This is an archive of the ‘Ecology newsroll’ page on A Socialist In Canada, covering September 2017 to end-March 2018. See also the feature articles on ecology and global warming that are listed in the website category ‘Environment‘ (listed on the main website page). Articles about the politics in Canada of the global warming emergency are listed in the ‘Canada newsroll‘ page of the website. That’s where to find news and analysis of the unfolding battle surrounding the proposed expansion of Kinder Morgan company’s ‘Trans Mountain’ tar sands bitumen pipeline from Alberta to the Port of Vancouver BC. Text in square brackets [ ] is by Roger Annis.
Oil giants invest $180 billion in plastics, propelling oceans toward ‘near-permanent’ pollution, by Julia Conley, Common Dreams, Dec 31, 2017
Climate change will displace millions in coming decades. Nations should prepare now to help them, by Gulrez Shah Azhar, The Conversation, Dec 19, 2017 (the writer is a former physician and health researcher in India)
By the middle of the 21st century, experts estimate that climate change is likely to displace between 150 and 300 million people.
… Climate migration is already happening. Every year desertification in Mexico’s drylands forces 700,000 people to relocate. Cyclones have displaced thousands from Tuvalu in the South Pacific and Puerto Rico in the Caribbean.
… Between 2008 and 2015, an average of 26.4 million people per year were displaced by climate- or weather-related disasters, according to the United Nations. And the science of climate change indicates that these trends are likely to get worse.
Toasted — California’s 2017 foreshadowing of the monster fires to come. Part one: The story of how global warming turned California into toast, by Robert Fanney, published on his RobertScribbler, Dec 22, 2017
Also on RobertScribbler:
Australia’s hot ocean blob fuels record heat, extreme weather, risk to coral reefs, Dec 21, 2017
What’s killing the world’s bees? New study names fungicides as key culprit, RT.com, Dec 30, 2017
Scientists have found what they believe to be the strongest factor leading to the worryingly steep decline of bumblebees… fungicides.
The discovery has now been added to the growing list of threats that could potentially lead to the extinction of the essential pollinators. The revelation that common fungicides are having the strongest impact on the insects came as a surprise, as they typically affect mold and mildew but appear to be killing bees by making them more susceptible to the nosema parasite or by exacerbating the toxicity of other pesticides.
The discovery was made during a landscape-scale study, published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B…
Related: Alarming link between fungicides and bee declines revealed, by Damian Carrington, environment editor, The Guardian (anti-Russia UK daily), Dec 29, 2017
The federal government says it has protected almost 8% of Canada’s oceans. Here’s why its math is questionable, by Kate Allen, science and technology reporter, Toronto Star, Dec 29, 2017
Trump tweets about the bitter cold and global warming, confusing weather and climate, by Pam Wright, The Weather Channel, Dec 29, 2017
… NASA makes this distinction: “weather is what conditions of the atmosphere are over a short period of time, and climate is how the atmosphere ‘behaves’ over relatively long periods of time.”
Catastrohic year for right whales in Atlantic Ocean waters of U.S. and Canada as species is threatened with extinction, feature article by Kate Allen, science and technology reporter, Toronto Star, Dec 29, 2017
… “What is required now is bold and swift action to reduce fishing gear entanglements and ship strikes. We urge you to take seriously the warning signs of an impending extinction.”— Open letter to the Canadian government by the 17 U.S. and Canadian scientists sitting on the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium[But what can be expected of a government captive of the very industries that have been killing off marine species for decades?]
The ten most important U.S. climate stories in 2017, by Abbey Dufoe, Climate Central, Dec 27, 2017[The ten stories are: hurricanes, sea-level rise science, U.S. government, Tesla Corporation, wildfires, third hottest year on record, transportation pollution, heat waves.]
Related: 2017 was the year of the billion-dollar disaster in the United States, Climate Central, Dec 20, 2017
Louisiana, sinking fast, prepares to empty out its coastal plain, by Christopher Flavelle, Bloomberg News, Dec 22, 2017
Louisiana is finalizing a plan to move thousands of people from areas threatened by the rising Gulf of Mexico, effectively declaring uninhabitable a coastal area larger than Delaware…
The draft plan, a portion of which was obtained by Bloomberg News, is part of a state initiative funded by the federal government to help Louisiana plan for the effects of coastal erosion. That erosion is happening faster in Louisiana than anywhere in the U.S., due to a mix of rising seas and sinking land caused in part by oil and gas extraction. State officials say they hope the program, called Louisiana Strategic Adaptations for Future Environments, or LA SAFE, becomes a model for coastal areas around the country and the world threatened by climate change…
Humidity is the real heatwave threat, by Alex Kirby, Climate News Network, Dec 24, 2017
U.S. researchers report in the journal Environmental Research Letters that during this century, the drasticeffects of high humidity in many areas will increase significantly. At times, the effects may overtake people’s ability to work outdoors or, in some cases, even to survive.
Health and economies would suffer, especially in regions where people work outside and have little access to air conditioning. Potentially affected regions include large swathes of the already muggy south-eastern United States; the Amazon; western and central Africa; southern areas of the Middle East, including the Arabian peninsula; northern India; and eastern China…
How Puerto Rico’s environmental crisis turned into a human rights disaster, by Yessenia Funes, Earther.com, Dec 25, 2017
* Dark, desperate Christmas without power in Puerto Rico, by Danica Coto, NBC Miami, Dec 25, 2017 … A study conducted Dec. 11 by a group of local engineers estimated roughly 50 percent of the island’s 3.3 million people remained without power. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has said it likely won’t be until May that all of Puerto Rico is electrified.
* Calculating the death toll of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, by Odalis Garcia, WLRN.org, Dec 26, 2017 … About 4,700 people died in Puerto Rico in September and October of 2016. A year later, 5,800 people died over that same two-month stretch. Could the difference of 1,100 deaths been caused by Hurricane Maria? According to the island’s official count, the storm killed 62 people. The Center for Investigative Journalism looked at government data on deaths, trying to get a handle on Maria’s death toll on the island…
$180 billion investment in plastic factories feeds global packaging binge, by Matthew Taylor, The Guardian, Dec 26, 2017
Colossal funding in manufacturing plants by fossil fuel companies will increase plastic production by 40%, risking permanent pollution of the earth
The global plastic binge which is already causing widespread damage to oceans, habitats and food chains, is set to increase dramatically over the next 10 years after multibillion dollar investments in a new generation of plastics plants in the US.
* World’s largest plastics plant planned for Texas coast rings alarm bells, The Guardian, Dec 26, 2017
* I was an Amazon delivery driver: What it’s like to work in the tech giant’s citizen package brigade, by Taylor Soper, Geek Wire, Dec 24, 2017
* Life with an Amazon ‘Echo’ consumerism-run-amok device, Slate.com, Dec 24, 2017
* Amazon just bought a smart-doorbell company—probably to let more packages inside, Fast Company, Dec 22, 2017
Climate disruption rings in the ‘new Arctic’, says NOAA’s ‘Arctic Report Card 2017’, by Dahr Jamail, Truthout.org, Dec 21, 2017
Background: Arctic Report Card 2017, published in December 2017 by the Arctic Program of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA–U.S. Dept of Commerce) (NOAA press release, Dec 12, 2017) Despite relatively cool summer temperatures, observations in 2017 continue to indicate that the Arctic environmental system has reached a ‘new normal’, characterized by long-term losses in the extent and thickness of the sea ice cover, the extent and duration of the winter snow cover and the mass of ice in the Greenland Ice Sheet and Arctic glaciers, and warming sea surface and permafrost temperatures.
About the Arctic Report Card: ARC 2017 contains 12 contributions (we call them essays) prepared by an international team of 85 researchers from 12 different countries. As in previous years, independent peer review of ARC 2017 was organized by the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) of the Arctic Council…
How natural resource plunder in Canada is driving Santa’s reindeer (caribou) toward extinction, by Emma Gilchrist, DeSmog Canada, Dec 22, 2017
CN to buy 200 locomotives from GE as freight volumes surge, by Eric Atkins, rail industry reporter, The Globe and Mail, Dec 22, 2017 [It’s full steam ahead on the capitalist train ride to ecological destruction]:
Canadian National Railway Co. is spending about $600-million (U.S.) to buy 200 locomotives amid a surge in North American freight volumes… The announcement comes as CN faces congestion and delays on its network that it attributes to a sharp rise in freight.
CN’s sales and carloads rose by 11 per cent in the first nine months of 2017, led by a 28-per-cent rise in metals and minerals and a 15-per-cent jump in containers… CN said its frac sand business has posted a year-to-date increase of more than 100 per cent, while coal has risen by 41 per cent. Autos are up by 18 per cent, as measured by revenue per tonne-mile.
Before the deal, CN’s locomotive fleet numbered 2,300. CN’s 31,000-kilometre network reaches from coast to coast in Canada and the Gulf of Mexico. The company employs 23,000 people.
Related: CN Rail moves ahead with bitumen pellet project amid pipeline shortage, by Eric Atkins, rail industry reporter, The Globe and Mail, Dec 21, 2017
Canadian National Railway Co. is pushing ahead with a project to solidify and ship bitumen in soap-bar-shaped chunk in a bid to open overseas markets for the oil sands product…
One hurdle CN faces is the ban on oil tankers along British Columbia’s northern coast, including the port of Prince Rupert. CN said it is confident shipping the bitumen chunks will be permitted because they are designed to float and withstand impact, reducing environmental risks and simplifying cleanup in a spill.
Delphine Denis, a spokeswoman for federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau, said the government is awaiting results of testing in water before deciding if the product is exempt from the shipping ban intended to protect the environment from a spill…
Jakarta is sinking so fast it could end up under water, by Michael Kimmelman, New York Times, Dec 21, 2017
With climate change, the Java Sea is rising and weather here is becoming more extreme. Earlier this month another freakish storm briefly turned Jakarta’s streets into rivers and brought this vast area of nearly 30 million residents to a virtual halt.
