Canada to Monitor Behaviour of Corporations Aboard

maps

Canada announced yesterday that, like other nations, the country will be monitoring how Canadian corporations behave beyond its borders. Over the years there have been too many accounts of corporations based in Canada getting into conflicts and abusing communities of people internationally. Obviously this sort of behaviour is bad for people and tarnishes any positive thoughts people have about Canada. It’s up to the new role of the ombudsperson to check to see that Canadian corporations don’t break any human rights or the like outside the nation’s borders.

The role of the Canadian ombudsperson for responsible enterprise will be to work towards resolving conflicts between local communities and Canadian companies operating abroad.

The position will focus on several sectors including mining, oil and gas and the garment sector.

It will also have the power to independently investigate and make recommendations in cases involving human rights complaints.

Read more.

As Oil Industry Declines, Workers Turn to Solar

solar

The tar sands in Alberta is killing a Canadian climate-friendly future and the people who work there have also realized that jobs in the tar sands isn’t their future. A new not-for profit, Iron and Earth, is building a sustainable future for the climate and for workers. The worker led cooperative takes people who want out of the unstable oil economy into the growing field of renewable energy installations.

Iron and Earth is now running short solar training programs for oil and gas workers who want new options. “Our approach is really that so many of the tradespeople that work in the oil sands are highly skilled, and really require only a few days of specialized training for solar energy and potentially other renewable energy technologies as well,” Hildebrand says.
In the first five-day course, in October, 15 trainees installed solar panels at a community daycare on tribal land in Alberta. A similar course happened in November. The organization plans to train 1,000 oil and gas workers in its first campaign.

Read more.

Make More Things Out of Recycled Plastics

things
Over at Vice, one author asked a simple question: why don’t we make everything out of relayed plastic? The short answer is that oil is too cheap and companies don’t see benefits of recylcing plastics on their bottom line. Instead of championing for higher consumption taxes or waiting for oil to go up again some people are changing the technology behind recycling plastics. By making the process of recycling cheaper, consistent, and more efficient we can make recycling plastics a default decision for many companies (and leave that oil in the ground).

Garcia said researchers are now looking for new and more efficient ways to make, and break down, plastics. “Since we make plastics chemically, the way we treat them at end of life is also probably going to be chemical,” she said.

Garcia cited a number of examples, such as chemical recycling, where the plastic is exposed to a catalyst at a very high temperature, causing the underlying compounds to break down. It’s how scientists have been able to make fuel out of old water bottles. Garcia said this technique still requires a lot of energy, and is very expensive, but she believes scientists will eventually figure out how to use a similar process at a much lower temperature.

Read more.

Obama and Canada Bans New Coastal Oil and Gas Drilling

ocean shore

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 similar law that will ban arctic drilling. With fossil fuels becoming less profitable and alternative source energies getting cheaper the need to drill in precarious places become less tenable.

The ban affects 115 million acres (46.5 million hectares) of federal waters off Alaska in the Chukchi Sea and most of the Beaufort Sea and 3.8 million acres (1.5 million hectares) in the Atlantic from New England to Chesapeake Bay.

The White House and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau jointly announced their move to launch “actions ensuring a strong, sustainable and viable Arctic economy and ecosystem.”

Obama said in a statement that the joint actions “reflect the scientific assessment that, even with the high safety standards that both our countries have put in place, the risks of an oil spill in this region are significant and our ability to clean up from a spill in the region’s harsh conditions is limited.”

Canada will designate all Arctic Canadian waters as indefinitely off limits to future offshore Arctic oil and gas licensing, to be reviewed every five years through a climate and marine science-based life-cycle assessment.

Read more.

Standing Rock Sioux Achieve a Victory

Standing Rock #DAPL

This is proof that direct protest action works.

The US Army Corps of Engineers has decided to not grant permission to allow the Dakota Access pipeline to be built as planned. The pipeline was meant to go through burial lands of the Standing Rock Sioux which is offensive in itself, but there’s more to it. The pipeline would have also greatly harmed the local ecosystem and drinking water. In the event of a spill (and pipelines spill all the time) the damage to the natural environment and to people would be epic.

Despite these risks, Energy Transfer Partners and the Army Corps of Engineers will continue to try to build the pipeline elsewhere. Of course this recent development will make it harder to do so and the protestors will continue to fight big oil for the average person’s right to clean water. What’s more, is that the economic argument for pipelines is weak at best.

The Army Corps of Engineers will not grant the permit for the Dakota Access pipeline to drill under the Missouri river, the army announced on Sunday, handing a major victory to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe after a months-long campaign against the pipeline.


The announcement came just one day before the corps’ deadline for thousands of Native American and environmental activists – who call themselves water protectors – to leave the sprawling encampment on the banks of the river. For months, they have protested over their fears that the pipeline would contaminate their water source and destroy sacred sites, and over the weekend hundreds of military veterans arrived at the camps in a show of support for the movement.

Read more.