Archive for ‘Press Release’

August 8, 2012

News Release: Federal Government Misleading Canadians…

…which isn’t news in itself, but the latest latest report from Environment Canada, as released by Peter Kent, the “Environment Minister”, suggests that… 

“This is the result of our government’s realistic, sector-by-sector approach to reducing emissions, while continuing to create jobs and encourage economic growth,” Kent told reporters Wednesday.

Of course, those of us who have watched the Conservatives since they gained the majority know that practically nothing they say is true, as this news release from the David Suzuki Foundation confirms:

 

Federal climate report misleads Canadians

Government is taking credit for provincial action

For Immediate Release                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     August 8, 2012

 

VANCOUVER – The federal government is misleading Canadians with its latest report on greenhouse gas emissions trends. Despite the claims made by Environment Minister Peter Kent, the government has done very little to achieve its weak targets.

“The federal government is attempting to take credit for climate change action taken by the provinces, while gutting and cutting programs and institutions that had been helping with climate policy,” says Ian Bruce, David Suzuki Foundation climate change and clean energy specialist.

As noted in the David Suzuki Foundation report “All Over the Map 2012: A Comparison of Provincial Climate Change Plans”, much of Canada’s emissions reductions can be attributed to provincial initiatives such as Ontario’s phase out of coal-fired power, Nova Scotia’s regulations to cap and reduce coal emissions, B.C.’s carbon tax incentive for clean energy, and Quebec’s public transit improvements.

Meanwhile, the government has cut institutions such as the national Round Table on the Environment and the Economy, and been criticized by the Office of the Auditor General of Canada for the lack of a clear plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In October 2011, the Environment Commissioner reported that the federal government’s strategy is “disjointed, confused and non transparent” and that the government’s policies are now projected to be 90 per cent weaker than they were in 2007.

The figures released today by the federal government are also based on revised baselines and accounting rules for greenhouse gas pollution.

“Rather than trying to put a positive spin on its lack of accountability on the environment, the federal government should join forces with leading provincial governments to help Canada become a world leader in solving global warming,” Bruce says. “With this summer shaping up to be the hottest on record, Canadians need and deserve real action on global warming, which would provide numerous economic and health benefits. The government must start representing the interests of all Canadians and not just the oil industry.”

 

 

 

January 7, 2012

Pulping Indonesia’s Protected Forests

Disturbing news about Asia Pulp and Paper, from this Dec14 news release from WWF:

On December 14, 2011, WWF partner Eyes on the Forest released a new report titled “The Truth Behind APP’s Greenwash.” The report includes evidence that Asia Pulp and Paper (APP) continues to clear cut tiger forests in Sumatra, Indonesia. These areas are within the boundaries of land the company claims to protect.

Through field investigations in June and October 2011 and satellite image analysis up to June 2011, Eyes on the Forest found that the APP supplier, PT Ruas Utama Jaya, has been clear cutting tropical forests inside the Senepis Tiger Sanctuary.

Fact Versus Pulp Fiction
The investigation shows a tiger sanctuary reality vastly different from APP’s claims. Key findings from the report conclude:

  • APP has pulped an estimate of almost 5 million acres of Indonesia’s tropical forests since it started paper production there in 1984
  • APP has continued clear cutting forests including elephant, tiger and orangutan habitat despite displaying an environmentally responsible image in the media
  • 86% of the tiger area that APP claims responsibility for conserving is already under protection through Forest Stewardship Council-certified partners
  • APP’s required reporting of greenhouse gas emissions—both from deforestation and the draining of swampy peatlands for agriculture—could be more than 500 times what the company claims
  • An APP wood supplier is clear cutting within the Senepsis Tiger Sanctuary—an area APP claims it protects

APP sells office paper, paper-based packaging and other paper products. They are also expanding globally into tissue products like toilet paper, including brand names such as Paseo, which is available on many U.S. supermarket shelves.

APP has failed to reduce the impact of their operations in Sumatra despite attempts over several years to engage them in seeking solutions. WWF now works with global companies that buy pulp and paper from Indonesia to ensure their supply chain is sourced sustainably. By seeking responsibly sourced materials these companies will ensure that they are not responsible for the continued destruction of Indonesia’s tropical forests and the homes of Sumatra’s last surviving tigers.

