Climate Litigation

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LATEST NEWS ON THIS TOPIC

Fossils Ask for ‘Policy Stability’, Workers Push for Transition Funds from New Minority Parliament

Fossils asked for “policy stability”, while oil worker advocacy group Iron & Earth pushed for retraining programs and a just transition package, as the dust began to settle on this week’s federal election.

Hydro-Québec Signs 25-Year, $20-Billion Export Deal with New York

Hydro-Québec has signed a tentative C$20-billion deal with New York State that will see the utility export 10.4 terawatt-hours of electricity per year for the next 25 years, pending approval from both sides of the border.

House Democrats Seek Evidence on Fossils’ Climate Disinformation

Ahead of an October 28 hearing into the matter, House Democrats in Washington have sent letters to four of America’s biggest fossils, the American Petroleum Institute (API), and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, looking into the role they played in thwarting public understanding of climate change. 

Groups Urge Stock Exchange to Probe Vancouver Fossil’s Oil Drilling Plans in Botswana

Environmental activists and lawyers are urging a Canadian virtual stock exchange to investigate a Vancouver-based company’s interest in drilling for oil and gas in the Okavango Delta in northern Botswana, after documents suggested it may have obscured its ambitions in the biodiverse and ecologically fragile region.

To Hit Net-Zero, Canada Energy Regulator Must Get Its Modelling Right

Climate change “is now undeniably personal” for most people in Canada, climate policy analysts Angela Carter, Kathryn Harrison, and Nicholas Rivers write for Policy Options. But before the country can map a net-zero future, the Canada Energy Regulator will have to get its low-carbon modelling right. The CER’s recent consultations show it still hasn’t got the memo.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Yellen Navigates Tricky Balance on Climate Financial Risk

As U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen sets out to reshape the country’s financial regulations to account for climate risk, she faces a tricky balance between climate hawks calling for faster action and independent banking regulators with the institutional power to stymie it.

Energy Savings, Environmental Concerns Drive Canadian Boom in Rooftop Solar

Demand for rooftop solar installations is surging across Canada, CBC News reports, driven by a combination of low costs and concern about carbon footprints.

Straights of Mackinac

Michigan’s Line 5 Pipeline Could Wreak US$41B in Climate Damage

Allowing Calgary-based pipeliner Enbridge Inc. to maintain its Line 5 pipeline by tunnelling beneath the Straits of Mackinac could generate US$41 billion in climate damages over the next 50 years, new expert testimony submitted to the Michigan Public Service Commission states.

Enbridge Line 3 Groundwater Damage Nets $3.3M Fine, Possible Criminal Charges

Enbridge Inc. has been fined and could face criminal charges for breaching Minnesota environmental laws during the construction of its Line 3 pipeline replacement.

Dramatic Difference in B.C. Police Responses Draws Charge of Systemic Racism

Stark differences in the police response to Fairy Creek protesters versus anti-vaccine passport demonstrators suggests that whether one is assaulted with pepper spray or merely met by a polite presence depends on the colour of one’s skin.

Economic Focus May Hamper Success of New Chinese Carbon Market

China’s climate pledges put it on a tight schedule to cut emissions, but whether a new carbon market will help the country reach its targets depends on how it balances its ambitious commitments with economic growth.

1,600 Oil and Gas Wells Could Close as LA County Votes to End Drilling

Some 1,600 oil and gas drilling sites, many of them still active, may be on track to close after the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 Wednesday to end new fossil drilling.

Climate Leadership Requires Better Decarbonization Pledges, Project Drawdown Warns

Any corporation or country looking to be a climate leader needs to abandon its focus on net-zero targets and craft climate pledges equal to the threat of global heating.

Climate Concern Should Guide Court’s Decision on Fairy Creek Injunction, Lawyer Argues

Public concern over climate change should play a large part in deciding whether a British Columbia forestry company is granted an extension to an injunction against protests over the logging of old-growth forests, a court heard Wednesday.

Biogas Plan for North Carolina Hog Waste Amounts to Greenwashing, Critics Say

A project planned by agribusiness giant Smithfield Foods will turn hog waste into biogas, but nearby North Carolina residents and advocates oppose the development, saying it raises serious environmental justice issues.

Strict Policies Needed to Ensure Public Benefits from Coal Plant Buyouts

While coal-plant buyouts are starting to look like essential tools in the climate crisis fight, policy-makers need to ensure that they truly benefit people and climate, and not private sector profits.

2,185 Academics Back Fossil Non-Proliferation Treaty While #FixTheWEO Demands 1.5°C Energy Scenario

International climate groups kicked off a season of high-stakes meetings and report releases with a call from 2,185 scientists and researchers to back the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty (FFNPT), and a demand from more than 150 organizations that the International Energy Agency (IEA) put climate stabilization at the heart of its energy futures modelling.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2011_East_Africa_drought

Under-Reporting Adds to Climate Impacts in Africa

Media myopia and scientific uncertainty created by “noise” in the climate system are contributing to a “chronic” and dangerous under-reporting of extreme weather events in Africa. 

2020 Sets ‘Stark’ Record for Murders of Environmental Activists

A record 227 activists working to protect environmental and land rights were murdered in 2020, says the latest in a series of annual reports from Global Witness.

#Elxn44 Roundup: O’Toole Platform Cuts Climate Spending, Trudeau Emissions Plan Risks Provincial Pushback, and GreenPAC Endorses 35 Candidates

The parties’ climate platforms received continuing scrutiny, GreenPAC released its candidate endorsements, new analysis put the cost of the Trans Mountain Pipeline close to C$20 billion, and regional reporting showed strong voter support for climate action as Canada’s federal election entered its final week.

Ford Government Broke the Law by Failing to Consult on MZOs, Court Rules

An Ontario court has found the provincial government broke the law by failing to adhere to the Environmental Bill of Rights with a controversial measure to speed up more than 40 local land developments using Ministerial Zoning Orders (MZOs).

B.C.’s Fairy Creek Protesters Face a Different Fight from Clayoquot

A major shift in tactics by those seeking to protect British Columbia’s Fairy Creek could help the old-growth watershed avoid same fate as Clayoquot Sound, says a Canadian environmental journalist and author.

Ocean Warming Pushes North Atlantic Right Whales into Dangerous Waters

The climate crisis could deal a fatal blow to the endangered North Atlantic right whale as plummeting plankton populations drive the mammals north into unprotected jurisdictions. 

Less ‘Red Tape’ Will Spur More Windfarm Development, Global Council Says

Global wind farm installations are surging, but an equivalent acceleration in planning and permits will be needed to meet climate targets, according to the annual report of the Global Wind Energy Council.

Grassy Mountain Coal Mine

Alberta Coal Review Hears Public Concerns about Water, Recreation, Toxics

Albertans want to talk about a lot more than coal when it comes to development in their beloved Rocky Mountains, says the head of the committee charged with collecting public opinion on the issue.

Devastating Hurricane Ida Reveals Deep Inequities in U.S. Climate Protections

Ten days after Hurricane Ida first began swinging its scythe of destruction and death from the U.S. Gulf Coast all the way up to the streets of New York City, the story of this monster storm has become one of unprepared authorities, inadequate infrastructure, and the most vulnerable, as always, in the crosshairs.

#Elxn44: Analyst Predicts ‘Diplomatic Disaster’ if O’Toole Scaled Back Canada’s Paris Commitment

Canada would face “diplomatic disaster” and isolation globally if Conservative leader Erin O’Toole carried through on his promise to scale back Canada’s carbon reduction commitments under the Paris agreement, a top climate policy analyst warned, as the federal election entered its third week.

Shell Misleads with ‘Drive CO2 Neutral’ Ads, Dutch Watchdog Says

A Dutch advertising watchdog group is calling out Royal Dutch Shell for misleading advertising even as the oil giant faces pressure from the country’s courts.

Economists Must Pay Closer Attention to Climate Tipping Points, New Study Shows

A new model of climate tipping points shows them increasing the future economic costs of climate change by at least one-quarter, or as much as 100%.

#Elxn44 BREAKING: Trudeau Campaign Announcement Means End of Oil and Gas Expansion

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s promise yesterday to cap oil and gas sector emissions at today’s levels and set five-year targets to reduce them beginning in 2025 amounts to the end of fossil fuel expansion in Canada, the country’s leading climate advocacy network told The Energy Mix Sunday evening.

Climate Bond Initiative Considers Certifying New Rail Line through Amazon Rainforest

Indigenous people and ecologists in Brazil are aghast that the UK-based Climate Bond Initiative is considering green certification for a 933-kilometre rail line that would run through the Amazon rainforest.

North Sea Oilfield Construction Postponed After Greenpeace Blockade, ‘Ridiculous’ Remarks by UK Cabinet Minister

The company behind the controversial Cambo oilfield off the Shetland Islands has postponed construction work to next year, citing “operational issues” and bad weather, after Greenpeace kayaks blocked construction equipment from departing a port in Norway.

Denmark, Costa Rica Build International Alliance to Speed Fossil Phaseout

Denmark and Costa Rica are working to build a Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA) of countries willing to stop issuing new permits for fossil exploration and set a deadline to phase out oil and gas production, the Reuters news agency reported Wednesday.

#Elxn44 Opinion: Online Climate Simulator Can Point Campaign Discussions to Solutions that Work

If massive public investment in renewable energy were only enough on its own to draw average global warming down to 3.5°C, but fossil fuel and methane reductions brought the world within reach of 1.5°C, which set of policies would citizens support?
And if those citizens could use a free, online simulator to map out and discuss those options, say, in the lead-up to Canada’s federal election September 20, would it help drive politicians’ response to the climate crisis?

Average Canadian Vehicle Size Rises 25% as Automakers Double Down on Trucks, SUV’s

Despite the popularity of electric vehicles, Canadian forecasts show no slowing of production for combustion-engine trucks and SUVs, leading environmental organizations to call for tighter federal regulations on automakers.

Judge Cites ‘Striking Errors’ in Ruling Against German Coal Plant

An administrative court in Germany has ruled that permission to build the country’s newest coal plant, Datteln IV, was granted illegally, with a judge citing “striking errors” in decisions by local authorities, the environmental law charity ClientEarth reported in a release yesterday.

Texas Bill Will Prevent Cities from Protecting Workers in Heat Emergencies

A new bill introduced by Republican lawmakers in Texas that undermines local COVID-19 safety measures could also remove municipal mandates for safe working conditions on hot days, even as climate change makes temperatures more extreme.

Surprise Election Win Spotlights Climate Policy Gaps between Nova Scotia, Federal Conservatives

While pundits parse an unexpected provincial election result in Nova Scotia for clues on the federal campaign, closer observers say the rise of Premier-Designate Tim Houston’s Progressive Conservatives points to a pragmatic governing approach in a province that has quietly led the country in some aspects of the energy transition.

Successful Ozone Protection Treaty Prevented 2.5°C of Additional Warming

Spring 2060. In dark glasses, a wide sunhat and with what little exposed skin left caked in sun cream, a child stares at the woodland across from their house. It looks scraggly and stunted, and with far fewer leaves than in the old photos she has seen. Still, no time to dwell on it: there’s a UV index of 20 and she’s already spent five minutes outside. 

Texas Methane Emissions ‘Run Amok’ as IPCC Calls for Tighter Controls

Texas regulators are deliberately turning a blind eye to methane flaring in fracked oil and gas fields, according to an advocacy report released just days after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) pointed to methane controls as an essential step in getting climate change under control.

Line 3 Nears Completion, Could Start Operations Sept. 15

The Line 3 pipeline from Alberta to Wisconsin could begin operations as early as September 15, after Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. announced this week it had filed final pricing paperwork with regulators in Canada and the United States.

Biden Appeals Judge’s Order Against Pause on Oil and Gas Leases

U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration filed notice Monday that it is appealing a federal judge’s order that blocked Biden’s suspension of new oil and gas leases on federal land and waters.

Proposed California Insurance Plan Could Mitigate Climate Risk, Equalize Coverage

As insurance systems fail to adequately protect climate disaster survivors, the California Department of Insurance is proposing a pilot program to encourage long-term risk reduction and close the wealth-driven gap in coverage.

Innu Nation Launches Lawsuit to Stop Labrador Hydro Deal

Asserting a cavalier disregard for due process and Indigenous rights, the Innu Nation is taking Canada and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador to court to stop the planned bailout of the Muskrat Falls hydropower project. 

Grassy Mountain Coal Mine

Ottawa Refuses Grassy Mountain Coal Mine Despite First Nations’ Appeal

The federal government has officially put a nail in the coffin of the contentious Grassy Mountain coal project with an August 6 announcement that the project will not proceed.

Global Outrage, Calls to Action Greet IPCC Science Assessment

A wave of reaction greeted this week’s release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s devastating new science report, with vulnerable regions and cultures spotlighting the climate impacts they already face, countries like Australia and China under renewed pressure to speed up their emission reductions, and some commentators stressing the fossil industry’s central role in driving the crisis.

Institutional Investor Organization Puts Pressure on Food-Sector Emitters

One of the investment community’s leading climate advocacy groups is pushing the food sector—which contributes nearly a third of all global emissions—to greater transparency and alignment with a 1.5°C climate stabilization target. 

Standardization Needed for Carbon Credits in U.S. Agriculture

Experts are calling for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to standardize and regulate the currently “uncertain” protocols for carbon credit programs. 

Toyota Protects Hydrogen Hopes by Undermining EV Transition

After losing ground on electric vehicles due to its bet big on hydrogen, Toyota is now working to block climate regulations, an effort that includes heavy lobbying of the Biden administration.

Continuing Ocean Warming Will Bring ‘Irreversible’ Changes

Scientists are “virtually certain” that ocean temperatures will continue rising until the end of this century, and that the transformational impacts of sea level rise, ocean acidification, melting of the cryosphere, and deoxygenation are now irreversible.

Boris Johnson

Climate Inaction ‘Can Be Justified’, UK Says, as Leadership Failures Imperil COP 26

In a remarkable challenge to the global consensus that the climate crisis is an urgent threat to the planet, the United Kingdom has argued that a failure to act on the 2015 Paris climate agreement can be justified.

PG&E Must Answer to Federal Judge After Devastating California Fire

As California’s mammoth Dixie Fire continues to burn its way through northern parts of the state, a federal judge has ordered giant utility Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) to explain its potential role in starting the blaze.

