Canada and global warming: a state of denial

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In December of last year scientists warned that California would fall dramatically making it more susceptible to drought and wildfires. 

California could be hit with significantly more dangerous and more frequent droughts in the near future as changes in weather patterns triggered by global warming block rainfall from reaching the state, according to new research led by scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Using complex new modeling, the scientists have found that rapidly melting Arctic sea ice now threatens to diminish precipitation over California by as much as 15% within 20 to 30 years. Such a change would have profound economic impacts in a state where the most recent drought drained several billion dollars out of the economy, severely stressed infrastructure and highlighted how even the state most proactively confronting global warming is not prepared for its fallout.

The latest study adds a worrying dimension to the challenge California is already facing in adapting to climate change, and shifts focus to melting polar ice that only recently has been discovered to have such a direct, potentially dramatic impact on the West Coast. While climate scientists generally agree that the increased temperatures already resulting from climate change have seriously exacerbated drought in California, there has been debate over whether global warming would affect the amount of precipitation that comes to California.

The study, published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, provides compelling evidence that it would. The model the scientists used homed in on the link between the disappearance of sea ice in the Arctic and the buildup of high ridges of atmospheric pressure over the Pacific Ocean. Those ridges push winter storms away from the state, causing drought. ...

Rainfall in California would drop, on average, 10% to 15% in the coming decades under Cvijanovic’s model, but the decline would present itself sporadically, exacerbating the potential for drought. Some years the decline in rainfall because of diminished Arctic ice would be much steeper than 15%. Other years would be wetter than they otherwise would be.

The study is yet another by federally funded researchers that finds the failure to more rapidly diminish greenhouse gas emissions could have a serious impact on California and other parts of the country. The findings contrast starkly with Trump administration policy on warming, which ignores the mainstream scientific consensus that human activity is driving it.




I think everyone here is aware that the escalating climate change catastrophe is man made. I'm not sure how that knowledge translates into an effective political response. Maybe the NDP and Greens should merge?


Canada is also facing droughts as a result of climate change. 

A study released in March 2018 looked at 29 different climate change models examining drought caused by global warming until 2100 would impact different regions of Canada in terms of precipitation both if greenhouse gas emissions grew unchecked and if they were significantly reduced. 

Prairie provinces

All three Prairie provinces, stretching from the Rocky Mountains to the shore of Hudson Bay, are vulnerable to drought, says David Price, a scientist for Natural Resources Canada who models climate change outlooks. ...

Southern parts of those provinces are vulnerable to drought, Barrie Bonsal, a research scientist with the Water Science and Technology Directorate of Environment Canada, agrees, and droughts could become more severe later in the century. Alberta will be particularly vulnerable as glaciers in the Rockies melt, ending a formerly reliable source of water.

South-central British Columbia

British Columbia's Okanagan Valley is one of the driest places in Canada, and agriculture puts pressure on water supplies. Climate change could mean even hotter summers in the region, making it more vulnerable to drought. "Most models show it getting drier toward the end of the century," said Barrie Bonsal, a research scientist with the Water Science and Technology Directorate of Environment Canada.

British Columbia has been dependent on snowpack to provide moisture through the spring and summer, but it may get more rain in winter, which would run off the land rather than melting slowly as snow does, Bonsal said. 

The Lower Mainland of B.C. is accustomed to seeing lots of rain, but with places like the lower Fraser region and Vancouver Island seeing less of it, they'll have to rely more and more on water reservoirs, according to John Pomeroy, professor of geography and director of the Centre for Hydrology at the University of Saskatchewan. However, since those regions don't usually have to rely on reservoirs, he says, the ones they have aren't adequate to offset the lack of rain. In fact, the shortage has prompted water restrictions in the province and instances of hydrological drought, which is when lakes, rivers and ground water supplies are depleted.

Yukon and Northwest Territories ...

"The impact of climate change is being felt rapidly in the far North," Price said. "We could see a dry winter followed by a hot summer that would make drought quite possible."

Ontario and Quebec

Southern parts of Canada's two most populous provinces are mainly protected from drought because of the Great Lakes, which create their own wet weather systems. Climate change models vary in their predictions of whether water levels in the Great Lakes will rise or fall as weather patterns change. But there still could be a need for water restrictions if demand exceeds supply, Bonsal said. ...

Northern parts of Ontario and Quebec are less influenced by the Great Lakes, and their forests could be threatened. "You only need a couple of years of very dry conditions to make those forests tinder-dry," Price said. That means elevated risk of forest fire.

Atlantic Canada

By contrast, Atlantic Canada and eastern Quebec are predicted to become wetter as the century progresses, under most climate change models.


There are now 25 known dead and over 100 missing from the California fires in the last few days, with more than 250,000 under evacuation orders. The President of the California Professional Firefighters has ripped Trump for his comment on withholding federal funding to the states because of poor forest management. This is another attempt to deflect attention from how global warming is increasing levels of catastrophic damage when Trump denies global warming even exists. It also typical of his vindictive response to anyone who does not support him under any and all circumstances. 

The death toll from wildfires raviging on both ends of California has risen to 25. The so-called Camp Fire leveled nearly the entire city of Paradise, scorching thousands of homes and leaving its business district in ruins. More than 100 people are still missing after the wildfire decimated the town of about 27,000.

The Camp Fire, which began Thursday, destroyed more than 6,700 structures, almost all of them homes. It is considered the most destructive fire in state history. ...

In Southern California, the Woolsey Fire tore through Malibu mansions and working-class suburban homes. Along with the Hill Fire, it prompted evacuation orders for more than 250,000 people. ...

Brian K. Rice, the president of the California Professional Firefighters, criticized President Trump on Saturday after he threatened to withhold federal payments to the state, claiming its forest management is "so poor." The president made the comments as the state is battling multiple deadly wildfires.

"The president's message attacking California and threatening to withhold aid to the victims of the cataclysmic fires is ill-informed, ill-timed and demeaning to those who are suffering as well as the men and women on the front lines," Brian K. Rice said in a statement.

"Wildfires are sparked and spread not only in forested areas but in populated areas and open fields fueled by parched vegetation, high winds, low humidity and geography," Rice said.

He added, "Moreover, nearly 60 percent of California forests are under federal management, and another two-thirds under private control. It is the federal government that has chosen to divert resources away from forest management, not California."



While Jerry Brown has received praise for his climate change measures for his climate change measures, he also has been strong criticized for being too friendly to oil, not unlike Trudeau and Notley. 

Anti-oil protesters tried to shout down California Gov. Jerry Brown as he spoke at last November’s climate-change conference in Bonn, Germany, one of many interruptions in his appearances there. The occasionally feisty governor didn’t miss the opportunity to debate with the “Keep It In The Ground” campaign troops pushing for no new oil or gas drilling anywhere.

“Keep it in the ground? Let’s put you in the ground,” Brown shot back, before veering into a well-worn admonition that the industrial world would suffer if fossil fuels suddenly stopped flowing. ...

To some it’s jarring to attack the environmental bona fides of a public figure who has been talking about conservation since the 1970s and has arguably signed more environmental legislation than any American governor. As state attorney general and then governor, Brown has championed regulations supporting clean energy, energy efficiency and a broad suite of laws aimed at reducing greenhouse gases that warm the planet.

But even as they acknowledge those gains, some fault Brown for a persistent and significant blind spot in his green worldview: oil. ...

The governor declined to comment for this article. His spokesman, Evan Westrup, said the critics are myopic, ignoring the changes already occurring at Brown’s hand. ...

But not to R.L. Miller, chairwoman of the state Democratic Party’s environmental caucus and president of the political action committee Climate Hawks Vote, which supports environmental issues and candidates. She said Brown used to be a committed environmentalist, and she gave him credit for promoting solar energy, for example. But oil exploration is another matter, she said. Like many critics, Miller noted Brown’s controversial dismissal of the state’s top two oil and gas regulators in 2011, two days after they warned the governor that oil activities were imperiling the state’s groundwater. Industry representatives, who had complained that the state’s enforcement noose was pulling too tightly, welcomed the move. Brown never publicly gave a reason for firing the officials, who serve at the pleasure of the governor.

Two years later, to great fanfare, Brown signed legislation regulating fracking, calling it the toughest in the nation. But the law didn’t go as far as some environmentalists would have liked; they wanted a fracking ban. “His blind spot is bigger than just fracking; it’s really the entire oil industry,” Miller said. “He goes out of his way to be friendly to them.” She calls Brown “Chevron’s stenographer.”

