Canada and global warming: a state of denial

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In Europe this month, extremely high temperatures over 45 degrees Celsius associated with global warming contributed to health emergencies, intense forest fires, the closing of nuclear reactors, tornadoes and loss of lives. ...

Portugal: The mercury was expected to climb to 45C in some parts of Portugal on Sunday, but would not go above the 46.8C recorded the day before in Alvega, 93 miles north of Lisbon, the Portuguese Institute for Sea and Atmosphere said. ...  However a forest fire continued to rage on two fronts in Monchique in the country’s south on Sunday. Nearly 780 firefighters, supported by 200 vehicles and 10 water-dropping planes and helicopters were working to put it out, the civil protection agency said.

Spain:  A top of 42C was forecast in the southwest region of Extremadura on Sunday, where a wildfire in San Vicente de Alcantara has been brought under control by firefighters, the local fire service said. The mercury had reached 44C in the country’s south on Saturday, the Spanish Meteorological Agency said. The rise in temperatures has already claimed the lives of three people who died of heatstroke this week.

France:  In France, 67 out of 101 departments were on heatwave alert with temperatures in the south of the country expected to again peak near 40C. Saturday was the hottest day in the country since the infamous heatwave of 2003, in which thousands of people died, many of them elderly people living on their own. ...  Four nuclear reactors remained closed Sunday over the blazing temperatures. Power company EDF said the measures were taken to avoid temperature hikes in rivers from which water is drawn to cool the reactors.







In Australia, the high temperatures and drought associated with climate change are already having severe effects on farming, as illustrated by the loss of cattle in the article below and in the death of half of the coral in the 2,300 km long Great Barrier Reef.  Sadly the Australian government continues on as if nothing is wrong. 

Australia is one of the most vulnerable nations to climate change due to its hot, dry climate and is already gripped by drought.

Eric Crosby, a farmer from Queensland in north-eastern Australia, has experienced a severe drought around his reservoir the past years. He normally runs 1500 head of mixed cattle, but due to the climate conditions he’s now down to 200 head. His reservoir is as dry as ever, and if the drought continues he may be forced to put down the last of his remaining livestock.  Eric has no doubt that the continuous drought is heavily related to the global climate change.” ...

Due to a massive amount of heat stress, the Great Barrier Reef suffered unprecedented mass bleaching events in 2016 and 2017, which are believed to have killed half the corals. Despite the alarming conditions, the Australian government is on a path that will keep causing serious damage to the Great Barrier Reef – and eventually destroy it.

Australia continues to mine for fossil fuels as if nothing is wrong. In fact, Australia is now overtaking Indonesia as the world’s biggest exporter of coal.



"Communities are still recovering from British Columbia's worst wildfire season on record, one year after a fateful two-day period in July 2017 that sparked more than 100 fires and prompted the province to declare a state of emergency." ...

In 2017, the Cache Creek fire "was the beginning of a devastating wildfire season that ultimately forced 65,000 people from their homes, burned a record-setting 12,000 square kilometres of land and kept the province under a state of emergency for 10 weeks." (

However, 2018 is already ranked the fourth largest in terms of hectares burned in BC history since records started being kept in 1950 and August-September are usually the worst months of the fire season. Already 3,050 people have been evacuated due to wildfires and 18,720 are on evacuation alert in just BC. (

The wildfires have already burned an area larger than Metro Vancouver and resulted in the Minister of Public Safety, Mike Farnsworth, declaring a state of emergency. There are 3,372 firefighters, including many firefighters from the US, Mexico and Australia, working on the firea. However, this is not enough, so the federal government is sending troops, planes and helicopters to help deal with this severe wildfire season. (

Experts note that the number of wildfires in Canada annually has doubled since 1970 due to climate change. So what is happening in BC fits the pattern and offers an explanation for why it is likely to get worse in future years.  

Mike Flannigan of the University of Alberta of the Department of Renewable Resources has been studying wildfires and the boreal forest for 30 years. He says the number of fires across Canada has doubled since 1970. 

But what is at least as worrying is that experts are now saying the fires themselves are part of a feedback loop. The fires are pumping thousands of tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere which increases heat absorbtion and global warming, which in turn changes the climate.

As the north warms more quickly, the temperature difference between southern and northern lattitues which drives the jet stream is lessened. This slows the jet stream meaning weather patterns stagnate,  leading to severe flooding in some areas and severe drought in others.

According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA) literally thousands of heat records have been broken in places around the world this year.

Quoted by news agencies he says “My colleagues and I, attribute this to, and I can’t be any more clear on this, human-caused climate change”.


Smoke from the wildfires in BC are affecting people's health over a wide area and not just in the immediate vicinity of the fires. It is affecting people in all of BC and even in Alberta. In fact pictures from space show the smoke spreading over a substantial part of Saskatchewan. 

The Edmonton Eskimos football team has already moved two practices inside this week because of concern over the particulate matter from BC wildfires in the smoke causing harm to players exerting themselves outdoors. Whether a game against Montreal tomorrow is played will be a game-time decision based on the air quality. Thus, even athletes, often considered the healthiest people, can be affected by the extensive wildfires that are increasing in both number and intensity due to global warming. (

In Metro Vancouver

The smoke has drifted in from the hundreds of wildfires burning across the province, fires that caused the provincial government to declare a state of emergency on Wednesday. The fine particulate matter from the wildfires is causing the haze over much of the province and is the reason for the air quality advisory for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley and a smoke bulletin for virtually the rest of the province. ...

Dr. James Lu, a medical health officer for Vancouver Coastal Health, said the poor air quality can affect the elderly, young children and those with heart or lung disease or diabetes more than the average healthy adult. He said people who are vulnerable or even healthy people with symptoms, such as shortness of breath, a chest tightness, itchy eyes or coughing, should reduce or reschedule outdoor activities.


Here is an interactive map of BC that makes me almost cry. But I guess I have nothing to fear from climate chaos because building a pipeline to ship tar sands gunk is the best way to save the planet.


Saying Goodbye to Planet Earth   -   by Chris Hedges

"...There is, Frank warned, a tipping point when the biosphere becomes so degraded no human activity will halt runaway climate change.

It gets hotter. The fact that it gets hotter makes it even hotter. Which makes it even hotter. That's what would happen in the collapse model..."


Thanks for the map of BC wildfires Kroptkin. 

Climate change is already impacting and will continue to impact the province is a major way. Two of the historically most important industries and still major contributors to BC's economy are already suffering severely as a result of climate change and are expected to face even more economic damage.

A 2016 study in the  International Journal of Forest Research  concluded:

the future provincial economic impacts of the MPB (Mountain Pine Beetle) infestation in a dynamic computable general equilibrium (CGE) model, by examining the effects of the reduction in timber supply from BC forests over the 2009–2054 period. Results suggest that there will be a cumulative present value loss of $57.37 billion (or 1.34 per cent) in GDP and a $90 billion decline in welfare (compensating variation) from 2009 to 2054 in BC.


The BC fisheries, which is also vital part of First Nations culture and economy, has and will continue to be hit by climate change. A study by the University of British Columbia Fisheries Economic Research Unit concluded: 

  • Ocean physics and chemistry is being affected significantly by carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, impacting key marine and coastal organisms, ecosystems and the services they provide us, including seafood.

  • These impacts will occur across all latitudes, including in the waters of British Columbia and Canada.i This will have direct impacts on the fish species that are consumed by residents of B.C.

  • The supply of B.C.’s “staple seafood” species such as Pacific salmon (e.g., sockeye and chum), Pacific halibut, groundfish species (e.g. sablefish), Pacific hake, crabs and prawns will be affected.

  • This study predicts that by 2050:

  -We could see a 21-per-cent decline in sockeye, a 10-per-cent decline in chum, and a 15-per-cent decline in sablefish  stocks.

 -Prices of iconic West Coast species such as sockeye, chum and sablefish are projected to increase by up to $1.33, $0.77 and $0.64 per pound for sockeye, chum and sablefish, respectively, under climate change
scenario alone.

 -Climate change will add pressure on already skyrocketing prices, contributing to an increase of more than 70 per cent in the price per pound in 2015 dollars of B.C.’s iconic species such as sockeye and chum salmon.

 -For the 10 staple seafood species of British Columbia, the net change in price attributable to climate change could cost British Columbians up to $110 million a year in 2015 dollars.

  • To begin to solve the problem, federal and provincial governments and private actors (businesses, NGOs and individuals) need to work together to make rapid reductions in CO2 emissions and eventually atmospheric CO2 drawdown, and instate other measures to protect ocean health.

  • Without action, there will be massive and mostly irreversible impacts of climate change on ocean ecosystems and the fish they provide.


The tourism, resource, and green energy industries are being hit right now by the extensive wildfires around BC whose number and effects have been magnified by climate change.

