Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Weak Climate Test for the Energy East Pipeline

On February 3, 2015, the National Energy Board (NEB) will officially begin its review of the Energy East pipeline project. Energy East is a massive 4000 kilometer pipeline that if built would carry 1.1 million barrels of tar sands oil from Alberta to Quebec.

If it is built, the Energy East pipeline would allow for a 40 percent expansion of the tar sands that would produce at least 32 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year. It is the largest tar sands pipeline ever proposed, with a climate impact equivalent to adding 7 million cars.

Webinar - New Paths in Environmental Management and Compliance

Download this Enviance webinar recorded on December 17th, 2014. It offers insights from industry leaders at four organizations from different vertical markets that are pioneering new paths in environmental management and compliance.

ArcelorMittal, Tri-State Generation, Tampa Electric Company and Southern Ute Growth Fund are tapping environmental technologies in new ways to experience greater environmental compliance breakthroughs and efficiencies.

Hear the panelists discuss environmental successes and lessons learned in 2014 and what changes are in store for 2015!

For more information click here.

The Value of Investing in Climate Mitigation (WEF Summaries)

One of the salient themes that emerged at the 2015 edition of the World Economic Forum (WEF) is that investors are very interested in climate action. There have been a number of important developments during the course of the WEF but few are more important than the emerging trend of integrating climate risks into financial assessments. The risks and the opportunities  posed by climate change are bottom line issues.

Low carbon energy investments are providing considerable returns. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, clean energy investment increased by 16 percent in 2014. The We Mean Business Coalition reports that companies are achieving 20+ percent internal rates of return on their own clean energy projects.

Anthropogenic Climate Change Moving Us Closer to Doomsday

Due in large part to our inaction on climate change we are moving ever closer to an apocalypse. On Thursday January 22, 2015, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, moved the doomsday clock two minutes closer to midnight. This timepiece is meant to symbolize our proximity to global catastrophe. It was created in 1947 to symbolize the likelihood of a nuclear war, however, it has subsequently been adapted to incorporate other threats. For the last three years we have been stalled at five minutes to midnight, we are now only three minutes before the end.

According to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists executive director Kennette Benedict, concerns about anthropogenic climate change is the primary reason why the hands were moved forward. The other reason is the proliferation of nuclear weapons.

Global Economies Feeling the Heat from Climate Change (WEF Summaries)

Economic assessments of climate risks and the potential returns from mitigation and adaptation emerged as salient themes at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. 

A number of speakers made the point that it is important to calculate the massive risks associated with climate change. We are already seeing that climate change is systemically disrupting the global economy and the situation is destined to get far worse if we do not significantly reduce global carbon emissions.

As explained by several economists, we do not have to make the false choice between combating climate change and growth. We can both grow our economy and act on climate change.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Infographic - Global Energy Efficiency Rankings (ACEEE)

Clean Energy Ranking: Best and Worst US States

In the US some states provide more support for renewable energy than others. Legislation, initiatives and incentives vary greatly from state to state.

To help understand what each state is doing the American Council For An Energy Efficient Economy (ACEEE) released their annual State Energy Efficiency Scorecard last fall. This scorecard ranks the best and worst states for energy efficiency based on a 50-point scale. These scores rated government initiatives on 31 different metrics related to seven different policy divisions, including utilities, government-led initiatives, and efficiency building codes.

Here are the 10 best and 10 worst states for clean energy based on the ACEEE scorecard and presented in the Huffington Post with the assistance of NRG Energy:

Business Leadership on Climate Change (WEF Summaries)

The 2015 edition of the World Economic Forum (WEF) put unprecedented emphasis on the role of business to manage climate change. Both to mitigate costly risks and reap lucrative benefits, the business community is beginning to take climate concerns very seriously.

One of the key stories that emerged out of the WED last week is that an unprecedented number of business leaders are showing bold leadership on climate action. Business leaders are speaking more clearly and more cohesively than ever about the need to address climate change.

As Al Gore explained in a Davos presentation, "We have the solutions at hand. And this is why I’m so excited about all of the work being done, led by the business community," he said. "The private sector is leading the way," he added.

Infographic - Canadians on Emissions Reduction, Carbon Pricing & Pipelines

WEF Summaries: Climate Change

Climate change was a central part of this year's World Economic Forum (WEF) which took place in Davos Switzerland from January 21 to 24. Unlike previous meetings there was an unprecedented sense of urgency in this year's discussions about climate change.

