Canada and global warming: a state of denial 2

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Thomas Gunton, the director of the Resource and Environmental Planning Program at Simon Fraser University and a former B.C. deputy environment minister discusses below how our failure to prepare for a pandemic acts as a warning against continuing to fail to deal with climate change. 

Students hold placards as they take part in the Fridays for Future climate change action protest in Paris, France, September 20, 2019.Charles Platiau / REUTERS

While the lessons to be learned from the COVID-19 pandemic await an in-depth review, one of them is painfully obvious: Humans are very poor at anticipating and avoiding catastrophic events, even if they know they are coming.

Warnings from scientists about an impending pandemic have been circulating for decades. A series of publications in the 1990s by scientists such as Nobel laureate Joshua Lederberg highlighted the threat. In 2015, Bill Gates urged the world to prepare for a pandemic and just last year the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services said fears of a pandemic are what keeps him awake at night. ...

It was not until the pandemic spread globally that most countries implemented mitigation measures to "flatten the curve," only to find out they did not have the equipment or capacity to manage the outbreak because they had not prepared. What all this shows is that humans appear to be unable to respond to a threat until they are attacked.  ...

The reason for this seeming inability to respond to threats until we are overwhelmed is unfortunately wired into the human DNA. Psychologists refer to this as our propensity for using intuitive thinking that relies on short-term memory and "gut feeling" as a guide to making decisions.

This strategy works well in many aspects of life involving routine decisions. But it gets us into serious trouble when we face atypical, complex crises like the COVID-19 pandemic.  The problem is that by the time we understand and respond to a new crisis, much of the damage is done and it is difficult to solve. In the case of COVID-19, this has cost hundreds of thousands of lives. ...

The next crisis on the horizon is climate change.

Again, the warnings from science are clear. If we do not dramatically reduce emissions, we risk increasingly severe to catastrophic warming of the globe that will ultimately threaten our survival.  

In B.C., we are already experiencing the early impacts, such as more severe flooding and forest fires, and the threats will only intensify over the next several decades. ...

With climate change, flattening the curve is not as easy. Once climate change reaches critical thresholds and accelerates by a series of reinforcing events, such as the release of emissions from the melting of the permafrostthere is no simple equivalent to physical distancing or a vaccine to solve the problem. ...

And the long-term trends of climate change remain worrying. Despite the proliferation of government commitments and continued warnings from scientists, the world is on course to exceed the climate change target set by the Paris Agreement in 2015. According to the United Nations' most recent report on emissions gaps, the Earth will warm by 3.2 C by the end of the century, more than double the Paris accord's target of 1.5 C. 

The warming trend could be even higher than 3.2 C because countries like Canada are not expected to meet their committed reductions unless new measures are implemented.  According to the UN, Canada will exceed its targets by over 15 per cent. Data recently released by the Canadian government shows our emissions actually increased in 2018. ...

The similarities between COVID-19 and climate change are striking. In both cases, scientists have given ample warning.  And in both cases, governments have taken mitigative but inadequate actions while the threats have been downplayed by skepticism about the likelihood and severity of the crisis, along with concerns about the economic costs of preparation and mitigation.  

But there are also fundamental differences between the two. We have seen the impact of measures to reduce COVID-19 within a few weeks, which reinforces our motivation to mitigate. With climate change, the impact of mitigation are longer term and less transparent. ...

The bad news is we are not doing enough and some of our actions, such as increasing oil production and expanding the Trans Mountain oil pipeline, are actually making things worse.

Ultimately, the choice is ours. Are we going to learn the hard lessons from this pandemic and aggressively tackle climate change, or are we going to delay until it is too late?


A study released on Monday warns that  a third of the world's population could become climate change refugees or forced to live in extreme conditions within 50 years because their region has become so hot that it is inhospitable to human life. This is separate from the more than a billion that could have to move because of rising sea levels. 

The map below shows the regions at greatest risk. While Canada may not suffer directly from these extreme high temperatures, the disruption caused by enormous numbers of climate change refugees and economic dislocation elsewhere would still hit Canada hard.

Of course, many of the places that would be hardest hit are poor and would therefore face catastrophic conditions never before faced by such large numbers of people. 

SHIFTING COMFORT ZONES Under a scenario in which carbon emissions continue unchecked for the next half century, some parts of the globe (red) will increasingly diverge from the climate that humans are best suited to while others (green) will become more suitable than they are today.


A third of the global population — 3.5 billion people — could be living in temperatures inhospitable to human life in the next 50 years because of climate change, a study released Monday found.

The study, conducted by a team of five scientists and published by the National Academy of Sciences, found that most humans have lived in places with an average annual temperature between 51 and 59 degrees F (about 11 C and 15 C). By 2070, billions could be living in a climate currently found only in a select few places, like Mecca in Saudi Arabia, where the average temperature is 86 F (30 C).

If current trends continue, more than 1 billion people in India, 500 million in Nigeria, and 100 million in the Niger and Sudan region will be living with an average annual temperature of 84 F (29 C), according to study co-author Tim Lenton, a professor of climate change and earth systems science at the University of Exeter. That is a temperature range currently rarely seen outside of the Sahara Desert, but could cover 19 percent of the planet in 2070. ...

The new study does not estimate how many people will leave their homes in search of cooler climates, but rather how many could be forced to live in an increasingly inhospitable world. However, in 1990, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had stated that human migration could be the greatest impact of climate change.

Human migration is notoriously difficult to predict and responds to many factors other than heat alone, Lenton said. People might not have the money to make a journey, or not be allowed to cross borders. Still, he said his findings show that billions of people will be facing conditions that could push them to leave their homes.

And Lenton’s model only considers heat, one of many effects of the climate crisis. Maxine Burkett, a scholar and professor of climate law at the University of Hawaii who was not involved in the study, says the effects of climate change have a tendency to compound. By 2070, a community living in extreme and constant heat could also be dealing with other climate-related stressors such as natural disasters and sea level rise. ...

Nathan Sayre, a geographer studying climate change at University of California, Berkeley, said projections have become increasingly dire as meaningful climate action fails to emerge.

“The idea of a mean annual temperature of 29 degrees celsius (84 F) in significant parts of the world is terrifying,” he said. “Those places are more or less uninhabitable, let alone arable.”

The places facing the most devastating increase in temperatures are also some of the least equipped to adapt to the changing climate with new infrastructure, and whose people rarely have the resources to relocate or afford air conditioning.

“The very people who are in the crosshairs of this extended no-go zone are the same people who bear the least responsibility for the climate crisis,” Burkett said. “It underscores the importance of aggressive mitigation and increasing adaptive capacity, but also what it means to think more compassionately about people crossing borders.”

A third of the global population — 3.5 billion people — could be living in temperatures inhospitable to human life in the next 50 years because of climate change, a study released Monday found.

The study, conducted by a team of five scientists and published by the National Academy of Sciences, found that most humans have lived in places with an average annual temperature between 51 and 59 degrees F (about 11 C and 15 C). By 2070, billions could be living in a climate currently found only in a select few places, like Mecca in Saudi Arabia, where the average temperature is 86 F (30 C).

If current trends continue, more than 1 billion people in India, 500 million in Nigeria, and 100 million in the Niger and Sudan region will be living with an average annual temperature of 84 F (29 C), according to study co-author Tim Lenton, a professor of climate change and earth systems science at the University of Exeter. That is a temperature range currently rarely seen outside of the Sahara Desert, but could cover 19 percent of the planet in 2070.


Although Elizabeth May's statement that "Oil is dead" is not literally true, the reality in Canada is that it has been on a cash ventilator forcing hundreds of billions of dollars down its ravenous throat that has kept it alive for years thanks to both Conservative and Liberal governments. 

The rapid oil price drop due to Saudi Arabia and Russia's announcement of increased oil production when combined with the economic shock hitting the global economy because of the Coronavirus sends an economic signal for Canada to shift away from fossil fuels especially when financial resources are already starting to shift away from this sector to renewable energy.

This industry could not survive in Canada without the direct and hidden subsidies that it receives from federal and provincial governments. 

Trudeau announced $1.7 billion "to clean up orphan wells in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia". ( with $1 billion going to Alberta where it is expected to create 5,200 jobs. It is good that these oil wells are getting cleaned up and created 5,000 jobs for out-of-work fossil fuel workers. 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. ( The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER), who is paid by the industry and therefore its captive, also warned "It may take more than 2,800 years to clean up some of the decommissioned oil and gas wells currently dotting Alberta’s landscape" (

Therefore, Trudeau's cleanup subsidy is only a token down payement on what Canadian taxpayers will end up paying for this financial and environmental total screwup. 

Of course this is only a small fraction of Canada's subsidies for the fossil fuel industry. "According to a International Monetary Fund (IMF) report, which is the furthest thing imaginable from an environmental organization considering its history of cutbacks forced on governments and that help the corporations reduce their taxes,  Canada subsidized the fossil fuel industry to the tune of almost $60 billion in 2015 — approximately $1,650 per Canadian." ( and that money just keeps flowing year after year. 

The Kenney government, through a spokesperson for the Alberta energy person (see below) vows to push ahead with Keystone anyway despite the price of its oil dropping below $5 a barrel and even fell into negative territory for a couple of days where producers had to pay to take the oil when costs of production are estimated to average $85 a barrel (( and "Sending it to the Gulf of Mexico by rail and pipeline adds about $8-10 dollars to the cost" ( For example, West Canada Select from Alberta sold in late April for minus US$62.57 per barrel. In other words you had to pay someone US$62.57 to take the oil. (

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 in February.  (

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. ( Furthermore, "there are no refineries in Asia that can currently handle Canadian bitumen, which needs to be processed first into synthetic crude." ( So the line that we will be able to sell it for higher prices in Asia is a myth. 

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.(

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

Besides the environmental dangers created by the proposed Northern Ontario to Saguenay Quebec LNG pipeline, that was supported by the Trudeau and Legault goverments and aimed at carrying LNG to the Saguenay for export to Europe, South America and Asia, there are major questions about the job numbers offered by the pipeline supporters - numbers that are even questioned by economists. Furthermore, those jobs will be temporary and gone was construction is finished relatively leaving few jobs in their wake. In fact, in an open letter 40 economists have they do see how the project makes economic or environmental sense. As the picture below shows, there are relatively few jobs created for the many billions that goes into such a megaproject. ( Quebec scientists have demanded that the pipeline proposal be rejected, noting we need to have less fossil fuel infrastracture, not more. These scientists also point out that total emissions from the project would have cancelled all the emission reductions Quebec has achieved since 1990, without taking into account leakages, which would further greatly increase emissions. ( The  Northern Ontario to Saguenay Quebec LNG pipeline ended up being cancelled when the opposition from economists and environmentalists combined with indigenous opposition ( to the project to finish what would have been another heavily subsidized project off. 

Even when Teck Resources Inc.'s withdrew its application for the Frontier Mine will provide them, the Trudeau government allowed it a  C$1.13 billion writedown and subsidy in the form of tax relief. ( It's nice to get money without doing anything.


The Trudeau Liberals are also at work redefining away some of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions, as if they are a mere nuisance to his real goals. This is done by ignoring forest greenhouse gas emissions created by wildfires, insect destruction and extreme weather, which have grown enormously in recent years. Previously these were counted in greenhouse gas emissions totals. They have also changed from reporting emissions in the year wood was cut to when the wood was no longer useful to humans at some future vague date. This still left the Liberals with a major problem because as our forests rapidly disappear from logging, wildfires etc, their greenhouse gas emissions grow. So the Liberals weakened the rules governing what could be used as a carbon offset. All of this was done to try to help get Canada to reach its 2030 greenhouse emissions targets, while at the same continuing to cut Canada's forest and grow its fossil fuel industry. The sad thing climate change doesn't care whether the Trudeau Liberals play with the definitions of emissions and offsets, it simply grows ever larger in the great damage that it produces as the federal government tries to pretend it away. (

Typifying the Trudeau Liberal government approach was what it did last June in saying doing one thing while doing another in handing out massive subsidies in the purchase of  Trans Mountain: it declared a national climate emergency and immediately announce more pipeline and fossil fuel production.

But this has been the history of Liberal and Conservative government over the last quarter century. The Liberal 25 year history of promising to deal with global warming has been one long series of promises followed by actions that always fail to meet their greenhouse emissions reduction targets and often result in an increase in emissions.

“Canada has missed two separate emission reduction targets (the 1992 Rio target and the 2005 Kyoto target) and is likely to miss the 2020 Copenhagen target as well. In fact, emissions in 2020 are expected to be nearly 20 per cent above the target.” (

In March 2018 the auditor general concluded  the Trudeau Liberal government "is likely to miss the 2020 Copenhagen target as well". (

In April 2019 Environment Commissioner Julie Gelfand in her last report concluded "Canada is not on track to hit its 2030 target,". These targets were actually those of the Conservative Harper government. (

The fossil fuel industry only continues to exist in Canada, despite all its financial and environmental costs, because of the massive regulatory and financial subsidies that it receives. 

