Your source for new events and information on climate change and energy efficiency.
Throughout the month of June, takeCHARGE is offering instant rebates on select energy-efficient products. Check their list of participating retailers to find a location near you and keep an eye out for the takeCHARGE team in stores for a chance to win prizes.
|takeCHARGE Instant Rebates|
|ENERGY STAR® CFLs||Up to $6.00|
|ENERGY STAR® LEDs||Up to $8.00|
|Smart Power Strips||$10.00|
|Motion Sensors (Outdoor and Hardwired Indoor)||$3.00|
|Dimmer Switches (Hardwired)||$3.00|
|Lighting Timers (Outdoor and Indoor)||$3.00|
Find out more about the Instant Rebates and in-store events at takechargenl.ca!
In the 2011 Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Action Plans, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador committed to exploring the potential to utilize its procurement power to promote greater energy efficiency, lower GHG emissions and reduce waste. In support of this commitment, the Government Purchasing Agency and the Office of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency have developed Buying Green! A Guide for Purchasing Environmentally Preferable Products.
Green procurement is about selecting products and services with environmental attributes that minimize the environmental impact of government’s activities and maximize the resource efficiency of the goods and services procured. It also has other benefits such as mitigating negative impacts on health and safety and helping government realize potential financial savings.
The purpose of the Buying Green Guide is to promote greater understanding of green procurement practices and provide staff in government departments with the tools to incorporate ‘green’ into procurement, whether this is for low dollar value purchases, tenders or RFPs. Although core government is the target audience for this guide, government funded bodies and other entities interested in greening their procurement activities may also find it useful.
The Guide includes:
- What green procurement is and why it is important
- The myths associated with green procurement
- Case studies, examples and tips from Newfoundland and Labrador and other jurisdictions
- Information on eco-labels and how to navigate environmental claims of suppliers
- 15 factsheets that provide environmental information on products and services commonly purchased by government such as copy paper, IT equipment, office supplies and flooring.
Find out more information on the Buying Green Guide.
The Pinnacle Awards showcase excellence in business communication and are awarded by the Newfoundland and Labrador chapter of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC).
The Turn Back the Tide campaign received two Pinnacle awards:
- An Award of Merit under the category of Digital Communication Channels
- An Award of Excellence under the category of Government Communication Programs
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador launched the Turn Back the Tide campaign in 2012 to raise awareness about climate change and the ways that everyone can take action.
A survey conducted in 2014 revealed that, compared to 2012, more Newfoundlanders and Labradorians feel informed about climate change and the impact of their everyday actions. Three quarters of people surveyed in 2014 were aware of the campaign and 17% of those individuals indicated they changed their behaviour as a result of the campaign.
The Turn Back the Tide team would like to thank the various government departments and community organizations that have played a significant role in making the campaign a success. Climate change is a shared challenge and together we can make a difference.
Budget 2014 has been passed in the House of Assembly and contains $2.5 million investment in measures to address climate change and improve energy efficiency:
- $350,000 to the Office of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency for a two-year pilot project to provide real-time energy display monitors to some households to support energy conservation.
- $400,000 annually for three years to the Department of Environment and Conservation for Flood Risk Mapping Studies to address climate change adaptation issues and public safety concerns by providing up-to-date maps of areas prone to flooding, which will facilitate better planning and reduce damage.
- $100,000 annually for three years to the Geological Survey in the Department of Natural Resources to continue the Coastal Erosion Vulnerability Project to help communities make informed land-use decisions, guide development and identify areas for protection.
- $350,000 to the Department of Transportation and Works for retrofits in select government buildings to improve energy efficiency and lower operating costs, which is consistent with the commitments made by the Provincial Government in the 2011 Energy Efficiency Action Plan.
- $200,000 over two years to the Department of Education for a pilot project to raise awareness on energy conservation in schools, including the development of promotional materials to promote energy conservation.
- $90,000 for the Department of Environment and Conservation for the continuation of Hurricane Flood Relief alerts in 45 communities across the province. These alerts warn local residents and travelers when flood risks are high, providing them with more time for reaction to such adverse events.
In April of each year, the Federal Government submits estimates of Canada's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. It takes about two years to collect the necessary information. The report for 2012 emissions was submitted on April 11, 2014.
GHG Emissions for Canada
The report showed that Canada's GHG emissions for 2012 were 698 million tonnes. This represents a 1.3% increase above 2009 levels.
Since Canada is a country that relies on the extraction of natural resources, like oil and gas, economic growth is a significant factor affecting the country's GHG emissions. It's interesting to note that, while Canada's GHG emissions grew by 1.3% between 2009 and 2011, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 7.8% over the same period. As a result, when measured against GDP, Canada's performance on GHG emissions in 2012 is the best since 1990, which is when records began.
In the 2009 Copenhagen Accord, Canada committed to reduce its GHG emissions by 17% below 2005 by 2020. GHG emissions for 2012 are about 15% above the 2020 target.
GHG Emissions for Newfoundland and Labrador
The report showed that Newfoundland and Labrador's GHG emissions were 8.8 million tonnes in 2012. This represents a 5% decrease from the previous year.
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has a target of reducing the province's GHG emissions to 8.4 million tonnes by 2020, which is equal to 10% below 1990 levels.
What Is Earth Hour? March 29, 2014
When: March 29, 2014 (8:30-9:30pm, local time)
Earth Hour is an annual event organized by the World Wildlife Fund. It encourages people all over the world to turn off their lights for one hour with the goal of raising awareness about environmental sustainability. From China to Costa Rica, millions of people will switch off their lights and show their support in 2014. Earth Hour is less about the hour the lights are off, and more about celebrating the global movement to reduce the impact we're having on the environment.
The event first took place in 2007 in Sydney, Australia. Each year, people from more than 150 countries and territories switch off their lights. Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are encouraged to participate in Earth Hour 2014 by turning off all non-essential lighting between 8:30pm and 9:30pm, local time.
Upcoming Event: 2014 Home Show March 20, 2014
The 2014 Home Show will be held at Mile One Centre in St. John's on March 22 and 23. This event is hosted each year by the Canadian Home Builders' Association, Newfoundland and Labrador (CHBA-NL). It's an opportunity to connect directly with companies in the province's building and renovation industry to receive professional advice about products and services.
The theme of this year's event is energy efficiency. Representatives from the CHBA-NL, local companies, and the Turn Back the Tide and TakeCHARGE campaigns will be on hand to provide tips and advice on increasing your home's energy efficiency.
The full list of exhibitors for the 2014 Home Show can be found on the CHBA-NL's website.
Date & Time:
Saturday, March 22, 2014 (10:00 am - 8:00 pm)
Sunday, March 23, 2014 (10:00 am - 4:00 pm)
$8 - General Admission
$7 - Seniors
Free - Children under 12 accompanied by an adult
Climate Change & the Winter Olympics February 14, 2014
Climate change is expected to have a significant impact on the Winter Olympics over the next century. Having enough snow of the right quality is of increasing concern for host cities. Over the past couple of decades, host cities have invested in snow-making machines and, in preparation for the 2014 games, Russia invested in over 400 snow canons and stockpiled snow for over a year. A recent study from the University of Waterloo suggests that future host cities of the Winter Olympics will have to rely even more heavily on these means of generating snow.
The study looks at which cities have hosted the Winter Olympics in the past and whether they will be a "reliable" host by 2050 or 2080. In this case, "reliable" means whether daily average temperatures will remain below freezing to support good snow and ice conditions, and whether a suitable snowpack could be maintained for alpine events. The study uses information from multiple sources, including the most recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is the world's leading authority on climate change science. The study concludes that only 11 of the 19 previous cities would be a reliable host by 2050, and only 10 would be reliable by 2080. Cities that were determined to be climatically unreliable as a future host include Sochi and Vancouver. These predictions were determined using the lowest estimate of future greenhouse gas emissions in the IPCC report. When the researchers used the IPCC's highest estimate of future greenhouse gas emissions, which some experts believe is more likely, the number of reliable cities by 2080 dropped to only six out of 19.