A WEF plenary titled "Tackling Climate, Development and Growth" included Paul Polman, A. Michael Spence, Jakaya M. Kikwete, Christine Lagarde, Ban Ki-moon and Jim Yong Kim. This distinguished panel shared the view that to combat climate change we must engage sustainable development. They also said that to succeed in efforts to reduce climate impacts we must see significant investments from both the public and private sector.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Event - Renewable Energy Exhibition McHewel 2015

The Renewable Energy Exhibition (REE) McHewel 2015 will take place on Wednesday February 18 to Tuesday January 20, 2015, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 650 Dixon Road, Toronto, Canada in Toronto, Ontario.

The theme for this year is "Increasing Energy Capacity with Sustainable renewable sources." REE is Canada’s Leading renewable energy event, it is organized by the McHewel Investment Group.

REE showcases products like wind, solar, bio fuel, hydrocarbon, geothermal, agriculture, environment, finance, and hydrogen based products and services associated with this field etc. in the Power, Renewable Energy & Energy Conservation industry.

Event - Moving Toward a Circular Economy

Progressing Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) in Ontario: Moving Toward a Circular Economy, will take place on Thursday February 5 to Friday February 6, 2015, in Toronto, Ontario. EPR originated in Europe more than 30 years ago and continues to evolve. It is also a pivotal policy needed to further Ontario's waste reduction performance.

Recycling Council of Ontario is hosting a two-day session that provides opportunity to hear the latest information from the European Union (EU) on newly proposed amendments to its waste directives, as well as the research commissioned to inform these amendments. The sessions also provide an opportunity to gather stakeholders from all sectors to discuss the key elements of what should be part of Ontario's new waste reduction and EPR legislation.

Event - Teleconference: Top Ten Countries Turning the Corner on Toxic Pollution

A Teleconference on the report Top Ten Cleanups of the Worst Polluted Toxic Sites, Global Solutions will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015, 10am, EST. The report was released by the Blacksmith Institute For A Pure Earth and Green Cross Switzerland, with the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution.


Release of 2014/15 Top Ten Countries Turning the Corner on Toxic Pollution, the latest global report on toxic pollution affecting some of the world’s worst polluted places, highlighting top ten success stories and solutions to this global threat. Report is from Blacksmith Institute for a Pure Earth andGreen Cross Switzerland, with Global Alliance on Health and Pollution.

Event - Climate Challenges and Opportunities for the Insurance Sector

The event, feeling the heat? Climate challenges and opportunities for the insurance sector will take place on March 24, 2015 at 09:00 (registration from 08:30 am) - 12:30 at the Association of British Insurers (ABI), 51 - 55 Gresham Street, London, UK.

ABI’s half day climate change conference will highlight the associated challenges and opportunities for the insurance industry.

Event - Putting a Price on Carbon

The event Putting a Price on Carbon will take place on Tuesday, January 27; 7:30 - 9:30 pm at the Isabel Bader Theatre, 93 Charles Street West, Toronto, Ontario. A panel of carbon pricing experts will provide the case for either carbon fee and dividend and cap and trade.

Stephen Lewis will moderate a debate comparing the merits of a Carbon Tax vs Cap and Trade, the two principal methods proposed to set a price on carbon.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Video - WED 2015: A Climate for Action

Video - Climate More Sensitive to Atmospheric Warming than Previously Thought

There have been many studies published in 2014 that indicate the climate crisis is worse than previously thought. A study published on January 1, 2014 titled, "Spread in model climate sensitivity traced to atmospheric convective mixing," found that the climate is much more sensitive to atmospheric carbon than previously thought. The paper was written by Steven Sherwood from the University of New South Wales’ Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science. His research revealed that if we continue to pump CO2 into the atmosphere at current rates we will see warming of roughly 5°C [9°F] above modern temperatures or 6°C [11°F] above preindustrial temperatures this century.

Video - WEF Global Risks Report

The 2015 edition of the Global Risks report completes a decade of highlighting the most significant long-term risks worldwide, drawing on the perspectives of experts and global decision-makers.

The report is broken down into the following areas:

1. Global Risks Landscape 2015
2. Global Risks 2015 Interconnections Map
3. Risks-Trends 2015 Interconnections Map
4. Executive Opinion Survey 2014

Click here for more information on environmental issues in the Global Risks 2015 Report.

What is The World Economic Forum (WEF)
Risks Associated with Environment, Climate, Water Crisis and Extreme Weather in the WEF Report
Infographic - Global Risks Report

Video - Climate Risks: Abrupt Unpredictable Irreversible Changes

People often think that global warming is a slow and gradual process that will take generations. However, this film from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) (the world's largest scientific society), warns that we are at risk of pushing the earth’s climate system toward, "abrupt, unpredictable, and potentially irreversible changes."

Video - WEF Pre-Annual Meeting Press Conference

The Pre Annual Meeting Press Conference outlines the official programme and participants at this year’s Annual Meeting in Davos.

