Informed Digest: Thorium, Fossil Fuel Subsidies, Recycled Water Showers…

Keeping up & in the know…

David Suzuki Foundation: Will Thorium Save Us From Climate Change?

“Although they may be better than today’s reactors, LFTRs still produce radioactive and corrosive materials, they can be used to produce weapons and we don’t know enough about the impacts of using fluoride salts. Fluoride will contain a nuclear reaction, but it can be highly toxic, and deadly as fluorine gas. And though the technology’s been around since the 1950s, it hasn’t been proven on a commercial scale. Countries including the U.S., China, France and Russia are pursuing it, but in 2010 the U.K.’s National Nuclear Laboratory reported that thorium claims are ‘overstated.'”

-David Suzuki & Ian Hanington

Sierra Club Ontario: Autosaurus Rex—A Story of Dinosaurs

“Should a CBC radio and television commentator be accepting speaking fees for pro-Tar Sands speeches on the side without publicly disclosing the financial conflict of interest to viewers? Should a national newspaper consider—let alone sign—a strategic partnership with the oil industry (a.k.a. Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers) to produce content? Would such a move render the paper a non-news organization? Should it?

[…]

We’re all familiar with the National Post’s ‘tendencies’ so I wasn’t overly shocked with the latter. But I have to say I was taken aback by the news about Rex Murphy.”

-John Bennett

Citizens Climate Lobby Canada: What! No Geothermal Energy Incentives?

“If you simply ask your MP to end fossil subsidies, chances are that he will deny that they even exist. That’s an easy way for them to shut down the conversation. To get past that deadlock, you need to give specific examples of what legal changes you want. You see, fossil subsidies are never called that outright in government documents. They have fancy names, like ‘exploration tax credits,’ and complicated accounting that make them hard to recognize. It’s a trick of language, similar to how the military never kills innocent civilians, they just have ‘collateral damage.’ You have to learn to talk their language. That will show that you aren’t so easily fooled, and they’ll have to take our concerns seriously.

One fossil subsidy […] is Ontario’s ‘saveONenergy incentive.’ Note that they call it an incentive, not a subsidy, and the clever name implies that it will save energy. This program gives homeowners up to $650 when they install a new furnace and air conditioner in their home. In theory, a newer system should be more efficient than an old one, so that should be a good thing, right? But in fact, it’s a way to subsidize fossil fuel systems.

Heating oil and natural gas are still fossil fuels, and more and more of it comes from fracking. Every new furnace installation locks in that house to keep burning fossils for the lifetime of the furnace—maybe 30 years? […] We can’t solve climate change with shinier furnaces. We need to switch to completely emission-free heating systems, and we need to start now.”

-Yannick Trottier

Fast Company: The Shower of the Future Cuts Water Waste to Almost Nothing

“An all-in-one unit recycles water at your feet, cleanses it to drinking quality, then returns it for re-use… A 10-minute shower uses only five litres (1.3 gallons) compared to a standard 150 litres (40 gallons). It also saves 80% in energy costs, because the recycled water remains warm and doesn’t need much reheating.”

-Ben Schiller

David Suzuki Foundation: Yes, Pipeline Spills Are Good for the Economy

“It may seem insensitive, but it’s true. And that’s the problem. Destroying the environment is bad for the planet and all the life it supports, including us. But it’s often good for business…

The company will make money, the government will reap some tax and royalty benefits and a relatively small number of jobs will be created. But the massive costs of dealing with a pipeline or tanker spill and the resulting climate change consequences will far outweigh the benefits.”

-David Suzuki & Ian Hanington

Sierra Club: Indegenous Amazonian People Threatened by Oil Drilling

“Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa campaigned on indigenous peoples’ rights and rainforest protection; his proposed ‘debt for nature’ swap and his speech to the UN Climate Summit inspired the world. So we weren’t surprised to learn that the Achuar initially supported Correa. But now that his government is proposing to auction off their land to oil companies, they feel betrayed.

[…]

Now the Ecuadorian government is attempting to take down indigenous leaders for defending their territory from oil development plans. The Secretary of Hydrocarbons has filed a formal complaint against eight indigenous leaders who have dedicated their lives to defending the Amazon.”

-Aaron Isherwood

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