Critics howled again last year when oil interests were given key concessions so that Brown’s signature climate policy—the cap and trade system for reducing industrial pollution—could be extended. The governor himself lobbied legislators for passage. ...

Brown has approved more than 20,000 new drilling permits since 2011. But his staff points out that fewer than 1,500 have been issued in the last two years, mirroring the decline in the price of oil and in statewide production. ...

Oil interests, like many others, have donated to the governor’s campaigns and causes. Chevron and Occidental oil companies, for example, have contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars since 2010 to Brown’s gubernatorial runs and the two charter schools he founded in Oakland. Occidental gave $250,000 to a Brown-backed ballot-measure effort about two months after the 2011 oil-regulator firings.




Drought and above normal temperatures brought on by climate change have contributed to the most disastrous wildfire season in California history with 44 dead and 230 missing. Unforunately, future wildfire seasons are expected to get worse both in California and in Canada, especially in its boreal forest, which stretches across much of the country. 

The fires follow years of drought and increasingly deadly and destructive fire seasons. Fire officials and climate scientists have, in part, attributed those fires to climate change, saying the state’s fire season may now be year-round.

California Gov. Jerry Brown stressed this during a news conference on Sunday night, calling this extended period of fire danger a "new abnormal."

"This new abnormal will continue certainly into the next, 10 to 15 to 20 years," he said. "And unfortunately, the best science is telling us that dryness, warmth, drought — all those things are going to intensify."


The death toll has reached 42 in the Northern California wildfire, making it the deadliest in state history.

The dead were found in burned-out cars, in the smoldering ruins of their homes, or next to their vehicles, apparently overcome by smoke and flames before they could jump in behind the wheel and escape. In some cases, there were only charred fragments of bone, so small that coroner's investigators used a wire basket to sift and sort them.

Statewide the number of dead stood at 44, including two victims in Southern California, from wildfires raging at both ends of the state, ABC News reported.

The wildfire turned the Northern California town of Paradise and outlying areas into hell on earth, equaling the deadliest blaze in state history, and the search for bodies continued Monday.

Nearly 230 people were unaccounted for by the sheriff's reckoning, four days after the fire swept over the town of 27,000 and practically wiped it off the map with flames so fierce that authorities brought in a mobile DNA lab and forensic anthropologists to help identify the dead.


Mr. Magoo

Meanwhile in Canada: 


'So many bears': Draft plan says Nunavut polar bear numbers unsafe

Plan leans heavily on Inuit knowledge, contradicts western scientific thinking



Here's a review of the International Panel on Climate Change 2018 report. It isn't pretty. 

The Special Report tells us we’re screwed. Even to be a little less screwed, we’ll have to overturn everything in our society, politics, and economy — just to keep the global temperature from rising more than half a degree Celsius.

That doesn’t sound like much, but an enormous amount of energy is involved in warming the planet by half a degree. Briefly, the IPCC argument runs like this: since the 19th century’s “pre-industrial” carbon dioxide levels began to rise, global temperature has risen about 1 degree Celsius. That one degree has brought us a shrinking Arctic ice pack, rapid melting of the Greenland ice sheet, dying reefs, rising sea levels, and some very extreme weather.

The Paris Accord, which Canada signed, is intended to keep further temperature rise below 2 degrees by the end of the century, and to try to keep it as low as 1.5 degrees. This was on par with the “pledges” rich nations make to help poor nations recover from earthquakes and epidemics; somehow the money itself never arrives.

In fact, studying the 1.5 degree goal was considered a sop to island nations that expect to drown if sea levels keep rising, and the Special Report was compiled to please them. The real trouble, scientists thought, would start with 2 degrees. ...

But both the report and concurrent research show that a temperature increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius is going to hurt everyone, not just Polynesia. At present rates of emission, we’re going to hit a global average of 1.5 degrees not in some distant future, but in 2040. “Warming in many regions has already exceeded 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels,” the report says. “Over a fifth of the global population live in regions that have already experienced warming in at least one season that is greater than 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.” ...

To slow things down, the report says, “Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 per cent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050. This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing CO2 from the air.”

Of interest to Canadians, “Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees rather than 2 degrees is projected to prevent the thawing over centuries of a permafrost area in the range of 1.5 to 2.5 million km2.”



A National Wildlife Federation (NWF) report looked at the impact of sea level rise caused by global warming on the Pacific Northwest, including British Columbia. Based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report the NWF report concluded: 

Using the IPCC’s projection of 0.69 meters (27.3 inches) of global sea level rise in this century, the NWF study predicts, by 2100:

  • 65% loss in estuarine beaches
  • 61% loss of tidal swamp
  • 52% of brackish marsh will convert to tidal flats, transitional marsh and saltmarsh
  • up to 44% loss of tidal flats
  • 25% loss of tidal fresh marsh
  • 13% loss of inland fresh marsh

Coastal habitats such as beaches, marshes, tidal flats and estuaries are vital to wildlife.

Millions of birds – from 29 countries and three continents – rely on the Fraser estuary and mudflats of Roberts Bank and Boundary Bay, to feed and rest as they migrate along the Pacific Flyway each year.

For over 80% of BC’s wildlife – including wild salmon as well as birds – estuaries are essential during some part of the life cycle.

Such coastal habitat loss could tip the balance for threatened and endangered species. It would mean, for example:

  • declines in forage fish, along with the salmon and other marine life that rely on them
  • reduced stopover and wintering habitat for migratory shorebirds and waterfowl
  • loss of essential salmonid habitat, especially for juvenile Chinook and chum salmon

These changes would also have massive impacts on the economy of our region, hitting especially hard at BC’s tourism industry, shellfish aquaculture and fisheries.

Many of our Strait of Georgia communities and sensitive estuaries face flooding by rising seawater. Salmon runs will perish as they encounter the warming waters of the Fraser River and countless other streams. The cumulative impacts across the many watersheds that drain into our inland sea will change the Strait in ways no one can foresee.

Complicating the issue, many of our coastal areas have already been developed, polluted, dredged or otherwise damaged. Dikes, seawalls and other structures have reduced the possibility for critical habitats to simply move inland to adapt to sea level rise – so we cannot afford any further losses in terms of coastal habitat.



The damage already being done by global warming in the Georgia Strait region of BC is quite staggering and requires a major change in Canada's economy to avoid a catastrophe. 

The Strait of Georgia, part of the Salish Sea, is a beautiful and productive place. Our coastal waters support a diversity of species, rhythms of life, economies and communities. However, we can already see that human-caused climate change is having negative impacts in the Strait of Georgia and its watershed.

Reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) paint fairly bleak pictures for coastal communities. ... They outline several ways that coastal communities are experiencing the impact of climate change before communities that are farther inland.

Our salmon are at risk In our region, salmon is one of the most important species. While in the Strait, salmon are the preferred prey of Southern Resident killer whales. When spawning in freshwater rivers, salmon feed bears and other species along the watersheds, contributing energy to the food chain and nutrition to the soil. Yet higher average air and water temperatures, including record high temperatures in the Fraser River, are already contributing to a significant decline in salmon spawning survival in our region.

Our weather is changing Local economies and communities depend on regular precipitation patterns to be able to provide potable water and maintain winter wonderland conditions. However, changing patterns of precipitation, such as dry winters, lead to a decline in snowpack, while BC experienced its most extreme wildfire season the summer of 2017, with 1.2 million hectares burned by upwards of 1,300 fires.

Sea-level rise and the coastline Perhaps the most visible impact of climate change is sea-level rise. As the atmosphere warms two things occur: the water in the ocean heats up and expands, and glaciers and icefields trapped on land melt. There will be less water held on land and more water in the oceanand this water will take up more space. King tides are already starting to illustrate for us the impending changes, what parks we will lose, which walls and foundations will need enforcing, and which aquifers may not be potable anymore due to saltwater intrusion. ...

What can we do? We know that climate change is real, we know that we are causing it, and we know that we are running out of time to stop it. Canada has made many commitments to slow and stop our greenhouse gas emissions, but we have missed each and every one of these targets. The 2017 country review of Canada, issued by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), shows that the oil and gas sector is our largest culprit. It is not transportation, not the built environment or agriculture (although those sectors aren’t without impact) that is our biggest dragon to slay, but our mining and production of fossil fuels for export and domestic use.

