Canada and global warming: a state of denial

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Rachel Aiello, CTV News:

BREAKING: The House of Commons has just passed a motion declaring that Canada is experiencing a climate change emergency. It passed with support from the Liberals, NDP, Greens, and Bloc. Conservatives and Bernier voted against.


If only the Liberals would deal with climate change as if it was a national emergency. Their 25 year history of promising to deal with global warming has been one long series of promises followed by actions that always fail to meet their greenhouse emissions reduction targets and often result in an increase in emissions.

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

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

The Liberals declared a climate emergency yesterday and then announced today the tripling of the Trans Mountain pipeline to carry bitumen to the coast bringing about a massive expansion of the fossil fuel production. Trudeau won the understatement of the year award today when he said "Not everyone will agree with this".  

Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna called climate change a “real and urgent crisis, driven by human activity,” requiring the government to make deep emissions reductions to meet its Paris commitments. The Liberals have failed previously failed to meet their greenhouse gas reduction goals of 1992, 1997, and 2005.

In March 2018 the auditor general concluded  the Trudeau Liberal government "is likely to miss the 2020 Copenhagen target as well". (

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

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

By the way "there are no refineries in Asia that can currently handle Canadian bitumen, which needs to be processed first into synthetic crude." ( So the line that we will be able to sell it for higher prices in Asia is a myth. 

The Liberal solution: declare a national climate emergency and immediately announce more pipeline and fossil fuel production. Does anybody see a pattern here?


The announcement of the Trudeau Liberal go-ahead on the Trans Mountain pipeline comes one day after it also declared a national climate change emergency as Alberta wildfires continued to grow and force more people out of their homes. Those forced from their homes are often indigenous people, since many of their communities are in boreal forest regions, where the risk of such fires is greatest as a warmer, drier regional climate greatly increases the wildfire risk. "Environment Canada confirmed on Wednesday that 2019 has been the driest spring on record in several parts of Alberta." (

As of June 18, more than 9,000 people were out of their homes due to wildfires in Alberta, including about 700 from the Paddle Prairie Métis Settlement, who were forced to leave May 26.

Three areas were evacuated Monday, including several communities to the south of High Level overnight, as the driest conditions in more than 40 years continue to fuel wildfires in the region.


Paddle Prairie Metis Settlement residents Angie and Ronnie Cardinal and their children are overcome with grief after seeing the remains of their home on Thursday June 20, 2019. All residents of the community were evacuated four weeks ago when a wildfire swept through Alberta's largest Metis settlement and destroyed at least fifteen homes.(


The Trudeau Liberals also made their announcement of expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline as more evidence piled up on the scientific link between the Alberta wildfires and climate change.

As another extreme fire season starts with more people on the run, scientists say they're already seeing signs that climate change is playing a role again.

Recent fires have been connected to climate change in two separate research papers published earlier this year by scientists with Environment and Climate Change Canada.

In May 2016, a wildfire near Fort McMurray forced more than 80,000 people to flee the northern Alberta city, destroyed 2,400 buildings and burned nearly 6,000 square kilometres of forest. A year later, the fire season in British Columbia broke records as 2,117 blazes consumed more than 12,000 square kilometres of bush. ...

The largest community evacuated in Alberta so far this year has been High Level. The vast Chuckegg Creek fire still churns in the woods south of town. It grew to 2,660 square kilometres in the first few weeks and remains one of several blazes burning out-of-control in the province. ...

"We are seeing climate change in action," said University of Alberta wildland fire Prof. Mike Flannigan. "The Fort McMurray fire was 1 1/2 to six times more likely because of climate change. The 2017 record-breaking B.C. fire season was seven to 11 times more likely because of climate change." ...

"Northern Alberta is covered by the boreal forest," said Flannigan. "The boreal forest burns. It survives and thrives in a regime of semi-regular stand-replacing, stand-renewing high-intensity fire." ... 

"We burn about 2.5 million hectares a year on average — that's using about a 10-year average," he said. "It's more than doubled since the late '60s and early '70s. Colleagues and I attribute this to human-caused climate change. I can't be any more clear than that." ...

"There's been a lot of research that's shown as we warm, we get more fire," says Flannigan. He says there are three reasons: longer fire seasons, drier fuels and more lightning, which research has shown is increasing by 10 to 12 per cent with every degree of warming. ...

"Increasing temperatures, like those observed across Canada, will lead to drier fuels, and thus increased fire potential, as well as longer fire seasons," says a federal report that looked into the Fort McMurray fire. "The study demonstrated that the extreme Alberta wildfire of 2016 occurred in a world where anthropogenic warming has increased fire risk, fire spread potential, and the length of fire seasons across parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan."

A study by federal scientists into British Columbia's 2017 wildfire season found the area burned was seven to 11 times larger than it would have been without human influences on the climate. Extreme high temperatures combined with dry conditions increased the likelihood of wildfire ignition and spread, the report says.


The City of Vancouver is planning to open respite areas because of the expected smoky atmosphere created by wildfires this summer as has occurred during the last two summers from wildfires burning in the province. As  the following article makes clear, the smoke is not simply an irritant but can pose serious health risks for the population in the city, let alone in the rest of the province where the smoke is likely to be even more intense. Research, including some done in BC, is increasingly tying the wildfires, the smoke, health effects and climate change together. 

The City of Vancouver is preparing for a smoky summer, making plans to create “respite areas” at several community centres, libraries and non-market housing units.

The public spaces could act as clean air havens for people who have health concerns and lack access to an air-conditioned space during air quality advisories. The rooms would be equipped with portable HEPA filters and some would also serve as cooling centres, according to a statement from the City of Vancouver.

Experts are warning that it’s likely to be another hot, smoke-filled summer in B.C. this year. B.C. Wildfire Service information shows the province has seen increased drought and higher-than-average temperatures in 2019, with the trend expected to continue. ...

Ozone, a pollutant that when mixed with fine particulate matter creates smog, often irritates the eyes, nose and throat, and over time can cause permanent lung damage. Metro Vancouver air-quality engineer Francis Ries said more studies, including ones that focus on B.C., are making a strong link between climate change and the exacerbation of wildfire seasons. “As we continue to see further warming, we expect that the patterns we are seeing now are likely to continue or perhaps even get more extreme,” he said. The summers of 2017 and 2018 were the worst on record for smoky skies across B.C.

In Metro Vancouver, there were 22 days last July and August under air-quality advisories, three more than in the summer of 2017. The last two summers have far exceeded the number of advisories issued in any other year since 1996, the first year for which data is available. Several years, including 2016, had zero air-quality advisories.

University of B.C. public health professor Dr. Michael Brauer said the long-term health impacts of one or two weeks of smoky skies each summer are likely very small, but if that time stretches into one or two months — as it is threatening to do in some parts of the B.C. Interior — it would be “concerning.” We know that day-in-day-out exposure (to pollution) can be life-shortening,” he said, alluding to studies in other countries where pollution is a significant problem. It can causes diseases to get worse, and accelerates the progression of disease.”


Fed up with inaction on climate change  environmental activists have launched "More than 1,000 climate-change-related lawsuits are winding through courts around the world, according to a database compiled by the Sabin Centre for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School in New York", including in Canada. The first victory on this issue was in the Netherlands in 2015 where

The government was found to be disregarding its constitutional duty to protect citizens from climate change. The decision forced the Dutch government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 25 per cent compared to 1990 levels. Similar legal actions are underway in Belgium, Ireland, New Zealand, Switzerland, Colombia, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

"The courts are where politicians sometimes fear to tread," says Keith Stewart, senior energy strategist with Greenpeace Canada. Whether you're looking at women's rights, civil rights, equality in marriage, it was often the courts that pushed the politicians … the courts can blaze that path." ...

But it's not only policy makers who are being held to account for lack of climate action. In the U.S., the world's most litigious country, lawsuits against fossil-fuel companies are also on the rise. Cities such as New York, San Francisco and Oakland are seeking to hold dozens of oil and gas companies to account for their contributions to climate change, including BP, Chevron, Exxon and Royal Dutch Shell.

In Canada young environmentalists in Quebec have launched a climate change lawsuit and Greenpeace is pushing several Canadian cities to sue fossil fuel companies. The risk of paying out many billions in lawsuits is beginning to force fossil fuel companies to look at alternatives. However, some argue we don't have the time to fight years long lawsuits when climate change is hitting with increasing impact every year. 

No stranger to climate activism, the 20-year-old college student Zy St-Pierre-Bourdelais is part of a Quebec environmental group asking the courts to declare that the Canadian government is violating the rights of an entire generation by depriving them of a right to a healthy environment. "The justice system is supposed to be based on laws, on fact, on science," says St-Pierre-Bourdelais. "Climate change is based on science. Politics are not." ...

