Canada and global warming: a state of denial 2

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jerrym

Andrew Hayes, interim federal Environment and Sustainable-Development Commissioner, has just released a report that concludes that the Trudeau Liberals is “uncoordinated and disconnected,” in other words, a mess. The report notes that  "success was measured by the number of meetings and committees bureaucrats participated in", which would be laughable, if the existential consequences for the world weren't so drastic. 

When you say the government's goal is to cut greenhouse gas emissions and at the same time build more pipelines, such as Trans Mountain, Keystone XL, and the just completed Line 3 from Alberta to Manitoba that added 400,000 barrels of per day to Canada's oil production and will further increase to 760,000 bpd when its extension to Minnesota is completed, then it is obvious that there is no strategy, except promising voters what they would like to hear in order to win an election. To show the real trajectory of where this government is headed we need only look at the increasing signs that it is about to give Jason Kenney even greater ability to produce more fossil fuels and, at the same time, saying nothing against the proposal to extend a pipeline from Ontario to Saguenay Quebec in order to ship LNG from there to Europe, Asia and South America. 

ETA: The Trudeau Liberals are also considering whether to approve the Teck Frontier oilsands mine that Kenney has been demanding Trudeau let go ahead (see next post for more details on this).

Canada’s approach to sustainable development is “uncoordinated and disconnected,” putting at risk a range of goals from climate action to clean drinking water, and weakening Parliament’s ability to hold the government to account.

That’s the conclusion of a new report released Tuesday by Andrew Hayes, interim federal environment and sustainable-development commissioner. 

The commissioner, who is also the deputy auditor general, looked into whether federal departments and agencies were actually helping to further the government’s own sustainable-development goals.

Hayes described the approach he uncovered as “layering disconnected strategies on more strategies” and said this was confusing for both government officials and Canadians. ...

While other countries like Germany and Switzerland have put in place a single, unified strategy, he said, Canada has not.

“Without a coordinated approach in Canada, we risk duplicating work, creating confusion and, ultimately, impeding progress toward sustainable development and not achieving the (UN Sustainable Development Goals),” he wrote in a note accompanying the findings. “Coordination and accurate reporting are also essential to ensure that Parliament can hold the government to account on meeting its sustainable-development commitments.” ...

At the centre of the problem Hayes described are two overarching, long-term groups of goals being pursued independently by two federal departments.

One group comprises the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy, a three-year, rolling program currently in its 2016–2019 cycle. It is being run by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC). Another group falls under the UN Sustainable Development Goals, an international program set up in 2015 to get countries to set and achieve similar goals by 2030. It is being run by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC).

“The issue I see is that both approaches aim to achieve the same objective and yet have separate strategies, which remain largely uncoordinated and disconnected,” Hayes wrote.

What’s more, the government appears to be preparing to do it all over again. This past June, both ECCC and ESDC released new strategies for their respective sustainable-development goals.  Both strategies have separate sets of indicators, commitments and targets. ...

Departments were supposed to contribute to this goal by working with provinces, territories, Indigenous communities and other bureaucrats to put in place things like wildfire- and pest-control programs.

Instead, success was measured by the number of meetings and committees bureaucrats participated in, the report stated.

“Now is the time for the government to ensure that there is a single, well-designed and coordinated strategy for sustainable development that covers all of the organizations and all of the sustainable-development goals, targets and implementation strategies,” Hayes wrote.

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2019/12/10/news/ottawa-sustainable-deve...

jerrym

First Nations youth and elders at the UN COP25 meeting in Madrid are demonstrating against a new massive oilsands mine expansion proposal, Teck Resources' proposed Frontier project, which would be 292 square kilometres, one of the largest oilsands mines to date. As is so often the case, the oilsands mine will be in the middle of indigenous territory, so that they bear the brunt of local pollution that is in addition to the drastic increase in greenhouse gas emissions. The federal and provincial governments are looking at whether or not to approve Teck's Frontier mine project, one of Kenney's demands of cooperation from Trudeau.  

Image result for picture indigenous youth at COP25 reject Teck

First Nations youth from Canada are at a United Nations climate change conference in Madrid, Spain, demonstrating against a massive proposed oilsands mine in Alberta.

The provincial government of Alberta and the federal government are considering approval for what would be one of the largest oilsands open pits ever built. 

"This is taking us in the wrong direction," said Eriel Deranger, executive director of Indigenous Climate Action (ICA) and a member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation in Alberta. ICA is an Indigenous-led organization that doesn't accept funding from corporate or government sources. It runs based on individual donations. ...

Teck Resources' proposed Frontier project would be 292 square kilometres, one of the largest oilsands mines to date.

At full capacity, the Frontier project would extract 260,000 barrels of bitumen a day. Oil sands are a mixture of sand, clay, water and bitumen, which has to be extracted before it is refined into synthetic crude oil.  ...

The operation would be located 100 km north of Fort McMurray — 17 km from Poplar Point First Nation and 30 km from the boundary of Wood Buffalo National Park, a UNESCO world heritage site. ...

According to the Pembina Institute, the Frontier project would contribute six megatonnes of carbon emissions annually. 

"The biggest thing why this is so relevant in the climate negotiations is this project will create six megatonnes of emissions annually and has a life cycle of over 40 years," Deranger said.

"We're talking about setting emissions caps, and in our country we're talking about truth and reconciliation with Indigenous communities. We're talking about conservation and protecting the last remaining biodiverse regions of the world. And this project violates every single commitment Canada has made." 

In 2016, Alberta set an emissions cap on oilsands operations of 100 megatonnes annually. The Pembina Institute estimated oilsands emissions at 77 megatonnes in 2018. 

"We want to remind the Canadian government of their responsibility to stolen lands, and remind the world that climate change is not just a random phenomenon, it is the result of a destructive colonial relationship with the natural world," said Ta'kaiya Blaney who is an ICA Indigenous Youth Delegate and member of Tla A'min Nation located along the southwest B.C. coast. 

"Climate change is a colonial problem and to successfully fight climate change we need Indigenous rights. We need Indigenous sovereignty and Indigenous solutions."

https://www.cbc.ca/news/indigenous/first-nations-youth-oilsands-madrid-c...

jerrym

CBC Power and Politics is reporting that the First Nations youth and elders at the UN COP25 Climate Change Conference involved in protesting the Teck Frontier oilsands mine (described in the previous post) that would be one of the largest in Alberta history, producing 260,000 barrels of bitumen per day have been detained for participating in  unauthorized protests at the Canadian embassy and at COP25. National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Perry Bellegarde is trying to obtain their release. Below is a press release from the Indigenous Climate Action group involved in the protests at the Canadian embassy and at COP25. 

Two symbolic protests were held in the city of Madrid, Spain yesterday. In the morning at the Canadian embassy and later in the day, inside the COP 25 UN Climate negotiations. The protests were led by Indigenous youth and elders with the support of Indigenous Climate Action and their partners from across Canada and the USA. At the Canadian embassy in the morning, the group held ceremonies, prayer, and rallied participants to add their voices to a long list demanding Canada reject the Teck Frontier mine, the biggest proposed surface mine ever in the history of the Alberta tar sands. A report released last week by 17 research and campaigning organizations used oil and gas industry projections to show that Canada will be one of the worst violators of the Paris Agreement if it expands its oil and gas extraction as planned, second only to the United States. Rejecting the Teck Frontier Mine is an important first step the federal government can take to ensure a safe climate future.

This morning at the Madrid Canadian embassy, representative of the Dene Nation, Elder Francois Paulette declared that all thirty three First Nations of the Dene Nation including his home community of Fort Smith Landing are unified in their opposition to the Teck Frontier mine and any further expansion of the Alberta tar sands.

“My First Nation the Smith Landing First Nation in Alberta, we outright opposed the teck project. Its 30 km south of Wood Buffalo National Park. This project did not consult with us, their report did not include Indigenous peoples traditional knowledge. As long as traditional knowledge of First Nations is missing from your report, you are missing the most important part of our relationship with Mother Earth, so do your homework before you build projects that are going to destroy yourself and the Earth.” Elder Francois Paulette, Representative of the Dene Nation and Smith Landing First Nation. ....

“Our actions have been against Teck Frontier and all associated pipelines. It is unacceptable that Canada is pushing narratives around reconciliation while simultaneously pushing these projects through our lands, right now in Canada land defenders and water protectors are being forcibly removed from their lands to make way for these projects by armed forces. Canada is responsible to the land it has stolen, responsible to the climate it has disregarded over profit, so we as Indigenous youth are here to say climate leadership must be Indigenous led, our way of stewarding land needs to be respected. We need to reject teck. '' Ta'kaiya Blaney, Member of Tla'amin Nation.

The Teck Frontier Mine has already received a recommendation for approval from the oil industry dominated, Federal Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA). The CEAA review found that the project would directly impact the treaty rights of First Nations in the region and would also be devastating to both the ecosystem and endangered species like the Wood Buffalo and the whooping Crane. ...

“The largest tar sands mine on the planet is being proposed in my peoples territory right now, it will impact the woodland buffalo, the last remaining wild whooping cranes on the planet and many of the animals my people rely on for food. Aside from the detrimental impacts it will have on my peoples food security, treaty rights and water, It will add 6.1 million megatons of carbon annually to the atmosphere. We must force Canada to reject teck.” Eriel Deranger, Executive Director, Indigenous Climate Action.

Inside the UN Climate negotiations in the afternoon, a second Reject Teck protest supported by Indigenous Climate Action took place.

“This Teck Frontier mine is going to be a complete carbon bomb on Mother Earth, if Teck Frontier is built we will see the world begin to unravel. This is why we are here at COP 25 and this is why we have to reject Teck.” Said Nigel Henry Robinison, Indigenous Climate Action Youth Delegation Lead and member of Cold Lake Dene Nation.

https://www.indigenousclimateaction.com/post/first-nations-demand-canada...

 

NDPP

WATCH: COP-[Out] 25 Was Moved To Spain to Conceal Chilean Government's Human Rights Violations

https://twitter.com/dimitrilascaris/status/1205571771564343296

"For The Real News, I spoke to Oxfam's Nafkote Dabi & Gary Hughes of Biofuel Watch. They explain that COP25 was moved to conceal human rights abuses by Chile's Western-backed regime and that rich nations are shirking their duty to address loss and damage." (more upthread)

NDPP

A contrasting examination of some of the darker interests and entities involved in global climate action initiatives. I do not share the view that an environmental and climate crisis is unfounded but the article is important in its listing of entities anything but grassroots and clearly more concerned with steering the agenda towards more profits rather than saving the planet. Cui bono and caveat emptor.

Engdahl: Climate and the Money Trail

https://journal-neo.org/2019/09/25/climate-and-the-money-trail/

"...A key player in the linking of world financial institutions with the Green Agenda is outgoing Bank of England head Mark Carney. In December 2015, The Bank For International Settlements' Financial Stability Board (FSB), chaired then by Carney, created the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (TCFD) to advise 'investors, lenders and insurance about climate related risk.' That was certainly a bizarre focus for world central bankers.

In 2016, the TCFD along with the City of London Corporation and the UK Government initiated the Green Finance Initiative, aiming to channel trillions of dollars to 'green' investments. The central bankers of the FSB nominated 31 people to form the TCFD. Chaired by billionaire Michael Bloomberg of the financial wire, it includes key people from JP Morgan Chase; from BlackRock - one of the world's largest asset managers with almost $7 trillion; Barclay's Bank; HSBC the London-Hong Kong bank repeatedly fined for laundering drug and other black funds; Swiss Re, the world's second largest resinsurance; China's ICBC Bank; Tata Steel, ENI oil; Dow Chemical; mining giant BHP Billington and David Blood of Al Gore's Generation Investment LLC.

In effect it seems the foxes are writing the rules for the new Green Hen House..."

jerrym

The Executive Director of Indigenous Climate Action, Eriel Deranger, discusses the protests at the Canadian embassy and at COP25 over Canadian pipelines and the proposed Teck Frontier oilsands mine in Alberta in the Democracy Now url video below.

Image result for picture of Canadian indigenous protest at COP25

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BP1FHvcrBM8&list=PL0F1F946BD995C654&inde...

jerrym

Fifteen young people, including Greta Thunberg, have signed a letter asking Trudeau to block any new oil and gas projects and to quickly shift out of any current fossil fuel production. Unfortunately, this isn't going to happen but the youth realize they will be the biggest losers as fossil fuel production continues. 

Fifteen young people co-signed a Dec. 10, 2019 letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to block any new oil and gas projects and move quickly to phase out existing production. Photos compiled by Alastair Sharp via https://childrenvsclimatecrisis.org 

The group of youth from across the world said Canada has taken a leading role globally in pushing for climate action, but must apply the same commitment domestically, in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and dated Dec. 10, Human Rights Day.

"Canada must apply its international climate leadership to all domestic action," the letter says. "It must demonstrate how a major fossil fuels producer and exporter can transition away from these pollutants, blazing a trail for other fossil fuel-reliant economies to follow."

They also wrote separately to Norway, another developed economy with a major and still-expanding oil and gas industry, with similar demands. ...

The group — which in September filed a complaint at the United Nations against Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany and Turkey — argues that climate inaction amounts to a violation of the rights of children, who will bear the brunt of the negative effects of a warming planet.

Trudeau has sought to align himself with Thunberg, who has galvanized the world’s young people to demand action on climate change after she started skipping school last year to protest outside the Swedish parliament. They met in September ahead of a massive climate march in Montreal, which they both took part in.

Canada is the world's fourth-largest producer and exporter of oil, which mostly comes from the oil-rich province of Alberta and mostly goes to the United States. The combustion of oil and gas releases carbon and other gases into the atmosphere, creating a greenhouse effect that traps heat and is leading to more frequent and more extreme weather events and rising sea levels. ...

Canada is currently considering an application from Teck Resources to develop the $20-billion, 260,000-barrel-per-day Frontier project abutting the Athabasca River in Alberta's northeast, which, if approved, would be the first new open-pit petroleum-mining construction in the country's oilpatch in many years. The government's decision is due by the end of February. 

Canada "must demonstrate how a major fossil fuels producer and exporter can transition away from these pollutants," @GretaThunberg and other youth write in letter to @JustinTrudeau, calling for a block on all new oil and gas projects.

The letter also refers to other expansion activities, including the nearly complete 1,600-kilometre Line 3 pipeline between Alberta and Wisconsin, and the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, which Ottawa bought last year and which, if built, would triple the capacity of that route from the oilsands to the British Columbia coast.

The Line 3 pipeline alone could boost Canada's oil production by 10 per cent. Canada's overall oil production is projected to expand by 60 per cent between 2017 and 2040, while gas production is set to expand by 34 per cent, they said.

Canada "must end the development and export of new oil and gas reserves, and set a plan to quickly phase out existing production fields," says the letter, written by Michael Hausfeld, the youth group's legal counsel. "It must stop prioritizing short-term economic gains over the future of its children and all children around the world."

