This is a newsroll page on A Socialist In Canada, commencing September, 2017. It consists of headlines and weblinks, with occasional news summary and brief analysis by A Socialist In Canada [in square brackets]. Go to ‘News pages archives’ in the website ‘Categories’ listings on the home page to find past listings–September to December 2017, and for 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). To find past stories on this and other news pages on this website, use the ‘find’ (word search) function on your web browser. Articles about the politics in Canada of the global warming emergency are listed in the ‘Canada newsroll‘ page of the website. For example, 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. Headlines in red denote items published on the main news page of A Socialist In Canada.
Sinking land, poisoned water: the dark side of California’s mega farms, by Alissa Greenberg, The Guardian, July 18, 2018 The floor of the Central Valley is slumping, and there is arsenic in the tap water. Now it seems the two problems are connected … The 50,000 sq km of the Central Valley play an essential role in American life: some 250 crops grow here, about one-quarter of the nation’s food supply. Agriculture on this scale requires an enormous amount of water, especially as water-hungry crops like almonds have gained popularity. And since the area’s river and rainfall levels fluctuate widely even month to month, farmers say they have no choice but to drill wells and draw aggressively on aquifers…
Related: California is preparing for extreme weather, it’s time to plant some trees, by Henry Fountain, New York Times, July 15, 2018 The state expects drier dry years and wetter wet ones in the decades ahead. That means projects to restore river habitats now serve another purpose: battling the coming floods.
In India, summer heat may soon be literally unbearable, by Somini Sengupta, international climate reporter, New York Times, July 17, 2018
Related: Global warming in South Asia: 800 million at risk, by Somini Sengupta and Nadja Popovich, New York Times, June 28, 2018
Wildfires rage in Arctic Circle, Sweden calls for help, by Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, July 17, 2018 … There have been huge fires in the past in Sweden, but not over such a wide area. This appears to be a trend as more and bigger blazes are reported in other far northern regions like Greenland, Alaska, Siberia and Canada…
Cesspools, sewage, and social murder, by Ian Angus, published in Monthly Review, special issue of July-August, 2018 Ian Angus examines how the 19th century metabolic rift in agriculture that so concerned Karl Marx triggered a pollution crisis in the world’s largest city, London. See here for the full, special edition of Monthly Review for July-August 2018.
The Monsanto Papers: The ‘Roundup’ (glyphosate) cancer case key documents and analysis, published on the website of U.S. Right To Know, July 13, 2018 More than 450 lawsuits are pending against Monsanto Co. in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, filed by people alleging that exposure to Roundup herbicide caused them or their loved ones to develop non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and that Monsanto covered up the risks. The cases have been combined for handling as multidistrict litigation… Monsanto sought to have its internal records and communications sealed from public view but the judge has allowed many to be made part of the public record, and these “Monsanto Papers” are contained within the records below…
[One of the writers at U.S. Right To Know is Carey Gillam, author of the 2017 book: Whitewash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer and the Corruption of Science. The book is one of the recommended books listed in the ‘Books and essays‘ page of A Socialist In Canada website.]
Global temperature projections could double as the world burns, by Dahr Jamail, published on his ‘Climate Disruption Dispatches’ monthly column on Truthout.org, July 16, 2018 (Dahr Jamail’s newest book is The End of Ice, forthcoming from The New Press.)
Related: Interview with Dahr Jamail on prospects for mitigating the consequences global warming and dealing with disastrous consequences, broadcast on ‘Last Born In The Wilderness’ podcast, February 2018 (seven minute interview)
Healthy soil is the real key to feeding the world, by David Montgomery, published in The Conversation, April 3, 2017 [In this 2017 essay, David Montgomery tackles “three myths” about producing food in the modern world: Myth 1: Large-scale agriculture feeds the world today; Myth 2: Large farms are more efficient; Myth 3: Conventional farming is necessary to feed the world.] (David Montgomery is professor of earth and space sciences at University of Washington and the author of the 2017 book Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life. The book is reviewed here in New Scientist, July 2017; brief reviews are here on the website of the book’s publisher Norton.)
Green gold Rush: Investors are lining up to buy green bonds, but can they live up to the hype?, by Liz Farmer, published in Governing States and Localities, July 2018
Scorching heat waves loom over the future of the world’s cities, broadcast on CBC Radio One‘s ‘The Current’, July 13, 2018 (22 minute broadcast) Interviewing: Kurt Schickman, executive director of the Global Cool Cities Alliance; Blair Feltmate of the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation at the University of Waterloo, Ontario; and Tracy Heffernan, a lawyer from the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario. ‘Toronto’s highest temperatures in the past have hit 37 Celsius (99 Farenheit). Within a few decades, record highs will hit 44.’