… But global warming turned out not to be the only culprit behind the historic floods that overran Rasdiono’s bodega and much of the rest of Jakarta in 2007. The problem, it turned out, was that the city itself is sinking.
In fact, Jakarta is sinking faster than any other big city on the planet, faster, even, than climate change is causing the sea to rise — so surreally fast that rivers sometimes flow upstream, ordinary rains regularly swamp neighborhoods and buildings slowly disappear underground, swallowed by the earth. The main cause: Jakartans are digging illegal wells, drip by drip draining the underground aquifers on which the city rests — like deflating a giant cushion underneath it. About 40 per cent of Jakarta now lies below sea level. Coastal districts, like Muara Baru, near the Blessed Bodega, have sunk as much as 14 feet in recent years…
The Theresa May government’s nuclear obsession in Britain is a betrayal of democracy, by Oliver Tickell, The Ecologist, Dec 19, 2017
Tesla’s electric trucks are great but they won’t save the planet, by Michael Le Page, New Scientist (UK weekly), print edition of Nov 25, 2017. Read the article at this attachment: Electric trucks won’t save the planet, Nov 2017
The electric trucks being unveiled by Tesla and co will speed the transition from fossil fuels. But to cut transport emissions, we must curb road freight too.
Why Branko Milanovic is wrong about de-growth, by Jason Hinkel, published on his blog on Nov 19, 2017
Puerto Rico won’t have full power back until May — eight months after Hurricane Maria hit, Buzzfeed, Dec 20, 2017
Pesticides linked to declining bee populations also threaten birds and small mammals, by Mike Ludwig, Truthout, Dec 19, 2017
… The Environmental Protection Agency released preliminary scientific assessments of four chemicals from the neonicotinoid or “neonic” class of insecticides on December 15 as part of an ongoing review that environmentalists and farmers are watching closely.
Pesticides even more harmful to bees than previously thought, according to new study, by Josh Gabbatiss, science correspondent, The Independent, Dec 19, 2017
Low nutrient diets resulting from intensive agriculture make insects even more vulnerable to the harmful effects of neonicotinoid chemicals. Study results were published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
Pesticide suicide, by Robert Hunziker, CounterPunch, Dec 18, 2017
Carbon loophole: Why is burning of wood for power counted as green energy?, by Fred Pearce, Yale Environment 360, Dec 19, 2017
… The forests of North Carolina, Louisiana, and Mississippi — as well as those in Europe — are being destroyed to sustain a European fantasy about renewable energy. And with many power plants in Europe and elsewhere starting to replace coal with wood, the question of who is right is becoming ever more important.
Since 2009, the 28 nations of the European Union have embarked on a dramatic switch to generating power from renewable energy. While most of the good-news headlines have been about the rise of wind and solar, most of the new “green” power has actually come from burning wood in converted coal power stations. Wood burning is booming from Britain to Romania.
… In September, some 200 scientists wrote to the EU insisting that “bioenergy [from forest biomass] is not carbon-neutral” and calling for tighter rules to protect forests and their carbon. Yet just a month later, EU ministers rubber-stamped the existing carbon accounting rules, reaffirming that the burning of wood pellets is renewable energy…[The report goes on to track illegal logging in European forests, often abetted by EU funding for expanded roads.]
Related: Air pollution blamed for 500,000 early deaths in Europe in 2014, by Andy Coghlan, New Scientist, Oct 12, 2017
Filthy air killed half a million people in Europe prematurely in 2014. So says a report on air quality from the European Environment Agency in Copenhagen, Denmark. “Air pollution is the single largest environmental health risk in Europe,” says the EEA.
By far the biggest killer was PM2.5, the soup of tiny particles measuring 2.5 micrometres across or less. These claimed an estimated 428,000 premature deaths across the 41 European countries tracked in 2014. The main source, contributing 57 per cent of PM2.5 emissions in 2015, was domestic wood burning, especially in eastern Europe…
‘Transit’ serving urban sprawl: David Suzuki Foundation presses for road and transit plan that will further Vancouver region’s urban sprawl, report in Vancouver Sun, Dec 19, 2017
… The [regional government] plan has three phases and involves some major investments, including the replacement of the Pattullo Bridge, a light rail line south of the Fraser, extending the Millennium SkyTrain line down Broadway in Vancouver, and upgrades to the existing SkyTrain system.[The Patullo Bridge is the fourth largest by vehicle volume of the eight bridges and one tunnel which cross the Fraser River in the Vancouver region. Altogether, these traffic crossings carry more than half a million vehicles during weekdays. Opened in 1937 as the first traffic bridge across the Fraser, the Patullo Bridge spills into the city of New Westminster whose streets are already over capacity with traffic volume. The Surrey light-rail and the Vancouver Broadway Ave skytrain proposals, each costing billions of dollars, would serve the de facto urban sprawl which has been built by the real estate industry during the past decade in Surrey and points east and on the grounds of the University of British Columbia. [The real estate industry and the Port of Vancouver (a federal government corporation) are also pressing to replace the George Massey Tunnel with a bridge to carry expanded car and truck volumes. The tunnel opened in 1959; it feeds the urban sprawl south of Vancouver city and connects to U.S. Interstate 5 highway to Seattle. None of the ten major traffic bridges and one tunnel in the Vancouver region is tolled.]
World’s oceans drowning in micro plastics, by Larry Pynn, Vancouver Sun, Dec 16, 2017
… The waters lapping [Vancouver’s Sunset Beach] contained 1,017 microplastic fibres and fragments per cubic metre of sea water. The size ranged from two to 160 microns in width and 80 microns to 2.9 millimetres in length. That’s more than 1,000 bits of microplastic per cubic metre that have the potential to be taken up in the food chain.
The lab found evidence of polyvinyl acetate, polyacrylonitrile, polyester, polyamide, nylon, and several man-made mineral, modified-cellulose and glass fibres with likely links to rayon.
Earlier research showed a mean of 3,210 particles per cubic metre of water in the Strait of Georgia, 1,710 on the west coast of Vancouver Island, and 279 in offshore waters of the open Northeast Pacific. Studies of samples from Queen Charlotte Sound off northeastern Vancouver Island recorded a mean 7,630 particles per cubic metre…
Nebraska regulators deny TransCanada request on Keystone XL route, by Kevin O’Hanlon, Reuters, Dec 19, 2017
LINCOLN, Nebraska – Nebraska regulators on Tuesday denied TransCanada Corp’s request to amend its route application for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline through the U.S. state, a potential setback for the company as it seeks to head off legal challenges…
OECD says Canada’s carbon price is overly complex, difficult to implement, by Mia Robinson, The Canadian Press, Dec 19, 2017
Canada’s decentralized approach to putting a price on pollution is overly complex and will be difficult to implement, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development says in a new report…
The report finds Canada lags behind other OECD nations in the amount of garbage that ends up in landfills and is the second-most carbon and energy-intensive economy within the OECD…
Hypocrisy rules: British coal still burning abroad despite government push for global ban, report by Susanna Twidale and Barbara Lewis, Reuters, Dec 18, 2017
Britain [along with Canada] led calls for an end to coal-fired power generation at United Nations climate talks in Bonn last month, but at the same time British companies are active in coal projects around the world, often with government help.
* Canada and UK form alliance to phase out coal to combat climate change, Canadian Press, Nov 16, 2017
* On human rights and climate change, Justin Trudeau’s actions don’t match his talk, by Thomas Walkom, Toronto Star, Nov 14, 2017
… The former Conservative government of Stephen Harper came up with a plan to phase out most coal-fired generation. The Trudeau government accelerated it. Ontario has closed its coal-fired plants and Alberta has promised to do the same. But Canada is not phasing out coal.
First, the federal government plans to exempt coal-fired generating plants that are able to reduce their emissions significantly through new technologies, such as carbon capture and storage. This is perilously close to the notion of clean coal that Trump is mocked for discussing. Second, Canada continues to mine and export coal for other countries to burn. In 2015, it exported more than 30 million tonnes, mainly to Asian steelmaking plants.
All of which is to say that [Environment Minister Catherine] McKenna’s crusade against coal, while welcome, isn’t exactly as advertised…
‘This fraud must stop’: How a green Norwegian company is using climate change to exploit Ugandan villages, by D. Amari Jackson, Atlanta Black Star, Dec 18, 2017
Related: The Darker Side of Green: Plantation Forestry and Carbon Violence in Uganda, press release announcing publication of 21-page report by the Oakland Institute, Nov 3, 2014
‘A different dimension of loss’: Inside the great insect die-off, by Jacob Mikanowski, The Guardian, Dec 14, 2017
Scientists have identified two million species of living things. No one knows how many more are out there, and tens of thousands may be vanishing before we have even had a chance to encounter them.
Related: Insectageddon: farming is more catastrophic than climate breakdown, by George Monbiot, The Guardian, Oct 20, 2017
Fossil fuels are king of U.S. electricity generation
The three largest sources of electricity production in the U.S. in September 2017 were:
fossil fuels 63%
conventional hydro-electricity 8%
From a July 2016 Energy Information Agency report:
Three fossil fuels—petroleum, natural gas, and coal—have provided more than 80% of total U.S. energy consumption for more than 100 years. In 2015, fossil fuels made up 81.5% of total U.S. energy consumption, the lowest fossil fuel share in the past century. In EIA’s Annual Energy Outlook 2016 Reference case projections, which reflect current laws and policies, that percentage declines to 76.6% by 2040. Policy changes or technology breakthroughs that go beyond the trend improvements included in the Reference case could significantly change that projection.
‘Shipocalypse Now’: How e-commerce is drowing the world in packaging, delivery truck traffic and emissions, and aircraft emissions, radio documentary on CBC Radio One’s ‘Sunday Edition’ (34 minutes), Dec 17, 2017
‘By the year 2025, approximately 25 per cent of grocery shopping in developed countries will be done online.’