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2019/12/09/news/greta-thunberg-and-othe...

jerrym

During the election campaign Trudeau promised that all profits from Trans Mountain would go into renewable energy. In June the Liberal government claimed that Trans Mountain would generate $500 million in corporate tax revenues. However, economist Robyn Allan has been unable to get any explanation of how this would happen despite repeated requests.

In addition the purchase price of $4.5 billion, which was more than the pipeline was worth according to exports, the construction costs have risen from $7.4 billion to an estmated $12 billion today, to say nothing of the subsidies that are estimated at $3.4 billion over its first five years of government ownership because the pipeline is currently operating at a loss. Other subsidies, such as revenue sharing with BC and improved marine safety measures raise the estimated subsidies to $8 billion. A significant part of these numbers were known to Finance Minister Bill Morneau and Trudeau, as government papers show, when they bought the project.

Liberal MP Bill Morneau

Liberal Finance Minister Bill Morneau 

 Finance Minister Bill Morneau will not explain how his department estimated that finishing the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will bring another $500 million in corporate tax revenue into the federal government's bank account.

The figure was cited by the government when it approved the project a second time last June and was also included in the Liberals' campaign platform as they attempted to show how they intend to pay for various election promises.

Economist Robyn Allan says she has been trying to get Ottawa to explain its numbers for months to no avail.

A spokesman for Morneau says the $500 million is a Finance Canada estimate but did not answer questions about how that estimate was created.

Allan says the government is using the figure to generate public support for the project and Ottawa has a responsibility to explain its origins.

https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/feds-won-t-explain-claim-trans-mountain-will...

 

Ever since Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced the Liberal Cabinet decision to buy Trans Mountain from Kinder Morgan for $4.5 billion on May 29, 2018, Canadians have been asking “How much will this pipeline end up costing us?” There are two price tags. First, the cost for the 66-year-old pipeline. And, second, the cost to build the expansion. ...

On that same day Canadians were also led to believe that the second price tag was $7.4 billion.  ...

Hidden deep in hundreds of pages of government documents is one small figure. And it’s strong evidence that on the day the government told Canadians the cost to build the pipeline was $7.4 billion, its own estimates showed the cost to be an extra billion dollars.

What we now know is that Morneau’s advisers were well aware of escalating project costs. Internal government documents released through Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) tell us the government’s project team ordered a study from Leidos Engineering to determine the cost to build the expansion. That study was underway in April 2018 before Trans Mountain’s purchase was announced.

Briefing notes in the ATIP documents show that the Leidos report was meant to include “new costing and scheduling for (an) $8.4 B project” — 15 per cent more than the cost Ottawa admitted to publicly when it announced the purchase. The new cost is tucked away on page 272 of a 601-page release — the only reference to expected higher project costs that isn’t redacted. Current indications, as detailed in my brief, are that the cost to build the project has likely reached $12 billion. Taxpayers as owners are at serious risk. ...

That’s the cost of subsidies we are on the hook for a new expanded pipeline. But we are already paying subsidies for the existing pipeline which are currently about $3.4 billion over five-years because Trans Mountain has been losing money since Ottawa bought it. That and the fact that the government paid way too much for the 66-year old pipeline.

Then there are other promises Ottawa has agreed to such as First Nations accommodations, revenue sharing with B.C, and marine safety that exceeds more than $1 billion. Adding it all together subsidies have reached $8 billion and counting.

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2019/12/10/opinion/did-feds-mislead-can...

jerrym

Despite a long negotiation process, the world's 200 nations agreed to reduce greenhouse gases but failed to reach agreement on ways to do so, even though scientists warn we have only ten years left if we are to have any hope of dealing with this global crisis effectively. However, grassroot activists, particularly youth and indigenous ones, continue to push for a large, quick and effective transition from fossil fuels to renewables. 

Activists protest outside the venue of the UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid [Susana Vera/Reuters]

Activists protest outside the venue of the UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid 

After lengthy negotiations, delegations from nearly 200 countries at the COP25 climate summit have reached an agreement on stepping up the global response to cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

However, negotiators on Sunday stalled on an agreement on the regulation of carbon markets, one of the most critical and contentious issues at the climate change conference.

The final declaration called for fresh proposals on pledges on reducing carbon emissions to be in place by next year's COP26. It also called for more ambition to close the gap between existing emissions pledges and goals of the 2015 Paris climate agreement. 

Although negotiations at the IFEMA trade centre dragged on two days past the official deadline, delegates left the issue of regulating carbon markets until the COP26 summit in Glasgow. ...

Christoph Bals, policy director at NGO Germanwatch,... underlined that the continuing conflict between countries including "the US, Australia and Brazil, where the business model is strongly connected with the fossil [fuel] industries", had been "very visible" during the negotiations.

Asked if that battle concerning carbon markets would continue in the years to come, Bals said it would "in the international forum, but also on a national level. Countries like Switzerland have announced here - and the EU - that they will implement their own rules to deal with the international market mechanisms in a responsible way." ...

Grassroots movement

Despite COP25's mixed results, there were plenty of signs of flourishing grassroots activity against climate change around the two-week conference in Madrid.

Following the arrival of teenage Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who had travelled across the Atlantic by catamaran, a demonstration under the banner "The world has woken up to the climate emergency" drew tens of thousands of protesters on December 6.

Youth climate activists also pushed for a global strike on the conference's final official day, protesting that human rights and social justice had been sidelined. A noisy but good-humoured protest took place in the COP25 entrance hallway on Friday afternoon, with dozens of young activists sitting on the floor to listen to speeches and songs before moving outside to join another group of protesters.

"Young people have demonstrated before at COPs but this last year the Fridays for Future movement has been even more of a driver," Amnesty International's climate change adviser Chiara Liguori told Al Jazeera.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/12/cop25-summit-fails-address-key-ca...

jerrym

To offset all the negative news with regard to the world, Canada and global warming during the last week, there was one tiny offset right here in Canada - the first all-electric flight, meaning that no fossil fuels were involved in the trip. Harbour Air of Vancouver plans to have all of its flights be totally electric in the future. 

main article image

Harbour Air seaplane in Vancouver on first all-electric flight in world

The world's first fully electric commercial aircraft took its inaugural test flight on Tuesday, taking off from the Canadian city of Vancouver and offering hope that airlines may one day end their polluting emissions.

"This proves that commercial aviation in all-electric form can work," said Roei Ganzarski, chief executive of Seattle-based engineering firm magniX. The company designed the plane's motor and worked in partnership with Harbour Air, which ferries half a million passengers a year between Vancouver, Whistler ski resort and nearby islands and coastal communities.​

Ganzarski said the technology would mean significant cost savings for airlines -- not to mention zero emissions. "This signifies the start of the electric aviation age," he told reporters.

Civil aviation is one of the fastest growing sources of carbon emissions as people increasingly take to the skies and new technologies have been slow to get off the ground.​ At 285 grammes of CO2 emitted per kilometre (mile) travelled by each passenger, airline industry emissions far exceed those from all other modes of transport, according to the European Environment Agency. The emissions contribute to global warming and climate change, which scientists say will unleash ever harsher droughts, superstorms, and sea-level rise.

The e-plane -- a 62-year-old, six-passenger DHC-2 de Havilland Beaver seaplane retrofitted with an electric motor –- was piloted by Greg McDougall, founder and chief executive of Harbour Air. ...

McDougall took the plane on a short loop along the Fraser River near Vancouver International Airport in front of around 100 onlookers soon after sunrise. The flight lasted less than 15 minutes, according to an AFP journalist on the scene.

"Our goal is to actually electrify the entire fleet. There's no reason not to," said McDougall.​

On top of fuel efficiency, the company would save millions in maintenance costs, as electric motors require "drastically" less upkeep, McDougall said.

However, Harbour Air will have to wait at least two years before it can begin electrifying its fleet of more than 40 seaplanes. The e-plane has to be tested further to confirm it is reliable and safe. In addition, the electric motor must be approved and certified by regulators. ...

Battery power is also a challenge. An aircraft like the one flown on Tuesday could only fly about 100 miles (160 kilometers) on lithium battery power, said Ganzarski​. While that's not far, it's sufficient for the majority of short-haul flights run by Harbour Air.

https://www.sciencealert.com/the-first-fully-electric-plane-takes-to-the...

jerrym

Unfortunately, things are going in the opposite direction to electric airplane flights, when it comes to electric car sales in Ontario. After the Ford government removed a sales rebate for electric vehicles, sales plummetted dramatically in Ontario. Not coincidentally, at the same time electric cars sales have fallen dramatically in the province, Ontario is the only province in which sales of electric cars are not rising. BC's and Quebec's rebate system have helped these provinces lead the way in electric car sales.

I guess the fossil fuel companies should increase their donations to the Ontario Conservatives.

Sales of electric vehicles in Ontario have plummeted since the Progressive Conservative government cancelled a rebate last year, hampering progress toward a national target.

In the first six months of this year, sales in Ontario were down more than 55 per cent from the same period in 2018, according to data from Electric Mobility Canada. In the second quarter of this year 2,933 electric vehicles were sold in the province, down from 7,110 in the same period last year.

Ontario is the only province not seeing increases in sales, year over year.

Quebec and British Columbia, which have their own provincial rebates, have long been leading in total sales. Ontario's figures had been increasing on par with theirs until the province's financial incentive disappeared.

They rebounded after the introduction this spring of a $5,000 federal rebate, but national sales of electric vehicles are still only at 3.5 per cent, which is a far cry from the federal government's target of 10 per cent in 2025.

"It's going to be challenging for the federal government to meet that target...then even more by 2030 (when Ottawa hopes the number rises to 30 per cent)," said Al Cormier of Electric Mobility Canada.

"If Ontario was in the game again it would make the whole thing a lot easier."

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2019/12/15/news/sales-electric-vehicles...

jerrym

The failure of political leadership to deal with climate change at COP25 as we hurtle towards global warming catastrophe is staggering. However, led by young people the resistance continues. Hundreds of millions of lives depend on it. 

Demonstrators protest outside the UN Climate Change Conference COP25

Demonstrators protest outside the UN Climate Change Conference COP25

The UK faces the task of breaking the deadlock on international climate negotiations next year, after the COP25 talks ended in Madrid yesterday with no new ambition and little progress.

The meeting overran to become the longest climate summit yet as delegates from nearly 200 countries struggled to reach agreement on key issues on the framework underpinning the Paris climate deal. Drawing up rules on a carbon market between countries has been deferred until next year, when the UK hosts a landmark climate summit in Glasgow.

António Guterres, the UN secretary general, said he was disappointed with the outcome, and that leaders had missed an opportunity to be more ambitious on climate change mitigation, adaptation and finance for poorer countries. “But we must not give up, and I will not give up,” he tweeted. ...

Claire Perry O’Neill, the former UK climate minister who will be president of the Glasgow summit, argued it was better to have no deal on the carbon markets than a bad one. The UK would “pull no punches” in making the scheme work for everyone next year, she tweeted.

There was also no progress on “loss and damage” – the principle of vulnerable countries hit by climate-linked damage being able to claim economic losses from richer ones – and long-term financing to help poorer countries.

Scientists said the “minimum compromise” achieved in Madrid means the Glasgow meeting will now need to be a turning point. “Postponing all the relevant issues is hardly in line with the climate emergency that we scientists highlighted during COP25,” said Johan Rockström at the University of Potsdam, Germany, in a statement. The WWF said the summit showed “a staggering failure of leadership by some countries”.

The intransigence of big polluters – including China, the US, Brazil and India – at the meeting led to the European Union, small island states and members of the public expressing frustration. This culminated in a protest at the summit where about 200 campaigners were marched out of the conference by security, though they were later allowed back.

The UN said that more than 70 countries are expected to submit stronger plans to curb carbon emissions next year, ahead of the Glasgow summit.

www.newscientist.com/article/2227541-cop25-climate-summit-ends-in-staggering-failure-of-leadership/#ixzz68Kxk6FUA

jerrym

While even some delegates to the UN COP25 meeting praised Canada's efforts in dealing with climate changes due to the Trudeau government's propaganda, the reality is revealed by experts showing that Canada is ranked 55th out of 61 large countries when it comes to dealing with global warming. 

Indigenous youth occupy the Canadian embassy in Madrid, Spain. Dec. 11, 2019.

Walk the halls of this sputtering summit and you’ll find UN delegates gratefully heralding Canada as a bulwark against the global tide of authoritarians and extraction populists ignoring climate calamity. You’ll run into climate advocates praising Canada’s pledge to go zero carbon. But step into a side conference and you’ll find a panel of carbon experts PowerPointing the pollution impacts of Canada's rapidly expanding oil and gas industry. They’ve ranked Canada 55th out of the 61 biggest countries in the world, rating our performance “very low.”

Need some fresh air? Outside, activists from every corner of the world are protesting Teck Resources’ proposed mega-mine in the Alberta oilsands which the feds need to nix or approve in the next couple months. Canada's delegates would probably rather stick near the negotiating rooms where observers praise them for pushing stronger international climate rules. Or maybe head over to the finance panel where the United Nations rep is showcasing Canada’s Just Transition strategy for coal workers as a model for the world to follow.

After a miserable day mired in the inanities of United Nations procedures, you might want to head over to the Canadian embassy for a quiet drink. But it might not be so quiet because there you will find Indigenous youth who have occupied the reception area in protest, calling out the government for authorizing pipelines despite First Nations opposition, and approving mega projects which threaten their homes and future.

Canada’s experience at the Madrid COP is a bit of a microcosm of the country’s predicament. Canadians overwhelmingly want more ambitious action against climate change. Two-thirds of voters made that clear in the last election.

The federal government has brought in a package of climate legislation better than most in the world. Our electricity is among the greenest anywhere and is moving towards zero carbon. Provinces with good EV programs are selling electric cars as fast as dealers can get them on the lots.

In fact, 85% of the country is pretty much on track to meet the climate targets Canada pledged to the international community.

And yet, despite our tiny percentage of the world population, Canada is the ninth largest climate polluter in the world. The main reason is that we’re a top-five producer of oil and gas. Back when most of us hadn't realized the climatic dangers of burning fossil fuels, we built an industry that is a true wonder of engineering and technology. ...

But most Canadians benefited greatly from the wealth generated by the fossil fuel boom. What’s different today is that we are belatedly reckoning with the brutalities of colonialism. And now we do know — we know the climate impacts of burning oil, gas and coal. But we are only just beginning to reckon with these fossil fuel impacts. We are phasing out coal use domestically. But with oil and gas, we are doing exactly the opposite — we are doubling down, massively expanding the industry year after year. Fossil fuel production has levelled off in most countries, but it is still growing globally. About 85 per cent of that global expansion of new oil and gas projects is happening in the U.S. and Canada. ...

That’s why the Trudeau government is taking heat from critics young and old. Greta Thunberg led a group of international youth calling out Canada at the beginning of the week. Making the case that continued fossil expansion amounts to abuse of the rights of children, the group called on Canada to "end the development and export of new oil and gas reserves, and set a plan to quickly phase out existing production fields.” Canada "must stop prioritizing short-term economic gains over the future of its children and all children around the world,” the group said.