* 74 deaths are linked to recent heat wave in province of Quebec, fears of more heat to come, Montreal Gazette, July 10, 2018
* The high cost of hot, research report by Climate Central, July 11, 2018 (five page report) … Climate Central analyzed trends in cooling degree days and minimum temperatures in the continental U.S. Of the 244 cities analyzed, 93 per cent had an increase in cooling degree days. Much of this warming occurs at night, demonstrated by the fact that of those same cities, 87 percent see an increase in the occurrence of overnight low temperatures above a threshold of either 55°F or 65°F. [A cooling degree day (CDD) is a measurement designed to quantify the demand for energy needed to cool a building. It is the number of degrees that a day’s average temperature is above 65o Fahrenheit (18o Celsius), which is the temperature above which buildings need to be cooled.]
* Air conditioning costs rise with Arizona’s heat, by John Upton of Climate Central and Gloria Knott of Arizona Daily Star, published on July 11, 2018 … Tucson, Phoenix and Yuma in Arizona were among the ten locales that experienced the greatest increases in the amount of cooling required in recent decades as temperatures have risen, according to a new analysis of 244 U.S. cities…
* Rising seas could swell Arizona’s population, by John Upton, Climate Central, June 7, 2018
Western Japan struggles to restore water to flood-hit towns as temperatures soar, by news agencies, in Japan Times, July 13, 2018
Municipal workers struggled Friday to restore water to flood-hit western Japan a week after inundation caused by a record downpour killed more than 200 people in the nation’s worst weather disaster in 36 years.
Communities that grappled with rising floodwaters last week now find themselves battling scorching summer temperatures well above 30 degrees, as foul-smelling garbage piles up in mud-splattered streets. “We need the water supply back,” said Hiroshi Oka, 40, an Okayama resident helping to clean up the Mabicho district in Kurashiki where more than 200,000 households have gone without water for a week…
Background: ‘Never before experienced’ rains hammer Japan during early July, by Robert Fanney, published on his website RobertScribbler, July 9, 2018 During recent days as much as 25 inches of rain has fallen over parts of Japan shattering previous all time precipitation records for parts of the island nation. The resulting floods have spurred a major emergency response by 54,000 personnel, taken the lives of more than 125 people, and forced more than 2.8 million to evacuate…
Carbon trading, co-pollutants, and environmental equity: Evidence from California’s cap-and-trade program (2011–2015), by Lara Cushing, Dan Blaustein-Rejto, Madeline Wander, Manuel Pastor, James Sadd, Allen Zhu and Rachel Morello-Frosch, published by PLOS (‘Public Library of Science’), July 10, 2018
… To our knowledge, this is the first study to examine social disparities in GHG and co-pollutant emissions under an existing carbon trading program. Our results indicate that, thus far, California’s cap-and-trade program has not yielded improvements in environmental equity with respect to health-damaging co-pollutant emissions. This could change, however, as the cap on GHG emissions is gradually lowered in the future.
Industry inertia, vested interest have lithium-ion taking charge in energy storage technologies at the expense of cheaper and more efficient metals, commentary by Tyler Hamilton, Globe and Mail, July 10, 2018
Prepare for the worst, by Richard Seymour, published in his page on Patreon, July 7, 2018 (and re-published in MR Online, July 10, 2018) It is worse than you thought. Perhaps twice as bad. Perhaps worse than that. Paleoclimatologists say that the past changes to global climates show that there exist mechanisms which magnify the effect of global warming. These are not well represented in climate models… (Referencing: Palaeoclimate constraints on the impact of 2 °C anthropogenic warming and beyond, by Hubertus Fischer, Katrin J. Meissner and Liping Zhou, in Nature Geoscience, June 25, 2018.) [Writer Richard Seymour draws upon recent scientific findings to draw a dark picture of humanity’s fate in the era of global warming. But he offers no path at all for how humanity may act in time to mitigate the worst of the consequences of global warming that science is warning against.]
