Canada and global warming: a state of denial 2

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jerrym

The Trudeau Liberal government's own documents show that despite its claims to achieve a decrease of 40% to 45% in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, and to achieve  net zero emissions  by 2050, what it actually plans to do is increase production greatly over the next 30 years, thereby giving  a lie to what they promise to do. I will show through the next three posts that this is the case. 

However, in this post I will focus on the comments of climate groups that have emphasized that these targets for 2030, even if they were achieved, are insufficient. The Liberals crediblity when it comes to climate change is zero considering their failure to meet any of their targets since 1993. Instead, as Jagmeet Singh noted, Canada is the only G7 coutry to increase its greenhouse gas emissions every year. Furthermore its own documents show they cannot possibly live up to their new promises. 

 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is promising to slash Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40 to 45 per cent over the next nine years, but without specifics on how to meet the more ambitious goal, which falls short of the target set by its closet ally.

Speaking virtually to a summit of global leaders convened by U.S. President Joe Biden to discuss fighting climate change, Trudeau on Thursday announced the new targets, which are four to nine per cent higher than his current plan to cut emissions by 36 per cent by 2030. ... Beyond 2030, Canada promises to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050. ...

The federal NDP and Green Party of Canada, who had pushed Trudeau to adopt a target of at least 50 and 60 per cent, respectively, slammed Thursday’s announcement as underwhelming. ...

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said Canada is the only country in the G7 that has increased emissions every year since the Paris Agreement. ...

Climate groups also criticized the new targets as being insufficient compared to its allies, with Environmental Defence saying they make Canada “a climate laggard.”

“We have the weakest 2030 carbon reduction target of G7 countries,” national climate program manager Dale Marshall said in a statement.

https://globalnews.ca/news/7779596/climate-change-emissions-targets-cana...

jerrym

As I noted in the last post the Trudeau Liberal government's own documents, show that it has every intention of greatly increasing greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels right through 2050, both for oil and natural gas, well above current levels as the graphs from the government's own Canada Engery Regulator show.  

Since fossil fuels are by far the largest source of emissions in Canada, this gives the lie to the Liberals claim that they will cut emissions by 40% t0 45% by 2030, let alone achieve zero emissions by 2050. In the next post I will back up this point with an examination of what this means for Canada both  internally and externally through the export of fossil fuels. The graphs below are from the Canada Energy Regulator, part of the Trudeau government. The The dark dotted lines of the graphs clearly show that both total oil and  total natural gas production climbing steadily upward until 2040 and then levelling off at a very high level. 

Crude oil production in the Evolving Scenario grows from 4.9 MMb/d in 2019 to 5.8 MMb/d in 2039. In the last decade of the projection, production begins to decline, reaching 5.3 MMb/d by 2050. Growth is largely due to expansions of existing in situ oil sands projects. The price assumptions in EF2020 underpin this growth. The Evolving Scenario assumes that the Brent crude oil price increases from 2019 US$37/bbl in 2020 and plateaus at the 2019 US$55/bbl level from 2026 to 2038, before declining slowly to 2019 US$50/bbl by 2050.

Natural gas production increases in the Evolving Scenario from 15.7 Bcf/d in 2019 to 18.4 Bcf/d in 2040. This growth is driven by increasing LNG exports, which we assume increase to 4.9 Bcf/d by 2039. Most of this production growth comes from the Montney tight gas resource, especially in British Columbia (B.C.). After 2040, natural gas production slowly declines to 16.8 Bcf/d by 2050.

Figure R.7: Total Crude Oil Production Peaks in 2039 and then Declines through 2050 in the Evolving ScenarioFigure R7 Total Crude Oil Production Peaks in 2039 and then Declines through 2050 in the Evolving Scenario

Figure R.13: Total Natural Gas Production Peaks in 2040 in the Evolving Scenario and Increases in the Long Term in the Reference ScenarioFigure R13 Total Natural Gas Production Peaks in 2040 in the Evolving Scenario and Increases in the Long Term in the Reference Scenario

https://www.cer-rec.gc.ca/en/data-analysis/canada-energy-future/2020/res...

jerrym

A just released International Energy report concludes that we need immediately to stop all new fossil fuel projects if we are to achieve 2050 greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. Meanwhile the Trudeau Liberal government is working to expand pipelines and production capacity through the Trans Moutain, Line 3, Keystone, Energy East, Frontier Mine, and Ontario-Saguenay pipelines and through $15 billion in subsidies to oil field production making Canadians ever more dependent on fossil fuels. It has allowed major oil companies to run test wells off Newfoundland that have produced oil from two wells, which could lead to the creation of a new oil field in the Atlantic off Newfoundland. The Trudeau Liberals gave $41.5 to Husky Oil in Newfoundland to keep the "idled West White Rose offshore oil project going when the Husky concluded it was not going to be profitable after being 60% built and shut down. They also threw in $325 million to subsidize the Furey Liberal government's subsidies to the oil sector ((https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/newfoundland-labrador/west-white-rose-1.5...)). Furthermore, the Trudeau Liberals are in the process of redefining emissions to make them look lower .(https://www.nationalobserver.com/2020/11/02/opinion/co2-forestry-Canada-...). 

Bye bye Trudeau achieving his 2030 greenhouse gas emission reductions and getting to net zero by 2050.

Two exploratory oil wells off Newfoundland have found oil and could lead to expansion of Canada's oil production. The goal: to produce 650,000 more barrels of oil a day by 2030 from the Newfoundland offshore. So much for Trudeau's greenhouse emission reduction targets

A report by the International Energy Agency says immediate action is needed to reshape the world's energy sector in order to meet ambitious climate goals by 2050, including ending investments in new coal mines, oil and gas wells.

The Paris-based global agency is an autonomous intergovernmental organization that provides analysis, data, and policy recommendations to promote global energy security and sustainability.

It said in a report released Tuesday that it has determined there is a narrow but viable pathway for building a global energy sector with net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

Several countries, including the United States and members of the European Union, have pledged to achieve net zero emissions — meaning only as much planet-warming gas is released into the atmosphere as can be absorbed — by mid-century.

The IEA report sets out 400 steps needed to transform how energy is produced, transported and used. These include no investment in new fossil fuel supply projects, an end to the sale of new internal combustion engine passenger cars by 2035 and a fourfold increase in the deployment of solar and wind power by 2030 compared to last year's record level. ...

The IEA's executive director, Fatih Birol, said the transformation would create millions of new jobs and boost economic growth worldwide.

But he warned that while countries and companies have begun to set bold targets for cutting emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the coming decades, actual emissions continue to rise substantially. The IEA said last month that 2021 will see the second-largest annual increase in emissions since 2010 as the world economy bounces back from the pandemic.

"There is a growing gap between the rhetoric we hear from governments and industry leaders, and what is happening in real life," Birol said. ...

Large developing countries such as China, India and South Africa will require help to achieve the report's suggestion of closing down the most polluting coal-fired power plants by 2030.

Laura Cozzi, one of the IEA report's main authors, said that in addition to a huge increase in renewable power sources and electric car sales, energy efficiency must be increased significantly over the next decade. Power grids and electric vehicle charging networks should also be expanded to cope with the shift from fossil fuels to electricity, she said.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/science/energy-climate-change-iea-1.6030771

jerrym

The following Guardian article discusses how you can spot greenwash by politicians BSing about reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Since the author is British, he primarily uses British examples but also includes Trudeau as another example of BS greenwashing. He also calls out Mark Carney, former Bank of Canada and Bank of England governor and just introduced as the new Liberal, darling at their convention this month for his BS over claiming the the investment company he vice-chairs was "net zero".

Mark Carney and Justin TrudeauMark Carney and Justin Trudeau: Two examples of climate change BSers. Photographer: Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP Photo

So it’s goodbye climate deniers, hello — and you’ll pardon me for being blunt here — climate bullshitters.

The impacts of the climate emergency are now so obvious, only the truly deluded still deny them. Instead, we are at the point where everyone agrees something must be done, but many are making only vague, distant promises of ineffective action. As a result, we are currently on track for a 0.5 per cent cut in global emissions from 2010 levels by 2030, when a 45 per cent drop is needed to avoid climate catastrophe.

So how to spot this greenwash? A good rule of thumb is whether the proposal actually cuts emissions, by a significant amount, and soon, and whether the proposer is in fact making the climate emergency worse elsewhere.

Let’s start at the top, with the world’s governments, which have been setting out more targets than an archery competition. The global leader is the U.K., which recently pledged a world-beating emissions cut of 78 per cent by 2035. Targets are a necessary first step, but need action to be met and the instant, universal response: “Show me the policies!”

The problem is some actual U.K. policies are pushing emissions up, not down: massive road building, a scrapped home energy efficiency program and slashed electric car incentives, new oil and gas exploration, a failure to halt airport expansions and block a new coalmine (instead, the government belatedly ordered a public inquiry). ...

But it is not just Boris Johnson’s government that says one thing while doing another. All are talking tough on climate, but China is building one large coal-fired power station a week, Japan remains one of the biggest financiers of overseas coal plants and Norway is developing giant new oil and gas fields.

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says climate change is an “existential threat,” yet the country’s emissions have actually increased since the 2015 Paris deal, thanks to its tarsands exploitation. Oh, and many nations still subsidize fossil fuels, which is like buying more cigarettes when you’re trying to quit smoking.

The world’s forests are suffering because of the same doublespeak. Indonesia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Peru and Colombia all pledged in 2014 to end deforestation by 2030. Yet in official carbon-cutting pledges submitted to the UN since then, none have confirmed that commitment.

Companies are, if anything, even better bullshitters than governments, and the fossil fuel giants are masters. Many are still exploring for new reserves, when we already have more than can ever be safely burned.

Chevron touts capturing CO2 emissions and storing them underground as a solution — one that of course enables the continued burning of its products. But its plans for carbon capture and storage cover less than one per cent of its 2019 carbon emissions. ExxonMobil wants public money to help with its carbon capture project to store 50 million tonnes of CO2 by 2030. That’s just eight per cent of the 2020 emissions its products resulted in.

Another technological fix promoted is hydrogen, in theory a clean fuel when generated using renewable energy. But its most enthusiastic backers are incumbent fossil fuel companies. Members of the global Hydrogen Council include Saudi Aramco, BP and Total, while the U.K. parliament’s hydrogen group is funded by Shell and gas network and boiler-making firms.

Why? Because hydrogen is a way for oil companies to move towards green energy without giving up fossil fuels. Pierre-Etienne Franc, co-secretary of the Hydrogen Council until 2020, explained: “It’s a way to avoid having stranded assets from the current fossil fuel-based system.”

Heating homes currently produces 14 per cent of U.K. carbon emissions and finding a green alternative is a major challenge. But hydrogen is a “very poor solution,” says one clean energy expert, Michael Liebreich, and should only be considered for heavy industry, and perhaps aviation and shipping, sectors where using electricity directly or via batteries is near impossible. ...

Next up, big banks — their financing of fossil fuels was bigger in 2020 than in 2016 or 2017, after the Paris climate deal. Top of the pile is JPMorgan Chase, despite it launching a “Paris-aligned financing strategy” and “aiming to finance and facilitate” $1 trillion in green initiatives by 2030.

Barclays and BNP Paribas both became founding members of the UN-backed Net-Zero Banking Alliance last month, yet both are in the top 10 financiers of fossil fuelssince 2015. Over at BlackRock, the world’s biggest investor and a company that says climate change is a “global threat,” its “Carbon Transition Readiness” fund includes Chevron, ExxonMobil and other fossil fuel giants.

Now let’s turn to carbon offsets, which many companies proffer as a way to claim future climate neutrality. An alarm bell should already be ringing when long-term climate-change skeptic Nigel Farage is getting into the offset business.

Offsets sound good in theory, but too often are fantasy accounting. Planting trees is a popular idea, but even if every possible new tree on the planet took root and started sucking up carbon, they would still be overwhelmed by fossil fuel emissions. ...

Even UN climate finance envoy and former Bank of England governor Mark Carneyrecently tripped up over offsets. He claimed that the investment company he vice-chairs was “net zero” despite investing in fossil fuels because the company also invested in renewable energy. Some called that an “accounting trick.” I call it a pile of rubbish.

Aviation companies are also prime purveyors of green guff. Ryanair boasted before the pandemic that its CO2 per passenger kilometre was the lowest in Europe, neglecting to mention that its growth in passengers meant its total emissions were rising.

Unless actions by governments and corporations cut emissions in the here and now, a dose of skepticism is in order, writes @dpcarrington. #ClimateCrisis #ClimateChange 

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/may/06/difference-real-cl...

jerrym

Geoffrey Supran and Naomi Oreskes analyzed how Exxon and other fossil fuel companies have succeeded in misleading the public in two studies. The first one was written in 2017, which is described below, while the second was released recently, which I will discuss in the next post.

