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]. For months preceding January 2020, go to ‘News pages archives’ on the home page of A Socialist In Canada and use the drop-down menu. 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. Headlines in red denote items published on the main news page of A Socialist In Canada. Articles about the politics in Canada of the global warming emergency are listed in the ‘Canada newsroll‘ page of the website.
Ecology newsroll headlines on A Socialist In Canada, January 2020
Eighty per cent of Blue Mountains and 50 per cent of Gondwana rainforests have burned in bushfires, Guardian Australia, Jan 16, 2020 Guardian Australia analysis reveals the frightening amount of world heritage area burned in Australia’s ongoing fire crisis [The total area burned in the Australian bushfires of 2019/2020 as of early January 2020 is more than 8.5 million hectares. Of that, New South Wales has born the brunt with 4.9 million hectares burned. source.]
Constrained discussion of nuclear energy on ‘Climate and Capitalism’ website
Petition calling for koalas to be introduced to New Zealand met with skepticism from ecologists, interview with Dr. Andrea Byrom, ecologist and director of New Zealand’s Biological Heritage National Science Challenge, broadcast on CBC Radio One‘s ‘The Current’, Jan 16, 2020 (11-minute interview) …Byrom says the chances of koalas surviving if introduced would be “quite high” because parts of New Zealand have relatively similar climates to the animals native habitat of Victoria. But help should instead be focused on rehabilitating and regenerating Australia’s own ecosystem to support koalas rather than bringing the species to New Zealand, she says…
Australian gov’t officials signal a shift from global warming denial to deflect and delay:
* Australia softens climate change rhetoric as bushfires, and voters, rage, Reuters, Jan 15, 2020 …A poll from the Australia Institute on Jan 15 showed the country’s bushfire crisis has intensified concerns about climate change with almost seven in ten Australians wanting the government to lead on climate action. But Prime Minister Scott Morrison, whose popularity has sunk to its lowest levels since he took over leadership in 2018 over the government’s bushfire response, continues to espouse the merits of coal…
* Australia’s science minister calls for end to debate over whether climate change is real, SBS News, Jan 15, 2020 Top scientists will meet with Ms Andrews on Jan 15 to discuss a response to Australia’s unprecedented bushfires and how to address the effects of climate change fuelling their intensity.
* Two sides, same coin: It’s not about Labor or Liberal anymore, it’s too late for that now, by Nick Riemer, New Matilda, Jan 7, 2020 …Given the circumstances, distinctions between wet and dry, hard and soft, right and left in the ALP are ridiculous hair-splitting. Of course, there are ‘good people’ in the Labor Party. But they are no match for the careerist opportunists, apparatchiks-in-waiting, and nostalgists who will stick with the party regardless of what it actually stands for…
* What on Earth is the point of The Australian Labor Party?, by Liam McLoughlin, New Matilda, Sept 23, 2018 …For too long, there hasn’t been much of a choice for Labor Party voters. They could vote for the Labor Party whose leader promised to stop the boats, advocated boat turnbacks, killed the momentum of #LetThemStay, hobnobbed at exclusive, expensive fundraisers for business leaders, accepted political donations from fossil fuel companies, supported new coal mines and backed rafts of legislation transforming Australia into a police state, or they could vote for the Liberals Party…
Misrepresenting Marx’s ecology: A response to Daniel Tanuro’s book review of Kohei Saito’s 2018 book ‘Karl Marx’s Ecosocialism’, by John Bellamy Foster, published on MR Online, Jan 14, 2020
Nuclear energy ‘cannot rival renewable energy’, by Paul Brown, Climate News Network, Jan 14, 2020 Far from tackling climate change, nuclear power is an expensive distraction whose safety is threatened by wildfires and floods, experts say.