Minke whale death toll rising off east coast of North America, The Canadian Press, July 9, 2018 An animal protection group says the death toll appears to be rising for a small whale species off the East Coast, raising concerns that the animals are falling victim to the same threats facing endangered North Atlantic right whales…
* Minke whale unusual mortality event along the U.S. Atlantic coast, by NOAA Fisheries, June 8, 2018 Since January 2017, elevated minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) mortalities have occurred along the Atlantic coast from Maine through South Carolina. This has been declared an Unusual Mortality Event. A table of stranding numbers by state is below. While minke whales are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the species is not listed as endangered or threatened under the Endangered Species Act…
* Orca whales in the Pacific Northwest are starving and disappearing, by Jim Robbins, New York Times, July 9, 2018
Young leftist candidates in the U.S. are breathing new radicalism into stale climate politics, by Kate Aronoff, The Intercept, July 5, 2018
[This analysis published in The Intercept argues that the left, social-democratic politicians rising in the United States, such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, are advocating radical, even anti-capitalist, alternatives to mitigate the global warming emergency. But this is false. The climate change platform of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez advocates renewable energies (‘100 per cent renewables’) and ill-defined “structural changes” and “Green New Deal” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But these and other similar measures confined operating under the umbrella of the expansionist capitalist system will only dampen emissions, at best. They certainly won’t create the radical decline in emissions so urgently needed. The platform of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez does not even posit specific goals for greenhouse gas emissions. Instead, it offers hope that a constrained form of capitalism may do the trick.
[An alternative viewpoint arguing for a massive reduction in all the waste, excess and plunder characteristic of capitalism (aka ‘degrowth’) in the form of a planned, social economy under citizen control is argued in the articles compiled on the ‘Environment’ page of A Socialist In Canada website.]
UN climate fund chief resigns for personal reasons while board meeting collapses, by Megan Darby, Climate Home News, July 4, 2018
* UN climate fund board meeting in South Korea turns ‘toxic’ as funding runs low, by Megan Darby, Climate Home News, July 3, 2018
* Green Climate Fund ‘a laughing stock’, say poor countries, by Megan Darby, Climate Home News, April 6, 2017
Heat wave smashes records around the world — a look at the sizzling temperatures, Global News, July 5, 2018
* Red-hot planet: All-time heat records have been set all over the world during the past week, by Jason Samenow, Washington Post, July 4, 2018
* A city in Pakistan may have just endured the hottest April temperature ever observed on Earth, by Jason Samenow, Washington Post, May 1, 2018
‘The Robbery of Nature’, special issue of Monthly Review, July-August, 2018
Canada leads the G7 in oil and gas subsidies, Huffington Post Canada, July 4, 2018 The Canadian government has pledged to end fossil fuel subsidies, but a new report shows it faces an uphill climb if it intends to make good on that promise. The Overseas Development Institute, a UK think tank, published a report last month showing Canada leads the G7 in subsidies for oil and gas industries as a share of the country’s economy…
BP Energy annual report for 2017: Use of fossil fuels and related emissions are rising, defying goals of 2015 Paris climate agreement, by Gerardo Honty, published in English section of ‘Latin America in Motion’, June 25, 2018 (Spanish-language original, June 20, 2018, is here) … In 2017, we have taken a step backwards with respect to the timid advances that appeared in the two preceding years: the use of fossil fuels continues to grow, the increase of the share of renewable resources is much lower than what is needed and the emissions are increasing rather than decreasing.
Shipping, cement and steel: The toughest emissions to cut but a big chunk of the climate emergency, by Nicholas Kusnetz, Inside Climate News, June 28, 2018
… Efforts to tackle climate change typically focus on boosting renewable energy or using cleaner, more efficient cars, but there’s an entire realm of the economy they’re largely ignoring—one that accounts for about a quarter of global carbon dioxide emissions. These sources of climate pollution include industrial processes and long-haul shipping, and cutting their emissions will prove particularly difficult.
Taken together, these hard-to-cut sources accounted for 27 per cent of global CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and industrial sources, according to a paper written by more than 30 leading climate scientists and published on Kune 28 in the journal Science. What’s more, as global trade and construction continue to grow, the scientists warn that absolute emissions from these sources could eventually equal the current total level of global emissions.
[This analysis published in Inside Climate News and the report which it reviews speak to the central role of expansionist, industrial capitalism in causing the global warming emergency. Yet neither the analysis nor the report propose reducing all the waste and excess of capitalism, even though little or none of it is required for human development. The report hints only obliquely in its conclusion at ‘degrowth’ as a goal in global warming mitigation: “Particularly crucial are the rate and intensity of economic growth in developing countries and the degree to which such growth can avoid fossil-fuel energy while prioritizing human development, environmental protection, sustainability, and social equity.”]