Huge ‘Thomas’ fire north of LA surges as strong winds return, Associated Press, Dec 16, 2017
Some forests aren’t growing back after wildfires, research finds, by Emily Chung, CBC News, Dec 12, 2017
… The new U.S. study, study published today in the journal Ecology Letters, looked at 1,500 forest sites affected by 52 wildfires in five states in the U.S. Rockies between 1985 and 2015. It found overall decreases in the amount of tree regrowth since 2000 compared to before 2000 due to warmer, drier conditions…
The world’s largest cruise ship and its supersized pollution problem, by John Vidal, The Guardian, May 21, 2016
As ‘Harmony of the Seas’ sets sail from Southampton docks on Sunday she will leave behind a trail of pollution – a toxic problem that is growing as the cruise industry and its ships get ever bigger. (This article is the subject of a legal complaint made on behalf of Royal Caribbean.)
The big bad fix: The case against climate geoengineering, report by ETC Group, Biofuelwatch and Heinrich Böll Foundation, released on Dec 6, 2017 (80 pages)
‘The Big Bad Fix – The Case Against Climate Geoengineering’, a report released today [Dec 6, 2017] by ETC Group, Biofuelwatch and Heinrich Böll Foundation, warns that geoengineering (the large-scale manipulation of the climate) is gaining acceptance as a would-be technological fix for climate change in key emitting countries, as these countries refuse to break away from their fossil-fueled economies…
Although considered reckless and unacceptable by many scientific and political experts, geoengineering is now increasingly being pushed into the mainstream of climate policy debates, where it creates the illusion of a technological shortcut to manage the symptoms of climate change without addressing its root causes…
Bill McKibben sees hope that capitalism will rescue humanity from the global warming emergency it has caused, op-ed commentary by Bill McKibben, published in the New York Times, Dec 14, 2017
Something big is starting to shift. After years of effort from activists, there are signs that the world’s financial community is finally rousing itself in the fight against global warming… Finance, not politics, may turn out to be the soft underbelly of the climate monster.[Bill McKibben is the founder of 350.org. A critique of his faith in capitalism’s capacity to shift from ‘fossil fuel capitalism to ‘alternative energy capitalism’ and thereby drastically reduce emissions (a view shared by his colleague Naomi Klein) was published here in 2016: Clean, green, class war: Bill McKibben’s shortsighted ‘war on climate change’, by Elliot Sperber, CounterPunch, Aug 22, 2016 Excerpt:
…While the severity of the catastrophes attending climate change are difficult to overstate, and are no doubt already bombarding us, “the war on climate change” that Bill McKibben proposes does not, however, amount to much more than a proposal to reform (and continue) an other, far less openly discussed, war – i.e., class war. This becomes clear as soon as McKibben identifies his war on climate change’s enemy as the fossil fuel industry – rather than the political economic system designed to exact, extract, and exploit resources (and to reinvest its gains into exacting, extracting, and exploiting more resources, ad mortem). Abetted by the military (the largest polluter on the planet), the laws, rules and institutions governing this society (rather than the fossil fuel industry alone) compel people the world over to perpetrate unprecedented levels of violence against rain forests, rivers, oceans, and human and non-human animals alike, just to survive…]
Already on the brink, North Atlantic right whales are pushed closer to the edge, by Deborah Cramer, YaleEnvironment360, Dec 7, 2017
North Atlantic right whales, decimated by centuries of whaling, had staged a tentative comeback in recent decades. But the whales’ recovery is now imperiled by collisions with ships and entanglement with fishing lines — threats that could be mitigated with long-overdue controls.
‘Apocalyptic’ melting transpires in Antarctica as Earth wraps up a scorching year, by Dahr Jamail, Truthout.org, Dec 4, 2017 (this is the latest in Dahr Jamail’s monthly ‘Climate Distruption Dispathes’ in Truthout.org)
Beware the Green corporate scam: The ‘100 per cent renewable’ façade, by José Madero, CounterPunch, Dec 8, 2017 (José Madero is a PhD student in Mechanical Engineering and member of the Graduate Workers Union at Washington University in St. Louis)
More evacuations as California wildfires rage in and around Los Angeles, LA Times, Dec 7, 2017
Fire has burned some 36,000 hectares (90,000 acres) north and east of Los Angeles since December 4, driven by powerful Santa Ana winds. Tens of thousands of residents in and around San Bernadino and Ventura have evacuated their homes.
* California will burn until it rains — and climate change may keep future rains away, by Rachel Becker, The Verge, Dec 6, 2017
* Insurance claims from Oct 2017 wildfires in northern California rise to $9 billion, SF Gate, Dec 6, 2017
The Oct 2017 blazes destroyed more than 5,000 homes and nearly 1,000 businesses across six counties, according to state Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones’s office. Thousands more were damaged, as were other buildings, barns and cars, resulting in 25,979 total claims…
* Climate change already costs us all money, and it’s going to get worse, by John Timmer, ARS Technica, Dec 6, 2017
Columbia University’s Earth Institute hosted a panel on December 5 that was meant to focus on an issue we’re likely to be facing with increasing frequency: the need to move entire communities that are no longer viable due to rising seas or altered weather. But the discussion ended up shifting to how people in at-risk locations aren’t moving, and the entire governmental structure in the U.S. is focused on keeping them right where they are. As a result, the entire U.S. population is already paying for climate change…
UN environment chief warns ‘we’re facing an ocean Armageddon’, CBS News, Tuesday, Dec 5, 2017
In Nairobi, Kenya, a U.N. environmental summit opened Monday. The goal: to restore a healthy ocean. The U.N. Environment Assembly (UNEA) began with 7,000 delegates from around the world and 100 ministers, making it the highest level decision-making body on the environment… There is a push to move toward a legal treaty banning plastic waste from entering the sea, in effect, a “zero tolerance” policy…
Related: Fragile return of cod stocks to water off Newfoundland threatened by resumption of overfishing, feature article by Jessica Leeder, in Globe and Mail, Dec 3, 2017 A quarter-century after the waters off Newfoundland were fished clean of cod, the mighty fish is finally making its comeback. But scientists who monitor the fish say there are alarming signs that the stock, still classified as “critical,” is already under too much pressure.
Rising waters: Can a massive barrier save Venice from drowning?, by Jeff Goodell, published on YaleEnvironment360, Dec 5, 2017
A huge barrier designed to protect Venice from sea level rise and storm surges is set to be operational next year. But the project’s engineering limitations and cost overruns are raising questions about the mega-projects that many coastal cities are hoping can save them.
Cancelling the Site C hydroelectric dam in British Columbia will be a tough pill to swallow, but alternatives are harsher, open letter by five former NDP MLAs, published in Globe and Mail, Dec 4, 2017
Related: Prominent NDP members and trade unionists sign open letter to British Columbia premier urging cancellation of Site C hydroelectric dam, report on Market Wire, Nov 30, 2017
Gigantic iceberg disintegrates as concern grows over glacier stability, sea level rise, RobertScribbler, Dec 4, 2017
The stability of a key Antarctic glacier appears to have taken a turn for the worse as a large iceberg that broke off during September has swiftly shattered. Meanwhile, scientists are concerned that the rate of sea level rise could further accelerate in a world forced to rapidly warm by human fossil fuel burning…
Keystone pipeline leak probe identifies damage from 3,000-kg weight commonly used to secure pipelines, Reuters, Dec 4, 2017
A U.S. regulator’s preliminary investigation into the biggest oil pipeline spill this year has raised a red flag that could trigger an extensive and costly inspection of tens of thousands of miles of underground energy lines. The 5,000-barrel leak on TransCanada Corp’s Keystone pipeline on Nov. 16 in South Dakota might have stemmed from damage caused by a weight put in place when it was built in 2008…[In 2016 in the federally-regulated pipeline system, 42 companies in Canada transported 196 million cubic metres (m3) of oil (1.2 billion barrels) along approximately 18,503 kilometres of oil pipelines. Seventy companies, including the 8 that transport both oil and gas, transported 183 billion cubic metres of natural gas (6.5 trillion cubic feet) along approximately 53,356 kilometres of natural gas pipelines. There have been five pipeline accidents reported to the Transportation Safety Board from Jan-Aug 2017. There were 77 ‘incidents’ during that time. (See figures on accidents and incidents 2011-2017 here. A map of Canada’s oil and gas pipeline network is here.)]
Prominent NDP members and trade unionists sign open letter to British Columbia premier urging cancellation of Site C hydroelectric dam, report on Market Wire, Nov 30, 2017
Unraveling the surprising ecology of dust, by Jim Robbins, published on YaleEnvironment360, Nov 30, 2017
As droughts intensify and development expands, the amount of dust blowing around the earth is increasing, affecting everything from mountain snowmelt to the spread of disease. Scientists are just beginning to understand the complex dynamics of dust in a warming world.
From record floods to drought in three months: Unusually hot, dry conditions blanket southern U.S., RobertScribbler, Nov 30, 3017
Fewer crops are feeding more people worldwide – and that’s not good, by Kart Zimmerer (Professor of Geography at Pennsylvania State U), published in The Conversation, Nov 28, 2017
Warming pause isn’t over: it never began, by Tim Radford, Climate News Network, Nov 28, 2017
Just weeks after one group of scientists officially declared an end to the global warming pause, the so-called hiatus, another group has returned to the argument. They argue that there never was a pause in global warming. There was instead a global misperception that warming slowed between 1998 and 2012, but only because of gaps in the data, in particular from the Arctic, the fastest-warming region of the planet…
Also in Trump’s tax-cut legislation: Opening up oil drilling in Arctic Wildlife Refuge, New York Times, Nov 29, 2017 Related: It started as a tax cut. Now it could change American life, by Peter S. Goodman and Patricia Cohen, New York Times, Nov 29, 2017
A perfect storm: 2017 hurricanes Irma and Maria and the future of the Caribbean, essay by Joshua Jelly-Schapiro, published in New York Review of Books, Nov 23, 2017 issue. Read a pdf copy by clicking here: A perfect storm, essay by Joshua Jelly-Schapiro in NYRB, Nov 2017.
