The G7 Rejects U.S.’ Desire to Renegotiate Paris Agreement (V. Nadar)

 

 

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Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change reaffirms Canada’s commitment to the Paris Agreement at the G7 Ministerial Meeting on Environment Source: NewEurope

In continuation of last week’s post about the 43rd G7 meeting, the G7 Environmental Ministers and European Commissioners responsible for environment and climate met for the G7 Ministerial Meeting on Environment in Bologna, Italy between June 11 – 12, 2017. The Ministers from the G7 countries, less the United States in light of their withdrawal from the Paris Accord, came together to reaffirm their commitment to the 2030 Agenda and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s).

The goals of the 2030 Agenda are “to end poverty and hunger everywhere; to combat inequalities within and among countries; to build peaceful, just and inclusive societies; to protect human rights and promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls; and to ensure the lasting protection of the planet and its natural resources. We resolve also to create conditions for sustainable, inclusive and sustained economic growth, shared prosperity and decent work for all, taking into account different levels of national development and capacities.” The seventeen SDG’s can be seen below:

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Source: WeForum

In the issued Communiqué, which outlines the meeting and its initiatives, it discusses how the G7 countries will fulfill their obligation to the Paris Accord. The first being achieving the long-term goal of “limiting global temperature increases to well below 2°C, pursuing efforts to limit the increase to 1.5°C” and, secondly, “jointly mobilizing US$100 billion annually by 2020 from public and private sources to support climate action in developing countries.”

However, the footnotes of the Communiqué show the U.S’ unwillingness to cooperate. It states “We the United States of America continue to demonstrate through action, having reduced our CO2 footprint as demonstrated by achieving pre-1994 CO2 levels domestically. The United States will continue to engage with key international partners in a manner that is consistent with our domestic priorities, preserving both a strong economy and a healthy environment. Accordingly, we the United States do not join those sections of the communiqué on climate and MDBs [multilateral development banks], reflecting our recent announcement to withdraw and immediately cease implementation of the Paris Agreement and associated financial commitments.”

Trump

The U.S. refuses to commit financially to the Paris Agreement because President Trump believes it is economically disadvantageous for their country. Funnily enough, on the same day of the conference, Trump did not release a single tweet about the conference, but rather tweeted a Fox News article which announced the opening of the first coal mine during Trump’s presidency. The article discusses how the mine may bolster the local economy in Pennsylvania.

I find the US statement hilarious because the reduction of the CO2 footprint was an outcome during Obama’s presidency and it was a result of a shift from coal to natural gas energy for which he heavily advocated. Due to this shift, in 2013, “energy-related carbon dioxide emissions actually declined 3.8% in 2012 even though the U.S. economy grew 2.8% that year, according to data by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the statistical arm of the Department of Energy.”

Unfortunately, Trump’s encouragement of coal energy will most definitely not ensure the preservation of a healthy environment and it will increase their C02 footprint to post-1994 levels.

In great contrast, Catherina McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada, released multiple tweets from the conference which showcased her enthusiasm for reaffirming Canada’s commitment to the 2030 Agenda and threw some shade at Trump. Some of her tweets can be seen below:

 

Catherine McKenna also expresses through her tweets her displeasure at the aforementioned footnote left by the U.S. and she rejects Trump’s desire to renegotiate stating that “Paris agreement is not open for renegotiation although we are in the phase of negotiating the rules.”

What does this mean for the environment? Well, as mentioned earlier, the U.S’ reintroduction of coal energy will reverse all of the previous administration’s efforts to lower CO2 emissions and will be detrimental to their environment. For Canada, our environment will improve because McKenna is dedicated to the Agreement and, as her tweet suggested, there may be a price on pollution and ameliorated policies to combat climate change.

Back, and yet far away

The academic year passed in a whirlwind. In the winter semester I taught three classes and feverishly read American environmental news. I hardly had time to think let alone write. It is probably for the best – as news on Trump and the environment was overwhelming, and would likely drive a thinking person into a deep depression. Most days I would squint as the New York Times loaded onto my screen. I am afraid to take it all in at once. What Executive Order has he passed now? What lake or park or ecosystem is under invasion today? Nature cannot hide from America.

I just finished my yearly migration from the crowded ant hill of Southern Ontario to the grassland pIMG_2803rairie ecosystem. My husband and I had a summer home built on a small lake in Saskatchewan. It is a dream come true: a place all our own where we can think and write. Last night was our first night here. A restless, almost sleepless night. It will take some time to get used to the silence. How can anyone sleep in all this silence?