The shipping industry begins cleaning up its dirty fuel emissions that kill 400,000 prematurely every year, report by Maria Gallucci, in Yale Environment 360, June 28, 2018 By 2020, the global shipping fleet will be required to slash the noxious emissions from thick, sulfur-laden “bunker” fuel, a move that is expected to sharply reduce air pollution and prevent millions of cases of childhood asthma and other respiratory ailments.
Germany to miss 2020 greenhouse gas emissions target, Deutsche Welle, June 13, 2018 The German government set itself the goal of reducing national greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2020 by 40 per cent, compared to 1990 levels. But a draft government report estimates that the country will only be able to reduce emissions by 32 per cent…
Related: Germany is a coal-burning, gas-guzzling climate change hypocrite, by Paul Hockenos, Foreign Policy Magazine, Nov 13, 2017 [Germany is Europe’s largest producer and burner of coal and the eighth largest producer in the world. Coal accounted for 40.3 percent of net power production in 2017: 15.5 percent from hard coal and 24.8 percent from lignite, also known as brown coal. Lignite is among the dirtiest of fossil fuels. Germany mines more lignite than any other country in the world.]
Rising seas: ‘Florida is about to be wiped off the map’, extract from the new book by Elizabeth Rush titled ‘Rising: Dispatches From The New American Shore‘, extract published in The Guardian, June 26, 2018 Sea level rises are not some distant threat; for many Americans they are very real. In an extract from her chilling new book, Rising, Elizabeth Rush details how the US coastline will be radically transformed in the coming years.
* Meet America’s new climate normal: towns that flood when it isn’t raining, extract from the new book by Elizabeth Rush titled ‘Rising: Dispatches From The New American Shore‘, extract published in The Guardian, June 28, 2018 In this extract from Rising, Elizabeth Rush explains ‘sunny day flooding’ – when a high tide can cause streets to fill with water
* Flooding from sea level rise threatens over 300,000 U.S. coastal homes – study, by Oliver Milman, The Guardian, June 18, 2018 Climate change study by the Union of Concerned Scientists predicts ‘staggering impact’ of swelling oceans on coastal communities within next 30 years Here is the study: 2.5 million homes, businesses in U.S. totaling $1 trillion are threatened by high tide flooding, press release by the Union of Concerned Scientists, June 18, 2018 (The 28-page UCS report is titled ‘ Underwater: Rising Seas, Chronic Floods, and the Implications for US Coastal Real Estate’; find it at the press release weblink.)
Research firm: Tesla electric cars just as polluting as petrol and diesel, by Jason Hopkins, The Daily Caller, June 25, 2018 A study has found electric vehicles manufactured by Tesla are no better for the environment than diesel or petrol-fueled cars… This isn’t the first time a study has determined electric vehicles to have no substantial benefit for the environment. The Manhattan Institute published a report in May that analyzed the cost of electric automobiles and their effectiveness to clean the environment. The Institute’s findings were quite notable: electric cars actually increase the amount of pollution into the atmosphere compared to new internal combustion vehicles.
Related: Green on the outside, red in the middle: the untold story of Tesla’s carbon emissions, press release by investment advisor firm Energy Tracking (London UK), June 25, 2018 (three page report here) … Unlike its older, “dirtier” counterparts in the automobile industry , many of whose stock market valuations it has long since overtaken, Tesla doesn’t report its greenhouse gas emissions. Indeed, Tesla does not even acknowledge climate change as a current business issue in its company reporting.
Despite Trump, Wall Street is breaking up with fossil fuels, by Bill McKibben, Grist, June 19, 2018 [The optimism of liberal environmentalists such as Bill McKibben that consumerist investment decisions can alter the course of the global warming emergency is misplaced. First of all, fossil fuel production is at an all-time high right now. Seoncdly, the International Energy Agency predicts that global fossil fuel production through 2050 will grow almost as fast as renewable in mere percentage terms. Thirdly, privately owned fossil fuel companies such as Exxon, Shell, BP, Conoco are only part of the production story. They account for only around per cent of global fossil fuel production, while the rest comes from state-owned companies, They are not bothered by fossil fuel divestment campaigns, their profits aren’t collapsing and they have no plans to cut production.]
