Gallon Environment Letter: What's New
Updated 24 May 2012
For archives click What's
May 24, 2012 The Honoured Reader (free edition) of the Gallon Environment Letter Vol. 16, No. 12 May 22, 2012 posted as current issue click here
Theme: ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT
CESD: 2009 AUDIT OF EA
NEW EA IN CANADA: THE GOVERNMENT'S PRESS RELEASE
PROPOSED CHANGES TO EA IN CANADA
SOME EA ISSUES: TIMELINES, ACCOUNTABILITY, BENEFITS
Contaminated Sites a Harmful Legacy Good Environmental Assessment Could Have Prevented
Accountability and Environmental Assessment
GREEN PARTY: C-38: ENVIRONMENT DEVASTATION ACT
CEAA: A SAMPLE OF INDICATORS FOR SCREENING REPORTS
UNION OF BC INDIAN CHIEFS: FEDERAL GOVERNMENT UNDERMINING ABORIGINAL RIGHTS
EA FOR A PARK BENCH?
SCREENINGS: CEAA REGISTRY INTERNET SITE
Nature of Screenings
Difficulty in Obtaining Screening Reports
CORPORATE RESPONSIBILITY AND EA
MARK WINFIELD: HARPER GOVERNMENT ASSAULT ON CANADA'S ENVIRONMENT
ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS ASK CANADIANS TO SAVE CANADA'S ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS
EU: COSTS AND BENEFITS OF EIA
CLIMATE CHANGE AND EA
CME LAUDS FEDERAL BUDGET
ETHICALOIL.ORG: DIGGING DEEP FOR TRUTH VALUE ABOUT CHARITIES
ANGLO AMERICAN: IAIA AWARD FOR CORPORATE IMPACT ASSESSMENT
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
CME'S ANNUAL CONFERENCE: LEAN
DAVID BROOKS HONOURED AT U WATERLOO
As Canada's Federal Government puts limits on environmental assessment processes, GallonLetter thought it would be useful to take a look at how environmental assessment has been reviewed over the last 25 years. Don't put this issue aside thinking it will be all praise for environmental assessment: we have included both sides of the discussion but we have limited ourselves to discussion of environmental and sustainable development aspects and have omitted those commentators who think that environmental assessment is nothing more than an obstacle to exploitation of resources for economic gain!
We have tried to keep our brief overview of environmental assessment fairly readable. We even have an article on the Mining Association of Canada's claim that environmental assessments were being done on installations of park benches, only to find that the Mining Association of Canada appears to have provided incorrect information to the Parliamentary Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development. We invite MAC to respond to us if there has in fact been a federal EA on simple installation of a park bench and to the Parliamentary Committee if there has not.
The Government's Omnibus Bill, C38, covers so much legislative change in the environmental area that GallonLetter will not have space to cover it all before it is passed by Parliament. However the Green Party of Canada has prepared a useful synopsis and we bring you a reprint of that document.
There is so much on the EA theme that we have postponed some of the articles on current issues until the next issue, which will be one of our biennial issues with general updates on the world of Sustainable Development for business. We are also hoping that our next issue will include a preview of the Rio+20 Earth Summit conference but at press time for this issue it is still not clear what Rio+20 might achieve or how Canada and Canadian organizations might participate.
Despite our file size limitations this issue is not all about environmental assessment. CME is looking at LEAN manufacturing at its annual conference in Winnipeg next month. Our contributor Prof. Albert Bartlett takes on the 'oxymoronic' Sustainable Growth, one of the 'founders' of the environmental movement in Canada, David Brooks, gets recognized by the University of Waterloo, and the David Suzuki Foundation is under attack from the EthicalOil organization. We report and analyze.
We hope you find this issue both interesting and enjoyable and we invite you to send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org either for possible publication or, if not, please so state in your email message.
May 23, 2012 The Honoured Reader (free edition) of the Gallon Environment Letter Vol. 16, No. 11 April 16, 2012 posted as current issue click here
Editorial by Colin Isaacs: THE 2012 FEDERAL BUDGET
Theme: A SMALL SELECTION FROM EUEC
(Energy, Utility and Environment Conference held in Phoenix, Arizona January 30-February 1, 2012)
EDF: QUESTION MARKS ON SHALE GAS IN THE US
EUEC: CHRIS SMITH - NATURAL GAS IN THE US CLEAN ENERGY ECONOMY
U.S.-China Shale Gas Initiative
EUEC: US EPA: NEW MERCURY & AIR TOXICS STANDARD FOR POWER PLANTS
Controversy Rules the Rules
EUEC: BEYOND COMPLIANCE: AVOIDING NUISANCE LAWSUITS
EUEC: CANADA'S DRAFT CO2 REGS FOR COAL-FIRED PLANTS
EUEC: ISO 26000
EUEC: 2012 PROCEEDINGS AND 2013 CONFERENCE
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Subject: Awards Programs GL Vol. 16 No. 10
by Diane Blackburn, Events Manager, Recycling Council of Ontario
APRIL GREENING: CANADIAN LIVING MAGAZINE
MARTHA STEWART WHOLE LIVING: THE BLUE ISSUE: IT'S ALL ABOUT H20
BOB WILLARD: THE NEW SUSTAINABILITY ADVANTAGE
Stages of the Sustainability Journey
Trouble with the Business Case
CEC: SLABS - SPENT LEAD ACID BATTERIES
GARBAGE/RECYCLING: THERE'S AN APP FOR THAT
ENVIRONMENTAL COMMISSIONER OF ONTARIO: CLIMATE ADAPTATION
ONTARIO: CLIMATE ADAPTATION STRATEGY 2011
NEIGHBOURS TO POLLUTERS IN CANADA LESS LIKELY TO WIN DAMAGES
THE 2012 GLOBE AWARDS WINNERS
WE THOUGHT YOU WOULD NEVER ASK!
ABOUT THIS ISSUE
GallonLetter almost always comments on the Federal Budget and on any especially interesting items in provincial budgets. This year is no exception, though we have hardly included any commentary in our report on the Federal Budget. That is because the list of environmental items in the Budget is very long, though the significance of most may either be not so high or difficult to determine at this stage. We will be back to review many of these items as legislation and program changes are introduced. Our opinion continues to be that environmental programs should not be measured by money spent but by results achieved. It will be very interesting to review this budget in two or three years and to determine how much better it has made Canada's environment!
We committed that this issue would also include a review of some of the interesting papers from the 2012 EUEC conference, the Energy, Utility and Environment Conference, claiming to be the largest annual conference of its kind in North America. We have started that process and may include more in future issues of GallonLetter as space permits. Quite a number of papers at EUEC focussed on shale gas: GallonDaily heard many more concerns expressed by government and industry leaders about the risks of fracking than one reads from these sources in the popular press. A couple of our reports reflect this content and other interesting presentations from EUEC.
For several years GallonLetter has reviewed Earth Day content in the magazines on bookstore shelves. The popular media is one of the most effective ways to bring green awareness to the public at large. This year there is woefully little such content and even where there is it is often surrounded by advertisements selling yet more stuff. We look at a couple of popular magazines that do have some green content this month.
Bob Willard has updated one of his books. We review the book and recommend it for business executives who want to better understand what Sustainability is all about and why it should be a key element of corporate objectives.
In future you may be hearing more about SLABS - we tell you what they are and why they are moving under the spotlight. The Environmental Commissioner of Ontario releases lots of reports and they are almost always of considerable interest. We review his report on climate adaptation as well as summarize the Ontario Climate Adaptation strategy.
The Federal government is offering financial assistance for heat recovery and process integration studies. We provide the details. GLOBE has just made its 2012 awards - we list the winners. This is a long issue but there should be something for all of our readers. If you have comments, suggestions, criticism or corrections please feel free to send us an email at email@example.com. We love to hear from our readers and publish a selection of letters received.
Our next issue will feature a review of activity on environmental assessment in Canada and in several other jurisdictions around the world.
Current What's New
March 8, 2012 The Honoured Reader (free edition) of the Gallon Environment Letter Vol. 16, No. 10 February 28, 2012 posted as current issue click here
Editorial by Colin Isaacs: HARPER GOVERNMENT MAY BE RISKING ENVIRONMENTAL BACKLASH
Theme: CORPORATE AWARDS AND RECOGNITION
GLOBE AWARDS FOR ENVIRONMENTAL EXCELLENCE
ONTARIO BUSINESS ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS
ALBERTA: EMERALD AWARDS
CANADIAN CONSULTING ENGINEERING AWARDS
Schreyer Award: Genivar Inc.
Tree for Life: Enermodal Engineering
Enermodal: Other Awards
ENERGY STAR MARKET TRANSFORMATION AWARDS: CALL FOR NOMINATIONS
CARBON DISCLOSURE PROJECT: LEADERS INDEX CDLI
EDC: SUCCESS STORIES FOR CANADIAN EXPORTING COMPANIES
MACLEANS TOP 50 SOCIALLY RESPONSIBLE CORPORATIONS
GREEN LIVING ECR
CATIE AWARDS: GREENING OF THE SUPPLY CHAIN
CANADIAN AWARD FOR ENVIRONMENTAL INNOVATION
MEDIA CORP: CANADA'S GREENEST EMPLOYERS
EMPLOYERS: THE GREEN 30
NEWALTA: CONFERENCES AND RECOGNITION
SAP: IT GREEN AWARDS
CANADIAN CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS: REPORTING AWARDS
Sustainable Supplier Award
ENCANA: AN ENERGY COMPANY AWARD SUCCESS STORY
EPA Report on Fracking in Wyoming
SELECTION OF OTHER AWARDS
Centre for Excellence in CSR
Industry Sector Specific AwardsRegionally Specific Awards
SUCCESS STORIES: OSTARA NUTRIENT RECOVERY TECHNOLOGIES INC.
PUBLIC EYE: (IN)FAMOUS AWARDS
The World Economic Forum
LETTERS TO EDITOR
EUEC: INSURANCE POLICY
STEPHAN SCMIDHEINY: ETERNIT
ROM: MAYA EXHIBIT
GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK: STOPS SELLING DISPOSABLE BOTTLED WATER
National Park Service Priority: Recycling
KAHNEMAN: THINKING, FAST AND SLOW
Chapter 24: the Engine of Capitalism
Organizations: Role to Improve Decision-making
ABOUT THIS ISSUE
This editorial in this issue reviews the Harper government's attitude towards the environment and makes some suggestions for where we can all go from here. One place to go is industry leadership of environmental initiatives and, with that in mind, we list some of the more significant environmental awards that are available to Canadian companies. Being among those that are convinced that positive action for the environment needs to become a matter of competition among companies, we\ urge our corporate readers to compete for some of the many awards that are available. It will almost certainly improve your environmental and economic performance. To make reading interesting for our individual readers our awards summary also presents some of the most recent winners and their achievements.
We suspect that some readers view awards with some scepticism. Given the limited resources often provided to judges, we are not surprised that recipients are sometimes not as worthy as the award suggests. However, there are also some awards designed to highlight the infamous. Our list would not be complete without our mentioning these
In other news and views, we welcome two Letters to the Editor in this issue (please send more to firstname.lastname@example.org), we include some advice on environmental insurance policies, and we report on the new status of the founder of the World Business Council on Sustainable Development. The Royal Ontario Museum has an exhibition on the collapse of the Mayan civilization and leads us to ponder on the possibility of similarities between that situation and today's situation in some parts of the world. We explore whether the US National Parks Service is encouraging people to consume more heavily sugared beverages and we analyse the message of a recent book that explores methods of thinking.
