Canada and global warming: a state of denial 2

797 posts / 0 new
Last post
jerrym

In the Arctic the rate of ice melting not the 57% of the entire Earth discussed in the previous post, but 600% since the 1990s, showing how incredibly fast Canada's Arctic is changing because of global warming. This alone threatens coastal flooding for 400 million people by 2100. 

Icebergs in Disko Bay, Greenland.

Icebergs in Disko Bay, Greenland. IAN JOUGHIN / IMBIE

The polar ice caps are melting six times faster than in the 1990s, according to the most complete analysis to date. The ice loss from Greenland and Antarctica is tracking the worst-case climate warming scenario set out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), scientists say.

Without rapid cuts to carbon emissions, the analysis indicates there could be a rise in sea levels that would leave 400 million people exposed to coastal flooding each year by the end of the century.

Rising sea levels are the one of the most damaging long-term impacts of the climate crisis, and the contribution of Greenland and Antarctica is accelerating. The new analysis updates and combines recent studies of the ice masses and predicts that 2019 will prove to have been a record-breaking year when the most recent data is processed. ...

The average annual loss of ice from Greenland and Antarctica in the 2010s was 475 billion metric tons – six times greater than the 81 billion metric tons a year lost in the 1990s. In total, the two ice caps lost 6.4 trillion metric tons of ice from 1992 to 2017, with melting in Greenland responsible for 60 percent of that figure.

The IPCC’s most recent mid-range prediction for global sea level rise in 2100 is 53 centimeters (cm). But the new analysis suggests that if current trends continue the oceans will rise by an additional 17 cm.

“Every centimeter of sea level rise leads to coastal flooding and coastal erosion, disrupting people’s lives around the planet,” said Andrew Shepherd, of the University of Leeds. He said the extra 17 cm would mean the number of people exposed to coastal flooding each year rising from 360 million to 400 million. “These are not unlikely events with small impacts,” he said. “They are already under way and will be devastating for coastal communities.” ...

Almost all the ice loss from Antarctica and half of that from Greenland arose from warming oceans melting the glaciers that flow from the ice caps. This causes glacial flow to speed up, dumping more icebergs into the ocean. The remainder of Greenland’s ice losses are caused by hotter air temperatures that melt the surface of the ice sheet.

The combined analysis was carried out by a team of 89 scientists from 50 international organizations, who combined the findings of 26 ice surveys. It included data from 11 satellite missions that tracked the ice sheets’ changing volumes, speeds of flow, and masses.

About a third of the total sea level rise now comes from Greenland and Antarctic ice loss. Just under half comes from the thermal expansion of warming ocean water and a fifth from other smaller glaciers. But the latter sources are not accelerating, unlike in Greenland and Antarctica.

https://e360.yale.edu/digest/theres-been-a-six-fold-increase-in-polar-ic...

NDPP

Approaching A Risky 1.5 C Global Overshoot

https://www.counterpunch.org/2021/03/05/approaching-a-risky-1-5c-global-...

"Whether by avoidance or ignorance, one third of the nations to the Paris climate agreement are failing to meet goals. The plans of the remaining two-thirds are unknown at his time, but the trend doesn't look very promising. Therefore, it's probably a good idea to plan for a global termperature overshoot beyond +1.5 C (2.7 F).

So then, what does +1.5 C above pre-industrial look like? The failure by countries to achieve results according to Paris 15 is immoral at best, and at worse, a criminal activity against humanity..."

jerrym

The Alberta Conservative government has asked Trudeau Liberals for $30 billion to "explore carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies " in order to reduce emissions. Kenney describes talks on this with the Liberals as "productive" and that there have been "a lot of good discussions with senior people in the federal government recognizing they need something like this to have any hope, realistically, of achieving their emissions targets. When Harper was in power, he always talked about reducing emissions intensity per barrel as a way of increasing total fossil fuel production. Claiming that this would help Canada reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions is pure BS.

 Kenney said his government will form a working group of officials from the governments of Alberta and Canada in collaboration with Ottawa "to develop CCUS opportunities and technologies".

If the federal government does support pouring billions into carbon capture rather than into shifting to green energy, and into a technology that has failed to show it can work on a large scale, this will only leave Canada further behind in the shift towards a renewable green energy that is already starting to happen in the US, China, Britain, Japan, Germany etc.  This would leave Canada as an economic dinosaur. 

                       Kenney -always the gas station attendant to the oil industry

Alberta is asking the federal government for $30 billion in funding to explore carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies.

News of the request was first reported by the Globe and Mail on Monday morning, who said it was outlined in a "discussion document" obtained by the publication ahead of the next federal budget. ...

At a news conference on Monday, Premier Jason Kenney said a robust investment in CCUS technologies are necessary for Canada to reach the federal government's target of net-zero. "We have been world leaders in the (CCUS) technology … [and] we're at risk of falling behind if we don't up our game. That's going to require major investments," Kenney said. "The government of Canada has, of course, committed to very ambitious emissions reduction targets, and it's our view that there's no feasible way for Canada to achieve those targets within the stated timelines without a widespread application of game-changing technology like CCUS." ...

Kenney said the expansion of CCUS technology has been identified by the provincial government as a "potential game-changer for the reductions of emissions," and particularly for Alberta's energy sector. 

He said conversations with the federal government about the importance of the large investment have been productive — particularly because the U.S. has shot past Canada in its application of CCUS technology, and in part because of a tax incentive program the U.S. created for the technology.

"I can tell you that we've ... had a lot of good discussions with senior people in the federal government recognizing they need something like this to have any hope, realistically, of achieving their emissions targets," he said.  ...

Chris Bataille, a researcher with the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations, says carbon capture should be shouldered by companies, not taxpayers. "It's a very legitimate part of our decarbonization toolkit but we cannot use it as an excuse to keep on doing things the way we used to," Bataille said. "And it should not be used as a way to keep the oil from going past their natural lifetime."

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/ucp-federal-government-30-billion...

 

jerrym

Despite all the celebration that Covid had helped the world, including Canada, lower its greenhouse gas emissions, the reality is we will soon break previous record emissions. 

Power plant smokestack

International Energy Agency data showed that by December 2020 carbon emissions were 2% higher than in the same month the year before. Photograph: Jeff Zehnder/Alamy

The world has only a few months to prevent the energy industry’s carbon emissions from surpassing pre-pandemic levels this year as economies begin to rebound from Covid-19 restrictions, according to the International EnergyAgency.

New figures from the global energy watchdog found that fossil fuel emissions climbed steadily over the second half of the year as major economies began to recover. By December 2020, carbon emissions were 2% higher than in the same month the year before.

The return of rising emissions began only months after Covid-19 triggered the deepest slump in carbon dioxide output since the end of the second world war, and threatens to dash hopes that the world’s emissions might have peaked in 2019.

Dr Fatih Birol, executive director of the IEA, said: “We are putting the historic opportunity to make 2019 the definitive peak of global emissions at risk. If in the next few months governments do not put the right clean energy policies in place, we may well be returning to our carbon-intensive business as usual. This is in stark contrast with the ambitious commitments made by several governments one after the other.”

The agency’s first ever report to record monthly carbon emissions by region found a strong correlation between countries that put in place economic stimulus packages with a net environmental benefit – such as France, Spain, the UK and Germany – and those that have kept a lid on the carbon emissions rebound.

Meanwhile, the countries that had made the smallest contributions to green economic stimulus measures, such as China, India, the United States and Brazil, recorded steep carbon rebounds in the second half of last year as their economies began to reopen. ...

“This is a clear signal that governments did not put as many green energy policies in their economic recovery packages as they should have. We warned that if the policies were not put in place, we would go back to where we were before the crisis – which is what is happening today,” he said.

China was the first major economy to emerge from the pandemic and lift restrictions, and the only major economy to grow last year, causing its emissions in the last month of the year to climb 7% higher than the levels in December 2019. Its emissions fell 12% below 2019 levels in February last year, but for the year as a whole China’s carbon emissions were 0.8% above 2019.

In India and Brazil, the monthly carbon emissions recorded for December were both 3% higher than at the end of 2019, a stark increase from the depths of lockdown restrictions in April last year, when India’s emissions were 41% lower than in 2019 and Brazil’s 23% lower than the year before.

The EU also reached an emissions nadir last April of 22% below 2019 levels, and emissions remained 5% lower than the year before by December, in part due to ongoing restrictions on travel to help limit the spread of Covid-19 and its variants.

Birol said it was “not too late” for governments to prevent remissions from rebounding to higher levels than before the coronavirus pandemic, “but it is becoming a very daunting task”.

“Governments of all countries, and especially major economies such as the US, China, India, Europe and Japan, need to include clean energy policies in their economic recovery packages,” he said.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/mar/02/fossil-fuel-emission...

jerrym

The Trudeau Liberals are following the same delay, delay, delay climate plan they have since Chretien in 1993 by refusing to have a target for greenhouse emissions reduction target for 2025 and instead setting the target date as 2030, when they would have been in power for 15 years, which given history is unlikely to happen. In other words, they don't want any target that could hold them accountability for failure in the forseeable future, depsite demands from environmentalists that early target dates are critical to dealing with global warming. 

Cartoon by Malcolm Mayes, Edmonton JournalCanada’s environment minister says he is reluctant to ask the public service to come up with a plan to achieve an emissions target in 2025, setting up a possible clash with opposition members over the government's climate bill.

Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said he would rather his department work on implementing the initiatives contained in the federal government’s new climate plan that are designed to achieve their objectives by 2030.

Bill C-12, the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, would require the federal government to come up with national climate targets for the year 2030 and every five years thereafter, ultimately reaching net-zero carbon pollution by 2050. 

Prominent climate scientist Corinne Le Quéré, who chairs France’s High Council on Climate and is a member of the U.K.’s Climate Change Committee, as well as Canadian environmental lawyers and opposition members of Parliament have all called on the government to plan for a 2025 target instead of waiting for 2030, saying climate action can’t be delayed

NDP environment and climate change critic Laurel Collins, an environment committee member, said she would like to see a 2025 target, arguing that waiting until 2030 was “extremely problematic.” The Green Party has also released a plan that calls for “clear enforceable targets and timelines starting in 2025.”

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/03/05/news/wilkinson-not-keen-plan...

jerrym

Covid has taught us that national security is not just a military issue because no nation is secure in a global pandemic. The same is true of global warming as we are already starting to learn. We now have more soldiers deployed dealing with climate change events in Canada than we have overseas and there are impacts that are occurring around the world, including flooding, famine, mass migration, drought, increased poverty, extreme weather events and war that will impact global security and that of Canada. However, global warming is not part of any Canadian national security plan. It is past time it was.

 

Climate change is impacting the global security landscape, and experts have warned about climate change's implications on security risks such as political instability and conflicts. Photo by Wikimedia Commons

The impacts of climate change on security issues such as political instability and mass migrations are well-documented. It is time for Canada to make climate change a national security priority and develop a national climate security plan.

Climate change is impacting the global security landscape. Security experts have warned about climate change's implications on security risks such as political instability and conflicts. At the recent United Nations Security Council open debate on climate change and world peace, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged world leaders to step up their efforts to address climate security. Despite these warnings, Ottawa does not have a national climate security strategy, which leaves Canada vulnerable to security risks related to climate change.

Climate change has been generally considered an environmental issue. But military scholars call climate change a “threat multiplier” that can intensify a wide range of security issues. Globally, climate-related disasters such as floods, wildfires, droughts and storms have led to food insecurity, water shortages, loss of properties and poverty. These social and economic grievances can increase many security risks such as wars, terrorism and forced migrations.

In places like Yemen and Afghanistan, climate change impacts have exacerbated conflicts between communities and complicated the ongoing peacebuilding efforts. On island nations such as Kiribati, rising sea levels and saltwater intrusions have forced people to leave their homes. According to some estimates, climate change could displace more than 1.2 billion people globally by 2050. 

As past and ongoing events have demonstrated, political instability and conflicts in other parts of the world can undermine Canada’s national security.

Climate change is already putting pressure on Canada's military. In 2019, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said there has been a growing need for the Canadian Armed Forces to provide disaster relief at home and overseas. Currently, there are more Canadian troops deployed to provide disaster relief at home than to operations overseas. An internal Department of Defence analysis found climate impacts will increase security risks and the demand for Canadian troops in African countries. Climate change also presents risks to Canada’s defence infrastructure and equipment. For example, Canadian naval bases in Halifax and Esquimalt are prone to sea-level rise, which may impact Canada's readiness to respond to other security threats.

Climate change is also undermining Canada’s Arctic sovereignty. The melting Arctic ice has opened up the Northwest Passage and allowed world powers such as the U.S. and Russia to increase their military presence in the region. China's growing interestin the Arctic Ocean for its cargo ships also poses a new challenge to Canada's security interest in the Arctic. 

Canada's defence strategy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, highlights the military’s commitment to "bolster its ability to respond to severe weather events and other natural disasters, both at home and abroad." But the Department of Defence alone cannot address climate security. In its new climate plan, "A Healthy Environment and a Healthy Economy,” Ottawa outlines 64 ambitious measures to reduce Canada's greenhouse gas emissions. Unfortunately, this plan does not address climate security nor explain how Canada will adapt to climate impacts. 

Canada must develop a national strategy to protect Canadians from security risks related to climate change. The federal government should first incorporate this strategy into its climate plan to ensure it is consistent with the country's overall approach to tackling climate change.

Moreover, the government needs to immediately fulfil its promise to develop a national adaptation strategy to ensure communities can respond to climate impacts. Increasing community resilience to climate change will reduce potential damage associated with climate disasters and the demand for the Canadian Forces’ help for disaster relief. Ottawa also needs to work with other countries to minimize security risks related to climate change globally, such as monitoring climate risks in hot spots. Additionally, Canada should focus its official development assistance on helping vulnerable countries increase their climate adaptation capacity.

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/03/11/opinion/canada-long-overdue-...

 

jerrym

A significant event in the fight against fossil fuels and the global warming they produce occurred last August without much notice: Exxon Mobil, which led the climate denier fight and was the largest company globally in terms of capital as late as 2013 and was on the Dow Jones for 92 consecutive years, which is a record, fell out of the Dow Jones average, consisting of the largest 30 companies, as oil prices fell and the increasing demand in a shift to green energy has developed. Environmentalists see this as a major change. 

2016-1-UTS-ExxonMobil

Corporate duplicity, it seems, knows no bounds.

Exxon Mobil’s demotion from the Dow Jones Industrial Average after nearly a century is being celebrated by environmentalists as a harbinger of the fossil fuelindustry’s demise. 

The oil behemoth was the longest-running member of the blue-chip stock market index after being added in 1928 when it was still called Standard Oil of New Jersey. In 2013, Exxon was the most valuable company on earth, valued at around $418billion. ...

Exxon Mobil’s drop appears emblematic of the changing fortunes of the fossil fuel industry, as calls to tackle the climate crisis gather momentum. Emissions from fossil fuels are the primary cause of global heating, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Some 89 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions came from fossil fuels and industry in 2018, according to CarbonBrief.

In a statement, May Boeve, executive director of environmental non-profit 350.org, wrote: “Big Oil has fallen. Our job is to make sure they don’t take us down with them. Fossil fuel companies like Exxon knew and lied for decades about the main cause of the devastating impacts we’re now experiencing across the globe: from fires, storms and floods to droughts and rising seas. As the finance world wakes up and cuts ties with these climate criminals, we are rising up to make polluters pay for their destruction.” She added: “Exxon’s deep fall today is another powerful reminder of how fossil fuels are too volatile to be the basis of a resilient economy. It is past time for Exxon to recognise that it is not only one of the most responsible for the climate crisis, but also that its assets are quickly becoming stranded as we move towards more sustainable, resilient, and regenerative economic systems, based on renewable, accessible and just energy sources.” 

