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 October 2018, 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. That’s where to find news and analysis of the unfolding battle surrounding the proposed expansion of the ‘Trans Mountain’ tar sands bitumen pipeline from Alberta to the Port of Vancouver BC.
Ecology newsroll headlines, November 2018
The ‘new abnormal’ — California megafires explode with off-the-charts fury, by Barry Saxifrage, National Observer, Nov 16, 2018 California is on the burning edge of climate breakdown. Record-breaking drought and heat have turned the Golden State into a tinderbox. The megafires have followed. In the last two years, a string of off-the-chart wildfires has exploded with stunning speed and ferocity across forests, grasslands, rural areas and city neighborhoods. California Governor Jerry Brown has called it ‘the new abnormal‘…
One thousand+ now listed missing as official death toll in California blaze rises to 71, RT, Nov 17, 2018 (with video) and, Death toll from central California ‘Camp Fire’ rises to 63, list of those missing grows to 631, CNN, Nov 16, 2018
* The terrifying science behind the massive Camp Fire in central California, by Matt Simon, Wired Magazine, Nov 11, 2018 Seven of the 20 most destructive fires in state history have burned just in the last year
* Entire cities evacuate as hellish wildfires whip through California, by Eric Holthaus, Grist Magazine, Friday, Nov 9, 2018 … These are firestorms — towering, fast-moving walls of flames hundreds of feet high — the kind of fires that are not only uncontrolled by firefighters, but uncontrollable. In Southern California, fire burning through wind-whipped palm trees on Thursday resembled a hurricane…
* Why do houses burn but trees remain? Photos from California wildfires reveal lessons for other jurisdictions, report on CBC News, Nov 14, 2018 A retired U.S. Forest Service scientist examines wildfire footage to find ways to reduce burn risk [Mainstream news reporting of the California wildfires is marked by focus on ‘human interest’ sides of the story and little attention to rising wildfires due to global warming. This informative report on how urban areas are hit by wildfires is no exception. According to the fossil-fuel friendly media, public attention should focus on how to ‘fireproof’ urban buildings and structures instead of understanding the deleterious, combined effects of global warming and the spread of urban-sprawl interface with grasslands and forests.] * Celebrities flee wildfire in Malibu as fires burn across California, at least nine killed, report by Reuters, in ABC.net.au, Nov 10, 2018 … All nine victims were found in and around the northern California town of Paradise, where more than 6,700 homes and businesses were burned down by the Camp Fire, making it one of the most destructive in state history, according to California Department of Forestry and Fire protection data…
* Donald Trump’s blames victims and ignores ‘inextricable’ link to climate crisis in responding to California wildfires, by Julia Conley, staff writer, Common Dreams, Nov 10, 2018
California’s Woolsey Fire burns near site of 1959 nuclear meltdown in Los Angeles, sparking panic, by Sarah Emerson, published in the ‘Motherboard’ feature of VICE News, Nov 14, 2018 The Woolsey Fire in southern California sparked a panic last week after flames encroached on the site of one of America’s worst nuclear meltdowns, the Santa Susana Field Laboratory, located in the Simi Valley in Los Angeles…
Economic cost of Canadian oil price discounts counted in billions of dollars, by Dan Healing, The Canadian Press, Nov 11, 2018 [A key element of the industry, government and media drumbeat in Canada favouring building new pipelines to transport planned increases in Alberta tar sands (bitumen) production is that new pipelines will create higher prices for the product at refineries in Texas and Asia. This article in The Canadian Press is an example of the drumbeat. Currently, Alberta bitumen prices are at historic lows. The drumbeat says that the lack of pipeline capacity to Texas and to the Pacific Ocean coastline in Vancouver is responsible for the low prices. But this is nonsensical. It is the glut of world oil production and the high cost of transporting, upgrading and then refining bitumen that are causing low prices. There is no left-wing or environmental economist in Canada analyzing and explaining this non-sensical argument for more pipelines.]
