Your source for new events and information on climate change and energy efficiency.
Your source for new events and information on climate change and energy efficiency.
Upcoming workshop on Kickstarting Climate Action: Tracking Emissions in Your Municipality | February 23, 2018
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) has partnered with ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, to offer the Partners for Climate Protection (PCP) program. This program is designed to help Canadian municipal governments take action on climate change and commit to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Developing a GHG inventory is a foundational milestone for this program and will allow a municipal government better understand how it consumes energy and generates waste, both of which are sources of greenhouse gas emissions. The PCP program helps identify opportunities to reduce these emissions and establish baseline data so that progress can be measured.
On March 7, 2018, ICLEI Canada is offering a free workshop on tracking municipal GHG emissions. The workshop will take place at the Holiday Inn, 180 Portugal Cove Road, St. John’s, from 1:00-5:00pm.
This workshop will demonstrate how to build GHG inventories, address data challenges specific to your community, and model emissions trends into the future.
Memorial University Introduces a New Master’s Degree in Energy Systems | February 19, 2018
A new master of applied science program in energy systems engineering is being offered by at Memorial University.
The program aims to meet an increased global demand for graduate training in the area of sustainable and high quality energy. Students will be provided with a comprehensive background on issues related to energy systems, and the skills to develop sustainable techniques and innovative solutions for energy production. This includes training in the technical and economic aspects of energy systems engineering, including generation, distribution and utilization of energy.
This interdisciplinary program, jointly offered by the departments of mechanical and electrical and computer engineering, provides training across several technical disciplines to addresses the complexity of sustainable energy solutions.
The Energy Systems program will begin in September, 2018. For more information visit the website for Memorial University’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.
Participate in the Take Charge of your Town Challenge! | February 16, 2018
Through a partnership between the province’s two electrical utilities providers, Newfoundland Power and Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, takeCHARGE brings energy efficiency awareness and rebate programs to the residents of Newfoundland and Labrador.
The takeCHARGE of Your Town initiative started in 2010. It is aimed at raising awareness of the importance of using energy wisely and encouraging residents and municipalities to reduce their energy usage. In the past six years, over $70,000 has been awarded to cities and towns who were successful in winning the challenge.
Proposals are now being accepted for this year’s program. Municipalities are invited to submit proposals that will support their efforts to develop or improve energy conservation or energy efficiency projects. The deadline for proposals is March 2, 2018 at 4:00pm. A winner will be announced this spring. For more information on this program, proposal criteria or to submit your proposal, please visit: https://takechargenl.ca/news-events/town-challenge/.
Join Us for an Upcoming Workshop on Building Climate Resilience | February 16, 2018
Are you interested in incorporating climate change considerations into public infrastructure? On March 8th and 9th, the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment in partnership with Memorial University’s Faculties of Geography and Engineering and Applied Science, Municipalities of Newfoundland Labrador, Professional Engineers and Geoscientists Newfoundland & Labrador, and Engineers Canada is hosting a training workshop on Building Climate Resilience: Incorporating Climate Change into Public Infrastructure Planning and Design.
The workshop aims to enhance the integration of resilience into infrastructure decisions, and help communities across the province adapt to the impacts of climate change, such as increased flooding, coastal erosion and reduced sea ice affecting winter transportation in Labrador.
Who is the workshop for? Professionals involved in policy, planning, procurement, design, construction, operation, maintenance and management of public infrastructure in Newfoundland and Labrador. This includes Chief Administrative Officers, Provincial and municipal engineers and planners, engineering and planning consultants, and senior policy makers. The workshop is eligible for continuing professional development hours recognized by PEGNL.
When and where is it happening? A two-day workshop is being held on March 8th and 9th, 2018, at the Holiday Inn, 180 Portugal Cove Road, St. John’s. Refreshments and lunch will be provided.
What will the workshop cover?