This paper assesses whether ExxonMobil Corporation has in the past misled the general public about climate change. We present an empirical document-by-document textual content analysis and comparison of 187 climate change communications from ExxonMobil, including peer-reviewed and non-peer-reviewed publications, internal company documents, and paid, editorial-style advertisements ('advertorials') in The New York Times. We examine whether these communications sent consistent messages about the state of climate science and its implications—specifically, we compare their positions on climate change as real, human-caused, serious, and solvable. In all four cases, we find that as documents become more publicly accessible, they increasingly communicate doubt. This discrepancy is most pronounced between advertorials and all other documents. For example, accounting for expressions of reasonable doubt, 83% of peer-reviewed papers and 80% of internal documents acknowledge that climate change is real and human-caused, yet only 12% of advertorials do so, with 81% instead expressing doubt. We conclude that ExxonMobil contributed to advancing climate science—by way of its scientists' academic publications—but promoted doubt about it in advertorials. Given this discrepancy, we conclude that ExxonMobil misled the public. Our content analysis also examines ExxonMobil's discussion of the risks of stranded fossil fuel assets. We find the topic discussed and sometimes quantified in 24 documents of various types, but absent from advertorials. Finally, based on the available documents, we outline ExxonMobil's strategic approach to climate change research and communication, which helps to contextualize our findings. ...

In 2016, Attorneys General (AGs) of 17 US states and territories announced that they 'are exploring working together on key climate change-related initiatives, such as ongoing and potential investigations' into whether ExxonMobil Corporation and other fossil fuel companies may have violated, variously, racketeering, consumer protection, or investor protection statutes through their communications regarding anthropogenic global warming (AGW). ...

This paper takes up that challenge by analyzing the materials highlighted by the company, and comparing them with other publicly available ExxonMobil communications on AGW. The issue at stake is whether the corporation misled consumers, shareholders and/or the general public by making public statements that cast doubt on climate science and its implications, and which were at odds with available scientific information and with what the company knew. ...

Our study offers the first empirical assessment and intercomparison of ExxonMobil's private and public statements on AGW....

The predominant stance taken in ExxonMobil's advertorials is 'Doubt'. In essence, these public statements reflect only the 'Doubt' side of ExxonMobil's mixed internal dialogue.

 A characteristic example is a 1997 Mobil advertorial (table 3), which stated: 'Let's face it: The science of climate change is too uncertain to mandate a plan of action that could plunge economies into turmoil...Scientists cannot predict with certainty if temperatures will increase, by how much and where changes will occur. We still don't know what role man-made greenhouse gases might play in warming the planet' [92]. Another, also from 1997, referred to a 'high degree of uncertainty,' 'debate,' and a 'knowledge gap,' and the need for further 'fact-finding' and 'additional knowledge' before UN negotiators in Kyoto could make decisions. ...

Conclusion

Available documents show a discrepancy between what ExxonMobil's scientists and executives discussed about climate change privately and in academic circles and what it presented to the general public. The company's peer-reviewed, non-peer-reviewed, and internal communications consistently tracked evolving climate science: broadly acknowledging that AGW is real, human-caused, serious, and solvable, while identifying reasonable uncertainties that most climate scientists readily acknowledged at that time. In contrast, ExxonMobil's advertorials in the NYT overwhelmingly emphasized only the uncertainties, promoting a narrative inconsistent with the views of most climate scientists, including ExxonMobil's own. This is characteristic of what Freudenberg et al term the Scientific Certainty Argumentation Method (SCAM)—a tactic for undermining public understanding of scientific knowledge [5758]. Likewise, the company's peer-reviewed, non-peer-reviewed, and internal documents acknowledge the risks of stranded assets, whereas their advertorials do not. In light of these findings, we judge that ExxonMobil's AGW communications were misleading; we are not in a position to judge whether they violated any laws.

https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aa815f

jerrym

In a CBC podcast researchers Geoffrey Supran and Naomi Oreskes discussed how ExxonMobil used language to make individuals feel responsible for climate change, similar to the strategy used by tobacco companies in the past. Here is the url for the podcast:

https://www.cbc.ca/listen/live-radio/1-429-what-on-earth/clip/15843325-f...

ClimateTruth.org

I have summarized some of their main points in this podcast. In their 2021 research, Supran and Oreskes found that Exxon used the word 'risk' once in 187 public documents as they followed a public strategy of denying climate change existed in the twentieth century, copying the approach developed by the cigarette industry. However, from 2000 onward, as the evidence that climate change was real piled up Exxon made 'risk' more than any other word, as in there is a risk from climate change to avoid having to say climate change is a reality, thereby shifting from a denial to a raising doubt strategy. They spent hundreds of millions to bring about semantic infiltration, which involves  undermining one’s own position in negotiations by adopting unknowingly the terms which the adversary “infiltrates.” For example climate change replaces global warming to mask the heating effect. By using words such as consumption, need, and demand in the ads the emphasis is shifted from the fossil fuel producers to the consumers being the problem. BP created the term "carbon footprint" to again shift the focus from them as a producer to the consumer, making the fossil fuel corporations the innocent providers of what the consumer wants, just as the cigarette companies shifted blame for lung cancer to smokers in their ads and response to government. The fossil fuel corporations continually speak of energy, rather than fossil fuels, making out that they are therefore the solution to your energy problems and therefore the good guys, innovating to make things better for you. They also scaremonger, by suggesting that if we address climate change we are doomed because we will destroy the economy, which depends on fossil fueels according to them, in the process and therefore destroy civilization. 

 

jerrym

A new study of 800 cities around the world found that "43% do not even have plan to adapt to impacts of global heating", and "One in four cities around the world lack the money to protect themselves against the ravages of climate breakdown, even though more than 90% are facing serious risks" showing how ill prepared humans are to deal with the effects of global warming. While third world cities obviously have monetary problems in preparing for global warming, this is also true of many first world cities.

 

Miami Flooding

In Miami, Florida, sea levels are rising faster than those in other areas of the world: A flooded home in Miami, 

Cities are facing problems with flooding, overheating, water shortages, and damage to their infrastructure from extreme weather, which is growing more frequent as the climate changes. A survey of 800 cities, carried out by the Carbon Disclosure Project, found that last year about 43% of them, representing a combined population of 400 million people, did not have a plan to adapt to the climate crisis.

Budgetary restraints were cited as the key reason by about 25% of cities. Many are reliant on national governments for the funding needed to protect their infrastructure and vulnerable populations from these threats.

The survey found that last year 422 cities had 1,142 projects to adapt to the climate crisis yet to be financed, requiring about $72bn (£51bn) in investment. The cost of water management projects alone that were yet to be financed was estimated at $22.6bn.

Kyra Appleby, the global director of CDP, said: “Adaptation [to the impacts of climate change] is trickier to finance than emissions action. There are enormous benefits from adaptation and resilience, but they don’t appear on the balance sheet. Only a fraction of recovery spending [from the coronavirus pandemic] is being put towards climate change, and even less towards adaptation.”

Installing renewable energy generation, such as solar panels, can generate a financial return, and energy efficiency projects begin to save money quite quickly, but the benefits of adapting to the impacts of extreme weather are less obvious and often more diffuse.

As well as reducing the risk of disaster and damage from extreme weather events such as flooding or droughts, adapting and increasing resilience to climate breakdown carries many benefits for the public, including cleaner air and water. For instance, increasing or enhancing green spaces, such as parks and other public amenities, is one of the key ways for cities to adapt, and can also vastly improve public health and mental wellbeing.

Places citing budgetary constraints as a barrier to adapting to the climate emergency included Southend in England, Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and Columbus in the US. Appleby said: “It’s a really varied mix of cities across the world that are experiencing this as a problem.”

She said the experience of the Covid-19 pandemic, when cities were deserted during lockdowns, has made people more aware of their vulnerability to shocks. “It has opened many people’s eyes to the issue of resilience and the huge interconnectedness of the planet,” she said. “But this needs the support of national government, and cities need funding to become more resilient places in the long term.”

Businesses may provide another source of funding for some adaptation projects. Three-quarters of cities surveyed by CDP were already working with businesses on sustainability issues, or had plans to do so within the next two years.

Appleby said some cities were adapting well to the climate crisis, including London, Bristol, Los Angeles and Athens. The Greek capital is turning roofs green and planting trees to cool the overheated streets, while Bristol is constructing more than 10 miles (17km) of flood defences.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/may/12/one-in-four-cities-c...

jerrym

A recently published article in Nature, one of the top science journals, concluded that methane emissions from Canada's oil and natural gas fields are underestimated by a factor of 1.5. This is highly problematic because methane emissions capture solar energy and heat up the Earth by  a factor of 84 compared to carbon dioxide. 

  • Comparative images from normal and optical gas imaging cameras

    These images taken by Earthworks demonstrate the need for stronger regulations for B.C.’s oil and gas industry. Liquids offloading at Tourmaline Doe HZ well site. (Photo: Earthworks)

Methane emissions were measured at 6650 sites across six major oil and gas producing regions in Canada to examine regional emission trends, and to derive an inventory estimate for Canada’s upstream oil and gas sector. Emissions varied by fluid type and geographic region, with the heavy oil region of Lloydminster ranking highest on both absolute and intensity-based scales. Emission intensities varied widely for natural gas production, where older, low-producing developments such as Medicine Hat, Alberta showed high emission intensities, and newer developments in Montney, British Columbia showed emission intensities that are amongst the lowest in North America. 

Overall, we estimate that the Canadian upstream oil and gas methane inventory is underestimated by a factor of 1.5, which is consistent with previous studies of individual regions.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-021-87610-3#:~:text=Overall%2C%20...

jerrym

The David Suzuki Foundation has also noted the large amount of methane emissions from BC natural gas wells. 

  • Comparative images from normal and optical gas imaging cameras

    Tank vapors at Pengrowth Energy Oak Unit well site. (Photo: Earthworks)

Methane is a greenhouse gas that comes from a number of different sources, some natural and some human-caused. Oil and gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) operations are major sources of methane pollution, via leaks from damaged or improperly fitted equipment and intentionally vented gas.

Recent research shows that methane pollution from the B.C. oil and gas sector is at least 2.5 times greater than reported by industry and government. This challenges the claim that natural gas and LNG are “clean” transition fuels.

Every minute of every day, Canada’s oil and gas industry leaks and intentionally vents methane into the atmosphere. It traps 84 times as much heat as carbon dioxide over a 20-year time frame. Leading scientists estimate that methane is responsible for 25 per cent of already observed changes to Earth’s climate.

According to the International Energy Agency, taking global action to reduce these emissions would have the same climate benefit by 2100 as eliminating all of China’s coal plants. ...

 Optical gas imaging cameras capture polluting gas wells and other facilities in the Montney Basin in northeastern B.C. Making the invisible visible is a powerful tool for citizens to hold oil and gas companies responsible for their methane pollution problem. These images taken by Earthworks demonstrate the need for stronger regulations for B.C.’s oil and gas industry.

https://davidsuzuki.org/project/methane-pollution/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIxPO...

jerrym

Cutting methane emissions is essential to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Methane emissions as a fraction of total emissions have been growing steadily, especially in Canada. m Although carbon dioxide emissions have to cut too,reducing  methane emissions would be easier to do and less costly than carbon dioxide emissions, allowing it to reduced faster, according to a recent report.

Intentional and unintentional leaks of methane from fossil fuel drilling sites in Canada and around the world have contributed to the rise in greenhouse gas emissions. Photo by Ken Doerr / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Slashing methane emissions is vital to tackling the climate crisis and rapidly curbing the extreme weather already hitting people across the world today, according to a new UN report.

In 2020 there was a record rise in the amount of the powerful greenhouse gasemitted by the fossil fuel industry, cattle and rotting waste. Cutting it is the strongest action available to slow global heating in the near term, Inger Andersen, the UN’s environment chief, said.

The report found that methane emissions could be almost halved by 2030 using existing technology and at reasonable cost. A significant proportion of the actions would actually make money, such as capturing methane gas leaks at fossil fuel sites.

Achieving the cuts would avoid nearly 0.3C of global heating by 2045 and keep the world on track for the Paris climate agreement’s goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C. Methane cuts also immediately reduce air pollution and would prevent many premature deaths and lost crops.

Methane is 84 times more powerful in trapping heat than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period and has caused about 30% of global heating to date. But it breaks down in the atmosphere within about a decade, unlike CO2, which remains in the air for centuries.

Cutting carbon emissions remains essential in ending the climate emergency, but some experts liken reducing CO2 in the air to the slow process of stopping a supertanker, whereas lowering methane is like cutting the engine on a speedboat and bringing it to a rapid halt. ...

Methane emissions are increasing faster now than at any time in nearly 40 years of the observational record,” he said. “Despite Covid … methane shot upwards – it’s going in the wrong direction very, very rapidly.” ...

The report found feasible and cost-effective methane cuts of 60% could be made from fossil fuel operations by stopping the venting of unwanted gas and properly sealing equipment. Waste sites could cut about 35% by reducing the organic waste sent to landfill sites and through better sewage treatment.

The estimated methane cuts from agriculture by 2030 were lower at 25%. “You can change the feed to cows and the way you manage the herds, but these things are fairly small,” said Shindell. “You could make very great inroads into methane emissions by dietary change [eating less meat], but we are just not that sure how quickly that will happen.”

Other measures not specifically targeting methane can still cut emissions of the gas, the report said, such as reducing the demand for fossil gas by increasing renewable energy and energy efficiency, and wasting less food.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/may/06/cut-methane-emission...

jerrym

There is a growing shareholder rebellion against the publicly owned fossil fuel corporations resulting in demands that they set emission reduction targets. Besides Shell, Chevron,Norway’s Equinor, France’s Total and UK's BP have also faced similar shareholder rebellions (https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/may/20/climate-activist-shareh...). 