Toronto’s ravines are an ecological wasteland, by Francine Kopun, Toronto Star, Nov 11, 2018 … The biodiversity and ecological health of Toronto’s ravines has declined to a critical level and they are now likely on the edge of ecological collapse…
* Toronto beats NYC, Paris, London in new tree ranking, but experts say more work needed, CBC News, Jan 4, 2017 … Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently launched their Treepedia project in collaboration with the World Economic Forum. Using Google Street View, they measured the percentage of land covered by trees in 12 cities across the world. At 19.5 per cent, Toronto ranked fifth — ahead of Los Angeles, New York, London and Paris. Vancouver took the top spot with 25.9 per cent…
* Vancouver gradually losing tree cover to real-estate development, by Carlito Pablo, Georgia Straight (print weekly), April 30th, 2018 A little over 20 years ago, a fifth of Vancouver was covered by trees. But since 1995, the city has been gradually losing its tree cover as properties are cleared for new developments… A report to the Vancouver board of parks and recreation notes that the urban forest canopy is “incrementally decreasing”. The report prepared by Nick Page and Dave Hutch, both with the planning and research department, stated that the current urban forest canopy covers 18 percent of the city…
50,000 people march in Montreal demanding action to mitigate global warming, by Catherine Solyom, Montreal Gazette, November 10, 2018 The November 10 march was the biggest in Quebec since the Earth Day protest of 2012, which took place in the midst of the historic student strike [The march did not propose specific demands on the Candian government or world leaders. It offered no path forward to confront the global warming emergency apart from ‘protest’. That’s why ministers of the new, right-wing provincial government in Quebec comfortably took part in the march. Quebec’s state-run entity Hydro Québec produces and sells vast quantities of hydro-electricity to the United States generated by its vast reservoirs along flooded rivers on unceded First Nations lands in the north of the province. Such are the ‘green’ credentials of political parties in Quebec and of the province’s mainstream environmental movement.]
Hurricane Michael that struck Florida Panhandle on October 2 is looking even more violent on closer scrutiny, by Joel Achenbach , Kevin Begos and Jason Samenow, Washington Post, Nov 11, 2018
U.S. judge halts Keystone XL pipeline construction, by Phil McKenna, Inside Climate News, Nov 9, 2018 (with map showing pipelines carrying Alberta bitumen to U.S. markets)
* Federal judge halts construction of Keystone XL pipeline, by Jake Johnstone, Common Dreams, Nov 9, 2018 (also published in Truthout.org, Nov 9, 2018)
* Report in CBC News, Nov 8, 2018: … Greenpeace Canada climate campaigner Mike Hudema said the ruling is a significant setback for TransCanada’s Keystone XL project and a big win for Indigenous groups and environmental defenders. “This should also be huge warning sign to the Liberal government in Ottawa [and the NDP government in Edmonton] about the inevitable legal hurdles they will face if they continue to rush and curtail the Trans Mountain assessment process,” he wrote in a statement. “We can’t afford new fossil fuel infrastructure if we want to save the planet.” …]
U.S. shale oil and gas companies facing ‘catastrophic failure’ over ballooning debt, by Andy Rowell, Oil Price International, Nov 5, 2018 (The mission theme of Washington DC-based Oil Price International is ‘Exposing the true costs of fossil fuels’.)
Can citizen lawsuits force governments to act on climate change?, by Fred Pearce, published on Yale Environment 360, Nov 1, 2018 Citizen court actions on global warming have taken very different turns in Europe and the U.S. A Dutch court has ruled the government must keep its promises to cut emissions, but prospects for the U.S. ‘climate kids’ suit are dimming given the increasingly conservative Supreme Court.
Ecology newsroll headlines, October 2018
Oceans warming faster than anticipated, giving even less time to stave off worst impacts of climate change, study finds, by Joshua Emerson Smith, LA Times, Oct 31, 2018 (and report in New York Times, Oct 31, 2018)
Oceans warming faster than anticipated, giving even less time to stave off worst impacts of climate change, study finds, by Joshua Emerson Smith, LA Times, Oct 31, 2018
The world’s oceans may be heating up faster than previously thought — meaning the planet could have even less time to avoid catastrophic global warming than predicted just weeks ago by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. According to a study published on October 31 in the journal Nature, ocean temperatures have been warming 60% more than outlined by the IPCC.
“The ocean warmed more than we thought, and that has serious implications for future policy,” said Laure Resplandy, a researcher at Princeton University’s Environmental Institute who coauthored the report. “This is definitely something that should and will be taken into account in the next report.” …
Coastal development, sea level rise boosted Hurricane Irma’s storm surge damage to housing in South Florida in Sept 2017, by Alex Harris, Miami Herald, Nov 2, 2018
Sea rise and development have put more Florida property at risk to hurricane storm surge flooding — about 43 per cent more, according to a recent study that looked at Hurricane Irma’s effect with different sea levels.