 

The lake is still this morning. I am sitting at my laptop with my coffee. The environment, or specifically wilderness, is at my doorstep. I am thinking about transborder governance this morning as I work to finish up an edited volume on Canada-US environmental governance. I wonder if Trump’s policies will impact my homeland. The wilderness is under threat these days. And migratory birds like myself are on high alert.

My Letter to Parks Canada

The Government of Canada opened consultations about Parks Canada a few months ago. Essentially, the government was asking Canadians an important question:

“How should Parks Canada respond to the environmental and social changes it is facing in managing national parks, national historic sites, and national marine conservation areas?”

On Friday, I took some time to write to Catherine McKenna, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Canada, about our national parks and why they must be protected for NATURE. She has promised Canadians a response in a few months time. I will keep you in the loop. In the meantime, I want to share my letter (some of the language is borrowed from CPAWS, the NGO that encouraged me to write the letter):

Dear Minister,

I am a Canadian from the prairie grassland ecosystem. Currently, I am a professor of political science and geography at the University of Toronto, where I study and teach environmental policy. My area of expertise is species at risk and biodiversity conservation. I cannot stress enough to you the importance of parks in Canada. Through the Species at Risk Act the federal government has the authority, and legal responsibility, to recover and protect COSEWIC listed endangered and threatened species. Given the limitations of the Canadian constitution, the federal government – as you are well aware – only has jurisdiction over federal lands, some aquatic species, and migratory birds. Federal lands do not amount to much across the ten provinces. However, national parks are federal lands. Thus, the federal government can – and should – use that land for nature first.

I am writing to you today to insist that you refocus Parks Canada on protecting nature as the first priority in our national parks. Conservation biology suggests that we need HALF for nature. Yes, 50% of our land should be for nature. This means that the federal government must stop expanding the development footprint in our national parks, particularly in Banff and Jasper. Natural resource extraction is important in Canada, but it does not belong in our national parks. No “ifs, ands, or buts” about it. The federal government needs to re-invest in science and ecological monitoring to guide park management. This is especially relevant in light of Donald Trump’s administration in the US. If Canada does not speak up for science, who will? The world – and nature – needs us today more than ever. The federal government must create more new national parks and national marine conservation areas. We made a promise – to the international community, to all Canadians, and to future generations. We need to protect more habitat. From sea to sea to sea. Canada is the second largest country in the world by landmass and we have less people than California. We are obligated to the world to protect nature. If not us, who?

I know you love parks Ms. McKenna. I follow you on twitter. I love parks too. The Grasslands National Park in Saskatchewan is my favourite park. The prairie grassland system is fragile and in serious danger. It is possible that grasslands will go extinct from Canada. Can you imagine? We need the Grasslands National Park. We need more parks where nature is safe at home.

 

Sincerely,

Andrea Olive

Assistant Professor

Political Science and Geography

University of Toronto Mississauga

Andrea.olive@utoronto.ca

Yes to Kinder Morgan: No to Northern Gateway (Pipeline Politics)

In a long awaited decision by the Liberal government, Justin Trudeau finally announced that his government is APPROVING the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain Pipeline.

As the map from CBC illustrates, this pipeline runs from Edmonton to Burnaby. Essentially it takes bitumen from Alberta and carries it through the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Coast where it can be loaded onto huge tankers for shipping.

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This is obviously not good news for the environment on so many fronts – especially climate change and endangered species (or soon to be endangered species).

The Trudeau government is also approving Line 3 – which is really a replacement for an existing pipeline from Hardisty to Lake Superior in Wisconsin, as shown in the CBC map below.

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Justin Trudeau also announced that his government is rejecting the Northern Gateway pipeline. As the CBC map below shows, this is the pipeline that runs from Edmonton to Kitimat – cutting through the Great Bear Rainforest.

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Trudeau is rejecting the Northern Gateway pipeline because “the Great Bear Rainforest is no place for a pipeline.” Interesting that he is invoking an environmental reason to reject to this pipeline – since the other pipelines also run through ecological sensitive areas for wildlife and plants.

This is a big day for pipeline politics in Canada. It is hard to see how climate change is a top priority for a government that just approved two major pipeline projects – both of which rely on further exploitation of the dirty bitumen in Alberta, and both of which rely on oil tankers to move oil across important bodies of water.

Trump and the Environment

Donald Trump’s victory on Tuesday, November 8th, took most of the world by surprise. It certainly took me by surprise.

