The U.S. State Department released the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for Keystone XL on Friday March 1, making no recommendations for or against approval of the pipeline project. A 45-day period has commenced to allow for public comments, with a final supplemental environmental impact statement to be released before a government decision, expected no earlier than Summer 2013.
Although mainly assessing environmental impacts, the report includes a socioeconomic section which provides new data: a wider view of impacts (including housing, public services support, fiscal revenues and private property valuations), and more detailed estimates about job creation and earnings impacts. According to the new estimates, 42,100 indirect jobs and 3,900 direct jobs would be created during the one- to two-year construction period, but the ongoing operation of the pipeline would only support 35 permanent and 15 temporary jobs, mostly for inspections, maintenance and repairs.
Detailed Socioeconomic estimates, including employment and earnings, are published in Section 3.10 at: http://keystonepipeline-xl.state.gov/documents/organization/205641.pdf and Section 4.10 at: http://keystonepipeline-xl.state.gov/documents/organization/205612.pdf
Reactions to the statement from:
TransCanada Pipeline http://www.transcanada.com/6209.html;
National Resources Defence Council (U.S.) at: http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/sclefkowitz/keystone_xl_tar_sands_pipeline_7.html;
Pembina Institute http://www.pembina.org/blog/694
On February 25 at a conference called Fuelling the Future: Global opportunities for LNG in BC, Premier Christy Clark announced that British Columbia will provide up to $120 million in royalty credits to the industry in 2013, through the existing Infrastructure Royalty Credit Program (IRCP). The program, established in 2004, allows resource companies to recover up to 50 % of the cost of roads and pipelines through credits that reduce royalties payable to government.
At the same conference, the Premier announced that the government will provide $32 million to the First Nations Limited Partnership (comprised of 15 northern First Nations) to facilitate their non-equity investment in the proposed Pacific Trails Pipeline project , a 463-kilometre pipeline planned to run from Summit Lake, north of Prince George, to the proposed Kitimat LNG facility on the coast.
Liquified Natural Gas: A Strategy for British Columbia’s Newest Industry, published in Feb. 2012, is at: http://www.gov.bc.ca/ener/popt/down/liquefied_natural_gas_strategy.pdf
See the new B.C. government website at: http://engage.gov.bc.ca/lnginbc/ for all LNG developments.
“Reductions in Labour Capacity From Heat Stress Under Climate Warming”, by John P. Dunne, Ronald J. Stouffer & Jasmin G. John in Nature Climate Change online, February 23, 2013 (abstract free; full article for a fee) at:http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate1827.html
A layman’s summary appears in Surprising Science, published by the Smithsonian Institute, at:http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/science/2013/02/climate-change-is-reducing-our-ability-to-get-work-done/
Two new reports were released by SustainLabour in February. The first, Green Jobs and Related Policy Frameworks: an Overview of the European Union provides detailed employment data by sector, subsectors, and countries across Europe -estimating that there are about 7,360,000 jobs in the 27 EU countries in green sectors (renewable energies, energy efficiency, retrofitting, organic agriculture, waste management and green transportation.) The report discusses the quality of green jobs, skills development, and gender differences in green job creation. It describes the social dialogue between employer associations and trade unions with European and national examples, and discusses the current major policy instruments, including the Lisbon Strategy, Europe 2020, the European Economic Recovery Plan and national Economic strategies, and Roadmaps 2050 for a Resource Efficient Europe. An extensive bibliography is included.
A South African overview report analysing national policies was posted to the Sustainlabour website but has been removed, and replaced by briefer presentations from February meetings in Johannesburg. The meetings and report are part of the “Social Dialogue for Green and Decent Jobs. South Africa-European Dialogue on Just Transition”, a collaboration of Sustainlabour with COSATU (South African Trade Union Congress) and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and funded by the European Union. In South Africa, with an unemployment rate of 25%, the green economy is seen as a major source of job creation; the New Growth Path policy statement of 2011 included a Green Economy Accord, signed by government, business and trade unions and other civil society organizations.