Dr. Peter Gleick, climate scientist and member of the US National Academy of Sciences, tweeted: “This is some kind of milestone. Exxon-Mobil is out of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Fossil fuels are dying. Most people just don’t know it yet.”

“Oil is on its way out,” Greenpeace posted. 

From its peak market value of $446bn in mid-2014 – when crude oil was last above $100 a barrel – Exxon Mobil is now worth $267bn, CNN reported.

https://www.independent.co.uk/climate-change/news/oil-gas-fossil-fuel-ex...

Mighty Middle

Conservative delegates reject adding 'climate change is real' to the policy book

Delegates voted down green-friendly policies by a margin of 54 per cent to 46

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/conservative-delegates-reject-climate-c...

jerrym

Mighty Middle wrote:

Conservative delegates reject adding 'climate change is real' to the policy book

Delegates voted down green-friendly policies by a margin of 54 per cent to 46

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/conservative-delegates-reject-climate-c...

Yes the Conservatives have a terrible record on climate change, but so do the Liberals, whether under Chretien, Martin or especially Trudeau, as the following examples illustrate: 

The Liberal 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.

(1) “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.” (https://www.cpacanada.ca/en/news/canada/2018-09-18-canada-failing-to-red...)

The Chretien 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. Martin did little in office to fulfill the Liberals Kyoto promises.  The Liberals have failed previously failed to meet their greenhouse gas reduction goals of 1992, 1997, and 2005. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada_and_the_Kyoto_Protocol)

(2) The Trudeau Liberals declared a climate emergency in June 2019 as he prepared for an election and then announced the next day 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".  

(3) In March 2018 the auditor general concluded  the Trudeau Liberal government "is likely to miss the 2020 Copenhagen target as well". (http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_otp_201803_e_42883.html)

(4) 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. (https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/environment-commissioner-julie-gelfand-...)

(5) the Trans Mountain pipeline to the BC coast to triple tarsands oil transportation that Trudeau purchased and is building it with "the total cost of taxpayers' investment in the Trans Mountain expansion to more than $17 billion" (https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/trans-mountain-pipeline-...) that will further increase emissions, money that could have been used to shift to green renewable energy;

(6) Trudeau looked at approving the Frontier Mine in Alberta, which "would  cover 24,000-hectares (roughly double the size of the City of Vancouver) and would produce 260,000 barrels of bitumen each day at its peak (https://thenarwhal.ca/10-things-you-need-to-know-about-the-massive-new-o...) making it one of the largest oilsands mines until the company pulled out of the plan;

 (7) Trudeau pushed the completion of Enbridge's Line 3 to Manitoba in December 2019 that " will have oil export capacity of 760,000 barrels per day (bpd)" when the US portion is finished this year (https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/enbridge-line-three-shipping-oil-1.5377031) The final approval and start of construction of the American portion began at the beginning of December 2020 over the legal objections of two American First Nations, thereby contributing to more Canadian greenhouse gas emssions in the future.

(8) Trudeau supported a $14 billion LNG pipeline from Ontario to Saguenay Quebec for export to Europe, Asia and Brazil that only failed to come to fruition when Warren Buffet concluded it was not going to work financially (https://policyoptions.irpp.org/magazines/may-2019/quebecs-natural-gas-ex...)

ETA: (9) Trudeau also supported Energy East to build a pipeline to the Maritimes until he realized its lack of support in Quebec threatened his 40 Quebec Liberal MPs. "The reason Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spent billions of taxpayer dollars to keep the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion alive while letting the Energy East pipeline proposal die is simple.“Just do the seat count,” Black, an elected member of the Canadian Senate representing Alberta, told BNN Bloomberg in a telephone interview from Calgary. “Quebec was opposed to Energy East and at that point in time it just became insurmountable.” (https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/do-the-seat-count-why-trudeau-chose-trans-mo...)

(10) The Trudeau government "treated Donald Trump’s election as “positive news” for Canada’s energy industry and welcomed the help of Canada’s main corporate oil group in lobbying the US administration, documents show." (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/true-north/2018/feb/09/trudeau-g...) Therefore, there is no doubt the Trudeau Liberals are celebrated the announcement that work on the US portion of the XL pipeline would resume in February. Again this fell through, this time because of US court action, not because of the Trudeau government. 

(11) Once again the Trudeau government is speaking out of both sides of its mouth as it changes offshore drilling rules in Newfoundland in order to make it easier for the fossil fuel industry to meet them and then proclaiming that the industry must live up to those standards while environmental organizations complain about the changes.  The Liberal government has also excluded new drilling from environmental assessment there. This has become even more important with the announcement of the discovery of oil in two new places in the Newfoundland offshore. 

(12) The Trudeau Liberals are redefining emissions to make them look lower. 

Canada's vast managed forest lands used to be critical allies in our climate fight and efforts to build a sustainable, carbon neutral forestry economy. That's because these forests used to be healthy enough to absorb the huge amounts of CO2 created by the logging industry's harvests — plus lots more. ...

Unfortunately for all of us, our forests' deep and valuable carbon sink has nearly dried up. Decades of human abuses — from climate disruption to clearcutting — have left them too battered and weakened to even keep up with business-as-usual logging. Put simply: Our continent-spanning managed forests are now being cut down faster than they are growing back. The result has been a rising flood of CO2 pouring out of our managed forests and accumulating in our atmosphere — worsening both the climate and ocean acidification crises. (https://www.nationalobserver.com/2020/11/02/opinion/co2-forestry-Canada-...)

(13) In December 2020 , the Trudeau Liberals gave $41.5 to Husky Oil in Newfoundland to keep the "idled West White Rose offshore oil project going, particularly to "protect the option of restarting" in the next year — although there is no guarantee that will happen." Meanwhile Trudeau continues to proclaim his devotion to stopping greenhouse gas emissions. I guess he is just following his strategy before the last election of proclaiming a climate change emergency one day and literally the next day buying the Trans Mountain pipeline.  The $41.5 million, which is half the project cost, is in addition to the $325 million the Trudeau government handed the Liberal Newfoundland government to support the Newfoundland oil industry, after Husky stopped construction on the project in April due to the low price of oil. More subsidies poured into a sunsetting industry. (https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/west-white-rose-1.5...)

(14) The Trudeau Liberals are following the same delay, delay, delay climate plan they have since Chretien in 1993 by refusing to have a target for greenhouse emissions reduction target for 2025 and instead setting the target date as 2030, when they would have been in power for 15 years, which given history is unlikely to happen. In other words, they don't want any target that could hold them accountability for failure in the forseeable future, depsite demands from environmentalists that early target dates are critical to dealing with global warming. 

     A prominent French-Canadian scientist who chairs France’s High Council on Climatesays Canada needs to commit to a 2025 carbon pollution reduction target and strengthen its net-zero advisory body. Le Quéré has led a new scientific analysis of global emissions, published March 3 in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Climate Change, that found global pollution cuts need to increase tenfold to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. ... The analysis, “Fossil CO​2​ emissions in the post-COVID era,” points out that Canada is one of 150 countries where emissions increased between 2016, after the Paris Agreement was adopted, and 2019, the year before the pandemic.(https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/03/05/news/wilkinson-not-keen-plan...)

kropotkin1951

Jerrym, the big difference that I see between the Liberals and Conservatives on environmental issues is that Liberals lie about what they will do and the Conservatives lie about what needs to be done. In the end neither of their governments have been doing even the bare minimum, for the last thirty years.

NDPP

"My unpopular take is that the carbon tax has long been a strategic concession advocated by Canada's corporate class as green cover for more frenzied fossil fuel extraction. If our climate debate remains stuck in 'yay' or 'nay' to a carbon tax we're screwed."

https://twitter.com/Martin_Lukacs/status/1375092617856319494

Pondering

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Jerrym, the big difference that I see between the Liberals and Conservatives on environmental issues is that Liberals lie about what they will do and the Conservatives lie about what needs to be done. In the end neither of their governments have been doing even the bare minimum, for the last thirty years.

Well put, but the NDP isn't great on it either. 

kropotkin1951

Pondering wrote:

kropotkin1951 wrote:

Jerrym, the big difference that I see between the Liberals and Conservatives on environmental issues is that Liberals lie about what they will do and the Conservatives lie about what needs to be done. In the end neither of their governments have been doing even the bare minimum, for the last thirty years.

Well put, but the NDP isn't great on it either. 

Provincially they have been marginally better and federally they have never formed government so they have no record to compare to the parties that have actually ruled.

NDPP

'Why Are People Not Doing More About Climate Change?' - BBC

https://twitter.com/Underground_RT/status/1376840544131940352

"The world's top 1% produces more than double the carbon emissions of the poorest 50% of the world's population. Also, how would ordinary people combat the US military, which according to studies is a bigger polluter than 140 countries combined?'

True. And we have the Tar Sands.

jerrym

While the financial sector now proclaims it has seen the light and is shifting to funding green energy, the world's biggest banks are still providing trillions to the fossil fuel industry. Although US and Canadian banks are only 13 of the 60 major fossil fuel funders, these banks provide almost half of the fossil fuel financing. This is despite the fact that renewable energy investments have provided a 367% greater return on investment than fossil fuels since 2010. The banks keep investing in the poorer performer financially. 

A coal-fired power station in China.

A coal-fired power station in China. Despite the pandemic cutting energy use, overall funding of fossil fuel firms remains on an upward trend. Photograph: Wang Meng/Getty Images/iStockphoto

The world’s biggest 60 banks have provided $3.8tn of financing for fossil fuel companies since the Paris climate deal in 2015, according to a report by a coalition of NGOs.

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic cutting energy use, overall funding remains on an upward trend and the finance provided in 2020 was higher than in 2016 or 2017, a fact the report’s authors and others described as “shocking”.

Oil, gas and coal will need to be burned for some years to come. But it has been known since at least 2015 that a significant proportion of existing reserves must remain in the ground if global heating is to remain below 2C, the main Paris target. Financing for new reserves is therefore the “exact opposite” of what is required to tackle the climate crisis, the report’s authors said.

US and Canadian banks make up 13 of the 60 banks analysed, but account for almost half of global fossil fuel financing over the last five years, the report found. JPMorgan Chase provided more finance than any other bank. UK bank Barclays provided the most fossil fuel financing among all European banks and French bank BNP Paribas was the biggest in the EU.

Overall financing dipped by 9% in pandemic-hit 2020, but funding for the 100 fossil fuel companies with the biggest expansion plans actually rose by 10%. Citi was the biggest financier of these 100 companies in 2020.

A commitment to be net zero by 2050 has been made by 17 of the 60 banks, but the report describes the pledges as “dangerously weak, half-baked, or vague”, arguing that action is needed today. Some banks have policies that block finance for coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel, but almost two-thirds of funding is for oil and gas companies.

The report’s authors said targeting of banks by campaigners and activist shareholders could help change bank policies but that action by governments was also needed.

“When we look at the five years overall, the trend is still going in the wrong direction, which is obviously the exact opposite of where we need to be going to live up to the goals of the Paris Agreement,” said Alison Kirsch, at Rainforest Action Network and an author of the report. “None of these 60 banks have made, without loopholes, a plan to exit fossil fuels.”

“We have seen progress in restricting financing for special places like the Arctic or greenhouse-gas-intensive forms of oil, like tar sands, but these are such a small piece of the pie,” she said.

“One bank after another is making solemn promises to become ‘net zero by 2050’,” said Johan Frijns, at BankTrack, part of the coalition behind the report. “But there exists no pathway towards this laudable goal that does not require dealing with bank finance for the fossil fuel industry right here and now.”

“Banks provide the financial oxygen that allows the fossil fuel industry to breathe,” said Mark Campanale, at financial thinktank Carbon Tracker, which was not involved in the report. “It reveals the shocking fact that lending has grown since the Paris Agreement, [which] should concern everyone, not least policymakers and shareholders of the banks themselves.

“The cost of carbon in terms of extreme weather events, lost lives and livelihoods will be borne by society and sadly not the banks, nor the fossil fuel companies,” said Campanale. “Next time the banks come looking to taxpayers for a bailout, they shouldn’t be surprised to find backs are turned.”

The report was produced by six NGOs and is endorsed by over 300 organisations from 50 countries. It used Bloomberg data to analyse both direct loans by banks to fossil fuel companies and funding from other investors that the banks arrange via bond and debt sales.

“A surprising result from the 2020 data is that BNP Paribas, a bank that never loses an opportunity to boast of its clean, green credentials, and those of its US subsidiary Bank of the West, came in as the fourth-worst fossil bank in 2020,” the report said, with the $41bn provided by far the biggest sum in last five years.

BNP Paribas has some of the strongest policies on unconventional oil and gas, such as fracking and tar sands, Kirsch said: “But it’s a relatively small part of their overall funding and the bank hasn’t reined in its financing to the oil and gas supermajors, which get really big deals.”

A spokesperson for BNP Paribas said the report has ranked the bank second for the strength of its restrictions on financing coal, fracking and tar sands. “During the Covid-19 crisis, all sectors of the economy needed support and BNP Paribas, like other banks, played an important stabilising role for the economy. However, BNP Paribas supported the oil and gas sector to a lower extent than other sectors of activity.”

JPMorgan Chase launched a “Paris-aligned financing strategy” in October, pledging to set intermediate emission targets for 2030 for its financing portfolio. It declined to comment on the report. 

A Barclays spokeswoman said: “We have made a commitment to align our entire financing portfolio to the goals of the Paris Agreement, with specific targets and transparent reporting, on the way to achieving our ambition to be a net zero bank by 2050.” Citi did not respond to requests for comment.

A separate report last Thursday from the International Energy Agency and Imperial College London found that investments in renewable energy have seen a 367% greater return than fossil fuels since 2010.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/mar/24/big-banks-trillion-d...

jerrym

Below is the Conclusions section of the report mentioned in the last post that showed renewable energy earning a 367% greater return for renewable energy over fossil fuels. Maybe greed will get governments, including Canada's, and the financial sector to start shifting even more investment into renewables since they often only mention platitudes when it comes to climate change. 

We analyzed the financial performance of a global portfolio of listed fossil fuel and renewable power companies, with detailed comparisons of underlying performance between advanced economies, emerging market and developing economies, and China. Renewable power portfolios have produced better risk-adjusted returns than those of fossil fuel portfolios on average over the last 5 and 10 years. This finding is consistent with that from the first report of the series, which focused on companies in four advanced economies: United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and France. Our main findings are:

–Listed renewable power portfolios have outperformed listed fossil fuel portfolios in all markets.

–Annualized volatility for the renewable power portfolios was on average lower than the fossil fuel portfolios, except in emerging market and developing economies and China.

–The most recent market downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the industry's resilience, with the renewable power portfolios outperforming during recent crises.

–In normal and volatile market conditions, the renewable power portfolio showcases enhanced diversification benefits due to their lower correlation to the broader market relative to fossil fuel.

https://imperialcollegelondon.app.box.com/s/73em3ob3h1pu0a0ek3bay2ydiss8...

jerrym

Governments and the private sector are still in a state of denial the rapid decrease in costs of renewable energy nor the ever growing evidence of continuing to depend primarily on fossil fuels as the following article illustrates.

 

5 bar chart – what is the safest form of energy

For the world to transition to low-carbon electricity, energy from these sources needs to be cheaper than electricity from fossil fuels.

Fossil fuels dominate the global power supply because until very recently electricity from fossil fuels was far cheaper than electricity from renewables. This has dramatically changed within the last decade. In most places in the world power from new renewables is now cheaper than power from new fossil fuels.

The fundamental driver of this change is that renewable energy technologies follow learning curves, which means that with each doubling of the cumulative installed capacity their price declines by the same fraction. The price of electricity from fossil fuel sources however does not follow learning curves so that we should expect that the price difference between expensive fossil fuels and cheap renewables will become even larger in the future.