Meanwhile Trudeau heads in the opposite direction handing $15 billion in subsidies annually to the fossil fuel companies, buying and constructing the Trans Mountain pipeline for $18 billion, pushing for getting Keystone going again, allowing the opening of test wells off Newfoundland that hit oil twice and possibly could lead to another oilfield, assisted in doubling Line 3 from Alberta to Manitoba and on to Minnesota where it is being fought by American First Nations, and going to court to keep Line 5 running indefinitely. 

 

Extinction Rebellion campaigners demonstrate at a Shell station in The Hague.

Extinction Rebellion campaigners demonstrate at a Shell station in The Hague. Photograph: Hollandse Hoogte/Rex/Shutterstock

A resolution calling for the Anglo-Dutch company to set binding carbon emissions reduction targets received 30 per cent of votes at the oil company’s annual meeting on Tuesday. Photo by Marc Rentschler / Unsplash

Shell has faced a significant shareholder rebellion on a vote calling for the oil company to set firm targets to wind down fossil fuel production.

A shareholder resolution calling for the Anglo-Dutch company to set binding carbon emissions reduction targets received 30 per cent of votes at the oil company’s annual meeting on Tuesday.

The Shell rebellion came on the day that the International Energy Agency said that exploration for new oil and gas fields must stop this year if the world is to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Net-zero emissions would contribute to limiting catastrophic global heating.

The result represents an escalation of the pressure on Shell to commit to meaningful decarbonization, after a similar resolution last year received 14 per cent of votes. A similar resolution at BP, another FTSE 100 oil company, gained 21 per cent of votes last week.

The Shell rebellion sailed past the 20 per cent threshold that means the oil company will be forced to consult shareholders and report on their views within six months, under the U.K. corporate governance code.

The resolution was put forward by Follow This, a campaign group that uses activist investment to put pressure on oil companies into decarbonizing in line with the limits set by the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement.

Mark van Baal, the founder of Follow This, said the support for the resolution was “beyond expectations,” signalling that some of the world’s largest investors had backed it. Previous resolutions have gained the support of Aviva and M&G in the U.K., as well as a host of Dutch pension funds.

“Finally investors are urging oil companies to really commit to the Paris Climate Agreement, not to hide behind 2050,” he said. The company should now set out shorter-term emissions reduction targets rather than relying on the promise of unspecified cuts in later decades, he added. ...

Ben van Beurden, Shell’s chief executive, said the company had noted the results of the shareholder resolution and committed to consultations with investors.

He said: “We will seek to fully understand the reason why shareholders voted as they did, particularly those who voted both ‘for’ Shell’s strategy and ‘for’ the shareholder resolution, and will formally report back to investors within six months.” ...

However, Charlie Kronick, a senior climate finance adviser for Greenpeace UK, highlighted that the Shell plans would increase gas production by 20 per cent by 2030, contravening the advice of the IEA.

Kronick said the vote “illustrates a significant drop in investor confidence and a lack of faith in Shell’s shambolic climate plan.”

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2021/may/18/shell-faces-shareholder...

jerrym

Canada's largest fossil fuel lobby group, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP), is pushing to get the Finance Minister, Chrystia Freeland, involved in deciding greenhouse emission reduction targets so that there would be focus on economic targets, as well as environmental. The fossil fuel sector produces more than a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. 

While there has been a growing global shift away from fossil fuels, the Trudeau government, as noted in the last post continues to push for its further development. Bringing an even greater focus on economic interests when it comes to the fossil fuel industry through the Finance Minister laying in on them, can only be more detrimental to achieving significant emissions reductions. 

A senior executive from the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) told the House of Commons environment committee that Bill C-12, the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act, should be amended so that other members of cabinet, in particular Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, share in that responsibility.

“We don’t think it is appropriate for that all to rest with one minister,” CAPP’s vice-president of government relations and Indigenous affairs Shannon Joseph told the committee Wednesday during its study of the bill.

Joseph also said Bill C-12 should require what she called “economic targets,” in addition to its designated purpose of mandating targets for pollution cuts. She warned there would be “public resistance” to the bill if the government ignored the economic outcomes of its climate goals.

“I think it’s absolutely critical for us to have an economic lens on the way we pursue net-zero and what it costs, what it changes for affordability of all aspects of the economy,” she said. “It is important for people, it is important for businesses, and it needs to be part of how we assess the pathways that we’re on.” 

CAPP’s member businesses represent roughly four-fifths of the oil and gas produced in the country, and include large Canadian oilpatch producers as well as smaller players and other companies offering services to the industry. 

The oil and gas sector represents over a quarter of all carbon pollution generated in Canada, the largest share of all economic sectors, according to the government’s most recent emissions report to the United Nations. Carbon pollution from the oil and gas sector increased by 89 million tonnes between 1990 and 2019. ...

Scientists say emissions need to be cut by 45 per cent by 2030 to avoid more extreme climate consequences. That means fossil fuel production must drop by six per cent per year for the next decade. Achieving net-zero by 2050 means there is “no need for investment in new fossil fuel supply,” the International Energy Agency said this week.

This reality means that financial portfolios and endowments around the world are increasingly committing to abandoning their fossil fuel investments — to the tune of nearly US$15 trillion so far, according to research by BlackRock. ...

“If we are to talk about economics in general, I think we can’t hide the fact that there is huge divestment happening from the fossil fuel sector,” David Suzuki Foundation director general for Quebec and Atlantic Canada, Sabaa Khan, told the committee after Joseph spoke.  “If we’re thinking about the economy we have to face the fact that the fossil fuel sector is in decline. Fossil fuel companies are investing in renewable energy — out of goodwill? Or do they see that decarbonization is inevitable?” ...

The United Kingdom’s 2008 Climate Change Act, for example, led to long-term stability in terms of renewables investment, argued Khan, unlocking capital that may not have been as accessible if the country had not restricted its carbon on a budget. 

The comments on the net-zero legislation by CAPP stood in contrast to those made by other witnesses on Wednesday that were largely focused on strengthening the bill’s accountability and transparency measures. 

Climate Action Network Canada, West Coast Environmental Law, Equiterre and Ecojustice submitted a joint brief to the committee that called Bill C-12 “a tentative step in the right direction,” but “too weak in its current form.” ...

Among other recommendations the groups want to see: progress reports starting in 2023; emissions milestones starting in 2025; milestones set 10 years in advance; plans to achieve targets requiring “detailed information and modelling” on federal and provincial measures; and the minister or cabinet ensuring that emissions targets are actually met.

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/05/21/news/oil-lobby-wants-finance...

jerrym
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jerrym

Mainstream economists have been a major factor in delaying the world's response to the ever growing evidence, like the melting icebergs and rising sea levels apparent in the picture below, of the damage done by global warming according to , Steve Keen, a fellow at University College London’s Institute for Strategy, Resilience and Security. By ignoring the warnings of what was coming we are now facing the equivalent of having to pour massive resources into the fight against climate change as if we were entering a major war that were totally unprepared for. 

As my 20 year old son says, if we had started as late as 1980 decreasing greenhouse gas emissions by a mere 2% a year we would already be more than 80% of the way towards eliminating fossil fuel emissions. Instead, mainstream economists, like the politicians they advised, ignored the problem.

 

 

Icebergs near Ilulissat, Greenland. Climate change is having a profound effect in Greenland with glaciers and the Greenland ice cap retreating.

Icebergs near Ilulissat, Greenland. Climate change is having a profound effect in Greenland with glaciers and the Greenland ice cap retreating.

Economic forecasts predicting the potential impact of climate change have grossly underestimated the reality and delayed global recovery efforts by decades, according to a leading professor.

Mainstream economists “deliberately and completely” ignored scientific data and instead “made up their own numbers” to suit their market models, Steve Keen, a fellow at University College London’s Institute for Strategy, Resilience and Security, told CNBC on Friday.

Now, a “war-level footing” is required to have any hope of repairing the damage, he said.

“Fundamentally, the economists have totally misrepresented the science and ignored it where it contradicts their bias that climate change is not a big deal because, in their opinion, capitalism can handle anything,” Keen told “Street Signs Asia.”

Keen said the repercussions of climate change were foretold in the 1972 publication “The Limits to Growth” — a divisive report on the destructive consequences of global expansion — but economists then and since failed to heed its warnings, preferring instead to rely on market mechanisms.

“If their warnings had been taken seriously and we’d done as they’d suggested, changing our trajectory from 1975 on, we could have done it gradually using things like carbon tax and so on,” he said. “Because economists have delayed it by another half century, we are, as a species, putting three to four times the pressure on the biosphere.” ...

As a result, he said, “the only way we can (reverse) this is effectively a war level footing of motive mobilisation to reverse the amount of carbon we’ve put into the atmosphere to drastically reduce our consumption.”

Referring specifically to a report produced by economists at the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was instrumental in outlining global climate targets including those presented at the Paris Agreement COP21, Keen said even their most severe estimates were a “trivial underestimate of the damage we expect.”

That is because they “completely and deliberately ignore the possibility of tipping points,” a point at which climate change can cause irreversible shifts in the environment.

“I think we should throw the economists completely out of this discussion and sit the politicians down with the scientists and say these are the potential outcomes of that much of a change to the biosphere; we are toying with forces far in excess of ones we can actually address,” he said.

Keen’s comments come as world leaders wrapped up their final day of meetings at the Arctic Council — an intergovernmental forum covering wide-ranging geopolitical issues from climate to trade.

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/05/24/war-footing-needed-to-correct-economists...

 

jerrym

One effect of climate change that is rarely discussed is the return of Great Power competition in the Arctic as its ocean ice surface recedes and nations compete for resources and sea routes. Canada tags along with the US for this potentially dangerous ride. 

Bow of a vessel that traverses through icy waters

The U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy in the Beaufort Sea, northeast of Barrow, Alaska. Photo: Rawpixel

Most scholars writing in the post-Cold War era rejoiced over geopolitical stability and constructive cooperation in the Arctic, defined by what they called “Arctic exceptionalism”,1) which can be characterized by the absence of the great power competition in the region, and a supposed position outside of the reach of the traditional realist perspective. However, the rise of China and its unprecedented claims in the Arctic, as well as its self-declared status of being the near-Arctic state; Russian militarization of the Arctic waters; increasing convergence between Russia and China; geopolitical tensions between Russia and the United States; and the global rivalry between the United States and China are all entangling the Arctic in a renewed great power competition. ...

From the neorealist perspective, the conventional security of the Arctic is a function of how the great powers will interact with each other and how great power rivalries will unfold. This article defines the traditional security of the Arctic as a combination of three intersecting realities: First, shifting balance of power towards China at both global and regional (Arctic) level. Second, increasing Cold War rivalries between the United States and Russia. Third, growing strategic convergence between Russia and China. Using a neorealist framework , this article assumes that the security and prosperity of other Arctic nations are intertwined with global security developments, for the simple reason best summed up in the ancient Greek dictum, “the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must”. It is wishful to think that cooperation can be woven around issues like environmental degradation, climate change, and sustainable development when the great powers are setting up camp in the region. ...

The global balance of power is shifting towards China.5) The American share of the global trade and GDP is declining. America is receding from its global commitments and is turning inwards, and China is increasingly challenging the US hegemony. ...

Greenland and Iceland are the centers of a diplomatic tussle between the United States and China. The American concerns about the Chinese investments9) in the mineral resources of Greenland, geothermal energy in Iceland, and a joint project with Finland to develop a ‘data silk road’, are evident in its policy papers and diplomatic behavior. Greenland is a case in point of the conflicting US and Chinese interests in the region. Chinese attempt to buy a defunct naval base10) and eagerness to build a new airport 11) in Nuuk, the capital city of Greenland, were taken by such gravity in Washington that US Secretary of Defense James Mattis had to jump12) in to pressurize Danish government to halt these initiatives and allegedly the United States committed itself to these projects. ...

The Great Power rivalry, caused by the shift in the balance of power, is intensified by the dynamics of a security dilemma―wherein attempts by one state to enhance its security is perceived with strategic mistrust by the other state, stimulating a negative spiral of deteriorating relations leading to security tensions, arms race and military conflict or war. As the great power rivalry between China and the United States ripens, there are very high possibilities that the tensions, conflicts, and competition arising in one part of the world will spill into other regions. The Arctic remains vulnerable to these “strategic spillovers”. ...

The Arctic Ocean was highly militarized during the Cold War. The Soviet Union, as well as the United States stationed nuclear deterrence on the Northern reaches of the Arctic. The strategic importance of the Arctic Ocean is qualified by the geographical proximity between the United States and the USSR (now Russia) – ballistic missiles could easily strike the enemy by flying over the Arctic. ...

The United States and China might be structural competitors for global hegemony, but when it comes to the Arctic region, Russia is the undisputable military and economic superpower. Russians have militarized the Arctic at an expeditious pace. The current Russian military buildup in the Arctic is highly defensive, but its inherent offensive capabilities cannot be denied. ...

Russia-China cooperation can be traced back to the 1997 Joint Declaration on a Multipolar World and Establishment of a New International Order. The declaration was inspired by the fear of American unipolarity that emerged after the dissolution of the USSR. This was followed by a Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation signed in 2001. Since 2005, Russia and China have conducted several bilateral and multilateral military exercises. ...