Rising, record-setting ocean warming continued in 2019, reports new scientific study, news report published in Eureka Alert! (news outlet of the American Association for the Advancement of Science), Jan 13, 2020 A new research paper published in Advances in Atmospheric Sciences on January 13 shows the world’s oceans were the warmest in 2019 than any other time in recorded human history, especially between the surface and a depth of 2,000 meters. The study, conducted by an international team of 14 scientists from 11 institutes across the world, also concludes that the past ten years have been the warmest on record for global ocean temperatures, with the past five years holding the highest record…
In the climate change wars, Greta Thunberg thrashes Roger Federer 6-0, 6-0, by Cathal Kelly, sports columnist, Globe and Mail, Jan 12, 2020 Over the weekend, Roger Federer was forced to try something new – defend his integrity. He didn’t do a very good job of it. Federer may be the world’s most successfully branded person. Among his portfolio of sponsors is the Swiss financial giant, Credit Suisse. Credit Suisse invests in all sorts of things, including oil and gas exploration. Environmentalists have angrily taken note, but there’s not much point in picking a fight with a bank. Everybody already hates banks, so nobody cares. Instead, they protested against Federer… Read the full column here in pdf format: Greta Thunberg thrashes Roger Federer
Thousands more flee homes in Australia as heat, high winds fan flames, Associated Press, Jan 10, 2020
* Two massive fires merge in New South Wales as 250,000 people in the state ordered to evacuate due to advancing fires, Sydney Morning Herald, Jan 10, 2020
* Tens of thousands rally in cites across Australia condemning Aus gov’t for accelerating global warming crisis, Deutsche Welle, Jan 10, 2020 [In Sydney alone, some 30,000 people came into the streets for a protest spearheaded by university students.].
* German engineering giant Siemens says it will decide whether to continue helping build new coal mine in Australia, Deutsche Welle, Jan 10, 2020 …The Carmichael coal mine is being developed by India’s Adani group in central Queensland. It would be the largest coal mine in Australia and one of the largest in the world…
* Australia’s wildfires have burned more than 8.4 million hectares, Global News, Jan 7, 2020
Coal stokes Aussie bushfire rage, Deutsche Welle, Jan 10, 2020
Related: Australian bushfires: The canary building the coal mine, Deutsche Welle, Jan 10, 2020 The world’s biggest exporter of coal is engulfed in flames and Aussies are taking to the streets demanding action. Could this summer be the turning point for a notorious climate offender?
Trump regime moves to exempt large projects from environmental review, New York Times, Jan 9, 2020 The White House on Thursday introduced major changes to the nation’s benchmark environmental protection law, moving to ease approval of major energy and infrastructure projects without detailed environmental review or consideration of climate change. Many of the changes to the law — the 50-year-old National Environmental Policy Act, a landmark measure that touches nearly every significant construction project in the country — had been long sought by the oil and gas industry as well as trade unions, which have argued that the review process is lengthy, cumbersome and used by environmental activists to drag out legal disputes and kill infrastructure projects…
How big are the Australia wildfires and where are they burning?, CTV News, Jan 7, 2020
Related: One billion animals killed in Australia wildfires called a ‘very conservative’ estimate, Common Dreams, Jan 7, 2020
Australia is committing climate suicide, commentary by Richard Flanagan (Australian novelist), in New York Times, Jan 3, 2020 As record fires rage, the country’s leaders seem intent on sending it to its doom. Read the commentary here in pdf format: Australia is committing climate suicide
New study links the changes in everyday weather to human-caused global warming, by Andrew Freedman, Washington Post, Jan 3, 2019 For the first time, scientists have detected the “fingerprint” of human-induced climate change on daily weather patterns at the global scale. If verified by subsequent work, the findings, published Jan 2, 2020 in Nature Climate Change, would upend the long-established narrative that daily weather is distinct from long-term climate change. The study’s results also imply that research aimed at assessing the human role in contributing to extreme weather events such as heat waves and floods may be underestimating the contribution…
2019 was Australia’s hottest and driest year on record, report on ABC (state broadcaster), Jan 1, 2020 (with charts) The data is in and 2019 has topped the Bureau of Meteorology’s (BOM) charts for average and maximum temperatures as well as the lowest annual rainfall across the country.
