In the News

2017 Fall Reports of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development

The Fall reports of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development provides detailed information and insights into the progress made and the targets yet to be realized as well as the steps that need to be taken to sustain progress and gravitate towards atttaining government's goals related to the management of climate change and its impact. Areas covered in the report include progress on reducing green house gas, adapting to the impacts of climate change, funding clean energy technologies and departmental progress in implementing sustainable development strategies. To access the detailed reports, please visit this webpage.

The Government of Canada creates an expert panel on adapting climate change

This press release by Environment and Climate Change Canada confirms that on August 29, 2017 the Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna announced the launch of the newly created Panel on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Results. According to the news release: this panel will advise government on measuring progress on adaptation and climate resilience at federal, provincial and territorial levels. It will provide up-to-date information to government on how efforts at these various levels are building Canada's resilience to climate change through up-to-date information, climate-smart infrastructure and updating of building codes, amongst others. Additionally, the panel will assist government to better communicate Canadians' preparedness for and adaptation to  current and future impacts of climate change. The panel is also expected to support the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change - Canada's plan to meet greenhouse gas emmisions reduction target, build resilience to the impacts of climate change, and create clean growth and jobs through investments in clean technology, innovation, and infrastructure. The full details of the press release are available here

The 10 Science 'Must Knows' on Climate Change

These statements are based upon an aggregation of scientific data and information related to the Paris Agreement and its objectives. They were prepared by the Earth League and Future Earth for the participants and stakeholders of the UNFCCC 23rd Conference of the Parties, 2017. They inform the need to approach the phenomenon of climate change and its challenges more resiliently; and "encourage evidence-based solutions that will incorporate economic and policy options to enhance the achievement of Paris Agreement goals, within the broader context of global sustainability." For more information you can peruse the document here.

7th International Conference on Building Resilience: Using Scientific knowledge to inform policy and practice in disaster risk reduction

The 7th International Conference on Building Resilience, with the theme 'Using scientific knowledge to inform policy and practice in disaster risk reduction', is jointly organised by the Global Disaster Resilience Centre at the University of Huddersfield in the United Kingdom, and Chiang Mai University, Naresuan University and the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center in Thailand.  

Date: 27-29 November 2017

Location: Bangkok, Thailand 

Venue: Swissotel Le Concorde, Bangkok

For more information visit the official conference website.

The 2017 Lund Conference on Earth System Governance recently concluded

You can find videos and reflections on it here.

Atmospheric CO2 levels accelerate upwards, smashing records

By Barry Saxifrage in Opinion, Energy | April 10th 2017

from the Special Report: Race Against Climate Change

  • The amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere continues to accelerate upwards despite global efforts
  • The last two years had "unprecedented" increases
  • Canadian CO2 extraction is playing an oversized role

The primary driver of global warming, disruptive climate changes and ocean acidification is the ever-increasing amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere.

Despite decades of global efforts towards climate policies, clean energy and efficiency, CO2 levels continue to rise and are actually accelerating upwards. For those of us hoping for signs of climate progress, this most critical and basic climate data is bitter news indeed. It shows humanity racing ever more rapidly into a full-blown crisis for both our climate and our oceans.

That's the story told by the newest CO2 data released by the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Even the increases are increasing

This is an update regarding pipeline spills in the Hay River Basin, reported by the Alberta Wilderness Association, February 2017 An investigation of nine pipeline spill locations in northwest Alberta’s Hay River Basin has found that the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) is failing in its responsibility to protect the environment, Treaty rights and the public interest. You can read the details here: http://www.nationalobserver.com/special-reports/race-against-climate-change

Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) calls on the Alberta government and AER to strengthen pipeline spill transparency and oversight based on these findings.
 
“The research identified weak AER oversight of energy pipeline spill impacts, adding to other evidence that pipeline risks are inadequately managed,” says AWA conservation specialist Carolyn Campbell. “The AER needs to reduce risks to the environment and communities, while providing more timely and credible information about pipeline spill impacts.”Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge holders worked with wetland biologist Kevin Timoney and other scientists to investigate nine pipeline spill sites on Dene Tha traditional territory in the Hay River watershed of northwest Alberta. The spills occurred between the 1970s and 2012.

The investigation found that lingering impacts from the spills were significantly worse overall compared to AER’s records on spill volume recovery rates and wildlife habitat impacts for those sites. These discrepancies raise questions about the quality of Alberta’s pipeline spill cleanup certification processes.
 
The research also analyzed AER data on 35,000 crude oil and saline water spills across Alberta, spanning 38 years from 1975 to early 2013.


A National Energy Board study released earlier this week found that pipeline leaks caused by human error have increased in the past three years, averaging 20 leaks per year, compared with four leaks per year during the previous six years.
 
AWA believes that other recent pipeline spills also point to inadequate pipeline safety management. In 2016, a Conoco Phillips - Paramount Resources pipeline spilled 380,000 litres of light petroleum condensate in west central Alberta; the spill affected lands in the Little Smoky endangered woodland caribou range, and waters including a creek flowing into the Simonette River. In 2015, a Nexen CNOOC pipeline spilled about five million litres of bitumen emulsion near its operations south of Fort McMurray.
 


Alberta Wilderness Association (AWA) calls on the Alberta government and AER to strengthen pipeline spill transparency and oversight based on these findings.
 
“The research identified weak AER oversight of energy pipeline spill impacts, adding to other evidence that pipeline risks are inadequately managed,” says AWA conservation specialist Carolyn Campbell. “The AER needs to reduce risks to the environment and communities, while providing more timely and credible information about pipeline spill impacts.”


For more information:
 Carolyn Campbell, Alberta Wilderness Association, (403) 283-2025

Network member Professor Nick Ashbolt heads a transformative water treatment pilot project

'We are flushing good dollars down the toilet, by flushing high-quality drinking water'.

Millions of litres of clean, treated drinking water gets flushed down toilets every day, and Nicholas Ashbolt thinks that's incredibly wasteful. Ashbolt and his team are working on a better, more cost-effective way to treat and use water…

The University of Alberta has teamed up with the government and public and private groups to create the Resource Recovery Centre, a $4-million facility on the outskirts in Strathcona County, where the method will be tested on a smaller scale. CBC News article here

Recent Publications

Cameron Jefferies, Marine Mammal Conservation and the Law of the Sea (Oxford University Press, 2016).

Laurie Adkin (Ed.), First World Petro-Politics: the political ecology and governance of Alberta. (University of Toronto Press, 2016).

Yuhe He, et.al., "Chemical and toxicological characterizations of hydraulic fracturing flowback and produced water", in Water Research, May 2017, pp. 78-87, published online February 2017. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2017.02.027

Important new paper on the toxicity of fracking fluids.

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