Wildfires that have destroyed thousands of hectares of trees and filled the sky with thick smoke have put companies in B.C.’s resource and tourism industries on high alert.

“Our main industry is really tourism, you know, mountain biking and hiking,” said Scott Sommerville, chief administrative officer at Kimberley, which issued an evacuation alert late Thursday that remained in place on Friday afternoon. ...

The city recently signed a letter of intent to sell the one-megawatt-capacity SunMine power plant to Teck Resources Ltd., the mining company that owns the retired mine on which it was built three years ago. The deal is to go to a referendum in October during the municipal election. The project, B.C.’s largest solar power plant, was supposed to generate profits for the municipality but last year heavy smoke from fires meant it barely broke even and the results are expected to be the same this year given this summer’s smoky conditions, Sommerville said. ...

“There are areas that are obviously curtailed for harvesting (wood) because of the wildfire conditions,” said B.C. Forests Minister Doug Donaldson during the same call. “At this point we haven’t seen any curtailments as a direct result of the fire, in mills, but if the fire season persists, we likely will see an impact on log supply until we can make it safe to get back into the woods again.” ...

Vancouver-based Conifex Timber announced on Thursday that it was temporarily shutting down operations at its mill in Fort St. James, B.C., due to an anticipated evacuation order. In a post on its website, Vancouver-based West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. says it will keep its B.C. lumber, pulp and panel manufacturing mills operating as long as it is safe, but advises employees to make sure their supervisors have up-to-date contact information in case they have to evacuate.



Even more important is the danger to life and health represented by the high temperatures and BC wildfires as we have already seen in Quebec and Greece in the last month. Nothern Scandanavia is suffering from heat conditions that have never been seen in the area. 

Climate change can be deadly if you live alone

Friday, August 3, 2018, 10:43 AM - Cities around the globe felt record-breaking, red-hot temperatures this July: In the United States, Scotland, Ireland, Norway, Algeria, Georgia, Armenia, Russia, Oman and China, the thermostat reached all-time highs.

In the Canadian province of Quebec, a weeklong heatwave was linked to 74 deaths (later reports put the death toll from the heatwave at 93), making it the province’s second deadliest period of extreme heat since the summer of 2010. At the peak of the heatwave, on Tuesday, July 3, 2018, Montréal recorded its highest temperature in history (36.6 C) and posted its most extreme midnight combination of heat and humidity. The stifling temperatures continued for most of the week.

Wildfires that in California have taken six lives and in Greece 91 in the last month are related to climate change.  Within the Arctic Circle, northern Scandanavia is facing wildfires, people suffering from heat stroke, and crop damage from high temperatures. 

Wildfires are angrily raging throughout the world, in both places that have become synonymous with them and regions that have never seen a fire rip through before and where people can’t fathom how to fight the flames tearing through acres of land.

The fires are capitalizing on a triple threat of searing heat, jet streams that are tamping down on pressure, and a lack of rain that have made landscapes so dry they transform into flames almost instantaneously. The jet stream, in particular, is acting up, looping toward the pools with high pressure “ridges” but plummeting around the equator with low pressure troughs. That, combined with the unprecedented heat brought by climate change, make for prime wildfire weather. ...

But how do we know it’s climate change? On Friday, the World Weather Attribution Project released a damning report that argued the sizzling heat and wildfires burning the planet are anthropogenic—human caused, no doubt about it. The pressure systems have a hand, sure, but the heat waves in Europe, a continent that has rarely seen temperatures climb into the hundreds, are about to become a norm. There’s no way to sugarcoat it: Climate change is here, and we are living in its burning embers. ...

In Sweden and neighboring Finland and Norway—regions within the Arctic Circle whose summers are normally characterized by temperate reprieves from bitter winters, with temperatures hovering around 70 degrees and marked by pleasant, idyllic pressure and moisture levels—the heat wave has been so devastating that emergency officials don’t know how to handle the fires cropping up, the people passing out from dehydration, the sheer strength of the heat on withering crops.


The following picture shows the impact of the BC Shovel Lake fire in a picture taken just before 4 PM in the afternoon. The skies are darker than at midnight. The picture was taken 30 Km from the fire. The article includes a video of the driver heading down the road under these conditions.

Think about the effect of breathing the particulate matter under these conditions. 


    The smoke from the Shovel Lake fire, west of Fort St. James and Vanderhoof, was so heavy that the skies over Hwy. 27    were darker than midnight on Tuesday afternoon. KIFF WOOLNOUGH /  PNG

After finishing up work for the day just before 4 p.m. he was driving south when the skies started to fill again with smoke.

A black, thick smoke, blown east from the massive Shovel Lake fire, burning about 30 kilometres away. About halfway between the two communities, the smoke got so thick, Woolnough said it was darker than midnight. “I’ve never seen anything like that,” he said. “It was so black…you couldn’t see into the bush, to see if there were maybe some animals coming.”



Wildfires Canada Games Plaza 08-16-2018.jpg

Smoke from wildfires in north-central B.C. turned day into night Friday morning. An eerie twilight remained over downtown Prince George at 10 a.m. Friday.- CANADIAN PRESS PHOTO BY DARRYL DYCK

The title of the following article which accompanies the above picture is "High Anxiety in B.C.'s North as Wildfires Continue to Burn".

On CBC News Network, Prince George Mayor Lyn Hall said that because of the widespread wildfires in BC last year, Prince George, which took in many of the 65,000 who had to evacuate their communities in 2017, prepared a plan to deal with the expected wildfires this year, and will be drawing up a similar plan for 2019 after this fire season. Why? Because in his words "This is the new normal".  

This echoes what BC Premier when she blames the wildfires on climate change, hardly known as a climate change activist, said in 2015 following wildfires threatening Kelowna, her home riding. (


Sadly a lot of people continue to deny climate change and its effects. 

Earlier I stated that BC wildfire smoke had extended into Alberta and Saskatchewan. It has since entered Manitoba and northern Ontario

Smoke from western wildfires is present in the Thunder Bay area, though the impact air quality is expected to be less than south of the border where advisories have been issued. Forest fires, which are raging throughout British Columbia, are sending blankets of smoke into the atmosphere which is spreading east across North America.

I also mentioned earlier that the Edmonton Eskimos football team had moved its practices inside twice last week because of particulate matter from BC wildfires and that team was considering cancelling the game on Saturday. While the game did go ahead because winds helped reduce the amount of smoke, cycling races in both Edmonton and Calgary were cancelled because the smoke was considered a risk to cyclist's health because of the high rate of breathing involved. If athletes, typically the healthiest people can be at risk, what about children, elderly and those with breathing problems?  The following videos shows pictures of the wildfire conditions in Edmonton and predicts the smoke from BC wildfires will spread as far as Atlantic Canada. (


Vancouver, which has the advantage of westerly winds from the ocean blowing the wildfire smoke, still has a high air quality high risk advisory of 8 to 10+ (10 is the top of the scale).

Anglers on the banks of the Fraser River near Agassiz as wildfire smoke blankets the Fraser Valley on Monday morning. (Gian-Paolo Mendoza/CBC)

More smoky, hazy air is expected to blanket much of the province today as nearly 600 wildfires continue to rage across British Columbia.

Metro Vancouver announced Sunday it would continue a previous air quality advisory because of the high levels of fine particulate matter, which doctors say can be absorbed into the blood stream and lungs, causing exhaustion and confusion.

Monday's forecast for air quality health risk in Metro Vancouver ranges from an 8 to a 10+, which is the highest rating on Environment Canada's scale. 

CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe says the smoke has suppressed temperatures across B.C. by five to seven degrees, but the fire danger is still high to extreme. 

Wildfire smoke blankets downtown Vancouver on Monday morning. (Jodie Martinson/CBC)

"High pressure is shifting slightly today and the flow is actually directing the smoke from east to west toward the South Coast today and tomorrow for very low visibility," Wagstaffe said. 


CBC News Network is now reporting that more than 6,000 people have been evacuated from their homes in BC because of the wildfires and that firefighting aircraft have been grounded for safety reasons because of the smoke.  Airline flights are also being cancelled because of the smoke

August 19

Smoke billows over the northern shoreline of Nadina Lake, B.C., captured in a photo by a helicopter pilot who has been working on the fires in the area. (Dylan De La Mare)

Flights at several airports in B.C.'s Interior and West Kootenay regions have been cancelled or delayed as wildfire smoke continues to choke the province.

Kelowna International Airport, Penticton Regional Airport and the West Kootenay Airport in Castlegar all reported several flights cancelled by noon PT Sunday.


The thick smoke that's blanketed much of B.C. in recent days has grounded firefighting aircraft and made it difficult to detect new wildfires, officials say.

Kyla Fraser, a public information officer with the B.C. Wildfire Service, said that despite a relatively lightning-free weekend with few new fire starts, firefighters continue to be extremely busy battling about 545 wildfires.

The smoke that's choked the sky in many communities isn't making things any easier for crews.