Related: ‘Renewable’ energies to replace fossil fuels: Greenwashing dressed as climate science. [Canada’s online National Observer thinks it has great scientific insight into the global warming emergency when it publishes on June 15, 2018 the views of Harvard University climate scientist Jim Anderson. It reports Anderson as saying the answer to the global warming emergency is switching the world’s sources of energy from fossil fuels to ‘renewable’ energies such as wind and solar power. “Nature provides us with 5,000 to 7,000 times as much energy created by the sun than all of humanity uses. It’s not as though Mother Nature hasn’t supplied us with the obvious ways to do this.” Right, and where are all the natural resources going to come from to build the alternative energy sources and transport their product, not to speak of the manufacture of all the endless excess and waste of consumerist, expansionist capitalism? The ideologues of greenwashed capitalism do not trouble themselves with such questions because the answers would refute the premise that a ‘green’ capitalism using ‘renewable’ and ‘alternative’ energies can miraculously slow greenhouse gas emissions. No, pipe dreams and miracles won’t slow the emissions; only radical social and political change can do that by ending war and poverty and bringing human society into harmony with the natural limits of our natural surroundings.]
About 870,000 litres of crude oil leaks into Iowa floodwaters after train carrying oil from Alberta derails, Associated Press, June 23, 2018 (with video) An estimated 870,619 litres of crude oil spilled into floodwaters in the northwestern corner of Iowa following a train derailment, a railroad official said on June 22. BNSF spokesman Andy Williams said 14 of 32 oil tanker cars just south of Doon in Lyon County leaked oil into surrounding floodwaters from the swollen Little Rock River. Williams had earlier said 33 oil cars had derailed…
* Recent train derailment in Oregon prompts call for oil-by-rail ban, report by Paul Yeager, Iowa Public Television, June 17, 2018
* Crude-by-rail exports hit three-year high in Canada, by Dan Healing, The Canadian Press, June 14, 2018 … Crude-by-rail exports to the United States jumped to a three-year high in March 2018 of just over 170,000 barrels per day, the highest since December 2014 and an increase from 134,000 bpd in February 2018, the National Energy Board reported.
Push to burn wood for fuel threatens climate goals, scientists warn, by Bob Berwyn, Inside Climate News, June 24, 2018 Scientists say a new EU renewable energy policy on biomass is ‘misleading’ and will raise emissions. U.S. and other forests are being turned into wood pellets to feed demand.
Coral reefs ‘will be overwhelmed by rising oceans’, by Robin McKie, The Guardian, June 23, 2018 Study finds fragile marine ecosystems cannot grow fast enough to keep pace with sea levels
Oil and gas fields leak far more methane than EPA reports, study finds, by Sabrina Shankman, Inside Climate News, June 21, 2018
The amount of methane leaking from the nation’s oil and gas fields may be 60 percent higher than the official estimates of the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a new study in the journal Science.
The study, led by a group of scientists from the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), presents some of the most compelling evidence to date that switching to gas from dirtier fuels like coal might not be as effective a climate strategy as its proponents suggest unless the gas industry improves how it controls leaks.
Related: Methane leaks from oil and gas are 60 per cent higher than EPA estimates, new study finds, by Sharon Kelly, Desmog Blog, June 21, 2018
Sinking land and climate change are worsening tidal floods on the Texas coast, by Naveena Sadasivam, Texas Observer, June 20, 2018 More than 10,000 homes along the Texas coast will flood at least 26 times a year by 2045, researchers say.
… Take, for example, Rockport, the arts-and-tourism town that’s picking up the pieces from Harvey: In 2006, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s tidal gauge in Rockport recorded just one instance of tidal flooding. In 2016, the same gauge recorded 91 floods…
Antarctic buffer damage spurs ice break-up, by Alex Kirby, Inside Climate News, June 21, 2018 The vast southern ice sheet, despite the Antarctic buffer which has protected it for so long, is now being threatened by ocean swells chipping away at the continent’s coastal edge, says a new study by US scientists published in the journal Nature…
Related: Sea level rise due to Antarctic ice melt has ‘tripled over past five years’, by Daisy Dunne, Carbon Brief, June 13, 2018
Coastal real estate in U.S. worth billions at risk of chronic flooding as sea level rises, by Phil McKenna, Inside Climate News, Monday, June 18, 2018 Experts at the Union of Concerned Scientists warn in a new report that property losses in the United States could run into the hundreds of billions of dollars unless rapid action is taken to bring climate change under control, they warned in a study released Monday…
Oil industry tries to take the fracking boom global, by Sarah Kent, Wall Street Journal, June 20, 2018
Indigenous protesters in Washington state declare Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline won’t be built, by Laura Kane, The Canadian Press, June 18, 2018
Agroecology versus deadly global agribusiness, by Colin Todhunter, published on his website East By Northwest, May 16, 2018 Agroecology offers a genuine solution to the degradation of land and the decline of the nutritional value of food.
