Your source for new events and information on climate change and energy efficiency.
Your source for new events and information on climate change and energy efficiency.
Clarenville-based Company is the First to Avail of Net Metering in Newfoundland and Labrador | July 18, 2018
This spring Solar Winds Energy Inc. (SW Energy), located in Clarenville, became the province’s first commercial office space to generate their own power, using a mix of solar and wind energy, and feed it back into the electrical grid through the province’s net-metering program.
Net metering allows utility customers to generate electricity using small-scale renewable generation at their home or business to offset any electricity that they draw from the electricity grid. By maintaining a connection to the province’s electricity grid, net metering customers can draw electricity from the grid if their own electricity generation is not sufficient for their needs, or export any surplus electricity they generate back to the grid. Customers can potentially achieve a net zero energy balance, where their total electricity use is equal to what is generated on-site, thereby lowering electricity costs and possibly greenhouse gas emissions. SW Energy stated that in the first month of the net-metering program they were close to being net zero. They anticipate being fully net-zero by the end of the year.
Expert Panel on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience Releases Recommendations to the Federal Government | July 13, 2018
In 2017, the Federal Government launched an Expert Panel on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience, to provide advice on measuring progress on adaptation and climate resilience in Canada. On June 26, 2018, the panel released their report, Measuring Progress on Adaptation and Climate Resilience: Recommendations to the Government of Canada.
Comprised of members from Indigenous organizations and governments, academia, private sector, capital markets, municipal governments, non-governmental organizations and youth organizations, the panel was tasked with proposing indicators to measure progress on adaptation efforts identified through Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change (PCF), Canada’s national plan to address climate change.
Following eight months of deliberation, the report provides a list of 54 indicators, grouped into five priority areas identified in the PCF. This includes:
- Protecting and improving human health and well-being as they relate to climate change impacts;
- Supporting particularly vulnerable regions, especially Canada’s northern, coastal and remote regions;
- Reducing climate-related hazards and disaster risks, particularly rapid-onset climate-related events such as floods or wildfires;
- Building climate resilience through infrastructure; and,
- Translating scientific information and Indigenous Knowledge into action.
The report emphasizes the need to incorporate both scientific and Indigenous Knowledge systems to monitor and evaluate Canada’s efforts to adapt to climate change and its continued impacts. The panel also provided input on how to implement a sustainable approach to monitoring progress on action against climate change.
In addition to advising on indicators, the report includes a Call to Action, highlighting the importance and need for action across all sectors to build climate resilience across the country.
To learn more about the report and its findings, visit: http://publications.gc.ca/collections/collection_2018/eccc/En4-329-2018-eng.pdf
New Funding Announced to Improve Ice Safety for Nain | July 13, 2018
On June 28, 2018, nearly one million dollars in funding was announced to support SmartICE, which includes contributions from the Federal, Provincial and Nunatsiavut governments. This project combines traditional Indigenous knowledge with advanced technology to provide insights into ice conditions, in near real-time. A combination of sea ice sensors and satellite imagery are used to map ice conditions in areas that are frequently used by northern communities.
Sea ice used for travel in Northern Labrador is less predictable and increasingly dangerous due to changing climatic conditions. A survey conducted by the Nunatsiavut Government in 2010 indicated that 75 per cent of residents surveyed were not confident with the ice conditions, and that one in 12 people have gone through the ice. New funding for SmartICE will help equip northern communities with sensors so that they have better knowledge of ice conditions and can increase safety in the region as climates shift in the future. This includes developing a production facility in Nain, and training Inuit youth in Nunatsiavut to manufacture “Smart Buoy” prototypes, which measure sea ice thickness.
For more information please visit: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/smartice-funding-for-nain-1.4725124
Badger River Ice Monitoring Service receives Recognition from the Professional Engineers and Geoscientists Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (PEGNL) | June 20, 2018
On June 12, Amir Ali Khan, Thomas Puestow and their respective teams from the Water Resources Management Division (Government of Newfoundland and Labrador) and the Earth Observation Group (C-CORE), received the PEGNL’s annual Environmental Award for their development of the Badger River Ice Monitoring Service. This award recognizes outstanding initiatives that apply engineering or geoscience principles to the protection or enhancement of the physical environment in Newfoundland and Labrador.
To help reduce exposure to flood risks, which could increase with changing climatic conditions, the Badger River Ice Monitoring Service was developed to observe river ice fronts, using radar satellites, to forecast flooding. This was the first operational river ice monitoring service in the world, and allows stakeholders to take measures that will minimize the impacts associated with flooding.
The system was developed following a significant flooding event that occurred in Badger, NL in 2003. While Badger has a long history of flooding, the 2003 flood was the most significance in terms of the depth, speed at which flooding occurred, and the extent of damage to the town. Flooding in Badger is caused by significant frazil ice (e.g. ice crystals suspended in water) that forms in the Exploits River, which can result in ice jams and cause flooding.
Since its development, this innovative technology has been used in provinces and territories across the country, as well as in Alaska and Russia.
