Pembina Institute

Blog Posts by Clare Demerse

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Clare Demerse — June 24, 2010

Heading into this weekend's high-profile G8 and G20 summits, the main climate story in Canada had been Prime Minister Stephen Harper's decision to downplay the role of climate change on the leaders' agendas.

But with just a day before the summits get underway, Environment Minister Jim Prentice has added some promising news to Canada's international climate story, thanks to the long-awaited announcement of the government's contribution to "fast start" climate financing.

  Read more...

Clare Demerse — Dec. 13, 2010

The UN climate talks that wrapped up over the weekend in Cancun went a long way towards healing the wounds from last year's disappointing Copenhagen negotiations.

In some ways, the Cancun talks became Copenhagen's mirror image, and not just because of the contrast between the sparkling waves and sunshine of Cancun and the wintry Danish capital. Read more...

Clare Demerse — Dec. 8, 2009

When it comes to climate financing, the Copenhagen deal can't turn into a sprint, where countries pledge some funding now but pull up lame after 2012. Instead, short-term dollars are just the very first steps of a long race. Read more...

Clare Demerse — Jan. 8, 2010

Nearly half of Canadians surveyed in a new poll by Angus Reid say they are "dissatisfied" with Prime Minister Harper's performance at the Copenhagen climate talks. (A further 25% of respondents chose "not sure," and just 9% pronounced themselves "very satisfied," while 19% are "moderately satisfied".)

Luckily for the Prime Minister, the work towards a strong global climate deal is far from over - Copenhagen was a beginning, not an ending. Read more...

Clare Demerse — Nov. 24, 2010

Like a lot of climate colleagues from around the world, I'll be packing my flip-flops later this week for the UN climate talks in Cancun, Mexico. Although I've never been much of a beach person, I'm hoping that the two-week conference can deliver some of the building blocks we need for a global effort to tackle climate change. Read more...

Clare Demerse — May 20, 2010

Canada ranks sixth among the G8 countries on its readiness to compete in the low-carbon economy of the future, according to a new report from the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE).

The NRTEE, an independent advisory group to the Minister of the Environment, has put together a set of 15 indicators to track countries' ability to make the successful transition to a low-carbon economy. Their rankings cover federal policies, but also include provincial government initiatives, the private sector, and other institutions (for example, the number of MBA programs in sustainability) — so the score is for Canada as a country, rather than simply for our federal government's performance. Read more...

Clare Demerse — Oct. 5, 2010

Last week saw the federal government finally reveal where Canada's 2010 international climate financing contribution will go. Unfortunately, the news shows that Canada's contribution to helping poor countries tackle climate change is much less than it appeared when first announced. Read more...

Clare Demerse — Nov. 17, 2010

We got sad news last night about Canada's Climate Change Accountability Act, a private member's bill that could have helped move Canada into a leadership role in tackling global warming.

Before it even had a chance to be debated, the bill was defeated by Conservative Senators in a surprise vote. Read more...

Clare Demerse — April 29, 2011

Responding to Jack Layton's surge in the polls, Stephen Harper spent some time on Thursday going after the NDP's cap-and-trade plan, saying that it would add 10 cents a litre to the price Canadians pay at the pumps. Based on the specifics of the NDP proposal, Pembina's analysis suggests a more accurate assessment of the impact on consumers would be a no higher than four cents a litre. Read more...

Clare Demerse — April 8, 2011

At a news conference earlier this week, federal cabinet minister John Baird called the Liberal Party's cap-and-trade proposal "incredibly divisive" and "un-Canadian."

It's a surprising statement, and not just because Minister Baird's own government said it supported cap-and-trade as recently as 2009. Nearly 80 per cent of Canadians currently live in provinces whose premiers support cap-and-trade: British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Québec have all expressed interest in joining with U.S. states in the Western Climate Initiative cap-and-trade system. Read more...

Clare Demerse — April 13, 2011

Now that all the platforms are in, we thought it would be helpful to provide a summary of where the five major parties stand on the key question of pricing greenhouse gas pollution.

In most of Canada right now, there is no fee of any kind attached to emitting greenhouse gas pollution. But that pollution causes climate change, which is already imposing costs on Canada and the world — and which is projected to cause much more serious harm unless we can significantly reduce our emissions. Read more...

