Canada and global warming: a state of denial 2

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jerrym

Numerous and intense wildfires that often break records and are linked to global warming are not just occurring in western Canada and the United States but across many countries around the world.

A Mexican wildfire 

In Russia

"Climate Change Is 'Main Cause' of Siberia's Wildfires, Regional Head Says. Updated: July 20, 2021." (https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2021/07/20/climate-change-is-main-cause-o...)

Across the Mediterranean 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared parts of southern Turkey ravaged by wildfires as “disaster areas”, with the death toll from the fires rising to six after two forest workers were killed....

More than 2,600 fires have erupted each year on average in the last decade, but that figure jumped to almost 3,400 last year, said Husrev Ozkara, vice-chair of the Turkish Foresters Association.

A heatwave across southern Europe, fed by hot air from Africa, has led to wildfires across the Mediterranean. Temperatures in Greece and nearby countries in southeast Europe are expected to climb to 42 degrees Celsius (more than 107 Fahrenheit) on Monday in many cities and towns and ease only later next week.

Experts have said climate change is fuelling extreme weather events around the world, including wildfires and floods.

In Ireland

Climate crisis exacerbating fires such as Killarney blaze. Climate change has provided an environment that enables small fires to grow out of control, often causing mass destruction, environmental organisation. (https://www.irishexaminer.com/news/munster/arid-40275899.html)

In central and northern Europe

In recent years, forest fires have affected regions in central and northern Europe not typically prone to fires, and, in 2018, more countries suffered large fires than ever before, coinciding with record droughts and heatwaves. An expansion of fire-prone areas and longer fire seasons are projected in most European regions, so additional adaptation measures are needed. (https://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/indicators/forest-fire-danger-4/...)

In Mexico

Thus far, 2021 has been one of the most challenging years in terms of forest fires in Mexico, according to the National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR).  In the first three months of the year there were 2,871 wildfires, equivalent to 73,459 hectares burned. Currently, CONAFOR reports 87 active fires are burning in 17 of Mexico’s 32 states. In comparison, the year 2013 saw 4,431 wildfires, equivalent to 80,492 hectares burned. Given that we are just a little more than four months into the year, it is believed that 2021 could be the most catastrophic wildfire period in 23 years. Back in 1998 there were 6,141 fires, and more than 116,264 hectares were affected. (https://www.nfpa.org/News-and-Research/Publications-and-media/Blogs-Land...)

In the Amazon 

Drought and high temperatures amplify the destructive effects of deforestation and wildfires.

The climate in the Amazon has been changing over the last few decades. The average temperature in the basin rose about 1º Celsius (1.8° Fahrenheit) between 1979 and 2018, with increases of up to 1.5ºC (2.7°F) in some regions. And there have been three “one-in-a-century” episodes of extreme drought in the last 15 years: in 2005, 2010 and 2015....

The authors estimate that these temperatures will affect most of the Amazon by mid-century, even if greenhouse gas emissions are curbed. (https://news.mongabay.com/2021/07/hotter-and-drier-deforestation-and-wil...)

And of course we cannot forget the catastrophic fires of the 2019-20 Australian summer

The extreme fires that razed more than 18 million hectares of bush in Australia late last year were significantly more likely because of human-induced climate change, say an international group of climate scientists who have analysed the disaster. (https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00627-y)

jerrym

The exponential growth in global warming is reflected in the fact that enough ice melted in a single day in Greenland to cover Florida with two inches of water. With the largest coastline in the world by far, Canada will dearly pay for the resulting rise in sea level. 

Greenland’s melting season usually lasts from June to August. The Danish government data shows that it has lost more than 100bn tons of ice since the start of June this year.

Greenland’s melting season usually lasts from June to August. The Danish government data shows that it has lost more than 100bn tons of ice since the start of June this year. Photograph: Reuters

Greenland’s vast ice sheet is undergoing a surge in melting, with the amount of ice vanishing in a single day this week enough to cover the whole of Florida in two inches of water, researchers have found.

The deluge of melting has reached deep into Greenland’s enormous icy interior, with data from the Danish government showing that the ice sheet lost 8.5bn tons of surface mass on Tuesday alone. A further 8.4bn tons was lost on Thursday, the Polar Portal monitoring website reported. ...

The scale of disappearing ice is so large that the losses on Tuesday alone created enough meltwater to drown the entire US state of Florida in two inches, or 5cm, of water. Ice that melts away in Greenland flows as water into the ocean, where it adds to the ongoing increase in global sea level caused by human-induced climate change.

“It’s a very high level of melting and it will probably change the face of Greenland, because it will be a very strong driver for an acceleration of future melting, and therefore sea-level rise,” said Marco Tedesco, a glacier expert at Columbia University and adjunct scientist at Nasa. ...

If all the ice in Greenland melted, the global sea level would jump by about 6 meters (20ft), and although this is unlikely to happen on any sort of foreseeable timescale, scientists have warned that the world’s largest island is reaching a tipping point due to the pressures exerted upon it by global heating.

Greenland’s ice is melting faster than any time in the past 12,000 years, scientists have calculated, with the ice loss running at a rate of around one million tons a minute in 2019. Greenland and the earth’s other polar region of Antarctica have together lost 6.3tn tons of ice since 1994.

This rate of ice loss, which is accelerating as temperatures continue to increase, is changing ocean currents, altering marine ecosystems and posing a direct threat to the world’s low-lying coastal cities, which risk being inundated by flooding. A 2019 research paper found the Greenland ice sheet could add anything between 5cm and 33cm to global sea levels by the end of the century. The world is on track for “the mid to upper end of that”, Lipovsky said.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jul/30/greenland-ice-sheet-...

jerrym

New research emphasizes that Western Canada must change the way it fights forest fires that are often induced and intensified by global warming if it is to greatly reduce the risk of having thousands of people killed in wildfires. 

A motorist watches from a pullout on the Trans-Canada Highway as a wildfire burns on the side of a mountain in Lytton, British Columbia, on Thursday.

A motorist watches from a pullout on the Trans-Canada Highway as a wildfire burns on the side of a mountain in Lytton, British Columbia, on Thursday. Photograph: Darryl Dyck/AP

Western Canada must urgently address the threats posed by highly destructive wildfires or face deadly and costly consequences, says a group of forest and environmental experts from British Columbia and the United States. 

The experts, including Mathieu Bourbonnais, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences at the University of B.C. Okanagan, predict devastating wildfires like those now burning in B.C. will be “commonplace” by 2050. The group has released a paper predicting billions of dollars spent on suppression and indirect costs from the fires — as well as hundreds or thousands of premature deaths each year due to smoke exposure — if action isn't taken to address climate change and the “daunting” scale of fuel, such as fallen trees and dead vegetation, that's built up.

“If you look at record-breaking seasons, we've spent hundreds of millions of dollars on fire suppression,” said Bourbonnais, a former wildland firefighter from Alberta. “You can think about, if you spread that out over a couple of seasons, how many communities we could be engaged with on protecting watersheds, protecting drinking water sources, the communities themselves, high-value infrastructure, the ecosystems,” he said in an interview. “By doing that, we're investing in a future that hopefully we don't need to spend those kinds of dollars on fire suppression.”

The group's paper suggests creating patches of space in the forest that contain less flammable material, a strategy that can also boost the efficacy of fire suppression efforts, said Bourbonnais. “Rather than crews responding to a fire with nothing but fuel in front of them, there are natural fire breaks, there's old prescribed burns that help slow the fire down.” ...

Rob Schweitzer told a news conference on Thursday. “Through prescribed fire, through utilization of Indigenous traditional knowledge in use of fire, as well as amending our forest harvesting practices and the woody debris left behind, are all pieces that we continue to discuss and actually start to change policy and implement new strategies to help reduce that amount of fuel.”...

About 1,250 wildfires have charred 4,560 square kilometres of bush since the start of B.C.'s fire season in April, compared with the 10-year average of 658 fires and about 1,060 square kilometres burned over the same time period, Schweitzer said. ...

Three dozen of the 245 wildfires that were burning in B.C on Thursday were considered either extremely threatening or highly visible, including a 655-square-kilometre fire north of Kamloops Lake that prompted an evacuation order for nearly 300 properties. There were 28 states of local emergency and more than 60 evacuation orders covering 3,443 properties on Thursday. Nearly 90 evacuation alerts covered 17,679 properties, where residents were told to be ready to leave at a moment's notice.

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/07/29/news/report-warns-thousands-...

NDPP

Line 5 pipeline between US and Canada could cause 'devastating damage' to Great Lakes, say environmentalists

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/line-five-environment-great-lakes...

"Canadian officials siding with Enbridge to keep pipeline running despite Michigan's claims it is unsafe..."

 

'We really are pro-environment...but at this moment Line 5 is an essential resource.' - Jagmeet Singh, NDP

[email protected]

[email protected]

NDPP

Turkey wildfires: despair and questions as forests burn

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/8/3/turkey-wildfires-despair-and-que...

"Devastating wildfires have tore through forests and villages, killing at least 8 people and burned through huge tracts of land. Antalya, a tourist hotspot that averages near the mid-30s Celsius this time of year, has seen highs of more than 40C this week. On July 20, Turkey recorded its hottest ever temperature at 49.1 degrees in the southeast..."

NDPP

"Just about every time Justin Trudeau speaks to the President of the United States, he advocates for some planet-wrecking pipeline. He's done it again..."

#Line5 #ClimateCrisis

https://twitter.com/dimitrilascaris/status/1422359868619513863

jerrym

A good example of how politics overcomes good policy decision is Australia's success in blocking the downgrading of the Great Barrier Reef as an endangered world heritage site because of fear of losing tourist revenue. 

This aerial photos shows the Great Barrier Reef in Australia on Dec. 2, 2017. Australian officials are concerned that any downgrade of the reef’s World Heritage status could reduce tourism revenue.

This aerial photos shows the Great Barrier Reef in Australia on Dec. 2, 2017. Australian officials are concerned that any downgrade of the reef's World Heritage status could reduce tourism revenue.

  • A UN committee report published in June found that due to climate change, the endangered Great Barrier Reef has deteriorated to such an extent that it should be listed as a world heritage site “in danger”. Despite the Australian government’s efforts to restore and improve the health of the reef, “there is no possible doubt that the property is facing ascertained danger.”
  • The report claims Australia had failed to meet key water quality and land management targets, as well as overall lacklustre climate efforts. It was also noted that while most developed countries have set carbon neutrality goals by 2050 or earlier, Australia is yet to make any. 
  • The government of Australia vehemently disagrees with the findings, where Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley stated: “The Great Barrier Reef is the best managed reef in the world and this draft recommendation has been made without examining the reef first hand, and without the latest information.” 
  • Ley and the government began lobbying across Europe since June. On July 23, they managed to garner support from 12 other countries to delay a decision until 2023, effectively prevented the Great Barrier Reef listed as an “in danger“ world heritage site for now. ....
  • This is not the first time the Australian government has managed to postpone a decision on the status of the Great Barrier Reef. In 2015, the country successfully lobbied for a delay and committed billions of dollars towards the protection of the reef
  • The UN body was heavily criticised, particularly by environmental groups, in their decision not to downgrade the reef’s status. Many argue that there needs to be a push for more immediate action on climate change and water pollution
  • The Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest and longest reef system in the world, spans nearly 345,000 sq km off Australia’s northeastern coast and is home to more than 1,600 species of fish and 600 species of soft and hard corals.

https://earth.org/australia-prevents-unesco-downgrading-the-great-barrie...

jerrym

In addition to the wildfires in Siberia, Italy, Turkey, northern Europe, Ireland, Mexico, the Amazon (see post #802), wildfires and temperatures rising to 43 Celsius are hitting the Balkans and Greece hard, as the wildfire and heat death toll taken by global warming continues to grow exponentially.

