What are the Provinces Doing to Decarbonize Canada’s Energy Systems?

Se below

Se below (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Canadian Energy Strategy -How Energy East and the oil sands affect climate and energy objectives (15 page pdf, Erin Flanagan, The Pembina Institute, Apr. 14, 2015)

Today we review a report from the Pembina Institute which examined the roles provinces play and could play in reducing greenhouse gas emissions to meet national goals, a Canadian Energy Strategy – the main item discussed at a meeting Canadian premiers in Quebec City. While three provinces (Ontario, Quebec and BC) have made modest reductions of 19, 9 and 3% from 2005, Alberta now produces more than Quebec and Ontario combined with a failed cap and trade system that applies to less than 50% of its emissions at a price ($1.80 per tonne) that has little impact on decisions made by industry to reduce carbon fuel use. The plans for the Alberta oil sands and proposals to expand pipeline capacity to the east coast (by 1.1 mbpd) contribute to concerns to keep 2/3’s of the earth’s carbon reserves in the ground if the objective of limiting climate warming to less than 2 degrees C- which means that the oil  sands production bust be limited by 3.3 mbpd. Restoration of a committee to advise the federal government on a Canada Energy Strategy is recommended, similar to the long standing one that was eliminated by the present government (the National Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy or NTREE)


To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

How does Traffic-Related Air Pollution Affect Babies’ Brains?

Prenatal and Childhood Traffic-Related Pollution Exposure and Childhood Cognition in the Project Viva Cohort (31 page pdf, Maria H. Harris, Diane R. Gold, Sheryl L. Rifas-Shiman, Steven J. Melly, Antonella Zanobetti, Brent A. Coull, Joel D. Schwartz, Alexandros Gryparis, Itai Kloog, Petros Koutrakis, David C. Bellinger, Roberta F. White, Sharon K. Sagiv, and Emily Oken, Environmental Health Perspectives, Apr. 3, 2015)


Today we review the impact of traffic- related air pollution (which includes tire wear particles and dust, as well as noise and tail pipe emissions) on the thinking or cognitive abilities of babies. Results indicate lower IQs (by 7.5 points) –both verbal and non-verbal– for children who, at birth, were living less than 50 m from heavy traffic. It also indicates that exposure during gestation or early childhood is more important than proximity to pollution later in childhood.


Category:Educational research

Category:Educational research (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

How Does Air Pollution affect the Blood Pressure of Babies in the Womb?

Air Pollution and Neonatal Blood Pressure (1 page pdf, Lenie van Rossem, Sheryl L. Rifas-Shiman, Steven J. Melly, Itai Kloog, Heike Luttmann-Gibson, Antonella Zanobetti, Brent A. Coull, Joel D. Schwartz, Murray A. Mittleman, Emily Oken, Matthew W. Gillman, Petros Koutrakis, and Diane R. Gold, Environmental Health Perspectives, Apr. 3, 2015)
Today we review research into the impact of air pollutants- both particulate and gaseous- on prenatal blood pressure. Results indicate that particulates (PM2.5) and black carbon do increase systolic blood pressure in the 3rd trimester but not in the second when gaseous pollutants such as Co or NO2 tend to lower it, suggesting different ways that gas or particulate pollution affect the fetus. It is not known if this impact has lasting effects on the baby’s health in later life.

baby bp

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

What are the Characteristics of Traffic Congestion?

Traffic Scorecard (INRIX)

Also discussed here: The 100 most congested cities in Europe and North America (The Guardian, Jul. 7, 2014)

And here: Economic & Environmental Impact of Traffic Congestion in Europe & the US (INRIX)

And here: Annual Cost of Gridlock in Europe and the US will Increase 50 Percent on Average to $293 Billion by 2030 (INRIX Press Release, Oct. 14, 2014)

And here: Key Findings (INRIX, 2013)

Today we review an analysis of traffic congestion in Europe and US/Canada carried out by INRIX which reveal a number of interesting trends and characteristics as well as a ranking of countries and cities where it is worse. Although many assume Canada and the USA are similar in many respects, in traffic congestion (and often in hockey) Canada is #1 as a country although its two of its biggest cities are #4 (Montreal) and # 10 (Toronto) – which means that its medium sized cities are likely more congested than their American counterparts. Traffic is highest during week-day rush hours but who knew that Tuesday morning and Friday afternoon were the worst? While Belgium’s congestion is the worst in Europe (followed by the UK, Holland and Italy) and North America, Milano, Italy tops the list as the most congested city (followed by Honolulu, London and Los Angeles). And, unchecked, it will get worse. Congestion cost individual drivers, on average, $1, 740 each year and this is predicted to more than double by 2030 to $2,902. Managing the flow of traffic in real-time is helped by the 80% of vehicles that will be able to monitor and manage traffic conditions by onboard GPS technology. This also suggests (to this reviewer at least) that an opportunity exists to apply real-time congestion charging as well to reduce peak flows and associated traffic-related air pollution.

congestion by hour

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reported about this post, click HERE

Why (most) Politicians Do Not Act on Climate Change?

