Thursday, September 19, 2019

Canada Votes: The Climate Platforms of the Four Major Federal Parties

Climate change is an important election issue in the 2019 Canadian federal election. The four major parties are in agreement about the climate crisis, but they have very different ideas about how to address it.  They agree on the scientific consensus that humans are responsible for climate change and they all share the view that we need to reduce our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, the four main parties differ on how much GHGs should be cut and how this can best be achieved.

Here is a detailed look at the climate platforms of the Liberal Party, the Conservative Party, the New Democratic Party (NDP) and the Green Party.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Climate Strikes Call for Urgent Action

Global climate strike in March 2019
The climate strikes on September 20th and September 27th are a plea for government action. As part of a week of climate action events are taking place around the world coinciding with the United Nations climate summit that is taking place in New York City on September 23rd.

Attendance at the protest in the Big Apple will be buoyed by the fact that NYC public schools have given students the day off if they want to participate in the strike. The students who attend are expected to lead class discussions about the day of action when they return to school.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Canada Votes: Why the War against Climate Change is the Key Issue in the 2019 Federal Election

There are a host of important issues confronting Canadians in the 2019 federal elections but none have more far reaching consequences than the existential threat posed by climate crisis.

Man-made greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are warming the Earth and breaking heat records.  Scientists warn that unchecked emissions have catastrophic implications for human health and the economy. Climate impacts include food insecurity, flooding, storms, heat waves and wildfires. The UN has warned that climate-fueled disasters are now a weekly phenomenon and this will continue to augur unprecedented biodiversity loss as the climate continues to warm.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Event - Global summit on Climate Change

The 6th Global summit on Climate Change will take place on October 21-22, 2019 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The theme for the 2019 edition is Climatology, The Science of Global Weather Systems over the Long Term.

At this summit there will be inspiring speakers and a diverse assortment of scientists and researchers who will present on a wide range of topics. Core subjects include but are not limited to climate, greenhouse gases, oceans and forests.

Event - ANDREC: Columbia's Renewable Energy Congress

ANDREC will take place on October 8-10, 2019 in Bogota Columbia.  This event brings together the renewable market in Colombia, including local and international developers, EPCs, installers and investors.  ANDREC 2019 will host 400 attendees and 100 speakers. It will unite Colombia’s government stakeholders and early stage renewable energy developers, consultants and operators with a host of international players from project development, investment and technology manufacturers. There will be more than 30 hours to help attendees network with over 200 senior decision makers.

Event/Workshop - Ocean Energy Europe (OEE2019): Unlocking the Potential of Ocean Energy

The annual Ocean Energy Europe Conference and Exhibition (OEE2019) will take place on September, 30, - October, 1, 2019 in Dublin, Ireland. This event is the meeting point for the whole ocean energy sector. Experts and public and private stakeholders from the ocean energy field, will gather to discuss the latest progress and identify the most relevant opportunities for scaling-up ocean energy technologies deployment with a special emphasis on Small Island Development States.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Climate Excerpts from ABC News' 3rd Democratic Presidential Debate

On September 12, 2019 the leading Democratic presidential candidates came together in Houston for ABC News' third Democratic debate. The ten candidates who participated in the debate are former Vice President Joe Biden, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, California Sen. Kamala Harris, Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, Former Texas Rep. Beto O'Rourke, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Entrepreneur Andrew Yang. The moderators were George Stephanopoulos, David Muir, Linsey Davis and Jorge Ramos.

With the exception of Yang all the candidates addressed climate change during the debate. Here are the climate focused excerpts from the third Democratic debate arranged according to the three salient themes:

Friday, September 13, 2019

Coalition of Universities Band Together to Buy Renewable Energy

Twenty-one state and private universities have come together to form a renewable energy purchasing consortium. The coalition is called NYCARES which stands for New York Campuses’ Aggregate Renewable Energy Solutions. Participating schools include 16 campuses in the SUNY system, four private colleges, as well as Cornell University Ithaca campus. The universities are looking to source large-scale solar photovoltaic, wind, hydroelectric, and energy storage projects. The initiative was started in 2018 and will begin soliciting projects no later than 2020. The advantages of the consortium include lower costs, protection against volatile gas prices and research opportunities.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Republicans are the Leading Purveyors of the Fossil Fuel Industry's Climate Denial

