Solar Fair 2016 Video Highlights

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First Things First Okanagan hosted a Solar Fair/Symposium Saturday March 12, 2016. Talks in the Okanagan College Lecture Theatre were videotaped. Links to the talks are as follows:

SOLAR FAIR Community Solar (Carmen Proctor)

SOLAR FAIR Eco Sage (Tabitha Eneas + Phil Hawkes)

SOLAR FAIR Keynote Address (Josha MacNab)

SOLAR FAIR Energy Management (Jay Lewis)

SOLAR FAIR Green Economy (George Heyman)

SOLAR FAIR Experts Panel


Paris 2015 – Cop 21 and “BC Climate Leadership”

Premier Clark is off to Paris to tout B.C.’s “climate leadership”, while acknowledging that the province will miss it’s legislated greenhouse emissions targets for 2020.

When Premier Clark announced the B.C. LNG Emissions Law in 2014, as a smokescreen to cover the potentially atmospheric rise in BC carbon emissions from new LNG plants. Our 2020 targets would be challenged but not beyond our reach. Environment Minister Polak said increased LNG production will test carbon emission targets, which have legislated at one-third below 2007 levels by 2020, and the province will also consider cutting emissions in sectors such as transportation and construction.

“It is going to be a challenge, no question,” she said. “Sure, it’s going to be really difficult but it means we’re going to have to be drilling down more and more on the everyday things that we can do to reduce GHG emissions.”

Last week with the release of the Climate Leadership Report and acknowledging the news that BC will miss it’s 2020 target Minister Polak confirmed that, “We always knew it was going to be tough to meet”.  Merran Smith, Climate Leadership Team member and Executive Director of Clean Energy Canada, suggested that the targets will be missed because, “we stopped putting in place any new climate action for the past few years.” So while we were supposed to be “drilling down”, Polak just backed off any new climate action.

Today as the Premier heads to Paris, even without any LNG deals producing increased carbon, we are missing our 2020 target. To come: “the Pembina Institute estimates that even the lower end of that (LNG) development scenario would produce a staggering 73 million tonnes of carbon pollution per year by 2020.” Yikes! That’s more than double our current level of carbon in the province.

Christy Clark Selling LNG

One can only wonder if British Columbia’s interests in slowing climate change are best served by Clarks trip to Paris or staying home and implementing the recomendations of her Climate Leadership Team.

Premier Clark has said since day one that by providing liquid natural gas to the world we can clean up the worlds air. “We’re going to have a really clean product and we are going to help China wean itself off coal.” Trouble is in the long term that will only mean replacing one demon carbon with another.

The U.S. Department of Energy talks about research from the science journal Nature investigating the long term effects of natural gas potentially displacing coal and low-emitting energy sources over the long term.

Because natural gas emits half the carbon dioxide of coal, many people hoped the recent natural gas boom could help slow climate change — and according to government analyses, natural gas did contribute partially to a decline in U.S. carbon dioxide emissions between 2007 and 2012. But in the long run, according to this study, a global abundance of inexpensive natural gas would compete with all energy sources — not just higher-emitting coal, but also lower-emitting nuclear and renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar. Inexpensive natural gas would also accelerate economic growth and expand overall energy use.

  • Natural gas replacing coal would reduce carbon emissions. But due to its lower cost, natural gas would also replace some low-carbon energy, such as renewable or nuclear energy. Overall changes result in a smaller reduction than expected due to natural gas replacing these other, low-carbon sources. In a sense, natural gas would become a larger slice of the energy pie.
  • Abundant, less expensive natural gas would lower energy prices across the board, leading people to use more energy overall. In addition, inexpensive energy stimulates the economy, which also increases overall energy use. Consequently, the entire energy pie gets bigger.
  • The main component of natural gas, methane, is a more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. During production and distribution, some methane inevitably escapes into the atmosphere. The researchers considered both high and low estimates for this so-called fugitive methane. Even at the lower end, fugitive methane adds to climate change.

Enviro Canada’s Failing West Coast Weather Bouys

On March 18 The Federal Government announced new safety measures for Pacific Coast shipping to allay British Columbian’s fears of potential West Coast oil spills.

