Tag Archives: environment

Zero Growth

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This Alternet article explores the concept of ‘zero growth’.

What is zero growth?

I would argue that zero growth is a reflection of true, basic capitalist economics where money isn’t being printed and competition exists between suppliers, ensuring that average increase for prices, wages and other inputs grow at exactly zero percent.

It’s certainly better than collapse!

Read and please feel free to discuss.

Harper Govt Says FU To Environment

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The Harper government just eliminated funding for one of Canada’s largest and most durable environmental groups, the Canadian Environmental Network.

Talk about a thrust to the jugular for the environment.

Meanwhile, several billion a year get pissed away on the Tar Sands …

Ugh.

Germany to be Carbon-Free by 2050

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Germany has always been known as a leader with wind and solar power collection – two of several options for renewable energies.

However, according to Germany’s Federal Environment Agency, there is a distinct possibility that Germany will have completely quit it’s reliance on carbon-based energy by the year 2050.

Here are some of details to consider:

  • “A complete conversion to renewable energy by 2050 is possible from a technical and ecological point of view,” Jochen Flasbarth, president of the Federal Environment Agency, told reporters earlier this week.
  • The transition would also create new jobs and increase exports of renewable energy technologies.
  • The country already employs some 300,000 in the renewable energy sector and is the world’s leader in installed photovoltaic capacity and second largest generator of wind power after the US.
  • Currently around 40% of Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions come from electricity generation, particularly coal-fired plants, but the Government has committed to cutting emissions 40% on 1990 levels by 2020 and 80-85% by 2050.
  • Meanwhile, the German authorities have finally agreed a two-step plan to reduce feed-in tariffs by 3% later this year.
  • The German Federal Network Agency says that 714 MW of solar capacity was installed in Q1 of this year, a ten-fold increase on last year. The change to the feed-in tariff is expected to calm the market but not lead to a collapse, according to media reports.

Going one step further, I started to browse the German Environment Agency web site and found that most of the articles are those that would make head-in-the-sand Conservatives and environment-deniers shriek:

  • “Germany met its Kyoto Protocol Climate Protection Obligations in 2008″
  • “Unecological subsidies cost 48 billion Euros in tax revenues every year”
  • “How to reduce Germany’s CO2 emissions by 40%”
  • “CO2 capture and storage is only an interim solution” (and not a real one, Steve)
  • “Climate protection fuels employment”

All of this goes to show that ‘necessity really IS the mother of invention’.  Germany’s not known for its natural energy resources – except for coal – so they’ve got to take care of themselves some other way.  And because Canada is sitting on the world’s biggest cess pool of crap some people call ‘oil’, we don’t bother investing in technology and energy supplies that might actually be sustainable.

Despite how distressing the situation is (and how much it makes me want to move to Germany), I can’t help but laugh at the image of Merkel and Harper in a literal wrestling match and exchanging fisticuffs every time they get together for a little $1.2 billion party.  But then, I suppose Merkel’s probably thinking ahead with ideas like “we’ll be selling these trolls everything they need over the next 50 years and we’ll pretty much own Canada”.

The Cost of Carbon: A History of Oil Spills

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The Star had a feature on the weekend showing the history of oil spills around the world.  They took a slight more sinister approach by suggesting that these are oil spills we haven’t heard of.

Have we?

I have to admit, most were news to me.

However, by the time BP has finally got their act together, my guess is that the estimate for oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexicoil will be 200-250 million gallons, making it the second largest ever.

Trash Talk and Tim’s

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I’ve decided to stray from the usual venting about news in the Canadian political arena. There’s simply too much ticking me off and making me feel helpless as a voter to comment on.

I’ve chosen instead to target Tim’s. Yes, the venerable institution of Canadian coffee consumption, Tim Horton’s.

Is it me or do others agree that people that consume Tim Horton’s have the most reckless disregard for the environment?

Why is it that Tim’s cups or packages represent the most abundant volume of trash that I see on the ground, in my neighbourhood, on streets, and around schools?

What compels someone to just guzzle down a double-double and then just pitch the cup out the window?

What kind of slobs are these people?

Obviously, given the massive use of drive-thrus, they seem to be people who are willing to throw their mother in front of a bus rather than get out of their gas-sucking SUVs and walk into the store.

Now, in fairness, I see a significant volume of McDonald’s wrappers, Wendy’s cups and other crap from fast-food restaurants lying on the ground as I walk from work or bring my kid to the park. The culprit is usually carries the same theme: fast food. Of course, this whole scenario invites the question (and opportunity) about having a packaging tax for all of these fast food companies.

However, the lion’s share and gold medal goes to Tim’s. If you think I’m wrong, do your own test and give me your feedback.

So again … what is it about these people? Are they lazy? Stupid? Destructive? Both?

And even though I promised that I’d stay away from politics, what is it about politicians sucking up to Tim’s lovers? Every “press” meeting that Stephen Harper has held in Canada in the last two years seems to have been at a Tim’s. Do they do this because they know that people that vote conservative are regular residents of the Tim Horton’s Environmental Devastation efforts? Do they make appealing targets for crappy policy like no HST on doughnuts, but HST applied to books and produce, a la Dalton McGuinty?

What is it about this crowd that wields so much political influence and yet offers nothing in terms of the environmental future of this country?

I’m tempted to organize a “Tim Trash Weigh-In” contest, where people in various communities go around their neighbourhoods, pick up the Tim’s Trash and compete with each other to see who collects the most. Of course, the irony might be lost on the winning team, but it’d be worth the press.

In time, I hope that we ALL learn that not everything is disposable and we should heed the lessons of our Scout leaders: leave the place better than when you got here.