Republican presidents were once advocates of environmental protection, but in recent years they have devolved into obstructionist purveyors of disinformation. Republicans are mired in the bombast of the old energy economy, their anti-science rhetoric forms the backbone of their climate denial. In stark contrast to the GOP's denial, Democrats welcome science and champion climate action.  In a recent town hall Democratic presidential contenders staked out strong leadership positions on the climate crisis.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

A Brief History of the Democrat's Climate Awakening

There are clear signs that climate change has emerged as a central issue for Democrats going into the 2020 presidential elections. This is the first election cycle in American history where climate change will be a front and center issue, at least for the Democrats. President Obama deserves credit for leading Democrats in the fight for climate action. While his legacy of climate action is laudable it is being systematically dismantled by the Trump administration. This is in part why the current slate of Democratic candidates are making the climate crisis a central plank of their presidential campaigns. The Dems' focus on climate action has been more than a decade in the making. Here is a brief review of the long and winding road that has led us to the present moment.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Building Sustainability: BCIT Training the Next Generation

The British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) is training the next generation of ecocity builders. BCIT's wide-ranging sustainability focused education includes green roofs, living walls, smart micro grids, high performance buildings, zero emission transportation, innovative health care and data analytics.

BCIT is a public, post-secondary, polytechnic institution that comprises six schools. BCIT explores the opportunities afforded by an increasingly complex world. The school's small classes, applied academics and hands-on experience shows students how to turn challenges into solutions.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Webinar - Delivering Effective Outcomes (EIA)

Delivering Effective Outcomes from EIA – Mitigation, Net Gain and Adaptive Management training webinar will take place on September 12, 2019 13:00. This is the third in a series of six webinars designed to help EIA practitioners understand and prepare for future challenges.

Ten Climate Proposals from the Leading Democratic Presidential Candidates

For the first time ever, all of the leading Democratic presidential candidates agree that climate change is a high priority issue that demands urgent action. They all released climate proposals ahead of the historic climate town halls on September 4th.

There is a great deal of agreement between the leading Democratic contenders. They all want to reverse Trump's actions and rejoin the Paris Climate Agreement. They all support zero-emissions, carbon-neutral electricity, the electrification of transportation and ending federal fossil fuel subsidies.

The candidates also share a common focus on socioeconomic disparities. They want to address inequality through climate action that assists vulnerable people in minority and other disadvantaged communities. They all offer varying degrees of support for the Green New Deal.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Event - Future Energy East Africa

The Future Energy East Africa, will take place on September 17 – 18, 2019 at the Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC) in Nairobi, Kenya. This is the largest and longest running regional power conference and exhibition in East Africa. With over 400 regional conference delegates, this is the leading strategic energy conference and trade exhibition as well as a well-known and trusted brand.

Event - Building Sustainable Towns and Cities 2019

The second edition of the Building Sustainable Towns and Cities Conference will take place on September 18, 2019 at the Holiday Inn in London, Kensington, United Kingdom. This conference will include topical conference program with 14 speakers, discussion opportunities, an exhibition, best practices as well as the latest updates on housing and development issues.

Event - Ecocity World Summit 2019

The Ecocity World Summit will take place October 7–11, 2019, at the Vancouver Convention Centre, the world’s first double LEED® Platinum certified convention centre. Ecocity 2019 is where breakthroughs and advances will be shared. At this summit Mayor Kennedy Stewart and a host of local, regional and global experts will come together to build the bridge to socially just and ecologically sustainable cities.

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Trump's Dorian SNAFU Reaffirms his Disdain for Science

Image credit: AXIOS
American President Donald Trump's Hurricane Dorian SNAFU has once again demonstrated his contempt for science and his apparent incapacity to tell the truth. There are a host of dangerous implications associated with a president who eschews facts. This includes undermining scientific bodies within government. U.S. President Donald Trump has made no secret of his disdain for science and his administration has gone after scientists who refute his ignorance.