NOAA tidal gauges in Key West show that South Florida has seen about seven inches of sea level rise since the 1970s, which is part of the reason sunny day flooding has worsened in recent decades… Projections by the Southeast Florida Climate Compact, on which four South Florida counties base some of their decision making, predict 11 to 20 inches of sea rise from 1992 levels by 2050…
Alberta energy regulator scrambling in damage control mode after report shows its public estimates of oil industry cleanup costs are grossly underreported, by Emma McIntosh (StarMetro Calgary), Steph Wechsler and Mike De Souza (National Observer) and Carolyn Jarvis (Global News), published on Nov. 1, 2018 in Toronto Star and in National Observer
[In a presentation to oil and gas industry executives in February 2018 (see headline below in ‘Related’), Robert Wadsworth, vice-president of closure and liability of the Alberta Energy Regulator, showed that the oil industry’s calculation of $58 billion in financial liabilities is based on self-reported numbers from industry. Wadsworth’s heretofore secret $260 billion estimate, meanwhile, was “calculated internally” by AER’s own experts. Currently, the oil and gas industry in Alberta has submitted about $1.6 billion in security deposits to cover liability costs. These costs include cleanup and remediation of expired oil and gas extraction sites, pipelines, and toxic tar sands tailing ponds.]
* Alberta fossil fuel industry regulator privately estimates financial liabilities are hundreds of billions more than what it told the public, by Mike De Souza (National Observer), Carolyn Jarvis (Global News) and Emma McIntosh and David Bruser (Toronto Star), report published in The National Observer, Oct 31, 2018 and in Toronto Star (page one), Nov 1, 2018
Cleaning up Alberta’s fossil fuel industry could cost an estimated $260 billion, internal documents of Alberta’s oil industry regulator warn. The staggering financial liabilities for the fossil fuel industry’s graveyard of spent facilities were spelled out by a high-ranking official of the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) in a February presentation to a private audience in Calgary.
AER vice-president Robert Wadsworth told the crowd, “We can continue down our current path until the impacts are felt by the public … or we can start to implement the numerous changes that we now know need to be made.” The estimated liabilities for the oil-rich western Canadian province are far higher than any liability amount made public by government and industry officials…
* Alberta Energy Regulator CEO announces resignation following reports that the agency has grossly understated the long-term liability costs of oil and gas industry in the province, CBC News, Nov 2, 2018
* Alberta premier Rachel Notley gets hero’s welcome at convention of British Columbia division of Steelworkers union, by Michael Potestio, Kamloops This Week, Oct 31, 2018 ‘Notley’s appearance resembled an election rally, with raucous cheers from a packed room of sign-waving steelworkers.’ [From tar sands in Alberta to natural gas fracking and forest clearcutting in British Columbia, the soul-less Steelworkers union has never seen planet-destroying natural resource plunder that it does not support.]
Canadian wildlife populations dropping in ‘global biodiversity crisis’ says World Wildlife Fund, report by The Canadian Press, Oct 30, 2018 (and, Humanity is ‘sleepwalking towards the edge of a cliff’ with 60 per cent of Earth’s wildlife wiped out since 1970, World Wildlife Fund warns in 2018 Living Planet Report, by Julia Conley, Common Dreams, Oct 30, 2018) Canadian wildlife are not exempt from a “global biodiversity crisis” that is devastating worldwide animal populations, according to a stark new report by the World Wildlife Fund. The group says in its 2018 Living Planet Report [75-page report] that global wildlife populations have fallen by 60 per cent in the last four decades…
Across Canada, caribou are on course for extinction, a prominent expert warns, by Ivan Semeniuk, science reporter, Globe and Mail, Oct 29, 2018 (with chart and map) At a conference in Ottawa this week, Justina Ray will lay out grim predictions for animals First Nations have depended on for generations. She is a conservation biologist and Canadian president of the Wildlife Conservation Society and has co-led the work on behalf of the independent body that advises the Canadian government on the status of endangered wildlife.
… scientists are recommending that the barren-ground caribou in northern Canada be listed as threatened, while the eastern migratory caribou – whose numbers have plummeted from more than one million to about 225,000 animals – qualify as endangered, the highest level of threat.
… the Natural Resources Defense Council, based in Washington, is calling on Ottawa to employ a “safety net order” that would supersede provincial authority to protect boreal caribou habitat.