… This October 2017, Columbus Day [October 8] found not a few of the “Indies” into which Columbus bumped devastated by the most damaging hurricane season on record…
The long ecological revolution, by John Bellamy Foster, Monthly Review, Nov 2017 (Vol 69, #6), online here
…In these dire circumstances, it is dispiriting but not altogether surprising that some self-styled socialists have jumped on the ecomodernist bandwagon, arguing against most ecologists and ecosocialists that what is required to address climate change and environmental problems as a whole is simply technological change, coupled with progressive redistribution of resources. Here again, the Earth System crisis is said not to demand fundamental changes in social relations and in the human metabolism with nature…
Two First Nations in Alberta join tar sands storage facility project with $500 million investment, CBC News, Nov 23, 2017
Artificial lights are eating away at dark nights — and that’s not a good thing, LA Times, Nov 22, 2017
Earth is losing its darkness. A new study using satellite data finds that artificially lit surfaces around the world are spreading and growing brighter, producing more light pollution at night. The findings, described in the journal Science Advances, track what researchers called a worrisome trend that has implications for the environment as well as human health…
Artificially lit surface of Earth at night is increasing in radiance and extent, study published in Science Advances, Nov 22, 2017 (nine pages)
From ice apocalypse to mega-thunderstorms, continuing to burn fossil fuels makes the world scary as all hell, by Robert Fanney (Robertscribbler), Nov 24, 2017 (with video of recent, massive calving of Antarctic ice sheet, largest ever filmed)
So I’ve got to say I feel for Eric Holthaus. Here’s a smart guy. Probably a few years younger than me. A meteorologist by degree and a climate journalist by trade. A guy with two kids that, as is clear from his twitter comments, mean all the world to him. And he’s finally gotten to that point in his study of climate change where he’s thrown his hands up and said — this stuff scares the crap out of me, can we please all just do something about it?
For him, as with any of us, the point of existential realization can come through overexposure to a wide range of worsening climate problems. Declining ocean health, rising extreme weather, how much faster we are warming the world up than during the worst hothouse extinction, can all weigh heavily on the heart and mind of any compassionate, feeling person who takes these subjects seriously enough to actually read the science. For Eric, the big deal, and it is a very, very big deal, was sea level rise. Yesterday, Eric penned this seminal article in Grist [Ice apocalypse: Rapid collapse of Antarctic glaciers could flood coastal cities by the end of this century, by Eric Holthaus, published in Grist, Nov 21, 2017] on the issue of ice cliff stability as explored by glacier scientist Robert DeConto…
From the archive: Nuclear power is too risky, by Mark Z. Jacobson, commentary on CNN, Feb 22, 2010
If our nation wants to reduce global warming, air pollution and energy instability, we should invest only in the best energy options. Nuclear energy isn’t one of them.
Every dollar spent on nuclear is one less dollar spent on clean renewable energy and one more dollar spent on making the world a comparatively dirtier and a more dangerous place, because nuclear power and nuclear weapons go hand in hand…
Fukushima darkness, by Robert Hunziker, published in CounterPunch, Nov 21, 2017
The radiation effects of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant triple meltdowns are felt worldwide, whether lodged in sea life or in humans, it cumulates over time. The impact is now slowly grinding away only to show its true colors at some unpredictable date in the future. That’s how radiation works, slow but assuredly destructive
Ice apocalypse: Rapid collapse of Antarctic glaciers could flood coastal cities by the end of this century, by Eric Holthaus, published in Grist, Nov 21, 2017
In a remote region of Antarctica known as Pine Island Bay, 2,500 miles from the tip of South America, two glaciers hold human civilization hostage. Stretching across a frozen plain more than 150 miles long, these glaciers, named Pine Island and Thwaites, have marched steadily for millennia toward the Amundsen Sea, part of the vast Southern Ocean. Further inland, the glaciers widen into a two-mile-thick reserve of ice covering an area the size of Texas. There’s no doubt this ice will melt as the world warms. The vital question is when.
The glaciers of Pine Island Bay are two of the largest and fastest-melting in Antarctica. (A Rolling Stone feature earlier this year dubbed Thwaites “The Doomsday Glacier.”) Together, they act as a plug holding back enough ice to pour 11 feet of sea-level rise into the world’s oceans — an amount that would submerge every coastal city on the planet. For that reason, finding out how fast these glaciers will collapse is one of the most important scientific questions in the world today…
Personal reflections on the 23rd COP in Bonn-Fiji, by Kevin Anderson , published on his Comment on climate website, Nov 17, 2017 . (Kevin Anderson is visiting professor at the Department of Earth Sciences, Uppsala University, Sweden; and Professor of Energy and Climate Change at the School of Mechanical, Aerospace and Civil Engineering (MACE) and Tyndall Centre, University of Manchester.)
The government of Newfoundland and Labrador announces public inquiry into $13 billion hydroelectric dam boondoggle, report on CBC News, Nov 20, 2017[Construction costs of the ‘Muskrat Falls’ hydroelectric dam on the Lower Churchill River in Labrador (Lower Churchill Project) came in at nearly $13 billion, twice its originally estimated cost. Markets in the United States for the electricity on which much of the project was predicated have softened, affected First Nations people opposed the project, and the financial outcome of construction condemns the people of Newfoundland and Labrador to sharply escalating electricity costs for decades to come. As a result of the entire boondoggle, the government of Newfoundland and Labrador has been obliged to convene a public inquiry. [The Lower Churchill Project (Wikipedia) is an example of what many environmentalists would call ‘clean’, ‘sustainable’, ‘renewable’– pick your term–energy. But when such energy is generated for the purpose of rampant capitalist expansion, there is nothing about it that is ‘green’ or ‘environmentally sustainable’. That is doubly the case when a project happens to violate First Nations rights, as is the case with this one. For that side of this story, listen to a 25-minute interview about The Lower Churchill Project (Muscrat Falls) which was aired on CBC Radio One‘s weekday newsmagazine ‘The Current’ on Nov 21, 2017.]
Related: A tale of three mega-dams, and why Site C in British Columbia could face the axe, by Jonathan Drance, Glenn Cameron and Rachel V. Hutton, The Tyee, Nov 22, 2017 Troubled Muskrat Falls (in Newfoundland) and Keeyask (in Manitoba) projects going ahead, but BC government has more options for Site C.
Climate crisis and managed deindustrialization: Debating alternatives to ecological collapse, essay by Richard Smith, published in Common Dreams, Nov 21, 2017
Coalition in U.S. vows renewed struggle to stop Keystone XL tar sands pipeline after Nebraska gives approval, by Jake Johnson, Common Dreams, Nov 20, 2017
Toronto to spend $45 billion on transit in next 25 years, but three million more cars are projected, too, by Pamela Blais and Marcy Burchfield, urban transportation consultants, Toronto Star, Nov 21, 2017 Background: Another warning of global warming: Record auto and truck sales, by Roger Annis, A Socialist In Canada, Oct 4, 2017
October 2017: Earth’s fourth warmest October on record, by Dr. Jeff Masters, published on Weather Underground, Nov 17, 2017
Record emissions in 2017: 41 billion tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide were added to the atmosphere, report on RobertScribbler, Nov 14, 2017
Scientists accused of scaremongering, ‘overheated claims’ with warning to humanity, by Mark Gollom, CBC News, Nov 16, 2017 [There is not a scrap of climate change science reported in this article published by Canada’s state run broadcaster. Rather, the article reverts to the days not so long ago at the CBC when climate delay and distraction was routinely voiced. This article cites the climate science deniers at the Breakthrough Institute.]
Idea by Norway’s sovereign wealth fund to exit oil stocks is ‘shot heard around the world’, by Joe Ryan and Anna Hirtenstein, Bloomberg News, Nov 16, 2017
Related: Divestment by world’s largest wealth fund would be US$2.86B hit to Canadian oil and gas, Financial Post, Nov 16, 2017
A decision by Norway’s trillion-dollar fund to fully divest fossil fuel holdings would mean battered Canadian oil and gas shares could soon be back on the market
Montreal-born scientist says forestry sector in denial about Canada’s disappearing caribou, by Carl Meyer, National Observer, Nov 9, 2017
Montreal-born Mark Hebblewhite, an associate professor at the University of Montana’s wildlife biology program, is the co-author with Daniel Fortin at Université Laval (Quebec City) of a letter, published in the Nov. 10 issue of the peer-reviewed academic journal Science, that takes aim at the forest and energy industries for being ultimately responsible for caribou dying out, and calls on the Trudeau government to “abide by its own environmental laws” to protect the iconic species…
Solar power to rapidly expand, but so too will oil use, says International Energy Agency in ‘World Energy Outloook 2017’, by Yale Environment 360, Nov 14, 2017
Solar power will surge globally in the coming decades, but oil demand will also continue to grow, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency. The IEA’s 2017 World Energy Outlook finds that global energy markets will be shaped by four major trends over the next three decades… [Read an extensive summary of the IEA report, with graphs, here. The full report is 782-pages and is available for purchase at the IEA weblink.]
Related: Global carbon pollution rises after three straight flat years, Associated Press, Nov 13, 2017 This year’s increase was mostly spurred by a 3.5 per cent jump in Chinese carbon pollution And, IEA World Energy Outlook 2017 describes ‘A world in transformation’, by Joshua S Hill, Clean Technica, NOv 14, 2017
Climate change denial’s grim fruits: Actual Puerto Rico death toll probably near 500, may climb to over 1,000, by Robert Fanney (RobertScribbler.com), Nov 13, 2017
These ten rivers are responsible for 90 per cent of the plastic in the oceans, by Molly Fosco, published in Seeker, Nov 13, 2017
Over the last six decades, according to one estimate, 9.1 billion tons of plastic has been produced worldwide and 7 billion tons of it has ended up as waste. Much of that waste has infiltrated our oceans. And, according to another estimate, more than 8 million tons of plastic is dumped into the sea each year.
