Monday, January 25, 2010

Climate Change Adaptation

The impact of climate change is being felt in disparate regions across the globe. As the City of Montreal today experiences 9 degrees Celsius and rain in January, the high price of gold draws thousands of miners to a region of south-east Peru where deforestation and the high levels of mercury used in mining has led to fears of an imminent ecological disaster, as Dan Collyns reports. How are poor communities to adapt to climate change, especially in countries where basic needs are not met?

Communities and industry need to start examining more closely adaptation strategies in order to respond to climate change challenges, especially in northern Canada, low-lying countries and regions subject to storms and hurricanes (severe weather). In Canada, the thawing of ice roads disrupts mining activities and adds additional costs to fly-in material and resources. On the social side, communities are being displaced due to changing habitat and biodiversity.

How should governments respond? And industry? Should adpatation to climate change be seen as the next emerging issue? Or shall we wait until disaster has struck? NRCan has a program underway but perhaps the government would be better to tackle the issue head-on instead. Makes sense?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Quebec's Northern Plan -- Plan Nord au Québec

Happy New Year to all readers! Let's hope 2010, the Year of the Tiger, will seize opportunities and stronger leadership in the environment.

The Quebec government, under the leadership of Jean Charest, is moving ahead with the ambitious Plan Nord. The objective is to open northern Quebec to exploration and tap into the wealth of abundant natural resources. The four focus areas are:
  • clean energy and renewable energy
  • mining sector
  • sustainable development, and
  • forestry sector
Quebec's First Nations have already expressed concern calling the Plan Nord the Plan Mort (Dead Plan). The business opportunities, including the need to conduct environmental impact assessments (EIAs) and relations with First Nations/ communities, represent important opportunities for both the public and private sector as regards sustainable development.

The province of Quebec is moving rapidly ahead in order to position and differentiate itself from the other provinces as “leader of the pack” as regards the environment. There are a number of reasons why the province has taken this position, including plans to exploit its northern territory for mining and increasing hydro-electricity production, and therefore it wants to ensure support from both citizens and industry. The government is also encouraging industry to develop its own SDIs and sustainability reporting in general in order to be well-positioned to demonstrate its’ “greener” environmental footprint --especially from a life-cycle perspective.

All views appreciated, advice also available.