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Why a California city is trying to build the state’s last fossil-fueled power plant

PUBLISHED SAT, MAR 5 20229:15 AM EST
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KEY POINTS
  • Glendale, home to Walt Disney Imagineering and the famous Brand Boulevard, could be the last city in California to build a fossil-fueled power plant.
  • The move has angered residents and environmentalists who are urging the city to invest in clean energy to slow the climate crisis.
  • The debate over the plant highlights a broader issue over how California must figure out how to eliminate planet-warming fossil fuels while continuing to power communities.

In this article

 

People gathered in Glendale in February to protest the city's approval to build a fossil-fueled power plant.

People gathered in Glendale in February to protest the city’s approval to build a fossil-fueled power plant.
Courtesy of Morgan Goodwin

Glendale, a Los Angeles suburb that’s home to Walt Disney Imagineering and the famous Brand Boulevard, could be the last city in California to build a fossil-fueled power plant. The move has angered residents and environmentalists who have urged the city to invest in clean energy to slow the climate crisis.

Glendale has proposed to spend $260 million on five new natural gas-powered generators that will produce about 93 megawatts at the Grayson Power Plant, enough to power a midsize city. The decision comes after the state passed legislation requiring 100% clean energy by 2045.

 

The ongoing debate over the plant highlights a broader issue over how California must figure out how to eliminate planet-warming fossil fuels while continuing to power communities, an effort utility providers say will require continued investment in natural gas. The electricity sector accounts for about 16% of California’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to the California Air Resources Board.

Environmentalists have pointed out that the power plant is less than a mile from several schools, childcare centers and other community centers and will increase greenhouse gas emissions in a city already suffering from poor air quality. They argue that the plant would lock in more pollution for years to come and that investment to fund the new generators is a waste as the state transitions to cleaner energy sources.

But Glendale Water & Power, the local state-run utility, has argued that its proposed thermal generation would only run at 14% capacity — significantly less polluting than the gas engines in place now — and provide vital back-up power for the city. The new generators, it said, will provide power in the event that transmission lines are shut down to mitigate wildfire risk, as well as supply air conditioning during unbearable heat waves.

The ‘bridge fuel’ argument for natural gas

This week, the city council voted for an amendment to pause any purchase of gas-fired units until the end of the year, a move environmental groups said was just a temporary delay but praised as a step in the right direction.

Mark Young, the general manager of Glendale Water & Power, said the delay was disappointing and failed to consider the importance of providing reliable thermal generation for the city when residents need back up power.

 

“My job is to make sure that everyone has enough electricity when they need it. It feels like I’m the big bad wolf who loves thermal generation,” Young said. “I don’t – I love reliable generation.”

“Our portfolio keeps gas generators on only when we need them in the event of a problem,” Young said. “We’re trying to balance the needs of the environment and needs of the residents for reliable favorable energy.”

 

The Grayson Power Plant is located on the border of Glendale and Burbank.

The Grayson Power Plant is located on the border of Glendale and Burbank.
Courtesy of Morgan Goodwin

As part of a broader assignment from the city to invest in clean energy, Glendale Water & Power is working to implement 75 megawatts of battery energy storage at the power plant. The utility is also working on a virtual power plant that would produce 28 megawatts of solar energy by installing solar panels and batteries at homes and apartments throughout the city.

Young said that the utility’s clean energy options are maxed out, due mostly to the fact that it doesn’t have enough transmission capacity on power lines to bring in energy sources from outside the L.A. Basin.

“We’re being extremely progressive in our vision and we’re not getting credit for it,” Young said. “Natural gas is supposed to be a bridge to get to 100% clean energy.”

But environmental groups don’t buy it.

Byron Chan, an associate attorney for the environmental law firm Earthjustice, said that more than 400 residents mobilized and protested the utility’s proposal to burn fossil fuel in 2018. Since then, the utility still hasn’t fully addressed the concerns of the community, he said.

“Given what we know about emissions from natural gas, it’s incredulous that in 2022 we’re making investments in fossil fuel when there are clean energy options that are decreasing in price and becoming more and more readily available,” Chan said.

Environmental groups have also argued that the proposed gas engines won’t be able to run after the 2045 deadline and will therefore become stranded assets. However, Glendale Water & Power has argued the utility will eventually be able to run the units on green hydrogen, which is made from the electrolysis of water powered by solar or wind and is still in its infant stage.