The following table adapted from the report shows which sites are predicted to have a reliable climate to host the Winter Olympics by 2080:
A full copy of the report can be found on the University of Waterloo's website.
In 2012, the National Building Code of Canada was updated to include energy efficiency requirements for homes and small buildings. It's important that builders, designers, suppliers and municipalities understand these requirements.
The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC), which is a national not-for-profit organization, is offering a webinar to explain the new requirements. Webinar participants will become familiar with these requirements and receive a package of digital resources.
The webinar will take place on February 20, 2014, from 1:30 - 2:30 (NST). Participation is free for CaGBC members and $30 for non-members. To register and receive information on how to connect to the webinar, please email Lara Ryan at firstname.lastname@example.org by February 14, 2014. If the webinar is fully subscribed, individuals will be placed on a waitlist. A second webinar will be offered if there is sufficient demand.
A second presentation of this webinar will be offered on February 27, 2014 from 1:30 - 2:30pm (NST). Participation remains free for CaGBC members and $30 for non-members. Registration must be completed on the CaGBC website by February 21, 2014.
Incandescent Bulbs Being Phased Out Across Canada January 1, 2014
As of January 1, 2014, the Government of Canada has banned the manufacturing and importing of 75-watt and 100-watt incandescent light bulbs. At the end of this year, the ban will also apply to 40-watt and 60-watt bulbs. Retailers are permitted to sell off their existing stock, but once stocks have run out, they will not be able to replenish their supply.
The ban is a step towards improving Canada's energy efficiency and is in-line with regulations in the United States. Traditional incandescent bulbs are very inefficient, with about 90% of the energy they use producing heat instead of light. In Newfoundland and Labrador, lighting accounts for 4% of home energy use and results in 27,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions each year. This is the equivalent of GHG emissions from over 6,000 vehicles each year. Switching to efficient lighting is an easy way to save money on your household electricity bill and reduce your carbon footprint.
Energy-efficient options for lighting include:
- Compact fluorescent lights (CFLs) - CFLs are the most common choice for efficient lighting in Canada. They use about 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs and last 10 times longer.
- Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) - LEDs are a more expensive choice, but they use about 85-90% less energy than incandescent bulbs and last 25 times longer.
- Halogen lights - These lights use up to 40% less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs and are best suited for areas that require bright lighting, such as an office.
Purchasing Tips for CFLs
- When buying CFLs, the packaging will identify the wattage of the light and how it compares to a traditional incandescent bulb. This will help you choose the level of brightness you need.
- Remember to look for the ENERGY STAR label on the packaging, as these options last the longest and produce the best quality light.
- CFLs produce different colours of light. This is identified on the packaging by a temperature scale using a unit of measurement called kelvins. The colour of CFLs range from warm (2700K) to cold (6500K), as shown in the picture.
For more information on efficient lighting, visit: http://turnbackthetide.ca/at-home/lighting/lighting.shtml
CFLs contain small amounts of mercury and should not be tossed in with the regular trash. To learn more about recycling CFLs, visit the MMSB's website.
Provincial Government Supports Sustainable Communities Initiative December 30, 2013
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has announced the winners of the Municipal Government Carbon Footprint Challenge. This was a joint initiative of the Office of Climate Change, Energy Efficiency and Emissions Trading, and the Department of Municipal Affairs.
Under the Challenge, municipal governments were invited to use a new Carbon Calculator designed for municipalities in Newfoundland and Labrador to estimate their carbon footprint and to submit ideas about how they could tackle climate change. The winners of the Challenge received $5,000 to put their ideas into action. Three prizes of $5,000 were awarded for: a small community (<500 people), a medium-sized community (500-2000), and a large community (>2000).
Excellent ideas were submitted by local governments across the province. Here's a list of the winners and some ways they will use the prize money to reduce their carbon footprints:
- The Town of Come By Chance will increase the number of recycling bins in municipal buildings, install energy-efficient lighting, and promote more energy-efficient driving habits.
- The Town of Wabush will save energy by installing programmable thermostats in town buildings and timed lighting controls on streetlights.
- The Town of Burin will winterize one its buildings containing town artifacts. This will reduce the town's oil bill, which will lower its carbon footprint and operating costs.
Congratulations to the winners of the challenge and thanks to all of the communities that participated. Every community can help tackle climate change, no matter how big or how small.
If you haven't checked out the Municipal Government Carbon Calculator, take a look. It provides tips on how to save energy, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower operating costs associated with municipal operations. The calculator will be incorporated into the Tidy Towns Award from 2014.
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador provides annual updates to the House of Assembly on the progress made towards implementing the 2011 climate change and energy efficiency action plans. The Honourable Joan Shea, Minister Responsible for the Office of Climate Change, Energy Efficiency and Emissions Trading, made the following statement on November 13, 2013:
MS. SHEA: "I rise today to update this Honourable House on the progress made in implementing the 2011 Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Action Plans.
Mr. Speaker, climate change is one of the greatest long-term challenges facing the planet. All jurisdictions must be part of the solution, and I am proud Newfoundland and Labrador is committed to pursuing an environmentally sound and economically prudent path. These action plans are a key part of achieving this balance.
Mr. Speaker, this year our province is leading the country in economic growth. We are achieving this while advancing action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by working with large industrial companies in the iron ore and offshore oil sectors.
We are working to increase the energy efficiency of our homes and buildings and now require new homes to meet energy-efficient standards. We have launched a guide to help homeowners, builders and municipalities make this happen.
Our government is leading by example with a policy stating all buildings receiving provincial funding must be built sustainably. As a result, City Hall in Corner Brook and Nalcor's new employee residence in Churchill Falls have Silver certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system.
Mr. Speaker, we are playing our part to tackle climate change, but some impacts are now unavoidable. That's why our government has worked with researchers at Memorial University to better understand the coming changes and we share that information with decision-makers in business and communities.
Our public awareness campaign on climate change - Turn Back the Tide - has seen great success with 36,000 visits to its website alone, not to mention wide-spread television and print ad exposure.
Mr. Speaker, this is just a brief overview of some of the important work completed to date. I look forward to keeping you updated on the next phase of our implementation plans.
The official press release can be found here:
David Suzuki in St. John's to Speak about Climate Change November, 2013
When: November 23, 2013
Where: Gower Street United Church, St. John's, NL
Award-winning scientist and environmentalist David Suzuki is visiting cities across Atlantic Canada to speak about climate change and energy issues.
Each event includes a viewing of the film "Climate Change in Atlantic Canada," which documents the impact that rising global temperatures are having on communities in Atlantic Canada. The film is followed by a panel discussion with Dr. David Suzuki and filmmaker Dr. Ian Mauro, along with other local and national experts.
The purpose of the event is to promote a greater dialogue on climate change and energy issues in Atlantic Canada. Tickets are $22 each and proceeds will go to support local environmental groups.
To find out more and to purchase tickets, visit the David Suzuki Foundation's website.
Upcoming Event: BuildGreen Atlantic Conference November, 2013
When: November 27, 2013
Where: Holiday Inn, St. John's, NL
The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) is once again offering BuildGreen Atlantic - an informative conference about sustainable building and development practices.
The CaGBC is a national not-for-profit organization that has been working since 2002 to advance green building and sustainable community development in Canada. BuildGreen Atlantic is one of several events held across the country for designers, engineers, builders, developers, policy makers and academics with an interest in sustainable buildings.
