Thursday, July 31, 2008

Green Driveways?

I guess if comes down to a war between asphalt and grass, I'd have to go with the grass. Wouldn't it be great if driveways were replaced with grass and grass was replaced with native plants in most other places? Somehow though, I can't see head office switching over to grass just yet.

Home builders turn to latest thing in high-tech 'green' driveways: grass

OSHAWA, Ont. — It's the latest thing in high-tech driveways, replacing that ugly black asphalt with an environmentally-friendly substitute that filters out impurities and keeps salt, sealants and other noxious chemicals out of municipal sewer systems.

Just be sure to keep it watered, weeded and mowed...

Not even heavy trucks and SUVs - environmentally friendly hybrids only, please - will rip up or flatten the grass, thanks to a plastic support grid that sits just below the surface and absorbs the pressure of vehicles...

Grass driveways help to protect the environment by absorbing and reducing runoff going into the sewers, Marshall said, preventing things like driveway sealants, oil, salt, and car care products from going down the drain.

"It's all about water infiltration into the ground instead of running out onto the street and down into our sewers and into our lakes and rivers," he said.

"The more groundwater you can keep on the site, the less damage it's going to do to the environment and the habitats of fish and things in the rivers and lakes."

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Saving paper & planting trees

Blue-pencil is a document shredding and recycling program. This is OPSEU's second year participating in this program. The writing's a bit blurry but says that we saved 156 trees from destruction and that blue-pencil planted 31 trees on our behalf in 2007.

OPSEU 1st VP / Treasurer Patty Rout was glad to see that progress is being made, "We expect even better results next year - especially in reducing the amount of paper we use in the first place. Expect to see some interesting new initiatives".

Beijing Olympics - Not green enough - Greenpeace

A report released this week by Greenpeace China details the strengths and shortfalls of China's attempts to "green" the games as well as some partial success stories on the part of Greenpeace to pressure corporate participants like Coca-Cola, McDonalds and Panasonic to green up their act.

China after the Olympics: Lessons from Beijing

China has launched impressive green policies in the run up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics but has also missed crucial opportunities to kick start ambitious environmental initiatives across the city, says Greenpeace China in its new report ‘China after the Olympics: Lessons from Beijing’ published today (July 28 - ed).
To read the entire report, click here.

China's National Aquatic Centre
The Centre is made out of Ethylene Tetrafluoroethylene], a transparent plastic material related to Teflon. It is being heralded as THE building material of the future. Why use it instead of glass [or another polymer]? Well apparently ETFE is…

- 1% the weight of glass
- transmits more light than glass
- is a better insulator than glass
- costs 24% to 70% less to install than glass
- able to bear 400 times its own weight
- 50-year life-span
- self-cleaning [nonstick surface - related to Teflon, remember?]
- AND lastly, its recyclable

Source - Architecture MNP

FORE: Golf courses using 3 billion litres of water on Moraine

Golf courses put strain on Ontario Moraine: report

Golf courses are draining Ontario's water resources and the province is doing little to prevent it, according to a new report authored by eco watchdog groups (Earthroots and Ecojustice - ed).

The report, titled Ontario's Water Hazard, concludes that nine golf courses dotting the environmentally sensitive Oak Ridges Moraine are taking more than three billion of litres of water each year...

The Moraine is under constant pressure from more than 60 courses on the land or within five kilometres of it. However, it's not just the water supply that's being strained, the report notes. Chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides and fungicides typically used to maintain golf courses all pose an environmental threat...

The McGuinty government makes claims to some improvements since the Harris government gutted a lot of the regulatory and watchdog agencies.
The report makes several recommendations to help protect the environment from the strain. They include:
  • Making sure that enough resources are in place to successfully implement a water protection framework.
  • Allowing a review on the Permit To Take Water laws and policies to ensure consistency and transparency.
  • Having development proposals reviewed by a joint panels of the Ontario Municipal Board and the Environmental Review Tribunal.
  • Prohibiting new or expanding golf course development on the Oak Ridges Moraine.
  • On areas where development is deemed acceptable, golf courses should have to abide by strict standards.
To download the entire report- click here.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Arctic ice shelf disappearing....

Huge chunk snaps off storied Arctic ice shelf

A four-square-kilometre chunk has broken off Ward Hunt Ice Shelf - the largest remaining ice shelf in the Arctic - threatening the future of the giant frozen mass that northern explorers have used for years as the starting point for their treks.

