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Top 10 Climate and Energy Stories of 2014

With 2014 drawing to a close, DeSmog Canada decided to take stock of its most popular stories of the year.

Readers came in droves for our in-depth reporting on climate change, oilsands and oil pipelines, but they also loved articles about potential solutions to our climate change woes. Indeed, two of our Top 10 posts are on Canada’s geothermal potential.

Without further ado, here are DeSmog Canada’s Top 10 articles of 2014. Thanks for reading!

1. Bill 4 Passes: B.C. Parks Now Officially Open…To Pipelines and Drilling. More than 10,000 citizens wrote letters and signed petitions to try to stop the B.C. government from passing Bill 4, which allows for industry (and others) to carry out "research" in provincial parks related to pipelines, transmission lines, roads and other industrial activities that might require park land.

2. PHOTOS: Famed Photographer Alex MacLean’s New Photos of Canada’s Oilsands are Shocking. One of America’s most famed and iconic aerial photographers used his unique eye to capture some new and astounding images of one of the world’s largest industrial projects.

3. Debunked: The Top 10 Stupid Arguments in Neil Young Debate. You may recall that in January last year, Neil Young created one helluva stir with his Honour the Treaties tour. The Alberta media hyperventilated with these Top 10 stupid arguments.

4. Alberta Partners with Major Oilsands Companies to Develop Kindergarten to Grade Three Curriculum. This story created such an uproar that at least one company dropped out of curriculum development.

5. Top Five Craziest Things Climate Change Recently Did in Canada. From the mass die-off of sea scallops on the West Coast to a jump in Lyme disease because more ticks are suriving the winter, this Top 5 list attracted a lot of eyeballs.

6. Top 5 Reasons Why Geothermal is Nowhere in Canada. Canada is the only country on the Pacific Ring of Fire without any commercial geothermal power plants, despite having abundant potential and, ironically, Canadian energy companies running geothermal power plants around the world.

7. Top 10 Quotes from Canada’s Muzzled Scientists. Environics Research collected dozens of quotes from scientists who allege the Harper government is muzzling them, interfering with their research and ignoring their findings — particularly when it comes to evidence that covers issues such as climate change and other impacts of unsustainable industrial development.

8. Energy Executive Quits Trans Mountain Pipeline Review, Calls NEB Process A ‘Public Deception'. Marc Eliesen had some scathing words for the National Energy Board when he dropped out of its review of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain oil tanker and pipeline project. He called the review process “fraudulent” and a “public deception” and called for the province of B.C. to undertake its own environmental assessment.

9. New Maps Reveal B.C. Has Enough Geothermal Potential to Power Entire Province. As B.C.’s politicians contemplated flooding the Peace Valley for the Site C hydroelectric dam, a new report from the Canadian Geothermal Energy Association said the province is sitting on a figurative gold mine of geothermal power with low environmental impact.

10. Only Four in 10 British Columbians Have Heard Of This $7.9B Mega Project — Have You?. The Peace River Country, which spans the Alberta-B.C. border, feels a world away to the 75 per cent of B.C.’s population that lives in the Lower Mainland or on Vancouver Island. But, as the biggest infrastructure project in the province’s history, the $8 billion Site C dam stands to impact all British Columbians — from the implications for our electricity bills to the flooding of some of our province's most valuable agricultural land.

Photo: Alex McLean. Surface oil on tailings pond at Suncor mine near Fort McMurray.

Like a kid in a candy store
When those boxes of heavily redacted documents start to pile in, reporters at The Narwhal waste no time in looking for kernels of news that matter the most. Just ask our Prairies reporter Drew Anderson, who gleefully scanned through freedom of information files like a kid in a candy store, leading to pretty damning revelations in Alberta. Long story short: the government wasn’t being forthright when it claimed its pause on new renewable energy projects wasn’t political. Just like that, our small team was again leading the charge on a pretty big story

In an oil-rich province like Alberta, that kind of reporting is crucial. But look at our investigative work on TC Energy’s Coastal GasLink pipeline to the west, or our Greenbelt reporting out in Ontario. They all highlight one thing: those with power over our shared natural world don’t want you to know how — or why — they call the shots. And we try to disrupt that.

Our journalism is powered by people just like you. We never take corporate ad dollars, or put this public-interest information behind a paywall. Will you join the pod of Narwhals that make a difference by helping us uncover some of the most important stories of our time?
Like a kid in a candy store
When those boxes of heavily redacted documents start to pile in, reporters at The Narwhal waste no time in looking for kernels of news that matter the most. Just ask our Prairies reporter Drew Anderson, who gleefully scanned through freedom of information files like a kid in a candy store, leading to pretty damning revelations in Alberta. Long story short: the government wasn’t being forthright when it claimed its pause on new renewable energy projects wasn’t political. Just like that, our small team was again leading the charge on a pretty big story

In an oil-rich province like Alberta, that kind of reporting is crucial. But look at our investigative work on TC Energy’s Coastal GasLink pipeline to the west, or our Greenbelt reporting out in Ontario. They all highlight one thing: those with power over our shared natural world don’t want you to know how — or why — they call the shots. And we try to disrupt that.

Our journalism is powered by people just like you. We never take corporate ad dollars, or put this public-interest information behind a paywall. Will you join the pod of Narwhals that make a difference by helping us uncover some of the most important stories of our time?

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