The case is unprecedented in Canada, but it's part of a growing wave of climate litigation worldwide. It's led by environmentalists and communities aiming to force cuts to carbon emissions, and win damages to pay for the costs of adapting to climate change. ...

"If we had taken [climate] action when I was a kid, things would be much different than they are right now," says 29-year-old Catherine Gauthier, executive director of ENvironnement JEUnesse, the non-profit behind the Quebec lawsuit. Perhaps we wouldn't need legal actions to make sure our rights and the lives of future generations would not be at stake right now." ...

Greenpeace Canada’s Keith Stewart, a longtime environmental activist, used to think environmentalists should avoid court actions, considering them too slow and expensive, with slim chances for success. But that thinking has changed, and now Greenpeace is lobbying councillors in several Canadian cities, including Toronto and Vancouver, encouraging them to sue fossil-fuel companies. ...

Stewart compares climate litigation against "Big Oil" to class-action suits against "Big Tobacco."

"These are some of the richest corporations in the history of the world. They have made billions of dollars in profits while knowing their product was causing these harms," says Stewart, who argues that courts can force corporations to share the costs of adapting to climate change. This [the awards for damages] would go back to communities to help them with adaptation, whether it's building seawalls or bike paths or …  be prepared for extreme weather that we can't avoid." ...

Not everyone agrees with fighting climate change in the courts. Earlier this year, the city of Victoria seemed to be leading the way for Canadian municipalities wanting to explore legal avenues to climate action. ...

But after other Vancouver Island municipalities chose not to pursue the case and the federal government released a report that suggests Canada is warming at twice the global average, Helps had second thoughts about the legal approach. "Why spend time suing fossil fuel companies? If the tobacco lawsuits are any indication, it's going to take 20 years just to officially get to court," Helps says. "A climate action lawsuit would be a giant swath of legal resources … there are much more important things we need to do with our limited time and limited resources."


A record-breaking heat wave is hitting Europe now bringing back memories of the 2003 summer when at least 30,000 and up to 70,000 people died because of the heat wave. In addition, temperatures in Greenland have soared to 40 degrees Fahrenheit above normal while India is going through this summer with temperatures reaching 50 degrees Celsius  killing many people.  The length, intensity, and frequency of these record-breaking heat waves is exactly what was predicted by climate change scientists and computer-based models.

Oppressively hot weather has descended on Europe this week, with temperatures reaching 104 degrees Fahrenheit in cities like Madrid and records poised to be broken throughout the continent. 

Public health warnings have been issued in Spain, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic, and Switzerland. “The whole government is mobilized,” French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters on Monday. ...

Europe’s hot weather this follows some unusually warm temperatures in other parts of the world this month, including the Arctic. Temperatures in Greenland surged up to 40 degrees Fahrenheit above what’s normal this time of year, leading to the largest ice melt this early in the season on record. A heat wave in India this month has already killed dozens. 

The high temperatures in Europe also stand to harm millions of people. And as average temperatures rise due to climate change, these spans of extreme heat are poised to get longer, more intense, more frequent, and deadlier. ...

This week’s sweltering weather is concerning because there are several key factors that make people in Europe vulnerable to extreme heat. These factors converged to a devastating effect in the summer of 2003, when a heat wavebaked the continent with temperatures 13 degrees above the average normal for the region. The heat killed at least 30,000 people caused 13 billion Euros in financial damages. Some estimates put the death toll as high as 70,000. ...

But it’s not necessarily how high temperatures rise that makes them so dangerous; it’s how different they are from what’s normal. That’s why heat waves can kill people in cool climates. People in sunny southern Spain can more readily cope with triple-digit temperatures but 90-degree days in cooler northern Germany can send people to the hospital. 

Another factor to consider is that much of Europe is densely urbanized, with 72 percent of the European Union’s population living in cities, towns, and suburbs. Steel, concrete, and asphalt readily absorb heat and cause cities to warm up hotter than their rural surroundings, creating heat islands. As the populations of these cities grow, so does the number of people facing risks from extreme heat. And increasingly, it’s not just the sick and elderly who are vulnerable, but outdoor workers like farmers, landscapers, and construction crews. ...

The length, intensity, and frequency of heat waves are on the rise, and Europe’s searing weather this week comports with what scientists expect as the climate changes, though it will take some time to tease out the specific extent of humanity’s role in the current wave. ...

But researchers have built up a better understanding of last year’s heat wave across Europe in the context of climate change. Scientists reported last year that climate change has made heat waves similar to the 2018 heat wave in Europe five times more likely. Researchers also reported that 2018 was one of the hottest years ever

The concern now is that Europe today may not be prepared for the world to come. Infrastructure like roads, bridges, and rail tracks will now have to compensate for regularly high temperatures. Parts of Germany have already issued speed restrictions for the autobahn. 

Similarly, extreme heat helped drive major wildfires as far north as the Arctic circle last year. Wildfires have again surged in Europe this year, so parts of Europe are dealing with weighty questions of whether they should rebuild in fire-prone regions or start to retreat as the risk of massive blazes next to densely populated areas grows.


The Conservation Council of New Brunswick has just released a report discussing how climate change is affecting the health of New Brunswickers.

Damage from extreme weather events (e.g., flooding and ice storms) is already disrupting our lives, and harming our physical and mental health.

Slowing climate change requires drastic cuts in greenhouse gas emissions (also called carbon pollution), mostly from phasing out coal and oil to make electricity and gasoline for transportation. A clean electricity system – one that relies mostly on renewable sources such as hydro, solar, wind, and sustainable biofuels – will power zero-emitting transportation, homes, buildings, and industrial processes. At the same time, a clean energy system also cuts air quality pollution. The co-benefits of less air pollution are lower risk of cardiovascular disease, chronic and acute respiratory illnesses, lung cancer, and preterm births, according to the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment. A clean electricity system can improve indoor air quality, and help reduce energy poverty because energy bills can be lower in an energy-efficient home.  ...

Coping with extreme events like spring and winter flooding, ice and windstorms, and the power outages that go with these events, affects our physical and mental health. Acute, or extreme, events are becoming more intense because of human-caused climate change. Rising temperatures fueling these extreme events are also associated with chronic concerns like increasing exposure to ticks causing Lyme disease or ragweed worsening allergic reactions.

Making the link between climate change and physical and mental health is important because most people do not realize that climate change affects the environmental and social determinants of health and can undermine provincial strategies to improve well-being.  ...

The Government of New Brunswick reports that temperatures in our province have increased by 1.5°C relative to historical norms and seasonal temperatures have increased in all parts of the province. Most of this warming has occurred since the late 1970s. The level of warming in our province is similar to the average for the rest of Canada (1.7 degrees Celsius between 1948 and 2016) and it is a rate twice that of the global average. 

Warmer air holds more moisture, meaning there can be more rain or snow when there is precipitation. All that heat is already increasing precipitation because 71 per cent of the Earth is ocean. Scientists calculate that for every one degree Celsius increase in temperature, the atmosphere can hold seven per cent more water. That extra water increases the volume of precipitation by one to two per cent per degree of warming.

From 2000 to 2010, there were more extreme rainfall events (50 millimetres or more of rain over a 24-hour period) in Fredericton and Moncton than any other decade on record. Climate models project that New Brunswick will experience less frequent, but more intense, precipitation events, increasing the annual total  precipitation throughout the province. 

New Brunswick experienced record-breaking floods in 2018 and 2019, partly caused by an above average snowpack and rain partly due to a changing climate .


Ontario Court of Appeal rules against the Ford Government's challenge of the Federal carbon tax:

Ontario's top court has ruled that the federal carbon price law is constitutional. Canada can legislate a mandatory carbon price under the "national concern" provision of the constitution, the court says. Full ruling here:


The devastation of the pine forests by the mountain pine tree beetle, which is now able to survive in the BC over winters because of climate change, is having a devastating effect on the BC forest industry as mill after mill closes down, as the following article illustrates with the list of closures since the beginning of the year. 

Just two weeks ago, the independent chief forester of the province, Diane Nicholls, announced a drastic reduction in the allowable annual timber harvest on West Fraser’s tree farm licence (TFL) No. 52 near Quesnel.

“The new cut level is a 36 per cent reduction and reflects the end of mountain pine beetle salvage operations in the area,” she wrote. The change amounts to a reduction of more than 300,000 cubic metres in the annual harvest on that one TFL. ...

