Your source for new events and information on climate change and energy efficiency.
Earth Day 2016 and Paris Agreement Signing Ceremony April 19, 2016
Earth Day is an annual event to promote global environmental awareness and action that began in 1970. Over 1 billion people participate each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world. This year’s Earth Day will be a historic one for global action on climate change.
On April 22, 2016, world leaders from over 130 countries are expected to gather in New York to sign the international Paris Agreement on climate change, which was adopted in December 2015. United States President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping have already jointly announced that they will sign the agreement, and so has Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, along with leaders from other major emitters including India, Japan, and Australia.
The Paris Agreement is the foundation for international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and keep global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels. By signing this document, countries around the world will demonstrate their commitment to continue the fight against climate change. The agreement will be open for signing for a year and will take effect when it is formally adopted by at least 55 countries that represent at least 55 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
To mark this special signing ceremony, Earth Day Network has launched a campaign called “Trees for the Earth” which aims to plant 7.8 billion trees by 2020, one for every person on the planet. To take part, simply plant, hug, or sketch or take a photo of a tree, and then share it via social media using the hashtags #ParisAgreement, #Trees4Earth and #EarthDay2016.
To learn more about the connections between the Paris Agreement, Earth Day, and the Trees for the Earth campaign, read this Press Release from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
Latest Data on Greenhouse Gas Emissions in Canada April 15, 2016
In April of each year, the Federal Government submits Canada's greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions estimate to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The report for 2014, which is the latest year for which data is available, was submitted on April 14, 2016.
Key Findings: Canada
Canada has committed to reduce its GHG emissions by 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020. This target equates to reducing GHG emissions to 620 million tonnes (MT). The report showed that national GHG emissions for 2014 were 732 MT. This estimate was stable with GHG emissions in 2013 but 18 per cent above the 2020 target.
A breakdown of Canada's emissions by economic sector shows the sources of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions can be attributed to seven key areas of the economy: oil and gas (26.2 per cent); transportation (23.4 per cent); buildings (11.9 per cent); electricity (10.7 per cent); emissions-intensive and trade-exposed industries (10.4 per cent); agriculture (10 per cent); and waste (7.4 per cent).
Recognizing that more needs to be done to meet Canada's greenhouse gas targets for 2020 and 2030, the Prime Minister and Premiers agreed to develop a Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change in 2016, for implementation in 2017.
Key Findings: Newfoundland and Labrador
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has a target of reducing the province's GHG emissions by 10 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020. This equates to a GHG reduction target of 8.6 MT by 2020. Newfoundland and Labrador's GHG emissions for 2014 were 10.6 MT. This is a 10 percent increase from 2013, as well as a 10 percent increase from 1990. GHG emissions for 2014 were about 23 percent above the 2020 target.
The reported increase in 2014 is largely due to increased GHG emissions from the offshore petroleum sector following extended shutdown periods at Terra Nova and White Rose in 2012 and 2013; increased electricity generation at the Holyrood Generating Station resulting from an unusually cold winter in 2014 and the ramping up of the Long Harbour Processing Plant; and an increase in off-road diesel transportation GHG emissions in 2014 resulting from increased activity at major construction sites such as Muskrat Falls.
While the development of Muskrat Falls will reduce provincial GHG emissions when Holyrood is retired, this is expected to be offset by industrial growth in other sectors, including the start of production Hebron. Without additional policies and measures to reduce GHG emissions, current provincial projections suggest that GHG emissions in 2020 will be on par with 1990 levels. Government is committed to taking further action to tackle climate change, including developing greenhouse gas targets for large industry and developing a new climate change strategy for the province.
On March 22, 2016, the federal Minister of Finance, the Honourable Bill Morneau, tabled the Federal Government's 2016 budget in the House of Commons. This was Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's first budget, and includes a number of investments to address and respond to climate change, as well as help Canada become a low-carbon economy.
