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  1. The new oil sheik of Quebec SOPHIE COUSINEAU MONTREAL — The Globe and Mail Published Tuesday, Feb. 05 2013, 7:45 PM EST Last updated Tuesday, Feb. 05 2013, 7:53 PM EST 6 comments 25 8 17 0 Print / License AA To say that I am a football fan is an overstatement as big as New Orleans’ Superdome, though I’ve always had a soft spot for the San Francisco 49ers. But I gave up on “my team” and on the Super Bowl when the Baltimore Ravens’ lead reached 22 points, and switched to Tout le monde en parle, the talk show that normally rules Quebec airwaves on Sundays. MORE RELATED TO THIS STORY Redford calls on energy workers to raise the flag Alberta stands firm on Keystone Gaspé drilling ban assailed by pro-exploration factions ENERGY Video: How oil sands players are collaborating on environmental innovation VIDEO Video: Quebec considers updating common law legislation GALLERY From Leduc to the Bakken boom, big moments in Canada's modern age of oil So I missed the power outage and the 49ers’ spectacular comeback. But I did see Quebec’s Natural Resource Minister, Martine Ouellet, throw a couple of Hail Marys. This may come as a surprise to those who have heard of Quebeckers’ widespread disdain for the oil sands, but the province of cheap, abundant hydroelectricity has some big oil ambitions of its own. On the Radio-Canada talk show, Ms. Ouellet talked about the revenues that could be extracted from Quebec’s oil reserves. The Gaspé region could generate $35-billion, she said. The Anticosti Island? Between $200-billion and $300-billion. The Old Harry offshore deposit in the Gulf of St.-Lawrence? A whopping $500-billion! (A press officer corrected her Tuesday and said she had meant to say $50-billion, but still.) The show’s court jester, Dany Turcotte, was flabbergasted at those huge figures, which conjured up images of oil gushing from a swamp like in the opening of the old Beverly Hillbillies TV series. Until now, the reality has been very different. Quebec’s oil is hard to extract. In the past 10 years, junior resource companies poking the land have only succeeded in pumping a couple of hundred of very pricey barrels from exploration wells. “You have got to be careful before asserting that we are going to be as rich as Alberta,” says Jean-Yves Lavoie, chief executive officer of Junex, a Quebec exploration company. There is still a lot of work to be done. There is only one deposit close to being commercially viable, according to its promoter, Pétrolia Inc., and that is the Haldimand project near the town of Gaspé, where exploratory work is now halted. But Premier Pauline Marois is determined to see Quebec reduce its reliance on imported oil. And for a cash-strapped province that is cutting expenses in all departments to balance its books, extra oil royalties would ease some fiscal pain. Even Ms. Ouellet, a former water conservationist who denounced “fracking” as unsafe in her first days in a limousine, is officially riding along, although she advocates moving with extreme caution. Fracking is a technique that injects a chemically-laced solutions underground to fracture rock formations and release oil and gas. But Quebec’s three known oil regions are facing daunting obstacles. The Old Harry offshore deposit has become another battleground between Quebec and Newfoundland, with both provinces claiming jurisdiction over its riches. While there have been some seismic surveys on the Newfoundland side, there has been no exploratory work on the Quebec side of the disputed border, as the government awaits an environmental assessment of the fragile ecosystem. Since no drilling has been done, no one knows what Old Harry truly holds. “Chances are it’s natural gas, but when politicians take a hold of Old Harry, it turns into oil,” says Mr. Lavoie, a mining engineer. The Anticosti island, also in the Gulf, holds the best promise, according to Mr. Lavoie, whose exploration licences border the south of the island. Pétrolia concurs. Its licences and those of its partner Corridor Resources from Halifax cover the rest of the island; they hold 30.9 billion barrels of oil, according to an assessment by Sproule Associates Ltd. But most of this oil would only be accessible by fracking, not by conventional extraction methods, according to Pétrolia president and chairman André Proulx. And there is a de facto moratorium on fracking until Quebec completes its environmental review on the controversial technique. In the meantime, the former shale gas opponents are revving up the campaign to protect the sparsely populated wildlife sanctuary against oil production. This places the Marois government in an untenable position, as it opposed fracking for gas while apparently favouring it for the oil industry. Which leaves Gaspésie. There, Pétrolia temporarily halted its exploratory work on the Haldimand project because of the Gaspé mayor’s opposition on environmental grounds. Mr. Proulx believes the fear of ground water contamination is rubbish. “What they are truly trying to do is to get more municipal powers and a share of the mining royalties,” says Mr. Proulx, who hopes the province will settle the issue. Despite this setback, Pétrolia’s president remains a believer. “In theory, in five or six years time, we could supply half of all the oil Quebec consumes,” Mr. Proulx asserts. Only a vocal minority opposes oil production, this promoter says. Yet the Marois government will have to do a hell of a selling job. Because if recent history proves anything, that minority is what freezes energy development in Quebec – be it winter or summer.
