Canada and global warming: a state of denial

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CounterPunch Radio: Robert Hunziker

"This week Eric welcomes back journalist and CounterPunch contributor Robert Hunziker to discover his recent articles on Greenland and sea levels rise. Hunziker explains how a recent Artic heat-wave paints a terrifying picture of our climate change future."


TRNN: California Releases Misleading Greenhouse Emissions Report

"California has released its annual greenhouse gas inventory, with the numbers praised by Governor Gavin Newsome. But emissions are up in nearly every category..."

Dem super-majority in Sacramento.


Keiser Report: If You Can't Stand The Heat...(Ep 1431)

"Temperatures are rising, sea-levels are rising, but there's a couple of great trades on the table..."


During German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas's visit to Canada's Arctic in August, he expressed more alarm about how rapidly climate change is changing Arctic conditions and creating global problems than Canada's own Liberal government while US Trump acolytes continue their climate change denials as temperatues in the far Arctic hit the 20s Celsius. 

Visiting Canada's melting Arctic, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has said Europe had an "extraordinary" task to slash fossil fuel emissions. If it didn't, climate warming would rob polar regions of more ice cover. ...

Last May, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stumped an Arctic Council summit in Finland by welcoming "steady reductions in sea ice" that he said would open "new opportunities for trade" via the Arctic by shortening voyages. His demurral led to the failure of the eight-nation council, which includes Canada, Russia and Norway, to issue a final statement on climate change as a serious threat — likely to have included a warning that the Arctic's Barents Sea was nearing a "tipping point" as waters turn warmer. ...

Germany is among 13 nations with only observer status at such biannual meetings of the eight immediate neighbors of the Arctic, where temperatures are rising two or three times faster than the world average. ...

Maas, first making a stopover at Iqaluit (pictured above), the main town on Canada's Baffin Island, told reporters that its 7,000 inhabitants — half Inuit — themselves had "no chance" to stop the melting of the ice in their local Frobisher Bay.

"That is our responsibility — and to witness that here and focus on it — is extraordinarily  important," said the German minister.  Warming in the bay had become all too evident, said host Iqaluit hotel manager Stephen Sullivan. "We've had a really warm summer period ... 18 to 22 degrees Celsius (64 to 71 degrees Fahrenheit) here. And that's not normal."  On Thursday Maas was due to fly 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) across the vast island to the settlement of Pond Inlet to witness more of the ecological impact on Canada's Nunavut territory.

Visiting the Nunavut Research Institute (NRI) at Iqaluit Wednesday, Maas was told by lead scientist Mary Ellen Thomas that the disappearance of sea ice in the bay had deprived families of traditional transport routes and hunting grounds for fish and seals.

German ethnologist Torsten Diesel, at NRI for the past six years, said the sea ice cover had become increasingly "dangerous" because of strong currents and tides. "One can drive over the ice in the morning, but by the afternoon an open water gap has emerged. Every year we lose hunters who venture onto the ice," Diesel told German public Deutschlandfunk (DLF) radio. ...

The location's ice loss showed that climate change was "no theoretical discussion" and made clear what would happen "if we don't change our behavior," Maas said, referring to fossil fuel reductions promised by nations at the 2015 UN summit in Paris.

Professor Markus Rex, head of Atmospheric Physics at Germany's Alfred Wegener polar and oceanic institute (AWI), said he often experienced Arctic visitors such as Maas transformed by encountering the changes firsthand.

"They come back [thinking] differently compared to when they set out."



September 20-27 will be a week of student strikes for climate action around the world. 

There are already 3,395 student strikes for climate action scheduled globally for the Sept. 20-27th. The following map shows their location on every continent, including Antarctica.


This set of student strikes is expected to exceed the 1.5 million student strikers for climate action that occurred on March 15th. 

The global mass day of action will take place on Friday 20 September, three days before the United Nations climate summit in New York.

It follows strikes in March this year in which 150,000 people marched in Australia and 1.5 million took part worldwide.

Organisers expect next week’s global strikes will be bigger and, this time there will be a much stronger presence from unions, workers and companies that have signed up to strike in solidarity with the young activists.

Here’s a guide to what’s happening.

Where will the strikes take place?

Strikes are planned in 120 countries across the world including almost 100 locations across Australia. ...

“This massive day of action is going to be fundamental towards advocating for more efficient action on climate change,” Evan Meneses, a 17-year-old organiser for the Adelaide strike, said. He said this was especially the case for Australia “given there is very little concrete evidence to suggest we’re achieving what was laid out in the Paris agreement”. There’s something that really connects with people when people as young as eight or 13 are advocating for action on the climate crisis because people that young are not the ones who should be having to [do so].”



