Published in Vancouver Sun (February 13, 2009)
Co-Authored by George Hoberg, Professor, Faculty of Forestry, University of British Columbia
The fundamental public policy problem associated with clean energy development in British Columbia is the lack of an integrated provincial or regional planning process for this new electricity supply.
This glaring gap in energy governance is leading to bitter "river by river" conflicts over each proposed "run-of-river" hydroelectric project.
The public outcry reached its zenith last year over a proposal to install run-of-river projects on eight tributaries of the Upper Pitt River, with the associated transmission lines to snake through Pinecone Burke Provincial Park. The project was derailed, at least temporarily, when Environment Minister Barry Penner refused to sign off on the needed adjustment to the park's boundaries.
Vociferous opposition to poorly planned wind projects, which are now being developed, and ocean projects, which will soon be developed, will surely follow. read more »
Update on the Impacts that Climate Change is having on the Oil and Gas Policy Frameworks and Regulatory Regimes in BC/Alberta
I presented a paper at the "Environmental Law - In the Public Interest", Continuing Legal Education conference held in Vancouver on September 19, 2008. You can access the paper below.
Talk about being oversubscribed.
Not too long ago, the Province announced that it has received 60 applications that together are seeking $140 million in financial support from its Innovative Clean Energy (ICE) Fund.
There is one problem though: there is only $25 million in the pot to give out this year. And the government hasn't committed to having any funds on hand to give out after that.
The ICE Fund was created in 2007, with the aim "to accelerate the commercialization of new, clean and renewable energy technologies" in BC. Eligible technologies include run-of-river, solar, ocean and bio-energy generation projects, carbon storage and sequestration, as well as a host of other projects being developed to meet the global warming challenge.
According to two of the most important and credible reports that have been issued on global warming to date - the Stern Review (2006) and the report of the UN International Panel on Climate Change (2007) - a dramatic increase in investment and incentives for clean energy research and development is crucial to any global strategy to cut greenhouse gas emissions and thus abate the change in climate. read more »
Published in Vancouver Sun (January 4, 2008)
Co-Authored by Andrew Gage, Staff Lawyer, West Coast Environmental Law
I resolve to go to the gym more. I resolve to have more patience with my colleagues. I resolve to spend more time with my family. I resolve to reduce my greenhouse gas emissions.
The first three resolutions are pretty standard stuff. The last one needed to be added to the list this year because B.C.'s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Targets Act came into force on Tuesday, Jan 1.
The legislation has set targets for reducing B.C.'s overall greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. A 33-per-cent reduction or better by 2020, and an 80-per-cent reduction or better by 2050 (as compared to 2007 levels.)
Greenhouse gases are those such as carbon dioxide, methane and chlorofluorocarbons that scientists tell us are forming a blanket over the Earth, holding in the sun's energy and raising the surface temperature of the planet. read more »
A salmon war solution? Lessons from the British Columbia black cod/sablefish "Individual Vessel Quota" fishery
As Stephen Hume detailed in his article in the Vancouver Sun ("Carelessness, greed
nearly destroyed sale run", July 7, 1997), the conservation of British Columbia's wild salmon stocks have played second fiddle to political decision and indecision for the better part of 100 years. As the current rhetoric in this year's "salmon war" (between our governments and the governments of Alaska, Washington and Oregon) indicates, there is little chance that salmon management will improve in the near future.
If the situation is not resolved immediately, the BC salmon fishery may soon resemble the East Coast cod fishery, and our province may become the "new Newfoundland".
Can we prevent this from happening?
We can if we reform the salmon management system so that conversation needs and scientific principles are valued more than quick profits and political points. This can be done by giving salmon fishers increased rights and responsibilities in managing the fishery. This can be done making salmon fishers stewards of the resource.
In some fisheries in BC this has already happened. read more »