Scientists say the break, the largest on record since 2005, is the latest indication that climate change is forcing the drastic reshaping of the Arctic coastline, where 9,000 square kilometres of ice have been whittled down to less than 1,000 over the past century, and are only showing signs of decreasing further....

"The take-home message for me is that these ice shelves are not regenerating," he said. "If we're looking at an indicator of whether climate is to blame, it's really the lack of regeneration that convinces me. They're breaking away so rapidly that there's no hope of regeneration," he said, adding that is "pretty strong evidence that suggests this is related to global warming."
Stephen Harper's comments - "Pass me an ice cube for my scotch. Now what's the problem?"

Monday, July 28, 2008

US political environment continues to deteriorate

While not a "green" environmental issue - this is about the political environment in the USA where some consider "liberal" views worthy of death. You can be sure there will lots of cheering for this double-murder among the US's neanderthal class. Well, they won't overtly cheer - what they will do is attack the media for framing it as an attack against liberalism, i.e. social programs, freedom to choose lifestyles, freedom for women to control their own bodies, etc. They will accuse "liberal" of making "hay" and politicizing these pre-meditated murders.

Police: Man shot churchgoers over liberal views

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — An unemployed man accused of opening fire with a shotgun and killing two people at a Unitarian Universalist church apparently targeted the congregation out of hatred for its support of liberal social policies, police said Monday...

The Unitarian-Universalist church promotes progressive social work, including advocacy of women and gay rights. The Knoxville congregation also has provided sanctuary for political refugees, fed the homeless and founded a chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, according to its Web site.

Beijing skies remain hazy as games approach

Beijing shrouded in haze 11 days before Olympics

Olympic host city Beijing was shrouded in haze on Monday 11 days before the Games begin, raising anxieties about whether it can deliver the clean skies promised for the world's top athletes.

Clayoquot Sound logging battle heats up again

Natives and environmentalists on opposite sides of new Clayoquot fight

The fragile economies of five first nations in Clayoquot Sound would be dealt a crippling blow if major environmental groups go ahead with plans to disrupt logging this summer.
“Every time we start to get on our feet, someone wants to knock us off,” said John Frank, deputy chief of the Ahousaht Nation.

Native-run logging companies provide the only meaningful employment left in many of the villages scattered throughout the sound, he said.

“Our economic engine has died, that was the fishery,” he said. “We had 140 fishboats with three men to each boat.”
These are never easy conflicts.

Electric cars to be studied in Ontario

Ontario studies low speed electric cars already allowed in B.C, Quebec

Ontario has commissioned an independent safety study of low speed electric vehicles, but is not yet ready to follow Quebec and British Columbia in allowing the environmentally friendly cars and trucks on the province's roads, says Transportation Minister Jim Bradley.
Perhaps some reason for optimism.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Health Canada Climate Change Report

Understanding the Health Impacts of Climate Change

Most scientists now agree that climate change is having far-reaching effects on human health, and will pose even greater risks in the future. Because of its large land mass, Canadians can expect a wide range of impacts which can vary from one region to another.
The report breaks down the hazards and health risks for a number of different issues including:
In true Harpesso style, the report has already been suppressed by the government which refuses to allow the federal Health Canada to publicize its findings. Doing so may cause even more Canadians to begin to demand action on tackling the issues and mitigating the impact. See NUPGE's take.

From the perspective of the oil and coal industry and their shills in Ottawa, continuing to do nothing about global warming means more money in their shareholders pocketbooks. Too bad everyone's health will suffer but that's a small price to pay to allow Big Oil to continue to reap billions in profits.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Name that photo

I meant to post these pics at the time but better late than never. On June 21th, a pickup truck slammed into the north wall of head office. The collision occurred on a Saturday when no one was at the office.

If you'd like to "name that photo", use the comments section of this post.

"Breaking out or breaking in?"

"Someone banging their head against the wall?"

"New drive-through for the cafeteria?"

The crash damaged OPSEU's cafeteria causing it to temporarily close while repairs are done. 1st VP / Treasurer Patty Rout who manages OPSEU's infrastructure used this opportunity to survey staff about what they would like to see in the cafeteria.

Green Patio at Lesmill

As part of the effort to green head office, open up more space for building occupants & visitors and spruce up head office's look, a new patio above the front entrance is taking shape. With executive support from 1st VP / Treasurer Patty Rout, the green wellness patio was lead-handed by OPSEU's graphic designer Emily Visser.