Bookending the week, Jeffrey Sachs, presiding elder in the field of economic development and the fight against poverty, took to the stage to castigate Canada, and Justin Trudeau specifically: “It doesn’t work to try to have it like Canada’s Prime Minister Trudeau — to say 'we will be clean at home but export our crud around the world.'"

Sachs was being generous. Canadians might want to be clean at home, and we do now have real climate policies coming into force, but we still drive the dirtiest vehicles of any country on the planet, and we are still approving massive new fossil projects for LNG and oil. The feds have a moment of truth coming soon after they return home from Madrid — they’ve got to decide whether to allow the largest oilsands mine ever to go ahead right near the edge of Wood Buffalo National Park.

Teck Resources' mega-mine would be “an example of moving the line in the wrong direction,” says Eriel Tchekwie Deranger, a Dënesųłiné woman and member of the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation. ...

Norway’s government made the kind of commitment Canadians voted to get from Ottawa: “We have to cut 55 per cent by 2030 and to zero by 2050,” Norway pledged. "As an oil producer we need to prepare for that change. We have to diversify our economy just like every other country. And stop all fossil fuel use in the future."

http://ecosocialistsvancouver.org/article/whiplash-canada-cop25

jerrym

There is growing anger around the world over the failure of COP25 to deal effectively with climate change, especially when it comes to helping the countries most vunerable to global warming. 

Island Nations Looking To Maintain Sovereignty If Lands Become Uninhabitable Due To Sea Level Rise
 

Climate activists have found plenty to be angry about at this year’s UN climate talks. ...

From youth groups to indigenous people, civil society has been more riled than in previous years, as the disconnect grows between momentum on the streets and the slow progress of the negotiations.

“It’s like two parallel worlds,” says Sara Shaw, part of the Friends of the Earth International delegation at the meeting, known as COP25. “It’s so stark, the contrast between climate breakdown, the potential of massive expansion of fossil fuels, using markets to game the system, the access polluters have to these talks when civil society is really marginalised. I think it’s just coming together in a huge amount of frustration at the injustice of it all.” ...

Two issues have proved particularly contentious: the role of carbon markets, and lack of finance for countries that are already suffering the impacts of climate change – known in the negotiations as “loss and damage”.

At the meeting, the US put forward a proposal that would make it more difficult for poor countries to gain compensation for the damages caused by climate change in the future.

The Paris Agreement already ensures that developed nations cannot be held liable for the damage that has been caused by climate change. Negotiators are seeking further protection by extending this clause across the UN’s climate convention at large.

Avishek Shrestha of the Asian Peoples’ Movement on Debt and Development is fully aware of the real-world impacts of such a policy. “People back in Nepal are dying each day. People are forced to leave their houses, they’re losing their jobs, and many small farmers are losing their crops. So loss and damage is a major issue for us. But the rich developed countries are not giving funding,” he says. ...

Another contentious issue dividing countries in Madrid is the role carbon markets have to play in combating climate change.

Known as Article 6, negotiators agreed that carbon markets would form part of the Paris Agreement in 2015. The rulebook guiding how these function in practice being discussed in Madrid has proved controversial.

Carbon markets have strong support from the business community, including oil and gas companies. But campaigners are concerned about the human rights implications of this approach, as well as the potential for carbon credits to undermine efforts to tackle climate change. 

Shell’s climate change advisor, David Hone, defended the mechanism at an event hosted by the International Emissions Trading Association, a pro-carbon markets lobby, earlier this week saying, “you get an overall mitigation in global emissions simply by using Article 6. ...

But non-governmental organisations have vehemently opposed the mechanism as it stands.

On Tuesday night, indigenous leaders from across Latin America, the Caribbean and North America delivered a letter to the COP presidency outlining their demands in relation to the climate crisis. This included a demand to “reject the mercantilization of nature” through carbon markets, which they said were “neocolonialist solutions that bring conflicts within our peoples.”

Friends of the Earth’s Shaw agrees that there are serious social justice concerns about using carbon markets to cut emissions. “New markets will allow big emitters, polluting countries, to continue to extract fossil fuels and pay for carbon trading schemes that are going to cause huge damage, particularly in the south, where you get plantations, people displaced, and indigenous peoples’ land lost,” she says. And campaigners aren’t convinced carbon markets are environmentally effective. “The negotiations on carbon markets, if they are pushed through, it’s absolutely game over for 1.5C,” says Shaw. ...

The carbon markets conflict is indicative of how civil society has become more confident and less willing to accept compromises at the COP, according to Collin Rees, a senior campaigner at Oil Change International.

“That combination of increased urgency and a much louder and bolder movement has greatly increased the calls for drastic action. At the same time, we’ve seen this process continue to be more or less what it’s always been, which is a band-aid compared to what needs to be done to fix this problem,” he says.

“International collaboration is a crucial piece of the puzzle and we need to have binding agreements. But we also need more ambition across the board. This process is not adapting to the urgency of the crisis.”

Activists weren’t alone in expressing their frustration at the pace of the negotiations. On Thursday, ministers from the small island states convened an emergency press conference in response to the lack of ambition within the negotiations.

“We are appalled at the state of negotiations. At this stage we are being cornered. We fear having to concede on too many issues that would damage the very integrity of the Paris Agreement,” said Carlos Fuller, the lead negotiator for the group, in a statement. “What’s before us is a level of compromise so profound that it underscores a lack of ambition, seriousness about the climate emergency and the urgent need to secure the fate of our islands,” he said.

http://ecosocialistsvancouver.org/article/cop25-anger-over-lack-action-v...

jerrym

Edited To Add (see bold print): Today a Chinese oil company, CNOOC through its Canadian-owned subsidiary Nexen, got permission to drill exploratory oil wells off the Newfoundland coast, as part of a $4 billion exploratory hunt for the province's next major oil project.

So much for Trudeau's reduction in greenhouse gas reduction targets. It's not an accident that the announcement came a couple of days after the UN COP25 conference on climate change and its related protests. This follows the Liberal game plan of declaring a climate change emergency in June and the next day approving the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, as well as fighting an election claiming to aim at greatly reducing green house gas emissions and now approving new fossil fuel projects. 

How many more approvals are coming in Newfoundland, Alberta and Saskatchewan?

The Hibernia oil-drilling platform in Newfoundland and Labrador. Big Oil is spending $4 billion on a deepwater hunt for Newfoundland's next monster project.

The Hibernia oil-drilling platform 315 kilometres off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Newfoundland and Labrador is expecting a wave of oil and gas exploration in the province’s offshore waters over the next few years. The deepwater hunt will involve oil and gas companies spending up to $4 billion to identify the province’s next major oil project.

“There’s an unprecedented level of interest for offshore East Coast Canada,” said Jim Keating, executive vice president of offshore development at Nalcor Energy, a Newfoundland and Labrador Crown corporation, which holds minority equity stakes in three of the province’s offshore oil projects, and is responsible for driving further investments in the sector.

“From 2014 to present, we’ve amassed over $4-billion worth of offshore work commitments, which is about 60 per cent of the total ever in offshore Newfoundland and Labrador in its history. And that goes back to the mid-80s,” Keating added, in an interview. “That’s pretty significant.” ...

The province has four producing oil projects: Hebron, Hibernia, Terra Nova and White Rose. ExxonMobil Corp., Husky Energy Inc., and Suncor Inc. are the primary operators on those projects, with Chevron Corp. and Equinor ASA (formerly Statoil ASA) also involved.

https://business.financialpost.com/commodities/energy/big-oil-sinking-4-...

 

The Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Jonathan Wilkinson, has announced that the proposed CNOOC International Flemish Pass Exploration Drilling Project can proceed. ...

The proponent, CNOOC Petroleum North America ULC, can now proceed with obtaining any additional authorizations and permits from federal departments as well as the Canadian-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board.

The project involves exploration drilling within two offshore Exploration Licences located in the Flemish Pass Basin, over 400 kilometres east of St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. According to figures provided by the proponent, 100 to 200 people would be working on the offshore drilling installation during operations with an equal or greater number of personnel also involved in support activities.

https://www.canada.ca/en/impact-assessment-agency/news/2019/12/cnooc-int...

Rikardo

Thanks for this.  I want to know how much of my tax money is going into this project ?  We read $2 billion in Canada. That $100s per payer.  And now they want a "carbon tax" on top of that.  Just to look good. Easier than cutting subsidies to friends. 

jerrym

The following three and a half minute CBC video about Liverpool, Nova Scotia, that is already extensive flooding due to climate change. Furthermore, the video discusses how this will get much worse as sea levels rise due to glacier melting. People in town already know that not everything can be saved. Furthermore, the video notes that this is going to be many coastal communities in Nova Scotia, Canada, and elsewhere in the world.

This problem is especially severe for Canada because we have the longest coastline in the world 202,080 km, far longer than even second place Norway, which has 58,133 km of coastline (https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/countries-with-the-most-coastline.html)

Liverpool Nova Scotia and Sea Level Rise due to Climate Change Video: 

https://www.cbc.ca/news/thenational/nova-scotia-town-sinking-as-sea-leve...

 

Liverpool’s waterfront parking lot had major flooding after high tides during storm surges on the weekend of March 2-4.  Kenny Veinot photo

Liverpool’s waterfront parking lot had major flooding after high tides during storm surges on the weekend of March 2-4. Kenny Veinot photo - Submitted

 

jerrym

Rikardo wrote:

Thanks for this.  I want to know how much of my tax money is going into this project ?  We read $2 billion in Canada. That $100s per payer.  And now they want a "carbon tax" on top of that.  Just to look good. Easier than cutting subsidies to friends. 

Canada's fossil fuel subsidies are far greater $100 per person. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), which is famous for having poor countries slash social spending to reduce national debt and for its support of corporations, nevertheless concluded that Canada subsidized the fossil fuel industry to the tune of $60 billion in 2015 or $1,650 per person. 

According to a new International Monetary Fund (IMF) report, Canada subsidized the fossil fuel industry to the tune of almost $60 billion in 2015 — approximately $1,650 per Canadian.  

Yet subsidizing one of the world’s wealthiest industries is folly. 

Such subsidies not only hurt Canadian taxpayers and the economy — they also exacerbate the climate emergency. ...

The problem is that subsidies encourage the production and wasteful consumption of fossil fuels all while impeding the shift to cleaner renewables. 

For these reasons, during the last election campaign Justin Trudeau sensibly committed to “phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.”   

The problem is that government has not yet delivered on this promise.  

A new 2019 report by Canada’s Auditor General reveals government’s review of such subsidies is “incomplete and not rigorous,” is “not based on all relevant and reliable information” and “did not consider economic, social and environmental sustainability over the long term.”

Canada continues to subsidize the fossil fuel industry in myriad ways. First, it provides tax breaks under the federal Income Tax Act. For example, in 2015 the federal government introduced a new accelerated depreciation rate for equipment used in LNG facilities, which was a change proposed by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

Second, government provides funding to the fossil fuel industry at favourable rates through direct financing and loan guarantees. A recent example is Export Development Canada’s administration of a nearly $5 billion loan to support the government’s controversial purchase and operation of the Trans Mountain pipeline.  

Ottawa has no plan to recoup that principal cost from industry — and is also subsidizing half the interest expense with taxpayer dollars.

Third, Canada provides direct funding to the fossil fuel industry through research, development and other services provided by federal agencies. 

For example, the federal government is paying $1.5 billion for the Oceans Protection Plan, an initiative to safeguard bitumen transport through the Port of Vancouver. This plan was necessitated by new oil tanker traffic — and should be paid for by oil shippers. 

Yet now, taxpayers will pay up to $6 billion for the plan over the next 20 years.

Finally, there is the $60 billion subsidy that the IMF focused on — the “social costs” of carbon that governments pay, instead of fuel producers. 

Lacking adequate carbon taxes, governments continue to pick up the tab for the impacts of climate change — for example, repairing damage from extreme weather events, building new levees, sea walls and storm sewers and paying for wildfire control and increased health costs. 

Fort McMurray wildfire

The Fort McMurray wildfire in northern Alberta. MacEwan University estimated the cost of the 2016 wildfire, nicknamed “the beast” for its unpredictability, to be around $9 billion. Photo: pilotbiologist / Flickr

https://thenarwhal.ca/canadas-fossil-fuel-subsidies-amount-to-1650-per-c...

jerrym

Sadly Rikardo, the subsidies don't stop there. Because Canada is going to have to clean up all the abandoned oil wells in Alberta and elsewhere. In Alberta that cost is estimated to be $260 billion! The oil companies have contributed $1.8 to the fund so us taxpayers are in for the rest of it. Furthermore "It may take more than 2,800 years to clean up some of the decommissioned oil and gas wells currently dotting Alberta’s landscape, a senior regulatory official warned in a recent presentation made privately to the industry." (https://www.nationalobserver.com/2019/06/03/investigations/exclusive-alb...)

 

The sad part of this is that these numbers were provided to  the fossil fuel companies by the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) privately while a much smaller number, $58 billion was being told to the public. Can one say regulatory capture by the fossil fuel industry?

 

The cost of cleaning up Alberta’s fossil-fuel industry could be as staggeringly high as $260 billion, according to internal Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) documents obtained by the National Observer, Global News, the Toronto Star, and StarMetro Calgary.

The documents were used by Rob Wadsworth, a high-ranking AER official, in providing liability estimates to a private Calgary audience back in February. The liability costs pertain to the amount needed to shut down inactive oil and gas exploration wells, abandoned facilities and pipelines, as well as toxic tailings ponds near Fort McMurray, Alta. Wadsworth blamed the costs on a “flawed system” of industrial oversight, urging companies and stakeholders to accept tougher regulations and begin the cleanup process promptly. ...

Until now, the public had been told the cleanup would cost approximately $58 billion. The AER said that Wadsworth’s estimates are based on a “worst-case scenario” of a total industry closure, yet Wadsworth’s presentation suggests the actual costs will be more than his estimates. Several experts who have reviewed Wadsworth’s presentation describe the situation as an economic and environmental crisis, the National Observer reports.

https://ipolitics.ca/2018/11/01/the-drilldown-cost-to-clean-up-albertas-...

jerrym

And the Trudeau Liberals are making sure the fossil fuel industry doesn't have to worry - there are more subsidies on the way both with the government funding of the Trans Mountain pipeline purchase and construction, the increased funding in billions for the Stabilization Fund to bust part of the boom and bust fossil fuel industry, and the funding of abandoned oil well clean up.

Ever since Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced the Liberal Cabinet decision to buy Trans Mountain from Kinder Morgan for $4.5 billion on May 29, 2018, Canadians have been asking “How much will this pipeline end up costing us?” There are two price tags. First, the cost for the 66-year-old pipeline. And, second, the cost to build the expansion. ...

Briefing notes in the Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) documents show that the Leidos report was meant to include “new costing and scheduling for (an) $8.4 B project” — 15 per cent more than the cost Ottawa admitted to publicly when it announced the purchase. The new cost is tucked away on page 272 of a 601-page release — the only reference to expected higher project costs that isn’t redacted. Current indications, as detailed in my brief, are that the cost to build the project has likely reached $12 billion. Taxpayers as owners are at serious risk. ...