The strategic convergence between Russia and China is governed by the perceived imperative to balance the United States. The urge for balancing is augmented by the Russian want for infrastructure and investment and China’s hunger for resources. ...

How the dynamics of the US-China-Russia strategic triangle unfold will dictate the terms of peace and stability, or conflict and war in the Arctic region. It is always risky as well as difficult to predict the future, but it is safe to say that the current geopolitical reading of the global order and that of the Arctic region points towards a murky, unstable, and conflictual future.

https://www.thearcticinstitute.org/return-great-power-competition-arctic/

jerrym

A small investor, called Engine No. 1, that is demanding Exxon Mobil have a better plan for fighting climate change has managed to win two seats on the board of through a proxy fight, thereby embarassing the corporation. It's own shareholders are demanding change when it comes to climate change. 

 Bloomberg]

The victory for Engine No. 1 is an embarrassment for Exxon, unprecedented in the rarefied world of Big Oil, and a sign that institutional investors are increasingly willing to force corporate America to tackle climate change [File: Bloomberg]

A first-time activist investor with a tiny stake in Exxon Mobil Corp. scored a historic win in its proxy fight with the oil giant, signaling the growing importance of climate change to investors.

Engine No. 1 – the little-known firm that vaulted into the spotlight in December when it began pressing Exxon to come up with a better plan to fight global warming – won two seats on the company’s board at Wednesday’s annual shareholders meeting, according to a preliminary tally. ...

The result is an embarrassment for Exxon, unprecedented in the rarefied world of Big Oil, and a sign that institutional investors are increasingly willing to force corporate America to tackle climate change. That Engine No. 1, with just a 0.02% stake and no history of activism in oil and gas, could win even a partial victory against a titan like Exxon, the Western world’s biggest crude producer, shows how seriously environmental concerns are now being taken in the boardrooms of the country’s largest companies.

The vote is also striking because of the force with which Exxon battled the activist, which also criticized the company for its lackluster financial performance. Exxon refused to to meet with the nominees and Chief Executive Officer Darren Woods told shareholders earlier this month that voting for them would “derail our progress and jeopardize your dividend.” The company even went as far as to pledge, just 48 hours before the meeting, that it will add two new directors, including one with “climate experience.”

In other corners of the commodities sector, shareholders this year have already shown frustration with executives’ reluctance to embrace tough environmental goals. DuPont de Nemours Inc. suffered an 81% vote against management on plastic-pollution disclosures, while ConocoPhillips lost a contest on adopting more stringent emission targets.

The Exxon vote result shows a clear dissatisfaction with Woods’ strategy, despite the stock’s almighty rally this year, up more than 40% due to surging oil prices.

Woods should be able to continue improving Exxon’s financial performance as cash flows recover, securing the S&P 500’s third-largest dividend and leaving behind 2020’s record loss, the first in four decades. But the bigger question concerns Exxon’s energy transition strategy, considered by many shareholders to be well behind its European peers.

Exxon’s environmental record and unwillingness to embrace the transition to cleaner energy quickly enough was a key criticism in the six-month old proxy campaign. San Francisco-based Engine No. 1 was scathing in its assessment of Exxon’s long-term financial performance, calling it “a decade of value destruction.”

Rather than pivot toward low-carbon fuels and selling power like its some of its rivals, Exxon is betting heavily on carbon capture and sequestration, a technology that it says needs substantial government support to be viable.

Engine No. 1 said Exxon’s marquee CCS hub in Houston “lacks any real substance” and generated nothing more than an “advertising blitz.” The fund also said Exxon’s climate targets were “distorting its long-term emissions trajectory” and its claim of being aligned with the Paris Agreement “fails the basic test of logic.”

It remains to be seen how Exxon pivots, if at all, but the message from shareholders is clear: The status quo cannot continue.​

https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2021/5/26/exxon-investor-scores-histor...

jerrym

In a breakthrough court decision a Ductch court today has ordered a fossil fuel company, Shell, to reduce its emissions by 45% by 2030. This could set a precedent for other courts reaching similar decisions. 

Milieudefensie director Donald Pols, right, celebrates the outcome of the verdict in the court case of Milieudefensie, the Dutch arm of the Friends of the Earth environmental organisation, against Royal Dutch Shell in The Hague, the Netherlands on Wednesday [Peter Dejong/AP]

Milieudefensie director Donald Pols, right, celebrates the outcome of the verdict in the court case of Milieudefensie, the Dutch arm of the Friends of the Earth environmental organisation, against Royal Dutch Shell in The Hague, the Netherlands on Wednesday [Peter Dejong/AP]

A Dutch court on Wednesday ordered Royal Dutch Shell to cut its carbon emissions by a net 45 percent by 2030 compared to 2019 levels in a landmark case brought by climate activism groups, which hailed the decision as a victory for the planet.

The Hague District Court ruled that the Anglo-Dutch energy giant has a duty of care to reduce emissions and that its current reduction plans were not concrete enough. ...

The decision could set a precedent for similar cases against polluting multinationals around the world. Activists who gathered outside the courtroom erupted into cheers as the decision was read out loud.

“The climate won today,” said Roger Cox, a lawyer for the Dutch arm of Friends of the Earth, which was one of the organisations behind the case.

“This ruling will change the world. Worldwide, people are in the starting blocks to take legal action against oil companies following our example,” Cox added.

The Hague court did not specify how Royal Dutch Shell should achieve the ordered cutback, saying the energy giant’s parent company “has complete freedom in how it meets its reduction obligation and in shaping the Shell group’s corporate policy”.

In a written reaction, Shell said it expects to appeal the “disappointing court decision”.

The company said it is already “investing billions of dollars in low-carbon energy, including electric vehicle charging, hydrogen, renewables and biofuels. We want to grow demand for these products and scale up our new energy businesses even more quickly.”

At a hearing in December, Shell lawyer Dennis Horeman said a ruling against the company could create a situation “in which countless parties can hold each other accountable for their role in that [energy] transition through the courts” and give judges “a central role in an active and delicate political process”.

Shell says it has set “an ambition to be a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050, or sooner”.

The court said in an English-language summary of its ruling that Shell was not currently in breach of its obligation to reduce emissions, as the environmental groups had argued, because the parent company was tightening its emissions policy.

https://www.aljazeera.com/economy/2021/5/26/climate-landmark-court-order...

jerrym

The evidence for climate change's link and human beings' willingness to ignore the evidence actually goes all the way back to the 1820s.

Joseph FourierJoseph Fourier

In the 19th century, scientists realized that gases in the atmosphere cause a "greenhouse effect" which affects the planet's temperature. These scientists were interested chiefly in the possibility that a lower level of carbon dioxide gas might explain the ice ages of the distant past. At the turn of the century, Svante Arrhenius calculated that emissions from human industry might someday bring a global warming. Other scientists dismissed his idea as faulty. In 1938, G.S. Callendar argued that the level of carbon dioxide was climbing and raising global temperature, but most scientists found his arguments implausible. It was almost by chance that a few researchers in the 1950s discovered that global warming truly was possible. In the early 1960s, C.D. Keeling measured the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere: it was rising fast. Researchers began to take an interest, struggling to understand how the level of carbon dioxide had changed in the past, and how the level was influenced by chemical and biological forces. They found that the gas plays a crucial role in climate change, so that the rising level could gravely affect our future.

 

 Beginning with work by Joseph Fourier in the 1820s, scientists had understood that gases in the atmosphere might trap the heat received from the Sun. As Fourier put it, energy in the form of visible light from the Sun easily penetrates the atmosphere to reach the surface and heat it up, but heat cannot so easily escape back into space. For the air absorbs invisible heat rays (“infrared radiation”) rising from the surface. The warmed air radiates some of the energy back down to the surface, helping it stay warm. This was the effect that would later be called, by an inaccurate analogy, the "greenhouse effect." The equations and data available to 19th-century scientists were far too poor to allow an accurate calculation. Yet the physics was straightforward enough to show that a bare, airless rock at the Earth's distance from the Sun should be far colder than the Earth actually is.

https://history.aip.org/climate/co2.htm

 

 

 the forgotten co-discoverer of climate science

John Tyndall discovered the greenhouse effect in 1859

John Tyndall set out to find whether there was in fact any gas in the atmosphere that could trap heat rays. In 1859, his careful laboratory work identified several gases that did just that. The most important was simple water vapor (H2O). Also effective were carbon dioxide (CO2), although in the atmosphere the gas is only a few parts in ten thousand, and the even rarer methane (CH4). Just as a sheet of paper will block more light than an entire pool of clear water, so a trace of CO2 or CH4 could strongly affect the transmission of heat radiation through the atmospheree. 

https://history.aip.org/climate/co2.htm#S1

jerrym

In another example of how quickly things are changing for the oil companies, in the same week that a Dutch court ruled that Shell must cut its emissions by 45%  and Exxon Mobil had shareholders led by institutional investors elect two members recommended by climate change activists to the corporation's board of directors with an underlying message to management that if nothing changes the whole board could change, 61% of Chevron shareholders "to cut emissions generated by the use of the company's products, a move that underscores growing investor push at energy companies to reduce their carbon footprint."

A Chevron gas station sign is seen in Del Mar, California, April 25, 2013. Chevron will report earnings on April 26. REUTERS/Mike Blake

 

Shareholders voted 61% in favor of the proposal to cut so called "Scope 3" emissions, according to a preliminary count announced by Chevron at its annual general meeting.

Although the proposal does not require Chevron to set a target of how much it needs to cut emissions or by when, the overwhelming support for it shows growing investor frustration with companies, which, they believe, are not doing enough to tackle climate change.

Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N), Chevron's closest rival, lost two director seats to Engine No. 1, a tiny activist hedge fund, which holds a stake barely worth $50 million in a company, whose market value is $250 billion. ...

A Dutch court on Wednesday also ordered European oil major Shell (RDSa.L) to significantly deepen planned greenhouse gas emission cuts, a landmark ruling that could pave the way for legal action against energy companies around the world. 

Oil and gas companies have long argued that they have little control over how their products are used, but with rising investor pressure they are forced to find new ways to cut emissions and fall in line with global climate change pledges. U.S. President Joe Biden has pledged to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

Chevron shareholders approved the slate of directors and executive pay by 96% and 94% votes, respectively, although they voted heavily in favor of other proposals Chevron had opposed.

One proposal, which called on Chevron to prepare a report on the impact its business would have from the net zero 2050 scenario, was narrowly defeated with about 48% votes in favor of it.

Another proposal demanding the company report more information on its lobbying activities also received about 48% votes.

Chevron has pledged to limit carbon emissions that contribute to climate change, but has not set long-term targets to achieve net zero as many European oil companies have done.

https://www.reuters.com/business/energy/chevron-shareholders-approve-pro...

jerrym

Having failed to deal with global warming for more than a century, the Suzuki Foundation warns that our road map for dealing with it now and in the coming years will be very difficult. However, as the picture belows implies, we are watching the sunset of the fossil fuel industry. However, through the $15 billion in subsidies to the fossil fuel companies, the $18 billion Trans Mountain pipeline and purchase and constrution costs, the granting of new oil field exploration permits for offshore Newfoundland oil that have resulted in two wells showing an new oil field etcetera, the Trudeau government pushes fossil fuel development at the same time it declares a climate change emergency.

The question is whether it will also be the sunset of civilization.

 Zbynek Burival/Unsplash

Thirty-three years ago, NASA scientist James Hansen told a U.S. congressional committee the agency was 99 per cent certain a global warming trend was not natural, but caused by a buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, mainly from burning fossil fuels.

"Global warming has reached a level such that we can ascribe with a high degree of confidence a cause and effect relationship between the greenhouse effect and observed warming," Hansen said, adding, "It is already happening now."

George Woodwell, director of the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts, testified that wide-scale forest destruction would speed the warming, as dying forests release stored carbon dioxide.

It's shocking that so many people decided the best course would be to shrug and carry on as usual in the face of dire, compelling statements from scientists who thoroughly examined the problem -- not to mention evidence building since Joseph Fourier's discoveries in the 1820s to a U.S. National Academy of Sciences report in 1977 and congressional hearings on climate in the early 1980s held by Rep. Al Gore (later senator, then vice-president). There was talk but little action.

Now all those warnings are reality: rapidly escalating temperatures, rising sea levels, increasing extreme weather events and more. More than 30 years after Hansen's testimony, we're in crisis because industry and governments failed to act. ...

A new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) notes that a growing number of governments worldwide are pledging to zero out emissions over the coming decades. "But the pledges by governments to date -- even if fully achieved -- fall well short of what is required to bring global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions to net zero by 2050 and give the world an even chance of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5 °C."

One silver lining in "Net Zero by 2050: A Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector" is its finding that reducing, capturing and neutralizing emissions will benefit human prosperity and well-being beyond simply slowing global heating -- although it warns the path "is narrow and requires an unprecedented transformation of how energy is produced, transported and used globally."

Following recommendations from the report's "more than 400 milestones" would create "millions of jobs in clean energy, including energy efficiency, as well as in the engineering, manufacturing and construction industries," an IEA release said. The report stresses governments must minimize hardships for people and communities affected by the energy transition, with regional aid, retraining and locating clean energy infrastructure near affected communities to maintain jobs.