Costa Rica Debates Permanent Ban on Fossil Exploration, Extraction

Legislators in Costa Rica are debating a measure that would permanently ban fossil fuel exploration and extraction, stopping a nascent pro-exploration lobby in its tracks and making it impossible for future governments to rescind the decision.

Biden Sets 50% EV Target for New Cars by 2030

United States President Joe Biden signed an executive order yesterday that calls for 50% of his country’s new cars to be electric vehicles or hybrids by 2030, just days after the Senate adopted a $1.2-trillion infrastructure package that was widely seen as just a downpayment on the White House’s commitment to climate action.

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Enbridge Expects Line 3 Pipeline Start-Up This Year Despite Continuing Court Challenge

Enbridge Inc.’s Line 3 pipeline replacement is on track to be in service by the end of the year despite ongoing protests and recent court challenges, the Calgary-based company said last Friday.

Worldwide Tree Planting Promises Could Exceed the Available Land

A new Oxfam report is warning that relying too much on tree-planting offsets will endanger the world’s food supply—just as Royal Dutch Shell pushes hard to open a new oil field that would require a new forest the size of England to offset its emissions.

30% of Pedestrian, Bike Crashes Go Unreported in Washington, DC

Realizing that Vision Zero safety initiatives are being hampered by patchy data, jurisdictions across the United States are using software programs and public outreach to fill in the gaps. 

Whatcom County Becomes First U.S. Refinery Community to Ban New Fossil Fuel Infrastructure

A county on the northwest coast of Washington State has made a landmark decision to ban new fossil fuel development, reversing a trajectory that had it on course to become a gateway for oil, gas, and coal exports to Asia.

UK High Court to Hear Challenge to North Sea Oil Plan

The United Kingdom’s High Court has agreed to hear a challenge to the country’s oil and gas exploration program for the North Sea, after campaigners with Paid to Pollute, Greenpeace, and Friends of the Earth UK said the plan conflicted with the Boris Johnson government’s legal duty to hit net-zero emissions by 2050.

Data Reveals Continuing, Needless Methane Flaring by Fossil Operators

Continuing, needless flaring of natural gas still persists across the fossil fuel industry, raising questions of greenwashing for companies claiming carbon neutrality.

California Insurers Abandon Farmers in Face of Wildfire Risk

In yet another sign that our current systems are poorly equipped for the demands of climate change, California farmers are being left unprotected as insurance companies raise premiums and drop renewals to compensate for the increasing risk of wildfires.

British Queen Lobbies for Exemption from Scottish Carbon Reduction Measure

Lawyers for Queen Elizabeth II successfully lobbied cabinet ministers to exempt the monarch’s private lands from one of Scotland’s major initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Pacific Salmon Face Massive Die-Offs as Temperatures Rise

With massive die-offs predicted for salmon populations across North America’s West Coast, as both home and migratory waters grow too hot for their survival, efforts are intensifying to restore and protect habitats and restrict the annual harvest.

Regulations Fail as Radioactive Oilfield Waste Piles Up in U.S. Landfills

Thirty-four years after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency first detailed the numerous harms emanating from radioactive oilfield waste, a new report concludes that regulation and accountability are even more urgently needed.

Jason Kenny and Sonya Savage

Groups Pan ‘Farcical Attack’ in ‘Anti-Alberta Energy’ Commission Report

The report of a two-year, $3.5-million report on supposed “anti-Alberta energy campaigns” shows the whole process up as a “farcical attack” on Canadians’ rights with a strong overtone of climate denial, say two campaign organizations that have seen a draft of the still-confidential document.

Expanding Tailings Pond at Copper Mountain Mine ‘Flirts with Disaster’ for B.C., Washington

The expansion of a tailings pond at a southeastern B.C. copper mine must not be allowed to go ahead without a thorough environmental assessment, says one of the founding organizers of Earth Day.

Quebec Rejects $14-Billion LNG Terminal

Quebec has rejected GNL Québec’s application to build a C$14-billion liquefied natural gas terminal in the Saguenay region, capping years of opposition by Indigenous communities, climate campaigners, scientists, and health professionals.

Climate Change Adds New Risks for Retirement Savings

Individual retirement savings are facing a new form of risk as climate change wallops the corporate world’s physical assets and drives heavy economic losses.

EXCLUSIVE: Experts Press Trudeau to Link Regulator’s Energy Planning to 1.5°C Targets

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is under pressure to bring the Canada Energy Regulator (CER)’s energy futures modelling in line with the Paris climate agreement, The Energy Mix has learned, just as an international agency warns that the world’s 1.5°C climate stabilization target is slipping out of reach.

Canada Must Protect ‘Near Urban’ Wild Spaces to Meet Conservation Goals

The federal government must prioritize the protection of “near-urban” nature—spaces rich in biodiversity but increasingly fragmented and fragile—if Canada is to make good on its promise to protect 30% of its land and waters by 2030.

Chicago, Detroit Floods Show Inland Cities Threatened by Rising Waters

As climate change wreaks havoc with the world’s water cycles, Chicago and Detroit are facing a serious reckoning with their engineering—and social—underpinnings.

Global Green Deal Alliance Connects Politicians to ‘Build Back Better’

A new international alliance of politicians is urging all world leaders to join them in working to craft a “global green deal” ahead of this year’s United Nations climate conference, COP 26, convening in Glasgow in November.

Greenland Bans Future Oil Exploration, Seeks End to Uranium Mining

Greenland is pushing ahead with plans to outlaw uranium mining and new offshore oil and gas exploration, three months after the left-leaning Inuit Ataqatigiit party formed a new government.

No GNL Québec Pipeline on Ancestral Lands, Innu Say

There won’t be any more negotiations over a proposed natural gas pipeline crossing Indigenous lands in northern Quebec, say Innu leaders who oppose it.

South Portland, Maine Wins Marathon Pipeline Battle

In a reversal being hailed as a new precedent, a pipeline operator is dropping its six-year-long federal
lawsuit against the city of South Portland, Maine.

B.C. Fracking Fields Emit 1.6 to 2.2 Times More Methane than Federal Estimates

Methane emissions from British Columbia oil and gas fields are 1.6 to 2.2 times higher than the federal government is estimating, according to yet another study that contrasts actual measurements from airborne monitoring with the Ottawa’s official calculations.

Democrats Include Clean Electricity Standard, Border Carbon Tax in $3.5-Trillion Budget Plan

A clean electricity standard, a border tax on imports from polluting countries, renewable energy and electric vehicle tax breaks, a new “methane reduction fee”, funding for a civilian climate corps, and a raft of health care and family service elements are central elements of a US$3.5-trillion budget that U.S. Senate Democrats unveiled Wednesday.

Proposed U.S. Clean Energy Bill Could Save 317,000 Lives

The Biden administration’s proposed clean energy standard could enable a swift drop in emissions and save hundreds of thousands of lives between now and 2050, says a new report.

EU Introduces ‘Sweeping’ New Laws to Hit 55% by 2030

The European Union executive has introduced a dozen new laws aimed at curbing carbon pollution, raising renewable energy targets, plant three billion trees, and cut the continent’s greenhouse gas emissions 55% by the end of a “make-or-break decade” for climate and biodiversity.

Greenwashing Hobbles the Transition Off Carbon, Gore Warns

As sustainable investing goes mainstream, Climate Reality Project founder and former U.S. vice-president Al Gore warns that rampant greenwashing risks “derailing hard-won progress” in the fight against global heating.

Opinion: Toronto Councillors Can Help Wind Down Fossil Fuel Proliferation

Days after people across the Greater Toronto Area watched a “heat dome” scorch much of western Canada and burn Lytton, British Columbia to the ground, Toronto City Council has a unique opportunity to help turn down the heat.

Canadian Fossil Expansion ‘Not Well Aligned’ with Net-Zero, Panel Co-Chair Says

The co-chair of a new expert panel set up to advise Ottawa on how to reach net-zero emissions says expansion of Canada’s tar sands/oil sands industry is “not well aligned” with that goal.

Offsets Allow Polluters to Focus More on ‘Net’ than ‘Zero’, McCarthy Warns

While the corporate embrace of net-zero targets might seem cause for celebration, the allure of the relatively easy to achieve “net” may be distracting—or providing an escape hatch—from the hard work of actually zeroing emissions, analyst Shawn McCarthy warns in a recent opinion piece for Corporate Knights.

Schumer Opposes Local Gas Peaker Plant, Wants Gas Left Out of Clean Electricity Standard

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has come out against a new natural gas peaker plant in his home state, and is pushing to exclude a “clean gas” provision from the upcoming Clean Electricity Standard that is a centrepiece of U.S. President Joe Biden’s climate plan.

Lytton-Area Tribal Council Criticizes B.C.’s ‘Slow, Chaotic’ Wildfire Response

As experts warn that the planet is entering a “runaway fire age,” First Nations in and around Lytton, British Columbia, are expressing anger as response crews prioritize fire-damaged rail infrastructure over people.

Attribution Science Could Bring More Wins in Climate Lawsuits

Better use of the latest climate attribution science in lawsuits against companies and governments that pollute could bring far more wins in the courts, says a new study in Nature Climate Change.

Alberta’s Failed ‘Foreign Influence’ Probe an Affront to Democracy: Stewart

The Jason Kenney government’s inquiry into supposed foreign-funded interference with the province’s fossil industry has failed to make its case, but is still an affront to democracy, Greenpeace Canada senior energy strategist Keith Stewart argues this week in an opinion piece for the Edmonton Journal.

Exxon Lobbyist Caught on Video, Admits ‘Aggressive’ Attack on Biden Climate Plan

Senior executives from colossal fossils ExxonMobil, Shell, and Chevron may soon receive subpoenas from a powerful U.S. congressional subcommittee after the investigative reporting team at Unearthed, a branch of Greenpeace UK, revealed Exxon’s continuing efforts to undermine the Biden administration’s climate plans and “aggressively” combat climate science.

Peace River

Extensive Fracking, Industrial Development Violate B.C. First Nation’s Treaty Rights, Court Rules

The Blueberry River First Nations will be able to limit development in a key natural gas fracking region in northeastern British Columbia, after the B.C. Supreme Court ruled the province violated Treaty 8 with the amount of industrial development it had permitted in the area.

‘Nationalize’ Old Oilfields and Use Revenue for Cleanup, Researchers Urge Alberta

Most of Alberta’s energy wells no longer hold enough oil and gas to pay for their cleanup and the public should take them over to ensure their remaining revenue funds remediation, a new report concludes.

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TC Energy Launches $15-Billion Trade Complaint over Keystone Cancellation

Calgary-based pipeliner TC Energy has launched a US$15-billion trade complaint against the United States after President Joe Biden cancelled the presidential permit for the Keystone XL pipeline.

Emmanuel Marcon

French Court Gives Macron Government Nine Months to Act on Climate

In a move environmental groups are hailing as “historic”, the French Conseil d’État has given the Macron government less than a year to meet its climate goals—or face substantial fines.

Parliament Buildings Ottawa Centre Block

Senate Vote on Climate Accountability Act Counters ‘Decades of Broken Promises’

Parliament made history yesterday and overjoyed climate and civil society groups took a victory lap as the Senate passed Canada’s first-ever climate accountability legislation, just hours before adjourning for the summer.

Ottawa Sets 2035 Phaseout for Non-Electric Cars, Light Trucks

The federal government announced Tuesday it’s speeding up its goal for when it wants to see every new light-duty vehicle sold in Canada to be electric. Transport Minister Omar Alghabra said that by 2035, all new cars and light-duty trucks sold in the country will be zero-emission vehicles, The Canadian Press reports. Until now, the […]

‘Speak and Act Like It’s a Damn Emergency’, Klein Urges Ottawa [Video]

A new launch video from the Climate Emergency Unit digs into Canada’s past to create a hopeful call to action, illustrating how even a fight that feels overwhelming can be won when a nation comes together.

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U.S. Justice Department Backs Line 3 Pipeline while Army Corps Orders Full Review for Line 5

One U.S. oil pipeline gained support from the Biden administration, a second acquired a new regulatory hurdle, and a third might soon find itself back in court, as federal data showed 19 pipeline projects pushing toward completion this year.

Analysts Present 10 ‘Key Elements’ of a Well-Designed Net-Zero Target

With governments, businesses, and institutions producing an avalanche of net-zero carbon commitments, and some observers writing off the whole exercise as a “big con”, Climate Action Tracker is out with a set of 10 “key elements” for distinguishing effective national targets from the less legitimate variety.

Senate Approval Looks Likely after MPs Adopt Climate Accountability Bill

Environmental groups were celebrating, a climate champion in the Canadian Senate was optimistic, and one of the country’s highest-profile fossil senators appeared to be onboard after the country’s new climate accountability legislation, Bill C-12, cleared the House of Commons earlier this week and looked likely to receive Senate approval before Parliament shuts down for the summer.

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Regulator Restarts Pipeline Construction after Trans Mountain Files Tree-Cutting Plan

A federal regulator has lifted a stop-work order on tree cutting and grass mowing along the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project route.

O’Regan Announces $1.5-Billion Clean Fuels Fund for Hydrogen, Bioenergy

The hydrogen and biofuel industries were both paying close attention this week after the federal government announced a C$1.5-billion Clean Fuels Fund, aimed at boosting the country’s supply of hydrogen, renewable diesel, synthetic fuels, renewable natural gas, and sustainable aviation fuel.

Youth Climate Activists Take Norway to European Human Rights Court

After losing their supreme court bid to halt Arctic oil exploration permits, six young Norwegian climate activists are taking their case for a safe environment to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

U.S. Virgin Islands Refinery Shuts Down after ‘Raining Oil Droplets’ on Residents

A notoriously dirty oil refinery in the U.S. Virgin Islands is shutting down after “escalating environmental scrutiny made it impossible for backers to obtain desperately needed financing,” Bloomberg News reports.

Developers ‘Blindsided’ as Australia Scuttles 26-Gigawatt Renewable Energy Hub

Australia has pulled the plug on a proposed 26-gigawatt plan to produce green hydrogen and ammonia from wind and solar power, just months after the project was awarded major project status by Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s coal-friendly national government.

Vision Zero Principles Reclaim City Streets for Cyclists, Pedestrians

The century-old mindset that framed pedestrians and cyclists who dared to use city streets as trespassers in the kingdom of the car is finally fading—and good riddance, says the Globe and Mail.