Then there are other promises Ottawa has agreed to such as First Nations accommodations, revenue sharing with B.C, and marine safety that exceeds more than $1 billion. Adding it all together subsidies have reached $8 billion and counting.

https://rabble.ca/babble/canadian-politics/canada-and-global-warming-sta...

 

 

jerrym

In 2018 the Liberals provided $1.6 billion to help fossil fuel companies expand into new markets. Strange how they can promise to exceed their 2030 greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, which were actually those of Harper, and reduce these emissions to net zero by 2050, but I guess they think that all is fair in election campaigns. 

Canada will make available $1.6 billion in financial support to help Alberta's oil and gas sector expand into new markets, Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi announced Tuesday.

Sohi made the announcement alongside International Trade Diversification Minister Jim Carr at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology in Edmonton. Carr described how the money will be used to help the oilpatch in part with liquidity concerns.

"Alberta's energy sector is not just the historic backbone of our economy, but a key part of our country's future," said Carr. ...

Export Development Canada (EDC), the Crown corporation that is already managing the loansrelated to the government's purchase of the Trans Mountain pipeline, will make another $1 billion available to "exporters of all sizes" to help companies invest in new technology, "address working capital needs or explore new markets," Sohi said.

Another Crown corporation, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), will be creating another $500 million "energy diversification" financing program for "higher risk" oil and gas companies dealing with market uncertainty.

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2018/12/18/news/sohi-announces-16-billi...

jerrym

Jason Kenney has went to Trudeau asking for even more subsidies for the fossil fuel industry. 

Premier Jason Kenney will head into his meeting with the prime minister on Tuesday asking for $2.4 billion in fiscal stabilization money going back five years, $700 million more than the previous request. 

The amount is based on the money Kenney believes Alberta would have received had there not been a $60-per- resident cap on fiscal stabilization payments over the five years since the oil price crash started in 2014. 

The original request was $1.7 billion. But the total was revised after talking to federal finance officials about the amount from 2015-16. 

The Fiscal Stabilization Program is intended to help provinces when they experience a sudden drop in revenues. 

Kenney told reporters at a news conference in Edmonton on Friday that he is optimistic Ottawa is listening. 

“We haven’t had anything like an assurance, but we have had, let me just say, language that sounds like an openness to talk to us about this,” he said, adding that reform of the program is expected to be discussed at a meeting of federal and provincial finance ministers on Dec. 14. 

https://www.ernstversusencana.ca/kenney-goes-a-beggin-to-trudeau-for-meg...

 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Most Americans Support Phasing Out Fossil Fuels

Last month, The Washington Post reported on the results of a poll it conducted with the Kaiser Family Foundation earlier this year. The poll had remarkable finding: nearly half — 46 percent — of American adults believe the U.S. needs to “drastically reduce” fossil fuel use in the near future to address the climate crisis, while another 41 percent favor a more gradual reduction.

If you think the result was only about political ideology in a highly polarized country, you’d only be partly right – a narrow majority of 51 percent of Republicans surveyed support phasing out fossil fuels, albeit at a slower pace.

In other words, a solid seven-eighths of U.S. adults — including half of the supporters of the unabashedly pro-fossil fuel Republican Party — support a phase-out of fossil fuels. And that population is based in the world’s largest oil and gas producerthird largest coal producer, and the only country to leave the universally-adopted Paris Climate Agreement.....

jerrym

In a report released in the first week of December by the Global Gas & Oil Network (GGON), all the pious talk of dealing with climate change coming from Trudeau about exceeding the 2030 Paris Agreement targets for Canada (which were actually chosen by Harper and then adopted by Trudeau) and reaching zero net emissions is blown away. The report states that the reality is that Canada has right now the second largest by far number of oil projects scheduled to come online between 2020 and 2024. Only the US has more, and there at least their leader, Trump makes no pretense that he has zero interest in dealing with climate change.

Together the US and Canada have 85% of all new fossil fuel projects scheduled to go between 2020 and 2024. This illustrates the growth in production of fossil fuels that Trudeau has contined on with from the Harper era. While the oil and gas projects in the US make up a significantly larger part of the 85% of new projects, the article makes clear this is because of the much higher costs of of oilsands projects than those of the US shale gas projects, allowing fossil fuel corporations to gain greater profits for similar investments, not because of Canadian governments' actions with regard to climate change. 

Nor is LNG, such as produced by BC, because, although it produces less greenhouse gas emissions, it has so far been largely used to supplement oil and coal, not to replace it. 

Fossils in the United States and Canada are leading plans to invest another US$1.4 trillion in new oil and gas extraction projects over the next five years, even though the industry already has enough existing fields and mines to blow past a 1.5°C limit on average global warming and nearly exhaust the carbon budget for 2.0°C, according to an analysis released late last week by the Global Gas & Oil Network (GGON).

The new projects “would lock in 148 gigatonnes of cumulative carbon dioxide emissions, equivalent to 1,200 new U.S. coal-fired power plants,” GGON writes in a release. “The report reveals 85% of the expanded production is slated to come from the United States and Canada over that period. ...

A four-page backgrounder to the report declares that “fossil fuel production is incompatible with global climate goals. Efforts to phase out oil and gas extraction must start now.” It notes that “capital expenditure in the oil and gas industry on new projects has risen since 2016, increasing production and carbon emissions. Over the next five years, oil and gas companies plan to invest at levels that would lock in more than 2.0°C of warming. This is the case even if the use of coal ends overnight and emissions from cement are dramatically cut.”

With the lion’s share of the threat located in North America, the backgrounder shines a light on the specific hot spots, beginning with the dominant shale field in the United States.

“The Permian Basin, spanning west Texas and southeastern New Mexico, is most at risk, as more than one-third of new production in the U.S. is intended for this region,” GGON states. “In Canada, emissions from planned Alberta oil sands and shale gas extraction, particularly in the Montney Shale Basin in British Columbia, pose the most threat to the climate. ...

A set of studies by the interdisciplinary CICERO Center for International Climate Research echoed GGON’s conclusion that countries have a long way to go to get fossil fuel emissions under control.

“A surge in natural gas has helped drive down coal burning across the United States and Europe, but it isn’t displacing other fossil fuels on a global scale,” InsideClimate reports. “Instead, booming gas use is fueling the global growth in greenhouse gas emissions.”

The projected increase of 0.6% “would be significantly slower than last year,” InsideClimate concedes. “But it would mark the third straight year of growth, after three years of stable emissions.” Crucially—and of particular interest to anyone promoting liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports driven by fracked natural gas from northeastern British Columbia—“the assessment does not include the methane emissions released by producing and shipping fossil fuels.”

“Globally, most of the new natural gas being used isn’t displacing coal, it’s providing new energy. That’s the key interaction, and that’s true for renewables even,” said Stanford University Earth system scientist Rob Jackson, lead author of one of the three reports. “We need renewables that displace fossil fuels, not supplement them.”

That’s a big problem, InsideClimate explains, because “each year of growth makes it harder and more expensive to meet the goals of the Paris climate agreement,” and “natural gas presents a particular challenge.” It’s been the main replacement for shuttered coal plants in the United States and Europe, prompting some fossil executives to begin calling gas a “forever fuel” that can grow for decades to come. That expectation, in turn, has triggered rapid growth in the global market for LNG, even though “Jackson warned that much of this growth is supplementing coal power generation, rather than supplanting it. In Japan, the vast majority of new gas imports since 2010 have replaced nuclear capacity lost after the accident at Fukushima, for example.”

https://theenergymix.com/2019/12/09/existing-oil-and-gas-fields-push-pas...

jerrym

The report Oil, Gas and the Climate: An analysis of the Oil and Gas Industry Plans for Expansion and Compatability with Global Emissions Limits details the incompatability of reaching the greenhouse gas emission targets globally based both on current and planned 2020 to 2024 already scheduled oil and gas projects. 

The central conclusion is that there is no way to reach the greenhouse gas reduction targets to keep temperatures under 1.5 degrees Celsius under current production levels and that with the already scheduled increases in production between 2020 and 2024, the world will blow by the reductions needed to keep the temperature rise below 2.0 degrees Celsius. Furthermore, with 85% of new production the US and Canada are by far the leaders in this new 2020 to 2024 oil and gas production, enabling themselves to blow by the targets all by themselves. Only by starting the wind-down of fossil fuel production now do we have any chance of avoiding the worst consquences of global warming. 

However, with the Trudeau Liberals' purchase of Trans Mountain, their approval of China National Offshore Oil Corporation's (CNOOC) exploratory wells in the Newfoundland offshore (see post # 2016) and increasing signs that Trudeau is likely to approve Premier Kenney's proposed Teck Frontier oilsands mine in Alberta (see post #204), as well as already approved Premier Horgan's LNG Canada project, Canada is set to be second only to the US in new oil and gas production.

    

(Top) An aerial photo of the site for the proposed Teck Frontier open-pit mine; a currently intact piece of our boreal forest. (Bottom) An aerial photo of a developed area of the oil sands region just kilometers south of the proposed project site. Photo credit: Garth Lenz

 

Key findings

  • Carbon emissions from oil and gas in operating fields and mines globally would push the world beyond 1.5°C of warming and make it impossible to meet our global obligations under the Paris Agreement. This is true even if global coal use were phased out overnight, and cement emissions were drastically reduced.

  • Over the next five years, from 2020 to 2024, oil and gas companies are set to invest a further USD 1.4 trillion in new oil and gas extraction projects.1,2 The majority of this investment will be in shale and offshore oil and gas.

  • New financial investment decisions over this five-year period have the potential to unlock more than
    148 GtCO2 from currently undeveloped reserves3 before 2050, equivalent to building over 1200 new average U.S. coal-fired power plants.4

  • In the near-term – looking just at production from expansion projects over the next five years – North America accounts for 85% of new supply.5 U.S. oil and gas expansion by itself will make it impossible for the rest of the world to manage the safe, equitable and necessary decline of oil and gas production by 2050.

  • Every major International Oil Company (IOC) has sanctioned new oil and/or gas projects that are not Paris Agreement compliant. Twenty-five companies are responsible for nearly 50 percent of the production to 2050 resulting from new expansion of oil and gas in the next five years.

  • A well-planned phase-out of oil and gas production that considers the needs of workers and communities impacted by fossil fuel developments must start now to avoid climate breakdown and a deferred economic collapse. This does not mean turning off the taps overnight. Rather, it means taking climate limits seriously and intentionally planning to wind-down fossil fuel extraction at the pace required to meet them. An intentional and thoughtful phase-out approach makes it possible to create transition plans that are socially just and economically sound. ...

  1. Canada

    • New oil and gas development in Canada between now and 2050 could unlock an additional 25 GtCO2, more than doubling cumulative emissions from the sector, and equal to the lifetime emissions of more than 200 average Canadian coal plants.27

    • Although opposition and poor economics have stymied significant expansion plans, two new projects in the Alberta tar sands have been approved in the last two years. Exxon’s Aspen Oil Sands project was endorsed in November 2018, the first sanctioned greenfield oil sands project in five years. And in July 2019, Teck’s new Frontier Mine was recommended by the National Energy Board but awaits Trudeau Cabinet approval. It could emit up to 4 MtCO2 each year.28

    • Shale gas extraction, particularly the Montney Shale Basin29 in British Columbia, is a major focus of the industry. They are projected to invest CapEx totaling USD 26 billion (real 2019) over the next five years for new development in the Montney Basin. From 2020 to 2050, new gas projects could be responsible for as much CO2 as new oil projects.

    • A report from the Canadian gas industry predicts the country’s gas production could be as high as 21 bcf/d in 2040.30 The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers projects that Canadian crude oil production will increase by 1.27 million barrels per day to 5.86 million b/d by 2035.31 

http://ggon.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/GGON19.OilGasClimate.EnglishF...

jerrym

The following article shows ten of the largest oil and gas projects all in the construction planning stage in Canada, which shows how our federal and provincial governments appear ready to blow through their greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.

2018-01-15-January-Top-10-Canada-Graphic

They are all in the planning stage and are mainly new projects, but may also involve additions and/or alterations.

Ten of the largest upcoming Oil & Gas construction projects in Canada

PROJECT TITLE AND OWNER/DEVELOPER LOCATION CURRENT STAGE PROJECT  VALUE Canadian $

KITIMAT CLEAN REFINERY
Kitimat Clean Ltd  Kitimat BC  Schematic Design  $22,000,000,000 

FRONTIER OIL SANDS MINE PROJECT
Teck Coal Ltd  Fort McMurray AB  Construction Documents  $20,000,000,000  

KWISPAA LNG
Steelhead LNG  Bamfield BC  Design Development  $18,000,000,000 

EAGLE SPIRIT OIL REFINERY AND PIPELINE
Aquilini Investment Group Inc  Prince Rupert BC  Pre-Design  $14,000,000,000 

GOLDBORO LNG – LIQUEFIED NATURAL GAS EXPORT FACILITY
Pieridae Energy Canada  Goldboro NS  Construction Documents  $13,000,000,000 

PACIFIC FUTURE ENERGY REFINERY PROJECT
Pacific Future Energy  Terrace BC  Schematic Design  $10,000,000,000 

SINOCAN GLOBAL – BITUMEN UPGRADING AND PETROCHEMICAL FACILITY
Teedrum Inc.  Lamont AB  Schematic Design  $8,500,000,000 

NORTH WEST UPGRADER – STURGEON REFINERY PHASE 2 & 3
Canadian Natural Resources Ltd  Edmonton AB  Schematic Design  $8,500,000,000 

BAY DU NORD OIL FACILITY DEVELOPMENT PROJECT
Husky Energy  St John’s NL  Schematic Design  $6,800,000,000 

DEVON ENERGY – PIKE 1 PROJECT
BP Canada Energy Group  Lac La Biche AB  Construction Documents  $4,700,000,0 

https://canada.constructconnect.com/joc/news/economic/2019/01/20-major-u...

jerrym

Another country facing increasing problems due to climate change is Australia where wildfires that started at the beginning of September during the latter part of the Australian winter have continued to rage as new wildfires develop threatening people and habitat. On the latest Climate Change Performance Index just released late this year Australia ranked 56th out of 61 countries that produce 90% of greenhouse gas emissions. Despite all the criticism that Australia's Morrison's government for climate change denial and failure to reduce coal and other greenhouse gas emissions, Canada was only ranked 55th on the index, just one place better than Australia. (https://newclimate.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/12/CCPI-2020-Results_Web_...)

 Firefighters tackle the Gospers Mountain fire outside Sydney. Parts of eastern Australia have had record low rainfall in 2019, contributing to an unusually ferocious early bushfire season. Photograph: Dean Lewins/EPA

The Australian government is facing criticism over its climate policies as the country deals with devastating bushfires and a historic heatwave.

It has contributed to the long-running debate about the country's approach to climate change. So what is it doing to reduce carbon emissions?

Australia is one of the world's biggest per capita greenhouse gas emitters.

Under the Paris Climate Agreement, created to tackle rising temperatures, Australia set a target of a 26-28% reduction in emissions compared with 2005 levels by 2030.

