A Strategy for Growth for Human Resources and Training in Renewable Electricity Sectors

The Renewing Futures research project aims to assess the capacity of Canada’s skilled workforce to meet the labour needs of the electricity-related renewable energy systems. The research project is a collaboration of Electricity Human Resources Canada (formerly the Electricity Sector Council), Employment and Social Development Canada, and industry stakeholders. Several documents from the project were released in November – the documents listed below are all free, but are mostly Executive summaries of priced reports.

A Technology Review report creates a profile of the seven technologies – wind, solar, bioenergy, geothermal, marine/tidal, small and large hydro, and transmission, storage and distribution. It also includes provincial energy market assessments that project renewable electricity capacity from 2011 to 2022.

The Labour Market Information System is based on a synthesis of 5 different models; it focuses on eighteen key occupations, grouped in three broad groups; leaders and managers, engineers and technologists, and skilled trades. In 2012, approximately 41,000 employees are estimated to work in renewable electricity jobs. The LMIS forecasts 3 different scenarios of growth: Utility case, Reference case (based on the National Energy Board 2011 Energy Supply and Demand Projections to 2035), and the most optimistic, the “Vision” case. The Vision case projects the creation of 620,000 person years of short term employment in manufacturing, construction and installation, and another 34,000 full time and long term operator jobs by 2022. Most of the jobs that are created are “good jobs” – high-skilled, well paid, with opportunities for advancement.

A National Human Resources Strategy for Renewable Electricity. Since even the Utility case rate of growth may result in labour shortages in the renewable electricity sector, the Human Resources Strategy proposes joint action by the employers, trainers, unions and governments to expand the breadth and depth of the skilled workforce. The strategy acknowledges that “Collaboration is not an obvious outcome”, noting the large number of small companies spread across the supply chain, many of whom are currently satisfied with their HR operations and who prefer to focus their attention on the challenges of government policy and business conditions. “The implementation of the any national strategy faces a significant challenge in convincing many employers that there is a problem to solve.”

The project also reviews post-secondary training and certification across Canada and makes recommendations for general and sector-specific initiatives. The Strategy document suggests changes to the education of professional engineers, including curriculum changes and increased co-op programs. The report identified 95 community colleges programs for engineering technicians and technologists, and commends this as an important beginning, but recommends bringing together unions, provincial labour market planners, college faculty and employers to consider new objectives, such as “new curriculum, registration targets, specializations related to sectors and to occupations. The latter content might target training in preparation for sales, design, project and cost management, construction estimation and other non-technical jobs.” Noting that there are no apprenticeship programs targeted to renewable electricity, the Strategy recommends a long-term goal of creating Red Seal trades specializing in Renewable Electricity, as well as national occupational standards, and certification to improve mobility across provinces.

LINKS:

Trends and Technology Review: Executive Summary is at: http://renewingfutures.ca/CMFiles//EHRCrfttr.pdf

Renewing Futures Labour Market Information System is at: http://renewingfutures.ca/CMFiles//EHRCrflmis.pdf

A National Human Resources Strategy for Renewable Electricity is at: http://www.renewingfutures.ca/CMFiles//EHRCrfs.pdf

Analysis of the Renewing Futures Employer Survey is at: http://www.renewingfutures.ca/CMFiles//RFES.pdf

Québec’s New Job Creation Strategy Capitalizes on Surplus Electricity

On October 7, the government of   Quebec released a new job creation statement: “Economic Policy – Putting Jobs First”. The strategy includes an “investment-job pricing offer”, which offers reduced electricity rates to industries related to natural resource processing, renewable energy component manufacturing, green technologies and transportation electrification, and information technology. This initiative is projected to attract investments of $1.6 billion and create 10, 300 jobs in the short term. The program will remain in effect as long as Hydro Quebec has surplus electric capacity, which the government estimates is until 2027. In addition, $111.5 billion was announced to stimulate green renovation through EcoRenov, a refundable tax credit program which will be offered to individuals for residential green renovations done by October 31, 2014, up to a maximum tax credit of $10,000. In addition, funding for the existing Rénoclimat program will be increased by $37 million to add a component for the replacement of fossil fuel-burning heating systems.

