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Tuesday’s Throne Speech included a simple and powerful statement from British Columbia’s government: “We will continue to provide a positive example to the world that there is no need to choose between economic growth and fighting climate change.”
Germany, Europe's largest, most successful economy, is successfully and aggressively transitioning away from fossil fuels and nuclear. We debunk some of the myths that have sprung up around this incredible transition.
Last year was a big year for advancing the conversation on renewables and electricity in Alberta. Decision-makers are recognizing the province’s current policies perpetuate risky and costly fossil-fuel reliance, and neglect Alberta's exceptional renewable energy resources. As we turn the page on the calendar, let’s look back at what changed in 2014, and ahead to how we can secure policy to clean up Alberta’s electricity system.
When world leaders gathered in Lima, Peru, for global climate change talks this month, British Columbia’s environment minister, Mary Polak, was among them. Minister Polak included the province’s liquefied natural gas export aspirations as part of B.C.’s climate success story, arguing that LNG will displace coal in Asia. Unfortunately, the evidence doesn’t support this claim.
The wrap-up of UN climate talks in Lima, Peru, comes at a significant time for Alberta. Canada is not on track to hit its 2020 climate target, and the growth in Alberta’s carbon pollution is a significant barrier. But Alberta’s new climate strategy is expected by the end of the year, and the province has several big opportunities to turn things around.
As the world’s governments meet in Lima this week to discuss what to do about climate change, many are already looking ahead to the next round of climate talks in Paris. Those same governments have agreed to strike a new deal to shape the global response to climate change in a year’s time. And there’s good reason to be optimistic that an agreement could be reached in 2015.
Economic development discussions in B.C. too often centre on large-scale proposals like LNG terminals, oilsands pipelines or hydroelectric dams like Site C. While they don’t generate the same headlines, it’s small- to medium-sized companies that are actually driving the provincial economy, employing 94 per cent of B.C.’s private sector employees.
Finance Minister de Jong will have the final say on which of these recommendations are included in the 2015 budget. My general recommendation would be the same one that I made in a presentation to the Committee in September: Use the provincial budget as one of the tools to advance Climate Action Plan 2.0. That advice still holds and the Committee has offered a number of ideas that would help to move the budget in that direction.
There’s a common misconception that increasing the supply of renewable energy to the electricity grid drives up power costs in Alberta. In fact, clean energy is lowering Albertans’ electricity costs.
It’s been hailed as an environmental and economic “success,” a “textbook case” in carbon pricing and “on the right track” toward good economic policy. British Columbia’s carbon tax has been in place for six years, and all available evidence shows it’s working.
Bill 2 (regulating carbon pollution from LNG terminals in B.C.) has significant flaws that will limit its potential benefit and could even weaken B.C.’s climate policies in a worst-case scenario. Here are three of the most important weaknesses and some ideas on how to address them.
Integrated bio-refinery produces ethanol, heat, power and fertilizer from 500 tonnes of cow poop per day
Learn how a grain farm in rural Alberta diversified its operations and ended up with a feedlot, a biogas plant and an ethanol plant — with one business upcycling the waste from another.
The B.C. government has consistently overstated the potential benefits of LNG. Such polarizing rhetoric is unproductive at best.
Is Alberta Canada's next big solar market? Green Energy Futures talks to industry reps and Alberta's energy minister at the CanSIA Solar West conference
On a bright fall day in early October in a packed ballroom in a downtown Calgary hotel, Frank Oberle made his first speech as energy minister to Alberta’s small solar industry.
Earthship sets sail in southern Alberta with help of Green Energy Futures editor A radically sustainable home
When you tell people you’re building an Earthship there are two stock responses. First there are the believers. These are the people who’ve watched Garbage Warrior, twice. They want to talk design and permits and timeline. They’re into it. The other stock response is an incredulous repeating of the word back to you with a question mark attached. Earthship?
American poet, philosopher and naturalist Henry David Thoreau once wrote, “What is the use of a house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?”
A net-zero home reimagines the house not as a burden on the planet but as a regenerative node. Thoreau and his time at Walden Pond happened well before the modern spectre of climate change, but he was a naturalist and keenly attuned to what was going on around him.
Net-Zero simple: How passive solar energy gets you close to zero Episode three of Green Energy Futures' Chasing Net-Zero series
It’s a beautiful, livable, functional net-zero experiment — welcome to the home of architect Shafraaz Kaba.
“As an architect, we are always testing new ideas. We are creating little experiments for ourselves to prove that something is possible, or to prove different materials work well together. We even just want to know for ourselves that things can actually work out well before we try it on clients,” says Kaba.
Net-zero beautiful: How design and location can reduce your energy footprint Green Energy Futures - Infill revitalizes neighbourhoods
In part II of our Chasing net zero series we look at Innovative infill home design that can help reduce your energy footprint. Also learn how a solar home competition is helping make cool solar homes that are more and more affordable.
Net-Zero 101: The incredible rapid rise of net-zero homes Green Energy Futures - A home that produces as much energy as it consumes
Over the course of a year a net-zero home will generate as much energy as it consumes. They’ve been around for less than 10 years, but these buildings and the thinking behind them are taking North America by storm as we learn in Net Zero 101.
Canada has a bright future in green energy, success stories show Green Energy Futures now at Pembina.org
Pembina's Green Energy Futures episodes are now featured at Pembin.org
Energy companies are doubling down on oil, even as the likelihood of government action on climate change has never been higher. If local leaders like Cenovus are getting out of the renewables game, what does that mean for the oil and gas sector’s ability to proactively adapt to a carbon-constrained world?
President Obama’s new Clean Power Plan puts the United States on a path that could see the country reach its 2020 international climate commitments — unlike Canada, due to oilsands emissions.
Some commentators seek to defend the oilsands by pointing out that coal is the “U.S.’s much dirtier enemy”. But, before we throw stones, let’s not forget that Alberta also has a big coal problem — proportionally bigger than the U.S.
“A promise made. A promise kept.” That’s been a main message from the B.C. Liberals celebrating the one-year anniversary of their 2013 election victory. But when it comes to their promise to produce the “cleanest liquefied natural gas (LNG) in the world,” a better phrase might be “A promise made. A promise redefined.”
British Columbians want an energy shift Strong majority want B.C. to transition away from using and exporting fossil fuels
New opinion research commissioned by the Pembina Institute, the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, and Clean Energy Canada shows that the majority of British Columbians not only want to move away from using and exporting fossil fuels, they also see economic benefits in doing so.
I had the privilege to spend some time a few weeks ago at the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association’s annual conference, where one participant described geothermal as Canada’s ‘have not’ renewable energy industry. The 'have not' label is appropriate, since there are no existing commercial geothermal electricity projects in Canada, and limited to no geothermal-specific government support. Where Canadian geothermal companies have been successful is, surprisingly, everywhere but Canada.
The Pembina Institute, Arctic Energy Alliance, and Dehcho First Nations teamed up to organize a Dehcho Community Renewable Energy Forum last month in Fort Providence, NWT, to provide opportunities to hear from technical experts about biomass and solar energy options, as well as from communities about the challenges and the lessons they’ve learned when it comes to renewable energy projects.
Ontario’s electricity system is often maligned, and more often misunderstood. Providing a multi-billion dollar essential service that employs thousands of people in competing industries is a tall order — doubly so when you’re trying to keep pollution levels and prices down. As we head into a new year, it’s important to take a step back and acknowledge some important gains the province has made so far.
This month, Ontario prudently decided that new nuclear reactors will not be part of the province’s forthcoming long-term energy plan. As Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli explained, “It is not wise to spend billions and billions of dollars on new nuclear when that power is not needed.”
That said, the government still appears to be committed to refurbishing the 10 existing reactors at the Bruce and Darlington nuclear stations. Is that a wise investment?
Time and time again, municipal governments have shown leadership and innovation on climate action. We know that they can and must play an important role in advancing our climate targets. But are we helping them to lead?
No other province in Canada has a longer history with wind energy than Alberta, which has 20 years of experience with utility-scale wind farms. Yet, unlike some parts of the country, we don’t tend to hear much about it. So we set out to discover what sorts of complaints officials in Alberta have received about wind energy projects from nearby residents.
Alberta could implement a clean electricity standard that would create market-based incentives to encourage energy technologies with lower emissions than the current coal-powered system. A recent forum brought thought leaders together to discuss this opportunity.
We all know that climate change is impacting the arctic, but what about the people who live there? For the remote communities in Northern Canada and Alaska that rely on a steady supply of fuel and supplies, sustainability is a matter of survival. One area where the impacts of climate change are being felt the most is energy.
It’s down to the wire now. The B.C. election is less than a week away. Wondering how the climate will fare? Well, that depends on outcome of the election and, based on our platform assessment there could be significant progress, or significant backsliding.
Who has seen the spin? How wind power opponents are mischaracterizing the decision in the Fairview Wind Farm case
The Ontario Superior Court of Justice released a decision dismissing claims that opponents of wind power brought against the Fairview Wind Farm in Clearview Township. Unfortunately, the spin from the lawyer for the wind opponents and the misunderstanding of a vocal anti-wind group have misconstrued the judge’s reasons to their benefit. Here are the facts.
Each spring, as the tulips are starting to bloom in Ottawa, Environment Canada releases its annual compendium of greenhouse gas emissions data. Here are three stories that emerged from our first look at the report.
Last year’s federal budget gave the order to shut the NRTEE down on March 31, 2013, but you can find an unofficial archive of their work online, including a list of their publications dating back to the early 1990s.
At first glance, pairing renewable energy with the oil and gas sector would seem an unlikely match. But behind the curtain, romance could be blooming. As Canadians come to recognize that meaningful and cost-effective climate action may be the key to unlocking market access for oilsands, the appetite for an even-tighter union between these star-crossed industries could be just around the corner.
Sadly, Canada isn’t the shining example of coal-curbing excellence that Harper’s ministers are claiming. When it comes to regulating greenhouse gases from coal power, we’re doing about the same as our neighbours to the South — and may well be eclipsed before too long. As for “getting out of the dirty coal electricity generation business,” Canada won’t be fulfilling that commitment until 2062.
I asked four of Pembina’s directors what clean energy opportunities 2013 might have in store. Here’s what they had to say.
As recently as 2009, Mr. Harper sounded much like Obama, referring to hopes of Canada becoming a “clean energy superpower.” But with his government’s current focus on accelerating development of Canada’s fossil fuel commodities — from oilsands to shale gas and coal — he now talks only of Canada as a “natural-resources powerhouse,” risking our prospects of competing in clean energy.
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