Skip The Wishes

The Trans Pacific Partnership is a trade agreement intended to remove red tape for international trade, so if someone overseas can provide a product at a better price than a local producer, the market decides instead of national or regional pride, or even Health Canada regulations. Congrats, your milk could soon have banned hormones in it.

Continue reading

A Fine Bigger Than Most Crimes – #PanamaPapers

Canada’s rich and powerful do not fear the media, and they do not have their names in the newspapers (some owned by foreign investment funds) when fined more than a million dollars for a crime much larger than that.

Picture yourself as a criminal. Imagine you’ve robbed a store of over $10,000 in cash during a nighttime heist. You get caught. Does your name appear in the newspaper? The bank’s crime’s fine was 110 times bigger than the imagined theft, yet they have their identity protected. Why?

== Continue reading

Wealthy Implicated in #PanamaPapers will not #FeelTheBern

‪What is #‎PanamaPapers? Over 2TB of leaked bank communications exposing shell companies and tax avoidance and money laundering by HSBC, UBS, and others. CBC and Toronto Star have the names of the Canadians, but will not be releasing them since they’d face libel suits for doing so without other supporting evidence (and probably even then still).

“When asked why Canada doesn’t have the political will to put an end to the abuse of offshore tax havens, Francis replied: “Because the offshore and taxation lobby is the most powerful in this country.””

Iceland’s Prime Minister may fall over involvement with the crooked Panamanian bank.

Canada 100% Renewable Electricity by 2030?

Read this, and think of Energy East pipeline Brad Wall is pushing hard for.

Most of the globe’s coal, natural gas and oil investments will ultimately be affected by the transition, Seba suggest, at risk of becoming “stranded assets” — resources that lose their value before the expected end of their economic life.

“They are going to be stranded over the next five to 15 years,” he maintains. “It’s not going to take us over 40 years.”

Saskatchewan could strand assets, or we could build the future starting now.

Solutions Project calculates that 70 per cent of all the net new electricity generation in the U.S. last year was from wind and solar; another 25 per cent came from natural gas.

Meanwhile in Europe, Jacobson says if you look at the net gains minus losses, “100 per cent of new generation was from clean-energy sources.”

Here are some figures regarding present energy and electricity use across Canada.

And here’s a cool one about solar:

“At this point, 20 U.S. states have reached what economists call “grid parity” for solar power: the point at which solar energy costs no more than fossil fuels. Energy research company GTM estimates 42 states will reach that point by 2020.”

Stanford business professor Tony Seba, …whose advice has been sought in boardrooms from Tokyo to Paris, is confident that solar and wind are key to sweeping away the industrial age of transportation and energy — and fast. He suggests we can reach that magic number of 100 per cent within 15 years.

“The solar-installed capacity has doubled every two years since the year 2000. Doubled every two years,” he says. “If you keep doubling that capacity, all you need is seven more doublings in order for solar to be 100 per cent of the world’s energy supply.”

For math lightweights, that’s 7 times 2 years. 14 years from now is 2030. If you go out tonight and get pregnant, by the time the child becomes a teenager, Canada could have no coal plants, or natural gas plants in operation to produce our electricity. That’s awesome!

Is #COP21 #ParisAgreement a Great Advance, or a Huge Flop?

We’ll know, I think, by 2025 when it’s too late to do anything about the past 10 years.
I’m cautiously optimistic that it’s an agreement that will provide a better push than Kyoto or Copenhagen ever had a chance to do.
It’s probably aiming somewhere beneath a complete success (which we obviously need to preserve civilization and species at risk of extinction), and above the total failure to move lagging countries like Canada and India off their fossil fueled paths.

Saskatchewan is showing signs of improvement, with even conservative (Conservative leader hopeful?) Brad Wall loosening the chains on progress toward renewable energy. But expect the Premier to re-pitch nuclear power.

American cities are showing bolder targets. 100% is Possible. Saskatchewan should have a plan this bold too [PDF].
Continue reading

Two Different Takes On Gas Prices

You can either lose your mind and your perspective:

It’s not your imagination — gasoline prices in Canada should be a lot lower than they are right now.

That’s according to Benjamin Reitzes, an economist at Bank of Montreal, who said the price Canadians pay at the pump should be a lot lower than it currently is based on the plunging price of a barrel of crude.

Or you can cool your jets and the overheating planet.

The latest round of interest in prices at the pump originated with some analysis yesterday from Bank of Montreal senior economist Benjamin Reitzes. While standing by the gas pumps this past weekend, Reitzes got to thinking. And so he ran the numbers and produced an eloquent graph.

“Simply,” concludes Reitzes, “consumers don’t appear to be reaping the full benefit of lower oil prices.”

Cue outrage in the comments section. Though, amusingly, some turned on the whistleblower, asking why the report didn’t do a similar job on bank fees.

“Certainly I, too, am unreasonably enticed by low pump prices.”
Ditto.
So, why do people who know better have brains that work this way?

“Disproportionate obsession”

“For the several minutes that I stand at the pump, all I do is stare at the growing total on the meter — there is nothing else to do,” wrote Ariely in Psychology Today in 2008. Watching the tank fill was an up-close-and-personal experience. It was repeated daily or weekly. It gave him a false sense of its importance to his life.