Environment, resources & sustainability

Copenhagen and carbon budgets

Dec 14, 2009
As Copenhagen heads into week two, most of the talk has shifted to targets and timelines, typically something like X% of emissions by 2020 or 2050, relative to 1990 levels. This dating is a legacy of the German delegation in the lead-up to the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, who wanted a base year of 1990… View Article

Every revolution is about power

Dec 3, 2009
So what does a sustainable economy really look like, and how do we get there? Climate change essentially means a huge mitigation effort on greenhouse gases culminating in something close to zero emissions by mid-century at the latest. This means phasing out fossil fuels entirely; or minimally, if it comes out of the ground emissions… View Article

Property taxes: are major industries suffering?

Nov 3, 2009
Businesses across Canada have been complaining about what they pay in property taxes, well, since there were property taxes.  But the issue in BC came into sharper definition in July when Catalyst Paper hand-delivered cheques to four municipalities that only covered 25% of their property tax bill.  Timberwest, Celgar and West Fraser Timber joined Catalyst… View Article

BC’s GHG emissions shell game

Oct 30, 2009
The BC government recently announced a new climate action of some consequence: the phasing out of the Burrard Thermal plant in Metro Vancouver. The unit was used largely for back-up purposes, producing electricity for BC Hydro to supplement hydropower during times of high demand. But at a large GHG cost per unit of energy —… View Article

Planning for a Green Vancouver

Oct 28, 2009
Last week, the City of Vancouver’s task force, the Greenest City Action Team, issued a plan for the city with short and longer-term goals and policy advice on achieving them. The report covers more than climate change, a good thing as it is important to identify win-wins that lead to improvement on other environmental, health… View Article

Carbon Capture and Storage: Magic Bullet or Delusion?

Oct 27, 2009
Depending on who you talk to, carbon capture and storage (CCS) is either the face of climate salvation or the height of delusional behaviour associated with our favourite hallucinogenic drug, fossil fuels. I have read both cases and suspect that the truth is somewhere in between, but I’m not an engineer either so it has… View Article