam Olsen made an impassioned statement on it in the BC Legislature and we have a clip from what some called one of the strongest statements ever in the Leg.
Environment News to June 15, 2021
Collated by Linn Murray
Global warming may have already passed an irreversible tipping point, according to the lead scientist of the biggest-ever expedition to the Arctic.
Presenting the first findings of the world’s largest mission to the North Pole, an expedition involving 300 scientists from 20 countries, Markus Rex said on Tuesday that the researchers had found that Arctic ice is retreating faster than ever before, warning that the arctic will likely see ice free summers in a matter of decades.
The expedition returned to Germany in October after 389 days in the arctic, bringing home devastating proof of a dying Arctic Ocean. The data collected during the expedition included readings on the atmosphere, ocean, sea ice and ecosystems.
The Group of 7 (G7) leaders summit in Cornwall, UK released a final statement that promised to achieve the Paris Agreement on climate change. They also promised to phase out financing for coal projects around the world.
But environmental organizations pointed out the leaders failed to follow the advice of the International Energy Agency and end all fossil fuel finance including oil and gas as well as coal.
Last week, over 100 Economists as well as over 350 civil society organizations released a pair of letters calling on G7 nations to end all fossil fuel finance.
The Keystone XL pipeline is dead. TC Energy, the Canadian company which owns the pipeline, announced last week that it is canceling the embattled project after years of delays, protests, and permit cancelations.
On his first day in office, United States President Joe Biden canceled a key permit halting work on the project indefinitely and reversing a Trump administration approval of Keystone XL. Since then, the pipeline has been a source of contention between the United States and the Canadian government which sided with TC Energy in a last ditch effort to revive the project. It appears that effort has failed now that TC Energy has canceled the pipeline.
Last year, Alberta invested $1.5 billion, plus loan guarantees, in Keystone XL to help kick-start a project beset by legal disputes and protests in the U.S. There could still be a market for Keystone XL’s remaining assets, but how far that would go toward recouping Alberta’s investment is unknown.
The pipeline could have carried over 800,000 barrels of oil each day from the Tar sands region across the United States to Nebraska. Years of Indigenous-led resistance and protests against the Keystone XL pipeline have rocked United States politics for the better part of a decade.
Meanwhile, in other pipeline news, protests continue against construction of the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline. Prosecutors in Minnesota say 179 people were arrested and charged with trespassing after a mass civil disobedience action on Monday June 7th.
Line 3 is the largest project in Enbridge’s history, and would replace a 1,700-kilometre oil pipeline that runs from Edmonton, Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin. For years, it has drawn Indigenous opposition over concerns that it will contribute to climate change and infringe on treaty rights.
A new report published last week by three advocacy groups exposes the reality of so-called “net zero” climate pledges. Net zero is often pushed touted by corporations and governments as solutions to the climate emergency. The advocacy groups including Corporate Accountability, the Global Forest Coalition, and Friends of the Earth International charge that net zero is dangerous greenwashing. They say the world needs Real Zero policies based on near-term commitments to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions.
The report—titled “The Big Con: How Big Polluters Are Advancing a “Net Zero” Climate Agenda to Delay, Deceive, and Deny” (pdf)—was published by Corporate Accountability, the Global Forest Coalition, and Friends of the Earth International, and is endorsed by over 60 environmental organizations. The paper comes ahead of this November’s United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, Scotland and amid proliferating pledges from polluting corporations and governments to achieve what they claim is carbon neutrality—increasingly via dubious offsets—by some distant date, often the year 2050.
The federal government will no longer approve new thermal coal mines or mine expansions, after Environment and Climate Minister Jonathan Wilkinson released a policy statement pinpointing coal as a source of greenhouse gas emissions and other “unacceptable environmental impacts”.
The statement specifically identifies the proposed Vista coal mine expansion in Alberta as a project that will be affected by the policy.
Wilkinson said “Eliminating coal-fired power and replacing it with cleaner sources is an essential part of the transition to a low-carbon economy, and as a result, building new thermal coal mines for energy production is not sustainable.”
Nova Scotia Premier Iain Rankin says he supports the proposed Goldboro LNG project, but the province will not provide any financial support
The Pieridae corporation wants to build a $13-billion liquefied natural gas plant in Goldboro, N.S. The company’s plans to pipe natural gas from Alberta to Goldboro, then ship it to Europe.
Pieridae has said it is negotiating with the federal government for funding. A leaked document suggests the company is looking for $925 million.
Some Mi’kmaq say the plan to build a liquified natural gas plant in rural Nova Scotia — which would require a 5,000-person workcamp — poses an unacceptable risk to women’s safety and should be stopped.
After the Federal Court struck down the Wet’suwet’en constitutional and Charter challenge last November, two Houses of the Wet’suwet’en are pressing ahead with an appeal.
The case targets Canada’s 30-year record of inaction and the inability of the political process, on its own, to address the existential threat of climate disaster. With this appeal, Likhts’amisyu members and leadership are enacting their own responsibility, under Wet’suwet’en law, to protect future generations.
In their Amended Statement of Claim, the clans argue that Canada’s failure to act breaches its constitutional obligation to Canadian citizens. Their constitutional argument goes right to the heart of parliamentary sovereignty: the Constitution Act, 1982, which gives Parliament the authority to make laws for the “peace, order and good government” of the country.
In Vancouver, an effort backed by a powerful natural gas organization to erode that city’s climate emergency plan has failed, but the thin margin on the final council vote has campaigners and green builders on alert for a protracted battle.
Thanks to an engaged and mobilized public, a measure that would have delayed a planned ban on fracked gas in all new construction, was defeated at last week’s meeting at Vancouver City Hall
Included in that four-part package was a motion to delay the city’s Climate Emergency Plan, a recommendation backed by the Canadian Institute of Plumbing and Heating.