Canada and global warming: a state of denial

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After former First Lady of Graça Machel of Mozambique had already said that Beira, Mozambique “will go down in history as having been the first city to be completely devastated by climate change” and the UN called Cyclone Idai "the worst weather disaster in history in the Southern Hemisphere". (, the cyclone continues to cause death and destruction, as cholera spreads through the area.

Some 270,000 people in Zimbabwe are in urgent need of aid [Tendai Marima/Al Jazeera]

Some 270,000 people in Zimbabwe are in urgent need of aid [Tendai Marima/Al Jazeera]

The following video shows the destruction of the Beira by Cyclone Idai and discusses the spread of cholera in its aftermath. (

It’s been three weeks since a fierce tropical cyclone tore through Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi, killing hundreds and leaving 600,000 people displaced. 

Now, as cholera begins to spread among the victims of Cyclone Idai, relief workers are worried a “second disaster” is on the horizon.  Cholera is an often-deadly intestinal disease caused by drinking water or food tainted with sewage and human waste carrying the bacteria Vibrio cholerae. Reports indicate that there are 139 cases of cholera in the port city Beira, Mozambique, and that number is expected to rise (no cases have been reported yet in Zimbabwe or Malawi). There are no confirmed deaths from cholera so far.

If V. cholerae starts spreading, it can be difficult to control. Outbreaks usually happen when a country’s health, hygiene, and water systems break down — and that’s why they can appear after a natural disaster or amid a humanitarian crisis. (It happened in the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. It’s happening right now in Yemen.)



Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Goes to War with the DCCC over Their New, Trump-Like Loyalty Pledge


In the following video Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and others discuss why the Green New Deal must tackle income inequality and social justice if action on climate change is to be sustainable. She also explains why more than 40 years of inaction on climate change means we no longer have the option of making small annual adaptations that would have been possible in the 1970s, 80s and maybe even 90s, but are now faced with radically transforming our economy and social system in just over a decade or face environmental and economic catastrophe.



A group of doctors in Alberta are attempting to get voters in the province to focus on the harmful effects of climate change on people's health. They focused their efforts on Calgary, where the election is likely to be decided, with a series of billboards and newspaper ads that run in Calgary, trying to capture the attention of those who are not either climate change activists or deniers. This is likely a hard sell in the oil capital, but I salute their effort. 

The doctors posted the following overview of research on the risks to people's health from climate change on the internet. The 7,142 premature deaths in 2015 from fine particulate matter, much of it from fossil fuels, noted in the posted article of the doctors below is far greater than the 1,860 killed in car accidents in the same year (

On November 29th, a global research team hailing from 27 academic institutions and inter-governmental organizations, released the 2018 edition of the report, Lancet Countdown: Tracking Progress on Health and Climate Change”.

Released for the first time in 2017, the Lancet Countdown tracks 41 indicators related to the health impacts of climate change, adaptation to climate change, policies to reduce climate emissions, the financial and economic drivers of climate change, and the political and public drivers of climate change.

Global Findings

With data collected from 196 countries, the 2018 report identifies extreme heat as the health impact of greatest
concern. The researchers note that global temperatures have been increasing steadily since 1990 with the
highest increases in Europe. They found that 157 million more vulnerable people were exposed to
heat waves
in 2017 than were exposed in 2000. Explaining that the hearts, kidneys and livers of people cannot handle temperatures greater than 40 degrees C, the researchers estimated that 153 billion hours of labour were lost to extreme heat in 2017. This is 62 billion hours more than would have been lost in 2000.

The researchers also found increasing rates of insect- or animal-borne diseases in Africa, a downward trend in agricultural yields in 30 countries, and increasing economic losses due to extreme weather events. They report that in 2017, 712 extreme weather events occurred resulting in $326 billion (US funds) in economic losses; nearly a three-fold increase in economic losses over 2016.

The report concludes that “A lack of progress in reducing emissions and building adaptive capacity threatens both human lives and the viability of national health systems they depend on, with the potential to disrupt core public health infrastructure and overwhelm health services.” 

Canadian Findings and Recommendations

On the same day, the Lancet Countdown team, working in collaboration with the Canadian Medical Association (CMA) and the Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA), released the second version of the report, Lancet Countdown 2018 Report: Briefing for Canadian Policymakers” ...

this brief notes that extreme heat claimed the lives of at least 90 Canadians this summer and reports that mean temperatures are increasing across Canada and more people are being exposed to higher temperatures.  ...

The brief, which observes that Canada is not yet doing its fair share to reduce its climate emissions, examines the health costs associated with air pollution from energy production and use in Canada. The researchers estimate that chronic exposure to fine particulate (PM2.5) air pollution from human activity in Canada resulted in 7,142 premature deaths in 2015. They attributed: 345 of those deaths to coal- fired power plants, 105 to coal-related industries, 2762 to non-coal industries, 1063 to land-based transportation, and 1282 to the agricultural sector. 

The health impacts from this air pollution were valued at $53.5 billion. The researchers note that many of the actions needed to reduce climate emissions will also reduce air pollution-related health impacts. For
example, Canada’s transportation and oil and gas sectors, which are significant contributors to air pollution, are also responsible for 25% and 26% respectively of all Canada’s climate emissions. 

The brief recommends that Canada increase its ambition to reduce climate emissions and air pollution in Canada and twin this goal with Just Transition Policies.



ETA: The myth that Canada being one of the coldest countries on earth will suffer less from global warming has been destroyed. Since 1992 Canada has never met a single global warming emissions reduction target and under the Trudeau Liberals, who simply adopted Harper's targets, we are not going to meet our current targets, even with carbon pricing. Sadly, our governments remain in denial of how bad the problem truly is. 

Canada is heating up at double the average rate of the planet, according to a stunning peer-reviewed scientific report involving dozens of government and academic authors, and it is likely that the majority of this warming was caused by human activities like burning fossil fuels.

Canada’s Changing Climate Report, released April 1, 2019, shows how climate change has already altered Canada and is expected to lead to heightened risks of heat waves, wildfires, floods and declining freshwater availability.

The report uses careful language to express varying levels of confidence in scientific research, showing how climate change has already altered Canada & is expected to lead to heightened risks of heat waves, wildfires, floods and declining freshwater 

It found that Canada’s annual temperature over land has warmed on average 1.7 degrees Celsius between 1948 and 2016, while the average winter temperature has increased by 3.3 C. Although not uniform, that’s much more dramatic than the average warming around the world of between 0.8 C and 1.2 C as assessed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

For Northern Canada, the number is even starker: the region has warmed by 2.3 C, about three times global warming. ...

Overall, the scientists found the effects of climate change evident across the country, and that further warming over the next decades is already baked in due to pollution that has already been released into the atmosphere. The only question is how extreme future changes will be. Scientists said while some further warming is "unavoidable," the amount "depends directly on global emissions."

"Scenarios with limited warming will only occur if Canada and the rest of the world reduce carbon emissions to near zero early in the second half of the century and reduce emissions of other greenhouse gases substantially," reads the report. 

This graphic shows observed changes between 1948 and 2016 in annual temperature across Canada. The graph makes clear that Canada has warmed on average 1.7 degrees Celsius, but not uniformly. CCCR 2019 screenshot

The groundbreaking findings also include the following:

  • Get used to rain and urban flooding: Annual precipitation is increasing in many regions. Outside of the North, there has also been more rainfall in winter, as opposed to snow. More intense rainfall increases urban flooding risks. Annual and winter rain is projected to increase across Canada. 
  • Wildfires, heat waves are the new normal: Extreme warm temperatures have become hotter, and extreme cold temperatures are less cold. Hot and cold extremes are projected to continue in the future. That means increased risk of extreme fire weather and heat waves.
  • Canada is losing its snow and ice: The proportion of Canadian land and marine areas covered by ice and snow has dropped over the last three decades, scientists found. There is less snow cover in fall and spring, glaciers are thinning, Arctic lake ice is lasting less long, and permafrost is warming. Snow cover is projected to drop in the next decades.
  • Oceans are rising and coasts will be hit: Coastal flooding is expected in the Atlantic, Pacific and the Beaufort coast in the Arctic due to the encroaching seas, which are projected to continue rising. In some areas like Hudson Bay, local sea level is projected to fall. Sea ice loss will allow more storms and waves to threaten more coastal infrastructure.
  • Freshwater will be threatened: Despite the increase in rainfall, the availability of freshwater is changing and leading to a higher risk of a water supply shortage. That is in part because the increased winter rainfall means a smaller snowpack left over in spring, leading to less runoff and lower summer flow. Warmer summers will also evaporate more surface water.
  • Marine ecosystems also threatened: The oceans, which have absorbed almost all of the excess heat generated from carbon pollution, are warming and acidifying. That process is expected to intensify with more carbon pollution and threaten the health of marine ecosystems.




