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Clean Break
Tyler Hamilton is the Editor-in-Chief of Corporate Knights Magazine. Prior to joining the magazine, Hamilton spent 10 years as a business columnist at the Toronto Star. Hamilton is also the author of the book Mad Like Tesla.

The dirtier the coal power, the quicker the death

Preventing the worst of climate change means subcritical coal stations will be first to go. How vulnerable is your portfolio?

There’s a hierarchy in the fossil fuel world, particularly when looked at through the lens of climate change and urban air pollution.

Many know that coal is the worst and natural gas is the best, and that somewhere in between lies oil. But if we drill down into each fossil fuel source, it’s clear emissions that result from burning these fuels vary widely depending on the inherent dirtiness of the end-market fuel and the efficiency of the power plant or engine that consumes it.

For example, explains a 2013 report in Scientific American, “producing and processing tar sands oil results in roughly 14 per cent more greenhouse-gas emissions than the average oil used in the U.S.” – though that’s a generous assessment compared to some other estimates that goes as high as 37 per cent.

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Record-breaking 25,000 hit Quebec City for climate march

In advance of premiers' meeting, Canadians from across country gather with united message: More renewables, fewer pipelines.

It was an inspiring day, full of smiles, families, pets and a united message for government leaders: act now on climate change.

Police reports confirmed more than 25,000 Canadians from all walks of life took to the streets of Quebec City on Saturday afternoon to protest the Energy East pipeline and urge more investment in renewable energy. Most of those who attended wore red coats, shirts and hats — including red-capped police officers — to symbolize the rising temperature in a thermometer, an image that was captured from aerial shots of a roundabout in front of Quebec's legislative assembly.

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Oregon stands out with first road charging program

Meanwhile, in another first, Portland shows how to capture clean energy from underground water pipelines.

Oregon has proven itself as one of the greenest U.S. states, but the Beaver State isn’t resting on its laurels. This July, it will launch North America’s first distance-based road usage charging program, while Portland, its largest city, is proving to its municipal peers that it’s possible to capture energy from the movement of water as it flows through city pipeline infrastructure.

Michelle Godfrey, an information officer with Oregon’s department of transportation, is quick to point out that the road-charging program is not a pilot program – it’s the real thing.

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Are geothermal power plants the sustainable mines of the future?

The U.S. DOE funds projects aimed at developing ways to extract valuable minerals from geothermal brines. Where's Canada?

Geothermal developers often struggle to make their projects economically viable, while mining companies are finding it increasingly difficult to get social license for new projects.

Given these two market challenges, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is taking a closer look at the idea of recovering minerals from the hot brines that geothermal power plants pump out of the ground. These mineral-rich fluids contain a variety of rare earth elements and other valuable metals, but at conventional geothermal plants the only thing that gets extracted today is the heat.

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Will the rise of “cli-fi” spur youth into climate action?

Climate-themed fiction could be more effective than non-fiction at raising awareness of an unfolding global crisis.

Four years ago, having just published a book of non-fiction, I was drawn to the idea of experimenting with fiction writing. Specifically, I wanted to write a dystopian novel that was a cross between Logan’s Run and Blade Runner.

Climate change and the eventual draconian measures to keep it under control – declining country-assigned population caps, for one – would drive the narrative through characters who, in an increasingly carbon-constrained world, suddenly and unexpectedly found themselves among society’s most vulnerable.

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