Climate Change Investments
- $2.9 billion over five years to address climate change and air pollution, including $2 billion to create a a Low Carbon Economy Fund, to help provinces and territories reduce emissions through the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change.
- $130 million over five years to implement climate change adaptation programming.
- $109 million over five years for science, data reporting, and policy and regulations.
Energy Efficiency Investments
- $129 million over five years to deliver energy efficiency programs and policies, including energy efficiency standards and codes for buildings, products, industry, and vehicles.
- $2.5 million over two years to identify the most promising regional electricity infrastructure projects with the potential to achieve significant emission reductions.
- $11 million over two years for renewable energy projects for off-grid Indigenous and northern communities that rely on diesel or other fossil fuels for heat and power.
Clean Technology Investments
- $1 billion over four years, to be announced though a new federal Innovation Agenda.
- $3.4 billion to support public transit, with the Federal Government funding up to 50 percent of such projects. Funding will be allocated to municipalities based on ridership.
- $62.5 million over two years, beginning in 2016-17, to support infrastructure for alternative energy fuels, including charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.
- $57 million over two years to develop regulations and standards for clean transportation technology.
- Up to $2.1 billion for repairs and retrofits to properties and buildings, and help green government operations by reducing its carbon footprint and energy consumption.
Funding for Municipalities
- $75 million to support emission reduction initiatives by local governments, assess local climate risks, and integrate assessments into asset management plans.
- $125 million over the next two years to enhance the Green Municipal Fund and $50 million to support integration of asset management best practices.
To read more about the 2016 Federal Budget's investments in clean growth and climate change visit: http://www.budget.gc.ca/2016/docs/bb/brief-bref-en.html#section02
On March 10, 2016, Prime Minister Trudeau and President Obama met in Washington, DC to discuss a range of climate change and clean energy matters. Climate change played a prominent role in this meeting, given that the US is the world's second largest greenhouse gas (GHG) emitting country (China is the largest emitter) and Canada is the ninth largest emitter. The two leaders agreed to a joint statement that set out a series of actions to combat climate change by reducing GHG emissions significantly by mid-century. Among other items, they agreed to:
- Sign the Paris Agreement on tackling climate change. This agreement was reached by over 190 countries in December 2015. It contains commitments and pledges by all countries to reduce GHG emissions. Canada agreed to reduce its GHG emissions by 30% below 2005 levels by 2030, and the US committed to reduce its GHG emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025;
- Accelerate development of clean electricity sources. For Canada, this presents an opportunity to develop new hydroelectricity sources;
- Reduce GHG emissions from the oil and gas sector. This will include emissions from upstream (extraction) activity and pipelines. In Newfoundland and Labrador, GHG emissions on offshore petroleum platforms will be included;
- Improve passenger and heavy duty vehicle standards to reduce GHG emissions. Joint Canadian-US regulations have been agreed to in recent years for passenger vehicles for model years 2011 to 2026, and for heavy duty vehicle for model years 2014 to 2018. New regulations are planned for heavy duty vehicles for model years 2021 forward, and for passenger vehicles for model years after 2026; and
- Accelerate planning to improve resilience to the impacts of climate change. This may include new information products, such as flood risk mapping, and new capital investments, such as coastal and marine infrastructure.
A copy of the statement can be found at http://pm.gc.ca/eng/news/2016/03/10/us-canada-joint-statement-climate-energy-and-arctic-leadership
Earth Hour 2016 March 17, 2016
When: Saturday March 19, 2016 (8:30-9:30, local time)
Earth Hour is an annual global event organized by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). It encourages people all over the world to turn off their lights for one hour to help raise awareness and drive action on climate change. Millions of people are expected to switch off their lights and show their support in 2016. But Earth Hour is about more than simply turning off our lights. It's an opportunity to come together and celebrate the global movement to reduce the impact we're having on the planet.