At least BC has begun to look at mitigating some of these problems. It's not enough but it's a start....

you coincide climate change with CO2 accumulations, which I do not agree...there are many theories for climate change, which I do not feel adequate to judge.......but the focus on fossil fuel reduction, period is dangerous....what BC is planning is to develop mega dam projects in violation of the rural communities and indigenous Nations, which will come with a fight!!

fossil fuels are not fossil is the extraction methods that must be analysed and challenged...

e.g. one theory is the increasing vapourizations caused by fracking and tar sands extraction that is significantly damaging.......sure a reduction in our use of fossil fuel, especially the dangerous types is important...but analysis must be holistic, looking at a breadth of factors

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Canada's failure to fight climate change 'disturbing,' environment watchdog says


But her final conclusions as the country's environmental watchdog say it is Canada's slow action to deal with the warming planet that is most "disturbing" to her.

"For decades, successive federal governments have failed to reach their targets for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, and the government is not ready to adapt to a changing climate," she said in a statement Tuesday morning. "This must change."

Gelfand's rebuke came a day after Environment Canada scientists sounded an alarm that Canada is warming up twice as fast as the rest of the world, causing irreversible changes to our climate.

Gelfand said neither Liberal nor Conservative governments have hit their own targets to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

Canada is not on track to hit its 2030 target, despite policies like the national price on carbon that took effect this week.

Gelfand's audit says the Liberals are not keeping a promise to get rid of "inefficient" fossil-fuel subsidies, which are undermining efforts to combat climate change, encouraging wasteful consumption of fossil fuels and discouraging investments in cleaner energy sources.

Canada has pledged to eliminate inefficient subsidies by 2025 as part of both the G20 and G7 economic groups of nations, and the Liberals also campaigned on a promise to get rid of them.

Gelfand concludes that both Finance Canada and Environment Canada have defined "inefficient" so broadly they can't decide what subsidies fall into that category.


jerrym and epaulo13

Thanks to both of you for helping to keep us focused on the singnificant issues in our society and planet


iyraste1313 wrote:

At least BC has begun to look at mitigating some of these problems. It's not enough but it's a start....

you coincide climate change with CO2 accumulations, which I do not agree...there are many theories for climate change, which I do not feel adequate to judge.......but the focus on fossil fuel reduction, period is dangerous....what BC is planning is to develop mega dam projects in violation of the rural communities and indigenous Nations, which will come with a fight!!

fossil fuels are not fossil is the extraction methods that must be analysed and challenged...

e.g. one theory is the increasing vapourizations caused by fracking and tar sands extraction that is significantly damaging.......sure a reduction in our use of fossil fuel, especially the dangerous types is important...but analysis must be holistic, looking at a breadth of factors


I agree that no method of energy production is without harmful consequences for the environment, including dam building. Some greenhouse gases also come from cattle in the form of methane gas release and other agricultural practices, but they are not the primary source of global greenhouse gas production. Last year more greenhouse gases were released from the record-setting wildfires in BC than from any other cause, but this was one of the predicted consequences of global warming causing increased wildfires, especially in boreal forest regions, such as the BC Interior. In other words, increased fossil fuel has been initiating a positive feedback loop that increases the number of wildfires, as well as Arctic warming and sea rise from melting ice due to the Albedo effect, which is "the reduction of ice and snow due to warmer temperatures. When the white and gray snow and ice disappears, less sun rays are reflected out and instead the heat is absorbed by land and sea - which causes further increase in the warming." ( Thus, the warming due to fossil fuel induced climate change in the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans acclerates further warming, which is exactly what the global warming models predicted. 

I also agree that the concerns of rural communities and indigenous people in Canada, or for that matter indigenous people virtually anywhere in the world are not given much consideration in the construction, operation and use of energy whatever its source.

However, the evidence gathered by thousands of scientists and the models they built based on continuous ongoing data collection overwhelmingly support the theory that global warming is being caused primarily by fossil fuels, whether in the extraction, refinement or use stages. Here is a brief comment on the evidence. 

The IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), written by a panel of hundreds of climate experts and scientists from member countries of the World Meteorological Organization the United Nations Environmental Programme, plus a team of external reviewers, states unambiguously:

Human influence on the climate system is clear, and recent anthropogenic emissions of green-house gases are the highest in history. […] Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia.

The scientific consensus is clear. Building on two previous studies, a landmark 2013 peer-reviewed study evaluated 10,306 scientists to confirm that over 97 percent climate scientists agree, and over 97 percent of scientific articles find that global warming is real and largely caused by humans.

more recent peer-reviewed paper examined existing studies on consensus in climate research, and concluded that the 97 percent estimate is robust.

This level of consensus is equivalent to the level of agreement among scientists that smoking causes cancer – a statement that very few people, if any, contest today.

But if you dispute that fossil fuels are central to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming or that we are in a world-wide crisis because of this, I doubt that anything that I say at this point is likely to change your mind, so I do not want to get into a series of post and counter-posts.


NorthReport wrote:

jerrym and epaulo13

Thanks to both of you for helping to keep us focused on the singnificant issues in our society and planet

Thanks North Report.


Canada's Environmental Commission, Julie Gelfand, warns that Canada is not doing enough to combat global warming because a succession of governments, including the current Trudeau Liberal one, have failed to effectively deal with this crisis. As a result, the Trudeau government is not on track to reach its 2030 fossil fuel emissions reduction targets despite the fact that Canada is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world (as described in post #505).

Furthermore, billions of dollars in government subsidies to the fossil fuels help increase greenhouse gas emissions, further accelerating the problem. 

Her final conclusions as the country's environmental watchdog say it is Canada's slow action to deal with the warming planet that is most "disturbing" to her. "For decades, successive federal governments have failed to reach their targets for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, and the government is not ready to adapt to a changing climate," she said in a statement Tuesday morning. "This must change."

Gelfand's rebuke came a day after Environment Canada scientists sounded an alarm that Canada is warming up twice as fast as the rest of the world, causing irreversible changes to our climate. ...

Gelfand said neither Liberal nor Conservative governments have hit their own targets to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Canada is not on track to hit its 2030 target, despite policies like the national price on carbon that took effect this week. ...

Gelfand's audit says the Liberals are not keeping a promise to get rid of "inefficient" fossil-fuel subsidies, which are undermining efforts to combat climate change, encouraging wasteful consumption of fossil fuels and discouraging investments in cleaner energy sources.

Canada has pledged to eliminate inefficient subsidies by 2025 as part of both the G20 and G7 economic groups of nations, and the Liberals also campaigned on a promise to get rid of them.

Gelfand concludes that both Finance Canada and Environment Canada have defined "inefficient" so broadly they can't decide what subsidies fall into that category.

Finance Canada's work on the subsidies focused exclusively on fiscal and economic considerations without giving any attention to the social and environmental issues at play. For its part, Environment and Climate Change Canada only looked at 23 out of more than 200 federal organizations when it compiled an inventory of potential subsidies for the fossil-fuel industry, Gelfand found.

Philip Gass, a senior energy researcher for the International Institute for Sustainable Development, said Tuesday using the World Trade Organization definition of subsidies, his organization found several that could or should be phased out. The IISD list shows more than $1.2 billion in fossil-fuel subsidies from the federal government, and an even greater amount from provincial governments. Gelfand's audit looked only at federal subsidies.



Furthermore, Trudeau simply adopted Harper's 2030 greenhouse gas emissions targets as his own, despite Harper being seen as a fossil fuel dinosaur and Trudeau claiming he was real environmentalist in the 2015 election. 

Some voters had a lot of hope for the federal Liberals back in 2015. First of all, Justin Trudeau was not Stephen Harper, a fact some people really liked. He also had a pile of platform promises that appealed to many Canadians. Confronting climate change was one of the big ones.

The Liberal platform pointed out how inept Harper’s Conservatives were on climate change and said “We will end the cycle of federal parties – of all stripes – setting arbitrary targets without a real federal/provincial/territorial plan in place.” ...

So what happened? Well, the air was let out of the tires. They decided to go with Harper’s goal of a 30 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in Canada by 2030. They said that reduction would be a floor rather than a ceiling. Turns out it’s a ceiling. It also turns out they really don’t have a plan to implement the goal; their ‘Pan Canadian Framework’ is mostly hype and has pretty well fallen apart. And even then it didn’t actually say how Canada would meet Harper’s target. So not what was promised.


 Twelve wildfires were already burning in the BC Interior by April 1st, with several of them being overwintering fires that burnt below the surface and reappeared above ground as snow cover disappeared.


As warmer weather returns to parts of the province affected by last summer's wildfires, the B.C. Wildfire Service is advising British Columbians that some hot spots could re-emerge due to what are called "overwintering" fires.

An overwintering fire can occur when a wildfire that burned deep underground last year has continued to smoulder all winter long. Given the extent and intensity of many wildfires in the summer of 2018, some of these residual hot spots could flare up with the arrival of warmer and drier weather this spring. ...

Most overwintering fires will occur well within the original fire's perimeter. Many areas near communities where wildfires burned last year are being actively patrolled by firefighters and scanned using thermal imaging technology.


