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"The Ignorant Fool"
2,576 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
For all the talk and blabber about being "green", not much is actually being done in Canada.

From the Star:

Canada dead last on green list
We have fallen behind other nations on climate change plan, scorecard reveals

Jul 01, 2009 04:30 AM
Catherine Porter

Canada is now the G8's classroom dud on climate change, sliding to last place among the world's industrial leaders in the annual climate scorecard released by the World Wildlife Fund and insurance giant Allianz today.

While countries like Germany and England have substantially cut their greenhouse gas emissions over the past two decades, Canada's emissions are continuing to skyrocket, now 26 per cent above 1990 levels.

"We emit more greenhouse gases than half the countries in the world put together," said Keith Stewart, WWF-Canada's climate change campaign manager.

"We have the resources – financially, intellectually, ecologically – to be leaders, and we've simply chosen not to."

Canada was ranked seventh in the previous two scorecards, but was bumped down this year by the United States, under the new green leadership of President Barack Obama.

Although Americans still emit slightly more greenhouse gases per capita than Canadians, that soon will change, given the green energy incentives in Obama's stimulus package and the carbon cap-and-trade program proposed in the climate and energy bill that was passed by the House of Representatives last week, Stewart said.

Canada has not implemented its climate change plan.

"Canada is becoming increasingly isolated in clinging to the fossil economy while the rest of the world is moving on to green economy," he said.

While lauding some nations for specific actions, the report states all eight industrial nations have not done enough to ward off the worst possible effects of runaway climate change, which could include vast droughts, hurricanes, and flooding of coastal cities by rising sea levels.

To avoid this, all eight nations must cut their emissions substantially by 2020, and by a drastic 95 per cent by 2050, the report states. That's more than the 50 per cent urged this month by the science academies of all the G8 countries.

The WWF hopes the report will spur people to pressure their governments to agree to deep carbon cuts in the next round of international climate negotiations in Copenhagen in December, Stewart said.

"The Ignorant Fool"
2,576 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
To be fair, Canada, bacause of it's vast size, does have a very thinly spread rural population that must rely on gasoline or diesel to get around.

Cold weather also adds to the per capita average energy usage for heating.

Also, a resource heavy economy, ie, mining, logging, etc, is very energy intense.

The comparison may be apples to oranges here.

"The Ignorant Fool"
2,576 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
My two cents plus:

We need an all out program of new nuclear power plant building to replace coal, oil and natural gas electric generation for base load electric power production. This is to be complemented by solar, wind, and other renewables. Government should streamline the regulatory process and give tax incentives to individuals and companies for investing.

An enhanced and greatly expanded "smart" power grid should be built, partially or fully funded by the government and contracted out to private companies, just like the interstate highways were built in the 50's and 60's. Make it the "Manhattan Project" or "Sputnik" of our generation. Renewable connections to the grid would skyrocket.

NIMBY's are to be squelched, after panel regulatory review approval for building sites, right-of-ways and easements. The regulatory board should reflect a wide cross section of interests and have significant and diverse expertise in many fields. These projects cannot be slowed by gridlock in the courts and layers of regulatory agencies.

Conversion of autos to electric power from our expanded, non-carbon based electric grid would follow.

Yes, we can keep our cities brightly lit and our homes warm. We must demand it from our politicians. :)

13,365 Posts
I think we should invest in giving every home solar panels and a personal wind turbine. It will reduce the demand from private homes and save residents money. A simple way we could do it: Accept their receipts for the retrofitting of their homes or for the inclusion of these technologies in new homes as payments of taxes. You avoid the rebate thing and people are happy that they're paying less tax.

Nuclear isn't too feasible in the north, we're gearing more toward using our existing hydro electric dams and converting our coal plants to run on biomass, which has shown to have extremely low emissions, probably cumulatively less per kWh than nuclear, since it is usually a by-product, not explicitly mined for the purpose of generating energy. This wouldn't be feasible in the south, but we can do it here.

And I don't want to see anything related to the electricity grid contracted out unless there are very strict regulations and controls in place.

The electric car model being pioneered in Israel is something we should be looking into. It's very revolutionary.

"The Ignorant Fool"
2,576 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
This is one of the issues scaring away investment, uncertainty in risk costs, volleyed back and forth by the politicos:
From The Star:

Nuclear liability limit called too low
Lawsuit coverage in case of accident should be in billions, says NDP MP

Jul 02, 2009 04:30 AM
Richard J. Brennan

OTTAWA–The Conservative government is putting the nuclear industry ahead of the lives of Canadians with a proposed law limiting damages in the event of an accident, a New Democrat MP says.

