Canada and global warming: a state of denial 2

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jerrym

The evidence keeps piling up about the global warming crisis: 2010-2019 was the hottest decade ever recorded and 2019 was the second hottest ever, with eight of the top ten being in the 2010s.

The decade that just ended was by far the hottest ever measured on Earth, capped off by the second-warmest year on record, two U.S. agencies reported Wednesday. And scientists said they see no end to the way man-made climate change keeps shattering records.

"If you think you've heard this story before, you haven't seen anything yet," Gavin Schmidt, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, said at the close of a decade plagued by raging wildfires, melting ice and extreme weather that researchers have repeatedly tied to human activity. "This is real. This is happening."

The 2010s averaged 58.4 degrees Fahrenheit (14.7 degrees Celsius) worldwide, or 1.4 degrees (0.8 C) higher than the 20th century average and more than one-third of a degree (one-fifth of a degree C) warmer than the previous decade, which had been the hottest on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The decade had eight of the 10 hottest years on record. The only other years in the top 10 were 2005 and 1998.

https://abc7.com/weather/2010s-hottest-decade-ever-2019-2nd-warmest-year...

jerrym

Despite  2010-2019 being the hottest decade ever recorded, despite 2019 being the second hottest ever, and despite eight of the top ten hottest years being in the 2010s, as reported today and described in the last post, the Trudeau government, supposedly committed to dealing with global warming continues to push forward with:

(1) the Trans Mountain pipeline to the BC coast;

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

 (3) the completion of Enbridge's Line 3 to Manitoba in December that " will have oil export capacity of 760,000 barrels per day (bpd)" when the US portion is finished this year (https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/enbridge-line-three-shipping-oil-1.5377031),

(4)the proposed $14 billion LNG pipeline from Ontario to Saguenay Quebec for export to Europe, Asia and Brazil (https://policyoptions.irpp.org/magazines/may-2019/quebecs-natural-gas-ex...).

(5) The Trudeau government "treated Donald Trump’s election as “positive news” for Canada’s energy industry and welcomed the help of Canada’s main corporate oil group in lobbying the US administration, documents show." (https://www.theguardian.com/environment/true-north/2018/feb/09/trudeau-g...) Therefore, there is no doubt the Trudeau Liberals are celebrating the announcement today of the great news that work on the US portion of the XL pipeline will resume in February.

Miles of unused pipe, prepared for the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline, sit rusting in North Dakota. ANDREW BURTON/GETTY

 Canadian pipeline company TC Energy Corp said on Tuesday that it planned to start pre-construction work in February for its Keystone XL oil pipeline, the start of a busy planned work schedule in 2020 for the long-delayed project. ...

The $8-billion Keystone XL project would carry 830,000 barrels per day of oil sands crude from Alberta to the U.S. Midwest and then on to the Gulf Coast. It has been delayed for more than a decade by opposition from landowners, environmental groups and tribes and after former U.S. President Barack Obama rejected the project. ...

TC said it plans to start building pumping stations along the entire pipeline route in June. Work on a pipeline segment in Nebraska would also start in June, followed by the start of construction of some segments in Montana and South Dakota in August.

The schedule hinges on starting to mobilize equipment in February, TC said. Work will continue in 2021.

https://calgaryherald.com/pmn/business-pmn/tc-energy-to-resume-work-on-k...

You are a unique climate change activist, Trudeau.

jerrym

Dust storms and massive hail balls associated with global warming are the latest torment to hit Australia.

Golf ball-sized hail at Parliament House on January 20, 2020 in Canberra, Australia.

Golf ball-sized hail at Parliament House on January 20, 2020 in Canberra, Australia.

Parts of southeastern Australia are being pelted by hailstones the size of golf balls, big enough to smash car windows and injure birds, less than 24 hours after the region was hit by massive dust storms.

The hailstorms arrived in the national capital Canberra on Monday afternoon, covering the ground with white balls of ice and leaves that have been stripped from trees. People ran for cover, and drivers pulled off the road to try and find underground parking for fear of hailstone damage. ...

The hailstorm comes less than 24 hours after massive dust storms swept through New South Wales late Sunday afternoon, blanketing entire towns and blacking out the sun.

Images from the ground showed huge, rolling clouds of dust, at least ten stories high. The dust storm moved fast, engulfing neighborhoods in minutes and obscuring what previously was a blue sky.

The dust storms first hit the town of Narromine, in the center of the state, before moving east to the town of Dubbo and then south to the town of Parkes, according to CNN affiliate Nine News.

The storm wasn't just tall, it was long -- videos show a dust storm that appears to stretch for miles, surrounding the perimeter of Narromine.

A dust storm descending on the New South Wales town of Parkes in Australia.

A dust storm descending on the New South Wales town of Parkes in Australia. ...

The dust storms were likely kicked up by ferocious winds in the area -- wind gusts measured up to 95 kilometers per hour (59 miles per hour) in Parkes and 107 kph (66.5 mph) in Dubbo, according to the Australia Bureau of Meteorology. The state has been suffering from drought for several years, meaning the land is parched and the soil loose -- making it easier for dust to be whipped up into the air. ...

The wildfires and dust storms have been exacerbated by extreme heat and drought -- which experts say are symptoms of Australia's climate crisis.

Australia's bush has been drying out since January 2017 -- the worst drought on record. New South Wales has received less than 5 inches (25 millimeters) of rain each year for the past three years, which has never happened before. ...

The drought has hit rural towns hard. The town of Murrurundi, northwest of Sydney, has not seen significant rain in three years. Water is supplied to towns by trucks that make 10 to 20 trips a day; if the trucks stopped, the town would be completely dry in three days.

The drought has worsened natural phenomena like Sunday's dust storm -- and has also devastated livelihoods. Cattle and sheep farmers have seen their lands turn cracked and bone-dry in recent years, and many are struggling to keep their livestock alive. ...

Many have pointed to this disastrous weather as a sign that Australia urgently needs climate action. Tens of thousands of people participated in protests around the country earlier this month, calling on the government to do more to combat the climate crisis.

https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/19/australia/australia-hail-dust-storm-intl-...

 

jerrym

Greta Thunberg and 21 other youth are attending the Davos summit that starts on January 20th to demand that the world shift away from fossil fuels. 

Greta Thunberg and fellow youth climate campaigners are demanding that global leaders immediately end the “madness” of huge ongoing investments in fossil fuel exploration and enormous subsidies for coal, oil and gas use.

The 21 young activists are also calling on the political and business leaders who will be attending the World Economic Forum in Davos to ensure investment funds dump their holdings in fossil fuel companies. ...

“Anything less would be a betrayal against life itself,” said Thunberg and colleagues in an article in the Guardian. “Today’s business as usual is turning into a crime against humanity. We demand that you play your part in putting an end to this madness.” ...

“Young people are being let down by older generations and those in power,” the climate strikers said. “To some it may seem like we are asking for a lot. But this is just the very minimum effort needed to start the rapid sustainable transition.”

Much of the world’s existing coal, oil and gas reserves must be kept in the ground to avoid the worst impacts of global heating. But investment in fossil fuel exploration and extraction remains high.

Since the Paris climate agreement in 2015, the world’s largest investment banks have provided more than $700bn (£535bn) to fossil fuel companies to develop new projects, with the total investment estimated to be trillions of dollars. Fossil fuel companies argue that their products will be used for many years to come and that they have a pivotal role in shifting the energy system to zero emissions. But their investments in green energy are tiny compared with those in fossil fuels.

Subsidies for fossil fuels also remain high despite a G20 pledge in 2009 to eliminate them. The IMF estimates such subsidies run at $10m a minute, or $5.2tn a year. “The fact that [ending investment and subsidies] hasn’t been done already is, quite frankly, a disgrace,” said Thunberg and colleagues.

Just 10% of fossil fuel subsidy cash 'could pay for green transition'

Investors managing funds totalling $12trillion have already divested from coal, oil and gas, but the climate activists demand that “all companies, banks, institutions and governments immediately and completely divest from fossil fuels”.

Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, said in December that the financial sector was not cutting investments in oil and gas companies rapidly enough and warned that assets in the sector could end up “worthless”. He said in October that companies and industries not moving towards zero-carbon emissions would be punished by investors and go bankrupt.

“It ought to be in every company and stakeholder’s interest to make sure that the planet they live on will thrive,” said the climate strikers, who come from nations across the world, including the US, Australia, Brazil, Russia, India and Nigeria. “But history has not shown the corporate world’s willingness to hold themselves accountable. So it falls on us, the children, to do that.”

The agenda for the 50th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, which begins on 20 January in Switzerland, lists four “urgent and important” global issues. The first is “how to address the urgent climate and environmental challenges that are harming our ecology and economy”.

The climate strikers said: “The world’s leaders should invest their money in existing sustainable technologies, research and in restoring nature. Short-term profit should not trump long-term stability of life.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jan/10/greta-thunberg-tells...

jerrym

One of the youth attending the Davos conference is Canadian First Nation activist Autumn Peltier, who is profiled below along with some of the other young activists in the following article. 

  • Greta Thunberg is part of a young generation fighting to change the world.
  • For the first time ever, a group of teenage change-makers will take part in Davos.
  • From fighting gun violence to climate change, their voices must be heard.

From tackling the climate crisis to fighting discrimination, young people worldwide are taking their futures into their own hands.

The planet's future is their future, so it's more important than ever to give them a platform for their voices to be heard.

Davos teenage change-makers

Facing the future: young change-makers at Davos

For the first time in its history, the World Economic Forum will welcome teenage change-makers to the Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters to boost collaboration between the generations. Here are 10 of them...

Autumn Peltier, 15

Autumn Peltier

Canadian Autumn is an Eagle Clan Anishinaabekwe from the Wiikwemkoong First Nation in Northern Ontario. She has been a “water warrior” since the age of 8, ever since she learned of First Nation communities that couldn’t drink their water due to contamination from industrial activity and oil pipelines. In 2019, Autumn was named the Chief Water Commissioner by the Anishinabek Nation, representing 40 First Nations in Ontario, many of whom lack clean drinking water. In her role, she visits reserves, meets with leaders of the Anishinabek Nation and speaks internationally about indigenous and water rights.

Watch Autumn in action via the links below:

Forging a Path Toward a Common Future on Tuesday 21 Jan 2020, 8:30 – 9:15 AM (CET)

The Power of Youth on Wednesday 22 Jan 2020, 12:30 – 2:00 PM (CET) 

How to Turn Protest into Progress on Thursday 23 Jan 2020, 2:30 – 3:15 PM (CET)

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/01/the-teenage-change-makers-at-davo...

NDPP

Trump's NAFTA is a Giveaway To the Fossil Fuel Industry (and vid)

https://twitter.com/SenSaunders/status/1218199340717629446

"Not a single damn mention of 'climate change'. Trump's NAFTA is a giveaway to the fossil fuel industry. I voted NO because the future of our planet is more important than the short-term profits of Exxon Mobil and Chevron..."

Too bad you never opposed it, Canada.

jerrym

While Jason Kenney says he wants Alberta to be the place in the world where the last barrel of oil is taken out of the ground, this attitude risks leaving Alberta and Canada being the equivalent of the buggy whip industry at the dawn of the automotive industry. Unfortunately, the Trudeau government, considering the five major fossil fuel projects it is already involved in or considering (Trans Mountain, Keystone, Enbridge Line 3, Frontier Mine and Ontario to Saguenay pipeline - see post #253 for more details on this) is doing little to transition the nation away from fossil fuels. 

Ontario Premier Doug Ford helps with filling sandbags near Ottawa on April 26, 2019. Contaminated water from flooding is one risk identified by the new Canadian Institute for Climate Choices. Photo by Kamara Morozuk

Canada must prepare both for a low-carbon world and for one in which the international community spurns climate action; otherwise, it will suffer job losses and social disruption, according to a new federally funded institute.

The Canadian Institute for Climate Choices opened its doors Tuesday, and marked the occasion by releasing an 80-page report examining the consequences of climate actions that Canada might take under different global pollution scenarios.

No one knows how quickly the world is going to cut carbon pollution, CEO Kathy Bardswick said in an interview, and Canada must make decisions that account for the uncertainty, rather than be paralyzed by it.

In either a high-carbon or low-carbon future, “there’s a substantial impact on the country,” Bardswick said. “What we’re trying to say is, ‘Yes, we agree there’s uncertainty, and we agree that these scenarios can play out quite differently, and the implications can be quite dramatic. But that doesn’t mean that we wait and see — we’ve got to be able to plan within that context.’” ...

Drawing on extensive economic and scientific research, the report sketches out two broad scenarios, with two possible outcomes in each one. 

In the first scenario, a massive economic metamorphosis has occurred. Nations around the world cut their pollution severely over the next 10 years, reaching the Paris Agreement goal. Global demand for fossil fuels has plummeted, and proven reserves are left in the ground. A majority of electricity comes from renewables like solar, wind and bioenergy, while nuclear capacity triples and heavy industry is largely decarbonized.

If Canada chooses to approach this world by sticking with the current economy, which is largely integrated with emissions-intensive exports like oil and gas, and the financial sector that holds over $50 billion worth of loans to the sector, then the global transition, “coupled with inadequate preparation domestically, creates large-scale disruption and job loss in Canada.” The oilpatch is wallopped, leading to knock-on effects in construction, retail, real estate and the financial sector. Other Canadian sectors like gasoline vehicle manufacturing are caught off guard. The risk of “widespread social disruption” increases as social assistance programs are put under pressure. Governments see shrinking budgets that impact health and education spending.

In the other scenario, carbon pollution continues to be pumped into the air unchecked, and the world fails to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goal, leading to runaway climate change: collapse of ecosystems, accelerating global heating, coastlines that sink underwater, relentless extreme weather and mass societal unrest.

Canada must be prepared for that world, too, the report says, or it will become “caught in a continual cycle of impact and recovery.” People will be injured or killed, or suffer poor air quality and contaminated water, as insurance skyrockets and companies lay off workers. Food and water shortages drive war, conflict and humanitarian disasters, which reach Canada’s shores.

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2020/01/21/news/newly-formed-canadian-i...

jerrym

At the World Economic Forum in Davos Switzerland, young climate activists, including Canadian Autumn Peltier of the Anishinabek Nation, Greta Thunberg, Natasha Wang Mwansa from Zambia, and Salvador Gómez-Colón of Puerto Rico, criticized the economic and political elites for failing for their inaction on global warming. 

Michelle Lewis

- Jan. 11th 2020 9:00 am ET

Young climate activists including Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg told business and political elites gathered Tuesday at the World Economic Forum that they aren't doing enough to tackle the climate emergency and warned them that time was running out.

At a panel in the Swiss ski resort of Davos, climate campaigners expressed hope that their generation could work with those in power to bring about the change needed to limit global warming even as Thunberg - a vocal critic of leaders' inaction - said not enough has been done.

“We need to start listening to the science, and treat this crisis with the importance it deserves," said the 17-year-old, just as U.S. President Donald Trump was arriving in Davos, where he later gave a speech. Trump has pulled the U.S. out of the Paris accord to limit climate change and has traded barbs with Thunberg on social media.

"Without treating it as a real crisis we cannot solve it,” Thunberg said , adding that it was time to stop burning fossil fuels immediately, not decades from now. ...

Speaking in the afternoon, Thunberg brushed aside Trump's announcement that the U.S. would join the economic forum's initiative to plant 1 trillion trees across the globe to help capture carbon dioxide from Earth’s atmosphere.

“Planting trees is good of course but it’s nowhere near enough," Thunberg said. "It cannot replace mitigation," she added, referring to efforts to drastically cut emissions in the near term.

Thunberg accused leaders of "cheating and fiddling around with numbers" with talk of cutting emissions to 'net zero' - that is, emitting no more carbon than is absorbed by the planet or technical means - by 2050. ...

"My generation will not give up without a fight," she said.

Her views were echoed by other climate activists, such Natasha Wang Mwansa, an 18-year-old activist from Zambia who campaigns for girls’ and women’s rights. She told an audience in Davos that “the older generation has a lot of experience, but we have ideas, we have energy, and we have solutions."