Measures such as providing electricity and clean cooking solutions to those who lack them would bring major health benefits by cutting pollution and could prevent 2.5 million premature deaths a year.

But it means getting off fossil fuels -- quickly. Unwillingness to start the transition when we first became aware of the need means we have no time left to lose. The report finds fossil-fuel use must fall from four-fifths of energy supply today to around one-fifth in 2050, and that demand will continue to plummet. There's no place for new coal, oil or gas development, including pipelines. Remaining fossil fuels must be "used in goods where the carbon is embodied in the product such as plastics, in facilities fitted with carbon capture, and in sectors where low-emissions technology options are scarce."

The immediate goals are to rapidly phase out coal power and internal combustion engine vehicles and halt new oil and gas development.

The report notes most CO2 reductions through to 2030 can be made using available technologies but that "in 2050, almost half the reductions come from technologies that are currently at the demonstration or prototype phase." Electricity must "play a key role across all sectors, from transport and buildings to industry."

The road map shows that by 2050, 90 per cent of global electricity generation could come from renewable sources, 70 per cent from solar photovoltaic and wind. A David Suzuki Foundation study also foundgetting to net zero means electrifying just about everything: cars, buses, trucks, home and building heat pumps, industrial furnaces and more.

The era of coal, oil and gas is over.

https://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/david-suzuki/2021/05/energy-road-map-ch...

jerrym

The International Energy Agency has laid out a map for a transition to renewable energy. Will we take it?

The pathway involves moving away from fossil fuels with low cost producers being the main suppliers during the transition. Canada is not a low cost fossil fuel producer and also has high emission levels from its oil sands, which means we should be one of the first countries to complete the transition. However, the Trudeau government continues to subsidize the fossil fuel industry and allow exploration for a new oil field off Newfoundland. 

Shutterstock 727265002Solar energy: part of the path out of fossil fuel dependency

The world has a viable pathway to building a global energy sector with net-zero emissions in 2050, but it is narrow and requires an unprecedented transformation of how energy is produced, transported and used globally, the International Energy Agency said in a landmark special report released today.

Climate pledges by governments to date – even if fully achieved – would fall well short of what is required to bring global energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to net zero by 2050 and give the world an even chance of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5 °C, according to the new report, Net Zero by 2050: a Roadmap for the Global Energy Sector.

The report is the world’s first comprehensive study of how to transition to a net zero energy system by 2050 while ensuring stable and affordable energy supplies, providing universal energy access, and enabling robust economic growth. It sets out a cost-effective and economically productive pathway, resulting in a clean, dynamic and resilient energy economy dominated by renewables like solar and wind instead of fossil fuels. The report also examines key uncertainties, such as the roles of bioenergy, carbon capture and behavioural changes in reaching net zero.

“Our Roadmap shows the priority actions that are needed today to ensure the opportunity of net-zero emissions by 2050 – narrow but still achievable – is not lost. The scale and speed of the efforts demanded by this critical and formidable goal – our best chance of tackling climate change and limiting global warming to 1.5 °C – make this perhaps the greatest challenge humankind has ever faced,” said Fatih Birol, the IEA Executive Director. “The IEA’s pathway to this brighter future brings a historic surge in clean energy investment that creates millions of new jobs and lifts global economic growth. Moving the world onto that pathway requires strong and credible policy actions from governments, underpinned by much greater international cooperation.”  ...

In the near term, the report describes a net zero pathway that requires the immediate and massive deployment of all available clean and efficient energy technologies, combined with a major global push to accelerate innovation. The pathway calls for annual additions of solar PV to reach 630 gigawatts by 2030, and those of wind power to reach 390 gigawatts. Together, this is four times the record level set in 2020. For solar PV, it is equivalent to installing the world’s current largest solar park roughly every day. A major worldwide push to increase energy efficiency is also an essential part of these efforts, resulting in the global rate of energy efficiency improvements averaging 4% a year through 2030 – about three times the average over the last two decades.

Most of the global reductions in CO2 emissions between now and 2030 in the net zero pathway come from technologies readily available today. But in 2050, almost half the reductions come from technologies that are currently only at the demonstration or prototype phase. This demands that governments quickly increase and reprioritise their spending on research and development – as well as on demonstrating and deploying clean energy technologies – putting them at the core of energy and climate policy. Progress in the areas of advanced batteries, electrolysers for hydrogen, and direct air capture and storage can be particularly impactful.

A transition of such scale and speed cannot be achieved without sustained support and participation from citizens, whose lives will be affected in multiple ways. “The clean energy transition is for and about people,” said Dr Birol. “Our Roadmap shows that the enormous challenge of rapidly transitioning to a net zero energy system is also a huge opportunity for our economies. The transition must be fair and inclusive, leaving nobody behind." ...

Providing electricity to around 785 million people who have no access to it and clean cooking solutions to 2.6 billion people who lack them is an integral part of the Roadmap’s net zero pathway. This costs around $40 billion a year, equal to around 1% of average annual energy sector investment. It also brings major health benefits through reductions in indoor air pollution, cutting the number of premature deaths by 2.5 million a year.

Total annual energy investment surges to USD 5 trillion by 2030 in the net zero pathway, adding an extra 0.4 percentage points a year to global GDP growth, based on a joint analysis with the International Monetary Fund. The jump in private and government spending creates millions of jobs in clean energy, including energy efficiency, as well as in the engineering, manufacturing and construction industries. All of this puts global GDP 4% higher in 2030 than it would reach based on current trends.

By 2050, the energy world looks completely different. Global energy demand is around 8% smaller than today, but it serves an economy more than twice as big and a population with 2 billion more people. Almost 90% of electricity generation comes from renewable sources, with wind and solar PV together accounting for almost 70%. Most of the remainder comes from nuclear power. Solar is the world’s single largest source of total energy supply. Fossil fuels fall from almost four-fifths of total energy supply today to slightly over one-fifth. Fossil fuels that remain are used in goods where the carbon is embodied in the product such as plastics, in facilities fitted with carbon capture, and in sectors where low-emissions technology options are scarce. ...

New energy security challenges will emerge on the way to net zero by 2050 while longstanding ones will remain, even as the role of oil and gas diminishes. The contraction of oil and natural gas production will have far-reaching implications for all the countries and companies that produce these fuels. No new oil and natural gas fields are needed in the net zero pathway, and supplies become increasingly concentrated in a small number of low-cost producers. OPEC’s share of a much-reduced global oil supply grows from around 37% in recent years to 52% in 2050, a level higher than at any point in the history of oil markets.

https://www.iea.org/news/pathway-to-critical-and-formidable-goal-of-net-...

jerrym

A new study of 732 cities in 43 countries worldwide concludes that 37% of heat-induced deaths are the result of climate change. There is enormous variation in the percentages, but in some third world countries near the equator, such as Ecuador and Columbia, the percentage of climate change heat-induced deaths reaches as high as 76%. Even in a more northerly city like New York there is a significant impact in the number of deaths induced by climate change. The study also warns that situation is much worse than previously expected and will only get worse. 

 

In this Friday, June 26, 2015 file photo, mourners attend a funeral for unclaimed people who died of extreme weather, in Karachi, Pakistan, after a devastating heat wave. Photo by: Associated Press/Shakil Adil 

Over the last three decades, human-induced global warming has caused more than one-third of all heat-related deaths. The finding, published in Nature Climate Change, looked at deaths between 1991 and 2018 from 43 countries around the world. On average 37 percent of all deaths in which heat played a role are attributable to the effects of the climate crisis. ...

There is huge variation in terms of macro-regions and specific localities, with many places having much higher rates. The highest percentages where heat-related deaths were attributed to climate change were South America and Southeast Asia. In Ecuador and Colombia, for example, it was up to 76 percent. There Is also huge variation in major cities. Santiago de Chile and New York City experienced similar percentages, experiencing an additional 136 and 144 heat-related deaths per year.

Global warming affects human health in multiple ways. Making people more susceptible to getting ill and dying due to heat is just one of them. To differentiate the heat-related deaths due to climate change from other factors, the team looked at scenarios for weather conditions in which there has not been any anthropogenic global warming as well as how greenhouse emissions impacted the actual climate. Armed with that, the team was able to distinguish the extra impact that climate change has brought.  

"We expect the proportion of heat-related deaths to continue to grow if we don't do something about climate change or adapt. So far, the average global temperature has only increased by about 1°C, which is a fraction of what we could face if emissions continue to grow unchecked," lead author Dr Ana M. Vicedo-Cabrera from the University of Bern said in a statement.

The study's findings suggest that the climate crisis is already affecting humanity more than realized, or acknowledged, and more ambition is required by global governments to mitigate global warming. Better public health measures also need to be put in place to minimize the increased risks that people are experiencing due to the anthropogenic climate crisis.

The study provides some important insights but the researchers acknowledge its limitation as it only included a small number of countries and had limited data on large areas of Africa and South Asia where the impact of the climate crisis has already been devastating in many other ways.

"This is the largest detection and attribution study on current health risks of climate change. The message is clear: climate change will not just have devastating impacts in the future, but every continent is already experiencing the dire consequences of human activities on our planet," senior author Professor Antonio Gasparrini from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said. "We must act now."

https://www.iflscience.com/environment/humaninduced-global-warming-cause...

jerrym

A new report by  the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices concludes that global warming will have a major impact not only on our environment and economy, but on our health. Therefore our governments need to prepare now for the coming changes, in order to avoid the disastrous failure that happened with the virtually non-existent preparation for a pandemic that every health expert warned was coming at some point and that manifested itself with the arrival of Covid 19. As with Covid, the Trudeau Liberal government has done very little in this regard.

As usual those who are precariously housed or homeless are most likely to suffer the most for failure to prepare. One obvious way of reducing the number of deaths from global warming is to increase the amount of government funding for housing to reduce the risk of heat death to the precariously housed and homeless. 

Climate change threatens health as well as economics and the environment, and in the decades ahead, could cost Canada’s health-care system billions of dollars. That is the verdict of a new report from the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices, which found the changing climate will worsen pre-existing health conditions and strain the health-care system unless governments take significant action. It also found, as with COVID-19, the most vulnerable parts of the population will be disproportionately affected.

The pandemic has showcased the significance of public health measures and highlighted how the more disadvantaged someone is, the more vulnerable they are to COVID-19, said Ian Culbert, executive director of the Canadian Public Health Association.

“What is true for COVID-19, is true for climate change. Climate change is a public health emergency and must be treated as such,” he said. “This report underscores the importance of governments investing today in proactive initiatives to protect people’s health and well-being.”

As an example, lead researcher Dylan Clark said people who are precariously housed or homeless are more vulnerable to heat. They are also more likely to have problems accessing adequate health care as climate change worsens.

Outside of demographics, Clark and his team focused on three key health impacts and analyzed how projected emissions might affect them: they looked at how air quality, increased cases of Lyme disease and hotter temperatures will all have a significant effect on people’s health.

The report says air quality, particularly smog, could cause more than 250,000 people per decade to be hospitalized or die prematurely and could cost the health-care system $250 billion per year. They measured how respiratory illness, specifically asthma, could increase, and how many hospital visits might be associated with the uptick.

Clark says warmer weather will lead to an increase in the number of ticks in more places across the country. The cost of Lyme disease is less certain and won’t compare to other climate-related health costs. However, it is predicted the number of cases will rise from the current 600 annually to 8,500 by 2050. The once-rare disease could end up costing the health-care system $3 million per year. ...

Heat-related deaths are another part of the puzzle.

Clark says by mid-century, costs associated with heat-related deaths could rise to between $3 billion and $3.9 billion per year. And while that is a large sum, it may pale in comparison to the costs incurred by people whose mental health is deteriorating, the report stated.

“What we've seen in terms of impacts from disasters, whether it's the Fort McMurray wildfire or floods in Ontario and Quebec, is that those big events can have dramatic impacts on the health and the mental health of communities that experience them, as well as first responders and everybody that's responding to those incidents,” Clark said. “But we also know that some of the ... longer-term, slower-burn impacts, like ecosystem shifts, can also have pretty dramatic impacts on mental health and well-being.

Like mental health, other values, such as the loss of traditional food sources for Indigenous communities and increased food insecurity, are harder to quantify. However, Clark says that doesn’t make them less important — they’re still critical to health.

Eric J. Mang, co-chair of the Canadian Coalition for Public Health in the 21st Century, and Clark agree health adaptation policy could help offset some of the costs related to climate change. More investment in housing, for example, could reduce heat-related deaths. ...

Governments also need to spend money researching the health risks of climate change. It’s also essential they address the root causes, said Mang.

“The scientific consensus is clear: Without rapid mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions, the public health effects will only intensify in the years to come. Fortunately, many of the policies needed to fight climate change could also produce health benefits, reduce health-care costs, and improve social cohesion and equity in our communities,” said Mang.

“This report underscores that climate change disproportionately harms the most disadvantaged populations. Policymakers must consider options that have a triple aim of reducing the impact of climate change, improving health outcomes, and reducing health inequities.”

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/06/03/news/climate-change-set-cost...

jerrym

Oil companies and corporatists like Bill Gates are looking to geoengineering as a solution as a solution to our global warming problems. Gates and Warren Buffett have ties to geoengineering and fossil fuel companies operating in the Alberta oil sands. 

