Old King Coal CartoonTidepool‘s top story today, by Victoria-based writer Ben Parfitt, examines in-depth the future of our energy resources. Parfitt speaks to Simon Fraser University economist Mark Jaccard, who believes that coal will become the primary source of our energy needs. Anything else is fantasy. The essential question is: Can King Coal also be clean coal?

In economic news, the AP reports from the second Forest Leadership Forum underway in Portland this week. The event, which holds great weight among forest conservationists and companies, is a soiree of corporate executives, government officials, and sustainability leaders debating green business practices. This year’s roster of speakers is full of heavy corporate hitters: Bank of America, Starbucks, Staples, etc.

The first forum was held with great success in Atlanta in 2002.

  • Atlanta featured, in the primetime spot, the initial Great Bear Rainforest Agreement as a potential global model of sustainability, with environmental activists and forest industry executives sharing the stage, and talking about mutual respect and finding common ground. Greenpeace and Weyerhaeuser were arm in arm. The message: British Columbia can be a global leader in sustainability and make money only if the (skeptical and uninterested) government will sign our deal.

    Environmentalists developed a strategy to carry this message. The key tactics: CEOs from Lowe’s and Home Depot lobbied the province and PricewaterhouseCooper surveyed global executives on the rising demand for good wood, among other things. The “market” became the voice of persuasion.

    The message played favorably to decisionmakers. Environmental groups used Atlanta heavily as leverage in their lengthy negotiations with logging companies, First Nations, and the B.C. government. The final accord was reached in February, resulting in a massive conservation area and economic investment package on the B.C. coast. More on that from me here.

    In other news, an update on the eagle nest on Hornby Island. The nest is now empty. One egg was crushed and the other fell to the forest floor. Some biologists think the eagle couple is too old to successfully reproduce at this point.

    However, other wildlife webcams abound. The site will feature a different nest near Powell River later today. And the Tri-City Herald reports that the Fish and Wildlife Service is now webcasting a burrowing owl nest in Eastern Washington. In fact, the state offers several “WildWatchCams” viewing seals, salmon, and various species of birds. Who knew!

    Lastly, in celebration of the weekend—and Cinco de Mayo—the Medford Mail Tribune reports that Portland has more breweries than any other city in the world. The Idaho Statesmen reviews two Northwest craft beers considered the best of their kind in a recent global contest. Have a good weekend and toast our bioregion!