  2. Montreal Protocol outshines Kyoto PETER HADEKEL, The Gazette Published: 6 hours ago It's been described as the most successful global environmental agreement ever negotiated. The Montreal Protocol, signed in 1987 and ratified by 191 countries, has been extraordinarily effective in phasing out the use of harmful chemicals that depleted the the ozone layer in the Earth's stratosphere. The agreement showed that the global community really could respond to a serious environmental threat. [/url] Twenty years later, environmental officials from government and industry are meeting this week, at a United Nations conference in Montreal, to assess their progress and recommend further action. And some are asking whether the Montreal Protocol could serve as a template for action on a far bigger and more complex problem - greenhouse gas emissions. Despite progress in eliminating 95 per cent of ozone-depleting chemicals, there's still more that can be done to protect the ozone layer, said Mack McFarland, a scientist at chemical giant E.I. DuPont de Nemours and global environmental manager of the company's fluorochemicals business. The phase-out for developing countries could be speeded up, he said in an interview yesterday. That's one proposal on the agenda at this week's meeting. The ozone layer acts as a filter in the Earth's stratosphere, absorbing harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun. By the mid-1980s, gaping holes in the layer had begun to appear, linked to the world's consumption of such chemicals as halons (in fire extinguishers) and chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs (in refrigeration, air conditioning and aerosol propellants). After scientific proof was published about the the causes of ozone depletion, industry began to acknowledge its role in the problem, McFarland said. DuPont, which had invented CFCs, began to call for their elimination a year before the Montreal Protocol was signed. Progress was rapid in eliminating use of most ozone-depleting substances, he noted. "In developed countries, halons were gone by 1995, and CFCs by 1996." As of 2005, more than 95 per cent of all the chemicals controlled by the protocol had been phased out. But healing the stratosphere will take longer, because chemical residues will be present for a while. The United Nations Environment Program estimates that the ozone layer should return to pre-1980 levels by 2050 to 2075. Health benefits will be substantial as the ozone layer is restored. It's estimated that the global community will avoid millions of cases of fatal skin cancer and save trillions of dollars in health-care costs. "At this stage, the question is: Is there more that can be done to protect the ozone layer," McFarland asked. Use of less damaging HCFCs is still being ramped down, but could be speeded up in both developed and developing countries, he said. Six groups of countries have presented proposals to accelerate that process. Industry has poured hundreds of million of dollars into research and development of safer chemical substitutes for use in such processes as refrigeration. One result, McFarland said, is that production of global warming gases has also been reduced. Between 1990, when ozone-depleting substances were at peak levels, and 2000, the elimination of those chemicals yielded a net reduction of 25 billion tonnes of global-warming gases. Can the success of the Montreal Protocol serve as a model for tackling climate change? In one respect, it can, McFarland said, because a science-based approach was followed and countries, while agreeing to respect targets, were to free to implement the Montreal Protocol as they chose. Also, realizing that science and technology were not static, there were provisions to revise the Montreal Protocol at least every four years. Of course, a critical difference is that developing countries were on board from the start. That's not the case with the Kyoto Protocol on climate change. "The climate change issue is many orders of magnitude more challenging," McFarland said. "We're dealing with the very fabric of our society - the way we produce and use energy. "You've got to make sure that the goals you set under these international agreements are achievable." [email protected]