- The legal, policy, scientific and ethical imperative and rationale to integrate climate change into infrastructure and planning;
- How climate change is affecting the province and its’ infrastructure;
- How to integrate climate projections into planning and decision-making on infrastructure;
- The tools and resources available in Newfoundland and Labrador to improve planning and decision-making on infrastructure; and
- The principles of climate risk and vulnerability assessment to public infrastructure and application of these principles into your practice.
Federal Government Releases Details on Carbon Pricing Backstop | January 29, 2018
On January 15, 2018 the Federal Government released two consultation documents to support the introduction of its carbon pricing backstop approach, including (i) a proposal to give it legal authority to implement the backstop and (ii) a consultation document outlining its approach to pricing greenhouse gas emissions from the large industrial sector.
Federal Carbon Pricing Benchmark
In October 2016, the Federal Government announced that it will implement carbon pricing in provinces and territories (PT) unless a PT can demonstrate that its own carbon pricing system is consistent with federal requirements, known as the federal ‘benchmark’. To meet the benchmark, PTs are required to demonstrate, among other things, that their systems:
- Have broad coverage across the economy;
- Be introduced in a timely fashion (by January 2019);
- Take the form of either a carbon tax (e.g. British Columbia), an emissions trading system (e.g. Ontario, Quebec), or a hybrid system which includes performance standards for large industry and a carbon tax for other sectors (e.g. Alberta); and
- Have a carbon price that must start at a minimum of $20 per tonne in 2019 and rise $10 per year to $50 per tonne in 2022.
Federal Carbon Pricing Backstop
The Federal Government plans to introduce its own approach to carbon pricing in PTs that choose not to put in place their own system or have a system that does not meet the federal benchmark. This federal carbon pricing system is known as the ‘backstop’.
All elements of the backstop will apply in a PT that does not have a carbon pricing system in place, or in whole or in part where a PT chooses to have the Federal Government implement carbon pricing for them. The backstop will also ‘top-up’ systems that do not fully meet the benchmark. For example, the backstop could expand the sources of emissions covered by provincial carbon pricing (e.g. expand the scope to a specific sector) or it could increase the level of the provincial carbon price (e.g., from $20 per tonne to $30 per tonne).
PTs choosing the federal backstop are required to confirm this by March 30, 2018. The Federal Government indicates that it intends to implement the federal backstop in applicable PTs, in whole or in part, on January 1, 2019.
Federal Legislative Proposals
The Federal Government released draft legislative proposals to give it legal authority to implement its carbon pricing backstop in jurisdictions that request it or in those that do not comply, in whole or in part, with the federal benchmark.
The proposals indicate that the federal carbon pricing backstop will consist of two main elements:
- A charge (i.e. carbon levy) on fossil fuels (e.g., gasoline, diesel, propane, natural gas) consumed; and
- A system targeted at large industrial facilities with high levels of emissions.
A copy of the proposals can be viewed at: https://www.fin.gc.ca/drleg-apl/2018/ggpp-tpcges-eng.asp
The Federal Government indicates that comments on the draft legislative proposals will be accepted until February 12, 2018.
Federal Large Industrial System
To minimize competitiveness risks for facilities with high GHG emissions and that compete in international markets, while maintaining the carbon price incentive to reduce GHG emissions, the Federal Government is proposing a separate system for the large industrial sector for its carbon pricing backstop.
Highlights of the proposed federal large industrial system include:
- It will apply to a range of industrial sectors such as oil and gas, refining, mining and pulp and paper;
- It will apply to facilities GHG emissions of 50,000 or more tonnes per year, and facilities with GHGs between 10,000 and 50,000 tonnes may opt-in to the system;
- GHG reduction targets will take the form of a performance standard. Facilities performing better than the standard will not be required to reduce GHG emissions. Facilities not meeting the standard will be required to reduce their GHG emissions, buy offsets credits or submit performance credits.
A copy of the consultation document for the federal large industrial system can be viewed at: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/environment/weather/climatechange/climate-action/pricing-carbon-pollution/output-based-pricing-system.html
The Federal Government indicates that comments on the proposal for the large industrial sector will be accepted until April 9, 2018.
