Tag Archives: Drax

Burning trees is not a clean energy option: climate advocates

Editor’s note: This article is of interest to residents of Cortes, Quadra and the neighbouring islands because firewood is often our primary source of heat. Wood pellets are sometimes suggested as a more environmental alternative.

By Natasha Bulowski, Canada’s National Observer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

With the annual United Nations climate conference just around the corner, environmental groups are calling for an end to subsidies that support burning forest biomass to generate electricity.

In an open letter to Natural Resources and Energy Minister Jonathan Wilkinson and Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault, the groups say financial support for the industry is at odds with the federal government’s pledge to phase out subsidies that harm biodiversity. The 24 signatories urge the government to “reverse course and choose true climate solutions” instead of “simply shifting from burning fossil fuels to burning forests for fuel.”

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Running on Empty: Déjà vu

In 1949, Newfoundland joined Canada as a new Province. Its fisheries then fell under the authority of the central government in Ottawa — the infamous DFO (Department of Fisheries and Oceans, or as some call it, the Dead Fish Organisation).

DFO’s mismanagement of the Newfoundland fishery — the immensely productive shoal banks of the northern Atlantic seaboard — is now a classic cautionary tale. DFO’s bureaucrats ignored repeated warnings — from marine biologists, environmentalists, and fishermen themselves — and allowed brutal overfishing of Canadian waters.

The high-value fish in those waters were the prolific Atlantic cod, the basis for centuries of both subsistence and prosperity for fishing communities. Larger industrialised boats, more entrants each season, and ruthless exploitation of the stocks ensured that prosperity was short-lived. To be fair, other nations hammered even harder on the cod stocks of the North Atlantic; but Canada could have done something to protect the fish in its territorial waters — and did far too little, far too late.

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Talk is Cheap, Part 2: the worst possible choices

Evidence of climate destabilisation — aberrant weather — is now everyday news. “Record-breaking” has become a routine description of wind speeds, rainfall, flood levels, mudslides, wildfires, high temperatures and drought.

The drought which afflicts BC this October of 2022 is a record-breaker and a tragedy; near Bella Bella, tens of thousands of salmon have died trying to return to their breeding grounds in streams now too warm and shallow for them to survive in. Over the last few summers, BC has lost millions of hectares of forest and entire towns to wildfire; “fire season” and multi-day smoke palls are becoming business-as-usual in mid to late summer. In December last year, flooding destroyed livestock and crops in the lower mainland. These events are happening more frequently and their severity is ramping up, slowly, year by year.

Continue reading Talk is Cheap, Part 2: the worst possible choices