. “The lesson of the COVID crisis is that biology is real,” environmentalist Bill McKibben says. “Trump can’t intimidate the COVID microbe. The fact that he calls it a hoax doesn’t matter. It doesn’t mean anything.” This makes the coronavirus crisis, like the climate emergency, “different from other political issues,” says McKibben.

Another lesson of the pandemic, McKibben says, is this: “Delay is fatal. Countries like the U.S. that didn’t flatten the COVID curve early on are paying a huge price compared to ones that did, like South Korea. This is exactly the same comparison — just played out over weeks instead of decades — with the carbon curve." ... Trying to restore the global economy as it was would be like “setting up pins in the bowling alley so they get knocked down again,” said McKibben. (


As global warming increases temperatures in Canada, there are a growing number of diseases, such as Lyme disease, arriving and spreading in Canada with increasing regularity. More are expected with further temperature increases.

0:28How ticks have spread across Ontario

 How ticks have spread across Ontario

Tick season has begun across much of Canada, bringing with it the threat of Lyme disease.

Just a few decades ago, Lyme disease was pretty well unheard-of in Canada. But climate change and other factors have facilitated a growing number of cases in the last few years.

“It’s spreading geographically, so there’s more of Canada affected,” said Nick Ogden, a research scientist and director of the public health risk sciences division with the National Microbiology Laboratory. “But behind that, the seasons are longer, the numbers of ticks are increasing and the proportion that are infected is increasing.”

There were 2,025 Lyme disease cases in Canada in 2017 – the latest year for which public data is available. This is a huge jump from the mere 144 cases reported in 2009. ...

According to Health Canada, black-legged ticks are found in many parts of the country now, from Vancouver Island to Winnipeg, to southern Quebec, to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.


Having just described how the Trudeau government has subsidized the fossil fuel industry and is redefining away much of Canadian greenhouse gas emissions so that it can claim to be lowering them while these emissions continue to rise in posts #354 and #355 yesterday, the federal Liberal government today has offered more subsidies to the fossil fuel sector because of the large drop in fossil fuel prices.

Needless to say the industry is very happy that it will receive funding to help it keep emitting during a time when Covid-19 and the Russia-Saudi Arabia gas war have driven oil prices to zero and below, thereby enabling these corporations to keep on emitting greenhouse gases. 


A pumpjack works at a well head on an oil and gas installation near Cremona, Alta., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. Federal financing relief for large Canadian companies announced Monday was welcomed by the oil and gas sector and the Alberta government despite conditions that linked the aid to climate change goals. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh

A federal financing relief package for large Canadian companies was applauded by the oil and gas sector and the Alberta government on Monday despite conditions that could link the aid to an individual company's climate change goals.

In Edmonton, Alberta Finance Minister Travis Toews welcomed the announcement, saying that the province's large companies, particularly in oil and gas and aviation, need relief quickly. ...

Oilsands producer Cenovus Energy Inc. is pleased that Ottawa recognizes large corporations need help as well as the small and medium-sized ones, said spokeswoman Sonja Franklin.

"Today's announcement is an important signal for the markets that the government will stand behind viable businesses in this country," she said in an email.

"The federal government recognizes which sectors contribute most significantly to its revenues and needs to ensure these sectors — like oil and gas — will be there to help it pay off the massive debt it's accumulating as part of the COVID-19 relief."

The company is in a strong financial position with access to more than $6 billion in liquidity, she added, but government support is important because there's no way to know when low oil prices will recover.

Cenovus has set targets of 30 per cent greenhouse gas emissions intensity reduction and flat overall emissions by 2030, as well as achieving net zero GHG emissions by 2050, and therefore should have no problem meeting federal climate change requirements, she said.

The federal program goes a long way to addressing the industry's request for short-term financial liquidity help and will likely be well used as long as there are no issues with accessing the funds, said Tim McMillan, CEO of the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.


While post #353 discussed an study examining the creation of extensive inhospitable regions around the world by 2070, another study warns that "potentially fatal combinations of heat and humidity are emerging across the globe" right now. 

Emerging Worldwide Hot Spots

A new study shows that extreme, sometimes potentially fatal, mixtures of heat and humidity are emerging across the globe. This map shows documented instances, with hotter colors from yellow to red signifying the worst combinations as measured on the Centigrade “wet bulb” scale. An interactive version of this map is available. Credit: Map by Jeremy Hinsdale; adapted from Raymond et al., Science Advances, 2020

Most everyone knows that humid heat is harder to handle than the “dry” kind. And recently, some scientists have projected that later in the century, in parts of the tropics and subtropics, warming climate could cause combined heat and humidity to reach levels rarely if ever experienced before by humans. Such conditions would ravage economies, and possibly even surpass the physiological limits of human survival.

According to a new study, the projections are wrong: such conditions are already appearing. The study identifies thousands of previously rare or unprecedented bouts of extreme heat and humidity in Asia, Africa, Australia, South America and North America, including in the U.S. Gulf Coast region. Along the Persian Gulf, researchers spotted more than a dozen recent brief outbreaks surpassing the theoretical human survivability limit. The outbreaks have so far been confined to localized areas and lasted just hours, but they are increasing in frequency and intensity, say the authors. The study appears this week in the journal Science Advances.

“Previous studies projected that this would happen several decades from now, but this shows it’s happening right now,” said lead author Colin Raymond, who did the research as a PhD. student at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. “The times these events last will increase, and the areas they affect will grow in direct correlation with global warming.” ...

Analyzing data from weather stations from 1979 to 2017, the authors found that extreme heat/humidity combinations doubled over the study period. Repeated incidents appeared in much of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan; northwestern Australia; and along the coasts of the Red Sea and Mexico’s Gulf of California. The highest, potentially fatal, readings, were spotted 14 times in the cities of Dhahran/Damman, Saudi Arabia; Doha, Qatar; and Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates, which have combined populations of over 3 million. Parts of southeast Asia, southern China, subtropical Africa and the Caribbean were also hit.

The southeastern United States saw extreme conditions dozens of times, mainly near the Gulf Coast in east Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. The worst spots: New Orleans and Biloxi, Miss. Such conditions also reached inland into Arkansas and along the southeastern coastal plain.

Not surprisingly, incidents tended to cluster on coastlines along confined seas, gulfs and straits, where evaporating seawater provides abundant moisture to be sucked up by hot air. In some areas further inland, moisture-laden monsoon winds or wide areas of crop irrigation appear to play the same role. ...

Prior climate studies failed to recognize most past incidents because climate researchers usually look at averages of heat and humidity measured over large areas and over several hours at a time. Raymond and his colleagues instead drilled directly into hourly data from 7,877 individual weather stations, allowing them to pinpoint shorter-lived bouts affecting smaller areas.

Humidity worsens the effects of heat because humans cool their bodies by sweating; water expelled through the skin removes excess body heat, and when it evaporates, it carries that heat away. ...

The study found that worldwide, wet-bulb readings approaching or exceeding 30C on the wet bulb have doubled since 1979. The number of readings of 31 — previously believed to occur only rarely — totaled around 1,000. Readings of 33 — previously thought to be almost nonexistent — totaled around 80.

A heat wave that struck much of the United States last July maxed out at about 30C on the wet bulb, translating into heat indexes approaching 115 F in places; the highest was 122 F, in Baltimore, Md., and a similar wave hit in August. The waves paralyzed communities and led to at least a half-dozen deaths, including those of an air-conditioning technician in Phoenix, Az., and former National Football League lineman Mitch Petrus, who died in Arkansas while working outside.

It was a modest toll; heat-related illnesses already kill more U.S. residents than any other weather-related hazard including cold, hurricanes or floods. An investigation last year by the website InsideClimate News revealed that cases of heat stroke or heat exhaustion among U.S. troops on domestic bases grew 60 percent from 2008 to 2018. ...

“We may be closer to a real tipping point on this than we think,” said Radley Horton, a Lamont-Doherty research scientist and coauthor of the paper. Horton coauthored a 2017 paper projecting that such conditions would not take hold until later in the century.

While air conditioning may blunt the effects in the United States and some other wealthy countries, there are limits. ...

But Horton points out that if people are increasingly forced indoors for longer periods, farming, commerce and other activities could potentially grind to a halt, even in rich nations-a lesson already brought home by the collapse of economies in the face of the novel coronavirus.

In any case, many people in the poorer countries most at risk do not have electricity, never mind air conditioning. There, many rely on subsistence farming requiring daily outdoor heavy labor. These facts could make some of the most affected areas basically uninhabitable, says Horton.

Kristina Dahl, a climatologist at the Union of Concerned Scientists who led a study last year warning of increasing future heat and humidity in the United States, said the new paper shows “how close communities around the world are to the limits.” She added that some localities may already be seeing conditions worse than the study suggests, because weather stations do not necessarily pick up hot spots in dense city neighborhoods built with heat-trapping concrete and pavement.

Steven Sherwood, a climatologist at the Australia’s University of New South Wales, said, “These measurements imply that some areas of Earth are much closer than expected to attaining sustained intolerable heat. It was previously believed we had a much larger margin of safety.”


After Elizabeth May said the "Oil is dead" comment, John Ivision argued in an article argued that "The Canadian oil industry is not dead yet — in fact, it may be getting better.", noting that afterwards Barclays PLC in London voted down a proposal by activist group Share Action, to quit the Canadian oilpatch. Ivision did admit that, "Financial institutions around the globe have been buckling before the might of such activist groups", but Barclays was willing to continue to invest in the Canadian sector because "the industry here is supported by the Canadian government". (

This is exactly what the problem is with Canadian oil beyond its greenhouse gase emissions - it doesn't make economic sense, as May details below in her respons to Ivison's article below. 

Despite all the evidence that fossil fuels are a declining industry that now survives in Canada only through the gargantun government subsidies outlined in post #354, the Trudeau Liberal government on Monday provided a new federal financing relief package for large Canadian companies that was applauded by the oil and gas sector and the Alberta government, proving oil in Canada can only survive on life support through massive infusions of government money.

A stack belches smoke and a flare burns off gas at the Syncrude upgrader plant near Fort McMurray, Alta.

National Post columnist John Ivison contends that when I said that “oil is dead,” it was “wishful thinking,” yet the very same thing could be said of oilsands true-believers.

The difficulty in approaching the current state of the global oil market, and particularly of the lack of a future for the oilsands, is that the conversation starts with a huge number of assumptions. It is a tribute to the communications, lobbying and propaganda power of the fossil-fuel sector that wild exaggerations are made so frequently that they are accepted as true.

For example, the contribution fossil fuels makes to Canada’s gross domestic product is nowhere near what is routinely claimed. Ivison writes that the oil and gas industry is “responsible for 10 per cent of GDP; employs more than half a million people; and, contributes around $8 billion in tax revenues.” According to Natural Resources Canada, however, the oil and gas sectors combined make up 5.6 per cent of GDP (the oilsands alone have never hit three per cent of GDP), employs 169,000 people and generate $2.13 billion in tax and other revenue (federal and provincial.) ...

 Tourism, for example, contributes roughly the same amount to GDP as the oilsands and sustains far more jobs (1.8 million), right across the country. Yet the tourism sector does not have as large a megaphone as the energy sector. ...

It is also true, as Ivison writes, that, “The price of Western Canadian Select has stabilized, trading at around $22 on Thursday, but that’s still below break-even for many producers.” But it is worth knowing what “break-even” is for new oilsands bitumen. According to the Alberta government, that price is in the US$75-$85 ($105-$119) range. ...

In declaring that the oilsands lacks investors, I was relying on a great deal of evidence. The exodus of large multinational firms from Alberta’s oilpatch began long before COVID-19 or Saudi Arabia and Russia colluding to drive down prices to historic lows. Royal Dutch Shell, Total SA, Statoil (now Equinor), Conoco Philips, Imperial Oil, Marathon Oil, Exxon Mobil and even Koch Industries pulled out long ago. ...

Teck’s decision to shelve its huge proposed oilsands project, the Frontier mine, had a great deal to do with its lack of any realistic prospect of breaking even. As CEO Don Lindsay admitted when still pressing for approval, the company was uncertain it would make sense to proceed, even with government approval.We absolutely must invest in Alberta. Public funds must assist in the diversification of the Alberta economy. We need to be prepared to support the workers and communities that are impacted. Yet the reports that have been released in the last week alone make a compelling case that no federal bailout funds should go to trying to keep the existing oilsands sector afloat. One from the International Energy Agency noted that all fossil fuels were facing unprecedented drops in demand. ...

That is no surprise given the pandemic. The chief financial officer of Royal Dutch Shell told shareholders that demand might never return. Smart investors will recognize this and move their money to renewable energy, which is expected to grow by five per cent in 2020.

Still, the most authoritative study, which involved interviews with hundreds of G20 central bankers and energy analysts, was authored by Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz and Sir Nicholas Stern, the former chancellor of the exchequer in the United Kingdom. It concluded that to support economic recovery, governments should invest in energy efficiency and renewables — not fossil fuels.

Oil’s not yet dead, but it’s on life support. It’s time to move it to palliative care.