Morgan Goodwin, a Glendale resident and the senior director of Sierra Club’s Los Angeles chapter, said the main fight over the power plant is whether or not fossil fuel production plays a role in the solution to climate change.

“The answer is clearly no,” Goodwin said. “But the messaging we get from the fossil fuel industry is still touting bridge fuel benefits. If our elected leaders are willing to say ‘No fossil fuels means no fossil fuels,’ then that’s the example of what we want to see nationally.”

“We’re asking Glendale Water & Power and other utilities to make some deep changes to how they operate,” Goodwin said. “This is their opportunity to demonstrate leadership and courage.

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This could be titled "Exposing the dirty lining within the Green Energy clouds"

Up to now I never heard from those in California about dirty oil except that from Alberta, I guess all the oil from Russia was ""CLEAN""

Sanctions on Russian oil are squeezing California particularly hard and could lead to $7 gas

dreuter@insider.com (Dominick Reuter)  3 hrs ago

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© Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images Mike Delgado, of Orange, pumps gas into his 2007 Swift 124 motorcycle at a Chevron gas station on Tuesday, March 8, 2022 in Orange, CA. Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

US gas prices are higher than ever, with California leading the nation at $5.69 per gallon.

The Golden State does have higher taxes and cleaner refining standards, but that's not all.

Western states are the biggest US buyers of Russian oil, importing nearly 100,000 barrels a day.

California is known for many things: sunshine, fine wine, and shockingly expensive gas.

The two primary reasons for these highest-in-the-nation fuel prices are taxes and refining standards.

Excise and sales taxes add about 60 cents to the cost of a gallon, while other environmental fees bring that California premium up to more than a dollar over the national average for gas.

California also requires a much cleaner refining standard for motor fuels in an effort to curb the historic air pollution in the state, which drives costs up and reduces the number of out-of-state refineries who can deliver to its specifications.

But a third reason is giving California drivers an extra pinch in recent days.

 

Video: Major oil company to stop buying Russian oil, natural gas (MSNBC)

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Major oil company to stop buying Russian oil, natural gas

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Western states are the largest buyers of Russian crude oil, which was tapering off before it was ultimately sanctioned on Tuesday by the Biden administration in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Roughly half of the 199,000 barrels of Russian crude imported daily by the US ends up at refineries primarily in California, Washington, and Hawaii, energy consultant Andrew Lipow told the LA Times.

"I know that California's gasoline is so expensive compared to the rest of the nation," he said. "Unfortunately, I have bad news: The average there is going to go up by at least another 25 cents a gallon."

As of Thursday afternoon, the state average for a gallon of regular was up to $5.69, according to GasBuddy, $1.36 higher than the record high national average of $4.33. Some California counties were even showing prices over $6.

Analysts have predicted the number could top $7 in the state before it starts to come back down, the LA Times reported.

The speed of the rising prices is adding a further shock, causing many drivers to rush to discount warehouse fuel clubs like Costco and Sam's Club to take advantage of wholesale pricing.

Shopper Pam Rubitsky told Insider's Mary Hanbury that she arrived at Sam's Club in Citrus Heights, California, at 5.50 a.m. local time Thursday to fill up for $4.92 per gallon, compared with $5.89 at the nearby Chevron station.

At least five cars were waiting for each of the 10 pumps available, she said, and by the time she left, the lines were even longer

 

 

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2 hours ago, Kargokings said:

This could

...

 

 

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Sorry to say Kargokings, but what a cut & paste useless post. Do you have an opinion? Would love to hear it!

Edited by Moon The Loon
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37 minutes ago, Moon The Loon said:

Sorry to say Kargokings, but what a cut & paste useless post. Do you have an opinion? Would love to hear it!

To repeat myself.   "Up to now I never heard from those in California about dirty oil except that from Alberta, I guess all the oil from Russia was ""CLEAN"  

So let us hear your POV..  🙃

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On 2/7/2022 at 8:37 AM, Jaydee said:

One crisp winter morning in Sweden, a cute little girl named Greta woke up to a perfect world, one where there were no petroleum products ruining the earth. She tossed aside her cotton sheet and wool blanket and stepped out onto a dirt floor covered with willow bark that had been pulverized with rocks. “What’s this?” she asked..........

I have very little time or respect for Greta and her ilk.  Very little.  I am, however, onboard with significantly ramping up electricity use over carbon based fuels.  I would like to see all new homes being electrically heated, commercial buildings electrically heated, electrified rail lines (where feasible) like Europe.  Basically, any thing that needs power that can have a line strung to it should be electric.  The catch to this is that the source of the power should be nuclear and not wind or solar.  Only with nuclear can you "rightsize" the plant and it's output to match demand without having petro-power on standby.