Homeless Bangladeshis flee before rising waters, by Kieran Cooke, Climate News Network, June 13, 2018 … With 166 million people, Bangladesh is one of the poorest and most densely populated countries on Earth – and one of the most threatened by climate change. A recently released report by the Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) says rises in sea levels caused by climate change could result in Bangladesh losing more than 10 per cent of its land area by mid-century, resulting in the displacement of 15 million people…
Antarctica’s ice loss tripled in five years, raising the risks of sea level rise, by Bob Berwyn, Inside Climate News, June 14, 2018
The most complete assessment to date of Antarctica’s ice sheets confirms that the meltdown accelerated sharply in the past five years, and there is no sign of a slowdown. It means sea level is expected to rise at a rate that will catch some coastal communities unprepared despite persistent warnings, according to the international team of scientists publishing a series of related studies this week in the journal Nature.
… Between 1992, when detailed satellite measurements started, and 2012, Antarctica lost about 76 billion tons of ice per year. But since 2012, that rate has tripled to about 219 billion tons of ice loss per year, the scientists found…
Related: Antarctica’s rate of melting is accelerating, by Tim Radford, Climate News Network, June 14, 2018 Scientists have just completed the most detailed mass observation of the southern continent so far. The news is ominous: Antarctica’s melting is speeding up.
The carbon bubble: Here come the New Dirty Thirties, by Crawford Kilian, The Tyee, June 13, 2018
(Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee) The ugly end days of fossil fuel will mean big trouble for Canadians.
Related: Sharp rise in oil and tar sands extraction forecast by Canada’s oil industry association, by Dan Healing, The Canadian Press, June 12, 2018 [Canada’s oil production [including tar sands] is expected to increase by 1.4 million barrels per day by 2035, to 5.6 million bpd, despite an ongoing “competitiveness gap” that discourages investment, according to the annual forecast of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. The increase will mainly due to a 58 per cent rise in oilsands [sic] production to 4.2 million bpd the group says.]
World Health Organisation declares Paraguay malaria free, by Catherine Cheney, Devex, June 11, 2018 Paraguay has had no reported cases of indigenous malaria since 2012. It is the first country in the Americas to be declared malaria-free by the WHO since Cuba in 1973.
Climate change indicated in forced migration of 1.7 million people from Vietnam’s Mekong Delta, by Robert Haney, published on his website Robertscribbler, June 8, 2018
Worsening drought in Australia is pushing farmers to the brink, by Lisa Cox, published in the anti-Russia Guardian, June 9, 2018
* Recent Australian droughts may be the worst in 800 years, by four authors at university of Melbourne, published in The Conversation, May 1, 2018
* Natural gas boom fuels Australia’s third straight year of rising emissions, by Lisa Cox, The Guardian, 2018 [And yes, Australia is a signatory to the 2015 Paris conference agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.] * Australia’s emissions rise again in 2017, putting Paris targets in doubt, The Guardian, March 29, 2018
After years of green promises, U.S. automakers renege on emissions standards, by John DeCicco, Yale Environment 360, June 7, 2018 For decades, government pressure has been needed to force U.S. automakers to agree to reduce pollution and CO2 emissions from their fleets. Now, with the Trump administration, the job of pushing Detroit to cut emissions falls to California and other environmentally minded states.
… Electric vehicles do greatly reduce net emissions, but their costs and capability limitations mean that electrification is no silver bullet…
* What global warming? Sales of trucks and SUVs worldwide are leaving smaller autos in their dust, report in Toronto Star by Michael Lewis, May 2, 2018 … In 2009 during the Great Recession, sedans commanded more than 39 per cent of the U.S. market, while SUVs were at 29 per cent and pickups had 13 per cent of the market. Last year, SUVs had 43 per cent of the market, followed by sedans at less than 28 per cent, while pickups had climbed to almost 16 per cent of the market. April’s sales figures showed every major automaker reporting declining passenger-car sales…
* Canadian and Ontario governments give $220 million to Toyota to expand its production of best-selling ‘RAV 4’ SUV, The Canadian Press, May 4, 2018 [Sales of Toyota’s ‘RAV 4’ SUV have surpassed for the first time sales of Toyota’s Camry and Corolla auto bestsellers, in line with the trends of nearly all global automakers. Report in Globe and Mail, May 4, 2018.] * The world is embracing SUVs and that’s bad news for the climate and future generations, by Hiroko Tabushi, New York Times, Mar 3, 2018 The SUV-building bonanza contrasts with promises made by automakers of big investments in electric vehicles and other low-emitting vehicles. They are pouring resources into far more polluting SUVs
* Another warning of global warming: Record auto and truck sales, by Roger Annis, published in A Socialist In Canada, Oct 4, 2017
Hurricanes slow their roll around the world, by Giogia Guglielmi, Nature magazine, June 6, 2018 Storms’ slowdown means more rain, and potentially more damage, for populated areas.