  • Wildfires in Greece

    Firefighters spray water following a forest fire at Dionysos northern suburb of Athens, on Tuesday, July 27, 2021. Greek authorities have evacuated several areas north of Athens as a wildfire swept through a hillside forest and threatened homes despite a large operation mounted by firefighters. (AP Photo/Yorgos Karahalis)

Temperatures will hit as high as 43 degrees celsius in southeast Europe, as authorities issue a weather warning ahead of an expected heat wave on Thursday.

In North Macedonia, health officials have urged a pause in construction work and called for municipal-level initiatives to help the elderly and the homeless. All six of the country's administrative regions are set to be hit by the rise in temperatures.

Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, as well as parts of Romania and Serbia, will also experience high levels of heat. 

In Albania's central Dimal region, temperatures reached 42 degrees celsius on Wednesday.

In the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, municipal workers handed out free bottles of water at several locations in the city. 

Authorities in Athens have started providing air-conditioned spaces to the public and have advised residents to remain indoors during the afternoon. ...

The Greek capital has also appointed a chief heat officer, becoming the first European capital to do so. Alongside Paris, Rotterdam, Glasgow and Seville, Athens is part of a European network of cities created to combat the effects of high temperatures.

"We've been talking about global warming for decades, but we haven't talked much about heat," the new Athens officer, Eleni Myrivili, said following her appointment last week. "I look forward to raising awareness among the citizens of Athens about the grave dangers of extreme heat and helping decision-makers take action to cool the city and protect people and their communities," she added.

Wildfires raged for a second day in southern Greece, forcing evacuations in a mountainous area outside the western port city of Patras. Smoke from the fire was visible in the centre of the city. Forest fires were also reported in Bulgaria and Albania.

https://www.euronews.com/2021/07/28/baking-balkans-as-heatwave-set-to-si...

jerrym

Another Manitoba First Nation, Tataskweyak Cree Nation — also known as Split Lake, has been forced to leave their community because of a wildfire. This is the sixth Manitoba First Nation to have to relocate because of wildfires as global warming tears through our boreal forests where many First Nations are located. The other five are Red Sucker Lake First Nation, about 700 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg, the Little Grand Rapids, Bloodvein, Berens River, and the Pauingassi First Nations. (https://winnipeg.ctvnews.ca/fifth-manitoba-first-nation-forced-to-evacua...) Indigenous people are facing are disproportionate toll from climate change that they had almost nothing to do with creating. 

Wildfire

About 100 people were bused to Thompson Tuesday evening then flown to Winnipeg, where they have been set up in hotels.

"We don't know how long this response will last," a Red Cross spokesperson said in an email.

"The Red Cross has been tasked to support the evacuation, which includes transportation out of community, lodging, food and other supports."

The First Nation posted a message to community members on its website and Facebook page Monday night, urging everyone to "be prepared to move quickly if required."

The fire jumped Highway 280, the First Nation said, putting the hydro line that feeds the nearby Keeyask Dam at risk and forcing the province to shut down the highway from Split Lake to Gillam. ...

The fire is about six kilometres from the community and approximately 6,600 hectares in size, a provincial spokesperson said Wednesday morning.

Fire crews held the west side, closest to the First Nation, from spreading on Tuesday. Winds from the west also helped push the fire away.

Smoke is the main health concern at this time and will continue to be an issue due to a change in the winds to come from the northeast, the spokesperson said. ...

Tataskweyak Cree Nation is between Churchill and Thompson, more than 700 kilometres north of Winnipeg.

Manitoba's most recent fire situation report says there are 159 active fires in the province: 35 in the eastern portion, another 35 in the west, and 89 in the northern region.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/manitoba/wildfire-evacuation-tataskweyak-...

jerrym

The Dixie wildfire has destroyed the historic community of Greenville which established during the 1849 Gold Rush as wildfires spread across much of the state that has been drought-ridden, and facing extreme heat that have accelerated and intensified the number of wildfires because of global warming. 

Flames consume a home on Highway 89 as the Dixie Fire tears through the Greenville community of Plumas County, Calif., on Wednesday, Aug. 4, 2021.

A wind-driven wildfire tore through a Northern California mountain town, leaving much of the downtown in ashes as crews braced for another explosive run of flames in the midst of dangerous weather.

The Dixie Fire, swollen by bone-dry vegetation and 40 mph (64 kph) gusts, raged through the northern Sierra Nevada town of Greenville on Wednesday evening. A gas station, hotel and bar were among many structures gutted in the town, which dates to California's Gold Rush era and has some buildings more than a century old. ...

As the fire's north and eastern sides exploded, the Plumas County Sheriff's Office issued a Facebook posting warning the town's approximately 800 residents: "You are in imminent danger and you MUST leave now!"

The 3-week-old blaze was the state's largest wildfire and had blackened well over 435 square miles (1,127 square kilometers), burning dozens of homes before making its new run.

https://www.npr.org/2021/08/05/1025087402/the-dixie-fire-has-destroyed-m...

 

jerrym

Another community in BC has been destroyed by wildfire, Monte Lake, which is located between Kamloops and Vernon as the damage done by wildfires in the province approaches a record added by extreme heat and very low precipitation, markers of global warming. The massive White Rock Lake fire, burning between Kamloops and Vernon, has become increasingly aggressive and ripped through the community of Monte Lake on Thursday night. The nearby communities of Falkland and Cedar Hill are under evacuation orders and Highway 97 has been closed. When are our governments going to start taking global warming serioously? When, as Jason Kenney , said Alberta is the last place in the world to take a barrel of oil out of the ground?

 'White Rock Lake fire damages structures in Monte Lake'

White Rock Lake fire damages structures in Monte Lake

Another B.C. community has been devastated by wildfire.

The massive White Rock Lake fire, burning between Kamloops and Vernon, has become increasingly aggressive and ripped through the community of Monte Lake on Thursday night.

The fire, which is about 32,500 hectares in size, continues to move at a rapid speed about 34 kilometres northwest of Vernon.

The blaze has destroyed homes and businesses and the Monte Lake area has been under an evacuation order since Wednesday but the BC Wildfire Service said many residents refused to leave their homes.

The fire is also forcing more residents living near Vernon to leave immediately.

The communities of Falkland and Cedar Hill area are under an evacuation order.

Firefighters were pulled off the front lines and forced to get the remaining people to safety.

So far, there’s no word on if anyone has been injured or how many buildings have been destroyed.

The fire is also forcing more residents living near Vernon to leave immediately. The communities of Falkland and Cedar Hill area are under an evacuation order. ...

Highway 97 is shut down between Salmon River Road and Monte Creek and a detour is available through Highway 97A, 97B and Highway 1. There is also a power outage in the evacuation order in Falkland at this time.

https://globalnews.ca/news/8091752/white-rock-lake-fire-bc/

jerrym

The Madagascar famine is now recognized as the first one entirely caused by global warming. It won't be the last. Canada and the US are also at risk of desertification, which I will discuss in the next post. 

 AFP

A woman holds her malnourished child as they wait for food at a feeding center in Fort Dauphin, south of Madagascar. Photo: AFP

Heatwaves, wildfires, floods. If there’s still any doubt that the summer of 2021 is a turning point for a global awakening over the looming climate crisis, you can add one more plague of biblical proportions to the list: famine.

The southern part of the island nation of Madagascar, off the east coast of Africa, is experiencing its worst drought in four decades, with the World Food Program (WFP) warning recently that 1.14 million people are food-insecure and 400,000 people are headed for famine. Hunger is already driving people to eat raw cactus, wild leaves and locusts, a food source of last resort. The WFP, which is on the ground helping with food distribution, describes scenes of unimaginable suffering, with families bartering everything they have—even cooking pots and spoons—for the paltry tomatoes, scrawny chickens and few bags of rice still available in the markets. “The next planting season is less than two months away and the forecast for food production is bleak,” writes WFP spokesperson Shelley Thakral in a dispatch from the most affected area. “The land is covered by sand; there is no water and little chance of rain.” ...

The WFP warns that the number of locals facing phase 5 catastrophic food insecurity—development speak for famine—could double by October. And the group has the responsible party squarely in their sight. “This is not because of war or conflict, this is because of climate change,” says WFP Executive Director David Beasley.

Historically, famines resulted from crop failure, disaster or pest invasion; modern famines are largely considered to be man-made—sparked by conflict combined with natural disasters or incompetence and political interference. Madagascar is facing none of those, making it the first famine in modern history to be caused solely by climate change alone. It’s unlikely to be the last, says Landry Ninteretse, the Africa director for climate advocacy organization 350.org. “In recent years we’ve seen climate calamities hitting one country after another. Before it was the horn of Africa, and now it is Madagascar. Tomorrow the cycle will go on, maybe in the northern part of Africa—the Sahel—or the west. And unfortunately, it is likely to continue happening because of climate change.” ...

Increasing temperatures are disrupting global weather patterns that farmers, particularly those in the developing world, have relied upon for centuries. Monsoons have become increasingly unpredictable, starting later than usual, showing up in the wrong place, or sometimes not showing up at all. This is wreaking havoc in places that depend on rain for agriculture. The southern part of Madagascar, a lush, largely tropical island famous for its biodiversity, has experienced below average rainfall for the past five years. Most people in the south depend on rain-fed, small-scale agriculture for survival, but because of the drought, rivers and irrigation dams have dried up.

The WFP says it needs $78.6 million dollars to provide lifesaving food for the next lean season in Madagascar, but it is going to take a lot more than that to help the countries most affected by climate change able to adapt in ways that prevent future famines.

https://time.com/6081919/famine-climate-change-madagascar/

 

jerrym

Much of the prairies in the US  and part of the Canadian prairies, which are breadbaskets for a large part of the world's population, are also predicted to undergo desertification, greatly increasing food shortages.  Under Harper, Canada in 2014 became the only country out of 197 to withdraw from the  UN's Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), rejoining under the Liberal government in 2017 (https://www.unccd.int/news-events/welcome-back-canada).

The map at this url (http://www.canadiangeographic.com/atlas/themes.aspx?id=climateprosperity...) below shows viewers a map of the Prairies, which outlines the potential desertification facing these provinces, due to increasing climate change.

Regions prone to desertification (https://www.ipcc.ch/srccl/chapter/chapter-3/)

The word “desertification” conjures up images of the spread of existing deserts, with tall dunes spilling into villages and farmer’s fields. But it is actually a term that describes the way land can be transformed by climate variation and human activities, including deforestation, overgrazing (which causes erosion), the cultivation of unsuitable land and other poor land-use management decisions. ...

Not all areas are equally at risk of desertification. Drylands, like those in the Karoo of South Africa and the prairies of Canada, are regions where evapotranspiration (the transfer of water from land and plants to the atmosphere) far exceeds precipitation.

Under natural conditions, drylands are characterised by slow cycles of changing climate and vegetation, moving from one stable state to another. More frequent and severe droughts and human disturbances, such as agriculture, grazing and fire, cause more abrupt shifts that can be irreversible. ...

The threat of land degradation is so widely recognized that the UN established the Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) nearly 25 years ago, in 1994. It is a legally binding agreement between the partner nations to work together to achieve sustainable land management. ...

Canada faces its own land degradation challenges. Most people associate dryland regions with a hot and dry climate. However, large parts of the Canadian Prairie provinces—Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba — can be classified as drylands. They are also enormously important agricultural areas, accounting for 60 per cent of the cropland and 80 per cent of the rangeland in Canada.

The Prairies expect to see longer and more intense periods of drought interspersed with major flooding with future climate change. And although North America is one of five regions identified by the UN as facing relatively fewer challenges related to land compared to the countries most at risk, the region does face significant water stress challenges.

https://www.watercanada.net/feature/the-battle-against-desertification-w...