LINKS:

“Quebec to invest $2 billion in jobs to stimulate sluggish economy” in the Globe and Mail (Oct. 7) at: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/quebec-to-invest-2-billion-in-jobs-plan/article14725423/

Oil Sands Economics: The Latest Facts and Some New Recommendations

A new report released by the Pembina Institute and Equiterre focuses on economic debate surrounding the oil sands, updating In the Shadow of the Boom, published by Pembina in May 2012.The new report,Booms, Busts, and Bitumen examines several economic risks associated with natural resource booms, including the decline of the manufacturing sector, known as Dutch disease, and GDP instability caused by Alberta’s overreliance on the oil sands. The report questions the benefits accrued outside of Alberta, stating that only 14% of the employment opportunities created by oil sands development will be outside Alberta, and citing a CERI analysis that indicates the U.S. may stand to gain more than the rest of Canada. It also points to increasing worldwide pressure to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the uncertainty of future oil sands markets. Finally, the report calls for better government management to ensure long-term gain from the one-time exploitation of non-renewable resources, for example through capital investment that focuses on reducing fossil fuel dependency in Canada, elimination of preferential tax treatment for the fossil fuel industry, and a mandate for the House of Commons Standing Committee on Industry, Science and Technology to study the current restructuring of the Canadian economy, and the associated regional disparities, with an aim to identify a course of action to diversify economic growth and aid competitiveness across the whole country.

LINK

Booms, Busts, And Bitumen: The Economic Implications of Canadian Oilsands Development is available in French and English versions from: http://www.pembina.org/pub/2494  

Is Emissions Intensity, not Green Job Creation, the Best Metric of Greening Economies?

A research paper released in October by the University of Calgary provides yet another discussion of the difficulties of defining “green jobs”. The authors provide an up to date summary of studies which define or measure green jobs, and the cost of green job creation in Canada and the U.S., with special attention to Ontario’s Green Energy Act. The authors propose an alternative in the green job discussion: “We avoid the issue of “what is a green job” by considering dirty inputs (energy) and dirty outputs (greenhouse gas emissions) to evaluate the relative “greenness” of Canadian industries.” Their calculations rank the three most energy-intensive industries as 1) “Utilities”, 2) “Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting”, and 3) “Mining and Oil and Gas Extraction”. They conclude that, given the decrease in emission-intensity of these highly polluting industries, “it is highly likely that the utilities sector created far more green jobs than many of the other Canadian sectors.” It follows, in their analysis, that measuring and monitoring the greening of economies can be best accomplished by using the metric of greenhouse gas emission intensity.

LINK

Green Jobs Fantasy: Why the Economic and Environmental Reality can Never Live up to the Political Promise (Volume 6, Issue 31 of the University of Calgary School of Public Policy Research Paper Series) is at: http://www.policyschool.ucalgary.ca/?q=content/green-jobs-fantasy-why-economic-and-environmental-reality-can-never-live-political-promise

Canadians are as Concerned about the Environment as the Economy

On November 6th, the results of a new public opinion poll about climate change, carbon taxes, and the relationship between the environment and the economy were showcased at a series of events titled The Politics of Climate and the Climate of Politics in Ottawa. The poll, conducted by think-tank Canada 2020 and the Université de Montréal, measured Canadian and American opinions, and showed that 71% of Canadians believe that climate change should be a top priority for the Conservative federal government – while only 16% of Canadians believe it actually is. 26% of Canadians believe that the Conservative government is doing a good job at addressing economic and employment issues, only 19% think the government is adequately addressing environmental issues, and only 16% believe Canada is showing international leadership on climate change.

LINK

The Canada 2020/Université de Montréal National Survey of Canadian Opinions on Climate Change is available at: http://www.canada2020.ca/climatepoll/docs/Cross_Tabs-Canada_2020_U_of_M_Climate_Poll.pdf, with Highlights and links to interactive maps at:http://canada2020.ca/latestnews/new-poll-canadians-want-federal-leadership-on-climate-change/

U.S. Estimates Economic and Jobs Impact of Wilderness and Ecotourism

A new report by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services says visitors to federal wildlife refuges generate more than $2 billion a year in economic activity, helping to employ more than 35,000 people and produce about $343 million in local, state and federal taxes. Recreational activities such as birding, hiking and picnicking account for nearly 75 % of total expenditures at wildlife refuges across the country, the report says, while fishing and hunting account for about 28 % of expenditures.

LINK

Banking on Nature is available at: http://www.fws.gov/refuges/about/RefugeReports/index1.html

ILO Statisticians Adopt New Guidelines to Measure the Greening Economy

At the 19th International Conference of Labour Statisticians (ICLS) in Geneva in early October, labour statisticians discussed and adopted new guidelines for the statistical definition of employment in the environmental sector. The guidelines define the environmental sector as consisting of “all economic units producing, designing and manufacturing goods and services for the purposes of environmental protection and resource management”. The discussion identified as two distinct concepts: 1) employment in production of environmental output, and 2) environmental processes. While both are aspects of greening of employment, the report states that they are different targets for policy-making, and should be measured separately using different methods.