The government wants to update the Nuclear Liability Act to increase the maximum to $650 million in damages from the current $75 million set in the 1970s, but the NDP's Nathan Cullen said it should be in the billions of dollars.
"The crux of it is how much you can sue for in the event of a nuclear accident," said the MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley.

Cullen said it's difficult to have confidence in an industry that has to be afforded this kind of protection in the first place, but completely another matter to lowball the cost of human life. "Get somewhere in the ballpark ... into the billions for sure," he said in an interview.

On March 24, 2009, the federal government reintroduced Bill C-20, which proposes to replace the Nuclear Liability Act with a specific civil liability regime for nuclear incidents.

The bill is before the Commons natural resources committee when Parliament resumes in September and the NDP is hoping to delay the bill so it falls off the table when there is another election.

Cullen said the liability limit is about $10 billion in the U.S. In most other countries there is no ceiling.

"It is a pretty unusual situation as far as we can tell that Canada would have this very low ceiling," he said.

Cullen and other critics suspect the reason behind the $650 million figures is to make Canada more attractive for companies wanting to build nuclear power plants.

The Conservative government has announced it wants to sell off the nuclear division of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd., and Cullen said the reduced liability exposure makes Canada a more favourable place for companies wanting to build nuclear power plants.

Bill C-20 proposes that operators of nuclear installations be exclusively liable for any nuclear incident, including personal injury and property damage. However, an operator has to take $650 million insurance. If it cannot find a private insurer, Ottawa will provide reinsurance through a special account.

~ Mysterious Entity ~
4,865 Posts
To be fair, Canada, bacause of it's vast size, does have a very thinly spread rural population that must rely on gasoline or diesel to get around.

Cold weather also adds to the per capita average energy usage for heating.

Also, a resource heavy economy, ie, mining, logging, etc, is very energy intense.

The comparison may be apples to oranges here.
The issue isn't the absolute amount of greenhouse gas countries produce, it's the rate at which they've reduced their emmissions. Most of the other countries are reducing their emmsions in compliance with the Kyoto agreement, while Canada's emmisions have increased. Conditions like cold weather and a sparse polulation were in place before Kyoto, but there's no reason we haven't made an effort to reduce them (like we voluntarily agreed to in the Kyoto protocal). That's why we're being criticised.

131 Posts
I don't think there is any need for us to flagellate ourselves for being wastrels.... it is the tarsands that are doing it, and Mr Harper's lack of commitment to reducing those emissions.
Never let the truth get in the way of a good ol' bias:

For Canada:
1990 GHG emissions = 592 MT CO2 eq
2005 GHG emssions = 734 MT C02 eq
2007 GHG emissions = 747 MT C02 eq

Since 1990, Canada has therefore increased its GHG emissions by 155 MTs, with 142 of those megatonnes coming in during the reign of Liberals (emssions were flat from 1990 to 93). My memory is a little fuzzy on the topic so can you remind me again of the Liberals commitment/action to reduce emissions while they had absolute majorities??

As for the Oil Sands being the sole culprit ... from 1990 to 2007, emissions increased by 17 Mt to 23MT - pretty significant yes, but still less than the increase in total emissions by the province of Ontario which has NO oil sands. It's also interesting to note that GHG emissions from cars and trucks increased from 1990 by roughly 150% more than the increase due to the Oil Sands.

And finally, which province saw the biggest increase in GHG emissions since 1990?? Sask with an increase of 63%. Alberta also saw a big increase (37%) but so did BC (28%).

Does Alberta need to get it GHG emissions under control? Damn yes, but it is not the only reason why our emissions have increased and why Kyoto targets won't be met. If you remove Alberta totally from the Canada emission picture in both 1990 and 2007, Canada would still be over its Kyoto targets by nearly 120 MT (nearly 30% over the target) which would have still put Canada last in the WWF report. Funny that.

Perhaps you need to read more about GHG emissions in Canada and their sources before making incorrect assertions.

Premium Member
79,182 Posts
Gee, wonder if the fact Ontario has a third of the population of Canada has something to do with there being more cars and trucks?

People in Alberta do still drive cars and trucks, I take it? Or have they switched back to horse and buggy?

From the Globe. link:

Oil sands to take hit from U.S. bill

Producers and their U.S. refiners face sharply higher costs

Shawn McCarthy and Nathan VanderKlippe

Ottawa, Calgary — Globe and Mail Update Last updated on Friday, Jul. 03, 2009 03:29AM EDT

Alberta's oil sands producers and their U.S. refiners face sharply higher costs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under legislation approved by the U.S. House of Representatives and championed by U.S. President Barack Obama.

