The environment

Two main examples of new western nuclear plant designs are the European Pressurised Reactor (EPR, discussed earlier) and the Westinghouse AP1000. All efforts to install either are way over budget and behind schedule in the United States and Europe. China just opened one of each on successive days at the end of June.

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Canada’s continued enthusiasm for new fossil fuel production not only helps undermine the world’s chances of dealing with climate change, but it also threatens Canada’s future economic prosperity as one of the dirtiest and highest-cost producers of a commodity that may see sharply declining demand. A recent special report in The Economist said: Yet the […]

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Among environmental groups, Greenpeace has a reputation for being hostile to technologies like genetically modified foods and nuclear power, as well as of often saying poorly justified and hyperbolic things about them. As a civil servant, I remember learning never to trust figures or claims found only in a Greenpeace report, but to seek corroboration […]

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Writing in The Globe and Mail Thomas Homer-Dixon and Yonatan Strauch have a solid explanation for the incompatibility between the Trans Mountain pipeline and the climate commitments Canada has chosen for itself: For these [pipeline] opponents, further massive investment in the extraction and export of some of the most carbon-intensive fossil fuel on Earth is […]

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When it comes to stopping unsustainable fossil fuel development, anything that creates investor uncertainty can be useful. By that metric, the British Columbia government’s announcement of a diluted bitumen shipment expansion moratorium while it studies how a diluted bitumen spill would unfold is a small contribution to shifting Canada to an acceptable development pathway. Still, […]

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Canada’s bitumen sands continue to be the largest source of growth in Canada’s greenhouse gas pollution, and the biggest barrier to Canada’s fair participation in a global climate change mitigation strategy. Not only does continued bitumen sands investment perpetuate an industry which undermines Canada’s claim to be serious about Indigenous reconciliation, but giving the industry […]

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Some earlier comments discussed the Site C dam project in B.C. Today, B.C.’s NDP government committed to finishing the $10.7 billion project. Like the Muskrat Falls project in Labrador, this is a multi-billion dollar project facing extensive criticism from environmentalists and Indigenous people. On the one hand, it is desirable to get as much low […]

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One of the most important economic and political points arising from climate change is uncertainty about how seriously future governments will respond to the problem. If some kind of political change makes governments serious about hitting the 1.5 – 2.0 ˚C temperature targets from the Paris Agreement, it will mean doing everything possible to rapidly […]

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Some kind of nuclear accident, probably “involving nuclear fuel or the production of radioactive material” and not a nuclear reactor, seems to have taken place in Russia: Russia named as likely source of Europe radioactivity spike Continuing a tradition established by the Chernobyl disaster and the Kyshtym disaster, the information comes from radiation monitors in […]

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By the time of the 2015 World Heavy Oil Congress, midstream companies like Kinder Morgan, Enbridge and TransMountain PipeLines had grown used to the calamity that accompanied their pipeline applications. TransCanada’s Keystone XL project had ignited the battle, drawing ferocious protests from ranchers and Indigenous people in Nebraska. This in turn had attracted opposition from […]

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