This new outdoor, non-smoking space includes a glass & metal patio table with 6 chairs as well as 4 "made in Ontario" wooden chairs. A variety of indigenous plants were planted in 9 new clay pots. OPSEU is slated to receive a prototype recycling unit from a local company when it is ready (probably next year). Emily spent a lot of time looking for the most sustainable furnishings (within a fairly tight budget). (Check out Mark Barclay's electric bicycle below the patio)

The new non-smoking space will be accessible to staff, members and visitors at 100 Lesmill Road. Highly visible from the road, the patio augments the new indigenous plant garden beds which are are under development. Access is from the mezzanine level.

David Cox helps with planting on the new patio which has been planted with sunflowers and herbs for now.

Check out the patio the next time you're at head office!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Ontario to join Western Climate Initiative

Ontario to sign cap-and-trade climate plan

QUEBEC CITY - Ontario will join a transcontinental environmental network devoted to fighting climate change as early as today, increasing pressure on Alberta and Saskatchewan to ramp up their efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions...

"It would mean that four provinces representing 75 per cent of Canadians are all part of the same system that sets hard caps for industry," said Dale Marshall, a spokesman for the David Suzuki Foundation. "It would be another nail in the coffin of the weak, intensity-based federal proposal...."

Mr. McGuinty and others believe the system will eventually become the norm. He cast aspersions on Alberta's plan to invest $2 billion in carbon capture and storage (CCS), a process that stores carbon emissions by injecting them into deep geological formations.
Reaction from the federal NDP has been positive.
The New Democratic Party of Canada commends today’s announcement by the Government of Ontario to follow the NDP’s lead on a Canada-wide cap and trade system by joining the Western Climate Initiative.

Nuclear kool-aid

Don’t Drink the Nuclear Kool-Aid
by Amy Goodman
This advice applies equally to Dalton McGuinty as it does for the USA.

While the presidential candidates trade barbs and accuse each other of flip-flopping, they agree with President Bush on their enthusiastic support for nuclear power...

But nuclear power is not a solution to climate change — rather, it causes problems...

Even if nuclear power were economically viable, Lovins continues, “the first issue to come up for me would be the spread of nuclear weapons, which it greatly facilitates...

Along with proliferation, there are terrorist threats to existing nuclear reactors,...

Then there is the waste: “It stays dangerous for a very long time. So you have to put it someplace that stays away from people and life and water for a very long time … millions of years, most likely. … So far, all the places we’ve looked turned out to be geologically unsuitable...

Thursday, July 17, 2008

When will Tim Horton's go green?

An excellent article by Carl Hiehn Eye Magazine. A bit preachy but a lot of interesting information about coffee, litter and other Timmy's PR image. Hat tip to David Cox for the link.

Dear Tim Hortons: you could be a green giant
Why Canada’s biggest coffee company should double-double down on the environment

Here’s where we come to the opportunity — one maybe unique to you in this country. With your market share and the buying power that comes with it, and given the potency of your brand as a Canadian symbol — next to the beaver, the toonie and poutine — you could make a difference in the world while earning significant profit, mending your tarnished image and changing the way every other coffee company will do business in Canada forever.

The most pressing change you could make is shifting from the non-sustainable coffee plantations you buy from to sustainable and organic plantations. Your current farms harvest sun-grown coffee which, ignoring its serene name, is an environment killer that was genetically modified to be monocropped in lowland, ruined terrains that won’t grow any other product. This species requires heavy use of artificial fertilizers and expensive herbicides and pesticides that flow into the water table. Plus, taste is affected because the beans are picked before they’ve matured (hence, I guess, the popularity of double cream and double sugar).

The alternative, shade-grown coffee plantations, have various species of trees throughout the farm mirroring a natural ecosystem, which not only encourages biodiversity, but the roots of the trees stabilize sediment and soil, the likelihood of plague is lower and, most importantly, there’s less need for those expensive fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides.

It’s complicated, but it boils down to this: “Harvesting sun-grown is the equivalent of clear-cutting forests, while shade-grown coffee, which requires matured trees planted throughout the plantation, is on the same scale as selective logging,” as Howard Daugherty puts it.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Lesmill Gardening Extravaganza

More than 20 OPSEU head office staff volunteers participated in the very successful Native Plant Gardening Extravanganza on July 16. 5 new garden beds were prepared. Three rows of sod were removed and will be composted to make room for the return of indigenous plants like astors, sunflowers, strawberries and a host of others.