For more information, please visit: http://www.releases.gov.nl.ca/releases/2018/mae/0612n03.aspx
International Energy Agency Releases 2018 Global Electric Vehicle Outlook | June 8, 2018
On May 30, 2018, the International Energy Agency (IEA), one of the world’s leading organizations on energy policy research, released its 2018 Global Electric Vehicle (EV) Outlook. The Global EV outlook is an annual publication that provides an overview of recent developments relating to the deployment of EVs and associated infrastructure (i.e. charging stations) across the globe, including Canada. The report examines key areas of interest such as electric vehicle and charging infrastructure deployment levels, ownership costs and technology developments.
Principle findings of the 2018 report are:
- Sales of new EVs worldwide surpassed 1 million units in 2017; the highest on record. This represents a growth in new EV sales of 54 per cent when compared to 2016 levels;
- The global EV stock exceeded 3 million vehicles in 2017, representing a 56 per cent increase over 2016 levels. This compares to 2 million vehicles in 2016 and 1 million vehicles in 2015;
- There are approximately 320,000 public accessible level two (i.e. slow charging stations; between 6 and 8 hours for a full charge) and over 110,000 level three (i.e. fast charging stations; less than one hour for a full charge) worldwide;
- The global stock of private charging stations at residences and workplaces is estimated at 3 million worldwide;
- The growth of EVs has been driven in large part by government policy, such as purchase incentives, tightened fuel economy standards, and zero-emission vehicle mandates, as well as advancements in EV battery technology enabling users to travel longer distances without recharging; and
- It is estimated that the number of light-duty EVs on the world’s roads could exceed 125 million by 2030 in consideration of current and announced policies and measures.
With respect to Canada, the report found that:
- There were approximately 17,000 EVs sold in 2017, up from 12,000 in 2016. This is equivalent to approximately 2 per cent of all passenger vehicles sold in 2017;
- The EV market share eclipsed 1.1 per cent and Canada’s total EV stock exceeded 46,000 vehicles in 2017. This compares to 29,000 in 2016; and
- As of 2017, there were approximately 5,800 charging stations available for public use across the country. This includes 5,100 level two stations and 700 level three stations.
To learn more about the report and its findings, visit: https://www.iea.org/gevo2018/
Newfoundland and Labrador Hurricane Season Flood Alert System in Effect as of June 1 | June 1, 2018
Climate change is expected to bring warmer, wetter and stormier weather conditions to Newfoundland and Labrador, which may result in increased damage to infrastructure, such as road washouts, as well as risks to public safety. To help communities across the province prepare for these risks, the Hurricane Season Flood Alert System provides advanced notice of precipitation and flooding. This can help communities prepare for storms, improve their emergency response planning, and avoid future high-cost repairs associated with flood damage.
In Newfoundland and Labrador, floods in the fall of the year are responsible for the most significant damages. Fall flooding is typically caused by weather systems that originate as hurricanes, which can result in widespread damage as was experienced from Hurricane Igor in 2010. From June to December, peak hurricane months, the Hurricane Season Flood Alert System provides daily alerts and forecasts for 45 areas, including projected daily rainfall, flood risk levels, and the time of estimated peak precipitation for that day.
Flood alerts are based on site-specific precipitation forecasts that are generated by Wood Group (formerly AMEC Foster Wheeler), which are directly linked to the past flooding history of the respective areas. The Water Resources Management Division, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, correlates these alerts with water flow rates in the province’s river systems, and Fire and Emergency Services Newfoundland and Labrador alerts the affected communities.
To view the daily hurricane season flood alerts, or for more information on the system and communities that it covers, please visit: http://www.mae.gov.nl.ca/waterres/flooding/hurricane.html#alerts
Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance: Advancing Opportunities in Clean Growth and Climate Action | May 30, 2018
The Federal Government recognizes that financial markets have an important role to play in supporting Canada’s transition to a low carbon economy. In April 2018, the Federal Ministers of Environment and Climate Change and Finance, Catherine McKenna and Bill Morneau, hosted a round table discussion on sustainable finance with the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, and other Canadian business leaders including representatives from banks, pensions insurers and the energy sector. Participants discussed how the operations and financial outlook of businesses could be affected by climate-related risks, such as more extreme weather events, as well as the importance of positioning the private sector to take advantage of opportunities associated with clean economic growth.
The Expert Panel will complete a report, including recommendations to the federal government by fall 2018, which will include the following:
- Trends in sustainable finance
- Roles and responsibilities for sustainable finance in Canada
- Opportunities and challenges relating to sustainable finance and climate-related risk disclosure in Canada
- Recommendations and possible next steps
For more information on the expert panel, its members and their role, please visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/climate-change/expert-panel-sustainable-finance.html
Climate Change Symposium Held in Western Newfoundland to Explore Opportunities for Building More Resilient Communities | May 25, 2018
A three day symposium titled ‘Coastal Communities in a Changing Climate: Impacts, Challenges and Solutions for Gros Morne’ was held in western Newfoundland from May 16-18th.
Jointly hosted by Grenfell Campus of Memorial University and the Gros Morne Cooperating Association, the symposium brought together researchers, practitioners, and community members from across Canada to explore issues and opportunities related to climate change adaptation and improving resilience to climate impacts.
The symposium was held at two locations: Grenfell Campus in Corner Brook, and Rocky Harbour in Gros Morne. Presenters from across sectors shared their expertise and experience to:
- Share and extend current knowledge on the impacts of climate change on coastal communities;
- Create a venue for discussing adaptation options, tools, and techniques;
- Build a framework for innovative solutions; and
- Provide a public forum for discussing climate change adaptation strategies, and strengthens knowledge networks in Newfoundland.