… The caribou are among the most visible of the approximately 16,700 species that have suffered an average 60-per-cent decline since 1970, according to a new World Wildlife Fund report released on October 29…
Arctic oil drilling project approved by Trump administration, by Lorraine Chow, Ecowatch, Oct 25, 2018
The Trump administration’s unrelenting quest for Arctic oil and gas took a major step on October 25 as it approved an energy company’s controversial production plan. Hilcorp Alaska received the green light to build the Liberty Project, a nine-acre artificial drilling island and 5.6-mile underwater pipeline, which environmentalists warn could risk oil spills in the sensitive Beaufort Sea and threaten polar bears and Arctic communities.
Once built, it will be the first oil and gas production facility in federal waters off Alaska, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke boasted Wednesday in a press release…
Geoengineering is no closer to working, by Tim Radford, Climate News Network, Oct 30, 2018
Related: Geoengineering and capitalism’s creative destruction of the Earth, feature essay by John Bellamy Foster, published in Monthly Review, print issue of Sept 2018
Doubled raw materials use is climate risk, by Alex Kirby, Climate News Network, Oct 24, 2018
Just when you might think the world has heard an unmistakable warning in the landmark IPCC report of the need to curb climate change drastically and fast, along comes another warning, about humans’ voracious appetite for the raw materials we use so profligately. Its message is simple: one of the main causes of the Earth’s growing warmth is likely to be twice as severe 40 years from now as it is today.
This latest warning, from the club of the world’s richest countries, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), says consumption of raw materials is on course to nearly double by 2060 as the global economy expands and living standards rise…
Air pollution kills 600,000 children each year reports World Health Organization, by Agence France presse (AFP), Oct 29, 2018 Exposure to toxic air both indoors and out kills some 600,000 children under the age of 15 each year, the World Health Organization warned Monday. Data from the UN health body shows that every day, 93 percent of children under the age of 15—a full 1.8 billion youngsters, including 630 million under the age of five—breath dangerously polluted air…
Related: Nine out of ten people breathing polluted air, reports World Health Organization, by Agence France presse (AFP), May 2, 2018 More than 90 per cent of the global population is breathing in high levels of pollutants, the World Health Organization reported on May 2, blaming poor air quality for some seven million deaths annually…
Can a carbon tax solve climate change? Well, no, by David Wallace-Wells, New York Magazine, Oct 24, 2018 [The heretofore visionary writer David Wallace-Wells steps into the world of the bizarre in this otherwise informative commentary when he writes approvingly of the idea of “building a planet-wide fleet of carbon-capture machines” to tackle the global warming emergency.]
Hurricane Walaka wipes out crucial Hawaiian nesting ground for threatened green sea turtles, by Anne Kruger, ABC.net.au, Oct 24, 2018
How the Farm Bureau’s climate denial agenda is failing U.S. farmers, by Georgina Gustin, Neela Banerjee, John H. Cushman Jr., published by Inside Climate News, Oct 24, 2018 This is the first in a series on agriculture, climate change and the American Farm Bureau’s influence.
… In this series of articles, InsideClimate News explores how the farm lobby has wielded its influence to undermine climate treaties and regulations. In tandem with fossil fuel allies, it sowed uncertainty and denial about the causes of global warming and the urgency to bring it under control…
Category five Hurricane Walaka that hit Hawaii wiped uninhabited East Island off the map, by Alix Martichoux, SF Gate, Oct 24, 2018
… While the 11-acre island was uninhabited by people, it held immense ecological importance. Nearly half of Hawaiian green sea turtles nested on East Island, according to Charles Littnan, a conservation scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association. “There’s no doubt that it was the most important single islet for sea turtle nesting,” he said in an interview with the Civil Beat.
One in seven Hawaiian monk seals, which are an endangered species, were born on East Island, Littnan added…
Thousands of coal miners protest phase-out of coal-fired electricity in Germany, Deutsche Welle, Oct 24, 2018 Some 20,000 miners marched through Bergheim demanding protection for their jobs as the German coal commission met to draw up a plan to phase out coal-fired power generation. Environmentalists also attended the rally, calling for “a socially just phase-out” of coal.
… “The most important thing is that we can keep our jobs — this is what we are worried about. Where our energy actually comes from is less important,” Fritz Tapfhorn, a member of the trade union IG BCE, told DW.
Even workers from the eastern and central German coal regions traveled to Bergheim to join the protest. “We are here to support our colleagues and hope for some more years of brown coal,” said Diana Mühlberg, who works for the brown coal company LEAG…
A 14-year-long oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico verges on becoming one of the worst in U.S. history, by Lorraine Chow, published in Ecowatch, Oct. 22, 2018 and report in Washington Post, Oct 21, 2018 … About 2,000 oil-drilling platforms stand in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico off Lousiana. Nearly 2,000 others are off the coasts of its neighbors Texas and Mississippi. On top of that are nearly 50,000 miles of active and inactive pipelines carrying oil and minerals to the shore…
To address the climate crisis, we must completely rethink how we produce and consume food, by Christopher D. Cook, published in In These Times, Oct 15, 2018
OXFAM graph of rich and poor shows who contributes the most to
the global warming emergency and who has a material stake in the
climate-wrecking status quo. It’s the wealthy.