A just released study  the Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI), an investor-led group which investigates how companies are preparing for the move to a low-carbon economy, concludes that, surprise, none of the six reviewed large oil and gas companies' "ambitious plans to be at net zero for operational emissions by 2050" would achieve this goal although the review did admit that the plans of the European companies, which were dependent on nature-based solutions such as planting trees and yet to be developed carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology, were better than the non-existent plans of any American company. 

TPI, being an investor based organization, is extremely diplomatic in its comments on the prospects of oil and gas companies reaching zero net emissions by 2050, but behind the careful words the meaning is clear. 

John Gapper illustration - web - Efi Chalikopoulou

Claims by oil and gas companies that they are curbing their carbon emissions in line with net zero targets are overstated, according to a new review. ...

In April, Shell became the latest to announce ambitious plans to be at net zero for operational emissions by 2050. But the authors say none of the [six European] companies are yet aligned with the 1.5C temperature goal. ...

Going net zero means removing as many emissions as are produced.

TPI found that the relationship between the oil and gas industry and climate change has evolved rapidly over the last three years. 

In Europe, in 2017, no European company had set targets to reduce the carbon intensity of the energy it supplied. ...

However, despite Shell's stated commitment to having a net-zero energy business by 2050, TPI says that "the claim that it will be aligned with a 1.5C climate scenario is not consistent with our analysis." The authors say that they have not been able to assess Shell's plan to sell only its energy products to companies that are committed to net zero. ...

According to the authors, a genuine net zero strategy for the average European oil and gas company would require 100% emissions cuts between now and 2050. 

TPI point out that all of the plans they have assessed are, to some degree, dependent on carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology and nature-based solutions such as planting trees. "There are very significant assumptions that need further probing," said Adam Matthews, co-chair of TPI. ......

However, the authors draw a sharp contrast between the actions of these European companies and oil and gas producers in the US.

None of the dozens of American fossil fuel corporations have public disclosures on climate change comparable to Europe, which TPI says is a concern.

"We simply don't know what their intentions are on this issue, that poses a greater financial risk to us," said Adam Matthews.  "We're continuing to engage, but engagements are finite, there comes a point at which you have to draw very clear conclusions."

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Virtual Discussion: What’s next for climate law after COVID-19?

The global coronavirus pandemic has forced Canadians to rethink the ways we’re taking action to combat climate change – including the legal strategies and tools used by climate activists.

Join West Coast’s Climate Lawyer Andrew Gage for a virtual dialogue about the future of climate change law and litigation, and how we need to adapt in the context of COVID-19. In this interactive discussion, we want to hear YOUR perspectives on West Coast’s climate law initiatives and how legal strategies may evolve after the COVID-19 crisis. 

Register here.

Event Start Date: 

Tuesday, May 26, 2020 - 12:00pm

Event End Date: 

Tuesday, May 26, 2020 - 1:00pm


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Tsilhqot’in Finally Win Long Fight against Open Pit Mine

The planned open pit copper and gold mine that at one point included turning a lake sacred to the Tsilhqot’in Nation into a sludge pond appears finally stopped for good. The Supreme Court of Canada yesterday dismissed an appeal by Taseko Mines Ltd., after its proposed New Prosperity mine southwest of Williams Lake was previously rejected.

“We are celebrating the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision today, and taking the time to reflect on the immense sacrifices made by our communities and members to finally have their voices heard and respected,” Tsilhqot’in Chief Joe Alphonse said in a statement Thursday....


ETA: Presidential candidate Joe Biden says he will cancel the Keystone pipeline if elected.

Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland has said the Liberal government will continue to push for the completion of the Keystone pipeline.

How many more billions are Kenney's funding (already $7.5 billion for TC's Energy's Keystone pipeline construction project- and Trudeau's support (total  estimated spending of $17.1 billion on the Trans Mountain pipeline in February 2020 ( going to throw away pursuing pipelines that many never be finished, and if they are will lose many more billions for oil that costs $85 a barrel to produce and $10-$12 to ship on average, to say nothing of the untold damage each barrel does because of greenhouse gas emissions?


 Keystone XL has been stalled for years. Seen here, stacks of pipe from the unbuilt pipeline, piled up in a yard in Gascoyne, North Dakota, in 2015.

© Alexander Panetta The Canadian PressKeystone XL has been stalled for years. Seen here, stacks of pipe from the unbuilt pipeline, piled up in a yard in Gascoyne, North Dakota, in 2015.

Joe Biden will cancel the Keystone XL pipeline if he's elected president of the United States, his campaign said Monday in a potential death blow for the delay-plagued Canada-U.S. oil project. His staff said he would withdraw the permit issued by President Donald Trump. The emphatic statement from Biden's campaign ends months of ambiguity, as Biden had not joined other Democratic candidates in pledging to revoke the permit. ...

"It's still the right decision now. In fact, it's even more important today," said Stef Feldman in response to a query from CBC News after the U.S. site Politico reported on Biden's decision. Biden strongly opposed the Keystone pipeline in the last administration, stood alongside President Obama and Secretary [of State John] Kerry to reject it in 2015, and will proudly stand in the Roosevelt Room [of the White House] again as president and stop it for good by rescinding the Keystone XL pipeline permit." ...

Environmental groups targeted Keystone XL as a way of slowing down Canadian oilsands emissions, and successfully pressed Obama to reject it. Numerous court challenges also slowed efforts to start construction. Now, with building still not yet underway, there is no way the estimated two-year project can get completed until after the U.S. election in November.


We also have to face a serious backlash from the climate-negationist right wing, who say that the solution is a return to suburban sprawl and more "safer" individual motor vehicles. They are pushing their shit on many discussion boards (such as CBC and Radio-Canada).


Re #364

"Chrystia Freeland responded by saying the Canadian government supports Keystone XL: 'It is a good project that will create jobs for Canadians and it fits within our climate plan." - CBC-


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Dam Disaster in Michigan Threatens to Flood Toxic Sites

Michigan is facing a potential environmental disaster as floodwaters from two breached dams threaten the headquarters of Dow Chemical and nearby Superfund toxic cleanup sites. Dow has used the Midland, Michigan, complex for decades to produce Saran Wrap, Styrofoam, Agent Orange, mustard gas and other products. On Wednesday, Dow acknowledged there were floodwaters commingling with on-site toxic containment ponds at its facility. Dow’s complex also houses a small nuclear reactor used for research. The New York Times reports Dow filed an “unusual event” report with the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission overnight citing the heavy flooding. The crisis in Michigan began on Tuesday when a pair of dams breached after two days of heavy rain.

University of California Says It Has Divested Completely from Fossil Fuels

The University of California announced Tuesday it has completely divested its $126 billion portfolio from all fossil fuel companies. The move makes UC the largest university system in the United States to meet a core demand of activists fighting the climate crisis.

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Icarus in Flight


Icarus in Flight is an original chamber work by composer Richard Festinger in collaboration with The ClimateMusic Project. 

The award-winning Telegraph Quartet performed this new work at its premiere at the Noe Valley Ministry in San Francisco in June, 2018. 

Icarus in Flight models three human drivers of climate change–population growth, fossil fuel use, and land-use change–over two centuries, from 1880-2080. 

The work is comprised of three large sections played without pause: the first representing the years 1880 to 1945, when the data are growing slowly; the second from 1945 to 2015 when growth accelerates exponentially; and the third from 2015 to 2080.

-Population growth controls the average density of musical events over time. In this context, density means the number of musical events in a given time period. 

-Carbon emissions control the frequency range of the music, from lowest to highest pitch, increasing gradually from a perfect fifth in the middle register to a span of 6.25 octaves, before collapsing to almost nothing.

-Land-use is represented by the increasing proportion of music that is played with specialized timbres (tone colors), including mainly rapid tremolo bowing, and bowing close to the bridge

In the last section, our future, the controlling data alternate between two greenhouse gas concentration scenarios developed by the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a scientific body under the auspices of the United Nations. These two scenarios represent our current path (RCP 8.5) and a path with mitigation action (RCP 2.6). They are named after the amount of extra solar radiation that is retained by the Earth (8.5 and 2.6 Watts/m2, respectively). The path with mitigation action would limit the temperature increase from pre-industrial levels to below 2 degrees C, while on our current path, average temperatures could rise over 5 degrees C by 2100.


The title of my new quartet offers a metaphor for the trajectory of climate change. Imprisoned by King Minos on the isle of Crete, the brilliant Athenian craftsman Daedalus fashioned wings of feathers fixed with wax for himself and his son Icarus, so to escape from the isle by flight. Daedalus warned his son against flight too low or too high, to avoid both the ladening dampness of the sea and the wax-melting heat of the sun. Elated by the thrill of flight, Icarus ignored his father’s admonitions, venturing high into an environment too warm to sustain him.


Thanks to climate change Canada is getting a lot less snow as temperatures rise than it used to although overall preciptation is unchanged, which has negative consequences for flood management and water supply, especially for large Canadian cities. 

Temperature departures from the 1961–1990 average – winter 2015/2016

A map reprenting the temperature departures (see long description below)


Working with Finnish colleagues, the federal researchers combined satellite data and on-the-ground measurements. ...

Over the last 39 years, snowfall in the two countries has dropped by about 4.6 billion tonnes a year. The paper is silent on how many shovelfuls that is, but Derksen said it's about enough to fill almost two million Olympic-sized swimming pools with snowmelt. ...

The steepest drops are in the eastern part of the continent. Parts of the west have actually seen slight increases.

Derksen said regions with less snow aren't necessarily drying out. Climate change has been shortening the season for a while, and some of what used to fall as snow now comes down as rain.

"The amount of precipitation is not decreasing."

But snow is a lot easier to manage, he said.

"When (snow) melts, we can manage our reservoir levels and trap that meltwater. As soon as it rains, it runs off in streams."

That difference has important consequences for big-city water supplies as well as flood threat management. The 2013 Calgary flood is an example of what can happen when unexpected heavy rains come early in the season, said Derksen.


The following article discusses why rural people living in oil producing regions in Saskatchewan and Alberta cling to the oil industry dogma on climate change: governments have offered them no viable alternative source of income and way of living. 

The Saskatchewan government says there is a growing problem with oil wells in the province releasing levels of hydrogen sulphide (H2S), or sour gas, many times higher than what would kill a person.

6 calves were found dead on a farm near Manor, Sask., in early 2013, which a vet linked to gas poisoning

We propose that environmentalists and people living in rural oil-producing communities might find common ground by highlighting the real grievances (including environmental) that people have about oil’s impacts in their communities. Previous research conducted by Eaton and colleagues (Zink and Eaton, 2016; Eaton and Kinchy, 2016; Carter and Eaton, 2016) has documented these grievances. They include concerns about the health impacts associated with living beside oil infrastructure, impacts on farm operations and animals, the degradation of native prairie that many ranchers rely on for quality grazing, the contamination of well water, nuisances associated with increased traffic, noise, and dust and many more. If environmental and political groups began to foreground the concerns of those living amid oil they would begin to earn the trust of local people and break down the culture of silence. ...

The importance of highlighting local grievances is consistent with the role that local concerns have played in driving the resistance and opposition to fossil fuel and pipeline expansion in British Colombia and Alberta where tanker traffic, pipeline spills, First Nations sovereignty, community democracy, and local health impacts have been front and centre.

But simply amplifying the voices and grievances of rural oil-producing people will not be enough. The strident defence of the oil industry, despite its impacts, is fuelled by insecurity about the possibility of viable alternatives that can support people to stay in the communities that they call home. So far, politicians have offered no plausible alternatives for rural development in Saskatchewan. Instead, since the 1980s, governments (both ‘right’ and ‘left’, provincial and federal) have introduced policies that make rural areas more vulnerable to large capital and the vagaries of international markets while undermining social safety nets.

We have seen the destruction of the Canadian Wheat Board, the Crow Rate, incursions by large capital through intellectual property into the seed industry, the decline of farm support programmes and much more (National Farmers Union, 2009). These policies and trajectories have made farming virtually impossible for all but the largest corporate farmers. Seeing few alternatives to the oil economy, people defend what they have.  ...

These insights are crucial for both environmental organizations/activists and politicians. If we are to navigate our way through the climate impasse and have any hope of rescuing a liveable world, climate change activists and policymakers will need to speak not only to those who already agree with them. Instead, they will need to engage the communities whose livelihoods are on the line and offer them a plan for a transition they can believe in.

Generalized talk about alternatives will remain threatening for oil-producing communities. Instead, detailed, local-level work identifying specific ways forward and assessing economic and jobs implications is needed. There are certainly opportunities for good jobs in the renewable energy sectors, and those need to be developed at the community level and supported through government subsidies with the recognition that Saskatchewan boasts some of the best solar profiles and wind speeds in the country.



There 14,958 oil and gas spills across Saskatchewan between 2000 and 2018 as the following map shows,, with, of course, many more occurring since then, further increasing the risks associated with fossil fuel production for people living in the region beyond those created by greenhouse gas emissions. 


oil spills

This map shows every oil and gas spill in Sask. between 2000 and 2018

Information about thousands of oil and gas spills across Saskatchewan has been put into one convenient location by a group of researchers at the University of Regina.

