Union Positions on Northern Gateway and Line 9 Pipelines

The Joint Review Panel for the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project, mandated by the Minister of the Environment and the National Energy Board, is reaching the final stages, with a report expected by the end of 2013. The written process was completed on May 31; final oral arguments will be heard in Terrace, B.C., beginning June 17 and lasting approximately two weeks. On May 31, the Government of British Columbia submitted a written statement opposing the current proposal and setting five conditions, including that First Nations treaty rights must be respected, and B.C. must receive its “fair share” of the fiscal and economic benefits of the pipeline construction and operation, as they first demanded in 2012.

Receiving less coverage were the May 31 written submissions by the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union (CEP), the Alberta Federation of Labour, and the United Fishermen and Allied Workers’ Union (UFAWU). All three unions oppose approval of the pipeline, arguing that refining jobs in Canada will be lost by shipping raw bitumen to Asia.

The CEP position in support of Enbridge’s West-to-East Line 9 pipeline project is more controversial. As reported by the Toronto Globe and Mail and the Montreal Gazette, the CEP in Quebec is part of a campaign by the Coalition in Support of Line 9 Reversal, which includes the Quebec Employers Council, Montreal Board of Trade, and the Fédération des chambres de commerce du Québec. Representatives launched the coalition in Montreal on May 29, stating, “This project is essential for Montreal and the whole Quebec economy and has broad support from the Ontario and Quebec governments … If refining does not remain competitive in Montreal East, then ultimately, there will be more closures and the specialized petrochemical plants will have to import their feedstocks or face closure.”


Full Joint Review Panel for Northern Gateway website is at:  http://gatewaypanel.review-examen.gc.ca/clf-nsi/hm-eng.html (English) and http://gatewaypanel.review-examen.gc.ca/clf-nsi/hm-fra.html (French); all submitted documents are available under Section D: Intervenors/Intervenants.

B.C. Officially Opposes Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline (May 31), and multiple links to related stories, at the CBC website at: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/story/2013/05/31/bc-northern-gateway-rejected.html

Written submissions to Northern Gateway hearings: by CEP is at: https://www.neb-one.gc.ca/ll-eng/livelink.exe/fetch/2000/90464/90552/384192/620327/624910/785392/959884/D39-13-1_CEP_-_Final_Argument_of_CEP_%2800519679%29_-_A3I1H1.pdf?nodeid=959885&vernum=0 ; by Alberta Federation of Labour at (and see further details of their position in a separate Submission to the Standing Committee on Alberta’s Economic Future on The Study of the BRIK (Bitumen Royalty in Kind) Program (March 2013) at: http://www.afl.org/index.php/component/option,com_sectionex/Itemid,118/id,7/view,category/.

Submission by the United Fishermen is at:  https://www.neb-one.gc.ca/ll-eng/livelink.exe/fetch/2000/90464/90552/384192/620327/624910/697824/960959/D203-14-1_United_Fishermen_and_Allied_Workers%27_Union_-_CAW_-Final_Arg_May_31.13_-_A3I2A8?nodeid=960822&vernum=0 


“Refinery union warns against TransCanada exports of crude through Quebec ” in Globe and Mail (May 29,2013) by Nathan Vanderklippe at:

“Line 9 pipeline reversal last chance to save 2,000 jobs: lobby group” in the
Montreal Gazette (May 29) at:http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Line+pipeline+reversal+last+chance+save+jobs+lobby+group/8451769/story.html

Job Creation Benefits of Ontario’s Proposed Waste Management Strategy

On June 5, the new Liberal government in Ontario proposed a new waste management strategy, launched with a public consultation period that runs from June 6 to September 4. Among the highlights: a proposed Waste Reduction Act which makes individual producers responsible for the end-of-life management of their products and packaging; creation of the Waste Reduction Authority to oversee activities and enforce compliance; phase-in of individual producer responsibility for paper and packaging supplied into the Industrial, Commercial and Institutional sectors; expanded use of disposal bans to encourage recycling. The government press release emphasizes the job creation advantages of waste reduction, stating that “Recycling generates ten times more jobs than disposal”, and “Every additional 1,000 tonnes of recycled waste generates seven new jobs.” These estimates are drawn from The Economic Benefits of Recycling in Ontario, a report prepared for the Ministry of the Environment by consulting group AECOM in 2009, but not publicly released.