For more information on the symposium, including a full list of presenters, visit: https://grosmorneclimatesymposium.com/
First Known Carbon Offset Credits Certified and Sold in Newfoundland and Labrador | April 24, 2018
On March 21, 2018, at a gala held at the Alt Hotel in St. John’s, Sharp Management Inc. – a consulting firm based out of Goobies – unveiled the first known carbon offset credits to be generated, certified and sold in Newfoundland and Labrador through a voluntary offset program. Sharp Management was joined at the event, which was co-hosted by the Newfoundland and Labrador Environmental Industry Association (NEIA), by over 100 individuals, including Premier Dwight Ball and representatives from the Towns of Appleton, Glenwood and Stephenville.
Premier Ball delivered remarks at the event on behalf of the Province, and announced that the Provincial Government would be amongst the first to purchase the credits, along with NEIA, to offset the carbon footprint associated with the Province’s public consultations in support of the development of a new climate change action plan. The first credits were given to the Towns of Appleton, Glenwood and Stephenville recognizing their contributions to the initiative.
What are carbon offset credits?
Carbon offsets are credits generated from greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction projects that occur in sectors that are not subject to GHG reduction requirements, such as waste, forestry and agriculture. Carbon offset projects must be verified by an independent third-party and reduce GHG emissions beyond the level that would have occurred in the absence of the project.
Once generated, carbon offset credits can be made available for sale to assist organizations looking to reduce their environment impact or demonstrate leadership.
How were the credits generated?
Sharp Management indicates that it generated over 50,000 carbon offset credits from the implementation of engineered wetlands systems for wastewater treatment in the Towns of Appleton, Glenwood and Stephenville. These systems are designed to reduce the decomposition of organic matter, thereby reducing GHG emissions beyond those that would occur through a conventional wastewater treatment facility.
Sharp Management notes that the credits will be made available for sale exclusively within Newfoundland and Labrador for a three-month period, and that revenues generated from the sale of credits will be split evenly with the Towns who invested in the technology.
If you are interested in learning more about the event, check out NEIA’s news release at: http://neia.org/neia-celebrates-the-first-carbon-credits-to-be-generated-verified-and-sold-in-newfoundland-and-labrador/
Are you interested in improving the energy efficiency of your home? | April 24, 2018
The 35th annual Home Show is taking place on April 28 and 29, 2018 at The Glacier in Mt. Pearl. This event is hosted by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association Newfoundland and Labrador (CHBA-NL), and provides an opportunity to learn about new trends in home building and renovations, including energy efficiency, from industry experts.
Energy used in houses and buildings accounts for approximately 24 percent of the total energy consumed in Newfoundland and Labrador, and 17 percent of provincial greenhouse gas emissions. There are a range of products that can help increase household energy efficiency, which can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and generate savings on your electricity bill.
To learn more about increasing energy efficiency, a wide range of exhibitors will be on-hand to discuss products such as heat pumps and insulation.
Date & Time:
Saturday, April 28, 2018 (10:00am - 8:00pm)
Sunday, April 29, 2018 (10:00am - 4:00pm)
$8 - General Admission
$7 - Seniors
Free for Children under 12 accompanied by an adult
Receive $1 off admission with the 2018 Home Show coupon: http://chbanl.ca/visit-home-show-2018/
To learn more about the Home Show, including the list of exhibitors who will be attending this year, visit CHBA-NL’s website.
New Climate Change Staff Grants Available to Municipalities | April 17, 2018
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) is offering grants to municipalities to supplement the salary of a new or existing municipal employee to work on climate change initiatives.
Climate Change Staff grants will provide up to $125,000.00 over two years, to help municipalities take action on climate change. Funding will allow municipalities to have a dedicated staff to advance work related to climate change. This could include activities such as the development of action plans to help municipalities adapt to the impacts of climate change or reduce their operational emissions, the integration of climate change practices into municipal planning and development processes, and any other actions that would reduce operational greenhouse gas emissions.
The application deadline for FCM’s climate change staff grants is June 29, 2018.
For more information on eligibility requirements and how to apply, please visit: https://fcm.ca/home/programs/municipalities-for-climate-innovation-program/climate-change-staff-grants.htm
Public Lecture on Addressing Climate Change Impacts through Resilient Infrastructure | April 9, 2018
The Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science at Memorial University will host a public lecture on Wednesday, April 11, about how resilient infrastructure can address climate change impacts on Newfoundland and Labrador's communities.
Dr. Joseph Daraio, assistant professor, Department of Civil Engineering, Memorial University, will discuss projected climate change and potential impacts on Newfoundland and Labrador, such as how this may impact drainage infrastructure (flooding), transportation (culvert washout) and building design, and what the provincial government and Memorial University are doing to protect communities.
This Speaking of Engineering lecture series, hosted by the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and the Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Newfoundland and Labrador, will be held on Wednesday, April 11, at 7:30 p.m., in the Engineering building’s Fortis Angus Bruneau Lecture Theatre, room EN-2006, on Memorial’s St. John’s campus.
Admission is free. Free parking is available in lot 60. All are welcome. Reception to follow.