Clare Demerse — Dec. 19, 2009

It's past 3 p.m. on Saturday afternoon in Copenhagen, and a summit that was scheduled to end nearly 24 hours ago has just ended. The result is a weak deal that needs fixing up as soon as possible, and a diminished reputation on the world stage for Canada.

The just-signed Copenhagen Accord falls short of the fair, ambitious and binding deal that observers at the climate summit had hoped for.

The good news is that we can fix the deal, and Canada can get its act together on climate change in 2010.

The very short "Copenhagen Accord" written here last night does not have the support of all countries. Because it falls so far short of what the science requires, a handful of nations refused to agree to its provisions. Many other countries, including the United States, noted that the deal is very far from perfect. (Canada's Prime Minister, on the other hand, called it "a good agreement that achieves Canada's objectives.") Read more...

Clare Demerse — Dec. 6, 2012

The international climate negotiations in Doha, Qatar are heading into the home stretch, and the stakes are high. Read more...

Clare Demerse — Feb. 11, 2013

As parting shots go, Scott Vaughan’s was a powerful one.

With the release of his final report as Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development last week, Vaughan made the case that the development of our natural resources is running dangerously ahead of Canada’s laws and policies to protect the environment. Read more...

Clare Demerse — June 3, 2011

If you think 567 pages of emissions data would make a boring read, this week's news just proved you wrong. Canada's most recent report to the UN's climate change convention has proven surprisingly controversial, not so much for what's in it as for what was left out. Read more...

Clare Demerse — Dec. 17, 2009

I'm writing this at 6:30pm Copenhagen time on Thursday, December 17. If the talks end on schedule — not a very likely prospect — then we will know the outcome by this time tomorrow.

An observer at the Copenhagen climate summit takes a moment away from the commotion inside the Bella Centre. An observer inside the Bella Centre in Copenhagen takes a quiet moment away from the tension at the UN summit. It's been a tense, and intense, last few days. The negotiations have been happening around the clock, and over 100 world leaders are now converging on Copenhagen for the finale of this summit.

I've been to G8 meetings before, and sometimes it looks like leaders arrive there with a deal all-but-finished before the official talks even start. Copenhagen is exactly the opposite. None of the presidents and prime ministers can show up here merely for a photo op, because as of right now, there is no deal to sign. These are very volatile talks, and I truly believe that any outcome — from a deal that lays the foundation for success to a total collapse — is still possible. Read more...

Clare Demerse — Nov. 25, 2009

Welcome to our new blog! Starting now, the Pembina Institute's climate change blog will be the place to go for updates on climate news from around the world and close to home; our perspective on climate issues as they develop; and the inside scoop on Pembina's work. Read more...

Clare Demerse — March 12, 2013

With consideration of the Keystone XL pipeline proposal heading into the home stretch, a parade of Canadian politicians have been making the trek to the U.S. to try to convince the Obama Administration of the pipeline’s merits.

The good news is that the recent visitors — from Premiers Redford and Wall to federal Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver — now acknowledge that Canada’s environmental record is crucial to the upcoming U.S. decision.

The bad news is that there are some gaping holes in that record. Read more...

Clare Demerse — June 26, 2010

We're now halfway through Canada's weekend of summits, with the G8 over and the G20 just getting started. For those of us looking for progress on climate change, the meetings are off to a rocky start.

This year's G8 declaration contains just four paragraphs on climate change, out of a total of 43. Unfortunately, they contain virtually nothing beyond what's already in the 2009 G8 declaration from Italy and the December 2009 Copenhagen Accord.

The best that can be said about the Muskoka declaration is that it didn't move backward from last year - but it didn't move forward either. With Canada in charge, the G8 missed an important opportunity to make progress on addressing climate change. Read more...

Clare Demerse — Sept. 30, 2013

It’s been a few weeks since news broke that Stephen Harper had written to Barack Obama about the Keystone XL pipeline proposal, offering “joint action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the oil and gas sector” in exchange for his approval of the project.

So far there is little evidence that the Obama Administration is interested in accepting Harper’s offer. If Harper did fail to catch Obama’s interest with his letter, it’s worth asking why. Read more...

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