  3. Per this article in The Gazette: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Montreal+picked+five+hubs+Future+Earth+project/10008798/story.html Montreal has been selected as one of five global hubs for a United Nations project called Future Earth, an ambitious 10-year initiative to build and connect international research on the environment and sustainable development — and to find ways to intensify and accelerate the impact of that research. It is a united, international effort to create sustainability and advance scientific study on questions of environmental impact, to merge science and public policy — and to address urgent environmental challenges. Future Earth’s globally distributed secretariat will also have hubs in Paris, Tokyo, Stockholm and Boulder, Colo. Those involved in petitioning to get the hub here — there were at least 20 competing bids — believe that Montreal’s star will definitely shine brighter on the international stage now. While the project will involve all of Montreal’s universities, Concordia University will house the local hub that will bring together Quebec researchers to contribute to this major scientific initiative. It is news that has Concordia president Alan Shepard smiling these days, although he is primarily focused on what a coup this is for Montreal and the opportunities he believes will emerge from it. “This is great for Montreal and very good for Concordia,” Shepard said in an interview on Monday. “We’ll be the host but it’s collaborative, an intersection for all the universities in Montreal to work together on climate change and the health of the Earth.” The universities came together to work on a joint proposal to lobby for the hub at the urging of Montréal International, which acts as an economic driver for Greater Montreal. Montréal International vice-president Stéphanie Allard is also convinced that Montreal’s involvement in the project can only be a boon to its universities and to the city itself. “It’s a very big opportunity for all the universities and for Montreal,” said Allard, who oversees international organizations. “It will increase our visibility in the world, it will establish us as an international city and it will certainly make us more attractive to researchers.” Future Earth is the result of a commitment made in 2012, at the United Nations conference Rio+20, to develop a new international network to advance sustainability. It is being overseen by the International Council of Science, a non-governmental association with a goal to strengthen international science for the benefit of society. The project is committed to developing the knowledge for responding effectively to the risks and opportunities of global environmental change and for supporting transformation towards global sustainability in the coming decades. It will mobilize tens of thousands of scientists while strengthening partnerships with policy-makers and other stakeholders in the quest for a sustainable planet. “Solutions to the major sustainability challenges facing humanity require integrated science and a closer relationship with policy-makers and stakeholders than we have seen to date,” said Yuan-Tseh Lee, president of the ICSU. “Future Earth has been designed to respond to these urgent needs, and I am impressed by the innovative consortium that has come together to drive the program forward.” In making its pitch, Montréal International cited that Montreal has a rich, diverse and high quality research network already in place, that it is multicultural and multilinguistic, that it is very well-positioned to be a hub and that office space is cheaper here than in many cities. Shepard said it’s hard to say what financial benefits there could be for the city, but he said having the secretariat will certainly bring UN resources, international visitors, research opportunities, graduate students and lots of attention. “Montreal becomes a neuronetwork and it’s glowing really bright,” he said, adding that the project meshed well with Concordia’s “intellectual values” of integrating different academic disciplines. An added bonus is that it also fits well with a preoccupation of the university’s students, namely sustainability and environmental science. “Future Earth clearly recognizes Montreal’s research capacity and the valuable contribution we will make in developing solutions to global environmental challenges,” said Shepard. “It’s a beautiful thing to have in your city; it will bring great intellectual leadership and passion and opportunity.” [email protected] Twitter: KSeidman