This is an argument for large investments into scaling up renewable technologies now. Increasing installed capacity has the extremely important positive consequence that it drives down the price and thereby makes renewable energy sources more attractive, earlier. In the coming years most of the additional demand for new electricity will come from low- and middle-income countries; we have the opportunity now to ensure that much of the new power supply will be provided by low-carbon sources.

Falling energy prices also mean that the real income of people rises. Investments to scale up energy production with cheap electric power from renewable sources are therefore not only an opportunity to reduce emissions, but also to achieve more economic growth – particularly for the poorest places in the world.

The world’s energy supply today is neither safe nor sustainable. What can we do to change this and make progress against this twin-problem of the status quo?

To see the way forward we have to understand the present. Today fossil fuels – coal, oil, and gas – account for 79% of the world’s energy production and as the chart below shows they have very large negative side effects. The bars to the left show the number of deaths and the bars on the right compare the greenhouse gas emissions. My colleague Hannah Ritchie explains the data in this chart in detail in her post ‘What are the safest sources of energy?’.

This makes two things very clear. As the burning of fossil fuels accounts for 87% of the world’s CO2 emissions, a world run on fossil fuels is not sustainable, they endanger the lives and livelihoods of future generations and the biosphere around us. And the very same energy sources lead to the deaths of many people right now – the air pollution from burning fossil fuels kills 3.6 million people in countries around the world every year; this is 6-timesthe annual death toll of all murders, war deaths, and terrorist attacks combined.1

It is important to keep in mind that electric energy is only one of several forms of energy that humanity relies on; the transition to low-carbon energy is therefore a bigger task than the transition to low-carbon electricity.2

What the chart makes clear is that the alternatives to fossil fuels – renewable energy sources and nuclear power – are orders of magnitude safer and cleaner than fossil fuels.

Why then is the world relying on fossil fuels? 

Fossil fuels dominate the world’s energy supply because in the past they were cheaper than all other sources of energy. If we want the world to be powered by safer and cleaner alternatives, we have to make sure that those alternatives are cheaper than fossil fuels.

https://ourworldindata.org/cheap-renewables-growth

jerrym

As the Biden government plans to shift enormous resources towards electric vehicles, the Trudeau Liberals are barely in the game and are in danger of leaving Canada in the dust both economically and environmentally when it comes to the auto and other industries. 

General Motors has partnered with EVgo to deploy more than 2,700 fast chargers across the U.S.

General Motors has partnered with EVgo to deploy more than 2,700 fast chargers across the U.S. CREDIT: GM

Last month’s failure of the Texas electric grid, coming just weeks after General Motors’ pledge to make only electric vehicles by 2035, highlights the daunting task the United States faces as it takes the first steps toward weaning its economy off fossil fuels. While GM’s announcement is striking from a historical vantage point — the nation’s largest automaker choosing to jettison the internal combustion engine — the collapse of the Texas grid underscores how far the country has to go as it attempts to “electrify everything.”

Despite these challenges, the U.S. finds itself at a promising turning point, with new economic, social, and political forces driving a key aspect of the decarbonization of the economy — the electrification of cars and, eventually, trucks. The U.S. lags behind China and the European Union in the transition to electric vehicles, or EVs. But if the private sector and federal and state governments make a commitment to electric vehicles — something that has already begun with the Biden administration and U.S. automakers — we think that within two decades a majority of new automobiles sold in the U.S. will be electric.

The road to that goal is strewn with obstacles, most notably establishing an extensive nationwide network of charging stations and improving batteries to the point where any EV can go as far on a rapid charge as an internal combustion car can on a tank of gas. And consumer attitudes will need to change, with individuals no longer viewing gasoline as the only reliable way to power a vehicle. But as technology steadily advances, with consumers installing solar panels on their roofs and batteries in their garages, the EV transition will hold tremendous appeal as a decentralized, empowering system where individuals can rely on self-generated electricity for their homes and cars, while also selling surplus power back to the grid. ...

GM is by no means the sole company launching bold initiatives on EVs. Ford, which has had an electrification program for longer than GM, is offering electric versions of iconic brands such as the Mustang and F-150 truck. Volkswagen says it will invest €30 billion ($35.8 billion) in e-mobility by 2023, and by 2028 vows to offer 70 new fully electric VW models, with projected EV sales of 22 million for the VW Group. Startups also are increasingly active, with e-truck innovator Rivian signing a big deal with Amazon to purchase Rivian’s all-electric delivery vans, and new Chinese EV firms emerging seemingly each month.

Tesla, of course, jump-started all the excitement about EVs, and new Tesla plants are planned for Austin and Berlin. Its Shanghai plant is steadily boosting output of Model 3s. Meanwhile, new sources of private sector investment are pouring into EV and battery firms. ...

Given the huge number of new EV models now promised by automakers, charging infrastructure is taking center stage as the crucial bottleneck for faster EV adoption. The “chicken and egg” line with respect to EVs and charging infrastructure is often cited, but a more fitting analogy (thanks to the movie, “Field of Dreams”) might be, “If you build it, they will come.” ...

China has shown how important it is to build charging infrastructure ahead of demand, inducing purchases by creating a sense of cultural momentum and addressing range anxiety. A Columbia University report credits the central government’s strong support for charging infrastructure and for setting national standards, with just a single recharging interface. (The U.S. has three.) China also centrally collects more data on EV charging, whereas the U.S. charging network has many different owners with little coordinated analysis, the Columbia report said. ...

The Biden administration is backing a major effort on EV infrastructure, with plans to install 500,000 individual chargers (five times what exists now) at 28,000 charging stations. Biden’s plan could meet more than half of U.S. charging demand by 2030 and “spark the sale of as many as 25 million electric vehicles,” according to Inside EVs. A major push to create EV charging infrastructure would also create many thousands of jobs — a key selling point in the drive to decarbonize the U.S. transportation sector.

It is tempting to view these extraordinary innovations in the EV market as the product of visionary entrepreneurs like Elon Musk. But the private sector and entrepreneurs operate within a world of law and regulation. An approach that acknowledges an essential role for states and the federal government can further accelerate the EV transition. Government actions include regulation aimed at reducing emissions from new motor vehicles, the use of government procurement power to stimulate demand (the federal government fleet has more than 600,000 vehicles), and significant financial incentives for replacing internal combustion engine vehicles with EVs.

https://e360.yale.edu/features/ev-turning-point-momentum-builds-for-u.s....

jerrym

A new Canadian study shows that, surprise, surprise, racism has played a major role on the impacts of pollution, including that of the fossil fuel industry, on who suffers the most from environmental damage. 

 

A sign for the Aamjiwnaang First Nation Resource Centre is located across the road from NOVA Chemicals (mostly petrochemicals) in Sarnia, Ontario on April 21, 2007. File photo by The Canadian Press/Craig Glover

A new tool that measures the environmental quality of any urban street in Canada — and maps it out in colour — illustrates vividly the many neighbourhoods in the country that have poor environment scores, neighbourhoods that are often home to racialized communities.

GoodScore assesses air quality, street greenness, amenities, transit and recreation on a scale of 1 to 100. The prototype tool was made for the public and policy-makers alike “so people can create evidence and stories that will illustrate inequity,” says Eleanor Setton, the Victoria-based managing director of the Canadian Urban Environmental Health Research Consortium.

"Bad" neighbourhoods have hazards that are linked to poor mental health, cancer, asthma, diabetes, and low birth weights.

Homes in the Aamjiwnaang First Nation reserve, nestled in the midst of petrochemical plants in southwestern Ontario, most often record scores under 10 and appear in blazing red on the map. The neighbouring city of Sarnia shows scores of 50 and above and is presented in less alarming colours of tan and blue.

“This is systemic racism,” says Scott Grant, the air-quality expert at Aamjiwnaang First Nation, as he looks at the red-covered map of the community. “It’s a sensitive topic too, because the community doesn’t want to be seen as a horrible place, and it isn’t, it’s a wonderful community, friendly people. It’s just patently unfair what they’ve had to endure.”

Pollution has been harming people in the community for decades, “and people don’t even think about it. This would not be allowed in Oakville, Ont." ...

Setton and her team have found that Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver all have more impoverished households in neighbourhoods with lower walkability, lower streetscape greenness and worse traffic-related air pollution. They note the health impacts of these features are linked to diabetes, lower physical activity and poorer birth outcomes.

Poor people living in poor-quality neighbourhoods experiencing poor health isn’t revelatory, but when it intersects with race, those impacts can be exacerbated, says Ingrid Waldron in her book "There’s Something in the Water." She explores the long history of environmental racism, such as Africville in Nova Scotia, a Black community that experienced years of industrialization and marginalization.

Waldron explains that socioeconomic status is a key driver for environmental racism: poverty stops people from being able to move out of poor-quality environments, but sociopolitical factors also contribute. These communities can have less political clout in anything from local city planning — such as where the new sports facility will be built — to decisions on large-scale projects.

Waldron points out examples where public hearings are held in places community members can’t easily get to and only in English, or require technology and internet access. ...

Canada needs a national strategy using “data that looks at the links among race, gender, education, employment, income, health and environmental harms, as well as other factors,” Zann says.

Setton and her team have been doing just that. GoodScore is a prototype they will continue to develop over the next three years with a grant from the federal government.

“What can public health people learn from using these data? Visualizing them, intersecting them with low socioeconomic indicators and seeing where we need to change, where we need to prioritize our efforts,” Setton says. “It's really about setting priorities using mapping.”

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/03/27/news/poor-environment-histor...

jerrym

A just released paper from Simon Fraser University estimates the losses from the Trans Mountain pipeline to be $12 billion. Below is a petition to defund TMX. 

Earlier today, researchers at Simon Fraser University released a report that confirms something the climate movement has been saying all along: TMX makes no sense. The team from SFU’s School of Resource and Environmental Management ran a cost/benefit analysis of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and found that the project will lead to almost $12 billion in losses for Canada.1

If you haven’t already signed our Defund TMX petition, add your name today.

On top of being a climate disaster, the economics of TMX have always been shaky. Now it’s clear that Trudeau made a terrible mistake when he used our tax dollars to buy the pipeline from Texas oil giant Kinder Morgan in 2018. Since then, construction costs have doubled and global action to reduce emissions has finally started to ramp up. Those factors mean TMX is a clear financial loser and, as the study’s authors advise, the federal government would be better off cancelling the project now and redirecting funds into renewable energy projects.

The next federal budget is just a few weeks away. Tell your MP you don’t want another dollar of public money wasted on Trans Mountain.

In stark contrast, today President Biden announced a $2 trillion infrastructure spending plan, much of which will be directed towards accelerating the green energy transition in the United States.2 It's more sweeping and ambitious than anything Canada has done to date and it underscores just how much Trudeau’s brand of "climate leadership" depended on Donald Trump being in the White House.

The case against TMX has never been stronger and it’s clear our movement is winning the argument. A recent poll showed that, in addition to ranking job-creation and climate action as the two most important issues, a full two-thirds of Canadian voters believe oil and gas pipelines are the area least deserving federal support.3

Can you forward this email to a friend and ask them to sign the Defund TMX petition too?

It’s been just over 3 years since I was arrested resisting the construction of this pipeline. In that time, the company which first proposed this project abandoned it altogether, the Supreme Court of Canada overturned its initial approval, the project has struggled to secure insurers to back it, and Indigenous-led resistance to this pipeline has remained strong from the unceded Coast Salish territories, where I live, to Secwepemc territories in the interior of BC. It’s clear this pipeline isn’t getting built so why does Trudeau keep wasting our public money on it? 

Let’s speak up to defund TMX once and for all. 

 

jerrym

Global warming is already reducing world food production with its effects expected to get worse over time with the intensification of farming methods in order to increase production further increasing problems. The regions already facing the greatest food insecurity, such as the Sahel and Central America, are the regions where global warming is already doing the greatest damage. Even if Canadian agricultural production benefits in the long run from warming temperatures, there will be a transition period where farmers will have to adjust to changing agricultural conditions that reduce production for a while.

Research shows rising temperatures since 1960s have acted as handbrake to agricultural yield of crops and livestock

A wheat farm in Dixon, Illinois. With the global population set to rise to more than 9bn by 2050, the UN estimates food production will have to increase by about 70%.

A wheat farm in Dixon, Illinois. With the global population set to rise to more than 9bn by 2050, the UN estimates food production will have to increase by about 70%. Photograph: Jim Young/Reuters​

The climate crisis is already eating into the output of the world’s agricultural systems, with productivity much lower than it would have been if humans hadn’t rapidly heated the planet, new research has found.

Advances in technology, fertilizer use and global trade have allowed food production to keep pace with a booming global population since the 1960s, albeit with gross inequities that still leave millions of people suffering from malnutrition.

But rising temperatures in this time have acted as a handbrake to farming productivity of crops and livestock, according to the new research, published in Nature Climate Change. Productivity has actually slumped by 21% since 1961, compared to if the world hadn’t been subjected to human-induced heating.

With the global population set to rise to more than 9 billion by 2050, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization has estimated that food production will have to increase by about 70%, with annual crop production increasing by almost one 1bn tonnes and meat production soaring by more than 200m tonnes a year by this point.

Meanwhile, global temperatures are rising at a rate that scientists warn is extremely dangerous for human civilization.

“The impact already is larger than I thought it would be,” said Ariel Ortiz-Bobea, an economist at Cornell University who led the research.

“It was a big surprise to me. The worry I have is that research and development in agriculture takes decades to translate into higher productivity. The projected temperature increase is so fast I don’t know if we are going to keep pace with that.”

The research measured productivity by inputs – such as labor, fertilizer and equipment – and the output in food they produce, using a model to determine how climate change has influenced this relationship.

While farming has generally become far more efficient in recent decades, it is increasingly menaced by heatwaves that exhaust farm workers and wither certain crops. Extreme weather events and drought can also affect the output of a farm, particularly smaller operations in poorer countries.

In 2019, scientists who analyzed the top 10 global crops that provide the majority of our food calories found that climate change is reducing the worldwide production of staples such as rice and wheat. Again, less affluent countries are suffering worst from this situation.

The intensification of farming to boost output has in itself caused major environmental damage, through the deforestation of grazing land, loss of valuable topsoil, pollution from pesticides and the release of vast amounts of greenhouse gases that contribute to global heating.

“Ultimately we want to increase productivity in a changing climate but a bad way to do that is by increasing inputs such as land and water,” said Ortiz-Bobea. “If we were more productive we could produce more with less of an environmental footprint.”

Weston Anderson, a researcher of food security and climate at Columbia University who was not involved in the study, said the new research provides fresh insight into the magnitude of the impact upon agriculture.

“The regions that this paper highlights as experiencing the largest reductions in agricultural productivity – Central America and the Sahel – contain some of the least food secure countries in the world, which is a real concern,” he said.

“It means that populations that were already food insecure are shouldering the heaviest burden of climate change, and highlights the importance of doing all that we can to improve agricultural production in these vulnerable regions immediately.”

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/04/06/news/rapid-global-warming-ha...

jerrym

Climate change activist Greta Thunberg is refusing to go to COP 26 in Glasgow because of inequality of Covid vaccine access that means many people from many countries unable to attend. As with climate change itself, the burden of inequality is being shared unequally around the world when it comes to vaccination. 

 

Too loud.

Climate activist Greta Thunberg said on Friday she will not go to the United Nations climate conference due to be held in Scotland in November over concerns that inequality of access to COVID-19 vaccines will leave many countries unable to attend.

"Inequality and climate injustice is already the heart of the climate crisis," the 18-year-old Thunberg said on Twitter.

"If people can't be vaccinated and travel to be represented equally, that's undemocratic and would worsen the problem."

Thunberg criticized nations she said were unwilling to share vaccines with those that have little access to the drugs.