Register your Classroom in the Energy Diet Challenge! | January 24, 2018
Canadian Geographic and Shell have recently launched a Classroom Energy Diet Challenge for Canadian classrooms from Kindergarten to Grade 12.
From February 5th to April 26th, classrooms can complete energy-themed challenges on up to 25 topics, including calculating carbon footprints, exploring alternative transportation, and increasing their understanding of renewable energy. The competition aims to increase awareness among students on their energy use, and offers a flexible approach so that classes can select topics and challenges that are relevant to them. Participating classrooms are eligible to win over 100 prizes, worth a total value of $40,000.
The deadline for classrooms to register is January 28, 2018. For more information and to register online, visit the Classroom Energy Diet Challenge website.
Canada’s National Reports to the United Nations on Climate Change. | January 22, 2018
The 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – a landmark international climate change treaty endorsed by 197 nations, requires ongoing reporting and monitoring by its signatories. Nations that have adopted the UNFCCC are termed “parties.” As a party to the UNFCCC, Canada is required to provide regular reports to the United Nations on actions undertaken to address climate change. On December 29, 2017, Canada filed its two most recent reports with the United Nations.
7th National Communication
Every four years, UNFCCC parties file a report termed a “National Communication” outlining actions being taken on climate change within their jurisdiction, including actions to reduce GHG emissions, build resilience to climate change impacts and raise public awareness, as well as climate research activities and international financial support for developing countries.
With respect to actions to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, Canada’s 7th National Communication largely focuses on activities in support of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change (PCF) such as:
- Planned nationwide implementation of carbon pricing;
- A commitment to phase out coal-fired electricity and to introduce a clean fuel standard;
- Increased emissions standards for light and heavy duty vehicles and investments in electric vehicle charging infrastructure;
- Measures to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and appliances; and
- Federal funding to reduce GHG emissions (e.g., Low Carbon Economy Fund).
Concerning measures to improve resilience to climate change impacts, Canada’s National Communication highlights the following:
- Funding to increase support for First Nation and Inuit communities to undertake climate change and health adaptation projects;
- Commitments to develop climate-resilient codes and standards;
- The creation of a $2 billion Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund; and
- Efforts underway to establish a Canadian Centre for Climate Services.
Every two years, UNFCCC parties submit a status report termed a “Biennial Report” outlining the progress each country is making toward its GHG reduction targets as agreed to in the 2009 Copenhagen Accord and, more recently, 2015 Paris Agreement.
Canada has committed to reducing its GHG emissions by 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020 (equivalent to 613 million tonnes (MT)) and by 30 per cent below 2005 by 2030 (equivalent to 517 MT). By comparison, Canada’s GHG emissions in 2015, the most recent year in which data is available, were 722 MT.
While the Biennial Report projects progress towards Canada’s targets following the signing of the PCF (in particular its 2030 target), the report forecasts that Canada will not reach these targets based on current and planned policies and measures. For example, Canada’s projected GHG emissions for 2030, even when PCF measures are considered, is 583 MT (target is 517 MT). The report indicates that further actions will be required over and above PCF commitments to meet Canada’s 2030 target.Newfoundland and Labrador Overview
Canada’s National Communication provides detail on provincial and territorial actions to address climate change. The following actions were highlighted for Newfoundland and Labrador:
- Muskrat Falls Hydroelectric Project – The report notes that the Muskrat Falls project will reduce Newfoundland and Labrador’s emissions by approximately 10 per cent annually and reduce GHG emissions in other jurisdictions, such as Nova Scotia;
- Management of Greenhouse Gas Act – The report highlights the passage, and progress towards implementation of the Act which creates a framework for reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of large industry, including the establishment of GHG reporting and administrative penalties regulations;
- Adaptation– The report outlines provincial action on climate change adaptation, such as updating 19 rainfall monitoring locations, establishing 113 coastal erosion monitoring sites and incorporating climate change projections into flood risk mapping; and
- Climate Change Action Plan – The report notes that the Province will be releasing a renewed strategic approach to tackling climate change in the form of a new climate change action plan to be released in 2018.
