Environment, resources & sustainability

Fracking in BC’s northeast

Feb 23, 2021
Last summer I got out of Vancouver and toured northern BC. While the trip was mostly for pleasure, my inner economist could not resist some industrial tourism and visits to resource towns and major industrial sites that are the heart and soul of BC’s resource economy. Forestry dominates near Prince George, fishing at Prince Rupert,… View Article
A pile of wood pellets is shown in front of a cross-section view of a stack of logs.

Trees to pellets? Scarred by two previous resource industry boom and busts, pivotal decisions lie ahead for community of Fort Nelson

Feb 17, 2021
The residents of Fort Nelson know better than most rural British Columbians about the harsh economic realities of resource dependency. It is now 13 years since the forest industry ditched the community in dramatic fashion when Canfor Corp. ceased all its local operations in the region and closed its plywood and oriented strand board (OSB)… View Article

Time for zero carbon housing and buildings in BC

Jan 21, 2021
BC needs a lot of new affordable housing and any build out should ensure that it meets the highest standards for energy efficiency, including zero-carbon operations. Residential, commercial and institutional buildings produce 11% of BC’s GHG emissions, mainly from burning natural gas for heating and hot water. Updated building codes are needed to make the… View Article

It’s 2021: Time to get serious about BC’s carbon emissions

Jan 7, 2021
In December 2020, the BC government released its first Climate Change Accountability Report, the result of 2019 legislation aimed at improving the reporting and oversight of climate action in BC. The report lacks accountability in one important respect: it is not an independent assessment and reads like previous BC government reports on climate action that… View Article

Healthy forests for a cooler future

Dec 14, 2020
There was every reason to believe in the early spring of this year that the most ambitious tree-planting program in British Columbia’s history would be scuttled by COVID-19. A record 310 million seedlings were slated to be planted. But with the unfolding pandemic, all bets were off. Only after tree-planting companies, First Nations, provincial health… View Article

Why now is the time to reform BC’s oil and gas royalties

Dec 8, 2020
The oil and gas royalty regime in British Columbia needs a major overhaul. The re-elected NDP promised during the election campaign to review oil and gas royalties and credits. In the context of a climate emergency the need for a managed wind-down is urgent. Despite “natural” gas being a finite greenhouse-gas-generating fossil fuel, the royalty… View Article

Who benefits from caribou decline?

Dec 4, 2020
Scientists predict caribou herds located in northeastern BC will go extinct within our lifetimes. How could this be? We were led to believe that environmental oversight introduced decades ago would protect this iconic Canadian species despite the large-scale industrial development that threatens them. We were promised a win-win: thriving caribou and a thriving economy. Fast… View Article

Who’s minding the shop at Site C?

Dec 1, 2020
Appointment of engineer with long-term ties to BC Hydro to be government’s “independent” advisor on dam’s construction raises vexing questions In 2011, his last year as a salaried employee at BC Hydro, Tim Little earned just under $210,000 as the Crown corporation’s chief engineer. The next year, after decades of service for the publicly owned… View Article