Researchers from the Helmholtz-Center for Environmental Research in Germany, think they’ve nailed down a crucial detail about plastic pollution: how it gets into the ocean. And, they found, just 10 rivers account for 90 per cent of the plastics flowing into the seas. Their study is published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology…
Eight are in Asia and two are in Africa. Ranked from the highest amount of plastic waste to the lowest, they are: the Yangtze River, Indus River, Yellow River, Hai He River, Nile River, Ganges River, Pearl River, Amur River, Niger River, and the Mekong River…
Smog chokes Indian capital as emergency measures fail to bring relief, Reuters, Monday, Nov 13, 2017
A thick cloud of toxic smog 10 times the recommended limit enveloped India’s capital, New Delhi, on Monday, as government officials struggled to tackle a public health crisis that is well into its second week…
The Great Smog of Delhi, November 2017, Wikipedia … The current majority of analysis sources are hinting towards colder weather, stagnant winds trapping the various sources of smoke. The primary sources of smoke are stubble burning, lit garbage, road dust, power plants, factories, and vehicles.
People pressure enlivens UN climate talks in Bonn, Germany, by Mitchell Beer, Climate News Network, Nov 10, 2017
… A largely untold story from the first week of this year’s global climate talks – the United Nations climate summit (COP 23) – has been the reality of steady, fairly productive technical work going on behind the scenes, while some observers search in vain for a big, controversial story angle that will catch the attention of audiences around the world.
* Why the post-Paris climate challenge is even harder than we thought, by Fred Pearce, published by Yale University’s YaleEnvironment360 project, Nov 7, 2017
As international negotiators convene in Bonn, they must confront the stark conclusion of a new UN report: The national commitments under the Paris Agreement will not come close to providing the emissions reductions needed to avoid the most severe effects of climate change.
* Less business-as-usual at UN climate talks in Bonn, by Mitchell Beer, Climate News Network, Nov 9, 2017
* ECO is the information bulletin published by Climate News Network during the course of ‘COP 23’, the UN-hosted climate change conference taking place in Bonn, Germany from November 7 to 17, 2017. Also read regular reports on the Climate News Network website.
Climate change related drought bakes the Iberian Peninsula, by Robert Fanney, published on his website RobertsScribbler, Nov 10, 2017 [Note: Robert Fanney is beginning to regulalry serve up on his RobertScribbler website anti-Russia interpretations of currrent events which are not related to the science of global warming. Until now, global warming was the exclusive subject of his very valuable website. He writes in the latest such website posting, “[Paul] Manafort’s pro-Russian lobbying efforts ultimately failed and U.S. sanctions following the Ukraine invasion put a major damper on Russian oil and gas production expansion efforts.” He is referring to the claim by the extreme-right governing regime in Kyiv and its NATO backers that Russia ‘invaded’ Ukraine in 2014. Now there is a science story: Russia was somehow able to ‘invade’ eastern Ukraine while keeping its ‘army’ invisible!]
Reporting on devastation: A Puerto Rican journalist details life after Hurricane Maria, by Omaya Sosa Pascual, Inside Climate News, Nov 10, 2017
As I start to write, I don’t know where to start. So much has happened—and so much has not happened—in Puerto Rico since Hurricane Maria hit our island on Sept. 20. The devastation was so massive it left no corner of the island untouched: No electricity, no water, no food, no fuel, no hospitals and no means of communication. It seemed unreal that this could happen in the 21st century. After all, we are an American territory that shares citizenship, currency and a military with the United States…
Breathing Fire: As climate change fuels large wildfires, the pollution they’re releasing is undermining decades of progress in cleaning the air, by John Upton, Climate Central, Nov 7, 2017 (produced through a partnership between Climate Central and Kaiser Health News)
… From Puget Sound to Disneyland and east over the Rockies, Americans have coughed and wheezed, rushed to emergency rooms and shut themselves indoors this year as pollution from wildfires darkened skies and rained soot across the landscape. Even to healthy people, it can make breathing a miserable, chest-heaving experience. To the elderly, the young and the frail, the pollution can be disabling or deadly. Even though the nation has greatly improved air quality over the last 40 years through environmental regulations and technological improvements, the increasing frequency of large wildfires now undermines that progress, releasing copious pollutants that spread far and wide through the air and linger long after the fires are extinguished…
Related: Western wildfires undermining progress on aire pollution, research report by Climate Central, November 2017
Full public inquiry examining health impacts of natural gas fracking and LNG in British Columbia needed, commentary by Dr. Warren Bell and Amy Lubik, published in Vancouver Sun, Nov 10, 2017
Related: BC’s new NDP premier dons hardhat for gas fracking promotional tour across northeast of the province, report in Globe and Mail, Oct 22, 2017
Bankrupt oil companies in Alberta dump $100 million in clean up costs on Orphan Well Association in under two years, by Geoffrey Morgan, Financial Post, Nov 9, 2017
… University of Calgary economist Blake Shaffer recently co-authored a report for the C.D. Howe Institute that pegged reclamation costs for orphan wells in Alberta between $129 million and $257 million using data from 2015/2016. The $100-million tab contained in the AER’s post-Redwater list would be in addition to that estimate.
… This year, the Alberta government provided $235 million to the energy industry to help pay for clean up costs of orphaned wells and the federal government agreed to cover $30 million in interest payments on the loan.
Related: Alberta faces $8.6 billion bill to clean up old oil wells, by Geoffrey Morgan, Financial Post, Sept 27, 2017
CALGARY – There are 155,000 non-productive oil and gas wells sitting idle in Alberta that pose a potential $8.6-billion liability to the energy industry and taxpayers, according to a new C.D. Howe Institute report…
As many as 155,000 oil and gas wells in Alberta, or 34 per cent of all the province’s 450,000 wells, are inactive but have yet to be fully remediated. In addition, the number of orphaned oil and gas wells for which there is no responsible owner has risen from under 100 to over 3,200 in the last five years…
Top-ten most traffic congested cities in the world, Toronto Star, Nov 10, 2017 [as measured by average commuter times) In order: Los Angeles, Moscow, New York, San Francisco, Bogata, Sao Paulo, London, Atlanta, Paris, Miami
Schools closed in Delhi to protect students as Indian gov’t minister calls the city’s toxic air a ‘gas chamber’, India Today, Nov 8, 2017
Scientists warn of ‘ecological Armageddon’ amid waves of heat and climate refugees, by Dahr Jamail, Truthout.org, Oct 30, 2017 [This is the latest of Dahr Jamail’s regular dispatches in Truthout.org.]
The ecosystem is breaking down, by Robert Hunziker, CounterPunch, Nov 6, 2017
Woodland caribou continue to decline acorss Canada as provinces fail to meet protection deadline, CBC News, Oct 31, 2017
… Five years after they were forced to come up with strategies to protect habitat for the boreal caribou, not a single province has met that deadline, according to a federal government progress report released today. The report paints a bleak picture for the animal…
Related: Provinces haven’t stopped boreal caribou’s decline, and Ottawa may have to intervene, report says, by Shawn McCarthy and Ivan Semeniuk, Globe and Mail, Oct 31, 2017
… The range of the boreal caribou extends across the country from Yukon to Labrador, but its forest habitat has been increasingly disturbed by industrial activity such as forestry, mining and oil and gas development, as well as by forest fires, the spread of pests and other impacts of climate change.
Prepare for a world 3°C warmer in 80 years, warns UN report, by Alex Kirby, Climate News Network, Oct 31, 2017
LONDON – Governments should accept that we shall probably be living in a world three degrees C warmer than it is today by the end of this century unless they urgently step up the speed at which they cut greenhouse gases, a United Nations assessment says. The assessment is contained in this year’s edition of the Emissions Gap report, produced by UN Environment and released ahead of next week’s UN climate change conference in the German city of Bonn…
Climate change could force more than a billion people to flee their homes, says major health report by The Lancet, by Andrew Griffin, The Independent, Oct 31, 2017[‘Countdown on Health and Climate Change’ produced by The Lancet brought together 24 institutions and inter-governmental organisations, including the World Health Organization and World Meteorological Organisation. The 50-page report can be read or downloaded here (free registration to The Lancet required).]
Anti-Russia prejudice creeps into environmental movement. [Robert Fanney of robertscribbler.com fame has published on his website on October 30 an article entirely unrelated to the global warming emergency: ‘Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, agent of the pro-Russia Party of Regions, charged with conspiracy against the United States‘. Fanney writes, “I digress somewhat from the usual climate change related coverage I perform here to explore a matter of extraordinary importance to us all…” It’s good to know that while the climate threat is dire, waging a new cold war against Russia trumps all (pun intended). In passing, the ‘Party of Regions’ was the electoral machine of Ukarinian President Victor Yanukovych, overthrow in the ‘Maidan’ coup of February 2014. It was ‘pro-Russian’ in the same way that the entirety of the official political spectrum in Canada, Britain and France may be described as ‘pro-U.S.’ Judging by reader comments on robertscribbler.com, readers concur with Fanney. He writes prolific replies to reader comments.]
The solution to the climate crisis is in our peasant struggle for food and energy sovereignty!, statement by Via Campesina, Oct 27, 2017.[This short statement by Via Campesina is issued on the eve of the United Nations conference on climate change to take place in Bonn, Germany from Nov 6 to 17, 2017. The statement cites the “capitalist system” as responsible for the global warming emergency but fails to pinpoint what, exactly, requires correction and change. This is nothing less than ending capitalism’s ruthless expansion dynamic and its waste and excess. These are inherent to capitalism, whether its system is powered by fossil fuels or by green-capitalist ‘alternative’ energies.]