Automakers Tout EV’s but Keep Pushing Gas-Guzzling SUV’s, Report Finds

A new report from Environmental Defence Canada finds that pledges from automakers to drive an EV revolution are at odds with their continued hard-sell of fossil-driven SUVs in Canada.

Judges Say Belgium’s Slow Climate Action Breaks Civil Law, Violates Human Rights

Belgium has breached civil law and violated the European convention on human rights by failing to meet its declared climate targets, a court in Brussels ruled Friday, in what The Guardian calls “the latest legal victory against public authorities that have broken promises to tackle the climate emergency.”

Enbridge Line 3

Sexual Assault, Human Trafficking Accompany Enbridge’s Line 3 Pipeline Project

Two contract workers involved with Enbridge’s US$2.9-billion Line 3 replacement project in northwestern Minnesota have been charged with human trafficking, and reports of sexual violence and harassment associated with the project have been flooding in to local crisis centres.

Grassy Mountain Coal Mine

‘Death Knell’ for Coal as Fed-Prov Review Denies Permit for New Alberta Mine

A joint federal-provincial review has denied an application for an open-pit coal mine in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains, saying its impacts on the environment and Indigenous rights aren’t worth the economic benefits it would bring.

Trump-Appointed U.S. Judge Strikes Down Biden Pause on Oil and Gas Leasing

A U.S. federal judge’s decision last week striking down the Biden administration’s pause on new oil and gas leases is a case of a Donald Trump judicial appointment colliding with the new administration’s plan to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.

Haphazard Regulation Allows Lax Safety Culture, Drives Insurers Away from Trans Mountain, Critic Says

Haphazard oversight by the Canadian Energy Regulator (CER) may have enabled a lax safety culture at Crown-owned Trans Mountain Corporation that is now making insurers nervous about backing the company’s existing 68-year-old pipeline and its efforts to complete a C$12.6-billion expansion project, a retired insurance executive says.

Ontario Communities Face Health Risks from Thousands of Abandoned Oil Wells

The putrid smell makes Paula Jongerden sick to her stomach.
It comes from a natural gas well about 300 metres from her home near Delhi, ON, that erupts at least twice a week.

French Power Company Raises Safety Alert about Chinese Nuclear Plant

One week after the French company that co-owns the Taishan nuclear power plant in China issued a letter warning about an “imminent radiological threat,” Chinese authorities have declared that all is well.

Gas Lobby Fails to Delay Vancouver’s Climate Emergency Plan

An effort backed by a powerful natural gas organization to erode Vancouver’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.

Canada Closes the Door on New Thermal Coal Mines

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”.

Report Calls for Climate, Biodiversity Action to Work in Tandem

A landmark report is warning that global heating and biodiversity collapse are intertwined crises that will be solved only if they are solved together—critical information for policy-makers as the world prepares for this fall’s global biodiversity and climate conferences.

Alberta Government Mishandling Funding for Contaminated Sites, Repeat Audit Concludes

Alberta’s auditor general is criticizing the government for failing to fix problems pointed out six years ago in a program that’s supposed to guarantee coal and oilsands mines clean up after themselves.

High-Carbon Investments are ‘Mispriced’ for Climate Risk, Bank of Canada Warns

Canadian investors may be in for a rude awakening as they discover that their stocks and bonds in carbon-intensive industries are “mispriced” once the risks of climate change are taken into account, the Bank of Canada warned in its annual Financial System Review released last month.

Youth Group Launches Poland’s First Climate Lawsuit to Tackle Individual Rights

In a first for Poland, young climate activists—together with one grandfather—are suing their notoriously coal-friendly government for imperilling their futures by failing to act on the climate crisis.

Helicopter ‘Sand-Blasts’ Line 3 Opponents, 200 Arrested at Peaceful Protest

A peaceful protest against the expansion of Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline in northern Minnesota on Monday was met with the same helicopter-as-weapon tactic that authorities deployed against citizens protesting George Floyd’s murder last summer.

85% of British Columbians Want Stronger Protections for Old-Growth Forests

A strong majority of British Columbia residents care a great deal about the health of the province’s old-growth forests, and many believe the Horgan government is doing a poor job of protecting them, a recent survey suggests.

Straights of Mackinac

Michigan Scorches ‘Meritless’ Claims it Can’t Shut Down Line 5

The dispute over the cross-border Line 5 pipeline is entirely for Michigan to deal with, the state’s attorney general argues in a legal brief released Wednesday that flatly rejects Canada’s depiction of a foreign policy matter that Ottawa and the White House must resolve.

HSBC to Phase Out Fossil Financing after 99% Shareholder Landslide

HSBC shareholders have voted nearly unanimously to end coal financing by 2040, and to align all the bank’s lending with the climate goals in the Paris Agreement.

Biden to Restore State, Indigenous Right to Block Energy Megaprojects

In a major reversal of Trump-era efforts to advance fossil interests, the Biden administration is restoring the rights of state and Indigenous lawmakers to refuse major energy projects that could threaten water security.

Trans Mountain Pipeline Loses Another Insurer

Another insurance company is abandoning the controversial Trans Mountain Pipeline.

Alberta Government’s Objections No Longer Matter after IEA Roadmap, ‘Cataclysmic’ Week for Oil

Alberta’s predictably hostile, defensive reaction to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) landmark Net Zero by 2050 roadmap shows it no longer matters what the Kenney government or its fossil industry allies think about the drive to decarbonize the global economy and hold average global warming to 1.5°C.

Historic Megadrought Pushes Western U.S. Into New Dust (and Fire ) Bowl

From post-wildfire sere forests, to a sharply depleted Lake Mead, to a devastated spring salmon run, to threats of violence along the Oregon-California border, a dry spring is creating conditions for a challenging summer throughout the western United States.

Horgan Favours Lumber Access as B.C. Old-Growth Forests Fall

As the British Columbia government moves to overhaul the province’s forestry sector, the Sierra Club of BC is decrying the decision to prioritize access to wood fibre over old-growth forest protections.

Texas Storm

True Death Toll from Texas Winter Power Failure Rises to 702

The death toll from February’s power grid failure in Texas could be five times what officials have so far declared—and little is being done to ensure such a tragedy never happens again.

Grassy Mountain Coal Mine

85% of Albertans Mistrust Coal Industry Regulation, Government Survey Finds

A public consultation committee on coal mining in the Rocky Mountains will consider why Albertans’ level of trust in the province’s regulatory bodies is so low, the panel’s head said Monday.

Fracking Means More Frequent, Damaging Earthquakes in Northern B.C.

More damaging earthquakes can be expected more often in northern British Columbia as fracking oil and gas wells increases pressure underground, says newly published research.

Rise of Climate Lawsuits Treats Big Oil Like Big Tobacco

Taking a page from the fight against Big Tobacco, climate defenders are increasingly turning to the courts rather than policy-makers in the push toward decarbonization.

Guyanese Court Case Seeks to Halt ExxonMobil Drilling in Caribbean

Two Guyanese citizens are taking their government to court, arguing that its pursuit of oil royalties violates a legal duty to protect present and future citizens from the climate crisis.

‘Cataclysm’ for Industry, ‘Good Day for Life on Earth’ as Fossils Lose Legal, Shareholder Battles

After a flurry of court and shareholder action that The Guardian declared a “cataclysmic day” for oil and gas companies and the Heated climate newsletter headlined as “a good day for life on Earth”, analysts are wrapping their minds around how much has changed for the fossil industry—and what’s next in the global push for faster, deeper carbon cuts.

Trans Mountain Starts Work on Burnaby Mountain Tunnel

As federally-owned Trans Mountain Corporation begins to tunnel under Burnaby Mountain, and climate and Indigenous activists protest, a coalition of media outlets and press freedom groups is petitioning the B.C. Supreme Court to order the RCMP to stop using injunctions as an excuse to block reporters from protest sites.

Committee Votes on Climate Accountability Bill Proceed with NDP Support

Federal New Democrats are ensuring the survival of a key piece of Liberal legislation aimed at keeping Canada accountable to its target of achieving net-zero carbon-related emissions by mid-century, while former Green Party leader Elizabeth May mounts a last-ditch effort to strengthen the bill.

Australian Court Affirms “Duty of Care” to Protect Youth from Climate Crisis

In a global first, Australia’s federal court has ruled that the country’s government is legally obliged to protect young people against future harms from the climate crisis.

In Divided U.S., Biden Juggles Climate Pledges and Fossil Support

The Biden administration’s recent decision to defend a massive oil and gas drilling operation proposed for Alaska is simply part and parcel of governing a deeply divided country, say policy analysts.

Pipes at gas compressor station

Satellite Flags Big Methane Release Over Alberta Fracking Field

A fracking field in Alberta has produced Canada’s biggest methane cloud since satellite tracking began, with the third-highest rate of emissions in North America this year, according to a geospatial analytics firm working with data from the European Space Agency.

budget day 2021

Opinion: ‘Climate Ambition Poker’ Masks Canada’s Fossil-First Energy Plan

In the space of a few days in April, Canada’s 2030 emissions reduction target under the Paris Agreement jumped from 30% to 36% to between 40 and 45%. Going into this latest round of climate ambition poker, the federal government, we were told, had already put everything it could on the table and was tapped out. But along came the White House climate summit, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau upped the ante by another 50%.

abandoned oil well

Alberta Landowners, Taxpayers ‘Left Behind’ by Cost of Abandoned Wells

The costs of Alberta’s growing stock of abandoned and inactive oil and gas wells are falling unfairly on landowners and taxpayers, says a report from the University of Calgary.

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Canadian Plastics Manufacturers Take Ottawa to Court over ‘Toxic’ Designation

Mere days after Ottawa designated their product as a toxic substance, plastics manufacturers are taking the Canadian government to court—but experts say they are likely to be disappointed.

Jason Kenny and Sonya Savage

Alberta Grants Fourth Extension to Foreign Influence Inquiry, Blames Ecojustice Lawsuit for Delay

Alberta’s inquiry into the funding of oil and gas industry critics is getting its fourth deadline extension.

Half of Carbon Offset Projects Don’t Deliver on Promises, New Analysis Finds

A UK start-up that rates the carbon offset efforts of private companies has found that nearly half of them fall short of their claims.

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Don’t Look to CCS, Hydrogen for Quick Carbon Cuts, Le Quéré Warns Canada

It would be a big mistake for Canada to count on carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) or hydrogen to meet its 2030 climate targets when those technologies will make “zero contribution” to emission reductions over the next decade, renowned Canadian climate scientist Corinne Le Quéré told a webinar audience Monday morning.

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Louisiana Forms Climate Task Force as Fossils Dig In

Louisiana is sending mixed signals on climate action, with Governor John Bel Edwards (D) setting up a task force in support of his pledge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 while legislators push to make the state a “fossil fuel sanctuary.”

plastic trash bags

‘Lower Carbon’ Plastic Bag Raises Big Questions, Could Undercut Fossil Demand

Efforts by the world’s largest producer of plastic trash bags to create a lower-carbon product have analysts asking questions about the roles government, consumers, and fossil producers will play in the war on plastic waste.

Survey Results Show Climate Knowledge Gap, Give Ottawa Poor Marks for Net-Zero Action

Canadians are only minimally familiar with climate issues, but give the federal government low marks for its plans to reach net-zero emissions and balance environmental and economic concerns, according to recent opinion research conducted for Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) by Environics Research.

Outdoor dining, Church Street Marketplace

Restaurants Gain from Pedestrian-Only Streets, Study Finds

As America’s cities begin to reopen, a new Yelp analysis is putting economic weight behind calls to make the temporary “slow streets” that many cities put in place during the pandemic a permanent feature.

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B.C. Water Watcher Raises Alarm after Oil Tanker Crosses Risky Gulf Islands Pass

A shipping pilot’s recent decision to guide an oil tanker through British Columbia’s navigationally tricky Active Pass has highlighted a legal gap that may be putting the Salish Sea at risk—along with human lives.

Global Petition Presses Ireland to Introduce Fracking Ban at UN General Assembly [Sign-On]

A grassroot group from Ireland is looking for international support to persuade the Irish government to call for a global ban on oil and gas fracking at the United Nations General Assembly in mid-September, just six weeks before this year’s UN climate conference, COP 26, convenes in Glasgow.

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Judge Dismisses Ecojustice Bid to Halt Alberta’s Foreign Influence Inquiry

A judge has dismissed an attempt to quash the United Conservative government’s inquiry into whether foreign groups have conspired against Alberta’s oil industry.

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NWT Communities Evacuate in Face of ‘Scary’ Mackenzie River Flooding

As extreme seasonal flooding hits riverside communities in Canada’s Northwest Territories, the region’s small towns are stepping up to help each other.

Martha's Vinyard

Biden Administration Approves 800-MW Vineyard Wind Project

The Biden administration has approved the 800-megawatt, US$3-billion Vineyard Wind project off the Massachusetts coast, the United States’ first utility-scale offshore wind farm and a key plank of the new White House effort to shift the country’s electricity system to renewables.

New Study Outlines ExxonMobil’s Tactical Shift from Climate ‘Denial’ to ‘Ambiguity’

The same Harvard historians who revealed a long campaign by ExxonMobil to suppress the connection between fossil fuels and climate change have released a new study that meticulously documents the colossal fossil’s latest self-preserving strategy: “a discourse of delay.”

Canadian physicist Louis Slotin

Canada’s Fatal Fission Attraction

Seventy-five years ago, Canadian scientists began a reckless romance with nuclear fission. Lessons from a tragic death, and a meltdown that destroyed a reactor, were not learned. Serious design flaws with the Candu nuclear reactor were never fixed. Today, Paul McKay writes, the tradition continues.

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Suncor, ATCO Seek Government Backing for ‘Multi-Billion-Dollar’ Hydrogen/CCS Project

Tar sands/oil sands producer Suncor Energy Inc. is partnering with utility ATCO Ltd. on a “multi-billion-dollar” project to produce more than 300,000 tonnes per year of hydrogen—as long as governments are ready to facilitate the deal, and taxpayers are standing by to help clear some of the financial hurdles.

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Labour, Housing Bottlenecks Could Threaten Canada’s Promised Green Job Boom

Critical shortages in skilled labour and affordable housing are threatening to derail Canada’s plan to reduce national emissions—and, with it, the promise of sustainable economic growth.