Forget plastic straws, cigarette butts are the single greatest source of ocean trash, by James Rainey, NBC News, Aug 27, 2018
… A leading tobacco industry academic, a California lawmaker and a worldwide surfing organization are among those arguing cigarette filters should be banned. The nascent campaign hopes to be bolstered by linking activists focused on human health with those focused on the environment.
“It’s pretty clear there is no health benefit from filters. They are just a marketing tool. And they make it easier for people to smoke,” said Thomas Novotny, a professor of public health at San Diego State University. “It’s also a major contaminant, with all that plastic waste…”
Chinese demand fuels Solomon Islands mass deforestation, Al Jazeera, Oct 17, 2018 Global Witness investigation finds forests being felled at 19 times the sustainable rate; vast network of logging roads.
The invasive insect from southeast Asia that is killing the trees of Johannesburg, South Africa, by Adam Welz, published on Yale Environment 360, Oct 16, 2018 South Africa’s largest city proudly notes that it has one of the world’s largest urban forests. But an invasive insect has been killing Johannesburg’s trees by the tens of thousands and baffled experts are scrambling to find ways to stop it.
Book review: Unprecedented crimes being committed against people and the planet:, book review by Charlie Smith, published in Georgia Straight (weekly, Vancouver BC), May 29, 2018 Reviewing: Unprecedented Crime: Climate Science Denial and Game Changers for Survival, by Peter D. Carter and Elizabeth Woodworth, Clarity Press, Feb 2018, 269 pp, ISBN 0-978-0-9986947-3-3
UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says climate genocide is coming, and it’s actually worse than that, by David Wallace-Wells, New York Magazine, Oct 10, 2018
… We are on track for four degrees of warming, more than twice as much as most scientists believe is possible to endure without inflicting climate suffering on hundreds of millions or threatening at least parts of the social and political infrastructure we call, grandly, “civilization”. The only thing that changed, this week, is that the scientists, finally, have hit the panic button.
… The IPCC report issued on October 8 may seem like a dramatic departure, and it is. But there is going to be much more like it coming. So long as we continue to squander what little time we have, the news will only get worse from here.
Also by David Wallace-Wells:
* The uninhabitable Earth: What climate change could wreak, sooner than you think, published in New York Magazine, July 10, 2017
* The Paris climate accords of 2015 are looking more and more like fantasy, by David Wallace-Wells, New York Magazine, March 25, 2018
Remember Paris [the world climate change conference in Paris in December 2015, Wikipedia]? It was not even two years ago that the celebrated climate accords were signed — defining two degrees of global warming as a must-meet target and rallying all the world’s nations to meet it — and the returns are already dispiritingly grim.
This week, the International Energy Agency announced that carbon emissions grew 1.7 percent in 2017, after an ambiguous couple of years optimists hoped represented a leveling off, or peak; instead, we’re climbing again. [15-page IEA report here, Reuters news report here.] Even before the new spike, not a single major industrial nation was on track to fulfill the commitments it made in the Paris treaty…
News reports and analysis of the report issued on Oct 8, 2018 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change:
* A nightmarish climate report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, by Caroline Cormann, The New Yorker, Oct 7, 2018 … The report marks the start of the IPCC’s latest assessment cycle, the sixth since the organization was formed in 1988. Its importance is hard to overstate. The 33-page summary for policymakers—which is based on more than 6,000 cited studies and written by 91 authors from 40 different countries—is a collective scream sieved through the stern, strained language of bureaucrates. …To keep warming at 1.5 degrees, governments and private businesses must make unprecedented changes—on a sweeping global scale—in energy systems, land management, building efficiency, industrial operations, shipping and aviation, and city-wide design. Within the next decade, human-caused carbon-dioxide emissions need to fall forty-five per cent below 2010 levels. By 2050, net carbon-dioxide emissions must equal zero…
* Major climate report describes a strong risk of crisis as early as 2040, by Coral Davenport, New York Times, Oct. 7, 2018
A landmark report from the United Nations’ scientific panel on climate change paints a far more dire picture of the immediate consequences of climate change than previously thought and says that avoiding the damage requires transforming the world economy at a speed and scale that has “no documented historic precedent.”