"Of course I would love to attend the Glasgow #COP26," she tweeted. "But not unless everyone can take part on the same terms. Right now many countries are vaccinating healthy young people, often at the expense of risk groups and frontline workers (mainly from global south, as usual...)"

https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/greta-thunberg-boycott-un-climate-conferen...

jerrym

Enbridge's line 3 which runs from Hardisty Alberta to Wisconsin was built in 1968. Like the Trans Mountain pipeline, it is being expanded under the Trudeau government in a $5.3 billion construction project, with the Canadian portion to Manitoba already finished at the end of last year in order to carry an additional 150,000 barrels per day of tarsands oil  and a doubling of the pipeline's capacity to 750,000 barrels a day if the American section is completed.(https://financialpost.com/commodities/energy/oilpatch-gets-much-needed-r...)

The largest inland oil spill in US history was along Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline, giving little confidence that the company will pay much attention to the environment or spills, as so often in its past.

"A study authored by over a dozen climate justice organizations found that the greenhouse gas emissions from constructing the new Line 3 pipeline would be equivalent to building 50 new coal-fired power plants. The EIS estimated that the social cost of carbon from those emissions would total more than $120 billion over 30 years. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Line_3_Pipeline)

 Once again there are environmental activists, led by indigenous people, attempting to stop this expansion in the United States that includes tunnelling under the Mississippi with all the dangers that that presents in terms of oil spills.

 

Water protectors rally against the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline in Park Rapids, Minn., on March 15, 2021.Water protectors rally against the Enbridge Line 3 pipeline in Park Rapids, Minn., on March 15, 2021. Photo: Courtesy of Honor The Earth

Enbridge, the Canadian energy-transport firm, is planning to route its Line 3 pipeline under the Mississippi, near where it crosses Highway 40. In winter, a pollution-control rule bars drilling under the frozen waters. As the ice melts away, so do the restrictions. Those organizing against the project worry that Enbridge could begin tunneling under the Mississippi and other local rivers any day — and the pipeline-resistance movement is getting ready for it.

“They got a lot of money, they got a lot of equipment, but we got a lot of people,” said Anishinaabe water protector Winona LaDuke at an event last week with actor and activist Jane Fonda, which took place in front of the flowing Crow Wing River, not far from where Enbridge seeks to drill under its shores. “Spring is coming. Let’s be outdoorsy.” ...

Enbridge’s Line 3 project began construction four months ago. It was designed to replace a decaying pipeline of the same name; however, a large portion of its 338-mile Minnesota section, which makes up most of the U.S. route, plows through new land and waters. The project would double Line 3’s capacity for carrying tar sands oil, one of the most carbon-intensive fossil fuels in the world, at a moment when a rapid shift away from fossil fuels has become critical to address the climate crisis.

The delicate waterway ecosystems through which the pipeline passes have become the central organizing point of the anti-pipeline, or water protector, movement. Hundreds of rivers, streams, and wetlands face the specter of a tar sands leak after the replacement Line 3 begins operating. And the particularly intensive form of drilling required to tunnel the pipeline under rivers holds its own set of risks during construction. ...

Those same waters are central to the Anishinaabe people’s identity, and Anishinaabe women have led opposition to the Line 3 project. Over the past year, women and nonbinary people have organized small camps near planned construction sites. In recent weeks, they’ve led a steady schedule of gatherings and ceremonies at the edges of rivers, with some organizing more obstructive protests, known as direct actions, aimed at slowing pipeline construction. With spring on the horizon, pipeline opponents are poised to take even more obstinate stands to block construction at the river crossings.

Law enforcement agencies, with Enbridge’s support, are also preparing for the time when the rivers open up. Documents obtained by The Intercept confirm that local sheriff’s offices have for months been practicing for direct actions focused on the Mississippi River. ...

An escrow account set up by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission and funded by Enbridge, primarily to cover the costs of policing pipeline resistance, has distributed more than $500,000 to law enforcement agencies as of March 15. ...

People’s greatest fears, however, center around what could happen once the workers leave the construction site: a spill. The largest inland oil spill in U.S. history happened in 1991 in nearby Grand Rapids, Minnesota; 1.7 million gallons of crude oil spilled from Line 3, the same pipeline that Enbridge is now replacing. In 2010, a Michigan community suffered a huge spill from another Enbridge pipeline.

https://theintercept.com/2021/03/23/enbridge-line-3-mississippi-minnesot...

NDPP

'The Amount of CO2 in the Atmosphere is Now Similar to a Time When the Earth was About 7 Degrees Hotter.'

https://twitter.com/LeftistsUk/status/1380497282265718787

"These words are our death sentence, not our warning sign. If we don't all panic soon."

Kill TMX /Line 3 for a start.

jerrym

Another sign of financial resources shifting away from Canada's oil sands and other fossil fuel projects around the world: the New York State pension fund has pulled out of financing the oil sands following the lead of many others. 

 

New York State comptroller Thomas DiNapoli on April 9, 2021 announcing New York state pension fund pulling out of Canadian tar sands. 

The third-largest public pension plan in the United States said Monday it would divest from some of Canada’s largest oilpatch companies, arguing they failed to show they are “prepared for the transition to a low-carbon economy.” ...

New York State comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, the trustee of the US$247-billion fund, made the announcement following a review of climate-related investment risks. DiNapoli said the fund will sell off over US$7 million in securities connected to oilsands companies and ban future direct purchases and actively managed investments.

“As nations around the world become increasingly serious about addressing the threat of climate change and as market forces drive a low-carbon economic transition, we need to make sure our investments line up with this reality,” DiNapoli said in a statement. 

Scientists say global fossil fuel production must decline by six per cent per year for the next decade to avoid more extreme climate change. Governments have so far planned to go in the opposite direction, producing more coal, oil and natural gas in excess of Paris Agreement temperature limits.

In addition to Cenovus and Husky, DiNapoli said the fund had determined that Imperial Oil, Canadian Natural Resources, MEG Energy, Athabasca Oil and Japan Petroleum Exploration had all “failed to show they are transitioning out of oilsands production.” 

DiNapoli said oilsands companies are “responsible for large greenhouse gas emissions” and that oilsands production is “more costly and carbon-intensive” than other forms of crude. 

The sector has been Canada’s fastest-growing source of emissions, and most of the crude that comes out of the oilpatch is a heavy type of oil that the Canada Energy Regulator considers to be of “lower quality” than light crudes because it is costlier to refine, and results in fewer end-products, like gasoline.

DiNapoli’s announcement is the latest of several in recent years where large funds or financial institutions have turned their back on Canada’s oilpatch over concerns it is misaligned with low-carbon transition goals. ...

Norway’s municipal employees pension fund sold off its stakes in oilsands companies in 2019, for example, and Norway's sovereign wealth fund followed with its own oilpatch divestments in 2020. 

As well, one of the world’s largest insurance companies, Zurich Insurance Group, restricted investments in 2019, and then dropped its coverage of the Trans Mountain pipeline the next year.

Richard Brooks, the climate finance director for Stand.earth, said DiNapoli’s announcement marked the first time a state pension fund in North America was actively divesting from the majority of its oilsands holdings. Brooks said he felt it would lead to similar moves from other such funds. “What we’re seeing here is a really big state pension fund, one of the largest in the United States, with vast holdings, quite a bit of influence, and at the centre of Wall Street,” he said in an interview.  “With New York moving, a lot of attention I think is going to be on this announcement, and we will begin to see other dominoes begin to tumble as a result of this.” ...

A Royal Bank of Canada report in November 2020 said the oil and gas industry “likely won’t meaningfully reduce” its carbon pollution this decade without more government funding. The federal government has already offered hundreds of millions of dollars to oil and gas firms to adopt “greener technologies.”

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/04/13/news/new-york-state-pension-...

jerrym

While a growing number of firms in the financial sector are starting to pull out of financing the tar sands and other fossil fuel experts, many experts, including some in the financial sector, believe that free markets will never accomplish this alone. 

 

Green investing 'is definitely not going to work’, says ex-BlackRock executive

Composite of a piggy bank on a balloon

Tariq Fancy once oversaw the start of the biggest effort to turn Wall Street ‘green’ – but now believes the climate crisis can never be solved by today’s free markets

From his desk in midtown Manhattan Tariq Fancy once oversaw the beginning of arguably the biggest, most ambitious, effort ever to turn Wall Street “green”. Now, as environmentally friendly investing grows at an exponential rate, Fancy has come to a stark conclusion: “This is definitely not going to work.”

As the former chief investment officer for sustainable investing at BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager, Fancy was charged with embedding environmental, social and governance (ESG) corporate policies across the investment giant’s portfolio.

Fancy was a leader in a movement that has given many people, including investors, activists and academics, hope that after years of backing polluters, Wall Street was finally stepping up to confront the climate crisis.

“I have looked inside the machine and I can tell you business does not have this,” Tariq told the Guardian. “Not because these are bad people but because they run for-profit machines that will operate exactly as you would expect them to do,” said Fancy. ...

“The evidence on climate risk is compelling investors to reassess core assumptions about modern finance,” the BlackRock chairman, Larry Fink, wrote in his highly influential annual letter to CEOs in 2020, shortly after Fancy’s departure. “In the near future – and sooner than most anticipate – there will be a significant reallocation of capital.”

In future, Fink said, BlackRock would transition away from investments in companies that “present a high sustainability-related risk”.

BlackRock manages about $7tn in assets and, with one of Wall Street’s biggest voices sounding the alarm about the need to deal with the climate crisis, the news was viewed as a pivotal moment for the financial community.

But for Fancy, who now runs the digital learning non-profit Rumie in Toronto, Canada, BlackRock’s move, and the ones it has inspired, contain a fundamental flaw: the climate crisis can never be solved by today’s free markets. Investors have a fiduciary duty to maximise returns to their clients and as long as there is money to be made in activities that contribute to global warming, no amount of rhetoric about the need for sustainable investing will change that, he believes.

“In many cases it’s cheaper and easier to market yourself as green rather than do the long tail work of actually improving your sustainability profile. That’s expensive and if there is no penalty from the government, in the form of a carbon tax or anything else, then this market failure is going to persist,” said Fancy, a former investment banker who now leads an initiative to bring affordable digital education to underserved communities worldwide.

The amount of money that poured into sustainable investment through vehicles like exchange traded funds (ETFs) hit record levels last year. It’s a trend Fancy believes could continue for years and still have zero impact on climate change because “there is no connection between the two things”. 

Moving money to green investments doesn’t mean polluters will no longer find backers. The argument is similar to that of divestment, another strategy Fancy says doesn’t work. “If you sell your stock in a company that has a high emissions footprint, it doesn’t matter. The company still exists, the only difference is that you don’t own them. The company is going to keep on going the way they were and there are 20 hedge funds who will buy that stock overnight. The market is the market. “I don’t think the public realizes we are not talking about stopping climate change,” he said. “We are literally talking about selling assets so we don’t get caught up in the damage when it hits.” ...

The world needed government to use its extraordinary powers “because if you left it to the free market everything would have been open in the US and we would have lost millions of people, it wouldn’t have been half a million”. ...

A survey of 250 senior executives supports Fancy’s point. About 64% of the executives surveyed in a recent poll commissioned by British lender Standard Chartered said they “believe the economics of operating as a net-zero [carbon emissions] organization do not stack up for their company”. And 79% of senior executives said short-term CEO tenure made it harder for companies to transition to net zero. ...

A 2019 Morgan Stanley study found that getting to net zero by 2050 will cost $50tn. ...

There is a solution, said Fancy, and it’s the one that business leaders embraced in the coronavirus crisis: government intervention. But – given the long time line for climate change – it’s one that business leaders don’t like. What would work is a change in government policy that made it more expensive to pollute, such as a carbon tax, because that would change the corporate world and Wall Street’s incentives. ...

But for Fancy the overarching point is that real change has to be led by government, not Wall Street.

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/mar/30/tariq-fancy-environment...

jerrym

Erin O'Toole has dragged the Conservative Party kicking and screaming into the 21st century with the announcement of a climate change plan that involves  a carbon tax "non-tax low carbon savings account", but it doesn't even meet Trudeau's lowbar plan, the one that the auditor general in 2018 concluded  the Trudeau Liberal government "is likely to miss the 2020 Copenhagen target as well". (http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_otp_201803_e_42883.html) and the Environment Commissioner Julie Gelfand in 2019 concluded "Canada is not on track to hit its 2030 target,". These targets were actually those of the Conservative Harper government. (https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/environment-commissioner-julie-gelfand-...)

"New data shows that the regulations will only achieve a 29% reduction by 2025, not the promised 40 – 45%. That’s a gap of 5 to 7 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent." (http://blogs.edf.org/energyexchange/2020/11/12/will-trudeau-make-good-on...) That's why the Liberals dropped any mention of 2025 targets and, like the Conservatives, now only talk about 2030 greenhouse emission reduction targets, which are more than two elections away, meaning both parties can continue to miss targets set in the political distance in the hopes that they will not pay any immediate consequences electorally. Unfortunately the planet doesn't give a damn about that.

Many of O'Tooles' MPs, never mind his base, are upset by what he has done, especially after he portrayed himself as a Conservative's Conservative in the leadership campaign. If he doesn't win the election, I predict he will be gone faster than Scheer.

With their new climate plan, O’Toole’s Conservatives are simply retreating to a new hill, Max Fawcett writes.

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation, which had been in lockstep with federal Conservatives on their shared opposition to the Trudeau government’s carbon taxand rebate, let party leader Erin O’Toole have it with both barrels. “It’s outrageous that O’Toole is now planning to hammer Canadians with higher fuel bills through his very own carbon tax,” said Franco Terrazzano, the CTF’s Alberta director. “When he was running for leader, O’Toole pledged to taxpayers that he would fight carbon taxes. If he goes through with this scheme, he will be breaking his promise to Canadians.” ...

But while O’Toole’s plan will almost certainly trigger the anti-carbon tax part of his base, it’s not clear why it would impress anyone who actually cares about climate change. After all, it would cut Canada’s current carbon tax in half to just $20 per tonne, and put a $50-per-tonne ceiling on it — a far cry from the $170-per-tonne target the current plan intends to reach by 2030. And while the Conservatives' new climate plan has been independently analyzed and they say it will meet Canada’s emissions reductions targets for 2030, the party initially declined to share any of that analysis with the reporters covering the story.

There is some good news in here for Canadians who care about climate change; at least the federal Conservative Party has decided it doesn’t want to keep dying on the same hill it’s been fighting to protect for years.  ...

But make no mistake: O’Toole’s Conservatives are simply retreating to a new hill here. Rather than resisting a carbon tax, they’ll make the case for a rebranded one that does as little as possible. That will mean plenty of talk about how Alberta’s oil and gas industry has reduced its emissions, and why China and India aren’t doing nearly enough. It will also mean new subsidies for higher-emitting industries, and an abiding belief that technology will somehow allow us to avoid actually making the hard decisions climate change demands. 

What it won’t do is offer a credible alternative for climate-concerned Canadians in the next election.

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/04/15/opinion/otoole-climate-plan-...

NDPP

"How come there's been zero coverage in Canada's media of how Canadian oil giant Enbridge is bankrolling US police to criminalize opponents of the Line 3 pipeline? They first tested this tactic here, funding police in Hamilton, before employing it abroad."

https://twitter.com/Martin_Lucacs/status/1383800498365419524

jerrym

Two progressives, Terry Moore and David Robertson, provide below a detailed analysis of the failures in the Trudeau Liberal's climate change plan put forward in December 2020. The Trudeau climate change plan is based on reducing emissions intensity rather than cutting emissions, which allows emissions to even increase, energy retrofits that are not linked to emissions cuts, carbon capture technologies that don't exist in any substantial form yet, forestry emissions cuts when evidence points that forest emissions are rising, and small nuclear reactor (SMR) that have their own environmental problems. 

 Catherine McKenna/Facebook

Their central critique is that "the government has adopted a 'fossil first' climate action plan instead of a 'climate first' approach." You wonder why any green groups are onside.