Carbon Border Adjustment Gains Ground as Countries Weigh Emission Cuts, Global Trade

The reference to a carbon border adjustment in the latest federal budget was one sign that countries with relatively strong carbon prices are keen to avoid becoming the new “Rust Belt”, CBC business columnist Don Pittis writes in a recent analysis.

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U.S. Tribes Work to Advance Water Equity as Colorado Basin Drought Worsens

As a megadrought deepens across the Colorado River Basin, the Indigenous nations of the region are seeing hope for real change after decades of water inequity.

Biden Administration Mulls Controversial Climate Deal with Bolsonaro

Defenders of the rainforest are watching with trepidation—and, for some, horror—as the Biden administration contemplates a climate deal with Brazilian president and “climate-scoffing populist” Jair Bolsonaro, aka “Capitão Motoserra” (Captain Chainsaw).

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Campaigners Plan ‘Eviction’ Events, Ottawa Backs Enbridge as Line 5 Closure Deadline Arrives

Campaigners in Michigan planned two days of “eviction” events today and tomorrow, Governor Gretchen Whitmer threatened to seize Enbridge Inc.’s profits if the Calgary-based pipeliner ignored her closure order, and the Trudeau government filed a legal brief in the company’s defence as today’s deadline loomed to shut down operation of the 68-year-old Line 5 pipeline.

air conditioning

More Than One Billion Lack Access to Cooling, Risk Illness and Heat Stress

As the pandemic drives up poverty rates, a lack of access to cooling technology has now put more than a billion people at increased risk of heat stress, food insecurity, job loss, and COVID-19 infection.

China Can Peak Coal Consumption, Power Sector Emissions by 2025, Researcher Says

An energy researcher from Peking University is pointing to a pathway for China to peak its coal consumption, coal-fired generation capacity, and power sector carbon emissions by 2025, in line with President Xi Jinping’s remarks at the White House Leaders’ Summit on Climate April 22.

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Arizona Politics Flips from Climate Denial to Ecofascism

From lawsuits in Arizona to promises by French politician Marine Le Pen to make her country “the world’s first ecological civilization,” the far right is weaponizing the climate crisis to advance its xenophobic agenda, The Huffington Post reports.

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Thousands of Demonstrators Condemn French Legislation as ‘Climatic and Social Failure’

Thousands of COVID-masked demonstrators hit the streets in cities across France Sunday after the lower house of parliament approved climate legislation that fell short of the recommendations of a citizens’ assembly appointed in 2018 by the government of President Emmanuel Macron.

UK Grocery Chains Prepare Brazil Boycott as Amazon Becomes Net Carbon Emitter

The Jair Bolsonaro government in Brazil is once again risking international boycotts in response to a rainforest-imperilling law, as a new study confirms that the Amazon has become a net carbon emitter for the first time in recorded history.

Michigan Calls Line 5 a ‘Ticking Time Bomb’ with Closure Deadline Two Days Away

With Michigan’s deadline to shut down the Line 5 pipeline just two days away, the state and Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. are telling different stories about whether the leaky, 68-year-old line will still be operating Thursday morning.

Alberta Hands Fossils a Price Break on Tar Sands/Oil Sands Cleanup Fund

Last year’s dive in oil prices has caused Alberta to change the way it calculates payments due from tar sands/oil sands mines make to ensure there’s enough money to clean up the mess they leave behind.

Biden’s Infrastructure, Conservation Plans Not (Necessarily) in Conflict

U.S. President Joe Biden’s recent pledge to protect 30% of America’s lands and waters by 2030 need not clash with its earlier promise to reduce emissions by expanding the country’s wind and solar farms—as long as those implementing renewable energy policy do so with an eagle eye on sustainability.

Germany Pledges 65% Emissions Cut by 2030, Net-Zero by 2045

Germany is boosting its 2030 carbon reduction goal to 65% and accelerating its net-zero emissions deadline from 2050 to 2045, spurred on in part by last week’s “globally remarkable” constitutional court ruling that declared the country’s previous 2030 target inadequate.

Climate Hawks Push for Improvements as Climate Accountability Bill Clears Second Reading

Canada’s climate accountability legislation, Bill C-12, is on its way to detailed review by the Commons environment and sustainable development committee, after passing second reading in the House by a 210-122 vote.

Ring of Fire Access Road Crosses Ontario’s ‘Thin Green Line’, Sierra Club Warns

The proposed “Ring of Fire” mineral development in northern Ontario is equivalent in destructive capacity to Alberta’s tar sands/oil sands, say two researchers from Sierra Club Canada.

UK Must Protect, Rewild Its Oceans to Meet Its Carbon Strategy

A new report is urging the United Kingdom to develop a marine-centred climate mitigation plan to restore and “rewild” degraded marine habitats and develop low-carbon fisheries, noting that the UK’s coastal waters store four times the carbon of its forests.

Leadership Failures from COVID-19 Hold Lessons for Climate

With COVID-19 devastating the Indian state of Maharashtra, where he grew up, Bloomberg Green columnist Akshat Rathi is pointing to good governance as a factor that is mitigating the impact of the pandemic in some countries, and could do the same for the climate crisis.

Chinese Banks Rank Second as Financiers for Tropical Deforestation

China now ranks second in the world as a financier of industries linked to tropical deforestation—and a new report shows the country’s banks hold the keys to a better path.

Export Development Canada Could Face Legal Challenge for Fossil Industry Financial Support

Export Development Canada (EDC) may face court action in the not-too-distant future, after a legal opinion commissioned by Oil Change International and several other organizations concluded that national export credit agencies have an international legal obligation to scale back their financing for fossil fuel-related activities.

Canada’s Carbon Target Still ‘Insufficient’, Global Warming On Track for 2.4°C, Climate Action Tracker Warns

Canada’s 2030 carbon reduction target is still “insufficient”, the 50% cut promised by United States President Joe Biden is enough to trim average global warming by 0.2°C, and the combination of rich nations’ climate promises to date points toward a 2.4°C world, according to the latest batch of analysis released this week by the Climate Action Tracker (CAT).

Canada Faces Lawsuits on HFC Exemptions as U.S. Announces Fast Action

The Canadian government is facing a lawsuit and accusations of hypocrisy after allowing chemical giant DuPont an extra two years to comply with restrictions on hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), just as the Biden administration in the United States announces swift action to reduce emissions of the climate-busting greenhouse gas.

Wilkinson Orders Federal Environmental Review for Ontario Highway 413

Environment and Climate Minister Jonathan Wilkinson has announced a federal environmental assessment of the Ford government’s contentious, C$6-billion plan for a new highway through the northwestern part of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), citing “clear areas of federal concern related to this project.”

Law Profs See Environmental Racism Bill as ‘Catalyst for Transformative Change’

This past winter, COVID-19 outbreaks at two Coastal GasLink work camps in northern British Columbia spilled over into neighbouring Wet’suwet’en communities, according to media reports. The spread of disease to Indigenous communities through industrial projects is an example of environmental racism—when government policies discriminate against racialized communities by disproportionately exposing them to harms from industrial and other toxic activities.

Victoria LNG Project Gets Swept Away in Australian Renewable Energy Surge

As Australian energy provider AGL officially pulls the plug on its proposed Victoria coast LNG import terminal, a new report predicts a surge in renewables could leave natural gas delivering as little as 1% of the country’s power mix by 2030.

Dakota Access Pipeline Won’t Shut Down During Environmental Review

The Dakota Access Pipeline will be allowed to operate without a key federal permit while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completes a new environmental review, the Biden administration announced earlier this week.

Historic New York Climate Protection Act Remains Underfunded, Underserved

Two years after New York passed its landmark climate protection act, legislators are still failing to approve any meaningful funding to realize its ambitions.

Low Pay, Hiring Gaps Haunt U.S. Forest Service Wildfire Program

In an oversight hearing late last month before the House of Representatives Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands a former U.S. Forest Service firefighter spoke truth to power, Wildfire Today reports.

10 Years After Fukushima, Japan Finally Begins Push for Renewables

A decade after the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, an entrenched reluctance to embrace renewable energy—fostered in part by utilities anxious to maintain their dominance—may be giving way, slowly, to a new dawn for green energy in Japan.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer

Line 5 Pipeline Battle Intensifies as May 12 Closure Date Looms

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is less than 10 days away from implementing a momentous decision to shut down a 68-year-old, underwater pipeline that her administration and many of her constituents consider an environmental hazard and an affront to Indigenous rights, but that Canadian Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan has declared a “non-negotiable” irritant in bilateral relations.

Biden Connects Climate to Jobs as Coal Miners Hold Out for Results

With a US$2-trillion infrastructure plan on offer, and a $1.8-trillion American Families Plan backing it up, U.S. President Joe Biden took advantage of his first address to a joint session of Congress to reprise a central theme from his election campaign: that climate action and job creation go hand in hand.

Biden’s 2022 Budget Earmarks $220 Million for Climate Health Preparedness

President Biden’s budget blueprint for 2022 is looking to prepare the U.S. for future climate impacts by earmarking at least US$220 million for federal climate and health research and an expanded framework to help states and cities generate adaptation plans.

Grassy Mountain Coal Mine

B.C. First Nation Calls for Federal Environmental Review of Alberta Coal Mine Plan

A British Columbia First Nation has joined calls for the federal government to step in on the environmental review of a proposed open-pit coal mine in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains.

Ford’s New Appointee Will ‘Actively Wreck Things’ as Greenbelt Council Chair, Critic Warns

The new chair of Ontario’s Greenbelt Council is a former Mike Harris-era cabinet minister who voted against the Greenbelt itself when it was established in 2005.

Taxes Just One Tool to Cut Carbon, but Won’t Harm the Economy, New Research Shows

After too many esoteric, technical debates over far too many years, Bloomberg Green columnist Gernot Wagner says the evidence is (finally) in on carbon taxes: they do play a role in cutting greenhouse gas emissions, and they don’t harm job creation or slow economic growth.

Washington State ‘Cap-and-Invest’ Law Aims for Fast Carbon Cuts without Higher Energy Costs

Washington State is adopting a new “cap-and-invest” law aimed at driving rapid decarbonization without increasing energy costs for ratepayers.

Child cycling with a mask

‘Globally Remarkable’ German Court Decision Enshrines Climate Protection as Human Right

In what Clean Energy Wire calls an “unexpected decision widely hailed as historic,” Germany’s Constitutional Court has declared the country’s 2030 emission reduction targets are insufficient, lacking in detail, and therefore violate the fundamental rights of citizens—including the nine youth climate campaigners who originally launched the case.

Liberals, NDP Close In on Changes to Climate Accountability Bill

Canada’s environment minister has put forward changes in response to NDP concerns about a bill that would make the federal government more accountable as it strives to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Canada Must Tie Budget 2021 Spending to Community-Based Action: Op-Ed

While the “serious coin” directed to climate action by Canada’s 2021 budget is most welcome, two experts are urging policy-makers at all levels to double down on community-based climate policies that integrate climate change adaptation and mitigation.

‘These Insurers Can’t Hide’, Campaigner Says, After Regulator Allows Trans Mountain to Keep Identities Secret

The Canada Energy Regulator has decided to grant a request by the operator of the Trans Mountain pipeline to protect the identity of its insurers in its regulatory filings.

Judge Denies Wet’suwet’en Challenge to Coastal GasLink Permit

The British Columbia Supreme Court has rejected a bid to quash the extension of the environmental assessment certificate for the Coastal GasLink pipeline, the project at the centre of countrywide protests in February last year.

Ontario Creates ‘Innovation Wasteland’ with Latest Renewables Rollback, Critic Warns

The Doug Ford government is turning Ontario into an “innovation wasteland” and setting the province up to increase its dependence on greenhouse gas-intensive natural gas with its latest plan to eliminate renewable energy requirements in provincial legislation—and making its move while communities are preoccupied with a brutal third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, renewable advocates say.

Biden Could Mandate 80% Emissions-Free Grid by 2030

The Biden administration is considering a national clean energy standard to get 80% of the country’s electricity from emissions-free sources by 2030, as a stepping stone to its goal of delivering a net-zero grid by 2035, according to an exclusive report this week from the Reuters news agency.

Nesting Hummingbirds Pause Trans Mountain Pipeline Construction through Mid-August

Environment and Climate Change Canada has ordered a halt to construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline through a forest in Burnaby, British Columbia until the end of bird nesting season.

Think Tank Mulls Looser Rules for Transferring Abandoned Wells to New Owners

A western Canada think tank is calling on Alberta to lower regulatory barriers that it says discourage businesses from reusing abandoned and unreclaimed oil and gas well sites. Observers say the scheme could allow fossils to hand off many billions of dollars in environmental liabilities.

Alberta Pauses Rocky Mountain Coal Exploration as Public Pressure Mounts

The Alberta government bowed to public pressure late last week and paused coal exploration in the most sensitive areas of the Rocky Mountains while it continues to gather public feedback about mines.

Research Team Aims for Full Accounting of Canada’s Natural Ecosystems

A team of Canadian scientists is about to embark on a five-year attempt to calculate just how much the country depends on the natural world—in economic terms, and in ways that are far less tangible.

California Pitches 2024 Fracking Ban, 2045 Oil Phaseout as Campaigners Urge Faster Action

California climate campaigners marked a moment of progress Friday while urging Governor Gavin Newsom to pick up the pace, after the state that calls itself the world’s fifth-biggest economy moved to ban new oil and gas fracking projects by 2024 and phase out oil extraction by 2045.

Analysts Explain What Makes Trudeau’s 40% Emission Cut a Heavy Lift

In the days since Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged a 40% reduction in Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, analysts and news outlets have been weighing in on what it will take for the country to hit a target that many climate advocates consider far too modest, but its proponents see as a very heavy lift.

U.S. Senate Moves to Rescind Trump Rollback of Obama-Era Methane Regulation

Senate Democrats are pushing to overturn a Trump-era rollback of U.S. regulations on climate-busting methane emissions, and at least one Republican senator is signing on to help them get it done.

Washington State to Ban New Light-Duty Gas Vehicles by 2030

Washington State legislators have come together across the aisle to pass a bill requiring all new light-duty vehicles bought, sold, or registered in the state to be electric-powered by 2030.

Berkshire Hathaway Opposes Climate Risk Reporting Demands from Shareholders

Defiant in the face of political and shareholder pressure, investment Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway is refusing to begin annual reporting on its climate risk.