"Before" - Gary, Francis, Heino, Kay
With 30 degree temperatures, digging out sod and weeds can be a lot of fun! (not) The 10-tier Memorial Garden near the front of the property is the centre piece of OPSEU's landscaping. (Heino started off the day biking in from Etobicoke.)

The OPSEU Memorial Garden pays tribute to OPSEU members and all workers who have died on the job. The plaque may be relocated within the garden.

Bringing in the heavy machinery! After several people sweated it out digging up the first level, the roto-tiller was put to use.

Francesca, Archana & Francis
Old sod and weeds were wheel-barreled to the back of the building where a new composter is going to be located.

Archana & Heino

Wendy, Heino, Mary Anne, Archana




Mary Anne & Aura

Patty & Gary
Janice Hagan dropped off another load of native plants provided by her partner and our advisor Greg. When I began this assignment in February, Patty (the person I report to on all things green) mentioned the garden on her long list of priorities. Things took shape in the spring when we met Greg and were persuaded to restore 100 Lesmill to native plants to promote a biodiverse habitat for birds, other animals and plants. I must confess that I have a personal interest - having grown up on a tributary of the West Don River in Downsview (OPSEU is near the East Don River). I have fond memories growing up with the ravines & natural beauty of the Don and that has shaped who I am today. It's a privilege to have the opportunity to a be kind of shlepping project manager for this endeavor.

Francesca plants a 4 year old Tulip Tree which will take another 12 or 13 years before flowering.

These 3 rows are partially planted but there's room for more. There are 10 tiers in the Memorial Garden. The goal for this year was to remove all the non-native plants and to prepare and plant the 1st three rows.

Aside from work on the Memorial Garden, this bed, beside the OPSEU sign was weeded, prepped and planted.

This is one of the beds that was planted a couple of weeks ago.

More pics to come. Beginning a project of this scope at this time of year is a huge challenge. It would have not been possible without the enthusiasm, energy and co-operation of Aura Bellin, Andrea Bowden, Eddie Brennan and the building services staff, David Cox, Steve Crossman, Mary Anne Di Adamo, Scott Elliot, Wendy Elliot, Cindy Forsyth, Tina Furman, Rick Janson, Martha Josephian, Lisa Kesper, Archana Mathews, Manzur Malik, Peggy Maybury, Heino Nielson, Patty Rout, Shannon Roe, Francis Rustia, Gary Shaul, Kay Singh, Francesca Sinicropi, Smokey Thomas, Emily Visser, Carol Wilson, Louise Woltman, Eleanor Woodruffe and anyone I missed.

New volunteers are always welcome.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Bush: "Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter"

This one somehow slipped by me last week.

This week at the G8 summit in Japan, George W. Bush wrapped up a meeting on climate change with the words: "Goodbye from the world's biggest polluter."

"He then punched the air while grinning widely," the Telegraph reports, "
Cute. Stephen Harper allegedly then said, "Goodbye from the world's biggest per capita polluter. Canadians are doing their part too."

Friday, July 11, 2008

Rethinking meat?

While this article is from a faith-based, and not a union perspective, it is a very interesting read nonetheless.

The Only Diet for a Peacemaker Is a Vegetarian Diet - John Dear

...vegetarianism is the best way to eliminate world hunger and to sustain the environment.

...eating meat causes almost 40 percent more greenhouse-gas emissions than all the cars, trucks, and planes in the world combined...
Here's another take on the meat issue by animator & satirist Mark Fiore - Doreen the Downer.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Edible estate gardens

How about a veggie and flower garden instead of a front lawn? What's wrong with a nice green lawn you may be wondering? As OPSEU introduces its plan to provide a sanctuary for native plants, this is one of the questions being asked.

  • landscaping accounts for 20% - 50% of residential water use in the US
  • the average lawn uses over 300 liters of water a day in the US
  • there's an estimated 30 million acres of lawn in the US
Fritz Haeg and the Edible Estate Gardens project

Here's another video from California about edible gardens as a hedge against genetically modified foods.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Videoconferencing coming soon....

On Tuesday, vendors assembled OPSEU's new videoconferencing hardware in the Theatre at 100 Lesmill. Part of NUPGE's new network, OPSEU now has a Polycom 8000 (CODEC) unit, two 46-inch LCD TV monitors and a very cool camera.

Rollout of the NUPGE network across Canada continues and should be complete within a couple of weeks.