The conference includes a luncheon, keynote address, trade show, and attendance at three 50-minute information sessions (out of a choice of nine). The full agenda is below. The cost for attending the conference is $125 for CaGBC members and $175 for non-members. Register before November 13, 2013 and you can receive a 15% early bird discount by using the promotional code "EarlyBird".
In addition, the CaBGC is also hosting pre-conference workshops the morning before the conference. These are being hosted at the same venue, but are separate training events from the conference. The cost of attending a workshop is $195 for CaGBC members and $250 for non-members. Once again, you can receive a 15% discount in you register before November 13, 2013 by using the promotional code "EarlyBird".
Note: The conference has been approved for 4 hours of GBCI Continuing Education credits and the pre-conference workshops have been approved for 3 hours of GBCI Continuing Education credits.
For more information on the pre-conference workshops, visit:
To register, visit: http://buildgreenatlantic.org/agenda-3/st-johns-2013/
|8:00 - 8:30||REGISTRATION FOR PRE-CONFERENCE WORKSHOPS|
8:30 - 11:30
W1: LEED in Practice - Construction Best Practices
Faculty: Charline Cormier, Stantec
W2: LEED in Practice - Architectural Design & Documentation (part 1) - IDP, Sites, Energy & Materials
Faculty: John Crace, WHW Architects
W3: Understanding the New Energy Efficiency Requirements of Part 9 of the National Building Code
Faculty: Jordan MacDonald, ThermalWise
|11:30 - 12:00||CONFERENCE REGISTRATION & TRADESHOW|
12:00 - 1:15
COMFERENCE WELCOME & LUNCHEON KEYNOTE
Setting the Stage: Wade Locke, MUN
Keynote: Mark Luciuk, Morrison Hershfield
|1:15 - 1:45||EXHIBITOR TRADESHOW|
1:45 - 2:35
The Case for LEED for Homes Mid-Rise and LEED for Homes on multi-unit residential buildings and non-traditional residential buildings
Presenter: Jordan MacDonald, ThermalWise
Incentives and support available with new utility "Business Efficiency Rebate Program"
Presenter: Peter Upshall, takeCHARGE
Sustainability Planning and Design
Presenter: Neil Dawe, Tract Consulting
2:35 - 3:25
Improving Energy Efficiency in the Residential Construction Industry of Newfoundland and Labrador: Navigating R2000, EnerGuide Rating Systems and EnergyStar for Homes
Presenter: Victoria Belbin, CHBA
Implementing the Build Better Buildings Policy: Lessons Learnt and Next Steps
Presenters: Alicia Sutton and Dave Dewling, Gov't of NL
Human and Eco-Toxicity in Building Materials - Understanding the Environmental Production Declaration
Presenter: Anne Marie Hearn, Forbo
|3:25 - 3:55||BREAK & TRADESHOW|
3:55 - 4:45
Pursuing LEED in Rural and Remote Locations
Presenter: Jamie McKay, Morrison Hershfield
From Apathy to Action - Employee & Tenant Engagement in Greening Your Building Operations: Opportunities, Challenges and Case Studies
Presenters: Kim Saunders, Eastport Properties; John Smiciklas, Director, Energy & Environment, BOMA Canada & Ashley Burke of MMSB
Presenters: John Lindsay, EastPort Properties; Nora Duke, Fortis & Brad Dawe, Stantec Consulting
|4:45 - 5:30||CLOSING RECEPTION|
takeCHARGE - a joint initiative of Newfoundland Power and NL Hydro - is offering a new rebate program for high efficiency heat recovery ventilators (HRVs).
Ventilation systems improve the air quality of your home by exchanging the air inside your home with fresh air from the outside. This helps replenish the oxygen inside your home, while removing moisture, odours and other airborne particles, such as dust and carbon dioxide.
HRVs are ventilation systems that do this while also taking advantage of heat recovery. HRVs extract heat from air that's being sent outside and use it to warm the colder air that's coming inside. As a result, your home's heating system doesn't have to work as hard to maintain a comfortable temperature. High efficiency HRVs (such as ENERGY STAR models) use about 65% less energy than standard models and can save you up to $1,000 in energy costs over the lifetime of the product.
To help you take advantage of upgrading to a high efficiency HRV, takeCHARGE is offering a $175 rebate. To learn more about whether your home qualifies and how to participate in the program, visit the takeCHARGE website.
Turn Back the Tide Campaign: Year in Review September 17th, 2013
Climate change is one of the most important challenges facing the world today. September 17th, 2013, marks the one year anniversary of the Turn Back the Tide campaign! This campaign is designed to raise awareness about climate change and how Newfoundlanders and Labradorians can be part of the solution.
The first year of the Turn Back the Tide campaign has been incredibly successful. Through various initiatives we've connected with homeowners, businesses and municipal leaders across the province to raise awareness and take action. Examples include:
- Collaborating with the St. John's IceCaps to expand the reach of the campaign, with in-game events that drew over 600 participants and online events that drove unprecedented traffic to the campaign's website and Facebook page.
- Partnering with the Restaurant Association of NL to showcase how restaurants across the province are taking practical actions to reduce waste, be energy efficient and lower their carbon footprints.
- Working with the Community Youth Network and its 33 sites across the province to distribute resources and organize events for youth to take action on climate change.
- Attending the 2013 Home Show to provide information to homeowners about how they can reduce their carbon footprints and the benefits they could see as a result, including lower energy costs.
Many of these initiatives are aimed at driving traffic to the Turn Back the Tide website. To date, we've had over 30,000 visits to our website! We're also driving traffic to the site by regularly adding new tools and resources. Check out some of the materials that we've released in the last year:
- Guide for Building Energy-Efficient Homes - Considering building a new home? Read this guide for information on building an energy-efficient home that will be more comfortable, greener and more affordable to heat.
- Climate Projections for Newfoundland and Labrador - Interested in learning about how climate change will affect Newfoundland and Labrador? Check out this study for information on how temperature, precipitation and extreme weather are expected to change in this province by mid-century.
- Municipal Government Carbon Calculator - Looking for ways to green your municipal government? This calculator helps show where your municipal government's carbon footprint comes from and provides tips on how you can reduce it. There's also a contest currently ongoing where your municipal government can win $5,000 to reduce its carbon footprint!
- Guide to Implementing the Build Better Buildings Policy - Did you know that all government-funded buildings must be built sustainably? This guide provides guidance on what building sustainably means and how the Build Better Buildings Policy is implemented.
The key message of the Turn Back the Tide campaign is that climate change is a shared challenge and we must all be part of the solution. Together we can make a difference.
Keep an eye out for Turn Back the Tide television advertisements this fall!
New Electronics Recycling Program in Newfoundland and Labrador August 22, 2013
In August 2013, the Electronic Products Recycling Association launched a new program to recycle end-of-life electronics, such as home theatre systems, computers, printers, and other devices. This new program comes as a result of a regulatory change by the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador that was led by the Multi Materials Stewardship Board (MMSB). Electronics collected through this program will be dismantled and recyclable elements will be made into new products.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, 7% of our total greenhouse gas emissions are a result of the waste we produce. You can help tackle climate change and keep hazardous waste out of our landfills by cutting your e-waste and recycling electronics that no longer work.
Drop-off locations have been established at recycling depots throughout the province to accept electronic devices free of charge. You can find the drop-off location nearest you here.
For more information on this program, contact the Electronic Products Recycling Association at info@recycleMYelectronics.ca or 1-888-503-3201.
Youth Go Green in Newfoundland and Labrador August 12, 2013
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador is launching a new initiative with the Community Youth Network (CYN) to raise awareness and take action on climate change. Starting on August 12, 2013, members of CYN sites across the province will join the Turn Back the Tide public awareness campaign by participating in activities to go green.