Our next issue will contain GallonLetter's reporting from the recent Energy, Utility and Environment Conference held in Phoenix, Arizona, last month
February 15, 2012 The Honoured Reader (free edition) of the Gallon Environment Letter Vol. 16, No. 09 January 23, 2012 posted as current issue click here
Editorial 1 by Colin Isaacs: ONTARIO FEDERATION OF AGRICULTURE MAKES WRONG-HEADED MOVE
EATING SUSTAINABLY: BEYOND THE MOUTHFUL
CANADA: FOOD EXPENDITURE
Editorial 2 by Colin Isaacs: FOOD SECURITY: LOCAL FOOD
GOOD FOOD BOX
SHOULD TAKE MORE RESPONSIBILITY FOR WHAT THEY EAT
NATURAL STEP CANADA: THINKING BEYOND SUSTAINABILITY IN THE KITCHEN
ORGANIC FARMING MOSTLY USES LESS ENERGY
GUELPH ORGANIC CONFERENCE
HOW TO SAVE MONEY IN ORDER TO BUY ORGANIC FOOD
FORAGE FINISHED BEEF
CESD: CHAPTER ON SUSTAINABLE FISHERIES
LOBLAW: SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD
ENERGY USE IN THE HOME
NRCAN: TIPS ON USE OF THE COOKING APPLIANCES
SOBEYS: GREEN COOKING TIPS
BC SMALL APPLIANCE RECYCLING PROGRAM
BC: MAJOR APPLIANCE RECYCLING
GROCERY LOYALTY CARDS HELP SOLVE FOOD SAFETY SICKNESS SOURCES
CARBON FOOTPRINT: HOME COOKED, READY-MEAL AND INSTITUTIONAL
HOME-COOKED, SEMI-PREPARED VS INDUSTRIALLY PROCESSED FOOD
PINERIDGE FOOD INC.: FOOD COMPANY LCA
FOOD WASTE COMPOSTING: GREEN CONE
ENVIRONMENTAL COMMISSIONER: ONTARIO'S ROLE IN BIODIVERSITY
LONG GUN REGISTRY, HELLO LONG PIG REGISTRY
ABOUT THIS ISSUE
The theme of this issue might appear to be food, but we prefer to call it 'eating', particularly food supply and preparation. We mention some reports such as one published by Canada's International Development Research Centre a few years ago, which we see as having a particularly relevant perspective on food and the environment. Statistics Canada food statistics, some of which are no longer being updated as freely available publications, presented some interesting data on our eating and food spending habits. Then in a second editorial, we provide GallonLetter's take on the benefits of the local food movement. That comes after an editorial in which we express our dismayy that the Ontario Federation of Agriculture is asking for a moratorium on windpower in the Province, potentially undoing much of the progress that the local food movement has made in the last few years!
In Saskatoon, a non-profit is running what seems to GallonLetter to be a very worthwhile initiative to help lower income people acquire and prepare more nutritious meals. We discuss the potential of Meal Assembly Centres, not just for export, as Agriculture Canada has done, but also for the Canadian market. We review the role of consumers in improving the sustainability of food production and processing. Organic farming mostly uses less energy, according to a Nova Scotia Agricultural College and York University study. We have a summary of a useful article from the Organic Center in Colorado on How to Save Money in Order to Buy Organic Food. The Guelph Organic Conference is to be held in just a few days - we provide details and a link.
While discussing vegetarian food and the 'back to the land' movement we came upon the case of a university professor who is said to have been the first to be fired for his radical views. He was commenting on the use of child labour in coal mining in 1915. Thinking of the Northern Gateway pipeline, how much progress have we made?
Some processors are promoting corn-fed beef while others promote grass-fed beef. At least in this issue we provide information on the benefits of the latter. Canada's Sustainable Development Commissioner states that "The availability of fish can't be taken for granted." We look at his report. At least one seafood retailer seems to be doing something about this.
As part of our focus on food preparation, we look in this issue at residential energy use and some suggestions on how to cook in a more energy efficient manner, Some of the advice, for example that dishwashers use less energy than hand dishwashing, may be counter-intuitive but GallonLetter suspects they are correct. We will be looking at this area in greater detail in future issues and, we hope, in a book on Ecological Feeding and Fooding which is currently in the planning stage.
We applaud British Columbia for its small appliance recycling program and explore what can and cannot be recycled. When you think about it, it makes a lot of sense, and we hope to see more added soon. In our opinion there are few if any in the way of durable household goods made of metal that should not be included in this recycling initiative. Have you thought about the food safety benefits of retailer loyalty programs? The Ontario Ministry of Agriculture has done - we bring you their idea! Did you know that a rainbow trout casserole prepared for a school lunch probably has a lower carbon footprint than the same dish prepared as a ready to eat meal or, worse, prepared at home! Thinking about the ecological impact of our meals puts school lunches in a whole new light! Pineridge Foods is one Canadian baker that is looking at its environmental sustainability - we summarize their presentation.
We also note the Ontario Environmental Commissioner's recent report - we will return to this theme of biodiversity, and particularly the business role in supporting biodiversity, in a future issue. The Energy, Utility and Environment Conference is being held in the US next week - GallonLetter's editor Colin Isaacs will be speaking at the Conference on the theme of corporate social responsibility, another topic that is covered in GallonLetter from time to time. We hope to see you at the Conference. We end this issue with our usual funny (or strange story) - this one about a proposed long pig registry. Go figure!
next issue will include a listing of Environmental Awards for Canadian
Companies and Organizations. If your organization offers an award that
we might miss, please send details to email@example.com Meanwhile
we hope you enjoy this issue and invite you to comment or criticize, or
send suggestions not necessarily for publication, through letters to the
Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org This issue is a little longer than usual
- good value for money and, we hope, a good read for dark evenings - we
think that feeding and fooding is probably as important to our environmental
health as just about any other topic! Have a great New Year!
Editorial by Colin Isaacs: ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS SLOW DOWN GIVES FOOD FOR THOUGHT
CANADIAN BOREAL FOREST AGREEMENT
Parties to the Agreement
Progress on Milestones
Greenpeace Blog on Audit Release
Corporate Response to CBFA Audit
THE GREEN CHAIN
FORESTS: RELEASE OF CO2 TO THE ATMOSPHERE
FORESTS: CANADA's REPORT TO THE UN CONVENTION ON BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY
FORESTS BOTH IMPACTED BY AND IMPACTING HUMAN ACTIVITIES
Pulp and Paper Pollution to Water
2011 STATE OF CANADA'S FORESTS
Forest Products: The below 2% Solution
WHAT IS AN OLD GROWTH FOREST?
Age Distribution of Canada's Forests
BC WOOD FIRST
WOOD PERHAPS NOT SO GOOD FOR HOUSING IN NORTHERN NATIVE COMMUNITIES?
TREES: JUST LIKE LETTUCE
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Subject: Deep Words, Shallow Words: an Initial Analysis of Water Discourse in Four Decades of UN Declarations
ENVIRONMENTAL COMMISSIONER OF ONTARIO: ANNUAL REPORT
Planning for Natural Heritage
Conservation Land Tax Incentive Program (CLTIP)
Farming Practices to Get Rid of Trees: Precursor to Development
DEEP ROOTS, NEW SHOOTS: THE ENVIRONMENT YESTERDAY, TODAY, TOMORROW
WATER LANGUAGE IN UN CONFERENCES
RAIN BARRELS: A SMALL BUSINESS FROM FUNDRAISING
ASBESTOS: OPPOSITION MOTION
ROI OF A DIFFERENT KIND
IISD: PREPARING FOR RIO +20
ABOUT THIS ISSUE
In this issue our feature is an update on forests. Our next issue will either be on the topic of ecological cooking or will analyse the outcome of the Durban climate talks. As our editorial in this issue suggests, we're betting on the former but always open to being very surprised!
There is a fairly big connection between forests and climate change. One of Canada's showcase forest projects is the Boreal Forest Initiative but, as our lead forest article relates, all is not well in the Boreal Forest. Could environmental groups have become signatories to forest greenwash? Even the government is reporting changes, and a slight decline, in Canada's forests. Where have all the critics gone?
We review an excellent, informative, and somewhat amusing book about Canada's forestry movements. Though published in 2009 it is still available from the World's Biggest Book Store and some others in the same chain! We report on a new study which indicates that losses of sequestered carbon from forestry will not be offset until the newly planted trees reach 19 to 40 years of age. If correct, that means that sustainable forest management practices still have a 19 to 40 year window in which extra carbon is added to the atmosphere.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada has reported on the impacts of human activities on forests and the impact of forests on human activities. We summarize some of their findings, including a quite remarkable list of pollutants discharged to rivers. Where are those environmental critics when you need them? A Natural Resources Canada publication, 2011 State of Canada's Forests, provides more data, much of it not too encouraging. We provide a brief summary. We also seek to provide a definition of Old Growth Forest, but find that as complex as most other environmental issues.
GallonLetter's Editor participated in a fascinating discussion under the heading the Environment Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow to mark the 40th anniversary of Alternatives Journal. We present a summary from the sponsor and a link to an edited video of the proceedings. We welcome your feedback.
We publish a letter from a reader drawing attention to work on the languague of water and we provide a brief summary of the Ontario Environment Commissioner's most recent report. Local environmental groups can now raise funds with rainbarrels - not a bad idea - and we provide an update on one of our campaigns - the issue of asbestos. We learned a new twist to an old acronym and we remind you of our daily edition.
That's it for this issue. We hope you enjoy Gallon Environment Letter and find its content useful for seasonal conversations and in many other ways throughout the year.
December 12, 2011 The Honoured Reader (free edition) of the Gallon Environment Letter Vol. 16, No. 07, November 7, 2011 posted as current issue click here
Editorial by Colin Isaacs: MCDONALD'S CALLS LAWYERS INSTEAD OF CLEANERS & DAMAGES ITS REPUTATION
LARGE INVESTORS CALL FOR WELL-DESIGNED CLIMATE POLICIES
Kudos from Some
Gallonletter: Statement Falls Short
EMPIRE OF THE BEETLE
CANADA'S ENVIRONMENT MINISTER ON CLIMATE CHANGE
IEA: GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS FROM FUEL COMBUSTION
CARBON CAPTURE AND STORAGE FOR OIL SANDS
CONTRARIAN STUDY CONFIRMS GLOBAL TEMPERATURE RISE
CALIFORNIA'S CAP AND TRADE
ENMAX GHG EMISSION REDUCTION COMPLIANCE
GLOBAL LITHIUM SUPPLIES ADEQUATE FOR TRANSPORT ELECTRIFICATION
CLIMATE CHANGE NEGOTIATIONS IN DURBAN
NRC INDUSTRIAL RESEARCH ASSISTANCE PR
MACLEANS: SOME OF THE BEST EMPLOYERS IDENTIFY ENVIRONMENTAL INITIATIVES
NLEN CALLS ON CANADIANS TO PROTEST GOVERNMENT CUTS TO ENVIRONMENT NETWORKS
GALLONLETTER'S EDITOR IN WATERLOO ON NOVEMBER 16
IJC BIENNIAL MEETING CONSIDERS NEXT STEPS
UK GETS TOUGH ON RECYCLING, NOT SO MUCH ON REDUCING, OF JUNK MAIL
ABOUT THIS ISSUE
The next UN climate change summit, officially the Seventeenth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Seventh Session of the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol will be held from 28 November to 9 December 2011 in Durban, South Africa. Though expectations for this international meeting remain quite low, pressure is increasing on the intransigent parties such as Canada and the United States.
In this issue of GallonLetter we look at some of the more recent developments including an account of a recent interview given by Canada's Environment Minister Peter Kent to CBC Radio. We look at the recent, and in many ways laudable, effort of global financiers to tell governments what to do instead of doing it themselves. We look at a book on the role of insects in innovation. Taxpayers are putting huge amounts of money into Carbon Capture and Storage while other worthwhile government initiatives go unfunded: we wonder why CCS should be funded by taxpayers rather than by users of the GHG emitting fuels. This issue contains several more articles on recent developments in climate science and technologies, including the approach taken by one utility to comply with provincial regulation in Alberta.
