CLIMATE CHANGE NEWS & VIEWS FROM AROUND THE WEB
I think there’s a lot of space for Chile to become a leader in the fight against climate change. I would love to be able convince other countries that ambitiously tackling climate change is in their best interests.
Maisa Rojas Chilean climate scientist & Environment Minister
Federal environment minister announces expansion of provincial park – February 2, 2022
Alberta Electricity, Coal is gone, Now for the hard part – Getting to net-zero
Australian floods cut off outback towns and major supply routes
Inquiry headed by Steve Allan found the groups had done nothing wrong.
Five environmental organizations have followed through on a threat to sue Alberta Premier Jason Kenney and the provincial government for defamation.
In documents filed Wednesday in Edmonton Court of Queen’s Bench, the groups allege Kenney deliberately twisted the findings of a public inquiry into whether the groups were using foreign funding to try and landlock Alberta oil by spreading misinformation about its environmental impacts.
“There’s a line that [Kenney] crossed,” Paul Champ, lawyer for the environmentalists, said in an interview. “If you don’t hold him accountable on something like this, there’s really no limits for him.”
In October, Calgary forensic accountant Steve Allan filed the results of his inquiry.
He wrote that he found no organized campaign of misinformation. Nothing illegal happened and the groups were merely exercising their free speech rights.
He found that while the groups did accept money from the U.S. to oppose oilsands development, that money amounted to about $3.5 million a year — roughly the cost of Allan’s inquiry.
But the groups allege that even after Allan’s report was released, Kenney made public statements and social media posts that kept falsely accusing them, statements repeated on government websites.
The lawsuit contains allegations that have not been proven in court and a statement of defence has not yet been filed.
The government has hired outside lawyers to defend itself and the premier.
“This matter is before the courts and would be inappropriate to comment on,” said Kenney spokesperson Justin Brattinga. “The premier and Alberta’s government will vigorously defend themselves in court, as the facts are on our side.”
Expect changes to water supply and ecosystems as we continue to warm
When looking at our climate, we know our temperature is rising. Globally, annual mean temperatures have risen just over a degree since 1880.
In Canada, the warming has been more drastic.
Nathan Gillett, a research scientist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, says the Arctic is warming at a faster rate due to ice melt and more heat being absorbed.
But so are the Prairies.
“Alberta and Saskatchewan have warmed by about 1.9 C since the mid-20th century,” Gillett says. “And they’re projected to continue warming at more than the global rate.”
According to Canada’s Changing Climate Report, this century the global climate will warm by a further 1 C in a low-emission scenario compared to a further 3.7 C in a business-as-usual high-emission scenario.
What does this warming mean for life in Alberta and Saskatchewan? Let’s take a closer look at what we expect to see in regards to our weather, water, and biodiversity.
Changing the minds of the minority of Albertans opposed to moving away from oil and gas won’t be easy
In her recent editorial board meeting with CBC News, Calgary Mayor Jyoti Gondek conceded that energy transition “sometimes comes with a lot of pain and angst.”
It also comes with a lot of politics in oil-rich Alberta.
Gondek offers one vision for Alberta’s energy future. Jason Kenney and the United Conservative Party (UCP) offer a competing view.
Gondek’s sights are set on decarbonizing Calgary’s economy, touting the city’s new clean energy tech accelerator aimed at helping bring big oil and gas companies together with researchers, entrepreneurs and academics working to decarbonize the industry.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney, on the other hand, is intent on getting Alberta’s economy cooking with oil and gas again. Kenney’s rather retro vision champions fossil fuels and their potential economic prosperity.
As an oil and gas booster, Kenney has vowed to “vigorously defend the economic interests of Alberta, including the right to develop our own natural resources,” in response to the federal government’s formal announcement last November to cap oil and gas emissions.
What are we to make of politicians with such diametrically opposed views? Our research published this year and last suggests more Albertans support Gondek’s vision of an energy transition than Kenney’s vision of more of the same.
And Gondek has some powerful new allies that have traditionally had Kenney’s back.