Wildfire season is starting very early this year in British Columbia, which is not a good sign considering that the 2017  record-setting wildfire season in terms of area burned was followed by a new 2018 record season. As even former Premier Christy Clark admitted in 2015, "This is the new normal" that is closely linked to global warming, according to scientists.  In 2017, more than 65,000 people were displaced from their homes by BC wildfires for extended periods, while tens of thousands more were also forced to flee their homes in 2018. The area burnt by wildfires in BC in 2018 was more than twice the size of Prince Edward Island. 

The costs of these wildfires have been growing exponentially. 

Budget 2019 includes a forecast allowance of $500 million in 2019/20 and $300 million in each of the two subsequent years. ...

Last year, the costs of firefighting and emergency programs related to floods and fires were more than $850 million over budget. ...

According to the Ministry of Finance:

  • Historic fire costs have ranged from $53.5 million in 2011 to $649.5 million in 2017.
  • In 2018/19, direct wildfire costs totalled more than $400 million.


The new reality is reflected in the fact that the NDP "government is increasing funding for wildfire management by 58 per cent".

The additional funding for 2019 will help the B.C. Wildfire Service with its fire response capabilities, according to Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resources. It will be used to help reduce wildfire risks in affected communities and to pay for more crews and equipment.

In 2018, more than 13,000 square kilometres of the province was burned, surpassing the 2017 record of 12,161 square kilometres.


Sean in Ottawa

You know why fossil fuel companies have shiny new policies, messaging and ideas? They are coated with oil.


Climate change plans

Cons - None

Libs - Failed

NDP - appears to have like a sound plan but little chance of enacting it unless there is a minority government 


This is what happens when you have an educated society that does not live next door to the USA and its huge economy but oh Canada where are thou!

Norway is walking away from billions of barrels of oil in the Lofoten islands

Western Europe's biggest petroleum producer is falling out of love with oil

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

‘Historic breakthrough’: Norway’s giant oil fund dives into renewables

Norway’s $1tn oil fund, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund, is to plunge billions of dollars into wind and solar power projects. The decision follows Saudi Arabia’s oil fund selling off its last oil and gas assets.

Other national funds built up from oil profits are also thought to be ramping up their investments in renewables. The moves show that countries that got rich on fossil fuels are diversifying their investments and seeking future profits in the clean energy needed to combat climate change. Analysts say the investments are likely to power faster growth of green energy.

Norway’s government gave the go-ahead on Friday for its fund to invest in renewable energy projects that are not listed on stock markets. Unlisted projects make up more than two-thirds of the whole renewable infrastructure market, which is worth trillions of dollars.....


Thanks epaulo13 for the post on Norway's shift towards renewables. It's great news. The following charts show the rapid growth in renewables since the early 2000s and the remarkable shift among developing countries who now outspending developed countries on renewables, giving the lie to those who argue we cannot carry out this change because we would lose out economically if we shifted away from fossil fuels and the developing countries did not.

In 2017, China spent more than three times as much as the #2 country in renewables, the US, and almost ten times what the #3 country, Japan, did, resulting in China spending 45% of global renewable 2017 investment.

The charts that accompany these written descriptions can be found on page 21-22  at the following url:


Figure 10 shows investment split into three categories of economy – developed, the ‘big three’ developing countries of China, India and Brazil, and other developing economies. It reveals that dollar commitments in these ‘other’ developing economies reached $33.5 billion last year, up 6%, but still below the record of $39.9 billion in 2015.

China, India and Brazil together saw dollars allocated to renewables hit $143.6 billion, their highest total ever and up 24% on 2016. China, as discussed below, was even more dominant in that ‘big three’ last year than previously.

Developed economy investment slipped 19% to $102.8 billion in 2017, the lowest figure since 2006 and only 37% of the global total. Much of this decline reflected the trend in Europe, where there were fewer big offshore wind financings in 2017 than in the previous two years, and both lower capital costs per MW and policy changes also had an impact.

The gap between developing and developed economy investment last year was, in fact, a reflection of demand in the solar market. Figure 11 shows that solar investment split $115.4 billion to $45.4 billion between the two main categories of economy, the developing country part being up 41% and the developed economy part being down 17%.

Wind was more evenly balanced, at $54.8 billion in developing economies, and $52.4 billion in developed countries. Those figureswere down 4% and down 19% respectively in 2017 compared to 2016. Biomass and waste-to-energy investment was evenly split at $2.3 billion in both developing and developed economies, while small hydro outlays were, as usual, concentrated mainly in the developing world. ...

The China chart shows the powerful build-up of its activity in renewables, hitting records in 2015 and then again in 2017. The Europe graph reveals peaks in dollar investment around the turn of the decade, reflecting frantic spending on solar at relatively high costs per MW as feed-in tariffs in Spain, Germany and Italy lured developers and households. The U.S. chart is notable for sustaining a total in the range $33-49 billion per year since 2010.

Figure 13 underlines the dominance of China in last year’s renewable energy investment, accounting for $126.6 billion out of the global total of $279.8 billion – equivalent to a record 45% of global investment. Its preponderance is equally striking in Figure 14, which shows the top 10 investing countries last year. 




The Atlantic provinces are already great risk from sea level rise according to  Canada's Changing Climate Report with sea level projected to rise 75 cm to 1 metre by 2100 and 10 cm within a decade. Sea level rise in the future could cut the isthmus connection between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick during storm surges causing enormous environmental and economic problems in both provinces. Canada is way behind other G8 countries in letting people know what is the risk to their own property despite the fact that Canada is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world.  

Worrying figures released this week on the rising seas in Atlantic Canada should prompt governments and citizens to move more swiftly to protect coastal buildings and vital transport links, say flooding experts. ...

Blair Greenan, a federal oceanographer who oversaw the oceans chapter of the report, said in an interview that without any adaptation measures, flooding during Halifax storms will be noticeable in just a decade as relative sea level goes up about 10 centimetres. "It will probably have doubled," he said during an interview. "It is an important point that southern Atlantic Canada is the highest risk area in Canada for sea level rise." ...

The Atlantic region is facing a dual effect of rising seas and falling coastlines, says the study.

It notes that while in much of the country the coast is rebounding from glaciation — helping counter sea level rise — the eastern coasts are continuing to sink.

Blair Feltmate [,head of the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation at the University of Waterloo,] said while the report documents less drastic outcomes in a scenario of lower emissions, he believes the current "high emissions scenario" — where current amounts of fossil fuels continue to be burned — is much likelier.

"That [high emission scenario] is what is going to happen," he said, adding that he has attended the most recent G20 meetings and has heard no firm commitments from nations that they will even meet goals set in the Paris Accord. ...

The federal study also highlights the vulnerability of the Chignecto Isthmus — a low-lying, 20-kilometre band of land which joins Nova Scotia to New Brunswick, said Feltmate. The Canadian Press recently reported on the risk of much of the East Coast being cut off if the key trade corridor is submerged due to a strong tidal surge overtopping dikes that were last upgraded over 50 years ago. ...

Jason Thistlethwaite, a professor of environment and business at the University of Waterloo, says all Canadian jurisdictions also need to rapidly begin providing easily accessible flood risk maps for citizens.

In other G8 countries maps are used to raise public awareness and help create the political will for investment in preparing for sea level rise, he said.

A recent study by his research group indicated many Canadians lack access to clear maps that tell them the risks to their property and what actions to take to prevent flooding, he said."This report demonstrates the urgency of this issue ...

This is reminding us that climate change will have disproportionate impact on northern countries and we're one of them," said Thistlethwaite in an interview Saturday. One of the report's key overall findings is that Canada is warming up twice as fast as the rest of the world and it's "effectively irreversible."


epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..yes good stuff re norway. it frustrating that countries like canada will have to be dragged into the future kicking and screaming. 


A new study warns that glaciers around the world are melting much faster than previously thought. They are now melting at five times the rate of the 1960s, thereby greatly increasing the rate of sea level rise.

Those that are shrinking the fastest include those in western Canada, where the dry prairie region depends on runoff from glaciers for a significant part of its water supply. Since the 1960s, the global glacier melt has been enough to cover the United States in four feet of water. 

The sea level rise from melting glaciers is forcing coastal cities, including Canada's, around the world to deal with enormous challenges - spend trillions of dollars to attempt to perhaps protect them or face ongoing flooding. 

Earth’s glaciers are melting much faster than scientists thought. A new study shows they are losing 369 billion tons of snow and ice each year, more than half of that in North America.

The most comprehensive measurement of glaciers worldwide found that thousands of inland masses of snow compressed into ice are shrinking 18 percent faster than an international panel of scientists calculated in 2013.

The world’s glaciers are shrinking five times faster now than they were in the 1960s. Their melt is accelerating due to global warming, and adding more water to already rising seas, the study found.

“Over 30 years suddenly almost all regions started losing mass at the same time,” said lead author Michael Zemp, director of the World Glacier Monitoring Service at the University of Zurich. “That’s clearly climate change if you look at the global picture.”

The glaciers shrinking fastest are in central Europe, the Caucasus region, western Canada, the U.S. Lower 48 states, New Zealand and near the tropics. Glaciers in these places on average are losing more than 1 percent of their mass each year, according to a study in Monday’s journal Nature. ...