The next United Nations conference on climate change will take place from the 6th to 17th of November in Bonn, Germany 2017 – with Mother Earth heating up dramatically and humanity plagued by unprecedented adverse weather and rising sea levels. The capitalist system, fuelled by the profit greed, is not capable of addressing the current climate crisis…
CO2 levels rose at record rates in 2016, report on Yale Enviornment 360, Oct 30, 2017
Atmospheric concentrations of CO2 rose at record-breaking speed in 2016, 50 per cent faster than the average over the past decade, according to a new report from the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization. CO2 levels hit 403.3 parts per million last year, up from 400.00 ppm in 2015.
Last year’s record rise in CO2 was driven by human activities, such as the burning of fossil fuels, agriculture and land use change, and deforestation, as well as by a strong El Niño event, which triggered droughts in the tropics and decreased the ability of forests, vegetation, and oceans in those areas to absorb CO2.
The WMO said the abrupt changes to CO2 in the atmosphere witnessed over the past 70 years are “without precedent” and could lead to “severe ecological and economic disruptions.” The last time the earth experienced similar CO2 levels was 3-5 million years ago, when temperatures were two-to-three degrees Celsius hotter and seas were 10-20 meters higher than today, according to the report…
Related: CO2 ‘surges’ to levels not seen for millions of years, by Andy Rowell, Oil Change International, Oct 30, 2017
Climate change might be worse than thought after scientists find major mistake in water temperature readings, by Andrew Griffin, The Independent, Oct 26, 2017
The sea was much colder than previously thought, the study suggests, indicating that climate change is advancing at an unprecedented rate
… The new research suggests that the oceans hundreds of millions of years ago were much cooler than we thought. If true, that means that the global warming we are currently undergoing is unparallelled within the last 100 million years, and far worse than we had previously calculated…
Also on The Independent:
U.S. government agency issues climate change warning as report finds natural disasters cost America $350bn, by Mythili Sampathkumar, Oct 24, 2017
Tide of plastic rubbish discovered floating off idyllic Caribbean island coastline, by Tom Embury-Denni, Oct 24, 2017
Sea levels to rise 1.3m unless coal power ends by 2050, report says, by Michael Slezak, The Guardian, Oct 26, 2016
Coastal cities around the world could be devastated by 1.3m of sea level rise this century unless coal-generated electricity is virtually eliminated by 2050, according to a new paper at the University of Melbourne that combines the latest understanding of Antarctica’s contribution to sea level rise and the latest emissions projection scenarios.
It confirms again that significant sea level rise is inevitable and requires rapid adaptation. But, on a more positive note, the work reveals the majority of that rise – driven by newly recognised processes on Antarctica – could be avoided if the world fulfils its commitment made in Paris to keep global warming to “well below 2C”…
Why does green California pump the dirtiest oil in the U.S.?, by Judith Lewis Mernit, published on Yale Environment 360, Oct 19, 2017[Greenhouse gas emissions from California’s Midway-Sunset oil field, including downstream emissions (app. half total emissions), are equivalent to the most carbon-intense of Alberta’s tar sands.]
… California is the third largest producer of oil in the United States, behind Texas and North Dakota. But it also means that California — the state that stands at the forefront of climate leadership in the United States and that has pioneered renewable energy standards for utilities and a carbon-market for other polluters — also extracts, refines, and burns some of the dirtiest oil on the planet.
Bananapocalypse: The race to save the world’s most popular fruit, by Paul Tullis, Washington Post, Oct 7, 2017
… An insidious fungus known as fusarium wilt has wiped out tens of thousands of acres of Cavendish plantations in Australia and Southeast Asia over the past decade. And the fungus recently gained a foothold in Africa and the Middle East, hitching a ride on the boots of workers helping to establish new plantations. Scientists say Latin America, the source of virtually all the bananas eaten in the United States, is next.
Another right whale found dead off coast of Massachusetts, by Aly Thomson, The Canadian Press, Oct 24, 2017
Yet another North Atlantic right whale carcass has been discovered, the sixteenth confirmed death of the endangered species this year. The International Fund for Animal Welfare said Tuesday the carcass was found on Nashawena Island, south of Cape Cod in Massachusetts…
Hundreds gathered in Halifax over the weekend for the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium’s annual meeting, where the deaths were described as a dire blow to the endangered species’ survival… Presenters spoke with a renewed sense of urgency to protect the roughly 450 right whales still alive as of 2016, according to the latest population estimate, which does not account for this year’s losses…
Many of the whale deaths have been attributed to vessel strikes and getting tangled in fishing gear.
National Energy Board says new technologies to curb greenhouse-gas emissions insufficient to reduce Canada’s oil and tar sands production, report on Globe and Mail, Oct 25, 2017 [the 90-page NEB report can be accessed here]
Canada’s crude production will continue to grow even if governments impose sharply higher carbon prices and the world adopts new technology designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions, the National Energy Board says in a report released Thursday.
The country’s fossil-fuel consumption will peak before 2020, but new policies and “disruptive” technologies will be needed to reduce consumption sufficiently to achieve Ottawa’s emissions-reduction targets, the NEB said in its annual outlook on Canada’s energy future…
Related: Canada’s fossil fuel use to peak in 2019, National Energy Board now projects, CBC News, Oct 26, 2017
These U.S. cities are most vulnerable to major coastal flooding and sea level rise, research report by Climate Central, published on Oct 25, 2017[Top of the list of 20 cities threatened, by population, is New York City, followed by 17 cities in Florida and Charleston SC and Atlantic City NJ.]
Rising seas are flooding Virginia’s naval base and there are no plans to fix it, by Nicholas Kusnetz, Inside Climate News, Oct 25, 2017
Ahead of EU glyphosate vote, Greenpeace demands nothing less than total ban, by Jessica Corbett, staff writer, Common Dreams, Oct 24, 2017
‘Ecological Armageddon’: Warnings from scientists as flying insects disappear, by Jessica Corbett, staff writer, Common Dreams, Oct 19, 2017
A new study published on October 18 reveals that populations of flying insects like bees and butterflies plunged more than 75 per cent in German nature preserves over the past 27 years. The study has scientists calling for further research into probable causes such as climate change and pesticide use, and raising alarms about a potential “ecological Armageddon”.
“Insects make up about two thirds of all life on Earth,” noted report co-author Dave Goulson, a professor at Sussex University in the United Kingdom. “We appear to be making vast tracts of land inhospitable to most forms of life, and are currently on course for ecological Armageddon,” he said. “On current trajectory, our grandchildren will inherit a profoundly impoverished world.”
Goulson was part of a team of European scientists who studied population levels in 63 nature reserves across Germany from 1989 to 2016 by setting up malaise traps that captured more than 1,500 samples of flying insects. They tracked the rapid decline across 96 unique location-year combinations in Germany, which is “representative of Western European low-altitude nature protection areas embedded in a human-dominated landscape,” as they wrote in the peer-reviewed study, published in the journal PLOS ONE…
* Warning of ‘ecological Armageddon’ after dramatic plunge in insect numbers, by Damian Carrington environment editor, The Guardian, Oct 18, 2017
* Insectageddon: Farming is more catastrophic than climate breakdown, by George Monbiot, The Guardian, Oct 20, 201 The shocking collapse of insect populations hints at a global ecological meltdown[George Monbiot writes, “To save ourselves and the rest of the living world, here’s what we need to do…” But his prescription, in his words, is to “put the manufacturers back in their box.” What about displacing the “manufacturers”, ie the climate-wrecking capitalist classes, and forming pro-ecology governments that begin the winding down of all the capitalist waste, excess and ecological destruction? Oh no, that would be too radical. ‘Too radical’ when what is potentially at stake is “global ecological meltdown”? That amounts to surrender.]
The Nature Conservancy is wrong. Planting trees is not equivalent to halting the burning of oil, by Chris Lang, published on REDD Monitor, Oct 20, 2017
NDP gov’t in British Columbia unveils new climate policy advisory council, by Simon Little and Liza Yuzda, CKNW News, Oct 24, 2017[Following Premier John Horgan’s tour to northwest BC on October 21 promoting natural gas fracking and liquefying for export, his government has appointed a 22-member, environmental advisory council. It will meet quarterly and be co-chaired by Merran Smith, executive director of Clean Energy Canada, and Marcia Smith, a senior vice-president with Teck Resources. Clean Energy Canada is based at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver and promotes green capitalist solutions to the climate crisis–electric automobiles, replacing the grossly excessive production of energy by fossil fuels with grossly excessive production of energy by ‘renewable’ sources such as wind and energy, etc. Teck Resources is Canada’s largest coal extraction company. [The previous Liberal Party government in BC also appointed a environmental advisory council. It issued a report in October 2015 with 32 recommendations, all of which were ignored by the government. Some members of the ‘team’ went public with its disappointments in May 2016. For a time, the government’s ‘Climate Leadership Team’ served a useful public relations role, including convincing ‘environmentalists’ to join it.]
Alberta oilpatch pollution badly underestimated, by Bob Weber, National Observer, Oct 23, 2017
… In Lloydminster, results from the airb orne tests found the type of heavy oil recovery used in that area released 3.6 times more methane than previously thought. That same heavy oil technique is widely used elsewhere in Alberta, including the Peace River, Cold Lake and Athabasca regions…
Anti-pipeline Gitxsan First Nation angry over BC government’s deal with unelected band chiefs for liquefied nattural gas project in Kitimat, by George Baker, Andrew Kurjata, CBC News, Oct 20, 2016
Members of the Gitxsan First Nation opposed to pipeline development are outraged that nine unelected hereditary chiefs are working on a deal with the province connected to a natural gas pipeline on B.C.’s north coast. The documents were leaked and posted online, prompting an emergency meeting to discuss next steps…
BC gov’t supports LNG project on north coast, by Brent Jang, Globe and Mail, Oct 22, 2017
[Shell’s ‘LNG Canada’ industrial plant in Kitimat would be fed by boosting natural gas fracking in the northeast of the province and constructing a 900 kilometer gas pipeline to the Pacific Ocean coast. A string of LNG projects for BC have been cancelled due to international economic conditions, but the NDP’s love of gas fracking, shared with the previous Liberal Party government, is undeterred. The Green Party opposes LNG but supported a now-dead, bizarre plan to build a tar sands pipeline from Alberta to Kitimat to then feed a multi-billion dollar refinery.]