Viewers can click on the map for information about spills in their communities, dating back to the year 2000. The data presented shows 18.9 billion litres of oil and other substances spilled in the province from 2000 to 2018.

“The spills map is all based on publicly available data. So anybody can see this data, it’s not secret, but the problem is people don’t know where to find it,” Patricia Elliott, one of the researchers involved in the project said.

She said it took around two years to finish analyzing and compiling the data.

The points on the map show the 14,958 spills that have occurred over the 18 year period. Spills involved bodies of water 578 times. Seventy-one per cent of the spilled substances were reported as recovered, which leaves 77 million litres behind in Saskatchewan soil and water.

"Energy and resources needs a little bit of time to look over the data, how it was interpreted, and just review that. Certainly the majority of the spills on that are seen on that map would be classified as minor or very minor. Just in terms of that data,” Minister of Energy and Resources Bronwyn Eyre said.

Elliott says she recognizes the importance of the oil and gas sector in Saskatchewan, but says this map visually shows the challenges the province is dealing with.

“Hopefully that awareness will lead to better control, out in the field of spills,” Elliott said. “Better monitoring more inspectors, I know the province really struggles with that.”


Below is a map of Alberta's pipeline spills totalling 29,229 between 1975 and 2013.


Leslie Young, Anna Mehler Paperny, Francis Silvaggio, and a production team from have just compiled and published the most comprehensive chronology of Alberta oil spills, spanning a period from 1975 to 2013. Following an eleven-month investigation, the reporters acquired a nearly complete set of records regarding spills of crude oil, crude bitumen, and synthetic crude in the province of Alberta for the past thirty-seven years. The data came from Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development and the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB), revealing the spill volume, location, cause of spill, and facility operator for each spill incident.

Here are some of the highlights from this ground-breaking report:

  • Since 1975, Alberta has averaged two oil spills every day
  • Between 1975-2013, Alberta’s oil pipeline transportation network (which now totals more than 400,000 kilometres) has suffered 28,666 crude oil spills
  • The largest oil spill in Alberta since 1975 occurred in December 1980 on a pipeline operated by Pembina that released more than 6.5 million litres of crude oil (41,500 barrels) into an area east of Valleyview
  • The province does not keep records of oil spills under 2,000 litres that originate from somewhere other than a pipeline (wells, pump stations, etc…)

In spite of the inability to analyze this data with more detail, this report is outstanding. It comprehensively uncovers the chronology of oil spills in Alberta history in staggering detail and provides excellent context and analysis of the contemporary regulations that govern the industry. This work now calls for historians to chart the findings on a timeline, analyze the data, and explain the context for this important period of Canadian economic and environmental history.


According to documents obtained by the CBC in 2013, BC had more pipeline spills than any other province between 2000 and 2012, with spills increasing sharply over time. These numbers are much lower than those given above for Alberta and Saskatchewan. I therefore I supect they represent only major spills as the data came from the Harper government, which of course wanted to minimize the number of oil spills. 

  • An interactive graphic produced by CBC News lets users explore oil and gas accidents at pipelines across Canada.

  • An interactive graphic produced by CBC News lets users explore oil and gas accidents at pipelines across Canada.


Over the course of the last decade, British Columbia has suffered more pipeline incidents than any other province in Canada.

According to documents obtained by CBC News, there were 279 “incidents” involving pipelines in B.C. between 2000 and 2012. A graphic accompanying that article indicates that most of those events and the most severe oil and gas spills occurred around Fort St. John, Chetwynd, Dawson Creek, and Metro Vancouver. ...

The data also shows that the number of incidents at pipelines in B.C. and across Canada increased significantly over the period analyzed.

“By 2011, safety-related incidents—covering everything from unintentional fires to spills—rose from one to two for every 1,000 kilometres of federally-regulated pipeline,” the CBC News report states. “That reflects an increase from 45 total incidents in 2000 to 142 in 2011.”

The article then presents a quote attributed to Patrick Smyth, a spokesperson with the National Energy Board, wherein he claims that there has not been a significant increase in pipeline incidents, but that better reporting practices explain the apparent rise in spills and other accidents.

CBC News obtained the information from the National Energy Board through an access to information request. In addition to oil and natural gas leaks, it covers gas ruptures, equipment failures, and other types of incidents such as worker injuries. Not included are accidents at smaller pipelines monitored by the provinces.

CBC News also recently published an interactive graphic that lets users explore incidents at federally regulated oil pipelines across the country.

On August 26, 2013, the Straight reported on the publication of B.C. Ministry of Environment internal memos warning that the province is poorly equipped to deal with oil spills. Using frank language, the documents express a range of concerns about B.C.’s capacity to manage an oil spill given the level of existing tanker traffic off B.C.’s coast.

“Even a moderately-sized spill would overwhelm the province's ability to respond and could result in a significant liability for government,” one memo states. “The industry requirements, established by Transport Canada, are perceived as being insufficient in both scope and scale.”

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Two thirds of citizens around the world agree climate change is as serious a crisis as Coronavirus

A new Ipsos poll conducted in 14 countries finds that 71% of adults globally agree that, in the long term, climate change is as serious a crisis as Covid-19 is. The survey shows widespread support for government actions to prioritise climate change in the economic recovery after Covid-19 with 65% globally agreeing that this is important. The survey was conducted online among more than 28,000 adults between April 16th and April 19th 2020.

Another Ipsos survey, carried out online among more than 20,000 adults across 29 countries between Friday, February 21st and March 6th 2020, finds that while climate change remains the most important environmental issue for citizens globally, citizens are no more likely to say they plan to make changes to their own environmental behaviours than they were six years ago.

The top findings include:

  • Climate change remains the most important environmental issue globally, with 37% citing it as one of their three top environmental issues. Other environmental issues that are important to citizens are air pollution (33%) and dealing with the amount of waste we generate (32%), followed by deforestation (26%) and water pollution (25%). Concern for the top four issues has increased since two years ago.
  • A majority of the public globally (68%) agree that if their governments do not act now to combat climate change, they will be failing their citizens. Nearly six in ten (57%) say they would be put off from voting for a political party whose policies do not take climate change seriously.
  • Across a range of environmental behaviours, as many as two fifths globally feel they are already doing as much as they possibly can on specific behaviours. Areas where some feel they have no room to improve include recycling (40% state ‘I am already doing this as much as I possibly can’), saving energy at home (37%), and saving water at home (33%).
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Let’s build BC back better


recent global poll fielded by Ipsos found that 61% of Canadians believe that governments should “prioritize climate change” in the economic recovery after COVID-19, while a Google survey* fielded by West Coast found that 55% of British Columbians want provincial recovery efforts to build more sustainable and equitable businesses, rather than just reopening the exact same economy.

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Coronavirus: Governments’ recovery plans should take ‘green route,’ study says

The most cost-effective way for governments to jumpstart their pandemic-battered economies would be to invest in “green” stimulus policies that also serve to achieve long-term climate change goals, according to a new study published Tuesday by economists in the U.S. and the U.K.

For Canada, whose government has made a number of climate-friendly promises and set ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, one expert says the COVID-19 recovery will provide a chance for decision-makers to “pivot” to meet long-term environmental goals.

“It’s a wake-up call that as governments invest in the economic recovery, they need to be thinking about the level of systemic change that we’re aiming for it,” said Kathryn Harrison, professor of political science at the University of British Columbia, who has read the report by authors Cameron Hepburn, Brian O’Callaghan, Nicholas Stern, Joseph Stiglitz and Dimitri Zenghelis.....


One industry that has taken a major hit globally is the automotive manufacturing industry. Because of Covid-19 France's car industry, "Like in other countries,  has ground to a halt - with an 80% fall in sales and a backlog of nearly half a million new vehicles waiting for owners." So President Macron has announced an 8 billion euro plan to use the pandemic period to convert the industry to electric cars, raising further questions about how many other nations will follow suit. France was already Europe's top electric carmaker in 2019, but Germany was set to overtake it this year until the pandemic hit.

Meanwhile the Trudeau and Kenney governments continue to pursue expansion of the tarsands and pipelines in the hopes of a comeback by an industry that already is facing enormous decrease in demand for its product.  A recipe for economic disaster. 

The French government has announced an €8bn (£7.1bn) rescue plan for its car industry, which has been severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. 

President Emmanuel Macron's proposal includes €1bn to provide grants of up to €7,000 to encourage citizens to purchase electric vehicles.

It also puts money toward investments to make France a centre for electric vehicle output. ...

"We need a motivational goal - make France Europe's top producer of clean vehicles by bringing output to more than one million electric and hybrid cars per year over the next five years," President Macron told reporters at a press conference at the Valeo car factory in Etaples, northern France on Tuesday. ...

To help sell the 400,000 vehicles languishing in car dealerships due to the coronavirus lockdown measures, President Macron said the government would also give people upgrading to a less polluting car a €3,000 bonus, as part of a scheme open to 75% of French households. ...

Like in other countries, France's car industry has ground to a halt - with an 80% fall in sales and a backlog of nearly half a million new vehicles waiting for owners. 

President Macron - in his new post-virus spend-and-invest mode - wants to act now not just to rescue the industry from the immediate crisis, but also to prepare it for a future that will be both electric and he hopes much less dependent on foreign and in particular Chinese suppliers. 

To boost demand now, the grants for households or companies that buy new electric cars are increased, as is the so-called conversion bonus for trading in a polluting car for a cleaner one. 

The number of battery charge-points will be tripled to 100,000 by the end of next year.

The aim, Mr Macron said, is to have one million electric cars being made in France every year by 2025. 

According to IHS Markit, France was Europe's top producer of electric and hybrid cars in 2019, with almost 240,000 vehicles, but Germany is set to overtake it by the end of this year.


While other countries such as China, India Italy, Germany, and even the US under Obama, have started to move towards an electric car industry, Canada still lags behind under the Trudeau government. As the previous post describes, other countries, such as France, are using the Covid-19 pandemic economic slowdown, which has hit the auto manufacturing industry particularly hard, as a time to shift their car industries towards electric cars.  

According to the International Monetary Fund, Canada poured $60 billion ($1,650 per capita) in subsidies ( into the fossil fuel sector in 2015, and we are now spending even more with the addition of the Trans Mountain and Keystone and other new pipelines, thereby adding to greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.

In Canada, Quebec governments have led the way in starting an electric car industry as the url below details, but the Trudeau federal government needs to "shed its addictions to fossil fuel industry subsidies and pipelines", and start building an electric car industry, as the article below notes.

Post COVID-19 could be a time for Canada to develop a national electric vehicle strategy. Shutterstock photo. 

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, governments around the globe will be massively investing in, and defining policies for, economic recovery. With all fossil fuel sectors in decline, what better time to make the transition to a green economy?

And what better time for the federal government to develop an electric vehicle (EV) national strategy?

Canada does have a significant electric vehicle sector, primarily lin Quebec, and the beginnings of an EV segment in the Ontario auto industry. The current Canadian EV sector covers the entire ecosystem, such as EV school buses, trucks, urban transit buses, powertrains, batteries and raw materials, and charging infrastructure. This is backed up by world-class research capabilities. ...

But the piecemeal, one project at-a-time approach doesn’t make any sense when we are up against400 electric vehicle technology manufacturers in China. In Quebec, there are 147 EV firms, which collectively employ 6,000 people.

Among the opportunities for Canada are legislative measures taken by China and the European Union, the largest and third- largest vehicle markets, requiring a transition to electric vehicles within a few years. And once global automakers bite the bullet, despite the years to amortize their investments for the most radical change in the industry in a century, the EV technologies wrapped in newly designed vehicle platforms will be available anywhere in the world.

Traditionally, Canada has cloned U.S. initiatives to address vehicle fuel consumption. The rationale for this has been Canada is part of an integrated North American market. Yet, if there is anything we have learned from the COVID-19 crisis, it is that Canada must become more self-reliant.

To be a part of this global EV transition, Canada must look east and west, rather than habitually south. The Canadian EV sector already has ties with China and Europe. ....

With road transportation representing approximately 60 per cent of petroleum consumption, it is clear a Canadian national holistic vision is required. This entails the federal government shedding its addictions to fossil fuel industry subsidies and pipelines to serve dead-end markets and focusing on the electrification of transport, in collaboration with both the Quebec and Ontario governments plus the EU and China public and private sectors.

On developing the local EV market, one could start with either the quota concept of China or the strict emission standards of the EU. But the former is probably easier to implement.

From there, there is a whole host of prospects to explore. ....


Despite all the attempts to cloak the Trudeau government in environmental robes, new data shows that greenhouse gas emissions are actually rising than under the last decade of the Harper regime. 


It's that time of year again, when countries release their updated climate pollution inventories. This is when aspirational climate promises get measured against real-world pollution levels.

And for Canada, the latest results are terrible. The new data show that in 2018, our annual emissions rose yet again. This time, by a depressingly large 15 million tonnes of CO2 (MtCO2). As my chart below shows, we are now emitting 729 MtCO2 per year — our highest level in more than a decade.

Canada and UK climate pollution 1990 to 2018Worse still, we've now erased all the progress we've made toward our international climate targets. We are now emitting the same amount of climate pollution as we did back in our 2005 baseline year. Thirteen years — zero progress toward our targets.