What is The World Economic Forum (WEF)
Risks Associated with Environment, Climate, Water Crisis and Extreme Weather in the WEF Report
Infographic - Global Risks Report

Friday, January 23, 2015

Three Charts on Ocean Warming

Canada's Harper Government Loves Oil & Hates Wildlife

Canada both contributes to climate change and refuses to offer wildlife protections. Under Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Canada is the worst country in the world in terms of wildlife protections. Their failure to sign on to international treaties, enact protective legislation and deal with the broader issue of climate change poses a direct threat to wildlife.

Canada is a climate Luddite that has backed out of its Kyoto commitments and failed to meet its GHG reduction targets. The nation is also a strong supporter of the fossil fuel industry and the tar sands in particular.

Man Made Extinction Killing off Half of all Wildlife on Earth

The mass extinction of our oceans is already underway and this is part of a wider trend of species destruction.  While species like tigers capture headlines, many less well known species are also being lost each and everyday.

The list of endangered species keeps growing.  There are almost 4000 animal species that are critically endangered, 5,700 that are endangered, and more than 10,000 that are vulnerable.

The world is losing its wildlife at a rate not seen in 65 million years. We are in the midst of the sixth mass extinction of plants and animals in the past half-billion years. Through a combination of climate change, habitat loss/degradation, poaching and the introduction of exotic species, we are killing off species at an unprecedented rate.

What makes this extinction crisis unique is that it is man-made. As explained by the Center for Biological Diversity, humans are responsible for 99 percent of currently threatened species.

Typically, extinction of a species occurs at a rate of about one to five species per year. We are currently losing 1,000 to 10,000 times that amount. On average, dozens of species are going extinct every day. At the current rate, by 2050, as much as half of all species may be eradicated.

Research on Bee Mortality and Efforts to Address It

Since this article was written there have been a number of developments. Scientists are increasingly pointing to neonicotinoids as the source of massive bee mortality.

Last May a Harvard study found a link between neonicotinoids and bee deaths. This view was reiterated in the summer of 2014 in a study by the international Task Force on Systemic Pesticides which analyzed 800 scientific studies and concluded that systemic pesticides like neonicotinoid are harming bees and other species. These results corroborate a September 2013 report from Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA).

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Infographic - The Deteriorating State of our Oceans (1950 - 2014)

The US has the Most Big Sustainability Companies

The United States has more top ranked sustainability corporations than any other country. A total of 20 percent of the top 100 sustainable businesses were located in the US. This is one of the findings of the 2015 Global 100 list which is compiled by the Toronto based media and investment research firm Corporate Knights.

This is the best performance ever for US companies and indicates that American companies are improving. Not only do American firms compare favorable to the rest of the world, they occupy the top two positions in the Global 100 list.

Bakken Oil Spill May Force the Retirement of the Popular Pipeline

On January 17 Bridger's Popular Pipeline spilled Bakken crude into the Yellowstone River. Initial estimates indicate that between 300 to 1200 barrels of crude oil have been spilled with an unspecified amount flowing into the Yellowstone.

An oil slick is visible by air 25 miles from the alleged spill site. The water supply of nearby communities Glendive, Mont., have been contaminated by the spill.

GOP Denial and President Obama's Climate Legacy

Republicans continue to resist the veracity of anthropogenic climate change despite an endless stream of scientific warnings. The GOP response to President Obama's State of the Union address was given by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and she did not mention climate change once. The only time she mentioned the environment was in the context of her party's support for the Keystone XL.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Report - Hot Trends In Sustainability Management For 2015

The six page complimentary report on trends in sustainability management explores the key issues that will impact businesses in 2015 and beyond. It builds on detailed Verdantix research into regulations, innovations, competitive dynamics and corporate strategies from around the globe, including interviews with over 500 sustainability and EH&S leaders in 2013 and 2014. The analysis finds that with approaches to sustainability maturing, leaders will find their attention drawn towards company specific risk-based thinking objectives and how to efficiently integrate alternative strategies, such as green infrastructure, into their plans for 2015 onwards.

The organizations mentioned in the report include, 3M, Alcoa, Apple, AT&T, China Labor Watch, Coca-Cola, Dow Chemical Company, Eni, FEMSA, Gap, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Greenpeace, Holcim, International Organization for Standardization, Johnson & Johnson, Oger International, P&G, PepsiCo, Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB).

Infographic - Green Alternatives to Conventional Building Materials

Climate and Sustainability Oriented Excerpts of President Obama's 2015 State of the Union Speech

In his State of the Union speech President Obama talked about fair wages for workers, he reviewed his administrations efforts to combat climate change and he made some of his boldest remarks to date about the need to do more (see his comments below).