UK Law Group Calls Out ‘Great Deception’ in Fossils’ Climate Ad Campaigns

A UK environmental law NGO is saying the world’s fossil companies are perpetrating a “great deception” by marketing earnest climate action even as they continue to invest enthusiastically in a carbon-heavy status quo.

‘Get Political’ to Create Change, Op-Ed Urges Canadian Non-Profits

If Canada’s non-profit sector wants to make a lasting impact, then it’s time to “get political,” says a leading food justice advocate.

Carney Launches New Net-Zero Finance Alliance with $70 Trillion in Assets

Nearly four dozen of the world’s biggest banks, insurance companies, and investment fund managers are vowing to mobilize trillions of dollars in financing for net-zero initiatives under the banner of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero (GFANZ), a new initiative launched this week with Mark Carney, the UN Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance, at the helm.

New International Forest Protection Fund a ‘Game Changer’, Says EDF

The United States, United Kingdom, Norway, and nine corporate heavyweights came together at this week’s Climate Leaders’ Summit with a joint commitment to mobilize at least US$1 billion before the end of this year to prevent tropical deforestation.

Cities Can Reconfigure and Adapt to Cut Emissions 90%, Prepare for Climate Impacts

Cities are uniquely vulnerable to climate change, but likely will be early adapters against that threat.

Federal Budget Puts $17.6 Billion into Green Recovery, Tips 36% Emissions Cut by 2030

The federal government is getting decidedly mixed reviews for a 2021 budget that announces but doesn’t quite spell out C$17.6 billion in green recovery spending over the next five years, while tipping a 2030 emissions reduction goal of 36% that may be superseded within days by a more ambitious government target.

Ottawa Offers $40,000 Interest-Free Loans for Deep Energy Retrofits

The federal government is hoping a budget provision for C$40,000 interest-free loans will be sufficient incentive to encourage 200,000 Canadian households to undertake deep retrofits on their homes.

Federal Budget Directs Dollars to Farm Climate Solutions, Forest Bio-Economy, Protected Areas

Nature-based climate solutions show up at several points in this week’s federal budget, with funds set aside for emission reductions on farms, the forest-based bio-economy, and a continuing, multi-billion-dollar effort to extend Canada’s network of protected areas.

Analysts Search for Details as UK Pledges 78% Carbon Cut by 2035

The United Kingdom has announced plan to legislate a 78% greenhouse gas emissions target for 2035, putting the country in what one news report calls a “world-leading position”.

EU Defers Decision on Green Label for Nuclear, Natural Gas

The European Union was expected to defer a decision on whether its new green finance rules, due to be published today, would list nuclear and gas-fired power plants as sustainable investments, according to leaked documents obtained last week by Euractiv.

Corporate Sustainability Reporting Produces Many Questions, Few Results

While corporate sustainability reporting has become commonplace in boardrooms around the world, the practice is not living up to its billing as a path to a kinder capitalism, says an expert on organizational behaviour.

Conservatives Try to Quash Climate Accountability Bill

Conservatives have moved to quash a government bill that mandates Ottawa set targets to hit net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 over a lack of representation from the oil and gas sector on an outside advisory panel.

Florida Takes Climate Adaptation Funds Out of Affordable Housing Budget

Two recent bills passed in Florida are sending hundreds of millions of dollars toward improving climate resiliency in the state—at the expense of established funding for affordable housing.

Grassy Mountain Coal Mine

Alberta Coal Consultation Covers ‘Everything but What We Want to Talk About’, Local Landowner Says

A committee that is supposed to consult Albertans on coal development in the Rocky Mountains won’t be allowed to hear what people want to say about water and land use.

Saskatchewan Sends ‘Wrong Signal’ with $150 EV Tax

Two federal ministers have written Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe to protest his plan to bring in a tax on electric vehicles.

Canada Must Show Up at Biden Summit with ‘More than Just Words’ , International Experts Warn

With the new U.S. administration taking real action on climate change, both domestically and internationally, Canada will have to show up next week at President Joe Biden’s climate leadership summit with more than just words, former Irish president Mary Robinson said Wednesday.

Analysis: Unmeasured Methane Could Undercut Canada’s Blue Hydrogen Drive

The inability to accurately measure and regulate methane emissions from natural gas operations is emerging as a gaping, potentially fatal flaw in a Canadian climate strategy that appears to lean increasingly on a continuing presence for the oil and gas industry, with large volumes of hydrogen to be produced from natural gas.

Conservative MPs Feel ‘Blindsided’ as O’Toole Embraces $50/Tonne Carbon Levy

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole was facing intense criticism from within his own caucus Thursday evening, just hours after releasing a glossy, 15-page brochure he’d touted as his party’s new climate plan, with backbenchers telling media they’d had no advance warning that he planned to turn his back on long-standing policy and embrace a half-hearted carbon price.

U.S Global Intelligence Report Presents Stark Climate Vision for 2040

The latest Global Trends report from the U.S. National Intelligence Council offers harrowing projections alongside glimmers of hope in its visioning of how the post-pandemic world may—or may not—respond to the climate crisis by 2040.

Here’s What it Would Take to Decolonize ‘British Columbia’

This summer will mark 150 years since British Columbia joined Canada. While some will celebrate a landmark anniversary, Dogwood’s Kai Nagata and Christina Smethurst say decolonizing the province begins with acknowledging the true history of how it came to be.

Frequent Flyer Tax Would Target ‘Tiny Minority’ Who Take Most of the Flights

Although low-cost, high-volume air travel has grown hugely this century, only a small proportion of the population, mostly in the world’s richest countries, ever take a flight—the frequent flyers who can afford to do so. And wealthy frequent flyers who take several holidays a year should pay higher taxes each time they fly, a British charity says.

France Abolishes Air Travel on Short-Run Domestic Routes

France is abolishing all domestic air travel on routes that can be covered by train in less than 2½ hours, in a bid to reduce emissions in one of the most hard-to-decarbonize sectors of the economy.

IEA Urges ‘Massive’ Energy Efficiency Gains to Hit Net-Zero Targets

Countries will need “massive improvements” in energy efficiency to achieve their net-zero targets under the Paris Agreement, International Energy Agency policy analyst Alyssa Fischer argues in a recent commentary.

Wildfire

U.S. Prepares for Another ‘Devastating’ Fire Season

From California to Wisconsin, U.S. policy-makers are putting dollars into pre-emptive action and more “boots on the ground” as a lower-than-normal snowpack portends a fierce fire season.

Non-Profit Law Centre Defends Quebec Campaigners from Pieridae ‘Gag Order’ Attempt

The Quebec Environmental Law Centre is coming to the aid of an environmental group targeted by an Alberta oil company threatening legal action.

‘Chaotic’ UK Retrofit Program a Cautionary Tale for Trudeau, Biden

A failed attempt at a building energy retrofit program in the United Kingdom could offer lessons for governments in Canada and the United States as they prepare to launch their own plans.

B.C. Wood Pellet Industry Feeds on Whole Trees, Not Waste Wood

Environmentalists and loggers are crying foul after revelations that British Columbia’s thriving wood pellet industry is sourcing its feedstock not from wood waste, but from forests—and employing scant few workers in the process.

Pre-Budget Talk Centres on National Child Care Plan as Trudeau Mocks Conservatives’ Climate Policy

Fresh from a Liberal Party policy convention over the weekend, the Trudeau government is just days away from an April 19 budget that is widely expected to emphasize a national child care plan alongside a menu of green economic recovery measures.

Fossils Could Replace Two of 10 Workers with Robots in a Decade, Save $7B Per Year in Wages

At least two out of 10 fossil workers around the world involved in drilling, operational support, or maintenance could be replaced by robots over the next decade as the industry sets out to save more than US$7 billion per year in the United States alone, according to the latest analysis by Rystad Energy.

U.S. Army Corps Declines to Close Dakota Access Pipeline Despite Missing Permit

Indigenous leaders and progressive Democrats are urging the Biden administration to shut down the Dakota Access pipeline after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, ignoring a weighty, Indigenous-led petition, declined to do so.

Decolonize Climate Policy, Address Structural Inequalities, Indigenous Climate Action Urges Ottawa

Canada needs to rethink its climate policies to stop excluding Indigenous people from decision-making, respect Indigenous rights to self-determination and free, prior and informed consent, deliver solutions that reflect the realities of both rural and urban Indigenous communities, and address “structural inequalities that are continually being reproduced through colonial relation, processes, and structures in so-called Canada,” Indigenous Climate Action (ICA) concludes in a report issued late last month.

Inuit Party Election Win in Greenland Casts Doubt on Rare-Earth Mining Project

Greenland’s plans for a massive rare-earth metals mine have been thrown doubt with the recent election victory of Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA), a party firmly opposed to the project.

Architects Criticize ‘Huge’ Embodied Carbon in New Green Buildings

A group of architects in the United Kingdom is pointing to new building construction as the biggest unchallenged obstacle to a carbon-free future and calling out green building designers for the carbon footprint of their supply chains.

Albertans Demand Federal Impact Assessment for Controversial Coal Mine Plan

A fourth request has been made to the federal government to get involved in the environmental review of a coal mine proposed for Alberta’s Rocky Mountains.

Pandemic Disrupts Alberta Fossils’ Maintenance Plans with Nine Sites Reporting Outbreaks

Canadian tar sands/oil sands operators are having trouble lining up the skilled work force they need for a busy period of essential scheduled maintenance, with nine facilities fighting COVID-19 outbreaks as the country lurches through a third wave of the pandemic.

Scientists Urge UK Supreme Court to Rethink Ruling on Heathrow Expansion

In a significant challenge to the United Kingdom’s Supreme Court, several leading climate scientists have said a recent ruling it made on the expansion of London’s main airport, Heathrow, will cause serious damage to the global environment, urging it to rule that the government must respect the 1.5°C limit internationally agreed to rein in global heating.

Apple, Microsoft Get Poor Marks from France’s Right-to-Repair System

France’s recent move to require makers of electronics to give their products a “repairability” score shows that major tech brands like Apple and Microsoft may need to go back to sustainability school.

Pressure Builds for MPs to Advance Climate Accountability Legislation Next Week

Five Canadian climate organizations are turning up the heat on all the parties in the House of Commons to advance the Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, Bill C-12, when Parliament resumes Monday.

Global Forest Loss Accelerates Despite Pandemic Restrictions

Two recent studies are offering new evidence that the carbon-sequestering forests required to hold average global warming to 1.5°C are in peril.

‘Battery Swapping’ Could Boost EV Uptake

Biden administration officials gearing up to fund 500,000 fast-charging stations for electric vehicles might be better off investing in the mechanics of “battery swapping”, says an industry insider.

Climate Impacts Wipe Out Seven Years of Food Production Growth as Big Ag Blocks Climate Action

Climate change has caused global food productivity growth to drop more than 20% since the 1960s, despite the billions of dollars Big Ag has funnelled into production technologies. Meanwhile, some of the world’s biggest meat and dairy producers have been spending further billions to undercut climate action.

Supreme Court Carbon Ruling Could Trigger ‘Start-Up Explosion’ but Loopholes Undermine Federal Floor Price

A U.S. technology newsletter is touting Canada’s newly-confirmed carbon tax as a likely catalyst for a “start-up explosion” in several branches of cleantech, even as the Globe and Mail reports on the loopholes some provinces have opened up in the federal scheme—with the Trudeau government’s blessing.

Biden Jobs, Infrastructure Plan Aims to ‘Turbocharge the Transition’ Off Fossil Fuels

U.S. President Joe Biden travelled to Pittsburgh last Wednesday to unveil a US$2-billion jobs and infrastructure plan that includes a 10-year, $650-billion commitment to a U.S. clean energy transition, with big allocations for building energy retrofits, electric vehicle infrastructure, grid modernization, public transit, and union jobs cleaning up abandoned oil and gas wells and mines.

‘No Means No’, Indigenous Groups Say, as Sweden Cancels Solar Geoengineering Experiment

The Canadian scientist behind a controversial attempt to combat climate change by dimming the sunlight reaching the Earth is vowing to keep at it after Sweden’s space agency decided last week to cancel what many critics considered a wildly untenable experiment.

Ottawa City Committee Flags Concerns, Declines to Oppose Upriver Nuclear Waste Site

An Ottawa city council committee has stopped short of opposing plans for two new nuclear waste disposal sites less than 200 kilometres upriver, but will ask privately-owned Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) to refrain from accepting waste from outside Ontario and take steps to protect the Ottawa River, on which the community depends for its drinking water.

Renewable Stocks Deliver 422% Return in 10 Years, Outperform Fossils Seven-Fold

Investors’ overall returns on their renewable energy stocks have outperformed fossil fuels three-fold over the last five years and seven-fold over the last 10, coming in at 422.7% for the decade compared to just 59% for fossil shares, according to an analysis released last month by the Centre for Climate Finance and Investment (CCFI) at Imperial College Business School and the International Energy Agency.

Leaked Fossil Documents Reveal 50 Years of Suppressed Air Pollution Science

Leaked memos make it clear that Big Oil has known about the links between air pollution and fossil fuel combustion for at least 50 years—and, in a familiar pattern, has for decades been doing everything it can to bury the threat to its bottom line.

Planned Plastics Plant in Louisiana’s ‘Cancer Alley’ Fails to Pass Economic Muster

Yet another behemoth plastics complex planned for Louisiana’s infamous “Cancer Alley” is running into headwinds as a new report declares it economically unviable and suggests it be abandoned.

Protecting Half of the World’s Oceans Could Deliver Massive Global Gains

Protecting 45% of the world’s oceans would deliver a “triple win” of increased biodiversity, restored fisheries, and a greater capacity to sequester carbon, says a new report just published in the journal Nature.

Climate-Denying Kansas Senator Plans Straitjacket for $14-Billion State Wind Industry

At hearings last week chaired by a climate change denier and green energy critic, the utilities committee of the Kansas Senate considered a measure to limit expansion of a wind energy sector that already supplies 41% of the state’s electricity, the second-highest share in the United States.

Pieridae Pitches for $925M Federal Subsidy for Goldboro LNG, Threatens Legal Action to Silence Critics

A fossil company angling for a C$925-million federal “grant, repayable contribution, or loan guarantee” for the controversial Goldboro liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Nova Scotia is threatening legal action against five signatories to an open letter urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Premier Iain Rankin, and other elected officials to reject the plan.