Rising seas threaten coastal cities around the world and put more people at risk of flooding during storms.

While people think of glaciers as polar issues, shrinking mountain glaciers closer to the equator can cause serious problems for people who depend on them, said Twila Moon, a snow and ice data center scientist who also wasn’t part of the study. She said people in the Andes, for example, rely on the glaciers for drinking and irrigation water each summer.

A separate study Monday in Environmental Research Letters confirmed faster melting and other changes in the Arctic. It found that in winter, the Arctic is warming 2.8 times faster than the rest of the Northern Hemisphere. Overall, the region is getting more humid, cloudier and wetter. “It’s on steroids, it’s hyperactive,” said lead author Jason Box, a scientist for the Danish Meteorological Institute.



Skeptical of Trudeau's carbon pricing? There's an institute for that


Rapid warming deserves more than a lukewarm response

Another week, another dramatic warning from scientists—met with shrugs all around.


The consequences of our failure to address this crisis are already being felt and will worsen as emissions and temperatures rise: more precipitation, especially in winter, causing more flooding (although with some decreases in southern regions); heat waves increasing in frequency and intensity; melting glaciers, ice caps and ice shelves, which affects water supply and creates feedback loops that increase the warming rate; and warmer and more acidic oceans that produce less oxygen. This will affect everything from food security to human health to wildlife viability.

Most disturbing is that we’ve known about global warming with a great degree of certainty for decades, and there’s no shortage of solutions. But because industry, politicians and many in the news media have convinced the public that “we can’t get off fossil fuels overnight,” we’ve failed to do much to get off them at all. We continue to increase fossil fuel exploitation and use along with emissions while paying lip service to industry-approved solutions, such as carbon pricing at levels too low to have the needed effect, and expensive and unproven technologies such as carbon capture and storage.

The report notes it’s too late to prevent consequences from the enormous amounts of greenhouse gases we’ve already locked into the system, but we still have time—although not much—to prevent climate chaos. That will take action on a massive scale, from governments, industry, academia, and citizens. We have to re-evaluate the thinking that got us into this mess, including outdated economic philosophies predicated on wasteful continuous growth, resource exploitation, and consumerism.

We simply can’t continue to rapidly burn coal, oil, and gas and build infrastructure to support these wasteful, destructive energy technologies. We have to give nature a chanceto regenerate as much as possible, as Earth’s systems help rebalance carbon and other natural cycles. As an open letter I and many others signed points out, “Defending the living world and defending the climate are, in many cases, one and the same.”

Even in the short term, there are benefits to addressing the climate crisis beyond saving our skins—although that should be enough! Reducing pollution, conserving resources and generating economic opportunities in cleaner energy are important goals in themselves.

It’s time to quit stalling.


In March, Richmond British Columbia city council "declared a climate emergency. The vote was unanimous this evening (Monday) to declare the climate emergency and commit to meeting greenhouse-gas reduction standards set by the UN’s Inter-Government Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)." (

A 2012 BC government report concluded that Metro Vancouver would require $9.5 billion in flood protection improvements by 2100. But the then ruling nothing to implement such improvements and it is now clear that those 2100 projections are developing much faster as new reports show Canada is warming much faster.  Richmond, much of which is  already below sea level and is only protected from widespread flooding by levees, is one of the most threatened areas by sea level rise. 

Combating rising sea levels due to global warming could cost $9.5 billion in flood-protection improvements in Metro Vancouver — including sea gates at False Creek and Steveston — by 2100, according to a report released Tuesday by the B.C. government.

The report, Cost of Adaptation - Sea Dikes and Alternative Strategies, covers the Metro Vancouver coastal shoreline and the Fraser River downstream of Port Mann Bridge — an area with more than 250 kilometres of shoreline.

The $9.5-billion cost estimate includes design, project management, land acquisition, environmental mitigation, impacts on utilities and pump stations and earthquake-resistant construction methods.

The Delcan report singled out three areas in the region for potential special protective measures:

- False Creek: A $25-million sea gate would allow the movement of water and boats through during normal water levels but would be closed during storm conditions to limit sea levels and reduce the height of shoreline defences needed around the perimeter of False Creek.

- Steveston: Use Shady Island as part of a breakwater/barrier with a sea gate to protect a densely developed waterfront with historic buildings at an estimated cost $10 million.

- Mud Bay, Surrey: Sea gates at the mouths of the Nicomekl and Serpentine rivers at a cost of $10 million each, along with a "managed retreat" or gradual decommission of development in the area.


A February report emphasizes that the threat of flooding from sea level rise and quick melting of snow packs due to global warming extends beyond Metro Vancouver into the Fraser Valley that cost as much as $32.7 billion.

The Lower Mainland’s food security, transportation links and power supplies are at risk if an estimated 42 percent of the Fraser Valley floods as a result of climate-change-induced spring runoffs, government documents say.

“The potential for flooding off the Fraser River caused by a rapid snowmelt (freshet) is a seasonal threat that could impact almost 30,000 hectares (74,100 acres),” said a B.C. Agriculture & Food Action Climate Initiative Dec. 14 request for proposals. The $77,500-budgeted plan is to prepare a disaster mitigation toolkit for the agricultural sector.

That preparation plan price tag is in stark contrast to the estimated worst-case scenario tab of $32.7 billion envisioned by the Fraser Basin Council (FBC) for what could be Canada’s most-costly natural disaster. A Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) report said climate change is anticipated to increase annual water peak flows, and shift them to earlier in the spring.

“A major flood event ... would cause over $800 million in damage to farmers’ crops, buildings and equipment, and the agricultural losses and associated spin-off impacts would have a have an economic impact of $1.1 billion on FVRD communities, the FVRD said.

Further, reports said, the combination of sea level increases and runoffs could increase flooding as far inland as Mission. ...

As far back as 2011, the Ministry of Health recognized the threat climate change poses. “If global warming continues unabated, worsening climatic conditions in B.C. are likely to adversely impact food security through: physical degradation of land and water used in agriculture; biological changes such as increased plant and animal pathogens in staple crops; and destabilization of communities through degradation of local agriculture and lost jobs and incomes, directly reducing the ability to purchase food,” a ministry report said.

The threat has prompted the province to begin planning for managing flood-damaged crops, handling livestock, risks to farms and ranches, protection of farm structures, containing flood-borne contaminants and maintaining essential services.

The region produces 90% of B.C.’s poultry products, 72% of dairy cows and significant volumes of fruit and vegetables from outdoor or greenhouse production, according to Ministry of Agriculture 2016 statistics.




ETA: In the US, there are already 820,000 homes that are priced at a discount at a total cost of $14.1 billion because of the threat of coastal flooding due to global warming.

The following article warns that Metro Vancouver is the city in Canada facing the greatest threat from coastal flooding for the same reason. Similar flooding has already occurred in New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Halifax is also at risk. Considering the fact that Canada has the longest coastline by far of any country in the world, the damage that is occurring now and will occur in the future raises the question of why we are sleepwalking to disaster.

The Trudeau Liberal's adoption of Harper's greenhouse gas emission reduction targets is far from enough to even begin to deal with this problem. However the sad truth is there is almost no chance of his even meeting these targets, just like every other Canadian government for the last 25 years. Buying Trans Mountain proves that Trudeau and the Liberals have no intention of  even trying. 

An aerial view of flooding in Fredericton, N.B., in the spring of 2018. The Saint John River is forecast to flood more frequently as global temperatures rise.

An aerial view of flooding in Fredericton, N.B., in the spring of 2018. The Saint John River is forecast to flood more frequently as global temperatures rise.

Climate experts have warned for some time that flooding caused by rising sea levels could wreak havoc with local economies, but new research suggests this is already happening — and in Canada, it's homeowners in Greater Vancouver who stand to lose the most.

According to new research from the First Street Foundation, a U.S.-based non-profit that studies climate change, homeowners in eight coastal U.S. states have lost a total of US$14.1 billion in home value since 2005 due to increased tidal flooding.

The study, an expansion of work first published in the peer-reviewed Population Research and Policy Review, found that there is a "discount" on properties due to flooding risk; that this discount is growing over time; and that it's directly linked to a given property's exposure to flooding. ...

By comparing property sales in flood-prone areas to comparable properties in similarly-priced areas outside flood zones, they found that some 820,000 homes — including 384,000 in Florida alone — have been slapped with a flood discount.

"We all knew that flooding issues were getting worse from sea level rise, but the home value loss associated with it is truly staggering," First Street Foundation executive director Matthew Eby said in a statement. "The time to act is now."

Interactive maps from U.S.-based organization Climate Central show that just a one-degree rise in temperatures would raise sea levels enough to flood vast tracts of the southern part of the Greater Vancouver region, along with lower areas of North Vancouver, if no action is taken to stop it.

A one-degree temperature rise is considered virtually inevitable at this point.


The screencap from Climate Central's website shows the extent of coastal flooding that Greater Vancouver...