 

jerrym

A new UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report (IPCC) that is to be released tomorrow that provides the most drastic picture of the world's future yet from any IPCC report.

The United Nations is poised to release the most confident and comprehensive assessment yet of global warming, including detailed estimates of how continued greenhouse-gas emissions will increase Earth’s sea levels and drive extreme weather in the coming years. Compiled by more than 200 scientists and approved by government representatives from 195 countries, the report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will leave little doubt that humans are altering the way the planet functions — and that things will get much worse if governments do not take drastic action, say climate researchers interviewed by Nature. ...

“This report will make it absolutely clear what is the state of the science, and throw the ball back in the camp of the governments for action,” says Corinne Le Quéré, a climate scientist at the University of East Anglia in Norwich, UK. ...

It is the first in a trio of reports that will comprise the IPCC’s sixth major climate assessment since 1990: a second report, on climate impacts and adaptation, and a third, on mitigation efforts, will follow next year. In anticipation of the first report’s release next week, Nature previews what researchers say are some of the most significant advances in climate science conducted since the last IPCC assessment eight years ago. ...

Concentrations of these gases have risen by around 50% since pre-industrial times, and the planet has warmed by more than 1 °C (see ‘Warmer worlds’). By some estimates, the world is on track for nearly 3 °C of warming unless governments do more to curb these emissions. ...

Researchers have grown more confident in such projections as climate science has advanced — a point that the IPCC report will emphasize. One way in which scientists have assessed their climate projections is through a metric known as climate sensitivity. This is a measure of the projected long-term warming that would occur if the planet’s atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels doubled compared with pre-industrial levels. Despite advances in understanding and computing power, estimates of climate sensitivity have been stuck at around 1.5–4.5 °C since the 1970s. Recent efforts to narrow that range have significantly boosted scientists’ trust in projections of how quickly the world might warm in the coming decades.

 Chart showing range of projected changes in global temperature up to the year 2100.

In a study published in July 20201, for instance, a team of researchers challenged climate models with multiple lines of evidence, including contemporary climate records and evidence from ancient climates. They determined a likely climate sensitivity of 2.6–3.9 °C.

“It sounds a little esoteric, but it would actually be a pretty big deal if the IPCC narrows the range of climate sensitivity,” says Zeke Hausfather, a co-author of the study and a climate scientist at the Breakthrough Institute in Oakland, California. Narrowing the range would help to constrain models and improve future projections. ...

Scientists are still working out precisely why the models are running hot, but some research suggests that part of the answer could be the use of sophisticated new representations of cloud microphysics and tiny particles in the atmosphere called aerosols. For example, earlier models featured unrealistic clouds consisting of too much ice, which would turn to water as the globe warmed. This produced a cooling effect because water-based clouds reflect more solar energy back into space. The latest models start out with more-realistic clouds that have more water, which reduces the cooling effect over time. ...

Next week’s IPCC report comes on the heels of epic flooding in Germany, in July, and a June heatwave that baked the US Pacific Northwest and western Canada, where the town of Lytton recorded a record temperature of 49.6 °C before a wildfire nearly razed it to the ground. Shortly afterwards, climate scientists assessed the heatwave and concluded that global warming was almost certainly a driver, and had increased the likelihood of such an event by a factor of 150 since the end of the nineteenth century. ...

As little as a decade ago, scientists tended to demur when asked about the link between global warming and any single extreme climate event, except to say that we should expect more of them as the climate warms. But the science of climate attribution has advanced considerably in recent years, says Sonia Seneviratne, a climate scientist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. So, even though the recent heatwave analysis won’t be included in the new IPCC report because it wasn’t published in time, a substantial body of research on extreme weather exists for the IPCC to assess, says Seneviratne.

Two things have happened to drive this change. The first is that climate scientists have developed improved models and statistical methods for determining the likelihood that any given climate event could occur, either with or without human-induced climate change. But just as important, Seneviratne says, climate change itself is advancing, and recent studies show that increasingly extreme weather events are now emerging above the noise of natural variability.

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-02150-0

jerrym

The doublespeak of governments on climate disaster is fully illustrated by Alok Sharma, British Conservative Minister of State and President of COP26, the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow starting in October. While admitting that the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that is to be released tomorrow "is going to be the starkest warning yet that human behaviour is     alarmingly accelerating global warming, and this is why COP26 has to be the moment we get this right," Sharma then went on "to defend British fossil-fuel projects that include plans to license new oil and gas fields in the North Sea, which have proven embarrassing for Britain as it seeks to galvanise international action on climate change." Sharma would fit right in with the Trudeau cabinet which declared a climate emergency one day and bought the Trans Mountain pipeline the next day in 2019 just months before the election. 


British fossil fuels in action

An upcoming UN report on climate change gives the international community its clearest ever warning about the dangers of accelerating climate change. The report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, due on Monday, shows that the world is on the brink of potential disaster.

 Britain's Alok Sharma, who will lead the COP26 climate summit in November, told the Observer newspaper that the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) due on Monday will show that  the world is on the brink of potential disaster.

"This is going to be the starkest warning yet that human behaviour is     alarmingly accelerating global warming, and this is why COP26 has to be the moment we get this right," Sharma said.

"We can't afford to wait two years, five years, 10 years -- this is the moment," he added, explaining that unless nations "act now, we will unfortunately be out of time". ...

Sharma was forced to defend British fossil-fuel projects that include plans to license new oil and gas fields in the North Sea, which have proven embarrassing for Britain as it seeks to galvanise international action on climate change.

The Paris-based watchdog, the International Energy Agency, has warned all fossil fuel development and exploration must cease this year if the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees celsius is to be met.

https://www.rfi.fr/en/international/20210808-latest-un-climate-report-pu...

NDPP

Hunziker: Drought Flood Fire

https://www.counterpunch.org/2021/08/06/drought-flood-fire

"This shocking coincidence of three major catastrophic events hitting at the same time is likely unequaled in modern history. Why are the most serious threats to 21st century civilization, i.e., drought, fire and floods simultaneously ravaging the planet from east-to-west, north-to-south...?"

 

Deutsch: Max Aji's People's Green New Deal

https://www.counterpunch.org/2021/08/06/max-ajis-peoples-green-new-deal/

"...The book eloquently details how the predominant solutions, including the AOC - Markey Green New Deal, are not geared to the hastening pace of global climate change's human impacts or the global, political and economic hegemony of the capitalistic centre.

These are enmeshed systems - how can there be eco-socialism under racist regimes, under settler-colonialism, or occupation by Israeli or US forces? The international and national institutions are failing on many fronts..."

NDPP

UN Sounds Clarion Call Over 'Irreversible' Climate Impacts by Humans

https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/united-nations-climate-change-1.6134493

"UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres describes report as 'Code Red for Humanity'..."

jerrym

The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released today cites 14,000 studies in support of its evidence. It states that  the "Earth is likely hotter now than it has been at any moment since the beginning of the last Ice Age, 125,000 years ago ... the recent spate of horrific heat waves, fire-fueling droughts, and flood-inducing storms that have imperiled the inhabited world are not only typical of global warming, but directly caused by it. ... Climate change has arrived, in other words, and it will keep getting worse until humanity reduces its greenhouse-gas pollution to zero ... averting every additional tenth of a degree of warming, will not only lessen the harm over the next few decades, but resound for centuries and even millennia to come."

People board a ferry prior to an evacuation as a wildfire approaches the seaside village of Limni, on the island of Evia, Greece, on August 6, 2021.

Evacuation of residents of due to massive fire on Greece's second-largest island, Evia, induced by climate change this month. 

Here are four takeaways:

1. Climate change is now a fact of modern life—and it will only get worse

“Each of the last four decades has been successively warmer than any decade that preceded it since 1850.” Yet in the past few years, global warming has moved from a statistical property to an ambient condition of modern life. A mega-drought seems to grip the American West without end. A series of wildfires have passed, like a baton, from one part of the world to another, going from California to the Amazon to Australia to Greece to California again. ...

For the first time, the report establishes that those extreme events are happening because of climate change. Scientists’ ability to attribute individual events to the warming atmosphere is the “biggest advance” the field has seen in the past decade. ...

“Every inhabited region across the globe” has seen a well-documented increase in heat waves, heavy rain, or drought, the report says.

2. Sea-level rise will be worse than once thought—and could occur quickly and catastrophically.

In a relatively optimistic “intermediate” emissions scenario, for instance, the IPCC once projected that oceans would rise about one and a half feet by 2100. The new report finds that just under two feet is more likely, and two and a half feet is not out of the question.

The authors could not eliminate from their models the small chance that some of the largest glaciers in West Antarctica could catastrophically collapse this century. In that scenario, humanity could see more than six and a half feet of sea-level rise by 2100 and perhaps as much as 16 feet of sea-level rise by 2150.

3. Sea-level rise is also essentially irreversible.​

If humanity successfully learns how to remove carbon from the atmosphere, some of the impacts of climate change, such as ocean acidification and the rise in land temperatures, may be reversible.

But some will not. Sea-level rise is chief among them.

4. The climate is now changing on political time.​

An earlier draft of this report cautioned that the world could see more than 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming by the early 2030s. Although that language was removed because researchers could not guarantee that a fluke event, such as a once-in-a-century volcanic eruption, would not briefly cool the planet and delay the inevitable for a few years, the broad point remains. The IPCC now warns that the world is likely to exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming by 2040 even if humanity cuts carbon pollution as rapidly as is plausible.

But humanity may still avoid warming the planet by 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2100. On all pathways, the world’s temperature will increase more than 1.5 degrees Celsius by the middle of the century; the only question is whether it then begins to cool down or keeps going up. Current policies suggest that the planet is set for 3 degrees Celsius, or more than 5 degrees Fahrenheit, of warming by the end of the century.

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2021/08/latest-ipcc-report-c...

jerrym

(Courtesy: transmountain.com)

On Power and Politics today, with the release of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, host Katie Simpson asked federal Liberal Minister of the Environment and Climate Change Jonathan Wilkson about the report and the government's response to UN Secretary General Antonio Gutierrez's comment on the report that "This report must sound the death knell for coal and fossil fuels before they destroy our planet. Do you agree?" His answers show the Trudeau Liberals have absolutely zero intention of ending Trans Mountain's tripling of oil transmission project or doing anything right now to meet the global warming crisis that the latest IPCC reports must be dealt with immediately (see last post for report details).

Wilkinson waffled on about meeting the government's emission targets by 2050. Simpson noted that they have never met any emissions target ever.

Simpson then asked "Given this report, do you stand by going ahead with the Trans Mountain project?

Wilkinson: "We stand by our actions on climate change. We just raised our emissions targets by 50%."

Simpson: "How can you be moving ahead with that project (Trans Mountain) when twinning the pipeline will increase oil production from 300,000 barrels a day to 900,000 barrels a day?

Wilkinson: "With respect, thoughtful people realize we are moving through a transition in which we are extracting the full value of our resources. ... Right now we ship enormous amounts by rail. What we are saying is its got to be part of the transition."

NDPP

This should obviously and logically put an end to Tar Sands, TMX, Line 5 etc. Or will Canada let these climate crimes continue?

On climate, are we past the point of no return?

https://rabble.ca/news/2021/08/climate-are-we-past-the-point-of-no-return

"The so-called environmental movement in Canada has been a disaster..."

High time Canadians made a serious effort to make one that isn't.

jerrym

Global warming is already taking a devastating toll across the Mediterranean. In Greece

Burned forests in the area of Rovies, northern Evia on August 5, 2021 [Nick Paleologos/Al Jazeera]

Greece is facing a "natural disaster of unprecedented proportions," as 586 wildfires burn in "all corners" of the country, according to Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. 

The Mediterranean nation is broiling under one of its worst heat waves in decades and firefighters continue to battle blazes across the country. Sixty-three organized evacuations have taken place in the past few days, Mitsotakis said in a televised address on Monday. ...

