Quebec Cancels Planned LNG Operation to Protect the Environment

Forest

The waters of the Saguenay and the St. Lawerence have avoided great harm thanks to the cancellation of a massive natural gas facility in the area. People had been protesting the development for years and the government finally listened. The project would have taken bitumen from the tar sands in Alberta across the country to be exported via ships in the Saguenay out to the Atlantic. It’s good to see a project that would have increased carbon output get cancelled in favour of protecting the planet. (Fun fact: I took the photo above along the Saguenay)

In March, the province’s independent environmental review agency issued a report that was critical of the plans to build a plant and marine terminal in the Saguenay.

The project was likely to increase greenhouse gas emissions in Canada by eight million tonnes annually, the agency concluded.

Last month, federal environmental agencies determined the project, which would involve large tankers transiting along the Saguenay River, threatened beluga whales.

And last week, three Innu communities vowed to oppose the project because of the negative impact it would have on the environment.

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Reducing CO2 Emissions by Targeting the 5% of Power Plants

Electric energy production using non-renewable processes produces an immense amount of carbon, and as a civilization we can’t afford to put more carbon in the atmosphere. Researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder set out to figure out how much pollution do power plants actually produce and what can we do about the worst ones. They found that 73% of pollution came from just 5% of power plants, unsurprisingly those plants used coal. So let’s shut them down!

According to the authors of the research, the emission intensity of the ten worst plants exceeded those of other fossil fuel power plants in their home countries in 2018 at a rate 28.2 percent to 75.6 percent higher than their counterparts. This suggests that the plants are very inefficient in burning coal, the research showed.
“Why these relatively inefficient plants are used so heavily is a topic ripe for future investigation,” the authors wrote.

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Home Water Heaters can Reduce Electricity Production

the suburbs

Across North America homes have massive tanks of hot water regardless of the outside temperature or other concerns. The energy cost to heat all this water is immense and not only can we reduce this cost we can use the water itself to power homes. The basic idea is to convert the temperature change in water into energy and vice versa to have the water tanks function has batteries. The coolest thing about this idea is that it’s not even a new one.

Here’s how it works. The heat pump water heater is like a refrigerator running in reverse. Instead of taking heat out of the unit (cooling) and dumping it into the nearby room air, the heat pump water heater dumps heat from the air around it into the water. This is vastly more efficient than heating water in the old way, with a high-wattage electric coil.

There is actually a little-known tradition, going back to the late 1930s, of electric companies managing water heaters to avoid short-squeezes on the grid during times of peak consumption. Because water can be kept hot so long, consumers don’t even notice. Originally this was done with timers, later via radio signals, and today through the cloud. And, thanks to smart meters that track energy use by the minute, demand-shifts can be very precisely targeted and valued. Water heaters, reborn as big thermal batteries, are an excellent means by which lots of clean power can be strategically banked for later use. Hundreds of thousands of water heaters have already been quietly hooked up this way. This is just the tip of the potential iceberg.

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Manage the Summer Heat in Your Home Without AC

Global warming is making our cities hotter than ever before, which has led many to turn on the air conditioning. The irony is that to keep us cool we turn on machines which consume a lot of energy, and if that energy comes from a non-renewable state then the local cooling ultimately adds to global warming. Fortunately, there are simple low-cost ways to keep you cool in the summer heat while you’re indoors. Over at Popular Science they’ve put together a handy guide.

A lot of warmth comes into your home via sunlight. In individual rooms, you should control these rays with blackout curtains or shades. If you still want sunlight, open the curtains on windows that don’t face the sun directly; this allows indirect sunlight to filter in.

The color of the curtains’ outward-facing side also matters. We see color because that particular wavelength of light bounces off an object. Because heat radiates as infrared light, “hot” colors like red, orange, and yellow will deflect the most warmth.

Of course, not everyone enjoys living like a vampire. If you need more direct light, consider solar screens and window tints instead of curtains. These treatments can remove certain wavelengths of radiation while letting others in.

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Keystone XL is Dead, For Reals This Time

Standing Rock #DAPL
Protesting works!

The absolutely foolish plan to make a massive pipeline to transport a heavily subsidized non-renewable energy source is dead. It is really dead. We’ve heard before that the project is over, only for it to come back to life. Obama and Trudeau both worked hard to ensure that future generations would have to suffer the ecological damage done by the project, yet in the end it was volunteer activists who won.

The pipeline was meant to open nearly a decade ago, and thanks to the efforts of so many groups it never will. The opposition to the project started small and now it’s a movement that is hoping to block other illogical gifts to the oil industry.

Keep protesting, never give up!

It’s easy to forget now how unlikely the Keystone fight really was. Indigenous activists and Midwest ranchers along the pipeline route kicked off the opposition. When it went national, 10 years ago this summer, with mass arrests outside the White House, pundits scoffed. More than 90 percent of Capitol Hill “insiders” polled by The National Journal said the company would get its permit.

But the more than 1,200 people who were arrested in that protest helped galvanize a nationwide — even worldwide — movement that placed President Barack Obama under unrelenting pressure. Within a few months he’d paused the approval process, and in 2015 he killed the pipeline, deciding that it didn’t meet his climate test.

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