At the time Canada’s (then) Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver and Transport Minister Denis Lebel flew to British Columbia to announce the new measures where they advertised the plan for “world class tanker safety.”

Even B.C.’s Minister Of The Environment Terry Lake got in on the good news. “It looks to me like they’re making a great effort and they understand from British Columbians that you can’t simply increase the transport of hazardous goods through B.C. without also increasing the environmental safeguards and protection mechanisms that are in place.”

Shortly after that announcement, one of the offshore weather stations used by mariners in Queen Charlotte Sound went off the air, no longer transmitting reports to ocean going traffic. According to a story by The Tyee there are two other weather tracking stations on the West Coast, managed by Environment Canada that are also our of commission, one of which will probably not be fixed until May of 2015.

The Tyee also reported in March, ” that Environment Canada weather services will be slashed about 18 percent between now and 2016/17. Funding for “reliable, accurate and timely forecasts and warnings” will drop from $166 million to about $143 million in 2017″.

Looks like a sequel –  “The Perfect Storm II”, on the West Coast of British Columbia coming to theatres near you.

Penticton Climate Action Advisory Committee

Did you know that the City Of Penticton has a Climate Action Advisory Committee?

According to their Terms of Reference the Committee’s mandate is to make recommendations to Council on all matters referred to the Committee, including:
 The City of Penticton Corporate and Community Climate Action Plan;
 Fostering public awareness, recognition and support for a healthy and
sustainable natural environment;
 Providing Recommendations on specific environmental, planning, building
construction, and waste management goals, policies and bylaws;
 Providing input on submissions to other levels of Government in relation to
environmental issues;

 Recommending changes to operational protocols that would make the City
more sustainable.
 Making suggestions to help the City achieve carbon neutrality and its climate
action obligations under provincial legislation.
 Implementation of the City’s Corporate and Climate Action Planning work.
 Making recommendations to help the City adapt to Climate Change.

For more information on this group you can go to:

Pembina Institute Pans Clarks LNG Plan

First Things First Okanagan wants to talk about B.C.’s exported carbon footprint, not what we mine at home, but what we sell to power plants overseas and the real impact on environmental carbon dioxide; to contextualize the conversation so to speak.

Yesterday the Pembina Insititute panned Christy Clarks recent claims that our LNG will help Asian economies move away from dirtier fuels and clean up the air in Asia as well as here. “Without stronger policies that limit carbon, the study finds demand for coal, oil and natural gas continues to increase, pushing the world toward dangerous climate change.”

First Things First Okanagan would like to see a consistent and environmentally meaningful energy policy for B.C. Todays BC Liberal Party is claiming to clean up the environment with the addition of 5 new LNG facilities. Yet with last years approval of  Line Creek Phase II extension of mining operations in the Kootenays, one might mistakenly believe that the Liberal strategy is to unload to Asia, whatever carbon we can get out of the ground.

The Pembina Institute talks about the lack of policy and what is needed to effect global change at

Worlds Cleanest LNG? – BC adds 73 million more tons of Carbon Dioxide

Earlier this summer, in her key note speech to the LNG Industry , Premier Clark stated that LNG production would be the biggest contribution we ever have as a province to reducing greenhouse gas emissions around the globe, by powering up the economies of Asia and helping them move to the cleanest fossil fuel on the planet, to move away from dirtier fuels and clean up the air in Asia as well as here.

This week with the announcement of our new LNG guidelines British Columbians were told that, “Having the world’s cleanest LNG facilities means protecting the air and water in B.C., which is why Premier Christy Clark made this a priority for the (environment) minister’s mandate and why meeting this commitment today is so important.”

Pretty impressive, unfortunately from what I read elsewhere as five new LNG facilities come on board, BC will inject another seventy three millions tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. That equates to an additional 15.8 tonnes of carbon dioxide per person in B.C. Now consider this, if you drive 20,000 kilometers per year your car spews about 3.4 tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Even if you are riding your bike, walking more, or just bought a new car with awesome fuel efficiency to lessen your impact on the environment, Christy and Mary just increased your carbon footprint by 50%, ouch!

Here’s what BC’s Environment Minister Polak had to say about the new LNG guidelines, and here are the opinions of a number of critics of the announcement.