This is a newsroll page on A Socialist In Canada, commencing Sept 19, 2017. See also the feature articles on ecology and global warming that are listed in the website category ‘Environment‘ (listed on the main website page). Some of the items on the ‘Canada newsroll’ page of the website (article titles with weblinks) are about the politics in Canada of the global warming emergency and are therefore not listed in the ‘Ecology Newsroll’. Text in square brackets [ ] is by Roger Annis.
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
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…’