Starting in January, notices went out for temporary closures of between one and six weeks for sawmills in Chetwynd, 100-Mile House, Chasm, Mackenzie, Houston, Vavenby and Fort St. James.

From March through to May, operations were suspended and production cut in Alberni, Grand Forks, Castlegar, Adams Lake, and for a second time in Mackenzie and Fort St. James.

May 10: Tolko Industries announced the permanent closure of its sawmill in Quesnel, with the loss of 150 jobs, plus a one-shift reduction at the mill in Kelowna.

Before the month was out came more cuts and temporary closures in Armstrong, Soda Creek, Surrey, Honeymoon Bay, Merritt and another round of hits for 100-Mile House, Chasm, Castlegar, Adams Lake and Grand Forks.

June 3: Canfor announced the Vavenby mill will be closed permanently as part of a timber swap with Interfor’s Adams Lake operation.

In quick succession over the next week came bad news for mills at Fraser Lake, Smithers, Quesnel, Williams Lake, Chetwynd, Saltair, Duke Point, Chemainus, Elko, Radium, Prince George, Vanderhoof and Bear Lake.

Plus another round of suspensions in Armstrong, Soda Creek, Chetwynd, Fort St. John and Houston.

Then came news of indefinite, perhaps permanent closures of the OSB (oriented strand board) mills in 100-Mile House and Fort St. John, plus a five-week shutdown at the pulp mill in Taylor.

At mid-month, West Fraser announced the temporary closure of the Chasm sawmill was now permanent.

The current outbreak of mountain pine beetle in British Columbia began in the early 1990s and is considered to be the largest ever recorded, affecting over 18.1 million hectares, or an area five times the size of Vancouver Island. The mountain pine beetle infestation has had a devastating effect on the forest of British Columbia and has killed about 50% of the total volume of commercial lodge pole pine in the province. ...

Scientists believe that warmer summers and milder winters play an important contributing role to the beetle infestation. Cold Canadian winters with temperatures below -40°C normally kill the beetle as well as pine beetle eggs and larvae.


The following article about how the long, intense wildfire season brought on by global warming and the smoke that it generates are increasing inequality in BC, as those with high incomes can afford air cleaning equipment, choose when and where to work, leave the area while those with low incomes must suffer the serious health effects of extended exposure to the smoke. 

Real estate is often considered a key driver of social inequity in Vancouver, but now there is another: wildfires.

Last week, Metro Vancouver authorities warned that we’re going to face yet another dry and smoky summer this year. They sounded the usual cautions for people with asthma and other breathing difficulties.

But as severe wildfire seasons become the normal-abnormal, the smoke and flame won’t just affect people with physiological challenges. It will also exacerbate social inequity that already exists in Vancouver and around the province.

Take for example the California wildfires last year: Kim Kardashian and Kanye West reportedly hired private firefighters to protect their $60-million mansion. The situation ignited a fiery public debate on whether the wealthy should be allowed to sit out the climate crisis while everyone else endured the disaster. ...

The BC Centre for Disease Control recommends that people in older and low-quality buildings retrofit their homes to prevent wildfire smoke from seeping indoors — but it also recognizes that financial and physical limitations won’t allow everyone to do so.

People who can’t retrofit their homes or are homeless will be consistently exposed to wildfire smoke, leading to long-term negative health effects. Commuters who take transit or walk out of necessity will face a similar fate.

On the other hand, those with the means to purchase air purifiers or live in homes with proper filtration — often newer and more expensive condos and houses — will breathe cleaner air and have healthier lungs. They can also drive, carpool and eventually Uber door-to-door without ever needing to set foot outside, while they contribute to global heating at the same time. ...

Work will also determine one’s exposure. Being indoors may not always fully protect you from the fine particulate matter emitted by wildfires, but it goes without saying that people in well-ventilated workplaces will be safer than those who work outside. With the rise of remote work, this difference will be magnified.

Information workers like myself can choose to work anywhere as long as we have access to the internet and a computer. ...

In contrast to Anywheres, Goodhart describes the “Somewheres” who have “ascribed identities” and are “the least mobile.” They are service workers, construction workers, factory workers and others who are tied to their location of work. If their place of work is affected by wildfires, not only will their health be impacted by the fire and smoke, they may face acute and long-lasting economic consequences as well.

kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

The pine mountain beetle outbreak was BC's red alert and we simply ignored it. By the late '80's we knew about climate change and this was clear and cogent proof. The main focus has always been on how many mill jobs were being lost however while an important issue that was actually the side issue. Urgent action on carbon reduction should have been started at least twenty years ago not sometime after the next election cycle. Sadly we didn't have a free press in those days, it was all bought and paid for.


As we head into the most intense part of the wildfire season the well above average temperatures and drought conditions that are occurring in most of BC in 2019 and are closely linked to global warming are highly likely to produce another large wildfire season according to the experts. There is also growing evidence that besides the smoke being harmful to people, especially the elderly and those with respiratory conditions, new evidence indicates it creates problems for pregnant women. During the last two years smoky conditions created by wildfires increased air particulate matter in Vancouver tenfold, creating widespread health problems. Experts estimate this increase is the equivalent of smoking two packs of cigarettes a day, helping bring about an increase of 10,000 visits of asthma patients in Vancouver to the doctor last year during the wildfire season.

Meanwhile, the Trudeau Liberal government pushes ever forward with Trans Mountain and its billions in subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, ignoring the economic harm, such as the destruction of much of BC's forest industry described in post #661, enviromental destruction and health risks of this industry.

In 2017, 1,646 air-quality advisories were issued across B.C., and that jumped to 1,742 in 2018. There have been 69 warnings so far this year, but that number will likely increase as the majority of 2018 bulletins were issued between late July and late August.

Air quality advisories issued in B.C. each year for 2017, 2018 and 2019.

Region Total advisories

Cariboo - north including Quesnel 112

South Okanagan - including Penticton 106

Prince George 102

Cariboo - south including Williams Lake 101

North Thompson 100

South Thompson 100

North Okanagan - including Vernon 98

Central Okanagan - including Kelowna97

100 Mile House 96

Similkameen 96

Shuswap 93

Chilcotin 92

East Kootenay - south including Cranbrook 92

Boundary 90

West Kootenay 89 ...

Experts believe British Columbians are about to experience another hot, smoke-filled summer, basing their prediction on the higher-than-average temperatures and drought so far in 2019 — a trend that is expected to continue. “We expect increased wildfire and smoke risk, and that includes in the southwest where we are,” said a Metro Vancouver air-quality engineer, Francis Ries.

Just in the last week, a stubborn wildfire on steep terrain near Lions Bay snarled traffic on the busy Sea to Sky Highway for days, and a fire broke out Monday near Pender Harbour on the Sechelt Peninsula. ...

Hotter, drier conditions contributed to fires in early spring, far sooner than in other years. Since April 1, the B.C. Wildfire Service has recorded 377 fires that have burned more than 110 square kilometres. The summers of 2017 and 2018 were the worst on record for smoky skies — a provincial state of emergency was declared both years over wildfires — and much of the haze in Metro Vancouver drifted in from big fires in other parts of B.C. ...

This year, local health and municipal agencies added pregnant women to the list of those most vulnerable to the smoke after lobbying by Sarah Henderson, an environmental health scientist at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control. ...

University of California, Berkeley study found that pregnant women breathing in wildfire smoke during their second trimester in 2003, a terrible fire season in Southern California, had babies that were about 10 grams lighter than women not exposed to smoke. The results were small but “significant,” researchers found, because they showed “climate change can affect health.”

Ten grams would be enough to “push some babies into a low-birth-weight category,” added Henderson, noting undersized infants can face challenges. ...

Wildfire smoke contains many pollutants, but the most dangerous to human health is fine particulate matter, a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets that are generally 2.5 micrometers or less in size — about one-30th the diameter on a strand of hair.

“The very small particles can be inhaled deeply into your lungs and then get into your blood stream, and irritate and lead to inflammation,” said Emily Peterson, a Vancouver Coastal Health environmental health scientist.

A typical summer day in Metro Vancouver would feature 10 or 15 micrograms a cubic metre of these fine particulates, but during the height of last summer’s smoky skies the quantity jumped tenfold. 

Wildfire smoke contains many pollutants, but the most dangerous to human health is fine particulate matter, a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets that are generally 2.5 micrometers or less in size — about one-30th the diameter on a strand of hair.

“The very small particles can be inhaled deeply into your lungs and then get into your blood stream, and irritate and lead to inflammation,” said Emily Peterson, a Vancouver Coastal Health environmental health scientist.