If you have heard that there may not be enough lithium available for batteries to meet the world demand for electric vehicles, some business researchers at the University of Michigan Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise and at Ford have studied this challenge and have come to the conclusion that this is not an insurmountable problem. We report on the article.
Our editorial looks at another incident from a company that seems to have an unfortunate tendency to call its lawyers before engaging its brains. GallonLetter views it as a useful model in how to get the worst possible publicity for your environmental problems.
GallonLetter's Editor travels quite widely across the country for conferences and speaking engagements. We have recently implemented a policy of telling you where you might find him. This week it is at the Canadian Waste and Recycling Expo in Montreal and next week it is at an event in Waterloo. Details are below. Please drop by to say Hi! And contact us by phone or email if you need to pinpoint his location.
Barring dramatic developments in Durban or elsewhere, the next issue of Gallon Environment Letter will be on the subject of the sustainability of the world's forests. Meanwhile, we hope you find value and interesting topics in this issue. We invite you to send your comments on our articles or on anything else to do with sustainability to email@example.com. We will choose a selection of the most interesting for publication.
October 31, 2011 The Honoured Reader (free edition) of the Gallon Environment Letter Vol. 16, No. 06, October 6, 2011 posted as current issue click here
Editorial: SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT OFTEN REQUIRES PARTNERSHIPS
Theme: SUPPLY CHAIN AND CSR
GREEN TO GOLD PLAYBOOK: SOURCING
AZURE DYNAMICS: SUPPLIER PARTNERSHIP WITH FORD WINS ECOOGLOBE AWARD
A REVIEW OF INTERNATIONAL SUPPLY CHAIN MANAGEMENT
Top-down Supply Chain Management Mostly a Mistake
Adaptation and Learning
CANADIAN BUILDINGS: SUPPLY CHAIN DRIVEN BY FIRST COST
GREENHOUSE GAS PROTOCOL: VALUE CHAIN AND PRODUCT STANDARDS
Setting Boundaries Between Emissions by Suppliers and the Reporting Company
HONDA: SUPPLY CHAIN AND CHEMICAL SUBSTANCES
Other Initiatives in Honda's Supply Chain
NEBRASKA FOOTBALL FANS: AN UNEXPECTED KICK TO KEYSTONE XL PIPELINE?
LETTERS TO EDITOR
GALLONLETTER EDITOR SPEAKING AT TWO UPCOMING EVENTS
BULLFROG POWER CEO SPEAKS TO TORONTO BOARD OF TRADE
TORONTO BOARD OF TRADE ON TOLL ROADS
SCHOOL SITING CRITERIA MAY HAVE BROADER IMPLICATIONS
CANADA'S AUDITOR GENERAL ENVIRONMENT COMMISSIONER REPORT: TOO MANY GAPS IN INFORMATION
WHERE HAS ELIZABETH MAY GONE?
ABOUT THIS ISSUE
Our editorial in this issue addresses the question of partnerships in sustainable development activities. GallonLetter sees this as a key element in moving forward on a more sustainable path and we will be returning to it in future issues.
Our theme in this issue is the linkage between supply chain management and corporate social responsibility. A company is unlikely to have a successful CSR strategy unless its supply chain is complying with similar CSR requirements. Supply chain is not just the raw materials used by the company but also all of the inputs to a production process, especially energy, water, and human labour. As part of our review of supply chain and CSR we review an excellent new book entitled Green to Gold Playbook and look at some exemplary case studies as well as a very interesting study published in association with the Network for Business Sustainability at the University of Western Ontario. One engineer reports that green buildings are not yet achieving much in the way of reductions in energy use by the buildings sector. That corresponds to GallonLetter's impression. We will be reviewing this subject again in a future issue.
GallonLetter has not reported too much on the Keystone XL pipeline issue because it is being quite well-covered in the daily press but we are bringing a report on the opposition that has developed in the state of Nebraska. We suspect that there will be much more to be told about the KXL proposal in the weeks ahead as the US Administration gets its teeth into the issue.
We have two Letters to the Editor, both very thought-provoking, in this issue. We don't usually feel that it is appropriate to comment on such Letters but we have made an exception this time. We are all for debate and argument but buttressing an argument with an opinion of the views of a now-deceased person on a current situation seems to us to be presenting a somewhat intractable point of debate. We always encourage Letters to the Editor, no matter what their perspective, and invite you to send comments on current articles or ideas for new articles to firstname.lastname@example.org
GallonLetter's editor does not hide and we have a small notice of two events where he will be speaking later this Fall. Invitations to speak on appropriate topics at public or corporate events are always accepted, subject to time and economic considerations.
The CEO of Bullfrog Power spoke recently at the Toronto Board of Trade. We highlight some of his remarks. The Toronto Board of Trade appears to be somewhat in favour of toll roads. GallonLetter found this surprising for a business group and brings you a report on the situation. The US EPA recently produced a Guideline for siting of schools. The Guideline has interesting implications for siting of any building in which children congregate, including homes, and for existing emitting activities that are close to homes and schools. GallonLetter reports appropriately. The Canadian Commissioner of Environment and Sustainable Development, from the Office of the Auditor General of Canada, does not have much good to say about the Government of Canada's record on oil sands, environmental assessment, or climate change. We bring you up to date. We end this issue with our usual funny (peculiar) quip, this issue under the heading Where has Elizabeth May Gone? We encourage you to follow the link - one of the more inspiring videos we have seen in at least a short while!
Our next issue will include a climate change update. The annual United Nations Climate Change Conference is scheduled to be held in Durban, South Africa beginning on 28 November 2011. We will look at the progress that has been made, or not made, in the last year. As the Commissioner of Environment and Sustainable Development has reminded all Canadians, the Kyoto Protocol expires at the end of 2012, Canada has been one of the non-complying countries, and there needs to be a replacement. We will provide our forecast on what will happen in Durban.
Septermber 13, 2011 The Honoured Reader (free edition) of the Gallon Environment Letter Vol. 16, No. 05, August 30, 2011 posted as current issue click here
Editorial by Colin Isaacs: REDEFINING SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Theme: CSR REPORTING
EDC: CLIMATE CHANGE
Environmental Programs Related to Climate Change
RBC: CSR REPORTING MORE THAN ONE CHANNEL
CANADIAN SECURITIES: ENVIRONMENTAL REPORTING GUIDANCE
DOW CHEMICAL: LIFE CYCLE ASSESSMENT
BC HYDRO: INTEGRATED REPORTING
INTEGRATED REPORTING STUDY: VANCITY SPONSORED
NEW DEVELOPMENTS IN INTEGRATED REPORTING
GLOBAL REPORTING INITIATIVE
Types of Reporting
Elements of the GRI Reporting Guidelines
Use of GRI
WHEN VOLUNTARY REPORTING IS INADEQUATE: ALBERTA OILSANDS
Pembina's Response to the Panel Report
BP Delisting from DJSI
WASTE MANAGEMENT IDEAS FROM THE NETHERLANDS
AD AGENCY INTERPRETATION QUESTIONED BY GALLON LETTER
Contrasting with the Bensimon Byrne Poll:
CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?
ABOUT THIS ISSUE
Our theme this issue is reporting of Corporate Social Responsibility. We look at a number of recent corporate CSR reports, highlighting advanced aspects, as well as at the environmental guidelines of the Canadian Securities Administration for public companies. We look particularly at the issue of materiality, a poorly defined and somewhat abused but extremely important aspect of corporate environmental reporting, and integrated reporting, an approach which we recommend wherever and whenever it is practical. Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting may sound like a dry topic but by keeping our articles short and focussing on company activities we have done our best to make it interesting. Let us know what you think by sending a Letter to the Editor to email@example.com. No need to make the format fancy - a normal email is good enough to be a Gallon Environment Letter to the Editor! We'll publish a selection of those received.
This issue also comments on the abuse of Sustainable Development terminology, and proposes a solution. We look at waste management from the Netherlands and comment on a recent ad agency claim that, in Canada, "environment has fallen off the radar". We also suggest you take a look at more Gallon Environment Letter news and commentary at our new GallonDaily publication at www.gallondaily.com.
Our next issue will likely take a look at CSR and the Supply Chain, a topic that we plan to make much more interesting than it sounds.
CHECK OUT GALLONDAILY
If you find GallonLetter to be useful or enjoyable you may also find value in our new GallonDaily newsletter, focussing on current environmental and sustainable development news and commentary of particular interest to the greening of business. You will find GallonDaily at www.gallondaily.com with new short articles and links generally posted almost every weekday and available in an archive for your future reference. Recent articles include:
As with GallonLetter, we welcome your comments and will publish a selection of those which we judge likely to be of interest to our readers. GallonDaily comments can be posted immediately following each article.
August 15, 2011 The Honoured Reader (free
edition) of the Gallon Environment Letter Vol. 16, No. 04, July 28, 2011
Editorial by Colin Isaacs: CONSULTING AND SUSTAINABILITY
Theme: SHOULD FOOD WASTE GO DOWN THE SINK?
FOOD WASTE: NOT DOWN THE SINK FOOD WASTE TO THE SEWERS US EPA: Food Waste to Wastewater Treatment Facilities Has Benefits If... CCME: CONSULTATION ON BIOSOLIDS Disposal or Beneficial Use Management of Biosolids Supporting Principles Source Control: Weak Link AWARD: DR. SAAD JASIM - IJC The Paper: Reducing Unwilling Medication/contaminants from Drinking Water CCEMC: ALBERTA FUNDING FOR CLEAN ENERGY TECHNOLOGY Biorefinex Canada Inc. Lacombe Biorefinery LETTER TO THE EDITOR SUBJECT: IS OUR QUEST FOR BIOFUELS SUSTAINABLE? Gallon V15, N12 SUBJECT: WIND ENERGY WIND ENERGY GUIDELINES FOR RURAL COMMUNITIES IN NOVA SCOTIA THE LAST ROCK 'N ROLL SHOW: LESSON FOR ENVIRONMENTAL CRITICS DELTA HOTELS: HQ TO INDIVIDUAL HOTELS THE HUMAN TRIBE: IF ONLY CLIMATE CHANGE CARRIED A STICK PEOPLE: ERIK HAITES GUEST EDITOR FOR CLIMATE POLICY PETER VICTOR: CANADA COUNCIL AWARD CANADA - EU ORGANIC EQUIVALENCY OECD: REVISION OF CSR GUIDELINES FOR MULTINATIONALS OECD Watch JUDGING POLITICAL RECORDS
ABOUT THIS ISSUE
This issue we look at disposal of kitchen waste into the municipal sewers: the infamous food waste disposer (InSinkErator is a trade mark of Emerson Electric Co. and, like so many terms that have crept into common usage, should not be used as a generic description). There are arguments on both sides as to whether the municipal sewers should be used as a mechanism for transporting food waste to a treatment facility. We will leave it to the reader to decide whether or not food waste disposers are a green solution. Emerson's take on it is at http://www.insinkerator.com/environmental.shtml. Send a Letter to the Editor to firstname.lastname@example.org and share your thoughts. We will print a selection of those received.
Prompted by a recent City of Toronto core services review, our editorial considers whether consulting firms should offer sustainability solutions to some clients but not to others. Research on endocrine disrupting substances in the Great Lakes carried out at the Walkerton Clean Water Centre in Ontario has won a scientist an award for a scientific paper. Others, like Eric Haites and Peter Victor, are being recognized for their environment-related efforts. Alberta has funding available for clean energy technologies. Guidelines on Corporate Social Responsibility are being updated. We bring you the interesting details. David Brooks brings his always interesting comments, this time on "peak phosphorous", and Philip Thompson brings ten basic principles for sustainable and effective wind energy development. We welcome submissions like these.