These goals have been criticised for being too low, and last year the United Nations (UN) reported that Australia was not on track.

The UN found that: "There has been no improvement in Australia's climate policy since 2017 and emission levels for 2030 are projected to be well above the target." 

About half of the G20 countries (those with the biggest economies), including Australia, are falling short.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-50869565

jerrym

With the Greenland ice sheet and Canadian Arctic glaciers melting seven times faster than in the 1990s, millions of people are increasingly being put at risk of flooding from sea level rise. 2019 was even much worse than the last few years.

Image result for map of ice Arctic ice melt

Sea Ice Forecast Map (https://www.pinterest.ca/pin/207024914103664204/?lp=true)

sea ice forecast map | Sea ice, Weather underground, Weather

Greenland is losing ice seven times faster than it was in the 1990s. 

The assessment comes from an international team of polar scientists who've reviewed all the satellite observations over a 26-year period. 

They say Greenland's contribution to sea-level rise is currently tracking what had been regarded as a pessimistic projection of the future.

It means an additional 7cm of ocean rise could now be expected by the end of the century from Greenland alone.

This threatens to put many millions more people in low-lying coastal regions at risk of flooding. 

It's estimated roughly a billion live today less than 10m above current high-tide lines, including 250 million below 1m. 

"Storms, if they happen against a baseline of higher seas - they will break flood defences," said Prof Andy Shepherd, of Leeds University.

"The simple formula is that around the planet, six million people are brought into a flooding situation for every centimetre of sea-level rise. So, when you hear about a centimetre rise, it does have impacts," he told BBC News. ...

The British scientist is the co-lead investigator for Imbie - the Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise.

It's a consortium of 89 polar experts drawn from 50 international organisations. 

The group has reanalysed the data from 11 satellite missions flown from 1992 to 2018. These spacecraft have taken repeat measurements of the ice sheet's changing thickness, flow and gravity. The Imbie team has combined their observations with the latest weather and climate models.

What emerges is the most comprehensive picture yet of how Greenland is reacting to the Arctic's rapid warming. This is a part of the globe that has seen a 0.75C temperature rise in just the past decade. ...

In an average year now, Greenland sheds about 250 billion tonnes of ice. This year, however, has been exceptional for its warmth. In the coastal town of Ilulissat, not far from where the mighty Jakobshavn Glacier enters the ocean, temperatures reached into the high 20s Celsius. And even in the ice sheet interior, at its highest point, temperatures got to about zero. 

"The ice loss this year was more like 370 billion tonnes," said Dr Mottram.

https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-48387030

jerrym

With summer just beginning in Australia and the worst of the Australian wildfire season yet to come 50,000 square kilometres of land have already been burned, while PM Scott Morrison, who went on vacation as wildfires raged, continues to deny a link to climate change. It makes one wonder how much worse wildfire season will get in Canada and how long it will take for Canadian politicians to respond to the issue as a true emergency. 

Image result for Australian wildfire pictures

Across Australia Yet another Scorching Summer (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/25/world/australia/heat-wave-horses.html)

Areas of Australia that have been ravaged by deadly wildfires experienced temporary relief on Wednesday, but oppressive conditions are expected to return this weekend.

About 50,000 square kilometres of land have burned over the past few months, with nine people killed and more than 950 homes destroyed.

New South Wales (NSW), the country's most populous state, has received the brunt of the damage, with around 850 homes razed in the state.

Parts of NSW, including Sydney, experienced cool and damp conditions on Christmas Day, but more than 70 fires continued to burn across the state. NSW has been in a seven-day state of emergency that was to expire on Wednesday night.

About 2,000 firefighters and 400 fire trucks battled the blazes in more favourable conditions, but high temperatures are set to return. Sydney is forecast to hit 31 C on Sunday, while the western suburbs could reach 41 C.

Dozens of Canadian firefighters have travelled to Australia to help with the effort.

Fire danger ratings remained high in northwestern NSW, and were between high and moderate for the rest of the state. ...

The wildfire crisis forced Morrison to cut short his much-criticized family vacation in Hawaii. He returned to Australia on Saturday night.

South Australia state, which last week had 86 homes destroyed after wildfires flared in catastrophic conditions, is bracing for a return of extreme temperatures, with Adelaide, the state capital, expected to reach 41 C on Saturday.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/wildfire-ravaged-areas-australia-holiday-r...

Sean in Ottawa

A modest proposal:

How about we give each person who votes in elections globally one vote for every year they have in life expectancy.

Weight the votes based on how much skin they have in the game.

Seriously, we have a crisis of common knowledge.

There was this conflict that has long existed between formal learning, access to data and experience in terms of respect.

In the past tings were stable enough that experience became often the most sought after and reliable source of knowledge. But the changing planet has rendered this thinking obsolete when it comes to how to deal with the environment -- which is pretty much how to deal with everything. What was okay to do and think 40 years ago is not now. Now, we need to listen to younger people who rely less on what was taught long ago or experience based on unsustainable practices. Younger people are more likely to turn to science in part because they know they don't have the experience. Now this is a good thing. Older people still turn to their experience first and that leads to very bad decisions today.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

An excellent idea, Sean, but I think we need to be even more radical. Only people between the ages of 16 and 42 should be allowed to vote. I am an outlier in my age cohort (early boomers) in that I generally agree with the policies young people support, but I would gladly give up my vote to allow the younger half of the population to do what it takes to avoid the imminent collapse of civilization as we know it.

jerrym

I took the liberty of copying Sean in Ottawa's and Michael Moriarity's posts to the Should Fourteen Year Olds Have The Right To Vote thread as they seem more appropriate there. I have also added some information from on the UK election and Chile's proposed constitutional changes involving youth that are quite interesting in their implications. 

 

jerrym

Reporters and editors in Canada have chosen climate change as the issue of the year -hardly surprising. It is interesting that this particular article is a reprint of a Canadian Press story about this in Canadian Underwriter, in other words, in the website of one the industries suffering the highest climate change costs, as floods, hurricanes and other natural disasters related to climate change drive up both the insurance industries and their customer's costs. 

Climate change was chosen in a survey of reporters and editors across the country as the 2019 Canadian Press News Story of the Year.

“I don’t think it can be anything but climate change,” said Toronto Star senior editor Julie Carl. “It is gripping our attention, our reality and our imagination.”

A decade ago, climate change was more academic than reality, but in recent years few Canadians haven’t been touched directly by the kind of weather climate change may be causing: floods, fires, major storms, cold snaps, heat waves, longer winters, shorter growing seasons. In June, when Parliament voted to declare that we are facing a climate crisis, it came as parts of eastern Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick were bailing out from the second once-a-century flood in three years.

In the survey, climate change had stiff competition, barely beating out the SNC-Lavalin saga, which itself had to fight its way into second ahead of the Toronto Raptors’ NBA title. In western Canada, many votes were cast for the hunt for two men who murdered a couple and another man in British Columbia before fleeing to the muskeg of northern Manitoba, where they would take their own lives.

But for many editors, the decision to rank climate change No. 1 comes both from the impact it had in 2019 and its expected dominance in our lives in the future.

“There’s no bigger story than the human-made altering of our own planet – even if you don’t believe it,” said Paul Harvey, senior editor at the Calgary Herald and Calgary Sun. ...

It is also a defining issue for the Liberal government. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ran on a promise to ramp up Canada’s environment policies in 2015, including setting a path to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and fix Canada’s environmental review process for major projects.

But the government’s decision first to approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, and then spend $4.5 billion to buy the existing pipeline when political opposition threatened to derail the project, left environment advocates disappointed and room for his political critics to pounce.

“You. Bought. A. Pipeline,” NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh countered in a news release, when Trudeau unveiled his climate plans during the election campaign and promised to lead the way to a greener country.

https://www.canadianunderwriter.ca/insurance/climate-change-the-story-of...

jerrym

Envirnoment Canada climatologist David Philips discusses below how climate change is impacting Canadian lives to a greateer extent every year now. ...

For 24 years, Environment Canada climatologist David Phillips has been pulling together an annual list of Canada’s most devastating, frustrating and thrilling weather stories.

But as the effects of the climate crisis set in, this year felt different, he said. The stories Phillips had to choose from ⁠in 2019 — tales of historic floods, wayward hurricanes and tornadoes in the Arctic ⁠— have become more extreme and variable than ever. 

“It's like normal weather doesn't exist anymore,” said Phillips, a legendary weather-trend expert who also happens to be the most-quoted public servant in Canada.

“We base everything on normal weather. We build houses, we build schools, we plant crops and seeds and trees and go on vacation based on normal weather.” ...

The climate crisis doesn’t cause floods that otherwise wouldn’t have happened ⁠— the Ottawa River has always flooded from time to time. But it does mean devastating, once-in-a-lifetime floods will likely happen more often, Phillips said.

“We're seeing the same weather, it just has a different personality and character to it,” Phillips said. “Storms are more stormy, or they're more intense. They're out of season, out of place.”

One out-of-place storm was hurricane Dorian, which made landfall in Atlantic Canada in September as a post-tropical storm. It caused power outages ⁠— another theme in 2019’s extreme weather, Phillips said ⁠— and uprooted trees, pounding the area with heavy rains and high waves. And early in the summer, remnants of hurricane Barry caused flooding in Toronto. 

Those events may have been influenced by warmer ocean waters, which fuel hurricanes, Phillips said. Climate change is also making hurricanes slower, allowing potentially destructive storms to linger. Over time, we can see patterns, but it’s hard to attribute any one event to climate change even when they appear linked, Phillips said. ...

The climate crisis is hitting the Arctic hardest, and it showed in 2019. After a warm spell in September, Arctic sea ice froze the latest on record since 1979. Summer temperatures in the High Arctic were between 2.5 and 5.4 C above normal, Phillips said — the warmest such season in 72 years.

For 24 years, Environment Canada climatologist David Phillips has been pulling together an annual list of Canada’s most devastating, frustrating and thrilling weather stories.

But as the effects of the climate crisis set in, this year felt different, he said. The stories Phillips had to choose from ⁠in 2019 — tales of historic floods, wayward hurricanes and tornadoes in the Arctic ⁠— have become more extreme and variable than ever. 

“It's like normal weather doesn't exist anymore,” said Phillips, a legendary weather-trend expert who also happens to be the most-quoted public servant in Canada.

“We base everything on normal weather. We build houses, we build schools, we plant crops and seeds and trees and go on vacation based on normal weather.” ...

This heat had consequences. Ice roads across the North closed early, for one. And in June, eyewitnesses spotted a tornado in the Northwest Territories, only the fourth tornado ever reported at that latitude in Canada. ...

Farmers and ranchers also took some climate-related blows. In the first half of the year, weather was worryingly cold and dry. Though much-needed moisture finally arrived in the mid-summer and fall, it was too much ⁠— crops drowned in the Prairies. Phillips said one Ontario farmer told him he needed both drought and flood insurance for the same growing season.

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2019/12/18/news/climate-crisis-looms-la...

jerrym

Doug Ford is facing a major problem over his stance against climate change: the growing support for attempting to deal with climate change versus a Con base in which many of its members oppose making any significant response.

 

His popularity has plummeted in the 19 months since then, as he ripped up the province’s existing plan and failed to meaningfully replace it. Meanwhile, climate credibility grows more and more crucial to Canadian political success.

As the new year begins, the Ford government now faces a serious choice: double down and put its chance of re-election in 2022 in jeopardy, or pivot and risk alienating a shrinking base that cheers inaction.

“Clearly, (he'll) have to have an articulated (climate) policy in order to win the next election,” said John Wright, a former Ipsos pollster who is now a partner at Dart Insight and Communications. ...

What Ford has in hand right now is not that, but 2020 will offer several chances for a climate reset. 

Ford’s policy replacement for cap and trade is an evolving draft, his environment minister said last month, after it was slapped down by the province’s auditor general for lack of “sound evidence.” The "Made-in-Ontario" plan makes a big deal about cleaning up litter and proposes little to reduce the pollution causing global warming.

Make no mistake, the Tories are not about to launch a climate plan Greta Thunberg would applaud. Anything they do will underwhelm the most fervently climate-focused voters. Those folks are likely looking to cast their votes for the opposition New Democrats, the regrouping Liberals or Mike Schreiner’s Greens anyway.

But the fact is this: a growing majority of voters actively seek out a government that takes climate action seriously. ...

Less than one-third of voters are indifferent to climate action (both in Canada in general and in Ontario specifically), and they already typically support conservative parties. A green turn would be one way to bridge the gap between that core and the remaining votes Ford needs to chase down, strategists and pollsters say.

“He has a lot of people — younger conservatives, millennial conservatives — who would be inclined to support him and support the federal party if there was more of a real recognition that climate change was something that needed to be addressed,” said Tim Powers, vice-chairman at Summa Strategies and managing director of Abacus Data.

“Climate is starting to matter to all conservative politicians,” he said. “They recognize that the one-trick pony that was the carbon tax has gone to the glue factory and you can't ride that thing anymore.” 

That creates some tricky electoral arithmetic for Ford and his Progressive Conservative strategists to consider.  Ford needs at least 38 per cent of the provincial electorate on his side to win a majority of seats at Queen’s Park next time around (he won with 40.6 per cent of the vote in 2018). He is polling as low as 22 per cent recently, and almost a quarter of those who voted for Ford now have a negative impression of him, according to Abacus Data polling of 570 Ontarians conducted in mid-December. ...

“I would imagine that Doug Ford and his government will have to come up with something a little more plausible if they want to cover this exposed flank in the next election, because they’re not lined up with the mainstream on this,” said pollster Frank Graves, president of EKOS Research Associates. “They’re lined up with their core constituency, but that may not be enough for them to find power next time.” ...

Even critics of Ford’s lack of climate policies acknowledge it wouldn’t take much to reach those just outside the party’s orbit. Greenpeace Canada’s Keith Stewart said just getting behind rather than opposing federal climate plans would help them claim significant progress toward the province’s reduction targets.

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2020/01/02/analysis/doug-ford-delicate-...

jerrym

ETA: After deputy PM Michael McCormack accused those of linking Australian wildfires to climate change  of being 'inner city raving lunatics' and Liberal PM Scott Morrison deflected any questions about the issue for months, Morrison has finally admitted the link between climate change and wildfires that have devastated the country. This comes nine months after winning an election while denying that climate change is a significant problem. 

He claims that his policies on climate change are balanced. Unfortunately for him politically, the wildfires have already destroyed 63,000 square kilometres (an area equivalent to the size of Nova Scotia and PEI combined) and an estimated 500 million animals, with no end in sight. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2019–20_Australian_bushfire_season) He has no credibility left. 

Prime minister Scott Morrison’s has run a politcal ad about the wildfires with upbeat music,The self-satisfied political ad has struck the wrong note and received much criticism, especially for being released on one of the most perilous days of the bushfire disaster.

One wonders how many Canadian politicians will face such heavy criticism as they fail to deal with climate change and then try to take credit when the crises hit home again and again. 

Scott Morrison

Scott Morrison has again stressed there is no need for panic, while urging evacuating Australians to remain patient, with the bushfire emergencyshowing no signs of abating. ...