Moore and Robertson maintain that the "overarching goal" of the climate plan is "as much about capturing economic advantage as it is responding to the challenges of global warming." Rather than regulating and requiring dramatic reductions in emissions, the Liberals want to "incentivize, challenge, encourage, and invite industry to act differently." There is no mention of a crisis or emergency.  

Even the government's most prominent climate programs -- home energy retrofits, tree planting, and zero-emission vehicles -- "suffer from poor design, inadequate funding, targets that are not ambitious enough, and a failure to link climate programs to expected emission reduction outcomes."

At the same time, the authors note that there are only indirect and very modest investments -- especially compared to the Trans Mountain pipeline -- for the further development and expansion of wind energy and solar power which make up a scandalously small portion of Canada's energy supply.

Carbon pricing won't achieve its emission targets, Moore and Robertson state. And the introduction of complicated rules about emission intensity rather than emissions reductions along with complex carbon credits and offsets make it possible for big emitters to "game the system." ...

The Liberals are also relying on "future-tense" technologies, including their national strategy to become a natural-gas (rather than green) hydrogen superpower, with its accompanying need to spend public money to capture, transport, and safely store millions of tonnes of carbon underground.

Then, incredibly, there's nuclear. The Liberals have a small modular reactor (SMR) action plan. They seem to have forgotten safety concerns and long-term, radioactive-waste storage problems. Again, write Moore and Robertson, the government will use our tax dollars to fund a questionable technology.

Somehow, the Liberals claim that Canada will not only achieve its Paris commitments -- the feeble Harper-era 30 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030 over the base year of 2005 -- but will actually surpass them. The intrepid seniors have their doubts. In fact, they claim that the numbers in the climate plan are "problematic."

The government's emissions cuts so far have been based on phasing out coal-fired electricity, but there is another area they're depending on -- land use, land-use change and forestry cuts. According to our wise analysts, the forecasted cuts are "made up." They don't even take account of forestry emissions, due to fires and increasing tree diseases.

SCAN! also takes aim at Bill C-12, the Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, now stalled in the House of Commons. Quite rightly, they point out that it:

"[f]ails to hold the government accountable for setting and achieving climate targets in a transparent and timely manner. By the time the first audit is released ... in 2029, it will be too late to make any adjustments required to meet our Paris commitments."

https://rabble.ca/news/2021/04/environment-trudeau-liberals-offer-recipe...

jerrym

The latest UN climate change report released just a few days ago concludes that there was "relentless intensification" of the global warming crisis in 2020, with Covid making the situation even worse for many people despite a temporary drop in greenhouse gas emissions. For example 2020 was the hottest year on record globally. 

 

 

Temperature anomaly v12 850x600

Human emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases – are a primary driver of climate change – and present one of the world’s most pressing challenges.1 This link

The coronavirus pandemic made the accelerating impacts of global heating even worse for millions of people. But the temporary dip in carbon emissions due to lockdowns had no discernible impact on atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, the WMO report said.

Last year was ranked as the hottest on record, in a tie with 2016 and 2019, despite the cooling effect of the cyclical natural climate phenomenon, La Niña. Without this, 2020 would most likely have been the hottest year yet. The decade 2011-20 was the hottest on record. ...

Extreme weather events broke records across the world, from hurricanes and cyclones in the US and India, heatwaves in Australia and the Arctic, floods in large parts of Africa and Asia, and wildfires in the US.

“All the key climate and impacts information in this report highlight relentless, continuing climate change, an increasing occurrence and intensification of extreme events, and severe losses and damage, affecting people, societies and economies,” said Petteri Taalas, the WMO secretary general.

The report, produced by the WMO and partners, found that cuts in food production, transport and economic activity caused by the Covid-19 pandemic exacerbated the effects of extreme weather on communities. It said the temporary fall in new carbon emissions had “no discernible impact” on atmospheric concentrations.

The report also found that in 2020:

  • 80% of the oceans experienced at least one marine heatwave, while record heat accumulated in the seas, which absorb 90% of heat resulting from human activities.

  • Sea ice in the Arctic reached its second lowest minimum on record, while hundreds of billions of tonnes of ice were lost in Greenland and Antarctica, helping to push up sea level.

  • Severe flooding hit large parts of Africa and Asia, helping trigger a locust plague in the Horn of Africa.

  • Extreme drought affected many parts of South America in 2020, with the estimated farming losses near $3bn in Brazil alone, with further losses in Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay.

  • The largest wildfires ever recorded burned in the US, while Australia broke heat records, including a temperature of 48.9°C in western Sydney.

  • The north Atlantic hurricane season had its largest number of named storms on record with 30, and a record 12 made landfall in the US.

  • Cyclone Amphan hit India and Bangladesh and was the costliest tropical cyclone on record for the north Indian Ocean, while Typhoon Goni which crossed the Philippines was one of the most intense cyclones ever to hit land.

Richard Allan, a professor of climate science at the University of Reading in the UK, said: “What is notable is an emerging picture that climate change is gathering pace: [ice is] melting more quickly and heat is accumulating more rapidly in the ocean, while CO2 increases, which are driving these changes, are becoming progressively larger over time.”

Prof Chris Rapley, at University College London, UK, said: “The 1.5C Paris guard-rail is close to being breached. The way we are running human affairs is destabilising the climate system, with predictable and increasingly dire consequences. It’s time for an uprising of concerted action to fix politics – managing the climate crisis will follow.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/apr/19/relentless-climate-c...

jerrym

The Trudeau Liberals are betting with Canadians' tax dollars on carbon capture technologies that don't exist yet and many feel cannot succeed in dealing with greenhouse gas emissions. Bill C-12, introduced in November 2020, laid out its plan to bet on carbon capture and planting two billion trees to capture carbon both of which involve problems that make them highly unlikely to succeed, as the following article explains. The 2021 budget continues down this path of failure. 

Sask Power's expensive, carbon capture facility that has failed to meet its carbon capture goals.

The focus of the federal government is on market-driven solutions, including technologies that remove carbon from the air or emissions and lock them away. But carbon capture and storage (CCS) and carbon dioxide removal (CDR) are not silver bullets in the fight against climate change. ...

Canada is home to some of the most successful CCS projects and companies in the world, including the Alberta Carbon Trunk Line, Boundary Dam and Carbon Engineering. However, these are expensive demonstration projects. Their use could be targeted to specific sectors (such as aluminium manufacturing), but they will never effectively reduce Canadians’ emissions at scale.  Capturing and storing carbon is expensive, and in some cases outright ineffectual. ...

 

Typically, companies would pay taxes or levies over time into various programs to pay for negative externalities — the side effects of products or systems they run that cause social, economic or environmental harms. These funds would then be used to pay for those associated costs. 

This solution is dubbed “Pigouvian taxation” (after Arthur Pigou). Ireland, for example, introduced a plastic bag tax (as opposed to banning them), which resulted in a 90 per cent decrease in their use. 

The problem is that in Canada companies are not paying into any such funds — nor have they — leaving Canadians with no source to pay for this new expense. 

So how would Canada find the money to pay for expensive projects such as carbon capture and storage? As it stands, that cost will be passed to the taxpayer. ...

What about Prime Minister Trudeau’s promise to plant two billion trees? Planting trees is, after all, a natural method of carbon capture and storage. Planting trees is a useful short-term exercise, but trees don’t live forever. Although the soil in boreal forests contains carbon stored there generations ago, it can be released by logging or forest fires, which are getting more severe due to climate change. These types of changes, if not properly managed, can lead to forests becoming carbon sources. ...

Even if the technology were applied to the energy sector, Canadian oil would likely be a net loss on every barrel produced — and who would pay for the cost of moving it to widespread use? The federal government is still reeling from the cost of the Trans Mountain pipeline, the private sector has no appetite to invest in such a venture without guarantees of profitability and despite claims of well-financed conspiracy, environmental groups aren’t exactly flush with cash.

https://theconversation.com/ottawas-latest-climate-plan-bets-on-expensiv...

jerrym

Here's more on why carbon capture won't work, even if the technology improves greatly. It is summarized by the reality that "80 per cent of emissions is downstream (from the production site  and the carbon capture site — and there are no carbon capture on car tailpipes?”, as explained below.

So why is Trudeau betting so heavily on carbon capture in this month's budget? Because it offers him an excuse to continue to produce fossil fuels despite their emissions and to do what the business sector wants him to do, even though scientists have told him it won't work. As someone said "Corporate Canada's plan is to "green" fossil fuels, not get off them".

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau bet big on carbon capture this week in the 2021 federal budget. 

The budget proposes to spend $319 million over seven years on “research, development, and demonstrations” to improve the commercial viability of carbon-capture technology. 

It also proposed a tax credit for investments in carbon-capture projects with the goal of cutting emissions by at least 15 megatonnes annually. The design of that tax credit is subject to an upcoming 90-day consultation period, the budget noted. 

Tax credits, financial support and research and development funding is exactly what the Business Council of Canada, a group representing the chief executives and heads of 150 Canadian firms, had asked for in its April 14 report, “Clean Growth 3.0 Achieving Canadian Prosperity in a Net Zero World.” ...

Many environmental groups are skeptical that carbon capture is the solution many are hoping it is. They say government funding would be better directed towards initiatives that lower the production of carbon pollution in the first place. 

“We’ve been investing in this technology for two decades, billions of dollars, in the context of coal primarily, but recently also natural gas and oil — and yet globally we’re capturing like 40 megatonnes,” said Julia Levin, climate and energy program manager for Environmental Defence Canada.

“For sure, oil and gas companies should be figuring out how to reduce their emissions. But is that the most efficient use of limited taxpayer money? Why is that where we’ve chosen to put potentially billions of dollars in foregone revenue, to helping oil and gas companies reduce their emissions, when we know that 80 per cent of emissions is downstream — and there are no carbon capture on car tailpipes?” ...

The budget said the tax credit was “not intended” to be made available for enhanced oil recovery, language that leaves the door open to a reversal down the road, she said. 

If it is eventually allowed in projects that extract more oil, then it would essentially be “an incentive to pollute,” she said. That is what happened in the United States, Levin argued, with a similar tax credit.

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/04/21/news/trudeaus-wager-carbon-c...

jerrym

The following graphs and article show how Canada and the world continue to head to global climate change disaster despite the promises of greenhouse gas emission reductions by every federal Liberal and Conservative government since 1993 and all the global climate summits during this period. 

#1557 of 1558 articles from the Special Report:Race Against Climate Change

Despite numerous climate summits, the CO2 in our atmosphere continues to climb. Photo by Andrea Booher/FEMA/Wikimedia Commons 

“Whatever our world leaders are 'doing' to reduce emissions, they are doing it wrong … Our political leaders have failed us … We have to understand what the older generation has dealt to us, what mess they have created that we have to clean up and live with.” — Greta Thunberg

Despite decades of Earth Days, international climate summits and even an epic economic contraction caused by a global pandemic, the amount of CO2 piling up in our atmosphere hasn't stopped rising. Or even slowed down a bit. Instead, CO2 levels have continued to accelerate upwards, unchecked.

That's the dismal story revealed by the most recent CO2 data from the United States National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Take a look.

CO2 levels in the atmosphere 1960 to 2020, with decade averages

This chart shows the accelerating rise of CO2 in the atmosphere since 1960. ...

Now, after a quarter century of international climate summits (officially called United Nations Conference of the Parties, or COPs), we are increasing CO2 in the atmosphere by 2.4 ppm per year — nearly three times faster than during that first Earth Day. And last year, during the global pandemic, CO2 rose even faster still, by 2.6 ppm....

CO2 levels in the atmosphere 1960 to 2020, with fossil fuel emissions

Cumulative fossil fuel CO2 emitted into the atmosphere since 1960 (black line) versus atmospheric CO2 levels (red line).

The bold black line I added to the chart shows the cumulative amount of CO2 dumped into the air since 1960 from fossil fuel burning, plus a bit from cement making.

As you can see, that black fossil fuel pollution line has accelerated upwards, as well. In fact, the top 10 greatest fossil fuel burning years in history were 2010 to 2019 — with each year breaking the record set the year before. ...

Yes, global fossil fuel emissions fell a bit in 2020 because of the worldwide recession brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. But it was such a little blip in comparison to the surging trend that you can't even see it in the chart. And by December 2020, the world's fossil fuel CO2 emissions had already surged back up to record-breaking highs. ....

Roughly a quarter of the CO2 we release gets taken up by increasing growth of bacteria, algae, plants and other photosynthesizing lifeforms.

Another quarter of our fossil fuel CO2 dissolves into surface waters, driving a lake and ocean acidification crisis. Our CO2 has already increased global ocean acidity by 30 per cent.

This acidification is causing widespread harm to many marine species, from corals to oysters. According to NOAA, the pace of ocean acidification is accelerating, as well. And if we continue with business-as-usual fossil fuel burning, they say that within the lifetime of today's kids, ocean acidification levels are projected to reach a level last seen millions of years ago in the Miocene, when they fuelled a global extinction event. ...

Annual increase of atmosperic CO2 since 1960 in GtCO2, with decade averages

Annual increase in CO2 in atmosphere from 1960 to 2020.

Notice how CO2 levels have increased in every single year.

The big swings seen in individual years are mostly because oceans temporarily absorb more CO2 in La Niña years, and absorb less CO2 in El Niño years.....

According to NOAA, “the rate of CO2 growth over the last decade is 100 to 200 times faster than what the Earth experienced during the transition from the last ice age. This is a real shock to the atmosphere.”

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/04/26/news/these-graphics-show-how...

jerrym

And here's more evidence on how the Chretien, Martin, Harper, and Trudeau governments have continued to contribute to global climate disaster, with Canada being the only G7 country that has had its greenhouse gas emissions rise during the last decade. 

As I covered in more detail in a recent article, Canada has been pledging to reduce our climate polluting for 33 years now. But we've never come close to meeting any of our targets.

G7 climate pollution from 1990 to 2018

Instead, we've increased our climate polluting by 21 per cent since we started promising to emit less.

As my chart from that article shows, we are also the only member of the G7 that continues to pollute well above our 1990 levels.

Even more troubling, take a look at the most recent decade on that chart — the years when the climate crisis started to hit with increasing fury. Every other G7 country lowered emissions over those 10 years, except Canada. Ours went up.

In fact, our emissions have now risen in each of the last three years the government has released data for: 2017, 2018 and 2019. We are literally still heading in the wrong direction.

A new global poll of teenagers found that Canadian teens top the charts, with 83 per cent calling the climate situation an "emergency." Our kids don't want to live in a climate-ravaged future. Who would?

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/04/26/news/these-graphics-show-how...

jerrym

Global warming experts and the Green Party have strongly criticized Trudeau's climate change plan following his Zoom meeting with Biden and other leaders on the issue, noting that the Trudeau's ongoing subsidies to the fossil fuel industry make it impossible to meet its own targets, let alone the higher ones needed to keep global temperature rise below the Paris Agreement's 1.5 degrees celsius maximum increase. 

Green Party Leader Annamie Paul 

Canada’s new greenhouse gas reduction target under the Paris Agreement is now “40 to 45 per cent” below 2005 levels by 2030, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on April 22 at the Leaders Summit on Climate.

This target falls short of U.S. President Joe Biden’s commitment to a 50 to 52 per cent reduction by 2030.

“We see this as a global announcement on the part of the government of Canada that Canada is not seeking at this time to be a leader in the fight against the climate crisis,” said the leader of Canada’s federal Green Party, Annamie Paul. “Even with the full weight of pressure from the Biden administration to do the right thing, the best we could get was 40 to 45 per cent?” said Green MP Elizabeth May. “That is pathetic. It's a disgrace. The new target does not align with what Biden's climate summit was all about,” said May. “It does not align with holding to no more than 1.5 degrees (C warming).”

The Green Party and several climate think tanks have been pushing for a target that reflects Canada’s fair share in tackling the climate emergency, which would mean a 60 per cent reduction below 2005 levels by 2030. 