The report, titled ‘Global Warming of 1.5C’ and issued late on October 7 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), describes a world of worsening food shortages and wildfires, and a mass die-off of coral reefs as soon as 2040 — a period well within the lifetime of much of the global population. The IPCC is a group of scientists convened by member government of the United Nations in 1988 to guide world leaders. [Wikipedia].
The report “is quite a shock, and quite concerning,” said Bill Hare, an author of previous IPCC reports and a physicist with Climate Analytics, a nonprofit organization. “We were not aware of this just a few years ago.” The report was the first to be commissioned by world leaders under the Paris agreement, the 2015 pact by nations to fight global warming.
The authors found that if greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, the atmosphere will warm up by as much as 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) above pre-industrial levels by 2040, inundating coastlines and intensifying droughts and poverty. Previous work had focused on estimating the damage if average temperatures were to rise by a larger number, 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit (2 degrees Celsius), because that was the threshold scientists previously considered for the most severe effects of climate change. The new report, however, shows that many of those effects will come much sooner, at the 2.7-degree mark.
… The United States is not alone in failing to reduce emissions enough to prevent the worst effects of climate change. The report concluded that the greenhouse gas reduction pledges put forth under the  Paris agreement will not be enough to avoid 3.6F degrees of warming…
* Why half a degree of global warming is a big deal, by Brad Plumer and Nadja Popovich, New York Times, Oct 7, 2018 … At the United Nations climate negotiations in Paris in 2015, countries promised to hold total global warming to well below 2 degrees and agreed to “pursue efforts” to limit warming to 1.5 degrees. Leaders of small island nations, like the Marshall Islands and Maldives, had deemed that lower goal essential to their survival. At this point, however, both goals are starting to look wildly out of reach. If you add up all the national pledges made in Paris to curb emissions, they would put the world on track to warm around 3 degrees Celsius or more…
* Over 670,000 megawatts of coal-produced electricity is planned in 59 countries, blowing the goals of the 2015 climate agreement in Paris, press release by German environmental group ‘Urgewald’, Oct 5, 2018 ‘Building new coal plants is an assault on the Paris climate goals,’ says Heffa Schuecking, director of the German environment NGO Urgewald. Currently, 1,380 new coal plants or units are planned or under development in 59 countries.
* Coal must go to save Great Barrier Reef, IPCC says in dire climate warning, ABC.net.au, Oct 7, 2018
* Great Barrier Reef faces dire threat with 2C global warming, UN report says, by Adam Morton, The Guardian, Oct 7, 2018
* The latest IPCC report offers climate solutions that depend on magic, by Richard Heinberg, published in Pacific Standard, Oct 8, 2018 To solve the crisis, we’d have to slow growth. And no one wants to admit that. [Richard Heinberg is the author of numerous books examing the connection between economic growth (capitalist expansionism) and the global warming emergency. He authored the 2011 book The End Of Growth. He is senior fellow at the Post-Carbon Institute.]
Over the past couple of decades, climate scientists have warned government leaders that global warming could pose an extinction-level threat to humanity. In response, policymakers have asked climate scientists for recommendations to stave off catastrophic global warming, just as long as these recommended policies wouldn’t curtail economic growth. Climate scientists, in turn, have come up with a series of proposals that are the equivalent of magic: They deliver desired results, but only if you believe in miracles. For the most part, everyone involved in this magic show has the right intentions. The problem is that we’re betting our entire future on fairy dust…
… Switching to new and relatively clean energy sources while trying to maintain growth of the overall economy would be a little like redesigning and reconfiguring an airplane while it’s in flight…
* Do we really have the time and the tools to fix global warming?, by Rachel Smolker, Truthout.org, Oct 12, 2018 Concluding paragraph: Perhaps we are past the point of limiting warming to levels that will avert serious consequences. We already are witnessing those, and clearly our progress toward making change is far too slow. But that is no reason to stop working for change, and there is reason to feel a bit hopeful that we can certainly do many things to lessen the damage. A key step will be to halt the ongoing destruction of ecosystems, recognize and protect the rights of those who are good stewards of land, and shift our agriculture and forestry practices and our diets. These will need to go hand-in-hand with other kinds of changes, especially in the energy sector. Further, let’s not forget the elephant in the room — the US military. The task can feel overwhelming, but with so much at stake, how can we do anything other than try our absolute hardest?
