Norway Outlines Its Climate Cure, Climate Change Response Plan for Ontario Urged, Meanwhile Alberta Tar Sands Growth Unchecked

In the news this week, those progressive Scandinavians are at it again! Norway has announced one of the world’s toughest climate goals, with a target of 30 – 40% reduced CO2 emissions from 1990 levels by 2020. Unlike recent announcements of a progressive new Canadian environmental policy, which turned out to be a Yes Men hoax (click here or here for more), Norway is serious about pursuing this strategy.  The “Climate Cure” plan that has just been released is a 300-page document prepared by Norwegian state agencies to guide deep cuts in the country’s greenhouse gas emissions. This policy is in line with the reductions that the best science say are necessary to avert global climate destabilization from greenhouse gas pollution.  The economic cost is considered in the plan as well, with Norwegian Environment Minister Erik Solheim saying the modest impact on economic growth predicted will mean that Norway will be as rich by Easter in 2020 than the country otherwise would be at Christmas in 2019. Seems a small price to pay to keep the planet habitable for future generations! To read more about Norway’s announcement, click here.

Meanwhile, closer to home, a blue ribbon panel of experts has produced a 96 page report entitled “Adapting to Climate Change in Ontario” which makes 59 comprehensive recommendations on how to deal with coming climate change-related effects. By this spring, the report states, Ontario should produce a “climate change adaptation action plan,” to guide policy creation in everything from physical infrastructure – such as building better roads and bridges – to agriculture, water, at risk species, and human health. Click here for more.

No announcements from the Canadian government on an environmental plan that will ensure a safe and healthy future for Canadians, though. The federal and Alberta governments’ support for the oil sands, the dirtiest oil in the world, continues unabated. However, there are signs from outside the country that campaigns that target the tar sands and the companies associated with them are having an effect. As discussed earlier on this blog, two Fortune 500 companies – Whole Foods and Bed Bath & Beyond – recently announced they were going to remove the oil sands from their supply chains. Meanwhile in Britain, campaigners are encouraging people to lobby their pension plans if they hold shares in BP or Shell, two major oil sands investors. And in the U.S. a “Love Winter Hate the Oil Sands” campaign is just getting started. It seems these companies will only listen when their bottom line is threatened – sanity, science and long-term planetary security don’t seem to make a difference. A campaign that targets Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) for its bankrolling of the tar sands is also underway – and is having an effect. This week, RBC Chief Operating Officer Barbara Stymiest (yes, that really is her name) and Rainforest Action Network met – click here to read “Getting to Maybe with RBC” or here for a Macleans article about this issue. To send a letter to Royal Bank of Canada CEO Gordon Nixon telling him to stop investing in the tar sands, click here. To join the Facebook group “Ending Investment in Tar Sands” click here.