Summer is time for fringe theatre festivals. GallonLetter visited the Toronto Fringe but could not find many plays with a green theme. We review the one which we think is relevent to environmental thinking. A recent article in Nature includes the gloomy concept that we humans may be hard wired to avoid dealing with the big issues of the planet. However, the author does suggest a partial solution.
In our next issue we will be updating our coverage of corporate environmental reporting with a look at some recently published corporate environmental, sustainability and social responsibility reports.
GallonDaily is our new regular environmental commentary letter available at gallondaily.com
Among recent almost daily (Monday - Friday) topics are:
July 23, 2011 The Honoured Reader (free edition) of the Gallon Environment Letter Vol. 16, No. 03, June 28, 2011 posted as current issue click here
GUEST COLUMN: A LINK BETWEEN CLIMATE CHANGE
AND JOPLIN TORNADOES? NEVER!
DR. ROBERT PAGE NOT RENEWED AS NRTEE CHAIR
Theme: FOOD WASTE
GEORGE MORRIS CENTRE: FOOD WASTE IN CANADA
Food Miles and Plastic Packaging Impacts Small
Examples of Practices Leading to More Food Waste
HALIFAX HOSPITAL: DIAL FOR DINING REDUCES FOOD WASTE
HOSPITALS: PRACTICES TO REDUCE FOOD WASTE
VALUE-ADDED: SMALLER PORTIONS IN RESTAURANTS
STATISTICS CANADA: FOOD IN CANADA 2009
FAO: GLOBAL FOOD WASTE
NETHERLANDS: FOOD WASTE REDUCTION TARGET
LESTER BROWN: WORLD ON THE EDGE
USDA: TRACKING FOOD WASTE
USDA: TRACKING CONSUMER FOOD WASTE: WE DON'T
USDA: TRACKING SUPERMARKET FOOD WASTE
ENVIRONMENTAL COMMISSIONER OF ONTARIO: METHANE AND ORGANIC WASTE
GERMAN BIOGAS INDUSTRY DENIES LINK TO PATHOGEN
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
GEOFF RATHBONE: PRIVATIZATION REQUEST FOR QUOTATION
CREATES PERCEPTION OF CONFLICT OF INTEREST
PEOPLE: ANDREW BENEDEK
CIELAP JOINS WITH CELA
IT'S NOT THE BABIES, IT'S THE FISH
ABOUT THIS ISSUE
We open with a guest editorial from well-known climate campaigner and college professor Bill McKibben that is so much on the mark that we decided that it should be reprinted for Gallon Environment Letter readers.
Our feature topic in this issue is Food Waste and we begin by pointing out what a complex but important issue this is. There is no shortage of food for the world's population but there is a huge amount of waste and maldistribution which means that millions are starving. The amount of information about food waste and its causes is staggering. The amount of action to reduce food waste, especially in Canada, is a tiny fraction of what is needed! If you have any interest at all in food, we think you will find this issue of Gallon Environment Letter absolutely fascinating. As you might expect, even measuring food loss is a challenge. With help from USDA we explore the challenges of measuring food loss.
We also review Ontario Environment Commissioner's report on the Province's progress towards meeting GHG targets. Ontario is doing well but is still not expected to meet the targets. Of particular interest in this issue: one of the biggest problem areas is organic waste, something that should be one of the easiest to address. If you wonder where pathogens like E. Coli come from, some scientists are pointing fingers towards the way we deal with food waste!
We received some letters on the food miles issue we addressed in the last issue and published one. As Jessie Davidson, a member of the National Farmers Union, has said, limiting local food to food produced within 50 km, even with all the complications of the CFIA calculation, is a throwback to horse and buggy days. Everyone else seems happy to consider local food as food produced with 100kn or 100 miles. Why does CFIA have to block something that everyone else understands, unless it is at the behest of large food processors and packers who want to try to shut down the local food movement.
Lots of our readers will know Geoff Rathbone, most recently a General Manager of Solid Waste at the City of Toronto and an avid and extremely informed professional municipal recycler. His recent move to the private sector has caused a small ruckus. In our People section we bring you the details, all to do with outsourcing of municipal collections. There are also some changes at the well-respected Canadian Institute for Environmental Law and Policy - we bring you the highlights.
Finally, we once again draw your attention to our new GallonDaily. Get
more for your money, even if you are an honoured reader, by keeping up
to date with GallonDaily (http://www.gallondaily.com). Recent headlines
In our next issue we plan to review technologies for dealing with organics,
including both waste food and the waste from the back end of humans and
our farm animals. In the meantime, enjoy this issue and send us your comments
as a Letter to the Editor to email@example.com
June 8, 2011 The Honoured Reader (free edition) of the Gallon Environment Letter Vol. 16, No. 02, May 18, 2011 posted as current issue click here
Highlight - Event: SUSTAINABILITY APPLIED: JUNE 9-10 IN WINDSOR, ONTARIO
Editorial by Colin Isaacs: WHERE HAVE ALL THE LOCAL FOODS GONE?
The Government banned them, every one
When will they ever learn?
Theme: CLEAN TECHNOLOGY: WHAT IS IT AND IS IT ENOUGH
NOVA SCOTIA: NEW CLEAN TECHNOLOGY FUND
INTENSITY-BASED ECOEFFICIENCY MAY UNDERMEASURE THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS
SUNCOR: TECHNOLOGY SOLUTION TO TAILINGS PONDS
WWF-NETHERLANDS: CLEANTECH INDEX
E. ANN CLARK: THE FUTURE IS ORGANIC BUT ORGANIC IS NOT ENOUGH
IPCC: SPECIAL REPORT ON RENEWABLE ENERGY AND CLIMATE MITIGATION
Required: Sustainability Assessment Tools for renewable energy
ONTARIO CENTRES OF EXCELLENCE - DISCOVERY 2011 MAY 18-19, 2011.
METRO TORONTO CONVENTION CENTRE
SDTC: CLEANTECH REPORT 2010
BATTERIES FOR ELECTRIC VEHICLES: AN EXAMPLE OF ANALYSIS OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF CLEANTECH
Batteries for the Future
BOOK REVIEW: HOW BAD ARE BANANAS?
THE CARBON FOOTPRINT OF EVERYTHING
TIME TO EAT THE DOG: THE REAL GUIDE TO SUSTAINABLE LIVING:
Food Waste Disposal
Footprint of Sustainable Living
IDB: ANNUAL MEETING IN CALGARY
SUSTAINABLE EMERGING CITIES
ABOUT THIS ISSUE
While researching another issue we came upon a very strange rule restricting the labelling of the term local in Canada to foods produced within 50km. Our editorial explains further.
Our theme is this issue is CleanTech. Interestingly the government sees fit to tell us, in a restrictive way, which foods can be labelled local and which foods cannot but no one has properly defined CleanTech. We have seen all kinds of polluting technologies labelled as clean tech and all kinds of promising clean technologies not labelled with any claim of environmental responsibility. Even so, governments are pushing clean technology as a key component of the environmental salvation of humankind. We bring you a range of articles on many aspects of clean technology, from oil sands to organic agriculture and from renewable energy to electric vehicles and their batteries, which may help make everything more clear or maybe they just show how foggy the clean technology field actually is. We would draw your attention to the article entitled SDTC: Cleantech Report 2010. We think this recent report is especially insightful.
We also mention a couple of upcoming events that are relevant to clean technology and sustainable development. We will in future be mentioning more such events on our Gallon Letter events page, now moved to gallonevents.com. If you are organizing an event of interest to the sustainable development, renewable energy, and/or environment and business audiences in North America please send information and web link to firstname.lastname@example.org for our information.
This issue also includes two book reviews: How Bad Are Bananas? and Time To Eat The Dog. What is it about Life Cycle Assessment that inspires such amazing titles?
Guess what? The State of Oregon is actively considering legislation to tax electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids to compensate for loss of gasoline tax revenue. How uncreative! How soon before the governments of Canada or of a province do the same?
Next issue we will look at the issue of food waste and maybe at the regurgitated federal budget and Speech from the Throne. Meanwhile, we encourage you to send your comments to email@example.com. We will publish a selection.
THE GALLONDAILY BLOG
Gallondaily is a new free daily (mostly Monday to Friday) version of Gallon Environment Letter. Gallondaily focuses somewhat more than our monthly version on current environment issues that we consider may be of interest to the broader business community. Recent Gallondaily headlines have included such topics as:
Ban on Inefficient Lightbulbs Postponed
New Bipartisan Energy Efficiency Bill in Congress
Renewable Energy Becoming More Competitive
PAH Concerns: Pavement Sealant Ban
Sustainably Produced Bananas
We are not suggesting that you visit gallondaily.com every day, though we certainly invite you if you wish to do so, but a once a week quick browse will help you to keep up with a business perspective on some of the many Canadian, North American, and global environmental topics. It is a quick, and currently no cost, way to keep up with the flow of environmental issues.
May 9, 2011 The Honoured Reader (free edition) of the Gallon Environment Letter Vol. 16, No. 01, April 20, 2011 posted as current issue click here
Editorial by Colin Isaacs: WHERE GREENS DID WELL IN THE LAST ELECTION
Theme: ELECTION 2011
TRANSPORTATION STRATEGY: VISION GREEN
FUNDING GREEN ENERGY: NEW DEMOCRATIC PARTY
LIBERAL PARTY OF CANADA: CANADA IN THE WORLD
BLOC QUÉBÉCOIS: QUEBEC'S INTERESTS WITHIN CANADA
CONSERVATIVE PARTY: CANADA'S ARCTIC
GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT: CANADIAN INDEX OF WELLBEING: ENVIRONMENT
Scarcity of Environmental Data.
CANADIAN CANCER SOCIETY: ELIMINATE MINING OF CANADIAN ASBESTOS
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
ONTARIO ENVIRONMENT INDUSTRY: STILL READY TO GROW
STATISTICS CANADA: HOUSEHOLDS AND THE ENVIRONMENT SURVEY 2009
Summary of data sent by John Marshall, Statistics Canada
CHEAP "ENVIRONMENTALLY-FRIENDLY" SLAG STONE COULD BANKRUPT CAMPGROUND OWNERS
A WEE GAP: BABY BULLET
It is probably not so amazing how little attention is being given to energy and environment issues in this election. After all, the PM is not very interested in environmental issues, the last Liberal leader was toasted to a crisp when he tried to address climate change in the last Federal election campaign and the NDP voted with the government in December 2007 to override the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission and to restart the Chalk River reactor despite the safety concerns of the CNSC, safety concerns which were subsequently found to be quite justified in a general way. Two things are amazing. First, that the Pembina Institute, usually a pretty politically astute Alberta-based environmental ngo, set up a real time blog to comment on the leaders' energy and environment remarks during the Leaders' Debate last week, and was then forced to express surprise that there were virtually no leader remarks on energy or environment, and second, that all parties actually have quite substantial sections on energy and environment in their election platforms. In this issue of Gallon Environment Letter we bring you some of the highlights of what the parties are proposing. We also look at performance on some key sustainability-related issues such as climate change (apparently just entering the party platform vocabulary for the Conservative Party of Canada) and access to environmental information.
Some would argue that we would be better off forgetting politics. GL disagrees, but at least Roy Romanow used a recent event to launch the Environment Chapter of the Canadian Index of Wellbeing. We recommend it, with some caveats.
Regular readers will know that Gallon Letter has been on a bit of a crusade against asbestos exports by Canada. The Canadian Cancer Society is on a similar crusade. We wish them well.
We have a Letter to the Editor on the topic of gaseous motor fuels and another with some clarifications on the toxic substances from snow melt article in our last issue. We apologise for our confusion on this subject - we were trying to correlate several different sources of information and clearly missed some orders of magnitude, as did other journalists. We will return to the toxic substances in waterways issue at a future date.