The screencap from Climate Central's website shows the extent of coastal flooding that Greater Vancouver could experience with a one-degree temperature rise.

It's not just Vancouver. Depending on how much temperatures rise, Halifax's harbourfront could be submerged, as could entire neighbourhoods in Charlottetown and parts of New Brunswick.

But it's the Greater Vancouver area where the largest number of people could be affected. An estimated 250,000 residents of the suburb of Richmond live in homes no more than a meter above sea level. Officials are not blind to the problem. Richmond is building "superdikes," some as much as 50 metres wide, in anticipation of increased flooding. ...

But some officials fear the money — and the political will needed — to address increased flooding just isn't there. "We're talking huge, huge amounts of money that will really have a negative impact on our economy," said Doug Smith, Vancouver's director of sustainability, as quoted by CBC News. He says the amounts of money needed to repair infrastructure are so high that they aren't politically viable.

But the study from First Street highlights the reality that governments can't stop the economic damage we risk from climate change simply by refusing to spend money. When the floods come to our coastal communities, the losses to home values, and the devastation those communities experience, may just be enough to convince policymakers to take action.



Arctic is warmest it's been in 10,000 years, study suggests


Permafrost samples suggest Arctic is 2 C warmer than previous record highs thousands of years ago


Canada has failed to live up to its international greenhouse emissions targets over the last 25 years and is virtually guaranteed to continue to do so under the Trudeau Liberal government's 2030 targets, which are simply the Harper government's targets. According to 2018 statistics, we are the largest emitter per capita among G20 countries and emits three times the G20 average. The Trudeau Liberal government has no policies in place that could meet those targets. 

Canadians produce three times more greenhouse gas emissions than G20 average. Canada's push to be an international leader in the fight against climate change may be hampered by a distinction that it produces the most per-person greenhouse gas emissions among G20 economies.


Canadians produce more greenhouse gas emissions per person than any other G20 economy, according to a new analysis.

[In November 2018] Climate Transparency, a coalition of international climate organizations, released its fourth annual review of the climate polices of G20 members. ... The report pointed out that none of them has a plan in place that would actually meet the goals of the Paris climate change agreement. ...

Combined, the G20 members represent about 70 per cent of the world’s economy and population. As a group, they are also responsible for more than 80 per cent of the world’s annual greenhouse gas emissions. ...

The Climate Transparency analysis said, on average, each Canadian produces 22 tonnes of greenhouse gas per year — which is the highest among all G20 members and nearly three times the G20 average of eight tonnes per person.

“It’s because of the oilsands and because of transportation,” said Abreu. “Oil and gas and transportation are the two largest and fastest growing sources of emissions in the country.”

Upstream oil and gas production in Canada emitted 100 million tonnes of greenhouse gases in 2016, the most recent year for which emissions statistics are available. It accounts for one out of every seven tonnes emitted in Canada and went up four million tonnes that year.


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The Link Between Climate Change Denial and Migrant hatred

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“Falter”: In New Book, Bill McKibben Asks If the Human Game Has Begun to Play Itself Out

Thousands are taking to the streets in London today to demand radical action to combat the climate crisis. Protesters with the group Extinction Rebellion have set up encampments and roadblocks across Central London and say they’ll stay in the streets for at least a week. It’s just the beginning of a series of global actions that will unfold in the coming days, as activists around the world raise the alarm about government inaction in the face of the growing climate catastrophe. The London protests come just days after schoolchildren around the globe left school again on Friday for the weekly “strike for climate” and as the push for the Green New Deal continues to build momentum in the United States.



I think there were two great inventions of the 20th century that might just save us in the 21st. The first was the solar panel. It’s magic on a kind of Hogwarts scale, Amy. I mean, you point a sheet of glass at the sun, and out the back flows light and communications and modernity. To get to see it being installed for the first time in remote parts of Africa, say—I did a long story for The New Yorker a couple years ago on this—was a fantastic joy. I mean, to watch people who had never had a cold drink in their life, suddenly, because of these solar panels, able to do so, reminds us of how much we take for granted.

The other invention of the 20th century that holds out real hope is this invention of nonviolent social movements, from the suffragettes, from Gandhi, from Dr. King, from people learning how to take—well, how to take the power of the many and the small to stand up to the mighty and the few. Climate change is perhaps the most dramatic example of this there’ll ever be. I mean, as you know, we learned a lot in the last few years about the nature of the fossil fuel industry, about the fact that they knew everything there was to know about climate change back in the 1980s, knew everything and believed it. Exxon began building all its drilling rigs to compensate for the rise in sea level they knew was coming. They just didn’t tell the rest of us. Instead, they devoted billions of dollars to building this architecture of deceit and denial and disinformation that’s kept us locked for 30 years in an utterly sterile debate about whether or not global warming was real, a debate that both sides knew the answer to from the start. It’s just one of them was willing to lie.

And so, now we’re at the point where we have no choice but to hope we can build movements big enough, loud enough, beautiful enough to challenge that power. That’s why, for me, it’s incredibly moving and incredibly exciting to see the young people doing the Green New Deal work, to see Greta Thunberg and her comrades, you know, 12-year-olds, out of school and talking articulately about these questions. I don’t know if we’re going to win, but we definitely are going to have a fight.

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Only rebellion will prevent an ecological apocalypse


The political class, as anyone who has followed its progress over the past three years can surely now see, is chaotic, unwilling and, in isolation, strategically incapable of addressing even short-term crises, let alone a vast existential predicament. Yet a widespread and wilful naivety prevails: the belief that voting is the only political action required to change a system. Unless it is accompanied by the concentrated power of protest – articulating precise demands and creating space in which new political factions can grow – voting, while essential, remains a blunt and feeble instrument.

The media, with a few exceptions, is actively hostile. Even when broadcasters cover these issues, they carefully avoid any mention of power, talking about environmental collapse as if it is driven by mysterious, passive forces, and proposing microscopic fixes for vast structural problems. The BBC’s Blue Planet Live series exemplified this tendency.

Those who govern the nation and shape public discourse cannot be trusted with the preservation of life on Earth. There is no benign authority preserving us from harm. No one is coming to save us. None of us can justifiably avoid the call to come together to save ourselves.

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Forget Brexit and focus on climate change, Greta Thunberg tells EU


In a clarion call to Europe’s political leaders ahead of European parliament elections in May, the founder of the school strike movement said if politicians were serious about tackling climate change they would not spend all their time “talking about taxes or Brexit”.

In a typically blunt speech, she said politicians were failing to take enough action on climate change and the threats to the natural world.

“Our house is falling apart and our leaders need to start acting accordingly because at the moment they are not,” the 16-year old schoolgirl from Sweden told a standing room-only meeting of MEPs and EU officials in Strasbourg.

“If our house was falling apart our leaders wouldn’t go on like we do today,” she said. “If our house was falling apart, you wouldn’t hold three emergency Brexit summits and no emergency summit regarding the breakdown of the climate and the environment.”



The Lessons of Notre Dame

We’re paying for our neglect — whether of the Earth or our heritage — in many ways.


The number of global warming protests around the world are rapidly increasing. 

Extinction Rebellion activists continue action after more than 100 arrested overnightPolice officers start arresting Extinction Rebellion activists

Police have moved in again to begin arresting climate activists blocking Waterloo Bridge in central London.

Hundreds of people had occupied the crossing and three other sites in the capital since Monday morning.

Over Monday night, officers tried to clear the bridge, arresting 113 people, but the blockade remained in place. Just after 12.30pm on Tuesday, officers moved in again and began to carry people away.

The protests are part of a global campaign organised by the British climate group Extinction Rebellion, with demonstrations planned in 80 cities across 33 countries in the coming days.

The group has called on the UK government to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2025 and establish a citizens’ assembly to devise an emergency plan of action to tackle climate breakdown and biodiversity loss. ...

One of those facing arrest was Angie Zealter, 67, from Knighton in Wales. “It will take the police some time to clear all these people and more will come here to support us,” she said. “But this is a very import moment in history – it should have happened 50 years ago but at least it is starting to happen now. We are running out of time and our government must listen.” ...

One of those glued to the underside of the van, Ben Moss, 42, a company director from Bristol, said he had been there since midnight. “It’s drastic times and drastic times need drastic measures. I am taking personal action and personal responsibility for the ecological and climate crisis,” he said.

Moss said he was breaking the law for the sake of future generations. “I feel really sorry for the inconvenience we are causing and it is nothing personal, but the inconvenience we will all face if we don’t tackle this will be much, much worse,” he said. ...

On Tuesday afternoon, police said they were taking “positive action” on the demonstration, which the Metropolitan police said was causing “serious disruptions to public transport, local businesses and Londoners who wish to go about their daily business”.


Even the global banking elite are starting to become concerned, in some cases warning that companies that fail to adjust to the new reality will fail to exist, including financial ones. The problem is that governments need to regulate them to a much greater extent to ensure that mouthing the correct phrases results in action. 

The global financial system faces an existential threat from climate change and must take urgent steps to reform, the governors of the Bank of Englandand France’s central bank have warned, writing in the Guardian.