Furthermore, GHG projections for Newfoundland and Labrador in the Biennial Report suggest that GHG emissions in the Province will increase from 10 MT in 2015 to 12 MT by 2020 and return to 2015 levels by 2030.
If you are interested in learning more, you can read the reports in their entirety at: http://unfccc.int/files/national_reports/national_communications_and_biennial_reports/application/pdf/82051493_canada-nc7-br3-1-5108_eccc_can7thncomm3rdbi-report_en_04_web.pdf.
Federation of Canadian Municipalities | January 15, 2018
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) is the national voice of municipal government, representing 90 per cent of Canada’s municipal population. Members of the FCM include Canadian cities, urban and rural communities, and provincial and territorial municipal associations.
FCM hosts a range of events throughout the year, including conferences, workshops and webinars. Through these sessions, municipal leaders have the opportunity to learn from other jurisdictions, network and build relationships, and gain information that could help overcome challenges and address the needs of their citizens.
This month the FCM is hosting a webinar entitled “Opportunities and best practices in climate change action: Introduction for elected officials”. This is an introductory webinar intended for elected officials from Canadian communities of all sizes who wish to understand the municipal challenges and opportunities associated with climate change. Participants will learn ways to champion climate change action, to recognize the benefits of taking action on climate change and obtain support for climate-related initiatives.
There will be two sessions: one in French and one in English. The English webinar is scheduled for January 31, 2018, 3:00pm-4:00pm NST. Speakers for this session include Bob Young, Mayor of Leduc, Alberta and Trevor Birtch, Mayor of Woodstock, Ontario. The French webinar is scheduled for January 24, 2018, 3:00pm-4:00pm NST. Speakers for this session include Suzanne Roy, Mayor, Ville de Sainte-Julie, Quebec and Virginie Dufour, Municipal Councillor and Executive Committee Member, Ville de Laval, QC.
For more information and to register, please visit: https://fcm.ca/home/events/upcoming-events/webinar---opportunities-and-best-practices-in-climate-change-action-introduction-for-elected-officials.htm.
Final Report released on the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s 2011-2016 Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Action Plans | January 12, 2018
In 2011, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador developed two complimentary action plans, outlining its approach to take action on climate change. Combined, the Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Action Plans contained 75 commitments that focused on enhancing climate change adaptation, improving energy efficiency, and additional measures to achieve greenhouse gas reductions.
These plans have now concluded and, in December, the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment released a final report outlining government’s progress on implementing each of the 75 commitments. The final report can be found online.
Included within these plans were commitments to develop a Market Transformation Framework, outlining governments approach to transforming markets for low-emitting goods and services, and a Greening Government Action Plan, demonstrating commitment to reduce emissions from provincial government operations. These plans were developed in 2015, and an update on progress is included within the final report.
In the Way Forward: A Vision for Sustainabilty and Growth in Newfoundland and Labrador, and through adoption of the Pan-Canadian Framework for Clean Growth and Climate Change (PFC), the provincial government committed to take ongoing action against climate change and will release a new climate change action plan in 2018.
Local Startup Helps Householders Save Energy | January 2, 2018
A Wi-Fi enabled thermostat named Mysa has been recently developed by Empowered Homes, allowing users to remotely control their heating systems and reduce electricity use. Empowered Homes is an emerging Newfoundland and Labrador-based company that began as a client of Memorial University’s Genesis Centre, an innovation hub for new technology startups.
Through using a mobile phone, tablet, or computer, users can view room temperatures and adjust the temperature from anywhere and reduce their energy use. This includes a function to generate in-depth energy reports to show energy savings and provide suggestions on how to make further improvements to reduce household energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and also save money.
Improving energy efficiency in buildings and supporting the development of clean technologies are two key components of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change (PCF). The PCF was adopted by Federal, Provincial and Territorial First Ministers in December 2016 and is a plan to meet emission reduction targets, grow the economy, and build resilience to a changing climate in Canada.