Geoengineering is being fought by the indigenous Saami people of northern Scandinavia and the United States.  Of course, it would be a disaster, not only because it won't work, but because it would take our focus off what is essential - greatly reducing greenhouse gas emssions, which is exactly what the fossil fuel industry wants. Fortunately, they have not got much traction, so far. 

 Mikael Häggström/Wikimedia Commons

The halo on Bill Gates has been noticeably slipping in recent months, and on March 31 it threatened to take a nosedive. That was the date Sweden's space agency acknowledged that it had cancelled and withdrawn from a solar geoengineering test in which Gates has a major stake. The test's ultimate goal is to dim the sun to counter the heat-trapping effects of carbon dioxide.

The first step in the project -- proposed by Harvard University researchers and largely funded by Gates -- had been scheduled to take place this month, but strong opposition from Sweden's Indigenous peoples and environmental groups stopped the test.

The Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment -- SCoPEx for short -- is on hold for now, but its first phase intends to release various aerosols from a balloon-gondola rig 12 miles high. The particles would cover the equivalent of 11 football fields and test their ability to block the sun by mimicking a continuous volcanic eruption. Ultimately, the goal is to release tonnes of sulphur dioxide particles -- sulphates -- into the stratosphere to deflect sunlight and cool the Earth. ...

The June test would not have released any particles, and was intended only to test the rig's technologies. But the test site was to be Kiruna, near the Arctic Circle, which is the Saami people's homeland. 

The Saami Council sent a February 24 letter to the SCoPEx Advisory Committee opposing not only the experiment, but the entire premise of solar geoengineering. The letter was co-signed by the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, Friends of the Earth Sweden, and Greenpeace Sweden.

Asa Larsson-Blind, the Saami Council's Swedish vice-president, explained:

"Solar geoengineering violates the worldview of the Saami people, and goes against the urgent action we need to transform to zero-carbon societies that are in harmony with nature. We welcome SSC's [Swedish space agency] decision to stop the balloon flight planned for Saami lands in Kiruna, but the existential risks of this geoengineering technology disqualify it from ever being advanced -- whether here or elsewhere."

Johanna Sandahl, president of the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation, said solar geoengineering has "the potential for extreme consequences that could alter hydrological cycles, disrupt monsoon patterns, and increase drought" across the planet.

Jim Thomas, research director at the Ottawa-based eco-justice ETC Group, says:

"This is at least the third time that SCoPEx has been halted on Indigenous territory. First in New Mexico, then Arizona and now Sweden. Other geoengineering schemes on Indigenous homelands in the Arctic and around the Pacific Rim have also met clear opposition." ...

The Saami and their allies also took aim at the Harvard-appointed advisory committee itself, stating:

"We find it remarkable that the project has gone so far as to establish an agreement with [the Swedish space agency] on test flying without, as we understand, having applied for any permits or entered into any dialogue with either the Swedish government, its authorities, the Swedish research community, Swedish civil society, or the Saami people, despite the controversial nature of SCoPEx …It is noteworthy that Harvard University considers it reasonable for a committee whose role it is to decide whether this controversial project should go ahead, to not have any representation from the intended host country, Sweden. Instead, the committee is composed of almost exclusively U.S. citizens and/or residents."

In August 2008, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates -- two of the richest men in the world -- took a surprise tour of the tar sands. Much of the business press made it seem as though this was just another celebrity tour of the region.

But in fact, both Buffett and Gates were already financially involved in the region. Buffett had been busily buying up shares in the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway, which since 2006 had been moving diluents -- diluting agents necessary for mixing with tar sands bitumen -- from U.S. refineries in the Gulf Coast, California and Kansas to the Canadian border where they are handed over to CN Rail for shipment to the tar sands. ...

For his part, Gates -- major shareholder in CN Rail since 2000 -- had been buying up more CN Rail shares and more railways in preparation for transporting oil-by-rail for export.

During their 2008 tar sands tour, Buffett and Gates were hosted by fellow billionaire N. Murray Edwards' tar sands company Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. and they toured its $9.3-billion Horizon site north of Fort McMurray.

Later, both Edwards and Gates (and then Chevron) invested in a Calgary-based geoengineering company called Carbon Engineering, whose president and majority owner is David Keith. Carbon Engineering is developing an industrial-scale technology to trap carbon dioxide directly from the air and into a water-based solvent -- a process that the Washington Post described in 2012 as potentially using so much water that it would "be depriving 53 million people of water" annually. ...

In their October 2020 article entitled "The Sugar Daddy of Geoengineering," researchers Dru Jay and Silvia Ribeiro noted that "[g]eoengineering is the fossil fuel industry's final escape hatch -- its only chance to keep on extracting and burning" fossil fuels long into the future." They add that "Gates is not a disinterested observer" but holds a "very significant stake in the continued expansion of the fossil fuel industry." Jay and Ribeiro estimate that in 2019 alone, Gates received about US$190 million from CN's oil-by-rail exports, with his CN Rail shares worth more than $10 billion.

https://rabble.ca/news/2021/06/solar-geoengineering-threat-planet-not-so...

jerrym

Environmental and indigenous protesters are continuing to blockade the construction of a new Enbridge Line 3 pipeline that carries tar sands oil from Alberta to Manitoba and onward to North Dakota, Minnesta and Wisconsin. Thanks to the Trudeau Liberals the doubling of this pipeline's capacity has already occurred between Alberta and Manitoba, while indigenous and environmental groups have held it up for a while in court in the US and now are blockading construction in Minnesota.

Once again Trudeau's promised cut in greenhouse gas emissions are betrayed by his actions, carrying on a Liberal tradition that dates back to Chretien's Kyoto Accord promises in 1997 and later to the Martin government's actions. 

People walk around a construction site.

Activists occupy construction equipment at the Two Inlets pump station in Minnesota Monday.

Protesters fighting a Canadian-based Enbridge company’s push to replace an aging oil pipeline across northern Minnesota maintained a blockade at a pump station Tuesday as part of a summer drive to stop the project before it can go into service.

Two protesters spent the night in a boat blocking the entrance to the construction site, while one was underneath, tucked in behind duffel bags, beach chairs, water bottles and clothing. A Hubbard County sheriff’s deputy and a handful of private security guards stood by.

The pumping station near Park Rapids was a major focus of protests Monday, with some people chaining themselves to construction equipment before police made arrests. Law enforcement officials planned to release arrest figures later Tuesday. Some activist groups put the number at over 100.

Environmental and tribal groups say Enbridge Energy’s  plan to replace Line 3 would worsen climate change and risk spills in sensitive areas where Native Americans harvest wild rice, hunt, fish, gather medicinal plants, and claim treaty rights. The line would cross the Mississippi River while carrying Canadian tar sands oil and regular crude from Alberta to Wisconsin.

Enbridge says the original pipeline – built in the 1960s – is deteriorating and can run at only about half its original capacity. It says the new line, made from stronger steel, will better protect the environment while restoring its capacity and ensuring reliable deliveries to U.S. refineries Protesters said the Treaty People Gathering was the largest show of resistance yet to the project. They also rallied Monday at the headwaters of the Mississippi, roughly 20 minutes away, chanting “Stop Line 3!” and “Water is life!” ...

Calgary-based Enbridge this month began a final construction push on Line 3, which clips a corner of North Dakota on its way across northern Minnesota to Enbridge’s terminal in Superior, Wisconsin. The Canadian and Wisconsin replacement segments are already carrying oil.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/industry-news/energy-and-resour...

jerrym

Here's more on the Line 3  pipeline protests aimed at stopping the Trudeau government's goal of doubling the pipeline's capacity to carry tarsands oil from Alberta to Manitoba, which is already completed, and onward to North Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. 

People surround a person laying on a machine.
 

People surround a person laying on a machine. A group of activists sit under a shade as two others sit locked to a piece of construction equipment at the pump station Monday.

For several years now, environmental and tribal groups battling the Line 3 oil pipeline have fought the project in front of state regulators, in the courts and on the streets.

They've dotted the route with resistance camps, and they've chained themselves to branches of banks with ties to the project.

Their opposition so far hasn't stopped the pipeline. Enbridge Energy says it is more than halfway through building the $4 billion project across northern Minnesota.

“To see people engaging in personal risk like this, and to see so many young people and folks of all walks of life, it's so beautiful and powerful,” said Tara Houska, founder of the Giniw Collective, one of dozens of groups that organized the week’s actions. “It's an incredible moment.”

The Indigenous-led, multiday event, called the Treaty People Gathering, began over the weekend and is expected to reach into the week, with prayer, marches and direct action. 

Organizers say they hope to draw attention to the fight against the pipeline that they argue will exacerbate climate change and threaten the waters of treaty lands in northern Minnesota.  Their goal is to push the Biden administration to stop the Line 3 project, as it did the Keystone XL pipeline.

“Without direct action, and people engaging in personal risk,” Houska said, “the pressure just isn't there.” ...

Enbridge is replacing its current Line 3 oil pipeline, which is corroding and requires extensive maintenance, with a new pipe along a different route across northern Minnesota that will be able to carry about twice as much oil as the current line. ...

This type of protest has several goals, she said. 

"One is to to shut it down to shut down work, which we've successfully done,” the woman said, “and to cost Enbridge time and money and to raise a lot of awareness about the urgency of stopping this pipeline and get as much attention drawn to it as we can."

https://www.mprnews.org/story/2021/06/08/line-3-opponents-occupy-enbridg...

jerrym

The Keystone XL pipeline is officially dead after the company behind the controversial pipeline, TC Energy, and the Kenney Conservative Alberta government officially abandoned the project today that would have stretched between Canada and the United States. Kenney's reckless folly in providing money to try to complete the project in the face of Biden's threats to shut it down, will cost Albertan taxpayers at least $1.3 billion.

However, it is also another sign of the futility of Canada proceeding down the fossil fuel trail believing there will be a pot of gold at the end when what it would have produced is an increase in greenhouse gas emissions that threaten the entire world and a mountain of debt as the world increasingly turns away from oil, gas and coal. 

Jason-Kenney-Tyee-Apr21-2020.jpg
Like Jason Kenney, Albertans have been stripped naked of their money by investing in the Keystone XL pipeline

The final cost to Albertans for the Keystone XL pipeline will be about $1.3 billion as the provincial government and TC Energy announced the official termination of the project Wednesday.  "We invested in Keystone XL because of the long-term economic benefits it would have provided Albertans and Canadians," said Energy Minister Sonya Savage in a news release. 

The Alberta government agreed last year to invest about $1.5 billion as equity in the project, plus billions more in loan guarantees in order to get the pipeline moving.  As a result, the Canadian leg of the project had been under construction for several months with around 1,000 workers in southeast Alberta.

If completed, the 1,897-kilometre pipeline, first announced in 2005, would have carried 830,000 barrels of crude a day from the oilsands in Hardisty, Alta., to Nebraska. It would then connect with the original Keystone that runs to U.S. refineries on the Gulf Coast. ...

That investment vaporized when the Biden administration in the U.S. cancelled the permit for the project on its first day in office.  TC Energy and the province said they would look at their options in the wake of the cancellation, but TC Energy said the pipeline extension was officially dead as of Wednesday. The company said in a news release that it will continue to co-ordinate with regulators, stakeholders and Indigenous groups to meet its environmental and regulatory commitments and ensure a safe termination of and exit from the project. 

Previously, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said the government would work with TC Energy to "to use all legal avenues available to protect its interest in the project."

On Wednesday, Kenney said Alberta would continue to work with its U.S. partners to ensure that the province is equipped to meet U.S. energy demands. "We remain disappointed and frustrated with the circumstances surrounding the Keystone XL project, including the cancellation of the presidential permit for the pipeline's border crossing," he said in a statement.

Keystone's demise follows cancellations of Northern Gateway and Enbridge Inc.'s Energy Eastand a delay in Trans Mountain, which the Canadian government bought in 2019 for $4.5 billion from Kinder Morgan.

In a release, Alberta's Opposition NDP called for the premier to release the full contents of the pipeline deal. "Today's loss is another example of how Jason Kenney has failed our energy sector. From his embarrassing war room to his overdue and over-budget inquiry, he's failed to create jobs," said Calgary-Mountain View MLA and NDP energy critic Kathleen Ganley in the release. "Now, his mismanagement and complete incompetence on this file has cost the people of Alberta north of $1 billion."

Environmentalists who had fought the project since it was first announced in 2008 described its cancellation as a "landmark moment" in the effort to curb the use of fossil fuels that contribute to climate change. "Good riddance to Keystone XL," said Jared Margolis with the Center for Biological Diversity, one of many environmental groups that sued to stop it. While some Indigenous groups opposed the pipeline, one participated in oil and gas development as a solution to poverty on reserves.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/keystone-xl-termination-1.6059683

jerrym

In addition to Jason Kenney officially giving up the ghost today on the Keystone XL pipeline after blowing at least $1.3 billion on it in a futile effort to overcome Biden's refusal to allow its construction, the Trans Mountain pipeline is also facing major problems. Besides its exorbitant costs, starting with the gross overpayment of $4.4 billion by the Trudeau Liberal government for a Kinder Morgan pipeline the company wanted to abandon because it saw no way of making a profit from it, researchers "at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby recently published ... found the project could cost Canadians upwards of $18 billion ... concluded that Canadians will lose an estimated $11.9 billion from the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion. " (https://www.burnabynow.com/local-news/trans-mountain-could-lose-119-bill...)