Fraser Valley homeless population grows faster than Vancouver’s, by Justin McElroy, CBC News, Oct 13, 2017
Pollution causing more deaths worldwide than war or smoking: Lancet Journal, news report by The Associated Press, Oct 20, 2017
Full report: The Lancet Commission on pollution and health, published on Oct 19, 2017, full text is online here, (free registration to The Lancet required)
For decades, pollution and its harmful effects on people’s health, the environment, and the planet have been neglected both by Governments and the international development agenda. Yet, pollution is the largest environmental cause of disease and death in the world today, responsible for an estimated 9 million premature deaths.
The Lancet Commission on pollution and health addresses the full health and economic costs of air, water, and soil pollution. Through analyses of existing and emerging data, the Commission reveals pollution’s severe and underreported contribution to the Global Burden of Disease. It uncovers the economic costs of pollution to low-income and middle-income countries. The Commission will inform key decision makers around the world about the burden that pollution places on health and economic development, and about available cost-effective pollution control solutions and strategies.
Another historic storm: Tropical Storm Ophelia strikes Ireland with hurricane force, Roberts Scribbler, Oct 16, 2017
Warmer than normal ocean temperatures due to human-forced climate change are now enabling major hurricanes to threaten Northern Europe…
‘This is a really big deal’: Canada methane gas emissions from Alberta oil and gas wells far worse than feared, report by Ashifa Kassam, in The Guardian, Oct 18, 2017
The pioneering peer reviewed study, published in Environmental Science & Technology on October 17, used airplane surveys to measure methane emissions from oil and gas infrastructure in two regions in Alberta…
The world is going slow on coal, but misinformation is distorting the facts, by Adam Morton, The Guardian, Oct 16, 2017
Background: Fossil fuel expansion crushes renewables, by Barry Saxifrage, The National Observer (Canada), Sept 20, 2017
Australia debates: Does a warming planet really need more coal?, by Jacqueline Williams, New York Times, Oct 14, 2017
Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says it’s unfair to assess Energy East tar sands pipeline on downstream environmental impact, by Dean Bennett, Canadian Press, Oct 14, 2017[Irony abounds amidst the Alberta NDP government’s advocacy of digging up and burning Alberta’s tar sands reserves (the third-largest fossil fuel reserves in the world). The Canadian Press article cited above reports, “The premier said her approach, which includes a carbon tax and capping oilsands [sic] production…” The said “cap” on “oilsands” production is, to be precise, a cap on greenhouse gas emissions from the tar sands. The government has set that at 100 million megatones per year, up from the current, estimated 70 million tonnes. That, in turn, understates the production increases which the government would be happy to boost because the industry is seeking to reduce its per-unit emissions. Of course, neither the industry nor the government have any control over the emissions where the final product is processed and then shipped to consumers and burned. That, as the saying goes, is ‘someone’s else’s problem’. [The near entirety of Alberta’s tar sands product (called ‘oil sands’ by the industry) is shipped to the United States by pipeline or rail for processing then refining. Some 60 per cent of it is shipped in the form of ‘diluted bitumen’; 40 per cent is ‘upgraded’ in Alberta to what is called ‘synthetic oil’ and then shipped. The first refinery to be built in Canada in three decades is to process bitumen into diesel fuel; the project has become an economic boondoggle, heavily subsidized by the Alberta government.]
Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming, interview with Paul Hawken, editor of Drawdown (published in 2017), interview published on VOX.com, July 21, 2017
A new book ranks the top 100 solutions to climate change[Author Paul Hawken defines ‘drawdown’ as “the point in time when greenhouse gas concentrations peak in the atmosphere and begin to go down on a year-to-year basis”. He is the editor of the new book Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming. The book lists seven categories of greenhouse gas reduction measures: energy, food, rights for women and girls, buildings and cities, land use, transport, and materials. Each category is quantified as to the potential for greenhouse gas emission reductions. There is also a “coming attractions” category of not-yet-commercialized technologies; they are not included in the scenarios. [The book does not call into question most of the features of expansionist capitalism. It may be seen as a radical, ‘green capitalist’ manifesto. But it nonetheless presents many vital, scientific insights into the global warming emergency and its potential mitigations. [In his interview with VOX, Hawken cites “war” as a large contributor to the global warming emergency. He also says “it is simply not true” that 100 per cent renewable energy is a solution to the global warming emergency. He calls that a “scientific howler”.]
California fires burn out of control, New York Times, Oct 10, 2017 90,000 hectares of forest and forest-urban interface have burned across California since wildfires began on Oct 8. Forty five people are recorded dead and hundreds are missing (figures as of October 14).
Related: Raging wildfires bring death and destruction to California’s wine country, LA Times, Oct 10, 2017. Drought and heat, worsened by humans, help fuel California fires, NBC News, Oct 10, 2017. Drone footage shows destruction in Santa Rosa (north of San Francisco), New York Times, Oct 10, 2017. As wildfires continue to burn, 2015 map project by U.S. Forest Service shows expansion of wildland-urban interface, press release and weblink to map and report, by U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Sept 10, 2015
How Trump’s approval of Keystone XL killed the Energy East pipeline project, by Andrew Leach, Globe and Mail, Oct 9, 2017
Conference in Vancouver to discuss Pacific coast Orca whales threatened with extinction, by Terri Theodore, Canadian Press, Oct 9, 2017
Related: The life and death of a right whale on Canada’s Atlantic coast, by Thu Thanh Ha, Globe and Mail, Oct 6, 2017; Report says boat strikes, fishing gear behind right whale deaths in Gulf of St. Lawrence, by Lindsay Jones, Globe and Mail, Oct 5, 2017; The North Atlantic right whale, by World Wildlife Fund Canada. ‘North Atlantic right whales are among the most endangered whales on the planet.’
Canada is failing to protect vanishing caribou herds threatened by natural resource extraction projects in north, report by Shawn McCarty, Globe and Mail, Oct 9, 2017
Canadian government failing to put climate plan into action, environmental watchdog finds, CBC News, Oct 3, 2017
… In a blunt fall audit report tabled in the House of Commons on October 3, Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development Julie Gelfand said the government has failed to implement successive emissions-reduction plans, and is not prepared to adapt to the life-threatening, economically devastating impacts of a changing climate.
… The government released the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change in December 2016, which was endorsed by all provinces and territories except Saskatchewan and Manitoba. But instead of presenting a detailed action plan to reach the 2020 target for reducing emissions, Gelfand said the government changed its focus to a new 2030 target…
Why eating grass-fed beef isn’t going to help fight climate change, by Tara Garnett, published in The Conversation, Oct 3, 2017. (Tara Garnett is the lead researcher at the Food Climate Research Network. This article by her introduces a report issued in early October 2017 by the FCRN titled Grazed and Confused‘.)[According to Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming (edited by Paul Hawken, Penguin, 2017), raising livestock accounts for nearly 15 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions; assessments of direct and indirrect emissions (eg forest clearcutting) pegs it at more than 50 per cent.]
Stark evidence showing a warmer world is sparking more and bigger wildfires, by Nicola Jones, Yale E360, Oct 2, 2017
The increase in forest fires, seen this summer from North America to the Mediterranean to Siberia, is directly linked to climate change, scientists say. And as the world continues to warm, there will be greater risk for fires on nearly every continent. [Nicola Jones is a freelance journalist based in Pemberton, British Columbia and serves as the science journalist in residence at the University of British Columbia.]
Those three per cent of scientific papers that deny climate change? A review found them all flawed, Quartz, Sept 5, 2017
Seventy five per cent of global honey samples found to be contaminated by neonicotinoid pesticides, by John Dyer, The Seeker, Oct 5, 2017, and, Much of the world’s honey laced with pesticides, study finds, by Eric Atkins, Globe and Mail, Oct 5, 2017
Basic economics – not regulation – ended the Energy East pipeline, by Benjamin Dachis, The Globe and Mail, Oct 5, 2017[Fossil fuel advocates are blaming ‘excessive government regulation’ for TransCanada’s decision to cancel its $10 billion+ plan to build a tar sands export pipeline from Alberta to the Atlantic Ocean port of Saint John, New Brunswick. Heaven forbid that considerations of global warming were involved. No, it was a straight-up business decision, writes an associate director of research at the conservative C.D. Howe Institute.]
and: Five things you need to know about the cancellation of the Energy East oilsands pipeline, DeSmog Canada, Oct 6, 2017
Global demand for meat amounts to ‘appetite for destruction’ says new study, by Julia Conley, staff writer, Common Dreams, Oct 5, 2017
In a study titled Appetite for Destruction, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) revealed on October 5 that humans’ consumption of meat is having a devastating impact on global biodiversity in a way that’s too often considered.
Climate disruption could pose ‘existential threat’ by 2050, latest dispatch by Dahr Jamail, published in his monthly ‘Climate Disruptions’ feature on Truthout.org, Oct 2, 2017
It is time to transform, not just rebuild, in Puerto Rico, by Marisol LeBrón and Hilda Lloréns, Truthout.org, Oct 4, 2017, and: Before Hurricane Maria, forcing Puerto Rico to pay its debt was odious. Now it’s pure cruelty, by Stan Cox and Paul Cox, published on Green Social Thought, Oct 2, 2017
The collateral damage of airport sacrifice zones in the United States, by Kit Norton, Truthout.org, Oct 5, 2017
Children who live in neighborhoods bordering the Boston airport are four times more likely to experience shortness of breath and show signs of asthma and lung disease.