Waste Reduction Strategy notice in the Environmental Register is at:http://www.ebr.gov.on.ca/ERS-WEB-External/displaynoticecontent.do?noticeId=MTE5NzM1&statusId=MTc5MTM2&language=en; Waste Management Strategy Document is at: http://www.downloads.ene.gov.on.ca/envision/env_reg/er/documents/2013/011-9262.pdf;

Text and debates concerning Bill 91, the proposed Waste Reduction Act, 2013 are at: http://www.ontla.on.ca/web/bills/bills_detail.do?locale=en&Intranet=&BillID=2818

Local Content Requirements Promoting Green Growth in China and Around the World

A paper released on June 3rd by the International Centre on Trade and Sustainable Development “attempts to refocus the LCR debate around the ultimate question of whether this measure can play a role in achieving green industrial growth in general, and RE deployment and innovation in particular. ” The authors set out the arguments for and against the use of LCR’s, examine their use by China in the wind energy industry, and describe (in less detail) examples in Ontario, Quebec, Spain, Italy, France, Greece, Croatia, the US, India, Brazil, South Africa and Turkey. A concluding section deals with the WTO role. Ultimately, the authors call for more rigorous research into the effect of local content requirement policies on the creation of jobs in the renewable energy industry.


Local Content Requirements and the Renewable Energy Industry – A Good Match? By Jan-Christoph Kuntze and Tom Moerenhout is available at: http://ictsd.org/i/publications/165193/?view=details

OECD Sees Job Benefits of Green Cities like Chicago

This report presents case studies of urban green growth policies, four at city level (Paris, Chicago, Stockholm, Kitakyushu) and two at the national level (China, Korea), with a framework for analysis for different types of cities. It demonstrates the importance of urban policies for achieving national environmental policy goals and discusses policy goals and approaches – including the priorities of job creation and attracting business and workers. The case study of Chicago highlights that city’s initiative to develop a regional specialty in green building and design, which in 2010 employed 45,000 people in direct and indirect jobs. Efficient public transport networks, such as in Paris, are valuable for their environmental contribution and to attract businesses and workers.


Green Growth and Cities is summarized, with ordering information, at: http://www.oecd.org/regional/green-growth-in-cities.htm#About_the_Publication

A working paper with more details about the Chicago labour market experience and green jobs is available from: http://www.oecd.org/greengrowth/oecdworkongreengrowth.htm

Climate@Work Released

PrintReleased in May 2013, Climate@Work, edited by Carla Lipsig Mumme, presents research by members of the Work in a Warming World project (W3). The focus of the book is on the Canadian scene and the current and potential role for workers and unions to contribute to a growing, green economy with good, green jobs. It examines six sectors in detail – construction, energy, transportation equipment, forestry, tourism, and the postal sector. Yet because of the global nature of the climate change struggle, the introductory section sets Canada in international context, looking at the role of international agreements, public policy, and the puzzling silence of English-language scholarly research on climate change and work. See the Fernwood Press website for a summary, list of chapters, and ordering information, at: http://www.fernwoodpublishing.ca/Climate-at-Work/.

Recommendations from Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner

In the 2013 annual report of Ontario Environmental Commissioner, released on June 5, statistics are provided for GHG emissions on a sectoral basis, for transportation, industry, buildings, electricity, agriculture and waste. Transportation remains the biggest emitter of GHGs in Ontario, and passenger vehicles remain the greatest contributor. The Commissioner found that the government is likely to achieve only 60% of the reductions necessary to meet its own 2020 target for a 15% reduction from 1990 levels. He criticizes the lack of coordination between the province’s Long-term Energy Plan and its Climate Change Action Plan, and cites the upcoming review of the LTEP as “an excellent opportunity to further integrate government policy on these two interrelated issues”. He also states that putting “a price on carbon is the best tool I can think of” for improvement.