I have no problem with electric power.  My problem is with wind, solar and batteries.  Wind and solar are unreliable and require fossil fuel backup.  Batteries cost more in energy to produce than they save, consume huge quantities of rare minerals and metals and create 14 dozen problems with range, durability, power density.

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26 minutes ago, Seeker said:

I have very little time or respect for Greta and her ilk.  Very little.  I am, however, onboard with significantly ramping up electricity use over carbon based fuels.  I would like to see all new homes being electrically heated, commercial buildings electrically heated, electrified rail lines (where feasible) like Europe.  Basically, any thing that needs power that can have a line strung to it should be electric.  The catch to this is that the source of the power should be nuclear and not wind or solar.  Only with nuclear can you "rightsize" the plant and it's output to match demand without having petro-power on standby.

I have no problem with electric power.  My problem is with wind, solar and batteries.  Wind and solar are unreliable and require fossil fuel backup.  Batteries cost more in energy to produce than they save, consume huge quantities of rare minerals and metals and create 14 dozen problems with range, durability, power density.

This could be one of those “ Be careful what you wish for scenarios) I totally agree IF the country switched to Nuclear, but the cost of building and maintaining nuclear is stratospheric. One of those scenarios where the cure is worse than the ailment. 

 

I once compared my hydro bill with my son who lives in Quebec. For a similar time frame,  mine was almost double for a smaller house and in a warmer ( southern Ontario) 

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23 minutes ago, Jaydee said:

This could be one of those “ Be careful what you wish for scenarios) I totally agree IF the country switched to Nuclear, but the cost of building and maintaining nuclear is stratospheric. One of those scenarios where the cure is worse than the ailment. 

 

I once compared my hydro bill with my son who lives in Quebec. For a similar time frame,  mine was almost double for a smaller house and in a warmer ( southern Ontario) 

Average total costs in mills per kilowatt-hour reported for 2017 are, in order of increasing cost, 10.29 for hydroelectric power (including both conventional hydroelectric and pumped storage hydroelectric plants), 24.38 for nuclear power, 31.76 for gas turbine and small scale (defined as gas turbine, internal combustion, photovoltaic or solar and wind plants) and 35.41 for fossil steam plants.

I have no idea if the above information is correct or accurate - pulled it from the first website I found.  It does, however match my prior knowledge - that nuclear falls in the middle of the pack for cost, has the lowest environmental impact and is the highest in reliability.

I don't live in Ontario but seem to recall that the electricity pricing issue was politically induced, no?  Also, comparing to QB might not be the best comparison since their power is mostly hydroelectric which is the lowest cost of any.

Anyway, the cheapest is to continue using coal, diesel, gasoline but if we're to buy into the idea that these must be replaced then nuclear is the best replacement.

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11 minutes ago, Seeker said:

Average total costs in mills per kilowatt-hour reported for 2017 are, in order of increasing cost, 10.29 for hydroelectric power (including both conventional hydroelectric and pumped storage hydroelectric plants), 24.38 for nuclear power, 31.76 for gas turbine and small scale (defined as gas turbine, internal combustion, photovoltaic or solar and wind plants) and 35.41 for fossil steam plants.

I have no idea if the above information is correct or accurate - pulled it from the first website I found.  It does, however match my prior knowledge - that nuclear falls in the middle of the pack for cost, has the lowest environmental impact and is the highest in reliability.

I don't live in Ontario but seem to recall that the electricity pricing issue was politically induced, no?  Also, comparing to QB might not be the best comparison since their power is mostly hydroelectric which is the lowest cost of any.

Anyway, the cheapest is to continue using coal, diesel, gasoline but if we're to buy into the idea that these must be replaced then nuclear is the best replacement.

I think it’s the “upfront” cost of nuclear that makes it prohibitively expensive. Then there’s the disposal issue. 
 

 

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1 hour ago, Jaydee said:

I think it’s the “upfront” cost of nuclear that makes it prohibitively expensive. Then there’s the disposal issue. 
 