Ontario's environment industry has just released a report entitled Still Ready to Grow. We hope that both federal and Ontario politicians are listening - there is a short summary of the report in this Gallon Letter. Statistics Canada recently published the latest edition of its Households and the Environment Survey. We bring you some of their summary information. Some of Gallon Letter's neighbours got ripped off by an environmental crook - even Gallon Letter's editor nearly fell into this trap but smelled a rat just in time. We tell you the story. Also check out our new take on alchemy: someone seems to think you can turn conventional food into organic food by whizzing it up in a plastic thingamybob. What a miracle!
From the titles of a couple of new books about sustainability it seems that some authors or editors want us to think we may soon have to choose between dogs and bananas. There will be reviews of both books in our next issue, along with some feature articles on financing for clean technology. In the meantime, visit our Gallon Daily blog at www.gallondaily.com. The blog offers one fairly short article each day from Monday to Friday: articles are written by the Gallon Letter editor, topics are selected for some relevance to the business community (or at least some part of it), there is somewhat of an emphasis on current news items, and we do our best to ensure that the relevance of the article to Canadian business is clear. All articles are archived so you can visit less frequently than daily if you prefer! Gallondaily also includes updates to items that have been covered in the current monthly Gallon Environment Letter. For the time being, but not for too long, the Gallon Daily is free to all.
Mayl 9, 2011 Events Posted click here
May 2011 OCE Discovery 2011
March 2012 Globe Vancouver,
April 5, 2011 The Honoured Reader (free edition) of the Gallon Environment Letter Vol. 15, No. 12, March 31, 2011 posted as current issue click here
Editorial by Colin Isaacs: WHY DOES INDUSTRY WAIT FOR FRACKING DISCLOSURE REGULATION?
Theme: IS OUR QUEST FOR BIOFUELS SUSTAINABLE?
IEA BIOENERGY: BIOENERGY, LAND USE CHANGE AND CLIMATE CHANGE MITIGATION
COMMODITIES AND FOOD PRICES
OECD-FAO: FOOD AND ENERGY MARKETS NOW INTEGRATED
Price and Production/consumption
ESTIMATING GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS FROM LAND USE CHANGES DUE TO BIOFUELS
US: CORN FOR ETHANOL OR FOOD DEBATE HEATING UP
THE ENVIRONMENTAL STATE OF CANADIAN AGRICULTURE
Factors Affecting Future Productivity and Environmental Impacts
GEORGE MORRIS CENTRE'S GRIER: BIOFUELS ARE RUNAWAY TRAIN
CFRA: BIOFUELS AND POPULAR MYTHS
LOW CARBON CRITERIA FOR FUELS
Carbon Intensity of Various Fuels
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Subject: Response to Your Article: "Why Is the Minister Misquoting Biodiesel Experts?" Gl V15 N11
DAVID SUZUKI HONOURED
USING WASTE MATERIALS MAY NOT BE SO 'BENEFICIAL'
HOW DARK IS OUR SPRING? HOW HIGH IS HIGH?
FLYING CARS ARE NOT ECO
DON'T SPILL THE MILK AT A TEA PARTY
ABOUT THIS ISSUE
We open this issue with a fracking flap and we close it with a story about the non-existent spilt milk regulations. What other environmental publication gives you that kind of breadth?
In between the fracking and the spilt milk we have a feature which we originally hoped would address the question of 'Do we have enough land to support a switch from fossil fuels and fossil carbon based products to renewable products from biomass?'. We knew it was a big topic but we had no idea how big. So we have begun to tackle it in this issue and will return to it at an early date. But we have already begun to discover, as we suspected, that those who claim that we cannot switch to biofuels because it will increase food shortages and push up food prices may not be correct. Even last year's food price spike probably had little to do with bioethanol, as many critics have suggested. So, for now at least, long live biofuels and bioproducts as at least a partial solution to the crisis of climate change that continues to be a significant global threat.
We like to think that GL helps to provide information about the environment and sometimes about other things. A meglemma is one of those other things. See our biofuels introduction for details! Our biofuels section in this issue reviews reports on land use changes, food prices, global food policy, food commodity prices, and greenhouse gases from land use changes. Our review is far from definitive but it does suggest that at least a certain percentage of our energy and material needs being met from biomass may be sustainable. We also review an Agriculture Canada report on the sustainability of Canadian agriculture.
We get letters and for this issue we received a letter from the Federal Environment Minister's office about the biodiesel mandate regulations that we referenced in our last issue. We are pleased with the Minister's response and we are also delighted that his office reads GL so diligently. We also review the movie celebrating David Suzuki's 75th birthday, we look at reuse of waste materials, which a US Inspector General says may not be so beneficial, we review, somewhat unfavorably, the dark spring due to toxic substance runoff from the urban snow pack, and we give our friends at ECOCanada some heck for suggesting that flying cars are an environmental technology. What an issue! We hope you have as much fun reading it as we did writing it and we, we hope with you, look forward to the next issue which will look at environment in the election campaign, IF there is any environment in the election campaign. If not, there is much for us to review, and there will be even more of you keep those letters to the editor coming to firstname.lastname@example.org
We have some new initiatives planned for Gallon Environment Letter this Spring. For a quick preview, bookmark gallondaily.com and get a preview of one of our new initiatives!
****************************************************March 9, 2011 The Honoured Reader (free edition) of the Gallon Environment Letter Vol. 15, No. 11, February 23, 2011 posted as current issue click here
April 5, 2011 Events Posted click here
April 2011 WaterTech 2011
May 2011 Waste The
Social Context People, Policies, Persuasion, and Payoffs. Edmonton,
June 2011 38th Annual Zero
Waste Conference Whistler, British Columbia
BACKLASH TO LAND-BASED WIND IN ONTARIO
ONTARIO'S GREEN ENERGY ACT: OFFSHORE WIND PROJECTS CANCELLED
WHY IS THE MINISTER MISQUOTING BIODIESEL EXPERTS?
NRCAN's Technical Feasibility Study
Regulation for Biodiesel In Force July 1, 2011
SUSTAINABLE PROSPERITY AND CLIMATE CHANGE: REDUCING THE CORPORATE RISK
DIOXIN IN FEED: GERMANY
SAND ENGINE: DUTCH MEGA-NOURISHMENT
CAIRO: CLEAN UP AND THE TWO-HAT PROBLEM
UK: GREEN CLAIMS GUIDANCE
BIOPREFERRED PRODUCTS: USDA
SPECIES ADDED TO THE FEDERAL ENDANGERED SPECIES LIST
MARBEK JOINS ICF
PUBLIC PROCUREMENT: EU-CANADA TRADE
POLLUTION PROBE: PRIMER: ENERGY LITERACY
CLIMATE CHANGE FOR FOOTBALL FANS
WHY DON'T WE FINANCE TOILETS THE WAY WE FINANCE CELL PHONES?
Industry associations in Canada are increasingly expressing support for carbon pricing. As usual, our politicians are well behind the parade and even environmental groups seem reluctant to address the subject. We bring you the latest from Sustainable Prosperity. We share key points from their analysis, express the hope that they are correct, and wonder, along with Stéphane Dion, what it will take to convince our federal government to bring out a climate change plan.
The Ontario government appears to be slowly backing away from its green energy commitments. In a pair of articles we look at why and suggest that one cause may be that the government followed too closely the advice it was getting from environmental groups. At the federal level, Environment Canada seems inclined to ignore the technical advice of their own biodiesel experts, or is it just electioneering?
One of our ongoing bugaboos is the damage that one irresponsible company can do to an entire industry. In this issue we look at the fallout from the German dioxin issue. Food companies are likely to be hit with a large number of new regulations, some of which may be very onerous for smaller companies, yet adding dioxin to food is already illegal in Germany. Why must governments always rush to new laws and regulations rather than showing their commitment by throwing existing offenders into prison?
Holland is implementing a major project of "building with nature". The approach is great - it was implemented in a Canadian situation in the mid-1970's but Holland intends to market the technology around the world. Why isn't Canada already a world leader in "building with nature" technologies?
We don't often address current major news topics in Gallon Environment Letter but the situation in Cairo drew our attention to some interesting sustainability aspects of that mega-city. We report on the results of research about Cairo. There's something about the 'two-hat problem' that rings eerily truly in the context of Canada's environmental challenges.
The Canada-EU trade agreement may impact on Canada-first procurement by governments at all levels and Canada says that adding species to the Endangered Species list does not cost much. Both initiatives could cost the private sector. We explain why.
We have two book reviews in this issue: Pollution Probe's new Primer on Energy Systems and a British book which we could not resist: Climate Change for Football Fans. We are enthusiastic about the latter, even though we are not football fans, but less so about the former.
The UK has introduced a new labelling guide for products making green claims and we think they have done a better job of this necessary than Canada. Britain wants to encourage green products, Canada apparently wants to regulate them. We encourage Canada to adopt the British Guide. In the same league, the US has introduced a Biopreferred Products label, which by its own admission is not a green label for the environment but is hoped to be a green label for farmers. In our next issue, GL will focus on sustainable agricultural production and the question Is Our Quest for Bioproducts Sustainable When We Have Only One Planet?
Finally, if you have ever dropped your cellphone down the toilet, you may be able to contribute feedback to our question Why Don't We Finance Toilets the Way We Finance Cell Phones?
We hope you find items of interest in this issue. Whether you do or don't, please send us your comments on any item of interest to email@example.com. We'll print a selection of letters received.
March 9, 2011 Events Posted click here
May 2011 10th Annual Ontario Power Summit. Toronto, Ontario Canada
July 2011 Global Ecological Integrity Group. International Conference. Prague, Czech Republic.
GUEST EDITORIAL By Linda Hasenfratz and Hal Kvisle, Canadian Council of Chief Executives' Task Force on Energy, the Environment and Climate Change: THE ROAD AHEAD - WHAT CANADA SHOULD BE DOING ON CLIMATE CHANGE
CESD: CANADA HAS NO CLIMATE ADAPTATION PLAN
Information Sharing with Canadian Very Poor
PETER KENT: CANADA'S NEW MINISTER OF THE ENVIRONMENT
KEELING: FORTY YEARS OF RISING ATMOSPHERIC CO2 CONCENTRATIONS
MISINFORMED CLIMATE RANT
Toronto Region Sustainability Program: Cleaner and Greener Manufacturers
BIODIVERSITY: STEVE HOUNSELL OF OPG
CANADIAN BUSINESS AND BIODIVERSITY COUNCIL: CASE STUDIES
TARGET'S CSR 2010
LIABILITY: VENDOR CHAIN FOR HANDLING HAZARDOUS MATERIALS
Wainwright Alberta Case
Factors in Assessing Negligence
GREEN CLAIM "SAFE": JUST ONE LITTLE R MISSING
US EPA DFE PROPOSES CHANGES
STATISTICS CANADA: WASTE MANAGEMENT
Waste Quantity and Disposal
Financial and Employment
Errick "Skip" Willis
LOCAL LIBRARY: USE IT OR LOSE IT
ABOUT THIS ISSUE
New readers may be surprised to see our guest editorial on climate change from the Canadian Council of Chief Executives but regulars will know that we are enthusiastic promoters of views on sustainability with which we agree. In this case, CCCE wrote almost exactly the same opinion on the Cancun climate conference that we had been intending to share. We think that, at least on this occasion, CCCE is more in tune with public and scientific opinion on climate change than the Harper government. The report of Canada's Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development seems to agree. Maybe Canada's new Environment Minister, the fifth in five years (John Baird was Minister twice) will fix things. It seems unlikely: after almost five years of saying that Canada must follow the US lead on climate change, Environment Minister Peter Kent now seems to have changed Canada's direction and has said that we must not follow the US lead on climate change. Whatever can it all mean?