Greece's second-largest island, Evia, has been at the center of the storm of fires that have ravaged the country. Over half of the island has burned, according to local officials.

The fires have been devastating for Greeks who rely on the forests for their livelihood. In Evia, local residents told CNN that national assistance came too late. And their produce -- including resin, honey, olives and figs -- has been destroyed in the flames. 

Environmental authorities have warned that southern Europe, where droughts are becoming more frequent and severe, is at the greatest risk from the impacts of climate change on the continent.

"It is obvious that the climate crisis is affecting the whole planet," Mitsotakis said. "That is the explanation, but not an excuse, or an alibi. We may have done everything that was humanly possible, but in many cases this did not seem to be enough in the unequal battle with nature," he added.

At the time of writing, across Greece, wildfires have burned more than 263,000 hectares (650,000 acres) of land – in Evia, Athens and Lakonia, according to the Copernicus Environmental Satellite Sentinel-2.

https://www.cnn.com/2021/08/09/europe/greece-wildfire-warning-climate-in...

jerrym

Satellites are providing images from space of the global damage being done by wildfires induced by global warming. 

Earth observation satellites of U.S operator Maxar Technologies captured detailed images of devastating fires raving northern California. The images, taken on Sunday, August 8, show areas hit by the Dixie wildfire, the second most devastating wildfire in California’s history. This infrared image shows the area around Lake Almanor struck by the devastating Dixie Fire.

Earth observation satellites of U.S operator Maxar Technologies captured detailed images of devastating fires raving northern California. The images, taken on Sunday, August 8, show areas hit by the Dixie wildfire, the second most devastating wildfire in California’s history. This infrared image shows the area around Lake Almanor struck by the devastating Dixie Fire. (Image credit: Maxar Technologies)

It's been a summer of climate-related disasters around the world. A landmark United Nations report on climate change, released on Monday (Aug. 9), confirmed the trend: the planet is not coping with human influences on its climate and the situation is bound to get worse. 

This year, record-breaking wildfires triggered by similarly historic heatwaves are ravaging swaths of land on three continents and Earth observation satellites — some operated by space agencies and others by private companies — have been tracking it all, just as they've done for years.

In the U.S., the Dixie Fire has become the largest wildfire in the history of California, having destroyed more than 700 square miles (1,811 square kilometers) of land (as of Aug.8). European countries around the Mediterranean Sea, such as Greece, Turkey and Italy, have been forced to evacuate residents as well as tourists from several of their usually paradise-like holiday destinations. In Siberia, the sparsely inhabited region in the north-east of Russia, out of control wildfires have already broken annual records for fire-related emissions of greenhouse gases. ...

The Russian fires in Siberia may be occupying fewer news pages and less air-time, but they actually worry scientists the most. Since late spring, satellites have been supplying images of vast areas of taiga near the polar circle being devoured by flames. Russian authorities, in many places, have given up the fight. 

"In the Sakha Republic and the whole Far Eastern Federal District of Russia, we are already seeing the total estimated fire emissions from the region exceeding last year's levels," Mark Parrington, a senior scientist at the European Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS), told Space.com. "Our data set goes back to 2003. And this year, in terms of the total estimated emissions, it's already much higher than the previous record annual total, which was 2020." ...

The usually hot Mediterranean region has experienced higher than usual temperatures this summer. In Turkey and Cyprus, temperatures have soared to over 120 degrees Fahrenheit (50 degrees Celsius). Greece has experienced slightly lower temperatures of 115 degrees F (45 degrees C). The heat combined with dry conditions turned the Mediterranean vegetation into a tinderbox.

The wildfires in Turkey have been described as the worst in at least a decade. Greece's currently worst fire rages on the island of Evia, about 60 miles (100 kilometers) from the country's capital Athens. But firefighters are struggling with dozens of fires all over the country, as well as in neighboring Italy. 

"In all these areas, the U.S. northwest, Siberia and the Mediterranean, we would expect some fires in summer," Parrington said. "But the common feature this year is unusual heatwaves and dryer surface conditions, which means the fire risk is high. As a result, we see those fires burning for way longer periods of time than we would normally see."

https://www.space.com/2021-record-wildfire-season-from-space

jerrym

In Algeria wildfires have already killed 65 people and burned vast swaths of land. 

The twitter video at this url shows entire mountains consumed in flames: https://twitter.com/filtersmg/status/1424858653912444928?ref_src=twsrc%5...

 Ryad Kramdi/AFP]

Authorities counted 41 blazes in 18 Algerian regions, 21 around Tizi Ouzou [File: Ryad Kramdi/AFP]

At least 65 people, 28 of them soldiers deployed as relief firefighters, have been killed as dozens of wildfires raged for a second day in Algeria Wednesday, state television reported. ...

The mountainous Kabyle region, 100km (62 miles) east of the capital Algiers, is dotted with difficult-to-access villages and, with temperatures rising, has had limited water. Some villagers were fleeing, while others tried to hold back the flames themselves, using buckets, branches and rudimentary tools. The region has no water-dumping planes. ...

A 92-year-old woman living in the Kabyle mountain village of Ait Saada said the scene Monday night looked like “the end of the world. We were afraid,” Fatima Aoudia told The Associated Press. “The entire hill was transformed into a giant blaze.”

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/8/11/wildfires-algeria-soldiers-climate

jerrym

A new all-time temperature for Europe has just been set in Sicily as the continent finds itself in a heat wave induced by global warming. 

The entire Mediterranean region and  is in a record-setting heat wave. 

A temperature of 48.8°C was registered in the province of Siracusa on Wednesday by Sicily's SIAS agency in what looks set to be a new European record.
    "If the figure is confirmed after the appropriate analysis, it could be the highest value ever registered on the European continent," said 3bmeteo.com meteorologist Manuel Mazzoleni.
    "That would beat the previous record of 48°C taken in Athens on July 10, 1977 and it would even beat the record of 48.5°C recorded at an unofficial station at Catenanuova in August 1999".
    Italy is currently baking in the Lucifer heatwave, which is expected to peak later this week.
    Scientists say the climate crisis is causing heatwaves and extreme weather events to be more frequent and more intense.

https://www.ansa.it/english/news/general_news/2021/08/11/european-record...

jerrym

Wildfires fed by the heat waves and drought created by climate change are threatening the outskirts of Athens. 

Temperatures have been over 40C (104F) all week [Alexandros Avramidis/Reuters]

Temperatures have been over 40C (104F) all week [Alexandros Avramidis/Reuters]

Flames swept through a residential town outside Athens overnight as wildfires burned across Greece for a fifth day on Saturday, and hundreds of people were evacuated by ferry from the island of Evia east of the capital.

The fire on Mount Parnitha on the outskirts of Athens has forced the evacuation of thousands of people since late Thursday, with emergency crews facing winds and high temperatures as they battle to contain its spread.

Wildfires have erupted in many parts of the country amid Greece’s worst heatwave in more than 30 years, tearing through tens of thousands of acres of forestland, destroying homes and businesses and killing animals.

Temperatures across Greece have been over 40C (104F) all week.

More than 700 firefighters, including reinforcements from Cyprus, France and Israel, have been deployed to fight the blaze north of Athens, assisted by the army and water-bombing aircraft.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/8/7/greece-blaze-sweeps-through-athe...

jerrym

Rapidly climbing temperatures above 40 C are causing Spain and Portugal to soon expect the ravenous wildfires that the heat has already brought to Italy, Greece and Turkey.  It has already led to dramatic rises in energy prices as people use more and more air conditioning to keep cool. "Italy is baking in sweltering temperatures that continue to drive deadly wildfires." (https://www.usnews.com/news/news/articles/2021-08-11/italy-swelters-as-s...)

Meanwhile, Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson gave his answer to what the Trudeau Liberals intend to do about the growing damage already being done by climate change and the latest UN report to which the UN Secretary General Antonio Gutierrez's commented: "This report must sound the death knell for coal and fossil fuels before they destroy our planet."

When asked about what the Trudeau Liberal government was going to do about the crisis, he made it clear they have absolutely zero intention of ending Trans Mountain's tripling of oil transmission project or doing anything right now to meet the global warming crisis that the latest IPCC reports must be dealt with immediately. He said in a CBC Power and Politics interview " we are moving through a transition in which we are extracting the full value of our resources. ... Right now we ship enormous amounts by rail. What we are saying is its got to be part of the transition."

The Associated Press

A volunteer helps controlling fire in Fuscaldo, near Cosenza, Calabria, Italy, Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021, as many wildfires continue plaguing the southern regions of Italy. Sicily, Sardinia, Calabria and also central Italy, where temperatures are expected to reach record hight, were badly hit by wildfires. Climate scientists say there is little doubt that climate change from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas is driving extreme events, such as heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods and storms. (Luigi Salsini/LaPresse via AP)

Steadily rising temperatures in Spain and Portugal have raised concerns about wildfires like those that emerged recently in Italy, Greece and Turkey, causing incalculable damage and suffering.

Portugal’s prime minister warned Wednesday that the hot weather increases the threat of wildfires, which in 2017 killed more than 100 people in his country. Spain’s weather service forecast a heat wave through Monday and said temperatures could surpass 44 degrees Celsius (111 degrees Fahrenheit) in some areas.

A recent heat wave across southern Europe that was fed by hot air from North Africa contributed to massive wildfires breaking out in TurkeyGreeceAlgeria and elsewhere in the Mediterranean region....

Such peaks of temperature are not unheard of in Spain and Portugal during the summer months. Even so, climate scientists say there is little doubt climate change from the burning of coal, oil and natural gas is driving extreme events, such as heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods and storms.

Researchers can directly link a single event to climate change only through intensive data analysis, but they say such calamities are expected to happen more frequently on our warming planet. ...

In Spain, the hot weather was widely blamed for a record high in domestic energy prices, as the use of air-conditioning units climbed and wind turbines stood still in balmy weather. Other factors, such as rising prices for natural gas and for carbon credits under the European Union's emissions trading scheme, were also behind the increase.

https://www.dailysabah.com/world/europe/rising-temperatures-push-spain-p...

NDPP

So in what alternate universe in response to a UN 'clarion call' over 'irreversible' climate impacts and a 'code red for humanity', does the Canadian Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Jonathan Wilkinson baldly reply that the Trans Mountain pipeline project is required to help Canada achieve its long-term climate objective of net zero carbon by 2050? And further, achieving that target will require money generated by fossil fuels.!  Seriously?! WTF!!??

Ottawa says it must maximize revenue from the Trans Mountain pipeline to fight climate change

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/wilkinson-climate-report-1.6135502

This insane response and policy will help kill us all. It cannot be allowed to stand.

NDPP

dp

jerrym

Canadian banks have funded fossil fuel companies to the tune of $700 billion both in funding fossil fuel projects and in investing in these companies since the 2015 Paris Agreement, giving another illustration of their moral bankruptcy. As fossil fuels could be increasingly abandoned as global warming gets ever worse this puts both their loans and investments in these industries at risk. Of course this is nothing compared to the risk they are placing people around the world from the damage done by global warming. 

 

Canadian banks have financed oil, gas, and coal companies to the tune of nearly $700 billion since the Paris Agreement was signed, and could be more at risk than they’re letting on.

Canadian banks have financed oil, gas, and coal companies to the tune of nearly $700 billion since the Paris Agreement was signed, and could be more at risk than they’re letting on.

That’s according to a new report from Amsterdam-headquartered research firm Profundo, commissioned by Greenpeace Canada, that found the big five Canadian banks — RBC, BMO, TD, CIBC, and Scotiabank — are all in the top 25 banks worldwide to finance fossil fuel companies. The study analyzed the big five, and the Desjardins Group (DG), from January 2016 to December 2020.