The activities will take place throughout the month of August and will focus on three key themes: greener transportation, waste reduction, and lowering our carbon footprints. More information on these events can be found below
Being Green on the Go: Facebook Trivia ContestAugust 12 - 19, 2013
Interested in winning some awesome prizes? Follow www.facebook.com/turnbackthetide and participate in the Transportation Trivia Contest. From August 12 - 19, 2013, we'll be asking a different question and giving away a different prize each day. Follow our Facebook page for more information!
Cutting Your eWaste: Cell Phone Recycling CompetitionAugust 18 - 25, 2013
Did you know you can recycle broken and outdated cell phones? From August 18 - 25th, CYN sites are encouraged to collect cell phones and accessories for recycling. The CYN site that collects the most items for recycling will win bragging rights and a waste-reduction kit for their organization. For more information, email email@example.com.
Getting a Grip on Your Carbon Footprint: Green Your CYN ChallengeAugust 26 - 31, 2013
CYN sites across the province are invited to submit a proposal about how they can reduce their carbon footprints. Participants must complete the application form outlining their plans. The site that submits the most impactful and innovative proposal will win a $500 prize to help make their ideas a reality.
If you're interested in any of these events, contact a CYN site near you.
New Guide to Implementing the Build Better Buildings Policy August 9, 2013
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador's Build Better Buildings Policy requires that new buildings and renovations over a certain size, and renovations over a certain cost, must be built sustainably. The policy applies to all provincially-funded projects and requires that buildings must:
- Exceed the Model National Energy Code for Buildings (1997) by 25%
- Strive for "Silver" certification under the program Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)
- Have a Life-Cycle Project Analysis completed of the design, construction and operations
The Provincial Government is committed to leading by example in tackling climate change and recognizes that the construction of buildings presents a huge opportunity. Sustainable buildings reduce energy use, carbon dioxide emissions, water use and solid waste. In addition, there is a strong connection between buildings, the environment and the health of occupants, especially since people now spend more than 90% of their time inside. Buildings that have too little fresh air, too little natural light and problems with mold and other air pollutants have contributed to documented rises in 'sick building syndrome' which in turn has a significant impact on the productivity and health of inhabitants.
To ensure that the province avails of these benefits, the Provincial Government has developed a Guide to Implementing the Build Better Buildings Policy. This guide offers an overview of the policy and provides direction on how to interpret and incorporate the requirements of the policy. It draws on the lessons learned over the last few years to provide helpful guidance and advice aimed at government departments, municipalities, non-governmental organizations, the construction industry and design consulting and business community.
The outcomes of the Build Better Buildings Policy are already evident. Nalcor's Crew Housing Project in Churchill Falls has been certified LEED Silver. It achieved a rating of EnerGuide 81 and uses approximately 15% less energy than a similar building constructed to standard requirements. The Glacier in Mount Pearl is another example of an innovative design that is striving for LEED certification. The Glacier's eco-chill thermal plant reduces energy costs by using recovered heat to melt ice, heat water, and warm the concrete bleachers for the comfort of spectators. It was also designed to accommodate the future requirements of a pool. The Corner Brook City Hall is another building that is designed to be LEED certified. It incorporates sustainable features, such as ground source heat pumps, and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by 500 tonnes each year, which is the equivalent of taking over 100 cars off the road. These buildings are examples of the practical steps that can be taken to build sustainably and the benefits that can be generated.
Climate change is one of the greatest long-term challenges facing the world today. The impacts of climate change are already being seen in Newfoundland and Labrador where we are experiencing more extreme weather events, increased flooding.
Changes to our climate will affect all regions and all sectors of our province, from agriculture, forestry and aquaculture, to infrastructure, health, and tourism. To better understand the impact that climate change will have on Newfoundland and Labrador, the Provincial Government commissioned Dr. Joel Finnis, a climatologist at Memorial University, to develop climate change projections specifically for our province.
On June 13, 2013, the Honourable Tom Hedderson, Minister Responsible for the Office of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, launched these climate change projections. The study shows that temperatures will continue to get warmer as the century unfolds, and that the province will see an increase in precipitation and extreme weather events. These changes will have implications for our economy, people, and communities.
These projections are important because the availability of better information leads to better planning; better planning leads to better decision making; and better decisions will increase our resilience to the impacts of climate change. The findings of this study will provide local industries, businesses, municipal governments and other organizations with the information they need to improve their planning for the future.
For information on the climate change projections for Newfoundland and Labrador, download the:
If you have any questions about this study, please contact the Office of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency at (709) 729-1210 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Green Restaurants Trivia Contest June 10, 2013
This week on our Facebook page, we'll be profiling some restaurants in Newfoundland and Labrador that are doing great things to help turn back the tide on climate change.
Below are 5 examples of local restaurants that are making a difference. Each morning on Facebook from June 10-14, we'll ask a different question about what one of the restaurants below is doing to reduce its carbon footprint, and you'll have a chance to win a $50 gift certificate from that restaurant! You can find the answers to all of the questions below.
For more information, download the Official Contest Rules.
Bacalao is a restaurant in St. John's that has made using local products a key focus of their business. They use seasonal produce and source quality ingredients from local partners whenever possible. All desserts are made in-house with local berries and fruits that are in season, and every dish, dressing and condiment is made from scratch!
Recycled products, compostable garbage bags and CFL bulbs are all commonplace at Bacalao. The restaurant does all laundry on-site with energy-efficient equipment and uses environmentally friendly cleaning products. They even have takeout containers that are fully compostable!
Neddies Harbour Inn and The Black Spruce
The Neddies Harbour Inn and The Black Spruce restaurant in Norris Point are dedicated to being environmentally conscious. From the beginning they have strived to use local products in every possible way. When renovating their building, they used furniture made locally from Newfoundland Birch, and everything from mattresses and duvet covers, to window dressings and tablecloths were sourced locally. They also have local birch hardwood flooring throughout the building and slate flooring mined in Newfoundland.
In the restaurant, everything is made from scratch! Local food is sourced and products are purchased in bulk whenever possible to minimize packaging. The restaurant relies on a small garden that is continually expanding, and composting and recycling are common practice.
Bridie Molloy's and The Celtic Hearth
Bridie Molloy's and The Celtic Hearth in St. John's have focused on improving the energy efficiency of their operations. Because the restaurants operate 24 hours a day, it's important to use energy-efficient lighting and equipment to lower operating costs and reduce their carbon footprint. The owners choose ENERGY STAR appliances and light bulbs for the restaurants, and the lights in their coolers and storage areas are timed to shut off to minimize energy use. Energy efficiency and water conservation are taken into account when making any purchasing decisions.
The chef at Bridie Molloy's / The Celtic Hearth is also a proud supporter of local food, and uses fresh produce, poultry and seafood whenever possible.
Fishers' Loft Inn
The Fishers' Loft Inn located in Port Rexton on the Bonavista Peninsula has made sustainability a way of life! The owners place a high value on sourcing local products. They estimate that 70-80% of what they serve comes from within a 50km radius of the restaurant. This supports the local economy, but it also helps to to lower their carbon footprint.
Their menu features seasonal and local food, and many dishes feature products grown in their own "kitchen garden". The Fishers' Loft Inn currently has a greenhouse and 1/2 of an acre under cultivation to grow food that is served on-site. They've also taken other steps to lower their carbon footprint, including composting and recycling.
Chinched Bistro in St. John's strives to implement sustainability into their daily operations. They purchase local produce, fish, meats and specialty items to help lower the carbon footprint of their menu. The restaurant makes it a priority to connect directly with local farmers and harvesters to ensure quality products and establish a closer connection to the food they serve.
