August 3, 2009

Water was a subject of discussion and action at this weekend's Blue Skies music festival in Clarendon, Ontario.

This annual gathering - like the Mariposa, Ottawa and other folk festivals - has opted to go bottled water free and express in different ways a new awareness about the importance of our relationship with water.

Messages came from the festival's emcee Magoo on Friday night, in the song 'Think about what you drink' by evalyn parry on Saturday night, and in the 'Unbottle It' workshop on Sunday morning.

The workshop by Mario Vella of Toronto (right), me (centre), and ably assisted by Julian Taylor-Patterson (left) attracted a small but dedicated band of festival goers, including Pat Taylor, Kim MacIntyre and Sebastian Vella.

July 29, 2009

Health Canada is proving itself useless yet again, this time by refusing to assess the safety of a new a multi-herbicide tolerant and multi-insecticide-producing corn developed by Monsanto and Dow AgroSciences. The news, announced today by the Canadian Biotechnology Action Network (CBAN), is a reminder that Canadian health agencies and other regulators often prioritize harmonization with the United States over independent research and stringent standards.

July 29, 2009

The Globe and Mail reports this morning that, "After hearings that lasted almost a year, the B.C. Utilities Commission has rejected BC Hydro's long-term acquisition plan as 'not in the public interest'..."

"Some analysts say the ruling – which shocked the government and the stock market – indicates B.C. has been over-estimating the amount of power the province needs in order to justify the development of independent power projects (also known as run of river projects)."

"The ruling delivered a quick blow to independent power producers (IPPs), with shares for Plutonic Power Corp. plunging about 24 per cent yesterday, falling $1.00 to $3.08."

"Dow Jones Newswires said the commission's decision 'could put the development of new renewable-power projects in the province on hold.'"

"But Blair Lekstrom, B.C.'s Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, tried to steady the market by saying the government remains committed to pursuing the development of more clean, renewable energy through IPP's.“

July 28, 2009

The Toronto Star reports that, "Oilsands production is expected to almost triple to about three million barrels per day by 2015..."

A report by the Alberta Carbon Capture and Storage Development Council concludes, "Oilsands (greenhouse gas) emissions would more than double by 2015 without carbon capture and storage implementation."

The Alberta CCS Development Council report says the federal and Alberta governments may have to invest $1 billion to $3 billion per year after 2015 to turn capturing carbon into a viable commercial technology and that energy prices will rise as consumers shoulder "a large share of the burden" of this cost.

The article also notes, "It could also take up to 20 years to produce such projects on a commercial scale."

"Last month, the Alberta government announced that seven companies would share $2 billion to fund three carbon capture and storage projects, to be built by 2015," but this is well below the annual funding called for in the report.

July 28, 2009

The Globe and Mail reports that, "The Harper government is facing growing pressure to intervene in the liquidation of Nortel Networks Corp., but shows no signs of supporting an effort by Research In Motion Ltd. to keep assets of the company in Canadian hands."

They report that, "(Sweden's telecommunications giant) Ericsson (which submitted a winning $1.13 billion US bid for Nortel's wireless unit) will likely have to win approval from the government under an Investment Canada review."

"The threshold for review is $312-million and, while many of the Nortel assets in the package are non-Canadian, it would almost certainly likely trigger a review, a senior government official said."

But the Canwest News Service reports that, "Since the assets being acquired by Ericsson are less than $312 million - as distinct from the purchase price - there is no automatic review under the applicable legislation. To justify an intervention, Canada must determine if the acquisition runs afoul of national security."