LINK:

Green jobs: Draft guidelines for the Statistical Definition and Measurement of Employment in Environmental Sector is available at: http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—dgreports/—stat/documents/meetingdocument/wcms_223914.pdf

Western Climate Pact Seen as an International Model

On October 29, the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy was announced by its signatories: California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia. The Preamble of the official document: affirms “our shared vision of Pacific North America as a model of innovation that sustains our communities and creates jobs and new economic opportunities for our combined population of 53 million”… and recalls “the findings of the 2012 West Coast Clean Economy report which projected 1.03 million new jobs could be created in key sectors, such as energy efficiency and advanced transportation, assuming the right policy environment”. The Plan is voluntary, but pledges the parties: to account for the cost of carbon (with B.C. and California retaining their existing carbon pricing programs and clean fuel standards, and Oregon and Washington pledging to follow suit); harmonize 2050 targets for greenhouse gas reductions and develop mid-term targets needed to support long-term reduction goals; to inform policy with findings from climate science, including the IPCC 5th Assessment Reports of 2013; to co-operate to press for international agreement on climate change policy in 2015; to ensure support for research, and take action on, ocean acidification,. An article in Quartz appraises the group as “the new Pacific Rim Environmental Superpower”. The Action Plan will be administered by an organization called the Pacific Coast Collaborative.

See the Plan document at: http://www.pacificcoastcollaborative.org/Documents/Pacific%20Coast%20Climate%20Action%20Plan.pdf. For reaction, see the Clean Energy blog at: http://cleanenergycanada.org/2013/10/28/west-coast-economies-sign-landmark-action-plan-climate-clean-energy/; Pembina Institute blog at: http://www.pembina.org/blog/759; Blue Green Alliance US at: http://www.bluegreenalliance.org/news/publications/david-fosters-remarks-at-pacific-collaborative-climate-pact-event; Quartz at: http://qz.com/141148/meet-the-pacific-rims-new-environmental-superpower/.

CBC Provides First Public Access to Pipeline Safety Data

Through an access-to-information request, CBC News obtained a data set of every pipeline safety incident reported to the National Energy Board between 2000 and 2012. The NEB only oversees 71,000 pipelines that cross provincial or international borders (about a tenth of the overall network. The remaining 760,000 kilometres are monitored by the provinces). The NEB data is based on the requirement that companies must report safety issues including the death or serious injury of a worker, fires, explosions, liquid product spills over 1,500 litres and every gas leak, but it is clear from the discussion of the data that Canada lacks a transparent and accurate reporting system, despite the recommendation for improvements from a Senate committee. The data provided to the CBC show that there were 142 pipelines safety incidents in 2011, and that the rate of pipeline incidents has doubled in the past decade. Most incidents have occurred in B.C., followed by Alberta, followed by Ontario.

The interactive map at: http://www.cbc.ca/news2/interactives/pipeline-incidents/ and allows you to specify the category of “serious accidents” or “fatalities” to see brief summaries of incidents, usually relating to worker safety.  

For an explanation of the limitations of Canadian data see:  http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/pipeline-safety-canada-lags-u-s-on-making-data-public-1.2254793 and http://www.cbc.ca/news/pipeline-safety-incidents-how-we-organized-the-data-1.2251835.

Ontario Proposes Green Bonds for Transportation

An October 30 announcement from Ontario’s Premier states that Ontario will become the first Canadian province to implement a “green bonds” program to help fund environmentally-friendly transportation. According to the government, the bonds would help address critical infrastructure needs, create jobs, and strengthen the economy while keeping funding interest rates low and minimizing costs for consumers. The bonds would also be internationally certified, so they could be officially recognized as investments in sustainability. Green bonds are securities that raise capital for specific projects with environmental benefits. According to think-tank Clean Energy Canada, green bonds are in high demand which, combined with Ontario’s attractive credit rating, may result in substantial benefit to Ontario’s sustainable transportation sector.

See the government press release at:  http://news.ontario.ca/opo/en/2013/10/province-proposes-new-way-to-fund-infrastructure.html?utm_source=ondemand&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=p, and see the Clean Energy response at “Green Bonds: an Investment to Write Home About” at:http://cleanenergycanada.org/2013/11/01/green-bonds-investment-write-home/.