The New York Times has drawn the world's attention to a respected climate change scientist who helped identify the scope of the problem and who was a prominent Republican. We summarize the story. The article also provides a useful overview of the scientific method. However, not everyone agrees: we summarize a letter we received recently from a Florida-based scientist and laboratory owner who has been an honoured reader of Gallon Environment Letter for years. We find it strange that companies and governments continue to purchase environmental services from people who purport to be scientists, have scientific qualifications, but who apparently think that a rant is an appropriate response to a science-based conclusions with which they disagree.
As if the debate over climate change has not been sufficiently loud, an Australian software developer has put on line a 'bot' - an automated responder - that will engage climate sceptics in dialogue. Maybe it will keep some of our federal politicians so busy that they will forget to show up for votes in the House of Commons!
Who noticed that 2010 was the United Nations Year of Biodiversity? At least Ontario Power Generation's Senior Advisor on Sustainable Development noticed and used a television interview in December to highlight the risks of declining biodiversity. He gave advice on steps companies should be taking to help preserve biodiversity and he outlined what OPG is doing. The Canadian Business and Biodiversity Council is one of the organizations that can help and has published some interesting case studies.
You may have heard that Target is coming to Canada but who knew that Target, with only a few exceptions, is doing more for the environment than many Canadian retailers? Maybe Target will help set the environmental pace in Canada. A recent BC court decision highlighted the costs and risks of not taking due diligence when handling hazardous materials. In this case the problem involved PCBs but as more and more hazardous product rules come into force one can imagine that in future similar cases might spring from plastics or metal recycling or many other business activities. Far too many businesses fail to obtain adequate environmental science expertise or to apply sufficient due diligence when handling materials that may have a negative environmental or public health impact. Such shortcuts can prove to be very expensive, both in terms of fines and damage to reputation. A US television advertisement for a different product shows that some companies are just plain careless, or perhaps even negligent, when making claims for their products. GL's experience is that quite a large number of marketers and advertising agencies are very poorly informed when it comes to the requirements for environmental labelling and advertising. New tougher rules, which we summarize in part in this issue and which we will comment again in a future issue, are the result of the failure of business to get it right the first time.
Environmental statistics are scarce in Canada but Statistics Canada has at least updated its survey of waste management in Canada. The amount of waste has scarcely increased in the two years since 2006 but costs are up sharply. Our review of the StatsCan report provides more of the details.
In our next issue we will be presenting a general review of environment and sustainable development issues that have crossed our desk in the last few months and that may be relevant to the year ahead. We will also be reviewing a brand new British book Climate Change for Football Fans. While your curiosity about that book may be killing you, we hope you find lots of interest in this issue. Keep those Letters to the Editor coming - we always welcome what you have to say about Gallon Environment Letter, even when you disagree with our analysis! Send letters to firstname.lastname@example.org and do not reply to the address from which you received this issue.
January 31, 2011 Events Posted click here
February 2011 AAAS Annual
Meeting. Washington, DC.USA
September 2011 XXIVth World
Road Congress Roads for a better life. Mobility, Sustainability and Development
Mexico City, Mexico
Decemberr 23, 2010 The Honoured Reader (free edition) of the Gallon Environment Letter Vol. 15, No. 9, December 10, 2010 posted as current issue click here
Editorial by Colin Isaacs: TEN LOW ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT CHRISTMAS GIFTS
Theme: DO NOTHING TO SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT
THE CONCEPT OF ZERO: SOMETHING AND NOTHING
LITTLE ZEROS: GREAT LAKES TOXICS 1995
GREAT LAKES: VIRTUAL ELIMINATION OF TOXICS
BIOMASS YIELDS FOR CORN-SOYBEAN ROTATIONS: POSSIBLY CLOSE TO ZERO
MADE-IN-MANITOBA LAKE WINNIPEG POLLUTION PREVENTION
GREEN CHEMISTRY: THE BEST SOLVENT IS NO SOLVENT
E(NVIRONMENT) FACTOR BEST IF ZERO
THE VALUE OF NOTHING
SYNCRUDE: OIL SANDS TAILINGS - SOMETHING
MORE THAN NOTHING
IDEAS ON WHAT NOT TO BUY AS A CHRISTMAS
ABOUT THIS ISSUE
Last issue, when we announced that this issue would be about nothing, we probably left some readers somewhat confused. But we are delivering, with several articles about the environmental importance of doing nothing, and one about the mathematical significance of nought.
However, not wanting to be seen as entirely Scrooge-like, we open this issue with a list of ten suggestions for environmentally better gifts. GL developed this list and has seen nothing like it anywhere else. If you are doing some last minute Christmas shopping we commend it to you as a list of gift ideas that can help reduce the environmental footprint of the season. Consistent with our theme, we also present a list of ten popular Christmas gifts that we recommend you avoid because their environmental cost / recipient benefit ratio is, in our opinion, way too high. As always, we welcome your comments and will publish a selection of those received.
A recent International Joint Commission report is very "unoptimistic" about achieving virtual elimination of persistent toxic substances in the Great Lakes Basin. We report on this governmental body's views on the challenges to achieving virtually zero. Farmers have been enthusiastic about use of what they consider agricultural waste to provide biomass for energy. A recent study suggests that this may not work - another zero for those who like to see the world as providing unlimited resources. In Manitoba, a somewhat related study is looking at how to reduce nutrient loading to Lake Winnipeg. The partners here include the government, an ngo, and the private sector.
One green chemistry leader is suggesting that the greenest solvent may be no solvent. One of his scientific colleagues has written a song about green chemistry - in the spirit of the season we bring you some of the words. We are often asked to describe 'green chemistry'. We will provide more in future issues of GL, but Queen's University has opened a centre for green chemistry and has provided us with an excuse to provide some of the explanation. Another approach to green chemistry and green products is the E factor. The closer the E factor of a product is to zero the better the environmental performance. Our article in this issue explains.
Our book review in this issue is of (what else) The Value of Nothing: How to reshape market society and redefine democracy. Oil sands' tailings ponds in northern Alberta have been attracting a lot of attention recently and GL brings you its own take on the issue. In a future issue we will be analyzing the reports of the federal and Alberta panels that have been set up, but in the meantime we look at Syncrude, Schindler, and the Alberta Legislature. Virtual elimination does not seem to be high on the Company's tailings pond agenda. Interface flooring has been a leader in corporate sustainability for many years. Now the Company's Mission Zero sets a new pace that may be difficult even for Interface. Zero waste is a fantastic goal but is it achievable?
CMHC, the federal housing agency, recently gave out awards for affordable housing. We were pleasantly surprised to see that the award selection included environmental criteria. We bring you the details. We also get questions from time to time about the relative merits of paper and electronic communications. A team of researchers at the University of Bristol (where one of GL's editor’s nieces is studying) has provided some of the answers. So far it looks like electronic beats paper in terms of lower environmental footprint.
Lots of information about climate change has come out around the annual conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, this year held in Cancun. Next issue we will bring you some of that which we see as important including the report from Canada’s Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development Scott Vaughan. Meanwhile, enjoy this issue and send us your comments. In this issue, in continuation of our issue by issue awards for who is good, and not so good, for the environment, we nominate CMHC for the 'good environment' prize and remote car starters for the black hat award. Have a good holiday season, whatever your holiday may be.
December 23, 2010 Events Posted click here
January 2011 ONEIA Breakfast
Environment Minister speaking Toronto Ontario
February 2011 Sustainable
Communities Conference. Federation of Canadian Municipalities FCM Victoria
March 2011 Americana 2011 Montréal, Quebec.
June 2011 CMOS Congress
2011: Ocean, Atmosphere and the Changing Pacific. Victoria BC
May 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
November 22, 2010 The Honoured Reader (free edition) of the Gallon Environment Letter Vol. 15, No. 8, November 16, 2010 posted as current issue click here
GUEST EDITORIAL: WELCOME YOUR FRESHMAN CLASS OF CLIMATE DENIERS
by Kevin Knobloch, President, Union of Concerned Scientists
Theme: US MIDTERM ELECTION
Support for Climate Change Action
KOCH: FOCUS OF BILLIONAIRE FUNDING OF ANTI-CLIMATE/ENVIRONMENT POLICY
Koch Industries in Canada
THE TEA PARTY
CHRISTIAN CONSERVATIVES ENCOURAGED TO VOTE AGAINST CLIMATE ACTION
VERMONT: GOVERNOR'S GREEN PLATFORM AGAINST NUCLEAR
LEAGUE OF CONSERVATION VOTERS: POLL
LCV: 2010 DIRTY (BAKER'S) DOZEN
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Subject: Global Warming and Population
CANADA'S AUDITOR GENERAL: ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT
Strategic Environmental Assessment
Federal Environmental Assessment
DAVID CHERNUSHENKO REPLACES CLIVE DOUCET
IEA: REDUCE FOSSIL FUEL SUBSIDIES
Fossil Fuel Subsidies
FOSSIL FUEL SUBSIDIES IN CANADA
CONFERENCE BOARD OF CANADA: CARBON DISCLOSURE PROJECT
AN INADEQUATE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY?
UK RECYCLING AND WASTE MANAGEMENT EXHIBITION
CANADIAN RECYCLING EXPO NOT UP TO INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS
ARE CATS THE SOLUTION TO CLIMATE CHANGE?
ABOUT THIS ISSUE
Gallon Environment Letter is pleased to present an informed Guest Editorial from the President of the Union of Concerned Scientists in the United States concerning the recent Congressional Election results. UCS is not some radical fringe environmental group but a well-respected science-based group bringing together more than 250,000 citizens and scientists.
Dr. Knobloch's editorial is a first-class introduction to our own review of the mid-terms. As we have said before, elections can be very inconsistent. This one has been nothing if not that. Whether Tea Partier or left-leaning Democrat, Conservative Party of Canada, New Democrat, or Green party supporter, we think that there is enough in the US mid-terms to cause politicians of all stripes in both countries to give thought to the kind of sustainable future that all our citizens seem to want. We think our analysis suggests it is neither strict Libertarian governance nor a rigid Tea Party future. We welcome your comments to email@example.com after reviewing this issue.
Last issue, when reviewing green municipal council candidates in Canada, we unfortunately missed David Chernushenko. He wrote to tell us we had missed him; he got elected anyway. We regret the omission and congratulate him for his election to Ottawa City Council in place of Clive Doucet.
In this issue we also look at recent, and very interesting, information about fossil fuel subsidies, a new list of companies achieving some level of excellence in climate action, and the latest "green plan" from Ottawa. Some readers may recall the original Mulroney Green Plan. This one is not quite as good! When speaking or writing for a public audience we try to avoid terms like 'swinging the cat' and 'skinning the cat'. Somehow they just don't seem to be environmentally correct and we certainly don't want People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals on our tail. But President Obama does see a link between skinning the cat and climate change, so we conclude this issue with his hopeful comments.
Following our practice of awarding one of the organizations or people that are mentioned in the current issue a 'good environment' recognition and another a 'black hat' award we nominate as follows for this issue: The International Energy Agency for its very environmentally helpful 2010 World Energy Outlook, and Environment Canada for its scarcely useful Sustainable Development Strategy for Canada.
For our next issue we are planning that the theme will be nothing, zero, nada. Some time ago, biologist Clement Kent wrote of the benefits of roadside wildflowers, a benefit gained by doing nothing (not mowing) (GL V13 N11, Nov. 30, 2008). While GL doesn’t recommend doing nothing for the federal government SD strategy, sometimes doing nothing is good for the environment. We’ll discuss this; if you have any examples for this theme please let us know. We'll also be presenting our updated list of environmentally responsible Christmas gifts. They won't be nada, though maybe they should be, but our list of ten will promise much less environmental impact than what you might have been thinking of buying. By the way, thanks to all those who email us with heads-up on issues and links to articles as well as letters of general appreciation for our work; we don’t often enough thank you directly but we appreciate it.
