Things Are Good: Alberta’s Carbon Tax Brings Cash to Great Programs

The Canadian province of Alberta is best known for the tar sands and the damage extraction of the bitumen has done to the planet. The province is now aware that their extraction economy won’t last forever because it isn’t renewable, so they have started to implement policies to make their province more efficient. One recent ...

Things Are Good: A Solar Solution on Indian Railways

The largest railway system in the world runs in India and it consumes a lot of energy to run it. Back when oil was more expensive they started looking into way to lower their fuel bill from using biofuel to solar. Today, they are running one solution that will save money in the first year ...

Things Are Good: Tonawanda Provides a Template for Transitioning a Town’s Economy from Coal

Globally, coal is on the way out and in America small towns are suffering because coal demand is dropping. The predictable plight of coal-backed small towns in the USA has some politicians trying to bailout the coal industry in order to protect jobs, which is obviously the wrong approach. Instead, what those backwards-looking politicians should ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Fiscal situation of Canada’s ‘oil rich’ provinces

I’ve just written a blog post about the fiscal situation of Canada’s ‘oil rich’ provinces (i.e., Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador). It consists of a summary of key points raised at a PEF-sponsored panel at this year’s Annual Conference of the Canadian Economics Association. Points raised in the blog post include the following: -The ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Kinder Morgan’s IPO: Risk > Reward

Thursday, June 1, 2017 Kinder Morgan’s risky Trans Mountain Pipeline expansion just got a whole lot riskier, just as the company was taking steps to offload some of that risk onto Canadian investors. That is why this week, we released a new legal brief outlining the legal risk for the project. read more

The Progressive Economics Forum: Ontario’s Electricity Sector III: Legislative & Finance Update

My January and March posts on the Ontario electricity sector described how decisions by different Ontario governments gave rise to excess electricity generation with an inflated cost structure, leading to higher electricity prices. Here I discuss the latest development, the Liberal Government of Ontario’s proposed financial framework for its “Fair Hydro Plan” (FHP). In election ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Why the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act is worth celebrating

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 On May 12, 2017, the federal government introduced Bill C-48, the Oil Tanker Moratorium Act, for first reading in Parliament. You could say that the Act has been almost half a century in the making. So, is it a win? Keeping in mind the old adage, “don’t let the perfect be ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: United we beat Enbridge: Celebrating the defeat of Northern Gateway with the people of Haida Gwaii

Monday, April 10, 2017 West Coast Environmental Law was happy to accept an invitation to attend a celebration in Gaaw (Old Massett) on March 25, co-hosted by Haida Gwaii CoAST and the Council of the Haida Nation, to mark the defeat of the Enbridge Northern Gateway project. Staff Counsel Gavin Smith and Eugene Kung recount ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Ontario’s Electricity Sector II: Political Economy Update

This is a third guest post by Edgardo Sepulveda, who is a Toronto-based expert in telecommunications and regulatory economics.  Twitter: @E_R_Sepulveda   By Edgardo Sepulveda In my previous post of January 29 I described how decisions by different Ontario governments gave rise to excess electricity generation with an inflated cost structure, leading to higher electricity ...

Accidental Deliberations: Leadership 2017 Links

The latest on the NDP’s leadership campaign. – Karl Nerenberg sees the youth debate in Montreal as having shown more differences in style than substance, while Christo Aivalis identifies some more clear distinctions. And James Munson examines the candidates’ positions on economic development, innovation and the social safety net. – The Tyee interviews Charlie Angus ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Wresting authority from the regulators: The proper role of the National Energy Board in environmental assessments

Friday, March 31, 2017 It is not every day that we have an opportunity to effect transformative legal change. It is natural, then, that when last summer a number of cabinet ministers announced the review of four key federal environmental laws, West Coast Environmental Law – along with other lawyers, academics, environmental groups, Indigenous peoples ...

Things Are Good: Renewables Had a Record Year in 2016

Renewable energy production is growing more every year and 2016 was no exception to that growth. In 2016 capacity of renewables increased by 8.7% and for the first time solar growth outpaced wind energy. Unsurprisingly the majority of the growth occurred in Asia seeing 58% of global growth happening in that one continent. Africa saw ...

The Canadian Progressive: What will it take to get Canada’s Arctic off diesel?