Last week, a fourth insurance compay backed out of insuring the pipeline even though the Canadian Energy Regulator promised to keep the insurance companies names from the public as Trans Mountain's problems continue to grow (https://www.burnabynow.com/local-news/trans-mountain-could-lose-119-bill...). Trans Mountain now admits it is having trouble finding insurers even as its insurance premiums grow. Trans Mountain is increasingly becoming a financial boondoggle, in addition to the environmental disaster in the offing. Trudeau's purchase is becoming a Frankenstein monster. 

The end of the article explains the major role indigenous people are playing in fighting Trans Mountain. 

Web Editorial cartoon May 22 2018

Justin Trudeau tries to plug Trans Mountain financial losses

Following pressure from Indigenous and climate activists, Trans Mountain insurer Argo Group is slashing ties with the Crown corporation.

Argo Group’s decision to drop Trans Mountain comes on the heels of two other insurers, Munich Re and Talanx, refusing to insure the pipeline last June, and lead insurer Zurich Insurance Group severing ties in July. 

“This type of project is not currently within Argo's risk appetite,” Argo spokesperson David Snowden said in an email. Snowden confirmed Argo also considers the Trans Mountain Expansion project, which would carry 590,000 barrels a day from the oilsands to British Columbia, too risky but did not say why.

Argo was on the cusp of tremendous pressure from Washington, D.C.-headquartered non-profit Public Citizen. Late last month, climate campaign co-ordinator Elise Peterson-Trujillo wrote to Snowden with an ultimatum.

“As Argo Group has not yet made any such commitments to rule out Trans Mountain or tar sands more broadly, I am writing to let you know that you are currently on the list of targets for an upcoming week of action that is spotlighting the insurance backers of the Trans Mountain pipeline,” they wrote. ...

“If Argo publicly states — by June 4, 2021 — that it will rule out insurance services for the existing Trans Mountain pipeline and the pipeline expansion for 2021-2022 and in perpetuity thereafter, then we will ensure that you are no longer a target for the global week of action,” they added.

The Canada Energy Regulator (CER) recently gave Trans Mountain the go-ahead to shield its list of insurers from the public for this reason. Trans Mountain argued if it could not keep its insurers private going forward, “targeting and pressure” could result in a “material loss” to the company and “prejudice the competitive position of its insurers.”

Further, Trans Mountain warned in a letter to the CER that in 2020 it had a “significant reduction” in available insurance and paid “significantly higher” premiums to cover the gaps. In other words, there are fewer insurers willing to back the project, which could make it more difficult to secure the $1 billion worth of coverage, lines of credit, or cash on hand, it requires to operate. ...

West Coast Environmental Law staff lawyer Eugene Kung said there is a growing trend in the insurance industry to re-evaluate projects with significant environmental risk because the way the insurance business model works is breaking down.  “The insurance model is to use historical data and claims history to try to forecast and project forward and capture the risk that way,” Kung explained. “But when it comes to climate and climate-related incidents, what we're seeing, as was predicted, is that they're happening more frequently and more severely as time goes on.”

Kung said the strategy against fossil fuels isn’t to make it more expensive for companies by introducing risks, but rather for the longstanding risks to finally be recognized. “The fundamental part of this challenge is that oil and gas has been priced at the cost of extraction rather than the cost to society, that's at the crux of the climate crisis,” he said.

For Tiny House Warriors co-founder and Secwepemc and Ktunaxa land defender Kanahus Manuel, Argo cutting its ties with Trans Mountain is a relief. “When my father was alive he was really spearheading the resistance against the insurance companies, because we were all fighting and resisting in different ways,” she said. Manuel’s father is Arthur Manuel, the prominent Indigenous leader and activist who wrote The Reconciliation Manifesto and Unsettling Canada and started the Indigenous Network on Economies and Trade organization. 

“He says when you go to these international bodies, you walk in like you're the owner of 180,000 square kilometres of land, because that's what you are,” she said.  That title to the land is “where the risk starts to come” in, because you’re changing an “outdated system” where “companies can come in and plow through Indigenous Peoples and their rights,” she said.

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/06/04/news/trans-mountain-just-los...

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

Maybe the Feds and Alberta can call the money wasted on Trans Mountain Pipeline an equalization payment to the province and make Jason Kenney stop yapping about how hard done by Alberta is done by the federation and constitution.

jerrym

The Alberta NDP is calling for an investigation into why the Kenney Alberta government poured $1.3 billion into the risky Keystone pipeline when they knew Biden promised to cancel it. 

Even more important is the statement  of the CEO of a Calgary-based energy-consulting firm, Duane Reid-Carlson, , recognizing the enormous problems the Alberta tarsands faces in finding customers: "What worries me more," the EDC Associated Ltd. CEO said, "is the ability for the oil and gas industries in Alberta to continue to expand with these kinds of headwinds. (It) really kind of spells doom and gloom for the economic prosperity and growth of Alberta," he added. "We can't get our products to market. You can't fight the U.S. government." 

Continuing to bet on fossil fuels not only makes on environmental sense, it makes no economic sense. 

Dutch boy Jason Kenney deals with global oil glut. (Cartoon by Malcolm Mayes)

Dutch boy Jason Kenney deals with global oil glut

Alberta's official opposition leader Rachel Notley is calling for an independent review of the Jason Kenney government's failed Keystone XL deal.

The Alberta NDP leader declared her intentions during a news conference on Thursday afternoon. "Jason Kenney's incompetence has cost Alberta taxpayers $1.3 billion, at least," said Notley. "He made an incredibly reckless gamble with Albertans money and he lost it."  

Notley's remarks come a day after Alberta's UCP government and energy infrastructure builder TC Energy officially terminated the Keystone XL pipeline deal. ... In March of last year, Alberta committed $7.5 billion to Keystone XL, a $1.5 billion investment and $6 billion in backstop loans.

https://edmonton.ctvnews.ca/alberta-ndp-calling-for-independent-investig...

Edzell Edzell's picture

Good grief.

jerrym

I've taken the question from the end of the article below concerning the doubling of the Line 3 pipeline capacity that Trudeau sanctioned from Alberta to Manitoba and onward to North Dakota, Minnesota, and Wisconsin that is now being blockaded by thousands of indigenous people and environmentalists and replaced Biden's name with Trudeau because both are involved in not moving fast enough to transition out of fossil fuels, but Biden is certainly doing more than Trudeau, who had the lowest G7 greenhouse emission reduction targets this year and who has promoted the building of the Trans Mountain, Keystone, Line 3, Line 5, Energy East and the exploration for a new oilfield off Newfoundland that this year has resulted in two test wells hitting oil. "How many water protectors have to be arrested before world leaders, Prime Minister Trudeau paramount among them, seriously commit to a rapid, just transition off of our addiction to fossil fuels? How dangerously high must the concentration of carbon dioxide rise in our shared atmosphere?"

Climate activists and Indigenous community members march in Solway, Minnesota.

Climate activists and Indigenous community members march in Solway, Minnesota. Photograph: Kerem Yucel/AFP/Getty Images

Enbridge Line 3, a pipeline currently under construction, designed to carry almost one million barrels of tar sands oil daily from Canada into the U.S. Line 3's intended route passes through Indigenous lands in Northern Minnesota, crossing scores of rivers and streams, wetlands, and through wild rice beds.

Two hundred is the approximate number of water protectors arrested on June 7, during the largest act of nonviolent civil disobedience against Line 3 construction to date. An Indigenous women-led mobilization is now underway, reminiscent of the mass movement that opposed the Dakota Access Pipeline on unceded Lakota territory in 2016.

"It's a brand-new corridor through our prime territory of wild rice, our clam beds, our fish, all of our territory," Winona LaDuke, the renowned Anishinaabe activist and a leader in the fight against the pipeline, said on the Democracy Now! news hour. "We've stood and tried every process to stop this. Along with all of these other women water protectors and our tribes, we've spent seven years in the regulatory process…Now we've come to go stand, and thousands of people have come to join us."

The protests included a march of over 1,500 people to occupy the spot where Line 3 would cross the Mississippi River, very close to the famous river's headwaters. Downriver, 500 more water protectors marched on the pipeline's Twin Inlets pumping station. There, 24 activists locked themselves to heavy machinery, and another 24 locked themselves to a large motor boat on a trailer, blocking vehicle access to the site. As the hours passed, police, reportedly from 31 different jurisdictions, escalated tactics, eventually deploying a long-range acoustic device (LRAD) in an attempt to disrupt the civil disobedience. A federal customs and border patrol helicopter buzzed the protesters, kicking up sand and rocks amidst the lockdown.

"What you've got is a political, human rights and environmental crisis," LaDuke continued. "We have petitioned every federal agency, and so far we have had no response. It just seems that Joe Biden wants to see if a bunch of Indian people and older women are going to get hurt up in northern Minnesota before it's an important-enough issue for him to look at."

President Biden has the authority to block the Line 3 pipeline, so, in addition to occupying its construction path, water protectors are organizing a mass campaign to pressure the Biden administration.

Grassroots organizing works, as was demonstrated by the declaration Wednesday by TC Energy, formerly TransCanada, that it is formally abandoning its planned Keystone XL pipeline. Rescinding the permit for Keystone XL was one of Biden's first acts as president. ...

Water protectors continue to arrive at the Mississippi's headwaters. ...

How many water protectors have to be arrested before world leaders, President Biden paramount among them, seriously commit to a rapid, just transition off of our addiction to fossil fuels? How dangerously high must the concentration of carbon dioxide rise in our shared atmosphere?

https://rabble.ca/columnists/2021/06/numbers-dont-lie-counting-through-c...

jerrym

ETA: The newest hot phrase in climate change debate is "net zero greenhouse gas emissions", which sounds great. More than 100 countries, including Canada, the US, China, and the EU all say their goal is to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 or in some cases earlier as we get ready for UN climate conference in Glasgow in November.

However, some scientists see "net zero as a trap set by industrialists and governments to hoodwink the world and lambasted climate researchers for showing “cowardice” in not calling them out." Trudeau himself now says his goal is net zero emissions by 2050 at the same time he has been supporting Keystone until Biden ended it, doubling Line 3 from Alberta to Manitoba and on to the US where it is facing growing indigenous and environmentalist protests, supporting continuing Line 5 through Michigan against local opposition, pushing the Energy East pipeline until it threatened its Quebec MPs winning their ridings, proposing building another pipeline to run from Ontario to the Saguenay for export to Europe and the rest of the world until the finances collapsed, allowing exploration wells that have already tested positive twice for a new oilfield off the Newfoundland coast, providing the money to finish a oil processing plant that the company saw as unviable in Newfoundland and providing another $300 million for further exploration off Newfoundland, and being in the process of redefining greenhouse gas emissions to make them appear lower than they actually are. It sounds doing both is impossible, but selling net zero greenhouse gas emissions would allow him to claim he is doing both at the same time. 

Guess what! These scientists now warn "Current net zero policies will not keep warming to within 1.5 degrees, because they were never intended to. They were and still are driven by a need to protect business as usual.” For example Shell Oil's net zero strategy “requires a forest the size of Brazil.”

Furthermore, The International Energy Agency, which historically has supported the oil industry "now says that meeting net zero requires an immediate worldwide end to approvals of new oil and gas fields." With his pipelines and supporting of test oil wells that have already found oil in a possible new oil field off Newfoundland, Trudeau does not seem interested in stopping new fossil fuel production, but seems quite willing to promote himself as a net zero greenhouse gas emissions man.

The hope is that allowing negative emissions to balance continued CO2 emissions as part of net-zero policies will provide a safety net for industries to keep on emitting more greenhouse gases. Photo by Chris LeBoutillier / Pexels

Achieving “net zero” requires that any carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gas emissions are balanced by absorbing an equivalent amount of CO2 from the atmosphere — sometimes called negative emissions. More than 100 countries, including the biggest three emitters — China, the United States, and the European Union — have pledged to achieve net-zero targets in the coming decades. They are being applauded for finally getting a grip on climate change.

But while the net-zero strategy has united policymakers, it has divided climate scientists and activists. Some see the rush to make net-zero pledges in the run-up to Glasgow as a huge success for climate action. But in a blistering commentarylast month, a former chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Robert Watson, and two co-authors denounced net zero as a trap set by industrialists and governments to hoodwink the world and lambasted climate researchers for showing “cowardice” in not calling them out. ...

The hope is that allowing negative emissions to balance continued CO2 emissions as part of net-zero policies will provide a safety net for industries where it is technically impossible to eliminate all emissions — in aviation and agriculture, for instance. The negative emissions might be achieved by increasing CO2 take-up by forests and other ecosystems, or by using industrial chemistry to capture CO2 from the air. But some fear the safety net will become a cover for business-as-usual in highly polluting industries. ...

Watson was chair of the IPCC from 1997 until 2002, when the U.S. administration of President George W. Bush refused to nominate the former NASA climate scientist for a second term. ...

Watson and his colleagues admit to their own roles. “We admit that it deceived us,” he and fellow climate scientists James Dyke of Exeter University and Wolfgang Knorr of Lund University in Sweden wrote. But “the time has come to voice our fears and be honest with wider society… Current net zero policies will not keep warming to within 1.5 degrees, because they were never intended to. They were and still are driven by a need to protect business as usual.” ...