Aware that Montreal has been one of the world's strongest cities in supporting Student Strikes for Climate Action, Greta Thunberg, the autistic 15 year old girl who started what started a global movement in August 218 by protesting outside Swedish Parliament alone about political inaction on climate change (, has agreed to attend Montreal's student strike on September 27th.

"The young activist has previously expressed support for activism in Montreal during the 'student strike' demonstrations back on March 15. "The Montreal march was one of the largest demonstrations in the world during the Friday for the Future Global Walkout, with more than 150,000 students taking part. " (

Quebec Solidaire co-leader Mannon Massé has asked that Thunberg be allowed to speak to Quebec's National Assembly, although the Speaker has not ruled on the issue. 

Climate change is now the number three issue in the 2019 Canadian election campaign 29%, behind only the cost of living at 35% and  health care at 34%, according to an Abacus poll this month. (

16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg holds a placard reading "School strike for the climate" during a manifestation against climate change outside the Swedish parliament in Stockholm, Sweden November 30, 2018.

Young activist Greta Thunberg says she is coming to Montreal. The Swedish 16-year-old is set to attend a scheduled climate protest on Sept. 27 to call on governments to take concrete action to combat climate change.  ...

Thunberg had praised Montreal on social media for its large-scale turnout in the previous global demonstration back in March. ...

Thunberg has made headlines around the world by sailing across the Atlantic Ocean in a zero-emissions sailboat to attend the United Nations climate summit on Sept. 23 in New York. 

Manon Massé, co-head of second opposition party Québec solidaire, has already asked that the activist be formally invited to address elected officials in the National Assembly.  The speaker, François Paradis, will have to decide on the issue. "Greta, Montreal and I are waiting for you with open arms," Massé said on Twitter Sunday evening.


Quebec climate action group La Planète s’invite au Parlement has invited Thunberg to attend the Montreal event on Sept. 27 that will encourage people to walk out of work and school to march for the environmental cause. ...

“She is one of the loudest voices we have to call attention to the degrading environmental condition and emergency we have on the planet,” said Clarkson. ... “(Thunberg) represents simple plain common sense that only a young person that hasn’t been disciplined enough to tow the line can bring,” said Clarkson.



Here is more information on the September 20 -27th student strikes in Canada and the rest of the world. 

September Strike Map of locations in Canada are shown on the map at the url below

If you don't see your strike on the map yet. Fill out this Google Form with your strike details and we will add it to the map.

September 20th

Students around the world will be striking from school. Many local Climate Strike Canada groups will be holding coordinated die-ins at 12pm PST/3pm EST. Some smaller groups will be having their main September strike on the 20th. 

September 21st-26th

Many cities across Canada will be holding daily actions to keep up the momentum throughout the week. 

September 27th

Students all across Canada will strike from school for the climate. This strike will be similar to previous ones on May 3rd and March 15th, only on a much larger scale. We will be joined by adults participating in a general #EarthStrike around the world. 

Who is welcome?

EVERYONE!! Though the September strikes will be organized and led by students, we welcome everyone to our movement. Find a strike near you and join us in demanding climate action before it’s too late. The September 27th strike will feed into the Canadian election rhetoric, and will incentivize political candidates to step up, and make the climate crisis the foremost issue in this election. Visit our contact page to get involved in planning one of the largest nation-wide protests in Canadian history, or click here to find an activist group in your area.


New climate change models are predicting a 6.5 t0 7.0 degree Celsius rise by 2100 by taking in recent climate information, much more than earlier models that predicted a 3 to 4 degree Celsius rise. While all models are based on assumptions, there is some evidence that such a temperature rise could trigger a further temperture rise through the release of methane, which has at least 30 times the warming effect of carbon dioxide, from the deep ocean, thereby raising the temperature ten degrees Celsius above today's temperature. Such a temperature rise was responsible for the greatest mass extinction at the end of the Permian period when "up to 96% of all marine species[6][7] and 70% of terrestrial vertebrate species becoming extinct.[8] It was the largest known mass extinction of insects. Some 57% of all biological families and 83% of all genera became extinct. Because so much biodiversity was lost, the recovery of land-dwelling life took significantly longer than after any other extinction event,[6] possibly up to 10 million years." (–Triassic_extinction_event)

New climate models unveiled by French researchers Tuesday showed Earth's average temperature could rise a "terrifying" 6.5-7.0°C above pre-industrial levels by the end of the century if dramatic action is not immediately taken to slash carbon emissions.

The findings, presented at a press conference in Paris, suggest the planet may be warming significantly faster than scientists previously believed as the world's major economies continue to burn fossil fuels at unsustainable rates.