For background on green bonds in Canada, see the articles at the Initiative Climate Bonds website at: http://www.climatebonds.net/category/canada/

Federal Government Weakens Environmental Assessment Rules Further

Environmentalists are up in arms after the federal government amended the rules dictating which natural resource extraction projects require federal environmental assessments in late October. According to Greenpeace, many activities associated with oil sands expansion are absent from the new list, notably in situ oil extraction, which uses steam to pump up oil from reservoirs that are deep underground. The method is expected to comprise 80% of oil sands extraction.

See the very brief government announcement of the changes at the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency website at: http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=en&xml=0DDF9560-6A8A-4403-B33A-B906AC6A1D93, and the National Energy Board summary at: http://www.neb-one.gc.ca/clf-nsi/rthnb/nws/nwsrls/2013/ceaa-acee2013-10-25-eng.html.

“New environmental review rules anger oilsands critics” at the CBC website at: http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/new-environmental-review-rules-anger-oilsands-critics-1.2252074 summarizes reaction and history.

UN COP-19 underway in Warsaw from November 11-22

The first week of the UN COP19 proceeded with a sombre air following the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Despite this, talks faced significant difficulties as Japan announced a reduction to its emission targets and Australia declared its decision to axe the country’s carbon tax.

Canada has come under criticism for applauding Australia and encouraging other countries to follow suit. The WWF condemned Canada for undermining progress at the talks, while NDP Environment Critic Megan Leslie asserted that “the Conservatives are still asleep at the wheel” in a statement issued November 13th.

Delegates from Warsaw have indicated that the new accord will likely abandon the international treaty model of past agreements and instead resemble a “patchwork” of national emissions reduction targets that are governed by domestic law. COP19 is seen as a precursor to the more important international conference in Paris in 2015.

See the speeches and documentation from COP19 at the UNFCC website at: http://unfccc.int/2860.php; See WWF condemns Canada at: http://www.wwf.eu/index.cfm?212403/WWF-condemns-Japan-Australia-Canada-undermining-progress-climate-talks, and the NDP statement on Canada at COP19 at: http://www.ndp.ca/news/statement-ndp-cop19-united-nations-framework-convention-climate-change.

Pipeline Politics from Ontario’s Point of View

The Politics of Pipelines: Ontario’s Stake in Canada’s Pipeline Debate, was released on November 12 by University of Toronto-based Mowat Centre, taking a climate change policy perspective on the issue of pipeline development and its impact on Ontario. It says that provinces who don’t necessarily receive adequate economic benefit from the oil sands are obligated to contribute to the nationwide effort to reduce greenhouse gases, and recommends either a national carbon tax or a cap and trade policy to satisfy the “polluter pays” principle. The report does note that local and First Nations communities across Canada will likely benefit from an increase in construction, maintenance, and management jobs, as well spin-off projects near pipeline routes. However, manufacturing sectors may suffer from inflated exchange rates and Dutch Disease. In Ontario, the conversion of the Line 9 gas pipeline to oil sands bitumen would decrease the capacity of the natural gas sector and may increase the consumer cost, while taxpayers would be forced to fund equalization payments.

LINK

The Politics of Pipelines: Ontario’s Stake in Canada’s Pipeline Debate is at: http://mowatcentre.ca/research-topic-mowat.php?mowatResearchID=96

No Carbon Leakage in Europe as a Result of Cap and Trade Policies

A study commissioned by the European Commission has concluded that Europe’s cap-and-trade program has not caused industry to relocate to countries without greenhouse gas regulation in a process known as “carbon leakage”. In a series of sectoral “factsheets”, the report presents historical data on the structure, performance, and competitiveness of sectors (including iron and steel, chemicals, paper, cement, refined petroleum) and assess the degree to which carbon leakage may have occurred. Although the study found that no companies left Europe for unregulated territory between 2005 and 2012, the authors indicate they suspect this may change.

Read Carbon Leakage Evidence Project Report by Ecorys Consultants, Netherlands at: http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/ets/cap/leakage/docs/cl_evidence_factsheets_en.pdf, or read a summary at Bloomberg news at: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-31/carbon-curbs-haven-t-spurred-production-exodus-eu-study-shows.html.