In the past few days there has been a lot of speculation (and worry) and the implications of a Trump presidency on the environment.

I am still speechless. But I want to provide a list of some useful/insightful commentary.

  1. My colleague Matt Hoffmann (political science, University of Toronto) wrote an informative piece on his blog.  (It is also a good blog of follow if you are interested in climate change more broadly).
  2. Scientific American wrote a piece on Trump’s selection of Myron Ebell to head his EPA transition team. Ebell is a well-known climate skeptic.
  3. The Guardian has a good piece on what Trump means for the global climate change efforts.
  4. The Globe and Mail asks what Trump means for climate change plans in Canada.
  5. The New York Times has run many pieces of relevance here, but I will link you to Andrew Revkin’s opinion.

That is a good list to get you started. Overall, there is reason for real concern. There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding what Trump may or may not do. So far, his only action has been to appoint a climate skeptic to lead the EPA transition team. That does not bode well or set a good tone for the next 4 years.

However, as many authors in the above links remind you: US states and cities do have REAL power when it comes to the environment. There is reason for concern, but there is also reason to be hopeful.

Big News: National Price on Carbon

Prime Minister Trudeau announced a new (mandatory) national price on carbon. See the Globe and Mail, the CBC, and even the New York Times.

The provinces and territories have until 2018 to implement either a carbon tax or a cap and trade program. Just like that.

So that seems a bit surprising. Even more so, he is also saying “if you don’t, I will.” If a province or territory does not have a tax or cap & trade by 2018, then the federal government will implement a price in the province or territory. Presumably against their will.

And everyone – provinces, territories, and federal government – must work together to reduce emissions in line with our Paris Protocol commitment. (Trudeau is sticking the Harper government pledge of 30% below 2005 levels by 2030).  This means the price on carbon must be real – not a hand waving or symbolic tax/price. But one that results in significant emission reductions.

Yes, this is the same Trudeau government that just approved the LNG project in British Columbia last week. See the Globe and Mail.  So over there, we are increasing emissions. And over here, we are jumping up and down demanding that everyone decrease emissions. This is in the name of “sustainable” development and flexibility. Thus, if BC can find some way to move ahead with its LNG project WHILE decreasing emissions in line with our Paris pledge, then so be it. Good for BC (and Alberta). The federal government will not stand in the way. But can BC have its cake and eat it to? Does not seem likely.

So I am waiting for the fall-out. Will the Supreme Court get involved? Will it be Quebec or Saskatchewan that jumps starts the case against this federal demand? Is this constitutional? I doubt that Saskatchewan will implement a carbon price by 2018. I will be watching and waiting.

 

Back to Class

September already. Classes resume at the University of Toronto Mississauga this week. I am once again teaching the introduction to environmental policy in Canada. This is the course for which I wrote the book The Canadian Environment in Political Context. This year-long course is offered on-line so students from the three UT campus’ can enrol in the course. This year I have 145 students in the course.

In the fall semester we will start making our way through the book, but linger on chapter 5 (my favourite – on Species at Risk!) and then put down the book, only to pick up the The Oak Ridges Moraine Battles :

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(Photo Credit: University of Toronto Press).

This book will give students a look into their backyards as we explore urban sprawl and habitat loss. The focus will also be on policy actors at multiple scales: federal, provincial, Indigenous, and non-governmental.

In the winter semester we jump back to The Canadian Environment in Political Context and start focusing on energy and climate change. These are big topics and there is a lot to learn… and even more to debate. Next year (2017, I mean) is Canada’s 150th birthday. The class is going to celebrate this by learning about our Arctic history. We are a Northern nation, after all. And while the Northern territories were not part of Canada 150 years ago, it is important that we know how our big country came together to become a Northern nation. We will be reading Polar Imperative:

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(Photo Credit: Douglas &McIntyre)

The course ends will chapters 11 and 12 in The Canadian Environment in Political Context. Here we look back at where Canada has been and then look forward to where we might be headed.

In the next 8 months you can expect this blog to be updated with new information for the class and text. You can also expect a lot of posts on conservation, and then Arctic policy in the context of climate change and Canadian history.

 

Rail Deck Park: A Plan for Toronto’s Backyard (U. Khan)

This past week, Toronto Mayor John Tory announced his plan for a new park in downtown Toronto. The proposed “Rail Deck Park” would consists of 21 acres of space over the current rail yards in downtown Toronto. The park will provide green space to downtown Toronto, a region of the city that does not have a lot of greenery. Although there are many challenges in completing a project of this magnitude, it has the potential to transform the face of the city of Toronto in the coming decades.

