Canada and global warming: a state of denial 2

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epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..more on my #95 post.

Against offshore drilling? Your American neighbours are with you

We write as your southern neighbours, but neighbours nonetheless. Our homes on the U.S. Atlantic coast are much like Nova Scotia’s many coastal communities. The ocean is who we are. We fish. We are bound to our beaches, and we show them off to our visitors. We love our coasts and oceans; we rely on them for industry, community, and identity.

Beyond our common connection to the ocean, when it comes to local governance matters, our political realities are not far from your own. Local governments in the U.S. are routinely overburdened with responsibilities without having access to the resources to meet needs, and new risks are downloaded to us every day.

One risk we share is that of offshore oil and gas drilling and exploration. As our federal government puts our oceans at risk by attempting (so far unsuccessfully) to open Atlantic waters to offshore oil activity, our local governments are left to deal with all the associated threats and costs. The risks of offshore drilling in Nova Scotia are not much different. Seismic testing used to locate oil deposits put our fisheries at risk by introducing serious stressors to marine life of all kinds. The risk of oil and chemical spills is almost unimaginable, with the potential to leave affected areas with lasting poverty and ecological destruction like that which followed the BP spill on the Gulf Coast in 2010. Continued fossil fuel extraction exacerbates climate change, severe weather, and sea level rise, for which municipalities are already bearing huge costs.

Perhaps the most important similarity is that amid these real challenges, local communities on both sides of the border are not giving up. In Nova Scotia, about 25 per cent of municipal governments have asked for a public inquiry into offshore drilling, as have more than 65,000 Canadians.

Local communities and governments have played an instrumental role in keeping offshore drilling and its many risks off U.S. shores. We’ve worked hard to have our communities, neighbours and state governments understand that offshore drilling poses unreasonable risks to our ways of life.

The offer of jobs and royalties is often flaunted as a silver bullet solution to our problems, but the reality is we have communities, jobs, and economies here and now that rely on clean, beautiful oceans.

It’s clear that on both sides of the border, the existing decision-making processes around offshore drilling, and many forms of resource extraction, do not take seriously the questions and concerns of local communities.....


Hunziker: Ignoring Climate Catastrophes

"The planet is coming apart at the seams right before the eyes of scientists at work in remote fringe areas of the North where permafrost crumbles and collapses. It's abrupt climate change at work in real time, but the governing leaders of the world either don't care or don't know..."

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Canada gets poor marks on latest climate report card

Countries across the world need to make their 2030 emission targets much more ambitious if the world is to stand a chance of keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, a major research report says.

And Canada is one of the biggest laggards, far from reaching its own targets which are themselves far from enough to keep warming to that level.

The annual "Brown to Green" report from the Climate Transparency partnership said Canada is far from contributing its fair share toward the 1.5 C goal, with the third most energy-intensive economy in the G20. And that’s despite having one of the cleanest electricity grids.....


epaulo13 wrote:

Countries across the world need to make their 2030 emission targets much more ambitious if the world is to stand a chance of keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, a major research report says.

The annual "Brown to Green" report from the Climate Transparency partnership said Canada is far from contributing its fair share toward the 1.5 C goal, with the third most energy-intensive economy in the G20. 

The failure to deal with global warming is a continuation of failures of multiple Liberal and Conservative Canadian governments to live up to promised reductions in greenhouse gas emissions that has been going on since 1992. This "Brown to Green" report from the Climate Transparency itself notes that: 

The climate report card on Canada is pretty grim. Canada’s per capita greenhouse gas emissions are much higher than the G20 average, at 18.9 tonnes of CO2 equivalent per person. Much of Canada’s failure to limit overall emissions is due to energy-inefficient buildings and rising pollution from two provinces: Alberta and Saskatchewan. ...

On the campaign trail, Trudeau pledged to exceed Canada’s 2030 targets and achieve net zero emissions by 2050 with legally binding five-year targets, but with few details about how to do that. ...

... you have an entire population, or part of society, that was built on that production and you are actually telling them that actually has to be gone very soon.”

Canada will need to have a plan to help oil and gas workers, the report said, similar to what is being set up for dislocated coal workers as that energy source is targeted for a full phase-out by 2030.


However, this is just a continuation of the same pattern carried out by this and previous Liberal and Conservative governments. In other words, a set of campaign promises that shows every sign of being broken as global warming approaches a catastrophic climax. The March 2018  Perspectives on Climate Change Action in Canada—A Collaborative Report from Auditors General, noted that: 

“Canada has missed two separate emission reduction targets (the 1992 Rio target and the 2005 Kyoto target) and is likely to miss the 2020 Copenhagen target as well. In fact, emissions in 2020 are expected to be nearly 20 per cent above the target.” ...

The annual UN Emissions Gap Report states that Canada is well above its pledged target and that gap is expected to widen even further by 2030."