Canada won't meet its new #emissions targets if the government continues to prop up the #FossilFuel industry, @CanadianGreens and climate experts say. 

To date, Canada hasn’t met a single climate target, and climate experts are doubtful this one will be any different. ...

As it stands, Canada is both a top 10 emitter of greenhouse gases and emits more than double the global average per person, according to the World Resources Institute. Environment Canada reports one quarter of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions are from the oil and gas sector.

The Green Party crunched the numbers to prove a 60 per cent reduction is possible, but it requires Canada to stop subsidizing fossil fuels and building new fossil fuel infrastructure. ...

“The federal government is projecting an enormous expansion of tar sands production over the next 10 years, which is inconsistent with Canada's climate goals,” said Anthony Swift, director of Canada Project at the Natural Resources Defense Council. A climate-safe future is not one where either country has an expanding oil industry,” he said. ...

The government’s commitment to fossil fuels doesn’t surprise Bronwen Tucker, an analyst at Oil Change International, which advocates for energy transition. “This is super common, and it’s a pattern we’ve seen for years already, where the Trudeau government loves to have rhetoric of climate leadership but has ignored the fastest-growing source of emissions and is continuing to do that,” said Tucker. “Until we are addressing that and also ensuring a transition for the workers and communities who are relying on that sector, it is really just a smoke and mirrors situation.”

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/04/28/news/pathetic-greens-blast-t...

jerrym

How powerful is global warming? It's so powerful that "Massive melting of glaciers has tilted the planet’s rotation, showing the impact of human activities".

Global warming is shifting the Earth's axis of rotation due to the melting glaciers.

The massive melting of glaciers as a result of global heating has caused marked shifts in the Earth’s axis of rotation since the 1990s, research has shown. It demonstrates the profound impact humans are having on the planet, scientists said.

The planet’s geographic north and south poles are the point where its axis of rotation intersects the surface, but they are not fixed. Changes in how the Earth’s mass is distributed around the planet cause the axis, and therefore the poles, to move.

 

In the past, only natural factors such as ocean currents and the convection of hot rock in the deep Earth contributed to the drifting position of the poles. But the new research shows that since the 1990s, the loss of hundreds of billions of tonnes of ice a year into the oceans resulting from the climate crisis has caused the poles to move in new directions.

The scientists found the direction of polar drift shifted from southward to eastward in 1995 and that the average speed of drift from 1995 to 2020 was 17 times faster than from 1981 to 1995.

Since 1980, the position of the poles has moved about 4 metres in distance.

“The accelerated decline [in water stored on land] resulting from glacial ice melting is the main driver of the rapid polar drift after the 1990s,” concluded the team, led by Shanshan Deng, from the Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research at the Chinese Academy of Sciences. ...

The research, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, showed glacial losses accounted for most of the shift, but it is likely that the pumping up of groundwater also contributed to the movements. ...

Vincent Humphrey, at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, and not involved in the new research said it showed how human activities have redistributed huge amounts of water around the planet: “It tells you how strong this mass change is – it’s so big that it can change the axis of the Earth.” However, the movement of the Earth’s axis is not large enough to affect daily life, he said: it could change the length of a day, but only by milliseconds.

Prof Jonathan Overpeck, at the University of Arizona, US, told the Guardian previously that changes to the Earth’s axis highlighted “how real and profoundly large an impact humans are having on the planet”.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/apr/23/climate-crisis-has-s...

jerrym

The BC NDP 2021 budget has come under strong criticism for not doing enough to address global warming. 

The provincial NDP budget reserved most of any new COVID-19 response spending in the next three years to capital projects, health care, business supports, a pandemic response and a contingency fund.

Forestalling environmentalists’ hopes that B.C.’s COVID-19 response would be based on a green recovery, the province earmarked $506 million for its climate plan, CleanBC. This represents a marginal increase over the $419 million in extra funding committed in its 2020 budget, but almost half of the $902 million the province allocated to climate initiatives in 2019.

Reaction to the budget from clean energy think tanks and environmental groups in the province has ranged from at best, tepid, to at worst, scathing. Many expressed concern B.C. won’t be able to meet its climate change targets, particularly given the province’s commitment to the liquefied natural gas (LNG) export industry. ...

The province has legislated targets to drop emissions to 40 per cent below 2007 levels by 2030, and 60 per cent by 2040. Premier John Horgan has also promised a new target of net zero by 2050.

Yet B.C.’s emissions are heading the wrong way. They’ve been on the rise since 2015 and saw a three per cent rise in gross emissions between 2017 and 2018.

Data from 2018 indicates B.C.'s emissions have been on the rise since 2015, and the province predicts they will remain steady before declining in 2021. Chart from B.C. Government trends in GHG emissions.

In 2018, B.C.’s net greenhouse gas emissions came in at 66.9 million tonnes, and according to federal estimates, they remained much the same in 2019 — representing a six per cent rise over the 2007 baseline.

The transportation and fossil fuel sectors, particularly natural gas production and processing, are the biggest sources of emissions in B.C.

Heavy-duty transportation and fossil fuels, particularly natural gas production and processing, are the greatest sources of emissions in B.C. Chart from B.C. Government trends in GHG emissions

The budget’s climate dollars included $96 million to the CleanBC program to help industries reduce emissions and expand the province’s cleantech sector. Another $60 million is heading to the Centre for Innovation and Clean Energy for cleantech investments to build partnership opportunities with the federal government.

Clean transportation initiatives will receive $130 million — including $94 million in rebates for electric cars and charging stations. Some funds will also go to electrifying heavy vehicles, like school buses, ferries and government fleets.  Kids will ride transit for free, and a further $10 million will focus on policy to drop fuel emissions and develop the hydrogen economy in B.C.  There’s also $46 million to improve energy efficiency in buildings such as schools or hospitals and $34 million to shift remote and Indigenous communities from diesel power to electric. ...

Karen Tam Wu, B.C. director at the Pembina Institute, agreed the budget takes small steps towards the province’s climate goals.

However, the institute had been hoping to see the investment necessary to meet B.C.’s reduction targets and secure a strong foothold for the province to compete in a decarbonized global economy, Wu said in a statement. In particular, the investments to reduce emissions from the homes and buildings in communities by at least 60 per cent by 2030 were inadequate to the task, Wu said.  “We have the tremendous task in B.C. of switching more than 80,000 heated homes and apartment buildings each year from natural gas to high-efficiency heat pumps to meet B.C.’s target to reduce emissions,” Wu said. B.C. has reduced emissions from light-duty vehicles, but medium- and heavy-duty vehicle emissions are rising and will also be a challenge to reduce, she added.

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/04/29/news/bc-status-quo-budget-im...

jerrym

In Vancouver Extinction Rebellion protested on each day from May 1st to 5th to increase awareness of the damage due to the environment being done by the Trans Mountain pipeline. 

(Courtesy Twitter/XRVancouverBC)Following a brief blockade of the Lions Gate Bridge, seven activists were arrested 

The Extinction Rebellion group has staged protests each of the first three days of May, a series dubbed the 'spring rebellion.' It's the latest effort to raise awareness about the environmental impacts of the fossil fuel industry, namely the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project.

The government-bought project involves twinning the existing 1,150-kilometre pipeline between Alberta and B.C. It will add 980 kilometres of new pipeline and increase capacity from 300,000 barrels a day to 890,000 barrels a day. ...

Extinction Rebellion considers itself a 'flat' organization that has a minimal hierarchy. That's according to Brent Eichler, who was the group's spokesperson at the Monday protest. He says the position rotates across members day-to-day. "We make decisions as a group," he said. "Today I'm a spokesperson, sometimes I'm an organizer, sometimes I'm the person carrying the flags to the action." Eichler is an an internet installer by day. He's also the president of Unifor local 950. The private sector union has long opposed the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. ...

Eichler says he acknowledges that the group's actions can be polarizing, but he says members don't see any other way to get their message across. "It's obvious to me that marching in the streets does not work, and signing petitions does not work. We need to go in the streets and actually oppose business as usual," he said. ...

David Tindall says the environmental movement has historically skewed white, while in recent years environmental groups have tried to forge relationships with Indigenous communities. But he says the groups who attend protests like Extinction Rebellion aren't necessarily reflective of the overall array of people who might support the movement. "When there's the risk of getting arrested, there are lots of people who aren't willing to put themselves in that position... but they still might support the groups," he said.

The group has planned further disruptions up until May 5.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/why-extinction-rebellion...

jerrym

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data in its latest report shows that each of the last seven years (2014 t0 2020) has been one of the warmest since records have been kept, reflecting the ongoing increase in global warming. The report also describes the damage done throughout the world by this warming trend. I have excerpted the section on North America. 

The following table lists the global combined land and ocean annually averaged temperature rank and anomaly for each of the 10 warmest years on record.The year 2020 was characterized by warmer-than-average temperatures across much of the globe. Record high annual temperatures over land and ocean surfaces were measured across parts of Europe, Asia, southern North America, South America, and across parts of the Atlantic, Indian, and Pacific oceans. However, no land or ocean areas were record cold for the year.

January–December Blended Land and Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies in degrees Celsius
January–December 2020 Blended Land and Sea Surface 
Temperature Anomalies in degrees Celsius

January–December Blended Land and Sea Surface Temperature Percentiles
January–December 2020 Blended Land and Sea Surface 
Temperature Percentiles

North America

North America's temperature was 1.16°C (2.09°F) above the 1910–2000 average—the 10th warmest year in the 111-year continental record. Nine of North America's 10 warmest years have occurred since 2001, with the year of 1998 among the 10 warmest years on record. The year 2016 is North America's warmest year on record with a temperature departure of +1.92°C (3.46°F). The year 2020 marked North America's 24th consecutive year with temperatures, at least nominally, above average. The yearly temperature for North America has increased at an average rate of 0.13°C (0.23°F) per decade since 1910; however, the average rate of increase is a little more than twice as great (+0.29°C / +0.52°F per decade) since 1981.

  • According to the Government of Canada, the year 2020 was a year of destructive and impactful weather with nine weather events that had a preliminary total insured loss estimate close to 2.5 billion Canadian dollars. One of Canada's top 10 weather events was the unusually warm temperatures across the central and eastern Canada in May. Eastern Canada's summer 2020 was the warmest summer since 2012 and ranked among the top five warm summer in the nation's 73-year record. Of note, Montreal had a maximum temperature of 36.6°C (97.9°F) on May 27, 2020—the hottest May temperature and the second highest ever on record for Montreal. The temperature of 37.7°C (99.9°F) set on August 1, 1975 was the hottest. In addition, many records were set during the months of June and July.
  • Please see the U.S. national annual report for information on the 2020 climate conditions across the U.S.
  • The Hawaiian region had a temperature departure of +0.65°C (+1.17°F), which is lowest annual temperature departure for the region since 2013 and the 11th warmest year since continental records began in 1910. Although the temperature departure for the year was lower than recent years, it marked the eighth the consecutive year with temperatures above average.
  • According to Mexico's CONAGUA, the months of April through November (no December 2020 data was available at the time of this write-up) had a temperature that ranked among the six highest for their respective months. Of note, the months of May, July, and November were record warm.
  • The Caribbean region had its second warmest year on record, with a temperature departure of 0.98°C (1.76°F) above average. This was only 0.05°C (0.09°F) shy of tying the record-warm year set in 2016. The year 2020 marked the 31st consecutive year where the Caribbean region had above-average temperatures. According to the World Meteorological Organization, a heat wave affected parts of the Caribbean region in April 2020. A national record was set in Cuba when the maximum temperature soared to 39.7°C (103.5°F) on April 12 at Veguitas.

The following information was compiled from previous NCEI monitoring reports and public reports by National Hydrometeorological Services (NHMSs; peers of the U.S. National Weather Service).

https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/202013

jerrym

Six recent studies provide more evidence of the growing rate of sea level rise with disastrous results for coastal communities around the world. Since Canada has the largest coastline by far, with Canada' 202,080 Km of coastline 2.5  times that of second place Norway's 83,281 km (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_length_of_coastline), this is a major problem with dire consequences for Canada that is being given little attention by the Trudeau government.

Four of these studies on the effects of sea level rise due to global warming are discussed in this post and the other two are discussed in the next post. 

The edge of Antarctica’s Ross ice shelf: If glaciers melt, vast amounts of water can enter the ocean to raise sea levels. Image: By Michael van Woert, NASA

When the ice thaws, ocean levels rise. And four new studies show climate heating can happen fast.

LONDON, 15 April, 2021 − If climate heating continues apace and the planet goes on warming, then up to a third of Antarctica’s ice shelf could tip into the sea.

And tip is the operative word, according to a separate study: at least one Antarctic glacier could be about to tip into rapid and irreversible retreat if temperatures go on rising.

And rise they could: evidence from the past in a third research programme confirms that at the end of the last Ice Age, Greenland’s temperature rose by somewhere between 5°C and 16°C in just decades, in line with a cascade of climate change events.

And ominously a fourth study of climate change 14,600 years ago confirmed that as the ice retreated, sea levels rose at 10 times the current rate, to 3.6 metres in just a century, and up to 18 metres in a 500-year sequence.

Each study is, on its own, an examination of the complexities of the planetary climate machine and the role of the polar ice sheets in climate change. But the message of the four together is a stark one: climate change is happening, could accelerate and could happen at unexpected speeds. ...

“Ice shelves are important buffers preventing glaciers on land from flowing freely into the ocean and contributing to sea level rise,” warned Ella Gilbert, a meteorologist at the University of Reading in the UK. “When they collapse, it’s like a giant cork being removed from a bottle, allowing unimaginable amounts of water from glaciers to pour into the sea.”

She and colleagues report in the journal Geophysical Research Letters that their detailed study of the vulnerable platforms of floating ice around the continent revealed that half a million square kilometres of shelf − 34% in total, including two-thirds of all the ice off the Antarctic Peninsula − would become unstable if global temperatures rose by 4°C, under the business-as-usual scenario in which nations went on burning ever-greater quantities of fossil fuel.

If however the world kept to the limit it agreed in Paris in 2015, that would halve the area at risk and perhaps avoid significant sea level rise. But already, just two Antarctic glaciers are responsible for around 10% of sea level rise at the current rate, and researchers have been warning for years that the Pine Island and Thwaites glaciers in West Antarctica could be at risk.

Now researchers in the UK report in the journal The Cryosphere that their computer simulation had identified a series of tipping points for the Pine Island flow. ...

The third of these, triggered by ocean temperatures that had warmed just 1.2°C, would lead to irretrievable retreat of the entire glacier. Hilmar Gudmundsson, a glaciologist at the UK’s Northumbria University and one of the authors, called the research a “major step forward” in the understanding of the dynamics of the region. ...

And another study in the same journal by British scientists reports on a close study of geological evidence to decipher the pattern of events during the largest and most rapid pulse of sea level rise at the close of the last Ice Age.

Their study suggested that although the sea levels rose 18 metres in about 500 years − a rate of about 3.6 metres a century − it all happened with relatively little help from a melting Antarctica. As the great glaciers retreated from North America, Europe and Asia, so the oceans rose.

“The next big question is to work out what triggered the ice melt, and what impact the massive influx of meltwater had on ocean currents in the North Atlantic,” said Pippa Whitehouse of the University of Durham, one of the researchers.

“This is very much on our minds today − any disruption to the Gulf Stream, for example due to melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet, will have significant consequences for the UK climate.”

https://climatenewsnetwork.net/climate-heating-may-speed-up-to-unexpecte...

jerrym

Two more studies just released this week also bring home the crisis the world faces from sea level rise. 

The melting Longyearbreen glacier during a heat wave on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard last summer.

The melting Longyearbreen glacier during a heat wave on the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard last summer.Credit...Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Scientists on Wednesday reported another reason the world should sharply rein in global warming: doing so would likely cut in half the current projected amount of sea level rise from the melting of ice this century.

