In June 2009, a small anti-nuclear group in Lethbridge, Green Sense, approached their City Council and pointed out that the Province had recently spent $1/4 million on a Task Force studying possibilities of nuclear power in Alberta. Green Sense asked if Council would write a letter to the Province asking them to set up a similar Task Force for Renewable Energy, and Council agreed. Inspired by this, I became one of a small scattered collection of people across Alberta reaching out to Alberta municipalities. Over several months we saw a dozen Cities and Towns write letters to the Premier’s Office asking for a Task Force on Renewable Power. We never got a Task Force, but the Province did start up the Municipal Climate Change Action Centre with $2 million in funding. The MCCAC continues to this day, helping municipalities with energy efficiency improvements in their buildings.
“… the largest and most diverse coalition of actors ever established in pursuit of climate action in the United States”
The We’re Still In coalition, launched the day after President Trump withdrew the US from the Paris Agreement, is another powerful example of a broad coalition speaking up in support of climate action. Within days there were 100 US Cities, five US States and hundreds of US based businesses saying "We're Still In the Paris Agreement". Those numbers doubled and tripled over the next year, along with adding Tribes, Faith Groups, and universities.
I’ve done other climate-related initiatives over the years. In 2011 I wrote to 186 Canadian companies, asking their perspective on carbon pricing at the national level in Canada. In 2012 I set up the Carbon Conversations online survey (word cloud below) but getting only 380 responses after 14 months was disappointing, so I decided to save my money for other projects.
I then helped to sponsor the Alberta GHG Summit in October of 2014, a carbon pricing discussion at the Manning Centre conference in Ottawa in March 2015, and a quarterly luncheon meeting on carbon pricing in downtown Calgary through 2014 with representatives from the oilsands, large electricity generators, banking, an environmental think tank, and academia. I also organized one of Alberta's first coal phase-out debates (poster below), one week before our record-breaking flood in June of 2013.
My name is Roger Gagne. My Carbon Conversations website is long gone, but I continue to Tweet at @CarbonConvoCA