"Unfortunately, our global failure to implement meaningful action on climate change over recent decades has put us in a situation where what we need to do to keep warming to safe levels is extremely simple," Joeri Rogelj, an associate professor at Imperial College London, told AFP. "Global greenhouse gas emissions need to decline today rather than tomorrow, and global CO2 emissions should be brought to net zero."

The new models are expected to form part of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Sixth Assessment Report, which is set to be published in 2021. The IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report, published in 2014, presented a worst-case scenario of five degrees Celsius of warming by the end of the century.

Olivier Boucher, head of the Institute Pierre Simon Laplace Climate Modeling Center in Paris, which developed one of the new models, said the latest data provide a better look at where the climate is heading without drastic changes to global energy production.

"We have better models now," Boucher told AFP on Tuesday. "They have better resolution, and they represent current climate trends more accurately."

Bloomberg reported that just "one of the updated climate models used by the researchers allowed for the global temperature increase to remain below 2°C by the end of the century." That model assumed global carbon neutrality by 2060.

The worst-case scenario of 6.5-7.0°C of warming assumed continued economic expansion driven by growth of fossil fuel production.

The IPCC warned last year that even limiting planetary warming to 1.5°C by the end of the century, the goal of the Paris Climate Agreement, would not prevent many of the disastrous effects of the climate crisis. Warming of 6.5-7.0°C would be catastrophic.

"Higher warming would allow less time to adapt and mean a greater likelihood of passing climate 'tipping points' such as thawing of permafrost, which would further accelerate warming," said Boucher.

In an email to Common Dreams, Penn State University climate scientist Michael E. Mann sounded a note of caution about the dire scenarios predicted by the new models.

"Some earlier versions of the models appeared to underestimate climate sensitivity somewhat," said Mann, "and I suspect that some of these more recent versions are actually over-estimating it a bit."

"I suspect, when all is said and done, we're probably looking at something in the range of 3-4°C and no higher, at least for near-term warming," Mann added. "If we allow the warm[ing] to persist for centuries, then other long-term positive feedbacks (vicious cycles) could kick in, giving us substantially more warming."



A Mustel Group poll, done in partnership with the PR firm Fleishmann Hillard Highroad and sponsored by the Vancouver Board of Trade, of Metro Vancouver residents and business owners released in the Vancouver Sun today was designed to suggest to voters that they can have their cake and eat it too when it comes to global warming and the economy. While "Almost half of Metro voters (49%) listed the environment as the top issue",  other questions suggested, no doubt with the helpful design of the PR firm, that voters could be " in favour of continued oil-and-gas development, so long as companies “(invest) in strategies to transition” to renewable energy."

This is the Liberal strategy that promises transition to a renewable energy economy while buying and building new pipelines, subsidizing fossil fuel companies and expanding tar sands production, after advertising themselves as the climate change party in the 2015 election and then adapting Harper's greenhouse gas emssion targets.

The problem is that thousands of scientists through the United Nations Intergovermental Panel on Climate Change warned us last year that we have twelve years left to deal effectively to the catastrophic threat of climate change by making a making a major shift away from fossil fuels to renewable green energy, not by producing more of it in a different form. We are now three months away from having ten years to accomplish this on a global basis and the federal Liberals and Conservatives are still talking expansion of the fossil fuel industry, aided and abetted by pollsters and PR firms. In the same article, North Vancouver Liberal candidate and Abbotsford Conservative MP Ed Fast enthusiastically defend this approach, expecting to win votes by reassuring voters that they can both the "planet and profits" from the fossil fuel industry. They are helped in this by theAnna Lilly, senior vice-president at Fleishman Hillard, PR representative, reassuringly saying “Is it really planet versus pocketbook here? I don’t think so,”. How reassuring! It gives politicians a convenient message to sell!

On the other hand, NDP New Westminster MP Peter Julian recognizes the need a "a 50-per-cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions within 10 years" while creating 300,000 renewable energy jobs. 

As the last post describes, new climate change models based on the latest information available, suggest that we could be heading for a 6.5 to 7 degree celsius rise in temperature instead of the previously average expected rise of 3 to 4 degrees by 2100, something that could generate a mass extinction similiar to the worst of them all at the end of the Permian period.

For most politicians it's please don't rush us on this issue. 

Almost half (49 per cent) of Metro residents listed the environment as the top issue that would sway their vote, followed by the economy at 27 per cent and affordability at 21, in the poll conducted by the Evi Mustel Group, in partnership with PR firm FleishmanHillard Highroad.