Last year, more than 2.2 million individuals and 2,000 businesses from over 150 countries and territories worldwide switched off their lights for Earth Hour 2015. Newfoundland and Labrador played its part too - according to the Globe and Mail, this province saw a 33-megawatt reduction during Earth Hour 2015. That adds up to shutting off 825,000 laptop computers or 73,326 clothes washers, or taking 4,700 electrically-heated homes off the grid!
2016 marks the tenth time the world has turned the lights out for climate change. And this year, WWF is encouraging participants to switch on their social power to shine a light on climate action by volunteering their Facebook posts, customizing their profile pictures, and tagging any Earth Hour social media posts with #ChangeClimateChange.
Newfoundlanders and Labradorians are encouraged to participate in Earth Hour 2016 this Saturday by turning off all non-essential lighting between 8:30pm and 9:30pm, local time. For more information about Earth Hour, visit: https://www.earthhour.org/
Upcoming Event: Home Show 2016 March 16, 2016
Want to learn about how to make your home more energy efficient? The 33rd annual Home Show will be held at Mile One Centre in St. John's on March 19 and 20, 2016.
This event is hosted each year by the Canadian Home Builders' Association - Newfoundland and Labrador (CHBA-NL). It provides an opportunity to learn about new trends in home building and renovations, while seeking helpful advice through face-to-face interaction with industry experts.
The 2016 Home Show will feature the popular Energy Efficiency Pavilion, which includes a four-part home energy efficiency video series, as well as "Ask the Expert" presentations on energy efficiency. This year, CHBA-NL is also partnering with Kent and Habitat for Humanity NL to build Newfoundland and Labrador's first tiny home. Visitors will be able to take a tour, and enter for a chance to win their very own new tiny home.
Date & Time:
Saturday, March 19, 2016 (10:00am - 8:00pm)
Sunday, March 20, 2016 (10:00am - 4:00pm)
$8 - General Admission
$7 - Seniors
Free - Children under 12 accompanied by an adult
($1 off admission available at http://chbanl.ca/event/33rd-annual-chba-nl-home-show/
To learn more about the Home Show, including the list of exhibitors who will be attending this year, check out CHBA-NL's website.
New Federal Investments Announced for Climate Resilience March 8, 2016
On March 2, 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced two new federal funding initiatives to help communities across Canada move towards a low-carbon future and adapt to a changing climate. The Prime Minister made this announcement during his opening address to the GLOBE 2016 sustainable business leadership conference, one day before meeting with CanadaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Premiers to discuss clean growth and climate change.
While the details have yet to be released, here is a high-level description of the two new funding initiatives:
- $75 million in new funding to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) to help cities and towns reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and enhance climate resiliency at the municipal-level; and
- $50 million to improve climate resilience in building and infrastructures codes across Canada.
FCM is a national association of over 2,000 municipalities that has advocated on behalf of municipal governments in Canada since 1901. In more recent years, FCM has also delivered several sustainability and climate change-focused programs, such as its Green Municipal Fund and Partners for Climate Protection.
On March 3, 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Canada's provincial and territorial Premiers met in Vancouver to discuss how they could work together to address climate change and promote clean growth. Indigenous leaders also shared their views on climate change with First Ministers at a meeting on March 2, recognizing the unique realities that they face, and respecting the importance of traditional ecological knowledge. Premier Dwight Ball played a prominent role in these meetings, representing both Newfoundland and Labrador and, in his capacity as Chair of the Council of Federation, his provincial and territorial counterparts.
At the end of their meetings, Canada's First Ministers released a joint declaration in which they all agreed to continue working towards a pan-Canadian framework on clean growth and climate change. The Vancouver Declaration also outlined a number of key commitments and actions that will help drive progress on these important issues. Central to this was a commitment to implement greenhouse gas reduction policies to help meet or exceed Canada's 2030 target to reduce emissions by 30% below 2005 levels.
To achieve these goals, the First Ministers agreed to establish federal-provincial-territorial working groups across ministries of the environment, economy and finance to identify options in four priority areas:
- Clean Technology, Innovation, and Jobs - to explore options on how to stimulate economic growth, create jobs, and drive innovation across all sectors to transition to a low-carbon economy, leveraging regional strengths.