U.S. automakers double down on trucks and SUVs, despite talk of a cleaner future, by Marianne Lavelle, Inside Climate News, Oct 15, 2018 The automakers say they’re headed for an all-electric future and they want fuel economy standards, but their assembly lines tell a different story. [This informative article nevertheless fails to inform readers that a world filled with electric vehicles, should the automaking companies someday decide to strive for that, will be nearly as damaging to the Earth’s ecology as the present world filled with gasoline and diesel vehicles.]
Related: The dirt on ‘clean’ electric cars, by Niclas Rolander, Jesper Starn and Elisabeth Behrmann, Bloomberg News, Oct 15, 2018 … “We’re facing a bow wave of additional CO2 emissions,” said Andreas Radics, a managing partner at Munich-based automotive consultancy Berylls Strategy Advisors. It argues that, for now, drivers in Germany or Poland may still be better off with an efficient diesel engine. The findings, among the more bearish ones around, show that while electric cars are emission-free on the road, they still discharge a lot of the carbon-dioxide that conventional cars do…
Nature cursed Indonesia, but it took neglect to make a disaster, by Hannah Beech and Muktita Suhartono, New York Times, Oct 16, 2018 As the city of Palu on Indonesia Sulawesi Island mourns thousands of dead from an earthquake and tsunami that struck on September 17, it is haunted by questions of whether the government could have stemmed the devastation.
To keep global warming under 1.5°C, emissions must go negative, IPCC says, by Sabrina Shankman, Inside Climate News, Oct 12, 2018 Soil leads the solutions for negative emissions in a new climate change report. Soil carbon sequestration was among the cheapest methods with the greatest potential.
‘Blood bricks’: How climate change is trapping Cambodians in modern slavery, feature report by Holly Robertson, ABC.net.au, Oct 15, 2018
With Hurricane Michael, Floridians are paying for Governor Scott’s climate denialism, by Dahr Jamail, Truthout.org, Oct 12, 2018
* Rescuers in Florida find hundreds of missing people after Hurricane Michael, but death toll expected to rise above 18, Reuters, Oct 13, 2018
* Hurricane Michael death toll rises to 17, expected to grow, by Rod Nickel, Reuters, Oct 12, 2018 and video on Global News, Oct 12, 2018
* Hurricane Michael is not done yet, its path of destruction stretches north from Florida, CNN, Oct 12, 2018 and report on CBS News, Oct 12, 2018 Hurricane Michael’s deadly trail of devastation now stretches from the Florida Panhandle, where it wiped away the coastal town of Mexico Beach, to the Carolinas, where it triggered flash floods that turned roads into rivers.
* Drone film footage shows destruction of the town of Mexico Beach, Florida by Hurricane Michael, video footage and news story, NBC News, Oct 12, 2018 and Hurricane Michael: One mile of devastation in Florida’s town of Mexico Beach, photo feature on New York Times, Oct 12, 2018
* Hurricane Michael caused estimated $8 billion in insured losses, not including National Flood Insurance Program and much higher uninsured losses, Associated Press, Oct 12, 2018 [The two most costly hurricanes in U.S. history were Katrina (2005) and Harvey (2017), each causing some $125 billion in damages.]
Climate change and growth: Examining the economic theory of ‘Nobel Prize for economics’ winners William Nordhaus and Paul Romer, by Michael Roberts, published on his website blog, Oct 9, 2018 [The Nobel Prize for economics is formally titled the ‘Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences’.]
Related: The Nobel Prize in climate chaos: Romer, Nordhaus and the IPCC, by Gareth Dale, published in The Ecologist (UK), Oct 12, 2018
Victory for anti-tar sands ‘valve turners’ in Minnesota!, by Erin Grady, Civil Liberties Defense Center (Oregon), Oct 9, 2018
The quiet but furious war against pipelines across the U.S., by Madeline ffitch, Vice News, Oct 11, 2018 From Appalachia to Louisiana, mostly ignored by the media, activists have been putting themselves in the path of bulldozers.
Increase in plastics reaching remote South Atlantic Islands, press release by the British Antarctic Survey, Oct 8, 2018 The amount of plastic washing up onto the shores of remote South Atlantic islands is ten times greater than it was a decade ago, according to new research published on Oct 8, 2018 in the journal Current Biology.
Landmark trial of climate activists puts the political system itself on trial, by Wen Stephenson, The Nation, Oct 5, 2018 In a Minnesota courtroom, the ‘Valve Turners’ are using the “necessity defense” in their shutdown of a tar-sands pipeline.