Fixing planet plastic: How we’ll really solve our waste problem, by Aisling Irwin, New Scientist (UK weekly), print edition of May 19, 2018 (This is a subscriber only article; read it here in pdf format: Fixing planet plastic. For subscription information to the weekly magazine New Scientist, click here.)
Dust rising: As California’s Salton Sea dries up, clouds of toxic dust threaten nearby communities, by Michael Zelenko, The Verge, June 6, 2018
Related: Africa’s Lake Chad, the world’s most complex humanitarian disaster, by Ben Taub, New Yorker Magazine, Dec 4, 2017 issue
Fossil fuels are winning the footrace against ‘renewable’ energies, June 8, 2018
[The Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the U.S. government projects in its 2017 world energy outlook that so-called renewable energy sources will grow at a slightly faster rate in the next few decades compared to energy from burning natural gas–2.3 per cent versus 1.4 per cent. But because renewables are growing from such a low base, the net result is that the volume of natural gas in the energy mix by 2040 will still outpace renewables even though it grows at a slower rate. By 2040, natural gas alone is projected to account for almost twice as much energy use as renewables (19 trillion kwhours vs. 11 trillion kwhours). Altogether, global non-hydro electricity renewables are projected to more than double between 2015 but they will still only account for 15 per cent of generation in 2040; fossil fuels will occupy 77 per cent, 28 per cent greater than today. The EIA is criticized for excessive pessimism in projecting transitions from fossil fuels. But who can be so sure in the era of Donald Trump and the constant warmaking of U.S.imperialism, Trans Mountain Pipeline CEO Justin Trudeau and the pro-fossil fuel NDP governments in Alberta and British Columbia? The endless growth imperative of the capitalist system over which they preside is a threat to the future of all humanity.]
Ecomodernism and the sacred shibboleth, by Jason Hickel, published on his website blog, May 15, 2018 and related: The magical thinking of ecomodernism, by Jason Hickel, published on his website blog, May 15, 2018 (Jason Hickel is an anthropologist and author at the University of London and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He serves on the UK Labour Party task force on international development. He is an advocate for global social equality and an advocate of ‘degrowth’ as a solution to the global warming emergency. His most recent book is Divide: A Brief Guide to Global Inequality and its Solutions (2017).)
Why economic growth is not compatible with environmental sustainability, by Robert Orzanna, published on Research and Degrowth, April 2, 2018 (Research & Degrowth is an academic association dedicated to research, training, awareness-raising and events organization around degrowth.) and: The rise and future of the degrowth movement, by Robert Orzanna, published on Research and Degrowth, April 2, 2018
Background: ‘Degrowth promotes the commons and focuses on improving human well-being’, compilation of essays by Jason Hickel, on A Socialist In Canada, Dec 27, 2017
Lower 48 states just had the warmest May on record, by Chris Dolce, The Weather Channel, June 5, 2018
Related: U.S. coastal flooding breaks records as sea level rises, by Nicholas Kusnetz, Inside Climate News, June 6, 2018 NOAA report shows the frequency of high-tide flooding has doubled in 30 years. Some cities faced more than 20 days of it in the past year, and not just during hurricanes.
Environmental activists in Washington state vow to fight the expansion of the Trans Mountain tar sands pipeline, soon to be owned by the Canadian government, by Justine Hunter, Globe and Mail, June 6, 2018 (subscriber only) [Financial disclosure documents issued as part of Kinder Morgan Canada’s initial public offering for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project in 2017 indicate the potential to more than double the throughput of the Puget Sound pipeline, boosting its capacity from 240,000 to 500,000 barrels a day (b/d). The line branches off to Washington state from the lower Fraser River Valley in British Columbia. In 2017, a little more than half of the crude oil flowing through the Trans Mountain pipeline was delivered to the Puget Sound refineries for processing. The pipeline expansion is intended to boost tar sands bitumen exports, taking advantage of the loading facilities at refineries in northern Washington state.]
* Canadian government purchase of the Trans Mountain Pipeline: Is Washington state now in the tar sands crosshairs?, by Clark Williams-Derry, Sightline Institute, June 7, 2018 … Hidden in the details of the Canadian and Alberta governments’ purchase of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline is a surprising fact: the Canadian government intends to buy not only Trans Mountain but also the Puget Sound Pipeline… Even more troublingly, Kinder Morgan has been telling investors for years that it is considering doubling the capacity of the Puget Sound Pipeline.