- Carbon Pricing Mechanisms - to explore what role carbon pricing mechanisms can play in meeting Canada's emissions reduction targets, including different design options that consider existing and planned provincial and territorial systems.
- Specific Mitigation Opportunities - to explore options on how to promote clean growth and achieve a range of ambitious reductions in key sectors, including large industry, transportation, electricity, buildings, agriculture and forestry, and government operations as well as individual energy conservation actions.
- Adaptation and Climate Resilience - to explore options on a comprehensive approach to adapt to the impacts of climate change, support affected communities, and build greater climate resilience.
These meetings mark significant progress in Canada's efforts to fight climate change and build a greener economy. A pan-Canadian framework will support action to achieve Canada's national greenhouse gas emissions reduction target for 2030, which was part of the international climate change agreement reached in Paris last year. First Ministers will meet again in fall 2016 to finalize the framework and make the working group reports public.
To find out more, read the Vancouver Declaration on Clean Growth and Climate Change, and the communiqué issued by Canada's First Ministers.
Minister Trimper's Electrifying New Ride February 18, 2016
Guess who just became one of Newfoundland and Labrador's newest electric vehicle (EV) owners? The Honourable Perry Trimper, Minister Responsible for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, recently shifted his own efforts to fight climate change into high gear by buying his first-ever EV.
Just What are EVs, Anyway?
Simply put, an "EV" is any vehicle that eases up on the gas in favour of high-powered batteries and electric motors. For a long time, hybrid electric vehicles, which use batteries to supplement their primary gas-powered engines, were the gold standard in green vehicles. But with today's technology, consumers can also choose from vehicles that plug into the electricity grid for an even greener ride. The latest plug-in hybrids use significantly less gas than their plugless counterparts, while motorists like Minister Trimper have ditched the gas-powered engine altogether for an EV that can run solely on electricity.
Green Energy Hits the Road
When powered by renewable green energy like hydro and wind power, EVs can play a big part in reducing our carbon footprint. That's because they don't burn fossil fuels like gas, diesel or coal in their fuel tanks or in our electricity-generating power plants, all of which emit greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Currently, over 30% of provincial emissions come from transportation. And with 98% of our province's electricity coming from renewable sources by 2018, EVs present a real opportunity to help fight climate change.
Upon picking up his keys, Minister Trimper joined a growing number of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians who are leading the way to a greener future - there are now over 30 all-electric vehicles in the province!
To learn more about the state of EVs in Newfoundland and Labrador, check out this Provincial Government report on the technology, infrastructure and market developments.
To hear more about Minister Trimper's emission-free experience, read his interview with CBC's Peter Cowan, visit http://turnbackthetide.ca/whatsnew/pdf/CBC_Inv_Min_EV.pdf
And if all of this EV talk has sparked your interest in driving electric, visit Green Rock Electric Vehicle Solutions (E.V.S.), Newfoundland and Labrador's first 100% electric vehicle dealer and service center.
New Guide for Building Energy Efficient Homes and Small Buildings February 10, 2016
The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has developed a new guide to help builders, municipalities and individuals better understand the energy efficiency requirements of the National Building Code that apply to homes and small buildings.
The new 2016 Guide builds on a guide developed in 2013 focused on energy efficiency in homes, and includes exciting new features to further assist building designers, contractors and inspectors in ensuring that homes and small buildings meet the energy efficiency requirements on the National Building Code, such as.
- New information on the energy efficiency requirements of the National Building Code for small buildings
- New tips, local case studies and examples of best practices in building to the Code's energy efficiency requirements for both homes and small buildings
- New checklists that contractors and municipal officials can use to ensure that construction and renovation projects comply with the energy efficiency requirements of the Code.