In an article published in the Guardian on Wednesday aimed at the international financial community, Mark Carney, the Bank’s governor, and Villeroy de Galhau, the governor of the Banque de France, said financial regulators, banks and insurers around the world had to “raise the bar” to avoid catastrophe.

They said: “As financial policymakers and prudential supervisors we cannot ignore the obvious physical risks before our eyes. Climate change is a global problem, which requires global solutions, in which the whole financial sector has a central role to play.” ...

The heads of two of the world’s most influential central banks urged other financial regulators around the world to carry out climate change stress tests to spot any risks in the system, while also calling for more collaboration between nations on the issue. They warned that a “massive reallocation of capital” was necessary to prevent global warming above the 2°C maximum target set by the Paris climate agreement, with the banking system required to play a pivotal role.

“If some companies and industries fail to adjust to this new world, they will fail to exist,” Carney and De Galhau said. ...

Climate change poses significant risks to banks and insurers from rising instances of catastrophic weather-related events, such as heatwaves, draughts and floods, which could land them with significant losses.

There are also risks for financial firms as governments accept the need to tackle climate change because banks that have lent to companies reliant on burning fossil fuels run the risk of steep financial losses. ...

Although they have received praise for advancing the debate about climate change, Carney, central bankers and financiers have been criticised for expecting the banking industry to reform itself without tougher regulation being introduced.

Frank van Lerven, a senior economist at the New Economics Foundation thinktank, said: “Central banks across the world, and in the UK, have done a very good job of identifying the problem. The question is whether they have the right balance between being thought leaders on this issue and identifying problems and taking action.”



In Guelph, demonstrators demander the city declare a climate emergency, following the examples set by Kingston, Hamilton and Richmond BC.

Dozens of people gathered in front of Guelph City Hall Monday afternoon calling on city council to take more action on climate change. ...

We're glad to see that push was happening from certain city councilors, but we're also aware that the mayor feels like enough has been done and other city councilors feel like enough has been done," said Dustin Brown, a spokesperson for Extinction Rebellion Guelph, the group that organized the demonstration.

Demonstrators participated in a "die-in" during the protest to symbolize how species are dying on earth due to climate change. People laid on the ground with their eyes closed for several minutes. ...

Guelph Coun. James Gordon said he plans to present a climate change emergency motion to council to better address climate change issues on a municipal level.

"It will contain a number of actions items and suggestions," Gordon, who is also part of the Climate Change Leadership Caucus, said.

The motion has not yet been finalized, but Gordon hopes to have it ready for council in the coming month.

Ward 6 Coun. Dominique O'Rourke said though it's encouraging that council is in agreement with the need to tackle climate change locally, she wants to see more concrete strategies, such as Guelph's efforts to become a net zero carbon community by 2050.



Meanwhile under the Trudeau Liberals, greenhouse gas emissions went up in 2017, according to just released data further demonstrating that the Liberal plans to meet their Paris Agreement reduction goals are virtually beyond reach. Scientists warn that even the Liberal government goals, which are the same as Harper's, are completely inadequate in preventing catastrophic damage. Even if the plan were working out, it would only get us 60% of the way towards the Liberal government's goals. 

The return of oil and gas production following the devastating Fort McMurray wildfire and a colder than usual winter pushed Canada’s national greenhouse gas emissions up in 2017 for the first time in several years, a new report says.

The latest national inventory report on emissions, filed this week with the United Nations climate change secretariat, showed 716 million tonnes of greenhouse gases were produced in Canada in 2017, an increase of eight million tonnes from 2016. 

The uptick pushes Canada even further away from its Paris climate change agreement pledge to slash emissions to 70 per cent of what they were in 2005 by 2030.

Canada needs to get emissions to no more than 511 million tonnes by 2030 to meet its pledge, even though international scientists last year warned the country must have steeper reductions to prevent the impacts of a warming planet from becoming impossible to mitigate.

The report follows one released two weeks ago – made public amid a political battle over the new federal carbon tax – that said Canada is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world.

Canada’s existing climate change action plan, which includes the carbon tax and subsidies to spur electric vehicle purchases, only gets Canada about 60 per cent of the way to its 2030 commitment. ...

Environment groups say the oilsands’ impact on Canada’s emissions cannot be overstated. Keith Stewart, a senior energy strategist at Greenpeace Canada, said emissions from the oilsands eclipse those from every province except Alberta and Saskatchewan. ...

Stewart said as long as the Liberals try to increase oil exports, they’re not going to have much success at bringing down emissions. “That is the dilemma at the heart of Canadian climate policy,” he said. “You can’t actually do both.”



I posted this under the Alberta election thread, but I feel it bears repeating here. 

Ken Burch wrote:


If Notley leads the NDP to defeat(and it's looking more and more like she will)it will be because-with the exception of things like the farmworkers legislation and the measures to protect LGBTQ kids and their straight student allies-she has assumed that she has to carry on the "Alberta against the world" tradition-a choice which led her to irreporably damage her party's chances of holding power by raging against the rest the NDP on the pipeline issue and her arrogant refusal to to acknowledge even the basic validity of the Leap Manifesto, a concept with which she might have engaged by proposing, say, a compromise which would have pushed the timeline for the transition from fossil fuels from 20 years to 40.   Had she done that, and were she running a re-election campaign centered on presenting and defending the solid progressive achievements of her government, Notley would likely be neck-and-neck with Kenney and have a good chance of beating him.  


Notley might have done slightly better if she had emphasized her government's accomplishments more, but with the economic recession still hurting the economy and the Cons united in a single party, it was all but guaranteed that she was going to lose.

On the other hand, abandoning any pretense of dealing with the global climate change existential crisis by proposing a forty year period of adjustment means abandoning environmental principles in the hopes of winning a few more votes that are highly unlikely to come the NDP's way since those who do not see the crisis are not likely to be won over by this 'compromise'. Such a 'compromise' would definitely shift votes away from the NDP.

If wildfires burning down a large part of Fort McMurray, the record wildfires that drove 65,000 from their homes for up to two months in BC in 2017, the new record wildfires set in BC in 2018 that burned the equivalent of 40% of Nova Scotia, the warnings that it is already too late to save the Arctic as we know it, and even the warnings today from the head of  the Bank of England and the Bank of France  that a “massive reallocation of capital” is necessary to prevent global warming above the 2°C maximum target" and “If some companies and industries fail to adjust to this new world, they will fail to exist,” (, doesn't convince you that 40 year plans are dead, I don't know what will. We face desertification in western Canada as rainfall decreases, evaporation increases with temperatures, and runoff from disappearing glaciers disappear, to say nothing of the similar risks to the billions in India, China and the rest of the Himalayan glacier countries dependent on glacial water, as well as sea level rise that not only threatens many island nations but coastal cities around the world where a large part of the globe's population lives. Canada, which has the world's longest coast, already is facing enormous risk. Even a BC Liberal government report determined that Metro Vancouver will need to spend $9.5 billion to protect it. Sea level rise is also having an impact right now on PEI's, New Brunswick's and Nova Scotia's coast that will only get much worse. Protecting New York City alone is estimated to cost $100 billion.

"If warming is not mitigated and follows the RCP8.5 sea level rise projections, the global annual flood costs without adaptation will increase to $14 trillion per year for a median sea level rise of 0.86m, and up to $27 trillion per year for 1.8m. This would account for 2.8 per cent of global GDP in 2100." ( I haven't even touched on many of the global warming problems that place the world in peril since that would take too long. 

We need a Green New Deal that combines social policy with combatting global warming and we need it now. 

Last week Norway's Labor Party withdrew its support for Arctic oil exploration producing a majority of the legislature favouring this ( China is aiming to become the renewable energy superpower. It already has 29% of renewable energy patents and last year had 45% of new renewable energy investment. ( Even Even Saudi Arabia is making major investments in preparing for life after oil.(

There are two possible futures: the world shifts fast enough to avoid catastrophic global climate change or we don't. If we don't, you won't have to worry about social policy. If the world does avoid the worst case scenario while Canada continues on with the getting the last drop out of the tar sands mentality, which NDP candidate Linda McQuaig criticized in the last election and was ostracized for both inside and outside the party, then Canada and Alberta is in danger of becoming a leader in what will be the new buggy whip industry. 

Even in the US change is occurring quickly. Coal is dying as an industry despite Trump because it is too expensive. Renewables are becoming increasingly cost competitive, even with natural gas. Furthermore, there is growing evidence that methane gas (which has more than 25 times the heating effect of carbon dioxide) emissions from natural gas development are much higher than previously thought. 

For around 10 years, the conventional wisdom in the energy sector has been that natural gas is ascendant. Coal is dirty, and it’s getting expensive, but it’s too early to jump all the way to renewable energy. To get from the fossil fuel present to the renewable future, we will need ... a bridge.

Natural gas is meant to be that bridge, a way to reduce our emissions relative to coal while we work on scaling up renewables. (The shift from coal to gas is a big part of why US emissions have declined over the past few years.) ...