"We have had to ground aircraft in some instances just because visibility was too poor, unsafe to fly," Fraser told CBC. "Smoky conditions also can pose a problem with detection and discovering new wildfires."


BCTV News is reporting "the air quality in Vancouver is the worse it has ever been" because winds have shifted and are blowing smoke from nearly 600 wildfires to the west. The following article describes air quality conditions and some of the health risks, as well as descriptions of some of the major fires in BC in the url.

It will likely be at least several days before some parts of British Columbia see a return to normal summer skies. Environment Canada has issued air quality advisories for most of the province due to the ongoing haze created by fine particulate matter from the hundreds of wildfires burning across the province.

The particulate matter isn’t good to inhale. The B.C. Air Quality Health Index reports that there were “moderate” to “very high” health risks throughout the province on Monday. On Tuesday, Victoria, Nanaimo and Metro Vancouver are expected to face a “high” risk from the poor air quality. The particulate matter was expected to hang in the air around Vancouver and Victoria for most of the week, although that forecast could be affected by changes in wildfire behaviour or atmospheric conditions.

“The smoke from the fires up north is blowing down to the south and being held along the coast between the island and the mainland,” Sarah Henderson, a senior environmental health scientist with the BC Centre for Disease Control.  Henderson said testing had shown levels of fine particulate matter of up to 200 parts per million in some B.C. communities. Normal levels are below 10 parts per million.


The title of today's Page 1 of the Vancouver Sun summarizes the health effects of the smoke from the wildfires: "B.C. wildfires 2018: Medical issues surge as air quality advisory becomes longest on record". This has brought about "a massive increase in doctor visits and prescriptions to treat lung ailments" in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley.

Climate change is affecting us in major ways around the world NOW.

My son had to come home from work as an outdoor lifeguard, usually not a strenuous job, at a Metro Vancouver swimming pool because of the smoke was affecting his breathing too much. 

In some areas of the province such as the north shore of Vancouver, authorities expect a whopping increase in physician visits. Computer modelling shows a 120 per cent increase in daily physician visits and an 80 per cent rise in the number of asthma prescription medications dispensed at pharmacies, according to Sarah Henderson, an environmental health scientist at of the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC). Henderson said the data is tabulated daily in the B.C. Asthma Prediction System (BCAPS), which was launched after previous severe wildfire seasons. The surveillance system tracks health effects associated with forest fire smoke, using data on asthma-related physician visits and the number of prescriptions filled for lung conditions. ...

Hospital admissions due to the smoke are not available because such information is not collected in real time, Henderson said. ...

The BCCDC warns that the smoke is filled with fine particles that irritate the eyes, throat, and lungs. As the body mounts an immune response to the particles, inflammation results, exacerbating lung conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and asthma. The smoke can also compromise the health of babies, including those in utero, children, the elderly and anyone with already compromised health. “We are experiencing terrible air quality. Asthma is like the canary in the coal mine,” Henderson said, adding that while an increase in heart attacks and strokes are possible serious effects, more common effects from inhaling smoky air include pneumonia, bronchitis, inner ear infections, headaches, and feeling faint. ...

Francis Ries, a senior environmental engineer in the air quality and climate change division of Metro Vancouver said that the current advisory has been in effect for a week which means a new benchmark has been set. Last summer, advisories were in effect for 19 days in total, but they weren’t consecutive days. ...

The poor air quality has created significant challenges for outdoor activities. On Monday, the Whitecaps FC youth soccer camps in the Lower Mainland and Kelowna were cancelled, affecting more than 500 participants, while the Abbotsford Soccer Association announced fields would be closed. A Douglas College basketball game against the University of California Santa Barbara scheduled for Wednesday was also cancelled — all due to health and safety concerns. Both UBC and the YMCA of Greater Vancouver, which operate camps and outdoor activities, have recently taken measures to shift outdoor activities indoors wherever possible, and offer less strenuous activities for camp participants.



In post #106 Kropotkin included an interactive map of the wildfires in BC. The url below is a map of the wildfires raging in the western United States, maps where you can hardly find a space in the western United States where there is not a wildfire nearby.

A 2016 study examined why this exponential growth in wildfires has doubled the number of wildfires in western North America since the 1980s. Guess why?

Since 1984, the extra warming caused by human-induced climate change approximately doubled the amount of forest fire area in the western United States, according to a new report. The study found that climate change doubled the drying trends that would have naturally occurred in those areas, leading to twice as many high-fire-danger days, and twice as much fire.  ...

While there are many climate and other variables responsible for forest fire, including lightning and downed power lines, researchers found that fuel aridity, or the dryness of the climate, was the single most important factor that strongly dictates how much forest fire burns in a given year. They then created a novel climate model that compared the dryness of the climate each year for the last 30 years in the western United States to how much of the forest burned in those areas. They subtracted known climate change impacts during that period, and reran their calculations to determine what the fire area would have been like in those same years without human-induced warming temperatures. The authors found that in the absence of climate change, the western states would have experienced approximately half the amount of fire that actually took place.


One of the newest wildfires in the United States in the Glacier National Park fire in Montana which borders Canada's Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta. The following harrowing video of a father and son caught in their car in the midst of the wildfire, illustrating how quickly such fires can put one's life at risk.



As the damage done to people's lives, health, environment and economy in BC by carbon-dioxide-emission-fueled global warming from wildfires and other factors increasingly hits home in this pre-byelection period, it places Jagmeet Singh in a favourable position in terms of the electoral fight with the Liberals and Conservatives who favour pipelines, especially with the Greens sitting out the race. 



August 21, 2018

Passersby view the power of the Island Lake fire near Burns Lake from Francois Lake Road on Aug. 17. DAVID LUGGI / PNG

Some residents south of Burns Lake ordered evacuated because of aggressive wildfires continue to dig in to protect their homes and properties but may not be able to receive desperately needed fuel and supplies.

On Monday, a fuel truck organized by the Cheslatta Carrier Nation was prevented from getting on a B.C.-government run ferry across Francois Lake, the only way into the so-called south side, where several fires have burned hundreds of square kilometres of tinder-dry forest.

“They don’t want supplies or fuel to go in — it encourages people to want to stay and fight to the end,” south side resident Mike Robertson, a policy director for the Cheslatta Carrier Nation, said by phone from Burns Lake.

About 230 B.C. Wildfire Service firefighters are fighting three major blazes in the area, the Island Lake, Nadina Lake and Verdun Mountain wildfires, which together have burned more than 1,100 square kilometres.

The fuel for the residents is needed to run machinery, including bulldozers, to build fireguards. The guards are built by removing fuel by scraping away vegetation or cutting trees and brush, sometimes in strips kilometres in length.



Capitalism's Rough & Tumble Climate Affair

"Capitalism plays too rough for the sensitive planet. In reality, Earth doesn't stand a chance against the forces of capitalism. What to do...?"


Here's a list of British Columbia Evacuations, Alerts and Rescinds from EmergencyInfoBC



The intense forest fires associated with the high temperatures and dry conditions typically found with global warming are having long-term consequences beyond those of many of the forest fires in the past. Ontario's Parry Sound fire 33 is just one example of this. 

Severe forest fires like Parry Sound 33, which has been burning in northeastern Ontario since July 18, can potentially burn off all the vegetation and organic soil in an area, leaving only ashes and rocks, one expert said.

“What I think is happening now (with Parry Sound 33) is that this is a pretty intense fire that is combusting away almost all signs of life in at least some of the areas in that fire perimeter,” said Merritt Turetsky, a University of Guelph professor and ecosystem ecologist. Such fires in peat-rich areas can also burn away the ground around charred trees that remain standing, she said. “Nothing is holding these trees on the ground anymore. A big gust of wind and they fall right off,” Turetsky said, noting that the situation could pose a hazard for residents moving back into their homes after a forest fire. ...

The way in which forest fires burn the ground has also changed in recent years, said Turetsky, noting that in the past, fires left patches of surviving vegetation and organic matter behind. “Now when we go in and survey these severely burned plots, we literally feel like we are walking on the moon,” she said. “This is a totally different ball game for the vegetation to re-vegetate.”

Severely burned ground can lead to soil erosion, which then causes other issues, said Feltmate. When such erosion occurs, soil and ashes can flow into water systems and that potentially “knocks out the habitat” for insects that live in the area, said Blair Feltmate, head of the Intact Centre on Climate Adaptation at the University of Waterloo. ...

The severity with which forest fires are burning in areas that have peat or organic soil, which are typically wet, is concerning, said James Michael Waddington, a McMaster University professor who has studied wildfires for over a decade. “Several decades of fire suppression combined with unprecedented dry conditions fuelled by climate change means that peat is burning more often,” said Waddington, who added that the more severe the burning of the peat, the greater the resources and time required to fight the fire. “It also increases the amount of particulate matter in smoke which can be a health risk and also increases the amount of carbon lost to the atmosphere.”