Research continues into finding the right solutions for OPSEU's needs.

Thanks to Rick J for the pic.

Reaction to G-8 Global Warming proposal

As noted in the previous post, the G8 has no intention of taking any meaningful action on climate change. What they claim as "progress", is just another cover for inaction, more greenhouse gas emissions and finger pointing at the developing world. Here's some of the reaction.

The United Nations Environment Programme issued a news release stating that

G8 leaders missed an opportunity to provide the kind of signal that would accelerate the international negotiation process
From Greenpeace
So what have we learned from the G8's three wasted days?

1. Never do today what you can keep putting off until tomorrow...
2. Never miss the opportunity - whatever the crisis - to make a quick sale…
3. You can have your cake and eat it - so long as it's genetically modified…
4. Acknowledge the problem, and hopefully it'll go away…
5. Always look on the bright side of life…

More to follow....

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

G-8 leaders "have failed the world again"

While Bush, Harper and other global warming obstructionists claim "progress" and that "a deal" has been reached, environmentalists are much more to the point about the continuing sleight of hand of some of the world's worst carbon emitters (per capita or total). From the Washington Post:

The communique's language drew the disapproval of many environmental groups, which said the targets were weak or ambiguous. They accused the summit leaders of not addressing fundamental differences among themselves on matters such as speed and method, resulting in a plan with little real meaning.

The G-8 leaders "have failed the world again," Daniel Mittler, Greenpeace International's climate expert, said in a statement. "While the Arctic is melting, the G-8 are postponing action. Instead of climate protection, the world got nothing but flowery words."
So what is the plan?
On Tuesday, Bush agreed for the first time to join other major industrialized countries in setting a goal to reduce emissions. He and other leaders of the G-8 countries forged a joint communique that declares the countries will "consider and adopt" reductions of at least 50 percent as part of a new U.N. treaty to be negotiated in Copenhagen at the end of 2009.
So here are the most apparent problems with the plan,
  • the reductions are based on 2008 or 2009 emission levels, not the 1990 levels advanced by Kyoto
  • reductions will be "considered" for next year - some commitment?
  • if China, India and other developing countries aren't fully on board, the US, Canada and others will continue to allow their rate of greenhouse gas emissions to increase - there will be NO decreases
  • there are no short or medium term goals - in other words, serious efforts may not even begin until 2049
Stephen Harper, a sudden expert on the very climate change that he denied was a problem when he took over the government, is running off his mouth lecturing the developing world about why the onus is on them, not on those who have done the damage, to take meaningful action before Canada will agree to anything substantial.
Clare Demerse, a climate-change policy analyst for the Pembina Institute, noted that Canada's emissions per capita remain five times higher than China's and 10 times higher than India's. As a result, the burden should be on Canada to take the lead, she argued.

"Canada does not have the track record or climate credibility to lecture others. It's up to countries like Canada to lead, not follow," she said in an e-mail.
Clearly both Canada and the US remain in the pockets of big oil whose shareholders make more money with the more oil that is burned. It's as simple as that.

Monday, July 7, 2008

G8 Summit Obstructionists

Once upon a time, Canadians were proud of the independent stance that Canada often took from US positions. With the Bush / Harper entente, there hasn't been much to be proud of lately. Once again, Canada is being embarrassed on the world stage - this time at the G8 Summit in Tokyo, Japan.

G8 leaders face tough test - Toronto Star

Early indications are that Canada, the United States and other G8 countries are shying away from agreements on decisive action on some of today's most pressing problems – improving health in developing nations, aid to Africa, the world food crisis and climate change...

This year's G8 meeting takes place against a backdrop of punishing global oil prices, turmoil in the international banking and credit sector and the worst economic conditions since the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis.
So the US drags down the world economy, pushes up oil & food prices and then uses that as an excuse to do nothing of substance on the major issues of our day. Charming. At least Bush will have shiny cowboy boots as Harper & Environment Minister John Baird crawl on their hands & knees licking them. "Like that, George?"

From the Toronto Sun:
Environment Minister John Baird told journalists aboard the prime minister's Airbus that he doubts the G8 leaders will leave Japan with firm reduction goals in hand...

Baird said next year's United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, is a more likely venue for setting greenhouse-gas targets...