Salvador Gómez-Colón, who raised funds and awareness after Hurricane María devastated his native Puerto Rico in 2017, said young activists are doing more than just talking.

“We’re not waiting five, 10, 20 years to take the action we want to see. We’re not the future of the world, we’re the present, we’re acting now. We’re not waiting any longer.”

Autumn Peltier, the chief water commissioner for the Anishinabek Nation of indigenous people in Canada, said plaudits are not what they are looking for at the World Economic Forum.

“I don’t want your awards. If you are going to award me, award me with helping to find solutions and helping to make change.”

Thunberg cited a report released in 2018 by the U.N.'s science panel that calculated the amount of additional carbon dioxide the atmosphere can absorb before global average temperature increases exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit). Leaders agreed to try to stay below that threshold when they signed the 2015 Paris climate accord, but scientists warn the chances of doing so are dwindling.

Thunberg noted that the remaining carbon “budget” to confidently meet that target stood at just 420 gigatons of CO2 two years ago, the equivalent of 10 years of global emissions. Even with a more optimistic calculation, keeping the global temperature rise below 1.5 C would require a massive reduction in emissions over the next two decades.

"These numbers aren't anyone's political opinions or political views," said Thunberg. "This is the current best-available science."

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2020/01/21/news/thunberg-slams-davos-el...

NDPP

The Devils of Davos

https://youtu.be/IKCVyF6-WFY

 

Economic Ministers Miss Caucus Meetings To Attend Davos Forum

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/ministers-thursday-davos-1.5437266

"The theme of his years forum is 'Stakeholders For A Cohesive and Sustainable World'..."

jerrym

As the Alberta Conservative government continues to blithely push ahead with more fossil fuel production, with Kenney saying he wants Alberta to be the last place in the world to take a barrel of oil of the ground, CBC is reporting that the province, unlike North Dakota, is only collecting a tiny fraction of the money needed for cleanup, which the article reports is $30 billion with only $227 million in fees for cleanup collected.  However, in November 2018, Vice President Rob Wadsworth of Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) , which is responsible for collecting the cleanup fees, told a private audience that it could cost $260 billion to clean up 94,000 inactive wells and 3,400 abandoned wells. (https://globalnews.ca/news/4617664/cleaning-up-albertas-oilpatch-could-c...)

While the Alberta Conservatives blamed the NDP government for this, it is obvious from the huge amounts involved and the date that the fee levels were set that many previous governments were involved. Landowners with wells on their land also find it extremely difficult to develop or sell their land. On the other hand, In North Dakota companies must pay the estimated cleanup costs in advanced. Kenney is now demanding Ottawa help pay for the cleanup. Its truly amazing how much he, and from all the signs coming out of Ottawa Trudeau, is willing to subsidize an industry that may well destroy life on this planet. 

It also sounds like the AER was totally captured by the industry as it did nothing to correct the situation. The auditor general is investigating these problems but the horse has long left the barn. 

There are currently 3,406 orphan wells scattered around the province, usually on the properties of rural landowners, where they lie untended. 

There are another 94,000 inactive wells in the province, with the worry that many of these may become orphaned as their owners struggle — and taxpayers could be left with the bill.

The auditor general's office will look at whether the province is doing enough to prevent wells from becoming orphaned in the first place, and whether it is prepared for more to be added to the list due to ongoing pressure on Alberta's energy economy. ...

"We will be focusing on both whether the government — and specifically the Alberta Energy Regulator — has the systems and processes to assess whether orphan oil and gas sites are being managed and reclaimed efficiently and economically in the best interests of Albertans," said Val Mellesmoen, spokesperson for the Office of the Auditor General of Alberta.  ...

The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER), an arm's-length agency of the provincial government that oversees the energy industry and its activities, has a liability management system that is supposed to make sure companies that are permitted to drill have a healthy enough bottom line to pay for cleanup later on. ...

But the regulator has been using a formula based on out-of-date commodity prices that has inflated the assets of many companies. As a result, companies were not asked to put down large enough security deposits for future cleanup. The province's own estimate of the eventual cleanup bill for every oil and gas well in Alberta is $30 billion, while the AER only holds $227 million in financial security. ...

Alberta has asked the federal government to help pay for cleaning up orphan wells. In a November 2019 letter sent by Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews to Bill Morneau, his federal counterpart, the province asked Ottawa for funding and tax instruments to encourage investment in well reclamation.

"This system is just not sustainable," said Lucija Muehlenbachs, an economist at the University of Calgary who specializes in the energy industry. It's not functioning, so it will have to be completely thrown out the window. But it's many years too late." ...

But the AER has been using commodity prices from 2008-2010, back when oil prices were much higher, to estimate the value of assets. Even though the regulator assesses these assets every month, because of its use of old commodity prices, many companies that should be putting up security deposits have not had to. ...

Meanwhile, landowners who agreed to lease their land to oil companies so they could drill wells were promised the companies would clean up after the wells were done producing and restore the surface of the land to its original state.

Instead, many are left with inactive wells that nobody is monitoring, let alone cleaning up and closing. ...

Dwight Popowich has an oil well on his property near Two Hills, Alta., about 100 kilometres east of Edmonton, that was drilled in 2008. It stopped producing in 2012, and its owner, Sequoia Resources Corp., stopped operating in March 2018. No remediation work has been done on the well. ...

Across the border in North Dakota, as oil prices declined, the state saw a growing number of inactive wells, but it has not experienced the same problem with orphan wells as Alberta.

North Dakota has strict timelines in place to deal with inactive wells. If a well stops producing for as little as three months, it's immediately flagged. The state also collects a bond from companies upfront — $50,000 US if the company is drilling one well — and can use that money to pay for plugging and remediating wells. 

North Dakota, which is the second largest crude oil producer in the U.S. after Texas, has only 1,683 inactive wells — and not one of them is an orphan.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/alberta-orphan-wells-liability-audit-re...

jerrym

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has just ruled that governments that deport people to a country where they face the prospect of being killed or seriously mistreated due to the climate crisis would be violating an international treaty, a treaty that Canada is a party of.

However, the ruling is non-binding on Canada.

This is the first time climate change refugees have becognized as having such rights, as the UNHCR was established in 1950 in the shadow of the WWII refugee crisis with no reference to climate change refugees.

This has major implications for Canada and other nations around the world as the climate crisis grows. Professor Norman Myers of Oxford University estimate of 200 million climate change refugees by 2050 "has become the accepted figure—cited in respected publications from the IPCC to the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change." (www.ipcc.ch › apps › njlite › srex › njlite_download) making it the greatest refugee crisis in human history and a challenge for all nations, including Canada to deal with. 

The bridge connecting North and South Tarawa, an atoll in the Pacific nation of Kiribati that is facing the threat of rising sea levels from climate change, pictured in 2017. Asian Development Bank photo 

UNHCR Canada has told National Observer the Trudeau government needs to examine the domestic implications of a recent ruling by the UN Human Rights Committee, that found countries can't deport people seeking asylum as a result of threats related to the climate emergency.

It’s the first time a UN body has made this type of determination with respect to climate change. But the ruling by the 18-member committee, released Tuesday, is non-binding on Canada, and raises many complex questions as to how it will ultimately factor into Canada’s refugee system.

“In its decision, the UN Human Rights Committee has made clear that returning a person to a country where they face a risk to their life, or a risk of serious mistreatment, as a result of climate change-related environmental degradation would violate the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” said Melanie Gallant, head of communications for UNHCR Canada. ...

“Like all states party to the international covenant, it is incumbent on Canada to consider the committee's decision and its implications domestically.” ...

The UN Refugee Convention, however, does not explicitly mention climate change, which could complicate matters for climate refugees in Canada. The convention is concerned instead with well-founded fears of persecution for other reasons: race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a social group. ...

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the federal department, says it does monitor the implications of climate change on migration. But "we cannot speculate on future policy,"spokeswoman Shannon Ker said. ...