  4. Le Technoparc pourrait être contaminé Michel Bellemare La Presse Canadienne Le sol du Technoparc de Montréal situé entre les ponts Champlain et Victoria, à la hauteur de Pointe-Saint-Charles, contiendrait de quatre à huit millions de litres de carburant diesel et de une à deux tonnes de biphényles polychlorés (BPC) dont une partie s'échappe dans le fleuve Saint-Laurent à proximité. C'est ce que révèle un dossier rendu public lundi par la Commission de coopération environnementale, l'organisme nord-américain de surveillance de l'environnement. Le dossier repose sur un rapport préparé en 2003 par cinq organisations canadiennes et américaines de protection de l'environnement, soit Waterkeeper Alliance, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, Société pour vaincre la pollution, Environmental Bureau of Investigation et Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper/Save the River!. Ces organisations font état de résultats d'échantillonnages indiquant que les concentrations de BPC détectées dans les rejets du Technoparc sont jusqu'à 8,5 millions de fois plus élevées que ce que prescrivent les Recommandations pour la qualité des eaux au Canada. Les auteurs mentionnent également que des concentrations élevées d'autres polluants toxiques ont été détectées dans les échantillons. Le secteur du Technoparc, qui s'étend sur environ deux kilomètres de longueur et 500 mètres de largeur, a été aménagé à partir du XIXe siècle à même le lit du fleuve par l'apport de matériaux de remblai et de déchets domestiques et industriels. Il a par ailleurs pendant une centaine d'années eu une vocation principalement ferroviaire avec l'exploitation par le Canadien National et ses prédécesseurs d'une immense cour de triage. Une partie du site a servi de stationnement durant l'Expo 67. Le dossier permet d'apprendre en outre qu'Environnement Canada a mené une enquête sur les rejets du Technoparc en 2002 et 2003 mais que cette enquête n'a pas permis de déterminer la source de la contamination et a été close. Les auteurs allèguent également que les mesures prises par la Ville de Montréal, actuel propriétaire du site, pour contenir les rejets, à savoir l'installation de barrages flottants, le pompage des substances polluantes ou l'utilisation de tampons abbsorbants, n'ont pas donné les résultats escomptés. Les cinq organisations environnementales ayant sonné l'alarme soutiennent que l'inaction gouvernementale dans ce dossier constitue une omission du Canada d'assurer l'application efficace de sa Loi sur les pêches. La Commission de coopération environnementale, créée en vertu de l'Accord de libre-échange nord-américain, n'a pas le mandat de critiquer ses pays membres, soit le Canada, les États-Unis et le Mexique, mais peut publier les «communications» de citoyens (ou de groupes) et des «dossiers factuels» comme dans le cas du Technoparc. La Commission a précisé en publiant le dossier factuel relatif au Technoparc de Montréal que celui-ci fournit de l'information qui aidera à déterminer si le Canada omet d'assurer l'application efficace de ses loi de l'environnement relativement aux questions soulevées par Waterkeeper Alliance, Lake Ontario Waterkeeper, Société pour vaincre la pollution, Environmental Bureau of Investigation et Upper St. Lawrence Riverkeeper/Save the River!. http://www.cyberpresse.ca/article/20080624/CPACTUALITES/80624011/6730/CPACTUALITES
  5. $14B in projects ready to go: Municipalities BY MIKE DE SOUZA, CANWEST NEWS SERVICE JANUARY 14, 2009 12:21 PM OTTAWA - More than 1,000 municipal infrastructure projects worth nearly $14 billion are “shovel ready” for job creation from coast to coast, according to a new list unveiled Wednesday by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. The list represents an inventory of projects that are awaiting funds to start and was compiled following weeks of extensive consultations by the federation and its members. The federation says many municipalities have put these projects on the backburner, but could launch them this year and create thousands of jobs if money was available from the different levels of government. “The municipal world is ready to co-operate with the provinces, territories and the Canadian government to (tackle) the economic problems of Canada,” said Sherbrooke, Que., Mayor Jean Perrault, the president of the federation, during a media conference call. “The construction phase of an infrastructure project creates most of the jobs and getting projects underway this spring is crucial to offsetting the economic slowdown.” The projects include new investments in roads and bridges, waste management, buildings, public housing, water and waste water treatment facilities as well as public transit for cities and communities that are home to more than 19 million people across the country. The federation has been urging the Harper government to fast-track transfer payments from a new infrastructure program so that municipalities can get started on the projects and begin putting people to work as part of a stimulus package for the economy. Municipal officials have complained that there is too much red tape and administrative delays in getting the money flowing into their communities, but federal Transport, Infrastructure and Communities Minister John Baird has pledged