We don't have to keep failing. Climate failure is a choice. We could choose climate success instead. For example, one thing we could quickly do is adopt the climate tool kit used successfully by our Commonwealth peer, the United Kingdom.

The U.K. emissions are shown as the blue line on the chart. The U.K. has a much larger population and much larger economy than we do. (In fact, both are nearly double our size.) So, it's not surprising that back in 1990, they also emitted far more climate pollution than we did. Now, as the chart makes clear, they emit far, far less than we do.

While we've been busy increasing emissions by 125 MtCO2 per year, the U.K. has been cutting theirs by 330 MtCO2. The resulting climate-action gap between our two major economies is rapidly approaching half a billion tonnes per year.

The blue bull's-eyes show major U.K. targets. For example, under the global Copenhagen Accord, they promised to cut their emissions to 20 per cent below their 1990 level by 2020. As you can see, they've already cut twice as much.

Canada and UK climate pollution vs climate targets 1990 to 2018

Canada's targets are shown by the red bull's-eyes. Our Copenhagen Accord target is 17 per cent below our 2005 level. That works out to just above our 1990 level. Despite setting a much higher target, we've never come anywhere close to meeting it. Instead, we've increased our annual emissions by 50 MtCO2 since we made our Copenhagen promise a decade ago.

So, what is the U.K. doing differently that we could adopt?

To start with, the law legally requires the U.K. government to create plans to meet all its climate targets. Hey, making a plan to reach your goal seems like an obvious thing to do, right?

But, while Canadian politicians regularly self-proclaim themselves to be climate leaders, the reality is that in 30 years of setting climate targets, Ottawa has never yet produced a plan to meet any of them. ...

Key 2: Acting soon enough

A second critical benefit of the U.K. Carbon Budget law is that it requires government to act "at least 12 years in advance to allow policy-makers, businesses and individuals enough time to prepare."

Canadians would hugely benefit from having the luxury of such long lead times. As it is, we only have 10 years remaining to our 2030 climate target, and the neither the public nor the private sectors know what will be required of them. What we do know is that we have a still growing pile of emissions to cut, a rapidly deteriorating climate system increasing the urgency and a rapidly shrinking timeline in which to cut our pollution down to safe and sustainable levels.

Key 3: An independent committee

To remove politics from the process as much as possible, the U.K. tool kit includes an independent Committee of Climate Change (CCC). As their website explains, "the CCC was set up to ensure emissions targets are set based on expert independent assessment of the evidence and to monitor the U.K.’s progress toward meeting the targets." The committee does the heavy lifting and then brings proposals for carbon budgets and the policies that could be used to meet them to the government to vote on. Then, the CCC makes sure the government of the day follows through.

Key 4: Carbon budgets that cover all emissions in all years

At the heart of the U.K. Climate Change Act tool kit is the concept of "carbon budgets." The law requires the U.K. to set legally binding five-year carbon budgets. These must include all emissions in every year. These budgets are a critical tool to keep the country on track. ...

Canada and UK climate pollution per capita 1990 to 2018

Brits have cut their emissions per capita in half since 1990. They've dropped from 14 tonnes (tCO2) per person down to seven. That's getting close to the world average. ...

Canadians, in contrast, have cut little from our direct emissions in the past three decades. Since 1990, our pollution per capita has gone from 22 tCO2 to 20 tCO2. At this rate, it will take us centuries just to get to where the British are now.


More evidence that the Trudeau government has completely failed to deal with global warming depsite all its promises to the contrary. 

During his re-election campaign last fall, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to legislate a target to reduce Canada’s emissions to net zero by 2050 and to surpass Canada’s existing emissions target. Recently, however, federal Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson stated that the implementation of Canada’s new climate targets would likely be delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This isn’t the first time the Liberal government talked a big climate game and then failed to deliver. Following his election in 2015, Prime Minister Trudeau proclaimed to the world at the 2015 UN Climate Summit: “Canada is back, my friends.”

While the Liberal’s Pan-Canadian Framework and its accompanying measures were a marked increase from previous national climate efforts, Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions havecontinued to increase during the Trudeau tenure, growing a total of nine million tonnes in three years, from 720 Mt Co2eq in 2015 to 729 Mt Co2eq by 2018. ...

Canada’s perpetual failure to reduce its emissions impedes global mitigation efforts. Canada is the world’s tenth highest-emitting state. Even amongst G20 nations, Canada’s per capita emissions are2.5 times above average.

We have been setting and failing to meet emissions reduction targets for nearly three decades, while at the same time allowing our national emissions to reach a net increase by 117 million tonnesof carbon dioxide equivalent.


There is even more evidence that the Trudeau government is doing even worse than Harper, and he was god-awful, when it comes to protecting the environment. 

It also seems what few investigations and sanctions that have occurred have overwhelmingly done against small businesses, such as dry cleaners, rather than big polluters, such as fossil fuel companies operating in the Alberta tarsands. 

 New aerial pictures of Alberta tar sands mines show Scope of Eerie Destruction

 Aerial picture of Alberta tar sands mines 

According to figures provided last month in response to a written question submitted in the House of Commons, the department investigated 43 companies for violations of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act in 2015-16. There were 22 prosecutions and convictions. In each of the last two fiscal years, however, the department investigated 12 companies. One was prosecuted and convicted. ...

“It definitely raises a lot of questions and concerns,” said NDP MP Laurel Collins, the critic for environment and climate change who posed the question. It’s wild that there was only one investigation that led to a prosecution in 2018 and 2019,” she said. “I think most Canadians would be surprised to hear that. I don’t think anyone thinks there is only one company violating.”

The Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) governs how Canada manages toxic chemicals and air pollution.

In February, Collins submitted the order paper question, which is what MPs use when they want a more detailed answer from the government than is usually possible during the daily oral question period in the House of Commons. She was seeking an update to a 2018 report on CEPA enforcement from the federal environment commissioner.

“It definitely raises a lot of questions and concerns,” said NDP MP Laurel Collins, the critic for environment and climate change who posed the question. ...

That report called out Environment Canada for disproportionately focusing on dry cleaners and the fluid they use for cleaning — known as perchloroethylene — even though it was not more toxic than other substances investigators were supposed to be monitoring. Collins says she was disheartened to find that enforcement has fallen “dramatically.”

Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson would not comment because enforcement is an arm’s-length process that must remain outside the political realm [how convenient], according to spokeswoman Moira Kelly.

The data provided to Collins does not mirror the numbers the department publishes in its annual report on the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. The response to Collins looked at investigations by the number of companies involved. The annual report reflected the number of investigations for each regulation under the act. Some companies are investigated under more than one regulation.

Those annual reports do show the number of total inspections the department is doing has also dropped substantially, from 3,898 in 2015-16, to 1,608 in 2018-19.

Companies that have been convicted end up on a national registry of environmental offenders. Some of the most recent cases involved selling products with volatile organic compounds above legal limits, chemical leaks and spills from electrical transformers, selling toxic chemicals to companies without making sure they had proper storage facilities available, and improperly disposing seafood waste in the ocean. ...

Muhannad Malas, the toxics program manager at Environmental Defence, an advocacy organization, said the Liberal government tries to bill itself as having the “gold standard” of environmental protections but there is just not very much enforcement happening. “When you start digging into the numbers here you find that the government is not taking it seriously,” he said. ...

The government is also well behind schedule in reforming the Canadian Environmental Protection Act. The law has to be reviewed every five years. The last review began in 2016 and was completed by the House of Commons environment committee in June 2017. ...


Environment Canada  published a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences that warns of even more detailed confirmation of the increased risk of extreme rain events as the climate warms. The research showed that Canada will increasingly face this problem, while previous research only said the Western Hempisphere would suffer from extreme ranin events. 


Open this photo in gallery

A person crosses the road during heavy rain near a coronavirus evaluation centre in Ottawa.

The rains soaked southern Alberta for days, unrelenting, saturating soil already sodden with melting snow – and before long Calgary was awash as rivers overflowed their banks.

The province described the 2013 flood as the worst in its history, but it might not be for long. Research from Environment Canada shows that climate change is behind more extreme rainfalls in Canada and suggests the problem is likely to get worse.

“If we continue with global warming, we will see continued increase in the frequency and severity of extreme precipitation,” said Megan Kirchmeier-Young, co-author of a paper published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences.

Researchers combined computer models and observed data for the most specific look yet at how climate change affects the kind of damaging rainfalls that turn streets to rivers. The idea stems from simple physics. Because warm air holds more moisture than cool air, an atmosphere heated by climate change should hold more water and dump larger amounts of it. ...

Previous research on extreme rainfall patterns hasn’t been able to achieve a finer scale than the average of the entire Western Hemisphere. Now, scientists have been able to focus on regions within the United States and Canada – what’s happening, why and what’s coming down the road. They began with figures from a variety of locations for the maximum amount of rain falling over a one-day period and over a five-day period. They did four separate calculations for the probability of those rainfall amounts occurring each year over a 50-year period from 1961 to 2010. Three were based on climate models that incorporated real-world data on increasing greenhouse gas levels, while the fourth was calculated directly from observed figures.

All four calculations showed increasing chances of extreme precipitation. The result from the observed data showed the highest increase, with chances of one-day heavy rainfall increasing by more than five per cent.

Five-day rainfalls showed similar patterns, although a lower increase.

“We’re finding [that] extreme precipitation increases in the models that have this human influence [greenhouse gases] agrees well with the increases we’re seeing in the observations,” Dr. Kirchmeier-Young said.

Such studies not only help scientists understand the past. Comparing modelled results with real-world measurements increases their ability to look ahead.

“If we have that, we can have more confidence in what the model is telling us what will happen in the future.”

All three models in the study showed the chance of over-the-top rainfalls is expected to increase far into the future.

“If we continue with global warming, we will see continued increase in the frequency and severity of extreme precipitation,” Dr. Kirchmeier-Young said.

The consequences are serious, she added. A one-day deluge can create significant flash floods in an urban area; five-day downpours can swell rivers over their banks – although river floods are complicated by more factors than just rainfall. Urban planners, builders and regulators are all going to have to take Canada’s coming climate into account.

“We have to be thinking about what impacts more heavy rainfall will have,” Dr. Kirchmeier-Young said. “Flash flooding is something that we’re going to have to be thinking more about and be more concerned with.”


A groundbreaking study on climate change involving the use of Inuit knowledge of the Arctic has been delayed because of Covid-19. Unfortunately global warming will not wait until the Covid-19 disappears to wreak havoc in the Arctic and around the world. 


 Parks Canada is one of 18 organizations participating in a groundbreaking study that will attempt to incorporate traditional Inuit knowledge into a scientific investigation of the impact of climate change in Nunatsiavut, Labrador. Some of the research will take place in the Torngat National Park.© Fiona Curie/Parks Canada Parks Canada is one of 18 organizations participating in a groundbreaking study that will attempt to incorporate traditional Inuit knowledge into a scientific investigation of the impact of climate change in Nunatsiavut, Labrador. Some of the research will take place in the Torngat National Park.

COVID-19 restrictions are holding up ambitious research on ocean climate change and its impact on coastal communities in Atlantic Canada and the North.

Measures to stop the spread of the virus have delayed or cancelled field work, data collection and deployment of equipment in the northwest Atlantic and Arctic approaches.

Physical distancing on board ships has displaced scientists. The Nunatsiavut government has requested no non-essential travel into the region, effectively eliminating access to northern Labrador.

"We simply cannot do certain types of research right now and field research is not happening," said Anya Waite, scientific director of the Ocean Frontier Institute.

This week, the institute, a consortium of Dalhousie University, Memorial University and the University of Prince Edward Island, announced $16 million in funding for six research projects running to 2023.

The work has been underway for weeks — long enough to be hindered by the pandemic. Waite said "deliverables" — jargon for what is expected in the final product — may be scaled back because "some data holes" cannot be filled. ...

Researchers are adapting as best they can because the work is so important, Waite said.

"Climate change won't wait. We need to keep pursuing these projects and we need to keep people focused on the big issues that are going to impact us all in the future," she said.

Anna Metaxas of Dalhousie University leads a groundbreaking study that for the first time will attempt to incorporate traditional Indigenous knowledge into a scientific investigation of climate change impacts in Nunatsiavut in northern Labrador. ...

Inuit will help design the study, and identify questions, issues and species relevant to them.

"Western science has certain ways of doing things, of asking questions and mastering those questions. Those are, one would say, very rigorous scientifically, but they're also very narrow," Metaxas said. "What the Inuit community is going to bring to this project is thousands of years of knowledge of the ecosystems and how they have been changing over time, something that we do not have."



Another sign of the growing number of impacts of climate change on Canada is the destruction of glass sponge reefs,  which are only found along the Pacific Northwest coast of  Alaska and BC. "the reefs play an essential role in water quality by filtering microbes and cycling nutrients through food chains. They also provide critical habitat for many fish and invertebrates, including rockfish, spot prawns, herring, halibut and sharks."