GHG Emissions around the World: the Latest Statistics

On November 6, the World Meteorological Organization released the 2013 edition of its annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, showing that “between 1990 and 2012 there was a 32% increase in radiative forcing – the warming effect on our climate – because of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other heat-trapping long-lived gases such as methane and nitrous oxide.” The volume of CO2 grew faster in 2012 than in the previous decade, reaching 393.1 parts per million (ppm), 41 % above the pre-industrial level. Read the WMO press release, with links to related documents in English and French, at: http://www.wmo.int/pages/mediacentre/press_releases/pr_980_en.html

GHG Emissions in Canada

In releasing the 2013 Emissions Trends report in October, the Canadian government stated: “as a result of the combined efforts of federal, provincial and territorial governments, consumers and businesses, GHG emissions in 2020 will be 734 megatonnes (Mt). This is 128 Mt lower than where emissions would be in 2020 if no action were taken to reduce GHGs since 2005.” (The report did not state that it is also 122 Mt above Canada’s target level of 612 Mt.) The government will maintain its current course of regulating emissions on a sector-by-sector basis- in other words, no improvement, no national leadership. Canada’s Emissions Trends 2013 report (and those from 2011 and 2012) are at: http://www.ec.gc.ca/ges-ghg/default.asp?lang=En&n=985F05FB-1. See the Pembina reaction to the government report at: http://www.pembina.org/media-release/2488; and the Pembina October backgrounder concerning how the oil sands contribute to Canadian emissions, at: http://www.pembina.org/pub/2486.

GHG Emissions in United States

On October 23, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released greenhouse gas data from its Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program, which provides information from over 8,000 facilities in the largest emitting industries, including power plants, oil and gas production and refining, iron and steel mills, and landfills. It provides carbon pollution emissions and trends broken down by industrial sector, greenhouse gas, geographic region, and individual facility. It also measures production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) predominantly used in refrigeration and air-conditioning. See the program homepage at: http://www.epa.gov/ghgreporting/; a press release at: http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/d0cf6618525a9efb85257359003fb69d/eecb62db73ee67b485257c0d0058936b!OpenDocument. Note that the more comprehensive U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory data was released in April 2013; see: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/usinventoryreport.html.

International GHG Emissions

The Emissions Gap Report 2013 released on Nov. 5 by the United Nations Environment Program is the fourth produced. It reviews the latest estimates of current global greenhouse gas emissions; national emission levels, both current (2010) and projected (2020), and global emission levels consistent with the 2°C target for emissions in 2020, 2030 and 2050. New to this report is an assessment of the extent to which countries are on track to meet their national pledges, and also a description of the many cooperative climate initiatives being undertaken internationally. Also, noting that agriculture accounts for approximately 11% of GHG emissions, the report includes a chapter on the agricultural sector, including policies for reducing emissions. Read the press release at: http://www.unep.org/newscentre/Default.aspx?DocumentId=2755&ArticleId=9683

With the full report at: http://www.unep.org/pdf/UNEPEmissionsGapReport2013.pdf.

Overseas Development Institute Urges Phasing out of Fossil Fuel Subsidies

Citing the latest estimates by the International Energy Association that subsidies to fossil fuel producers totaled $523 billion worldwide in 2011, the Overseas Development Institute urges the phase-out of such subsidies (by 2020 for G20 countries). This “would eliminate the perverse incentives that drive up carbon emissions, create price signals for investment in a low-carbon transition and reduce pressure on public finances.” See Time to Change the Game: Fossil Fuel Subsidies and Climate Executive Summary at: http://www.odi.org.uk/sites/odi.org.uk/files/odi-assets/publications-opinion-files/8669.pdf; full report is available from: http://www.odi.org.uk/subsidies-change-the-game. A similar message was contained in related report by the International Monetary Fund, Energy Subsidy Reform: Lessons and Implications, published in Spring 2013, and summarized at the WCR archive at:  https://workandclimatechangereport.org/2013/04/23/the-imf-decries-the-distortions-of-fossil-fuel-subsidies-working-at-a-cross-purpose-with-climate-compatible-investment/.

Protests Continue in New Brunswick; UNIFOR Supports First Nations with a Call for a National Moratorium

The government of New Brunswick continues to support fracking despite First Nations protests, according to New Brunswick’s Energy Minister, quoted in the Globe and Mail. Read “Anti-fracking protests shouldn’t hinder shale-gas sector, N.B. Energy Minister says” (Nov. 14) in the Globe and Mail at: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/anti-fracking-protests-shouldnt-hinder-shale-gas-sector-nb-energy-minister-says/article15447462/. But UNIFOR, the union which represents energy workers, expressed support for the First Nations protests and called for a national moratorium on fracking. Read the press release at:  http://www.unifor.org/en/whats-new/news/unifor-calls-national-moratorium-fracking and the full statement by the National Executive Board (November 12) at: http://www.unifor.org/sites/default/files/attachments/neb_resolution_on_fracking_nov2013_e.pdf.