to speed up the process by reducing red tape. Perrault said the funding should be modelled after the federal gas tax transfer which provides federal money for cities based on the size of their population. He also argued in favour of reducing double environmental assessments of new projects by both the federal and provincial governments explaining that many of the projects on hold in their list would not put Canada’s environment in jeopardy. “The environment is important. There are mechanisms and rules that we must follow,” said Perrault, “but what we told Prime Minister (Stephen) Harper and John Baird to reduce the red tape and that if there were environmental studies that overlap, why not have just one and ensure that it’s propitious.” Conservation groups and the NDP have both criticized the federal government for musing about reducing federal environmental assessments in favour of a single review of some of the smaller infrastructure projects. Baird said on Tuesday that the gas tax transfer program worked well since it did not require federal environmental assessments to operate. © Copyright © Canwest News Service Voici la liste des projets : http://www.fcm.ca//CMFiles/FCM%20Shovel%20Ready%20report_list%20En1KDL-1142009-4963.pdf
  6. Water plan for St. Lawrence unpredictable, critics charge Joint commission hearings. River levels might have to be artificially elevated, environmental coalition fears CHRISTOPHER MAUGHAN, The Gazette Published: 7 hours ago The environmental and economic impact of a proposed plan to change how water flows into the St. Lawrence River is potentially disastrous and in many ways unpredictable, critics said last night. The International Joint Commission - which manages how much water passes into the river from Lake Ontario - held public hearings in Montreal last night to discuss concerns about their proposal to allow water levels to rise and fall more sharply than they now do. The IJC is an independent, bi-governmental organization that manages the Great Lakes. It controls water flow to Quebec via the Moses-Saunders dam, which runs across Lake Ontario from Cornwall, Ont., to Massena, N.Y. Their commissioners have argued that more drastic changes in water levels would allow for the establishment of more diverse flora and fauna along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence. But at the hearings last night, critics seemed far from convinced that the proposal would result in a net environmental gain. "We haven't put enough effort into forecasting the different climate change scenarios," said Marc Hudon, a director at Nature Québec, an environmental coalition that represents 100 smaller groups. Hudon worried that the IJC plan would allow water levels on the St. Lawrence to drop so low that Quebecers would be forced to artificially elevate the water, which could cause major environmental problems. "If you have less water, you concentrate the contaminants in it," said Hudon, adding that even if the issue were addressed, the St. Lawrence would still suffer. "We would have to keep the levels up artificially by slowing the water down. That makes the water hot. When the water's hot, fish flip upside down - they can't survive." That's why Hudon is dead-set against the IJC's proposal, which is known as Plan 2007. A slightly modified proposal that takes wetland restoration into account shows promise, he said, but is too short on details to be adopted now. "We like the idea, but we don't want to go into it blind." Montreal executive committee member Alan DeSousa echoed Hudon's concerns about a lack of specifics. "We want to make sure we know what we're getting into and at this point we're not entirely sure we can say that," he told members of the IJC. "There remain many questions as to the potential impact of the various plans, especially downstream." DeSousa wondered whether the IJC had environmental contingency plans in place to deal with any serious environmental impact. "We don't have any information at this time as to the scope of the (IJC's) mitigation measures," he said. Marine transportation officials also expressed concerns, worrying about the potential impact on the economy. "Just a 10-per-cent loss of the (volume of) the seaway would result in 28 more days a year the seaway would have to be closed," said Kirk Jones, director of transportation services at Canada Steamship Lines. "Ten percent or 28 days could add up to $250 million in losses." Source http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/story.html?id=a37baa36-107d-4bc0-a482-78c6e52c158b