James Hansen’s Generation IV nuclear advocacy: a deconstruction of nuclear fallacies and fantasies, by Dr Jim Green, abridged version published in The Ecologist, Oct 3, 2017. (The full version of the article is published in the Nuclear Monitor newsletter.)
TransCanada shelves its $10 billion+ idea of 4,000 km, ‘Energy East’ tar sands export pipeline from Alberta to Atlantic Ocean, CBC News, Oct 5, 2017
BC NDP gov’t to defend Trans Mountain pipeline approval in B.C. Supreme Court, by Justine Hunter, Globe and Mail, Oct 4, 2017[The new NDP government in British Columbia will be in court next month defending the approval earlier this year by the previous Liberal Party government of the expansion of Kinder Morgan Inc’s Trans Mountain oil and tar sands pipeline from Alberta. In another courtroom, the government is joining the legal action to force Ottawa to withdraw its consent for the project. Chief Ian Campbell of the Squamish First Nation (near Vancouver) says, “It’s unfortunate. It makes one question, is all their [NDP] opposition to this project just posturing?”]
Further background: First Nations begin court challenge against Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline, report on CBC News, Oct 2, 2017, and: Trudeau government built pipeline website during ‘consultation’ with First Nations, court told, by Dylan Waisman, The National Observer, Oct 2, 2017 The federal government was already building a website announcing approval of the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion when it “consulted” with First Nations in November 2016, according to lawyers at the opening day of a court challenge in Vancouver…
Legal appeal against approval of 800 km Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline from Alberta to Vancouver pits NDP governments in BC and Alberta against each other, report by Justine Hunter in Globe and Mail, Sept 29, 2017 Related: Court ruling on First Nations rights deals blow to federal gov’t approval of Trans Mountain pipeline, Globe and Mail, Sept 28, 2017
Washington state deals blow to plan for coal export terminal, Associated Press, Sept 26, 2017[For years, the port of Vancouver BC has been a last-ditch doormat for thermal coal exports by the coal industry in Wyoming and Montana. The coal is shipped by rail to Vancouver alongside the rivers and ocean waters of Washington state and Vancouver region, fouling the air, land and water along the way with coal particulates. Background: Why does U.S. coal get a free ride through BC?, by Ariel Ross, The Tyee, March 20, 2017.
How crooks [capitalism] stalled the rise of electric cars for 100 years, by Mick Hamer, New Scientist, print issue of Sept 9, 2017
Battery-powered buses could have killed off the internal combustion engine long ago, if only the company making them hadn’t been run by swindlers
The cities in the firing line for the next Hurricane Harvey, by Michael lePage, New Scientist, print issue of Sept 9, 2017
A budge in carbon budgets?, by Greg Muttitt, Oil Change International, Sep 25, 2017
A new scientific paper last week seemed to have some good news on climate change: keeping warming to 1.5°C – the goal of the Paris agreement – may be less difficult than previously thought. Not that it removes the urgent need to decarbonise; rather, as lead author Richard Millar of Oxford University put it, “although 1.5°C is not yet a geophysical impossibility, it remains a very difficult policy challenge”…
Related: Paris climate aim ‘still achievable’, by Paul Rincon, Science editor, BBC News, Sept 19, 2017
… The study authors say: “Pursuing ‘efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5C’ is not chasing a geophysical impossibility”.
Analysis by David Shukman, BBC Science Editor: ‘The climate models are exaggerating. The predictions are too alarmist. The Tuvaluans and other islanders are safer than we thought.’ These are among the conclusions that some might reach from this latest work. In reality, nothing is quite that straightforward. The models are simulated approximations of possible futures. Inevitably they are going to be at least slightly adrift of reality, either in the amount of warming or its timing. They come with caveats and margins of error. In many ways, it’s remarkable that these computer constructs are even roughly on track. And models designed to come up with very broad potential outcomes for the end of the century may not be fine-tuned enough to give more detailed forecasts year-by-year.
The authors themselves are anxious that their research is not misunderstood. The need for urgent action to reduce emissions is unchanged, they say. It’s just that the most ambitious of the Paris Agreement targets is not as unachievable as many once thought, that there is time to act, though the task remains a monumental one.
Fossil fuel expansion crushes renewables, by Barry Saxifrage, published in National Observer, Sept 23, 2017 (and see accompanying comment by Roger Annis at weblink)
Memo to Jacobin magazine: Ecomodernism is not ecosocialism, by Ian Angus, Climate and Capitalism, Sept 25, 2017
Ian Angus, editor of Climate and Capitalism, challenges a left-wing magazine that promotes geoengineering, nuclear power, carbon storage and other techno-fixes as solutions to climate change.
Half-way to catastrophe: Global hothouse extinction to be triggered by or before 2100 without rapid emissions cuts, article on Roberts Scribbler, Sept 22, 2017
First Nations in northern BC hire two sexual assault prevention officers in preparation for gas pipeline construction and the ‘man camps’ they bring, National Observer, Sept 22, 2017
Failing dam creates new crisis on Puerto Rico amid flooding from Hurricane Maria, Reuters, Sept 22, 2017[The U.S. colony of Puerto Rico has collapsed due to the combined effects of Hurricane Maria, which struck the island on September 21, and decades of colonial underdevelopment. Seventy thousand people are being frantically moved out of the path of a threatened collapse of a hydro-electric dam in the country’s northwest. Electricity will be out for many parts of the island for months. [Cuba, meanwhile, is busily rebuilding from the direct hit it took from Hurricane Irma for several days beginning September 9. Large shipments of aid are arriving from China (article here) and from South American countries. Hundreds of Cuban doctors have been dispatched to Caribbean islands hit by hurricanes Irma and Maria. ]
Dark and flooded — Puerto Rico devastated by Hurricane Maria’s unprecedented rains, terrible winds, article on Roberts Scribbler, Sept 21, 2017
… For the Atlantic, the long term trend has been for more category five hurricanes to form. Back during the late 19th Century no Category 5 storms were recorded for the North Atlantic in the entire 50 year period from 1851 to 1900. In the 27 year period from 1991 to 2017 we’ve had 13 — with some years featuring as many as 2 or more Category 5s in a single season. 2017 was the only year other than 2007 in all of the last 167 years to see two category 5 storms making landfall. So we can clearly state that the long term trend for the Atlantic is for more Category 5 storms and for more of these storms impacting land.
From an earlier exchange of comments on Roberts Scribbler:
On a point of information from your previous post, Robert, you mentioned damage now of 160 billion dollars for the 2017 hurricane season. However, Harvey alone is, as I understand, estimated at 180 billion, so the damage looks to be much worse.
I’m looking at the official consensus estimates that tend to lag projections. Present top range projections for Harvey are in the range of 200 billion for that storm alone. Irma probably likely to top 100 billion in the end. Maria may be worse, overall, than Irma. Worth noting that damage assessments always tend to start smaller and grow over time as more and more reports come in.
Catastrophic category five Hurricane Maria strengthens as it tracks toward Puerto Rico, report on Roberts Scribbler, Sept 19, 2017
‘Green’ Vancouver’s park board votes on banning latex trash that poisons wildlife, CBC News, Sept 19, 2017[Vancouver touts itself as a world-leading ‘green’ city. So when its park board voted on a proposal on Sept 18 to ban latex (balloons) that lasts forever in the wild and poisons wildlife, of course the board voted in favour of the ban. Ha ha, kidding. The board voted five to two against the ban, saying it has “more important” things to do.]
Scientists say no longer any doubt about impact of pesticides on bees, by Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press, Sept 19, 2017
A group of international scientists meets today in Ottawa to try to convince parliamentarians there is no longer any doubt that common agricultural pesticides are toxic chemicals which are killing off honey bees. In fact, says Jean-Marc Bonmatin of the French National Centre for Scientific Research, neonicotinoid pesticides kill a lot more than just bees, posing a deadly risk to frogs, common birds, fish and earthworms…
Ban ‘neonic’ pesticides. Our food supplies are at risk, op-ed by Jean-Marc Bonmatin, Globe and Mail, Sept 18, 2017
Evaporation drains Caspian Sea level, by Tim Radford, Climate News Network, Sept 18, 2017
Can emissions shrink while the economy grows?, by David Suzuki, appearing on Rabble.ca, Sept 13, 2017
One third of Earth’s soil is acutely degraded due to agriculture, The Guardian, Sept 12, 2017
First Nation leaders to press Desjardins financial group to stop funding oilsands pipelines, by Ian Bickis, The Canadian Press, Sept 7, 2017
“The oil and gas industry had a pretty unfettered access to the financial community, to the investment community in regard to their grandiose expansion plans up until now,” said [Grand Chief Stewart] Phillip [of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs]. “Now there’s greater scrutiny, and it goes hand in hand with the undeniable, irrefutable evidence of the catastrophic impacts of climate change.”
Trans Canada Corp suspends its regulatory application to build $10 billion-plus ‘Energy East’ tar sands pipeline from Alberta to Atlantic Ocean, report on CBC News, Sept 7, 2017
A combination of oil industry economics and stiff opposition to the 4,000 km pipeline has likely killed the proposed Energy East pipeline. The pro-fossil fuel NDP gov’t in Alberta and Liberal gov’t in Ottawa can do little more than wail and complain. Attention now focuses on the proposed ‘Trans Mountain’ tar sands pipeline expansion by Texas-based Kinder Morgan Co, from Alberta to the port of Vancouver BC. Related story: Members of Secwepemc Nation to build ‘tiny houses’ on Trans Mountain Pipeline route, CBC News, Sept 7, 2017. [The pipeline expansion would increase by sevenfold the number of oil tankers in the waters of the port of Vancouver and west coast of North America, to more than one per day.]
Hurricane Harvey shows that when disaster strikes cities, residents are stuck, by Christopher Hume, Toronto Star, Sept 4, 2017
‘Clearly, city officials believe climate change measures can always be put off for another day. Though the effects of global warming are apparent, there is no collective sense of urgency. Toronto’s unspoken policy remains the same as always — it won’t happen here…’