* Facebook page of Stop the Kinder Morgan Pipeline Seattle
The ideology of fossil fuels, by Audrea Lim, Dissent Magazine, print issue of Spring 2018 Imagining a low-carbon world means revisiting our conception of freedom itself.
‘Carbon bubble’ could spark global financial crisis, study warns, published in the anti-Russia Guardian, June 4, 2018, by Fiona Harvey, environment correspondent
… The existence of a “carbon bubble” – assets in fossil fuels that are currently overvalued because, in the medium and long-term, the world will have to drastically reduce greenhouse gas emissions – has long been proposed by academics, activists and investors. The new study, published on June 4 in the journal Nature Climate Change, shows that a sharp slump in the value of fossil fuels would cause this bubble to burst, and posits that such a slump is likely before 2035 based on current patterns of energy use.
Crucially, the findings suggest that a rapid decline in fossil fuel demand is no longer dependent on stronger policies and actions from governments around the world. Instead, the authors’ detailed simulations found the demand drop would take place even if major nations undertake no new climate policies, or reverse some previous commitments. That’s because advances in technologies for energy efficiency and renewable power, and the accompanying drop in their price, have made low-carbon energy much more economically and technically attractive…
Study warns of stranded fossil fuel assets as clean energy technology soars, by Jeremy Deaton, Nexus Media, June 5, 2018 [Yes, switching from fossil fuels to ‘renewable energies’ will be an “energy transition”, as this Nexus Media author and other liberal environmentalists argue. But it won’t be a transition to salvation from the global warming emergency. That will only come about when the excess, waste and expansionist imperative of the capitalist system is ended and a planned, social and ecological economy in harmony with the natural world is created in its place.]
Vladimir Vernadsky and the disruption of the biosphere, by Ian Angus, published in Climate and Capitalism, June 5, 2018 Continuing the series in Climate and Capitalism on metabolic rifts.
… The first scientist to undertake a serious study of the dynamic relationship between life and the Earth as a whole was the Russian geochemist Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky. Born in 1863 and educated in St. Petersburg, Munich and Paris, by 1900 he was well-known both as a geologist and as a liberal opponent of Tsarist autocracy…
As glacier-fed rivers disappear, one-sixth of global population is at risk, by Dahr Jamail, columnist, Truthout.org, June 4, 2018
Virgina’s Tangier Island is a microcosym of humans and planet Earth, by David Swanson, published on his website, June 4, 2018
Shale oil and gas surge crashes into bottlenecks in U.S., from pipelines to ports, by Alex Nussbaum, Bloomberg News, May 29, 2018 The U.S. shale surge is crashing headlong into a barrage of bottlenecks. From West Texas pipelines to Oklahoma storage centers and Gulf Coast export terminals, the delivery system for American crude is straining to keep up with soaring production…
Think the big banks have abandoned Coal? Think again, by Emily Flitter, New York Times, May 28, 2018 A study by Rainforest Action Network shows the five largest U.S. banks have started lending to coal companies again now that they have emerged from bankruptcy.
* Trump orders action to stem coal, nuclear plant shutdowns, by Jennifer A Dlouhy, Inside Climate News, June 1, 2018 President Donald Trump ordered his energy secretary to take immediate action to stem power plant closures, arguing that a decline in coal and nuclear electricity is putting the nation’s security at risk…
* EPA takes a major step to roll back auto emissions rules, New York Times, May 31, 2018
Hurricane season 2018: Experts warn of superstorms, call for new category 6, by Bob Berwyn, Inside Climate News, June 2, 2018 A spate of record-breaking storms has spurred a call for expanding the hurricane scale for better warnings that could save lives
* Climate change and rapidly intensifying hurricanes, by Climate Central, May 30, 2018 Atlantic hurricane season starts June 1. Last year’s season was devastating for the U.S. Damage from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria cost the U.S. $267 billion…
* Norfolk, Virginia wants to remake itself as sea level rises, but who will be left behind?, by Nicholas Kusnetz, Inside Climate News, May 21, 2018 The proud town home of the U.S. Navy’s and world’s largest naval base sees itself as a living lab for coastal resilience, one in desperate need of solutions as flooding worsens. Not every neighborhood will be saved.
China’s ‘Belt Road Initiative’ trade plan may cause lasting environmental harm, by Alex Kirby, Climate News Network, June 1, 2018
Risks to Western economies from China’s climate impact, by Tim Radford, Climate News Network, May 30, 2018