Jamie Chai Yun Liew, an expert in immigration, refugee and citizenship law and an associate professor at the University of Ottawa, said no refugee-receiving country like Canada has within their own laws a recognition that speaks directly to people who are affected by climate-related situations and affords them refugee protection. 

But while she said the ruling wouldn’t affect anything immediately in Canada, in the future it could lead to something more substantive. “This is a very important first step in international law, so to speak, for starting to recognize a legal basis for refugee protection for those that are affected by climate-related crises or situations,” Liew said. 

For Francisco Rico-Martinez, co-director of the FCJ Refugee Centre, which looks at systemic issues newly-arrived refugee claimants face in Canada, the ruling could be useful when presenting in front of the IRB. 

“I will go in that direction myself, to ask, ‘Why don’t we modify our humanitarian and compassionate program?’” Rico-Martinez said. “When a case like this has come to my office, we’ve always used the environmental situation, but we’ve tried to link it to other elements of persecution.”

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2020/01/23/news/everything-you-need-kno...

jerrym

The Trudeau Liberal government has continued to proclaim its climate change program will achieve its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, while at the same time reassuring Alberta that it is open to further tarsands oil production. Any shred of its tattered credibility on dealing with climate change that it has left will disappear however if it approves the Frontier Mine oilsands development that will increase oilsands emissions by 20% and destroy an area twice the size of Vancouver. 

Last year a federal-provincial panel said the billions the Frontier Mine would generate would more than offset the damage to the environment locally and the greenhouse gas emissions it would produce. However, this was based on $95 a barrel oil, which is far above current prices, so it could end up being a white elephant as well. 

851px version of view-tar-sands-alberta.jpg

The Frontier bitumen mine would extend mining of Alberta’s oilsands northward, adding 20 per cent of climate-destabilizing emissions growth. Photo via Wikimedia.

The Trudeau government is under intense scrutiny for a looming decision — one that will powerfully signal whether it favours oil patch growth over fighting the climate emergency. 

Will the Liberals approve a new bitumen mine twice the size of Vancouver that alone is expected to add 20 per cent of additional oilsands emissions over the next three decades? 

Or will Justin Trudeau’s government make good on its promise to set Canada on the path to having “net-zero” emissions by 2050 by rejecting the Frontier mine being proposed by Vancouver-based Teck Resources?

Federal Environment and Climate Change Minister Jonathan Wilkinson, who represents the riding of North Vancouver, is reportedly “wrestling” with the decision, which is expected sometime next month.

Wilkinson has said that achieving Canada’s aggressive net-zero target, which would result in the country effectively ceasing to contribute to global temperature rise within three decades, is not open to negotiation: “That is a target that is not informed by politics. It’s informed by science.” 

If that’s the case, then the Liberals need to forcefully reject what is one of the biggest oilsands mining projects ever proposed, says Eriel Deranger, executive director of the Edmonton-based group Indigenous Climate Action. “We cannot afford more destabilization of critical ecosystems and the creation of massive amounts of carbon emissions,” she told The Tyee.

A Liberal decision to approve the $20.6-billion Teck Resources Frontier mine could make it impossible to achieve the government’s long-term climate targets — not to mention the near-term Paris agreement targets Canada is already on track to miss because of oilsands emissions.

The Frontier mine, if constructed, would emit four to six megatonnes of greenhouse gases annually until 2066, meaning the net-zero by 2050 target would be blown out of the water,” said Catherine Abreu, executive director of the Climate Action Network Canada. “If this project is approved, I think it will dramatically undermine their credibility on this issue.” ...

The looming Liberal decision is the final regulatory hurdle Teck has to clear before being able to build Frontier. A federal-provincial review panel last year determined that the $70 billion in government revenues Frontier could potentially generate outweighed the destruction of thousands of hectares of old-growth forest, wood bison habitat, climate sequestering wetlands and other “significant adverse environmental effects.”

Yet in making that assessment the panel appeared to uncritically accept Teck’s projection that oil prices will average $95 per barrel in coming years, an assumption that even the mining company no longer seems to support. In a presentation to investors last month, it said that a lower price of $60 to $70 per barrel is more likely.

https://thetyee.ca/News/2020/01/21/Trudeau-Government-To-Choose-Climate-...

jerrym

It is starting to sound like the Trudeau Liberals are looking for an excuse to approve the Frontier Mine, which would increase oilsands emissions by 20%, as noted in the previous post. Even the Financial Post admits this would throw Trudeau's emission reduction targets out the window. There has already been protests by indigenous and environmental groups against the project. 

Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson says the decision to go ahead with the project must  fit within Trudeau's greenhouse gas emission reduction targets when environmental experts say that is impossible. Wilkinson and another minister says they are looking for a win-win situation, which probably means Alberta adopting some form of the Liberal carbon tax and the Liberals announcing this allows them to approve the project when everyone knows it will blow any emission targets. Hey, isn't that the same old story with the Liberals and emission reduction targets since Chretien ran on them in 1993, adopted the Kyoto Accord reduction targets in 1997, and Trudeau ran on reducing emissions in 2015, only to adopt Harper's targets after criticizing the Conservatives during that election, followed by adopting the same strategy in the 2019 election. 

 

  • Teck

    Indigenous leaders from B.C. and Alberta are opposing Teck's Frontier mine, which would produce 260,000 barrels of oil a day and about four million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year: (Teck / Facebook)

Ottawa must decide by end-February if Teck Resources Ltd can build the $20.6 billion (US$15.7 billion) Frontier mine in northern Alberta, capable of eventually producing 260,000 barrels of crude oil per day.

If the minority Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says yes, it would call into question his promise to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. But saying no could infuriate Alberta, already angry over what local politicians claim is Ottawa’s bias against the energy industry. ...

“Cabinet can make a decision to approve, it can make a decision to reject, it can make a decision to delay,” Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson told reporters.

“I’m not going to opine on what that decision is going to be,” said Wilkinson, who must formally decide whether to approve the project or refer the matter to cabinet.

Officials say the final say will rest with cabinet, noting ministers have the power to ask for more information about the project. This would mean extending the end-February deadline.

“Obviously this government has made commitments with respect to addressing greenhouse gas emissions and we would have to ensure that they fit within that context,” said Wilkinson.

https://business.financialpost.com/commodities/energy/decision-on-tecks-...

jerrym

Last week indigenous and the environmental group Extinction Rebellion protested against the opening of the Frontier  Mine that would increase oilsands greenhouse gas emissions by 20%. 

 

Protesters against approval of Teck's Frontier oilsands mine gather on 9th Avenue S.E. in Calgary on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020. The protest was countered by a pro-oilsands group. JIM WELLS/POSTMEDIA

SHAREADJUSTCOMMENTPRINT

About 100 protesters gathered outside of a downtown Calgary office Wednesday morning to rally for — and against — a proposed oilsands mine in northern Alberta.

Protesters from both the pro-pipeline Canada Action and the environmentalist Extinction Rebellion groups convened outside Teck Resources’ office on 9th Avenue S.E., calling on the federal government to back or reject the $20.6-billion Frontier project.

“We’re putting pressure on the government to take action on the climate crisis that we feel is bearing down on society,” said Extinction Rebellion spokeswoman Sarah Flynn. “We feel that the Teck mine is for many reasons not in line with Canada’s goals, so we’re here to put pressure on the government to reject this proposal.”

https://calgaryherald.com/news/local-news/protesters-for-and-against-oil...

jerrym

During the last decade SUVs beame the second largest producers of greenhouse gas emissions with North American automakers leading the way in their production, even though Eurpean and Chinese governments  legislate a transition to zero emissions and their carmakers begin to make the shift. At the same time Canada, much like the buggy whip industry, remains stuck producing more fossil fuels for an industry starting to undergo a massive change.

A Tesla vehicle charges at a Tesla Supercharger site in Charlotte, N.C. July 19, 2019. AP Photo - Chuck Burton 

Electric vehicles have been around for some time, but global automakers have been reluctant to migrate because doing so represents the biggest technological revolution since the Ford Model T.

While North America’s automakers have been sluggish to respond, manufacturers elsewhere are prepared to comply with Chinese and European Union requirements for a migration to zero- and low-emission vehicles.  ...