Read Failing our Future, Review of the Ontario Government’s Climate Change Action Plan Results Report at: http://www.eco.on.ca/uploads/Reports-GHG/2013/2013GHG.pdf, or the summary at: http://www.eco.on.ca/index.php/en_US/pubs/greenhouse-gas-reports/2013-ghg-failing-our-future


The Effects of Carbon Tax, and an Upward Revision of the Social Cost of Carbon

The U.S. Congressional Budget Office released a study on May 22 which reviews the existing literature on the economic impacts of a carbon tax, and explores three options for using the revenues from the tax: to reduce budget deficits, to decrease existing marginal tax rates, or to offset the costs to the most affected groups of people. Read: Effects of a Carbon Tax on the Economy and the Environment at: http://www.cbo.gov/publication/44223 or for a more detailed study of the effects on employment, see the May 2010 CBO Briefing Report How Policies to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions Could Affect Employment at: http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/ftpdocs/105xx/doc10564/05-05-capandtrade_brief.pdf. The 2013 CBO study discusses various studies which estimate the social cost of carbon – the value used by governments (including Canada’s) to assess the benefits and costs of the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

An important new report released by the U.S. Government in June revises the “official” U.S. social cost of carbon substantially, by between 50 – 60%. The first regulation to use this new SCC will be the U.S. emission standard for microwaves; it has also been recommended for use by the State Department in its consideration of the impact of the Keystone Pipeline. Read: Technical Update of the Social Cost of Carbon for Regulatory Impact Analysis – by the U.S. Interagency Working Group on the Social Cost of Carbon Under Executive Order 12866 at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/omb/inforeg/social_cost_of_carbon_for_ria_2013_update.pdf, and for background, see the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency article at: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/EPAactivities/economics/scc.html


3rd Anniversary of Canada’s Boreal Forest Agreement is not a Happy One

Referring to the withdrawal of Canopy, a forest conservation group, from the Boreal Forest Agreement (CBFA) in April 2013, Greenpeace Canada stated: “Their departure from the CBFA is a consequence of the Agreement’s inability to deliver greater protection for the Boreal Forest and a failure of its structure. The CBFA is simply no longer a credible tool for conservation.”

Read the Canopy press release at: http://canopyplanet.org/canopy-boreal-withdrawal/. And follow the continuing story about the expulsion of Resolute Forest Products in May with Environmental groups suspend further work with Resolute under Canadian Boreal Forest Agreement (May 21) at the CPAWS website at:  http://cpaws.org/news/environmental-groups-suspend-further-work-with-resolute-under-cbfa.

Resolute was the subject of criticism by Greenpeace for its sustainability failings, for its treatment of workers, and disregard for Indigenous rights and communities. Read the report, Resolute’s False Promises: The (un)Sustainability Report 2013 at: http://www.greenpeace.org/canada/resolutefalsepromises/ 


B.C. Agricultural Industry

A White Paper released in May by the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions, based at the University of Victoria, offers recommendations for public policy to support the agricultural industry in its necessary adaptation to climate change. The report builds on the findings of the BC Agriculture Climate Change Risk & Opportunity Assessment of 2012, published by the provincial government. Read: Strengthening BC’s Agricultural Sector in the Face of Climate Change at: http://pics.uvic.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publications/Strengthening%20BC%27s%20Agriculture%20Sector_0.pdf, and Climate Change Risk & Opportunity Assessment Reports (2012) for B.C. and its regions at the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, Climate Action Initiative website at: http://www.bcagclimateaction.ca/about/document-library/


Telling the Tar Sands Story – An Alternate View

A new website by the Tar Sands Solutions Network offers a library of documents, videos, and news about Canada’s oil sands and pipeline development from the point of view of its members: First Nations, environmental groups, landowners, farmers, scientists, community leaders, academics, and grass roots groups located throughout North America and in the U.K. See http://tarsandssolutions.org/. The network campaign website is at Oil Sands Reality Check at: http://oilsandsrealitycheck.org/.