In a study that averaged results of hundreds of computer simulations from research teams around the world, the scientists said that limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius could reduce sea level rise from melting glaciers and the vast Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets from about 10 inches to about five by 2100.

That level of warming, equivalent to 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, is the stricter of two targets set by the 2015 Paris agreement to combat climate change. But the world has already warmed about 1.1 degrees Celsius since 1900, and is not on course to meet the 1.5 degree target, or even the higher Paris goal of 2 degrees Celsius. ...

In a second study published in the same journal, Nature, a separate group of scientists looking only at Antarctica found that overshooting those targets and reaching 3 degrees Celsius of warming — which the world is roughly on track to do, given current pledges to cut emissions — could trigger an abrupt increase in the rate of melting around 2060, and drive a rate at the end of the century that would be 10 times faster than today.

Together, the two studies are the latest best forecasts related to one of the most concerning impacts of climate change: rising oceans that will cause more flooding, force costly overhauls to coastal infrastructure and potentially create millions of climate refugees ...

The studies are also the latest to starkly illustrate both the benefits to be gained from reducing warming by drastically cutting emissions of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases, and the perils of failing to do so. ...

Melting of ice currently accounts for about half of sea-level rise; almost all of the remainder is a result of expansion of ocean water as it warms. A special report published in 2019 by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that total sea-level rise by 2100 could range from about one foot to more than three feet, depending on how much the world warms. ...

Dr. Edwards said that rather than cutting the total ice contribution to sea level rise from 10 inches to five by 2100, the more pessimistic findings suggested the contribution could be 16 inches. And even if warming were limited to 1.5 degrees, she said, there was a 5 percent chance that melting ice would add nearly two feet to the oceans. 

Over all, the range in findings from the first study — which are likely to be incorporated in the next climate assessment reportfrom the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, expected next year — are similar to previous reports. That, Dr. Edwards said, is an indication that the uncertainties are narrowing as the models improve. ...

And as with all forecasts of the impact of melting ice on sea level rise, the melting will continue long after the century ends. Under conditions where greenhouse gas emissions continue at high levels, “things really begin to take off in the next century,” Dr. DeConto said.

Daniel M. Gilford, who as a postdoctoral researcher at Rutgers University contributed to the study, said that once Antarctic ice shelves become unstable the process would essentially be irreversible. Even if drastic steps were taken — efforts to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, for example — warming would remain at a level where not enough new ice could accumulate to replace what is lost.

That reinforces the idea that urgent action to cut emissions is needed now.

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/05/climate/climate-change-sea-level-rise...

jerrym

The following article from 2019 discusses the implication for sea level rise for the coastal cities of the world: massive flooding and climate change refugees. While Canada is not mentioned, with the longest coastline in the world we can hardly escape without major consequences for our communities and people. Vancouver, being a delta city, is one of the most vunerable places in Canada. 

A driver pulls his broken down vehicle in knee deep water caused by heavy rainfall in Dhaka, 2010.

Sea-level rises are inevitable – and cities must prepare. Image: Reuters

The warning signs are increasingly hard to ignore. Sea-level rise is real, displacing thousands of people, destroying millions of acres of land and generating billions of dollars in losses. Due to competing predictions of future global temperatures, scientists are unsure exactly how fast or high sea levels will rise. But they all agree on its principle impacts: submergence and flooding of coastal land, saltwater intrusion into surface waters and groundwater, increased erosion and overwhelmingly negative social and economic repercussions. They are also emphatic that these effects will be widespread and will accelerate with time. 

The conservative scientific consensus is that a 1.5°C increase in global temperature will generate a global sea-level rise of between 1.7 and 3.2 feet by 2100. Even if we collectively manage to keep global temperatures from rising to 2°C, by 2050 at least 570 cities and some 800 million people will be exposed to rising seas and storm surges. And it is not just people and real estate that are at risk, but roads, railways, ports, underwater internet cables, farmland, sanitation and drinking water pipelines and reservoirs, and even mass transit systems. While some coastal cities and nations will literally disappear, the rest will need to adapt, and quickly. 

A sizeable number of coastal cities have yet to adequately prepare for rising sea levels. This is dangerous. As the World Economic Forum's Global Risk Report 2019 shows, around 90% of all coastal areas will be affected to varying degrees. Some cities will experience sea-level rises as high as 30% above the global mean. Making matters worse, sprawling cities are sinking at the same time as sea waters seep in. This is due to the sheer weight of growing cities, combined with the groundwater extracted by their residents. In parts of Jakarta, a city of 9.6 million people, the ground has sunk 2.5 metres in less than a decade. Sea levels have simultaneously risen by 10 feet over the past 30 years.

While all coastal cities will be affected by sea-level rises, some will be hit much harder than others. Asian cities will be particularly badly affected. About four out of every five peopleimpacted by sea-level rise by 2050 will live in East or South East Asia. US cities, especially those on the East and Gulf coasts, are similarly vulnerable. More than 90 US coastal cities are already experiencing chronic flooding – a number that is expected to double by 2030. Meanwhile, about three-quarters of all European cities will be affected by rising sea levels, especially in the Netherlands, Spain and Italy. Africa is also highly threatened, due to rapid urbanization in coastal cities and the crowding of poor populations in informal settlements along the coast. The coming decades will be marked by the rise of ex-cities and climate migrants. 

So-called “delta cities” are already bearing the brunt of rising seas. More than 340 million people live in deltas like Dhaka, Guangzhou, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Manila, Melbourne, Miami, New Orleans, New York, Rotterdam, Tokyo and Venice. What a difference a few centuries makes. Over the past few thousand years, the 48 major coastal deltas in the Americas, Europe and Asia formed ideal sites for cities to thrive, owing to their access to the sea and fertile farmland. This explains why the Nile, Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra and Yangtze served as cradles of major civilizations. But coastal living is becoming a liability: the costs of sea-level rise could rise to trillions of dollars a year in damages by 2100. ...

A growing number of cities are stepping up to the challenge of sea-level rise. Most of them literally have no choice. Alongside mitigating their carbon footprints through reducing emissions, there are basically three ways that states and cities are taking action. First, they are fielding hard engineering projects like sea walls, surge barriers, water pumps and overflow chambers to keep water out. Second, they are adopting environmental approaches involving land recovery and the restoration of mangroves and wetlands to help cities cope with floodwater inundation. The third strategy involves people-oriented measures including urban design, building resilience and retreating after all other options have been exhausted. ...

A growing number of wealthy states and cities are making massive investments in technical solutions to keep seas at bay. It is true that large infrastructure schemes including barriers and break-walls can at least temporarily reduce the risks of losses. But an overreliance on concrete walls and pump systems to beat back rising tides, storm surges and downstream floods can only go so far. The lesson from the most successful cities is that a combination of approaches is essential. What is more, environmental-based solutions to reinforce the existing ecology’s protective capacities are not only effective, but lower cost. One country that has pioneered these multi-prong measures is the Netherlands. ...

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/01/the-world-s-coastal-cities-are-go...

 

jerrym

The following article discusses the staggering risks associated with sea level rise that could destroy eight primarily coastal cities in the US: Charleston, New Orleans, Miami, Houston,  Atlantic City, New York, Boston, and Virginia Beach. 

No city is immune to the effects of a warming world, but a few are more vulnerable than the rest. As sea levels continue to rise, low-lying coastal cities can expect more devastating floods that ruin buildings, destroy infrastructure, and claim lives. By conservative estimates, cities around the world could witness more than 6 feet of flooding by the year 2100. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted that sea levels could rise by 10 to 12 feet if global emissions continue unabated

But these numbers are averages, which means some areas would see higher levels, while others would be less affected. Under the worst-case climate scenario, some cities might even disappear. ...

charleston flooding

Most neighborhoods in Charleston, South Carolina, could be underwater by 2100.  A firefighter walks on a flooded street in downtown Charleston, South Carolina.  

Charleston is even more vulnerable to flooding than Atlantic City, with around 64,000 of its residents at risk of coastal flooding in the next 100 years. More than a decade ago, the Charleston City Paper predicted that the city could become "a half-drowned ghost town" by 2050. Under 12 feet of sea level rise, the paper reported, around 77% of the Charleston could be underwater.

New Orleans still hasn't fully recovered from the catastrophic damage of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The city's location on a river delta makes it vulnerable to flooding and sea-level rise. Some areas lie 15 feet below sea level. Though wetlands have shielded New Orleans from storm surges in the past, that buffer has gradually been destroyed by human activity.  Much of the city's land is already sinking. A 2016 NASA study found that certain parts of New Orleans are sinking at a rate of 2 inches per year, putting them on track to be underwater by 2100. 

Environmental author Jeff Goodell has referred to Miami as "the poster child for a major city in big trouble." The city's sea levels are already rising fast enough to damage homes and roads. A 2018 report from the Union of Concerned Scientists suggested that 12,000 homes in Miami Beach are in danger of chronic flooding within the next 30 years. That puts around $6.4 billion worth of property at risk — the most of any coastal community examined in that report. ...

Like New Orleans, areas of Houston are sinking at a rate of 2 inches per year. The main culprit is excessive groundwater pumping, which creates a change in pressure and volume that prompts the land to sink. This makes the city more vulnerable to flooding like the kind experienced during Hurricane Harvey, which damaged nearly 135,000 homes and displaced around 30,000 people.  Since Houston isn't a coastal city, it's unlikely to be wiped out by sea-level rise alone. But an increase in storms and hurricanes — combined with its low elevation and sinking terrain — could cause parts of the city to be underwater frequently in the future. ...

Atlantic City is no stranger to coastal flooding. The city was ravaged by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, which left around 70% to 80% of the city underwater at the height of the storm. In some places, residents had to wade through water as deep as 8 feet.  The city is one of the US' most vulnerable areas when it comes to flooding. Research from Climate Central suggests that 37,000 people are at risk of coastal flooding in Atlantic City in the next century.  ...

Scientists have singled out Queens as the New York City borough with the most land at risk of flooding. Data from Zillow and the Union of Concerned Scientists predicts that more than 2,700 homes, or nearly 7,200 residents, in Queens could experience chronic flooding by 2045. If that happens, the borough could end up with $1.2 billion in property damage in less than 30 years.   ...

Boston may not be entirely submerged by 2100, but the city as we know it would cease to exist. A 2016 Zillow report found that 1 out of 6 homes in Boston could be underwater by 2100. That report used NOAA's conservative estimates (6 feet of sea level rise). NOAA has also said there's a near-certain likelihood that Boston will see at least one flood above 6 feet by 2050.  ...

Virginia Beach sits at the intersection of the Chesapeake Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. As sea levels rise, both bodies of water threaten to inundate the city during a major storm. The city is already witnessing one of the fastest rates of sea-level riseon the East Coast if you factor in both rising water levels and sinking land. In its most extreme projections, NOAA estimates that Virginia Beach could see up to 12 feet of sea level rise by 2100. We already have a glimpse of what the area might look like during a disaster: In 2018, Hurricane Florence briefly transformed Virginia Beach into a water-soaked wasteland. 

https://www.businessinsider.com/american-cities-disappear-sea-level-rise...

jerrym

A new study concludes that Hurricane Sandy in 2012 increased the cost of damage from climate change by $8 billion.

Climate Change Added $8 Billion to Hurricane Sandy's Damages

High winds and water from Hurricane Sandy caused a devastating fire that burned down at least 111 houses in Breezy Point, N.Y., a beach community on New York City’s Rockaway Peninsula. Credit: Orjan F. Ellingvag Getty Images

As Hurricane Sandy bore down on the New York City area in 2012, its storm surge swamped lower Manhattan, unmoored a roller coaster on the Jersey Shore, submerged runways at LaGuardia Airport and pushed the toxic waters of Brooklyn’s Gowanus Canal into nearby basements. All told, the storm’s floodwaters did more than $60 billion in property damage in New York State, New Jersey and Connecticut. Though scientists have long known global warming is exacerbating such events by raising sea levels, a new study has now calculated just how much of Sandy’s bill can be charged to climate change: about $8 billion.

The paper, published on Tuesday in Nature Communications, developed a modeling method that can be used to determine how much climate change adds to the cost of any coastal storm or other flooding event—past or present. “It’s putting the climate change price sticker on the event where it hasn’t been visible,” says lead author Benjamin Strauss, CEO and chief scientist of Climate Central, a nonprofit research and news organization.

Such research is part of a growing field called attribution science, which uses observations and models to compare our current world with a hypothetical one where climate change has not been happening. This comparison shows how rising temperatures have affected the likelihood and severity of a variety of extreme weather events, from heat waves to floods. Attribution science reveals how climate change is loading the dice, increasing the odds that events will overwhelm our capacity to cope and turn into severe disasters. The new study takes the science a step further, providing a more concrete sense of how much of the damage from such disasters is because of the changing climate—and the price associated with it.

Strauss and his co-authors calculated how much local sea-level rise is linked to an increase in temperature (that is, how much of that rise results from melting polar ice caps and the expansion of the ocean as it absorbs most of the excess heat trapped by greenhouse gases). In the New York City area, warming has caused about four inches of sea-level rise over the past century—about half of the local rise over that time period.

The team then used computer models to relate various sea levels to flooding damage and (because Sandy’s damage was almost entirely from flooding) to estimates of how much of the tab came from climate change.

Using a sea-level-rise mapping tool developed by Climate Central, the researchers could also show the areas that were inundated during Sandy that would have been spared in the absence of global warming. “There are areas that only flooded because of climate change,” Strauss says. That extra boost to water levels meant an additional 71,000 people and 36,000 homes were subject to flooding. Strauss says his team’s method can be used to calculate the damage costs of climate change for any past or future flooding event with sufficient sea-level data. Applying the new method, even to Sandy alone, gives a sense of the already steep cost of the climate emergency, he says. “I think we’re paying a lot more than we realize,” Strauss adds.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/climate-change-added-8-billio...

jerrym

The release of carbon dioxide from perma frost melting due to global warming is helping to speed up climate change - another threat where Canadians would be one of the major victims since we have largest amount of perma frost outside Russia.

Yupik Eskimo children play basketball on a court built above the permafrost in the town of Napakiak on the Yukon Delta, Alaska…

Yupik Eskimo children play basketball on a court built above the permafrost in the town of Napakiak on the Yukon Delta, Alaska on April 18, 2019.

A new study says thawing permafrost, or soil that is usually frozen year-round, in the world's arctic regions is releasing greenhouse gases not accounted for in global estimates, making it more difficult to fight climate change.

The study, published Monday in the science journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, reports that the Siberia region of Russia last year saw a record-setting temperature of 38 degrees Celsius, the highest temperature ever recorded inside the Arctic Circle, where most of the world's permafrost exists.

The researchers behind the study say this permafrost region contains a massive frozen store of ancient organic carbon dioxide, accumulated over tens of thousands of years, totaling approximately twice the amount of carbon dioxide that is in Earth's atmosphere. Freezing temperatures have prevented the carbon dioxide — as well as methane, another greenhouse gas — from escaping, until now.

Meanwhile, unprecedented wildfires in the region last year also prompted a record amount of the gases to be released into the atmosphere.

Researchers say the big problem is that the world's top climate policymakers, including the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, aren't focusing enough on the emissions released from the melting permafrost and Arctic wildfires.

In 2016, when global leaders signed the Paris climate agreement, they established emissions budgets with the goal of keeping average global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius beyond preindustrial levels. But researchers say the data behind those emissions budgets did not account for gases from thawing permafrost.

In an interview, climatologist and co-author of the study Brendan Rodgers said the new figures need to be included if climate change is going to be addressed successfully.

