Alberta Election 2012 & Community Bike Shops

Today we look at the environmental implications of next week’s provincial election in Alberta. As Canada’s largest greenhouse gas emitter, the province’s policy decisions impact the whole country. Would a shift in power be followed by a shift in policy towards the oil sands? Plus, we get our hands dirty with a visit to the local community bike shop. This isn’t your ordinary bike store. Here they’ll teach you how to fix your own bike and provide all the tools to do it, and at a fraction of the cost.

Download this week’s show.

Laurie Blakeman writing on a giant calendar on the wall in her campaign office.

Edmonton Centre Liberal candidate Laurie Blakeman at her campaign office. Photo by Chris Chang-Yen Phillips.

Alberta Election
In recent years Canada’s reputation on environmental issues has taken a beating on the international stage, particularly when it comes to climate change. As the home of the oil sands and the only province still building coal fired power plants, Alberta is front and centre in the debate over the nation’s carbon emissions. On April 23rd, Albertans will go to the polls, and for the first time in 40 years the Progressive Conservatives face a serious threat of being unseated. Regardless of who wins the election, there will be implications for the country as a whole and for efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Today Terra Informa’s Chris Chang-Yen Phillips speaks to the parties about the environmental platforms they would implement if elected.

Policy Statements:

More on this story: What would a Wildrose win do to Canada’s energy policies?

Community Bike Shops

As spring weather warms the country, more and more cyclists are hitting the roads. Their first stop is often the local repair shop for a quick tune up, but if your bike needs a little work there’s another option. Community bike shops are popping up from coast to coast, providing cyclists with the space to repair their own bikes, and teaching them the skills to do it. For more on the story, Steve Andersen speaks to members of community bike shops in Vancouver and Edmonton.

More on this story: List of Community Bike Shops in Canada

News Headlines

Canada won’t meet its 2020 emissions target
Canada will find it tough to meet its 2020 emissions target due to the continued expansion of the oil sands in Alberta. That’s according to a recent report published by the Thomson Reuters Point Carbon News division.  Although Canada’s output of greenhouse gasses was almost unchanged in 2010 from 2009 — news that was recently hailed by the conservative government — the government’s pledge to cut emissions to 607 megatonnes by 2020 is still far out of reach due to increased production in the oil sands.

More on this story: BBC News, ReutersPoint Carbon (PDF)

David Suzuki resigns from his charitable foundation
David Suzuki, Canada’s most famous environmentalist, says that he has resigned from the board of his charitable foundation to avoid being the a scapegoat for criticism and government attacks that would undermine his foundation’s ability to be an effective voice for the environment.  Dr. Suzuki said he had to leave the board and distance himself from the organization because the foundation was being targeted because of his personal views and actions.

More on this story: Globe and Mail, Vancouver Sun, CTV News

Wind Turbines
Now we head across the Atlantic to a UK study that has dispelled the belief that onshore wind farms are causing long term changes to bird populations. The study, published in the Journal of Applied Ecology was carried out by four European naturalists and orthinologists, goes against widespread allegations that clusters of turbines routinely cause serious damage to birds through collision with the revolving blades, noise, or visual disturbances.

More on this story: The Guardian, CleanTechnica, Original Report (PDF)

Fracking linked to earth quakes
Scientists at the upcoming meeting of the Seismological Society of America will be reporting that the rate of increase in earthquakes coincides with use of hydro-fracturing and its surge in use from 2006. The dramatic rise in earthquakes started in 2001 and covers a large area of the mid U.S. from Alabama to the Rockies in the west. Most of the earthquakes occurred within 24 hours of the injection of the wastewater and chemicals at the end of fracking operations.

More on this story: CBC News, Environmental Working Group, Think Progress

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