See poster for details: http://www.mun.ca/engineering/community/programs/lectures/Speaking_Poster_Daraio.pdf
Newly Released Collaborative Audit on Climate Change in Canada | April 9, 2018
On March 27, 2018, Auditors General from across Canada released a collaborative climate change audit report titled “Perspectives on Climate Change Action in Canada: A Collaborative Report from Auditors General”. The report summarizes climate change action in Canada showing the extent to which federal, provincial and territorial governments are meeting greenhouse gas reduction and climate change adaptation commitments.
Audit work for 9 provincial governments, the Government of Canada, and the three territories was completed over the last 18 months. The results from these individual audits were summarized and rolled up into the single collaborative summary report. While the Government of Quebec was a partner in this initiative, it did not undertake an audit for inclusion in the report, as it had only recently completed other audit work on climate change. This initiative marks the first time that audit offices across Canada have coordinated their work in this way.
The Report covers a range of timeframes, with various audits dating as far back as 2006. It concluded that Canada was not on track to meet its 2020 target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 17 percent below 2005 levels, and that meeting the 2030 target will require substantial effort. From an adaptation perspective, auditors general found additional effort is required to assess climate risk and develop more detailed plans on to reduce risk and adapt to climate change impacts.
For Newfoundland and Labrador, the audit found that the majority of action items from the Province’s 2011 Climate Change Action Plan have been implemented, including all adaptation actions and most mitigation actions, and that government has reported publicly on its progress in a routine and timely manner. The audit also concluded that the Province was not on course to meet its 2020 greenhouse has reduction target as the mitigation items outlined in the 2011 plan were not sufficient to meet the target.
In response to the Report, federal, provincial, and territorial governments acknowledged the issues and recommendations in the summary report and efforts are underway already to address many of them. They indicated that action on climate change has significantly accelerated in recent years, including the adoption and implementation of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change in December 2016. In Newfoundland and Labrador, the Provincial Government has committed to releasing a new climate change action plan in 2018.
The collaborative report is available on the Office of the Auditor General of Canada Web site, and provincial reports are available on provincial audit offices’ websites. A full copy of the Auditor General report for Newfoundland and Labrador, including the Government’s response to these recommendations, can be found here.
Global Energy-Related Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reached a Record High in 2017 | April 4, 2018
The International Energy Agency (IEA) has recently reported that global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions grew by 1.4 per cent, after three years of being flat, reaching 32.5 gigatonnes, a historic high.
Energy demand rose by 2.1 per cent, in comparison to 0.9 percent in 2016, due to strong economic growth. 30 percent of this growth was met by renewable energy and the remaining 70 percent by oil, natural gas and coal. Growing demand for energy, coupled with slower energy efficiency improvements, resulted in the increased energy-related greenhouse gas emissions.
Global demand for natural gas, oil and coal increased by 3 percent, 1.6 percent and 1 percent respectively. Simultaneously, growth in renewable energy has shown the highest rate of any other energy source, rising by 6.3 percent due to expansions in solar, wind and hydroelectricity generation.
Conservation Corps of Newfoundland and Labrador Receives Funding to support Municipalities Adapt to Climate Change | April 3, 2018
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) has announced the 12 not-for-profit organizations across Canada that successfully competed for Climate Adaptation Partner Grants, designed to assist municipalities strengthen their resilience to climate change.
Through this program, the Conservation Corps of Newfoundland and Labrador (CCNL) has been awarded funding to develop vulnerability assessments and response plans for the municipalities of Portugal Cove – St, Philip’s, Mount Pearl, Port Blandford, Logy-Bay-Middle Cove-Outer Cove, Grand Falls-Windsor, as well as Miawpukek First Nation.
Climate Adaptation Partner Grants are available through the Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program. This is a five-year, $75-million program designed to support and encourage Canadian municipalities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change. For more information on the program and successful recipients, please visit: https://fcm.ca/home/media/news-and-commentary/2018/twelve-organizations-selected-to-help-municipalities-across-the-country-adapt-to-the-impacts-of-climate-change.htm.
Are you interested in becoming a Climate Smart business? | March 29, 2018
Ten members of the St. John’s Board of Trade will have the opportunity to become a Climate Smart business this year.
The Climate Smart program helps businesses measure and reduce their carbon footprint. Starting in May, the St. John’s Board of Trade, in partnership with Climate Smart, will offer certification to 10 members at a discounted rate.
In addition to helping businesses reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, becoming Climate Smart certified can result in cost saving through decreased monthly operating costs.
To find out if you are eligible, contact Rhonda Tulk-Lane, Director of Business Solutions with the St. John’s Board or Trade, via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: (709) 726-2961.
Climate Smart is a social enterprise based in Vancouver, British Columbia, that aims to elevate the role of small and medium-sized business in addressing climate change and building a low-carbon future. For more information, take a look at this short video.