U.S. President George W. Bush said yesterday it's futile to push forward without the participation of countries like China and India.
Yes, maybe next year we can start discussing targets but it's premature now. What's the problem anyway? First of all, there's no such thing as global warming. Second, even if there was, burning fossil fuels has nothing to do with it. Oh, I forgot. Harper & Bush finally recognize that there's a problem (they didn't want to continue to be offside with all of the world's scientists). There game plan is to do nothing and to keep putting tough decisions off.

This piece from Robert F. Kennedy Jr. points out that tough decisions pay off for citizens of countries willing to try new technologies - like Iceland which is now pretty much independent of carbon-based fuel for electricity & heating.
Iceland was 80 percent dependent on imported coal and oil in the 1970s and was among the poorest economies in Europe. Today, Iceland is 100 percent energy-independent, with 90 percent of the nation’s homes heated by geothermal and its remaining electrical needs met by hydro. The International Monetary Fund now ranks Iceland the fourth most affluent nation on earth. The country, which previously had to beg for corporate investment, now has companies lined up to relocate there to take advantage of its low-cost clean energy.

Friday, July 4, 2008

10 million solar panels?

Only in Vermont you say.

Senator Backs New Solar Power Initiative

An idea to put 10 million solar panels on 10 million buildings in the United States is a good start, said an advocate for the replacement of fossil fuels and nuclear power with renewable energy sources such as wind and solar.

“It’s a brilliant and visionary idea to put solar energy into the middle of the discussion on energy,” said Arjun Makhijani, the president of the Institute of Energy and Environmental Research. “A goal like that is very important because it will mean the solar manufacturing industry will have certainty that there will be a demand at the other end.

Makhijani was responding to a proposal put forth by Sen. Bernard Sanders, I-VT, that would encourage the installation of 10 million rooftop solar units on homes and businesses over the course of 10 years.
This next article provides a big business perspective on the economic prospects for solar.

The economics of solar power
A new era for solar power is approaching. Long derided as uneconomic, it is gaining ground as technologies improve and the cost of traditional energy sources rises. Within three to seven years, unsubsidized solar power could cost no more to end customers in many markets, such as California and Italy, than electricity generated by fossil fuels or by renewable alternatives to solar. By 2020, global installed solar capacity could be 20 to 40 times its level today.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Canada ranks 2nd last in G8 carbon reduction

This is in today's Globe and Mail. If we're second last, who do you suppose is last?

Canada lands second-last in climate-change ranking

Canada and the U.S. are the worst countries in the G8 when it comes to taking effective measures to forestall the risk of rapid and uncontrolled climate change, according to an assessment of the major industrialized countries compiled by a European-based environmental consulting firm...

Canada performed poorly because of the huge emissions from Alberta's energy-intensive tar sands, the country's reluctance to comply with greenhouse-gas reduction targets in the Kyoto Protocol and the lack of federal regulations to cut overall emissions....

None of the G8 countries are taking enough action to keep global warming below this two-degree threshold, the assessment said. "Given the urgency of the climate challenge, the G8 countries collectively still have a long way to go," it said.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Paper-free books

Amazon has reduced prices on their Kindle paper-free, wireless reading device. They look very cool. Your intrepid blog editor is going to try and pick one up for testing purposes to see if this is a practical direction for OPSEU to head.

BC Carbon Tax - North American First

Canada Day news.
Drivers on Canada West Coast now paying carbon tax

North America's first comprehensive carbon tax is now in effect in the Canadian West Coast province of British Columbia, greeted with complaints that some gasoline stations have used the tax as cover to raise prices more than necessary...

The tax, which is the first comprehensive carbon use-based tax in North America, places a fee of C$10 per tonne of carbon emissions on all fossil fuels. That will increase C$5 per tonne a year for the next four years.

Supporters say the tax will encourage people to use energy more efficiently and is needed for British Columbia to meet its goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions linked to global warming by 33 percent by 2020....

Critics have derided the fee as a "tax grab" that will hurt the economy and the poor, and say that recent increases in gasoline prices are already forcing people to reduce their energy consumption.
The BC NDP are hopping mad and leading a campaign called "axe the tax".
The party has placed a major political bet. James is going all in, gambling there's enough seething resentment about the new tax on gasoline to drive a significant number of voters from the B.C. Liberals.

But the NDP is paying a price for that stand. James knows her opposition to the Liberal version of the carbon tax is costing her heavily with environmental groups. The gamble is that the first voting bloc is bigger than the second one.
Here's the BC NDP's "Framework for Real Climate Action" spelling out their 7-point plan.

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