In an effort to minimize waste, Chinched is an active recycler and has worked with local farmers on composting projects. The restaurant also uses energy-efficient lighting and environmentally friendly cleaning products.
To mark Tourism Week (June 10-16, 2013), Turn Back the Tide is partnering with the Restaurant Association of Newfoundland and Labrador to promote sustainable practices in the industry and profile some of the great things that restaurants are doing here in our province
Food services, including restaurants and drinking establishments, are an important part of the tourism industry in Newfoundland and Labrador. In 2012, the food services industry recorded sales of about $740 million in this province, an increase of almost 9% from 2011.
There are many things that restaurants can do to grow their business while lowering their carbon footprint. Using local food sources, improving energy efficiency and minimizing waste all make a difference. For more ideas, check out the Top 10 Green Restaurant Tips developed by Terra Sustainability Consulting of Paradise, NL.
Municipal Government Carbon Footprint Challenge May 10, 2013
Looking for ways to reduce energy costs in your municipal buildings? Eager to get your employees more engaged in recycling and reducing the amount of waste going to your landfill? Want a chance to win $5,000? Then you should check out the Municipal Government Carbon Footprint Challenge!
The Municipal Government Carbon Footprint Challenge is brought to you by the Office of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, in partnership with the Department of Municipal Affairs.
Municipal governments across Newfoundland and Labrador are encouraged to participate in the contest by using the Municipal Government Carbon Calculator - a new web-based tool developed specifically for Newfoundland and Labrador. This calculator estimates the greenhouse gas emissions from your municipal operations and provides tips on how to save energy, reduce your GHG emissions and lower your operating costs.
How to Enter
- It's easy! Just submit the application form (found below) by:
- Completing the Municipal Government Carbon Calculator and submitting the PDF document of your footprint that is produced at the end of the calculator.
- Explaining how your municipal government would use the prize money to lower its carbon footprint if you won.
- For more information, download the Official Contest Rules.
- 3 prizes of $5,000
- 1 prize per population size:
- Small (<500)
- Medium (500-2000)
- Large (>2000)
Submitting Your Application
Download the Carbon Footprint Challenge Application Form.
Applications must be submitted by October 16th, 2013, and should be emailed to email@example.com or mailed to:
Municipal Government Carbon Footprint Challenge
Office of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency
Government of Newfoundland and Labrador
PO Box 8700,
St. John's, NL, A1B 4J6
For more information, contact: Patricia King, Senior Statistician, firstname.lastname@example.org or 709-729-1485
The Municipal Government Carbon Calculator will become a part of the Tidy Towns award in 2014. Join the Municipal Government Carbon Footprint Challenge to get a head start on understanding your greenhouse gas emissions and how to reduce them.
New Guide for Building Energy Efficient Homes May 8, 2013
In Moving Forward: Energy Efficiency Action Plan 2011, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador committed to supporting a major shift in the uptake of energy efficiency.
Across Newfoundland and Labrador, all homes and buildings must be built to meet the requirements of the National Building Code of Canada. In 2012, the code was updated to include energy efficiency requirements for homes. As a result, all new homes in Newfoundland and Labrador must now be built to meet energy-efficient standards.
To help builders, individuals and municipalities understand what the new energy efficiency requirements mean for Newfoundland and Labrador, the provincial government has developed a "Guide to Building Energy Efficient Homes."
The guide was launched by the Honourable Minister Tom Hedderson on May 8th, 2013 at the Housing Forum sponsored by the Newfoundland and Labrador chapter of the Canadian Homebuilders Association. With 3,520 housing starts expected in 2013 alone, huge opportunities exist to improve the energy efficiency of new homes in a cost-effective way. Through building energy efficient houses, homeowners can lower their energy costs and enjoy more comfortable homes.
Download a copy of the Guide to Building Energy Efficient Homes.
The IceCaps want you to help turn back the tide on climate change - by taking the bus!
In Newfoundland and Labrador, 29% of our greenhouse gas emissions come from transportation. Using public transit is one way you can reduce your carbon footprint and help tackle climate change.
During the IceCaps game versus the Portland Pirates on April 10th, fans who show a proof of ridership for the Metrobus will be entered to win a limited edition IceCaps photo.
Fans can visit Turn Back the Tide booths at Gate 4 and the Mile One Centre box office before the start of the game to show proof of ridership. Park 'N' Ride tickets, transfer passes and m-Cards will all be accepted as proof of ridership. Park 'N' Ride tickets and transfer passes must be dated between April 1st and April 10th, 2013.
Find out more about how you can reduce your carbon footprint while on the move, such as becoming an efficient driver and buying an efficient vehicle.
Together we can make a difference. Together we can turn back the tide.
Carbon Footprint Photo Challenge April 2, 2013
Get your cameras ready for Turn Back the Tide's Carbon Footprint Photo Challenge! During their homestand between April 5th - 14th, 2013, the IceCaps want you to take a picture of how you are reducing your carbon footprint and post it on Facebook.com/TurnBackTheTide for chances to win amazing IceCaps prizes.
How to Enter
- Step 1: Take an inspiring photo of how you are reducing your carbon footprint.
- Step 2: Post your photo on Facebook.com/TurnBackTheTide. (Not sure how to post a photo? Download our Instructions for Posting Photos.)
- Step 3: Share your photo with your friends and collect "Likes" for a chance to win great IceCaps prizes.
The 3 people who post the photos that collect the most "Likes" will each win a team-autographed IceCaps hockey stick.
The Turn Back the Tide team will select one photo for a grand prize - a matted photo of the IceCaps' inaugural game and a team-autographed hockey stick. In selecting the winning photo, the judges will look for which photo is most inspiring and encourages others to take action to reduce their carbon footprint.
To enter the contest, you must follow these rules:
- Photos must be posted between 12:01am on April 5, 2013 and 11:59pm on April 14, 2013 (NDT)
- You must have the rights and permissions to distribute the photo(s) you choose to enter
- Any photo of an obscene, offensive or inappropriate nature, as well as any photo not related to reducing your carbon footprint, will be disqualified and removed
- Only "Likes" collected on the original post to the Turn Back the Tide page will be counted
- You can enter up to 10 photos in the contest (one per day), but you can only win once
Winners will be asked to submit a copy of their photo for future profiling during the Turn Back the Tide campaign.
Download this PDF to view the full contest rules: Carbon Footprint Photo Challenge Rules
Have a question about the contest? Contact email@example.com
IceCaps fans are encouraged to bring old cell phones and accessories for recycling during the March 16th game against the Hamilton Bulldogs. Fans who participate in the recycling drive will be entered to win a game-ready St. Patrick's Day jersey!
"Recycle My Cell" collection boxes will be available at Gate 2 and the Mile One Centre box office during the game.
All mobile devices that connect to a cellular or paging network will be accepted, including cell phones, smartphones, external aircards and pagers. Headsets, chargers and other accessories will also be accepted - regardless of brand, model and age.
This cell phone recycling drive is an initiative of the Turn Back the Tide campaign in partnership with the St. John's IceCaps and the MMSB.
Turn Back the Tide is the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador's public awareness campaign to promote an understanding of climate change and to inspire action by individuals across our province.
For the remainder of the IceCaps home schedule in March and April, there will be contests and in-game events. Fans can win IceCaps merchandise, such as autographed sticks, jerseys, photos, game tickets and game-ready St. Patrick's Day jerseys. Follow us at: Facebook.com/TurnBackTheTide.