 Recent forecasts suggest that it may be cheaper to build new renewables+storage than to continue operating existing natural gas plants by 2035. 

That means natural gas plants built today could be rendered uncompetitive well before their rated lifespan. They could become “stranded assets,” saddling utility ratepayers and investors with the costs of premature decommissioning.

Meanwhile, gas’s environmental reputation has suffered from a series of reports, most recently a study in Science, showing that gas’s lifecycle methane emissions are much higher than previously estimated and could seriously dent gas’s climate advantage over coal. (See author and activist Bill McKibben for an extensive exploration of this point.)

According to the consultancy Lazard, the all-in, “levelized cost of energy” (LCOE) from some renewables is already lower than the LCOE of a lot of fossil fuels in many cases, even without subsidies and without environmental benefits factored in. Wind is the cheapest energy of all, and utility-scale solar is competitive with the cheapest natural gas.

In the Midwest, wind is cheapest. In the Southwest, solar is cheapest. As costs continue to fall, areas where renewables beat new CCGT will grow and spread.


epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Extinction Rebellion:


FARHANA YAMIN: The action actually started on Monday with protesters climbing onto the facade—there’s a balcony—outside the unmarked building, which is the Shell headquarters in the U.K. And they honored the work of Polly Higgins, who has been campaigning for ecocide law, which is essentially to hold to account companies and governments for the criminal damage to the Earth. And I protested there yesterday as that action was ending, because I feel, you know, it’s absurd that I was walking off in handcuffs for criminal damage to the Shell building, when Shell itself has been one of the main biggest polluters who has caused the largest amount of irreversible, very serious harm that is happening all around the world, the climate destruction that we’re seeing as a result of 30 years of too little, too late.


JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Clare Farrell, could you elaborate on the core demands of your movement to the government—tell the truth about climate change, reduce carbon emissions by 2025 and create citizens’ assemblies to oversee the process?


And the third demand, which I think, personally, is kind of the most exciting, is for a citizens’ assembly on climate change and the extinction crisis. And what that calls for is a structural political change, which I think is crucial for people to understand. Often when you’re interviewed on the mainstream media here, they want to drill down into policy, and they particularly want to talk about what the environmentalists want to take away from them. And, for me, this is absolutely giving something to people in a very big and serious way. And if it happens structurally, then it’s not a policy that can be, you know, massaged figures or whatever. It’s something that, hopefully, will stand to last and significantly restore our democratic process in the U.K.


AMY GOODMAN: And, Clare Farrell, why you named it Extinction—why the group has decided on this name, Extinction Rebellion, and what your plans are, going forward from today?


And as for the plans coming up, I know that some people climbed on board the—on top of the train today at the DLR station. There are some groups on the street who—I understand, today, Oxford Circus is just receiving a much heavier police presence, and there are lots of arrests. But there will be groups going out and swarming London’s streets, which basically means going and moving, doing mobile, kind of agile and temporary roadblocks, moving around the city. So, if sites do get closed down, groups will be blocking roads in many, many places around the center of London, close to the sites that we’ve already seen closed down for the last few days.

Just to say, this is the start of a campaign of mass civil disobedience. The intention is that it isn’t over after a few days, but the intention is that, you know, it will catalyze and inspire others to take forward their own actions and become a big mass movement all over the world. So, I hope, in the months and weeks beyond this, that we will see many, many more actions coming up.


JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And, Clare, the impact of all of these student strikes that have occurred? And, of course, the Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, 16 years old, is expected to meet with the Pope Francis today. How has that affected sort of the face of the movement around climate change?

CLARE FARRELL: Well, the youth movement is very important. And I think when you look at—when you look at a movement or a moment in history like this, having many movements that support each other is really important. And I had a very interesting conversation recently with the researcher Erica Chenoweth, and she described something in the States which was interesting, that the children who walked out of school over gun control, actually, if you look at the disruptive nature of disobedience and direct action, you know, when those kids walked out of school, they took up the time of the police, they stopped their teachers from doing their jobs, and they pulled their parents out of their jobs, as well, to come and find them, pick them up. And so, for children to walk out of school is extremely powerful, and actually they have a huge capacity to disrupt the lives of the adults that they have contact with. And I believe that that’s had a big impact on American politics, as well, lots of parents deciding to move into that space. So, it’s really exciting to sort of think about the breadth of the impact and the long-term impact, I think, of the youth movement, as well as the energy and the sort of excitement that they also bring.

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AMY GOODMAN: And finally, Farhana Yamin, as you were getting arrested, you said, “We’re having to break law rather than make law.” What message do you have to diplomats, to scientists around what needs to be done right now?

FARHANA YAMIN: Oh, come and join, everyone, as part of—become an activist, too. No one is saying stop doing science or stop doing diplomacy, but recognize that those are not going to deliver unless we fundamentally rewire our economies. And part of that means rewiring our political systems, which have not delivered. And those systems at the moment are hijacked or corrupted and too slow or, you know, obsessed with many other things. And it takes disruption of this kind to, frankly, push some of those things off the agenda and start focusing on the crisis that’s affecting humanity. And that’s—


The Extinction Rebellion global warming protests that started in London on Wednesday are now spreading across Europe with protests occurring in France, Sweden, Austria, Spain and Italy and even New York asking "Are we the last generation?" and demanding "citizens assemblies on climate and ecological justice". 

Police arrest protesters as they block traffic at London's Oxford Circus [Vudi Xhymshiti/AP Photo]

Police arrest protesters as they block traffic at London's Oxford Circus [Vudi Xhymshiti/AP Photo]

Protesters blocked access to multinational corporations in France on Friday, while youth activists in London staged a peaceful protest outside Britain's busiest airport as part of a wave of demonstrations urging governments to act against climate change.

Activist group Extinction Rebellion started a fifth day of protests outside Heathrow airport. Campaigners, predominantly under the age of the 30, wept and sang on the roadside around a mile away from two of the terminals. ...

A protest organised by Greenpeace saw activists prevent hundreds of employees from getting to work at the headquarters of French bank Societe Generale, state-run utility EDF and oil giant Total in Paris. 

The environmental organisation said the companies were contributing towards global warming.

Demonstrations, which began in London, had spread to the rest of Europe by Thursday. In Austria, activists blocked city trams while the streets of Sweden’s Gothenburg were closed.

In the Spanish city of Barcelona, protesters arranged themselves in the shape of Extinction Rebellion's egg-timer logo.

The protests spread as far as New York, where campaigners temporarily blocked the Brooklyn Bridge. ...

The campaigners are urging governments to declare a climate emergency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2025 and stop the loss of biodiversity.

They also demand the establishment of "citizens assemblies on climate and ecological justice".

All ages are represented on the protests, which bear striking similarity to the Cold War nuclear disarmament assemblies. ...

Extinction Rebellion burst on to TV screens in November 2018, when police arrested more than 70 people for blocking five bridges across London's River Thames. ...

Meanwhile, veteran broadcaster Sir David Attenborough warned: "If we have not taken dramatic action within the next decade, we could face irreversible damage to the natural world and the collapse of our societies." ...

Attenborough issued the stark warning in a programme focusing on the facts of climate change, which was broadcast in the UK on Thursday night.

Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg has become the voice of her generation. Speaking to the EU parliament on Tuesday, she chided leaders for focusing too heavily on Brexit.



Vatican Environmental Activist

Swedish teenage environmental activist Greta Thunberg holds up a sign as Pope Francis greets her at the end of his weekly general audience, in St. Peter's Square, at the Vatican. AP


Greta Thunberg met the Pope, who thanked her for her work on climate change, in Rome while she was there to lead a student strike for climate change . 

Teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg met the pope in Rome Wednesday ahead of a youth rally against climate change this week.

Thunberg, 16, met Pope Francis at the end of his weekly audience in St Peter's Square, shaking hands with the pontiff and showing him a banner adorned with the slogan "Join the Climate Strike."

"The Holy Father thanked and encouraged Greta Thunberg for her commitment in defense of the environment, and in turn Greta, who had requested the meeting, thanked the Holy Father for his great commitment in defense of creation," the director of the Holy See Press Office, Alessandro Gisotti, told reporters about the meeting Wednesday morning in the Vatican.


Great Thunberg, in an address to the EU Parliament, also criticized it for its failure to deal with climate change. 

A day earlier, Thunberg urged European Union leaders to "panic" about climate change, as she addressed a committee of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France.

She went on to condemn politicians for spending their time "arguing about taxes or Brexit" in the face of a building climate crisis.

    Thunberg, whose sit-ins outside the Swedish parliament inspired students worldwide to hold school strikes demanding climate action, spoke to a "packed" room of EU politicians, according to the AFP news agency.

    "Our house is falling apart, and our leaders need to start acting accordingly," Thunberg said. "If our house was falling apart, our leaders wouldn't go on like you do today. You would change almost every part of your behavior, as you do in an emergency. If our house was falling apart, you wouldn't hold three emergency Brexit summits, and no emergency summit regarding the breakdown of the climate and environment," she added, to applause from the committee.