What can you do?
Look at the products you buy and the choices you make. You can be the voice and take action to:

Learn More
Read the full Eyes on the Forest report (PDF, 7.82 MB)
For Companies Only: Paper Tools and Guidance for Buyers and Producers

October 7, 2008

Canadian Economists Agree – Put a Price on Carbon

OTTAWA, Oct. 6 – More than 230 economists teaching in Canadian universities have signed an open letter to federal political leaders calling for economically coherent action on climate change. Among the signatories are some of Canada’s top economists, including current and past presidents of the Canadian Economics Association, and holders of Canada Research Chairs and the Order of Canada.

“Economists disagree on many things, but on what needs to be done about climate change there is considerable agreement,” explains Ross Finnie, one of the three authors of the letter and an Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Ottawa. “The signatories come from a wide range of political persuasions and will vote for different parties, but we all agree that effective policies for addressing climate change must be based on sound economic principles. Our goal is to help inform public debate on climate change at a time when people are really paying attention to this issue – during the federal election. Our hope is that whichever party forms the next government will act on these principles.”

“It’s remarkable how much agreement there is among economists on this key point – the best climate change policy is to put a price on carbon,” says Nancy Olewiler, another of the authors and director of SFU’s Public Policy Program. David Green, the third author and professor at UBC, adds “We also want people to be clear that all policies that alter carbon emissions will affect the prices they face – some more than others.”

Read the complete press release from The Economics of Climate Change

August 28, 2008

Sticklebacks Loose Their Armour

Armoured fish study helps strengthen Darwin’s natural selection theory, from a University of British Columbia media release:

Shedding some genetically induced excess baggage may have helped a tiny fish thrive in freshwater and outsize its marine ancestors, according to a UBC study published today in Science Express.

Measuring three to 10 centimetres long, stickleback fish originated in the ocean but began populating freshwater lakes and streams following the last ice age. Over the past 20,000 years – a relatively short time span in evolutionary terms – freshwater sticklebacks have lost their bony lateral plates, or “armour,” in these new environments.

“Scientists have identified a mutant form of a gene, or allele, that prohibits the growth of armour,” says UBC Zoology PhD candidate Rowan Barrett. Found in fewer than one per cent of marine sticklebacks, this allele is very common in freshwater populations.

Barrett and co-authors UBC post-doctoral fellow Sean Rogers and Prof. Dolph Schluter set out to investigate whether the armour gene may have helped sticklebacks “invade” freshwater environments. They relocated 200 marine sticklebacks with the rare armour reduction allele to freshwater experimental ponds.

“By documenting the physical traits and genetic makeup of the offspring produced by these marine sticklebacks in freshwater, we were able to track how natural selection operates on this gene,” says Rogers.

“We found a significant increase in the frequency of this allele in their offspring, evidence that natural selection favours reduced armour in freshwater,” says Barrett.

Barrett and Rogers also found that offspring carrying the allele are significantly larger in size. “It leads us to believe that the genetic expression is also tied to increased growth rate,” says Barrett.

“If the fish aren’t expending resources growing bones – which may be significantly more difficult in freshwater due to its lack of ions – they can devote more energy to increasing biomass,” says Barrett. “This in turn allows them to breed earlier and improves over-winter survival rate.”

Celebrating its 150th anniversary this week, Darwin’s first publication of his natural selection theory proposed that challenging environments would lead to a struggle for existence, or “survival of the fittest.” Since then, scientists have advanced the theory by contributing an understanding of how genes affect evolution.

“This study provides further evidence for Darwin’s theory of natural selection by showing that environmental conditions can directly impact genes controlling physical traits that affect the survival of species,” says Barrett.

(Photo courtesy of Rowan Barrett, UBC. Completely Armoured (top) and low armoured (bottom) sticklebacks, sampled from the experimental ponds.)

June 6, 2008

An Insight into Early Cells

A team of researchers at Harvard University have modeled in the laboratory a primitive cell, or protocell, that is capable of building, copying and containing DNA.

Since there are no physical records of what the first primitive cells on Earth looked like, or how they grew and divided, the research team’s protocell project offers a useful way to learn about how Earth’s earliest cells may have interacted with their environment approximately 3.5 billion years ago. (See the complete Press Release for more information.)

(Photo Credit: Janet Iwasa, Szostak Laboratory, Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital)

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