In the Salish Sea, we are uniquely placed in Canada. As coastal communities, we have a direct relationship to the direct impacts of climate change. We are also located in a corridor which the oil and gas sector wants to use to transport its product to tidewater. It is time to create a green barricade of resistance to any further impacts from new fossil fuel projects along our coast.

And we are beginning to do that! Our next step is to say a definitive and legal “NO” to new fossil fuel infrastructure in the Salish Sea. We are working hard for a Moratorium on fossil fuels projects in the Salish Sea and doing our part to help Canada meet its international commitments and to slow global climate change.



The 2016 Ontario Greenhouse Gas Progress Report describes some of the problems the province is already facing as a result of global warming. 

In Ontario, climate change is already contributing to many impacts. Coldwater fish are losing habitat. Heat is stressing moose populations, which are already in decline. Invasive species are flourishing. Wildfire risk is increasing. Disease-carrying pests are spreading. Northern communities’ ice roads are becoming less reliable. The season for ice fishing and snow sports is shrinking. Heat waves are posing health risks for vulnerable populations. Cities like Toronto, Burlington, Windsor, Thunder Bay and Sault Ste. Marie have suffered extreme storms and devastating floods. Severe heat and drought have crimped water supplies and damaged crops.  ...

What used to be “normal” weather is gone.

As a result, 2016 has continued to break all temperature records. January to August had the highest land and ocean temperatures ever recorded.  ...

While not all impacts are harmful, on balance, climate change will bring more extreme weather, ecological damage, financial loss and human misery.  ...

Warmer and wilder weather is already affecting the province, and much more lies ahead. Ontario is warming faster than the world average, especially in the north. It is too late to avoid some disruptive and expensive changes to our environment and economy. But we still can influence how destructive those changes will be. By working together, we can still protect much of what we love, by reducing the GHGs that we emit, and by preparing for the changes ahead.  ...

Ontario still depends on fossil fuels for 80% of its energy. Transportation is our biggest challenge: Ontario’s largest and fastest growing share of GHG emissions. Industry, homes and commercial buildings are other major emitters. 

Ontarians have high emissions per person, compared to most people around the world, even those in other rich northern countries. Ontario’s per capita GHG emission footprint (12.6 tonnes) compared to Sweden (5.8 tonnes), the UK (9.1 tonnes), Norway (10.6) and worldwide (4.9 tonnes). 

And these emission numbers underestimate our true carbon footprint, because they leave out:

•the full impact of some emissions, such as methane and black carbon (soot);

• the emissions we cause by consuming things grown or made outside the province; and

•the emissions we cause through international aviation and shipping.

If these additional emissions were reflected in Ontario’s annual GHG totals, our reported emissions would be much higher. We have lots of room to improve, and many opportunities to do so.


epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

U.S. fishermen file climate lawsuit, name Canada's Encana

A major Calgary-based energy company is facing its fourth lawsuit in U.S. courts over climate change.

The Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations — the largest commercial fishermen’s group on the West Coast — has included Encana in a lawsuit attempting to link greenhouse gas emissions from 30 energy companies to damage in the crab fishery.

“The world’s oceans are changing and commercial fishermen and -women, their businesses, their communities and their families are paying the price,” says the lawsuit, filed in a San Francisco court on Wednesday.

Encana is named because it once operated a large natural gas storage facility in the state. That facility was sold in 2006.

An Encana spokesman declined to comment on the lawsuit....


Yesterday in post 262 I summarized the 2016 report of the Ontario Environmental Commissioner, Dianne Saxe, where she described the climate change problems that were already impacting Ontario two years ago. This September she criticized the Ford Progressive Conservative's government termination of the cap and trade system without putting an effective climate change program in its place. (

The good news is that Ford, from his viewpoint, has quickly solved Ontario's environmental problems. The bad news is he did it by shutting down the Environmental Commissioner office, which was established by the Ontario NDP government in 1994.

After almost a quarter century, the office of Ontario's environmental commissioner is no more. ...

The move was announced in the Progressive Conservatives' Fall Economic Statement, released Thursday at Queen's Park. ...

 The commissioner's office has existed for 24 years. It's tasked with reporting on the province's progress on energy efficiency and emissions reductions.



The right-wing Ford government has shut down a green energy wind farm in Ontario while the right-wing Legault Quebec  is looking at doing the same thing in Quebec. 

The White Pines project in Prince Edward county Ontario, which was close to completion after ten years of development and $100,000,000 included nine wind turbines meant to produce enough electricity to power just over 3,000 homes annually as Ontario shifted to renewable energy. Shutting it down was part of Ford's plan of closing 758 renewable energy projects. 

Ontario’s move to cancel the contract of a German-owned wind energy project represents a black mark for the province in the eyes of foreign investors, Berlin’s ambassador to Canada, Sabine Sparwasser, warned Monday.

The German government and multinational companies have taken note of Premier Doug Ford’s decision to pull the plug on wpd AG’s White Pines wind project in Prince Edward County, as well as the bill now before the legislature that will allow the province to set limits on what compensation is provided, Ms. Sparwasser said in a telephone interview. “Obviously, every incoming government has the right to change policy direction,” she said. “But to have a unilateral cancellation pushed through by law that way is unsettling for the company, but is also something that will unsettle other potential investors." ...

The Progressive Conservative government announced the cancellation of the 18.5-megawatt White Pines project two weeks ago and introduced legislation last week to allow the termination and to limit the compensation the province would face. Wpd Canada Corp. had been developing the project over the past 10 years, and received final approval for construction from the province’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) in May, just after the election campaign began. That cancellation was separate from the government’s decision to terminate 758 renewable energy projects which had IESO contracts that had not been finalized.


In Quebec, the Legault government is seriously considering down the $600 million Apuiat wind farm project that was intended to produce 200 megawatts from 50 wind turbines. The mayor of Port-Cartier, Alain Thibault, says that if this project is terminated by the government it will be hard to get further investments in the region.

Hydro-Quebec would buy power from the wind farm under a provisional agreement made with the Innu Nation, a group that represents all nine Innu communities in Quebec, and Boralex in late August. It had been agreed to wait until after the Oct. 1 election to finalize the deal. The farm would cost $600 million to build and would create 400 jobs during the construction phase.

First proposed in 2015, the wind farm became a political hot-potato during the Quebec election campaign. Philippe Couillard’s Liberals said the project was crucial to obtaining Innu support for future energy development on Innu traditional territory, while Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) leader Legault agreed with Martel, deeming the project uneconomical, given Quebec's surplus of hydroelectric power.


 Yvon Monette/Facebook

On Saturday November 10th, 50,000 Quebecois joined in a march called La planète s’invite au Parlement (The Planet Goes to Parliament) in order to demand that the Quebec government establish a concrete plan to deal with climate change. This demonstration was one of a series of marches called La planète s’invite dans la campagne aimed at insisting that all political parties develop a plan that prioritizes the "transition to green jobs, divest from fossil fuels, respect Indigenous sovereignty and protect their land and biodiversity."

The Coalition Avenir Québec (CAQ) government of François Legault hasn’t discussed clearly what their plan is to start transitioning to a green economy for future generations. Previously in the campaign’s early stage, Legault had no problem with the fracking industry and fossil fuel projects. But after the tornado that destroyed houses and communities in Gatineau and surrounding areas, the CAQ changed their message a little. However, they still didn’t offer concrete measures. On the party’s official page, general topics such as Green Economy, National Architecture and Planning Policy, Greenhouse Gas and Energy Efficiency are listed without any references nor real proposals.

On the other hand, Quebec Solidaire had a breakthrough in this year’s election, winning 10 seats as they ran a campaign supporting an energy transition program divesting from oil companies, providing better conditions for workers, public dental insurance, free education, and increasing the minimum wage. These are important measures and to fight climate change we also need decent wages and working conditions for people, instead of targeting individuals and how much time they spend in the shower. As per an article from The Guardian, in July 2017 by Tess Riley, it shows that 100 companies are responsible for 71% of global emissions.

The latest mobilization brought once again the following list of demands, which is also based on the Transition Pact (Le Pacte de transition), a document signed by 400 prominent figures in Quebec stating their commitment to put the fight against climate change as a priority and what needs to be done in the short term (2 years) to make progress on this matter.

1- Recognize that the climate emergency and the protection of biodiversity are the greatest challenges of our time, and raise public awareness about them.

2- Develop a climate plan that meets the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) targets of reducing GHG emissions by 45% by 2030 (compared to 2010 levels) and eliminating them completely by 2050. Provide a detailed annual report to the public on the progress towards achieving these targets.