He referenced 9/11 and the recession saying that "we have turned the page." He talked about economic growth, health care and immigration. He also spoke directly to Republicans saying, "We can't slow down businesses or put our economy at risk with government shutdowns or fiscal showdowns." and followed that up by threatening to use his veto power when he deems it necessary.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Infographic - Global Risks Report

Risks Associated with Environment, Climate, Water Crisis and Extreme Weather in the WEF Report

In the 2015 edition of the Global Risks report environmental risks are viewed as more prominent than economic risks. At the very top of the list are international conflicts although water crises rank highest in terms of impact. Overall, geopolitical and societal risks dominate as the biggest threat to global stability.

The 10th edition of the Global Risks report, was published on January 15, 2015 by the WEF. The annual report features an assessment by nearly 900 experts on the top 28 global risks in terms of likelihood and potential impact over the coming 10 years.

What is The World Economic Forum (WEF)

The 2015 edition of the World Economic Forum convenes on Wednesday January 21, in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland. The World Economic Forum (WEF) is an international institution committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation. The WEF’s Annual Meeting convenes global leaders from across business, government, international organizations, academia and civil society to map the changes taking place in our world.

The Forum has evolved from an opportunity for European corporate stakeholders to discuss business strategies into an organization that today is widely regarded as the world’s foremost multistakeholder platform for public-private partnership.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Naomi Klein on 350.org's Work in Canada

Here is a message from Naomi Klein on 350.org's work in Canada.

I think 2015 could be the biggest year yet in the Canadian climate justice movement, and I feel confident that 350.org will play a crucial role.

As Prime Minister Harper continues his mad dash to dig up, ship and burn as much tar sands oil as possible, 350 is working from the Maritimes to British Columbia to help build a people's climate movement -- the kind of movement with the vision, heart and guts to defeat Big Oil's agenda for Canada.

In the past several years, 350.org has played a leading role in bringing together the biggest climate mobilizations the world has ever seen, and next year more of that energy will be focused on the Canadian government -- currently one of the world's most obstructionist players when it comes to global climate action.

Climate Science Studies 2014 Chronological Review

Over the course of the last year a number of studies have been published on climate change. Here are six of the top climate studies from 2014.

A study published on January 1, 2014 titled, "Spread in model climate sensitivity traced to atmospheric convective mixing" found that the climate is much more sensitive to atmospheric carbon than previously thought. The paper was written by Steven Sherwood from the University of New South Wales’ Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science. His research revealed that we are headed toward a "most-likely warming of roughly 5°C [9°F] above modern temperatures or 6°C [11°F] above preindustrial" temperatures this century.

Webinar - Smart Growth in Ontario and Why it Matters

Smart Growth in Ontario and Why it Matters will take place on Tuesday, 3 February 2015 from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM (EST). The Ontario Smart Growth Network (OSGN) invites you to an exciting webinar on smart growth issues and trends in Ontario.


What is “Smart Growth” and why does it matter? Join this interactive discussion on how community planning can better support health and quality of life here in Ontario. Find out about upcoming opportunities to inform key planning policies including Ontario’s Growth Plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe and the Green Belt Plan. Hear from experts and volunteers working in the field. Share your experience and ideas.

Bernie Sander's Keystone XL Amendment in the Senate

Independent Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), has introduced an amendment to the Keystone XL bill that will force Republicans to put their climate ignorance on public display. Republicans are hell-bent on pushing through legislation in support of the Keystone XL (KXL) pipeline even if President Obama has vowed to veto it.

Here is Sander's succinct amendment:
It is the sense of Congress that Congress is in agreement with the opinion of virtually the entire worldwide scientific community that—

(1) climate change is real;

(2) climate change is caused by human activities;

Course - Ecological Risk Assessment: Practice and Protocols

This course will take place on March 17-18, 2015 from 9 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. at Trayes Hall - Douglass Campus Center, 100 George St, New Brunswick, NJ. Help your client understand how the ecological risk assessment process aids in developing realistic approaches to remediating sites.

For LSRP's,understand the role that ecological risk assessment plays in developing clean-up goals for your site. This two-day program will provide you with a comprehensive overview of regulatory expectations of ecological risk assessments from both federal and state perspectives.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Course/Workshop - DNV GL Energy Academy: Advanced Use of WindFarmer Software

DNV GL Energy Academy: Advanced Use of WindFarmer Software will take place on February 12, 2015 at St Vincent’s Works, Silverthorne Lane, Bristol, England. This one-day interactive workshop, we will look at some advanced features of WindFarmer software, focusing on how to improve the accuracy of your results, and how to calculate more than just your annual energy production. In the morning we will look at how to make the most of the features which give WindFarmer its accurate modelling, while the afternoon sessions will cover the range of outputs which WindFarmer can generate and how these can be used for energy analysis, operational diagnostics and short-term forecasting.