WEC News – NL climate change advisory group

Are you hearing the buzz? The world is changing. And it is changing fast.
First there was Paris – the world agreed to act on climate change
Then oil prices plummeted (and will likely stay low)
Now even large pro-oil lobby groups like UK Energy are calling for a shift towards renewables

During the first week of March Justin Trudeau will discuss climate change measures with the Premiers during the first ministers meeting.

A new climate change group has formed. The NL Climate Change Advisory Group. And they have sent an open letter in light of the first ministers meeting.
WEC is strongly supporting this initiative and encourages you to contact your MP (see list below) and MHA with a similar message.
This can be a pivotal moment.
Your WEC crew
Open Letter to Premier Ball and Ministers Trimper, Coady and Byrne

February 29, 2016

NL climate change advisory group

Corner Brook, NL


Dear Premier Ball, Minister Coady, Minister Trimper, and Minister Byrne,

The NL Climate Change Advisory Group is a newly formed independent citizens group focused on climate change policy and research specific to the NL context. We were pleased to see a number of climate-related actions in the mandate letter of the Department of Environment & Conservation, and we look forward to working with you in the coming months and years on this major issue.

As you are aware, this past December, the world’s governments negotiated a landmark agreement on climate change that puts the world on a cleaner energy path. The negotiations sent a strong signal to financial sectors and global markets that investments be redirected to low-carbon and climate resilient development. At the closing of the negotiations, Lord Nicholas Stern, the author of the influential Stern Review on the economics of climate change, stated: “A green race is going on [and] if we get this right, it will be more powerful than the industrial revolution.”

Even Energy UK, which represents the big six providers of energy in the UK, says it now supports phasing out coal-fired stations, after years of defending the use of fossil fuels. And they are even going as far as calling for the UK to develop their own version of the German “Energiewende” [Germany’s plan to move to a majority of renewable energy sources].1

Indeed, the green finance agenda is becoming mainstream, and over the last few years we have seen a growing international flight of investment capital from fossil fuels and other carbon-intensive industries combined with a shift to investment policies that increasingly prioritize socially and environmentally favourable development.

Your government has recently come to power under the banner of a “Stronger Tomorrow.” In early March, Prime Minister Trudeau will host a First Ministers Meeting to discuss what path this country will take as we move at both the national and global scales towards a low-carbon and climate resilient future. We trust your government will show leadership at this meeting to help move our province and country into a cleaner, greener economy.

There are many reasons to begin moving towards a green economy right now.

We are currently in a precarious position where thousands of skilled workers are out of work and are moving back to our province where there are not enough jobs for all.

This shift should of course be based on sound information and we recommend that a feasibility study assesses the right mix of green technologies for the NL context, which is then followed by a strong and bold move towards a green economy. This can help address our unemployment problem at the same time as moving us toward a low carbon future.

More specifically, the policies we need include:

  • net metering and feed-in tariffs with attractive rates guaranteed for a certain period of time to encourage rapid development for small scale energy producers
  • security measures for private and corporate investments in the green energy sector so that a growth in small scale energy production will benefit Canadian manufacturing
  • federal and provincial investments in green tech infrastructure
  • a tax on carbon that gets reinvested into the green economy

We know that we cannot expect a rebound in oil prices in the near future. Saudi Arabia recently announced in a press conference in Texas2 that they are not afraid to keep oil prices low and that high-cost producers, such as the oil sands, should get out of the market.

It is time for Newfoundland and Labrador to seriously focus on the urgent need to diversify its economy and move away from a crippling dependency on boom and bust industries. Transformational change and green economies are good for business and job creation. We want to work with your government to help make this change happen, for the good of our communities, our province and our world.


  1. http://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/feb/28/top-lobbying-group-green-energy-u-turn
  2. http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/saudi-oil-minister-in-houston-1.3459539)
Contact information for Members of Parliament:

The MUN Botanical Garden: Stakeholder Discussion

The MUN Botanical Garden is entering an exciting new phase and is seeking input from stakeholders for direction and priorities for the next five years. What key issues would benefit from the work of faculty, staff and students at the Botanical Garden? What research, teaching and learning, and public engagement opportunities can the Garden pursue in horticulture, wellness and the environment as it connects with your area of interest? What are the most effective approaches and programs that the Garden can use to advance this work?
A session will be held in Corner Brook on February 17 from 12:00 – 2:00pm in FA224. Your participation would be most appreciated. People with an interest in agriculture, horticulture, botany, climate change, folklore, food security, public engagement, public art and performance, education, and visitor experience are particularly encouraged to attend.
A light lunch will be provided. Please email Sandy Brennan at sbrennan@mun.ca to RSVP.

Just Get Out – 2015

Just Get Out is a fun overnight workshop full of hands-on activities that will offer participants the chance to improve their leadership skills for taking children outdoors. It is intended for teachers, parents, early childhood educators, education students and non-formal educators. It will give you the chance to “un-plug”, enjoy the peace of the boreal forest, eat delicious, healthy meals, and participate in engaging, hands-on learning with other educators! This year’s workshop will offer some of the great activities from previous years, but will also include several new sessions, designed to cater to a range of age groups, from pre-school to high school.

