Climate Action Muskoka

Youth Climate Summit Call for Applications

Trees and Muskoka Community Foundation logo

The Muskoka Community Foundation is accepting submissions for a grant to support a young person from Muskoka to attend the 2024 Youth Summit for Mother Earth. Applications will be accepted until Friday, June 21.

 Details in Muskoka Region | Press release and application form

Friday, June 21 – Celebrate National Indigenous Peoples Day

Poster for National Indigenous Peoples Day, June 21.

10:00 am – 2:00 pm: In partnership with Hope Arises Project Inc., Muskoka Heritage Place will be hosting National Indigenous Peoples’ Day with a free event open to the general public and local schools.
4:00 pm – 8:00 pm at River Mill Park, evening activities  Details

Ontario passes bill to lend Enbridge a helping hand | National Observer

Doug Ford

May 16, 2024- National Observer – Premier Doug Ford’s government overrode Ontario’s independent energy regulator, the Ontario Energy Board (OEB) on Wednesday this week by passing Bill 165.

The legislation gives the provincial government authority to reverse the OEB decision disallowing Enbridge from funding a major gas expansion by increasing rates for current and future gas customers. The OEB ordered the cost of new infrastructure be paid upfront by developers, which would effectively cause developers to seek out the least expensive way to heat and cool new homes eg with cold climate air source heat pumps.

It is worth noting that Minister of Energy Todd Smith’s chief of staff is David Donovan, who served as Enbridge’s senior government affairs strategist from 2013 until 2018, at which time he left the company to work with the Ontario government. Read story

Doug Ford’s Enbridge ‘scandal’ must be investigated: climate groups

Activists with sign: sign the Fossil Fuel Free Pledge

 30+ climate NGOs, including Climate Action Muskoka, are calling on the Auditor General of Ontario to initiate a value-for-money audit on the environmental and financial impacts of Bill 165, which overrules the OEB decision. This call is supported by the NDP and Green parties, who have also written to the Auditor General requesting an audit.  

“Climate groups in Ontario are alarmed that this bill would pave the way for Enbridge to get its subsidy paid for by ordinary people, which will increase their monthly energy bills and will increase Ontario’s emissions,” according to Lana Goldberg, climate campaigner, “It is a scandal.” Well worth a watch! The climate groups’ press conference – here.

Carbon pricing 101: How it works!

April 11, 2024 – By David Suzuki with contributions from Senior Editor and Writer Ian Hanington

Carbon pricing can be confusing. Simply put, it’s designed to increase costs of burning polluting fossil fuels and encourage cleaner alternatives. It creates a financial incentive for people and businesses to pollute less. Rebates help keep household costs down.

Learn more

Artists For Real Climate Action Presents
Meet The Big Oil Alliance: Four Oil Execs and a Vampire Walk Into a Boardroom

No fuel? No worries! Remote Australian roadhouse runs out of gas but still charging EVs

EV charging in Australia

January 23, 2024 – Australia

“Fun fact: it is now easier to charge your electric car on some sections of the Eyre Highway than it is to put petrol in your ICE car 😁”  posted Jeff Wilson along with images showing the empty fuel pump and EV charging nearby.

Mundrabilla Roadhouse is smack bang in the middle of the two most isolated cities in Australia, located 1,333 km west of Adelaide and 1,362 km east of Perth.

This gas utility will heat customers’ homes without gas

Eversource is set to switch on decarbonized heating and cooling using underground pipes that exploit geothermal heat.

February 9, 2024 – CBC What On Earth

To meet net-zero emissions goals, many jurisdictions are starting to ban fossil fuel heating.

That’s a big challenge for gas utilities, which is why some have responded by fighting the bans, both in Canada and the U.S.

But a few are trying to evolve and transition into a new business that takes advantage of some of their existing skills and expertise — namely, geothermal (also known as geoexchange) heating and cooling networks, a form of district heating.

This spring, Massachusetts-based Eversource is set to switch on decarbonized heating and cooling for 140 customers in 37 buildings in Framingham, Mass., including a low-to-moderate income apartment complex, single-family homes, a fire station and a school building.

Read more here

Meanwhile in Ontario

Ontario sides with Enbridge Gas in fight to connect new homes to natural gas
January 25, 2024 – Fatima Syed – the Narwhal
Saying fossil fuel use will decline, the Ontario Energy Board told Enbridge Gas to charge developers, not homeowners, for new natural gas hookups. Energy Minister Todd Smith vowed to reverse the decision.