 

Here's another short article discussing Nuclear power for the Netherlands (bolding mine).  Costs, including initial construction costs come up much cheaper for nuclear compared to wind and solar.

https://4thgeneration.energy/the-true-costs-of-nuclear-and-renewables/

Several Dutch political leaders want to make you believe that the Netherlands can change the tide in the climate change problem without having to build new nuclear reactors. This is contrary to the findings of the IPCC and several other organizations who sound the alarm bell on Climate Change. The logic is simple. If it is impossible to mitigate the damage from our carbon emissions without nuclear energy, then we, as a technologically-advanced and relatively rich country, should take responsibility and take the nuclear path. We can’t expect others to do it.

At the so-called Climate Tables—gatherings of companies, NGOs and government agencies—policy suggestions were made which were meant to help The Netherlands reduce carbon emissions by 95% by 2050. Nuclear Energy was a taboo. Too expensive, according to some.

The Climate Tables suggest generating 84 TWh of so-called Green Electricity, mainly using wind and solar energy.

People are fooled into believing that renewable energy is cheap, even though this notion is based on incomplete information. Initial costs are considered in one chunk, and are never distributed over the lifespan of the technology one wishes to build. For wind and solar energy, this technical lifespan is between 20 and 25 years; Nuclear energy on the other hand, has a technical lifespan of 60 to 80 years.

Below you see two tables, one with renewable energy sources and one with nuclear energy sources.

 

(including interest – Figures normalized to Euro 30-11-2018 — inflation has been taken into account)

Nuclear energy becomes the cheapest option once we put the construction costs in perspective. Even if you consider the most expensive nuclear power station in Europe, Hinkley Point C, and compare it with Wind and Solar power plants. We omit the higher operational costs for the nuclear power plant as they are an economic benefit as well. These costs are recycled back into the economy through wages and taxes. On the renewable side, higher system costs are almost always omitted. Consider for instance, the cost of transmission lines, substations, storage, etc.

Nuclear power station construction costs will only escalate if you begin such a project unprepared. We’ve seen this in Great Britain. But we could build a cheap APR1400 if we would solicit the expertise of the South Koreans. Hinkley Point C-like problems could be avoided even if the Dutch Government would choose to build a French EPR because there’s enough know-how present in England, France, Finland and China to complete such a project within a timeframe of seven years. It’s a matter of good preparation and working together with the right partners. We are being fooled into believing that nuclear energy is expensive based on first-of-a-kind projects. Omitted are the ubiquitous reactor technologies that can be built at a lower price because of years of experience and learning.

It is paramount to correctly inform the Dutch people and their representatives. Choosing renewables exclusively would be a great mistake because the Netherlands would be shirking its responsibility. We can contribute to making nuclear technologies more affordable and thus help reduce carbon emissions and air pollution – not just for the Netherlands, but for the rest of the world. After all, Climate Change does not have borders.

 

Screen Shot 2022-03-11 at 11.16.47.png

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27 minutes ago, Seeker said:

Here's another short article discussing Nuclear power for the Netherlands (bolding mine).  Costs, including initial construction costs come up much cheaper for nuclear compared to wind and solar

Most of my initial thoughts on this matter stem from a conversation I had last Sep with an individual who runs a company that advises governments on energy. The impression I got at the end of the day was that yes…Nuclear was the way to go if cost wasn't an issue.

Edited by Jaydee
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  • 2 weeks later...

An ignored alternative 

 

https://waterpowercanada.ca/learn/

 

“‘In Canada, much of our hydroelectricity is produced when water is stored in a reservoir behind a dam. The “potential energy” of this water is converted to kinetic energy when it flows upon release from the reservoir into the penstock. “Pumped storage” is another type of hydropower which also stores water in a reservoir. At pumped storage facilities, water is pumped up to an elevated reservoir for storage. When electricity generation is required, the water is released into the penstock.

“Run-of-river” hydropower is also common where water from a river simply flows directly into the penstock. “Hydrokinetic” is a less common approach in which a turbine is placed in a river bed or tidal area to directly capture the energy in the water flow.”

F246CBDE-8F57-4B5F-9B94-1F73A347CFF3.png

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This should be rich...

After years of missed targets, Liberals table their climate plan this week

The goal is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40 to 45 per cent within ten years

cda-earth-day-photo-gallery-20210422.jpg

Quote

'Canada has had nine climate plans since 1990 and has failed to hit any of the targets in them and has been the worst performer among G7 nations on climate targets since the landmark Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015.'