St. John's IceCaps Join Turn Back the Tide Campaign February 28, 2013
The St. John's IceCaps are joining the Turn Back the Tide campaign to raise awareness about climate change. During their homestands in March and April, Turn Back the Tide will be partnering with the IceCaps to offer great contests and in-game events - not to mention some awesome prizes. IceCaps fans across Newfoundland and Labrador will be encouraged to learn more about how climate change will affect our province and how they can take action to tackle climate change and make a difference.
The incredible prizes up for grabs during March and April include:
- 6 Pairs of tickets for IceCaps games
- 6 Team-autographed hockey sticks
- 2 Team-autographed IceCaps jerseys
- 7 Limited edition game-ready St. Patrick's Day jerseys
- Matted photo of inaugural game
On March 1st, we will be launching our first contest - the IceCaps Turn Back the Tide Question of the Day. For each of the 16 days of the IceCaps' homestand in March, there will be a different question about climate change or energy efficiency on the Turn Back the Tide Facebook page and a chance to win a great prize. Individuals who 'like' our Facebook page and submit answers to the Question of the Day will be entered into the daily prize draw. Download this PDF to view the full contest rules: Question of the Day Contest Rules
Over the next two months, we'll be announcing other great events and there will be more chances to win. Stayed tuned for more events during the IceCaps' homestand throughout the first 10 days in April. To keep up-to-date with the latest info, follow us at: www.facebook.com/TurnBackTheTide
Climate change is a shared challenge and Newfoundland and Labrador is committed to being part of the solution. Together we can make a difference. Together we can turn back the tide on climate change.
To read the official press release, visit: http://www.releases.gov.nl.ca/releases/2013/exec/0228n02.htm
President Barack Obama's Commitment to Tackling Climate Change February 21, 2013
Since his re-election, U.S. President Barack Obama has made taking action on climate change a priority. As Canada's biggest trading partner, U.S. policies on climate change can influence the direction of Canadian policy.
What is the U.S. Position?
The United States has committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 17% below 20-05 levels by 2020. This means that the U.S. would have to emit 664 million tonnes less than they did in 2010, which is almost as much as the total greenhouse gas emissions for the whole of Canada.
In his most recent State of the Union address on February 12, 2013, the President reiterated the need to act on climate change, stating:
"We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science - and act before it's too late."
He also issued new goals for America, including doubling the energy efficiency of the country's homes and businesses by 2020. This goal fits within the larger strategy of the Obama Administration to meet its emissions target by focusing on three key priorities:
- Implementing efficiency standards for passenger and heavy-duty vehicles, which will create:
- An average fuel savings of $8,000 per passenger vehicle by 2025
- A total fuel savings of $50 billion by 2018 for vehicles over 8,500 pounds
- Regulating GHG emissions from industrial facilities:
- The largest emitters must install the best available technologies to improve their energy efficiency
- Increasing clean energy production and energy efficiency by:
- Investing $29 billion in energy efficiency and $21 billion in renewable energy
- Proposing rules that will limit the emissions of new power plants
Where U.S. Emissions Come From
The Obama Administration has adopted this three-pronged approach because most of the country's greenhouse gas emissions are the result of burning fossil fuels (such as coal and oil) and come from two sectors:
- Electricity generation: 42% of emissions (compared to 18% in Canada)
- Transportation: 33% of emissions (compared to 35% in Canada)
The U.S. is the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases worldwide - second only to China. By improving the efficiency of vehicles, generating cleaner energy, and encouraging further action at the state level, it's expected that the United States can meet its greenhouse gas reduction target.
What It Means for Canada
Like the U.S., Canada has also committed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020, which equates to a reduction of 85 million tonnes below 2010 levels. Canada has already matched the U.S. fuel efficiency standards for vehicles and is taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from electricity generated from coal and natural gas. However, further action is needed if Canada is to meet its reduction target.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, the government released a Climate Change Action Plan in 2011, setting its strategic approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving the province's resilience to the impacts of climate change, like more extreme weather events and flooding. The Plan has 75 commitments that span all sectors of our economy. To read more about our province's approach, visit: http://turnbackthetide.ca/government-action/implementing-action-plans.shtml
Turn Back the Tide Posters Available for Download January 31, 2013
Are you looking to bring climate change awareness into your school, business or organization? Our Turn Back the Tide posters are available for download in high resolution and can be printed in a variety of sizes, up to recommended size of 24"x36".
The first three posters in the series show impacts of climate change that could significantly affect Newfoundland and Labrador. Are the posters exaggerated? We certainly hope so. They're designed to catch your attention and get you thinking about the importance of taking action on climate change.
The other three posters in the series focus on ways we can take action on climate change in our everyday lives. They provide examples of how to save energy, such as by improving your insulation, carpooling, and hanging your clothes on the line. The message of this campaign is that climate change is a shared challenge and our individual actions can all add up. Together we can make a difference. Together we can turn back the tide.
Click here to down the full set of posters: TurnBackTheTide-Posters
Toyota Earth Day Scholarship Program Janaury 24, 2013
Every year, the Toyota Earth Day Scholarship Program grants 20 awards of $5,000 to graduating high school students across Canada who will be entering their first year of a post-secondary program.
The scholarships are awarded to students who have demonstrated environmental leadership through volunteer and extracurricular activities, while also achieving academic excellence.
As stated on their website, the program considers students who:
- Are in their graduating year or graduated in the last two years from a:
- Canadian high school; or
- Quebec Cegep.
- Are entering, for the 2013-2014 academic year, their first year of full-time studies at:
- An accredited Canadian college or university; or
- A Quebec accredited collegial institution.
- Are a Canadian citizen, Permanent Resident (Landed Immigrant) or have Refugee status.
- Have demonstrated outstanding environmental commitment, community service and leadership during the course of their studies.
- Maintain a high level of academic achievement.
- Are not an employee or immediate family member of an employee of Toyota Canada Inc. and its Dealers, Toyota Canada Foundation, Earth Day Canada or Panasonic Canada Inc.
- Fulfill the requirements of the application package.
If you know a high school student who's an environmental leader and meets the above requirements, you may wish to encourage them to apply for a Toyota Earth Day Scholarship.
Applications must be submitted by February 15, 2013.
For more information on the program's application process and selection criteria, visit: http://www.earthday.ca/scholarship/about.php
Christmas Lights: The Benefit of Using LEDs December 21, 2012
Every year in St. John's the area outside of Confederation Building and Memorial University is decorated with about 60,000 Christmas lights. In 2008, they were changed from incandescent lights, to new LED lights. These new LED lights are a lot more energy efficient than the old ones. How much more efficient? We've done the math and the answer is amazing. It turns out that the LEDs are about 98% more efficient than the old incandescent lights. While the incandescent lights cost about $10,211 to run for the holiday season, the new LED lights cost only $251, which is a huge saving!
If you're interested, here's how the math breaks down:
Total Strings of Lights: 2,400 (25 lights per string)
|Energy Use per String|
|Incandescent Lights:||162.5 watts per hour|
|LED Lights:||4 watts per hour|
|Energy Use for 2,400 Strings of Lights|
|Incandescent Lights:||390,000 watts per hour|
|LED Lights:||9,600 watts per hour|
|Total Energy Use
(The lights are on for 11 hours a day for 30 days, a total of 330 hours)
|Incandescent Lights:||128,700 kilowatts|
|LED Lights:||3,168 kilowatts|
|Total Operating Cost
(The commercial rate for electricity is $0.07934 per kilowatt.)
Note: Energy use numbers are based upon best available estimates. Incandescent lights were tested using a power meter.