“We really punch above our weight in terms of fuelling the climate crisis,” said Keith Stewart, of Greenpeace Canada. ...

In total, Canadian banks have provided $694 billion worth of loans to fossil fuel companies, and have also invested $125 billion in them. For loans, oil and gas companies received $609 billion, or about 88 per cent, while coal companies received $84.8 billion. Fossil fuel financing grew from about $122 billion in 2016 to $160 billion in 2019, before falling to $91 billion during the pandemic.

RBC wears the carbon crown with a total of $164 billion provided to fossil fuel companies. Next is Scotiabank at $157 billion, TD at $144 billion, BMO at $116 billion, CIBC at $100 billion, and DG at $13 billion.

The investment arms of those banks again sees RBC at the top, with a total of $45 billion wrapped up in fossil fuel equity. Then TD takes silver at $26 billion, BMO at $21 billion, Scotiabank at $17 billion, CIBC at $16 billion, and DG at $1 billion. ...

The study considers the banks’ financial exposure to the fossil fuel sector, given the industry is expected to be under further pressure to reduce its own emissions extracting and refining fossil fuels, and face demand for fossil fuels declining generally.

In a scenario where warming is held to 1.5 C, fossil fuel companies lose a lot of their value, but losses are mostly absorbed by shareholders rather than the banks. The study finds if banks finance fossil fuel companies “for many years to come,” there would be a risk the companies would be unable to pay back 23 per cent of their loans.

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/08/11/news/paris-was-signed-our-ba...

jerrym

In BC, we are into another global warming heat wave with intensive wildfires and smoke that is now also in Vancouver. People are asked to not go to the Okanagan valley and people who have had to leave their homes are having to be housed further and further from where they live. 

BC temps

The latest evacuation orders and alerts:

The province is bracing for strong winds and high temperatures going into the weekend, with those in fire zones being told to expect more evacuation orders and alerts.

All of Logan Lake, a community of about 2,000 people in the southern Interior, was ordered to evacuate on Thursday afternoon because of the rapidly growing Tremont Creek fire, last estimated at 364 square kilometres.

The B.C. Wildfire Service said the fire had grown significantly in the last day and escaped containment lines in the southeast near Tunkwa Lake.

Mike Farnworth, the minister of public safety, issued a travel warning to tourists for parts of the Interior until further notice, including the communities of Armstrong, Spallumcheen, Okanagan Indian Band, Enderby and parts of the North Okanagan Regional District.

"If you are planning to visit this area, now is not the time to do so," Farnworth said. "Protection of life needs to be everyone's priority"

Officials say wildfire conditions have become more challenging across southern B.C. in the face of yet another heat wave following a summer of drought.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/bc-wildfires-august-13-1...

jerrym

Excuse me for making this post so long. But I thought it important to draw the global connections between what governments around the world, including China, the US, Canada, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Britain, are saying and doing concerning climate change.

 Where are we after the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released last week citing 14,000 studies in support of its evidence. It states that  the " Climate change has arrived, in other words, and it will keep getting worse until humanity reduces its greenhouse-gas pollution to zero ... averting every additional tenth of a degree of warming, will not only lessen the harm over the next few decades, but resound for centuries and even millennia to come." (https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2021/08/latest-ipcc-report-c...)

Here's the good and bad news in terms of government actions around the world (and it's mostly bad). In summary we are all but screwed. First, the limited good news: 

China didn’t finance any coal projects via its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in the first half, the first time that’s happened since the plan was launched in 2013, the International Institute of Green Finance said in a report.

The lack of funding from China for the dirtiest fossil fuel comes amid increased scrutiny from investors and environmental groups due to concern over its contribution to man-made climate change. More than 70% of all coal plants built today rely on Chinese funding, according to the Beijing-based institute, followed by investment from Japan and South Korea. Seoul said in April that it would halt state-backed financing of coal-fired power plants overseas. ...

China is attempting to make its investments more environmentally sustainable. A BRI coalition supervised by the environment ministry developed a color-coded classification system in December to help assess overseas investment risks. China’s state bank chiefs have also called for a gradual pullback of coal financing and the central bank started grading the lenders’ finance operations this month....

Despite these efforts, BRI funding for green energy dropped by 90% in the first half from a year earlier, according to the report. The average deal size is also getting smaller, falling to $550 million from $1.3 billion in 2018. (https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/china-avoids-coal-projects-in-belt-and-road-...)

At a time when climate science demands a rapid transition off fossil fuels, Ottawa approved more than $1.3 billion for oil and gas companies through the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy. Photo by Kartikay Sharma / Unsplash

Now the much larger bad news starting with the US. Biden his renewable energy program: 

On Wednesday, U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration put out a statement urging OPEC to hike its oil production to help bring U.S. gasoline prices down. This from the man who, on the first day of his presidency cancelled the Keystone XL pipeline that would have brought 830,000 barrels per day of ethical Alberta oil to the U.S. Gulf Coast. (https://calgaryherald.com/opinion/columnists/corbella-19)

Notice the Canadian connection to Biden. The Kenney government and the Trudeau government have chided Biden for not building Keystone, while Trudeau has also supported the purchase and construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline, the doubling of Line 3 from Alberta to Manitoba and onward to the US, the support of Line 5 through the Great Lakes despite state governments seeking to shut them down, the further support for Energy East through Quebec to the Maritimes and another pipeline from Ontario to the Saguenay for export to Europe and Asia until Quebec opposition made it politically risky with an election coming up. There has  also more subsidies to the oil and gas industry through during Covid, instead of using the money to transition away from fossil fuels. This was done partly through the Covid Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). "At a time when climate science demands a rapid transition off fossil fuels, Ottawa approved more than $1.3 billion for oil and gas companies through the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)."

A new report concludes that the federal government dropped close to $18 billion in subsidies and other forms of financial support on the fossil fuel industry last year — despite the federal Liberals' stated desire to move the country to a post-carbon economy.(https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/fossil-fuel-subsidy-canada-1.5987392)

Russia and Saudi Arabia have rejected calls to end fossil fuel spending:

Two of the world’s largest oil-producing countries plan to defy the International Energy Agency’s recommendations and continue investing in oil and gas, rejecting calls to drastically scale back the use of fossil fuels despite a deepening climate crisis. ...

Remarkably, the IEA — the world’s leading energy advisor — delivered its starkest warning yet on global fossil fuel use last month, saying the exploitation and development of new oil and gas fields must stop this year if the world wants to reach net-zero emissions by the middle of the century. ...

To be sure, the top global watchdog says halting developments in oil, gas and coal is fundamental to reaching the internationally agreed goal of net-zero emissions. “In my view this a simplistic approach. It is also unrealistic,” Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak told CNBC’s Hadley Gamble, according to a translation.

Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman joked about the IEA’s report at an online news conference earlier this week.“It is a sequel of the ‘La La Land’ movie. Why should I take it seriously?” (https://www.cnbc.com/2021/06/04/climate-russia-saudi-arabia-reject-calls...)

Despite Intergovernmental Panel on climate change (IPCC) report's stark warning this week of a climate catastrophe if we don't immediately cut global emissions and saying they will deal with the problem hosting the UN's COP26 meeting in November, UK's Boris Johnson government is doing the exact opposite: 

So, what is the UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, doing to make sure that as hosts of COP26 the UK is credibly tackling the climate crisis?

He is considering approving an oil field that will operate until 2050. Cambo oil field in Shetland would lead to the equivalent of ten times Scotland’s annual emissions. This would go against the recent advice from the International Energy Agency, which told governments not to develop any more oil or gas reserves, if we want a shot at limiting the worst effects of climate change (keeping global temperature rise below 1.5C). 

Secondly, the government is considering approving a new coal mine in Cumbria, whilst saying one of their key aims at COP26 is to persuade others to ditch the exploitation of coal. ...

This government has also promised to end all funding to fossil fuels overseas, which halted the proposed £1bn support of a gas project in Mozambique and could be a truly world leading climate policy. However, to continue the run of undermining credibility of its own policy and commitments, the government slipped in a loophole that allows UK aid money to still fund gas-power plants in the name of sustainable development. (https://www.euronews.com/green/2021/08/10/cambo-oil-field-and-cumbria-co...)

Are you getting the feeling that we are screwed despite all the governments' fine words on global warming?

jerrym

There are 268 wildfires burning in BC including those threatening the Okanagan and Kamloops regions with 6,607 properties already under evacuation around the province as global warming continues to ravish the province. In far too many cases firefighters are battling the blazes in people's yards with the White Lake fire destroying 50 to 60 buildings.

"Byron Louis, the chief of the Okanagan Indian Band, said the fires underscore the need for a social and economic cost analysis of not being prepared for – or mitigating – global warming. Valuable timber is being lost, and tourists – tired of the smoke and constant threat of evacuation – may stop visiting the Okanagan, he noted." Why can't premiers and Trudeau start dealing with what indigenous people have been warning for decades? Both you and I know the answer is related to our addiction to the fossil fuel industry. 

Fire burns within metres of the Coquihalla Highway on Sunday. Photo by BC Ministry of Transportation

Fire burns within metres of the Coquihalla Highway on Sunday. Photo by BC Ministry of Transportation PHOTO BY BC MINISTRY OF TRANSPORTATION

Firefighters in British Columbia are battling flames in backyards of mountainside Okanagan neighbourhoods, as thousands of people in the region have been instructed to evacuate and around 10 individuals had to be rescued after ignoring orders to leave.

But with 266 wildfires burning across B.C., escaping can be complicated. As of Monday, hotels in Kelowna, a major tourist draw in the summer, were full, according to Central Okanagan Emergency Operations officials. In Merritt, which was under evacuation alert, multiple routes out of town remained closed. Some members of the Okanagan Indian Band fled to the Fraser Valley as options closer to home evaporated.

About 30 of the province’s wildfires are threatening public safety or are highly visible. The Interior has been hit particularly hard, as heat waves blanketed western North America this spring and summer. Lytton burned to the ground at the end of June after setting record high temperatures and experts predict climate change will continue to fuel extreme weather that aided this year’s wildfires.

In B.C., the Mount Law and White Rock Lake wildfires were burning in residential communities on Okanagan Lake, officials said Monday afternoon. Jason Broland, the fire chief for West Kelowna, said 80 firefighters and 25 fire trucks were dispatched Sunday evening to protect homes in his town from the Mount Law blaze. A “small” number of buildings were lost, he said, and on Monday smaller crews continued to their work in the Glenrosa neighbourhood.

“We are actively fighting fires in the backyards of homes on a number of streets,” he told reporters. Okanagan Lake separates West Kelowna from Kelowna. Officials ordered about 1,000 people to evacuate due to the Mount Law fire, which remained out of control. One firefighter sustained “minor” injuries, Mr. Broland said. ...

The White Rock Lake fire has burned around 50 to 60 structures in the Killiney Beach and Ewings Landing area, which is about 40 kilometres north of West Kelowna. The fire was aggressive and the wind was challenging Sunday evening, according to Mark Healey, B.C. Wildfire Services’s incident commander. ...

The entire cities of Armstrong and Merritt were on evacuation alert Monday, along with the community of Barriere, north of Kamloops, affecting about 14,000 residents in total. Residents of roughly 700 properties on the southwest side of Kamloops were also told to be ready to leave as four separate wildfires burned out of control in those regions. DriveBC, the online traveller information system, said the Coquihalla Highway between Hope and Merritt was closed until further notice after flames cut the route late Sunday.

Nearly 7,700 square kilometres have burned in B.C. since the start of the fire season, a leap of nearly 1,100 square kilometres since Friday, wildfire service spokeswoman Noelle Kekula said.

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/canada/british-columbia/article-british-...

 

jerrym

Although dams have rightfully been criticized for the environmental damage they cause, dams originally built to control seasonal waterflows to prevent flooding, navigation and irrigation in the US are now being used to generate green energy without doing damage to the environment, something that is supported by the hydro-industry and environmentalists.