Fuel-efficient busses added to Metrobus Fleet | March 29, 2018
Metrobus is adding three smaller, more fuel-efficient buses to their fleet. The smaller buses, called Vicinity buses, will replace three older buses that are approaching retirement. With capacity for 24 people, these buses will service less-busy feeder routes in the St. John’s area. A standard transit bus is typically 40 feet long; these new buses are only 30 feet long. The smaller and lighter design allows for improved fuel efficiency, resulting in 30 per cent less fuel consumption when compared to the buses they are replacing. These buses will feature a new door design, termed “close and seal”, that reduces on-board noise while better preserving heat in the winter and keeping the air cool in the summer. Along with being more environmentally friendly, the buses are wheelchair-accessible. The three buses were purchased from Grande West Transportation in British Columbia and will be in service by the end of March.
For more information, please visit: https://www.metrobus.com/Vicinity/
Federal Government Announces Low Carbon Economy Challenge Fund | March 26, 2018
On March 14, 2018, Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, formally announced details of the over $500 million Low Carbon Economy Challenge Fund (LCECF) at the GLOBE Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia.
In support of this announcement, the Federal Government will be hosting a town hall-style information session on the Challenge Fund or LCECF on March 28, 2018, from 1:00pm-4:00pm at the Sheraton Hotel, 115 Cavendish Square, St. John’s. In addition to providing information about the LCECF, the session will include presentations from other Federal Government departments or programs, such as the Clean Growth Hub, Natural Resources Canada and Infrastructure Canada. The intent of this event is to build awareness of the LCECF and other federal funding programs in support of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, clarify the application and selection processes, answer questions, and develop relationships with stakeholders. Stakeholders eligible to receive LCECF funding are encourage to attend.
By way of background, the LCECF is structured as a competitive, national fund which will support projects with the best cost-per-tonne of GHGs reduced. All provinces, territories, businesses, municipalities, not-for-profit organizations, and Indigenous communities and organizations who meet eligibility criteria will be able to apply for this funding. Eligible sectors for the LCECF include buildings, industry, forestry, transportation, low-emissions fuel production, and electricity and/or energy production for own-use.
The LCECF is further broken down into two streams which include:
- Champions Stream – this Stream provides over $450 million in funding and is intended to support the most competitive GHG reduction projects undertaken by provinces and territories, municipal governments, Indigenous governments and organizations, and non-profit and private sector entities. Applications for this Stream can be submitted beginning March 14; and
- Partnership Stream – this Stream will provide $50 million in funding which will only be made available to Indigenous communities and organizations, small and medium-sized businesses, non-profit entities and small municipalities to support GHG reduction projects. Further details on this Stream are expected to be made available later in 2018.
To learn more about the LCECF, including how to apply, visit:
The announcement on the Challenge Fund complements the launch of the Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund, first announced by the Federal Government in June 2017. The Leadership Fund provides $1.4 billion in federal funding over five years to provinces and territories that have adopted the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change to help them reduce GHG emissions in targeted sectors such as buildings, industry, forestry and agriculture and transportation, including $44.7 million that has been allocated to Newfoundland and Labrador over five years.
Professionals in Newfoundland and Labrador increase their capacity to integrate Climate Resilience into infrastructure planning and design | March 23, 2018
On March 8th and 9th, over 75 professionals from across the province gathered in St. John’s to take part in an interactive workshop on Building Climate Resilience: Incorporating Climate Change into Public Infrastructure Planning and Design.
A diverse mixture of government (provincial, municipal and Indigenous) and consulting engineers and planners, other government representatives, university faculty and graduate students engaged in sessions on the following four topic areas:
- The legal, policy and planning imperative for taking climate change considerations into account
- Understanding the science of climate change and climate projections
- Provincial data, tools and resources to improve local decision-making in Newfoundland and Labrador in a changing climate
- Climate change and asset management, risk assessment and the Public Infrastructure Engineering Vulnerability Committee (PIEVC) Engineering Protocol.
The sessions included case studies on Newfoundland and Labrador, providing participants with relevant and localized information and resources on integrating climate change into infrastructure.
This initiative is part of a collaborative project between Memorial University, Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, Professional Engineers and Geoscientists Newfoundland and Labrador (PEGNL), Engineers Canada, and Municipalities Newfoundland and Labrador. This 3-year project received funding through Natural Resources Canada’s Adaptation Fund to increase capacity among professional engineers, planners, and other professionals engaged in infrastructure decisions to integrate climate considerations into their work.
Participate in Earth Hour this Saturday March 24th at 8:30 p.m. | March 23, 2018
On Saturday, March 24th, individuals and organizations across the province are encouraged to participate in Earth Hour by turning off their lights for one hour.
The Earth Hour movement is an opportunity to raise awareness and take action against climate change. Earth Hour unites people across the world and, since its inception in Sydney, Australia, in 2007, it has engaged hundreds of millions of supporters in over 175 countries and territories worldwide. This year it is shining particular attention on the impacts of climate change on biodiversity loss, and the need to take action to reduce these impacts.
There are many ways to participate. While Earth Hour traditionally involves turning off your lights as a symbolic gesture, from 8:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. (in your local time zone), you can be creative and celebrate however you like. You could keep it simple and have a candle-lit dinner or consider hosting a larger Earth hour event. In addition to switching off your lights, let your friends know about what action you are taking to reduce your carbon footprint. Turning off the lights is just the beginning! For more information and resources on how to get involved, visit www.earthhour.org.