3- Ban any new oil and gas exploration or development projects, and end all direct and indirect fossil fuel subsidies.

The Pact also demands that the government commit to "Adopting a strategy to ensure that the energy transition brings social justice for workers and their communities that will face economic impacts."

Indigenous peoples, political figures from Quebec Solidaire, workers from the CSN, the FTQ, environmental groups like Greenpeace and more political organizations were part of this event which shows a great level of solidarity and understanding about the importance of a mass movement that will keep us on a path to environmental justice.

More marches are already scheduled to happen through November and December to keep the pressure on. Groups will be marching in Quebec City by the end of the month and on December 8th, another event will take place in Montreal.



Andrew Scheer hope of winning more seats in Quebec are fading fast because of the Conservatives anti-carbon pricing approach to climate change. The 50,000 person march in Montreal last week to demand government action on climate change is just one example of the level of support for dealing with climate change now. Last week, 150,000 Quebecois signed a pledge to reduce their own carbon footprint and to insist that governments take a more proactive approach to global warming. This pressure is already affecting the new right-wing CAQ government and other provinical parties. When this is combined with the Ontario Ford government's abolishing of the Ontario's Office of the French Language Services Commissioner and the cancelling of a proposed Ontario French language univsersity that has raised another outcry in Quebec, the federal Conservatives  are expected to see a significant drop in Quebec support in upcoming polls. 

In Quebec, the anti-carbon pricing platform Scheer has been spending the fall shoring up is dead on arrival both in the National Assembly and on the ground.

As for his commitment to the Energy East pipeline — a project designed to transport oil from the Prairies through Ontario and Quebec to the Atlantic Coast — it amounts to a target on the back of his candidates as well as an incentive for Quebec’s premier to keep at a safe distance from the federal Conservatives.

Among the right-of-centre premiers and leaders who have emerged since Justin Trudeau became prime minister, Premier François Legault already stands alone in support of the federal climate-change framework. The Quebec cap-and-trade system put in place under previous governments is there to stay. ...

Legault has reversed his party’s position on allowing shale gas exploration on Anticosti Island. He has admitted his platform did not make the grade on the environment and promised the CAQ would do better in government. Legault dispatched three of his ministers to Saturday’s Montreal march. And while he did not sign on to the “Pacte pour la transition” — the carbon-footprint-reduction pledge sponsored by a coalition of hundreds of artists, climate change activists, scientists and academics — the premier met with one of its leading organizers on Friday. ...

If the past is any indication, the first inclination of Conservative strategists will be to dismiss the ongoing Quebec developments as the work of an elitist cohort of left-wing activists. They will find plenty of punditry in support of that take.

But among the backers of the Transition Pact, there are more Quebec household names than Scheer can ever hope to get to know between now and the federal election. Together, they command a larger audience than he ever will. In the recent past, more formidable leaders than Scheer have taken on similar Quebec coalitions…and lost.



In California, the climate change related wildfires have destroyed the city of Paradise, which had a population of 27,000. Searchers are now looking "for more than 1,000 people reported missing in the northern California town reduced to ashes by the deadliest wildfire in the state’s history, as the death toll increased to 71." Of the dead "only bones and fragments" remain.

Authorities attribute the death toll in part to the speed with which flames raced through the town of 27,000, driven by wind and fueled by desiccated scrub and trees.

Nearly 12,000 homes and buildings burned hours after the blaze erupted, the California department of forestry and fire protection (Cal Fire) said. The fire left a ghostly expanse of empty lots covered in ash and strewn with debris.


A burned neighborhood is seen from the air in Paradise, Calif., on Nov. 15


In California the current seven year climate change related drought, which was predicted by global warming models, has greatly facilitated the number and intensity of wildfires, as well as the speed at which they have spread, thereby increasing their deadliness. Those climate change models also predict that the Okanagan Valley and Southeast of BC, as well as the prairies of both Canada and the US, will also face the drought and high temperature conditions that facilitated these wildfires. 

Is climate change playing a role?

Large wildfires require a cocktail of conditions, such as favourable wind speed and direction, fuel, terrain and, of course, ignition, which can be as simple as a trailer throwing up sparks by scraping on a road.

Broadly speaking, however, climate change is making conditions more favourable for wildfires in the American west. Of the 20 largest wildfires in California’s recorded history, 15 have occurred since 2000, at a time when forests have become drier and warmer.

Since 1970, temperatures in the west have increased by about double the global average, lengthening the western wildfire season by several months and drying out large tracts of forests, making them more fire-prone.

“Climate change is increasing the vulnerability of many forests to ecosystem changes and tree mortality through fire, insect infestations, drought and disease outbreaks,” a major climate assessment by the US government states.

“Given strong relationships between climate and fire, even when modified by land use and management such as fuel treatments, projected climate changes suggest that western forests in the United States will be increasingly affected by large and intense fires that occur more frequently,” the report adds, noting that fire suppression techniques have also heightened the risk.



The October 2018  United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report says that "carbon pollution would have to be cut by 45% by 2030 – compared with a 20% cut under the 2C pathway – and come down to zero by 2050" to keep the temperature rising by no more 1.5 degrees celsius. (

The complete inadequacy of the Saskatchewan government's August 2018 climate change plan, which "announced new emissions performance standards for more large industrial emitters that, if successful, are expected to reduce the province's overall emissions by 1.1 per cent by 2030", can be seen when it is compared to the IPCC Report.

The government's plan looks at reducing emission intensity, as opposed to emissions themselves, he said.

"So if you get five per cent more efficient in producing output, but you produce 10 per cent more, your emissions have gone up by five per cent," Brett Dolter, an ecological economist at the University of Regina, said. "For industry, a hard cap would likely be tougher to meet." ...

David Forbes, the Saskatchewan NDP's environment critic, denounced the province's strategy. ...

Forbes said that while today's announcement fills in some details, others remain elusive. "Today we saw an announcement that would deal with a very small part of the question," he said.

Considering what the damage and death toll created by the climate change-related California wildfires described in posts 268 and 269, you would think that the Canadian prairie provincal governments would start making major changes in their climate change plans. But, they remain in a state of denial.

Sean in Ottawa

jerrym wrote:

Andrew Scheer hope of winning more seats in Quebec are fading fast because of the Conservatives anti-carbon pricing approach to climate change. The 50,000 person march in Montreal last week to demand government action on climate change is just one example of the level of support for dealing with climate change now. Last week, 150,000 Quebecois signed a pledge to reduce their own carbon footprint and to insist that governments take a more proactive approach to global warming. This pressure is already affecting the new right-wing CAQ government and other provinical parties. When this is combined with the Ontario Ford government's abolishing of the Ontario's Office of the French Language Services Commissioner and the cancelling of a proposed Ontario French language univsersity that has raised another outcry in Quebec, the federal Conservatives  are expected to see a significant drop in Quebec support in upcoming polls. 

In Quebec, the anti-carbon pricing platform Scheer has been spending the fall shoring up is dead on arrival both in the National Assembly and on the ground.

As for his commitment to the Energy East pipeline — a project designed to transport oil from the Prairies through Ontario and Quebec to the Atlantic Coast — it amounts to a target on the back of his candidates as well as an incentive for Quebec’s premier to keep at a safe distance from the federal Conservatives.

Among the right-of-centre premiers and leaders who have emerged since Justin Trudeau became prime minister, Premier François Legault already stands alone in support of the federal climate-change framework. The Quebec cap-and-trade system put in place under previous governments is there to stay. ...

Legault has reversed his party’s position on allowing shale gas exploration on Anticosti Island. He has admitted his platform did not make the grade on the environment and promised the CAQ would do better in government. Legault dispatched three of his ministers to Saturday’s Montreal march. And while he did not sign on to the “Pacte pour la transition” — the carbon-footprint-reduction pledge sponsored by a coalition of hundreds of artists, climate change activists, scientists and academics — the premier met with one of its leading organizers on Friday. ...

If the past is any indication, the first inclination of Conservative strategists will be to dismiss the ongoing Quebec developments as the work of an elitist cohort of left-wing activists. They will find plenty of punditry in support of that take.

But among the backers of the Transition Pact, there are more Quebec household names than Scheer can ever hope to get to know between now and the federal election. Together, they command a larger audience than he ever will. In the recent past, more formidable leaders than Scheer have taken on similar Quebec coalitions…and lost.


