No let up–it just gets worse

The State of the Climate in 2017 report from the American Meteorological Society is packed with the latest data on the planet's deteriorating climate. There are no signs that the situation is improving. On the contrary, most of the climate variables point to a worsening situation. The US, Canada, and Europe should be taking the lead. We got one out three. Read More

Pricing carbon: regressive or not?

Economists don't always agree: but they all seem to like the idea of setting a price on carbon. Either through a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme, a levy on carbon appears certain to eventually reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. But at a price. The poorest sector of the population carries a disproportionately greater burden. It's a regressive tax. Is there a way to reduce emissions without penalizing low-income families? Read More

Antarctic melt accelerates sea level rise

Recent satellite data from NASA and the ESA show that the Antarctic ice sheet is melting much faster than previously thought--leading to more rapid global sea level rise. The rate of increase of atmosheric carbon dioxide is also increasing. These data show evidence of geophysical positive feedbacks that will be difficult if not impossible to control without forceful measures to reduce emissions of carbon. Read More

Two steps forward? Not for Canada.

2017 was an exceptional year for renewable energy. That was the good news. But the bad news is that energy intensity declined worldwide, CO2 emissions are once again on the rise, and king coal refuses to cede its place to cleaner fuels. Surprisingly, the US gets good grades--and Canada gets the raspberry. Read More

Renewables outshine natural gas

A new study from the Rocky Mountain Institute shows that new natural gas-fired power plants cannot compete with clean energy systems that combine renewable energy with energy storage, efficiency improvements, and demand management. Smart energy storage systems are the key to fully unlocking the potential of intermittent renewable energy. Read More

Canada’s Paris Agreement target looks unattainable

The report notes that Canada has committed to four separate targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The country failed to reach the first two targets: the 2000 Rio target  and the 2008-2012 Kyoto target.  Moreover, according to the report, Environment and Climate Change Canada has admitted that current provincial and federal policies and regulations mean that Canada will also fail to meet its 2020 target set at Copenhagen in 2009. Read More

CO2 emissions are on the rise–yet again

Emissions of carbon dioxide are once again on the rise after having flatlined for almost three years, and encouraging the hope that global emissions of the gas were finally peaking. That hope has now been dashed. The Paris Agreement was a good start but the countries' proposed emission reductions in their NDC submissions are nowhere near strong enough. At the next COP meeting in Poland in December, it's time for some serious action. First on the agenda: eliminate fossil fuel subsidies. Second: declare coal a global health hazard. Read More

Carbon dioxide emissions cap and trade

California, Ontario and Quebec are cooperating on a successful program to reduce carbon emissions through a cap and trade mechanism. Ontario should collaborate with other California programs such as electric vehicles and promoting household photovoltaic systems with energy storage. Read More

Natural gas – a bridge too far

Natural gas produced by fracking has a substantial environmental impact. Leaks of toxic 'produced' water into streams and groundwater resources. And emissions of fugitive methane from the frack site and the gathering system more than offset its advantage over coal at the power plant. Read More