Federal Carbon Offset Plan Could Drive Up Emissions, Analysts Warn

The Canadian government’s new carbon offset system could ultimately drive up greenhouse gas emissions while creating the illusion of progress on the climate crisis, three of the country’s leading climate analysts warn in an opinion piece for the CBC.

U.S. Aims for 30,000 MW of Offshore Wind as Industry Urges Faster Global Deployment

The Biden administration has unveiled a US$3-billion plan of loan guarantees and accelerated permitting aimed at installing as many as 2,000 offshore wind turbines along the U.S. Atlantic coast and generating 30,000 megawatts of electricity by 2030.

Minnesota Appeals Court Considers Declining Demand for Line 3 Pipeline

The Minnesota Court of Appeals heard arguments last week over Enbridge’s Line 3 replacement project in northern Minnesota, which opponents are calling unnecessary due to an eventual decline in the demand for oil.

U.S. Regulator Presses ConocoPhillips to Consider Shareholder Motion on Scope 3 Emissions

An investor action group in the Netherlands is declaring a “breakthrough” after the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) backed shareholders’ bid to have colossal fossil ConocoPhillips consider their motions related to the carbon pollution its operations produce.

Sustainable Investing a ‘Deadly Distraction’ from Government Action, Ex-BlackRock CIO Warns

It’s a “deadly distraction” to think major corporations can replace sweeping government action in response to the climate crisis, according to a former finance professional who now says he helped promote that “fantasy” as chief investment officer for sustainable investing at mammoth investment firm BlackRock Inc.

Kenney Admits He Had No ‘Plan B’ as Provinces, Federal Conservatives Weigh Supreme Court Carbon Tax Ruling

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney says his government didn’t prepare a fallback plan on implementing a consumer carbon tax because they were hoping to win in the country’s top court.

Youth Declare ‘Historic Legal Victory’ as Ontario Court Sends Climate Case to Full Hearing

The Doug Ford government in Ontario is now 0 for 2 in its bid to stop a youth-led climate lawsuit from going to a full court hearing.

Water Contamination Nets Record Fine for Teck Mine as Conservationist Questions Long-Term Impacts

Teck Coal is facing the largest fine ever imposed under the federal Fisheries Act after pleading guilty to contaminating waterways in southeastern British Columbia.

New Legislation Requires Massachusetts to Reach Net-Zero by 2050

Two months after he vetoed a landmark climate bill, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (R) has signed something very similar, with a 2050 net-zero target and raft of measures that include more offshore wind, new building codes, and benchmarks for electric vehicle adoption.

Economic Future Looks Dim for Appalachian Fracking, Plastics Production

Those banking on reviving Appalachia with shale gas and plastics would do well to think again, says a new report. A resource glut and competition from renewables are liable to make the former unprofitable, while market forces are seriously reducing the odds of the latter’s success.

Groups Urge Tougher Fossil Targets as B.C. Sets Carbon Goals for Communities, Industries

British Columbia has become the first province in Canada to set greenhouse gas emission reduction targets for major sectors of the provincial economy, but is being urged to toughen up its standards for oil and gas operations, The Canadian Press reports.

Kenney Under Fire After Documents Show Roadbuilding for Coal Exploration Exceeds Legal Limits

Road-building approvals for coal exploration already exceed legal limits in some parts of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains and foothills, suggest documents from the province’s energy regulator.

‘Love Letter to the Planet’: Supreme Court Upholds Federal Carbon Price Regime in 6-3 Decision

The Supreme Court of Canada has brought an end to years of provincial legal challenges to a key cornerstone of federal climate policy, deciding by a 6-3 vote that the Trudeau government’s carbon pricing regime is constitutional.

Texas Campaigners Celebrate Cancellation of Rio Grande LNG Terminal

Citing changes in the global market, liquified natural gas developer Annova LNG has cancelled the mammoth export terminal it planned to build in the Rio Grande Valley near Brownsville, Texas. Indigenous and environmental activists are hailing the move as proof of the power of grassroots organizing.

GNL Québec Project Risks Far Outweigh Benefits, Government Review Panel Concludes

Quebec’s environmental review board says the risks associated with GNL Québec’s proposed Saguenay gas terminal project far outweigh its benefits.

Alberta Eased More Environmental Rules During COVID than Any Other Canadian Government

Alberta relaxed more environmental rules in response to the COVID-19 pandemic than any other government in Canada, says a study from the University of Calgary.

Growth of Canada’s Renewable Energy Capacity to Slow Through 2023

Renewable electricity capacity in Canada will grow over the next few years at less than half the rate it’s seen in recent years, according to federal projections.

Canadian Environmental Racism Bill Addresses ‘Toxic Divide’

Aamjiwnaang First Nation near Sarnia, Ontario, is ringed by some 60 toxin-spewing petrochemical plants, more than any other community in Canada. That kind of environmental racism is the motivation for a private member’s bill currently before the House of Commons that calls for a national program to help communities measure the impacts they face.

U.S. Fracking Counties Face Economic Crunch as Coal Country Looks to Diversify

As the energy transition picks up across the United States, fossil-dependent states like Pennsylvania are struggling with the devastating financial and environmental price of betting the farm on oil, gas, and coal. But a policy brief published late last year offers some hints on how to build back better.

EXCLUSIVE: New Carbon Capture Tax Credit Would Drive Higher Emissions, Could Mislead Investors

A new federal incentive, modelled on a U.S. tax credit for carbon capture, utilization and storage, would be tailor-made to drive higher greenhouse gas emissions and could produce unexpected surprises for private investors if it’s included in Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland’s April 19 budget, a veteran U.S. energy consultant and attorney has told The Energy Mix.

Canada’s Opposition to Line 5 Closure Flies in the Face of Science, Courts Disaster, Ex-IJC Chair Warns

In announcing its “non-negotiable” opposition to the closure of the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline, the Canadian government has seemingly kicked to the curb a longstanding cross-border commitment to protect the Great Lakes from harm, says an experienced U.S. advisor.

Goldgrub: ESG Investing Requires (and Will Receive) Legal Standards

A wave of interest in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investments is leading to louder calls for government-mandated ESG standards, as it becomes increasingly clear that promises of better behaviour from the world’s largest corporations aren’t translating into the environmental and social benefits they’re supposed to be delivering.

Harvard Students Discover State Law that Could Boost Case for Divestment

Harvard students pushing the institution to divest from fossil fuels may have found a winning strategy with the new legal argument that investing in Big Oil violates Massachusetts state law. All they need is now for their state’s attorney general to take up their cause.

New Report Counts 600+ Cities in 72 Countries with 100% Renewable Energy Plans

The latest global status report on renewable power in cities shows that 2020 was a good year for the development of targets and policies at the municipal level, with more than 610 municipalities in 72 countries setting 100% renewable energy targets by year’s end.

Nuclear Fuel ‘Recycling’ in New Brunswick Could Drive Weapons Proliferation, Analysts Warn

Two veteran safe energy campaigners are raising the alarm after the federal government announced a C$50.5-million subsidy to a New Brunswick company that wants to build a new 300-megawatt small modular nuclear reactor at the site of the current Point Lepreau nuclear station by the early 2030s.

U.S. Lawmakers to Vote on Groundbreaking Environmental Justice Bill

A landmark bill currently in front of the U.S. Congress could change the game for environmental justice in the country. Two key provisions: an annual US$75 million in funding to improve public health in disadvantaged communities, and taxing the fossil sector in order to support fossil-dependent workers and communities in the transition to green jobs.

10.3 Million Displaced by Climate Disaster from September 2020 to February 2021

In just a six-month period over the past year, climate disasters sent more than 10 million people fleeing from their homes, adding to trauma already levied by the pandemic. Now, the world’s largest international aid network is pleading for compassion, and for funds.

Chevron Tweet Triggers Public Backlash, FTC Complaint

A complaint filed against Chevron for deceptive advertising could mark a new strategy for fossil fuel opponents.

Consultations Will Let Albertans Say ‘No’ to Rocky Mountain Coal Mining, Minister Promises

Alberta’s energy minister has promised people will be able to say “no” to coal mining in the Rocky Mountains during upcoming consultations.

Wasted Decade Delivers Airline CO2 Scheme That’s ‘Bad for Climate’

A “ridiculously weak” international carbon offset rule, already seen as giving airlines a three- to six-year free pass to pollute, is set to undermine Europe’s attempts to get its greenhouse gas emissions under control, according to a September 2020 consulting analysis produced for the European Commission and obtained by Brussels-based Transport & Environment under access to information laws.

Wet’suwet’en Chiefs Call for End to Canada’s Foot-Dragging on Climate

The government of Canada has been quick to hit back against fast-moving emergencies like wildfires—and against actions by Indigenous land defenders—but the country has been bitterly slow to respond to the gradual juggernaut of the climate crisis. Now, two Wet’suwet’en chiefs are calling for an end to those politically-motivated delays.

China’s International Investments Undermine ‘Green is Gold’ Domestic Mandate

China’s efforts to assert the green credentials of its Belt and Road Initiative are being undermined by its long-standing habit of ignoring public opinion, especially when it comes to human and ecosystem health. And recent successful pushback from community groups in Africa suggests it’s time for a rethink.

Ex-Conservative PM’s Message to Trudeau: Put Your House in Order Before Pushing Others

The 30th anniversary of one of the most successful environmental treaties ever reached holds lessons for today’s fight against climate change, says the former Conservative prime minister who negotiated the deal.

http://www.greenpeace.org/canada/en/campaigns/Energy/tarsands/

U.S. Congress Aims to End Tax Exemption for Tar Sands/Oil Sands, Set Price on Methane

Congressional Democrats in the United States are considering reversing a long-standing excise tax exemption for tar sands/oil sands crude entering the country, a move that could cost the Alberta industry US$665 million over the next decade.

More Systemic Racism than Storm Damage in Jackson, Mississippi Water Crisis

The winter storm that famously brought Texas to its knees last month also delivered misery to places like Jackson, Mississippi. Weeks later, more than 70% of Jackson’s mostly Black residents still don’t have safe water, an infrastructure failure that owes directly to systemic racism, past and present.

Analysts See ‘Marathon’ Ahead as China’s Five-Year Plan ‘Defers Heavy Lifting on Decarbonization’

China’s much-anticipated economic blueprint for the next five years stands pat on carbon reduction targets, leans heavily on “clean” coal and nuclear generation, and could lead to what one news outlet calls “a strong rise in greenhouse gas emissions” if the country doesn’t take further, faster action toward its promise to peak emissions before 2030 and hit carbon neutrality by 2060.

EXCLUSIVE: Blaming Campaigners for Rising Premiums Masks Trans Mountain’s Shoddy Safety Record, Ex-Insurance Exec Says

The federal Crown corporation responsible for the Trans Mountain pipeline is diverting attention from its own shoddy safety culture by blaming campaigners for its rising insurance premiums, while trying to conceal information on its operations that properly belongs in the public domain, two insurance industry veterans have told The Energy Mix.

A Decade After Fukushima Nuclear Disaster, Cleanup ‘Has Barely Begun’ [Sign-on]

A decade ago, on March 11, 2011, a massive earthquake created a 14-metre-high tsunami wave which destroyed the reactors of a Japanese nuclear power station at the town of Fukushima. Ten years on, the cleanup has barely begun.

Caribbean Refinery Poses an Early Test for U.S. Climate Justice Commitments

U.S. President Joe Biden’s promise to advance the cause of environmental justice is being put to the test by a U.S. Virgin Islands oil refinery that insists it is exempt from implementing monitoring protocols.

Local Councillors Raise Coal Mining Concern in Alberta Environment Minister’s Home Riding

A municipal council in Alberta Environment Minister Jason Nixon’s constituency is the latest in a growing number of communities expressing concern about the province’s plan to expand coal mining in the Rocky Mountains.

Panicky Messaging on Line 5 Closure Threat Masks Real Issues with Pipeline, Oil by Rail

Canadian Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan is framing Michigan’s intention to shutter Enbridge’s Line 5 pipeline as a dire threat to energy security on both sides of the border. Calmer analysis suggests otherwise.

Experts Brace for Disaster as Canada, U.S. Increase Oil-by-Rail Shipments

The fierce debate over cross-border pipelines is putting more Canadian oil and gas on trains destined for the United States—a country experts fear is ill-equipped for the potential consequences.

Quebec LNG Megaproject Will Drive Up Power Rates with $310M Revenue Hit, Analysis Finds

The controversial GNL-Québec liquefied natural gas megaproject will drive up electricity rates across the province by producing a roughly C$310-million revenue shortfall for utility Hydro-Québec, the province’s Union des consommateurs warned in an open letter late last month.

Bankrupt Texas Oil Companies Abandon Toxic Wells, Cash Out CEOs

Texas oil and gas companies are pulling up stakes, pleading bankruptcy, and leaving the public on the hook for abandoned wells they insist they cannot afford to plug themselves. But the pay packages delivered to CEOs just prior to the declarations of bankruptcy seem to show that different decisions could have been made.

800-MW Vineyard Wind Project Off Massachusetts Coast Moves Closer to Approval

The 800-megawatt Vineyard Wind offshore wind farm is inching closer to U.S. government approval, years after an earlier project off Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts was brought down by an unusual alliance between the Kennedy and Koch families.

Economic, Racial Bias Skews Cascadia’s Push to Decarbonize

The fight for climate justice continues to struggle for air as Cascadia races ahead to decarbonize. But brighter days may lie ahead.

David Schindler, Alberta Scientist Who ‘Talked Truth to Power’, Dies at Age 80

His research in the lab and the field was published in some of the world’s top journals, but that was never enough for David Schindler, who died Thursday at the age of 80.

Ottawa Releases Rules for National Carbon Offset System

The Trudeau government has released draft regulations that will set the rules for companies intent on buying and selling credits for projects that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

U.S. Senate Committee Vote Brings Haaland Closer to Confirmation as First Indigenous Secretary of Interior

A committee vote by a U.S. Senate Republican and the political clout of First Peoples in Alaska have brought Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) one step closer to confirmation as the United States’ first Secretary of Interior of Indigenous origin.

Groups Urge Toronto Council to Solve Its ‘Embarrassing Gas Problem’ [Sign-On]

The City of Toronto will have a chance Wednesday to deal with what one leading advocate calls its “embarrassing gas problem” when councillors vote on a motion to support a phaseout of power plants running largely on fracked gas.

Alberta Regulator Clamps Down after Deadbeat Fossil Falls $67 Million Short on Cleanup Funds

The Alberta Energy Regulator says it is suspending licences for thousands of wells and pipelines after an oil and gas producer failed to bring its operations into regulatory compliance.