"We're effectively in a race against time to reduce emissions and avoid the most severe impacts of climate change," he said. "Without including permafrost emissions and northern wildfires, we're using the wrong mile markers in that race."

https://www.voanews.com/science-health/study-carbon-released-thawing-per...

jerrym

Last week two climate change experts discussed on CBC's What on Earth how the Trudeau government's plan to greatly increase both oil and natural gas production give the lie to any possibility of Canada achieving its global emissions targets because Canada plans to increase fossil fuel production, which is both the largest and fastest growing source of Canadian emissions, well above current levels throug 2050 (see the last post for the evidence from the government's own website). They discuss how this makes it impossible to achieve their emission reduction targets. They also note  that while some point out 1.5% of global emissions and therefore are a minor player in the problem, this is totally misleading because we are a major exporter of fossil fuels. In fact, "Canada’s 2021-2050 oil and gas production would exhaust about 16 percent of the world’s remaining carbon budget." (https://cascadeinstitute.org/one-eye-shut/)

Photo: The Canadian Press Pumpjacks are shown pumping crude oil near Halkirk, Alta.

Last week, the federal government vowed that Canada would reduce its carbon emissions by 40 to 45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.

Climate researchers say that can't happen, however, without significant changes to Canada's oil and gas production, including the elimination of the industry subsidies that help support it.

Angela Carter, an associate professor in the department of political science at the University of Waterloo, recently co-authored a report titled Correcting Canada's 'One Eye Shut' Climate Policy.

It examines two ways of tackling emission reductions: from the demand side (that is, where fossil fuels are consumed and burned) and from the supply side (where they are produced). ...

Canada has publicly focused on the demand side, she argues, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announcing things like $15 billion to fund greener transportation.

"That's important. However, it's only getting at the consumption of fossil fuels," Carter said in an interview with What on Earth host Laura Lynch.

The problem for Canada is that "we are major oil and gas producers in this country — and that is not only a major source of our domestic emissions here, but also in terms of the global climate impact, it has a very, very big footprint." 

What's more, said Carter, Canada's oil and gas industry is the largest and fastest-growing source of emissions in the country, and government projections show that production will continue to increase for the next two decades. 

Canada has publicly focused on the demand side, she argues, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announcing things like $15 billion to fund greener transportation.

"That's important. However, it's only getting at the consumption of fossil fuels," Carter said in an interview with What on Earth host Laura Lynch.

The problem for Canada is that "we are major oil and gas producers in this country — and that is not only a major source of our domestic emissions here, but also in terms of the global climate impact, it has a very, very big footprint." 

What's more, said Carter, Canada's oil and gas industry is the largest and fastest-growing source of emissions in the country, and government projections show that production will continue to increase for the next two decades.  ...

Last year, Canada spent $2 billion on fossil fuel subsidies, said Vanessa Corkal, a policy analyst with the Winnipeg-based  International Institute for Sustainable Development, while agencies like Export Development Canada provide roughly $13 billion more for domestic and international fossil fuel production and exploration.

"Canada, unfortunately, is one of the worst in the G7 countries on many climate indicators — including our levels of international climate finance, our fossil fuel subsidies … and our emissions per capita. So I think having the U.S. pressuring in those spaces is really going to help push Canada to do better."

If Canada reduces fossil fuel subsidies, it will create a disincentive for production and consumption, argues Corkal. In 2019, her team used economic modelling to show that phasing out subsidies globally would reduce emissions by up to six per cent over seven years.

Carter and Corkal recognize that shifting subsidies away from the fossil fuel sector will have an effect on jobs. This is why they believe a "just transition" is essential.

"An easy fix from the federal government's perspective is simply to stop funding the sector as we do now, and we direct that money, all of the research and the investments that we make in that sector towards the transition that we need to make," said Carter.

Many have argued that because Canada is only responsible for roughly 1.5 per cent of global emissions, we are a tiny part of the problem. Carter disagrees.

"When someone says that Canada is a small player in terms of emissions, that just is not so because we are a major oil and gas exporter, and that oil and gas ends up being consumed," she said. "We're coming now, I think, to a time of reckoning, when we've got to acknowledge Canada's contribution to the global climate crisis, and we've got to do something about it."

https://www.cbc.ca/news/science/what-on-earth-emissions-targets-canada-o...

jerrym

In their paper "Meeting Canada’s climate commitments requires ending supports for oil and gas production" Angela Carter and Truzaar Dordi, environmental researchers at the University of Waterloo, discuss why the Trudeau climate change policies are failing and what needs to be done to achieve meaningful greenhouse gas emissions in Canada, which according to its own data will emit "about 16 percent of the world’s remaining carbon budget." under its current plans to increase oil and fossil fuel production. 

What Canada needs to do: end its reliance on fossil fuels. 

While the Government of Canada has begun to strengthen its climate policies, it does so with “one eye shut” as it continues to avoid the climate consequences of increasing oil and gas production. Rather than constraining oil and gas production as the United States is beginning to do, or committing to phase out fossil fuel production as countries like France, Ireland, Denmark, New Zealand and others are announcing, the Canadian government continues to foster growing oil and gas extraction by providing a range of supports to the sector that is driving up emissions. To begin to meet its emission reduction targets, Canada must withdraw its support from oil and gas extraction and begin a gradual phase out of production. ...

1. Based on the Government of Canada’s anticipated expansion of oil and gas extraction—more oil and gas is expected to be produced in 2050 than in 2019—the oil and gas sector in Canada will still be emitting some 200 megatonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2050, the year by which the federal government has committed to achieve net-zero emissions.

2. Canada’s 2021-2050 oil and gas production would exhaust about 16 percent of the world’s remaining carbon budget. Canada is indeed a “carbon bomb” of global significance.

3. Banking on unproven and expensive solutions like carbon capture, utilization and sequestration, without complementary supply-side restrictions, will not help Canada meet its climate target—particularly when these solutions are designed to facilitate increased fossil fuel production over the next decades.

4. The oil and gas lobby plays a dominating role in Canadian policy, obstructing supply side policy implementation. In the first year since the onset of the Covid pandemic, fossil fuel industries and associations met with government officials a total of 1,224 times, or more than 4.5 times per working day.

5. While the provinces have a lead role in regulating oil and gas, the federal government has a variety of policy options (regulatory, economic, and informational) to begin to constrain expansion and implement a managed phase out of oil and gas production. These include:

  • prohibiting the leasing of federal lands and waters for fossil fuel production and infrastructure;
  • implementing a “climate test” on all new fossil fuel projects and removing federal impact review exemptions;
  • canceling the Trans Mountain expansion pipeline;
  • divesting federal public investment funds from fossil fuel production; and
  • removing federal subsidies and public financing that supports fossil fuel exploration, production, or transportation, including federal funding for technologies that delay a transition away from oil and gas.

https://cascadeinstitute.org/one-eye-shut/

jerrym

While the Trudeau Liberals continue to subsidize the fossil fuel industry to the tune of $15 billion dollars a year plus the purchase and construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline that adds another $18 billion (https://www.burnabynow.com/local-news/trans-mountain-could-lose-119-bill...) the U.S., E.U. U.K., and China are making massive investments in renewable energy, thereby allowing "New wind and solar power projects in China, Europe and the US to spur a 45% rise in rate of new capacity". This threatens to leave Canada behind as a fossil fuel dinosaur.

The world’s renewable energy industry grew at its fastest pace since 1999 last year, despite the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and may have established a standard for growth in the future, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The global energy watchdog revealed that the delivery of renewable energy projects, including wind farms and solar power projects, grew by 45 per cent last year in a step change for the global industry.

Wind power capacity doubled over the last year, while solar power grew by almost 50 per cent more than its growth before the pandemic, due to the growing appetite for clean energy from governments and corporations.

Average annual net renewable capacity additions, 2011-2022. IEA, Average annual net renewable capacity additions, 2011-2022, IEA, Paris

The clean energy boom has prompted the IEA to revise its renewable energyforecasts for the coming years up by about 25 per cent from its previous growth estimates due to the faster than expected expansion of renewables in China, Europe and the U.S. ...

China remains at the heart of the renewable energy industry’s growth after accounting for more than 40 per cent of the global growth in the market for the last few years. It is also one of the largest suppliers of the raw materials needed to make wind turbines and solar panels including silicon, glass, steel, copper and other rare earth materials. ...

However, China is also the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases because of its use of coal-fired power plants to meet the country’s rising energy demand.The country’s president, Xi Jinping, has pledged that China will become carbon-neutral by 2060, but experts have warned that it will need to develop enough renewable energy to shut down nearly 600 of its coal-fired power plants in the next 10 years to meet this target. ...

The IEA’s latest forecasts do not take into account the new U.S. president, Joe Biden, whose administration is expected to spur an even faster rate of renewables growth. Biden has pledged to cut U.S. emissions by half in the next 10 years. ...

In the U.K., the growth of the offshore wind industry is forecast to account for a quarter of the world’s offshore wind capacity by 2022, making it the only country in the world to have more wind power generated off its coast than on its land.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/may/11/global-renewable-ene...

jerrym

A new study in Nature, one of the world's top scientific journals, concludes that just as in Antarctica (see post #641) and Greenland (see post #642) concludes that the world's glaciers are disappearing at a faster rate than previously thought. Those in Canada's and the US West are disappearing faster than anywhere else greatly increasing the risk of water shortages for a billion people around the world in the future when glaciers are no longer available for summer-fall runoff. The total annual melt from the globe's glaciers is enough to cover all of Canada to a depth of 30 cm and risks displacing 200 million people at least by 2100 because of sea level rise. Yet Trudeau keeps subsidizing the fossil fuel industry's growth to the tune of $15 a billion plus the $18 billion he is spending on purchasing and buying Trans Mountain. 

A new study has used millions of satellite images to generate the clearest picture yet of the world's glaciers and concludes they're getting smaller, faster.

And glaciers along the western edge of North America are thinning faster than almost anywhere else in the world, said co-author Brian Menounos of the University of Northern British Columbia, whose paper was published Wednesday in the journal Nature. ...

After recent reports about the demise of the ice fields, researchers hope the public will better understand the rapid pace of climate change.

Glaciers in the Yukon territory are retreating even faster than expected in a warming climate, scientists warn

Scientists have long known that the world's 217,000 glaciers are in retreat.

That knowledge, however, was based on relatively infrequent satellite images and field monitoring that didn't include all glaciers. Menounos and his colleagues turned to a previously unused trove of images that allowed them to estimate the falling elevation of precise spots with unprecedented accuracy.

"We had (a supercomputer) running for a solid year of compute time," he said.

Once they knew how far the surface of the glaciers had fallen, they could calculate how much ice was lost. The results boggle the mind.

They found glaciers are now losing 267 billion tonnes of ice every year. Just one billion tonnes of ice — a gigatonne — is equal in mass to 10,000 fully loaded aircraft carriers.

Put another way, that's enough ice melting every year to cover Canada's entire land mass to a depth of 30 centimetres.

But glaciers up the mountainous western spine of North America — including Canada — are melting even faster. Their thawing rate increased fourfold between 2000 and 2019.

Global glacier  thinning rates, different than volume of water lost, doubled in the last 20 years and "that's enormous," said Romain Hugonnet, a glaciologist at ETH Zurich and the University of Toulouse in France who led the study. Half the world's glacial loss is coming from the United States and Canada.

Alaska's melt rates are "among the highest on the planet," with the Columbia glacier retreating about 35 metres a year, Hugonnet said. ...

But glaciers up the mountainous western spine of North America — including Canada — are melting even faster. Their thawing rate increased fourfold between 2000 and 2019.

Global glacier  thinning rates, different than volume of water lost, doubled in the last 20 years and "that's enormous," said Romain Hugonnet, a glaciologist at ETH Zurich and the University of Toulouse in France who led the study. Half the world's glacial loss is coming from the United States and Canada.

Alaska's melt rates are "among the highest on the planet," with the Columbia glacier retreating about 35 metres a year, Hugonnet said. ...

Glaciers are now responsible for about 21 per cent of the roughly 22 centimetres that sea levels have risen since 1880.

That won't stop. By the end of the century, about 200 million people will live on land likely to be submerged at high tide.

"It's becoming increasingly clear that sea level rise is going to be a bigger and bigger problem as we move through the 21st century," said National Snow and Ice Data Center director Mark Serreze.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/science/glacier-loss-1.6005403

 

jerrym

Below is a look at how global warming and forest fires affect each other in Canada and around the world, of which the growing drought areas of western North America is just one of many. 

Two maps showing the intensity of drought impacts.

Maps of current drought conditions in Canada (left) and the United States (right).

As the 2021 wildfire season begins to unfold, the memories of past seasons linger — in the lungs of people, in the communities and landscapes that burned and in the atmosphere, where greenhouse gases from wildfires continue to warm our planet.

Wildfires wreaked havoc across the world over the past year. In Australia, bushfires spanning 2019-20 captured public attention as videos of scorched koalas and wallabies made the rounds on the internet. 

Fires burned in Arizona and Colorado during the early waves of COVID-19. In Siberia, boreal forests and tundra fires burned in the far north. And as fall arrived, Washington and Oregon began to burn, with the consequences felt across the United States and into Canada as smoke and COVID-19 kept people indoors.

When it comes to climate, wildfires occupy an unusual space: they are driven by climate change and they help drive it. As this vicious cycle plays out and predictions of extreme future fire seasons continue, the need for human intervention to interrupt this cycle has never been more clear. ...

Climate change is raising average global temperatures, bringing with it longer droughts, with cascading effects for forests and wildfires. These impacts are highly place-dependent — they are determined by the ecology an ecosystem and its history of disturbance, like wildfires, insect outbreaks or logging. 

Across many forest types, increasing temperatures and droughts dry out fuels, including vegetation like dead trees and fallen branches, more quickly and completely, priming them to burn....

In some forests in California and British Columbia, climate impacts can reduce snowpack and speed up spring snow melt, which can lead to even drier vegetation and increase fire risk. In ecosystems plagued by drought, like areas of the southwestern U.S., long stretches without rain can kill trees and leave dead wood ready to burn

As a driver of climate change, wildfires release huge quantities of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. In British Columbia, extreme fire years in 2017 and 2018 each produced three times more greenhouse gases than all other sectors of the province combined. While trees can and do regrow after fire, building back carbon takes time, which is precisely what we lack in the fight against climate change. ...

In the early 20th century, bans on controlled Indigenous burning and policies of fire suppression interrupted the fire cycle with which forests evolved, and removed regularly occurring fires from forested areas. 

The exclusion of fire from temperate landscapes has disrupted the mosaics of ecosystems and recently burned areas that had once moderated fire spread and behaviour. Logging and timber practices, like clear cutting and replanting, have also modified fire risk by favouring stands of coniferous trees nearly identical in age that can quickly carry and spread fire. ...

Further complicating the grim picture of wildfires is the growing expectation among governments and policy-makers that forests and trees will counterbalanceand offset our continued fossil fuel use. Increasingly severe and large wildfires could derail that plan. Most forests are carbon sinks, meaning they take up more carbon than they release, with the amount of carbon taken up varying with age. ...

Fires, along with other disturbances, release this carbon into the atmosphere, reducing the carbon stocks that have built up over time. Wildfires can also initially reduce a forest’s capacity to pull carbon out of the atmosphere, also called “sink strength.” Severe fires can inhibit forest regrowth and can change the species composition of the forest. Altogether, wildfires increase the amount of carbon leaving forests and can decrease the amount coming in. ...

Many regions in Canada and the U.S. face a greater than average risk for fires this summer, according to predictions. Extreme drought is occurring across the western U.S. and the Canadian Prairie provinces, the effects of which are reflected in the elevated fire risk predicted for those same coastal and southwestern areas. ...

Humans, however, can also intervene to interrupt this cycle, with practices like prescribed burning and forest thinning that can increase forest resilience. This is an active area of research and many scientists, including a team from Canada and the U.S., are working to develop scientifically sound interventions. ...

We are experiencing the effects of climate change, but they will neither be consistent nor uniform. Rather, climate change is like a slide and, when it comes to wildfires, we are quickly spiralling downward.

https://theconversation.com/how-wildfires-affect-climate-change-and-vice...

Pages