November 22, 2010 Events Posted click here
Decembee 2010 EnerCan West. Winnipeg, Manitoba.June 2011 A&WMA's 104th Annual Conference & Exhibit Orlando Florida USA
November 2011 SETAC North America 32nd Annual Meeting Boston, MA, USA.
November 2012 SETAC North America 33rd Annual Meeting. Long Beach, CA, USA
November 2013 SETAC North America 34th Annual Meeting. Nashville, TN, USA
November 2014 SETAC North
America 35th Annual Meeting. Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
November 21, 2010 The Honoured Reader (free edition) of the Gallon Environment Letter Vol. 15, No. 7, October 21, 2010 posted as current issue click here
Editorial by Colin Isaacs: CHILE'S PINERA SETS BETTER EXAMPLE THAN BP's HAYWARD
Theme: SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT AND THE 2010 MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS
TORONTO BOARD OF TRADE: TRANSIT AND GREENING BUILDINGS
TEA ELECTION REPORT CARD
HAMILTON: CODE RED
INTERNET VOTING AND INFORMATION
CALGARY: SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES
EDMONTON MANDEL RETURNS FOR THIRD TERM
WINNIPEG: JUDY WASYLYCIA-LEIS FOR MAYOR
COTTAGE LIFE AND ELECTIONS
SUMMERSIDE PEI: A SNAPSHOT OF WHAT INTERESTS MANY VOTERS
OKOTOKS NEW MAYOR BILL ROBERTSON: RETAIN POPULATION CAP FOR NOW
US NEWS & WORLD REPORT: 7 CITIES ABOUT TO SINK
HOUSTON WEVE GOT A PROBLEM
SINKING FEELING IN HALIFAX HARBOUR
NEW GG SPOKE AT LAUNCH OF CLIMATE CHANGE PROJECT
FTC: PROPOSED REVISIONS TO THE GREEN GUIDES
Certifications, Seals and Approvals
SAINSBURY'S OVERPACKAGING CHARGES DROPPED
ENVIRONMENT'S PLACE IN HARPERLAND
ABOUT THIS ISSUE
It appears to the writers at GL that issues of environment and sustainability are getting more profile in the municipal elections that are happening this Fall than in any other cluster of municipal elections. That is really good news and we certainly hope that more of the candidates that are raising these issues will be elected than ever before. The City of Calgary has already been a most surprising leader in this regard. At the same time we think it is important to recognize that there are very few, if any, municipalities which have the power to reach a high degree of Sustainable Development by themselves. Just as a manufacturing company needs to green its upstream supply chain and its downstream product operation and end of product life chain so a municipality needs to green its supply chain, its environs, and its neighbours if it is to become significantly more sustainable. We'll be returning to this theme in a future issue but in the meantime we hope you find our update of the municipal green scene as interesting as we did when we compiled it.
We sort of promised you that we would not harp too much on the BP Gulf of Mexico disaster, and we certainly promise not to overdo the Chilean mine crisis, but we found what we think is a very interesting connection between the two, relevant particularly to our business and government readers. That forms the editorial in this issue. A usually reputable US newsmagaine has published a report in its tourism section suggesting that you should hurry up your visit to a number of world cities because they are about to sink beneath the waves. GL has investigated whether you should believe everything you read in this magazine and has used the article to kickoff a mini-section on a couple of North American "sinking cities".
Canada's new Governor-General was the founding chair of the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy. In his first days in office, he demonstrated that Sustainable Development is likely to be one of his mantras in the Vice-Regal position. We bring you a report. In the US the FTC is reviewing, and likely revising, the rules for green marketing claims. All those interested in greener products should take note: whatever is finally adopted in the US will likely come to Canada and so far the rules do not look terribly positive for green marketers. We provide a brief summary. In our last issue we told you of a British supermarket chain that was being prosecuted for overpackaging a roast of beef. Charges have been dropped - we tell you why - but the damage to reputation has probably already been done. The chain said when the charges were laid that it was already planning a packaging reduction for this product and many others. Finally, we could not resist Lawrence Martin's new book Harperland. There have not been many Canadian political books that have discussed the environment. We bring you a brief summary of Martin's findings.
The theme of our next issue will be the environmental and sustainability issues that were raised during the US mid-term elections. Until then enjoy this issue and if you have comments we encourage you to send them to firstname.lastname@example.org either for possible publication or for our enlightenment.
October 19, 2010 The Honoured Reader (free edition) of the Gallon Environment Letter Vol. 15, No. 6, October 6, 2010 posted as current issue click here
Editorial by Colin Isaacs: IS CANADA'S GOVERNMENT INHIBITING ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE?
CREATIVE CORPORATE THINKING AT FORD
EASTERN CANADA: REGIONAL GHG REPORTING AMENDMENTS
BIG OIL, DIRTY COAL AND THE REGULATION OF GHG EMISSIONS
CLEAN DEVELOPMENT MECHANISM UPDATE
AUSTRALIAN GREENS MAKE PROGRESS
AUSTRALIAN GREENS: ELIZABETH MAY TAKES HEART
AUSTRALIA: CARBON PRICING ON TABLE BUT ON HOLD
BHP CEO SAID TO SUPPORT AUSTRALIAN CARBON TAX
AUSTRALIA: DROUGHT, DUST AND DELUGE
DOCTORS AND CLIMATE CHANGE
WORLD MEDICAL ASSOCIATION: DECLARATION OF DELHI
CLIMATOPOLIS: HOW OUR CITIES WILL THRIVE IN THE HOTTER FUTURE
SAINSBURY'S: SLAPPED WITH (OVERPACKAGED) JOINT OF BEEF
ACCESS TO INFORMATION: SECRETS ABOUT ASBESTOS AND MORE
ENBRIDGE SPILL LEADS TO US LIABILITY BILL
FDA: GREEN TEA CLAIMS
WE RECOMMEND THE WORLD'S SMALLEST CAR [VIDEO]
ABOUT THIS ISSUE
This issue, as Fall unfolds and as the world prepares for the next major UN Climate Change conference in Cancun, Mexico from 29 November to 10 December, focusses on updating some of our climate change coverage. We will be continuing this coverage right up to the dates of the Cancun conference. As reported in this issue, the Canadian Medical Association says that climate change "has the potential to be one of the greatest threats to human health in the 21st Century. While the damage is being done now, many of the health effects may arise only decades in the future." Gallon Environment Letter is committed to not ignoring this.
The US is moving ahead on regulation of GHG emissions from industry. As we have reported previously, many in industry are now recognizing that greenhouse gas legislation may be preferable to GHG regulations under the existing Clean Air Act. It will be interesting to see what the new Congress does on this file in 2011. In the meantime we bring you a list of the top spenders in the battle against GHG legislation. That ExxonMobil tops the list of spending on lobbying may be no surprise, but to see BP (Beyond Petroleum) and Shell on the list seems to GL to detract from the Sustainability image that these companies have tried to cultivate. However, all is not gloom and doom. The CEO of Ford Canada is pushing for higher gasoline prices. We explain why this is the mark of a progressive company.
The Executive Board of the Clean Development Mechanism has issued some guidance on what will happen to the CDM and its associated tradeable Carbon Emission Reductions. We summarize the information, in a non-legal manner, and provide a link to the full text.
The CEO of global mining giant BHP Billiton is another CEO who apparently supports a carbon tax. We bring you the evidence. BHP is currently bidding to take over Saskatchewan's Potash Corp, the world's largest producer of fertilizer with annual revenue close to one billion. The Canadian Fertilizer Institute, of which Potash Corp is the largest member, does not support a carbon tax.
In Australia, a minority government is propped up by the Greens and others. Climate action is part of the government's agreement with the Green Party. We look at the situation in Australia and at Elizabeth May's musings that a similar situation could arise in Canada following our next federal election. We will be watching the Australian situation carefully.
We review Climatopolis, a new book about climate change and cities. We hope that it helps launch a new genre of books that provide useful advice on adaptation. If you live in a low-lying area that is at risk of flooding you may be interested in a new building technique from the University of Waterloo. It brings a new approach to the term "house boat".
Despite our view that climate change is an extremely important issue, it is not the only Sustainability issue on our radar screen. For example, how's your beef? If you were a consumer in Lincolnshire, UK, you might have found it overpackaged. We relay the story, along with our suggestion to companies that may be in a similar situation. (Can any major brandowner really claim to be free of overpackaging?). There is more news on one of the issues that we focus on from time to time: asbestos. A federal staffer resigned after being caught trying to hide the facts. In the US Congress a bill has been introduced that would hit spillers, like Canada's Enbridge, hard if they failed to move quickly to report and act on spills. On the food front, the US FDA has moved against nutritional claims on carbonated beverages. A ban on caffeinated and high sugar beverages and some so-called junk foods is coming to Ontario schools next September. We'll report in more detail on the Sustainability impacts of government control of our food and beverage intake in a future issue.
We wrap up this issue with a report on the world's smallest production car, originally from the early 1960's but once again on the market in limited quantity. You can even use it to drive around your office! Look at the video link we provide and remember that the last story in each issue of GL normally has a humorous side.
This Fall municipal elections will be happening in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, and parts of Prince Edward Island and Saskatchewan. Our next issue will focus on some of the campaigns where Sustainability is being profiled and will update our coverage of municipal government Sustainability initiatives from around the world. We will get it to you before election day! Meanwhile we invite you to send campaign promises and links to municipal government Sustainability initiatives, or any other comment or suggestion about anything Sustainable Development, to email@example.com
Ongoing Natural Resource Canada Dollars to $ense Energy Management Workshops Various locations across Canada
November 2010 Canadian Waste & Recycling Expo Toronto, Ontario
Charles Sariol Environmental Dinner Toronto, Ontario
APPrO 2010 Making Green Sustainable: Rebalancing the System. Toronto Ontario
Janaury 2011 Guelph Organic Conference Guelph Ontario
September 10, 2010 The Honoured Reader (free edition) of the Gallon Environment Letter Vol. 15, No. 5, August 26, 2010 posted as current issue click here
GUEST EDITORIAL By Steve Davey: LET'S HOPE A "GULF OF MEXICO" TYPE OIL SPILL NEVER HAPPENS IN THE GREAT LAKES
ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY ENTERING THE PIPELINE
NATURE EDITORIAL: FULL ACCOUNTING
US NRC: HIDDEN COSTS OF ENERGY
LONG TERM HEALTH & ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE FROM ARGS
CANADIAN COMMITTEE ON ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE DISBANDED
Human Systems and Ecosystems Are Connected
NA EMISSION CONTROL AREA: INDUSTRY SHOULD PAY THE BILL
EARTH'S OVERSHOOT DAY
BOREAL FOREST: NATIVE/ENGO/INDUSTRY AGREEMENT IN LIEU OF REGULATION
THE BIG WILD: SETTING ASIDE WILDERNESS FROM DEVELOPMENT
TEA: TORONTO MUNICIPAL ELECTION PRIORITIES
WWF CANADA: PLAN FOR A LIVING PLANET
EGGS, OIL AND TOXIC BARRELS: REPEAT POLLUTERS POLLUTE AGAIN
Poor Enforcement Puts Many at Risk
FTC: GREEN GUIDES
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Subject: the Blue Economy
AQUACULTURE: FISHY ORGANIC STANDARD PROPOSED
ENVIRONMENTAL CONSULTANT RAY RIVERS: PLAYWRIGHT AT THE FRINGE
ANECDOTE OR SCIENCE: DON'T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ
ABOUT THIS ISSUE
Last issue we told you that this issue would focus on some of the environmental issues that are likely to be on the public policy agenda in the next six months. When we compiled the issue we found - - - too many! So we have narrowed the scope a little and will concentrate on some more, especially those related to greenhouse gas emissions, in our next and future issues.