  7. Diagrid design completed for Ernst & Young headquarters Foster + Partners has completed a headquarters building for Ernst & Young at the gateway to the Vivaldi-park area of the new Zuidas district, south of Amsterdam. Commissioned by ING, the tower establishes a landmark on the route into the city with its diagrid façade. Ten per cent more efficient than the target Dutch environmental standards, the building also extends the public realm with a water court at its base. The 24-storey building is divided into two twelve metre-wide column free towers with open, flexible floor plates. The blocks are staggered in plan to admit as much natural light as possible and to make the most of the northerly city views. The northern façade is fully glazed, while partial thirty per cent glazing to the east, west and south limits solar gain. Combined with ground water storage to further save on energy for cooling, the overall environmental strategy is highly efficient. Linked by a shared transparent core, the offices are serviced by double-height meeting spaces and light-filled social spaces allowing communication between different floors. The structural steel diagrid is clad in silver aluminium and is offset by opaque black panels, which reduce the definition of the individual floor levels. This lattice scales the entire 87-metre high facade and gives the building its identity. At the base of the building the height of the diagrid creates a triple-storey lobby space, while at the top of each tower north and south-facing terraces are set into the structure. The towers are approached via a water-court with an ecological pond beneath an overhanging canopy. Defining the relationship between public and private, this space houses the social functions, such as staff restaurant, terrace, auditorium and bar, clustered around the water-court. Coupled with a green roof on the restaurant building, the pond has an important environmental contribution. 65 per cent of rainwater is retained on site while the run-off feeds into the Amsterdam canal system to control water levels following peak rainfall. The pond is naturally cleansed by a planted biotope of reeds, water lilies and grasses. David Nelson, Senior Executive and joint Head of Design at Foster + Partners said: “Our first building in Amsterdam not only exceeds Dutch environmental regulations by ten per cent, but provides a striking marker for the Vivaldi park area, a high quality, flexible working environment for tenants Ernst & Young and a lively public water-court with a working ecological pond at its base.” http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=2434
  8. Group launches bid for another expo in Montreal VANCOUVER, May 15 /CNW/ - On the 28th of April - the 40th anniversary ofthe opening of Expo 67 - an independent group submitted a proposal to the cityof Montreal for an exhibition in 2017 to mark Canada's 150th birthday, orSesquicentennial, as it's referred to officially. "We considered a number ofoptions," says executive director Richard Barham, and came to the conclusionthat Montreal is hands down the best city to hold another expo."Considerations included availability of land and attractiveness of location,social, economic and environmental benefit, and presence of both officiallanguages. The proposed exhibition would involve a revival of the Habitatconcept, immensely popular at Expo 67, as well as the cleanup of the SaintLawrence River. More info and the proposal can be viewed at www.expo17.ca. :eek: :eek: :D
  9. Environmental study, alignment approved for high speed rail Michael Cabanatuan, Chronicle Staff Writer Wednesday, July 9, 2008 (07-09) 12:55 PDT San Francisco -- The High Speed Rail Authority granted final approval to the Pacheco Pass alignment to the Central Valley, and to the environmental studies supporting it, Tuesday. With that decision, which came on an 8-0 vote, with member T.J. Stapleton absent, the alignment and environmental study for the 800-mile statewide system are complete. The next step is up to the voters, who will decide on Nov. 4 whether to approve a $9.9 billion bond to help fund construction of the system, estimated to cost at least $30 billion. Environmental studies for the rest of the system were completed in 2004 but controversy over which route to use between the Bay Area and Central Valley - the Pacheco Pass or the Altamont Pass - prompted further studies and much debate. The proposed high-speed rail system would whisk travelers from downtown San Francisco to downtown Los Angeles in two and a half hours, and would travel at speeds up to 220 mph. <img src="http://www.intellexual.net/temp/hsr.jpg"> http://www.cahighspeedrail.ca.gov/ this thing is finally coming together! the next step is for voters to approve a $9.9 billion bond to fund the construction of the system. this bond won't increase your taxes.