Upcoming workshop on Kickstarting Climate Action: Tracking Emissions in Your Municipality | February 23, 2018
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) has partnered with ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, to offer the Partners for Climate Protection (PCP) program. This program is designed to help Canadian municipal governments take action on climate change and commit to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Developing a GHG inventory is a foundational milestone for this program and will allow a municipal government better understand how it consumes energy and generates waste, both of which are sources of greenhouse gas emissions. The PCP program helps identify opportunities to reduce these emissions and establish baseline data so that progress can be measured.
On March 7, 2018, ICLEI Canada is offering a free workshop on tracking municipal GHG emissions. The workshop will take place at the Holiday Inn, 180 Portugal Cove Road, St. John’s, from 1:00-5:00pm.
This workshop will demonstrate how to build GHG inventories, address data challenges specific to your community, and model emissions trends into the future.
Memorial University Introduces a New Master’s Degree in Energy Systems | February 19, 2018
A new master of applied science program in energy systems engineering is being offered by at Memorial University.
The program aims to meet an increased global demand for graduate training in the area of sustainable and high quality energy. Students will be provided with a comprehensive background on issues related to energy systems, and the skills to develop sustainable techniques and innovative solutions for energy production. This includes training in the technical and economic aspects of energy systems engineering, including generation, distribution and utilization of energy.
This interdisciplinary program, jointly offered by the departments of mechanical and electrical and computer engineering, provides training across several technical disciplines to addresses the complexity of sustainable energy solutions.
The Energy Systems program will begin in September, 2018. For more information visit the website for Memorial University’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science.
Participate in the Take Charge of your Town Challenge! | February 16, 2018
Through a partnership between the province’s two electrical utilities providers, Newfoundland Power and Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro, takeCHARGE brings energy efficiency awareness and rebate programs to the residents of Newfoundland and Labrador.
The takeCHARGE of Your Town initiative started in 2010. It is aimed at raising awareness of the importance of using energy wisely and encouraging residents and municipalities to reduce their energy usage. In the past six years, over $70,000 has been awarded to cities and towns who were successful in winning the challenge.
Proposals are now being accepted for this year’s program. Municipalities are invited to submit proposals that will support their efforts to develop or improve energy conservation or energy efficiency projects. The deadline for proposals is March 2, 2018 at 4:00pm. A winner will be announced this spring. For more information on this program, proposal criteria or to submit your proposal, please visit: https://takechargenl.ca/news-events/town-challenge/.
Join Us for an Upcoming Workshop on Building Climate Resilience | February 16, 2018
Are you interested in incorporating climate change considerations into public infrastructure? On March 8th and 9th, the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment in partnership with Memorial University’s Faculties of Geography and Engineering and Applied Science, Municipalities of Newfoundland Labrador, Professional Engineers and Geoscientists Newfoundland & Labrador, and Engineers Canada is hosting a training workshop on Building Climate Resilience: Incorporating Climate Change into Public Infrastructure Planning and Design.
The workshop aims to enhance the integration of resilience into infrastructure decisions, and help communities across the province adapt to the impacts of climate change, such as increased flooding, coastal erosion and reduced sea ice affecting winter transportation in Labrador.
Who is the workshop for? Professionals involved in policy, planning, procurement, design, construction, operation, maintenance and management of public infrastructure in Newfoundland and Labrador. This includes Chief Administrative Officers, Provincial and municipal engineers and planners, engineering and planning consultants, and senior policy makers. The workshop is eligible for continuing professional development hours recognized by PEGNL.
When and where is it happening? A two-day workshop is being held on March 8th and 9th, 2018, at the Holiday Inn, 180 Portugal Cove Road, St. John’s. Refreshments and lunch will be provided.
What will the workshop cover?
- The legal, policy, scientific and ethical imperative and rationale to integrate climate change into infrastructure and planning;
- How climate change is affecting the province and its’ infrastructure;
- How to integrate climate projections into planning and decision-making on infrastructure;
- The tools and resources available in Newfoundland and Labrador to improve planning and decision-making on infrastructure; and
- The principles of climate risk and vulnerability assessment to public infrastructure and application of these principles into your practice.
Federal Government Releases Details on Carbon Pricing Backstop | January 29, 2018
On January 15, 2018 the Federal Government released two consultation documents to support the introduction of its carbon pricing backstop approach, including (i) a proposal to give it legal authority to implement the backstop and (ii) a consultation document outlining its approach to pricing greenhouse gas emissions from the large industrial sector.
Federal Carbon Pricing Benchmark
In October 2016, the Federal Government announced that it will implement carbon pricing in provinces and territories (PT) unless a PT can demonstrate that its own carbon pricing system is consistent with federal requirements, known as the federal ‘benchmark’. To meet the benchmark, PTs are required to demonstrate, among other things, that their systems:
- Have broad coverage across the economy;
- Be introduced in a timely fashion (by January 2019);
- Take the form of either a carbon tax (e.g. British Columbia), an emissions trading system (e.g. Ontario, Quebec), or a hybrid system which includes performance standards for large industry and a carbon tax for other sectors (e.g. Alberta); and
- Have a carbon price that must start at a minimum of $20 per tonne in 2019 and rise $10 per year to $50 per tonne in 2022.
Federal Carbon Pricing Backstop
The Federal Government plans to introduce its own approach to carbon pricing in PTs that choose not to put in place their own system or have a system that does not meet the federal benchmark. This federal carbon pricing system is known as the ‘backstop’.
