Issue Briefs

UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow

COP26 in Glasgow comes to an official close today. A first draft of the COP26 agreement text was released on Wednesday, and was criticized for its lack of ambition and urgency.

The draft text explicitly refers to "fossil fuels" — which has never appeared in the final text of a COP decision document — calling on countries "to accelerate the phasing-out of coal and subsidies for fossil fuels." This language was watered down in the second draft published today.

While COP26 officially ends today, negotiations on the final text of the agreement are ongoing. Negotiations at previous COPs have often extended until Saturday or Sunday. Read more about UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow

Issue Brief: Irrigation Expansion Project in Southern Alberta

The single largest irrigation expansion in Alberta’s history is underway. By converting canals into pipelines and constructing new reservoirs, the $815 million project aims to boost irrigated land in the province without using more water. But the massive infrastructure project started without public consultation and an assessment of the cumulative impacts and effects on the health of the river ecosystem  Read more about Issue Brief: Irrigation Expansion Project in Southern Alberta

Supreme Court rules Canada's carbon pricing law is constitutional

On March 25, 2021, the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision regarding the challenges to the constitutionality of the federal government's carbon pricing system brought by the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Ontario. In its decision, the Court ruled 6-3 that the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act was constitutional. Read more about Supreme Court rules Canada's carbon pricing law is constitutional

Coal Mining in Alberta's Eastern Slopes and Beyond

Concerns about the impacts of open-pit coal mining in Alberta is not new. In 2021, a culmination of decisions and regulatory changes has renewed the attention to coal development in the province.

News coverage and public attention has been focused two separate matters: Read more about Coal Mining in Alberta's Eastern Slopes and Beyond

Issue Brief: Canada's Climate Action Plan

On the eve of the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement, the federal government released its new climate action plan—A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy (PDF). The plan comes on the heels of the government's tabling of Bill C-12, the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, and of investments in climate action in the government's Fall Economic Statement. Read more about Issue Brief: Canada's Climate Action Plan

Grassy Mountain Coal Project

The oral portion of the public hearing for Benga Mining Ltd.'s proposed Grassy Mountain Coal Project in the Crowsnest Pass concluded on December 2. The next step in the federal impact assessment process is for the Joint Review Panel to draft the Impact Assessment Report, Consultation Report, and recommend potential conditions for submission to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change.

Grassy Mountain is the first of at least six mountain-top removal coal mines proposed by large Australian mining companies in various stages of regulatory approval in the region. There are more than 50,000 ha of the Old Man River headwaters under lease for future mountain-top removal mining.

Public hearing

Read more about Grassy Mountain Coal Project>

Federal government introduces net-zero emissions bill

On November 19, Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathon Wilkinson tabled Bill C-12, An Act respecting transparency and accountability in Canada’s efforts to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2050 in the House of Commons. The legislation, if passed, would require the federal government to set a series of 5-year interim emissions reduction targets beginning in 2030 progressing to the ultimate target of net-zero emissions by 2050. Read more about Federal government introduces net-zero emissions bill

Canada and Alberta reach agreement on woodland caribou conservation and recovery

On October 23, the governments of Canada and Alberta announced that they had reached an agreement for the conservation and recovery of Woodland Caribou in Alberta. The agreement follows years of pressure from First Nations and environmental groups including a 2019 lawsuit calling on the courts to compel the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to recommend a safety net order to protect boreal caribou habitat. While recognizing the agreement as a necessary first step, environmental organizations remain concerned, particularly that the timelines contained within the agreement are not fast enough to protect threatened herds.

Read more about Canada and Alberta reach agreement on woodland caribou conservation and recovery>

Herd of caribou in Jasper National Park declared extirpated

A herd of caribou in Jasper National Park – the Maligne herd – is now considered locally extinct. Two other caribou herds in the region may be on the same path to extirpation because they don’t have enough breeding females to grow the herds.

AEN member groups are calling for immediate action to halt the decline of caribou populations in the remaining herds. Read more about Herd of caribou in Jasper National Park declared extirpated

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