  10. Rich Canadians have bigger carbon footprint Size matters. Study links national income, consumption JOHN MORRISSY, Canwest News Service Published: 8 hours ago When it comes to ecological footprints, wealthy Canadians are a confirmed size 12, creating a global warming impact 66 per cent greater than the average household, according to a new study by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. The study is the first to link national income and consumption patterns with global warming, and it showed that the richest 10 per cent of Canadians create an environmental footprint that's 2.5 times the size of those created by the lowest 10 per cent on an income scale. "When we look at where the environmental impact of human activity comes from, we see that size really does matter," said Hugh Mackenzie, a research associate for the Ottawa-based think-tank and co-author of the study. "Higher-income Canadians create a much bigger footprint than poorer Canadians." The study revealed a gradual progression of environmental impact going up the income scale, but a marked jump with the richest 10 per cent. In fact, the highest 10 per cent has an environmental impact that's one third larger than the next lower 10 per cent, Mackenzie said. The differences stem largely from the homes wealthy people own and the way they get around, Mackenzie said. The top 10 per cent own homes that are larger, cost more to build and to heat, and they are more likely to own more than one vehicle and travel more frequently by air, Mackenzie said. The impact of food consumption, on the other hand, hardly varies from one income group to another. The study measures environmental impact in terms of the amount of hectares it would take to sustain a certain level of consumption. When it comes to the wealthiest Canadians, their environmental footprint requires 12.4 hectares per capita, compared with the average Canadian's 7.5-hectare footprint. Globally, the average Canadian's footprint is still several times the average of those in poorer nations. What the study highlights, Mackenzie said, is the need for policy-makers to realize how activities related to global warming concentrate themselves in the upper income groups. Failing to recognize that could lead to policies that penalize lower-income Canadians yet fail to achieve their objectives, he said. "All Canadians share responsibility for global warming," said co-author Rick Smith. "But wealthier Canadians are leaving behind a disproportionately larger footprint - and should be expected to make a disproportionate contribution to its reduction." http://www.canada.com/montrealgazette/news/business/story.html?id=57768cfb-8144-4ae2-b235-3a045d045065
  11. Quebec could make $9.5B a year selling water to U.S.: report By NINA LEX, ReutersJuly 16, 2009 3:50 PM Quebec could raise as much as $9.5 billion a year by reversing the flow of three northern rivers to generate power and export water to the United States, according to a report made public yesterday. The Montreal Economic Institute said Quebec could divert floodwaters from the three rivers in the spring, pumping the excess water higher, and then letting it flow south through the Ottawa River to the St. Lawrence. The rivers - the Broadback, Waswanipi and Bell - currently flow into James Bay and then into Hudson Bay. The report said that diverting the floodwater from north to south would boost levels on the St. Lawrence River and let U.S. and Canadian authorities increase their use of freshwater from the Great Lakes without any risk to St. Lawrence - a major international seaway. "The revenue generated by exporting freshwater would be the result of complex negotiations between state, provincial and federal governments," said the report, compiled by former hydroelectric power engineer Pierre Gingras. "Whatever the outcome of negotiations, and given the probable increase in the value of water in the coming years, this revenue from the sale of water would contribute significantly to the financial health of the Quebec government and the general prosperity of Quebecers." The idea of bulk water exports from Canada has always been controversial, for political, environmental and security reasons. But Gingras said the scheme could net the province about $7.5 billion a year - assuming that the extra water supplied some 150 million people who paid a "very reasonable" $50 a year for the water. The project, which Gingras calls Northern Waters, would also build 25 hydroelectric plants and dams along the Ottawa River, generating electricity worth $2 billion a year. He put the cost of the project at $15 billion and said it could be completed by 2022. "It should be a very profitable project for Quebec," he said. But environmental group Great Lakes United said a project like Northern Waters could be devastating to the environment. "The seasonal runoff is not surplus water. The rising and lowering of the rivers and lakes is critical to protecting the marsh which is home to so much wildlife," program director John Jackson said. He said the project was contrary to legislation that forbids the bulk export of Canadian water from any of the five major basins, including the Hudson Bay Basin. "There would be huge legal fights. There is no way you could win those battles," Jackson said. The report - available at http://www.iedm.org - said the environmental impact would be relatively small because the project would only capture "seasonal surplus waters." © Copyright © The Montreal Gazette
