Press Clipping: The effort to restore wetlands in the oilsands is so weak it might be better abandoned, an ecologist told a water forum Friday at the University of Alberta. Companies are now trying to construct new wetlands on their mine leases, but these have fewer native plants, different chemistry and may in fact pose dangers to wildlife, said Kevin Timoney. Even if the companies are successful, birds, for instance, would be drawn to these constructed wetlands just a few hundred metres from an active mine with power lines and tailings ponds, and that’s not healthy, he said. “Wetland reclamation efforts have failed for years — we are seeing the development of a national sacrifice zone,” he said.
In the Media
Press Clipping: Ontario Environment Minister Glen Murray said his province is frustrated with the federal government’s silence on climate change plan. "We need the federal government to play a leadership role in the federation. They’ve got to work with particularly Quebec, Ontario, British Columbia, and we need to see what they can put on the table to enable [greenhouse gas] reductions," Murray said. "They’ve got to be part of it. They can’t simply publish an inventory of what the provinces are doing and then making that Canada’s contribution. We need leadership here."
Press Clipping: Alberta’s government should be thinking deeply about what happens when countries turn their attention from the coal-fired emissions pouring out of smokestacks to the oil-fired ones spewing out of tail pipes. According to the International Energy Agency, the fight against climate change means world oil demand will need to peak in the next five years and then start falling considerably in order to keep atmospheric carbon from reaching even more dangerous levels. The new realities of climate change mean Premier Prentice may be right in spite of himself.
Press Clipping: PetroChina (NYSE:PTR), the Asian country’s largest oil major by market value, no longer wants a stake in Canada’s oil sands as the ongoing collapse in crude prices has made the sector less attractive and more costly. In a Thursday filing with the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the company announced it was “actively engaged” in talks to swap North American assets with international oil companies, acknowledging the negotiations were mostly focused on Canada’s oil sands, which require high crude prices to be profitable.
Press Clipping: The idea that within the next five years, Alberta — the province responsible for over 35 per cent of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2012 — would meet its emissions targets would be laughable if it weren’t so pathetic. But that’s what was said. And by Diana McQueen, a former minister of environment, no less. But according to Environment Canada’s most recent projections for emissions, Alberta’s annual output will instead grow to 287 megatonnes a year — an overall increase of 55 megatonnes, which means that the target (a 12 per cent increase from the 2005 number) will be missed by a full 27 Mt.
Press Clipping: I am proud of the legacy of John D Rockefeller, who built the greatest fossil fuel enterprise in history. In his day, fossil fuel was a liberating force – it literally changed the face of the earth, freeing many people from toil. The family business is now philanthropy; at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, which I chair, we use the money made from Standard Oil to advance social change that contributes to a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world. But the key phrase in the encomium above is “in his day”. Consider the words of my great-great grandfather’s rough contemporary, the poet James Russell Lowell, which he wrote about slavery and would later become a resounding hymn: “New occasions teach new duties; time makes ancient good uncouth; they must upward still, and onward, who would keep abreast of truth.”
Press Clipping: Should Nathan Cullen decide to end his political career, he could probably take up being a stand-up comic to replace it. In the first few minutes of a talk in Penticton on Saturday, March 28, the NDP MP for Skeena-Bulkley Valley had a room full of 100 people laughing. But while Cullen’s light style and storytelling kept the audience engaged and entertained, he was serious about communicating his message of opposition to the Northern Gateway pipeline proposal. “He has presented a bill in Ottawa to ban supertankers on our wild west coast,” said Merle Kindred, one of the organizers of the event for the Dogwood Initiative, which is collecting pledges in opposition to the pipeline.
Press Clipping: Hundreds of museums across the country––including some of the most prestigious––are being asked by more than 30 scientists to cut their ties to the fossil fuel industry. In a letter sent to more than 330 science and natural history centers on Tuesday, the researchers said that when "some of the biggest…funders of misinformation on climate science" give millions of dollars to science-focused museums, it acts to "undermine public confidence in the validity of the institutions.” The campaign comes just weeks after the release of public documents show Smithsonian-affiliated astrophysicist Wei-Hock (Willie) Soon published articles arguing that the sun, not greenhouse gases, is driving modern climate change after receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars from fossil fuel interests.