Send a letter calling for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to expand protection for the Hecate Strait/Queen Charlotte Islands Glass Sponge Reefs!


British Columbia’s prehistoric glass sponge reefs are an international treasure. Found in Hecate Strait, the Southern Strait of Georgia, Chatham Sound, and Howe Sound, these fragile reefs provide vital habitat to a wide range of marine animals including endangered rockfish, but are very vulnerable to damage. (

Warming ocean temperatures and acidification drastically reduce the skeletal strength and filter-feeding capacity of glass sponges, according to new UBC research.

The findings, published in Scientific Reports, indicate that ongoing climate change could have serious, irreversible impacts on the sprawling glass sponge reefs of the Pacific Northwest and their associated marine life -- the only known reefs of their kind in the world.

Ranging from the Alaska-Canada border and down through the Strait of Georgia, the reefs play an essential role in water quality by filtering microbes and cycling nutrients through food chains. They also provide critical habitat for many fish and invertebrates, including rockfish, spot prawns, herring, halibut and sharks.

"Glass sponge reefs are 'living dinosaurs' thought to have been extinct for 40 million years before they were re-discovered in B.C. in 1986," said Angela Stevenson, who led the study as a postdoctoral fellow at UBC Zoology. "Their sheer size and tremendous filtration capacity put them at the heart of a lush and productive underwater system, so we wanted to examine how climate change might impact their survival." ...

For the study, Stevenson harvested Aphrocallistes vastus, one of three types of reef-building glass sponges, from Howe Sound and brought them to UBC where she ran the first successful long-term lab experiment involving live sponges by simulating their natural environment as closely as possible.

She then tested their resilience by placing them in warmer and more acidic waters that mimicked future projected ocean conditions.

Over a period of four months, Stevenson measured changes to their pumping capacity, body condition and skeletal strength, which are critical indicators of their ability to feed and build reefs.

Within one month, ocean acidification and warming, alone and in combination, reduced the sponges' pumping capacity by more than 50 per cent and caused tissue losses of 10 to 25 per cent, which could starve the sponges.

"Most worryingly, pumping began to slow within two weeks of exposure to elevated temperatures," said Stevenson.

The combination of acidification and warming also made their bodies weaker and more elastic by half. That could curtail reef formation and cause brittle reefs to collapse under the weight of growing sponges or animals walking and swimming among them.


Canada's mismanaged forests have changed from carbon sinks that absorb carbon dioxide to extremely large carbon emitters that release vast amounts of CO2 during the last decade thanks to the logging practices that the federal and provincial governments have allowed. The problem has been getting steadily worse over the last 15 years, with the forests being the largest emitters in three of the last four years, in other words, during Trudeau's time in power, despite all his environmental promises. As a result, of government policies, our forests and the logging industry that depend on them are dying.

Instead of dealing with this critical climate change problem, as well as its effects on the logging industry, the Trudeau government has simply redefined the way emissions are reported in order to make the emissions look smaller. In other words, they are cooking the books to make the problem disappear from the public's eyes. 

Death and decay are winning in Canada's vast managed forest lands. And this victory is unleashing a rising flood of climate pollution. Put simply, our forests are dying and being cut down faster than they can grow back.

In 2018, the flood of CO2 pouring out of them reached record levels, at nearly a quarter billion tonnes of CO2 in a single year. That's more than Canada's once biggest climate pollution source — the oil and gas sector — emitted that year.

Sadly, this isn't a short-term aberration. The long-term trends are relentlessly grim. They show that our forests switched from much-needed CO2 sinks into dangerous CO2 emitters more than a decade ago. And what started as a trickle has grown into a flood of CO2 pouring into our atmosphere.  ...

Canada managed forest lands net emissions 1990 to 2018

As all these billions of trees grow, they breathe in CO2 and strip off the carbon to construct new wood. When the wood rots or get burned, that carbon gets reoxidized into CO2 again.

If there is more growth than decay, the forests are net CO2 absorbers ("carbon sinks"). If decay wins out, the forests emit CO2 ("carbon sources").

Canada reports this net CO2 balance each year in the NIR. That's the line on this first chart.

As you can see, our huge managed forests used to be huge CO2 sinks. During the 1990s, they were able to absorb and store hundreds of millions of tonnes of CO2. 

But the data shows that this crucial carbon sink has disappeared. Instead, our forests transitioned to being net CO2 emitters more than a decade ago. And in 2018, they emitted a record 240 MtCO2. That's more than any other sector in Canada. In fact, our managed forests were the largest emitters of greenhouse gases in Canada for three of the last four years in the NIR data.

What's causing such a dangerous surge in emissions? And what role is logging playing in it? ...

Canada managed forest lands net emissions 1990 to 2018 with ten-year running averages. Net CO2 emissions in red hilite

As these trend lines make clear, our logging levels started to exceed what our faltering forests could regrow ("offset") back in the early 2000s.

I've highlighted in red the amount of harvested wood CO2 that exceeded what the forests could absorb.

All that excess CO2 has been accumulating in our atmosphere, fuelling the climate breakdown. Just like the CO2 from our fossil fuel burning.

What started as a trickle has grown into a flood of CO2.

The total so far — the entire red area — exceeds one and a half billion tonnes of CO2. And the 10-year average is now up to 125 MtCO2 emitter per year. That's also a record set in 2018.

The climate science is clear that the path to a safe and sane climate future requires us to eliminate all sources of excess CO2, regardless of origin.

So far, however, Ottawa has responded to this emerging CO2 threat by trying to push this rising new flood of CO2 off the books. To do this, they've had to roll out a series of big and controversial changes in how they account for forest carbon

But the atmosphere and the laws of physics don't care what kinds of creative accounting we try. They only react to the total amount of CO2 accumulating in the air. And in Canada, total emissions of CO2 are not going down as promised and as required for a safe future.

They aren't even flatlining-to-failure as our official numbers say. They are rising dangerously fast. We control it all. We need to start lowering our rising flood of climate pollution while we still can.


jerrym wrote:

Environment Canada  published a paper in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences that warns of even more detailed confirmation of the increased risk of extreme rain events as the climate warms. The research showed that Canada will increasingly face this problem, while previous research only said the Western Hempisphere would suffer from extreme ranin events. 

“If we continue with global warming, we will see continued increase in the frequency and severity of extreme precipitation,” said Megan Kirchmeier-Young, co-author of a paper published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Sciences.

Researchers combined computer models and observed data for the most specific look yet at how climate change affects the kind of damaging rainfalls that turn streets to rivers. Such studies not only help scientists understand the past. Comparing modelled results with real-world measurements increases their ability to look ahead.

The consequences are serious, she added. A one-day deluge can create significant flash floods in an urban area; five-day downpours can swell rivers over their banks – although river floods are complicated by more factors than just rainfall. Urban planners, builders and regulators are all going to have to take Canada’s coming climate into account.

The above quote from June 3rd if from my own post #382 describing a Candian scientific study predicting increased extreme precipitation across Canada, especially in the West. We did not have to wait long to see the predicted effects on Calgary and other parts of Alberta as torrential rain, hail and tornadoes all hit the city hard on the weekend. As the above quote notes these extreme weather events are only predicted to get worse as the climate further warms. Yet Trudeau and many premiers continue to push for more oil development. 

A man floats down Prairie Springs Green after a storm rips through Airdrie. Photo credit Paul Wiltshire


Homes and vehicles in Calgary were hammered and damaged by large hail Saturday night. Credit to Candeena Langan on Twitter.

 Massive supercell thunderstorm triggered a tornado warning Saturday evening near Taber, Vauxhall, Brooks. Credit to Kyle Brittain on Twitter from The Weather Network.


Hail smashed holes within the rear windshield of this automotive in Redstone in Calgary.(Submitted by Kendra Briand )

At least one tornado touched down in southeast Alberta on Saturday evening, as severe thunderstorms brought intense hail and flooding to Calgary and the surrounding area.

At 9:05 p.m. MT, a possible tornado was spotted 30 kilometres south of Brooks, moving north at 60 km/h, an emergency alert warned.

Earlier in the evening, the alert had cautioned that a tornado had been spotted near Taber, Barnwell and New Dayton. It was not immediately clear whether each tornado was a separate event, or the same funnel cloud. All tornado warnings for the region ended at around 9:30 p.m.

"This is a dangerous and potentially life-threatening situation.... If you hear a roaring sound or see a funnel cloud, swirling debris near the ground, flying debris, or any threatening weather approaching, take shelter immediately," an Environment Canada warning had said.

Terri Lang, a meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada, said a tornado may also have touched down southeast of Calgary's city limits at 7 p.m., but said as of mid-evening there were no reports of damage from any of the possible tornadoes. ...

In Calgary, torrential rain and intense hail hit the city, flooding many roads and damaging homes and cars. ...

"It's hard to prepare for something like this.… We call it explosive development," Lang said, adding that 48.7 millimetres of rain fell between 7 and 8 p.m. ...

Lang said hailstones the size of tennis balls were recorded in the northeast Calgary community of Corner Brook.

The hailstones likely fell at a speed of 80 to 100 km/h, she said, some puncturing the plastic sides of barbecues. "Something like that will do quite a bit of damage," she said.  ...

Saima Jamal said her mother's home in Taradale was badly damaged.  "The siding is completely destroyed," she said. "Her bedroom window has a massive hole in it.... It was the same thing with all the neighbours. Everyone is just with shocked faces walking outside their house, looking at all the damage. She's really, really shaken and scared."

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Canada undermining its own climate goals by supporting pipeline projects: Report

International Trade Minister Mary Ng says she expects transparency and accountability from a key federal Crown corporation, after a new report concluded Canada is undermining its own climate goals by allowing the agency to support fossil fuel projects such as the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

Export Development Canada (EDC) signed an agreement in April to loan potentially hundreds of millions of dollars to help Coastal GasLink, the controversial pipeline from the Dawson Creek area to Kitimat B.C. that was the subject of protests and rail blockades earlier this year after RCMP raided Wet’suwet’en Nation territory. EDC has said the loan was reviewed in line with its “environmental and social” directive.

In a report released Tuesday, sustainable development consulting firm Horizon Advisors recommended that the government legally bar EDC from supporting any fossil fuel energy projects, “including new fossil fuel infrastructure” such as pipelines, and that the agency should “stress-test its investment decisions against Canada’s climate targets.”

These and other bold measures are the only realistic way to eliminate the “clear discrepancy” between EDC’s continued approach to investments and Canada’s climate goals of cutting carbon pollution 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 and reaching “net-zero” pollution by 2050, say the report’s authors.

“Our analysis found that EDC's approach to investment is out of sync with Canada's climate policy,” said Horizon Advisors executive director Amin Asadollahi, a former senior policy advisor at Natural Resources Canada and former co-chair of the Green Budget Coalition.....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..translated by my browser

[poll] The French are largely in favor of a change in economic model contrary to government announcements

survey [1] carried out by the BVA institute for Greenpeace France shows that a large majority of French people consider that our economic system must be thoroughly reformed to fight climate change and are in favor of a substantial change in model in the fields of transport, energy, agriculture and food.
As the government tries to issue a new blank check to businesses as part of the third amending finance bill (PLFR) announced in the Council of Ministers on Wednesday [2], the French are instead counting on the state to implement these reforms, in particular by imposing more constraints on businesses.

Greenpeace says third PLFR should set binding emission reduction targets for large companies, with dissuasive sanctions for non-compliance, such as the ban on dividends [3] - a measure supported by 86% of those interviewed.

According to this survey, only 36% of those questioned consider the capitalist economic system compatible with the fight against climate change. A majority wants the wealthiest households to contribute more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (54%), and the ecological transition is considered by 77% of French people as a real opportunity for employment.

A radical transition is popular in all sectors:
- Agriculture : 91% wish to rapidly develop local and ecological agriculture, and 87% prohibit the entry onto French territory of products that have potentially contributed to deforestation in other countries of the world .
- Food : 91% of French people want to make organic food accessible to all and 80% want public money dedicated to agriculture to be allocated as a priority to organic farmers and / or already engaged in the ecological transition.
- Energies: 81% approve the making of substantial investments by the government to promote renewable energies when, on the other hand, a minority (36%) considers that new nuclear power plants (EPR) will have to be built; in addition, 67% think that public money should not be spent on subsidizing fossil fuels.
- Mobility : more than half of those questioned are in favor of abolishing internal airlines when there are alternatives by train of less than six hours (58%), and 65% support the proposal of a higher penalty on the most polluting vehicles like SUVs.
- Trade : 82% believe that France should oppose any free trade agreement with countries that do not reduce their greenhouse gas emissions sufficiently.

To implement these reforms, the majority of French people believe that it is first of all for the State to take responsibility (57%), and 76% think that it must be forced by the courts to act to respect the objectives of the Paris Agreement.

Finally, 88% want politicians to force companies to emit less greenhouse gases, and 81% think that the State should not grant aid to polluting companies without binding ecological compensation.

However, the government has taken the opposite direction since the COVID-19 crisis. Indeed, 23 billion euros were released in support of the automotive and aeronautical sectors, without calling into question their development model. No serious reduction in air traffic, no limitation on the number of cars on the roads, nor any measure to support the rail sector, one of the essential alternatives to be developed, have been announced.....