Climate Groups Decry Move to Override Climate Positive Ontario Energy Board Decision
January 25, 2024 – CAM
16 Climate groups, including Climate Action Muskoka, have responded to this threat to arbitrarily overturn a win-win-win situation for new homebuyers, for existing gas customers, and for reducing carbon pollution.

Enbridge Gas Caught Lying About its Home Heating Costs and Impacts
January 10, 2024 – Enviromental Defence –
In an attempt to expand its “natural” gas infrastructure across Ontario, Enbridge Gas is telling residents that gas is the cheapest way to heat their homes. It’s not. 
As of January 10, 2024, the Competition Bureau has seen merit in our complaint and launched an investigation into Enbridge Gas’ marketing campaign

Community Carbon Challenge

I will drive at or below 100 kph on highways. FactDriving at 100 km/h burns 20% less fuel than driving at 120 km/h.

You can drive a vehicle with an Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) and reduce carbon pollution and save money.

Based on 20,000 km/year burning 20% less fuel will reduce emissions by 920 kg CO2eq and save you $680/year.


Greenwashing Big Oil and Gas: Report

Pinocchio with text The Fossil Fuel Deception Playbook.

Dec 7, 2023 – A new report by Greenpeace Canada and the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment exposes widespread greenwashing practices fossil fuel companies use to maintain social license and avoid accountability for the harms they cause.

“Greenwashing big oil & gas: the fossil fuel deception playbook” breaks down the sophisticated greenwashing tactics that fossil fuel companies use to mislead the public into believing they are acting responsibly. The report also highlights global efforts to combat greenwashing, offering insights into what other jurisdictions are doing to stem misinformation. 

Read story | Full Report (PDF)

“Natural” gas or methane: which would you choose?
Actor Rick Roberts of Artists for Real Climate Action asked some passers by what type of stove they prefer to cook with: natural gas or methane? It’s a trick question – but the reason why may surprise you. – watch the video

FYIFossil gas, aka natural gas is primarily methane. In addition, various amounts of higher alkanes and low levels of trace gases like carbon dioxide,  nitrogenhydrogen sulfide, and helium are present.

Read more about Gas Expansion projects in Ontario

Warning: This is not the good news department

Good news can be found here

‘Alarming’ Global Warming Smashes Records for 9th Straight Month

March 7, 2024 – the Energy mix | Full Story: The Associated Press | Primary Author: Seth Borenstein

For the ninth straight month, Earth has obliterated global heat records—with February, the winter as a whole, and the world’s oceans setting new high-temperature marks, according to the European Union climate agency Copernicus.

The latest record-breaking in this climate change-fueled global hot streak includes sea surface temperatures that weren’t just the hottest for February, but eclipsed any month on record, soaring past August 2023’s mark and still rising at the end of the month. More

Ford’s Christmas gift to Enbridge Gas

Ford's gift to Enbridge

January 18, 2024

The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) has seen the future and that future does not include subsidizing the expansion of fossil gas service to new residential developments. The OEB ended that subsidy, finding that this would lower energy bills for new homebuyers and for existing gas customers.

But for a provincial government that still has its head buried in the sand when it comes to climate change, the OEB’s decision to end generous subsidies that generate big profits for Enbridge Gas was not acceptable. The Ford government quickly moved – just days before Christmas – to protect its fossil fuel industry friends by stating that it will pass legislation to reverse the board’s decision – an extraordinary step without precedent in Ontario.

Ontario town offered $4.8M to accept new gas plant
November 16th 2023 – Napanee is already home to Ontario’s largest gas-fired electricity plant and the province wants it expanded. A series of other municipalities have rejected new gas generation recently. Now the Crown corporation, Ontario Power Generation, is dangling a $4.8-million “community benefit agreement” to persuade Napanee’s council to break the trend.
“It is totally inappropriate for OPG to be offering this payment. Offering payment in exchange for a licence to pollute is unacceptable,” said Keith Brooks, programs director at Environmental Defence.