“Our climate policy settings are to meet and beat the emissions reduction targets, emissions reduction under our government is 50m tonnes more than the previous government and we want to see them continue for this country and continue to better the achievements we have already made, with measures that achieve that,” he said. ...

After originally deflecting any talk of climate change policy during the bushfire crisis when it began in October last year, a move which was backed by the deputy prime minister, Michael McCormack, who accused those of making the link of being “inner city raving lunatics”, Morrison sought to reassure the public he was acting. ...

The Labor leader, Anthony Albanese, who has repeatedly highlighted the “constructive” role he has “tried to play here”, said he would leave judgment about Morrison’s response during the bushfire crisis “to others” but added Australia would be paying the cost for years to come.

“What we’re seeing, though, I think, is the need for leadership on these issues,” he said. “And, you know, I mean it’s quite right that there have been bushfires in Australia before. But what we are seeing is greater intensity, the season being longer, and, unfortunately, this could be the new norm and the devastation, and when we talk about economic cost, the economic cost of this crisis, this national emergency is enormous.”

 

jerrym

Australian Liberal PM Scott Morrison is emblematic of the right's climate change denialism and, its half brother denial change tokenism, and the danger it represents to having any chance of dealing effectively with climate change before the damage it causes becomes globally catastrophic. Unfortunately, we have many politicians in Canada who also fit this mould.

Scott Morrison handshakeDuring what was nothing more than a desperate photo opp at a bushfire-ravaged town, he tried to force an upset victim to shake his hand while other citizens heckled and booed him. (https://junkee.com/scott-morrison-bushfire-victim-handshake/236350)

There are worse leaders than Scott Morrison. The “international community” includes torturers, mass murderers, ethnic cleansers and kleptomaniacs beside whom he seems almost benign. But no leader in the world is more abject than the prime minister of Australia. ...

The climate change denialism he espoused is a moving target. In the 1990s, lobbyists funded by the oil industry acted as if the overwhelming majority of scientists who understood the subject were in a conspiracy against the public. They accused the authors of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports of being guilty of a “major deception” when they discussed the human influence on climate. Many still hold to the original sin of this denialism.

Even as Australia burned last week, Tony Abbott, Morrison’s conservative predecessor, was still saying the world was “in the grip of a climate cult”. Abbott proved he was willing to make others suffer for his wilfully ignorant belief by scrapping a carbon tax when he was in power in Australia in 2014. A fallback position is emerging. It accepts that manmade climate change is real but withdraws the concession as soon as it has been made and loses it in an obfuscatory smoke.

The final fallback and the final degradation will come, I predict, in the mid-2020s when the right abandons denialism completely, admits that climate change is catastrophic, but adds it’s far too late to do anything about it, which it may well be.

Scott Morrison is hunkered down in stage two. He grudgingly acknowledges the existence of man-made climate change but hurriedly adds that other causes are at work. The climate has always changed and it’s not worth bearing the costs of challenging a polluting culture. It worked in last year’s elections, but sounds absurd today.

“By not recognising climate change as a serious threat you fail to prepare overworked, underappreciated first responders for larger, more frequent bushfires that devastate communities,” said one previously solid Morrison voter, after he had learned the truth about conservatism as his family waited to be evacuated from a New South Wales beach.

Despite its failure, perhaps because of its failures, the do-nothing Australian right remains admired across the conservative world. The 2019 election was meant to be a climate change election about the killing of the Great Barrier Reef, the extreme drought and average summer temperatures across the continent hitting 40C. Yet Morrison and his campaign team managed to turn it into an election about the Australian Labor party’s tax plans. ...

So impressed was Boris Johnson that he hired Morrison’s boys to win the British general election. Fawning coverage followed of the digital “whiz-kids” from New Zealand: Sean Topham, 28, and Ben Guerin, 24. In Australia, the hotshots refined their technique of dumping hundreds of crude variations on the same theme on social media. They described how Labor would raise taxes and warned that a proposal to encourage electric cars threatened motorists. ...

When Morrison won the Australian general election and the gilets jaunes forced Macron to scrap his proposed fuel tax, liberals received stern lectures about how people did not want to meet the cost of fighting climate change; the point was a good one. After Leave won the 2016 Brexit referendum and Johnson won the 2019 general election, lectures on how voters did not want to be told that Britain was making a terrible mistake followed in turn. Of course, they were true too.

But it is also true that you cannot postpone a rendezvous with reality forever. Whatever memes the right pushes out, whatever social media strategies they adopt and propaganda they trumpet, the lesson the refugees on Australia’s beaches know too well is that fire still burns.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jan/04/australias-patheti...

jerrym

SFU professor Donald Gutstein’s most recent book, The Big Stall: How Big Oil and Think Tanks are Blocking Action on Climate Change in Canada, describes how the fossil fuel industry's stalling tactics in dealing with climate change means Canada must adopt radical policies both at the governmental and individual level now in order to deal with the many headed problems associated with global warming. The industry pushed neoliberal market economics as the solution to the global environmental problem as part of the delay process, providing the soothing message that the free market could deal with the problem without creating any great difficult adjustments. 

Using documents and second-hand information gathered over more than 30 years, Gutstein presents a compelling investigation of how corporations and businesses — particularly Big Oil — have manipulated us and our governments to serve their best interests.

“The corporate sector is always concerned about managing public opinion,” Gutstein said when we sat down to talk about his book. “And that goes through different phases and different forms… The risk for corporations in a democracy is that governments will do what the people want, which probably goes against what's best for big business, right? So, how do you take the risk out of that happening?”

The answer, according to The Big Stall, is to pour millions of dollars into neoliberal think tanks, public-relations firms and specialized university research institutes that will pepper the press with their “expertise” and cast doubt on the scientifically proven effects of carbon emissions on the climate. This propaganda has been so successful that a significant minority of Canadians don’t believe human factors are the cause of climate change or that there is solid evidence the Earth is warming, Gutstein found in a February 2018 survey. ...

The Big Stall begins with two stories: prime minister Pierre Trudeau’s National Energy Program (NEP) and the development of the international oil industry which undercut his plan; and Rachel Carson and the start of the environmental movement, and how she was targeted by an agricultural chemical producer even before her book Silent Spring was published. Aside from the beginning and end of The Big Stall, environmentalists like Carson have little presence. In Gutstein’s research, their power and that of environmental scientists have been eclipsed by opinions supporting Big Oil companies that spend millions of dollars to shape opinions and decisions both nationally and internationally.

Before Trudeau could implement his nationalization plan, the energy sector began creating disinformation campaigns to get ahead of governmental restrictions on the oil industry, much like what happened with Carson in the 1950s. Bruce Harrison, then at the Manufacturing Chemists Association, “launched an all-out attack on (Carson’s) credibility,” Gutstein writes. Later in this carefully footnoted book, Gutstein reintroduces Harrison — this time, as a leader of the climate-denial movement. ...

Gutstein has an investigative journalist’s ability to map and trace the movement of people from the private to the public sector, traversing from business to public-relations firms, think tanks, councils and academic and government posts. He draws a picture of intrigue in an interconnected Canadian web. His research covers prime ministers from Trudeau to Trudeau, with a particularly deep dive into Stephen Harper; and premiers — particularly in Alberta, focusing on Peter Lougheed and Rachel Notley. Other individuals who stand out are oil and mineral businessman Maurice Strong; former Energy Policy Institute of Canada co-chair Bruce Carson; past president of Calgary-based think tank Canada West Foundation Roger Gibbons; and B.C. premier Gordon Campbell. ...

When Trudeau promised the NEP, or the Canadization of the energy industry in the 1970s, most of Canada’s oil was exported and owned by U.S. and other foreign oil companies. A consequence of implementing the NEP would be that economic benefits transferred to Ottawa and energy users, “especially Ontario and Quebec, at the expense of industry and producing provinces,” Gutstein documents. The backlash from Alberta’s Lougheed and the oil companies was swift and led to the birthing of the BCNI, “an organization created of petroleum, gas and pipeline associations.” BCNI’s name would change over the years, but it’s mission remained the same: to ensure the energy industry stayed out of government control and public policy pushed in the direction desired by business, Gutstein writes. ...

In the 1960s, scientists talked about carbon pollution leading to an increase of 2 C, 4 C or even 6 C of warming — information that was not exclusive to the scientific community. Shell Oil highlighted this effect in a 1979 coal-sector report and Imperial Oil, Exxon’s Canadian subsidiary, admitted “there is no doubt that increases in fossil fuel and decreases of forest cover are aggravating the potential problem of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,” Gutstein documents.

The financial support of fossil fuel companies and the foundations of a dozen billionaires “fuelled a 25-year campaign to manufacture doubt and undermine scientific evidence about the link between carbon dioxide emissions and global warming,” Gutstein writes. “Big Oil (followed) the playbook of the tobacco industry” as they set out to bury truths, mislead the public and destroy obstructions to their control of the energy sector. 

Gutstein believes economists took the ideological lead, replacing scientists and carrying the neoliberal flag, which, if reduced to a slogan, would be “all problems must be solved by the market.”

“Climate scientists, with their doom-and-gloom scenarios of devasting floods, heat waves and mass migrations, could raise the alarm,” he writes, “but economists, with their soothing massage of cost-benefit analysis and the magic of markets, would be the first responders.”

Neoliberalism became the prevailing economic philosophy when Brian Mulroney replaced Trudeau, but neoliberalism had been creeping into the veins of political discourse before then, Gutstein writes. The core group behind the propagation of these ideas was the Mont Pelerin Society, with “a mandate to work toward a market state — an individualistic, non-egalitarian society, governed by market transactions,” Gutstein documents. Deregulation, tax cuts to support business investments in the tarsands and other energy-sector development would become the norm. The use of cost-benefit analysis was applied to climate control when appraising investment projects, with the effect that human life and biodiversity became secondary considerations to monetary gain, he writes. ...

n order for government to support Big Oil’s interests, Gutstein, explained in the interview, Big Oil needs public opinion on its side. That means framing the climate change discussion. It takes an army of people to do this, and billions of dollars. Gutstein documents how think tanks, lobbyists, public-relations firms and academic institutions churn out ideas that are then fed to the press and the public. As an example, in 2008, Exxon alone donated $30 million to think tanks and astroturf groups (organizations made up members from varying sectors promoting an idea).

The strategy is simple, Gutstein writes, “bring the entire corporate sector together; recruit sympathetic academics to produce favourable research; influence media opinion; and persuade government officials to embrace the strategy.”

Neoliberal think tanks, “backed with funds from corporations and their owners, usually channelled through private foundations” churn out books and articles disseminated by the mainstream press. Gutstein believes one of the most influential Canadian think tanks is the Fraser Institute, launched in 1974. ...

TV ads are another attack vehicle. After Lougheed left office in Alberta, “neoliberalism crept in the door with Don Getty and slammed it shut with Ralph Klein,” Gutstein writes. Tax writeoffs were increased for capital investments, creating what Gutstein calls, “welfare for capitalists.” By the time Canada signed the Kyoto protocol, $20.6 billion worth of oilsands projects were on the books for the next decade, Gutstein documents. Signing Kyoto threatened the success of these projects and “d’Aquino and the petroleum producers… saturating Ontario with TV ads that were estimated to cost $225,000 a week.” Support for Kyoto was successfully undercut. ...

In order to support development of the tarsands, the Harper government created a campaign, and one gambit was the “The Carson/Canada School of Energy and Environment… to resuscitate the oilsands’ reputation and demonize environmental opponents,” Gutstein documents. The school would “disseminate messages about how clean the oilsands really are.”

Justin Trudeau’s 2016 Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change “twisted and turned through academia, federal and Alberta government bureaucracies, political parties, corporate lobbies, media and think tanks as Big Oil amassed support for the project,” Gutstein writes. To add academic credibility, Roger Gibbins — president of Canada West Foundation and a professor of political science from the University of Calgary — argued that energy development and climate change worked together, “yoking climate change to the energy policy cart and (having it steered) by a western Canadian driver, ensuring the combined policy formation would head in a direction desired by Big Oil,” Gutstein documents.

In 2016, when the University of Ottawa’s Sustainable Prosperity Network rechristened its academic wing as the Smart Prosperity Institute, the result was, “an organization that blurs the lines between government, academia and business,” Gutstein writes. ...

“Madrid was really about Article 6, or carbon trading,” Gutstein explained when we met. Carbon trading means “never really giving up producing fossil fuels because you can find places to buy credits. It's a bait-and-switch strategy. There should've been restrictions, mandatory limits rather than allowing carbon trade.” And it’s a corrupt system, he explained, with “enormous impacts on Indigenous people and on the environment. You get a credit for building a dam, but in the meantime, you flood the lands of thousands of Indigenous people.”

At the end of the book, Gutsein offers several ideas about how we can turn things around. One is to give legal rights to the environment, as the Maori have done in New Zealand. Another is to restore stewardship of their lands to Indigenous Peoples.

“The Indigenous view of the land, the Indigenous law and legal orders, are slowly being incorporated into judicial decisions. I think you can see over the last 20 years a steady progress in a very positive direction,” Gutstein said. ...

The promises of clean growth and sustainability, the plans to create technologies that will reduce or eliminate carbon emissions, seem mostly empty, in Gutstein’s analysis. They are simply another “business” stall to the final solution. For instance, Gutstein shows that when Shell abandoned tarsands for natural gas development, the decision was driven by financial — not environmental — factors. ...

But switching is not the solution, as far as Gutstein is concerned. “By investing heavily in natural gas, the company (Shell) ensures fewer resources will be available for renewables, which in contrast to natural gas are the only path to a low-carbon future.” Clean energy — wind and solar — and the push to develop technologies to capture or alter carbon emissions can be viewed problematically as well, Gutstein argues. They use all use natural resources and energy.

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2020/01/06/reviews/big-oil-and-think-ta...

contrarianna

jerrym wrote:

SFU professor Donald Gutstein’s most recent book, The Big Stall: How Big Oil and Think Tanks are Blocking Action on Climate Change in Canada, describes how the fossil fuel industry's stalling tactics in dealing with climate change means Canada must adopt radical policies both at the governmental and individual level now in order to deal with the many headed problems associated with global warming. The industry pushed neoliberal market economics as the solution to the global environmental problem as part of the delay process, providing the soothing message that the free market could deal with the problem without creating any great difficult adjustments. 

Using documents and second-hand information gathered over more than 30 years, Gutstein presents a compelling investigation of how corporations and businesses — particularly Big Oil — have manipulated us and our governments to serve their best interests.

“The corporate sector is always concerned about managing public opinion,” Gutstein said when we sat down to talk about his book. “And that goes through different phases and different forms… The risk for corporations in a democracy is that governments will do what the people want, which probably goes against what's best for big business, right? So, how do you take the risk out of that happening?”

The answer, according to The Big Stall, is to pour millions of dollars into neoliberal think tanks, public-relations firms and specialized university research institutes that will pepper the press with their “expertise” and cast doubt on the scientifically proven effects of carbon emissions on the climate. This propaganda has been so successful that a significant minority of Canadians don’t believe human factors are the cause of climate change or that there is solid evidence the Earth is warming, Gutstein found in a February 2018 survey. ...