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..posting this as an update

Federal aid for oil patch still in development, three months later

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers says if bridge loans for smaller oil and gas companies aren't ready to flow soon some companies will have to turn to less-safe options to survive the COVID-19 slowdown.

It has been more than two months since the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada began working on bridge loan programs to help hundreds of Canada's oil patch companies but there is still no certainty as to when the money can flow.

"We understand the importance of liquidity," said Natural Resources Minister Seamus O'Regan in an interview with The Canadian Press. "We want to get it out the door."

Ben Brunnen, CAPP's vice-president of fiscal and economic policy, said as of right now not even one company has been approved for a bridge loan. Officially they aren't even able to apply yet, with the agencies telling companies expressing interest to wait for more details.

Brunnen said he knows the two agencies are working hard to get the terms of the loans finalized but that it is taking a very long time. Both agencies are looking at programs that backstop loans from a company's normal bank or lending company, which Brunnen says is making the design a little more complex.


O'Regan cringes a little as he remembers Morneau's words, and says he doesn't think it will be long now until the programs are ready but "I'm not going to say days or weeks or anything."

O'Regan also said it's not accurate to say no money has gone to help the industry because a number of fossil-fuel companies did take advantage of the federal wage subsidy, which covers up to 75 per cent of workers' pay (up to $847 a week) for companies that saw revenues fall more than 30 per cent because of COVID-19.

Brunnen agreed with O'Regan on that point, saying the subsidy has helped oil and gas companies keep people on their payrolls, estimating about $300 million has been made available to the industry through that program.


2020 is well on the road to being the hottest year in the historical record even though there has been a drop in global emissions as much of global warming is already baked into our futures. Furthermore the record extremely high temperatures in Siberia,  where the temperature hit 25 degrees Celsius on May 22nd (breaking the previous record of 12 degrees Celsius) and 30 degrees Celsius on June 9th, which is well before the height of summer, show once again that the polar regions are warming fastest and reaching the highest extremes. This continues a pattern seen in the last winter and spring.  Needless to say, this is a very troubling sign for Canada's north in terms of the growth of wildfires, insect infestations, boreal forest destruction and therefore of much of our forest industry, and the ending of traditional ways of living for indigenous people in the region.

And the Trudeau and many provincial governments keep on pushing their plans for pipeline building. fossil fuel expansion, the redefining of the way emissions are reported in order to make the emissions look smaller (see post # 385) and more and more federal aid to the oil patch (see epaulo13's comment in the previous post). 

A map showing places warmer (red) or cooler (blue) in May than the long-term average

A map showing places warmer (red) or cooler (blue) in May than the long-term average. Photograph: Modis/NEO/Nasa

A prolonged heatwave in Siberia is “undoubtedly alarming”, climate scientists have said. The freak temperatures have been linked to wildfires, a huge oil spill and a plague of tree-eating moths.

On a global scale, the Siberian heat is helping push the world towards its hottest year on record in 2020, despite a temporary dip in carbon emissions owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

Temperatures in the polar regions are rising fastest because ocean currents carry heat towards the poles and reflective ice and snow is melting away.

Russian towns in the Arctic circle have recorded extraordinary temperatures, with Nizhnyaya Pesha hitting 30C on 9 June and Khatanga, which usually has daytime temperatures of around 0C at this time of year, hitting 25C on 22 May. The previous record was 12C.

In May, surface temperatures in parts of Siberia were up to 10C above average, according to the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S). Martin Stendel, of the Danish Meteorological Institute, said the abnormal May temperatures seen in north-west Siberia would be likely to happen just once in 100,000 years without human-caused global heating.

Freja Vamborg, a senior scientist at C3S, said: “It is undoubtedly an alarming sign, but not only May was unusually warm in Siberia. The whole of winter and spring had repeated periods of higher-than-average surface air temperatures.

“Although the planet as a whole is warming, this isn’t happening evenly. Western Siberia stands out as a region that shows more of a warming trend with higher variations in temperature. So to some extent large temperature anomalies are not unexpected. However, what is unusual is how long the warmer-than-average anomalies have persisted for.”

Marina Makarova, the chief meteorologist at Russia’s Rosgidromet weather service, said: “This winter was the hottest in Siberia since records began 130 years ago. Average temperatures were up to 6C higher than the seasonal norms.”

Robert Rohde, the lead scientist at the Berkeley Earth project, said Russia as a whole had experienced record high temperatures in 2020, with the average from January to May 5.3C above the 1951-1980 average. “[This is a] new record by a massive 1.9C,” he said.

In December, Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, commented on the unusual heat: “Some of our cities were built north of the Arctic Circle, on the permafrost. If it begins to thaw, you can imagine what consequences it would have. It’s very serious.”

Thawing permafrost was at least partly to blame for a spill of diesel fuel in Siberia this month that led Putin to declare a state of emergency. The supports of the storage tank suddenly sank, according to its operators; green groups said ageing and poorly maintained infrastructure was also to blame.

Wildfires have raged across hundreds of thousands of hectares of Siberia’s forests. Farmers often light fires in the spring to clear vegetation, and a combination of high temperatures and strong winds has caused some fires to burn out of control.

Swarms of the Siberian silk moth, whose larvae eat at conifer trees, have grown rapidly in the rising temperatures. “In all my long career, I’ve never seen moths so huge and growing so quickly,” Vladimir Soldatov, a moth expert, told AFP.

He warned of “tragic consequences” for forests, with the larvae stripping trees of their needles and making them more susceptible to fires.


The Siberian temperature record of 30 degrees Celsius for May 22, which was noted to be the highest temperature recorded in the Arctic on that day by 10 degrees in the last post, has now surpassed by a temperature of 38 degrees, believed to be the highest ever recorded in the Arctic.

This raises further concerns about the great impact that climate change is already having in the Arctic and Antarctic around the world as they warm twice as fast as the rest of the world, including in Canada of course. The global impacts of these high temperatures are discussed below, including accelerating sea level rise, increased carbon dioxide release from permafrost thawing, more wildfires, and destruction of traditional indigenous ways of life. 


wildfires Trans Baikal

Wildfires in Trans-Baikal Siberia region Picture: Alexander Lesnyanskiy

Temperatures in the Arctic Circle are likely to have hit an all-time record on Saturday, reaching a scorching 38C (100F) in Verkhoyansk, a Siberian town.

The record still needs to be verified, but it appears to have been 18C higher than the average maximum daily temperature in June.

Hot summer weather is not uncommon in the Arctic Circle, but recent months have seen abnormally high temperatures. The Arctic is believed to be warming twice as fast as the global average. Verkhoyansk, home to about 1,300 people, sits just inside the Arctic Circle, in remote Siberia. ...

But a persistent heatwave this year in the Arctic Circle has worried meteorologists. In March, April and May, the Copernicus Climate Change service reported that the average temperature was around 10C above normal. ...

 The persistence of this weather pattern has led to a longevity and scale of heat that is worrying. This is consistent with what climatologists believe will happen in the Arctic with climate change. Most scientists agree that over the past 30 years, the Arctic has warmed at a rate of twice the global average. ...

Why should we be worried about warming in the Arctic?

Warming in the Arctic is leading to the thawing of once permanently frozen permafrost below ground. This is alarming scientists because as permafrost thaws, carbon dioxide and methane previously locked up below ground is released. These greenhouse gases can cause further warming, and further thawing of the permafrost, in a vicious cycle known as positive feedback.

The higher temperatures also cause land ice in the Arctic to melt at a faster rate, leading to greater run-off into the ocean where it contributes to sea-level rise.

There is also an element of positive feedback here, says BBC Weather, because the loss of highly reflective white ice means that the ground and sea absorb more heat. This leads to more warming.

The impact of wildfires are also a consideration. Last summer, they ravaged parts of the Arctic. Although they are common in summer, high temperatures and strong winds made them unusually severe. ...

We've upset the energy balance of the entire planet," cautions Prof Chris Rapley of University College London. Year after year we see temperature records being broken, the eminent climate scientist says."This is a warning message from the Earth itself," he tells me. "We ignore it at our peril."


Four years ago there were 45 orphan wells in BC. Today, with the collapse of Ranch Energy financially adding 401 orphan wells to the list, there are 770 orphan wells in the province meaning that the provincial taxpayer will be paying for the cleanup of these orphans.

Considering that Alberta Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) said that "Cleaning up the Alberta oilpatch could cost an estimated $260 billion" ( in a private meeting with the oil industry that the public was not meant to find out this information, the estimated cost of  $40 million to clean up BC fossil fuel wells seems ridiculous. 

In 2015, the International Monetary Fund, which definitely not known for having an environmental orientation to say the least, noted in a report that " Canada subsidized the fossil fuel industry to the tune of almost $60 billion in 2015 — approximately $1,650 per Canadian. " (

And the subsidies just keep on growing in size. If BC doesn't quickly get a handle on its orphan wells it too could face many billions in further cleanup costs, to say nothing of irreparable environmental damage. This only further argues for the province and country to shift to renewable green energy.


A de-commissioned pumpjack is shown at a well head on an oil and gas installation near Cremona, Alta., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. The number of orphan wells in British Columbia has more than doubled thanks to the failure of one oil and gas company. .

A de-commissioned pumpjack is shown at a well head on an oil and gas installation near Cremona, Alta., Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016. The number of orphan wells in British Columbia has more than doubled thanks to the failure of one oil and gas company.

The collapse of an Alberta energy company has left B.C. with hundreds more oil and gas wells to clean up, more than doubling the total number across the province.

The financial troubles of Calgary-based Ranch Energy mean 401 of its oil and gas wells and three of its energy facilities in northeastern B.C. have now been deemed "orphan" sites, bringing the total in the province to 770, according to the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission, the provincial regulator.

Just five years ago, that number was 45.

Gas and oil wells and facilities are deemed to be "orphaned" when energy companies go bankrupt or abandon the site without shutting down or completing reclamation work and then cannot be located by authorities. 

Cleaning up these sites could take up to 10 years, the B.C. Oil and Gas Commission told CBC News, though some may be restored "much sooner," it said.

The regulator said cleaning up all 404 sites will cost around $40 million.

Energy companies are required to do such cleanup work, but in cases such as bankruptcy anindustry fund is supposed to pay for cleanup costs. The Office of the B.C. Auditor General said last year that the fund is millions of dollars short of what it needs.

In April, the federal government announced $1.7 billion of support to help clean up orphan oil and gas wells in B.C., Alberta, and Saskatchewan.

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‘Grassroots’ oil and gas advocacy group Canada Action received $100,000 from ARC Resources

Canada Action, a non-profit organization that bills itself as a “grassroots movement” in support of the country’s natural resources industry, received a $100,000 payment from a major oil and gas developer, according to disclosures made to the Government of Canada.

The funding from ARC Resources, a conventional oil and gas company with operations in Western Canada, was listed in a company report submitted to Natural Resources Canada in May.

The sources of funding behind Canada Action and the organization’s prominent founder and spokesperson, Calgary-based realtor Cody Battershill, have been in question since the group began generating attention in 2015 for its vocal support of Canada’s extractive industries — including its t-shirts and stickers displaying the slogan “I love oilsands.”

While our previous reporting identified deep ties between Canada Action, the oil and gas industry and conservative party campaigners, this is the first time industry funding of the organization has been publicly disclosed.

Canada Action is part of a growing chorus of industry advocacy groups that frame Canada’s environmental movement as anti-Canadian and motivated by foreign financial interests. In its early stages, Canada Action was described as a citizen-led initiative. A 2014 National Post article called Battershill a “one-man oilsands advocate” in a “PR war” to defend the country’s energy sector — which was facing growing scrutiny amid evolving social and environmental values, particularly in regards to Indigenous rights and climate change....


Arctic Heat Overwhelms Green Infighting Issues

"Arctic temperaturesare soaring to new records, and staying there, ever since May of this year. Truth be known, the Arctic's been heating up for years. Siberia recently hit 105 F. That's not normal. It's 30 degrees hotter than normal..."


Despite all the Trudeau government rhetoric about reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a new report shows that it is subsidizing the fossil fuel sector to the tune of an additional $45 billion while spending only $7 billion on renewable green energy. Its plan to build more pipelines will guarantee that there is no way that Canada will achieve its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.

The sustainable development consulting firm Horizon Advisors's report, entitled Reforming Export Development Canada (EDC), recommends that the government legally bar the EDC from being involved in any fossil fuel energy projects. Otherwise, Canada will fail to meet its climate change objectives. 

Clearing the route for the Coastal Gaslink pipeline.

A new report concluded Canada is undermining its own climate goals by allowing the agency to support fossil fuel projects such as the Coastal GasLink pipeline.

Export Development Canada (EDC) signed an agreement in April to loan potentially hundreds of millions of dollars to help Coastal GasLink, the controversial pipeline from the Dawson Creek area to Kitimat B.C. that was the subject of protests and rail blockades earlier this year after RCMP raided Wet’suwet’en Nation territory. EDC has said the loan was reviewed in line with its “environmental and social” directive.