Canada could look at doing the same. This would allow Canada to avoid building new dams while generating green energy.

The Red Rock Hydroelectric Project on the Des Moines River in Iowa..

The Red Rock Hydroelectric Project on the Des Moines River in Iowa has been retrofitted to generate hydropower. MISSOURI RIVER ENERGY SERVICES

As of January, 88 projects to retrofit non-powered dams were in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) hydropower development pipeline, mainly on locks and dams on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. There were also more than 100 proposed projects to add electricity generation to canals and other conduits, as well as to upgrade existing hydropower facilities, together representing nearly 1,500 megawatts of new hydropower capacity. Some projects are set to break ground as early as spring 2022.

Broad political support exists for retrofitting existing dams, with incentives for retrofits included in several multi-billion dollar federal bills designed to overhaul the country’s aging dam infrastructure. These bipartisan proposals, currently caught up in Congress’s larger infrastructure deliberations, were shaped and are supported by an unlikely alliance between the hydropower industry and environmental groups, with the aim of retrofitting, rehabilitating and removing dams. Supporters of the legislation say climate change and worsening drought in the western U.S. lends urgency to the proposals, with unpredictable flows impacting hydropower generation and stressing old dams. 

For environmentalists, who have historically viewed new hydropower development as anathema, retrofits offer a workaround, a way of harnessing water to generate power without adding to the immense harm many dams have inflicted on river ecosystems and communities. But that doesn’t mean they think every dam should be retrofitted, said Brian Graber, who directs river restoration at American Rivers, a nonprofit that advocates for dam removal and supports the new legislation. “We want those incentives to be appropriate to help retrofit those dams that ought to be retrofitted, and otherwise help remove dams that ought to be removed,” he said.

More than a decade in the making, the Red Rock project is the latest of 36 U.S. dams retrofitted to generate hydropower since 2000, representing more than 500 megawatts of renewable generation capacity. That’s just a fraction of the 33,000 megawatts of solar and wind energy capacity the United States added in 2020 alone. But these retrofits have been the primary source of hydropower development in the U.S. since the end of the dam-building booms of the 20thcentury. And with ambitious targets from states and the federal government to decarbonize much of the grid by 2035 to avoid the worst effects of climate change, hydropower and environmental advocates say retrofitting dams presents an opportunity to leverage existing infrastructure for renewable energy while avoiding the environmentally destructive impacts of new dams on rivers.

“The era of building big dams is essentially over,” said LeRoy Coleman, a spokesperson for the National Hydropower Association, an industry group. “So our focus as the industry is … to develop on what’s out there.”...

As of January, 88 projects to retrofit non-powered dams were in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) hydropower development pipeline, mainly on locks and dams on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. There were also more than 100 proposed projects to add electricity generation to canals and other conduits, as well as to upgrade existing hydropower facilities, together representing nearly 1,500 megawatts of new hydropower capacity. Some projects are set to break ground as early as spring 2022.

Broad political support exists for retrofitting existing dams, with incentives for retrofits included in several multi-billion dollar federal bills designed to overhaul the country’s aging dam infrastructure. These bipartisan proposals, currently caught up in Congress’s larger infrastructure deliberations, were shaped and are supported by an unlikely alliance between the hydropower industry and environmental groups, with the aim of retrofitting, rehabilitating and removing dams. Supporters of the legislation say climate change and worsening drought in the western U.S. lends urgency to the proposals, with unpredictable flows impacting hydropower generation and stressing old dams. 

For environmentalists, who have historically viewed new hydropower development as anathema, retrofits offer a workaround, a way of harnessing water to generate power without adding to the immense harm many dams have inflicted on river ecosystems and communities. But that doesn’t mean they think every dam should be retrofitted, said Brian Graber, who directs river restoration at American Rivers, a nonprofit that advocates for dam removal and supports the new legislation. “We want those incentives to be appropriate to help retrofit those dams that ought to be retrofitted, and otherwise help remove dams that ought to be removed,” he said. ...

Of the more than 90,000 dams in the United States, only about 2,500 generate power, providing about 7 percent of all U.S. electricity and 38 percent of electricity from renewable sources. The rest, built for purposes ranging from irrigation to flood control to navigation, are known as non-powered dams. “That says two things,” said Shannon Ames, who leads the Low Impact Hydro Institute, a nonprofit that assesses the environmental impacts of hydropower projects. “One, there’s potential for more hydropower at existing dams. And two, there is no need to build a new dam.”

While most of these non-powered dams don’t store enough water or are too remote to be suitable for hydropower development, thousands could be retrofitted to generate electricity, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). In a 2016 report, the agency found that retrofitting existing dams could add as much as 12,000 megawatts of generation capacity to the grid, though only 4,800 megawatts — enough to power more than two million homes — would be economically feasible to build by 2050. These retrofits, Coleman said, represent billions of dollars of potential investment and thousands of jobs....

In addition to cutting into fossil fuel’s share of electricity generation, adding more hydropower could benefit the grid in other ways, said Tim Welch, who manages the hydropower program at the DOE. “Even small hydropower projects at non-powered dams — 10, 15 megawatts or even less — can play a role in regulating the grid” and making it more resilient, he said. This includes providing “black start” capabilities to restore energy to the grid after a blackout, or by backing up intermittent wind and solar resources. Pumped storage hydro, which currently provides more than 90 percent of total energy storage in the U.S., could be especially significant for firming up an increasingly variable grid.

https://e360.yale.edu/features/can-retrofitting-dams-for-hydro-provide-a...

 

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

The retrofitting of existing dams sounds like a damn good idea.

NDPP

Peace Brigades International Canada

https://twitter.com/PBIcanada/status/1427722486406422528

"This morning the Giniw Collective met with UN Special Rapporteur Mary Lawlor and discussed Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. funding police operations against Indigenous water protectors opposed to the construction of the Line 3 pipeline in Minnesota..."

jerrym

The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives has just released a report, titled An Insecure Future, because Canadian pension funds are still betting heavily on fossil fuel investments, when their future and the planet's are existentially being threatened by climate change. 

 

tar sands

Canadian pension funds are still making major investments in the tarsands and other fossil fuel projects despite the risks involved.

AS THE IMPACTS OF THE CLIMATE CRISIS INCREASE and intensify in the form of droughts, wild res, oods and sea level rise, so too do the calls for concrete action. However, instead of reducing greenhouse gas emissions since signing the Paris Agreement in 2016, Canada has increased its emissions more than any other Group of Seven (G7) country. During the same time, Canada’s largest public pension plan—the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), managed by the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB)—has increased its shares in fossil fuel companies. Likewise, the managers of Canada’s second-largest public pension plan—Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ)—have only slightly decreased their fossil fuel shares over the same period. This level of action is inadequate to meet the scale of the crisis. ...

The CPPIB has publicly stated its commitment to consider climate impacts in its investment portfolio. In 2018 it announced the Climate Change Program, which introduced climate risk assessment into the pension’s investment practice but did not clarify how and to what extent those commitments would have an impact on investment decisions. Despite these public state- ments, the number of shares in oil and gas held by the CPPIB by the end of 2020 was 7.7 per cent higher than the number of shares it held at the beginning of 2016.

The CDPQ also bills itself as a climate action leader. In 2017 it introduced a climate strategy that mandated a 50 per cent increase in low-carbon investments by 2020. Unlike CPPIB, CDPQ’s investments in fossil fuel shares at the end of 2020 were 14 per cent lower than in 2016. While this trend shows promise, it is worth noting that overall the CDPQ has over 52 per cent more fossil fuel shares than the CPPIB.

In both cases, the pension plans’ investment patterns do not re ect the action needed to address the scale of the climate crisis. They also point to the overall ine ectiveness of “green” investment policies that do not lead to concrete reductions in fossil fuel investments.

This paper also highlights the funds’ individual company-level fossil fuel investments to dem- onstrate their exposure to companies with long histories of climate denial, policy obstruction, dispossession of Indigenous lands and environmental destruction. ...

Canada’s public pension funds are responsible for managing Canadians’ investments and their futures. The funds have an opportunity to lead the way toward a global transition to a greener, more sustainable economy. This paper nds that their climate actions may be more talk than walk. To help Canadian pension funds align their capital with the 1.5-degree Celsius limit on global warming, we recommend the following concrete actions.

Actions for Canadian public pension fund trustees/investment boards:

  1. Disclose all investments to the public, including public equity, all private equity hold- ings and limited partnership investments, xed assets, lending commitments and other asset classes;

  2. Immediately design a plan to phase out fossil fuel investment in alignment with targets set by the Paris Agreement to limit global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius;

  3. Reinvest the capital divested from fossil fuel investment toward renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar and geothermal energy, in alignment with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Actions for federal and provincial governments:

1. Provide regulatory clarity to ensure that executing duciary duty means avoiding short- term economic gains that imperil long-term climatic security for Canadians and the global community. Fiduciary duty should require public pensions to justify any invest- ments in fossil fuel companies in light of climate science and Indigenous peoples’ right to free, prior and informed consent articulated in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples;

  1. Mandate Canadian pension funds to disclose the names and dollar amounts of all holdings across asset classes, and where possible, total the emissions of investments in the fossil fuel sector so that bene ciaries and citizens can know the impact of their investments in fossil fuels and high-carbon industries. This accounting should include emissions associated with extraction but also with consumption. The emissions associat- ed with oil, gas and coal consumption are rarely counted in fossil fuel company pledges and disclosures, and they make up the majority of emissions;2

  2. Mandate a clear timeline for public pensions to withdraw from all fossil fuel invest- ments. De ne reinvestment criteria that support a just and equitable transition to a renewable-based energy system;

  3. Create a level playing eld for Canadian investors by supporting a non-proliferation treaty for fossil fuels. The treaty should include global regulatory frameworks that phase out and ultimately disallow investments in fossil fuels.

https://www.policyalternatives.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publicatio...

 

JKR

laine lowe wrote:

The retrofitting of existing dams sounds like a damn good idea.

LOL

NorthReport

Yes, indeed, that is a good one laine.

NorthReport

 

But probably not the way Century Initiative envisions it.

Historic human tsunami likely in Canada's future

There will be climate refugees in the millions — if not the hundreds of millions — fleeing to countries where life is still tolerable.

 

 

https://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/pete-mcmartin-historic-human-ts...

jerrym

There is growing pressure in the US to remove the Line 3 pipeline permits that allow the doubling of oil exports from Canada to the US. Trudeau allowed the doubling of the pipeline from Alberta to Manitoba and on to the US border to serve the Minnesota, Wisconsin and other states, as he once again speaks out of both sides of his mouth on pipelines and fossil fuels. Indigenous Americans and environmentalists have led the widespread protests agaisnt Line 3 and are now getting some support in Congress. 

Trudeau has also supported the purchase and construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline, the drilling of test wells off Newfoundland that have already hit oil in two wells with the potential of opening another oilfield there, the support of Line 5 through the Great Lakes despite state governments seeking to shut them down, the further support for Energy East through Quebec to the Maritimes and another pipeline from Ontario to the Saguenay for export to Europe and Asia until Quebec opposition made it politically risky with an election coming up. There has  also more subsidies to the oil and gas industry through during Covid, instead of using the money to transition away from fossil fuels. This was done partly through the Covid Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS). "At a time when climate science demands a rapid transition off fossil fuels, Ottawa approved more than $1.3 billion for oil and gas companies through the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)."

Pipeline protest signs form a backdrop to waste segregation bins at a campsite on the White Earth Nation Reservation near Wau

Pipeline protest signs form a backdrop to waste segregation bins at a campsite on the White Earth Nation Reservation near Waubun, Minnesota, on June 5.

The White House is facing mounting pressure from Democrats to yank federal permits for Line 3, the controversial oil pipeline under construction in Minnesota. 

Eight Democratic senators and nearly two dozen House members criticized the Biden administration for allowing pipeline giant Enbridge to continue building Line 3 across wetlands in a letter sent Monday that HuffPost viewed. The lawmakers say President Joe Biden should suspend the Clean Water Act permits the Trump administration had granted until the Army Corps of Engineers completes a more thorough analysis of the potential environmental impacts. 

“The Trump Administration aggressively expanded fossil fuel infrastructure projects under a new policy of ‘energy dominance’ and severely limited public scrutiny on those projects,” said the letter, which Reps. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) led. 

Carrying out a new assessment, they said, would “ensure a full and significant environmental review that includes assessing the project’s real costs on environment, public health, and climate change and ensuring the public is aware of those costs.”

The Army Corps conducted “almost no independent evaluation of the risk of oil spills at the crossings it authorized, despite the fact that the route for Line 3 crosses 227 lakes and rivers, including the headwaters of the Mississippi River and rivers that feed directly into Lake Superior,” the letter said.

Environmental activist Winona LaDuke smokes tobacco at the conclusion of the Treaty People Gathering, where the faith leaders’ welcome talk and sunset prayer circle are held in protest of the Line 3 pipeline at Northern Pines Camp in Park Rapids, Minnesota, on June 5, 2021.

The lawmakers complained that the Army Corps’s final permitting analysis last November of how the pipeline would affect climate change came down to “a single paragraph in which greenhouse gas emissions from construction and operation of a major tar sands pipeline are dismissed as ‘de minimis.’” They asked instead that the administration examine how the potential for serious drought across the region could “exacerbate the environmental costs of an oil spill.” 

Yet “the most serious areas of omission” appeared in the infrastructure agency’s failure to adequately consult local tribes, many of whose members have led the ongoing protests against the pipeline’s construction, braving assaults from police and private security and blasts of debris from deliberately low-flying federal helicopters.  ...

“The magnitude of this transfer will have grave implications for the ecosystems near the pipeline, including the wild rice beds that are a staple food for the Anishinaabe people and core to the way of life,” the letter read. “It is our understanding that the Red Lake and White Earth tribes were not consulted on this dramatic increase, despite the fact that it will directly impact them.” ...

Enbridge, based in Canada, boasted earlier this year that the 1,031-mile pipeline is nearly finished, with just a portion of the 337-mile stretch through Minnesota still awaiting completion. In June, the Biden administration defended the water permits granted to the pipeline during the Trump administration and asked a federal judge to toss out a complaint from Native Americans and environmental groups challenging the project. 

Support for the project has thus far become one of the darkest bruises to Biden’s nascent climate record, which includes reducing how much a coal company has to pay in federal royalties and approving a massive wave of new oil and gas drilling permits on public lands. 

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/biden-administration-line-3-pipeline-permits-democrats_n_611c211ce4b0c69681025bc6

jerrym

Another rising cost of climate change is the ever increasing cost of insurance due to extreme weather events which has more than quadrupled in the last decade, with the destruction of Lytton, BC, by global warming induced wildfires just one of many such events.

 

Damaged vehicles and a structure is seen in Lytton, B.C., on Friday, July 9, 2021, after a wildfire destroyed most of the village on June 30. File photo by The Canadian Press/Darryl Dyck

The estimated $78 million in insured property damage from the wildfire that devastated the community of Lytton, B.C., in June is a fraction of the rising costs of disasters fuelled by climate change, the Insurance Bureau of Canada says. The average annual cost of claims for property damage or losses due to severe weather has more than quadrupled over the last decade to about $2 billion, said Craig Stewart, the bureau's vice-president of federal affairs. That's up from about $400 million each year between 2000 and 2009, around the time insurers began to see increases in property claims, he said in an interview.

The climate crisis is fuelling "more frequent, but also more severe weather events," Stewart said, pointing to flooding across Eastern Canada in recent years, higher-intensity tornadoes and dangerous wildfires on a nearly seasonal basis. "Those events may have happened anyway," he said. "But they wouldn't have been as intense as what we're witnessing now." ...

At close to $4 billion, the 2016 wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alta., is the costliest natural disaster on record for property insurers in Canada. It resulted in considerable losses for insurers relying on outdated risk modelling, Stewart said. "Data that's driving underwriting decisions is now being updated to reflect that new risk," he said, noting reinsurers, companies that provide financial protection for insurance companies, are also taking note of Canada's heightened risk.  Reinsurers have lost billions of dollars in this country over the last decade," Stewart said. "So they are upping their rates, insurers are paying more. And of course, that gets passed down in terms of increased premiums to customers." ...

The insurance bureau reports that nine of the 10 most expensive years for insured property damage in Canada have occurred since 2005. The outlier is 1998, the third most expensive year on record, due to claims from an ice storm that hit Quebec.

Insurers have been looking to offer plans but didn't have the models for flood-prone areas; there are now three private-sector flood models for Canada that aren't Canadian in origin, he said. ...

That figure came in a report released Wednesday by the federal government that lays out a plan to create a national climate-change adaptation strategy by next fall. Its development would include five new "advisory tables" on health and well-being, resilient infrastructure, a thriving natural environment, a resilient economy and disaster resilience and security. Stewart said he will be co-chairing the latter table and invitations were being sent to more than 100 other experts.

Canada needs clear, measurable targets to protect residents based on data and risk assessments that reflect current and also future climate conditions, he said. "How do we protect a certain number of Canadians from heat by 2030? How do we protect [those] who are at highest risk from flooding? Same with wildfire."

Canadians must also face hard decisions about strategic relocation, Stewart said. "If people are living in harm's way, we either need to invest heavily to protect them to mitigate those communities that are at highest risk ... or we need to move them," he said, noting that could involve the government buying out homes in high-risk areas. Real estate agents have a role to play too, he said, pointing to U.S. brokerage Redfin, which recently announced it's making climate risk information available on its listings.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/property-insurance-clima...

NDPP

'We Must Act!'

https://twitter.com/ErikSolheim/status/1429016173367152640

"Climate change is not a distant future it's here and now. Greece is burning. Turkey is burning. Russia is burning. California is burning. BC is burning, and the list goes on and on and on...We must act!"

We. must. act!

jerrym

Another sign of the ever mounting global warming crisis: rain is falling for the first time in recorded history on the top of Greenland's glaciers. 

A researcher looks at a canyon created by a meltwater stream on the glacial ice sheet in Greenland 

Greenland saw rain at the highest point of its ice sheet for the first time since scientists have been making observations there, the latest signal of how climate change is affecting every part of the planet.

According to the U.S. National Snow & Ice Data Center, rain fell for several hours on an area 10,551 feet in elevation on Aug. 14, an unprecedented occurrence for a location that rarely sees temperatures above freezing.

It was also the latest date in the year scientists had ever recorded above-freezing temperatures at the National Science Foundation's Summit Station. The rainfall coincided with the ice sheet's most recent "melt event," in which temperatures get high enough that the thick ice begins to melt.

Rising global temperatures driven by climate change have made extreme weather events more common. The Greenland Ice Sheet is no exception. 

There were two major melt events there in July. Scientists also recorded melt events on the ice sheet in 2019, 2012, and 1995. Before then, "melting is inferred from ice cores to have been absent since an event in the late 1800s," the center said.

The melting event that occurred during the August rain mirrored those that took place in July, which came about after "a strong low pressure center over Baffin Island and high air pressure southeast of Greenland" pushed warm air and moisture north, the scientists said.

The Arctic region is warming twice as quickly as the rest of the planet under climate change. Global average temperatures have risen about 1 degree Celsius, or almost 2 degrees Fahrenheit, since the growth of industrialization and fossil fuel use in the mid-19th century. The Arctic region has warmed by almost 2 degrees Celsius so far. 

Because of hotter global temperatures, Greenland and Antarctica lost enough ice over the last 16 years to fill all of Lake Michigan, a 2020 study found. The melting has implications for people far from Greenland. The ice loss is helping drive sea level rise, threatening coastal communities around the world with flooding.

https://www.npr.org/2021/08/20/1029633740/rain-fall-peak-of-greenland-ic...

jerrym

A  group of doctors and nurses, called the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment and Canadian Association of Nurses for the Environment, launched Unnatural Gas to make people aware of the health and environmental impacts created by BC's liquified natural gas (LNG) industry. Both the BC NDP government and the Trudeau Liberal government are under-reporting methane gas emissions , a major contributor to climate change, from the industry.

NaturalGasUnhealthyProtest.jpg

It’s time to move away from fossil fuels, say doctors and nurses.

The associations say plans for an LNG industry in B.C. — including the $18-billion LNG Canada plant under construction in Kitimat — will drive an increase in gas production in the province’s northeast, largely from fracked wells.

They kicked off the campaign with two large billboards along the causeway leading to BC Ferries’ Tsawwassen terminal and the weekend demonstration. ...

For Helen Boyd, a registered nurse from Comox and B.C. representative for CANE, taking on the natural gas industry is a matter of social justice.  ...

Boyd says natural gas extraction is polluting, and living near wells where companies use hydraulic fracturing to extract natural gas from shale can lead to serious health impacts.

According to the Unnatural Gas website, there are 20,000 fracked wells in northeastern B.C., covering five times as much land as the Alberta oilsands mines. Almost all B.C. natural gas comes from fracking, which involves injecting water, chemicals and sand underground at high pressure to crack rocks and allow the gas to flow.

Boyd says low birth rateslung cancerpremature births, higher chances of childhood leukaemiaasthma and exacerbation of respiratory illnessesare linked to living near fracking sites.

It’s important to raise awareness in southern B.C., where natural gas is used in homes and to heat buildings, while northern B.C. communities are dealing with the health impacts, Boyd says.

Dr. Kevin Liang, a University of British Columbia family medicine resident who created the Unnatural Gas website, said it’s also important to raise awareness about the climate impacts of natural gas.

“A lot of people think natural gas is a transition fuel,” Liang said, offering a cleaner alternative to coal or diesel. 

But they shouldn’t, he said. Natural gas infrastructure leaks methane, its main ingredient, into the atmosphere. 

And methane is a greenhouse gas with 84 times more climate warming impacts than CO2 over a 20-year period, Liang says. 

Reports consistently find provincial and federal governments under-report methane emissions from the gas sector. 

In July, the Energy and Emissions Research Lab at Carleton University published a report saying methane emissions from B.C.’s oil and gas industry are 1.6 to 2.2 times higher than reported by the federal government....

That’s part of BC Ferries 2019 Clean Futures Plan to transition 40 per cent of the fleet to all-electric or low-carbon fuel by 2030. 

Switching to natural gas will displace more than 22 per cent of the fleet’s diesel fuel consumption, reduce the carbon intensity of the fuel burned and support domestically sourced fuel, according to the Clean Futures Plan. 

Nik Pavlenko, senior researcher with the International Council on Clean Transportation’s fuel team, says that’s more greenwashing than green. Pavlenko says switching to LNG won’t benefit the climate, because the lifecycle emissions from natural gas are equal to, if not worse than, other fossil fuels. 

LNG burns cleaner, but that’s just measuring what comes out of the smokestack, Pavlenko says.  “LNG has lower CO2 emissions and lower particulate emissions which are considered for local air quality,” he says. “But when you actually look at what it takes to produce LNG and the impact of methane leakage throughout its lifecycle, we see LNG can actually have worse impacts than the fuels it’s replacing.”

Methane can have 20 to 85 times the impact of CO2 emissions, so even if a small amount leaks out during its lifecycle of fracking to ferry power there can be substantial implications, he says. Pavlenko says ferries have some of the leakiest engines, with methane escaping before its burned or released due to incomplete combustion.

https://thetyee.ca/News/2021/08/18/Nurses-Doctors-Take-Aim-BC-LNG-Ambiti...

jerrym

As The Tyee points out, part of the problem in getting global warming and its consequences taken seriously is the MSM, especially in Canada, does not pay enough attention to it considering its major global catastrophic, even existential impacts, sometimes even compared to the US, a very low bar. The MSM has paid relatively little attention to the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was agreed to by 195 nations, warned that the world is facing a “code red for humanity”. Even though a federal election in which climate change should be a major topic also occurred during this period, the MSM in Canada coverage of climate change has been quite limited. The IPCC report got roughly half as much coverage in Canada MSM as in the US. When a Rupert Murdoch newspaper, the Chicago Tribune , is providing more coverage than many Canadian newspapers on climate change, you know that Canadian MSM has failed terribly in informing the public. Not surprisingly, Postmedia with its rabid support of the fossil fuel dinosaur economy, failed to put the IPCC report on some of its front pages and those in the MSM that did often used wire services reports, instead of their own reporters. 

This "matters because, according to Canada’s federal government, the country is the world’s third largest oil exporter, sixth largest natural gas exporter and seventh largest coal exporter, making it a major part of the global warming problem."

 

Crumpled newspaper ball

The latest IPCC report identified advancing threats to civilization, but that day the Province and Toronto Sun devoted zero front page space to it. Of the big Canadian papers, by far the Toronto Star gave it most prominence. Image via Shutterstock.

Even in this digital age, the front page of a newspaper is still one of the clearest windows we have into the priorities of those who produce it. Last week, that window showed Canadians many of their biggest newspapers seem to care less about global warming than their counterparts in the United States, on the eve of an election that will determine the country’s future action on climate change.

At issue is how those newspapers handled the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s most recent report, which United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres described as a “code red for humanity.”

The report was released on Aug. 9 at 10 a.m. in Geneva, Switzerland, when most of North America was asleep. But some reporters were learning about its findings the day prior. As a result, their newspapers had two days during which they could put that news on their front pages, demonstrating its importance to readers.

At the 10 largest circulation newspapers in the United States, as determined by the Alliance for Audited Media, eight took this opportunity on one or both of those days. They devoted between four and 30 per cent of their front pages to the IPCC report.

The Boston Globe was notable in this regard, fronting stories about the report on Aug. 9 and 10, with two of them taking up 51 per cent of a single page. It was also notable because one of those stories shared with readers “what steps individuals can take” to “tackle warming now,” providing them with a sense of control in an otherwise uncontrollable situation.

By comparison, the New York Post, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., and the Chicago Tribune were the only publications among the 10 to not give the IPCC’s report front-page treatment on Aug. 9 and 10 — although the Tribune did so a day later. That meant, on average, those 10 papers devoted 12 per cent of their front pages to that story.

But a much different approach was taken north of the border. Against the backdrop of out-of-control wildfires and a deadly heat wave attributed to climate change, the IPCC report got, on average, only about half as much front-page space at the 10 largest circulation English-language newspapers in Canada.

Among those papers were two which didn’t front that story: Vancouver’s Province and the Toronto Sun. Both belong to the Postmedia Network, which has a history of publishing climate science rejectionists and promoting the country’s large fossil fuel industry. ...

But even the Canadian newspapers that did promote the importance of the IPCC report were less generous than many of their American counterparts. The biggest exception was Torstar’s the Toronto Star, which was found to have the “most accurate climate coverage” in a recent study of 17 international newspapers published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. It used about half of its front page to promote three staff-authored stories about that report the day after its release, beneath the headline “Code Red.”

But other newspapers in the Postmedia chain didn’t seem as worried about that warning. They included the Calgary Herald, the Edmonton Journal, the Vancouver Sun, and the flagship National Post, which was found to have the “least accurate” climate change coverage in the Environmental Research Letters study. ...

As for the Globe and Mail, Canada’s newspaper of record committed just five per cent of the front page of its Ontario edition to that death knell. That’s unfortunate because the newspaper, which renewed its “pledge to cover the climate crisis” last year in a letter to readers, was the only big Canadian publication to front the IPCC report on Aug. 9 and 10. But, in both cases, that happened at the bottom of its front pages. And, on Aug. 10, this treatment took the form of two tiny teasers that occupied just one per cent of the page.

In addition, Canada’s biggest newspapers mostly relied on wire services or reporters at other publications to write those front-page stories. Just three were the exception to that rule. By comparison, six of the American newspapers had their own staffers write those stories.

https://thetyee.ca/Analysis/2021/08/19/Dire-Climate-News-Canada-Front-Pa...

NDPP

We should not be surprised that the msm does not bring us the real truth on climate change, just as it doesn't on most other topics of importance. Its owners and advertisers operate their media business for their own benefit and profit, not planetary survival.

Thanks to jerrym and all who contribute to bringing awareness in this regard.

jerrym

Physics tells that two extreme weather events that occurred in the US this weekend are another example of global warming impacts: Hurricane Henri set record rainfall records in New York while in Tennessee a 17 inch deluge of rain created a flash flood that killed at least 21 people and left at least 40 people missing. 

In New York, downpours from Hurricane Henri set rainfall records this weekend. At the same time in Tennessee, an astonishing amount of rain led to flash flooding that killed at least 21 people.

Though separated by nearly 1,000 miles, these two extreme weather incidents are examples of the same phenomenon: human-caused climate change supercharging extreme rainfall events. And these types of extreme rainfall events are likely to become more common, too, as long as the planet continues to get hotter.

The reason is based on a physics principle known as the Clausius-Clapeyron relationship, which relates temperature, pressure and water vapor. The principle shows that warmer air can hold more water vapor -- about 7% more water vapor per 1 degree Celsius. More water vapor in the atmosphere means more moisture available to fall as rain, which leads to higher rainfall rates.

On average, the planet has already warmed more than 1 degree Celsius since pre-industrial times, according to a major UN climate change report published earlier this month. Over land areas there has been even more warming, and particularly in the Eastern US, which has led to a noticeable increase in heavy downpours that lead to flash flooding, according to the most recent National Climate Assessment.

This dynamic played out in Tennessee this weekend as more than 17 inches of rain fell in just 24 hours around McEwen and Centerville -- a third of the region's typical annual rainfall -- which would set a record in the state of Tennessee once made official.

Krissy Hurley, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service, told CNN that one of the biggest factors contributing to this amount of rain was that the atmosphere had ample moisture to work with. 

When meteorologists launched a weather balloon over the weekend to collect data, they found the moisture in the air was at record levels -- a "recipe for disaster," according to Hurley.

The flooding was caused by several storms that developed one after the other over the same area, which took advantage of that moisture and led to extreme rainfall rates. ...

Meanwhile, in New York City on Saturday night, residents saw extreme rainfall rates unmatchedin the city's history.

Heavy rainbands associated with the leading edge of then-Hurricane Henri resulted in a torrential downpour in New York City. Between 10 and 11 p.m., 1.94 inches of rain fell in Central Park, setting the all-time record there for the largest amount of rain in a single hour, according to the National Weather Service. In total, 4.45 inches of rain fell in the city on Saturday night, also setting a record for the date -- the old record of 4.19 inches had stood since 1888.

These extreme rainfall rates are becoming more common because of human-caused global warming, scientists say. According to the UN's report on climate change, "the frequency and intensity of heavy precipitation events have increased since the 1950s over most land area."

Deadly flash floods have made headlines around the world this summer, including in Western Europe in July. In that incident, several months-worth of rain fell in hours, turning city streets in Belgium and Germany into torrents of water that pushed cars and debris into homes and businesses and killed hundreds of people.

Heavy rainfall also caused floods in Central China last month that led to over 300 deaths. Zhengzhou, the provincial capital of 12 million people, was one of the hardest hit areas, with entire neighborhoods submerged and passengers trapped in flooded subway cars.

https://www.cnn.com/2021/08/23/weather/flooding-henri-tn-climate-change/...

laine lowe laine lowe's picture

I was once caught in an extreme flash flood in Alicante, Spain. Buidlings collapsed and their were at least a dozen deaths. We managed to catch the last bus out of town after finding out that the rail lines were submerged and our scheduled as well as all other trains cancelled. I have never seen so much overland water in my life. We waded through nearly waist high water to get on the bus and that was at the highest part of the city.

jerrym

While the heat waves and wildfires in western Canada have caught most of the media's attention, Quebec and eastern North America has had record breaking heat waves for the second time this month as global warming continues to strike everywhere around the world. 

(AccuWeather)

A heat wave that has broken temperature records in parts of Quebec over the weekend is expected to reach some new historic highs today.

Environment Canada has issued another heat warning, saying the province should expect daily humidex values to remain between 35 and 40 degrees C until Thursday.

Temperatures are expected to be especially high in areas in and around Montreal, with humid conditions likely to pose an elevated risk of heat-related illnesses.

Southwestern Quebec has been experiencing a record-breaking heat wave since Friday which is set to affect the province until next week.

Temperatures as high as 35 C were recorded in downtown Montreal on Saturday, breaking a record set back in 1916.

Environment Canada meteorologist Simon Legault says while the abnormal temperatures are well above August's average of 24 and 25 degrees, the most recent heat waves are not unexpected given the effects of climate change.

"Climate changes which are already taking place are already impacting us," he said. "We see temperatures rising. Heat waves are now more frequent, more intense and on a longer period of days."

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2021/08/23/news/record-breaking-heat-wa...

jerrym

Effective action against climate breakdown is near impossible while governments are vulnerable to lawsuits, whether in Canada, the UK or elsewhere. 

Extinction Rebellion protesters, London, 8 September 2020.

Extinction Rebellion protesters, London.

 

 Almost everyone is now at least vaguely aware that we face the greatest catastrophe our species has ever confronted. Yet scarcely anyone alters their behaviour in response: above all, their driving, flying and consumption of meat and dairy.

During the most serious of all crises, the UK elected the least serious of all governments. Both the Westminster government and local authorities continue to build roads and expand airports. An analysis by conservation charity WWF suggests that, while the last UK budget allocated £145m for environmental measures, it dedicated £40bn to policies that will increase emissions. Astonishingly, it is still government policy to “maximise economic recovery” of oil and gas from the UK’s continental shelf. According to the government’s energy white paper, promoting their extraction ensures that “the UK remains an attractive destination for global capital”, which is “the best way to secure an orderly and successful transition away from traditional fossil fuels”. ...

The same goes for almost every government. As soon as Joe Biden’s green promises collided with business as usual, they collapsed in a crumpled heap. Since he pledged to ban new drilling and fracking on federal lands, his administration has granted more than 2,000 new permits. His national security adviser has demanded that Opec+, the oil cartel, increase production, to reduce the cost of driving the monstrous cars that many Americans still buy. We were told that Biden’s modest talk concealed an appetite for radical action. But talk sets the boundaries of action, and those who promise low deliver lower.

On behalf of commercial interests, governments are all too happy to be constrained. A UK oil company is currently suing the Italian government for the loss of its “future anticipated profits”after Italy banned new oil drilling in coastal waters. Italy used to be a signatory to the Energy Charter Treaty, which allows companies to demand compensation if it stops future projects. The treaty’s sunset clause permits such lawsuits after nations are no longer party to it, so Italy can be sued even though it left the agreement in 2016.  This is one of many examples of “investor-state dispute settlement”, that makes effective action against climate breakdown almost impossible. It represents an outrageous curtailment of political choice, with which governments like ours are entirely comfortable. ...​

The global emergency requires a new politics, but it is nowhere in sight. Governments still fear lobby groups more than they fear the collapse of our living systems. For tiny and temporary political gains, they commit us to vast and irreversible consequences. MPs with no discernible record of concern for poor people, and a long record of voting against them, suddenly claim that climate action must be stymied to protect them.​

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2021/aug/19/life-earth-second-...

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