The 2016 Guide to Building Energy Efficient Homes and Small Buildings has three sections:
- Section 1 provides an overview of the Code's requirements and is designed for members of the public or those without technical knowledge who want to learn more about the benefits of energy efficient homes and small buildings and the potential savings that energy efficiency can provide;
- Section 2 is for technical users and includes more detail on various building assemblies and systems. It includes information on construction methods, techniques and materials and how they relate to Code energy efficiency requirements, as well as new examples of local case studies and best practices in energy efficiency for homes and small buildings; and
- Section 3 contains checklists that building designers, contractors and inspectors can use to determine whether various building assemblies meet Code requirements in each of the province's four climate zones under the Code.
The guide was launched on February 10, 2016 at the annual general meeting of the Canadian Homebuilders Association Newfoundland and Labrador.
Download a copy of the Guide to Building Energy Efficient Homes and Small Buildings at: www.exec.gov.nl.ca/exec/ccee/publications/efficient_home_building_guide.pdf
On January 28 and 29, 2016, Canada's provincial, territorial, and federal Ministers of Environment and Climate Change met in Ottawa to begin work on a new national framework to address climate change. The MinistersÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢ discussions were in preparation for a meeting between Canada's Prime Minister and Premiers on March 3, 2016 in Vancouver at which climate change will be a significant agenda item.
The Green Municipal Fund (GMF) is a unique program offered by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) that provides funding and knowledge services to support sustainable community development. GMF-supported initiatives aim to improve air, water, and soil, and mitigate the impacts of climate change.
Three types of municipal environmental initiatives are funded through the GMF by FCM:
- Plans - Grants to develop plans (e.g. municipal plans, sustainable neighbourhood action plans, greenhouse gas reduction plans)
- Studies - Grants to conduct feasibility studies and pilot projects
- Projects - Low-interest loans, usually in combination with grants, to implement capital projects
March 1, 2016 is the deadline to submit an Initial Review Form for capital projects under the Spring 2016 program.
Funding is allocated in five sectors of municipal activity: brownfields, energy, transportation, waste and water. Some examples of previously funded capital projects that have addressed climate change and energy efficiency across Canada include:
- Installing water meters and rehabilitating water mains in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador.
- Installing a geothermal heating system in the Community Centre in Springhill, Nova Scotia that utilizes energy from mineshafts beneath the Town.
- Acquiring hybrid electric vehicles for transit services in the City of Windsor, Ontario.
- Implementing a landfill gas management system to assist with the progressive closure of a landfill site in the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George, British Columbia.
For more information, or to apply for funding visit:http://www.fcm.ca/home/programs/green-municipal-fund.htm
Enter the "takeCHARGE of Your Town" Initiative January 8, 2016
The "takeCHARGE of Your Town" initiative is aimed at encouraging residents and municipalities across Newfoundland and Labrador to reduce their energy use. Over the past four years, more than $40,000 has been awarded to successful cities and towns through this initiative.
This year, a grant of $7,500 is available to be won. The "takeCHARGE of Your Town" initiative is currently inviting municipalities to submit proposals that will support efforts in their community to promote energy conservation or efficiency. Proposals must demonstrate a positive effort to save energy that benefits the entire community. Examples of eligible projects include, but are not limited to, energy efficiency upgrades to a town hall or municipal building.
Last year, two winners were selected:
Town of Meadows
- The Town of Meadows upgraded the heating and cooling systems and lighting in the TownÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s recreation centre, and upgraded heating and cooling systems and lighting in the TownÃƒÆ’Ã‚Â¢ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¾Ã‚Â¢s Fire Hall.
Town of Port au Choix
- The Twin Town Sports Complex is in the process of upgrading the efficiency of the arena by adding controls on heaters and pumps that will save energy and save money.
The deadline for applications is February 14, 2016 (4:00pm), with the winner to be announced in March 2016. To find out more about the takeCHARGE of Your Town initiative and to submit a proposal, visit https://takechargenl.ca/news-events/town-challenge/.