The government hopes this week's plan changes that trajectory of failure

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Ignore what's happening in the world. The Trudeau government does 

The world can spin whichever way it wants, but under the NDP-reinforced Liberal government, Canada has one purpose only — getting to net zero

Amazing as it is, as inflation insidiously crawls across the land, skyrocketing gasoline prices freeze the blood (with a federal carbon tax increase set to hit on April Fool’s Day), as the economy is stifled by debt, supply chains rattle or crumble, and the country crawls out of the devastation of the COVID clampdowns, the Trudeau-Singh coalition government has announced its most determined climate agenda for Canada ever.

 

In Vancouver on Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, back-stopped by his non-present partner, Jagmeet Singh, leader of the Liberal-merged NDP, announced the new, improved, let-us-save-the-world-by-killing-Alberta-and-the-oil-industry climate plan.

 

Lord, I wish I had been there. This was a Plains of Abraham moment in front of some of the finest shops in the whole country.

This was a Plains of Abraham moment

 

The good news. Now that Singh, and I presume the entire NDP party, has effectively merged with Trudeau’s Liberals, the PM has regained his stride.

 

He is fully back on his climate change kick. The world can spin whichever way it wants, but under the Singh-reinforced Trudeau government, Canada has one purpose only, one duty as a country: to save this great globe of our common earth from inexorable climate doom.

 

Trudeau went Tuesday to that beautiful and great coal-exporting city — Vancouver ships more coal to the world than any other North American city — to announce new targets for Canada’s carbon-dioxide emissions, and declare new promises to remake the chemical constitution of the global atmosphere. It had to be a rapturous moment for the Green Party’s Elizabeth May.

 

That achieved, the only other business was a little cash gathering. Save the planet and then hold a $1,675-a-plate Liberal fundraiser at a carbon-neutral hotel. The old saying is true. Virtue is its own well-financed reward.

 

As was posted in the PM’s Twitter feed on Tuesday: “In the global fight against climate change, Canada is leading the way.”

 

But how? Leading the way, I mean?

Does Canada nullify China’s massive indifference to this whole hysteria? A massive country with a massive population is determined to have its place in modern life. Windmills will not take it there. It will use every energy resource, as long as it thinks it needs to, to get there. It will mine coal. It will build dams. It will seek gas and oil in every strip of land under its sovereignty, and import however much it wants. And so it is entitled to do.

 

Is there some thought in the PMO that the autocrats of China are checking into Trudeau’s Twitter feed? And calling “Halt” when they read of Canada’s “leadership” in the spurious fight against global warming? Can the delusion be that deep?

 

There is another great country, of massive population, and not yet by any measurement a full participant in the modern world’s comforts, security, health protections, or standard of living. It is glorious India.

Is India following Canada’s “lead” in the fight against global warming? It is an insult to think that such could be the case. India, this can be no surprise, will follow India’s imperatives, and will seek to bring its people to some material equivalence with the citizens of countries — like Canada — whose leaders and billionaires preach from lush pulpits in Davos and Vancouver about what lesser countries should do.

 

How are we leading the fight against global warming? We are a leaf on a river, nothing more. Our standing internationally is feeble or negligent; where do we stand out? On every question of crisis we are on the sidelines. There is a theory that we have an “unsurpassed convening power.” Well, you just wait till the other conveners hear about this.

Canada is leading the way in the fight against climate change?” It is puzzling to hear the prime minister make the claim because no other country seems to echo it.

 

Name those following us, Mr. Trudeau. Name the councils and assemblies of the world summoning the Canadian example as they cripple their energy sources, generate carbon taxes, and swear off oil and gas forever. Name one single country that has billboarded Canada as the reason they have gone net-zero. (You have several weeks to answer.)

 

“ We are a leaf on a river, nothing more “

 

Let us turn now to one country where the boast is a pure joke. Did the walls of the Kremlin shake when Trudeau pointed to Canada’s leadership?

 

Vladimir Putin is currently, and violently, demonstrating what control and supply over real and proven energy resources means. There are dead in the streets of Ukraine because Putin owns energy supply for parts of Europe.

Europe went green. It tossed away energy it had, which was both secure and reliable, and signed on to the fantasy of “let’s get to net-zero.”

 

The cold man in the Kremlin was pleased. How could he not be? He is cruel; he is not stupid. He knew that as long as his oligarchic Russia held the rescue line for Europe’s most basic requirement — real, reliable, carbon-emitting energy — he could invade where he wished and stare back, a grin on his face, at energy-dependent, global-warming virtuous, Europe.