Forest fires could also have an effect on drinking water if materials that pose a health concern make their way into a groundwater supply, according to a team of researchers in Alberta that is studying the issue.


Political communications strategist Derek Burney, one time advisor to Brian Mulroney and now to Justin Trudeau demonstrates by his inter-party links and comments that there is no real diffeerence between the Liberals and Conservatives on dealing with climate change.

After all, despite all his campaign promises on carbon dioxide emissions, Trudeau was forced to admit in 2016 "the  Liberals are not going to toughen Stephen Harper’s targets for reducing industrial greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions linked to climate change." (

Now Trudeau's advisor is "pooh-poohing the Paris Climate Agreement, calling its targets 'more aspirational than real' ", and promoting the Energy East pipeline to deliver Albertan oil to the Maritimes. Trudeau, himself, has announced the creation of an ad hoc committee to deal with BC wildfires and help communities rebuild. (

This is exactly what he did last year during the horrendous  2017 BC wildfire season, the largest in the province's history, that burnt 12,160 square km, left 65,000 homeless and put BC in a state of emergency for ten weeks. 2018 is already the third largest in history and we still have part of August and all of September, the worst two months of the BC wildfire season left. So much for the effectiveness of Trudeau's ad hoc committee. 

By the way, Burney is playing with the words of the Paris Accord, something the Liberals are very good at, when he calls it "aspirational" because he knows that Trudeau's policies will never come close to meeting its goals. In the Paris Accord, Canada, along with all other signatories, "COMMITTED to keeping the rise in global temperatures below two degrees, a level beyond which scientists think there could be catastrophic consequences." All countries also agreed to another goal, namely: "Countries set a 1.5-degree rise as an aspirational goal. (That aspiration was seen as a victory for small island nations.)" In other words Canada has committed, not merely aspired, to a Paris Accord goal.  It looks like they are going to keep their Paris Accord commitments to the same extent that they kept their commitments in the Kyoto Protocol. (

It was the small island nations, which is an alliance of 40 small island low lying nations mostly in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, who pushed for and achieved getting the 1.5 degree aspirational goal into the Accord because many of them feel they will no longer exist due to sea level rise if average global temperatures are allowed to rise higher. I am sure they are sending thank you letters to Trudeau. 


As BC wildfire damage grows exponentially residents are becoming increasingly frustrated with the non-committal statements of support from Trudeau. 2018 is already the third worst wildfire season in BC's history and the problems have gotten much worse in the last couple of weeks. "Since April 1, there have been more than 1,900 wildfires in the province, totalling an area of roughly 630,000 hectares as of Aug. 21. That's an increase of 66 per cent from the total of 380,000 hectares of forest burning as of Aug. 15, according to the BC Wildfire Service."

On Wednesday, while in Nanaimo, B.C. for a summer cabinet retreat, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced new support measures for B.C. residents impacted by the fires. He said his government would create an ad-hoc cabinet committee to co-ordinate federal support for affected communities. ...

It's not clear to residents like Walsh however, whether such measures will be enough to address the chaos unfolding throughout the province. She manages an apartment in Quesnel, and said none of the tenants have insurance.  “If the fires come through, we lose everything and it doesn’t come back.”

Quesnel was one of dozens of communities in interior B.C. inundated by smoke this past week. Walsh told National Observer that sunlight was barely able to penetrate the thick smoke. The day the evacuation order was lifted was the day that Quesnel had its darkest skies. The street lights turned on as early as 1:30 p.m.



BC's Indigenous leaders feel they are not receiving anywhere near the same level of support as other BC residents with regard to BC's wildfires. In other words, it's always the same story for Indigenous people no matter the problem. 

B.C. Indigenous leaders are calling on federal and provincial governments to set up an emergency fund for Indigenous communities dealing with the aftermath of wildfires. The fund was one of several recommendations in a 2017 report authored by B.C. First Nations groups following that year’s record-breaking wildfire season.

The report urged “support for those evacuated or relocated and for recovery, restoration and/or rebuilding of lands, homes, infrastructure in First Nations communities,” as well as support for training, supplies and equipment for emergency responders.

“We can’t continue being held in ‘no man’s land’ between the two levels of government while they try to decide who will contribute first and how much,” said Grand Chief Steward Philip, president of the Union of British Columbia Indian Chiefs, in a statement. “This has created a frustrating situation for impacted communities.”



Following the wildfires that burned down a large part of Fort McMurray in 2016, Trudeau refused to acknowledge that global warming played a role in creating the conditions that led to this intense wildfire in the early spring in northern Alberta, where historically there would have still been snow on the ground.

ETA: Advice from bureaucrats that First Nations communities living in the northern boreal forest region were suffering from many more numerous and intense emergencies, including those caused by climate change, was also labelled "secret" by the Liberal government.

In the aftermath of the Fort McMurray wildfires, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wouldn’t say were exacerbated by climate change, First Nations assert they are first and worst affected by a rapidly-shifting environment. ...

After she took up her mantle, bureaucrats warned Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett catastrophes are getting worse and more frequent over time. Recent decades have seen up to eight times as many disasters in Canada as 100 years ago.

Advice labelled as “secret” says First Nations communities are at greater risk of emergencies, suffering “more intense” impact, with climate change causing “extreme weather” in the north. ...

“The frequency of natural disasters is also increasing on-reserve,” says the document, comparing 118 incidents in 2011-12 to 76 in 2010-11 and 54 the year before that. Between 2009 and 2015, 480 “natural hazards” affected reserves, it says. ...

Trudeau waffled on connecting the Fort McMurray fire to climate change. “A greater prevalence of extreme weather events” is expected, he said, but people shouldn’t “make a political argument out of one particular disaster.”

Still, the Assembly of First Nations regional chief for Alberta, Craig Makinaw, acknowledged climate change may have made wildfires more extreme. More droughts — less snow. Chief Leo Friday of Ontario’s Kashechewan First Nation, where flooding forces people to evacuate yearly, agreed climate change has an impact. “I think it does change a lot of people’s lives … weather being changed all of a sudden,” he said.



First Nations community leaders in BC say the fragmented system for fighting wildfires that makes BC responsible for the province's regional districts but gives the federal government authority for First Nations is hampering the ability of Indigenous groups to fight wildfires.

On CBC News Network yesterday Grand Chief Edward John of the Tl’azt’en Nation located in northern BC that this is a major problem for First Nations because while they are only 5% of the population, they are 50% of those affected and evacuated because of the rapidly increasing number of wildfires associated with climate change. Many northern First Nations communities live in or near the northern boreal forests of Canada that are being ravaged by these wildfires, yet the Trudeau government continues to refuse to provide an emergency and response response fund to deal with the problem.

During last year’s worst wildfire season in B.C., Grand Chief Ed John of the First Nations Summit called on the federal government to create a $200-million emergency preparedness and response fund for Indigenous communities in the province. He said the fund should support First Nations for at least the next four years to create emergency response plans, buy equipment and train members.

The province has funded municipalities and regional districts to prepare for wildfires and the federal government must do the same for First Nations, he said. “First Nations communities feel isolated and have largely been unfairly left to their own devices,” he said in his proposal. John said the federal government declined his request last year, so he is reissuing it.


A number of studies on the effects of wildfire smoke on wildfire firefighters  are raising concerns about the health risks associated with this. There are also concerns for the general public from repeated exposure to wildfire smoke year after year as climate change makes such wildfires the new normal.

One study by Dr. Nicola Cherry from the University of Alberta of 1,000 Fort McMurray 2016 wildfire firefighters two years after the event found that "thats17 per cent of firefighters still had lung problems consistent with asthma and wheezing, and  that 27 per cent of firefighters who live and work in Fort McMurray had similar problems ... the conclusion of her study will likely show some firefighters will experience lung problems all their lives."

What scientists don't is how summer after summer of wildfire smoke wafting across Alberta, from California, British Columbia or Fort McMurray might impact long-term health.

"We're under a changing climate" said Sarah Henderson, lead scientist for the BC Centre for Disease Control, who noted that smoky days have become more common in the last decade and that's expected to continue. That pattern offered scientists little opportunity to explore how long-term exposure to wildfire smoke will impact health in the future. ...

There are now at least two studies underway that focus on the health impacts of long-term exposure to wildfire smoke. One study in Australia is looking at a small community that was exposed to smoke from a coal fire for one month. The other study, conducted by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, has begun its initial work to assess the health of pregnant women and their babies who lived in the B.C. interior during forest fires in 2017.


Research is showing that we need to pay more attention that the growing number and intensity of wildfires is having on our water supply. Since the 2003 Lost Creek fire in Alberta, research members of the Southern Rockies Watershed Project have been studying the effects of natural disturbance by wildfire on hydrology, water quality, and aquatic ecology, as climate change has increased the number and intensity of wildfires, as well as the speed at which they spread.