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Location of the proposed Rail Deck Park in Downtown Toronto. Source: NowToronto.com

 

Ideas about building urban parks are not uncommon. Mayor Tory even referenced the Millennium park in Chicago as a model for this project. That park has become a defining mark of the city of Chicago, and continues to attract tourists to the city. The benefits of parks are also manifold. They provide an open space for the residents of high density areas. The city is expected to double its downtown population in the next 25 years and thus will have an ever growing need for open spaces.

According to the American Planning Association, parks have a cooling effect on the area where they are located. Trees provide shade from sunlight, and reflect sunlight that would otherwise be absorbed by asphalt. They are also great for human health as they provide open spaces where community members can exercise and stay active. Creating urban parks can also slow the advance of urban sprawl. If people have access to natural areas close to the city, they would be more inclined to stay in high density areas rather than moving to the suburbs.

Ontario is not a stranger to urban planning. The Ontario Greenbelt is a great example of forward thinking that allowed the province to secure farmland required to support the growing urban areas in the region. The project has been a success, and has been able to offset the equivalent of 27 million cars driven in one year. Toronto is also working on the Bentway project under the Gardiner Expressway. Work on the proposed open space is expected to be completed by 2017, and upon completion will provide 1.75 km of green space to the residents of the area. The projects prove that innovative thinking has a big impact on the development of communities, and that the provincial government should support the construction of this park as it will help the citizens of Toronto get an amazing open space for their city.

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Artistic representation of the proposed Rail Deck Park in Downtown Toronto.

Source: The Globe and Mail

 

The big detractor of this proposed project is the cost. The current plan proposed by Mayor Tory does not specify how the project will be funded, but it does say that the project will depend on the help of the provincial and federal government. The commercial real estate in the area is priced at between 55 and 60 million an acre. Millennium park in Chicago had an estimated cost of $150 million, but ended up costing over $500 million. The mayor needs to create an effective plan to secure funding for this project that accounts for possible budget overruns. The timeline for completion of the project is currently estimated to be between four and five years. Again, the plan for this project should have contingency measures if there are delays in the completion of the project. The first step in the project is to have a staff report on the potential cost and timeline of the project completed by September 22nd 2016.

Although it is left to be seen if this project will ever get build, I think it would be a great addition to the downtown core. It would provide various benefits to the people of the area and ensure that future generations have a great space to live in. The mayor and his council should work on developing a cost effective plan that can realistically see the park being built in the near future.

National Parks (By A. Olive)

I have wanted to write something about parks for a while now. My student, Anthony Koundourakis, wrote a piece about the Rouge Park a couple weeks ago, and I thought: “yes, I must write about parks.”

This summer I have visited Banff National Park. As you probably know, this was our first national park in Canada – established way back in 1887. The Rocky Mountain Parks Act says the park is for “the benefit, advantage, and enjoyment of the people of Canada.” Later, in 1930, the National Parks Act would declare parks as “dedicated to the people of Canada for their benefit, education, and enjoyment” and that parks “shall be maintained and made use of so as to leave them impaired for the benefit of future generations.”

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I am part of that “future generation” enjoying parks! This summer, I also spent a few days in Jasper National Park.

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Out of Canada’s 47 national parks, I have visited only 12. My goal is to visit them all. Yes, even the ones in the north. There is a map of Canadian Parks in The Canadian Environment in Political Context. And you can find a list here. How many of you visited?!

Last week, the Globe and Mail featured an interesting article on our national parks. Or more specifically, on Parks Canada. It turns out that our lead eNGO on parks, the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (formed in 1963), released a report suggesting that “The federal agency that manages Canada’s national parks has reduced both public input and scientific research in its decision-making process, and is allowing more development in places where fragile ecosystems need protection.”

This is reason for concern. Right now scientists are calling for “half for nature,” which means that we should be protecting 50% of earth’s land for other (non-human) living things (see Parks and Protected Areas in Canada by Dearden, Rollins, and Needham for a good read on national parks in Canada). We can half the planet, but we must give the other half to nature. As of 2016, 10.4% of Canada’s terrestrial area is legally protected. And about 1% of our marine territory is protected. This means we are falling short on our Aichi Target (as agreed to through the UN Convention on Biological Diversity). By 2020, 17% of terrestrial land and 10% of our marine territory is supposed to be legally protected. And we are of course way short on 50% of nature (which has not been declared a goal by the Canadian government).