While Harper Courts European Oil Markets, Oil Sands Monitoring Report Released, Zama Alberta Suffers Pipeline Spill

In the same week that Stephen Harper faced protests from British environmentalists over his attempts to promote Canadian oil for European markets, at home, Alberta’s Energy Resources Conservation Board is reported to have released a report which states that from 2010 to 2012, not a single oilsands company was able to meet the tailings reductions targets set out in the ERCB Directive 074, and the volume of tailings has increased, not decreased. However, the regulator will waive any penalties, arguing that the targets were probably “overly optimistic”. Read “ERCB waives tailings penalties” in The Calgary Herald (May 12) at: http://www.calgaryherald.com/business/ERCB+waives+tailings+penalties/8513087/story.html.

The spill of industrial wastewater from oil production near the northern Alberta town of Zama has drawn criticism of the regulators, including the ERCB, for their slow response. See “Zama spill spurs questions on Alberta pipeline safety measures”at the CBC website at:


Engineering and Climate Change Conference

The 3rd Climate Change Technology Conference (CCTC 2013) was held in late May in Montreal, organized by the Engineering Institute of Canada (EIC) and ten of its member societies. Go to: http://www.cctc2013.ca/English/TechSessions.html for a full list of all the papers, most of which are highly technical, but include some general interest items such as Teaching Energy Industry at a University at: http://www.cctc2013.ca/Papers/CCTC2013%20EDU1-1%20Donev.pdf; Assessment of a Carbon Tax as a Policy Instrument at: http://www.cctc2013.ca/Papers/CCTC2013%20EDU1-3%20Yildez.pdf; and Funding Clean Technology Development at: http://www.cctc2013.ca/Papers/CCTC2013%20EDU1-3%20Yildez.pdf.

EU Reforms Target Overfishing

In advance of World Ocean Day on June 8, and culminating a once-in-a decade reform process, the European Union announced on June 6th that it will implement major reforms to its Common Fisheries Policy. The goal is to end decades of overfishing, to rebuild dwindling fish stocks by 2020, preserve jobs in coastal areas, and make the industry more environmentally, economically, and socially sustainable. See EU Clinches Major Overhaul to Fisheries Policy (June 6, 2013) at: http://ictsd.org/i/news/bridgesweekly/165334/  and Europe adopts new Policy on Fisheries (Feb. 2013) at: http://ictsd.org/i/environment/153765/

Scale of Canada’s Environmental Goods and Services Industry

On June 5, Statistics Canada released the results of the Survey of Environmental Goods and Services, 2010, showing that the revenues derived by Canadian manufacturers from the sales of environmental goods totaled just under $2.2 billion; sales of environmental services accounted for $1.7 billion. The Agency cautions against comparing the 2010 numbers with the previous survey (2008) because of changes to the questionnaire. See the Statistics Canada Daily (June 5) at: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/130605/dq130605c-eng.htm


Sustainability or Sustainababble?

The Worldwatch Institute State of the World Report for 2013 released in May 2013 warns that with so much labeled as “sustainable,” the term has become essentially “sustainababble”. Most of the book is dedicated to defining clear sustainability metrics, with a final section exploring “tools” to deal with the “long emergency” that is coming. The Report includes contributions by 50 writers, researchers and activists. See a blog summarizing the book at: http://blogs.worldwatch.org/sustainabilitypossible/launching-state-of-the-world-2013-is-sustainability-still-possible/ or buy Is Sustainability Still Possible? State of the World Report, 2013 at: http://www.worldwatch.org/bookstore/publication/state-world-2013-sustainability-still-possible