A typical summer day in Metro Vancouver would feature 10 or 15 micrograms a cubic metre of these fine particulates, but during the height of last summer’s smoky skies the quantity jumped tenfold. Smoky air makes it harder for lungs to get oxygen into the blood stream, and it can irritate the respiratory system and cause inflammation in other parts of the body. ...

One expert calculated that people doing exercise or working outside during the height of the wildfire smoke could inhale the equivalent of two packages of cigarettes a day. ...

However, Centre for Disease Control statistics suggest medical services across B.C. were harder hit when wildfire smoke was heavy. In the summers of 2017 and 2018, 45,000 extra doses of asthma medication were dispensed and there were 10,000 extra visits to doctors for asthma-related conditions in B.C., Henderson said.


There is growing concern in the global financial sector about global warming causing another world-wide financial crisis. In June Rustin Behman, a member of the US  powerful five-member Commodity Futures Trading Commission, warned that the financial risks from climate change are equivalent to those that brought about the mortgage meltdown, thereby causing the 2008 global financial crisis. “If climate change causes more volatile frequent and extreme weather events, you’re going to have a scenario where these large providers of financial products—mortgages, home insurance, pensions—cannot shift risk away from their portfolios,” Behnam said. “It’s abundantly clear that climate change poses financial risk to the stability of the financial system.”

The following quote is part of Behman's address to the Market Risk Advisory Committee on the risk of climate change to the US and global financial system. 

Worldwide economic costs from natural disasters have exceeded the 30 year average of $140 billion in 7 of the last 10 years.[1]  In 2018, the total cost was $160 billion.  Our commodity markets and the financial markets that support them will suffer if we do not take action to mitigate the risk of contagion.  As most of the world’s markets and market regulators are taking steps towards assessing and mitigating the current and potential threats of climate change, we in the U.S. must also demand action from all segments of the public and private sectors, including this agency.

Among the many lessons learned from the 2008 financial crisis, the interconnectedness of our global financial system is one, if not the single, most important.  All risk analysis, including risk derived from climate change, must include a holistic examination of the systemic relationships throughout all of our financial markets.[2]

The impacts of climate change affect every aspect of the American economy – from production agriculture to commercial manufacturing and the financing of every step in each process.  With that said, any solutions seeking to address and mitigate climate risk must be equally focused on ensuring the safety and continued prosperity of our urban cores and rural communities.  Failing to address financial market risks associated with climate change will impede economic growth, and most likely hit rural communities the hardest.

Recent extreme weather events across the nation’s Midwest, including record rainfall and reported tornadoes, have further elevated the impacts of climate change in the lives of everyday Americans.  Flooding and soil saturation resulting from torrential rains has impacted planting of major crops.  On June 2, the USDA reported that only 67 percent of U.S. corn was planted. [3]  The average percentage on this date from 2014-18 was 96 percent.  For soybeans, the number for 2019 was only 39 percent.  The average percentage on this date from 2014-18 was 86 percent.[4]

As recently as last week, heightened fire threats in northern California, at the very outset of wildfire season, brought fresh reminders of the devastation sewn across the western United States last year.  With all of these weather events paralyzing large swaths of our country, in fear of making decisions that could preserve their livelihoods— and even save lives— amidst a complex web of unknowns, I believe it is time to examine the relationship of these terrible, and sadly, more frequent events, to financial market risk and more generally, market stability.

The human element of these tragedies is real and heart wrenching.  But, the economic element is also just as real.  Risk exposures to insurance providers, asset managers, pension funds, commercial and retail banks— all users of derivatives markets—to price and shift risk, cannot be understated.  But, ultimately, the final risk often weighs on farmers, investors, customers, consumers, and homeowners.  We, collectively, must act now to address the persistent risks posed by climate change.

Looking to our international counterparts who have already begun taking important steps to address the impacts of climate change on financial systems is a start.  The Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS) is a group of more than 40 central banks and supervisors, from around the globe, including the European Central Bank, the World Bank, and the People’s Bank of China, working to understand and manage the financial risks of climate change.[5]  Many of these central banks oversee the very same market participants that the CFTC oversees.


In a report released today the United Nations International Labour Organization that up to 80 million jobs could be lost due to global warning by 2030. It also estimated that heat stress induced by global warming could cause 38,000 deaths a year between 2030 and 2050. The report identified the job sectors that would be heavily affected by global warming. 

Rising heat due to climate change could lead to the loss of 80 million jobs by 2030, with poor countries worst hit, the United Nations said as Europe sweltered in record temperatures.

A temperature rise of 1.5C by the end of century could lead to a 2.2 per cent drop in working hours – equal to 80 million full-time jobs – costing the global economy US$2.4 trillion, according to projections by the U.N. International Labour Organization (ILO). ...

The ILO said people would be unable to work due to the health risks posed by higher temperatures. ...

“The impact of heat stress on labor productivity is a serious consequence of climate change, which adds to other adverse impacts such as changing rain patterns, raising sea levels and loss of biodiversity,” said ILO’s Catherine Saget.

The World Health Organization has said heat stress linked to climate change is likely to cause 38,000 extra deaths a year worldwide between 2030 and 2050.

Heat stress occurs when the body absorbs more heat than is tolerable. Extreme heat can cause heat-related illnesses, such as heat stroke and exhaustion, increase mortality, and exacerbate existing health conditions.

Agricultural workers – especially women, who make up the bulk of the 940 million laborers in the sector – will be most affected, the ILO said, accounting for about 60 per cent of all working hours lost due to heat stress by 2030.

If global temperatures rise as predicted, the construction industry will account for about 19 per cent of lost working hours, with the poorest countries in Southeast Asia and west Africa worst hit, the ILO added. ...

Transport, tourism, sport and industrial sectors are among those that will also be affected by rising heat, the ILO said.

“In addition to the massive economic costs of heat stress, we can expect to see more inequality between low and high income countries and worsening working conditions for the most vulnerable, as well as displacement of people,” said Saget.



The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) has confirmed that 2015 to 2018 years are the warmest four year period on record and that 2019 is set to make this a five year period as the impact of global warming hits home. Furthermore, the 20 warmest years on record have all occurred in the last 22 years. Global warming has also greatly increased the severe impacts of extreme weather events during this period according to the WMO.



In a clear sign of continuing long-term climate change associated with record atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 have been confirmed as the four warmest years on record.

A consolidated analysis by the World Meteorological Organization of five leading international datasets showed that the global average surface temperature in 2018 was approximately 1.0° Celsius (with a margin of error of ±0.13°C) above the pre-industrial baseline (1850-1900). It ranks as the fourth warmest year on record.

The year 2016, which was influenced by a strong El-Niño event, remains the warmest year on record (1.2°C above preindustrial baseline). Global average temperatures in 2017 and 2015 were both 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels. The latter two years are virtually indistinguishable because the difference is less than one hundredth of a degree, which is less than the statistical margin of error.

“The long-term temperature trend is far more important than the ranking of individual years, and that trend is an upward one, “ said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas. “The 20 warmest years on record have been in the past 22 years. The degree of warming during the past four years has been exceptional, both on land and in the ocean.”

“Temperatures are only part of the story. Extreme and high impact weather affected many countries and millions of people, with devastating repercussions for economies and ecosystems in 2018,” he said.

“Many of the extreme weather events are consistent with what we expect from a changing climate. This is a reality we need to face up to. Greenhouse gas emission reduction and climate adaptation measures should be a top global priority,” said Mr Taalas.




New research has created a list of the largest risks created by global warming in Canada that need to be dealt with promptly. My problem with the list is that the experts involved did not include meteorologists, biologists and other scientists who study the field. While  industry, insurance firms, engineers, sociologists and economists may have some knowledge of the topic, they are not scientists. But what else would one expect from a Treasury Board funded project. It no doubt is of value, but has strong limitations because of this. 

New research for the federal Treasury Board has concluded that buildings, coastlines and northern communities face the biggest risks from climate change in Canada.

In a report released Thursday, the Council of Canadian Academies has narrowed down a myriad of threats posed by climate change into the most pressing dozen — a list co-author John Leggat hopes will wake people up to the urgent need to prepare for them.

"[Most] think it's someone else's problem to solve," he said. "It kind of goes to the root of the problem."

The council is comprised of Canada's leading academics and researchers. The report, done at the Treasury Board's request, was conducted by experts from industry, insurance firms, engineers, sociologists and economists. ...

The research narrowed down a list of 57 potential environmental effects to six, and ranked them not only by magnitude of the threat, but by the availability of remedies.

Right at the very top was infrastructure. Heavy rains, floods or high winds are growing threats to buildings from homes to hospitals. The same extreme weather increases the chance of power outages and grid failures — even what the report calls "cascading infrastructure failures."