For the Big 3 North American manufacturers (Ford, GM and Fiat Chrysler) to make up for lost time and compete with foreign counterparts on electric vehicles, partnerships with Chinese and European automakers, turning to Big 3 Chinese divisions and/or an alliance in a start-up appear to be viable options. Fiat Chrysler has taken this route in a 50/50 deal with Groupe PSA, the makers of Peugeot, Citroen, Opel and Alfa Romeo, to, among other things, develop electric vehicles. And Volkswagen will share its electric vehicle platform, MEB, under a co-operative agreement with Ford. Ford and GM are both seeking input from their Chinese subsidiaries and partners. ...

This industry-wide makeover is timely in terms of the climate emergency. According to a 2019International Energy Agency analysis, between 2010 and 2018, SUVs became the second largest contributor to an increase in global emissions and associated with 3.3 million barrels per day of additional petroleum demand from passenger vehicles.

China, as the largest vehicle market in the world, has single-handedly changed the global paradigm. Forcing automakers to put aside the amortization procrastination reflexes, China has an incrementally rising quota system for zero- and low-emission vehicles that took effect in 2019. This year, electric vehicles were expected to reach 8 per cent of new vehicle sales or two million vehicles, but this may be an overestimate due to a June 2019 decline in China’s EV rebates. This blip aside, EVs may rise to half of new vehicle sales in China by 2025.

And the European Union, beginning in 2020, will charge automakers penalties per vehicle sold when not in compliance with new corporate average emission standards. Non-compliance could run into billions of dollars. In December 2018, the European Parliament upped the pressure on vehicle manufacturers for a migration to zero- and low-emission vehicles approving a 37.5 per cent reduction in vehicle emissions by 2030, compared to 2021. European automakers claimed this would force them to focus on electric vehicles. ...

The longstanding complacency of the Big 3 on the migration to electric vehicles is no longer viable in the context of Chinese and European Union legislation, the impacts of these legislative initiatives on the competition and Tesla’s success.

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2019/12/31/analysis/electric-vehicles-p...

 

jerrym

One of the least reported impacts of global warming is the increase in violence against women that it has stimulated. 

 

Women and children try to shelter from the sun at a health clinic in Kapua, Turkana County, northwest Kenya, 29 January 2017. Photo:Flickr/Russell Watkins/DFID (CC BY 2.0) 

Climate breakdown and the global crisis of environmental degradation are increasing violence against women and girls, while gender-based exploitation is in turn hampering our ability to tackle the crises, a major report has concluded. Attempts to repair environmental degradation and adapt to climate breakdown, particularly in poorer countries, are failing, and resources are being wasted because they do not take gender inequality and the effects on women and girls into account. ...

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) carried out what is understood to be the biggest and most comprehensive study yet of the issue, taking two years and involving more than 1,000 sources of research. “We found gender-based violence to be pervasive, and there is enough clear evidence to suggest that climate change is increasing gender-based violence,” said Cate Owren, a lead author of the report, published on Wednesday. “As environmental degradation and stress on ecosystems increases, that in turn creates scarcity and stress for people, and the evidence shows that, where environmental pressures increase, gender-based violence increases.” ...

Owren found abundant examples of the close links between gender-based violence and the exploitation of women and girls, and the competition for resources engendered by the impacts of global heating and our destruction of the natural environment. For instance, sexual abuse was found in the illegal fishing industry in south-east Asia, and in eastern and southern Africa fishermen reportedly refused to sell fish to women if they did not engage in sex. The illegal logging and charcoal trade in the Democratic Republic of Congo is linked to sexual exploitation, and in Colombia and Peru illegal mines are strongly associated with an increase in sex trafficking.

There have also been numerous examples of gender-based violence directed against environmental defenders and activists, who try to stop the destruction or degradation of their land, natural resources and communities. Sexual violence is used to suppress them, undermine their status within the community and discourage others from coming forward. ...

Global heating puts pressure on resources, as extreme weather, including heatwaves, droughts, floods and fiercer storms, grows more frequent and devastating. In most parts of the world, women are already disadvantaged and lack land rights and legal rights, so are vulnerable to exploitation. When the additional stresses caused by the climate crises bite, they are the first to be targeted. For instance, in some communities, young girls are married off as early as possible when the family faces hardship exacerbated by the climate. Globally, about 12 million more young girls are thought to have been married off after increasing natural disasters, and weather related disasters have been shown to increase sexual trafficking by 20-30%.

Women and girls are also burdened with tasks such as drawing water and finding firewood, which are becoming more scarce in many areas under the ecological impact of our scramble for resources, and which expose them to further dangers of violence.

Grethel Aguilar, acting director-general of the IUCN, said: “Environmental degradation now affects our lives in ways that are becoming impossible to ignore, from food to jobs to security. This study shows that the damage humanity is inflicting on nature is also fuelling violence against women around the world – a link that has so far been largely overlooked.” ...

Bob Ward, policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on climate change and the environment at the London School of Economics, who was not involved in writing the report, said: “This report highlights the complex but clear link between growing climate change impacts and violence against women and girls. He pointed to the role that female campaigners were playing in bringing the world’s attention to the problems. “When we see the inspiring leadership of female activists like Greta Thunberg, we should recognise that the lives and livelihoods of women and girls around the world are particularly threatened by climate change,” said Ward. “The empowerment of women and girls and their protection from the direct and indirect consequences of climate change must lie at the heart of the just transition to zero-carbon and climate-resilient societies.”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jan/29/climate-breakdown-is...

jatt_1947 jatt_1947's picture
NDPP

"Earth is heating at a rate equivalent to five atomic bombs per second. Or two Hurricane Sandys' - Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

https://twitter.com/JonathanLanday/status/1224371221879410698

jerrym

CBC is reporting that two sources close to Trudeau have said that the Liberal cabinet is considering approving Teck's Frontier Mine oilsands project that would increase oilsands emissions by 260,000, barrels per day over a 41 year mine history,thereby adding 20% to current oilsands emissions in return for Teck promising to achieve net zero emissions over all its projects by 2050. The "mine" would be twice the size of Vancouver and release many comtaminants into the surrounding land and water as well. 

"Critics have said the project can only turn a profit if North American oil prices are above US$75 a barrel" (https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/article-frontier-oil-sands-mine...) This is at a time when oil has dropped below $50 a barrel. Could the taxpayer be left holding the barrel for subsidies, cost overruns and abandoment of the project if it proceeds partway but is not financially viable. Canadians already facing $260 billion in cleanup costs for oilwells that no longer are operating. The Alberta Energy Regulator reported "Cleaning up the Alberta oilpatch could cost an estimated $260 billion, internal regulatory documents warn. " (https://globalnews.ca/news/4617664/cleaning-up-albertas-oilpatch-could-c...)

This would blow past in Trudeau's 2030 emission targets by a wide margin. However, this is hardly surprising as the Liberals did the same thing with their Kyoto emission target goals under Chretien and Martin.  Instead the 1997 emissions of 671 Mt during the year of the signing of the Kyoto Accord had risen to 747 Mt in 2005, the last full year of a Liberal government before the Conservatives took over. This was 33% above the 1997 Liberal Kyoto target. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canada_and_the_Kyoto_Protocol)

Trudeau followed that up by blowing past his 2020 greenhouse emissions reduction targets, which were actually Harper's targets. In March 2018 the Auditor General concluded  the Trudeau Liberal government "is likely to miss the 2020 Copenhagen target as well". (http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_otp_201803_e_42883.html)

 Environment Commissioner Julie Gelfand concluded in April 2019, in her final report, that "Canada is not on track to hit its 2030 target,". These targets were actually those of the Conservative Harper government. (https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/environment-commissioner-julie-gelfand-...)