    Meanwhile librarians in Alberta and Ontario are scrambling to make paper copies of provincial government reports on climate change and other online reports in case the Kenney and Ford governments removes them or changes them. A sad commentary on how the new government may deal with climate change. 

    An Alberta librarian has been archiving much of the provincial government's online content — including studies on health, climate change policy and poverty reduction — to prepare for a change in government.

    The United Conservative Party won a strong majority government over the NDP earlier this week and is to be sworn in April 30.

    Katie Cuyler, a public services and government information librarian at the University of Alberta, said staff used to get paper copies of all government documents but that procedure changed when reports started going online.

    "The problem with everything being online is that when there is a new government or new policies, they just change their websites," she said in an interview with The Canadian Press. "You can lose access to a lot of their reports or data."

    Cuyler said they started the archiving project in 2011, with twice yearly downloads of government data, but she ramped it up in advance of the provincial election.

    "This year was interesting because there were some industry analysts and researchers who reached out to me because they had concerns about certain data and reports that they rely upon, that they were worried would not be up anymore," she said. Cuyler said she has archived hundreds of thousands of policy documents and scientific reports online, which will be available through an online portal with the University of Alberta or Wayback Machine.

    A similar effort took place in Ontario shortly after the Progressive Conservatives won a majority government in the province last June. Nick Worby, a government documents librarian at the University of Toronto, led the initiative there. "Environmental initiatives like the GreenON rebate program were shuttered and then their web presence was removed within days," he said in a news release. "That information is only available now through the archives by the University of Toronto and the Internet Archive."

    There have also been drastic changes to government information in the United States since President Donald Trump took office.




    ETA: In Quebec, rapid warming associated with climate change has brought extensive flooding, part of the new reality. The Quebec government has introduced new emergency compensation rules that reflect this reality that include much more money to relocate than to rebuild in the same place, where flooding is likely to occur relatively soon due to global warming.

    The provincial government announced Friday it has asked for federal assistance in order to “mitigate the consequences as much as possible.”

    A woman looks at the Chaudière River as a flooded car sits in the foreground on Tuesday, April 16, 2019, in Beauceville. JACQUES BOISSINOT / THE CANADIAN PRESS

    Rivers across the province are being monitored closely and authorities say they fear water levels over the weekend could rise as high as they did in the spring of 2017, when thousands of homes were flooded around the Montreal area.

    Flooding will get worse, professor says

    Jason Thistlethwaite, professor of environment and business at the University of Waterloo, said Quebecers can expect flooding to get worse because climate change is making winter temperatures more volatile. Sudden waves of warm weather followed by quick drops in temperatures increase the risk of ice accumulating on the rivers in the winter, he said. The ice jams act as a dam, holding back water, and when the ice begins to melt and move, the dam bursts. ...

    That's exactly what happened in Beauceville this week, when an ice jam broke and water rushed through downtown, flooding at least 230 buildings in the small town south of Quebec City. Across Quebec, prime locations are often by a river or lake. Restaurants and tourist areas boast of a view of the water. But Thistlethwaite said Quebec might want to adopt a practice known as "making room for the river.'' ...

    Instead of looking at the shoreline as high-priced property on which to build, Quebecers should consider returning these areas to nature and turning them into parks, summer sporting facilities or public land, he said.

    The provincial government's new compensation program for flood victims is in line with this approach, Thistlethwaite said. The new rules announced on April 15 limit total compensation for victims of recurring floods to 50 per cent of a home's value, or a maximum of $100,000. Once damage exceeds that amount, people can no longer claim compensation for that home, but they can receive up to $200,000 to relocate to an area outside the flood zone. ...

    The new rules, Thistlethwaite said, are "very progressive of the government of Quebec, and they should be emulated across Canada.''




      The Extinction Rebellion protests that spread like climate change induced wildfires across Europe duing the last week have now spread to Canada. The following video shows a protest in Halifax.

      You can join Extinction Rebellion Canada at


      Meanwhile climate change hits Canada hard once again as rapidly rising temperatures are causing extensive flooding across eastern Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick. People are being warned to "prepare for the worst".

      Flooding is already occurring in New Brunswick as the picture above shows and it is expected to get much worse. 

      Residents from eastern Ontario to central New Brunswick are preparing for the possibility of major flooding over the Easter long weekend.

      Quebec Public Security Minister Genevieve Guilbault said Friday that heavy rains could inundate many areas of the province. In response to a request from Guilbault, federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said that he has authorized the Canadian Armed Forces to assist.

      The Canadian Armed Forces said in a news release that it is deploying “reconnaissance teams” to New Brunswick, after a provincial request for help.

      The community of Pontiac, Que., located on the Ottawa River, has received more than 30 millimeters of rain already, prompting a state of emergency.

      In nearby Ottawa, volunteers gathered at an arena to fill sandbags. The Ottawa River Regulation Planning Board said all flood-prone areas from Lac Coulonge to the Montreal archipelago are at risk.

      The ORRPB’s Michael Sarich warned that water levels could reach the same levels as during the 2017 floods, when more than 2,200 homes were affected in Gatineau, including 200 that had to be demolished.



      One hundred environmentalists, climate scientists, business owners and executives have signed a letter advocating that climate change be the central issue of the fall federal election with a campaign that focuses on more than carbon taxes. 

      A large group of Canadian climate scientists, environment advocates, business owners and corporate executives want climate change to be the No. 1 issue for voters this fall, including problems and solutions beyond the federal carbon tax. A hundred of them signed an open letter to Canadians this week, urging them to understand the impacts of climate change and the solutions each party offers before casting their ballots in October.

      Those behind the letter fear important discussions about climate change are being lost in the sea of political rhetoric for or against a national carbon price. “It’s a national emergency,” said Gavin Pitchford, the CEO of recruiting firm Delta Management and executive director of Clean50. ...

      Pitchford said Canadians need to be better informed about both climate-change impacts and the possible responses that will prevent catastrophic changes to the planet.

      “Science clearly tells us that is not true, that in fact temperatures should actually have been decreasing each century over the past 6,000 years,” the letter-writers say. “Instead, temperatures have risen steadily, and the five hottest years ever recorded have been the last five years. Climate change is real — and by both burning too many carbon based fuels — and cutting down the trees needed to absorb that carbon, humans are responsible.”

      Merran Smith, executive director of Clean Energy Canada, says the political fight about the federal Liberals’ carbon tax has become a distraction from the message Canadians should be getting: that climate change is the key issue of our time.

      She said if this election is not about stopping climate change, Canada and the world will suffer immensely.




      On the other hand, as the warnings of climate scientists become more severe the response of Canadians and people around the world is inadequate for this existential threat.

      For years now, people like environmentalist and journalist Bill McKibben have been screaming from the treetops that we need a World War II-scale mobilization to fight the scourge of climate change. 

      They're right, of course. And on Earth Day -- that 24-hour sliver of the calendar when we talk about the fact that humans exist on, and because of, a living planet -- it's clear not only that we are losing this war but that we still are failing to recognize it's taking place at all.  ...

      But the scale of the outrage in no way matches the magnitude of this disaster, which, like WWII, threatens to cripple or even obliterate human life on the planet as we know it.

      The situation gets only more dire with years of inaction. Last year, the world's climate science experts -- the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- released a report issuing some deadlines based on the harsh realities of science and math. They said global carbon pollution must be cut in half by 2030 and reduced to net zero by 2050 to avoid the worst consequences of climate change, which include drowned coastal cities, worsening storms and the virtual end of coral reefs. ...

      How far along are we on those pollution-reduction goals? 

      We haven't really started. Global emissions from fossil fuels rose in 2018 -- to an estimated 37 gigatons.

      Remember, carbon pollution needs to be cut in half in just 11 years. And to net zero by mid-century. That requires a near-total overhaul of the global economy -- a rapid transition to cleaner fuels like wind, solar and, probably, nuclear. It seems increasingly likely that some sci-fi technologies, like aerosols that would reflect heat back to into space, may be needed.

      Project Drawdown and others have identified and ranked the solutions that work. But to date, there have not been enough carbon taxes or other incentives to scale those ideas globally. 

      Part of the issue is a failure to recognize the magnitude of the problem -- or, as others have written, a failure to care about the massive debts we are pushing onto future generations. 

      Researchers like Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, have argued that people are finally waking up to the climate crisis, particularly in the face of the Trump administration, which has denied the science and enlivened activists, and in light of the apocalyptic-seeming severe weather that has hit parts of the globe. 

      A poll from that Yale group showed in 2018 that 59% of Americans were "alarmed" or "concerned" about global warming, which is up compared with the previous five years. 

      Those concerns don't necessarily translate into political action, though. 

      A 2018 report from Gallup found that climate change ranked as only the 11th most important issue for American voters -- behind health care, the economy, immigration, the treatment of women in US society, gun policy, taxes, foreign affairs, income and wealth distribution, Brett Kavanaugh's confirmation to the Supreme Court and US trade and tariff policies. 

      Think about that in terms of the World War II analogy.


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