Green Jobs and Related Policy Frameworks: an Overview of the European Union is available at: http://www.sustainlabour.org/documentos/Green%20and%20decent%20jobs-%20An%20Overview%20from%20Europe.pdf
Sustainlabour European Union-South Africa Dialogue on Green Jobs and Just Dialogue on Green Jobs and Just Transition Presentation from 20 February 2013 (comparative summary) is available at: http://www.sustainlabour.org/documentos/Ana%20Sanchez-%20EU-SA%20green%20jobs%20Nairobi.pdf
On February 15, Canada’s Environment Minister released the 2012 Progress Report on the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS), along with the 2013-16 draft Strategy, which forms the basis of public consultation, open until June 14, 2013. Also on Feb. 15th, the government announced $61.8 million of funding to support 23 clean technology projects across Canada, in areas such as agriculture, biofuels, transportation, mining and electric power generation, with funding provided through Sustainable Development Technology Canada’s (SDTC) SD Tech Fund™. Individual projects are described in the Backgrounder.
2012 Progress Report on the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) is available at: http://www.ec.gc.ca/Publications/default.asp?lang=En&xml=CC4A6872-E0BE-4C90-A4AA-DD11320F10BF
The 2013-16 Draft Federal Sustainable Development Strategy is available at: http://www.ec.gc.ca/dd-sd/default.asp?lang=En&n=C2844D2D-1 or the Consulting with Canadians website; comments accepted by June 14, 2013.
Backgrounder (with details of individual projects) at: http://www.sdtc.ca/index.php?mact=News,cntnt01,detail,0&cntnt01articleid=317&cntnt01origid=15&cntnt01detailtemplate=news-details&cntnt01returnid=143&hl=en_CA
Canadian Carbon Policy Year in Review and Emerging Trends, 2012 is available at:
The Ontario Ministry of the Environment released Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions in Ontario: A Discussion Paper at the end of January, with a public comment period open till April 21, 2013. The discussion paper states that it is not considering a carbon tax, but rather a cap-and-trade system. According to an article by lawyers at Osler Hoskin and Harcourt LLP, “Ontario intends to seek an equivalency arrangement with the Federal Government so as to render federal regulations inapplicable as long as equivalent Ontario regulations achieve identical (or better) outcomes.”
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reductions in Ontario: A Discussion Paper
Ontario Ministry of Environment Climate Change website at: http://www.ene.gov.on.ca/environment/en/category/climate_change/STDPROD_078897.html
Released by the Pembina Institute on February 25, a useful comparison chart highlights carbon pricing approaches in Alberta, British Columbia, California, Australia, Norway and the European Union. Details about each jurisdiction include the 2013 carbon price, proportion of GHG’s covered by the carbon price; presence of a “hard cap” on emissions; percentage of allowance value collected by government; extent to which offsets may be purchased;anticipated public revenue in 2013; and where carbon revenues are allocated.
Carbon Pricing Approaches in Oil and Gas Producing Jurisdictions is available at the Pembina Institute website at: http://www.pembina.org/pub/2414
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives provides alternative budget proposals for 2013 which, they estimate, will create 200,000 to 300,000 full time jobs in any given year. Among a full-range of budget items, there are many environment- and energy-related proposals, including targeting research and development for “fostering innovation in energy storage, investment in Sustainable Development Technology Canada, supporting “Green Energy Bonds”, a National Green Homes Strategy for energy efficiency, and securing Arctic and remote communities’ local energy supplies.”
The Alternative Budget calls for a collaborative National Energy Plan which would “slow the pace of bitumen development and use it for domestic needs first; upgrade the resource in this country before it is exported, and develop linkages to upstream and downstream energy related activities.” In the category of Sectoral Development, the report proposes to enhance value-added production and investment in key sectors, including manufacturing, automobiles, aerospace and forestry, with funding to come from cancelling biofuel crop subsidies and the Green Car Levy.
See the Alternative Budget in Brief (34 pages) at: http://www.policyalternatives.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publications/National%20Office/2013/03/AFB2013_BudgetInBrief.pdf and the full document (172 pages) at: http://www.policyalternatives.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publications/National%20Office/2013/03/AFB2013_MainDocument.pdf. For French language versions, go to: http://www.policyalternatives.ca/abgf2013.
A new article demonstrates the combination of strategies which might reduce Toronto’s per capita GHG emissions by over 70%. “With current policies, especially cleaning of the electricity grid, Toronto’s per-capita GHG emissions could be reduced by 30 per cent over the next 20 years. To go further, however, reducing emissions in the order of 70 per cent, would require significant retrofitting of the building stock, utilization of renewable heating and cooling systems, and the complete proliferation of electric, or other low carbon, automobiles.”