Friday- Saturday, November 20th-21st, 2015

Brother Brennan Environmental Education Centre (bus available from St. John’s and Salmonier Line)

**Transportation by bus and all meals are included in registration fee**
$140 ($125 early-bird to November 1st)
(Memorial University students may qualify for an additional discount… get in touch to find out more!).

Family Rate:
$25 – ages 12 and under
$35 – ages 13-16

Goals of workshop:
Participants will:
– Improve leadership skills for taking kids outdoors
– Learn practical activity ideas, and identify useful resources
– Have fun and meet like-minded educators
– Enjoy the peace and beauty of the boreal forest in the fall

For more information and to register, visit http://www.nlee.ca/upcoming-events.html

Questions to: justgetout.nl@gmail.com

Community Threads: Connections for Sustainability

thegreenrock.ca wants everyone to know that there are many smart people and great organizations working toward sustainable living in this province. thegreenrock.ca Community Threads questionnaire is designed to recognize and highlight community organizations’ efforts that support collaboration, wellness and sustainability.

Community Threads is supported by the Wellness Coalition Avalon East. With permission from the respondent, results will be published on thegreenrock.ca.

The form is online at thegreenrock.ca http://thegreenrock.wordpress.com/2014/04/02/community-threads-connections-for-sustainability/

or here is a link…


Port au Port Fishery Committee – Assistance Required

The Port au Port Fishery Committee has  recently been formed, as they have concerns regarding their local environment. Specifically, they are looking for research into the below three topics, all of which are related. More information on these issues can be heard during a Fisheries Broadcast interview here (March 12th, 10 minutes to the end of broadcast), during another CBC interview here, in the attached media releases, and in photos here.


  1. The Collapse of the Scallop Fishery in Port au Port Bay.  The objective of the research project would be to investigate and research  the causes for this collapse and recommend any possible remediation. Potential factors may be climate change (warmer water temperatures, carbon dioxide absorption and acidification of ocean, etc.), pollution,  human waste, petroleum and pathogens. One aspect of this would be scientific testing on the scallops to check for contaminants.


  1. Pollution Risks  to the Marine Environment of Port au Port Bay . The objective of the research project would be to identify and quantify sources of pollution in the Port au Port Bay area and determine the degree of risk they propose to the marine ecosystem and recommend  any possible remediation.  There are at least thirteen and possibly more abandoned oil drilling sites on Shoal Point. Some of these sites were once on land but now due to coastal erosion are now located offshore in the coastal waters and some are leaking oily substances – probably petroleum. There are also other abandoned dump and oil tank sites around the coast of the bay that appear to  be leaking toxic substances into the environment on land as well as into the bay.


  1. Climate Change Impacts on the Marine and Coastal Ecosystem of Port au Port Bay.  Coastal erosion, tidal surges and extreme weather associated with climate change are increasing in frequency and intensity in the Port au Port Bay Area.  There has been  some relatively recent research done focusing on climate change impacts on communities in the Port au Port region (Norm R. Catto, Memorial University, Department of Geography).  Additional more site specific research is needed  on  vulnerable geographic locations in the Port au Port Bay area such as Shoal Point and the coast from Port au Port East to Fox Island River where significant, rapid coastal erosion is happening.  More site specific information and baseline data is required pertaining to the rate and extent of coastal erosion that has occurred and  can be anticipated to occur in these sites. Possible remedial strategies also need to be researched.


The committee has approached numerous government departments and agencies that would have an interest in these issues; however, there has been little uptake so far. It would be great if you could share this information with your networks, to see if anyone would like to help the committee try to address any of these issues through collaboration and research. If anyone has any questions, they can contact me and I’ll put them in touch with the committee (at amy.tucker@mun.ca or 709-864-6115)

Let's Talk Energy Week!

Energy underpins today’s quality of life, and it will greatly affect the lives and well-being of generations to come. Let’s Talk Energy, an initiative of the Canada Science and Technology Museums Corporation working with a network of partners across Canada, aims to increase Canadians’ understanding of energy and to engage them in considering their energy future, so that they can make informed energy decisions and choices.

New in 2014, the Let’s Talk Energy partners are encouraging Canadians in all regions and all sectors of society to participate in Let’s Talk Energy Week, which takes place from February 21 to 28, 2014. This first-ever energy awareness week is an opportunity for individuals and groups across the country to discuss and learn about energy, by planning an event or activity in their community, or by participating in an event during the week. Resources and information about energy events and activities across Canada can be found at letstalkenergy.ca

How will your organization participate in Let’s Talk Energy Week to support the energy conversation?

Please feel free to get in touch withLet’s Talk Energy Week coordinator, Nori Gowan at 613-993-2271 or at ngowan@technomuses.ca, to discuss any ideas or questions you may have about the week.

I hope we can count on your support of our efforts to enhance Canadians’ energy literacy.