In a report released Tuesday, sustainable development consulting firm Horizon Advisors recommended that the government legally bar EDC from supporting any fossil fuel energy projects, “including new fossil fuel infrastructure” such as pipelines, and that the agency should “stress-test its investment decisions against Canada’s climate targets.” ...

These and other bold measures are the only realistic way to eliminate the “clear discrepancy” between EDC’s continued approach to investments and Canada’s climate goals of cutting carbon pollution 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 and reaching “net-zero” pollution by 2050, say the report’s authors.

“Our analysis found that EDC's approach to investment is out of sync with Canada's climate policy,” said Horizon Advisors executive director Amin Asadollahi, a former senior policy advisor at Natural Resources Canada and former co-chair of the Green Budget Coalition. ...

“Although Canada has committed to decarbonizing its economy over the next 30 years, EDC on the other hand continues to invest in fossil fuel projects. These investments not only undermine Canada's international climate efforts but also increase EDC’s exposure to carbon risks.”

Horizon Advisors calculated that EDC has provided roughly $45 billion in support for the oil and gas sector since 2016, compared to $7 billion for clean technology. ...

In March, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the government did move to amend the Act, but its changes broaden, not restrict, the agency’s mandate. EDC also said it has increased its financial capacity to support oil and gas companies.


As temperatures soared to 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit in the Siberian Arctic, a new study confirmed that the Earth is the warmest it has ever been for at least the last 12,000 years, as global warming continues to rapidly change our world. 

Studies also found that the Arctic is not warming at twice the rate of the rest of the planet, but at three times the rate of the rest of the world, which has vast implications for Canada's extensive Arctic region. 



People pictured in T-shirts near Ob river during World War II celebrations in Novosibirsk on May 9, 2020. Temperatures above the Arctic Circle soared this month during a Siberian heat wave.

Less than two weeks ago, the small Siberian town of Verkhoyansk soared to 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, appearing to break an all-time record for the Arctic and alarming meteorologists worldwide. Now that temperature record has been verified by Russia's state weather authority.

The confirmation came the same day a comprehensive new study was released suggesting that present-day global temperatures are the warmest they have been in at least 12,000 years, and possibly far longer. The study used a variety of geological clues and statistical analysis methods to reconstruct ancient temperature estimates.

In a press conference Tuesday, the head of science at Russia's Hydrometeorological Centre confirmed that the town of Verkhoyansk did indeed reach 100.4° F on June 20th. The official confirmation was requested by the World Meteorological Organization.  ...

The record heat in parts of Siberia during the month of May was so remarkable that it reached five standard deviations from normal. In other words, if hypothetically you were able to live in that area for 100,000 years, statistically speaking you should only experience such an extreme period of temperatures one time. Climate change has now increased that chance.

The extended Siberian heat wave is due to an usually persistent high pressure system, which more or less has remained stuck over Russia since December. And while it's not uncommon for patterns to set up shop for extended periods of time due to natural cycles, this tenacity is extraordinary, to say the least. ...

It's clear that human-caused climate change plays a significant role in boosting the intensity of heat waves. Simply put, as average temperatures increase, extreme heat days become even more prominent

In the Arctic, this impact is heightened due to a loss of ice and snow which typically reflects sunlight back to space. The decline in ice means more light is absorbed by the darker ground, spiking warming. The longer the heat dome lasts, the more it feeds back on itself, intensifying the heat wave.

"This warming increases the risk of extreme Arctic heat waves, such as this one, and moving forward over the next few decades," says Labe.

There may be an additional impact from climate change. Dr. Michael Mann is arguably one of the world's most respected climate scientists. In 2018 he published a study about a summer phenomenon he calls quasi-resonant amplification (QRA) in which atmospheric waves and jet streams tend to slow down or even get stuck, leading to a blocked pattern. This effect is most pronounced with more warming.

Mann told CBS News that while there is no evidence available yet for this specific event, "It is consistent with the overall phenomenon of more persistent extremes as a result of a slower, more meandering jet stream."  

For decades, the Arctic has been warming much faster than the rest of the globe. Experts have frequently described that imbalance by saying that the Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the global average. But that is no longer accurate. Just days ago, Gavin Schmidt, the director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, corrected the reference by providing evidence that the rate of Arctic warming is actually three times faster.

The staggering pace of warming in the Arctic is causing systemic changes. Labe is amazed by the impact. "In response to the recent heat wave, the extent of Arctic sea has dropped like a rock in the Laptev Sea and the entire Siberian coastline. In fact, Arctic sea ice extent is melting several weeks earlier than average in this region!"


Good News Alert

"The city of Sydney, Australia, is now 100% powered by renewable energy. Everything from street lights to pools to the historic Town Hall are being run on energy from solar and wind farms. It's expected to reduce emissions by 20,000 tons each year."

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..more from above

City of Sydney flicks the switch to 100% green power

All the City of Sydney’s operations – including street lights, pools, sports fields, depots, buildings and the historic Sydney Town Hall – will now be run on 100% renewable electricity sourced from local solar and wind projects. The switch is part of a $60 million deal with electricity retailer Flow Power, the biggest standalone green energy deal of its kind by a council in Australia.

The deal is projected to save the City up to half a million dollars a year over the next 10 years, and reduce carbon emissions by around 20,000 tonnes a year – the equivalent to the power consumption of more than 6,000 households. The City calculates that the new deal will see it reach its 2030 of reducing emissions by 70% by 2024, six years early. “We are in the middle of a climate emergency. If we are to reduce emissions and grow the green power sector, all levels of government must urgently transition to renewable energy,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said on Wednesday.

The power purchase agreement will see the City source renewable energy from the 120 MW Bomen Solar Farm in Wagga Wagga, the 270 MW Sapphire Wind Farm near Inverell, and the 3 MW Shoalhaven Solar Farm, a not-for profit community-owned solar scheme near Nowra on the south-east NSW coast. The deal will see three-quarters of the City’s power sourced from wind generation and one-quarter from solar....

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B.C. eyes emissions trading to offset effects of LNG development, government documents show

The B.C. government may be banking on buying emissions reduction credits to offset the effects of future industrial development, according to documents obtained by The Narwhal through a freedom of information request. But the postponement of this year’s international climate conference due to the COVID-19 pandemic means prolonged uncertainty on if and when this will be possible under the Paris Agreement on climate change. 

Negotiations on Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, which will establish the rules for trading emissions reduction credits internationally, were set to continue at the United Nations climate conference this November. The conference has been delayed until November 2021.

The B.C. government considers emissions trading under Article 6 to be “a priority to ensure further industrial development fits within the B.C. climate plan,” according to a July 2019 briefing note prepared for former Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources minister Michelle Mungall (now minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Competitiveness) and obtained by The Narwhal.

“Emissions trading could be a mechanism to mitigate B.C. GHG emissions from industrial development by offering an internationally recognized path for sharing reductions,” the document says.


Burgeoning LNG industry threatens B.C.’s ability to meet climate commitments 

B.C. has committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40 per cent below 2007 levels by 2030 and 80 per cent by 2050. The province’s emissions, though, increased by 3.5 per cent between 2017 and 2018, according to Canada’s 2020 National Inventory Report to the United Nations.

While the actions outlined in the CleanBC plan are projected to get B.C. 80 per cent of the way to its 2030 target, additional measures are needed to cut the outstanding 5.5 megatonnes of greenhouse gases standing between B.C. and its target. That’s equivalent to the emissions from more than one million cars in a year.


Wildlife in the Arctic Ocean are at increasing risk of extinction from acidification of this ocean by carbon dioxide emissions being absobed by the ocean. The report also says more research is needed on the Antarctic Ocean to see how to see what extent it is impacted in a similar manner.

The report also warns that the oceans, including its plant life, in general have been absorbing a very large portion of carbon dioxide emissions, but cannot absorb much more, meaning that loss of ocean plant life and absorption capacity will trigger a faster rise in global warming over land masses. 

The disintegration of the Arctic ocean icepack reflects the rapid rate of melting the Arctic is undergoing due to increased greenhouse gas emissions of carbon dioxide - a gas that is rapidly acidifying the ocean and threatening marine species.

The Arctic Ocean could absorb 20 per cent more carbon than previously predicted before the end of the century, according to a recent study. 

It’s a jump that could result in even more acidification, jeopardizing marine wildlife.

About 7.5 billion tonnes of carbon was projected to be absorbed by the Arctic Ocean in previous estimates, said Jens Terhaar, the lead author of the research paper, released this month in the journal Nature. The new study — a joint undertaking between the University of Bern in Switzerland and École normale supérieure in Paris — found that this number is actually 1.5 billion tonnes higher (under what’s commonly known as the ‘business as usual' or RCP8.5 high emissions scenario), reaching 9 billion tonnes of carbon absorbed by 2100. ...

While the Arctic Ocean represents 1 per cent of global seawater, it’s by far the most vulnerable to a changing climate, Terhaar said. “That’s mainly just because it’s very cold and colder water holds more carbon.” ...

Researchers used 11 existing climate models to predict future ocean acidification based on a correlation they found between acidity and sea surface density (how dense seawater is changes with temperature and salinity). 

The Arctic, in general, will bear the most severe effects of climate change, the study says. By the end of the century, surface temperatures in the region could increase by up to a range of 6.4 and 10.2 C and sea ice will continue to diminish. ...

As the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases, the planet warms and more of that carbon dioxide is dissolved in the surface of the ocean. The increase of dissolved carbon in the ocean decreases the ocean’s pH and also decreases the concentration of carbonate ion — a key component in the calcium carbonate used in the shells and skeletons of calcifying organisms. These conditions produce water that will corrode shells, which a slew of marine organisms depend on to shore up their only line of defence against predators. ...

These creatures can adapt to aggressive changes to a degree, Terhaar said, but if acidification gets more pronounced, they simply won’t be able to keep up. He pointed to U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association laboratory tests that show the shell of the sea butterfly can almost completely disappear over a 45-day period when submerged in sea water with pH and carbonate levels projected for the year 2100. ...

“All of these organisms may have a harder time surviving because the acidification is too strong there,” Terhaar said, adding that the concentration of carbonate ions will decrease by 50 per cent in this mesopelagic zone over the 21st century due to acidification. (Across all depths in the Arctic Ocean, that number will decrease by an average of 32 per cent over the same timeframe.)

The Arctic Ocean is relatively shallow, making these sources of food easy pickings. If overfeeding occurs, there could be nothing left for marine mammals to eat, Terhaar said. ...

Terhaar said more research on ocean acidification is also needed in the Southern Ocean around Antarctica, but that’s a wholly different environment, requiring a lot of preliminary work to study the ocean system there and how it might store carbon. “Personally, I just turned my attention to the Southern Ocean, maybe others are very close to publishing interesting research.” ...

“Our oceans have been taking up an incredible amount of our carbon dioxide. They’ve just been absorbing, absorbing, absorbing,” she said. “The oceans have been mitigating this for us, but now they can’t absorb anymore without massively changing.”

She said while a lot of attention has been paid to increasing protection for terrestrial environments, the same doesn’t hold true for the oceans.

Marine ecosystems, including seagrass meadows, kelp forests and marshes, are essential for sequestering what is known as “blue carbon.” According to the Blue Carbon Initiative, “seagrasses cover less than 0.2 per cent of ocean floor, but store about 10 per cent of the carbon buried in the oceans each year.” Yet, “seagrasses are being lost at a rate of 1.5 per cent per year and have lost approximately 30 per cent of historical global coverage.”

“Let’s make sure we’re preserving kelp forests and eelgrass beds and marine mammal populations and fish populations,” Fuller said, adding that this study shows ocean acidification is going from bad to worse. “We think about the terrestrial environment because we can see it. I don’t think Canada has really started to think how that can be done in the marine environment.”


Climate change is one of the driving forces that has and will increase the incidence of pandemics according to a new UN report. 

Land degradation, wildlife exploitation, intensive farming and climate change are driving the rise in diseases that, like the novel coronavirus, are passed from animals to humans, United Nations experts said on Monday.

The UN Environment Program (UNEP) and International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) released the report in which they jointly identified seven trends responsible for such diseases, known as zoonotic, calling on governments to take steps to stop future pandemics.

These are: rising demand for animal protein, extraction of natural resources and urbanization, intensive and unsustainable farming, exploitation of wildlife, increased travel and transportation, food supply changes and climate change, the report said.

"The science is clear that if we keep exploiting wildlife and destroying our ecosystems, then we can expect to see a steady stream of these diseases jumping from animals to humans in the years ahead," said UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen.

"Pandemics are devastating to our lives and our economies, and as we have seen over the past months, it is the poorest and the most vulnerable who suffer the most.

"To prevent future outbreaks, we must become much more deliberate about protecting our natural environment." ...

About 60 per cent of known infectious diseases in humans and 75 per cent of all emerging infectious diseases are zoonotic, she said, largely due to the increased interaction between humans, animals and the environment.

Most efforts to control zoonotic diseases have been reactive rather than proactive, say experts.

They want governments to invest in public health, farm sustainability, end over-exploitation of wildlife and reduce climate change.