Gas Carries the Same Climate Clout as Coal, Study Shows, as Ontario Plans New Gas Plants – July 18, 2023 – Energy Mix – Even if a natural gas system leaks as little as 0.2% of the product into the atmosphere, “it’s as bad as coal,” Deborah Brown, lead author of the new study 

For the third time this week, Earth sets an unofficial heat record. – July 7, 2023 – AP.
– July 3:  17.01 Celsius Earth’s highest ever average global temperature.
– July 4:  17.18 Celsius,
– July 5:  17.18 Celsius, .
– July 6:  17.23 Celsius, Global temperatures reached a new high. Scientists say the daily drumbeat of records — official or not — is a symptom of a larger problem where the precise digits aren’t as important as what’s causing them.

This is the good news department

In Bogotá, Women Are Driving a Better Bus System

March 29, 2024

“This is a very beautiful place to work,” says Perez, as she steers the bus through the pleasingly symmetrical universe of white lines, smooth gray asphalt and angular metal platforms that house nearly 200 electric charging stations. “It’s new, it’s clean and it all works.”

City of Regina buying up to 53 Nova Bus electric buses

Nova Bus 100% electric

Jan 31, 2024 – Electric Autonomy

“These will be the first battery-electric buses in Regina Transit’s fleet,” said Brad Bells, director of Transit and Fleet with the City of Regina, in a press statement. “The addition of these electric buses will support the City of Regina’s goal of becoming a 100 per cent renewable city by 2050.”

A gift from the sun: Métis Nation of Alberta solar farm could power 1,200 homes

Nov 27, 2023  – Stephanie Cram · CBC News 

The project will offset about 4,700 tonnes of CO2 from the environment

The Métis Nation of Alberta is setting the stage to become net zero with the launch of a solar farm north of Métis Crossing in Smoky Lake County.

It is one of a handful of solar projects on Indigenous lands in Alberta, including energy-harvesting developments at Lubicon Cree Nation, Fort McKay First Nation, Beaver Lake Cree Nation, and Louis Bull Tribe at Maskwacis.

Electrification is efficiency: The world will need less energy after the transition

Oct 23, 2023 – Hannah Ritchie
When we electrify our energy systems, a magical thing happens: large inefficiencies vanish. As the International Energy Agency puts it: “Electrification is efficiency”.

Lion Electric buses to power P.E.I. relief centres in emergencies

May 9, 2023

School buses in Prince Edward Island have an additional use beyond transporting students.

The government of P.E.I. is collaborating with Lion Electric on a pilot project to use the province’s 82 LionC electric school buses to provide electricity to emergency community disaster relief centres in the event of a power outage. – more

CATL announces electric vehicle battery with 1.5 million kilometre warranty April 3, 2024 – The world’s largest battery maker CATL has announced a new electric vehicle battery pack with a 1.5 million kilometre, 15 year warranty.

Halton Hills says no to a big new gas plant – Dec 12, 2023 – In a 9-2 decision, the Council acted in the best interests of residents and the planet rather than taking the $3.5 million in public money OPG had offered the Council to buy into its polluting plan.

More local councils move to ban new gas connections – Dec 11, 2023 – Sydney, Australia – Inner West and Lane Cove councils are the latest local governments to use planning powers to stop new buildings connecting to the gas network on health and economic grounds.

Portugal just ran on 100% renewables for six days in a row – Nov 16, 2023 – …As it turned out, those rainy, blustery days were just a warmup. Portugal produced more than enough renewable power to serve all its customers for six straight days, from October 31 to November 6.

It takes a village to build a nation’s energy efficiency and electrification program – Nov 15, 2023 – Switchedon -Ireland is developing one of the most sophisticated residential energy efficiency ecosystems in the world built on a foundation of pilots, trials, grants, mandatory efficiency standards, financing and one-stop-shops.

Powerful Example’: California Now Largest Economy to Back Fossil Fuel Nonproliferation Treaty – Sept 1, 2023 – Common Dreams – “We hope this move locks in real action on ending the era of fossil fuels in California, and spurs other regions, states, and countries to join forces in tackling the root cause of the climate crisis”

Hamilton Plant to Supply Recycled Steel for GM Cars – Aug 27, 2023 – the Energy Mix Through the agreement, steel produced for GM will include a minimum 70% recycled material

Amazon Deforestation Drops 34% in Lula’s First Six Months – July 18, 2023 – the Energy Mix
Full Story: The Associated Press – After four years of rising destruction in Brazil’s Amazon, deforestation dropped by 33.6% during the first six months of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s administration, according to government satellite data released earlier this month.