Now the Trudeau Liberals sound like they are ready to move their target to 2050, long after he is gone from power and 3/4 of the way through the expected life of the mine, when nothing can be done to (surprise) the company for failing to keep such a promise. The Trudeau government seems ready to let the envronmental and financial insanity continue.

tar sands before after national geographic march 2009

Before and after?: a forest in northern Alberta staked out by tar sands prospectors and the Suncor Millennium tar sands site, Alberta in the March 2009 issue of National Geographic (Photo: Peter Essick)

The federal cabinet is considering approving the Teck Frontier oilsands mine, but with a condition — that Alberta legislate an emissions cap requiring the province to hit net-zero emissions by 2050 — two sources close to the prime minister tell CBC News. The Liberal cabinet must make a decision on the massive new oilsands project by the end of February, while facing pressure from environmentalists on one side and the Alberta government on the other. ...

That plan would see cabinet approve the project with conditions attached. One of those conditions would require that Alberta Premier Jason Kenney's government pass a legislated emissions cap that would cut the province's carbon emissions to net-zero by 2050. That would be in line with the federal Liberals' own net-zero campaign promise. ...

The Teck Resources oilsands mine would be vast: twice the size of the city of Vancouver. It would produce up to 260,000 barrels of bitumen a day. Its potential economic impact is big, too: 7,000 construction jobs, 2,500 operational ones and billions in tax revenue — $12 billion for the feds and $55 billion for Alberta over its expected 40-year lifespan. ...

The joint federal-provincial review panel that put the project through a rigorous regulatory review deemed it to be in the public interest. But the panel acknowledged in its review that the mine "may make it more difficult" for Canada to meet its Paris emissions reduction goals — targets Canada is already on track to miss without further emissions-cutting measures.

The project would generate about 4.1 megatonnes of emissions a year over its lifespan, though other estimates put the figure higher.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/teck-mine-approval-emissions-cap-net-ze...

NDPP

Approval of such a monstrous project would be an international climate-crime of outrageous proportions and should not be countenanced under any circumstances.

jerrym

Another sign of global warming is occuring faster than expected is that Antarctica has just had it hottest day ever recorded  it 1t 18.3 degrees Celsius. This occurred at the Argentinian base station. Already 87% of the glaciers in this region have melted. When, not if, all the Antarctic glaciers melt sea level will rise 3 metres causing coastal flooding around the world.

With the longest coastline in the world by far, Canada will suffer greatly from this. 

Countries With The Longest Coastline

  1. Canada (202,080 km) 
  2. Norway (58,133 km) . (https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/countries-with-the-most-coastline.html)

 Like the Canadian Arctic, temperature rise is two to three times faster in the Antarctic than the average for the entire world. For more details see the Al Jazeera video below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nydKc5BexaU

 

 

jerrym

Major damage to coastlines is already being done and accelerating around the world, as noted in the following article about the US coastline.  With Canada having by far the longest coastline in the world (3.5 times as long as the country with the next longest coastline - Norway, as noted in the previous post), it can expect even greater damage from coastal flooding.

61,000 tons of sand is being dumped on Miami Beach to counter rising sea levels.

 About 61,000 tons of sand is being dumped on Miami Beach to counter rising sea levels as highest rate of rise was recorded along the Gulf of Mexico shoreline. Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The pace of sea level rise accelerated at nearly all measurement stations along the US coastline in 2019, with scientists warning some of the bleakest scenarios for inundation and flooding are steadily becoming more likely.

Of 32 tide-gauge stations in locations along the vast US coastline, 25 showed a clear acceleration in sea level rise last year, according to researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (Vims).

The selected measurements are from coastal locations spanning from Maine to Alaska. About 40% of the US population lives in or near coastal areas.

The gathering speed of sea level rise is evident even within the space of a year, with water levels at the 25 sites rising at a faster rate in 2019 than in 2018. ...

Researchers at Vims said that the current speed-up in sea level rise started around 2013 or 2014 and is probably caused by ocean dynamics and ice sheet loss. Worldwide, sea level rise is being driven by the melting of large glaciers and the thermal expansion of ocean water due to human-induced global heating.

“Acceleration can be a game changer in terms of impacts and planning, so we really need to pay heed to these patterns,” said John Boon, Vims emeritus professor and founder of institute’s project to chart sea level rise. ...

The US’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Noaa) has also reported an acceleration in sea level rise, warning that if greenhouse gas emissions are not constrained there may be a worst-case scenario of as much as a 8.2ft increase by 2100, compared with 2000 levels.

The current pace of change means “we may be moving towards the higher projections”, according to Molly Mitchell, a Vims marine scientist.

“We have increasing evidence from the tide-gauge records that these higher sea-level curves need to be seriously considered in resilience-planning efforts,” Mitchell said, adding that the US west coast will probably start seeing more rapid increases, akin to the east.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/feb/03/sea-level-rise-accel...

jerrym

As the costs of global warming escalate for both the climate and the environment, so do the costs of the Trans Mountain pipeline purchased by the Trudeau Liberal government. The Trans Mountain pipeline purchase for $4.5 billion was initially estimated to need $7.4 billion more for the extension, a cost estimate that had risen by another $1.9 billion in just two months for a total estimated cost of $13.8 by September 2018 and now has risen to $12.6 billion in construction costs for a total  estimated cost of $17.1 billion this month. 

This does not include the environmental costs of increased greenhouse gas emissions and damage to the environment during construction. The job numbers associated with the project by the Liberal government are inflated lies and the actual opportunity costs of jobs lost from being unable to use this money to transition to green energy jobs, are far greater than any jobs gained through Trans Mountain pipeline construction and operation, as the following articles show. 

Trans Mountain Corp. CEO Ian Anderson says the $12.6-billion expansion project will begin operations in December 2022, well behind initial estimates of 2017 when the project was owned by Kinder Morgan. 

The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, opposed by the B.C. government, dragged into court by opponents and mishandled by its federal owners, is facing a massive cost overrun. The Trans Mountain project is now slated to cost $12.6 billion, up from the last published price tag of $7.4 billion. ...

It represents a 70 per cent hike since the project was approved by Ottawa less than four years ago. And if you really want to see some ugly math, it’s 133 per cent higher than the figure of $5.4 billion floated seven years ago.

https://calgaryherald.com/business/energy/varcoe-plenty-of-blame-to-go-a...

 

Sadly, there is also strong evidence that the pipeline is not needed and that Asian market waiting to buy the oil at a high price is a mirage. According to energy scientist David Hughes, the Liberal and Alberta governments' claim that a pipeline to tidewater is needed to provide higher paying markets and windfall revenue, aren't based in reality. Hughes says oil prices internationally and in North America are now nearly identical, meaning Canadian producers most likely will receive lower prices overseas, especially when the higher transportation costs involved in transporting bitumen by pipeline then  by tanker are factored in.  He also found that Kinder Morgan has overestimated oil supply by 43 per cent over the next 20 years. (http://www.iheartradio.ca/cfax-1070/news/damning-report-on-kinder-morgan...)

The claim of $18.5 billion in economic benefits seems to come from a January 2016 report on the pipeline by the Conference Board of Canada, which built on numbers contained in a 2013 report by the same organization. ... The problem is that this number is based on old price forecasts which had the international price of oil climbing to and remaining over $100 a barrel much more quickly than is actually happening. It is also based on Trans Mountain being the only approved pipeline, which it no longer is since the approval of both TransCanada’s Keystone XL and Enbridge’s Line 3. (https://www.parklandinstitute.ca/lets_share_actual_facts_about_the_trans...)

The Liberal government claim that the pipeline will create 15,000 jobs lies in the face of the fact that Kinder Morgan itself predicted it will create 2,500 temporary construction jobs and 50 permanent jobs in BC and 40 more in Alberta.(https://ipolitics.ca/2017/08/30/those-trans-mountain-employment-numbers-...)

The misleading numbers for job creation also left out job losses that could occur because of the expansion of the pipeline:

Jobs lost:

https://twnsacredtrust.ca/concerns/jobs/

 

Badriya

Thanks for the cartoons and the link, jerrym.  They are very clever.

jerrym

In an open letter to the Trudeau Liberal government 246 academics in support of indigenous groups and Extinction Rebellion have called on the government to act now to help avert a global collapse due to climate change. 

XR encampment on the steps of the Office of the Prime Minister and Privy Council building, January 31, 2020. Photograph by Kai McCall. 

We represent a diverse group of academics working at universities and colleges across Canada who can no longer stand by in the face of human-driven climate change. 