Friday, September 6, 2019

Trump and Devos Oppose Public Education

Image credit: The People's Perspective & News
Educating children is important to everyone, except perhaps American President Donald Trump.  His administration has sought multi-billion dollar cuts in education funding. The Atlantic reports that Trump's 2020 budget proposal sought a $7.1 billion cut in funding for the department compared with 2019.

Trump also put a hopelessly unqualified person in charge of the department. Education secretary Betsy Devos is the brother of the owner of the infamous Blackwater security firm. She is a supporter of Trump's decision to pull the US out the the Paris Climate Agreement. "The announcement made today by the President is one more example of his commitment to rolling back the unrealistic and overreaching regulatory actions by the previous Administration," her statement read.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Top 10 Democratic Presidential Contenders Participate in Climate Town Halls

On September 4th, Democratic presidential contenders made history with their participation in back-to-back climate focused town halls in New York City. For seven hours, one after another, the ten Democrats vying for the party's presidential nomination spoke on the subject of the climate crisis. All ten of these candidates have put forth climate plans and this represents a historic shift for the party and the country. They all agree about the veracity of anthropogenic climate change and the need for consorted action. This is in stark contrast to the current president and most GOP legislators, who equivocate about the veracity or deny it outright.

Wednesday, September 4, 2019

5 Reasons Why Teachers are Not Teaching Kids about Climate Change

More than half of American teachers are not talking about climate change in their classrooms and of those that do almost a third incorrectly tell their students that climate change is a natural phenomenon.

According to a recent poll climate change is a very low priority for teachers in the U.S. Almost two thirds of educators who are not teaching it say they see global warming as outside of their subject area. However, science-based training is only part of the problem, parental attitudes are also a concern. Almost a third of educators are worried that parents may complain if they teach their kids about climate change.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Hurricane Dorian Sets Records

Image credit KJCT 8
Hurricane Dorian is yet another wake-up call. Dorian has broken all kinds of intensity records including being the strongest storm ever to make landfall. Dorian slammed into the Bahamas as a category 5 storm bringing with it widespread flooding and wind speeds gusting up to 220 miles per hour.  In its wake buildings have been damaged and destroyed. Five people are known to have died but the casualty count could increase even thought the storm has weakened to a category 2 storm.

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Event - Workshop on Accelerating Renewable Energy Investments in Latin America

This workshop will take place on September 10 – 11, 2019 in Bogota, Colombia. Organised in collaboration with the Ministry of Mines and Energy Colombia, IRENA's workshop will explore the current renewable energy policy landscape in Latin America, the growing role of public and private financing for renewables, and the available project facilitation tools for countries in the region.

Event - Iber-REN

This event will take place September 09 - 10, 2019 at the 5 star VP Plaza España Design Madrid. Iber-REN will have 60 speakers and offer two days of premium networking opportunities with 300 key movers and shakers in the Spanish energy market. This event unites the entire Iberian renewable energy value chain.

Friday, August 30, 2019

Who is Preventing Kids from Learning about Climate Change?

Kids are not getting the climate education they need but this is not because of their parents or their teachers. Climate education has become a front-line issue in the battle against truth and kids are being used as pawns in an economically motivated war against reality. As reported by NPR, polls show that climate education has the support of parents (80%) and teachers (85%). Yet children are not getting the facts about climate change in public schools. A growing number of American adults (75%) acknowledge that the climate is changing but this message not being disseminated to kids.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Governments are Acting to Curb the Fires in the Amazon

Governments are responding to the planetary threat posed by the fires in the Amazon. There has been a 79 percent increase in fires in 2019 compared to the same period last year. These fires are a threat to air, water, and wildlife. The Amazon generates one fifth of the world's oxygen and it is the single largest reservoir of fresh water and biodiversity on Earth. The Amazon also regulates climate including heat and precipitation. The ongoing degradation of this region could trigger tipping points from which we will not be able to recover.

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Grade 10 Climate Change Education in Ontario

Although the provincial government under Premiere Rob Ford has systematically dismantled climate action in Ontario, students in that province can still have access to the facts about global warming.  