Coastal communities come next. Climate change is slowly raising sea levels, making floods more common and surges heavier and more powerful.

Northerners are third on the list. Not only do their homes and shorelines face unique challenges, such as permafrost melting away underneath them, climate change also threatens their way of life.

"They really rely on and are closely connected to the land," said co-author Bronwyn Hancock. "The way the culture is set up — governance, spirituality, the way language is passed — all really pivot around that connection to land."

The next three on the list are human health, ecosystems and fisheries. The top 12 are rounded out with agriculture and food, forestry, geopolitical unrest, governance, Indigenous traditions and water.






    Linda McQuaig calls the Liberal climate change plan "a dangerous fraud".

    It's possible that the world's top climate scientists are lying. If so, we can relax and feel confident that Justin Trudeau has dealt with the climate crisis in the appropriate way.

    Although the prime minister approved the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline last month, he's vowed to channel pipeline profits into clean energy projects. Compared to the Conservatives, Trudeau's climate package, which includes taxes on carbon, seems reasonable and balanced -- with a sweetener of environmental activism thrown in. (After all, it's 2019.)

    But if climate scientists are not lying, if they're just honestly reporting their scientific findings, Trudeau's package is a dangerous fraud -- one that gives us a false sense that we can dramatically increase output from Alberta's oilsands without seriously imperiling the world, and ourselves.

    I'm inclined to believe the scientists. Convened by the United Nations, they reviewed more than 6,000 scientific studies and reported last fall that we have only about a dozen years left if we are to prevent truly dire climate conditions which go well beyond the kind of horrific wildfires, heat waves, droughts and floods we're already experiencing.

    To avoid this, the scientists on the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change called on the world to make urgent and unprecedented changes that would dramatically reduce our fossil fuel consumption. The chances of the world doing so are, of course, slim. But that slim hope would be reduced to a thread by the Trans Mountain expansion, which would triple the pipeline's capacity to transport the province's heavy crude oil, one of the world's dirtiest, most carbon-intensive fuels. ...

    A 2018 study published in the journal Nature Communications ranked Canada among countries with the world's least effective climate policies. The study found that if Canada's policies were adopted worldwide, global temperatures would rise by a disastrous 5.1 C by the end of the century. And that assessment was made before Trudeau approved the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. Given the potential catastrophe ahead, it's amazing the subject is often discussed with detachment. ...

    This attitude -- let's dump every bit of carbon into the air while we can still make a buck from it! -- reveals a stunning indifference to the enormity of the crisis we face, and the fighting spirit we'll need to summon if we're going to save ourselves and future generations.


    TRNN: Dr David Suzuki: Trudeau Government's Climate Emergency Declaration Is 'A Joke' [On Us!]

    "A leading Canadian environmentalist says Canada must leave the vast majority of the tar sands in the ground if it hopes to fight climate change..."


    The extremely hot June in Europe this year helped make it the warmest June ever recorded as European temperature records were "obliterated", another sign that global warming is occurring faster than even the climate change models predicted.

    European temperature extremes in June.

    Sahara Desert winds that blasted Europe last month, concentrated in a five-day heat wave that left people sweltering, made it the hottest ever June for the continent — and the world.

    "We are likely to see more of these events in the future due to climate change," said Jean-Noël Thépaut of the Copernicus Climate Change Service in a statement on the record-breaking heat.

    Temperatures soared as high as 114 degrees Fahrenheit (45.5 degrees Celsius) in France during the heat wave at the end of June which forced the closure of thousands of schoolsand had people swimming in the fountains near the Eiffel Tower.

    The heat wave was enough to make June top the past global record-holder for warmest month, June of 2016, according to the climate service of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts.

    “We knew June was hot in Europe," University of Reading Hydrology Professor Hannah Cloke told the Independent, "but this study shows that temperature records haven’t just been broken — they have been obliterated."

    Temperatures averaged 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than normal across Europe last month, with the height of the heat wave from June 25 to June 29.

    The blast came during the quarter finals of the Women's World Cup in soccer, attracting world attention.


    Sadly, global warming is producing a new kind of tourism as people travel to see nature's wonders before they disappear due to global warming. A good example of this is the rapidly vanishing Athabaska Glacier in Alberta, that is so large that its meltwater drains into the Arctic, Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. It has already lost half of its volume. In the process of visiting such disappearing sights, these tourists trips are contributing to the greenhouse gas emissions that produce climate change. 


    The Athabasca Glacier — a beloved tourist attraction along the famed Icefields Parkway, which links Jasper and Banff National Park — is fading fast, motivating some tourists to see it before it disappears entirely, researchers say.

    The Athabasca Glacier is part of the Columbia Icefield, the largest icefield in the Rocky Mountains, and a beloved tourist attraction along the famed Icefields Parkway, which links Jasper and Banff National Park. But it’s fading fast, motivating some tourists to see it before it disappears entirely, researchers say. 

    Christopher Lemieux, a geography and environmental studies professor at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., calls them “last chance” tourists. “They’re increasingly seeking out vanishing landscapes, seascapes, natural heritage — even cultural heritage — that they perceive to be threatened by climate change,” he said. “There used to be a rush to kind of be the first person to do something. This phenomena focuses on the last chance to kind of see something.”

    In a 2017 study that surveyed almost 400 participants who visited the Athabasca Glacier, Lemieux, lead author on the paper, looked at the motivations for their visits. According to Parks Canada, Jasper National Park got about 2.4 million visitors in the 2017-18 period, many of whom visited the glacier, trumpeted as the most visited glacier in North America.

    Over last 125 years, the agency said, global warming has caused the iconic attraction to lose half its volume and recede by more than 1.5 kilometres. By the end of the century, researchers predict, it will have all but disappeared. ...

    “That kind of motivation is linked to desire to learn more about the impacts of climate change,” he explained. “So there’s a kind of a positive spin to that.” ...

     23.6 per cent of respondents reported they felt it was important for them to feel like they were one of the last to see the glacier. ...



    Canada's prairies have been historically subject to long periods of droughts, with the twentieth century, when European habitation and exploitation grew exponentially in this region, being the wettest extended period on record as the following research paper notes. So in an already dry region, global warming is not only increasing evaporation rates, reducing precipitation as snow and rainfall, it is melting the glaciers that have in the past provided much of the water people, plants, animals, including cattle need, increasingly putting the prairies' agricultural industries at risk. As the last post noted, half of the massive volume of the Athabaska Glacier has already disappeared greatly increasing the risk of a severe water shortage crisis on the Prairies while the Trudeau and Kenney governments continue to expand fossil fuel production. 

    Meanwhile Trudeau and Kenney continue to pretend that we can continue down the road of fossil fuel exploitation without devastating consequences for this region. Below is an abstract's conclusions on the future of this region. The full article can be found at the url below. 

    Canada is usually considered to be a country with abundant freshwater, but in its western prairie provinces (WPP), an area 1/5 the size of Europe, freshwater is scarce. European settlement of the WPP did not begin until the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Fortuitously, the period since European settlement appears to have been the wettest century of the past two millennia. The frequent, long periods of drought that characterized earlier centuries of the past two millennia were largely absent in the 20th century. Here, we show that climate warming and human modifications to catchments have already significantly reduced the flows of major rivers of the WPP during the summer months, when human demand and in-stream flow needs are greatest. We predict that in the near future climate warming, via its effects on glaciers, snowpacks, and evaporation, will combine with cyclic drought and rapidly increasing human activity in the WPP to cause a crisis in water quantity and quality with far-reaching implications.



    'We Are In A Climate Emergency [North] America': Anchorage Hits 90 Degrees For First Time in Recorded History

    "This is unprecedented..."


    Across northeastern Manitoba and northwestern Ontario wildfires, aided and abetted by global warming, have forced the evacuation of hundreds of people from their communities and caused the release of air quality warnings from Environment and Climate Change Canada. Many of those forced to leave are members of First Nations because their communities are often located in the northern boreal forest that is being devastated by climate change. 

    Image result for photos wildfires little grand rapids 2019                                      The fire as seen from Little Grand Rapids.


    Wildfires have forced hundreds of people to evacuate from First Nations communities in northeastern Manitoba and northwestern Ontario. The fires have also prompted special air quality statements for parts of both provinces. ...

    The Red Lake 23 wildfire has grown to 719 square kilometres and remains out of control, burning just eight kilometres south of Keewaywin First Nation. About half of the communty’s 450 residents fled for Sioux Lookout, Ont., and Timmins earlier this week.

    Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said Saturday that military would help to evacuate the community from Pikangikum First Nation. ...