The Provincial Government committed to update the House of Assembly each year on the progress with implementing 'Charting Our Course: Climate Change Action Plan 2011' and 'Moving Forward: Energy Efficiency Action Plan 2011'. The Honourable Tom Hedderson, Minister Responsible for the Office of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, made the following statement on 11 December, 2012:
MR. HEDDERSON: "Thank you, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker, I rise today to give you an update on the great work being done to implement our Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Action Plans released in 2011. These plans established a strategic approach to climate change and energy efficiency, and set out government's vision and goals for the next five years for adapting to climate change, increasing energy efficiency, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
We have made great strides such as meeting our greenhouse gas target for 2010 by reducing provincial emission levels below 1990 levels, while at the same time, real economic growth increased by 63 per cent. We provided grants to approximately 4,000 low-income homeowners to make their homes more energy efficient, allowing them to save on average $775 per year on their home heating costs. We launched a pilot Hurricane Alert Program in 2012-13, under which more than 4,700 storm forecasts were generated for 40 communities, providing 55 flood alerts. We have also shown leadership by reducing energy consumption and operating costs in government's own operations by installing occupancy sensors in place of lighting controls, upgrading fluorescent fixtures, and procuring energy efficient appliances, computers and vehicles.
Furthermore, Mr. Speaker, we launched the province's first public awareness campaign on climate change and energy efficiency, Turn Back the Tide, receiving more than 9,200 visits to our campaign website in the first two and a half months. We also commissioned an independent study on how we can increase jobs in the green economy by 30 per cent by 2020, and are in active dialogue with business on the next steps.
Mr. Speaker, this is just a brief overview of some of the important work being done in this province on these important issues. I am also delighted that our efforts received national recognition in September when we won a Clean16 award for our outstanding work.
Without ongoing action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change, our communities will be at risk from adverse impacts such as extreme weather events and coastal erosion. But, Mr. Speaker, there are also significant opportunities such as utilizing our vast clean energy resources like Muskrat Falls, enhancing energy efficiency, and improving our province's resilience. This is why we must ensure we are well-placed to seize the opportunities and minimize the risks associated with the transition to a low-carbon global economy.
I look forward to the continued implementation of our action plans as we do our part to help tackle climate change in our province.
The official press release can be found here: http://www.releases.gov.nl.ca/releases/2012/exec/1211n06.htm
12 Days of Climate Change: Facebook Trivia Contest December 4 - 15, 2012
Enter to win daily prizes and the grand prize of an iPad Mini by testing your knowledge of climate change. All the answers can be easily found on www.turnbackthetide.ca.
There will be 12 questions over 12 days, with daily prizes and a grand prize draw on December 17, 2012, for an iPad Mini.
To enter, visit www.facebook.com/turnbackthetide and:
- Like our page
- Comment on each question with your answer
- Share the question with your friends
For the complete set of contest rules, see: 12 Days of Climate Change Contest Rules
Every year the countries that are party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol meet to negotiate the rules governing the global approach to mitigating and adapting to climate change. That's over 190 countries, including Canada.
This conference is the main annual international event on climate change. It brings together all the key players with an interest in tackling climate change in one place. This year's conference is taking place in Doha, Qatar from November 26 to December 7, 2012. Thousands of people will attend the conference, including delegates from countries around the world, observers drawn from intergovernmental organizations, civil society and business, and the media.
So what are all these countries trying to achieve? They are trying to agree on a new long-term treaty to provide the framework for global action on climate change to 2020 and beyond. There are two equally important parts to this:
- Addressing how communities around the world can adapt to the impacts of climate change that are now unavoidable; and
- Agreeing how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit or avoid worse impacts of climate change in the future.
As a result of the greenhouse gas emissions that have accumulated in the atmosphere since the Industrial Revolution, the Earth is committed to a certain amount of warming and some impacts are now unavoidable. These impacts will affect people and the environment in many ways, and they will differ depending on where you live in the world. Some of these impacts, like stronger hurricanes and severe heat waves, could be life-threatening. Others, like spreading weeds, will be less serious. And some effects, like longer growing seasons for crops, might even be good. However, as the Earth keeps getting warmer, the negative effects are expected to outweigh the positive ones.
Adaptation is the term used to encompass those actions by governments, communities, businesses and individuals to understand, plan for, and respond to unavoidable changes in the climate. In Newfoundland and Labrador, this could include new planning practices to avoid areas at risk of sea-level rise and flooding, building infrastructure to higher standards to withstand more extreme weather, and exploiting economic opportunities such as the growing demand for environmental and water monitoring.
Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Life on Earth is sustained by naturally occurring gases in the atmosphere that allow the sun's rays to pass through to warm the Earth, while trapping some of the warmth by preventing it from escaping out into space. This is known as the natural greenhouse effect and, without it, the Earth would be too cold to support many forms of life. But human activity has disrupted that balance. Since the Industrial Revolution, humans have released massive amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere from activities like burning fossil fuels (oil, gas and coal) and cutting down a lot of forests. Now there is too much of these greenhouse gases in the air. All the gases act like a blanket surrounding the earth, retaining too much of the sun's heat and fundamentally changing the Earth's climate. As a result, the Earth's average surface temperature on land and in the sea has started to rise, affecting the complex web of systems that support life on Earth.
Positively, the adverse impacts of global climate change will be less severe in the future if people reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we're putting into the atmosphere. There are strong economic imperatives to devise a clear path forward; the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is the world's most authoritative source of information on climate change, has found that the cost of reducing greenhouse gas emissions is significantly less than the cost of responding to the negative impacts associated with climate change.
Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the world today. As it is a global problem, it needs a global solution, which is why it is important that countries meet to discuss and agree how jurisdictions can work together to all do their fair share to tackle the problem. In Charting Our Course: Climate Change Action Plan 2011, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador reaffirmed its commitment to ensure our province plays its part.
Top 5 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon FootprintNovember 23, 2012
Your carbon footprint is your individual contribution to climate change. It's calculated by adding up the total greenhouse gas emissions you generate during an average day, and takes into account the energy you use at home, the waste you produce and your transportation needs.
Understanding your carbon footprint and where your greenhouse gas emissions come from is the first step in identifying how you can take action on climate change. You can calculate your carbon footprint by using our Carbon Calculator and for those looking to reduce their footprint, here's a list of the top 5 ways you can take action:
- Improve the Energy Efficiency of Your House
- Ensure your home is well insulated, including the basement and attic
- Invest in high-efficiency windows and doors
- Seal air leaks to avoid unnecessary heat loss
- Install programmable thermostats
- Go ENERGY STAR
- ENERGY STAR-certified products are typically in the top 25% in their class when it comes to energy efficiency
- Some of the products covered under ENERGY STAR are:
- Refrigerators, freezers, clothes washers and dishwashers
- Windows and doors
- Computers, monitors and printers
- Cordless phones
- Light bulbs and fixtures
- Reduce Your Waste
- Reuse items like plastic containers and glass jars, and avoid disposable products
- Recycle your beverage containers and check with your town council to see what other recycling programs are available in your area
- Compost your food scraps
- Be an Efficient Driver
- Avoid idling and turn off the engine if you're parked for more than 60 seconds
- Decrease your speed from 120 km/h to 100 km/h and use up to 20% less fuel
- Keep your tires properly inflated to improve your fuel efficiency
- Drive smoothly by avoiding quick acceleration and hard stops
- Choose an Efficient Vehicle
- Remember the second price tag, which is the cost of fueling the vehicle over its lifetime
- Right-size your ride by not buying a model that's larger than you need
- Use Canada's Fuel Consumption Guide to compare the fuel efficiency of vehicles
There are lots of other things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint. For more ideas, check out our Tip Centre.
Have a tip to suggest? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org
BuildGreen Atlantic NL 2012 - Conference and Trade Show
When: November 21, 2012 (11:30am-4:30pm)
Where: Delta Hotel, St. John's, NL
BuildGreen Atlantic NL is a half-day conference, trade show and networking event that will focus on the design, construction, and operation of greener buildings in Atlantic Canada.
