By Aaron Wherry - Friday, February 22, 2013 - 0 Comments
Michael Den Tandt wonders if the Conservatives will have to stop freaking out about the NDP’s cap-and-trade proposal if they hope to see the Keystone XL pipeline approved by the United States. If the Conservatives think likewise, we’ll presumably see a different tone on Monday when the House returns to business (the Conservatives certainly weren’t shying away from their preferred talking point when the House was sitting a week ago).
Meanwhile, China is talking about a carbon tax and Ontario is thought to be moving forward with cap-and-trade and here is what the woman thought to be President Barack Obama’s choice to lead the EPA told an audience of regulators yesterday.
Addressing a room full of familiar faces at a workshop of state and federal regulators, McCarthy applauded local efforts, such as the nine-state carbon cap-and-trade program in the Northeast United States, for showing Washington a path forward on combating climate change.
“At the EPA we will do our part to build on your success,” she said at the Georgetown University Law Center. “We can find a way instead of having national solutions…to open up opportunities for states to use all the flexibility, the ingenuity, the innovation that you have shown could be done, and just simply get it done.”
Stephen Gordon talks to Global about what international developments might mean for Canada.
As the rest of the world starts to put a price on carbon, any Canadian exporter is going to have start paying that price regardless of where it is located,” said Laval University economics professor Stephen Gordon. Carbon taxes are usually applied to imports as well, so local producers are not disadvantaged, according to Gordon.
The U.S. is Canada’s largest trading partner and accepted $330.1 billion worth of exports from Canada in 2011. China ranks number three when it comes to Canada’s largest export destinations, accepting $16.8 billion in exports in 2011. “If Canadian exporters are already paying for it why not send that tax revenue to Ottawa instead of Washington or Beijing,” Gordon said.
And PJ Partington compares coal regulations in Canada and the United States.
The U.S. ambassador has made it crystal clear that as America steps up its climate action it expects us to do better too. The new line from the Harper government is that we’re already there, particularly on curbing emissions from coal power. Foreign minister John Baird recently suggested “maybe the United States could join Canada” on “taking concrete direct action with respect to dirty, coal fired electricity generation,” adding that “we’re the only country in the world that’s committed to getting out of the dirty coal electricity generation business.”
Sadly, Canada isn’t the shining example of coal-curbing excellence that Harper’s ministers are claiming. When it comes to regulating greenhouse gases (GHGs) from coal power, we’re doing about the same as our neighbours to the South — and may well be eclipsed before too long. While coal power is America’s biggest source of GHGs, accounting for over a quarter of national emissions in 2010, it accounted for about 11 per cent of Canada’s in the same year. As for “getting out of the dirty coal electricity generation business,” Canada won’t be fulfilling that commitment until 2062.
By The Associated Press - Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 11:08 AM - 0 Comments
WASHINGTON – The Obama administration put a temporary stop to new federal contracts with…
WASHINGTON – The Obama administration put a temporary stop to new federal contracts with British oil company BP on Wednesday, citing the company’s “lack of business integrity” and criminal proceedings stemming from the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010.
The action by the Environmental Protection Administration won’t affect current contracts, but prevents BP and its affiliates from new government contracts “until the company can provide sufficient evidence to EPA demonstrating that it meets federal business standards,” the agency said.
“EPA is taking this action due to BP’s lack of business integrity as demonstrated by the company’s conduct with regard to the Deepwater Horizon blowout, explosion, oil spill, and response,” the agency said in a statement.
In London, BP said it had no immediate comment but expected to make a statement later Wednesday.
The EPA suspensions were standard practice when a criminal case raises responsibility questions about a company. The suspension came the same day two BP rig supervisors and a former executive were scheduled to be arraigned on criminal charges stemming from the deadly explosion and the company’s response to the resulting oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
BP announced earlier in November that it will plead guilty to manslaughter, obstruction of Congress and other charges and pay a record $4.5 billion in penalties to resolve a Justice Department probe of the disaster. Attorneys for BP and the Justice Department plan to meet with a federal judge in December to discuss a date for pleading guilty.
It was not immediately clear what new or pending contracts the suspension might affect. In the past, BP has been a major supplier of energy to the U.S. military, and has also provided fuel products and drilling services for other U.S. agencies such as the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, June 4, 2012 at 5:31 PM - 0 Comments
The Scene. “One step forward,” Thomas Mulcair sighed, “four steps back.”
By Mr. Mulcair’s telling, the Environment Minister had just last week conceded the need for better environmental monitoring. But today, the leader of the opposition, reported, there was news that the government had decided to eliminate a unit dedicated to the study of smoke stack pollution. “What is the plan to replace Environment Canada’s smoke stack pollution team?” Mr. Mulcair asked of no one in particular. “The plan is to outsource its work to that great environmental country, the United States.”
He slowly pumped his fist to the beat as he delivered the question. “Could the Conservatives tell us how the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is supposed to monitor smokestack pollution at a Canadian coal-fired power plant?”
It was Jason Kenney’s turn to play prime minister today and so the Immigration Minister stood to chop his hand and offer assurances. “We will take no lessons from the NDP on this,” he scolded. “If that member chooses to distrust the EPA or President Obama, that is his choice.”