    It’s unclear how many of the community’s 2,000 residents will be temporarily moved, but so far only the elderly, pregnant women, people with respiratory problems and their immediate families are being flown out.

    The evacuations come just over one year after a wildfire forced 2,000 people to evacuate from Little Grand Rapids and Pauingassi First Nation. ...

    On Sunday, Environment and Climate Change Canada issued special air quality statements for all of Manitoba east of Lake Winnipeg.

    “Smoke from forest fires over eastern Manitoba and northwestern Ontario drifted west into the Red River Valley yesterday resulting in poor air quality over eastern and south-central Manitoba,” the statement reads. ...

    The government agency also issued special air quality statements Sunday for parts of northwestern Ontario, including Dryden, Fort Frances, Kenora, Lake Nipigon, Pickle Lake, Red lake and Sandy Lake.



    The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) has released 19 volumes of documents containing thousands of pages that show the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the RCMP were illegally spying on envronmentalists and Indigenous people and then passing the information onto fossil fuel firms and the National Energy Board. All of this was hidden from the public by a gag order that the BCCLA is still trying to overcome in court. 

    Although the lawsuit started in 2014 during the Harper government, the Liberals have failed to release this information since they came to power. 

    The BCCLA obtained a court order forcing the Security Intelligence Review Committee (SIRC) to disclose these documents in connection with a complaint filed in 2014 against the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the RCMP.

    These heavily redacted documents, dubbed the Protest Papers, are now available on the BCCLA website.

    The BCCLA obtained a court order forcing the Security Intelligence Review Committee to disclose these documents in connection with a complaint filed in 2014 against the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the RCMP.

    According to the BCCLA, the Protest Papers "suggest the spy agency illegally spied on the peaceful protest and organizing activities of Indigenous groups and environmentalists who were opposed to the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline project". ...

    The original complaint alleged that the Dogwood Initiative, ForestEthics (now, Sierra Club B.C., and—all of which opposed the Northern Gateway project—and the Indigenous Idle No More movement were being tracked by federal agencies.

    Moreover, the complaint alleged that the findings were shared with the National Energy Board and petroleum companies.

    According to the BCCLA, these actions allegedly deterred people from expressing their constitutional rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association.

    “People can look at these documents and decide for themselves,” BCCLA staff lawyer Meghan McDermott said in a news release. “If CSIS claims it wasn’t tracking conservation groups in B.C., why did they collect thousands of pages of files relating to groups who engaged in peaceful advocacy and protest? Why are the witnesses in the hearing—staff and volunteers from different nonprofit groups—still under a legal gag order, forever forbidden from repeating what they said in the hearing? It is a shocking violation of their freedom of expression.”

    SIRC held an in-camera hearing in 2015 and acknowledged that "ancillary information" might have been gathered on people who were not targets of any CSIS probes. In the end, SIRC cleared CSIS of any wrongdoing.

    The BCCLA stated that a "gag order" remains in effect on witnesses at the hearing.

    SIRC held an in-camera hearing in 2015 and acknowledged that "ancillary information" might have been gathered on people who were not targets of any CSIS probes. In the end, SIRC cleared CSIS of any wrongdoing.

    The BCCLA stated that a "gag order" remains in effect on witnesses at the hearing.

    Our movements are about justice," senior campaign specialist and prominent Indigenous activist Clayton Thomas-Müller said in the BCCLA news release. "To spy on and criminalize Indigenous dissent, then, is to repress Indigenous rights in Canada, and our responsibilities to protect the land. We are transparent, open, base-driven movements that take a nonviolent, peaceful direct action approach.

    "The state is surveilling and criminalizing Indigenous peoples who are acting within their right to exercise jurisdiction over their lands," he continued. "This is an abuse of democracy and the nation to nation relationship between Indigenous nations and the state. It is clearly about providing a right-of-way for the mining and energy sector.”

    Caitlyn Vernon of Sierra Club B.C. questioned why anyone speaking up for clean drinking water and air free from wildfire smoke should be deemed an enemy of the state.

    "Carbon pollution from the oil industry is causing extreme weather, hitting our communities with flooding, wildfires and drought. Illegal spying on concerned residents trying to protect themselves from the impacts of fossil fuels is an attack on our freedoms and our future," she said. "We won’t stand for it.”'s Sven Biggs said that allowing CSIS "to spy on the activities of peaceful, democratically engaged Canadians in order to inform multinational oil companies is the mark of a petrostate".

    "This is a tactic aligned with antidemocratic regimes around the world," he added. "Our leaders need to shore up the integrity of our institutions to protect Canada from the global trend toward the erosion of democracy."


    jerrym International Program Director Tzeporah Berman describes the consequences of proceeding with the Trans Mountain Pipeline below emphasizing how it helps greatly expands tar sands emissions and how the billions the Liberals have poured into buying and building the pipeline could have been used to build green energy projects instead.

    Tzeporah Berman, This pipeline would facilitate the significant expansion of the tar sands in Canada. The emissions just from the production of that oil alone are the equivalent to putting about 2.2 million cars on the road. This is going to facilitate significant oil expansion. Oil and gas are the fastest growing and largest source of emissions in Canada. It means that Canada won't be able to meet our climate targets. 

    DA: Here's the thing though. Trudeau is saying that he's actually committing to directing money earned from that pipeline to investments in clean energy projects. What do you make of that argument that he's putting forward?

    TB: The market is moving away from high-cost, high-carbon oil, which is what we have in Canada. And demand is softening. Many countries around the world are banning the fossil fuel car, and that's why investors pulled out of this pipeline in the first place. So our federal government bought it, is using $7 billion of taxpayer money to buy this pipeline and build the expansion. They could be using that $7 billion directly to fund clean energy without increasing pollution. If a wealthy country like Canada with a stable democracy can't do our part to address climate safety — when we're all experiencing the rise in floods and fires — then who can? We need Canada to step up to the plate and address climate change. Expanding oil production and building new pipelines is not the way to move away from fossil fuels. 

    DA: How do campaigners like yourself then take this fight forward? Because environmental campaigners, organizations, and groups are all saying that this project will not go ahead without a fight.

    TB: There have been many approvals of pipelines — Keystone XL, Northern Gateway in Canada — none of them have gone forward because what we're seeing is growing opposition. It's not just environmentalists and Indigenous nations who are opposed to this project. It's 19 municipalities, the city of Vancouver, the city of Burnaby, the province of British Columbia. So there will be more legal challenges. There are already protests. There were hundreds of people in the streets in Vancouver tonight. It remains to be seen, but I think this project will continue to be challenged. We will continue to try and delay it, and hope that our government will see that we need to invest directly in clean energy at this moment in history and not build more fossil fuels. I think the fact is, Canada, like many other countries, our climate politics are being held hostage by the oil and gas industry — a very powerful lobby that is pushing to expand at a moment when we know we need to move away from fossil fuels.‘canada’s-climate


    New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs abandons planned carbon tax court fight

    'It wouldn't make sense for me to ... use taxpayer dollars to go and present the same case'


    More signs of the enormous problems created by climate change have come from the United States. Not only was 2018 the fourth warmest American year, it was also the third wettest. Furthermore the annual period from May 2018 to April 2019 was the wettest on record creating massive flooding throughout the USA. 

    Many other places around the world also exprienced similar extremes as noted below.

    An aerial photo of Davenport, Iowa, shows Modern Woodmen Park, top, and the surrounding area covered by Mississippi River floodwaters on May 3. (Kevin E. Schmidt/Quad City Times via AP)


    “In a warming climate, one of the things we anticipate seeing is precipitation extremes at both ends,” she says—meaning the wet places are likely to get wetter and the dry places drier.

    The 2018 pattern toward extremes was global. Places like Austria, which are generally not rain- or snow-limited, saw huge extremes: last January, the country piled up nearly double their normal precipitation for the month.

    “We’ve seen a marked upward trend in short-duration extreme events,” says Ken Kunkel, a climate scientist at North Carolina State University who was not involved in preparing the reports. “It’s an obvious trend that’s been going on for the last few decades and continues to go up.” ...

    The ripping winds of Cyclone Mekunu, for example, dumped 12.9 inches of rain on Salalah, Oman, in just 36 hours—more than double the rain it usually gets in a whole year. And Hurricane Florence doused North Carolina in several feet of rain in the few days it hovered over the state, far more rain than the rivers, soils, and communities could absorb.

    And a single tropical storm dropped just under 50 inches of rain on Kauai in 24 hours, breaking the U.S. record for most rain in a single day by over six inches (the record was previously held by a 1974 storm in Texas.

    There is growing scientific evidence that a warming planet fuels stronger, wetter storms.