 

Putin knew another truth. The only “energy” that comes out of the current green fascination is an energy that enables posture and show. We do not like Putin. But he is teaching the world an old fact. Real politics always blast show politics. We have an epidemic of show politics in the West, and hardly anywhere more pervasive than in Canada under Coalition.

 

We are not leaders in the fight against global climate change. We are stooges in a mock show of virtue signalling.

 

National Post

https://nationalpost.com/opinion/rex-murphy-ignore-whats-happening-in-the-world-the-trudeau-government-does

Edited by Jaydee
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On 3/28/2022 at 11:47 AM, Jaydee said:

B60C2C1D-4335-4367-BEF6-F6F296B9A846.jpeg

Smooth, quick and practiced... lovely really, even laudable under the right circumstances.

Suggesting this might be the wrong action in the wrong place at the wrong time is  surely the Hollywood understatement of the century. The only thing worse was the standing ovation after the award.

Behold and be amazed, Hollywood hypocrisy on full display for millions to see and spontaneous enough to be a true and telling measure of it.

I invite you to imagine the coverage if Will was white. For me it was the clap and not the slap, I'm so done with celebrity outrage now and I sure hope others share the sentiment.

I was tremendously (and sincerely) impressed with Rock and how he handled it. Admirable grace under pressure, something to aspire to, and something many of us (means me) might have fallen short of.

Well done.

 

Edited by Wolfhunter
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  • 2 weeks later...

The best analogy remains Jan 2nd at the gym, it's where fantasy collides with reality and it occurs every single year without fail... often it's the same people you saw the year before dressed in a new Lululemon ensemble.

They invariably conclude that last years failure was due to the lack of a colour coordinated outfit.

On virtually every subject of note, it takes about two years to uncover the lies. And even though the lies were deliberate, after two years, the faithful no longer seem to care. Some might identify it as a propaganda technique with a long history of success:

https://torontosun.com/opinion/goldstein-trudeau-failed-to-cut-greenhouse-gas-emissions-as-promised

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Tom Mulcair: Trudeau's hopeless performance on environment is not unique

 
 
 
 

A series of anti-environment decisions by the Trudeau government have left many Canadians wondering who’s on the side of future generations. In Canada, the short answer is: communities, localities, regions, towns and cities.

The feds and most provinces, simply don’t have the political will to do the right thing. That’s why they keep failing. They fail to enforce. They fail to achieve promised results. They buy pipelines and approve massive new fossil fuel projects.

If we go back just over fifty years to the first Earth Day, it’s easy to realize that we’ve come a long way in terms of our collective understanding of complex environmental issues and how to address them.

In the early seventies, on the heels of groundbreaking works like Rachel Carson’s “Silent Spring,” major movements began to understand and address environmental issues as a collective responsibility.

In the late ‘60s, the “Club of Rome” brought together some of the top minds of its generation to study what would happen to the world if we continue to consume and pollute the way we’d been doing.

They commissioned a major analysis that was published in March, 1972. Entitled “The Limits to Growth”, it was a wake-up call that explained that the planet was doomed if we didn’t change our approach to development and population growth. That was, of course, before we learned about global warming.

A few months after the publication of “The Limits to Growth”, in June of 1972, the United Nations held its most important environmental meeting ever in Stockholm, Sweden. That Stockholm Conference brought environmental issues to the forefront of international concerns. It was the beginning of a methodical, objective approach that was supposed to help nation states make the right decisions.

In 1992, at the Rio Conference, the world began to take a wider view. Understanding that environmental issues have to be looked at in lockstep with economic and social questions. The term sustainable development began to be used to describe the obligation placed on governments to take the effect on future generations into account, whenever they implement a new policy.

In the early seventies, Canada got its first environment ministry. Big central government agencies, such as the EPA in the United States, were then the norm. Today, that tendency of creating an omniscient top-down bureaucracy is starting to reverse itself. The grassroots, local communities, NGOs and ordinary folks concerned about the planet have started to play a major role. They don’t have the self-congratulatory megaphone of the negligent federal government, but they’re the ones actually getting the work done.

It comes at an important time as more and more Canadians say that they suffer from environmental anxiety. We receive constant information from credible sources like the United Nations IPCC. The best scientific minds in the world concur: if we don’t reduce greenhouse gases we won’t be able to avoid catastrophic global warming. People want action and they’re able to feel part of the solution by getting involved at the local level.

'HE KNOWS THE SECRET HANDSHAKE'

We have a prime minister who, now in his seventh year in office, has been a total failure when it comes to meeting our international obligations to fight climate change. He knows the secret handshake, attends international conferences, says all the right things, then approves mammoth new petroleum projects like the Bay du Nord offshore oil scheme.