The Liberals were deeply involved in negotiating the 1997 Kyoto Accord agreeing that "Canada's Kyoto target was a 6% total reduction by 2012 compared to 1990 levels of 461 Megatonnes (Mt)". Instead the 1997 emissions of 671 Mt during the year of the signing of the Kyoto Accord had risen to 747 Mt in 2005, the last full year of a Liberal government before the Conservatives took over. This was 33% above the 1997 Liberal Kyoto target. (

The Liberals declared a climate emergency in June and then announced today the tripling of the Trans Mountain pipeline to carry bitumen to the coast bringing about a massive expansion of the fossil fuel production. 

In April 2019 Environment Commissioner Julie Gelfand concluded "Canada is not on track to hit its 2030 target,". These targets were actually those of the Conservative Harper government. (

Eugene Kung, lawyer with West Coast Environmental Law, and lead on the First Nations case against the pipeline commented on Trudeau's announcement that profits from the pipeline would be used to promote green energy: "That’s like saying we need to keep selling cigarettes to have money to fight cancer". Former Liberal Environment minister David Anderson points out "There is no credible evidence to suggest that Asia is likely to be a reliable or a significant market for Alberta bitumen". ( But the Trudeau government pushes ahead with its pipeline agenda despite all the evidence piling up against it. 


Image result for australian bushfire photos

Australian firefighters battle more than 80 bushfires

In September, while I was travelling in Australia, the New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian came on TV to warn that these never-before seen wildfires at the start of spring meant that people had to now expect the wildfire season to not only get worse under these extreme conditions but to last an previously unheard of six to nine months. Similar concerns were expressed by the Premier of Queensland state. These predictions are coming true as there are a growing number of catastrophic wildfires despite the fact that summer hasn't even arrived in Australia. 

However,  Prime Minister Scott Morrison refused to answer a question about climate change, offering thoughts and prayers for the families who have lost relatives in the fires, about as useful in dealing with the problem of global warming as similar thoughts and prayers in dealing with mass shootings in the US.

Sounds like something Kenney would say if he had been Premier during the Fort McMurray fire that destroyed one quarter of the city and something that is likely to occur again somewhere in Canada in the not too distant future. 

"We find it very difficult in general to attribute climate change impacts to a specific event, particularly while the event is running," said Dr Richard Thornton, chief executive of the Bushfires & Natural Hazards Co-operative Research Centre.

"But what we do know is that the average temperature in Australia now is running about 1C above the long-term average." He added fire seasons were starting earlier and "the cumulative fire danger" in many areas was growing. ...

Prof Glenda Wardle, an ecologist from the University of Sydney, agreed: "It's not every weather event that is the direct result of climate change. But when you see trends... it becomes undeniably linked to global climate change." She said there was a "collective shift" in the timing and intensity of weather events. 

Australian National University climate scientist Dr Imran Ahmed called it a direct link: "Because what climate change does is exacerbate the conditions in which the bushfires happen. We will start to see the extreme end of the fire behaviour scale occur more frequently because of the increase of temperatures", said Dr Thornton.  "Everything we normally see as variability between a good fire season and a bad season is sitting on top of that extra 1C - and that means that the severe events will occur more frequently." ...

But Prof Wardle said the government was "passing the buck" on climate change and not doing enough to help stem the rise in global temperatures.  "It hasn't just been fires, there's been flood, there's the drought," she said. "Every time [the government] has had the chance to take on the big issue of climate change and do something, they choose not to and blame other things like land management."


epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

This is not normal: what's different about the NSW mega fires


"Unprecedented" is a word that we are hearing a lot: from fire chiefs, politicians, and the weather bureau. I have just returned from California where I spoke to fire chiefs still battling unseasonal fires. The same word, "unprecedented", came up.

Unprecedented dryness; reductions in long-term rainfall; low humidity; high temperatures; wind velocities; fire danger indices; fire spread and ferocity; instances of pyro-convective fires (fire storms – making their own weather); early starts and late finishes to bushfire seasons. An established long-term trend driven by a warming, drying climate. The numbers don’t lie, and the science is clear.

Unprecedented dryness; reductions in long-term rainfall; low humidity; high temperatures; wind velocities; fire danger indices; fire spread and ferocity; instances of pyro-convective fires (fire storms – making their own weather); early starts and late finishes to bushfire seasons. An established long-term trend driven by a warming, drying climate. The numbers don’t lie, and the science is clear.

If anyone tells you, "This is part of a normal cycle" or "We’ve had fires like this before", smile politely and walk away, because they don’t know what they’re talking about.


This year, by the beginning of November, we had already lost about as many homes as during the disastrous 2001-2002 bushfire season. We’ve now eclipsed 1994 fire losses.