In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published an alarmingreport confirming that climate change is posing a serious and unprecedented threat to the diversity and stability of life on earth. We face the imminent possibility of global eco-system collapse and mass social upheaval, and have little time to act. 

For this reason, we the undersigned are united in the call for the Canadian government to take radical action in addressing the climate emergency. We are also united in the call for Canadian universities to divest funds from the fossil fuel industry that is contributing to the climate crisis, and to redirect investments toward the renewable energy sector and other climate-enhancing technologies.

In doing so, we support the efforts of the international group Extinction Rebellion (XR), which is calling attention to our extreme predicament. With XR, we are particularly concerned about the threshold for runaway climate change, which would lead to irreversible catastrophic changes that would impact us all. To keep below the 1.5°C increase in temperature that the IPCC report strongly urges we do not exceed, we must cut global CO2 emissions by 45% by the year 2030.

As an affluent country that has historically emitted vastly more greenhouse gas emissions than the global average, Canada has a moral and practical responsibility to reduce its emissions much faster than the average rate. Allocating Canada a share of emissions remaining under 1.5°C proportional to its population size would require full decarbonization by 2025, aligning with XR’s demand.

To meet this target, we must begin substantially reducing emissions as rapidly as possible — this means that after decades of intransigence, inaction, and rising emissions, we cannot afford to delay a moment longer. Given the extremely small window of time we have, nothing less than the drastic, systemic changes XR demands are necessary: 1) that the Canadian government acknowledge the climate emergency — not just rhetorically but in how it acts — by using its powers to make the threat of the climate emergency as widely known as possible; 2) that the Canadian government enact legally-binding policies to halt biodiversity loss and reduce carbon emissions to net zero by 2025; 3) that the transition be supervised by a citizen assembly endowed with decision-making powers, in order to ensure an effective and equitable process; and 4) that the energy transition is just for all Canadians, especially those already marginalized and neglected in the current economy.

Standing with XR, we are thus demanding that the Canadian government enact laws for a mobilization of society not seen since the Second World War to meet the 2025 net zero CO2 emissions target.

And because Canada’s past and future warming is double that of the global average, destroying the fabric of life of the Inuit and other indigenous groups and contributing to their ongoing oppression, we also demand, with XR, that our government collaborates with indigenous members of society in our country and around the world toward climate justice. Strong collaborations, as well as protections, must also be systemically created with and for the poor in both affluent nations and in the Global South, those who face economic persecution simply because of their race, religion, sexuality or gender, and anyone who has been most affected by unchecked resource extraction in the service of an economic system that promises unsustainable growth.

We refuse to continue supporting politicians who claim to be concerned about climate change while simultaneously approving oil pipelines, tar sands mines, and gas liquefaction facilities.

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2020/02/04/opinion/246-academics-call-g...

jerrym

On January 13th 2020, twelve young activists who were arrested in Switzerland for protesting inside a Credit Suisse bank in November 2018 have won a court case after being arrested and fined $21,600 Swiss francs ($22,200 US) in which the judge ruled that it was a necessary and proportional action in view of the great risk posed by global warming. 

From 2016-2018 Credit Suisse invested $57 billion in the fossil fuel industry. (https://www.ran.org/bankingonclimatechange2019/)

A child carries a sign reading "PROTECT OUR WORLD" during a protest

A child holds a protest sign in Lausanne Switzerland during the climate change protest on January 17th following the climate change victory in court on January 13th

The imminent danger posed by climate change means activists were not guilty of trespassing when they occupied a Swiss bank and played tennis to demand an end to funding of fossil fuel projects, a judge ruled on Monday. 

Wearing whites and wigs, a group of young people staged the tennis sit-in at the Lausanne branch of Credit Suisse in November 2018 to highlight their campaign and urge Swiss maestro Roger Federer to end his sponsorship deal with the bank. 

The activists were charged with trespassing and fined 21,600 Swiss francs ($22,200), but in their appeal hearing on Monday Judge Philippe Colelough said they had acted proportionately and waived the fine.

The activists had argued they were in the bank in the face of an “imminent danger” - and the judge agreed. 

“Because of the insufficient measures taken to date in Switzerland, whether they be economic or political, the average warming will not diminish nor even stabilize, it will increase,” he said, pointing to the country’s melting glaciers. 

“In view of this, the tribunal considers that the imminence of danger is established,” the judge said. “The act for which they were incriminated was a necessary and proportional means to achieve the goal they sought.” 

The packed court room in Renens, Lausanne, reacted with whoops of excitement and a standing ovation. 

“I didn’t think it was possible,” said one of the accused, Beate Thalmann, in tears of joy. “If Switzerland did this, then maybe we have a chance.” 

Pressure is rising on Switzerland’s financial sector to divest from fossil fuels and thousands of students have marched through Swiss cities in recent months demanding action on climate change. 

The country, which is warming at twice the global average due to the heat-trapping effect of its mountains, has an target to cut net carbon emissions to zero by 2050 but activists say that the country’s biggest impact is via the financial center. 

Credit Suisse, which had filed charges against the activists, said last week, when they launched the appeal after refusing to pay the fine, it respected their cause but deemed their actions unacceptable. The state will pay the fine instead. 

The bank said in December said it would stop financing the development of new coal-fired power plants.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-climate-change-trial/climate-change-p...

 

jerrym

In response to the Lausanne trial victory for protesters that had occupied a Credit Suisse bank (see previous post for more details) and demanded it stop funding fossil fuel projects, Greta Thunberg addressed a protest in Lausanne on January 17th 2020, four days after the trial. The January 17th protest drew more than 10,000 demonstraters, according to the police, and occurred just before the World Economic Forum in Davos.

School strike week 74. Lausanne! 

Voir l'image sur Twitter

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) - Swedish activist Greta Thunberg marched with 10,000 protesters in the Swiss city of Lausanne on Friday and said "you have not seen anything yet" before some head to Davos next week to challenge the global financial elite to fight climate change.

The 17-year-old, who launched the #FridaysforFuture movement that has sparked worldwide protests, denounced a lack of government action to cut heat-trapping emissions before it is too late.

"So, we are now in a new year and we have entered a new decade and so far, during this decade, we have seen no sign whatsoever that real climate action is coming and that has to change,” Thunberg said in a speech in Lausanne.

“To the world leaders and those in power, I would like to say that you have not seen anything yet. You have not seen the last of us, we can assure you that. And that is the message that we will bring to the World Economic Forum in Davos next week.”

Protesters held signs including "Wake up and Smell the Bushfires" and "It is late but it is not too late".

Hundreds will take trains over the weekend and then march to Klosters near Davos, the annual gathering of world political and business leaders that Thunberg is attending for the second year in a row and will take part in two panel events.

Climate change and environmental destruction top the risks highlighted by global decision-makers in a survey ahead of the 2020 gathering of the global elite.

This year's meeting of 3,000 includes U.S. President Donald Trump who once described climate change as a "hoax" and whose administration in November filed paperwork to withdraw the United States from the Paris Agreement, the first formal step in a one-year process to exit the pact to fight climate change.

The latest World Economic Forum annual meeting takes place against the backdrop of some of Australia's worst ever bushfires. While the government there has avoided making a link to climate change, the fires have deepened public concern about the heating of the planet.

Last year was the Earth's second-hottest since records began, and the world should brace itself for more extreme weather events like Australia's fires, the U.N. World Meteorological Organization said on Wednesday.

“We are...an alliance that is organizing next week in 20 countries to say 'time is up' to the World Economic Forum in Davos. Time is up," a Kenyan activist, Njoki Njoroge Njehu, told the crowd in Lausanne.

https://www.thestar.com.my/news/world/2020/01/17/039you-have-not-seen-an...

 

jerrym

The following article discusses how the fossil fuel industry used fake news to win the PR battle over global warming in the US. Much of it also applies to Canada. But the PR machine is starting to breakdown as more and more evidence of the damage created by climate change piles up.

Ivy Lee invented fake news to cover up Standard Oil's mistakes in the early 1900s.