Trudeau’s minister, Stephen Guilbeault, now gets an earful when he tries to attend events with erstwhile colleagues in the environmental movement. They still can’t believe that someone who lectured everyone else on climate for decades, could so easily change his tune.

A few months ago, Canada’s highly respected (and independent) Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, Jerry V. DeMarco, tabled a report in the House of Commons that lifted the veil on Canada’s pathetic performance. Thirty years of broken promises to reduce greenhouse gases actually saw an increase of more than 20% in emissions since 1990.

As the Commissioner noted: “Canada was once a leader in the fight against climate change. However, after a series of missed opportunities, it has become the worst performer of all G7 nations since the landmark Paris Agreement in 2015 (the year Trudeau assumed office)”.

Trudeau’s hopeless performance is not unique. Joe Biden took office with the most complete climate plan ever drafted. In Biden’s first year as president, the United States burned 25% more coal than during Donald Trump’s final year and Biden has just released large quantities of America’s strategic petroleum reserve. Nothing has happened with his plan.

Against that backdrop, cities and towns across Canada have been getting more and more actively involved in projects that will lead to major GHG reductions. They are also playing a crucial role helping people and institutions adapt to climate change.

Where the federal and provincial governments have been climate laggards, local governments -- those closest to citizens -- have heard the message and are starting to become climate leaders.

People like Trudeau talk a good game on the environment because they know that it helps them get elected. Provinces push for more oil and gas extraction then rail against any effort to internalize the environmental costs. The public is tired of getting conned because every time they place their trust in someone to finally act, they get another mammoth oil project as a reward.

This year, on Earth Day, let’s take some time to get involved, to play an active role.

This is my fifth year as Chairman of the board of Earth Day Canada/Jour de la Terre. I listen to my own grandchildren and know that they and their friends are sincerely concerned about the environment. We’ve got better kids for the planet. Let’s work to have a better planet for our kids.

Tom Mulcair was the leader of the federal New Democratic Party of Canada between 2012 and 2017.

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Federal watchdog warns Canada's 2030 emissions target may not be achievable

Environment commissioner says plan relies too much on 'unrealistic' assumptions about hydrogen use

 
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John Paul Tasker · CBC News · Posted: Apr 26, 2022 12:20 PM ET | Last Updated: 19 minutes ago
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Canada's environment commissioner said Tuesday the country may not be able to reach its 2030 emissions reductions targets because the federal government's current plan is based on "unrealistic" assumptions about the role hydrogen will play in the energy mix in years to come.

The commissioner, Jerry DeMarco, released a series of audits today that document the federal government's environment-related shortcomings — including its failure to produce a meaningful "just transition" plan for energy workers displaced by the transition to a low-carbon economy and the uneven application of a supposedly national price on carbon emissions.

 

But DeMarco was perhaps most scathing in his assessment of the government's hydrogen strategy, which he said is based on "overly optimistic" assumptions that "compromise the credibility" of the government's entire emissions reduction plan.

Speaking at a press conference, DeMarco said the government's questionable hydrogen emissions targets "raise concerns about their overall approach to climate modelling and emissions reductions in general."

"Canada needs to be more upfront and transparent about their assumptions for what is quite an optimistic view of hydrogen's role," he said. "They need to be realistic."

The federal government has pledged to reduce Canada's emissions 40 to 45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 and it is counting on the widespread deployment of hydrogen — a carbon-free energy source that produces no greenhouse gases when burned — to help the country achieve that ambitious target.

Departments disagree on impact of hydrogen

Two federal departments — Environment and Climate Change Canada and Natural Resources Canada — have said that rapid adoption of hydrogen would result in sizeable emissions reductions because it can displace high-carbon fuels. But the commissioner found these departments couldn't agree on the amount of emissions that would be offset by its use.

Environment and Climate Change Canada has said the use of clean hydrogen technologies could lead to an emissions reduction equal to 15 megatonnes by 2030, while Natural Resources Canada estimates a contribution of up to 45 megatonnes.

 
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People inspect a transparent model of the hydrogen-powered Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell at the 2015 Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto. (Darren Calabrese/The Canadian Press)

The commissioner said both departments are likely off the mark because they used "unrealistic assumptions for modelling the potential of hydrogen."