Newfoundland says No to Fracking, for now

The Newfoundland Minister of Natural Resources announced on November 4th that the government “will not be accepting applications for onshore and onshore to offshore petroleum exploration using hydraulic fracturing”. The suspension will allow the government time to review fracking rules in other jurisdictions, fully assess potential environmental impacts, and allow for public comments. See the press release at: http://www.releases.gov.nl.ca/releases/2013/nr/1104n06.htm.

Canada’s New Voluntary Fracking Code of Conduct

The Petroleum Services Association of Canada has unveiled a new voluntary fracking code of conduct, signed by 11 companies. The code, which covers technical and environmental standard practice and guidelines for company engagement with stakeholders, comes after six months of nation-wide meetings with environmental and community groups, local governments and land owners. Industry representatives claim that most companies already follow the standards in the code, and that compared to other jurisdictions, Canada has long had stricter regulations on fracking. Read the press release by the Petroleum Services Association of Canada at: http://www.psac.ca/wp-content/uploads/PSAC_Media_Release_October_30.pdf and the Statement of Principles and full Code of Conduct from a link at: http://www.oilandgasinfo.ca/working-energy-commitment/hydraulic-fracturing-code-of-conduct/.

B.C. Court Challenge to Water Use in Fracking

EcoJustice, Sierra Club B.C., and The Wilderness Committee announced on November 13th that they have launched a lawsuit in the B.C. Supreme Court. The suit aims to stop the British Columbia Oil and Gas Commission from granting repeated short-term water use approvals to oil and gas companies. This practice allows the gas industry to exploit fresh water for fracking operations (among other things). See the EcoJustice press release at:  http://www.ecojustice.ca/media-centre/press-releases/water-usage-by-fracking-operations-challenged-in-b.c.-supreme-court.

Fracking Company Suing for Lost Profits in Québec

On September 6, 2013 Lone Pine Resources quietly submitted its formal request for arbitration against Canada, arguing that Québec’s moratorium against fracking deprives Lone Pine of its right to profit in the Saint Lawrence Valley. Under NAFTA rules, the case will be argued in front of a panel of 3 judges. The Notice of Arbitration is available at: http://www.international.gc.ca/trade-agreements-accords-commerciaux/assets/pdfs/disp-diff/lone-02.pdf.

Anti-Fracking Regulations in California

California Governor Jerry Brown signed the State’s first fracking bill on September 20th, and released proposed regulations on November 15, launching a 60-day public comment period. The regulations, effective January 1, 2015, will require companies to obtain a permit before fracking, notify neighbours, disclose chemicals used, and monitor air and water quality; they also require independent scientific studies. Industry calls the new rules “extensive” while environmental groups have criticized the law for being too weak.

“Proposed Oil Well Fracking Regulations Released” from the Los Angeles Times (Nov.15) at: http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-oil-well-fracking-regulations-released-20131115,0,1871535.story#axzz2klA1sM4A. Background and a link to the regulations are at the Department of Conservation website at: http://www.conservation.ca.gov/Index/Pages/Index.aspx.

Presidential Executive Order Follows Up on U.S. Climate Action Plan

On November 1, U.S. President Obama signed an Executive Order to implement the goals announced in his Climate Action Plan. The Executive Order establishes an inter-agency Council on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, chaired by the White House and including more than 25 agencies, to develop, coordinate, and implement priority Federal actions related to climate preparedness. It will supervise a new Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience, to be composed of state, local, and tribal leaders, who will advise on how the Federal Government can respond at the community level. In an initiative that Canadians can only dream of, the Executive Order also instructs Federal agencies “to work together and with information users to develop new climate preparedness tools and information that state, local, and private-sector leaders need to make smart decisions.  In keeping with the President’s Open Data initiative, agencies will also make extensive Federal climate data accessible to the public through an easy-to-use online portal.”

Read the full Executive Order at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/11/01/executive-order-preparing-united-states-impacts-climate-change, or the Fact Sheet at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/11/01/fact-sheet-executive-order-climate-preparedness.

U.K. Trades Union Congress Holds its Climate Change Conference

Over 200 delegates took part in the TUC’s climate change conference, Green Growth: No Turning Back, on 21 October 2013. Videos of speeches and workshops are available at:   http://www.tuc.org.uk/node/118958.