The planned Innavik Hydro Electric Project will provide clean energy and propel the indigenous Inukjuak community in Northern Quebec off its dependency on dirty diesel energy. But the project faces serious challenges, including lack of adequate funding, and mega hydro projects’ disastrous legacy of wiping out thousands of caribou and flooding large swaths of land. ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: A Kinder Morgan snapshot

Tuesday, March 14, 2017 It’s been a while since we’ve updated you about Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline and tanker expansion project (KMX). A lot has happened in the past few months, so here’s a snapshot of where we’re at. It’s been a while since we’ve updated you about Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline and ...

Things Are Good: More Americans Working in Solar Than in Coal

The coal industry is failing and sustainable alternatives are on the rise. No matter what politicians do to try and “save” coal it’s clear that the dirty source of electricity is on its way out. A recent report revealed that in the USA more people are employed by the solar industry than in the coal ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Will the Pacific north coast oil tanker ban hold water? A review of Canada’s proposed new legislation

Tuesday, January 31, 2017 On November 29, 2016, the federal government announced that it will introduce legislation in spring 2017 to entrench an oil tanker ban on the north coast of British Columbia, and it provided preliminary details on the content of the legislation. In our new publication, West Coast addresses the federal government’s proposal ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Will the Pacific north coast oil tanker ban hold water? A review of Canada’s proposed new legislation

Tuesday, January 31, 2017 On November 29, 2016, the federal government announced that it will introduce legislation in spring 2017 to entrench an oil tanker ban on the north coast of British Columbia, and it provided preliminary details on the content of the legislation. In our new publication, West Coast addresses the federal government’s proposal ...

The Progressive Economics Forum: Extracted Carbon: Re-examining Canada’s contribution to climate change through fossil fuel exports

We just published a new report, Extracted Carbon: Re-examining Canada’s contribution to climate change through fossil fuel exports, by yours truly. It is part of the Corporate Mapping Project, a new mega research partnership led by CCPA’s Shannon Daub and UVic’s William Carroll. The new report tallies up all of the carbon Canada extracts as ...

Things Are Good: Reusing Renewable Power Pieces

Despite being more efficient and better than other forms of generating electricity renewable power generation does cause waste. The waste isn’t in the form of smog or tailing ponds or even radioactive barrels. When it comes to wind power the waste generated is broken blades, and there are a lot of them! Rotterdam has taken ...

Things Are Good: Use of Coal Power to Shrink Regardless of Politics

Coal producers can’t keep up. Coal used to be the cheapest form of energy, but that was before cheap renewable technology and more efficient gas plants came along. What’s more is that there are social, health, and environmental costs to using coal that makes it hard to argue for. The future of coal is not ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: 2017: A Look Ahead to Protect Nature, Climate and Communities

Thursday, January 5, 2017 Check out our short video to meet some of our talented lawyers and see what we're most excited about for 2017! From providing legal aid for communities to defend their environment, to revitalizing Indigenous laws, and holding fossil fuel companies accountable for their role in climate change – this year the ...

Things Are Good: Obama and Canada Bans New Coastal Oil and Gas Drilling

Obama is leaving office and he’s clearly worried that the next president will ignore climate change and its effects on humanity. In order to stymie any damage that president Trump can do, Obama has passed a law that effectively bans ocean-based drilling for oil and gas in some areas. In support, Canada has passed a ...

Things Are Good: Now is the Time to Sell Stocks in Fossil Fuels

Most everyone knows that fossil fuel energy is on its way out and renewable energy usage is accelerating. This means that air quality will improve and energy will become cheaper, all good things. Yet, there’s a large group of companies that don’t see the obvious. Enter the divestment campaign. Divestment campaigns have been around for ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Are politicians really standing up for our climate with the Pan-Canadian Framework?

Friday, December 16, 2016 The new Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change – and the games played by BC’s Premier Christy Clark during the process leading up to it – demonstrate clearly that Canada needs scientists, and not politicians, to be front and centre in developing its climate policy. Canada's Prime Minister and ...

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Carrying forward lessons from Northern Gateway

Thursday, December 8, 2016 Understandably, those opposed to the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain project have not been in a mood to celebrate this past week. At the same time as the Prime Minister announced the federal government’s approval of Kinder Morgan (and the Enbridge Line 3 project), he confirmed something that most people already knew ...