All elements of the backstop will apply in a PT that does not have a carbon pricing system in place, or in whole or in part where a PT chooses to have the Federal Government implement carbon pricing for them. The backstop will also ‘top-up’ systems that do not fully meet the benchmark. For example, the backstop could expand the sources of emissions covered by provincial carbon pricing (e.g. expand the scope to a specific sector) or it could increase the level of the provincial carbon price (e.g., from $20 per tonne to $30 per tonne).
PTs choosing the federal backstop are required to confirm this by March 30, 2018. The Federal Government indicates that it intends to implement the federal backstop in applicable PTs, in whole or in part, on January 1, 2019.
Federal Legislative Proposals
The Federal Government released draft legislative proposals to give it legal authority to implement its carbon pricing backstop in jurisdictions that request it or in those that do not comply, in whole or in part, with the federal benchmark.
The proposals indicate that the federal carbon pricing backstop will consist of two main elements:
- A charge (i.e. carbon levy) on fossil fuels (e.g., gasoline, diesel, propane, natural gas) consumed; and
- A system targeted at large industrial facilities with high levels of emissions.
A copy of the proposals can be viewed at: https://www.fin.gc.ca/drleg-apl/2018/ggpp-tpcges-eng.asp
The Federal Government indicates that comments on the draft legislative proposals will be accepted until February 12, 2018.
Federal Large Industrial System
To minimize competitiveness risks for facilities with high GHG emissions and that compete in international markets, while maintaining the carbon price incentive to reduce GHG emissions, the Federal Government is proposing a separate system for the large industrial sector for its carbon pricing backstop.
Highlights of the proposed federal large industrial system include:
- It will apply to a range of industrial sectors such as oil and gas, refining, mining and pulp and paper;
- It will apply to facilities GHG emissions of 50,000 or more tonnes per year, and facilities with GHGs between 10,000 and 50,000 tonnes may opt-in to the system;
- GHG reduction targets will take the form of a performance standard. Facilities performing better than the standard will not be required to reduce GHG emissions. Facilities not meeting the standard will be required to reduce their GHG emissions, buy offsets credits or submit performance credits.
A copy of the consultation document for the federal large industrial system can be viewed at: https://www.canada.ca/en/services/environment/weather/climatechange/climate-action/pricing-carbon-pollution/output-based-pricing-system.html
The Federal Government indicates that comments on the proposal for the large industrial sector will be accepted until April 9, 2018.
Register your Classroom in the Energy Diet Challenge! | January 24, 2018
Canadian Geographic and Shell have recently launched a Classroom Energy Diet Challenge for Canadian classrooms from Kindergarten to Grade 12.
From February 5th to April 26th, classrooms can complete energy-themed challenges on up to 25 topics, including calculating carbon footprints, exploring alternative transportation, and increasing their understanding of renewable energy. The competition aims to increase awareness among students on their energy use, and offers a flexible approach so that classes can select topics and challenges that are relevant to them. Participating classrooms are eligible to win over 100 prizes, worth a total value of $40,000.
The deadline for classrooms to register is January 28, 2018. For more information and to register online, visit the Classroom Energy Diet Challenge website.
Canada’s National Reports to the United Nations on Climate Change. | January 22, 2018
The 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) – a landmark international climate change treaty endorsed by 197 nations, requires ongoing reporting and monitoring by its signatories. Nations that have adopted the UNFCCC are termed “parties.” As a party to the UNFCCC, Canada is required to provide regular reports to the United Nations on actions undertaken to address climate change. On December 29, 2017, Canada filed its two most recent reports with the United Nations.
7th National Communication
Every four years, UNFCCC parties file a report termed a “National Communication” outlining actions being taken on climate change within their jurisdiction, including actions to reduce GHG emissions, build resilience to climate change impacts and raise public awareness, as well as climate research activities and international financial support for developing countries.
With respect to actions to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, Canada’s 7th National Communication largely focuses on activities in support of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change (PCF) such as:
- Planned nationwide implementation of carbon pricing;
- A commitment to phase out coal-fired electricity and to introduce a clean fuel standard;
- Increased emissions standards for light and heavy duty vehicles and investments in electric vehicle charging infrastructure;
- Measures to improve the energy efficiency of buildings and appliances; and
- Federal funding to reduce GHG emissions (e.g., Low Carbon Economy Fund).
Concerning measures to improve resilience to climate change impacts, Canada’s National Communication highlights the following:
- Funding to increase support for First Nation and Inuit communities to undertake climate change and health adaptation projects;
- Commitments to develop climate-resilient codes and standards;
- The creation of a $2 billion Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund; and
- Efforts underway to establish a Canadian Centre for Climate Services.
Every two years, UNFCCC parties submit a status report termed a “Biennial Report” outlining the progress each country is making toward its GHG reduction targets as agreed to in the 2009 Copenhagen Accord and, more recently, 2015 Paris Agreement.
Canada has committed to reducing its GHG emissions by 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020 (equivalent to 613 million tonnes (MT)) and by 30 per cent below 2005 by 2030 (equivalent to 517 MT). By comparison, Canada’s GHG emissions in 2015, the most recent year in which data is available, were 722 MT.