The American Clean Energy and Security Act, if passed by the U.S. Senate, could also result in new tariffs on Canadian exporters of energy-intensive goods from cement to chemicals if Washington deems Ottawa's climate-change regulations to be lacking.

Under the cap-and-trade plan, U.S. refiners will have to buy permits for each tonne of carbon dioxide that they send into the air. While utilities will be provided free allocation of those permits to reduce the impact on power users, the oil industry will have to purchase virtually all of its permits.

Such a system would heavily penalize oil companies that ship oil sands bitumen to the United States because refining the raw bitumen into petroleum products such as gasoline and heating oil is more energy-intensive and higher in emissions than is the processing of conventional oil. U.S. refiners processing the heavier oil sands crude will face higher permit costs, cutting into profit margins for producers and refiners.

Both producers and refiners would likely share that cost. A resulting drop in demand would in turn drive down the price of bitumen.

Many U.S. refiners have been moving to retool their refineries in recent years to accommodate the heavy crude from Alberta's oil sands.

But the proposed legislation could put all of that at risk.

“Any climate legislation that we're looking at is going to make refiners think twice about building a dependence on the heavier crudes that are more energy intensive to upgrade and refine,” said Susan Casey-Leftowitz, a lawyer with the Washington-based Natural Resources Defense Council.

The U.S. climate-change policy is clearly aimed at encouraging a shift from oil to electricity in the transportation sector.

“The argument for expanding the tar sands is that there would be expanding demand for that oil in the United States,” Ms. Casey-Leftowitz said. “But this bill signals there is not going to be that expanding demand.”

Critics argue it will be decades before the United States can switch to electric-powered cars and mass transit. In the meantime, the legislation will merely make gasoline more expensive and the United States more dependent on imported petroleum products, said Kyle Isakower, of the American Petroleum Institute.

Still, the oil industry did dodge a major bullet when the House dropped plans to include a low-carbon fuel standard, similar to one adopted in California, that would impose significant costs on oil sands producers. Canada's petroleum industry has carefully monitored the bill's progression and lobbied U.S. legislators in a bid to convince them that a rule that damages Canadian oil production also damages U.S. energy security.

“We're delighted that low-carbon fuel standards are not in the Waxman-Markey bill,” said Tom Huffaker, vice-president of environment and policy at the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. “But we're resisting dancing on the table because we know this is a work in progress.”

The banishment of those standards from the Waxman-Markey legislation should lessen the chances that similar legislation will reappear, either in other states or through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Mr. Huffaker said.

Many states, however, have signalled their intention to follows California's lead once it has worked out the complexities of the regulations.

The industry also takes some comfort from Mr. Obama, who warned against border-tariff measures in the bill.

“The last thing we need is anything that could turn into protectionism masking as environmentalism,” Mr. Huffaker said. “We'd be delighted if the President prevails and that language comes entirely out,” when the Senate deals with it.

However, the Waxman-Markey bill became even more protectionist after it was amended to ensure its passage; the amendments make it easier for Washington to impose tariffs.

Canadian concerns “have intensified,” said Elisabeth DeMarco, a Toronto-based lawyer with MacLeod Dixon LLP.

The House bill seeks to prevent “carbon leakage” – meaning the shift of emissions-heavy industries and jobs out of the U.S. to avoid the new regulatory burden.

“The amendments heighten the carbon leakage provisions, which are really trade-protection provisions dressed up as carbon leakage,” Ms. DeMarco said.

Environment Minister Jim Prentice has urged the Americans to ensure that the country's environmental legislation does not represent disguised protectionism, though Ottawa itself has worried about energy-intensive industries moving offshore if countries don't adopt comparable climate change regulations.

The American Petroleum Institute has warned that the equivalent of one in six U.S. refineries could close by 2020 as a result of the new rules.

That could lead to greater imports – a situation that would likely benefit Canadian refiners and upgraders.

But Columba Yeung, the chairman and founder of Calgary-based Value Creation Inc., expects Canada to mirror U.S. policy, ultimately levelling the playing field between the two countries. Value Creation is working to build a facility to upgrade oil sands bitumen into a lighter crude capable of being refined into products like gasoline and jet fuel.

Mr. Yeung is, however, hopeful that stiffer carbon dioxide policy will boost companies like his, which has developed a technology that produces 20 per cent less greenhouse gases than current processes.
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