Indonesia’s warning system failed to warn of tsunami that hit Sulawesi island on Sept 28, report in Washington Post, Oct 6, 2018
In Germany, tens of thousands hold protest against destruction of remaining Hambach Forest by coal strip mine barons, report by Deutsche Welle, Oct 6, 2018 [The Hambach strip mine began in 1978 and has grown to a total surface area of 85 square kilometers (as of the year 2011). It is the deepest strip mine with respect to sea level in the world, at some 300 metres below sea level. (Wikipedia) The last ten per cent of the Hambach Forest is slated for destruction to allow further expansion of the mine.]
* 50,000 come together in Germany to defend ancient forest and fight coal, by Jon Queallly, Common Dreams, Oct 6, 2018
* German court orders suspension of Hambach Forest clearance by coal mining giant, Deutsche Welle, Oct 5, 2018
* ‘Clean energy leader’ Germany will proceed with destruction of remaining Hambach Forest in western Germany to expand vast coal strip mine, report in Deutsche Welle, Sept 30, 2018
Greenhouse gas emissions from plastics are predicted to rise, by Kendra Pierre-Louis, New York Times, Oct. 4, 2018 … “When we look at the years to come, the petrochemical sector is by far the largest driver of global oil demand growth, much higher than cars, much higher than trucks, aviation, and shipping,” said Fatih Birol, executive director of the International Energy Agency, which issued the report…
* China’s plan to stop recycling the world’s rubbish, by Andy Coghlan, New Scientist, Jan 3, 2018. (Read article in the attached pdf: China to stop recycling the world’s rubbish)
* China’s waste import ban upends global recycling industry, by Becky Davis And Lillian Ding, Phys.org, Jan 21, 2018
* ‘Wasted’: What happens when China no longer wants our trash?, news report and interview on CBC Radio One‘s ‘Day Six’ with Adam Minter, Jan 12, 2018 (Adam Minter is a columnist with Bloomberg News and the author of the 2013 book Junkyard Planet: Travels in the Billion-Dollar Trash Trade)
* We made plastic, we depend on it, now we’re drowning in it, by Laura Parker, in National Geographic, print issue of June 2018 (part of a special series in National Geographic)
* A million bottles a minute: world’s plastic binge ‘as dangerous as climate change’, by Sandra Laville and Matthew Taylor, The Guardian, June 28, 2017
Huge rise in U.S. plastic waste shipments to poor countries in southeast Asia following China ban in early 2018, by Karen McVeigh, in the Guardian‘s ‘Environmental sustainability’ feature, Oct 5, 2018
… Nearly 50 per cent of plastic waste exported from the U.S. for recycling [sic] in the first six months of 2018 was shipped to Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam, according to analysis of US census bureau data by Unearthed, Greenpeace’s investigative arm. The previous year, the U.S. sent more than 70 per cent to China and Hong Kong.
The ban on foreign waste imports by China in early 2018, previously the world’s biggest importer of plastic waste for recycling, has left western countries scrambling to offload its extra plastic waste. The biggest exporters of scrap plastic to China were the U.S., Britain, Germany, Japan and Mexico…
Oil-rich Nigeria has become the poverty capital of the world, by Yomi Kazeem, published in Quartz, June 25, 2018 A new report by The World Poverty Clock shows Nigeria has overtaken India as the country with the most extreme poor people in the world. India has a population seven times larger than Nigeria’s. The struggle to lift more citizens out of extreme poverty is an indictment on successive Nigerian governments which have mismanaged the country’s vast oil riches through incompetence and corruption…
Climate change is a major U.S. midterm election issue, but corporate media are ignoring it, by Dahr Jamail, published in his monthly feature article on Truthout.org, Oct 3, 2018
Related: Climate change made Hurricane Florence a monster, but mainstream media failed to tell that story, by Jim Naureckas, Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting, Sept 20, 2018
$40 billion ‘LNG Canada’ project in northeast BC signals revival of mega projects, including with support from First Nations, by Geoffrey Morgan, Financial Post, Oct 2, 2018 [There is extensive news reporting and analysis of the proposed liquefied natural gas industry in British Columbia, Canada on the ‘Canada newsroll‘ page of A Socialist In Canada website.]
Arctic countries sign agreement not to fish in Arctic waters opening up due to global warming, pending scientific studies, by Copenhagen Post, Oct 3, 2018
For months preceding October 2018, go to ‘News pages archives’ on the home page of A Socialist In Canada and use the drop-down menu.