Professor Monica Emelko, a water treatment engineer, describes one conclusion of the Project: “If the intensity is there and enough of the watershed is burned, you can have a very significant impact on the water supply and that impact can be long-lasting. “If the intensity is there and enough of the watershed is burned, you can have a very significant impact on the water supply and that impact can be long-lasting.

Another Project member, hydrologist Uldis Silins from the University of Alberta, notes that as climate change intensified “Fire managers started to see wildfire behaviour that was at the extreme end or beyond anything that had been previously observed.” They also observed that as the intensity and speed of fires ramped up, blazes that used to calm down overnight kept raging. At Lost Creek, firefighters reported walls of flame 150 metres high rolling through trees at 2 a.m. 

A 2016 published paper found the effects of that fire were visible in rivers and streams more than a decade later. Runoff began earlier and was faster, increasing erosion and creating drier forests. Nutrients such as phosphorus were up to 19 times greater — good for aquatic bugs but also for algae. “Some of these streams became choked with algae,” Silins said. “We’ve seen lasting and pretty profound impacts on water quality and aquatic ecology.”

The project has seen similar effects from other fires it’s studied. Some effects are detectable hundreds of kilometres downstream from the flames and have serious consequences for urban water treatment. ...

Nutrients that choke streams can also create microbe growth in water pipes and distribution networks. They can react with chemicals used to purify water to form compounds that are themselves harmful. Emelko said nutrients from fires can show up far downstream and last for years.

Climate change loads the dice in favour of wildfires by creating longer fire seasons and drier forests, as well as increasing the number of dead, combustible trees through climate-related insect outbreaks. ...

Natural Resources Canada says those effects could double the amount of boreal forest burned by the end of this century compared with recent records. Meanwhile, those forests are the source of much of our water. Two-thirds of the water used in Alberta comes from forested landscapes. “As we see these fires more frequently with more severity, the types of impacts to our water are likely to be seen more broadly,” said Silins.




ETA: It's time for the state of denial to end!

The 2018 BC wildfire season as of today became the second largest in history, surpassed by only the 2017 and there is still more than a month to go in the wildfire season. Already 945,000 hectares (9,450 square km) have burned this year compared to 2017's 1,216,000 hectares (12,160 square km) which was more than twice the size of Prince Edward Island (5,660 sq. km) and more than one third the size of Vancouver Island (31,285 sq. km). 

 By Saturday the 2018 wildfire season cost BC approximately $310 million to fight, compared to 2017's $564 million and the costs are sure to rise substantially before the wildfire season is over and will almost certainly surpass 2015-16's 380 million, the second most expensive ever.  (

After Trudeau spouts platitudes like "We are all hearbroken at the extraordinarily difficult situation people are going through" when he visits northern BC, it's little wonder that hundreds of protesters demonstrated outside the Liberal cabinet retreat in Nanaimo with signs saying "Climate leaders don't buy pipelines" and "Inhale Justin, that's the smell of global warming".

Money talks. The Trudeau Liberals were willing to buy the Trans Mountain pipeline for $4.5 billion and spend an estimated $7.4 billion in building it, costs estimates that since risen to $9.3 billion  for a total cost of $13.8 billion, with more price rises to possibly come. (

However when Grand Chief Ed John asked for $200 million in federal funding in 2017 "to help the province’s 203 First Nations develop emergency management plans, train personnel and buy equipment over the next four years. ... [he] heard “nothing” from the federal government. When he repeated the request following all the devastating damage of this year's BC wildfire season, Trudeau said he was open to "discussion" of the issue, as the province burns. He did acknowledge that Indigenous community is a federal responsibility that has resulted in problems with funding problems for First Nations communities in the face of the wildfires that are threatening so many of them. A little late for that when, although First Nations are only 5% of BC's population, they are 50% of those ordered evacuated by the wildfires because so many of them live close to the burning boreal forests. (

Meanwhile, one example of the many First Nations fighting to save their community is the Nadleh Whut'en band, who are fighting two fights: "one against the enormous 910 square km Shovel Lake wildfireand another against a disjointed federal funding system that left them scrambling to evacuate their people, buy firefighting equipment and set up an emergency operations centre as flames approached." (

It will be interesting to see what effect the BC wildfire season and the federal government's response will have on Burnaby South byelection. 


The 2017 and 2018 BC wildfire seasons have raised questions about climate change models; not they have been alarmist but rather that they have been too guarded in their predictions of the future. While they predicted longer, more intense wildfire seasons, these were not expected until 2050. However, when more than 12,000 square km went up in flames last year, followed by another 9,640 square km so far this year with at least a month left in the wildfire season, it is time to re-evaluate the models and to change how we deal with wildfires.

Although a complex network of factors are affecting the severity of the wildfires, including very little controlled and tradional First Nations burning of underbrush in order to reduce fuel for the wildfires, global warming has played a major role in accelerating the process.

We can no longer afford to follow the BC and federal Liberals policy of neglect of our forests and promotion of fossil fuel megaprojects if we are to deal effectively with our rapidly changing climate. 

Warmer weather brings longer wildfire seasons and more lightning, while the atmosphere gets better at sucking the moisture out of plants and dead wood, researchers say. The end result is both bigger and more intense fires, and Flannigan's research suggests a significant increase in wildfire intensity in recent years. ...

For the last two years, the hot and dry weather that has allowed so many large fires to develop in B.C. has been driven by a blocking ridge of high pressure that's been stuck over the province for much of the summer. The air beneath that ridge sinks, warms and dries, creating perfect conditions for a "raging inferno" if it sticks around for a week or more, according to Mike Flannigan, professor of wildland fire at the University of Alberta. ...

That stagnant pattern has developed because the jet stream is weakening as the Arctic warms, a phenomenon that could spell more bad news for B.C., he said. "There is a suggestion [in the] research that … because of the way the Arctic ice is melting, that a favoured position for this ridge is along the West Coast. If that's the case, then odds are that we're going to see a lot of bad fire seasons in British Columbia," Flannigan said. ...

Limiting the release of greenhouse gases might be a good long-term option, but both Gray and Flannigan point out that any positive impacts won't be felt for several decades. In the meantime, they would like to see more measures like controlled burning, thinning out forests around communities, preparing homes and businesses through the Fire Smart program, developing early warning systems for wildfires and allowing more fires to burn if they aren't threatening human homes, lives or infrastructure. ...

Unfortunately, B.C. has been lagging on taking preventive action, according to former BC Liberal cabinet minister George Abbott, co-author of the independent review of the 2017 flood and wildfire seasons. ...

As a long-term member of the B.C. Legislature, while the previous Liberal government was in power, Abbott said he accepts a significant portion of the responsibility for the lack of wildfire prevention work since 239 homes were burned in the 2003 Okanagan Mountain Park wildfire in Kelowna .



Rapidly growing wildfires have made 2018 the worst wildfire season in BC history in terms of the size of the are burned, breaking the record set last year.  The url below includes a graph of the worst ten wildfire seasons since 1950.

As of Tuesday, more than 12,984 square kilometres of the province had burned, pushing past the previous record set just one year earlier. ...

As 534 fires continued to burn on Wednesday morning, the province announced that it has extended the state of emergency through to the end of the day on Sept. 12. About 3,200 people have been removed because of the wildfires, and another 21,800 are on alert. ...

Scientists suggest there are several reasons for the severity of the last two wildfire seasons in B.C., including a lack of controlled burning and aggressive firefighting efforts that have allowed potential fuels to build up across the province. ...

But they say a change in weather patterns driven by climate change has pushed things over the edge, bringing warmer, drier weather and more lightning to B.C.

This year, 1,467 fires have been started by lightning and another 443 by human activity.





Sinister 'Hunger Stones' With Dire Warnings Have Been Surfacing in Europe

"Inscribed boulders known as 'hunger stones' are reappearing in Czechia after a prolonged drought afflicting Central Europe. These hunger stones traditionally sit below the waterline of the Elbe as it flows through the town of Decin in the country's north, but with water levels hitting record lows in Europe, the rocks and the words carved into them have been exposed once more.

The oldest and most famous of these landmarks, known simply as 'Hunger Rock' according to Decin's tourist guide contains an inscription that dates back to 1616, which reads: 'Wenn du mich siehst, dann weine.' 

(If you see me, weep).


The following CBC Power and Politics video shows First Nations people celebrating the Court of Appeal's Trans Mountain pipeline ruling that quashes the approvals of the pipeline's construction. It includes Squamish First Nation spokesperson, Khelsilem, discussing the impact of the court decision.



The brief rains and slightly cooler temperatures in BC will not prevent the worst wildfire season in the province's history from continuing for weeks because of the drought conditions throughout much of the province, which was what was predicted by climate change models.

Nearly one-quarter of B.C.'s regions are now at the highest drought rating, with no significant rain in the forecast.  And while those fighting the province's more than 500 wildfires have welcomed the recent rain and cooler temperatures, a spokesperson for the B.C. wildfire service says the fires will continue to burn for weeks. 

"Until we see that widespread and fairly sustained rain, we do expect the fire season to be continuing for two to three weeks at the very least across the province," Kevin Skrepnek said Monday morning. ...


A number of streams in B.C.'s northwest, including Dahlie Creek near Smithers, are dry, as drought levels worsen throughout the province. (Jana Harmati)

Valerie Cameron, B.C.'s water stewardship manager, says she has never seen the northern part of the province this dry. ...

Cameron says all of B.C.'s coastal areas have been hit by drought, which could continue well into September. While she can't definitively say this is the driest Northern B.C. has ever been, Cameron says it's the driest she has seen it during her career.  ... The same conditions that are creating B.C.'s drought have also created the devastating wildfire season, which is nowhere close to over, with 536 fires still burning as of Monday morning.


The climate change predictions made on the 2011 map of the regions of Canada on the url below have come true for BC and the other regions of the country. In BC, these predictions included:

-Water shortages and competition for water. More frequent and sustained drought (as discussed in the previous post droughts in BC have helped create the worst wildfire season this year).

-Forests vunerable to pest infestations (Mountain pine beetle has devastated BC forests) and wildfires. 

-Stresses on fisheries increase. Pacific salmon especially vunerable. 

-Critical facilities, networks and services threatened by extreme weather  (tourism and forest industries severely affected by wildfires, drought and high temperatures)

Drought and the high temperatures of climate change will severely affect the Prairies, even leading to desertification as the map for that reason shows  resulting in:

-increased water scarcity

-more frequent and severe droughts with desertification in some areas, wildfires and floods with economic impact in the billions of dollars

-Warmer winters mean more pests and diseases, more difficult access to remote communities via winter roads resulting in challenges for the energy and forestry sectors

-Ecosystems affected by shifts in fire and insect disturbances, stressed aquatic habitats and introduction of non-native species.


Canada continues its pitiful record on climate change ranking #51 out of 60 countries on the 2018 Climate Change Performance Index just ahead of such major GHG emissions leaders as Russia, the USA and Saudi Arabia. 

Canada  #51

As one of the largest producers of absolute greenhouse gases as well as per capita emissions, Canada is ranked 51st in this year’s CCPI edition. Additionally, having a very low-rated 2030 GHG reduction target, the country will need higher ambitions to be on track with a well-below-2°C compatible pathway. Regarding the category energy use, Canada’s performance is very low in terms of the current level as well as the 2030 target. Having large hydropower capacities and a very positive trend from other renewable capacities as wind or solar, Canada receives a medium rating in the renewables category. Canada gets comparably very high grades for its performance in international climate diplomacy. Domestically, experts praise the leadership of several provinces having ambitious 2030 targets for their per capita emissions and energy supply from renewable sources. Nonetheless, experts also criticize the lack of a joined climate responsibility on the national level and demand more specific strategies in order to progress on decarbonizing the country’s economy.




ETA: With the quashing of Trans Mountain pipeline by the courts, Trudeau's climate change plan lies in tatters.

His solution? Hide and send out his lieutenants to deal with the mess by spinning. 

As BC wildfires consume more and more of the province with record-breaking wildfire seasons in 2017 and 2018, Nero Trudeau sticks to Harper's GHG emission targets and stays silent. 

It's far easier to replace a lieutenant than a general, so the general needs to be protected at all costs.

The Trudeau government is employing a similar strategy in the wake of a devastating decision by the Federal Court of Appeal to quash the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion.

This came shortly before a $4.5-billion deal closed for the feds to buy the pipeline system from Kinder Morgan.

Now, the Trudeau government says it's going to proceed with a $9.3-billion expansion. This is supposedly happening even though the court has said that the regulatory review was so flawed that it shouldn't have even been put before the federal cabinet.

The decision might not even be appealable because it was unanimous and there were two strong grounds underlying the rejection of the project.

So what has Trudeau done? He's essentially gone into hiding and sent out surrogates to explain his government's position.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau has been all over the news. He also appeared on CBC Radio's flagship current-affairs show, The Current, for a lengthy interview. Vancouver Quadra Liberal MP Joyce Murray had to mount the Liberal defence on the local CBC Radio morning current-affairs show, The Early Edition.

Trudeau will give the media sound bites about the NAFTA talks. His favourite line is that "no deal is better than a bad deal".

But when it comes to the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project, nada.


Each year we see the level of damage done by climate change rise in the Arctic and Antarctic regions with major impacts not only for these regions but globally as sea levels rise that threatens to flood many of the coastal cities of the world. This rapid rise in Arctic, Antarctic and glacier melting is due not only to rising temperatures but also to the albedo effect, which involves the increase in solar heat absorption when white snow and ice change to the darker colour of liquid water, further accelerating the rise in temperature of the water. This is resulting in the Arctic and Antarctic having the largest gains in average temperature. 

In the North of Canada, these impacts include: 

• Changes in permafrost, sea ice, lake ice and snow cover affect infrastructure. 

• Biodiversity decreases. Polar bears, beluga and caribou are among the most vulnerable species. 

• Challenges to maintaining traditional ways of life in Aboriginal Arctic communities


In 2018, we saw a new phenomenon occur twice in the Arctic Ocean: the breaking up of the strongest, thickest and oldest sea ice due to the high temperatures created by global warming, thereby opening up waters to the north of Greenland that previously had always been frozen throughout human history. 

This phenomenon – which has never been recorded before – has occurred twice this year due to warm winds and a climate-change driven heatwave in the northern hemisphere.

One meteorologist described the loss of ice as “scary”. Others said it could force scientists to revise their theories about which part of the Arctic will withstand warming the longest.

The sea off the north coast of Greenland is normally so frozen that it was referred to, until recently, as “the last ice area” because it was assumed that this would be the final northern holdout against the melting effects of a hotter planet.

But abnormal temperature spikes in February and earlier this month have left it vulnerable to winds, which have pushed the ice further away from the coast than at any time since satellite records began in the 1970s.

“Almost all of the ice to the north of Greenland is quite shattered and broken up and therefore more mobile,” said Ruth Mottram of the Danish Meteorological Institute. “Open water off the north coast of Greenland is unusual. This area has often been called ‘the last ice area’ as it has been suggested that the last perennial sea ice in the Arctic will occur here.” ...

Walt Meier, a senior research scientist at the US National Snow and Ice Data Center, said: “The ice there has nowhere else to go so it piles up. On average, it’s over four metres thick and can be piled up into ridges 20 metres thick or more. This thick, compacted ice is generally not easily moved around. However, that was not the case this past winter (in February and March) and now. The ice is being pushed away from the coast by the winds.”

Ice is easier to blow around as a result of a warming trend, which has accelerated over the past 15 years. “The thinning is reaching even the coldest part of the Arctic with the thickest ice. So it’s a pretty dramatic indication of the transformation of the Arctic sea ice and Arctic climate.”



As noted in a 2017 report, the Arctic (as is the Antartic) is warming much faster than southern Canada due to global warming, thereby bringing about changes that are and will continue to have major impacts. Some of the impacts will be regional but some will be global, such as the melting of Greenland's glaciers raising sea levels around the world and flooding many global cities. Many of these Arctic changes are forewarnings of what is to come elsewhere. 

Open water in Arctic Ocean affecting weather patterns around world

A polar bear sits on ice in Lancaster Sound. A new report says as Arctic temperatures rise faster than elsewhere, one impact of many is that animals that rely on ice for survival are facing increased stress and disruption.

A new international report shows that Arctic temperatures are rising higher and faster than expected, and the effects are already being felt around the world. "The Arctic's climate is shifting to a new state," warns the report. "This transformation has profound implications for people, resources and ecosystems worldwide."

The Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic assessment was written by more than 90 scientists from around the world who compiled the latest northern research on how climate change is affecting the Arctic ice and ecosystems. It's part of the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program of the Arctic Council, which represents eight circumpolar countries. Among the findings in this year's report:

  • The Arctic Ocean could be largely free of sea ice in the summer as early as 2030 or even before that.
  • Arctic temperatures are rising twice as fast as the temperatures in the rest of the world. In the fall of 2016 mean temperatures were six degrees higher than average.
  • Thawing permafrost that holds 50 per cent of the world's carbon is already affecting northern infrastructure and could release significant amounts of methane into the atmosphere.
  • Polar bears, walruses and seals that rely on ice for survival are facing increased stress and disruption.
  • Changes in the Arctic may be affecting weather as far away as Southeast Asia.

"The Arctic is connected to the rest of the planet," said David Barber, who is a leading expert on Arctic ice at the University of Manitoba and one of the authors of the report. "We are seeing the first and strongest signs of global warming in the Arctic. We knew this was coming, we knew 30 years ago that it was coming, and it is now here," said Barber.  One of the most surprising results of the research is that there is now open water even during the winter in the Arctic Ocean.  "The Atlantic ocean water is penetrating further into the Arctic and it's upwelling towards the base of the sea ice, where it is melting the sea ice from underneath, this is one of the key findings."  Last year saw a record low amount of winter sea ice.

That open water may be affecting weather patterns. Increased heat from the open water is rising into the atmosphere, which in turn is causing the polar vortex, also known as the jet stream, to weaken in strength. ...

The report says the weakened jet stream is also causing extreme weather events like heavy rain in North America and heavy monsoons in Southeast  Asia.



Because the Arctic is already warming at twice the rate of southern Canada, the Inuit and other people of Nunavut have already seen the impact of global warming and are deeply concerned about the changes it is bringing

The Nunavut Climate Change Centre has produced the following report that examines the impacts of climate change on the people and environment of Nunavut, especially the Inuit, including on: culture, health, well-being, traditional activities, food security, the arrival of previous unseen diseases in the territory as temperatures rise, heritage, the role of elders' knowledge in a global-warming, rapidly changing Nunavut, infrastructure, transportation, resource development, arts, energy sources and needs, and the strains introduced by the opening up of the Arctic to tourism.


Climate-change-induced drought is now a major problem across Canada.

B.C. is not alone in experiencing droughts and other extreme weather events, all of which are worsening with climate change. Many regions across provinces and territories, which are on the traditional territories of Indigenous peoples, have issued drought warnings. There were 120 forest fires burning in northern Ontario earlier this month, which have now decreased to 26 fires.  These extreme weather patterns seriously threaten clean drinking water sources, watersheds as well as our food security.

Despite drought, forest fires and extreme weather events, most governments continue to promote an economic system that puts unlimited growth above water, our climate and the vital needs of people and the planet.   Governments must take immediate steps to curb climate change including developing a national action plan on water that upholds the human right to water and phases out extractivist projects that abuse water and exacerbate climate change. ...

Drought warnings across Canada year after year are telling us that we can no longer afford to take water for granted.

Forest fires, which start and spread more easily in drought conditions, pose a threat to clean water because ash, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons or PAHs (a group of chemical compounds that show up after any sort of fire that involves organic matter) and any flame retardant used can pollute local water sources. ...

The negative impact on farmers and food supplies are a common and worrisome thread in many news reports on drought conditions. Low water levels are also putting fish and fish habitat at risk. 

CBC reported that Alberta's constant state of drought could be the province's "new normal" and are impacting farmers and ranchers. Droughts are also affecting crops in Saskatchewan, livestock in Manitoba, growing seasons in Ontario, hay prices and availability in Quebec, potato farmers in P.E.I. and dairy farmers in the New Brunswick.


Drought is having a major impact on the cattle industry from Manitoba to Alberta.

Last year's season ended extremely dry and there wasn't enough snow to increase moisture levels. The spring was long, cold and dry, leaving little growth to feed cattle populations. Many parts of Alberta remained dry this summer, so farmers started to buy feed they usually grow and costs skyrocketed. ...

Saskatchewan has reached out to Ottawa requesting the federal government activate its livestock tax deferral now to help producers in affected areas. The deferral allows farmers who sell part of their breeding herd due to drought or flooding to defer a portion of sale proceeds to the following year. ...

"What are the economics here? There's a lot of people that are looking to sell off 40 per cent, 60 per cent or their entire herd. Cattle are coming to market," Rick Toney of the Saskatchewan Cattlemen's Association said. ....

Producers in Manitoba have already started contacting the province about low feed stocks, said Brian Lemon, general manager with the Manitoba Beef Producers. However, they haven't asked for assistance yet. Lemon said prices for any available feed are becoming too high for cattle producers, who can't pass the cost along. And at some point there just won't be any feed available.



An August 2018 study, entitled "Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene," in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences warns that we are seeing a worldwide state of frequent disasters associated with climate change that has a high risk of becoming permanent following a month of July in which major climate change disasters have occurred in rapid succession across the planet, following an accelerating pattern already seen over the last decade.

The study discusses "tipping elements" for climate change. For example, the melting of once-permanent glaciers covering Greenland or the release of permafrost that for hundreds of years has trapped massive amounts of methane gas in Earth's far Northern Hemisphere that would further greatly increase temperatures because methane has thirty times the heating effect of carbon dioxide. The scientists warn that if such elements of the Earth's ecosystem are "tipped" even human's most radical measures designed to avert runaway global warming will prove futile.

"All-time hottest temperature records set all over the world this week," reads a July 6 headline in the U.K.'s Evening Standard. Nearly a month later, the situation hadn't changed. "Temperatures near or pass all-time records in Europe as another heat wave blasts the continent," reads a July 27 headline in the Washington Post.

From July 20 in New York magazine: "A Global Heat Wave Has Set the Arctic Circle on Fire".

At a local level, the stories were perhaps even scarier.

"California’s Carr Fire may have unleashed the most intense fire tornado ever observed in the U.S.," reads an August 3 headline in the Washington Post.

"Record-Smashing Heat Wave Kills 33 in Quebec (the number has since risen to 93)," the New York Times reported on July 5. And from the Japan Times today (August 7): "Record 70,000 people rushed to hospitals since April 30 amid scorching Japan heat wave".

The summer of 2017 was the worst year for B.C. wildfires in generations (the 2017 wildfire burned area record was broken at the end of August). The year before, Canada lost a large section of an entire city when a wildfire burned more than 2,400 homes in Fort McMurray, Alberta. Some 88,000 people were forced to evacuate. It was 458 days before the last of the fire was extinguished.

In 2018, dry conditions across B.C. again have firefighters on edge. "Scorching hot weather expected to return this week in Metro Vancouver," CTV News reported on August 6.




The Trudeau government has been both misleading and hypocritical about its climate change plan and the Trans Mountain pipeline. After years of attacking Harper's greenhouse emissions (GHG) targets as inadequate while in opposition, Trudeau had to acknowledge in 2016 that the Liberals were adopting them. 

Canada will certainly miss its 2020 and is on a pace to break its 2030 Paris Agreement targets, even after fudging the targets by changing the base year for measurement of emissions from 1990 to 2005. As one of the largest per capita emitters of carbon dioxide in the world, it is not surprising that Canada ranks 51st out of 60 countries on the Climate Change Performance Index. The Liberal government has almost certainly also overestimated the amount of reduction is greenhouse gas emissions that its carbon pricing system will create. (

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 has risen by another $1.9 billion in just two months for a total estimated cost of $13.8 and who knows what additional costs to come, even if it ends up overcoming the Court of Appeal's rebuff. 

One of the reasons the Court of Appeal rebuffed the federal government was an  internal memo, to Trudeau’s natural resources minister, described a negotiation as “paternalistic,” “unrealistic,” and inadequate,” showing once again that the Liberal's were misleading the public in claiming that the consultation with the First Nations process was meaningful and thourough. (

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. (

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

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:

Jobs lost:



From a massive intense shower cell that caused massive flooding in Toronto, to wildfires breaking the 2017 area burned record in BC, to deaths and extensive damage to forests, wildlife and property from California wildfires,  to hundreds of deaths from high temperatures in Quebec and Greek wildfires, to new flooding records in Ireland and coral bleaching in Australia, to many record temperatures around the globe, July-August has been what climatologists say reflects the trend towards more and more extreme weather events, often with deadly consequences that has been accelerating for the last thirty years.

“It’s not new weather, just a more extreme (version) of the old weather. The weather seems more energized, more ramped up,” says David Phillips, a senior climatologist with Environment Canada. The sizzling heat and heavy rains fit the pattern of global warming caused by increased greenhouse gases, climatologists say. ...

We’ve seen temperatures in Sweden’s northern region, inside the Arctic Circle, reach 32 degrees C (nearly 90 degrees F). Dubai, a hot city to begin with, saw scorching temperatures of 50 C in June. California’s Death Valley topped that in July with temperatures that reached as high as 53 C. That state, which saw it’s hottest July ever with an average temperature of 27 C, has experienced the worst wildfires in its history as a result. Phillips noted that earlier this week, nine out of 10 Canadian provinces were in the grip of a heat wave — and the 10th had a heat warning. It’s something you don’t often see in Canada, he says.

Worldwide, it’s the large area covered by the pattern of the heat this summer, plus the intensity of the heat and its duration — we’ve seen hot temperatures across Canada since May, Phillips notes — that all point to a warming pattern, he says.

Ahira Sanchez, a climatologist with NOAA, points out that 2014 set a new new record for global temperatures, 2015 broke that record, and 2016 broke the record again. Last year was the third warmest year globally, according to a study headed by NOAA with input from more than 500 scientists in 65 countries. ...

The report also noted that last year’s levels of greenhouse gases, including methane, nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide, were at all-time highs.

The sea level had also risen to an all-time high — about 7.7 cm higher than in 1993, the study found. The globe’s sea level has risen an average rate of 3.1 cm per decade, the study noted. Environment Canada’s Phillips says there’s plentiful and reliable data from rising sea levels and global temperatures over time make it easier to point to climate change.

The U.S. government’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) found that in the U.S., the average temperature across the country in July was 25 C — 1.9 degrees above average.



For three years in a row, 2014, 2015, and 2016, the global average temperature record was broken.

2016 was the hottest year on record, setting a new high for the third year in a row, with scientists firmly putting the blame on human activities that drive climate change. 

The final data for 2016 was released on Wednesday by the three key agencies – the UK Met Office and Nasa and Noaa in the US – and showed 16 of the 17 hottest years on record have been this century.

Direct temperature measurements stretch back to 1880, but scientific research indicates the world was last this warm about 115,000 years ago and that the planet has not experienced such high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere for 4million years.

In 2016, global warming delivered scorching temperatures around the world. The resulting extreme weather means the impacts of climate change on people are coming sooner and with more ferocity than expected, according to scientists.



 NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio.

This map shows Earth’s average global temperature from 2013 to 2017, as compared to a baseline average from 1951 to 1980, according to an analysis by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Yellows, oranges, and reds show regions warmer than the baseline. Credit: NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio.

Earth’s global surface temperatures in 2017 ranked as the second warmest since 1880, according to an analysis by NASA.

Continuing the planet's long-term warming trend, globally averaged temperatures in 2017 were 1.62 degrees Fahrenheit (0.90 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 1951 to 1980 mean, according to scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. That is second only to global temperatures in 2016.



On Saturday, almost 1,000 "Rise for Climate" protests occurred in approximately 100 countries to call for governments everywhere to end the use of fossil fuels and to shift to renewable energy. 


Several hundred people walked the streets of Paris as part of the global day of protest (picture-alliance/Zumapress/S. Souici)

Large crowds walked the streets of Paris as part of the global day of protest

The protests coincided with discussions in Bangkok that have become deadlocked on a number of issues, with activists demanding immediate action on CO2 emission pledges, among various other things. The talks are aimed at creating a draft legal framework for limiting global temperature rises that can be presented to ministers and heads of state at a final round of discussions in Karowice, in southern Poland, in December.

A climate summit opens next week in San Francisco after California's governor proposed the event in the wake of President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement.

The 2015 agreement was created with a target of keeping global temperatures from rising another degree Celsius between now and 2100. Achieving the Paris targets set out in 2015 means the world would have to stop emitting greenhouse gases altogether in the next half-century, according to scientists. The issue of how the fight against climate change will be funded and how it should be made available to developing nations are key sticking points in the Bangkok talks. ...

In Manila, about 800 people, including one dressed as a T-Rex holding a "Go Fossil Free" sign, marched through the streets protesting the country's heavy reliance on coal. 

In Bangkok, 200 protesters assembled in front of the UN regional headquarters, where delegates were discussing how to implement measures agreed by world powers under the 2015 Paris deal. Dozens of Thai fishermen and laborers whose livelihoods are threatened by rising sea levels kicked off the day of protests. ...

Organizers in France claimed 115,000 people turned out in what the largest environmental demonstration in the country's history, with 50,000 marching in Paris. The police put the Paris number at 18,500.

The protests followed an appeal on Facebook launched by a man called Maxime Lelong, who described himself as an "ordinary concerned citizen."

Lelong's appeal came in the wake of the resignation of France's environment minister and celebrity green campaigner, Nicolas Hulot, over climate change policy weakness. "This is the biggest day of climate action in France, it's proof that the citizens are ready to demand commitments from our elected officials after a catastrophic summer when it comes to the climate," said Clemence Dubois, the France campaigner for   The front page of France's daily Liberation newspaper featured a call from 700 French scientists for politicians to take action because "solutions are available."

Over 10,000 people turned out in the Danish capital, Copenhagen, while 1,300 rallied in front of the European Parliament in Brussels.



ETA: Hundreds of thousands joined the Rise for Climate protests around the world. 

In Sydney, Australia, they sailed a ship along the harbour flying banners with their message. In Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, youth groups organised flash mobs to raise awareness. And in Durham,here in the UK, activists locked themselves onto mining machinery in a bid to close a pit for the day.

Hundreds of thousands of climate change protestors are gathering at some 850 events across 90 countries – and seven continents – in what is one of the biggest ever days of global action highlighting the issue. They are marching in cities from Kathmandu to Copenhagen, Lagos to Lisbon, Bogota to Berlin. Support has even come from Antarctica, where the astrobiologist Cyprien Verseux has picturedhimself holding up a banner featuring the day’s official moniker, Rise for Climate. ...

“Climate change is the defining issue of our time, it is a crisis of democracy, justice and human rights,” said May Boeve, executive director of, the New York-based campaign group behind the day. “The climate movement is made stronger by its sister movements: for human rights, economic justice, democracy, and much more. ...

In the UK, events are being held in places ranging from London to Wigan, Bradford to County Durham.

In Toronto, carrying signs and singing songs, a group of about 200 marched together to demand swifter action to address climate change. ... The march ended at Queen's Park to send a message to politicians in Ontario. Around Canada, other events were held everywhere from Sherbrooke, Que., to Kelowna, B.C.

Today, there was also a march through the streets of Vancouver. It was part of the Rise for Climate International Day of Action, which led to demonstrations in cities around the world. ...

Vancouver climate activists are still eager to raise awareness about the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project even after its approval was quashed by the Federal Court of Appeal.

Hundreds gathered in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery late this afternoon to highlight a multitude of marine species that they believe would be jeopardized by the project. The most famous, of course, are southern resident orcas, but several other animals were also displayed on placards held up by demonstrators.

Speakers and many signs condemned the Trudeau government for spending $4.5-billion to buy the Trans Mountain system from Texas-based Kinder Morgan. The feds also plan on completing the $9.3-billion expansion project, despite losing the recent court decision.


The Rise for Climate protests was spearheaded by what organizers called the largest ever climate march on the US west coast. The march, which snaked through the heart of San Francisco, came ahead of a climate change summit in the city next week that will gather mayors and business leaders from around the world. The San Francisco march, which called for California governor Jerry Brown to end fossil fuel extraction in the state, attracted around 30,000 people, organizers said. ...

A week of protests are planned surrounding the summit in San Francisco, with organizers hoping to draw attention to air pollution and social inequity that has tainted California’s economic growth. “Climate change, economic inequality, the housing crisis, increased criminalization, attacks on immigrant communities – all these challenges are driven by systemic devaluation of the lives of people of color and choosing profit over people and the planet,” said Gladys Limon, executive director of the California Environmental Justice Alliance. We are standing up to life destructive industries, from big oil to natural gas companies, that obstruct progress toward a healthy, sustainable and just society.”

global climate protests peak in san franciscoCrowds march In San Francisco during the "Rise For Climate" global action on Sep 8, 2018. (Photo: AFP/Amy Osborne)



In August 2017, which was the worst wildfire season in the history of BC until this year, an area more than twice the size of Prince Edward Island was burnt by the wildfires.

The greenhouse gases emitted by the burning wildfires tripled BC's emissions for the year, with another 20% estimated increse in emissions to come since the wildfire season was ongoing. Since greenhouse gas emissions spur temperature increases that further the number and intensity of wildfires this has become part of the vicious feedback loop of global warming accelerating further global warming. 

In other words, if we do not start dealing with global warming on a global basis, this vicious accelerating feedback loop from wildfires and the albedo effect of the warming of melting snow and ice in the Arctic and Antarctic can only be expected to occur faster and with more severity. 

The largest B.C. wildfire season on record has emitted an estimated 190 million tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere — a total that nearly triples B.C.'s annual carbon footprint.

According to Natural Resources Canada, the total could grow by another 20 per cent as the wildfire season continues.

"Certainly these emissions are large — much larger than the emissions in B.C. from all other sectors," said Carolyn Smith, a research scientist at the Pacific Forestry Centre. Since 2005, the province has emitted an average of 65 million tonnes of carbon each year. ...

Werner Kurz, a senior research scientist at the Canadian Forest Service, says the emissions are part of an 'alarming' feedback loop, fuelled in large part by climate change.

"With climate change increasing, the risk of these emissions increasing in the future is very high," said Kurz. "If we get more of these extreme summers in the future, the likelihood is that we get more of these large emissions — and they of course add to the atmospheric burden, and therefore accelerate climate change."

On August 29th 2018, "more than 12,984 square kilometres of the province had burned, pushing past the previous record set just one year earlier." The area burnt was 2.3 times the size of Prince Edward Island, breaking the 2017 BC record for area burnt by wildfires, thereby once again at least tripling the greenhouse emissions, thereby further fueling the feedback loop of global warming.



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