Evidence for Climate Change offers an inquiry-based educational resource for Grade 10 students in Ontario. Hands-on activities focused on heat, carbon dioxide, and thermal expansion explore the essential science behind climate change.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Trump MIA at the G-7 Summit on Climate, Biodiversity and the Fires in the Amazon

US President Donald Trump skipped the climate summit and discussions about the fires in the Amazon at the recent G7 meeting in Biarritz, France and then his aides lied about the reason he did not attend. The climate emergency, protecting biodiversity and the fires in the Amazon were high on the agenda of the 45th G7 summit, which took place from August 24 to 26.

Monday, August 26, 2019

The Earth's Lungs are Burning and Bolsanaro is to Blame

Wildfires have raged all around the world in 2019 but nowhere is the situation more serious than in the record breaking Amazon fires. There have been almost 80,000 fires in the Amazon this year, more than 30,000 in recent weeks and almost 10,000 since the middle of August. Brazil's National Institute for Space Research, or INPET reports that there have been 74,155 fires in the Amazon in 2019. The massive plumes of smoke from these fires stretch for 1.2 million square miles, cutting across the entire continent of South America and extending out into the South Atlantic Ocean. The Amazon is composed of 2.12 square miles of rainforest that spans Columbia and Peru as well as other countries. However, the majority of the Amazon is located in Brazil.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

IRENA Innovation Day (Thailand): Solutions for a renewable-powered future

This event will take place on September 4th 2019 at the Athenee Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand. IRENA’s Innovation Days will take place in different regions around the world and aim to connect experts and policy makers. This new series of events will showcase emerging innovations and inspire and inform the broader and faster uptake of innovative solutions that can help deliver a renewable-powered future. Innovation Days build on IRENA’s biennial Innovation Week events but will focus on the particular needs and experiences of countries in the region. The first Innovation Day is being held in Uruguay in July 2019.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Business Sustainability Management (Online Short Course) - University of Cambridge

A certificate from the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership will give you the skills to argue the business case, develop integrated plans and implement strategies. This flexible eight week online course is offered in weekly modules, that can be completed in 8-12 hours per week.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Increasing Wildfires are the New Abnormal

It is with good reason that the fires in the Amazon are capturing headlines, but wildfires have burned all around the globe this year. What makes these events unique is their frequency, size and duration. Wildfire seasons are starting earlier and ending later.

European heat waves ignited large wildfires in the winter and spring of 2019. In February hot temperatures sparked wildfires across western Europe and in April there were wildfires in Scotland, Norway and Sweden According to the Emergency Management Service of the EU agency Copernicus in the first three months of 2019, there were unprecedented number of wildfires in Europe that burned 74,482 hectares. France was among the worst hit accounting for more than one third of the 480 fires in the first quarter of 2019.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Green, Healthy, Sustainable Schools (Video)

In 2016, Jennifer Seydel discussed the value of sustainable schools and sustainability education. She suggested a framework for developing greener schools and school districts. Jennifer was a School Designer for Expeditionary Learning, a non-profit education reform organization that partners with existing schools and opens new schools with the goal of preparing children and youth for success in an ever changing world. She also served as an Associate Professor of Education at Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts and as the Director of the S.A.G.E. Project, a college-community collaboration founded to address the needs of highest risk high school students in Springfield, Massachusetts, Jennifer designed the S.A.G.E. M.Ed. program, a graduate degree in Education and Counseling. The students who graduated from this program have gone on to become leaders and change agents in many urban school districts in New England.

Comprehensive Green School Information and Resources 2010 - 2018 

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

The Truth About the Rules on Climate Ads in the Canadian Federal Election

Elections Canada reviewed ad rules which have significant implications for the promotion of climate action during the forthcoming federal election. This clarification was in response to reports that Elections Canada had told environmental groups that they could not run ads about climate change. An August 20th Elections Canada statement indicates that environmental and other groups are free to address climate change. Stéphane Perrault Canada's Chief Electoral Officer issued the public statement in the wake of media reports that seemed to misunderstand the prohibitions against promoting climate action during an election campaign.  The confusion stems from misunderstanding "partisan advertising" and "issue advertising" (see Canada Elections Act).

