solar heating

Canada Abandons the Kyoto Protocol

Environment Minister Peter Kent officially withdrew Canada from the Kyoto Protocol last week, only hours after returning from the UN’s climate changes negotiations.  The NDP’s Laurin Liu weighs in on the issue and explains what it was like to be in Durban for the COP17 climate talks. We also take a look at passive solar heating solutions you can add to an existing home and talk to community gardeners about why they just can’t stay out of the dirt.

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The Cumberland Power Plant in Tennessee. Photo by Roger Smith.

Environment Minister Peter Kent dropped a diplomatic bombshell last week with the announcement that Canada was pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol, the international treaty designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions globally. In making the announcement Minister Kent argued that Kyoto was ineffective, given that large developing countries including China and India faced no firm limits on emissions. Furthermore, Canada was so far off its target that failure was all but inevitable. Canada is now the only country to have pulled out, sparking criticism from China, India, Germany, small island states and others. Critics in Canada worry that such a move weakens out ability to influence further climate negotiations. The minister, however, claims that Canada will play a constructive role in further international negotiations, but only on a new treaty. Deputy Environment critic Laurin Liu from the federal NDP shares her thoughts on the issue.

Here in icy Canada, trying to reduce your home’s energy use in wintertime can leave you and your family in the cold. Keeping your house warm without fossil fuels or extra electricity is possible. Today, Brett Tegart takes a look at passive solar heating solutions you can add to an existing home, and at a new technology that could generate electricity using the windows in your house.

All across the country people are getting their hands dirty. Vacant lots, old rail right-of-ways, and unused corners of city land are getting a make over as community gardens reclaim the lost space. These days just about every major city in the country has a garden, and they’re so popular that many are struggling just to find room for all their new members. What’s all the fuss about? Steve Andersen fills us in.


Canada pulls out of Kyoto: Hours after returning from the UN climate talks in South Africa last week, Canadian Environment Minister Peter Kent announced the federal government will withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol. Chinese and UN officials immediately urged Canada to reconsider – as did Japan, which also refused to take on a second round of Kyoto commitments.

More on this story: The Star, Calgary CTV, Guardian, CBC, Winnipeg CTV, Telegraph

Quebec announces cap-and-trade system: The provincial government has decided to introduce a cap-and-trade system for carbon emissions, making them the first Canadian province to do so. This system, which creates a market for pollution control by providing incentives for emissions reductions, is designed to improve flexibility, fairness and efficiency in regulating the production of carbon.

More on this story: CBC, Montreal CTV, Montreal Gazette, The Globe and Mail

Ontario’s polar bears are in dire straits: The impacts of climate change are far reaching, and one impact is hitting closer to home. The warmer weather is changing the ice patterns which in turn is making it harder for the polar bears to find adequate food to survive. Ian Stirling, the well known scientist who has studied polar bears for the last several decades, warns that 40 years from now their likely won’t be many bears left in the Hudson Bay area.

More on this story: The Star, CTV

Bruce Power withdraws plans for nuclear power plant in northern Alberta: The Ontario-based company had proposed sites near the town of Peace River for a 4000 megawatt plant. CEO Duncan Hawthorne said the company instead wanted to focus on its Ontario operations for now. Peace River’s mayor Lorne Mann said he was disappointed at the news.

More on this story: CBC, Daily Herald Tribune, Edmonton Journal

Carbon Offsets & A Solar Powered Town

The T’Sou-ke Nation on Vancouver Island has built one of Canada’s largest solar installations and made a name for itself as leader in sustainable power. They tell us how they did it, and what they’re doing to help other communities that want to follow their lead. We also look into carbon offsets: their pros and cons, and what to look for when buying them. All that, plus your weekly round up of the new headlines from across the country, on this week’s edition of Terra Informa.

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The Pembina Institute and David Suzuki Foundation consumer guide to carbon offsets.

One of the solar arrays at the T'Sou-ke Nation on Vancouver Island.