Our editorial this issue is from Steve Davey, editor and publisher of Environmental Science & Engineering Magazine where it first appeared in the latest issue of that magazine. We thought so highly of Steve's commentary that we asked him for permission to reprint it in GL. Along with Steve Davey's comments we are also highlighting in other articles that the BP Gulf mess is likely to have a profound impact on environmental policy not just for the petroleum industry but also for other industry sectors that depend on technology to minimize risk.
One of the most profound policy documents that we have found recently comes from the US National Research Council. According to this book, summarized below, when externalities are taken into account, electric cars may not be the solution that many people think they are. We will expand on this aspect in a future issue of GL. Meanwhile scientists see ARGS as a new pollution-enhanced threat. We introduce you to the topic in a couple of articles. Canada's committee on this threat has disbanded!
Perhaps not surprisingly, the shipping industry wants to continue to pollute the air and cause risks to public health. Maybe large freight shippers such as the automobile industry should start insisting that the ships that carry their products switch to low sulphur fuel. We have overshot Earth's Overshoot Day for 2010 but unfortunately we are not expecting the Taxpayers Federation that announces Tax Freedom Day to notice.
ENGOs, First nations, and the industry signed a precedent-setting agreement in May on the Boreal Forest which may serve as a model for environmental protection . GL will be watching with interest. Canadian Parks and Wilderness and Mountain Equipment Coop are seeking to get at least 50% of Canada's public lands under protection. Toronto Environmental Alliance has identified six priorities for this fall's municipal election and WWF Canada has a plan for the planet. The US Federal Trade Commission is revising its Green Guides, which could mean significant changes in claims made by greener products. We bring you a preview.
In addition to our review of some key policy pipeline issues we print a couple of very interesting Letters to the Editor about what their prestigious authors are doing. Sharing of information is an exciting and essential part of movement towards Sustainability.
Department of Fisheries and Oceans is proposing to allow farmed fish to be described as organic even when antibiotics and other inputs that would not be permitted in other organic products are used. Canada's organic industry should be horrified by this attack on the Organic Standard of Canada. Meanwhile the wild salmon are running in hugely unexpected numbers. Once again our ability to predict numbers is challenged by the fish, fortunately at least for now in a good direction.
We cannot recall that GL has even published a review of a play. Many readers will remember Ray Rivers from his days with the Canada Centre for Inland Waters of Environment Canada. Ray has now morphed into a musician and playwright. Lambs in Winter by Ray Rivers is a play with a loose connection to climate change. It is one of two fringe festival plays we review in this issue.
Following our new practice of awarding one of the organizations or people that are mentioned in the current issue a 'good environment' recognition and another a 'black hat' award we nominate as follows for this issue: Prof. Gunter Pauli, Founder of ZERI, for his 'good environment' efforts and, ignoring BP which has already received enough negative publicity, we nominate Fisheries and Oceans Canada for the 'black hat' for proposing to mess around with the Canadian definition of 'organic' in the context of farmed seafood until aquaculture management practices are improved.
In our next issue: actions and policy on climate change. For some reason, Canada may not figure too highly in what promises to be a very full issue! Meanwhile enjoy the rest of the summer and let us know by email to firstname.lastname@example.org of any comments you have about this issue or anything else to do with environmental and sustainable development policy. We would also like to receive your press releases and, if you would like to submit an article or editorial for publication in GL, please contact us at the same email address so that we can talk to you about it.
July 31, 2010 The Honoured Reader (free edition) of the Gallon Environment Letter Vol. 15, No. 4, July 29, 2010 posted as current issue click here
Editorial by Colin Isaacs: ONTARIO'S ECOFEE MESS
Theme: WATER QUALITY
MAJOR USA COURT DECISION: PESTICIDES ARE WATER POLLUTANTS
Draft General Permit
USA: HUMAN EXPOSURE TO ENVIRONMENTAL CHEMICALS
Water Disinfection By-products (Trihalomethanes)
EC PROPOSES WASTEWATER REGULATIONS
CANADA-WIDE STRATEGY FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF MUNICIPAL WASTEWATER EFFLUENT
SOURCE CONTROL: POLLUTION PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN TREATMENT
Residential Source Control
CERES: CORPORATE REPORTING ON WATER RISKS
A Couple of the Eight Sectors
The Chemical Sector
NOVA SCOTIA DELAYS MERCURY RULE
CCME: Mercury Standards for Coal Power Plants
A Little More Foresight
WATER TOOLS AND INITIATIVES
OLD CONTAMINANTS RECIRCULATE
JOHN GIESY: MEASURING THE POLLUTANTS
G8 GOOD STUFF ON WATER AND BIODIVERSITY: BUSINESS RISKS AND OPPORTUNITIES
CLIMATE SCIENTIST STEPHEN SCHNEIDER DIED
SLOW DEATH BY RUBBER DUCK
Foreword by Theo Colborn
Detox and You'll be All Right
Local Pollution is Out: Environmental Justice No Longer An Issue
A New Kind of Pollution
EDMONTON WINS WASTE MANAGEMENT AWARD
DUH, LET's CALL 'EM FRED
ABOUT THIS ISSUE
Our theme this issue is water quality but we will not be discussing the Gulf oil spill which is being extensively covered by the daily press. We will come back to the Gulf spill issue when the lessons learned become a little more clear. In this issue we are discussing some recent initiatives, including a US court case which has determined that pesticides are to be considered water pollutants, a move by the US Centers for Disease Control to expand reporting on drinking water pollutants to cover disinfection by-products, a move by Environment Canada to (very slowly) tighten the rules for sewage treatment plants, and we report on various aspects of the Canada-wide Strategy for the Management of Municipal Wastewater Effluent. Companies are also major contributors to reduced water quality, but a few are beginning to report on their performance. We report to you. Check your yogurt and make sure your home is doing what it can for reduced water pollution! Victoria BC has some tips that GL passes on.
If you voted for Premier Darrell Dexter in Nova Scotia you have voted for delayed enforcement of mercury pollution regulations. Yes, you! Your support of this pro-mercury pollution premier is pretty disgraceful. We explain why. East coast kids, and wild species such as river otters, are getting sick because of you.
At the other end of the table, where the good guys (or somewhat better guys) sit, the WBCSD and the IUCN have developed a guide to global and regional initiatives on water and business. We pass on a synopsis of their suggestions and applaud both organizations for moving in the right environmental direction. Even when humans do the right thing, however, nature can conspire to make it worse again. We summarize a recent article on how zebra mussels are returning PCBs to the flesh of the pickerel (walleye) of the Great Lakes.
Do you know Prof. John Giesy? If not, maybe you should at least learn more about his research. We introduce you to him, one of Canada's environmental good guys. Years ago, GL's editor went to an Environment Canada biodiversity conference and tried to promote the concept that biodiversity and business should be examined as compatible objectives if we truly want to preserve biodiversity. Back then, none of the government biologists was interested. Today there are not so many government biologists, which may explain why the concept of business and biodiversity is gaining ground. We explain, based on a research project funded in part by the G8 Another good guy, climate scientist Stephen Schneider, passed away recently. GL's obit is included in this issue. He will be missed - we explain why.
The Rubber Duck guys have got a lot of publicity for their toxic thesis but GL is not quite so enthusiastic. GL explains, in a book review in this issue, why Slow Death by Rubber Duck might be a catchy title but pretty weak science. Of course, nothing as weak as our concluding story, in which we point out that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation has some very strange opinions about the naming of animal species. In this issue, Edmonton seems to have won G:'s 'good environment' prize and Premier Dexter gets the black hat award (other provinces failing to meet their mercury reductions targets may qualify for this award later this year). This is the first of our issue by issue awards for who is good, and not so good, for the environment.
Talking of not so good, not a prize winner our editorial looks at an ecomess caused by very bad implementation of an ecofee program to pay for household hazardous waste recovery in Ontario. There is so much to tell that it would fill our entire issue, which we prefer not to do especially with local or provincial/state issues, so we have picked on a couple of aspects from the wreckage of this product stewardship program and may discuss more in a future issue.
Next issue we plan to review some of the environmental issues that are likely to be on the public policy agenda in the next six months. Meanwhile, enjoy this issue and don't hesitate to email us with your comments.
July 31, 2010 Events Posted click here
Ongoing Shanghai World Expo Shanghai, China
September 2010 EcoGen Sydney
October 2010 Ontario Municipal Election
July 31, 2010 The Honoured Reader (free edition) of the Gallon Environment Letter Vol. 15, No. 3, June 25, 2010 posted click here
Editorial by Colin Isaacs: LESSONS FROM THE BP SAGA
Whose fault is it?
Whose fault is it?
Who should be cleaning up the mess?
Jobs and the economy versus the environment
ENERGY STAR SCANDAL
Greenwashing or Fraud
RECYCLING NURSERY POTS
NEWALTA: 2010 SUSTAINABILITY REPORT
CLEAN TECHNOLOGY INDEX
LONDON SCIENCE MUSEUM: CLIMATE SCIENCE GALLERY
NRTEE: MEASURING UP - CLIMATE PROSPERITY
Climate Action and Prosperity
Carbon Productivity Indicator
Current Membership of NRTEE
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
YASUNI: ACCOUNTABILITY AND SOVEREIGNTY
CARBON REDUCTION IN EXISTING BUILDINGS - BRI'S EDITORIAL
Seven Key Factors in Building Energy Demand
Other Implications for Policy
MERE ASSERTION: CANADA'S CLAIM TO BEST REGS FOR OFFSHORE DRILLING
ABOUT THIS ISSUE
This issue we are catching up on some environmental sustainability issues that have cropped up and not found space in our recent issues.
In the US, a unit of Congress has found some major problems with the Energy Star program. Loblaw continues to be a leader on recycling plant pots and trays used by garden centres. We give you the scoop. A major industrial waste management company has published a sustainability report. In an industry sector that historically has a very poor reputation, Newalta may be setting a standard for more environmentally sound management of wastes. The TSX is a partner in a new Clean Technology Index. While indexes such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Index have yet to prove the performance of greener companies, GL welcomes these initiatives as increasing the awareness of the investment community to social and environmental responsibility issues and giving all companies another standard to which to aspire.
The public certainly needs better information on climate science and the Science Museum in the UK is stepping up to provide it. Strange, isn't it, that there is no major exhibit on climate change in any of Canada's national capital museums although the Canadian Museum of Nature has rudiments including rental of a travelling exhibit on some aspects of climate change with the support of TransCanada Corporation. The National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy has produced a report which ranks Canada's performance on a low carbon economy within the G8. We tell you where we stand and how we got there!
We get letters, and in this issue we publish four, each of which makes a powerful point from an informed position. We sure like to receive your letters at email@example.com.
Have you ever heard of a country choosing to leave oil in the ground? Ecuador is trying to do it in an economically sound way in one of its most pristine areas. We explain the challenges. By the way, one of the source documents (links to source documents are provided to our top level subscribers) is written by Gerard Coffey, whom some readers may remember as the manager of Pollution Probe's Ecology House back in the 1980's.
One of our correspondents has found that achieving significant reductions in carbon emissions from buildings is much more challenging than expected, in part because people, at least in the UK, adapt their behaviour to use more energy in an energy efficient building. We present the research findings and leave with you the thought that energy efficiency cannot be about technology alone but must also incorporate programs to ensure social adaptation. What a novel idea!
Next issue we will return to our thematic approach with some commentary on recent developments in water quality. Meanwhile we hope you enjoy this issue and, if you have comments, as we suspect you will, we encourage you to send a Letter to the Editor. On Canada Day, think about what we are doing to Canada's environment.
Please note: Except for occasional issues, the Honoured Reader edition of the Gallon Environment Letter does not contain most of the links of the paid subscription. However, any urls listed, checked at the time of publication of each issue, may no longer be current.
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