While the Biennial Report projects progress towards Canada’s targets following the signing of the PCF (in particular its 2030 target), the report forecasts that Canada will not reach these targets based on current and planned policies and measures. For example, Canada’s projected GHG emissions for 2030, even when PCF measures are considered, is 583 MT (target is 517 MT). The report indicates that further actions will be required over and above PCF commitments to meet Canada’s 2030 target.Newfoundland and Labrador Overview
Canada’s National Communication provides detail on provincial and territorial actions to address climate change. The following actions were highlighted for Newfoundland and Labrador:
- Muskrat Falls Hydroelectric Project – The report notes that the Muskrat Falls project will reduce Newfoundland and Labrador’s emissions by approximately 10 per cent annually and reduce GHG emissions in other jurisdictions, such as Nova Scotia;
- Management of Greenhouse Gas Act – The report highlights the passage, and progress towards implementation of the Act which creates a framework for reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of large industry, including the establishment of GHG reporting and administrative penalties regulations;
- Adaptation– The report outlines provincial action on climate change adaptation, such as updating 19 rainfall monitoring locations, establishing 113 coastal erosion monitoring sites and incorporating climate change projections into flood risk mapping; and
- Climate Change Action Plan – The report notes that the Province will be releasing a renewed strategic approach to tackling climate change in the form of a new climate change action plan to be released in 2018.
Furthermore, GHG projections for Newfoundland and Labrador in the Biennial Report suggest that GHG emissions in the Province will increase from 10 MT in 2015 to 12 MT by 2020 and return to 2015 levels by 2030.
If you are interested in learning more, you can read the reports in their entirety at: http://unfccc.int/files/national_reports/national_communications_and_biennial_reports/application/pdf/82051493_canada-nc7-br3-1-5108_eccc_can7thncomm3rdbi-report_en_04_web.pdf.
Federation of Canadian Municipalities | January 15, 2018
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) is the national voice of municipal government, representing 90 per cent of Canada’s municipal population. Members of the FCM include Canadian cities, urban and rural communities, and provincial and territorial municipal associations.
FCM hosts a range of events throughout the year, including conferences, workshops and webinars. Through these sessions, municipal leaders have the opportunity to learn from other jurisdictions, network and build relationships, and gain information that could help overcome challenges and address the needs of their citizens.
This month the FCM is hosting a webinar entitled “Opportunities and best practices in climate change action: Introduction for elected officials”. This is an introductory webinar intended for elected officials from Canadian communities of all sizes who wish to understand the municipal challenges and opportunities associated with climate change. Participants will learn ways to champion climate change action, to recognize the benefits of taking action on climate change and obtain support for climate-related initiatives.
There will be two sessions: one in French and one in English. The English webinar is scheduled for January 31, 2018, 3:00pm-4:00pm NST. Speakers for this session include Bob Young, Mayor of Leduc, Alberta and Trevor Birtch, Mayor of Woodstock, Ontario. The French webinar is scheduled for January 24, 2018, 3:00pm-4:00pm NST. Speakers for this session include Suzanne Roy, Mayor, Ville de Sainte-Julie, Quebec and Virginie Dufour, Municipal Councillor and Executive Committee Member, Ville de Laval, QC.
For more information and to register, please visit: https://fcm.ca/home/events/upcoming-events/webinar---opportunities-and-best-practices-in-climate-change-action-introduction-for-elected-officials.htm.
Final Report released on the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador’s 2011-2016 Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Action Plans | January 12, 2018
In 2011, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador developed two complimentary action plans, outlining its approach to take action on climate change. Combined, the Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Action Plans contained 75 commitments that focused on enhancing climate change adaptation, improving energy efficiency, and additional measures to achieve greenhouse gas reductions.
These plans have now concluded and, in December, the Department of Municipal Affairs and Environment released a final report outlining government’s progress on implementing each of the 75 commitments. The final report can be found online.
Included within these plans were commitments to develop a Market Transformation Framework, outlining governments approach to transforming markets for low-emitting goods and services, and a Greening Government Action Plan, demonstrating commitment to reduce emissions from provincial government operations. These plans were developed in 2015, and an update on progress is included within the final report.
In the Way Forward: A Vision for Sustainabilty and Growth in Newfoundland and Labrador, and through adoption of the Pan-Canadian Framework for Clean Growth and Climate Change (PFC), the provincial government committed to take ongoing action against climate change and will release a new climate change action plan in 2018.
Local Startup Helps Householders Save Energy | January 2, 2018
A Wi-Fi enabled thermostat named Mysa has been recently developed by Empowered Homes, allowing users to remotely control their heating systems and reduce electricity use. Empowered Homes is an emerging Newfoundland and Labrador-based company that began as a client of Memorial University’s Genesis Centre, an innovation hub for new technology startups.
Through using a mobile phone, tablet, or computer, users can view room temperatures and adjust the temperature from anywhere and reduce their energy use. This includes a function to generate in-depth energy reports to show energy savings and provide suggestions on how to make further improvements to reduce household energy use, greenhouse gas emissions and also save money.
Improving energy efficiency in buildings and supporting the development of clean technologies are two key components of the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change (PCF). The PCF was adopted by Federal, Provincial and Territorial First Ministers in December 2016 and is a plan to meet emission reduction targets, grow the economy, and build resilience to a changing climate in Canada.