See “A Low Carbon Infrastructure Plan for Toronto, Canada”, by Christopher Kennedy ( Department of Engineering, University of Toronto) and Loraine Sugar, in Canadian Journal of Civil Engineering, volume 40 (1), January 2013 at: http://www.nrcresearchpress.com/doi/pdf/10.1139/cjce-2011-0523
A 5-year review of the Official Plan of the city of Sudbury in northern Ontario elicited public concerns about climate change. In response, the city planning department tabled a report on February 25 which highlights existing city policies to prepare for climate change, and proposes new initiatives in the areas of growth management, compact mixed use communities, and active transportation and transit policies. Read Climate Change and the Official Plan, at: http://www.greatersudbury.ca/agendas/index.cfm?pg=agenda&action=navigator&lang=en&id=594&itemid=6909. These are strategies based on the land use policy guidance released in 2012 by the government of Ontario in Climate Ready: Ontario’s Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan for 2011-2014, and the proposed Provincial Policy Statement (PPS).
An Editorial in the February 13, 2013 issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal urges the Canadian medical establishment and individual physicians to advocate against climate change by signing the December 2012 Doha Declaration on Climate, Health and Wellbeing. It also points out that physicians can act on a professional level to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in their own health care workplaces. See “Physician’s Roles on the Front Line of Climate Change” in the CMAJ volume 185 #3 at: http://www.cmaj.ca/content/185/3/195.full.pdf+html?sid=ffff264c-ea63-4daa-9c5d-ae8cdf448787
On February 25, Canada’s Environment Minister announced the final regulations to improve fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with progressively more stringent standards for 2014 to 2018 model-year heavy-duty vehicles such as full-size pick-ups, semi-trucks, garbage trucks and buses. The regulations were first made public in April 2012, and follow the standards set in the U.S. See: http://www.ec.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=714D9AAE-1&news=3FC39747-ABF2-470A-A99E-48CA2B881E97 for the press release and links to a timeline, backgrounder, and Regulatory Impact Analysis statement.
The costs and benefits of developing a commercial-scale offshore wind industry in the United States are explored in a report released on February 28. Policy recommendations are: accelerate the existing “Smart from the Start” program, enact the proposed Incentivizing Offshore Wind Power Act; establish a carbon tax, and roll back fossil fuel subsidies. Making the Economic Case for Offshore Wind was commissioned by the Center for American Progress, the Clean Energy States Alliance, the Sierra Club, and the U.S. Offshore Wind Collaborative, and conducted by the Brattle Group, a consulting firm based in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Read it at: http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/green/report/2013/02/28/54988/making-the-economic-case-for-offshore-wind/
Oxfam America released Behind the Brands on February 25th, the most recent update to their GROW campaign, which seeks to increase the transparency and accountability of the “Big 10” food and beverage companies in the world. The report is a scorecard which examines company policies in seven topics critical to sustainable agricultural production: women, small-scale farmers, farm workers, water, land, climate change, and transparency. Nestlé and Unilever scored highest for their policies; Associated British Foods (ABF) and Kellogg ranked at the bottom. The other companies measured were: Coca-Cola, Danone, General Mills, Mars, Mondelez International (previously Kraft Foods), and PepsiCo. Read Behind the Brands at: http://www.oxfamamerica.org/files/behind-the-brands-briefing-paper-final.pdf
The Food and Agricultural Organization of the U.N. released “a comprehensive study that attempted to integrate into a single report the major issues related to biofuel and related feedstock sustainability.” The report focuses on the environmental issues of first and second-generation biofuels, with a brief consideration of landowner rights and the labour/employment effects. It provides case studies of national sustainability initiatives from nine countries: Canada, Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia, U.S., U.K., E.U and Germany, and The Netherlands. The final chapter is a critical evaluation of biofuel certification schemes and lessons for sustainability, including impacts on agriculture and forestry. See Biofuels And The Sustainability Challenge: A Global Assessment of Sustainability Issues, Trends and Policies for Biofuels and Related Feedstock at: http://www.fao.org/docrep/017/i3126e/i3126e.pdf