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Jennifer Grant — Jan. 7, 2011

Freshly minted Environment Minister Peter Kent made no apologies for the oilsands' environmental record when speaking with media outlets including the Globe and Mail and CBC's Evan Solomon this week, calling the industry "ethical in every sense of the word."

It's a familiar argument, drawn from the playbook of Conservative pundit Ezra Levant — and a classic case of the rhetorical device called bait-and-switch. Read more...

Julia Kilpatrick — Dec. 21, 2012

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.” Though originally written as a social criticism of the period leading up to the French Revolution, Charles Dickens’ words seem an equally appropriate characterization of the past year for energy and environment issues in Canada. Read more...

P.J. Partington — Oct. 21, 2013

It’s not often we see international praise for climate change policy in Canada, but that’s exactly what the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) did in a recent report, highlighting British Columbia’s carbon tax as a leading example of carbon pricing. Read more...

Terra Simieritsch — Nov. 4, 2010

As a second wave of oiled ducks created outrage about the consequences of oilsands tailings lakes, another oilsands story broke last week that impacts far greater numbers of waterfowl.

On Friday, Alberta Environment Minister Rob Renner announced that the Alberta government is not planning to implement the recommendations of the Alberta Water Council.  Read more...

Marc Huot — May 10, 2012

Over the months ahead, expect to hear frequent references to a new report released Wednesday comparing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with oilsands production to emissions from other sources of crude oil used in Europe. We took a close read of the report, prepared for the Government of Alberta by Jacobs Consultancy, and there seems to be a problem: the report’s findings about how oilsands compare to conventional oil do not tell the full story, and government documents appear to misinterpret the implications of those findings. Read more...

Jennifer Grant — April 7, 2011

Alberta released its draft plan for the Lower Athabasca Region earlier this week, and there was certainly no shortage of drama as commentators digested what it all means — with sometimes comical degrees of accuracy.

Tuesday's breathless headlines — including reports that Alberta oilsands companies were "stunned" by the plan, and a bizarre and factually inaccurate press release by Alberta's Wildrose Alliance Party arguing that protecting land (in an area that has virtually no oil potential) represented a "devastating assault" on the province's economy — have since been followed by more sober assessments. Read more...

Nathan Lemphers — April 9, 2013

There’s a carnival in town, and everyone is talking about its main attraction — the mighty resource rollercoaster that is taking Alberta’s and Canada’s economies for a wild ride. Albertans are already paying a premium at the ticket booth, but few have noticed the fine print on the bottom of the receipt: once the carnival leaves town, ticketholders may be left paying for the cleanup costs. Read more...

Andrew Read — Nov. 15, 2013

Next week, an important piece of legislation will continue through its third reading in the Alberta legislature. Bill 31, the protecting Alberta’s environment act, would establish the Alberta Environmental Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Agency (AEMERA) to obtain relevant scientific data and information regarding the condition of the environment in Alberta.

While the bill is essential to establish an independent monitoring agency — a goal we support — the proposed legislation has some basic flaws. Even more concerning, the government has been surprisingly closed-minded in responding to amendments proposed in the legislature that would enhance the bill. Read more...

Erin Flanagan — Sept. 23, 2013

After eight years of deliberation, Alberta has essentially handed industry a free pass when it comes to compensating for the loss of wetlands in the oilsands region. Given the pressure the government is under to show its environmental scruples these days, you’d think it would have seized this opportunity. Instead, the policy gave the oilsands industry at least a two-year exemption from taking any responsibility for wetlands. Read more...

Chris Severson-Baker — Oct. 9, 2013

In a drastic move to contain an on-going and unstoppable bitumen blowout in Cold Lake, Alberta, the province’s department of environment has ordered Canadian Natural Resource Ltd. to drain two thirds of a 53-hectare lake. According to CNRL, some of the removed water will be stored in the remaining one third of the lake, with the rest piped to a nearby pit and wetland. Read more...

P.J. Partington — Aug. 9, 2012

The federal government’s just-released 2012 update to Canada’s Emissions Trends is an important report from Environment Canada that explores the trends expected to shape Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions this decade. The release of the first edition last July, along with this week’s updated version, are welcome because emissions projections like these are crucial to assessing the impact of Canada’s policies against the commitments the government has made to Canadians and to the world. Read more...

Ed Whittingham — Dec. 12, 2011

Yesterday the reputation of the Pembina Institute and that of the British government was attacked in a column by Kathryn Marshall, a professional oilsands booster. It doesn’t seem too much to ask of someone who regularly writes commentary in the news media to do a little fact checking. However, this basic journalistic standard appears to have escaped Marshall, as her commentary repeats many misleading or downright false statements about the Pembina Institute and the nature of our work. Read more...

Matt Horne — Jan. 10, 2014

If you’re like me, you worry that British Columbia’s government is rushing its pursuit of liquefied natural gas development without taking the time to think through and manage the consequences, both social and environmental. The province’s new LNG awareness quiz doesn’t ease those concerns. Read more...

P.J. Partington — April 17, 2014

Every year, industrialized countries publish their national inventories of carbon pollution. Canada’s vast and detailed report, meticulously assembled by Environment Canada, gives us a thorough picture of where our greenhouse gas emissions come from, and how they have changed since 1990. We check in on three key stories in the 2014 inventory report. Read more...

Cherise Burda — Aug. 20, 2010

"Windmills not Oil Spills" ­— I saw this bumper sticker during the BP disaster. A Google search unearthed some even more provocative bumper stickers: "Plug the Damn Hole!" and "Way to go Gashole."

I'm hoping the vehicle owners that brandish these stickers will also realize the irony of an anti-oil sticker on a gasoline-fuelled bumper, regardless of its tagline. Surely they understand the connection between the Gulf disaster and their own steering wheel? Read more...

Ed Whittingham — March 30, 2012

Over the past several years, Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his government have been doggedly selling Canada as a “clean energy superpower”. While those words have always rung hollow to anybody tracking the global rise of the $1 trillion clean energy economy, after yesterday’s federal budget they simply ring false. Read more...

Jason Switzer — Dec. 5, 2012

Historically speaking, Canadian energy issues haven’t always played as prominently on the global stage as they do today. In 2006, the oilsands were just an emerging story, known principally to investors on the hunt for returns (although Pembina has been working on oilsands issues since the mid-1980s). It took Ralph Klein, then-premier of Alberta, parking an oilsands heavy hauler within eyesight of the U.S. Congress for the broader environmental community to get well and truly fired up over oilsands development. Within a few short years, Canada’s bitumen mines would be making front-page headlines worldwide.

Canada’s financial sector appears to be enjoying its own ‘mine truck’ moment. 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...

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