Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Canada Called Out On Climate action, and commended on leading role in carbon capture technology

From The New York Times' Green Blog "Climate researchers ... say the conservative government pays lip service to climate change’s dangers while gutting the programs that try to observe and mitigate its effects."  The link is to a very lengthy article at Inside Climate News, Outcry Grows Over Canadian Govt's Undermining of Climate Science:
Harper has weakened some environmental regulations, including fast-tracking permit reviews of oil sands pipelines and mines. He has also pulled Canada from the Kyoto Protocol, the global treaty to limit greenhouse gas emissions, and appointed climate skeptics to head scientific agencies, including the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, whose work benefits industry.
Canada's natural resources expansion plans are "driving absolutely everything in the country right now," said Tom Duck, an atmospheric scientist at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia. "Our capacity to do environmental science is being rapidly destroyed. We're hemorrhaging scientists here."
The Entire article can be read at InsideClimate News

Canada has an highly educated, or at least highly credentialed, workforce, and average research & development spending.  The concern has been in translating these characteristics to better connect R&D with industry.

Another fresh item on my Google Reader screen this afternoon came from IEEE Spectrum's Energywise Blog: Carbon Capture Is Dead, Long Live Carbon Capture.  That article begins:

The Financial Times of London, widely considered the world's best newspaper, carried two articles about carbon capture and storage (CCS) last week, both by the daily's environmental correspondent, Pilita Clark. One carried the headline, "Carbon Capture Plants Choked by High Up-Front Costs," the other, "Carbon Capture: Investment Pays Off in Field of CCS."
The article is an informative read, as are the Financial Times articles. The second of those provides a stark contrast to the Inside Climate News story flagged in the other Times I cited to begin the article.

Carbon capture: Investment pays off in the field of CCS
Canada’s supremacy in the fields of ice hockey and maple syrup is well established. But in the more obscure world of climate change policy, the country is fast earning itself a reputation in an even more important industry: carbon capture and storage, or CCS.
“Canada is a leader in CCS – there is no doubt about that,” says Brad Page, chief executive of the Global CCS Institute, the Australia-based environmental organisation.
The reason is not just that Canada has committed more than $2bn to carbon capture projects, or that those developments account for more than 10 per cent of the 75 leading CCS developments on the drawing board worldwide.
It is because analysts also think three of Canada’s projects are among the top six CCS developments forecast to become operational over the next five years.
And one, at Boundary Dam in Saskatchewan, also promises to be the world’s first commercial-scale coal-fired power station to be fitted with CCS, assuming it begins operating in early 2014 as planned.

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