CLIMATE CHANGE NEWS & VIEWS FROM AROUND THE WEB
“The oil and gas industry has been in the public trough long enough and are making windfall profits yet again. It’s increasingly clear to Albertans that the public always ends up paying,
Martin Olszynski, an environmental law professor at the University of Calgary.
Federal environment minister announces $200M for climate action initiatives – January 27, 2022
ACOCS4E01: Climate Kickoff 2022 with Mayor Jyoti Gondek.
See Trump Denialism Debunked By Astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson
2021 a banner year for Canadian wind, solar and 2022 will be even bigger
Sun Country Highway Global Inc. CEO Kent Rathwell
NASA’s Oceans Melting Greenland – Mission Complete
Canada’s environment minister is headed for trouble if Ottawa doesn’t correct course on the Ring of Fire
In the vast peatlands of Ontario’s James Bay Lowlands, a new region-wide approach to considering the potential impacts of northern mining development is dangerously close to sliding completely off the rails. And it may take Canada’s new “activist” Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault with it.
Mineral deposits in the Ring of Fire have long fuelled Ontario’s interest in opening up the region. Now, dreams of a new nickel mine are driving plans for an electric vehicle manufacturing hub and leading Australian mining giant Wyloo to take over major mining stakes.
But the proposed all-season roads and related infrastructure that will be necessary for this transformation in the remote and ecologically sensitive area have generated significant controversy and conflict.
The government of Canada entered the fray in February 2020, when the previous minister of environment and climate change announced a regional assessment in the Ring of Fire, the first such major study to take place fully under the contested new Impact Assessment Act.
The move was welcomed by experts in environmental assessment, who noted the tools available in the new framework to allow for partnerships with Indigenous governing bodies and to assess the climate implications of proposed developments.
Most importantly, the regional assessment was expected to facilitate thorough considerations of alternative future options and scenarios, so as to determine which projects should go forward, how they should be sequenced in time and how adverse impacts could be minimized — not just on a project-by-project basis, but on an overall, cumulative level.
But when the proposed terms of reference for that assessment were released by the Impact Assessment Agency at the end of 2021, all hopes of such an approach were dashed. In mid-January, the chiefs of five remote Indigenous communities close to and downstream from the Ring of Fire deposits met with Minister Guilbeault to demand he retract those terms of reference and start again.
New research from the University of Alberta sheds light on how agricultural landowners in Alberta view wind turbine proposals on their land.
Between December of 2018 and March of 2019, 401 large-scale agricultural landowners from across Alberta participated in an online survey that asked them to rate six hypothetical scenarios about wind farm developments.
The research team’s findings, which were published online late last month in the peer-reviewed journal Land Economics, suggest relatively low levels of support for wind power (compared to other energy forms) but increased acceptance of certain types of development proposals.
“The experiment that we did suggests that if we have more fairness in the process in terms of inclusion, transparency and compensation, and if we have different ownership structures like local ownership, that can lead to more support for these wind farms,” said John Parkins, a professor in the U of A’s resource economics and environmental sociology department.
Parkins, who was the study’s lead author, said he and his colleagues wanted to understand how farmers who are in the position to host turbines on their land think about different development proposals.
Knowing that wind development can be controversial, the researchers wanted to know how developments could be designed to win more people over.
Lower support for wind
Wind capacity has been growing over the past decade in Alberta. Capacity doubled between 2010 and 2017 and is expected to double again by 2023, but further growth depends on buy-in from private rural landowners.