The world has known about the dangers of climate change for decades — so why are oil and gas companies still drilling for crude as if there’s no tomorrow? There’s no simple answer. But any explanation would have to give some credit to the wizards of public relations. For more than a century, these spinmasters downplayed misdeeds, twisted facts, and cajoled the media into mimicking their talking points.

“A lot of what we have as PR today, in general, was built in service of the fossil fuel industry,” said Amy Westervelt, the host of Drilled, billed as “a true-crime podcast about climate change.” The first season of Drilled investigated the history of climate denial, and the second looked at the West Coast crabbers suing Big Oil for contributing to warmer oceans and throwing the marine food web out of whack. In the latest season launched last month, Westervelt introduces the “Mad Men of Climate Denial” — the publicists who coached the fossil fuel industry how to shape public opinion over the past century. ...

Creating a cloud of confusion around established science is one of their well-known tactics. Exxon and the coal industry knew about global warming as early as the 1960s; instead of telling the public, they spread doubt about the science behind it. That’s just one facet of the fossil fuel industry’s propaganda machine. (“Propaganda” might seem too strong of a word, but Westervelt says it’s the very definition: “a one-sided message with the aim of shifting public opinion or policy.”) Digging through archives, presidential libraries, and old PR books, Westervelt found the pushy executives, manipulative schmoozers, and “inventive” storytellers who made it work.

“People are largely unaware that there’s a massive system running underneath everything,” Westervelt said in an interview with Grist. “A lot of the ideas they have about the fossil fuel industry and even the language they use has been crafted very carefully by the industry itself.”

Fake news: “Fake news” proliferates on the internet today, a plague of modern life with a long pedigree. You can trace it back to Ivy Ledbetter Lee, often called the father of modern public relations. In the early 1900s, Lee was tasked with rehabilitating the public image of the tycoon John D. Rockefeller. His company, Standard Oil, had brutally stamped out a workers strike at a Colorado coal mine in 1913, setting tents on fire and spraying their camp with machine guns. Lee crafted a story to smooth things over, claiming that the strikers were actually plants hired by a labor union, and that the whole thing had been orchestrated by Mother Jones, a famous labor organizer (he also made up that she ran a nearby brothel). “What are facts anyway but my interpretation of what happened?” Lee said later on.

Corporate philanthropy: Lee’s coverup went so well that Rockefeller kept him on board for the rest of his life. In addition to inventing the press release (imagine, the newspaper prints your version of the story word for word!), Lee prodded Rockefeller to donate to charitable causes, like museums, to burnish his reputation. The approach gained traction as other robber barons realized that they, too, could be remembered as kindly philanthropists. The arts are now soaked with oil money — and with their names emblazoned on art museum walls and festivals signs, corporations get a similar reputational boost.

Astroturfing: What better way to counter grassroots activists than to fake your own grassroots group? This practice, called “astroturfing,” was the brainchild of Daniel Edelman, a PR whiz who advised Mobil Oil, Big Tobacco, and many other companies in the mid-20th century. There are now hundreds of fake front groups backed by oil-funded lobbying groups like the Western States Petroleum Association, said Christine Arena, former vice president of the firm Edelman (yes, named after Daniel), in the podcast. They go by friendly names like “California Drivers Alliance” or “Washington Consumers for Sound Fuel Policy.”

False equivalence: Herb Schmertz, who advised Mobil starting in the 1960s, took an aggressive stance toward the press. He’d attack any journalist or outlet critical of his company, arguing that they weren’t hearing Mobil’s side of the story, and then watch them overcorrect in the next edition. The approach eventually expanded to demanding airtime for climate deniers. One study looking at climate change articles in major U.S. outlets between 1988 and 2002 found that more than half of them presented climate science and fringe, Big Oil-friendly theories as equivalent. “It took a while for newspapers to realize that this was not a great way to go,” Westervelt said.

It seems like many in the media have decided to stop playing along. And there are other signs that the tide is turning against the oil industry. Once the world’s most valuable company, Exxon’s stock has dropped by a third over the last five years, wiping away nearly $200 billion in market value. ...

“As soon as an industry starts to get an irretrievably bad image, the PR folks start dropping off, and the industry has to find somebody else to do this stuff,” Westervelt said. She said she has seen oil companies turn to more obscure consulting groups, like FGI Consulting and the DCI group, to do their PR work.

The fossil fuel industry is starting to move away from publicly denying the facts about climate change (which isn’t working as well these days) and back toward pro-oil, all-American messaging, like the new ads from the American Petroleum Institute that tout oil and natural gas as “energy progress.” If only Big Oil was as good at cutting greenhouse gas emissions as it was at marketing.

https://grist.org/climate/how-the-oil-industry-pumped-americans-full-of-...

jerrym

Increased flooding caused by rising sea levels and extreme torrential downpours brought on by climate change is doing great damage, increasing insurance prices, and even changing property values in Canada and around the world. 

The Trudeau Liberal government has been extremely slow in dealing with this problem and even in drawing up new flood maps to replace the now outdated ones currently in use. 

Flooding due to climate change has cost Canada more money than any other damage caused by climate change and with the longest coastline in the world Canada (more than three times as long as #2 Norway) will suffer more than nearly all other nations from sea level rise. 

Rising water closes in on a home in Gatineau, Que. on May 8, 2017. Photo by Alex Tétreault 

Canada needs to up its game when it comes to flood maps, says a national group of professional appraisers, as the climate crisis distorts property values across the country. In response, federal government officials say they're working to complete a nationwide inventory of flood maps within the next two years.

The Appraisal Institute of Canada is a group of over five thousand members who conduct over a million appraisals a year. Appraisers are relied on by everyone from potential homebuyers to real estate developers, brokers, commercial builders, governments and the insurance industry for independent information on the true value of properties.

The institute is warning that flood maps in Canada have become outdated, as climate change is leading to more annual precipitation, more rainfall in winter, more urban flooding and more coastal flooding. Communities in several parts of the country have been hit with abnormally intense floods in recent years, which has led to thousands of residents struggling to contain property damage. ...

If flood maps aren’t current, that has significant consequences. Appraisal Institute of Canada CEO Keith Lancastle told National Observer that this goes not just for existing homes and buildings, but also proposed new developments; anything that would "compromise" the stability of the Canadian financial system.

“In some cases the flood mapping is not current because it hasn’t been updated in 20 or 30 years," he said. “If you have an area that’s now going to be prone to flooding because of any number of factors — changes in the topography around it, climate change, heavier rains — that information should be updated by the appropriate authorities.” ...

Lancastle called on the federal government to “make an immediate investment" to improve the quality and availability of terrain data, which provides the basis for flood maps, in its upcoming 2020 budget. ...

Flooding has cost the Canadian economy more than any other hazard, according to Natural Resources Canada officials.

The call from the appraisers for better flood maps comes on the heels of a similar request by the Insurance Bureau of Canada for a "national action plan to address flooding" that would include a federal government investment.

The bureau wants to see collaboration between realtors, insurers, mortgage lenders and governments this year with the aim of launching a "flood portal" that would "allow Canadians to identify their properties’ exposures to floods and the measures they can take to better protect themselves." ...

In January, the bureau announced that the 2013 floods in Alberta and the Toronto area constituted the second-highest loss year on record, at $3.4 billion in losses. Flooding in 2019 in Quebec and New Brunswick cost $208 million, it said. The armed forces deployed hundreds of soldiers in those two provinces to deal with flooding last year. ...

“It’s very clear, when you look at a city like Ottawa, or a city like Montreal that was dealing with the amount of flooding that happened last spring, there are steps that need to be taken,” Lancastle [sais] ...

“There are steps that homeowners need to take to understand where they’re looking to purchase, or build a home — whether that be the outright decision to purchase or build a home in that area, or whether there needs to be additional steps taken in the construction to help protect that home.”

Both cities have been gathering new flood plain data. The City of Ottawa has been using an aircraft-mounted sensor system, while municipal agency Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal has been setting up a network of water measurement stations.

Lancastle said “challenges” stemming from climate change have “resulted in individual property owners seeing reductions in the value of their property, or the need to take additional steps to help protect that property from the impacts of climate change.”

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2020/02/10/news/what-are-flood-maps-you...

 

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