The event is being presented by the Atlantic Chapter of the Canada Green Building Council, which is a national not-for-profit organization whose mission is to advance green building and sustainable community development in Canada.
The keynote address over lunch will be delivered by John Crace of WHW Architects on "Connecting Buildings to Climate Change in the Energy Warehouse of North America."
There will be 3 sessions in the afternoon with an impressive array of speakers from architectural, engineering, building, property development and consulting firms, as well as from an industry association, and both provincial and municipal government.
The trade show will feature green building materials, technologies and services available in Atlantic Canada. Sponsors and exhibitors confirmed to date include: Morrison Hershfield, Firestone, Enermodal, CMHC, NLAA, Fortis Properties, Marcor, InterfaceFLOR, Viessmann, Tandus Flooring, DMP Furniture Marketing, ThermalWise, Soprema, Forbo Flooring, Bird Stairs, Aquatherm, Controls Equipment, TakeCHARGE, Chandler Office Environments and Ancamna Sales.
To find out more and register, visit: www.buildgreenatlantic.org.
BuildGreen Atlantic NL 2012 - Workshops
When: November 21, 2012 (8:30am -11:30am)
Where: Delta Hotel, St. John's, NL
Preceding the BuildGreen Atlantic NL conference and trade show, individuals have the option of registering for one of two pre-conference workshops.
Workshop 1: Green Buildings That Work: Lessons Learned from Great Performing Buildings
There is a high demand for more energy-efficient buildings and understanding what makes a green building work is very important. In this workshop, you will hear about several types of buildings (including a school, retail store and office) that have achieved significant energy savings. Details of the innovative methods these buildings employed to reduce their energy consumption will be provided, along with practical strategies to become a leader in designing energy-efficient buildings in Canada.
Workshop 2: Developing a High-Performance House
This session explores the strategies and tools used to develop an energy-efficient house and may be of interest to homeowners, builders, real estate agents and others involved in the residential sector. The workshop will provide an introduction to:
- Residential design principles
- High-performance building assemblies
- Designing for air tightness
- Evaluating heating and cooling options
- Designing hot water systems
- Managing lighting and plug loads
To find out more and register, visit: www.buildgreenatlantic.org.
Speed up Your LEED Canada Course: Getting It Right the First Time
When: 22 November 2012, St. John's (8:00am-5:00pm)
Where: St. John's (location to be determined)
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a certification program for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. Many buildings across Canada are being built to achieve this certification to meet the demand for more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly buildings.
This interactive one-day workshop provides tips and strategies for preparing for certification under LEED Canada that will minimize the time, money and energy spent on gathering documentation during the certification process.
The course was developed by LEED reviewers to provide documentation guidance and key direction on the common problems and specific information that reviewers are looking for.
To find out more and register, visit the Canada Green Building Council website.
Protect Our Poles and Our Province, by Emily WalshNovember 1, 2012
Emily Walsh is a 17 year old Level 3 Honours student from Holy Spirit High School in Conception Bay South. She is one of 75 students from around the world who participated in the Students on Ice Arctic Expedition from Nunavut to Greenland this past summer, an amazing trip that brought her face-to-face with the impact that climate change is having on our planet. The post below is about her experiences during the trip.
During the past summer, I had the privilege of participating in an expedition to the Arctic with the Students on Ice organization. A group of 75 students and 42 adults from all over the world travelled from Nunavut to Greenland to experience the Arctic environment and northern Indigenous cultures. The purpose of the trip was to gain a new understanding of our planet and explore solutions to global challenges, such as climate change. The experience made us see how we could change our lifestyles to reduce the negative impact we are having on the world and realize how young people can be a powerful force in advocating for positive change.
During the expedition, it became clear to me that we are all interconnected and the things that affect the climate in one part of the world will affect all parts of the world eventually. Dr. Eric Galbraith, an oceanographer from McGill University, delivered a lecture during the expedition in which he noted that "the Arctic is warming faster than any other place in the world" and the huge glaciers around us are melting at a quicker rate than ever before. If the entire Greenland ice sheet melted, global sea levels would rise by 7 meters, which would devastate many coastal areas. Yet the Greenland ice sheet is only the second largest in the world; the Antarctic ice sheet is much larger and is also melting.
Newfoundland and Labrador has a seemingly endless water supply, a temperate climate controlled by the ocean, and a lack of noticeable air pollution-all of which might make us feel like we are not seeing an impact on our climate. However, rising sea levels would have a direct impact on our coastal areas, a warming ocean would have a negative effect on our fishery, and more extreme effects will happen around the world. We are no more immune to the effects of climate change than any other place, and we are no less the cause of the problem than any other group of people.
While in the Arctic, I was able to visit both the urban area of Iqaluit, as well as the rural town of Qikiqtarjuaq. Evidence of Western life is abundant in Iqaluit, with satellite dishes, cell phones, and cars. Perishable goods are out of reach for many because of the high cost of transporting them (two liters of milk cost $14) and as a result, many people still hunt and fish traditionally. When I visited the more remote community of Qikiqtarjuaq, I found that traditional living was practiced mostly by the elders in the community who always remembered to respect the land that allowed them to survive. I think that these are philosophies on sustainability from which we can learn.
Many parts of Newfoundland and Labrador once had a situation similar to the Arctic, whereby sustainability was a necessity for survival. Today, our situation is very different. Many of us commute to larger centers on a regular basis and we have created very high individual carbon footprints from transportation alone. Our access to goods and services has grown substantially, causing a significant increase in the waste we produce. One environmental issue we discussed during the expedition was the controversy surrounding the bottled water industry. Canadians consume more than 2 billion litres of bottled water a year and 85% of those bottles are not recycled. The pollution caused by this alone is astounding, never mind the fact that it takes about 125 mL of oil to produce one 500 mL plastic bottle.
When I embarked on the Students on Ice expedition this summer, I wasn't sure how big a problem climate change was. After my trip, I am no longer in any doubt of the severity of the problem and the fact we all need to do our bit to tackle it. Young people in Newfoundland and Labrador and around the world are growing up to lead this world into a new direction--hopefully into the right one. If we all commit to doing our part, we can make a difference.
Are you interested in applying to participate in an expedition with the Students on Ice program?
The Research and Development Corporation (RDC) offers Research Inspired Student Enrichment (RISE) Awards to high school students in Newfoundland and Labrador as an opportunity to attend educational programs, including Students on Ice. If you're a high school student between the ages of 14-18 with a passion for adventure, education and the environment, check out the Students on Ice website to learn about the eligibility requirements and visit http://www.rdc.org/funding/rise.htm to apply for a RISE Award. The deadline for application for the current RISE Awards is November 8, 2012.
On September 17, 2012, Government launched its Turn Back the Tide campaign. This is the Provincial Government's first-ever public awareness campaign on climate change and energy efficiency. The campaign is intended to promote a better understanding of climate change and energy efficiency, why these issues are important to Newfoundland and Labrador, and all the ways that households, businesses, communities, schools and governments can take action.
The development of the campaign fulfills a commitment made in the 2011 Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Action Plans. Government made that commitment following consultations on climate change and energy efficiency, where participants voiced concerns that a lack of public awareness and understanding of these issues in the province was a key challenge to progress.
This website is a key pillar of the campaign, but there are also television ads, newspaper advertisements and longer videos that will be useful for schools or special learning events.
The Turn Back the Tide slogan was developed to not only bring a single message through all elements of the campaign, but to also link an overall call to action with the impacts of climate change in our coastal province, particularly sea-level rise and the prospect of more storms.
For more information, contact the Office of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency at email@example.com or (709) 729-1210.