Reading the report by CPAWS (find link here) is disheartening. Especially if you have ever visited one of our national parks and know all the beauty and splendour that they contain. From having been to Banff and Jasper just this summer, I definitely agree that Canadians should put a halt to any further development in those parks. And I think this guy would agree:

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I have a graduate student coming to UTM in the fall to work on a project about A2A (Algonquin to Adirondacks; see some info here) . So I am about to learn a bunch more about parks. That means, my readers, you will too.

How Far We’ve Come (by A. Koundourakis)

Today is the day we review the year. Let me tell you, this year was full of changes. Making it all the more interesting is the fact that we had a political party transition. As our country went from blue to red, we saw a vastly different perspective at how we look at climate change and the environment. As Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government entered the political world, so did the environment. He fixed several of the Conservative government’s unpopular climate change policies and established his own policies as he led the country in a new direction.

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This time last year, Stephen Harper’s unpopular policy of muzzling federal scientists was among one of his political blunders. It used to be that if you needed to speak with a scientist you would simply have to call them up. However, under the Conservative government, access to federal scientists was restricted by a government policy that required scientists to contact media managers whenever they were approached by a reporter. The reporter was subject to a line of questioning in advance, assuming they weren’t denied communication altogether. During the 2015 federal election, this was among the many environmental issues that Justin Trudeau promised to address. Soon after becoming Canada’s new Prime Minister, he kept his promise and took the muzzle off of federal scientists and reopened lines of communication between reporters and scientists.

Cop 21

 Next on the political journey for Canada was COP21. Here, leaders of countries from all over the world met to discuss their action plans for combatting climate change. Minster McKenna said that she would use the Conservative’s pledge to cut emissions by 30% below 2005 levels. Furthermore, Canada’s approach to global climate action is built upon four issues:

  • Canada pledged to use fact based decision making and robust science that reflect the latest findings from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
  • The Trudeau government said that they recognized the necessity of transitioning to a low carbon and climate resilient economy.
  • A strong collaboration with provinces and territories, and non-state actors to take concrete climate action
  • Support for climate resilient development and adaptation in countries that need it

Canada sought to establish a legally binding agreement that reflects the strong political will of all Parties to take concrete action on climate change. Our government was also in strong support of an outcome in Paris that had recognized the important roles played by sub national governments and non-state actors in the front line efforts for addressing climate change.

At Paris, there was a collective agreement and vision to keep global temperature increases below 2 degrees Celsius and to send a strong signal of the global resolve of the needed transformation to a low carbon and climate resilient economy.

Canada had promised to increase the accountability and transparency of regular reporting and review of Parties’ commitments and their progress in implementing their commitments in order to provide assurances to the international community that Parties are doing exactly what they had promised.

Our government set an agreement that provided a prominent focus on adaptation, including building resilience and reducing vulnerabilities. This agreement was set to reflect the importance of actions at the national level, while promoting international cooperation and support for the poorest and most vulnerable countries as they respond and adapt to climate change.

The Liberal government stated that they recognize that carbon pricing is one of the most effective policy measures to drive climate action and the transformation of global energy systems towards cleaner alternatives. The agreement would facilitate the use of international market mechanisms for implementing mitigation commitments in a way that would ensure environmental integrity while avoiding a double counting of mitigation efforts.

Finally, Canada agreed to facilitate the mobilization of climate financing away from a high carbon future. This means that the Federal government would invest in the deployment of clean technologies and innovation support, while also restricting international public financing in maladaptive and high carbon investments.

COP21 has the potential to affect the globe as a whole. Myself, I love any global cooperation whether they are economic, environmental or legal. The policies implemented by each country will not necessarily impact our lives in that we will experience global change, however it’s the changes that we will not see that will have an impact on us. This collaboration is an historic stepping stone in our lives as global citizens, not just as Canadians.