    In the southeast and eastern U.S., the trend toward stronger storm events is primarily driven by strong warming in the oceans that fringe their shores. The Gulf of Mexico and the western part of the Atlantic Ocean have seen temperature increases of up to four degrees Fahrenheit over their long-term average in recent years. That number bounces up and down as phenomena like El Niño’s cycle through, but the long-term pattern trends steadily upward.


    In just over a year’s time, the nation’s rainfall fortunes have shifted suddenly and dramatically. Rainfall famine has turned to rainfall feast.

    Thanks to its wettest 12-month period in recorded history, the amount of U.S. real estate covered by drought has plunged to its lowest level in recent decades, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported Wednesday. But at the same time, excessive rainfall and flooding plague large areas of the country.


    Image result for Joel Pett climate change cartoon

    Image result for Joel Pett climate change cartoon


    There is growing evidence that fighting global warming by reducing greenhouse gas emissions has many side benfits. Unfortunately, our federal and most of our provincial governments are still promoting their fossil fuel addiction and denying that their climate change greenhouse gas emissions plans are not meeting their reduction targets. 

    In a cartoon that went viral before the Copenhagen climate summit in 2009, a conference presentation lists some of the side benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, from cleaner air to green jobs, as a man in the audience asks: "What if it's a big hoax and we create a better world for nothing?"

    Ten years after U.S. cartoonist Joel Pett penned that cartoon, there is stronger scientific consensus than ever that climate change is real, and more and more evidence that fighting climate change has positive side effects or "co-benefits."

    Environmental researchers and policy advisers now say it's crucial to take those into account when making decisions about climate change mitigation and adaptation. ...

    Co-benefits such as reducing deaths from air pollution and boosting technological innovation may lower the net costs of climate action to zero or even lead to a net economic benefit rather than a cost, studies show.

    And failing to take those into account — effectively miscalculating the costs of climate change action — may lead to bad decisions and inaction that are more costly in the long run, says Canadian environmental economist Kirk Hamilton.

    "Essentially, we're just leaving dollars on the table by ignoring co-benefits," said Hamilton, an economic consultant and visiting professor at the London School of Economics who has studied the co-benefits of climate change mitigation in depth. "In some ways, we've been doing the modelling wrong."

    Positive side effects from cutting emissions will occur even if they're not accounted for, he noted. "You're just not feeding [them] into your decision making process, which means you're making bad decisions."

    The UN acknowledged in a 2016 brief on sustainable development that the co-benefits of initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions aren't always well documented, "which underestimates their positive impact." ...

    The value of that positive impact can be quite a lot — to the point that in some cases, climate mitigation measures can have a net economic benefit per tonne. Air pollution may reduce the GDP by more than 10 per cent in some countries like China, and a 2016 UN report found that halving greenhouse gas emissions between 2005 and 2050 would reduce premature deaths related to air pollution by 20 to 40 per cent.

    Hamilton's research has found that the health co-benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions could be worth $100 US per tonne of CO2 in high-income countries like the U.S. and Canada and $50 US per tonne in middle-income countries like China. That's quite a lot, given that the cost of abating a tonne of carbon pollution in 2015 was estimated to be less than $36 US per tonne on average — meaning that any country that cut its emissions would get a significant net benefit from health impacts alone. ...

    The UN report also found:

    • In some forest projects to mitigate climate change, co-benefits represent between 53 to 92 per cent of total benefits.
    • Co-benefits typically represent more than 50 per cent of direct benefits from investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy.
    • Reducing fossil fuel dependence in the U.S. decreases the danger of disruptions in the energy supply and economic losses due to price volatility, worth about $5 US per tonne of CO2.

    Some co-benefits, the UN notes, are indirect, such as freeing public resources for other uses. It added there are also effects of climate-related investments on growth and employment.

    Hamilton said environmental regulations targeting emissions can give companies an incentive to invest in knowledge and technology. "That's a big plus," he said, adding that such technologies can often then be applied in new ways to other sectors and activities, amplifying the positive impact. 

    Hamilton said getting governments worldwide to act on climate change has been hard because reducing greenhouse gas emissions is costly in the short-term, but the impact is uncertain, won't be felt for years, and is spread around the world: "It looks like a bad deal."

    The deal looks a lot better when co-benefits are taken into account, because their impact tends to be certain, immediate and local, he adds.


    The extensive flooding that is already occurring in New Orleans before Tropical Storm Barry is expected to hit on Saturday is a result of the record rainfall that has fallen along the Mississippi during the last year raising the river's height 16 feet above normal. As a result of this a combination of storm surge and Barry, there is a strong risk of water overtopping the built up levees of New Orleans. The flooding in 2005 was not due to overtopping but because of the levees giving way. In other words, even though the levees have been strengthened and raised higher to eliminate the risk, we are now looking at a situation where even this may well not be enough even if Barry is not a hurricane. 

    Scientists are predicting that we will see more of such situations in the future due to climate change. 

    The Mississippi River is already bursting as a result of months of flooding in the midwest and south — and Tropical Storm Barry is about to make the situation more dire.

    Although the storm is not expected to directly make landfall in New Orleans, and is instead projected to hit at least 85 miles to the city’s west, its impact could still be devastating to a city where memories of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 still loom large. When Barry hits, officials say that the storm is likely to be “unprecedented” because it will cause three kinds of flooding all at once: a storm surge from the Gulf of Mexico, heavy rainfall and flooding in the swollen Mississippi and its western distributary, the Atchafalaya River.

    Experts warn that the storm system and the midwestern flooding are ominous signs of things to come. As climate change warms the atmosphere, particularly extreme weather events are likely to become more common. Some scientistsalso say that the warming climate is making the hurricane season longer. ...

    Bren Haase, the executive director of the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, tells TIME that the situation is “unprecedented,” noting that the Mississippi River is rarely this high so soon into the hurricane season. In New Orleans, the Mississippi River is expected to reach its highest levels since 1950;the Achafalaya is expected to reach the third-highest crest on record. ...

    In the years since Hurricane Katrina, Haase argues that the state has been making extensive improvements to its systems to protect the region from flooding and to prepare for weather exacerbated by climate change. Since the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority was founded in 2005, it has built or improved hundreds of miles of levies and constructed 60 miles of barrier islands and berms. ...

    Climate change likely helped to create the conditions that are making this storm worse. For instance, a warmer atmosphere can hold more water, which makes storms dump more rain; abnormally warm water in the Gulf of Mexico can strengthen storms; and rising sea levels can make floods bigger.

    Peter Gleick, a Pacific Institute climate scientist, warns that Tropical Storm Barry is “exactly a climate change story.”

    “No climate scientist is saying these storms are caused by climate change. That’s a difficult thing to show,” Gleick says. “What we’re saying is that climate change is increasingly influencing these very damaging events. And it’s that influence that’s going to grow over time as we continue to fail to get climate change under control.”

    Although extreme weather is likely to impact communities around the world, Gleick argues that New Orleans is particularly vulnerable. Not only is the city low-lying, but it is located between a powerful river –– the Mississippi –– and the Gulf of Mexico.



    Despite the ever growing evidence of the damage created by climate change around the world the Trudeau Liberal government is pushing for for carbon credits for fracking natural gas! Furthermore, the carbon that is extracted and burned elsewhere does not count in Canada's greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory for the Paris Agreement.

    In other words, the greenhouse gas emissions produced from Canadian fossil fuels is far greater than the official total and will grow greatly with further expansion of pipelines to our coasts. 

    In Question Period on Friday (June 14), Paul Manly said he was "astounded to learn" that the Trudeau government thinks it can invoke article 6 of the landmark climate pact "to earn carbon credits for exporting fracked gas to Asian markets".

    It was in reference to previous comments by Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi.

    "Does the government not realize that fracked gas has the same carbon footprint as coal?" the recently elected Nanaimo-Ladysmith MP asked.

    Sean Fraser, parliamentary secretary to the minister of environment and climate change, replied that he's aware of article 6 of the Paris Agreement.

    It authorizes "internationally transferred mitigation outcomes to achieve nationally determined contributions". These "shall be voluntary and authorized by participating Parties".

    "Our plan to reduce emissions is not just to displace global emissions by producing more and more oil and gas products in Canada," Fraser said, "but to actually reduce our consumption in Canada as well. ...

    Proponents of the LNG industry claim that this fuel will replace the use of coal in other countries, reducing overall emissions globally.

    But critics, including Manly, say this overlooks the magnitude of methane emissionsassociated with fracking natural gas, which is later liquefied and shipped abroad.