Fires are burning in places and at intensities never before experienced – rainforests in northern NSW, tropical Queensland, and the formerly wet old-growth forests in Tasmania.

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..a 3:39 long thunberg & monbiot video


Nature is a tool we can use to fix our broken climate, but we are ignoring it. The risk of climate breakdown is real, but it can be reduced if we protect, restore and fund natural climate solutions.


The series of articles below describe how the Atlantic fishery in Canada and the US is declining: 


Canada's fisheries minister says the impacts of climate change are a fact of life that will have to be factored in the management of Canada's multi-billion dollar seafood industry. ... The State of the Atlantic Ocean report, released [April 12], summarizes the overall health and trends in the Atlantic Ocean based on scientific research and monitoring from DFO and Environment and Climate Change Canada. ... The DFO report says all three Atlantic zones — Newfoundland and Labrador, the Scotian Shelf and the Gulf of St Lawrence — are undergoing environmental changes.

For example, it says warming sea temperatures off Nova Scotia have led to declines in northern shrimp and snow crab, which prefer cooler waters, but have helped drive a big increase in the lobster population.

Species are also shifting. Silver hake has moved into Newfoundland, a possible indicator of changes that will be seen with climate change.

The number of exotic warm-water species, such as John Dory, armored sea robin and deep-bodied boarfish moving into the region has increased. They are being caught more often. ...

Some of the most important trends are taking place at the bottom of the food chain. Take the tiny animals drifting through the water column known as zooplankton. The most abundant, energy-rich species — a copepod called Calanus finmarchicus — is declining, while a smaller, less nutritious and warm-water copepod called Pseudocalanus is increasing and is now at record levels throughout the region.

The change will make the ocean less productive with the potential to ripple throughout the food web.


Warming waters around Nova Scotia have created a sweet spot for the crustacean over the past decade. ... The Nova Scotian catch makes up the majority of Canada’s lobster industry, bringing more than $750 million in 2018 — about double the $382 million brought in for 2012. ...

The waters are warming above the global average both at the surface and in deep waters, according to this year’s first-ever State of the Atlantic Ocean report, which cites as reasons rising air temperatures driven by climate change (1 degree per century since the 1870s) and changes in currents. ...

Acidification is also increasing as more man-made carbon dioxide emissions enter the ocean. The carbon dioxide dissolves in surface water to form carbonic acid, which is corrosive to calcium carbonate — the compound lobster and other crustaceans need to produce their protective shells. At the same time, the waters are becoming less oxygenated as deeper waters mix less with surface waters. When oxygen levels are too low, called hypoxia, species may flee an area before they suffocate.

Many fishermen and scientists feel an urgency to understand what changes are still to come, warning that it’s easy for complacency to set in as the good times roll. “There’s an unease,” says fisher Lucien LeBlanc, who has outfitted the John Harold to double as a tourist vessel and rely less on the fishery. “Financially, I treat it like it’s my last year ... I try to.”




Here are more articles on the risks the Atlantic fishery faces from climate change:

A marine biologist is taking notice of stunning images of tropical fish photographed by an amateur diver in the warming waters off Nova Scotia’s southern shore. ...

“There’s a sense these fish are becoming more numerous, and they are staying for longer,” the biologist [Boris Worm of Dalhousie University] said in an interview. As the weather gets warmer, the tropical species are remaining in the region for longer periods of time, though most are likely dying off in late fall as waters grow cold, he added. ...

He says while the presence of the fish themselves isn’t likely to disrupt ecosystems, there’s the possibility that invasive predatory species and warm water diseases won’t be far behind. “What has a larger impact is the warming water itself, which changes the composition of the phytoplankton and ... it really re-organizes the food web,” he explained.


Stretching from Nova Scotia to Cape Cod, the Gulf of Maine sits at the intersection of two major ocean currents. From the north comes the Labrador Current pulsing cold water from Greenland down North America’s eastern coast. From the south comes the mighty Gulf Stream carrying warm water from the Gulf of Mexico. The interaction of the currents causes what University of Washington oceanographer Hillary Scannell described to the science magazine Eos as the “heartbeat of the Atlantic Ocean.” ...

Historically, the Labrador Current easily flowed into the Gulf of Maine, providing the cool temperatures in which shrimp and other fish thrive. But melting Arctic ice is adding fresh water to the northern seas. This weakens the Labrador Current, and warm Gulf Stream water cooks the Gulf of Maine. The effects are stunning. 

The Gulf of Maine has warmed faster than 99% of global oceans, increasing by an average of 0.11 degrees Fahrenheit per year over the last three decades. ...

The number of younger shrimp surviving to breeding age has remained “low to extremely poor” for the past seven years, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s report read. In 2018, when yet another marine heatwave sent temperatures soaring, numbers hit “an all-time low.” “The Northern shrimp stock is currently depleted,” the report added.