 

Ministers’ Meeting

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Here, 90 days after the Paris Climate conference, the Environment Ministers’ meeting had brought federal, provincial and territorial governments in order to work together on a Canadian plan to address climate change. The discussions had centered on economic opportunities, means of reducing emissions, and the importance of technological innovation, public engagement, carbon pricing and adapting to the effects of climate change. Several reporters have criticized the First Minsters’ Climate Change Meeting for producing no real results. However the Ministers did agree to somethings:

  • They will increase the level of ambition. They will commit to implement greenhouse gas mitigation policies in support of meeting or exceeding Canada’s 2030 target of a 30% reduction below 2005 levels of emissions.
  • They will promote clean economic growth to create jobs. Here, from what I can gather, they all agree to recognize the need for growing our economy, while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. However, their commitments are hazy in that they all commit to think about ways to reduce emissions while improving the economy.
  • They agree to deliver mitigation actions. Again, here there seems to be more recognizing that mitigation is something that is needed to combat climate change. No real commitments other than to go back to the drawing board and discuss how to work towards their targets.
  • They agree to increase action on adaptation and climate resilience. The pattern of recognizing things has continued further. Here, the ministers will recognize that adaptation is important particularly for those regions that have been hit the hardest.
  • Finally, the ministers will enhance cooperation.

Here, I’m going to have to agree with the reporter’s criticisms, simply because there really wasn’t much done other than recognize the importance of climate change policy and useless commitments by the ministers to go back home to figure out a plan. I was expecting action by the provinces, not recognition that the environment is important. They have such potential to affect citizen life more profoundly than the federal government can, but it flopped. Ironically, more greenhouse gas emissions were produced because of the meeting than the policies they had committed to.

Meeting with Obama

Prime Minister Trudeau travelled to Washington to meet with President Barack Obama. The leaders discussed their collaboration efforts between the two countries on climate change, energy and Arctic leadership. Canada and the US agreed to reduce methane emissions from the oil and gas sector by 40 to 45 per cent below 2012 levels by 2025 and to explore new opportunities for additional methane reductions. They both committed to reduce the use and emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by using their respective domestic frameworks and promised to propose new actions in 2016.

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The reduction in hydrofluorocarbons is a particularly important action to undertake by both countries. HFCs are potent greenhouse gases that are increasingly used in applications. Surprisingly almost everything in your house produces HFCs, for example, your Air Conditioning unit, refrigeration system, foam insulation, your vehicle’s AC unit, and fire extinguishers. Ironically, things that seem to cool you down, warm up the Earth. HFCs also account for less than 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions; however they are expected to rise to 19% if no actions are taken to reduce the emissions. UN Environment tweeted that “Phasing down HFCs can avoid up to 0.4 degree Celsius of global warming by the end of the century & continue to protect the ozone layer.” This is something that most any citizen of Canada can help reduce, and should we reduce these emissions we can hold the increase of global average temperature to well below 2 degrees above pre industrial levels. So this is something that I will immediately be taking effect on and I implore my readers to do the same. Turn off your AC; it’s not that hot out this summer. It’s actually quite nice, open a window at home, have the breeze hit you in the car.

 

Budget Day

Chapter 4 – A Clean Growth Economy is the title of the chapter in our 2016 Budget that contains Canada’s monetary pledges to protect the environment and grow the economy. This chapter will impact each Canadian more so than all the other policies and pledges that I have mentioned above, simply because this will affect our bottom line as taxpayers. In terms of numbers, this is what the Canadian government has committed:

  • $2 billion over three years, starting in 2016-2017, for a new Post-Secondary Institutions Strategic Investment Fund, which is a time limited initiative that will support up to 50% of the eligible costs of infrastructure projects at post-secondary institutions and affiliated research and commercialization organizations, in collaboration with provinces and territories
  • $2 billion over two years, starting in 2017-2018, to establish the Low Carbon Economy Fund
  • More than $1 billion over four years to support clean energy technology investments, including the forestry, fisheries, mining, energy and agriculture sectors. In addition, over $130 million over five years to support clean technology research, development and demonstration activities.
  • $345.3 million over five years to Environment and Climate Change Canada, Health Canada and the National Research Council to take action to address air pollution in Canada
  • $142.3 million over five years to add new national parks and improve Canadians’ access during the 150th anniversary of Confederation and beyond, and enhance programming.

 

These figures do not include the other ventures that the Canadian government is doing to improve innovation and promote a clean growth economy.

On April 22, Canada finally signed the Paris Agreement and launched an online engagement to seek out Canadians’ ideas on potential solutions to address climate change. You can access it at www.canada.ca/climateaction.

All in all, I find that this is only going to benefit the environment. While the First Ministers’ Meeting was a letdown in terms of what it had accomplished, they all agree that the environment is a pressing issue that needs to be addressed. I just wonder if slow political action will hinder any real decision making. But one thing is sure, we’ve come a long way and whatever our government decides will affect us in profound ways. I believe that it’s not up to our governments to tackle the issue alone; it is collaboration amongst Canadians as a whole that will decide the future of our planet.