    "While carbon dioxide is typically painted as the bad boy of greenhouse gases, methane is roughly 30 times more potent as a heat trapping gas," Science Daily reported in 2014, citing research at Princeton University.

    That was made clear in a 2017 report by Marc Lee, a senior economist in the B.C. office of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

    In Extracted Carbon: Re-examining Canada's Contribution to Climate Change Through Fossil Fuel Exports, he pointed out that just over half of the carbon extracted in Canada is used for domestic purposes, with the rest exported.

    Overall, Canada's extracted carbon resources rose by 26 percent from 2000 to 2015, according to Lee.

    "A major shortcoming of the Paris Agreement is that countries have committed to reducing emissions within their borders, but not the carbon that is extracted and burned elsewhere," he wrote. "For example, when Canada expands its production of fossil fuels, only the emissions from extraction and processing prior to export are counted in Canada's greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory, not the much larger emissions when those exported fossil fuels are combusted in the United States or Asia."


    On Thursday 37 people on an Air Canada flight to Australia were injured because of clear air turbulence which research has associated with climate change. 

    Clear-air turbulence" is being blamed for a wild ride in the skies on an Air Canada flight that left Vancouver yesterday. The airline has reported that 37 people onboard suffered injuries, including facial lacerations, on Sydney-bound Flight AC33. The plane was diverted to Honolulu after it suddenly dropped.

    Passengers who weren't wearing seatbelts slammed into the roof, according to a passenger interviewed on Honolulu's KTIV. ...

    In April, the international president of the Association of Flight Attendants wrote a commentary on the Vox website noting an association between climate change and an increase in the frequency and intensity of air turbulence.

    "Research indicates that rising CO2 levels in the atmosphere cause disruptions to the jet streams and create dangerous wind shears that greatly increase turbulence, especially at moderate latitudes where the majority of air travel occurs," Sara Nelson wrote. "For flight attendants and passengers alike, that dangerous, shaky feeling in midair comes from air currents shifting." 

    She added that clear-air turbulence, also known as CAT, is the most dangerous. "It cannot be seen and is virtually undetectable with current technology," Nelson noted. "One second, you’re cruising smoothly; the next, passengers and crew are being thrown around the cabin. For flight attendants, who are often in the aisles, these incidents pose a serious occupational risk." ...

    Paul D. Williams, a University of Reading professor of meteorology, was lead researcher of a paper in Geophysical Research Letters that called CAT "one of the largest causes of weather-related aviation incidents".

    "Clear‐air turbulence (CAT) is defined as high‐altitude aircraft bumpiness in regions devoid of significant cloudiness and away from thunderstorm activity," Williams and his coauthor, University of East Anglia climate researcher Manoj M. Joshi, wrote. "Without warning, aircraft can be violently thrown about by CAT. Any unsecured objects and unbuckled passengers and crew can be tossed around the cabin, causing serious injuries and even fatalities."

    The researchers forecast far more CAT in the future as a result of rising greenhouse-gas emissions. "Many of the aircraft that will be flying in the second half of the present century are currently in the design phase," Williams and Joshi wrote in the conclusion. "It would therefore seem sensible for the airframe manufacturers to prepare for a more turbulent atmosphere, even at this early stage. Future aeronautical advances, such as remote sensing of clear‐air turbulence using onboard light detection and ranging technology, might be able to mitigate the operational effects of the worsening atmospheric turbulence."


    One of the major problems that governments around the world are in denial about when it comes to climate change is the exponentially growing problem of climate change refugees. There are already 24 million catastrophic weather event refugees each year. "Currently, forecasts vary from 25 million to 1 billion environmental migrants by 2050, moving either within their countries or across borders, on a permanent or temporary basis, with 200 million being the most widely cited estimate, according to a 2015 study carried out by the Institute for Environment and Human Security of the United Nations University." (

    Furthermore, the Refugee Convention does not recognize climate change refugees as refugees and governments, including the Trudeau Liberals, are in no rush to include climate change it in the definition because it would expand the total population of eligible people exponentially. The following article is about what is happening in Australia, but much of it applies to Canada. 


    If we don’t do anything now, the response to climate change will extend existing inequities, with the burden heaped upon the poor and the weak.

    If you want to imagine the politics of the future, think about climate refugees. This week the ABC published internal briefing notes from the Australian Defence Force warning about huge population flows spurred by environmental disasters, with the former defence force chief Chris Barrie telling the broadcaster he once estimated the number at 100 million people.

    Already, catastrophic weather forces some 24 million from their homes each year. We can expect more of that: more sudden floods and storms and other disasters of the kind that send people seeking shelter. ...

    Meanwhile, arid countries also face an existential threat, from desertification and permanent drought.

    By 2050, the World Bank expects the displacement of perhaps 143 million people from sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and Latin America.

    Those are, of course, some of the poorest regions in the world, places that benefited least from the Great Acceleration of consumer capitalism in the post-war era. The carbon-belching industries of the 21st century have not enriched the average person in Somalia – and yet the UNHRC now warns of climate change in that nation exacerbating the floods and droughts already sending millions into camps.

    “The oft noted scandal of climate change,” say Geoff Mann and Joel Wainwright in their book Climate Leviathan, “is that whose who caused it will not live to see its full consequences and those who are suffering or will suffer worst did not cause the problem.”

    Crucially, the Refugee Convention offers no succour at all to those displaced by climate.

    It defines a refugee as “any person who owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his/her nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself/herself of the protection of that country”. ...

    As international law now stands, they’re not entitled to anything. The urban theorist Mike Davissuggests that: “Instead of galvanising heroic innovation and international co-operation, growing environmental and socio-economic turbulence may simply drive elite publics into more frenzied attempts to wall themselves off from the rest of humanity. Global mitigation … would be tacitly abandoned – as, to some extent, it already has been – in favour of accelerated investment in selection adaption for Earth’s first-class passengers. The goal would be the creation of green and gated oases of permanent affluence on an otherwise stricken planet.” ...

    Australian refugee policy provides a pretty good inkling of what that might look like, with one of the richest countries in the world obsessively preoccupied with excluding desperate people seeking assistance.

    Note that authorities classify the vast proportion of those detained in Australia’s offshore facilities as “refugees”. They’ve passed all the assessments; they’ve jumped through all the hoops – they’re legally entitled to protection.

    Yet, according to the Refugee Council of Australia, the government spends more than $573, 000 on each of them, not to provide them with a new home but to keep them incarcerated. ...

    If we don’t do anything now, the response to climate change will exacerbate and extend existing inequities, with the burden heaped upon the poor and the weak.


    Wildfires in Sweden's Arctic stimulated by the hot, dry summer conditions created by climate change in the single month of June 2019 generated more greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to Sweden's entire annual emissions.  The following article also discusses the growing damage done by global warming in the Arctic in Canada, Siberia and Alaska.

    Canada's Arctic and sub-Arctic boreal forests have faced a great increase in the number, intensity and extent of wildfires in the last few years, greatly increasing our own emissions, thereby further acclerating global warming. Yet the Trudeau Liberals and the Conservatives remain hell bent on further expansion of our fossil fuel industry. 

    Image result for photos of swedish arctic wildfires 2019Arctic wildfires in June equivalent to Sweden's annual emissions - UN

    "Since the start of June we’ve seen unprecedented wildfires in the Arctic region," WMO spokeswoman Clare Nullis told a regular U.N. briefing in Geneva.

    "In June alone these wildfires emitted 50 megatonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, this is the equivalent of Sweden’s annual total CO2 emissions. This is more than was released by Arctic fires in the same month between 2010 and 2018 combined." Wildfires are common in the northern hemisphere between May and October, but this year the fires have been at an unusual latitude and intensity, she said.

    Most have been in the U.S. state of Alaska and the Russian region of Siberia, but one fire in Alberta, in the Canadian Arctic, was estimated to be bigger than 300,000 soccer pitches, or about the size of Luxembourg.

    Alaska had experienced more than 400 wildfires so far this year, with new ones igniting every day.

    Siberia was almost 10 degrees Celsius higher in June than the long term average, while Alaska had its second warmest June on record, and on July 4 the mercury hit 32 degrees Celsius (80 degrees Fahrenheit).

    "This is not Alaska type of weather," Nullis said.

    The wildfires help to amplify global warming by coating the reflective white snow in a layer of black soot that absorbs sunlight, while also increasing the risk that the permafrost layer could thaw and release methane into the atmosphere.

    They also create harmful smoke that can travel a long way. The Alaskan city of Fairbanks has been hit by some of the world's worst air pollution this month, forcing residents indoors and prompting one hospital to set up a "clean air shelter".