Yet, for board-of-trade members surveyed as part of the VoteLocal initiative, the economy led concerns for 45 per cent of respondents followed by the environment at 37 per cent and affordability again at 21 per cent.

“Is it really planet versus pocketbook here? I don’t think so,” said Anna Lilly, senior vice-president at FleishmanHillard in releasing the results with Mustel Group principal Evi Mustel at a board-of-trade event. “I think voters are telling us they want to hear from the parties about these three issues,” which Lilly said are “the driving forces of public opinion going into a campaign.” ...

The survey results also gave the parties considerable leeway, considering that while respondents listed climate change as a top concern, they were also in favour of continued oil-and-gas development, so long as companies “(invest) in strategies to transition” to renewable energy. Some 53 per cent of respondents in the general population and 69 per cent of board members held that position.

Liberal Jonathan Wilkinson keyed in on the concept of energy transition in his response arguing that the government’s climate plan, which the party is running on in the election, is that “thoughtful transition.” That included signing the Paris climate agreement in 2015, a plan to phase out coal power, invest in electric-vehicle infrastructure, transit and “put a price on pollution,” otherwise known as a carbon tax. ...

Parties “must have an aggressive, but thoughtful, plan to fight climate change while ensuring Canada’s continuing economic prosperity,” said Wilkinson, who is running to retain his North Vancouver riding.

Conservative candidate Ed Fast, a former international trade minister in Stephen Harper’s government, also linked to respondents’ views about being comfortable with resource development, leaning less on the concept of transition. ...

The Conservatives’ first step would be to cancel the Liberal government’s carbon-pricing regime, then repeal its revisions to environmental assessment legislation. Their plan relies heavily on incentives for large carbon-dioxide emitters to invest in reducing emissions or carbon-capture technology. At the same time, Fast said Canada is “perfectly positioned” to help other countries displace dirtier fuels with cleaner fuels such as natural gas recognizing “climate change is a global challenge that requires a global response.”

The NDP’s Peter Julian, MP for New Westminster-Burnaby running for the job again, said a faster transition away from fossil fuels is necessary, regardless of the public’s thoughts on the topic. “It is a climate crisis and people are looking for leadership,” Julian said, which he says his party’s plan delivers on with a 50-per-cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions within 10 years.


To remind us of how successful the Liberals have been in selling the message of we can expand fossil fuel production while reducing Canada's greenhouse gas emissions let's look at their record on this. It's just as good as their record on childcare, which they ran on in the 1993, 1997, 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2011, and 2015. Their record on childcare has been so great that they are running on it again, promising to create 250,000 urgently needed childcare spaces. What great salesmen. 

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.” (

The Liberals were deeply involved in negotiating the 1997 Kyoto Accord agreeing that "Canada's Kyoto target was a 6% total reduction by 2012 compared to 1990 levels of 461 Megatonnes (Mt)". Instead the 1997 emissions of 671 Mt during the year of the signing of the Kyoto Accord had risen to 747 Mt in 2005, the last full year of a Liberal government before the Conservatives took over. This was 33% above the 1997 Liberal Kyoto target. (

The Liberals declared a climate emergency yesterday and then announced today the tripling of the Trans Mountain pipeline to carry bitumen to the coast bringing about a massive expansion of the fossil fuel production. Trudeau won the understatement of the year award today when he said "Not everyone will agree with this".  

Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna called climate change a “real and urgent crisis, driven by human activity,” requiring the government to make deep emissions reductions to meet its Paris commitments. The Liberals have failed previously failed to meet their greenhouse gas reduction goals of 1992, 1997, and 2005.

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 concluded "Canada is not on track to hit its 2030 target,". These targets were actually those of the Conservative Harper government. (

Eugene Kung, lawyer with West Coast Environmental Law, and lead on the First Nations case against the pipeline commented on Trudeau's announcement that profits from the pipeline would be used to promote green energy: "That’s like saying we need to keep selling cigarettes to have money to fight cancer". Former Liberal Environment minister point out "There is no credible evidence to suggest that Asia is likely to be a reliable or a significant market for Alberta bitumen". (

By the way "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 solution: declare a national climate emergency and immediately announce more pipeline and fossil fuel production. The announcement of the Trudeau Liberal go-ahead on the Trans Mountain pipeline came one day after it also declared a national climate change emergency as Alberta wildfires continued to grow and force more people out of their homes. Those forced from their homes are often indigenous people, since many of their communities are in boreal forest regions, where the risk of such fires is greatest as a warmer, drier regional climate greatly increases the wildfire risk.

Then the Liberals built a campaign around promising to deal with climate change.

Does anybody see a pattern here?


Continued here.


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