Watson’s stand — especially coming from a former IPCC boss — has angered some fellow researchers. In a riposte published this month, Richard Black at Imperial College London said it makes little sense to attack net zero when it is “the defining lens through which many governments, businesses, NGOs and other types of entity view decarbonization.”  ...

The IEA now says that meeting net zero requires an immediate worldwide end to approvals of new oil and gas fields — meaning all drilling for more oil or gas reserves should cease. This puts it at odds with oil giants that are promoting corporate net-zero strategies while continuing to search for more oil. 

These include Shell. Its shareholders this month endorsed a strategy for making its business net zero by 2050. But a minority protested that the strategy contravenes the IEA’s call to end all fossil-fuel expansion now. Instead, the Shell plan anticipates a 20-percent increase in gas production by 2030.

Shell’s version of achieving net zero relies heavily on investment in forest projects to offset its emissions. Several have already proved controversial. Following an analysis of the company’s net-zero strategy that they coauthored, Johan Rockstrom of the Stockholm Resilience Center and Gail Whiteman of the University of Execter said the negative emissions that Shell will need to offset its continued fossil-fuel activity “requires a forest the size of Brazil.”

Rockstrom and Whiteman call for the company to be drummed out of net-zero initiatives, such as the UN’s Race to Zero campaign, and questions its role advising the British government in the run-up to the Glasgow climate conference.

https://e360.yale.edu/features/net-zero-emissions-winning-strategy-or-de...

Geoff

A good friend of mine summed it up nicely: "2050 is not a deadline; it's an excuse".

jerrym

The scientist, Markus Rex who this year led the largest expedition ever to the Arctic has warned that we may have passed a critical tipping point with Arctic ice melting faster than ever leading to the disappearance of ice in the summer shortly with catastrophic consequences for the planet and Canada in particular because one third of the nation is in the Arctic. 

Arctic sea ice minimum 2020

Arctic sea ice minimum

Global warning may have already passed an irreversible tipping point, the scientist who led the biggest-ever expedition to the Arctic has warned.

Presenting the first findings of the world’s largest mission to the North Pole, an expedition involving 300 scientists from 20 countries, Markus Rex said on Tuesday that the researchers had found that Arctic ice is retreating faster than ever before. ...

“The disappearance of summer sea ice in the Arctic is one of the first landmines in this minefield, one of the tipping points that we set off first when we push warming too far,” he said during the presentation in Germany’s capital, Berlin. And one can essentially ask if we haven’t already stepped on this mine and already set off the beginning of the explosion.” ...

The $165m expedition returned to Germany in October after 389 days drifting through the Arctic, bringing home devastating proof of a dying Arctic Ocean and warnings of ice-free summers in just decades. It also brought back 150 terabytes of data and more than 1,000 ice samples.

The data collected during the expedition included readings on the atmosphere, ocean, sea ice and ecosystems. Rex said scientists found that the Arctic Ocean ice had retreated “faster in the spring of 2020 than since the beginning of records” and that “the spread of the sea ice in the summer was only half as large as decades ago.”

The ice was only half as thick and temperatures measured 10 degrees higher than during the Fram expedition undertaken by explorers and scientists Fridtjof Nansen and Hjalmar Johansen in the 1890s.

Because of the smaller sea ice surface, the ocean was able to absorb more heat in the summer, in turn meaning that ice sheet formation in the autumn was slower than usual.

“Only evaluation in the coming years will allow us to determine if we can still save the year-round Arctic sea ice through forceful climate protection or whether we have already passed this important tipping point in the climate system,” Rex added, urging rapid action to halt warming.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/6/15/global-warming-may-have-already...

jerrym

A new report in the highly respected scientific journal Nature warns  of a pattern of conditions in which zombie fires are most likely to arise in the rapidly warming Arctic. These zombie fires burn in the peat and dead organic material underground and break out as the temperature rises in the spring and summer. This has already happened several times in Canada's north, as well as in Alaska. These fires are triply bad because they not only release carbon dioxide from vegetation burnt above ground, but from methane, which has 30 times the heat producing effect of carbon dioxide trapped underground, and from underground carbon dioxide frozen away for 10,000+ years in the tundra. 

And yet Trudeau keeps building more pipeline capacity through Trans Mountain, Line 3, Line 5, and Keystone until Biden nixed it, and subsidizing and approving the exploration for a new oilfield off Newfoundland that has already struck oil twice. 

smoke

“Overwintering” fires smolder under the snow, reigniting vegetation in the spring. New research shows the zombies may proliferate in a warmer world.

Each winter, as snow blankets Alaska and northern Canada, the wildfires of the summer extinguish, and calm prevails — at least on the surface. Beneath all that white serenity, some of those fires actually continue smoldering underground, chewing through carbon-rich peat, biding their time. When spring arrives and the chilly landscape defrosts, these “overwintering” fires pop up from below — that’s why scientists call them zombie fires.

Now, a new analysis in the journal Nature quantifies their extent for the first time, and shows what conditions are most likely to make the fires reanimate. Using satellite data and reports from the ground, researchers developed an algorithm that could detect where over a decade's worth of fires — dozens in total — burned in Alaska and Canada’s Northwest Territories, snowed over, and ignited again in the spring. 

Basically, they correlated burn scars with nearby areas where a new fire ignited later on. (They ruled out cases that could have coincided with a lightning storm, as well as ones close enough to people to have been caused by an accidental ignition.) They calculated that between 2002 and 2018, overwintering fires were responsible for 0.8 per cent of the total burned area in these lands. That sounds small, but one year stood out: 2008, when a single zombie fire was actually responsible for charring 38 per cent of the total burned area.

That kind of outbreak may be a sign of things to come in a rapidly warming Arctic. While 2008 was a notably bad year, it was no fluke. Instead, it was part of a pattern of conditions in which zombie fires are most likely to arise. “They appear more often after hot summers and large fires,” says earth systems scientist Rebecca Scholten of the research university VU Amsterdam, lead author on the new paper. “And indeed, that is something that we could show has increased over the last 40 years.” For example, the particularly active fire years of 2009 and 2015 in Alaska, and 2014 in the Northwest Territories, generated multiple overwintering fires the following spring.

Northern soils are loaded with peat, dead vegetation that’s essentially concentrated carbon. When a wildfire burns across an Arctic landscape, it also burns vertically through this soil. Long after the surface fire has exhausted the plant fuel, the peat fire continues to smolder under the dirt, moving deeper down and also marching laterally. ...

Then spring arrives and the ice retreats. These hot spots can flare up, seeking more vegetation to burn at the edges of the original burn scar. “Basically, right after the snow melts, we already have dry fuel available,” says Scholten. ...

Zombie fires are also terrible for the planet. When a fire burns through vegetation, it gives off lots of carbon dioxide. But when peat smolders, it produces mostly methane, a far more potent greenhouse gas. When that zombie fire reignites, it starts producing CO2 again. So this one weird phenomenon can produce lots of both kinds of greenhouse gases, which is doubly bad.

Make that triply bad. When this fire burns through peat, it’s releasing carbon that’s been locked away from the atmosphere for perhaps 10,000 years, where it couldn’t contribute to global heating. ...

That will only exacerbate the Arctic’s troubles; it’s warming more than twice as fast as the rest of the planet, and it’s greening — but not in a good way. The retreat of ice and the takeover of shrubs, grasses, and trees means there will soon be more ultra-dry fuel for wildfires to burn. As temperatures rise, peat is drying out more readily, making it easier to ignite with lightning strikes. And as this new research shows, a warmer summer produces more zombie fires that make trouble the following spring. All told, the north is burning like never before.

https://www.wired.com/story/a-zombie-fire-outbreak-may-be-growing-in-the...

jerrym

Protests are continuing along the Line 3 pipeline from Canada in Minnesota. Thousands were protesting last week and 250 were arrested. More arrests have occcurred this week. Trudeau's doubling of Line 3 capacity from Alberta to the American border has led to this and further illustrates his hypocrisy in claiming there is an environmental crisis while increasing fossil fuel production and pipeline capacity.

Anti-pipeline protesters march from the Capitol on Thursday, Sept. 28.

Protesters who oppose the pipeline march from the Capitol toward InterContinental hotel in St. Paul Minnesota.

Opponents of Enbridge’s Line 3 oil pipeline project in northwestern Minnesota continued their protests this week by disrupting traffic in front of an Enbridge equipment site, leading to 31 arrests.

Hubbard County Sheriff Cory Aukes said the incident began about 7:30 a.m. Tuesday when a van pulled in front of the semi-trailer and forced it to stop on a county highway. One woman crawled under the semi and attached herself to the rear axle and another person clipped on to an item on top of the trailer, Aukes said.

Several carloads of protesters arrived and gathered on the side of the roadway, at which point Aukes said they were told by deputies they were breaking Minnesota’s public nuisance and unlawful assembly laws. Aukes said deputies began arresting demonstrators after they began “yelling vulgarities, being a traffic hazard, and refusing to leave.”

The protesters were brought to the Hubbard County Jail, where they were charged with public nuisance, unlawful assembly, and disorder.

The Line 3 replacement would carry oilsands oil and regular crude from Alberta to Enbridge’s terminal in Superior, Wis. The project is nearly done except for the Minnesota leg, which is about 60 per cent complete.

https://globalnews.ca/news/7960285/more-minnesota-line-three-protest-arr...

jerrym

A powerful heat wave is hitting the western US and Canada, along with drought conditions, raising questions about whether this is the new normal.

The Associated Press

A roofer works on a new roof in a housing development while the sun beats down on him as the heat wave continues Thursday, June 17, 2021, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)  AP

Record daily highs were seen this week in parts of ArizonaCaliforniaNew MexicoMontanaWyoming and Utah. Phoenix, which is baking in some of the U.S. West’s hottest weather, hit a record-breaking 118 degrees (48 Celsius) Thursday.

The heat comes from a high pressure system over the West, a buckle in the jet stream winds that move across the U.S. and vast swaths of soil sucked dry by a historic drought, said Marvin Percha, a senior meteorologist for the agency in Phoenix. He and other scientists say the heat wave is unusual because it arrived earlier and is staying longer than in most years. But with such an early heat wave this year, “this could be the tip of the iceberg,” Williams said.

WHAT ROLES DO DROUGHT AND CLIMATE CHANGE PLAY? A two-decade-long dry spell that some scientists refer to as a “megadrought” has sucked the moisture out of the soil through much of the Western United States. Researchers said in a study published last year in the journal Science that man-made climate change tied to the emission of greenhouse gases can be blamed for about half of the historic drought.

Scientists studying the dry period that began in 2000 looked at a nine-state area from Oregon and Wyoming down through California and New Mexico. Only one other that began in 1575 was a bit larger. 

The hot weather can be tied to the drought drying out the landscape. Normally, some of the sun’s heat evaporates moisture in the soil, but scientists say the Western soil is so dry that instead that energy makes the air even warmer. “When the soil is wet, heat waves aren't so bad," said Williams, who has calculated that soil in the western half of the nation is the driest it has been since 1895. “But if it's dry, we are under extreme risk.” ...

Scientists say the wildfires that have erupted in recent days have been fed by the excessive heat across the region. Climate change contributes to the drought conditions and makes trees and shrubs more likely to catch fire. At least 14 new wildfires broke out this week in Montana and Wyoming. ...

IS THIS THE NEW NORMAL? A growing number of scientific studies are concluding that heat waves in some cases can be directly attributed to climate change, said Kristie L. Ebi, a professor at the Center for Health and the Global Environment at the University of Washington. That means the U.S. West and the rest of the world can expect more extreme heat waves in the future unless officials move to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions, Ebi and other scientists say.

A study last month estimated the percent and number of heat deaths each year that can be attributed to human-caused climate change. It included about 200 U.S. cities and found more than 1,100 deaths a year from climate change-caused heat, representing about 35% of all heat deaths in the country.

“Climate change is harming us now,” Ebi said. “It’s a future problem, but it’s also a current problem.”

https://www.usnews.com/news/news/articles/2021-06-17/explainer-whats-beh...

jerrym

Already heat waves are also hitting across Canada even before summer officially begins, raising similar concerns about the growing impact of global warming on the country's climate and increasing concerns about drought in the west, similar to that discussed in the last post about the US.

 

Heat wave 2

And that heat is headed east: Starting Sunday, daytime highs in Montreal will climb into the low 30s and humidex values will be anywhere from 35 to 40 degrees Celsius. Without air conditioning, it will also be uncomfortable for sleeping at night with overnight lows remaining above the 20-degree mark. (https://montreal.ctvnews.ca/first-heat-wave-of-the-season-on-its-way-to-...)

As scorching temperatures descend upon the Toronto area this weekend, a senior climatologist says to expect longer and hotter heat waves this summer. Climatologist David Phillips told CP24 that the city already broke a record at 2 p.m. when the temperature rose to 31 C. According to Environment Canada, the highest temperature recorded for June 5 is 30 C set in 1940. (https://toronto.ctvnews.ca/senior-climatologist-warns-even-hotter-heat-w...)

Thursday, June 3rd 2021, 8:32 pm - An extended heatwave will begin across southern Ontario this weekend, with the humidex pushing the feels-like factor close to 40. (https://www.theweathernetwork.com/ca/news/article/days-of-extreme-heat-c...)

 

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