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Trane Helping Schools Cut their Energy Bills in Half

The combination of efficiency and renewables is driving big savings at Massachusetts' Dighton-Rehoboth Regional School District. A performance contract signed with HVAC manufacturer Trane Inc. is expected to slash the districts annual energy spending by 62 percent, or $564,000 each year.

Trane is far more than just a leading manufacturer of HVAC equipment, they also offers cost saving projects and renewable energy efficiency solutions. They helped to design and install the district's 1.2-megawatt solar photo-voltaic system including five carport canopies ranging in size from 117 kW to 639 kW. This system now generates around 75 percent of the energy used by the district.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Countering Bolsonaro's Destruction of Brazil's Rainforests

The government of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is wreaking environmental havoc in one of the most ecologically important places on Earth.  The Amazon basin, more than half of which is in Brazil, accounts for 40 percent of the world’s tropical forests and 10-15 percent of the earth's biodiversity. Almost one quarter (800,000km² of Brazil’s original 4m km²) of Amazon forest has been lost to development including logging, agriculture, and mining. Last month alone Brazil destroyed more than 1,800 square kilometers of the rainforest earning Bolsonaro the nickname, "Capitão Motoserra" ("Captain Chainsaw").

Sunday, August 18, 2019

End to End Power Solutions (Utility Week, Powergen, Distributech, SolarVision & Energy Capital)

These end-to-end power solutions events (Asian Utility Week, POWERGEN Asia, DISTRIBUTECH Asia, SolarVision and Energy Capital Leaders) will take place on 3 - 4 September 3-4, 2019 at MITEC, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. In 2019, the 20th edition promises to be bigger and better than ever before. The convergence of leading events will bring you the world's and market's first end-to-end power mega event, covering power generation, distribution and digital transformation. With 11,000 visitors, 450 speakers, 2,000 utility reps and 350 exhibitors these events cover the whole value chain of power - from generation to transmission and distribution to its digital transformation.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

New Record Set for the Hottest Month Ever

The summer of 2019 started with the hottest month of June and that was followed by July which is now being considered the hottest month in recorded history.

This is the first time in the 140 years that we have monitored global temperatures that we have seen a global average reading of 62.13 Fahrenheit. July 2019 beat the record set in July 2016.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Environmental Masters Degrees from Vermont Law School

Vermont Law School (VLS) offers three environmental masters degrees. A master's degree from VLS is different from other law degrees. Instead of studying theories about how policies work, VLS master's candidates learn the law and how to use it to effect change. By studying advocacy, regulations, legislation, and markets, students acquire the tools to create more just systems and a more sustainable world. Environmental VSL Master's degrees in law cover a wide range of policy issues including energy, food and agriculture.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Trump's Ongoing War with Science

The Trump administration's relationship to reality is tenuous at best, when research does not support their narrative they censor scientists and hide reports. Trump resists science just as he opposes all serious efforts to delineate truth from falsehood.

Trump is a monumental liar. According to the Washington Post Trump has lied more than 12,000 times since becoming president (he has recently ratcheted-up his deceit increasing his lies per day average from 12 to 20). Trump's mendacity is a way of life and he has become synonymous with his lies.

The reasons why Trump derides science are obvious, he knows that facts reveal his ignorance and truth exposes his lies.

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Bentley University Arena is a Model of Sustainability

The environmentally sustainable multipurpose Bentley Arena at Bentley University is the first stand-alone ice arena to earn LEED platinum certification. It cuts the buildings carbon footprint in half compared to comparable traditional arenas and it also uses half the energy. The 76,000 square-foot highly efficient arena is lit by natural light and LED lighting and a 504-kilowatt rooftop solar array generate 40 percent of the building’s electricity needs. Heat generated by the rink's ice making equipment heats the water in the building. The arena also uses high efficiency plumbing fixtures, waterless urinals, dual-flush toilets, and low-flow faucets and showers to reduce water usage.