The commissioner said Natural Resources Canada is expecting an "ambitious technology uptake" in the next eight years — an assumption that he said is not necessarily based in reality.

While the government wants to supercharge the use of hydrogen to meaningfully reduce emissions, it essentially has no meaningful plan to make that happen, he said.

High-cost hydrogen

The commissioner said so-called "green" hydrogen — a form of fuel that is produced through electrolysis with no resulting emissions — may not be in widespread use by the end of the decade because it's prohibitively expensive.

According to the commissioner's report, a gigajoule of natural gas costs about $3.79 to produce, while a gigajoule of green hydrogen costs over $60 if it's produced using electricity from renewable sources such as wind and solar.

Because of this massive price discrepancy, there is little incentive for industry to churn out green hydrogen.

Citing government data, the commissioner said the actual annual production of hydrogen in Canada is only about 3 megatonnes — almost all of it being "grey" hydrogen, a dirtier form that produces roughly two times the amount of emissions as natural gas.

The commissioner also said there are doubts about whether hydrogen can play any sort of meaningful role in Canada in the short term because very little of the necessary infrastructure — like hydrogen pipelines and liquefaction plants — is in place.

'Aspirational numbers'

DeMarco also said there isn't enough carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technology in place to produce "blue" hydrogen, a form of fuel that is derived from natural gas through a process of steam methane reforming. CCUS is a process that captures and reuses or stores carbon dioxide emissions.

While Natural Resources Canada has said publicly that hydrogen adoption could account for up to 15 per cent of the emissions reductions needed to meet the 2030 target, the commissioner said the department's own internal numbers, based on "incremental demand reports," suggest hydrogen will contribute only 0.5 per cent to the 2030 target.

The commissioner said the department did not find those lower emissions reduction targets "compelling" and instead chose to use "more aspirational numbers" when drawing up its emissions modelling plan.

"In our view, this plan is not fully transparent because it includes assumptions that are not clear and relies on some policies that are not announced or in effect," the commissioner said.

If the government does "not appropriately project hydrogen's impact on reducing emissions, then there is a risk that Canada will not achieve its emissions reduction targets," he said.

Commissioner chides Ottawa for non-existent 'just transition' plan

DeMarco said the government has done little to prepare for an expected wave of layoffs in the energy sector as the country moves away from fossil fuels like coal, oil and natural gas in the coming years.

DeMarco said the government has long promised to produce some sort of "just transition" plan to help affected workers with income and pension support and job retraining. He said the government has been "slow off the mark," has taken "little action" and is woefully "unprepared" for possible mass unemployment.

 

He said the government's recent approach to job losses in the coal industry — Ottawa is overseeing a full phase-out of coal-fired electricity by 2030 — leaves much to be desired.

Rather than develop a plan to address the specific needs of laid-off coal workers, DeMarco said the federal government relied largely on the existing employment insurance (EI) program. It needs to take a different approach for other emissions-intensive sectors that are expected to see job losses, DeMarco said.

Without further action, the country as a whole could experience something similar to the disastrous cod moratorium in Newfoundland and Labrador, DeMarco said, which resulted in thousands of lost jobs and the hollowing-out of rural regions in that province.

There are an estimated 170,000 direct fossil-fuel jobs in Canada and there needs to be legislation and a plan "to support the future and livelihood of workers and communities affected by the transition to a low-carbon economy," he said.

"The current pace of planning for a just transition will make it difficult to address the upcoming shifts in the labour market."

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How phantom forests are used for greenwashing

By Navin Singh Khadka
Environment correspondent, BBC World Service

How phantom forests are used for greenwashing - BBC News

 

Canadian Reality:

2 years after Trudeau pledged to plant 2 billion trees, only 8.5 million have been planted

2 years after Trudeau pledged to plant 2 billion trees, only 8.5 million have been planted | CBC News

 

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57 minutes ago, Kargokings said:

How phantom forests are used for greenwashing

By Navin Singh Khadka
Environment correspondent, BBC World Service

How phantom forests are used for greenwashing - BBC News

 

Canadian Reality:

2 years after Trudeau pledged to plant 2 billion trees, only 8.5 million have been planted

2 years after Trudeau pledged to plant 2 billion trees, only 8.5 million have been planted | CBC News

 

I have 2 nieces that plant over half a million trees every year. There are many other hard working kids doing the same. Pays one heck of a lot better than Walmart ever will, as far as summer jobs go. Similar to The Back Breaking Weed of the 1960's (no longer available from the National Film Board archives!)

 

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