How Culture Shapes the Climate Change Debate [Kindle Edition] (120 pages, Andrew Hoffman, Mar. 11, 2015)

Also discussed here: Social sciences are best hope for ending debates over climate change (Andy Hoffman, The Conversation, Apr. 2, 2015)

Today we review an enlightened book by Professor Andy Hoffman which looks beyond the scientific evidence for climate change as a basis for policy to the socio-economic and cultural interests that must be satisfied before substantive action meet with public approval – even though, parenthetically, it appears that the public is far ahead of their political masters on the solutions which mainly revolve around a form of carbon tax (or carbon “dividend” as the new terminology dubs it). Hoffman contrasts the way scientists think and propose solutions to the way that social scientists deal with similar challenges. He also recognizes debates where extremes are debated that affect a few instead of main issues affecting the majority with exaggerated positions taken to defend each side- which is true not only of the climate debate (top – down imposed tax vs. freedom from government control) but also the abortion debate (life vs. choice), neither of which involve the factual or scientific sides of the arguments. Addressing climate change requires significant change to the physical infrastructure and institutions and lifestyles that support carbon fuels. Unless these interests are addressed, little progress on policy is possible.

Mean surface temperature change for 1999–2008 ...

Mean surface temperature change for 1999–2008 relative to the average temperatures from 1940 to 1980 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

How Does Exposure to Fine Particulate Matter Cause Anxiety in Older Women?

The relation between past exposure to fine particulate air pollution and prevalent anxiety: observational cohort study (9 page pdf, Melinda C Power, Marianthi-Anna Kioumourtzoglou, Jaime E Hart, Olivia I Okereke, Francine Laden, Marc G Weisskopf, British Medical Journal, Mar. 24, 2015)

Also discussed here: Air pollution may be related to anxiety levels in women: study (Kathryn Doyle, Toronto Globe and Mail, Apr. 1, 2015)

And here: Studies link air pollution as risk factor for anxiety and trigger for stroke  (Medical News Today, Mar. 25, 2015)

Today we review research into the impact of exposure to PM2.5 had on anxiety for a large group of older women (mean age 70) over various periods of exposure. Anxiety disorders affect 16% of people worldwide over their lives and 11% have suffered from it in the last year. Results indicate a clear link with 12% more of those exposed to fine particulates showing high anxiety symptoms than those who were not so exposed. Also those who live between 50 and 200 m of busy roadways with traffic-related air pollution were more likely to show these symptoms than those who live farther away. Exposure to larger sized particulates (such as PM10) and exposure within 50 m of roadways did not show greater anxiety symptoms. Because of the people sampled in this study, it is not possible to extend these results to younger women or to men although there is evidence of pollution-stress links for the latter group.

High Anxiety

High Anxiety (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE

Is Traffic-Related Air Pollution Linked to Breast Cancer?

Long-term exposure to air pollution and mammographic density in the Danish Diet, Cancer and Health cohort (15 page pdf, Stephanie Huynh, My von Euler-Chelpin,Ole Raaschou-Nielsen, Ole Hertel, Anne Tjønneland, Elsebeth Lynge, Ilse Vejborg, Zorana J Andersen, Environmental Health, Apr. 1, 2015)


Age-standardised death rates from Breast cance...

Age-standardised death rates from Breast cancer by country (per 100,000 inhabitants). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today we review research in Copenhagen, Denmark that looked at the link between exposure to NO2 from traffic-related air pollution over 10 years and mammographic density (MD) which has clear associations with breast cancer, the leading cause of death among women. Although breast cancer occurs more frequently in industrialized countries and both it and MD are higher in urban areas, a careful analysis revealed no convincing relation between MD and air pollution. As the authors noted, if there is a link with air pollution, it is via another pathway independent of MD.

To see Key Quotes and Links to key reports about this post, click HERE


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