  12. Harper is on the second day of a three-day tour of Europe, with environmental issues at the centre of the agenda. Most European countries are wary of Canada's mixed record on the Kyoto Protocol for greenhouse gas emissions, with far more political and public support for reductions in Europe than is generally found in this country. Before he left, some environmentalists criticized the prime minister's trip for its own greenhouse gas emissions. They say the air travel involved in taking Harper's retinue to several European cities in three days will generate more than 400 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions, as much as 100 cars produce in a year. But Harper and his officials say expressing Canada's position on climate change is crucial, as well as discussing this country's booming trade with Europe, worth some $110 billion in the past year. Speaking to UN delegates in Bonn, Harper said Canada was the first industrialized country to ratify a biodiversity treaty in 1992, and that this country took a varied approach to environment protection, involving all sectors of society, and not just government. "Canada has gone to great lengths to protect and preserve our rich and diverse environment," Harper said in Bonn. "In our country, this is not just a government enterprise. We are partnered with many private individuals, corporations and non-governmental organizations dedicated to environmental philanthropy." CBC's chief political correspondent, Keith Boag, travelling with the prime minister, said there was little about the address that was new in policy terms. "The speech was really just a once-over-lightly about how beautiful Canada is," Boag said. "How many lakes and rivers and streams and mountains and forests and fields and so on [the country] has." The Bernier resignation is still very much on the mind of the prime minister and officials and journalists travelling with him, Boag said. Canada could do more: environmentalists Environmental groups at the Bonn meeting say there is sometimes more words than substance to Canada's positions on biodiversity and other environmental issues. William Jackson with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature said Canada can be proud of its domestic achievements in environmental protection, but its international role in holding up agreements on issues like climate change has raised eyebrows. "I have not seen Canada blocking things to the point [that] decisions are not being made," Jackson says, "but I've seen them expressing their views strongly." Federal Environment Minister John Baird, who is with Harper, dismissed accusations Wednesday that Canada isn't doing enough to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Baird said the Canadian government actions include regulating big polluters, a hydrogen initiative in B.C., encouragement of carbon capture and storage efforts, an electricity grid between Ontario and Manitoba and support for tidal power generation in the Maritimes. Harper was hoping to convince European leaders that his plan for fighting greenhouse gases is a good one, despite criticism from environmentalists. Unlike most of Europe, Canada and the U.S. oppose any new climate change pact that would exclude major polluters, such as China or India. Harper is using this trip to lay the groundwork for the upcoming G8 meeting this summer in Japan, which will focus on climate change. On Wednesday in Bonn, Harper is also meeting German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The two leaders pledged last year to increase co-operation between their two countries on a range of issues, including environmental policy and trade. Harper's next stop will be Rome for meetings with Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi before travelling to London where he has meetings scheduled with the Queen and his British counterpart, Gordon Brown, as well as a speech to business leaders at the Canada-United Kingdom Chamber of Commerce. With files from the Canadian Press http://news.sympatico.msn.cbc.ca/abc/world/contentposting.aspx?isfa=1&newsitemid=harper-bonn&feedname=CBC-WORLD-V3&showbyline=True