Friday, December 18, 2009

Community Activists Modify Construction Signs

Morning commuters were greeted with new messages along Gateway Program construction routes this morning. 

The construction announcement signs had been modified to read "Farms not Freeway", "Peatland not Pavement", "Homes not Highways" and "Transit not Truck Routes."

The action occurred on the last scheduled day of climate talks in Copenhagen.  Government reports estimate the Gateway program will increase greenhouse gas emissions by over 160,000 tonnes per year.  Independent modelling puts the figure at over 300,000 tonnes.

The signs modified included promises that transportation experts have consistently questioned.

Some sign promise that the project will be "Reducing Congestion." Yet, Gordon Campbell said in 2003 “You cannot build your way out of congestion”.

The signs also promise that the government is "Strengthening the Economy."  The Provincial and Federal governments have provided massive investments to the Port in Prince Rupert to develop its container handling abilities. Yet the Prince Rupert port is quiet and being used at less than half of its capacity, while the Provincial Government spends billions to expand DeltaPort and its infrastructure.

Community banners vs. government bulldozers

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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Climate Camp in Vancouver

Climate Camp in Vancouver
Concerned citizens have set up a camp at the Vancouver Art Gallery to urge action on climate change. Some of them are also fasting. The are vowing to continue the camp and fast until the end of the current climate change conference in Copenhagen.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Olympics bring dirty power to Vancouver

Large events like the Olympics often require temporary structures and temporary power for those structures.  This was certainly the case at the Torino Olympics where over 500 generators burnt around 8,000,000 litres of fuel.

BC Hydro and VANOC promised that the 2010 Olympics would be different - it would be using BC Hydro's clean power sources and reduce GHG emissions by 90%.  But, apparently they weren't able to completely give up on the generators. 

Aggreko, the official supplier of diesel pollution for the games, is bragging that they will be supplying 34 MW of generators and 31 MW of electric heat. Which based on my calculations is more than 10% of the amount used in Torino (so much for the 90% reduction).

One might expect that most of this generation was in the remote mountain venues.  But the diesel generator pictured here is just one of several found at the Athlete's Village in the heart of Vancouver.  And this is not a back-up generator.  It appears to be running 24/7.

And VANOC and the City of Vancouver were thoughtful enough to re-route a popular bike route to run right past this pollution source.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Award Winning UBC Prof Blocks Freeway Construction

Gateway Work Shut Down for Four Hours

On Monday December 7th UBC Professor Patrick Condon joined a group of climate activists who occupied a freeway construction site in Vancouver.  Work was stopped at the site for four hours. The protest coincided with the first day of climate change talks in Copenhagen, where Canada received yet another Fossil of the Day Award. The notorious award goes to the country doing the most to obstruct progress at UN climate negotiations.

This action was directed at the controversial Gateway Program, a massive freeway-expansion project that would increase greenhouse gases (GHGs) in a sector that is already the largest source of emissions in our region. The province's own assessment estimates the increase at over 160,000 tonnes per year. If the billions being spent on Gateway were re-directed to an emissions reduction program including cost-effective public transit, emissions could be reduced by millions of tonnes per year.

The Gateway Program is linked to a larger Pacific Gateway strategy that includes pipelines to the Alberta Tar Sands, Canada's largest point source of greenhouse gas emissions. Cars and trucks in BC already burn fuel made from tar sands bitumen, and the proportion of this dirty tar sands fuel in our gas tanks is increasing.

“As a citizen it enrages me to see Canada drag its feet on climate change through support of the world’s dirtiest fuel: tar sands,” said Patrick Condon. “As a resident it breaks my heart to see the Vancouver region abandon livability and sustainability through the construction of more freeways. And as a parent, I can’t look my kids and grandkids in the face if I don't do whatever I can to stop this madness.”

Approximately fifty people were involved in the protest.  At one point construction workers moved a piece of equipment on to the site.  Police physically removed protesters blocking the equipment but there were no arrests. One protester was thrown to the ground and another was hit in the throat by police.After parking the equipment workers left and did not resume work until after the protesters were gone from the site.

Patrick Condon is a senior researcher at the UBC Design Centre for Sustainability and has held the position of the James Taylor Chair in Landscape and Liveable Environments.   
For more info on this event and the Gateway Project see
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Friday, December 04, 2009

North Van Sit-In

North Van Sit-In
Originally uploaded by Rob__
Today citizens occupied a North Van MP's office asking for the government to set evidence based climate change targets. The aren't leaving until the MP meets their demands. Expecting the police to be called at 5 PM.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Climate Actions Galore

Originally uploaded by Rob__
It has been a busy few days for climate action here in British Columbia.

Yesterday activists and academics staged a mock trial that found Prime Minister Harper and Environment Minister Jim Prentice guilty of criminal negligence.

Today residents of Vancouver Island peacefully occupied Minster Gary Lunn's office.

There were also actions out in the Fraser Valley today and there will be more in the next few weeks.