Pine beetles continue to attack Alberta’s forests

Cloud icon: Find stories about climate change in Canada

Forestry officials in Alberta are continuing the fight against the mountain pine beetle. From what started with 25 dead trees near Canmore, the total now tops 4.2 million killed, with millions more at risk.

Over the last decade the province spent nearly $300 million on managing the beetle and stopping its spread. If not managed properly, the beetle invasion will eventually damage watersheds, fisheries, and wildlife habitat.

The adaptable insects are difficult to kill with chemicals and they now greatly outnumber any natural predators. Lodgepole pine trees in B.C. are developing natural defenses to the insect, but this has not happened in Alberta yet. Presently officials are removing strands of infested trees to contain areas and cut off the beetle’s food source.

Ontario to change green energy rules following WTO ruling

Parliament icon: Find stories about green politics

Ontario announced plans to change its green energy rules after the World Trade Organization said it violated international law.

Ontario gives lucrative subsidies to developers of green energy but requires them to source 60 per cent of their equipment from within the province.

Ontario expects to have the legislation to change the offending law ready by early next year

Research questions need for environmental assessment overhaul

The vast majority of environmental reviews triggered by the Fisheries Act were completed within the recommended time frame, according to new research from a University of Toronto PhD candidate.

The research looking at 10 years of data was published in the peer-reviewed Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. Its conclusion questions the logic behind the recent overhaul by the federal government.

The Harper government at the time said the overhaul of the review process was needed to clear bottlenecks, but except for a few mega projects reviews were done on time.