* People are looking for someone to blame and right now Prime Minister Scott Morrison is in their sights, Sydney Morning Herald, Jan 2, 2020 …Coping with the scale of the disaster unfolding on the south coast of New South Wales was never going to be easy, but with tens of thousands of stranded people trying to survive without basic necessities, there needs to be an unprecedented response. Right now, locals cannot work out who is in charge. I’ve heard of officials running evacuation centres not knowing they can put people up in motels paid for by the government… The Prime Minister has been firm on saying the response to this disaster is ultimately a state issue and he will help when asked. The response is well co-ordinated, he told a press conference today. But for people whose homes are wiped out and families without nappies for their babies, this must ring hollow…
* Australia’s deadly bushfires are so big they’ve started generating their own weather, Business Insider Australia, Jan 1, 2020
Race to evacuate thousands before Australia fire conditions worsen, Axios, Jan 2, 2019 and read: Worsening fire conditions forecast beginning Jan 4 in Australian state of New South Wales, SBS News, Jan 1, 2020
* Ecologists say entire species are being wiped out and half a billion animals may have been killed by Australia wildfires, Common Dreams, Jan 2, 2020
* Australia PM Scott Morrison under fire as thousands flee blazes, Guardian Australia, Jan 1, 2020
* We know Australia’s fire disaster is unprecedented, no amount of Scott Morrison spin can hide it, commentary by Lenore Taylor, Guardian Australia, Jan 1, 2020 (Lenore Taylor is the editor of Guardian Australia.)
* Now is not the time to talk about climate change. Cue the fireworks!, commentary by Darren Lewin-Hill, New Matilda, Dec 30, 2019
* Fires worsen in Australia, reaching Melbourne suburbs, Deutsche Welle, Dec 31, 2019
* Thousands trapped on beach in southeast Australia as fires approach, Deutsche Welle, Dec 31, 2019 [More than six million hectares of land have burned in Australia since the onset of the summer 2019-20 fire season (source). That’s app. nine times the 765,000 hectares burned in California’s record wildfires of 2018 (source).].
* Residents and holidaymakers in vast forest area of East Gippsland, app 250 km east of Melbourne, are urged to leave ahead of predicted escalation of bushfire danger, ABC.Net.au, Dec 28, 2019 An estimated 30,000 people are currently holidaying in the coastal area of East Gippsland while the area has a resident population of many tens of thousands. The threatened area is half the size of Belgium.
* Bushfires threaten Sydney’s drinking water supply, Sydney Morning Herald, Dec 27, 2019 [Warragamba Dam is 65 km west of Sydney and provides 80 per cent of the city’s water supply. So far, it has not been polluted by fire ash or heavy rain runoff. It is at 45 per cent capacity due to prolonged drought.]
The plastic polluters won 2019 – and we’re running out of time to stop them, by John Vidal, The Guardian, Jan 2, 2020 …In 2019, ultra-cheap shale gas from the decade-long U.S. fracking boom continued to fuel a surge of billion-dollar investments in new cracking plants that separate ethane from gas to produce ethylene, the building block of most plastic. Since 2010, the petrochemical industry has invested about $200bn, and with $100bn more planned to be spent, plastic production is expected to grow 40 per cent by 2030….
* The plastics pipeline: A surge of new production is on the way, by Beth Gardiner, Yale Environment 360, Dec 19, 2019 A world awash in plastic will soon see even more, as a host of new petrochemical plants — their ethane feedstock supplied by the gas fracking boom — come online. …Petrochemicals, the category that includes plastic, now account for 14 percent of oil use, and are expected to drive half of oil demand growth between now and 2050, the International Energy Agency (IEA) says. The World Economic Forum predicts plastic production will double in the next 20 years.