I do not agree with Hébert here. The logic does not support her in my opinion. It is true Quebec does not have a large percentage of climate deniers. However, it has had recently an even small percentage of conservatives.

Even with a 70-30 proportion in the province in favour of those who that care about the environment, that leaves a 30% margin that may be inclined to vote Conservative for other reasons. In other words the 30% who would be most likely available to the Conservatives may also be aligned with them on terrible environmental policy. In this sense, they may have calculated that in the proportion it is realistic for the Conservatives to obtain, this move is a net positive. this number goes when you take out of the 70% those who may not agree with Conservative policies on this one issue but would vote for them anyway.

As we have seen in the past, minority opinions can actually help parties get that minority of votes they need and be more effective than appealling to the majority that would not ever vote for them. People not only have positions on the issues but relative importance for the issues so a position alone is not certain to be able to move voters.

This is a critical lesson for the NDP as well. There are times when it is politically positive to go with the majority, but sometimes that is not the case. The reality is that you need your policies to be in line with a majority of the people accessible to you. It is possible that while the Conservatives positions are not with the majority of the province, they are actually with the majority of their accessible voters there. There is little to be gained by having a position in common with other parties if that position will mostly please those who would never consider voting for you and leave those who would without a reason to come out for you. Consider that some policies will work to increase the vote of a party while the same policy would decrease the vote of another party. A classic example is the fiscal restraint of Mulcair, may have been a policy that could have helped the Liberals or the Conservatives but the policy damaged the NDP: the reason being that the people who wanted the policy were not open to the NDP and those who were opposed it.

The NDP is at a severe deficit here and looks to continue that problem. Both the Liberals and the Conservatives know more about what their potential voters want on the issues (and what can cause them to change their vote) using up-to-date electronic communication tools recording canvassing (remember the Liberals with their ipads in the last election?). The NDP without the kind of connection and without the cash to build one, has to guess where its potential voters are. This is not the membership which are less likely to go anywhere. This is not about selling out either -- it is about making your message, shoring up arguments where needed, saving your breath also where possible -- in short, redirecting your communications more than even changes in policy. Without this intelligence it is in a severe deficit when it comes to tailoring the ads parties put out at the end of a campaign to bring home the vote.

It is not clear that Hébert knows where the potential Conservatives are on this more than they do. It is possible that she is looking at the wide electorate while they are narrow casting to the people who could actually vote for them. They may know the issues their potential voters care most about, which issues they can afford to disagree with this group and still get support and which ones will generate votes in their favour. This is the technology in information that now can win elections.

Let me put this another way: if we break down the electorate as follows: 12% NDP, 25% Con, 25% Liberal, 4% Green, 1% BQ -- core support that no policy is required to deliver. (Please do not nit pick on my numbers here -  each party should be able to establish in private what this core and available support level is.) This leaves a minority of about a third. Of that minority each party has an accessible number of about about one quarter to one fifth (lower for the Greens and BQ)  - a number that overlaps but is different for each party. This allows the NDP to get the high 30s and the Conservatives and Liberals up to the high 40s. Depending on other factors this in extreme situations can stretch or shrink a little based on the core being upset and not wanting to vote at all or the appeal of a leader extending beyond the normal accessible vote. But for policies this is about the range...

It does not matter where the general population is or where even the voting population (electorate is), it does not even matter, that strongly where the base is. What matters is not even where that 20-25% of accessible voters is on the issues. What does matter is which policies will move them - a subset. So from this small group we remove the people for whom party positions on the issue will not affect their vote (the people who can tolerate not being on the same side as their party). You might be left with only 10% of the electorate, 6% of the population, who will potentially change their vote on an issue. Knowing this for all the issues, for the potential voters, is how a party can win with minority opinions.

Hébert's job is to follow the wider population and speculate about wider directions. She cannot narrow cast down to the small numbers on each issue and therefore can speak about trends but cannot be accurate about which single policy will make or break which party better than the parties. The advance in this information available to the Conservatives and Liberals is far beyond what a brillian journalist can do.

So let me explain further: perhaps a 6 percent in quebec are fed up with policies supporting the environment, a further 20% could not care enough to vote on it and together these form the potential voters for the Conservatives. If this is the case it is a vote getter not a vote loser even if most of the province is in a different direction.

This is the kind of thinking needed to win elections.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..from a piece i posted in another thread. this march was just the begining of something powerful coming up from below. no politician will be able to avoid oe ignore it.

50,000-strong climate march in Montreal targets Legault government


On Friday, Dominic Champagne, a theatre director and author, who also speaks for the Planet movement, met with Legault in person, urging him to sign on to what has come to be known as The Pact — Le Pacte de transition — a pledge to move from words to action on climate change, and for individuals to commit to reducing their ecological footprint in their daily lives by making better choices with transport, food, waste and oil consumption, among other things.

In return for daily sacrifices, however, the Pact also makes demands on politicians to recognize the environment and combating climate change must become the priority.

The Pact, and the protests — another is planned for Nov. 27, when the National Assembly meets again — are a response to an appeal from the secretary-general of the United Nations that citizens mobilize to avoid the ecological disaster scientists now say is imminent.

Since its release on Wednesday, about 150,000 people, including 500 Quebec personalities, have signed the Pact. Legault did not.


The EU has been steadily ratcheting up its targets as part of the 2015 Paris climate change accord. ... Last week the European parliament adopted energy-savings targets of 32.5% and a renewable energy uplift of 32% by 2030. That will put the bloc on course to cut emissions by 45% from 1990 levels by 2030.

While Canadian greenhouse gas emissions have been rising since 1990, except for 2008-9 due to the Great Recession, the European Union has been reducing its emissions in a major way during the same period and has now set a goal of reducing its emissions by 45% below 1990 standards. On the other hand, the Liberal government, like previous Liberal and Conservative governments, is set to blow past its 2020 and 2030 targets for greenhouse gas emissions reductions.

European Union (EU) greenhouse gas emissions continued to decrease in 2014, with a 4.1% reduction in emissions to 24.4% below 1990 levels, according to the EU’s annual inventory published today by the European Environment Agency (EEA). ...

The reduction in greenhouse gas emissions over the 24-year period was due to a variety of factors, including the growing share in the use of renewables, the use of less carbon intensive fuels and improvements in energy efficiency, as well as to structural changes in the economy and the economic recession.


 By comparison greenhouse gas emissions grew in Canada under both Liberal and Conservative governments increased from 592 megatonnes carbon dioxide equivalent in 1990 to "in 2015 ... 722 megatonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide equivalent", an increase of 22%. Canada has not and will not meet any of its greenhouse emission goals, although the European Union has shown it can be done. 

In 2015, Canada's total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions were 722 megatonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2 eq). The oil and gas sector was the largest GHG emitter in Canada, accounting for 189 Mt CO2 eq (26% of total emissions), followed closely by the transportation sector, which emitted 173 Mt CO2 eq (24%).

The increase in GHG emissions between 1990 and 2015 was mostly due to a 76% (82 Mt CO2 eq) increase in emissions in the oil and gas sector and a 42% (51 Mt CO2 eq) increase in the transportation sector. These increases were partly offset by a 16 Mt CO2 eq decrease in emissions in the electricity sector and a 22 Mt CO2 eq decrease in emissions from heavy industry. 

Greenhouse gas emissions by Canadian economic sector, Canada, 1990 to 2015

Stacked column chart showing GHG emissions by Canadian economic sector - Long description below.




Governments around the world are now being sued for failing to meet greenhouse emission targets and the October 2018 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report is giving plaintiffs new ammunition in these lawsuits. Already more than 1,000 such lawsuits have been filed. "Investors are also increasingly having to take into account the legal risks associated with global warming".

Climate-related litigations are set to break new grounds following a landmark report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) earlier this month, which provided lawyers with new evidence that limiting global warming to 1.5°C is still possible. 

“This report provides us strong arguments to use in the Court rooms: There is an important threat to people and their fundamental rights. By not stepping up their climate action, governments are failing to do their duty to protect citizens,” lawyer Roda Verheyen told EURACTIV.

“Besides showing the devastating impacts of above 1.5°C warming, the IPCC report made it clear that limiting the temperature rise to 1.5°C is still possible and doable,” she stressed. 

The report, released on 8 October, demonstrates that limiting global average temperature rise to 1.5ºC is still achievable.