The Big Stall begins with two stories: prime minister Pierre Trudeau’s National Energy Program (NEP) and the development of the international oil industry which undercut his plan; and Rachel Carson and the start of the environmental movement, and how she was targeted by an agricultural chemical producer even before her book Silent Spring was published. Aside from the beginning and end of The Big Stall, environmentalists like Carson have little presence. In Gutstein’s research, their power and that of environmental scientists have been eclipsed by opinions supporting Big Oil companies that spend millions of dollars to shape opinions and decisions both nationally and internationally.

Before Trudeau could implement his nationalization plan, the energy sector began creating disinformation campaigns to get ahead of governmental restrictions on the oil industry, much like what happened with Carson in the 1950s. Bruce Harrison, then at the Manufacturing Chemists Association, “launched an all-out attack on (Carson’s) credibility,” Gutstein writes. Later in this carefully footnoted book, Gutstein reintroduces Harrison — this time, as a leader of the climate-denial movement. ...

Gutstein has an investigative journalist’s ability to map and trace the movement of people from the private to the public sector, traversing from business to public-relations firms, think tanks, councils and academic and government posts. He draws a picture of intrigue in an interconnected Canadian web. His research covers prime ministers from Trudeau to Trudeau, with a particularly deep dive into Stephen Harper; and premiers — particularly in Alberta, focusing on Peter Lougheed and Rachel Notley. Other individuals who stand out are oil and mineral businessman Maurice Strong; former Energy Policy Institute of Canada co-chair Bruce Carson; past president of Calgary-based think tank Canada West Foundation Roger Gibbons; and B.C. premier Gordon Campbell. ...

When Trudeau promised the NEP, or the Canadization of the energy industry in the 1970s, most of Canada’s oil was exported and owned by U.S. and other foreign oil companies. A consequence of implementing the NEP would be that economic benefits transferred to Ottawa and energy users, “especially Ontario and Quebec, at the expense of industry and producing provinces,” Gutstein documents. The backlash from Alberta’s Lougheed and the oil companies was swift and led to the birthing of the BCNI, “an organization created of petroleum, gas and pipeline associations.” BCNI’s name would change over the years, but it’s mission remained the same: to ensure the energy industry stayed out of government control and public policy pushed in the direction desired by business, Gutstein writes. ...

In the 1960s, scientists talked about carbon pollution leading to an increase of 2 C, 4 C or even 6 C of warming — information that was not exclusive to the scientific community. Shell Oil highlighted this effect in a 1979 coal-sector report and Imperial Oil, Exxon’s Canadian subsidiary, admitted “there is no doubt that increases in fossil fuel and decreases of forest cover are aggravating the potential problem of increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,” Gutstein documents.

The financial support of fossil fuel companies and the foundations of a dozen billionaires “fuelled a 25-year campaign to manufacture doubt and undermine scientific evidence about the link between carbon dioxide emissions and global warming,” Gutstein writes. “Big Oil (followed) the playbook of the tobacco industry” as they set out to bury truths, mislead the public and destroy obstructions to their control of the energy sector. 

Gutstein believes economists took the ideological lead, replacing scientists and carrying the neoliberal flag, which, if reduced to a slogan, would be “all problems must be solved by the market.”

“Climate scientists, with their doom-and-gloom scenarios of devasting floods, heat waves and mass migrations, could raise the alarm,” he writes, “but economists, with their soothing massage of cost-benefit analysis and the magic of markets, would be the first responders.”

Neoliberalism became the prevailing economic philosophy when Brian Mulroney replaced Trudeau, but neoliberalism had been creeping into the veins of political discourse before then, Gutstein writes. The core group behind the propagation of these ideas was the Mont Pelerin Society, with “a mandate to work toward a market state — an individualistic, non-egalitarian society, governed by market transactions,” Gutstein documents. Deregulation, tax cuts to support business investments in the tarsands and other energy-sector development would become the norm. The use of cost-benefit analysis was applied to climate control when appraising investment projects, with the effect that human life and biodiversity became secondary considerations to monetary gain, he writes. ...

n order for government to support Big Oil’s interests, Gutstein, explained in the interview, Big Oil needs public opinion on its side. That means framing the climate change discussion. It takes an army of people to do this, and billions of dollars. Gutstein documents how think tanks, lobbyists, public-relations firms and academic institutions churn out ideas that are then fed to the press and the public. As an example, in 2008, Exxon alone donated $30 million to think tanks and astroturf groups (organizations made up members from varying sectors promoting an idea).

The strategy is simple, Gutstein writes, “bring the entire corporate sector together; recruit sympathetic academics to produce favourable research; influence media opinion; and persuade government officials to embrace the strategy.”

Neoliberal think tanks, “backed with funds from corporations and their owners, usually channelled through private foundations” churn out books and articles disseminated by the mainstream press. Gutstein believes one of the most influential Canadian think tanks is the Fraser Institute, launched in 1974. ...

TV ads are another attack vehicle. After Lougheed left office in Alberta, “neoliberalism crept in the door with Don Getty and slammed it shut with Ralph Klein,” Gutstein writes. Tax writeoffs were increased for capital investments, creating what Gutstein calls, “welfare for capitalists.” By the time Canada signed the Kyoto protocol, $20.6 billion worth of oilsands projects were on the books for the next decade, Gutstein documents. Signing Kyoto threatened the success of these projects and “d’Aquino and the petroleum producers… saturating Ontario with TV ads that were estimated to cost $225,000 a week.” Support for Kyoto was successfully undercut. ...

In order to support development of the tarsands, the Harper government created a campaign, and one gambit was the “The Carson/Canada School of Energy and Environment… to resuscitate the oilsands’ reputation and demonize environmental opponents,” Gutstein documents. The school would “disseminate messages about how clean the oilsands really are.”

Justin Trudeau’s 2016 Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change “twisted and turned through academia, federal and Alberta government bureaucracies, political parties, corporate lobbies, media and think tanks as Big Oil amassed support for the project,” Gutstein writes. To add academic credibility, Roger Gibbins — president of Canada West Foundation and a professor of political science from the University of Calgary — argued that energy development and climate change worked together, “yoking climate change to the energy policy cart and (having it steered) by a western Canadian driver, ensuring the combined policy formation would head in a direction desired by Big Oil,” Gutstein documents.

In 2016, when the University of Ottawa’s Sustainable Prosperity Network rechristened its academic wing as the Smart Prosperity Institute, the result was, “an organization that blurs the lines between government, academia and business,” Gutstein writes. ...

“Madrid was really about Article 6, or carbon trading,” Gutstein explained when we met. Carbon trading means “never really giving up producing fossil fuels because you can find places to buy credits. It's a bait-and-switch strategy. There should've been restrictions, mandatory limits rather than allowing carbon trade.” And it’s a corrupt system, he explained, with “enormous impacts on Indigenous people and on the environment. You get a credit for building a dam, but in the meantime, you flood the lands of thousands of Indigenous people.”

At the end of the book, Gutsein offers several ideas about how we can turn things around. One is to give legal rights to the environment, as the Maori have done in New Zealand. Another is to restore stewardship of their lands to Indigenous Peoples.

“The Indigenous view of the land, the Indigenous law and legal orders, are slowly being incorporated into judicial decisions. I think you can see over the last 20 years a steady progress in a very positive direction,” Gutstein said. ...

The promises of clean growth and sustainability, the plans to create technologies that will reduce or eliminate carbon emissions, seem mostly empty, in Gutstein’s analysis. They are simply another “business” stall to the final solution. For instance, Gutstein shows that when Shell abandoned tarsands for natural gas development, the decision was driven by financial — not environmental — factors. ...

But switching is not the solution, as far as Gutstein is concerned. “By investing heavily in natural gas, the company (Shell) ensures fewer resources will be available for renewables, which in contrast to natural gas are the only path to a low-carbon future.” Clean energy — wind and solar — and the push to develop technologies to capture or alter carbon emissions can be viewed problematically as well, Gutstein argues. They use all use natural resources and energy.

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2020/01/06/reviews/big-oil-and-think-ta...

The plutocrat funded denial and disinformation campaign, including the use  of  think tanks and government subsidies, follows the pattern  of the tobacco industry and cancer, where the companies own scientists knew the truth but sought only to block the evidence.

IMPERIAL OIL, CANADA’S EXXON SUBSIDIARY, IGNORED ITS OWN CLIMATE CHANGE RESEARCH FOR DECADES, ARCHIVE SHOWS
Murtaza Hussain
January 8 2020, 

....
 In a 1998 article published in Imperial’s in-house magazine, former Imperial CEO Robert Peterson wrote that there is “absolutely no agreement among climatologists on whether or not the planet is getting warmer or, if it is, on whether the warming is the result of man-made factors or natural variations in the climate.” He added that “carbon dioxide is not a pollutant but an essential ingredient of life on this planet.”

Peterson’s paeans to the benefits of carbon dioxide notwithstanding, experts at his company knew with confidence not only that climate change was real, but also that Imperial’s activities were causing crippling harm to the environment. That knowledge was recorded in company documents that were recently revealed to the public and reviewed by The Intercept.
...
THE CACHE OF documents shows that as far back as the 1960s, Imperial had begun hiring consultants to help them manage a future public backlash over its environmental record, as well as conducting surveillance on its public critics. The documents also show that, as the company began to accept the implications of a warming planet, instead of acting decisively to change its business model, it began considering how a melting Arctic might open up new business opportunities.

Even as the fossil fuel industry continued to fight against renewables in public and its CEO worked to confuse public opinion on this critical issue, in private Imperial’s experts recognized the urgency of switching to sustainable energy.
...
“Throughout the ’70s and ’80s, Exxon, and by extension Imperial, were among the leading researchers in the world on climate change,” said Keith Stewart, a senior energy strategist with Greenpeace Canada and a lecturer at the University of Toronto. “They understood the science and understood the implications. They had a choice to either change their business model or obfuscate the reality. They chose to obfuscate. Long after they had accepted that climate change was real, and even started building their installations differently to reflect that, the company continued to publicly deny the science that they knew to be true.”

“Over the decades,” Davies added, “they have been adept at finding ways to delay, deny, and deflect any serious discussion about climate policy.”

Read full article here:

https://theintercept.com/2020/01/08/imperial-oil-climate-change-exxon/

jerrym

Australian climate-change wildfires have not just killed an estimated 500 million to a billion mammals, birds and reptiles, they are wiping out ecosystems, something that could happen here, especially in Canada's boreal forest that stretches across the north of the country and is highly susceptible to fire. 

women tending to a Koala Bear

PHOTOGRAPH: SAEED KHAN/GETTY IMAGES

Australians haven’t seen anything like the bushfires currently tearing through their country. The conflagrations are obliterating landscapes and their ecosystems, reshaping the continent in irreparable ways.

Bushfires aren’t supposed to behave like this. In a normal world, every so often a lightning-sparked fire will roll through a landscape, clearing away old foliage to make way for the new. Such periodic, relatively mild fires allow many animals to escape: Birds fly away and koalas shimmy farther up trees as fire burns the ground vegetation below. ...

But this is not a normal world. Climate change has supercharged these wildfires, turning whole landscapes into tinder. Fires are marching so fast across Australia that untold numbers of animals can’t escape, even kangaroos and birds, which should have the means. ...

On south Australia’s Kangaroo Island, perhaps half of the koala population has been killed. One estimate puts the bushfires’ total tally at over a billion mammals, birds, and reptiles, but that doesn’t include other animals like insects, whose toll could be much, much higher. One of Andrew’s colleagues estimates that more than 3 trillion insects from one family alone, the rove beetles, may have perished so far. ...

We won’t know the real toll for some time, but this much is clear: The bushfires burning in Australia have crippled iconic habitats that make the continent an ecological wonder. Not even the continent’s rainforests, which typically can resist the advance of a blaze, are safe from the firestorm. “There will be a lot of species that are going to go extinct because of this,” says Andrew. For species already threatened with extinction, already clinging to the edge, this may have been the swift and final blow. ...

The decimation of a landscape’s vegetation may draw in opportunists as well. Weedier species that grow quicker could take hold, perhaps turning what used to be a thick forest into a thinner, grassier one. Hardier invasive species could rapidly dominate. “A lot of the potentially more charismatic or more unique species might not be able to survive in their natural landscapes,” says Andrew. “So that's going to be the biggest issue: The diversity of our natural environments is going to change.”

Plants also make up a critical link in the food chain, and when they exit, so too does the food source for a range of animals. Even if plant-eaters survive the blaze itself, they may starve in the aftermath. “If the youngsters survive and their parents can't find enough food to produce enough milk,” says Andrew, “then the parents will just abandon the offspring, so they can't survive.” ...

It’d be impossible for humans to rebuild an ecosystem from scratch at these scales. But in the aftermath of a fire, conservationists can help key species. One group of researchers has been experimenting with placing tunnels made of wire in burned environments. “Small animals can get inside, where they'll be protected from all the different predators that take advantage of the open country that the fire produces,” says Don Driscoll, director of Deakin University’s Centre for Integrative Ecology. “We know that foxes and cats, which are introduced here, they will travel long distances to get to these fire regions, because it's easy pickings for them.”

https://www.wired.com/story/wildfires-are-obliterating-australias-iconic...

jerrym

Here's more on the wildfire risk Canada faces as global warming intensifies. 

A firefighter manages a controlled burn to help contain a larger fire near Falls Creek, Australia, Sunday, Jan. 5, 2020. Canadian wildfire experts say Canada is very vulnerable to the kind of devastating wildfires ravaging Australia right now.

Canadian wildfire experts say Canada is very vulnerable to the kind of devastating wildfires ravaging Australia right now.

More than 12.5 million hectares of bushland have burned in Australia since October and prime forest-fire season is just now getting underway.

Multiple heat waves and a lengthy and widespread drought left much of the country, including some of its most populated regions, at higher risk for fire than ever before.

To date the fires have killed 25 people and an estimated 500 million animals, and destroyed almost 1,900 homes. More than 100,000 people have been forced to evacuate to escape the flames. ...

What's happening in Australia now is extraordinary," said Ed Struzik, a fellow at the Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy at Queen's University. And he says, Canada is not immune to seeing the same thing. "We're as vulnerable as any country in the world," he said. Canada is home to about 30 per cent of the world's total forests, and 10 per cent of what is known as forest cover, which refers to a specific density of trees. ...

According to the National Forestry Database, Canada's worst year for forest fires burned about seven million hectares in 1995, while the average yearly amount burned is about 2.3 million hectares. The Fort McMurray, Alta., fire in 2016, burned 590,000 hectares, destroyed 2,400 homes and buildings and forced the entire city of more than 80,000 people to evacuate. British Columbia declared a state of emergency in both 2017 and 2018, when they had two record setting years for fires. In 2017, 1.22 million hectares burned in B.C. and in 2018, 1.35 million hectares burned.

Struzik says fire risk is going up in Canada because of climate change, human activity and a glut of fuel for fires in forests ravaged by pests like the mountain pine beetle whose population growth was greatly stimulated by global warming. "We're seeing things that we just haven't really seen before," he said. "So the signals are there. Very strong signals that we're going to see things get a lot worse before they get better."

University of Alberta wildland fire professor Mike Flannigan says "climate change's fingerprints are all over these Australian fires" and play the same role in raising the risk in Canada. "The warmer it is the longer the fire season," said Flannigan. "The warmer it is the more lightning you see." He said for every degree of warming, the number of lightning strikes goes up by about 12 per cent. Lightning usually causes more than half of the wildfires in Canada.

He also said warmer temperatures dry out trees and other fuels for the fire. Unless there is an associated increase in rainfall, there is more fuel available to burn, allowing fires to start easily and spread more rapidly. They are also more intense fires, making them harder, or even impossible, to extinguish.

"It's a warmer world and part of a warmer world is more fire," he said.

Canada, like Australia and California among others, is also seeing an increase in the number of fires burning closer to where people live and in places where they didn't usually burn before. That is partly because communities are growing out into areas that used to be very unpopulated, but also because people are playing and enjoying the natural environments in places they did not visit much in earlier times.

Humans cause between one-third and one-half of the fires in Canada each year, said Struzik.

Both Struzik and Flannigan say Canada needs to invest in more research to work on fire prediction, prevention and monitoring in particular. Struzik said some of the tools being used now were developed 70 years ago.

Flannigan said fire research budgets have been cut to the bone over the last 20 years or so, but he said he thinks recent investments are now turning that ship around. ...

Individuals who live in cities far from canopied forests are more likely to be affected by smoke and should invest in air purifiers, said Flannigan. Those who live near bigger forests should reduce the risk by removing fuel like shrubbery and mulch around their homes, and not use wood shingles. They also need an evacuation plan.

https://nationalpost.com/pmn/news-pmn/canada-news-pmn/experts-say-climat...

 

jerrym

Tens of thousands are protesting in Australia against its government policies that have led to a global warming catastrophe.

Thousands of activists marched in several major cities across Australia on Friday, calling on the government to act on the climate crisis and do more to stop the bushfires that continue to ravage large swathes of the country.

The protests, organized by national student organization Uni Students for Climate Justice, were set to take place in nine cities including Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth, indicating widespread public discontent after months of increasingly deadly fires.

New South Wales police told CNN more than 30,000 people attended the climate change protest in Sydney. Organizers put the number between 50,000 and 60,000 people.

"The bushfires are devastating communities and our government is not doing enough to stop it," Ambrose Hayes, 14, told CNN at a rally in Sydney. "The Morrison government needs to act before it's too late, before we reach a tipping point, before these impacts get worse than they already are."

Protesters carried signs that read "Koalas Not Coal," "Change the System, Not the Climate" and "Sack ScoMo," with many directing their anger at Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who has faced heavy criticism for what they see as a lackluster response to the fires and for his climate policies, as well as support for coal mines.

Tens of thousands of Australians rallied across cities as deadly climate-fuelled bushfires swept across the continent.

Tens of thousands of Australians rallied across cities as deadly climate-fuelled bushfires swept across the continent.

"We've had decades to deal with it and successive governments have done nothing. The Earth is a finite resource. You can't have an economy on a dead planet," said Kris Stevens, who traveled to Sydney from the city of Dubbo in New South Wales (NSW). 

Friday's protests pushed for five main demands: funding for firefighters, relief and aid for affected communities, land and water sovereignty for indigenous communities, an immediate transition toward renewable energy, and a "just transition" for workers in the fossil fuel industry.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/10/australia/australia-fires-climate-protest...

jerrym

The extensive wildfires in Australia have also led to widespread protests in Europe. 

Key points:

  • Demonstrations organised by Extinction Rebellion were held in London, Berlin, Madrid, Copenhagen and Stockholm
  • The protesters called for stronger action on climate change in response to the Australian bushfires
  • Protesters in London rallied outside Australia House, while protesters chanted outside the Australian embassy in Berlin 

"Absolutely devastating to watch it. It's like hell. And it seems like governments around the world are in a race to drag us down to hell."

a man and a woman holding a sign that reads 'what will it take?' with the extinction rebellion logo on itPHOTO: Sheffield woman Anne Coates (right) said the Australian Prime Minister was "a laughing stock around the world". (ABC News: Timothy Stevens)

"Australia, you are custodians of precious species that exist nowhere else in the world. Overturn your Government, they're leading you to destruction."

a woman holds a sign reading "koalas not coal" while standing among protesters in londonPHOTO: Fi Radford said Australians were custodians to precious species that exist nowhere else in the world. (ABC News: Timothy Stevens)

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-11/scott-morrison-labelled-laughing-...

 

 

jerrym

Another area where Canada is falling down in dealing with climate change is the training of our health care workers on the health impacts of climate change, which some medical journals identify as the biggest health care problem of the 21st century. In fact, many in the medical fields feel  "Advocacy groups call on federal government to declare climate change a public health emergency" and that better health care education must be a part of dealing with the emergency. 

Advocacy groups call on federal government to declare climate change a public health emergency

 Advocacy groups call on federal government to declare climate change a public health emergency

Canadian medical schools have not adequately addressed the urgent need for training related to planetary health and climate change, and members of the Canadian Federation of Medical Students say that must change.

The growing health effects of climate change, such as the spread of Lyme disease and heat-related deaths, mean medical students must be prepared, the students’ group wrote in a comment for the Lancet’s Planetary Health journal last week.

The medical journal has indicated previously that climate change could be “the biggest global health threat of the 21st century.” ...

“The message everywhere is that medical school curriculum is jam-packed, so when you try and introduce a lecture on climate change impacts, you have to take something out.”

Dr. Courtney Howard, an emergency physician in Yellowknife, disagrees with that approach.

Instead of adding and subtracting, planetary health and climate change must be integrated throughout the entire curricula, so health-care providers aren’t working in a silo, said Howard, who is also the board president of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment. ...

“We need an educational blitz that addresses medical and health practitioners at all levels.”

Otherwise, she said, doctors and health-care providers risk becoming disengaged and unprepared to protect people’s health amidst a changing climate.

The HEART team recently assessed how planetary health and climate change are being taught in Canada by compiling survey responses from nearly 50 students and 10 faculty members representing all 17 Canadian medical schools.

The results are mixed, said Kitching.

The University of Alberta, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine and Dalhousie are identified as leaders, where environmental issues are covered at greater length through lectures, assignments and extracurricular opportunities.

By comparison, students at McGill and the University of Ottawa reported “brief” discussions during lectures on other topics, such as occupational health.

The International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations has also called upon medical schools to integrate teaching related to climate change into their curricula by 2020.

Dr. Genevieve Moineau, president and CEO of the Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada, said there’s a clear indication that curricula must be focused on the needs of society and they’ll collaborate with medical students on climate and health.

https://globalnews.ca/news/6398393/canada-medical-students-climate-change/

jerrym

The following article provides an explanation of why, despite the catastrophic damange done by climate-change induced wildfires and drought many Australians remain in denial.

In a poll released today, Scott Morrison has "suffered a massive hit to his personal approval rating and been overtaken as preferred prime minister by Anthony Albanese in the first published opinion poll of 2020." However, the margin between Labour and the Liberals is very close suggesting the the Liberals may be tempted to change leaders before an election. (https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/jan/13/scott-morrison-su...)

Even as Australia burns, its voters may not take the plunge into meaningful collective action to fight climate change. And here’s why: out there be dragons. Thirty-six of them, by the count of Robert Gifford, a psychology professor at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. These are the psychological hangups that haunt humans and stymie efforts to deal with the global climate crisis. “Dragons of inaction,” Gifford calls them, and they are formidable. ...

“The dragons of inaction are the reasons or justifications or excuses that people use between either having a good intention to do something and then not doing it or simply using that as an excuse to not be concerned or not take action,” he explained.

The most fearsome of these dragons include a perceived lack of control, the influence of social norms and the difficulty of habit-breaking, conflict with seemingly more pressing needs and wants as well as attachment to a conservative political ideology. Others include putting inordinate faith in technological salvation, growing numb to dire warnings, the perceived inequity of taking action when others might not and mistrust of government and other authority figures. Humans are also prone to discount risks that seem far off into the future or far away from one’s immediate surroundings, Gifford said, and seek to justify the way things are if they expect change to involve personal sacrifice. 

“We call that system justification,” Gifford said. (The full list of his dragons can be found here.) ...

But Australians have long battled dry conditions and seasonal fires, making it more difficult for the human brain to draw the complicated connection to global warming that is making such events more frequent and more intense.

“The challenge we have is it is an exaggeration of weather patterns for which people are already socially adapted,” said George Marshall, co-founder of Climate Outreach, which advises governments across the world on how to communicate their climate change strategies and also the author of the book Don’t Even Think About It: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Ignore Climate Change.

Australia’s prime minister, Scott Morrison, has played up this argument and downplayed the connection to the policies of his Liberal government (the main conservative party in Australian politics). His actions include cheering the expansion of the country’s coal industry and scrapping the previous Labor government’s short-lived carbon tax. Both of these measures encourage more pollution and increase global warming, in turn making Australia’s fires worse.

But people tend to gravitate toward simple explanations, Marshall said, which helps explain the spread of a discredited notion that hundreds of arsonists are to blame. (In fact, police in New South Wales said just 24 people had been charged with deliberately lighting fires since November, while there are more than 150 blazes currently raging in that state.) “The most compelling narratives for us are the ones that have clearly defined enemies and victims,” said Marshall, who is also the author of the book Carbon Detox.

He said the fires, which are most explicitly threatening rural, conservative parts of the country, could send the country down one of two paths. On the one hand, they could spark serious conversations within those communities about the need to deal with climate change, which would in turn force the Liberals to react and adapt. But they could also exacerbate social tensions in a country where voters have entrenched and polarized views.

“You might find a situation where left-wing people in Melbourne become very, very agitated, but someone like a sugar-cane grower in Queensland doesn’t shift at all,” he said. “If you're somebody whose house has burned down or whose farm has lost all its livestock, and you felt that you were really in the middle of it and traumatized by the experience, you're not going to welcome a bunch of cappuccino drinkers in Melbourne going on a march.”

Humans are adept at using motivated reasoning and other mind tricks to seek out information that confirms our own opinions while ignoring or downplaying those that challenge them, political scientists say. So even as some Australians had to plunge into the ocean to avoid the flames and smoke, human psychology offers those predisposed to ignoring climate change plenty of encouragement to look away.

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2020/01/08/analysis/humans-wrestle-drag...

jerrym

The same article  that was outlined in the last post and that discussed why many Australians have resisted the staggering evidence from its 2019-2020 wildfires discussed in the last post also examined why so many Canadians are resistant to the evidence before their eyes in this country. As the map below shows there was a very close correlation betwen the percentage of the population  in a particular Canadian region that believe humans are causing climate change and the electoral outcome in that region. 

Polling conducted by Erick Lachapelle at Université de Montréal shows less support in Alberta for the view that humans are causing climate change.

“Many people would like to think that stronger climate signals are going to change people's perceptions and further engage them in climate change,” Erick Lachapelle said. The political scientist at Université de Montréal has polled Canadians extensively on the topic. “But the reality is that people interpret climate signals through their pre-existing beliefs and worldviews.”

That is, instead of extreme weather shaping opinions, opinions shape how extreme weather is interpreted.

“If you're more individualist, materialist, conservative, then acknowledging climate change challenges your worldview because it requires you to rethink your assumptions about the role of the free market and government intervention,” he said. ...

That cognitive dissonance can even apply to those directly affected by catastrophic flooding, droughts, fires and storms, which scientific consensus says are being exacerbated by climate change.

”I wouldn't assume that everybody who goes through that kind of experience is going to be much more worried about the environment or more willing to act,” said Melanee Thomas, a political scientist at the University of Calgary. “It’s complicated. You cannot draw a straight line between any of this stuff.”

She said neither the 2013 Calgary floods nor the 2016 Fort McMurray wildfires shifted Albertans’ views on whether the province should reduce its reliance on oil and gas and embrace an energy transition. Polling conducted across Canada by Lachapelle and other researchers shows that people in Alberta, home to most of the country’s oil and gas industry, hold sharply divergent views on climate change compared to the rest of the country. 

“The political scientist in me would say that people are always using a psychological justification, either confirmation bias or motivated reasoning,” Thomas said.

They are much less likely to think the planet is warming, that it is due to human activity and that it will personally affect them. Recent electoral history reflects that, with voters bringing in a provincial government that is aggressively defending its oil and gas industry and in the October federal vote shutting out Canada’s Liberal government in favour of a Conservative party that promised to scrap its carbon tax. ...

“Public misunderstanding of the scientific consensus — which has been found in each of our surveys since 2008 — has significant consequences,” the study said, citing an understanding of that consensus as a “gateway belief” that leads to more support for climate action.

Gifford from the University of Victoria said he has sympathy for the people of Alberta — the Canadians facing the most wrenching change as a result of tougher climate action. "They've been ranchers and oil people... They have a whole culture and generational history invested in that, and so having to change is not easy," he said. "Nobody wants to be told they're a bad person or doing the wrong thing."

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2020/01/08/analysis/humans-wrestle-drag...

 

jerrym

The 2010-2019 decade was the hottest decade ever recorded with 2019 was the second hottest ever. Furthermore eight of the top hottest years ever were in the 2010s.

Climate change deniers

Climate change deniers refuse to accept scientific warnings (David Horsey / Los Angeles Times)

 

jerrym
jerrym

The Supreme Court ruling that the province of British Columbia cannot regulate what can flow through an expanded Trans Mountain pipeline from Alberta has important implications for other pipelines, including a possible one through Quebec to the Maritimes. Although a Trudeau might be hesitant to push through a pipeline against the wishes of a major source of its support, a future Conservative government, both for ideological reasons and because it is not dependent on Quebec support might be willing to do so. Image result for canadian pipeline map So once again the Trudeau government enables the fossil fuel industry to expand its potential greenhouse gas emissions.

Quote:

Image result for picture of Trans Mountain pipeline construction

The Supreme Court of Canada shut down British Columbia’s move to regulate what can flow through an expanded Trans Mountain pipeline from Alberta. The B.C. government wanted to require provincial permits before heavy oil could be shipped through pipelines in the province. In 2018, it asked the B.C. Court of Appeal if such permits were in bounds. Last May that court said no, ruling they would violate Ottawa’s authority under the Constitution to approve and regulate any pipeline that crosses a provincial border. ...

It removes one of the remaining obstacles for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, which seeks to twin an existing pipeline running between Edmonton and Burnaby, B.C. ...

Canada’s Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan welcomed the ruling. “It is a core responsibility of the federal government to help get Canada’s resources to market and support good, middle-class jobs,” he said in a statement. ...

The case had national implications for any project that crosses provincial boundaries, prompting Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec to all seek intervener status. All but Quebec sided entirely with the federal government.

https://globalnews.ca/news/6422235/supreme-court-bc-trans-mountain-appea...

jerrym

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