‘Milestone’ 4-0 Vote Permanently Halts Fracking in Delaware River Basin

In the face of vociferous opposition from natural gas interests, an interstate commission has voted to put a permanent stop to fracking in the Delaware River Basin.

Social Cost of Carbon ‘Puts a Number on Climate Damage’

On Day One of his administration, U.S. President Joe Biden directed his team to reassess the social cost of carbon. This seemingly obscure concept puts a number on how much damage a tonne of carbon dioxide emitted today will do in the future, to show how much a given climate policy would benefit the economy in the long run. Biden’s team explicitly called for considerations of environmental justice and intergenerational equity, referring to the perils of climate change to future generations.

$565-Billion House Bill Aims to Cut U.S. Emissions 50% by 2030, Decarbonize Grid by 2035

The United States would cut its greenhouse gas emissions 50% from 2005 levels by 2030 and count on a clean electricity standard to achieve a 100% clean energy grid by 2035 under legislation reintroduced this week by Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Accountability Bill Lacks ‘Clear Path’ to Net-Zero Targets, Climate Scientist Warns Ottawa

Just days after unveiling its long-awaited Net-Zero Advisory Body, the Canadian government is receiving some pointed advice on how to toughen up its new climate accountability framework, Bill C-12, to deliver on a legally-binding net-zero target by 2050.

Developers Clash with U.S. Cities on Vote for Greener Building Codes

Two years ago, sustainability-minded city planners across the United States discovered they could vote to change the national energy codes that many states adopt to set efficiency standards for larger buildings. Voting in droves, they voted deep green. Now, developers are determined to overturn the results.

New Technologies Could Cut Millions of Tonnes of Carbon, Save U.S. Utilities Billions of Dollars

Utilities in the United States could cut millions of tonnes of carbon pollution, save billions of dollars, and double their capacity for new wind and solar capacity if federal government incentives can be set up to support a suite of “grid-enhancing technologies”, the Boston-based Brattle Group concludes in a report released last month.

Citizens’ Assembly Pushes Back, Legislators Draft 4,000 Amendments After Macron Tables Climate and Resilience Bill

A highly-touted climate and resilience bill from the government of President Emmanuel Macron is running into gale-force headwinds in France, after the country’s citizens’ assembly panned the plan and legislators came back with more than 4,000 amendments.

Criminalizing Ecocide Could Give Teeth to Easy-to-Evade Climate Targets

While most of the world’s countries are, for all intents and purposes, reneging on their promises to keep global warming below 1.5°C, individuals and organizations are fighting to hold such ecocidal inaction to account in criminal court.

coal power plant

BREAKING: Powering Past Coal Alliance Urges Faster Phaseout While Co-Founders Allow New Coal Mines

The global Powering Past Coal Alliance is taking sharp criticism from both sides of the Atlantic this week, with delegates gathering for a three-day online summit while the PPCA’s two founders and co-chairs, Canada and the United Kingdom, allow new coal mines to go into operation.

Fracked U.S. Gas the Main Culprit as Toronto GHG Emissions Rise 7% in 2018

Greenhouse gas emissions rose 7% in Toronto and 5.2% across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) in 2018, with natural gas the major cause, a new report warns this week.

Canadian Environmental Justice Bill Set for Commons Debate [Petition]

A private member’s bill seeking to address environmental racism in Canada, in part by empowering BIPOC communities to act in their own defence, is due to be debated in the House of Commons later this month—the first step in moving the legislation forward to committee.

Quebec River is First in Canada to Gain ‘Legal Personhood’

With its kilometres of rapids and deep blue waters winding through Quebec’s Côte-Nord region, the Magpie river has long been a culturally significant spot for the Innu of Ekuanitshit.

Now the river, a majestic, world-renowned whitewater rafting destination, has been granted legal personhood status in a bid to protect it from future threats, such as hydroelectric development. Its new status means the body of water could theoretically sue the government.

Maryland Capital and Its County Launch New Climate Suits Against Big Fossil

Annapolis, Maryland, has launched a lawsuit against 26 fossil companies—including heavyweights ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, and Shell—in a bid to hold the industry liable for its decision to pursue fossil fuel development despite full knowledge of the environmental consequences.

Canadian Fossil Subsidies Tripled in 2020, Report Shows

A new report suggests the economic impact of the pandemic led to a massive increase in federal aid to Canada’s oilpatch.

Abreu, Coady, Donner, Yussuf Sign On as Ottawa Appoints Net-Zero Advisory Body

The Canadian government has appointed a 14-member Net-Zero Advisory Body to help it find the best pathways to net-zero emissions by 2050.

Rising Rents, Hurricane Damage Drive Homelessness Crisis in Louisiana

Only six months after seeing their homes destroyed by back-to-back hurricanes, many renters in the industrial heartland of southwest Louisiana have found themselves literally on the street due to unconscionable eviction laws, a woefully insufficient federal aid response, a pre-existing housing crisis, and pandemic-related job losses.

Canada Needs a ZEV Target This Year to Meet Climate Targets, Analyst Warns

It’s essential for Canada to deliver on a zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate this year if it wants to stay true to its commitments under the Paris Agreement, Équiterre mobility analyst Andréanne Brazeau writes in a recent post for Policy Options.

Off-Gassing Upholstery, Highway Emissions Make Cars Toxic Inside and Out

The average commute time in California is 30 minutes, and growing. And according to a new study, the half-hour spent in vehicles that off-gas benzene and formaldehyde—and driving on highways befogged with toxic tailpipe emissions—is increasing some very specific health risks.

Alberta Towns Declare Crisis as Deadbeat Fossils’ Unpaid Tax Bills Triple to $245 Million

The exponential growth of unpaid property taxes from Alberta’s struggling oilpatch is threatening small communities and they need new ways to enforce the rules, says the group that represents them.

Federal Committee Undercuts Net-Zero Pledge by Making Airtightness Testing Voluntary

The federal committee responsible for building code development is undercutting Canada’s commitment to a net-zero future by making airtightness testing a voluntary measure, Efficiency Canada warns in a new blog post.

UN Report Urges End to ‘Suicidal’ War on Nature

A landmark UN report has delivered a shattering synopsis of the three intertwined emergencies facing humanity—the climate crisis, a devastated natural world, and catastrophic air and water pollution—along with an authoritative and detailed blueprint for how to fix a “broken planet.”

$16,752 Power Bill was a Feature, Not a Bug, in Texas’ Market-Driven Electricity System

With one Texas ratepayer looking at a US$16,752 power bill, and another down to her last $200 after her electricity reseller cleaned out her bank account, the architect of the state’s deregulated electricity market says it’s functioning exactly as it’s supposed to.

Texas Blackouts Highlight Disaster Risk for U.S., Canadian Utilities

With many Texans still scrambling to recover from a week of freezing cold weather, power blackouts, and water shortages, early analysis in the United States and Canada is pointing to the episode as a wake-up call for grid operators—and electricity users—across the continent.

Going All In on EV Adoption Won’t Solve America’s Car Addiction: Op-Ed

While the Biden administration’s recent pledge to replace the U.S. government’s fleet of some 650,000 vehicles with EVs is being welcomed, observers warn that simply replacing one car type with another won’t solve a deeper issue at the heart of America’s transportation fabric.

Tree Programs Should Favour Natural Regeneration Over Commercial Plantations

The oil company Shell recently miscalculated the extent of its reserves on a pretty massive scale. The mistake meant its new scenario for meeting the internationally agreed 1.5°C climate target would need a new forest about the size of Brazil. And that renewed a debate about just what trees can do to ease the climate crisis.

BREAKING: Texas Was ‘Seconds and Minutes’ from Months-Long Blackouts, Grid Operator Admits

At least 47 people were dead, hundreds of thousands of homes were still without power, half of the state was under a boil water order, racialized communities were bearing the brunt, and the electricity system operator admitted it had only narrowly averted months-long blackouts as Texas began taking stock of a rolling disaster brought on by climate-driven severe weather and ideologically-driven grid deregulation.

California Senate Bill Would Halt New Fracking, Set 2027 ban

Citing the “existential threat” of the climate crisis, two California senators have introduced a bill that would sharply curtail fracking in the state—and eventually ban it outright. And despite the predictable backlash from fossil interests, the bill makes explicit a commitment to a just transition.

Ottawa Underestimates Carbon Tax Rebates after Revenue Exceeds Predictions

The federal government owes Canadian families in three provinces more than C$200 million after underestimating how much it would raise from the carbon tax during the first year of the program.

Brutal Cold Snap Triggers Rolling Blackouts, Drives Up Power Costs as Texas Gas Plants Fail

A brutal blast of cold, winter weather this week killed at least 14 people in four U.S. states, dropped snow and ice on an area from Texas to New England, took 34,000 megawatts of power offline in Texas, drove wholesale electricity rates up by more than 10,000%—and prompted a brief, inevitable burst of complaints directed at the state’s wind farms, before it became clear that most of the missing electricity was from the state’s gas plants.

Bar Association Resolution Calls for ‘Climate-Conscious Lawyering’

The Canadian Bar Association is expected to vote on a climate leadership resolution at its annual meeting later today. In this guest post, an excerpt from a longer analysis for Lawyers for Climate Justice, Canadian environmental law pioneer David Estrin talks about what’s at stake.

New Deforestation Map Reveals Shocking Loss of B.C.’s Old Growth Stands

Despite its “Super, Natural” branding, British Columbia is by no means a haven for old-growth forests, according to a new mapping project that points to a massive toll from logging and industrial activity.

Pickering-Area Citizens Launch Blockade, ‘Shoe Strike’ to Protect Sensitive Local Wetland

Community groups and angry citizens from Pickering, Ontario are going up against what one news report calls “a billionaire and a business-friendly government” to try to stop the Lower Duffins Creek Wetland, a provincially significant local green space, wildlife habitat, and buffer against climate impacts, from being bulldozed for a massive warehouse and entertainment complex.

Explainer: IISD Lays Out Pros and Cons of Subsidizing Hydrogen Development

As countries chart paths to net-zero economies by 2050, hydrogen has enjoyed a new wave of attention. But a key question facing governments is whether the benefits of subsidizing hydrogen development outweigh the risks, the International Institute for Sustainable Development’s Richard Bridle and Estan Beedell note in a detailed explainer.

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Deliver Real Protections for Climate Migrants, Refugee Group Urges Biden Administration

As work begins on a new climate change and migration report commissioned by the Biden administration, Refugees International is urging the White House to turn the initiative from “some sort of risk scenario and planning exercise” into a gateway to real solutions.

Citizen ‘Climate Brigades’ in Ecuador Build Resilience, Cohesion

The citizen brigades of Guayaquil, Ecuador, were established to help the city’s poor find safety during extreme weather events. But the results have gone far further—with positive reverberations both political and personal.

Wilkinson, McCarthy Hold First Talks on Cross-Border Climate Action

With a new administration in Washington, DC setting climate action as one of its four defining priorities, Canadian Environment and Climate Minister Jonathan Wilkinson has opened conversations with his U.S. counterpart on “an array of potential new agreements” for cross-border cooperation, the Globe and Mail reports.

1930s Jobs Program Holds Mixed Lessons for Biden’s U.S. Climate Corps

A recent executive order by President Biden has set policy-makers on course to design a strategy for a new U.S. Civilian Climate Corps, with details due by late April. Comparisons to the New Deal’s Civilian Conservation Corps and to the present-day AmeriCorps are inevitable, but also problematic, observers warn.

Alberta’s Reinstated Coal Policy Leaves Gaping Opportunities for Mining

Its recent mea culpa notwithstanding, the Jason Kenney government in Alberta has by no means closed the barn door on the idea of metallurgical coal mining in the beloved, and ecologically sensitive, eastern slopes of the Rockies.

Fact Checker Scorches Kenney’s Keystone Claims as Premier’s Political Woes Deepen

The Edmonton-based Parkland Institute is out with a detailed fact check of Premier Jason Kenney’s recent pronouncements on the cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline, while Maclean’s magazine speculates on whether this is the job Kenney was looking for when he sought the Alberta premiership.

Science ‘Translators’ Needed to Help Investors Avoid Climate Greenwashing

Investors and their advisors may be making a dangerous mistake if they allow climate modelling to give them a false sense of certainty over the physical impacts to be expected from climate change, according to a new article in the journal Nature Climate Change.

India Was Forewarned About Himalayan Flood Disaster Risks

Experts and residents in India have long been sending a message to the Modi government in India: Do not build hydroelectric dams in the Alaknanda-Bhagirathi basin. But those warnings were ignored, and now the collapse of the Nanda Devi glacier has left a toll of at least 26 dead and nearly 200 missing, as the fear of further collapse grips the living.

Ecojustice Goes to Court Against Alberta’s ‘Foreign-Funded Influence’ Panel

A judge in Calgary was to hear arguments this week over whether Alberta’s public inquiry into the purported foreign funding of environmental charities is a valid defence of the province’s ailing oil industry or an attempt to silence dissent.

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Line 5 Pipeline Battle Produces Overheated Claims on Job vs. Environment

As officials in Michigan look to shut down the Line 5 pipeline, business interests in Ontario and Quebec are warning of dire economic effects. But others—like Green Party Leader Annamie Paul—say there are opportunities, too, and that presenting the pipeline as a choice between jobs and the environment is a false, and dangerous, dichotomy.

Coal mining

Loopholes Still Allow Mountaintop Mining, Law Prof Warns, after Alberta Reinstates 1976 Coal Policy

Doubts are being raised about the Alberta government’s decision to restore a policy that protects the Rocky Mountains from coal mining.

Peruvian Study Connects Flood Risk to Climate Change, Boosts Litigation Hopes

A landmark study of a Peruvian glacier has concluded that climate change caused by human activity is the key factor in the dangerous phenomenon of outburst flooding from glacial lakes. That finding could prove useful in a David vs. Goliath climate lawsuit currently being heard in a German civil court.

French Court Orders More State Action on Climate Change

In what campaigners are calling a landmark ruling, a French court has judged the country to be failing in its commitments to fight the climate crisis—and has ordered it to do better.

‘Intense Public Protest’ Prompts Alberta to Restore Some Coal Industry Regulation

The Alberta government says it plans to restore some aspects of a policy it revoked last spring that protected a wide swath of the province’s foothills and mountains from coal mines.
The move has provoked intense public protest.

U.S. Cities Vastly Underreport Their Emissions, Study Concludes

A new study in the journal Nature Communications warns that most American cities are likely underreporting their greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 20%, an alarming statistic given that the world’s cities already produce the lion’s share of CO2 emissions—and many are expected to triple in size by 2030.

‘Tears of Joy’ as Court Orders Compensation for Shell Pipeline Spills in Nigeria

A European campaign organization responded with “tears of joy”, and a reporter predicted a wave of new litigation after an appeals court in The Hague ruled late last month that colossal fossil Royal Dutch Shell must pay compensation to four Nigerian farmers affected by large pipeline spills between 2004 and 2007.

Permian Basin Drilling Leases Put New Mexico’s Aquifers at Risk

The vast and pristine network of caves that thread through the limestone and gypsum landscape of southeastern New Mexico are otherworldly in their beauty, rich in scientific and cultural revelation—and increasingly threatened by ongoing Permian Basin fossil exploration.

Industrial Hog Farm Biogas Projects Ignore Community Impacts

Many Black and low-income communities in the U.S. have long played unwilling hosts to industrial hog farms and their sub-par waste-treatment processes. Now, efforts to turn hog-generated methane into renewable natural gas are doing little to improve the quality of life in these communities—and may even be making it worse.

White House Abandons Trump-Era Attacks on Vehicle Efficiency, Methane Standards

The Biden administration is abandoning a controversial Trump-era attempt to challenge California’s legislated authority to set its own tailpipe and methane emission standards under the U.S. Clean Air Act.

Alberta Fossil Defence Tactics Ripped Right from Fossil Petro-State Playbook, Analysis Shows

Alberta’s government may brandish democracy when it promotes its oil to the world, but its transparent efforts to silence voices of opposition to fossil fuels come direct from the playbook of some of the world’s most oppressive petro-states, says a new report from Toronto-based Environmental Defence.

Wyoming Citizens Divided on Economic Shift from Fossil to Renewables

As the low-carbon transition takes hold, fossil-producing Wyoming is at a crossroads. The windy state is grasping at the potential to invest big in renewable power—but old habits die hard, and uncertainty about wind’s ability to deliver has many citizens fearing change.

Canada and U.S. Drastically Underestimate Methane Emissions as Atmospheric Levels Rise

Federal environmental agencies are underestimating methane emissions from abandoned oil and gas wells by 20% in the United States and 150% in Canada, according to a McGill University study published late last month in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, one of several in recent weeks that have pointed to a mounting crisis in releases of the climate-busting gas.

Ireland Plans to Ban New Oil and Gas Licences, ‘Keep Fossil Fuels in the Ground’

The Irish Cabinet has approved a legislated ban on new oil and gas exploration licences, though it still plans to honour existing licences—to the relief of the country’s offshore operators and the dismay of its Labour opposition.

Banking Industry Funnelled $17 Trillion into Big Plastic over 4½ Years

A groundbreaking investigation into plastics funding has found that the world’s biggest financial institutions have been “silently and indiscriminately” bankrolling the biggest actors in the global plastic supply chain. Between January 2015 and September 2019, they wrote cheques totalling more than US$1.7 trillion.

Executive Orders Good, Action Better, U.S. Environmental Justice Campaigners Say

Environmental justice campaigners in the United States have been feeling hopeful as President Joe Biden signs a string of executive orders to begin setting his climate program in motion. But more trust-building is needed, say observers—particularly after a long history of politicians talking big but delivering little.

Musk Faces Headwinds in Bid to Power SpaceX Rockets with Fossil Gas

Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk is facing serious criticism for plans to power his other major business venture, SpaceX, with fossil gas.

B.C. Logging Practices Drive Up Climate Risk, Sierra Club Warns

After failing to assess elevated risks of drought, wildfire, and flooding resulting from its standard logging practices, British Columbia urgently needs to address impacts of forest clearcutting that were left out of its 2019 Strategic Climate Risk Assessment, according to a report released Monday by Sierra Club BC.

Climate ‘Pariah’ Bolsonaro Faces International Court Complaint for Crimes Against Humanity

At home and abroad, the environmental policies being adopted in President Jair Bolsonaro’s Brazil are leaving the country increasingly isolated, especially now his climate-denying idol Donald Trump has been replaced by the climate-friendly U.S. President Joe Biden.

Fossils ‘Stunned’, ‘Aghast’ After Biden Pauses New Oil and Gas Leases

North American fossils are declaring themselves “stunned” and “aghast” at the wave of climate action emanating from the White House last week, with U.S. President Joe Biden ordering a pause on new oil and gas leases on federal land and climate advisor Gina McCarthy promising “the most aggressive” greenhouse gas reductions the country can achieve.

Missing Federal Permit, Cancelled Insurance Bond Mean Mounting Legal Woes for Dakota Access Pipeline

Legal and regulatory problems are beginning to pile up for the troubled Dakota Access Pipeline, with a judge asking how the pipeline operator “expects to proceed” without a key federal permit and an insurance company cancelling an important financial guarantee in Iowa.

State-Led U.S. Climate Alliance Still Sees Headwinds Post-Trump

A White House led by a climate denier who was actively working to undermine global efforts to meet the targets in Paris Agreement made work hard for the 25 U.S. states that pledged to make good on their country’s promises under the 2015 deal. But even with Trump gone, progress is still being hamstrung by a tendency to equate action with electric power.

Major Canadian Solar Firm Denies Reports of Forced Labour

A Canadian solar company is claiming that no Uyghurs are employed at its 30-MW solar farm in China’s Xinjiang region, nor are any members of the persecuted Muslim community being forced into labour anywhere along its solar supply chain. But human rights observers say that last assertion doesn’t stand up to the evidence.

Sweeping Biden Executive Orders Halt Fossil Leases, Boost Renewables, Stress Environmental Justice and Scientific Integrity

With a set of three sweeping executive orders Wednesday, U.S. President Joe Biden launched an abrupt shift from four years of climate denial and inaction. The orders included measures to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, increase its reliance on renewable energy, accelerate government renewables procurement and research, restore scientific integrity, and begin addressing the searing inequities and environmental justice issues that had been allowed to fester under his predecessor’s watch.

‘Net Negative’ Claims from Alberta Fossils Underscore Flaws with Carbon Capture

Two Alberta-based fossil companies are reporting that they’ve reached “net-negative” carbon emissions, thanks to carbon capture technology. But while the news sounds promising for CCS—which experts increasingly believe will be necessary to keep average global warming below 2°C—there are still concerns about how emissions reductions are calculated, and how CCS may reduce the incentive to actually reduce emissions.

Critics Weigh Merits of Soil Sequestration-Based Carbon Storage

Soil scientists, carbon credit start-ups, and now U.S. President Joe Biden want to enlist American farmers to fight the climate crisis through soil sequestration. Some, however, are questioning whether the benefits are as advertised, or if the initiative is a dangerous distraction from more proven, heavyweight carbon solutions like peatland restoration and forest protection.

Offsets May Give Big Polluters a ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ Card on Carbon Emissions

Some of the world’s biggest carbon polluters, including colossal fossils Royal Dutch Shell and BP, may be on the verge of receiving a “get out of jail free” card by exerting influence on the design of a new global market for voluntary carbon offsets, DeSmog UK reports.

Discouraging EV Battery Recycling Could Lead to Environmental Disaster

In September, Tesla announced that it would be phasing out the use of cobalt in its batteries, in an effort to produce a US$25,000 electric vehicle within three years. If successful, this bold move will be an industry game changer, making electric vehicles competitive with conventional counterparts.

Biden to Pause Oil and Gas Leasing, Emphasize Environmental Justice in ‘Climate Day’ Executive Orders Expected Today

U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to pause new oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters and unveil an ambitious plan to put environmental justice at the centre of his climate program in a series of executive orders to be signed later today.

Appeal Judge Withholds Key Environmental Permit from Dakota Access Pipeline

A U.S. appeals court has upheld a lower court decision to reject key environmental approvals for the fiercely-contested Dakota Access pipeline, while reiterating its own conclusion that District Judge James E. Boasberg went too far in ordering the pipeline to shut down.

Vulcan County, Alberta Sets Sights on 500-MW Wind Farm

The rural county in Alberta that brought Canada its biggest solar farm to date is at it again, with word this week that it is seeking regulatory approval for a 500-megawatt wind farm.

Alberta Coal Expansion Plan Raises Flags Over Past Toxic Contamination, Missed Monitoring

EDMONTON — Critics are asking why Alberta Environment has been sitting on years’ worth of data about pollution from coal mines while the government considers a dramatic expansion of the industry.

Land Titles Empower Indigenous Peoples while Promoting Forest Conservation

Forest conservation as a carbon reduction strategy has led to a trammelling of human rights for forest dwellers around the world, but it need not be this way: managed with human rights at the forefront, legally protected community lands are a proven boon to both climate and people.

Time to Move On from Keystone, Ambassador Says, as Biden, Trudeau Talk Climate Cooperation

With U.S. President Joe Biden making climate action a top priority for his new administration, and an analyst warning that the Keystone XL pipeline cancellation will stifle Alberta’s fossil industry for years, Canada’s U.S. ambassador is saying that it’s time to move on and focus on other opportunities in the bilateral relationship.

White House Says More Climate Action Coming in ‘Omnibus’ Order Next Week

U.S. President Joe Biden is planning another week of rapid action on the climate emergency, Reuters reports, citing a White House memo that promises a “series of regulatory actions to combat climate change domestically and elevates climate change as a national security priority”.

81% of ‘Removed’ Atmospheric Carbon is Reused to Extract More Fossil Fuel

The global operational capacity of carbon capture and storage (CCS) currently stands at 39 megatonnes (Mt) of CO2 per year, or roughly 0.1% of global annual emissions, with deployment slow and plagued by accidents. And despite its fervid marketing as a climate saviour, CCS today is primarily used merely to extract more fossil fuels.

‘Humiliated’ Kenney Demands Trade Sanctions, Could Sell Pipeline for Scrap as TC Shuts Down Keystone Construction

A “humiliated” Alberta Premier Jason Kenney demanded trade sanctions against the United States, TC Energy cut 1,000 construction jobs, Fox Business and the Wall Street Journal falsely claimed 10,000 to 11,000 jobs lost, and the Keystone XL pipeline was at risk of being sold off for scrap after President Joe Biden signed a Day One executive order cancelling the presidential permit for the intensely controversial fossil megaproject.

Flurry of Biden Executive Orders Returns U.S. to Paris Agreement, Begins Reversing Trump Deregulatory Agenda

News reports Wednesday heralded the dawn of a new era in U.S. climate, energy, and environmental justice policy, as President Joe Biden marked his first day in office by signing a wave of executive orders to begin rolling back four years of deregulation under Donald Trump.

B.C. Regulator Imposes Independent Auditor After Coastal GasLink Imperils Prime Fish Habitats

Northeastern British Columbia pipeliner Coastal GasLink has been ordered to abide by provincial laws and start preventing polluted sediments from flowing from its work sites into prime fish habitats. And it won’t be trusted to take these protective measures on its own.

After Early Momentum, Cascadia Region Loses Focus on Climate Action

Political infighting, misinformation campaigns, and serial communication failures have dashed any hopes that the Cascadia region would take the lead in the climate fight and significantly reduce its emissions by the end of last year. Now, angry young people are asking the courts to force their leaders to do a better job, and fast.

Residents’ Court Claim Links Landslide to Site C Construction

VANCOUVER — Residents of a tiny community in northeastern British Columbia are suing the local and provincial governments over two slow-moving landslides they claim caused their property values to plummet.

TC Energy Touts ‘Zero-Emissions’ Plan, Kenney Threatens Court Action as Keystone Cancellation Looms

Calgary-based pipeliner TC Energy touted a “zero-emissions” approach to its fossil fuel transportation business, the federal and Alberta government vowed to continue the fight, and Premier Jason Kenney admitted his province stands to lose a billion-dollar gamble as the reality sank in that U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to cancel the Keystone XL pipeline after he’s sworn in later today.

Alberta Cancels 11 Coal Leases, Allows Development on 420,000 Hectares after Petitions Gather 100,000 Signatures [Sign-Ons]

EDMONTON — Alberta has decided to cancel recently issued coal leases in the Rocky Mountains, as public opposition grows to the United Conservative government’s plan to expand coal mining in the area.

Be Wary of Plans for Direct CO2 Removal, Greenpeace Warns Investors

While direct carbon removal (DCR) technologies like afforestation and direct air carbon capture are showing up in climate plans across the corporate world, it will be sharp emissions reductions, not DCR, that actually will keep a 1.5˚C climate target in view, Greenpeace UK warns in a new report.

Weak Climate Risk Disclosure Puts Canadian Businesses at Disadvantage

With Canadian companies continuing to flout climate risk disclosure regulations, even as many of their global competitors come clean, the CEO of one of the nation’s largest investment managers says the disconnect will come back to burn the economy, particularly as the country struggles to rebuild from the pandemic.

Civil Rights Advocates Decry New Ohio Anti-Protest Legislation

As Ohio quietly moves to bring down a larger hammer on those who trespass on oil and gas infrastructure, activists and civil liberties defenders fear the crackdown against the Capitol Hill insurrection two weeks ago will be used to justify further suppression of fair protest.

Alberta Inquiry Touts ‘Junk Climate Denial’, Conspiracy Theories in Fossil Industry’s Defence

Alberta’s C$3.5-million inquiry into supposed foreign-funded interference with the province’s fossil industry is advancing “junk climate denial science, bizarre conspiracy theories, and oil industry propaganda,” according to critics who’ve reviewed a series of commissioned studies now available on the inquiry’s website, CBC and the Globe and Mail report.

New Ministerial Mandate Letters Lay Out Federal Agenda on Climate, Green Recovery

While the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is still necessarily taking up most of the oxygen on Parliament Hill, climate action and a green recovery figure fairly prominently in a new batch of ministerial mandate letters released last Thursday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

McCarthy: 2021 Could Be ‘Pivotal Year’ for Climate Action

With climate action and ambition accelerating toward the end of last year, in Canada and internationally, and COVID-19 vaccine distribution under way, 2021 could be a pivotal year in the fight to get the climate crisis under control, writes Shawn McCarthy, senior counsel at the Sussex Strategy Group, in a post last week for Policy Options.