But it will require unprecedented transitions in all aspects of society, including energy, agriculture, transport, urban and industrial systems. It will also require the engagement of non-state actors, and the integration of climate action into broader public policies and development frameworks. ...

Verheyen explained that plaintiffs are already being affected by climate change. “Plaintiffs are families who have to deal with heat waves, drought, too much water, not enough water, ice melt, rising sea level. They are people who are impacted by climate change now and on an every day basis,” the lawyer said.  Many of them are farmers or depend on agriculture who are already feeling the impact of global warming on their activities.  “For them, it is not a loss of revenue, it is also the loss of their fundamental right to live. Yes, climate justice is a human right,” she said.

According to figures from the Sabin Centre for Climate Change Law at Columbia Law School, more than 1,000 climate cases have been filed worldwide, and confirms that these cases could have a significant impact in holding governments accountable for climate change. 

Of these 1,000 or more cases, 20 are directly targeting private companies.

Already, the financial community is being sensitive to this new environment. Philippe Desfossé, chief executive officer of the pension fund ERAFP, the additional retirement pension for French civil servants worth €30 billion euros, recently told EURACTIV that investors increasingly have to take into account the legal risks associated with global warming.


                                                           Paradise Lost


They burned down Paradise

The world barely noticed.

27,000 homeless, 250,000 evacuated and 20 million on evacuation alert in California.

From the desert, hot, dry Santa Ana winds blow over the Sierra Nevada mountains

Fire tornadoes incinerate Paradise in a single day.

79 dead, 1,276 missing.

Only bones and fragments found.

Scientists scream the intense dryness and violent winds signal global warming

The world barely notices.

Fort McMurray burns.

The oil rigs return.

The world barely notices.

Summer cruise ships sail the Arctic

To see ice and polar bears disappear.

The world barely notices.

Lennox Island First Nation reserve disappearing

Beneath the Gulf of St. Lawrence waves.

The world barely notices.

The Sahara spreads south

African global warming refugees flood north.

The world barely notices.

All of Australia becoming the Outback.

The world barely notices.

The Amazon

Lungs of the world

Drying and dying

The world barely notices.

That’s Bolsonaro’s business.

Micronesia, Fiji, Tonga, Maldives, Palau, Kiribati, Solomon Islands

Nations disappearing beneath the waves.

The world barely notices.

Quebec’s 2018 summer bakes 93 to death

The world barely notices.

30,000 fried to death in a 2003 European summer

The world barely notices.

Syria at war for seven years

The world notices

But ignores how global warming helped drought drive the conflict

Increased cyclones, rising seas, droughts displace millions of Bangladeshis

India replies with a 2544 km wall where 900 migrants are shot and die.

The world barely notices.

Indian glaciers melt

The holy drinking water of  1.4 billion people

The sacred Ganges drying and dying

The world barely notices.


Bill McKibben, one of the world's top climate change experts and leader of, has just written an excellent article, in The New Yorker on where we are and where we are going because of global warming. How Extreme Weather  is Shrinking the Earth discusses how global warming is decreasing the global space in which people can survive on the earth. 

This past October, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a special report stating that global warming “is likely to reach 1.5 C between 2030 and 2052 if it continues to increase at the current rate.” ... The report did not mention that, in Paris, countries’ initial pledges would cut emissions only enough to limit warming to 3.5 degrees Celsius (about 6.3 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, a scale and pace of change so profound as to call into question whether our current societies could survive it. ...

As a team of scientists recently pointed out in the journal Nature Climate Change, the physical shifts we’re inflicting on the planet will “extend longer than the entire history of human civilization thus far.” ...

The extra heat that we trap near the planet every day is equivalent to the heat from four hundred thousand bombs the size of the one that was dropped on Hiroshima. As a result, in the past thirty years we’ve seen all twenty of the hottest years ever recorded. The melting of ice caps and glaciers and the rising levels of our oceans and seas, initially predicted for the end of the century, have occurred decades early. “I’ve never been at . . . a climate conference where people say ‘that happened slower than I thought it would,’ ” Christina Hulbe, a New Zealand climatologist, told a reporter for Grist last year. This past May, a team of scientists from the University of Illinois reported that there was a thirty-five-per-cent chance that, because of unexpectedly high economic growth rates, the U.N.’s “worst-case scenario” for global warming was too optimistic. “We are now truly in uncharted territory,” David Carlson, the former director of the World Meteorological Organization’s climate-research division, said in the spring of 2017, after data showed that the previous year had broken global heat records. ...

When I say the world has begun to shrink, this is what I mean. Until now, human beings have been spreading, from our beginnings in Africa, out across the globe—slowly at first, and then much faster. But a period of contraction is setting in as we lose parts of the habitable earth. Sometimes our retreat will be hasty and violent; the effort to evacuate the blazing California towns along narrow roads was so chaotic that many people died in their cars. But most of the pullback will be slower, starting along the world’s coastlines. Each year, another twenty-four thousand people abandon Vietnam’s sublimely fertile Mekong Delta as crop fields are polluted with salt. As sea ice melts along the Alaskan coast, there is nothing to protect towns, cities, and native villages from the waves. In Mexico Beach, Florida, which was all but eradicated by Hurricane Michael, a resident told the Washington Post, “The older people can’t rebuild; it’s too late in their lives. Who is going to be left? Who is going to care?” ...

In one week at the end of last year, I read accounts from Louisiana, where government officials were finalizing a plan to relocate thousands of people threatened by the rising Gulf (“Not everybody is going to live where they are now and continue their way of life, and that is a terrible, and emotional, reality to face,” one state official said); from Hawaii, where, according to a new study, thirty-eight miles of coastal roads will become impassable in the next few decades; and from Jakarta, a city with a population of ten million, where a rising Java Sea had flooded the streets. ...

“Like it or not, we will retreat from most of the world’s non-urban shorelines in the not very distant future,” Orrin Pilkey, an expert on sea levels at Duke University, wrote in his book “Retreat from a Rising Sea.” “We can plan now and retreat in a strategic and calculated fashion, or we can worry about it later and retreat in tactical disarray in response to devastating storms. In other words, we can walk away methodically, or we can flee in panic.”

But it’s not clear where to go. As with the rising seas, rising temperatures have begun to narrow the margins of our inhabitation, this time in the hot continental interiors. Nine of the ten deadliest heat waves in human history have occurred since 2000. In India, the rise in temperature since 1960 (about one degree Fahrenheit) has increased the chance of mass heat-related deaths by a hundred and fifty per cent. The summer of 2018 was the hottest ever measured in certain areas. For a couple of days in June, temperatures in cities in Pakistan and Iran peaked at slightly above a hundred and twenty-nine degrees Fahrenheit, the highest reliably recorded temperatures ever measured. The same heat wave, nearer the shore of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, combined triple-digit temperatures with soaring humidity levels to produce a heat index of more than a hundred and forty degrees Fahrenheit. June 26th was the warmest night in history, with the mercury in one Omani city remaining above a hundred and nine degrees Fahrenheit until morning. In July, a heat wave in Montreal killed more than seventy people, and Death Valley, which often sets American records, registered the hottest month ever seen on our planet. Africa recorded its highest temperature in June, the Korean Peninsula in July, and Europe in August. ...

About a decade ago, Australian and American researchers, setting out to determine the highest survivable so-called “wet-bulb” temperature, concluded that when temperatures passed thirty-five degrees Celsius (ninety-five degrees Fahrenheit) and the humidity was higher than ninety per cent, even in “well-ventilated shaded conditions,” sweating slows down, and humans can survive only “for a few hours, the exact length of time being determined by individual physiology.” As the planet warms, a crescent-shaped area encompassing parts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and the North China Plain, where about 1.5 billion people (a fifth of humanity) live, is at high risk of such temperatures in the next half century. Across this belt, extreme heat waves that currently happen once every generation could, by the end of the century, become “annual events with temperatures close to the threshold for several weeks each year, which could lead to famine and mass migration.” By 2070, tropical regions that now get one day of truly oppressive humid heat a year can expect between a hundred and two hundred and fifty days, if the current levels of greenhouse-gas emissions continue. ...

(continued in next post)



How Extreme Weather  is Shrinking the Earth (continued from last post)

Humans share the planet with many other creatures, of course. We have already managed to kill off sixty per cent of the world’s wildlife since 1970 by destroying their habitats, and now higher temperatures are starting to take their toll. A new study found that peak-dwelling birds were going extinct; as temperatures climb, the birds can no longer find relief on higher terrain. Coral reefs, rich in biodiversity, may soon be a tenth of their current size.

As some people flee humidity and rising sea levels, others will be forced to relocate in order to find enough water to survive. In late 2017, a study led by Manoj Joshi, of the University of East Anglia, found that, by 2050, if temperatures rise by two degrees a quarter of the earth will experience serious drought and desertification. The early signs are clear: São Paulo came within days of running out of water last year, as did Cape Town this spring. In the fall, a record drought in Germany lowered the level of the Elbe to below twenty inches and reduced the corn harvest by forty per cent. The Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research concluded in a recent study that, as the number of days that reach eighty-six degrees Fahrenheit or higher increases, corn and soybean yields across the U.S. grain belt could fall by between twenty-two and forty-nine per cent. We’ve already overpumped the aquifers that lie beneath most of the world’s breadbaskets; without the means to irrigate, we may encounter a repeat of the nineteen-thirties, when droughts and deep plowing led to the Dust Bowl—this time with no way of fixing the problem. Back then, the Okies fled to California, but California is no longer a green oasis. A hundred million trees died in the record drought that gripped the Golden State for much of this decade. The dead limbs helped spread the waves of fire, as scientists earlier this year warned that they could.

Thirty years ago, some believed that warmer temperatures would expand the field of play, turning the Arctic into the new Midwest. As Rex Tillerson, then the C.E.O. of Exxon, cheerfully put it in 2012, “Changes to weather patterns that move crop production areas around—we’ll adapt to that.” But there is no rich topsoil in the far North; instead, the ground is underlaid with permafrost, which can be found beneath a fifth of the Northern Hemisphere. As the permafrost melts, it releases more carbon into the atmosphere. The thawing layer cracks roads, tilts houses, and uproots trees to create what scientists call “drunken forests.” Ninety scientists who released a joint report in 2017 concluded that economic losses from a warming Arctic could approach ninety trillion dollars in the course of the century, considerably outweighing whatever savings may have resulted from shorter shipping routes as the Northwest Passage unfreezes.

Churchill, Manitoba, on the edge of the Hudson Bay, in Canada, is connected to the rest of the country by a single rail line. In the spring of 2017, record floods washed away much of the track. OmniTrax, which owns the line, tried to cancel its contract with the government, declaring what lawyers call a “force majeure,” an unforeseen event beyond its responsibility. “To fix things in this era of climate change—well, it’s fixed, but you don’t count on it being the fix forever,” an engineer for the company explained at a media briefing in July. This summer, the Canadian government reopened the rail at a cost of a hundred and seventeen million dollars—about a hundred and ninety thousand dollars per Churchill resident. There is no reason to think the fix will last .

As journalists at InsideClimate News and the Los Angeles Times have revealed since 2015, Exxon, the world’s largest oil company, understood that its product was contributing to climate change a decade before Hansen testified. In July, 1977, James F. Black, one of Exxon’s senior scientists, addressed many of the company’s top leaders in New York, explaining the earliest research on the greenhouse effect. “There is general scientific agreement that the most likely manner in which mankind is influencing the global climate is through carbon-dioxide release from the burning of fossil fuels,” he said, according to a written version of the speech which was later recorded, and which was obtained by InsideClimate News. In 1978, speaking to the company’s executives, Black estimated that a doubling of the carbon-dioxide concentration in the atmosphere would increase average global temperatures by between two and three degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit), and as much as ten degrees Celsius (eighteen degrees Fahrenheit) at the poles.

Exxon spent millions of dollars researching the problem. It outfitted an oil tanker, the Esso Atlantic, with CO2 detectors to measure how fast the oceans could absorb excess carbon, and hired mathematicians to build sophisticated climate models. By 1982, they had concluded that even the company’s earlier estimates were probably too low. In a private corporate primer, they wrote that heading off global warming and “potentially catastrophic events” would “require major reductions in fossil fuel combustion.” ...

The implications of the exposés were startling. Not only did Exxon and other companies know that scientists like Hansen were right; they used his nasaclimate models to figure out how low their drilling costs in the Arctic would eventually fall. Had Exxon and its peers passed on what they knew to the public, geological history would look very different today. The problem of climate change would not be solved, but the crisis would, most likely, now be receding. In 1989, an international ban on chlorine-containing man-made chemicals that had been eroding the earth’s ozone layer went into effect. Last month, researchers reported that the ozone layer was on track to fully heal by 2060. But that was a relatively easy fight, because the chemicals in question were not central to the world’s economy, and the manufacturers had readily available substitutes to sell. In the case of global warming, the culprit is fossil fuel, the most lucrative commodity on earth, and so the companies responsible took a different tack.

A document uncovered by the L.A. Times showed that, a month after Hansen’s testimony, in 1988, an unnamed Exxon “public affairs manager” issued an internal memo recommending that the company “emphasize the uncertainty” in the scientific data about climate change. Within a few years, Exxon, Chevron, Shell, Amoco, and others had joined the Global Climate Coalition, “to coordinate business participation in the international policy debate” on global warming. The G.C.C. coördinated with the National Coal Association and the American Petroleum Institute on a campaign, via letters and telephone calls, to prevent a tax on fossil fuels, and produced a video in which the agency insisted that more carbon dioxide would “end world hunger” by promoting plant growth. With such efforts, it ginned up opposition to the Kyoto Protocol, the first global initiative to address climate change.

In October, 1997, two months before the Kyoto meeting, Lee Raymond, Exxon’s president and C.E.O., who had overseen the science department that in the nineteen-eighties produced the findings about climate change, gave a speech in Beijing to the World Petroleum Congress, in which he maintained that the earth was actually cooling. The idea that cutting fossil-fuel emissions could have an effect on the climate, he said, defied common sense. “It is highly unlikely that the temperature in the middle of the next century will be affected whether policies are enacted now, or twenty years from now,” he went on. Exxon’s own scientists had already shown each of these premises to be wrong. ...

Cheney helped persuade Bush to abandon his campaign promise to treat carbon dioxide as a pollutant. Within the year, Frank Luntz, a Republican consultant for Bush, had produced an internal memo that made a doctrine of the strategy that the G.C.C. had hit on a decade earlier. “Voters believe that there is no consensus about global warming within the scientific community,” Luntz wrote in the memo, which was obtained by the Environmental Working Group, a Washington-based organization. “Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly. Therefore, you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate.”

The strategy of muddling the public’s impression of climate science has proved to be highly effective. In 2017, polls found that almost ninety per cent of Americans did not know that there was a scientific consensus on global warming. Raymond retired in 2006, after the company posted the biggest corporate profits in history, and his final annual salary was four hundred million dollars. His successor, Rex Tillerson, signed a five-hundred-billion-dollar deal to explore for oil in the rapidly thawing Russian Arctic, and in 2012 was awarded the Russian Order of Friendship. In 2016, Tillerson, at his last shareholder meeting before he briefly joined the Trump Administration as Secretary of State, said, “The world is going to have to continue using fossil fuels, whether they like it or not.” ...

In October, New York State Attorney General Barbara D. Underwood filed suit against Exxon for lying to investors, which is a crime. What is certain is that the industry’s campaign cost us the efforts of the human generation that might have made the crucial difference in the climate fight. Exxon’s behavior is shocking, but not entirely surprising. Philip Morris lied about the effects of cigarette smoking before the government stood up to Big Tobacco. The mystery that historians will have to unravel is what went so wrong in our governance and our culture that we have done, essentially, nothing to stand up to the fossil-fuel industry.

There are undoubtedly myriad intellectual, psychological, and political sources for our inaction, but I cannot help thinking that the influence of Ayn Rand, the Russian émigré novelist, may have played a role. Rand’s disquisitions on the “virtue of selfishness” and unbridled capitalism are admired by many American politicians and economists—Paul Ryan, Tillerson, Mike Pompeo, Andrew Puzder, and Donald Trump, among them. Trump, who has called “The Fountainhead” his favorite book, said that the novel “relates to business and beauty and life and inner emotions. That book relates to . . . everything.” Long after Rand’s death, in 1982, the libertarian gospel of the novel continues to sway our politics: Government is bad. Solidarity is a trap. Taxes are theft. The Koch brothers, whose enormous fortune derives in large part from the mining and refining of oil and gas, have peddled a similar message, broadening the efforts that Exxon-funded groups like the Global Climate Coalition spearheaded in the late nineteen-eighties. ...

Such efforts help explain why, in 2017, the growth of American residential solar installations came to a halt even before March, 2018, when President Trump imposed a thirty-per-cent tariff on solar panels, and why the number of solar jobs fell in the U.S. for the first time since the industry’s great expansion began, a decade earlier.

Among the anti-government ideologues and fossil-fuel lobbyists responsible was Myron Ebell, who was at Trump’s side in the Rose Garden during the withdrawal announcement, and who, at Frontiers of Freedom, had helped run a “complex influence campaign” in support of the tobacco industry. Ebell is a director of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which was founded in 1984 to advance “the principles of limited government, free enterprise, and individual liberty,” and which funds the Cooler Heads Coalition, “an informal and ad-hoc group focused on dispelling the myths of global warming,” of which Ebell is the chairman. Also instrumental were the Heartland Institute and the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity. After Trump’s election, these groups sent a letter reminding him of his campaign pledge to pull America out [of the 2015 Paris Agreement].

We are on a path to self-destruction, and yet there is nothing inevitable about our fate. Solar panels and wind turbines are now among the least expensive ways to produce energy. Storage batteries are cheaper and more efficient than ever. We could move quickly if we chose to, but we’d need to opt for solidarity and coördination on a global scale. The chances of that look slim. In Russia, the second-largest petrostate after the U.S., Vladimir Putin believes that “climate change could be tied to some global cycles on Earth or even of planetary significance.” Saudi Arabia, the third-largest petrostate, tried to water down the recent I.P.C.C. report. Jair Bolsonaro, the newly elected President of Brazil, has vowed to institute policies that would dramatically accelerate the deforestation of the Amazon, the world’s largest rain forest. Meanwhile, Exxon recently announced a plan to spend a million dollars—about a hundredth of what the company spends each month in search of new oil and gas—to back the fight for a carbon tax of forty dollars a ton. At a press conference, some of the I.P.C.C.’s authors laughed out loud at the idea that such a tax would, this late in the game, have sufficient impact.




jerrym wrote:

Andrew Scheer hope of winning more seats in Quebec are fading fast because of the Conservatives anti-carbon pricing approach to climate change. The 50,000 person march in Montreal last week to demand government action on climate change is just one example of the level of support for dealing with climate change now. Last week, 150,000 Quebecois signed a pledge to reduce their own carbon footprint and to insist that governments take a more proactive approach to global warming. This pressure is already affecting the new right-wing CAQ government and other provinical parties. When this is combined with the Ontario Ford government's abolishing of the Ontario's Office of the French Language Services Commissioner and the cancelling of a proposed Ontario French language univsersity that has raised another outcry in Quebec, the federal Conservatives  are expected to see a significant drop in Quebec support in upcoming polls. 

In Quebec, the anti-carbon pricing platform Scheer has been spending the fall shoring up is dead on arrival both in the National Assembly and on the ground. As for his commitment to the Energy East pipeline — a project designed to transport oil from the Prairies through Ontario and Quebec to the Atlantic Coast — it amounts to a target on the back of his candidates as well as an incentive for Quebec’s premier to keep at a safe distance from the federal Conservatives. Among the right-of-centre premiers and leaders who have emerged since Justin Trudeau became prime minister, Premier François Legault already stands alone in support of the federal climate-change framework. The Quebec cap-and-trade system put in place under previous governments is there to stay. ...

Legault has reversed his party’s position on allowing shale gas exploration on Anticosti Island. He has admitted his platform did not make the grade on the environment and promised the CAQ would do better in government. Legault dispatched three of his ministers to Saturday’s Montreal march. And while he did not sign on to the “Pacte pour la transition” — the carbon-footprint-reduction pledge sponsored by a coalition of hundreds of artists, climate change activists, scientists and academics — the premier met with one of its leading organizers on Friday. ...

But among the backers of the Transition Pact, there are more Quebec household names than Scheer can ever hope to get to know between now and the federal election. Together, they command a larger audience than he ever will. In the recent past, more formidable leaders than Scheer have taken on similar Quebec coalitions…and lost.


Sean in Ottawa wrote:

I do not agree with Hébert here. The logic does not support her in my opinion. It is true Quebec does not have a large percentage of climate deniers. However, it has had recently an even small percentage of conservatives.

Even with a 70-30 proportion in the province in favour of those who that care about the environment, that leaves a 30% margin that may be inclined to vote Conservative for other reasons. In other words the 30% who would be most likely available to the Conservatives may also be aligned with them on terrible environmental policy. In this sense, they may have calculated that in the proportion it is realistic for the Conservatives to obtain, this move is a net positive. this number goes when you take out of the 70% those who may not agree with Conservative policies on this one issue but would vote for them anyway. As we have seen in the past, minority opinions can actually help parties get that minority of votes they need and be more effective than appealling to the majority that would not ever vote for them. People not only have positions on the issues but relative importance for the issues so a position alone is not certain to be able to move voters.



Scheer now has problems on two major fronts with Quebecois voters: with his anti-carbon pricing policy and with Ford's cutting of the French language university and the French language services commissioner in the budget update. The latter is causing an increasing level of anger among Francophones not just in Ontario, but also in Quebec, New Brunswick and Manitoba that could create electoral problems for Scheer. Even Rachel Curran, director of policy under former prime minister Stephen Harper, admitted as much on CBC's Power and Politics. The intersection of the view that federal Conservatives are not willing to vigorously fight for the protection of the French language with policies that are not viewed favourably in Quebec, such as being against measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, increases the tendency to see Conservative views on issues as alien to Quebec culture, thereby affecting the Conservative chances of doing well in the next election in Quebec. 

What's been called a "sad day for Franco-Ontarians" presents a challenge for Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer — not only in Ontario but in every part of the country where francophones live. The Conservatives are hoping to replicate Premier Doug Ford's electoral success in Ontario and see him as a key ally in the fight against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's carbon tax. But they also have great hopes of wooing Quebec voters — hopes that could be dashed if Scheer is unable to reconcile his support for Ford with his pitch to the francophone voters now angered by Ford's actions. ...

Quebec's French-language media — which normally would pay little attention to a provincial fiscal update in Ontario — also jumped on the news. Le Devoir reported the decision under the headline, "Doug Ford sacrifices Ontario francophones." Le Journal de Montréal, a widely-read and generally conservative-leaning paper, called it a "sad day." Quebec Premier François Legault, a small-c conservative himself, also expressed his concerns and said he would take up the issue with his Ontario counterpart. The mayor of Quebec City — the municipality at the centre of the region where most of the Conservatives' seats in the province are located — denounced the move as mean-spirited and provocative.

It all puts Scheer in a difficult position. Ford's Progressive Conservative government in Ontario is not only ideologically aligned with the federal Conservatives, it's in lockstep with Scheer's campaign against the federal carbon tax. It's not likely that being seen as close to the Ford government will do Scheer many favours in the 96 ridings across the country with significant francophone populations. ...

Scheer has very publicly allied himself with Ford, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe and United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney (who may become Alberta's premier after next spring's provincial election) in his fight against Trudeau's carbon tax. He may prove reluctant to take Ford to task over a separate issue that he'd prefer to avoid altogether.

That alliance could compound the potential for problems facing Conservatives in Quebec. Quebec will not be affected by the federally-imposed carbon tax; the province already has a cap-and-trade system in place.

But voters in Quebec are worried about climate change. Polls show that it rates as an issue most highly in Quebec, putting the environment and climate change among the top issues for voters in the province.

The Liberals' plan to put a price on carbon is also more popular in Quebec than anywhere else in the country. A recent Angus Reid Institute poll put approval of the plan at 69 per cent. Mainstreet Research not only found support for the plan higher in Quebec than elsewhere, it reported that 77 per cent of Quebecers told the polling firm they strongly or somewhat agreed that "it is more important for the government to solve the issue of climate change even if that means that the economy suffers."

That puts Scheer at risk of being out of step with Quebecers in the next federal election on one major issue — a risk that could be amplified if francophones also sense the Conservative leader is unwilling to distance himself from Ford's approach to funding services for Franco-Ontarians.

Sean in Ottawa

Jerry M -- Please fix your last post as it is very unclear who is saying what.

In any event, I think that the Ontario actions are ging to hurt Conservatives - at least in the short term.

I disagree that they will pay a heavy price for their environmental positions in Quebec. The reason as I said is they are only in a contention with a minority that is not hostile to this position. This is the point of how politics are working now -- parties are casting narrowly towards demographics. There is no large majority of the population engaged on most issues. