Op-Eds by Clare Demerse
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Over the last few months, debates about pipelines have become a staple of the news in Canada. In 2014, we can expect to hear a lot more about Energy East, a major west-to-east pipeline that would carry over one million barrels of crude per day. We need a venue for a meaningful discussion about the impacts — both positive and negative — of growing oilsands production.
As Stephen Harper’s natural resources minister, Joe Oliver already spends a lot of time going to bat for Canada’s oil and gas industry.
But at a meeting of Canadian energy ministers in Yellowknife last month, Minister Oliver took his support to another level. There, he made an eloquent pitch that developing our resources is a new kind of nation-building and an opportunity we are obliged to seize.
We have reached a “pivotal moment” in our history, he said, one where “the easy assumptions of the past are giving way to new realities.” I think he’s entirely right about that — but not at all in the way he meant it.
This summer’s deluge of extreme weather seems to have pushed Canadians over an important threshold: climate change is becoming widely accepted as part of the explanation for what we’re seeing outside.
Clare Demerse, federal policy director at the Pembina Institute, unpacks the implications of U.S. President Barack Obama's latest speech for Canada and the Keystone XL pipeline.
Clare Demerse, federal policy director at the Pembina Institute, explains why Canada's reluctance to take leadership on climate policy makes Keystone XL a tough sell.
In a new report released today, the Pembina Institute laid out a set of recommendations for effective regulation on the oil and gas sector’s greenhouse gas pollution.
The release of a controversial U.S. State Department environmental impact assessment late last week signalled a new phase in the battle over the Keystone XL pipeline proposal. The already-tense process looks set to get even more fraught as the technical phase starts to wrap up and the decision shifts squarely into the political arena.
With another round of rallies against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline planned for this weekend — and in the face of a clear commitment to tackling climate change in President Obama’s second term — Canada’s environmental record is coming under fresh scrutiny in the U.S.
The government’s answer to its U.S. critics? We’re not so different, you and I.
The UN climate talks in Doha wrapped up over the weekend with a deal that delayed many of the tough issues to future negotiations. While countries did the minimum they needed to do to keep the process moving, they failed to push much beyond those bare-bones expectations. And unfortunately, Canada was once again part of the problem.
The proposed takeover of Nexen by China’s state-owned CNOOC Ltd. has Canada’s pollsters, politicians and pundits busily talking up the pros and cons of Chinese investment in Canada’s resources — and last week’s announcement of an extension of Industry Canada’s review means that conversation is far from over.
Maybe this summer’s record-setting droughts triggered something in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s mind. Or maybe his communications team just didn’t want the hassle of creating a new line of attack when they could pull one ready-made out of their files. But for whatever reason, climate policy is back on the agenda in Ottawa with a vengeance: the opening of Parliament featured a line-up of Conservative MPs slamming NDP leader Thomas Mulcair for his alleged support for a carbon tax.
In Canada, rising concern about climate change over the last two decades has coincided with a massive expansion of development in the oil sands. It's not hard to make the case that the development of the oil sands has stunted and disfigured Canada's approach to climate change.
Judging by the turnover rate alone, it's clear that being Stephen Harper's environment minister isn't easy for anyone. But for the newest recruit, Thornhill MP Peter Kent, the assignment might be even tougher than usual. That's because Minister Kent took the job just as new U.S. regulations are shining a spotlight on our government's inaction on climate change.
Clare Demerse explains how the G8 and G20 summits could contribute to progress on climate change.
Ever since Barack Obama's election, Stephen Harper has set a single goal for Canada's climate policy: "harmonizing" our efforts to cut greenhouse gas pollution with the United States' plans. Like marriage, harmonizing sounds good in theory -- but it doesn't work unless you find the right partner.
Clare Demerse wonders how Canada will become a climate champion with a poor track record and no training program.
A report by the Pembina Institute and the David Suzuki Foundation found that Canada can meet an ambitious target to cut its greenhouse gas pollution while continuing to enjoy solid economic growth. By 2020, Canada's GDP would be 23 per cent larger than in 2010, and we would create nearly two million net new jobs. It's clear that Canada can be both green and prosperous. Science and economics both argue that we need stronger climate policies urgently. Now the politicians need to show that they're ready to step up to the plate.
Saskatchewan can cut its greenhouse gas pollution while creating nearly 50,000 net new jobs in the next decade, says a recent Pembina Institute/David Suzuki Foundation report. The provincial economy would grow by two per cent annually while meeting the federal government's current emissions target, producing a GDP 22 per cent higher in 2020 than in 2010. As well, Saskatchewan would gain more jobs while meeting that target than it would under business-as-usual.
Imagine that Canada's Minister of Defence got up one day and announced that all our military decisions will be made jointly with the United States from now on. Canada and the U.S. would use the same tactics and embrace the same goals.
Hard to picture, perhaps. But it's more or less the approach that Environment Minister Jim Prentice laid out in a speech in Toronto last month.
Canada Blocks Climate Change Progress But Canada's fully capable of reaching an emissions target based on science while adding 1.2 million new jobs by 2020
Canada was once again accused of blocking progress on the crucial question of targets for industrialized countries.
By Clare Demerse and Matthew Bramley
With the U.S. election looming, Washington seems ready to wake up from its long slumber on global warming. That gives Canada an important choice: do we want to lead the parade or fall meekly into line behind our neighbours to the south?
Prime Minister Stephen Harper took a weak climate plan into Canada's election and won himself a stronger minority government - but there's reason to doubt that his proposed greenhouse gas regulations will ever see the light of day.
At a time when we're flirting with climate disaster, Canada's political leaders have distracted us with a phoney war.
Even if you're a casual election observer, you've probably heard something about "carbon pricing" in this campaign. Because it's such a crucial way to cut Canada's greenhouse gas pollution, we decided to take a closer look at the major parties' commitments on carbon pricing.
From the chaos on Wall Street to the outbreak of listeriosis, Canadians have been hearing a lot about risk lately. It's emerged on the campaign trail as well, where Stephen Harper has called a tax on greenhouse gas pollution an "economic risk" to Canada. We can't assess the risk of acting on climate change without looking at the risk of climate change itself and the benefits of taking action.
When Canada's federal government published an update to its regulatory approach for heavy industry this month, environmentalists hoped that this much-criticized proposal had been strengthened. Instead, it offered a mixed bag that probably served to weaken an already feeble approach.
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