Mr. Mulcair was unimpressed. “Mr. Speaker, usually countries try to take care of their own environment,” he shot back. “They do not outsource it.”
David Christopherson deemed this worthy of a hearty desk-thumping. Continue…
By Luiza Ch. Savage - Friday, June 17, 2011 at 11:00 AM - 0 Comments
The proposed U.S. route for oil sands crude is facing intense scrutiny
Stephen Harper has urged Barack Obama to approve it. Alberta’s energy minister demanded that the President “sign the bloody order,” already. But the soft-spoken diplomat leading the American government’s review of TransCanada Pipelines Ltd.’s proposed Keystone XL pipeline, Daniel Clune, is keeping his cards close to his chest. The approval of the US$7-billion, 2,700-km pipeline that would bring oil sands crude from Canada, through the U.S. heartland down to the Gulf Coast, has become one of the biggest issues between Canada and the U.S., a hot environmental cause south of the border—and a tug of war between two departments of the Obama administration.
To the pipeline’s backers, the approval process is dragging on longer than any before it—but for critics who oppose building infrastructure to tie the U.S. to even more carbon fuels, and oil sands in particular, it’s whipping by too fast. The State Department has said it will made a decision by the end of the year, and its every move is being scrutinized on both sides for evidence that oil interests have captured the Obama administration—or that federal bureaucrats are about to sabotage the national interest by scuttling a golden opportunity to create jobs and help wean America off Middle Eastern oil.
Congress is watching closely. House Republicans, who tout the pipeline as a “no-brainer,” have introduced legislation to try to fast-track a decision by Nov. 1. Meanwhile, in the Senate, a Republican and a Democrat, both from Nebraska, have expressed concern about the safety of the pipeline, which would traverse their state’s important agricultural aquifer. Several recent leaks in the existing Keystone pipeline that runs from Alberta to the Midwest have heightened those worries.
By Chris Sorensen - Monday, February 7, 2011 at 12:10 PM - 1 Comment
Drivers shouldn’t expect huge fuel savings from the Fiat 500
The tiny, stylish Fiat 500 is tasked with filling a gaping hole in Chrysler’s lineup when it comes to small fuel-efficient vehicles. (Known for its big, throaty cars and trucks, the troubled American automaker was forced into a merger with the Italian Fiat as a condition of its taxpayer bailout.) But if the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ratings are any indication, North Americans shouldn’t be expecting huge fuel savings over the competition when the 500 arrives in dealerships this year.
The EPA gave the automatic transmission version of the 500 a 27/34 mpg rating, referring to city and highway mileage (a manual transmission version does better at 30/38 mpg). That’s not bad, but writers on Autoblog were quick to point out that larger compact cars like Ford’s Focus and the Chevrolet Cruze are both capable of attaining 40 mpg, depending on transmissions and option packages.
Of course, a quick glimpse of Fiat’s Canadian website, with its thumping music and glitzy flash video, suggests Chrysler intends to sell this small car based on attributes other than just its performance at the pump—a pitch Chrysler should have down to a science, given its muscle-car history.
By Katie Engelhart and Nicholas Köhler - Tuesday, March 30, 2010 at 9:00 AM - 88 Comments
The UN says so, and so do a growing list of school boards. Meet the new eco enemy.
One drizzly Thursday last May, the townsfolk of Ghent, a Flemish burg of some 250,000 souls famous for its stoverij—a stew of beef braised in beer—gathered outside a centuries-old slaughterhouse in the town’s historic core to sample soy fritters, pick up a map of local vegetarian eateries, and to watch as a boy in a banana costume did valiant battle against another dressed as a beefsteak. This was Ghent’s inaugural Donderdag Veggiedag—Thursday Veggieday, literally—a weekly holiday from the evils of beef, ﬁsh, pork and poultry introduced last year by city council, which declared that the moratorium on animal protein would be “good for the climate, your health and your taste buds.” Said a representative of the Ethical Vegetarian Alternative, Belgium’s largest vegetarian organization and a partner in the city initiative: “If everyone in Flanders does not eat meat one day a week, we will save as much CO2 in a year as taking half a million cars off the road.”
Though meatlessness in Ghent each Thursday is encouraged rather than required, the policy has made vegetarianism pervasive: 95 per cent of the city’s children at 35 local schools, as well as the city’s elected councillors and civil servants, now submit to the Veggiedag menu each week. One poster promoting the policy depicts a polar bear adrift on a shrunken hunk of ice declaring with relief: “Oef! It’s Thursday.”
Donderdag Veggiedag was a global ﬁrst, putting medieval Ghent on the cutting edge of efforts to combat climate change by changing the way people eat. But elsewhere, too, the moderate meat movement is gaining ground. A Meatless Mondays organization founded in the U.S. has now opened branches in Holland, Finland, Canada, Taiwan and Australia. Following Ghent’s lead, cities like São Paulo and Tel Aviv have created city-wide schemes. Last year, Baltimore became the first city in North America to mandate Meatless Mondays in its school cafeterias, for environmental as well as health reasons. A similar proposal has just been made for New York City schools.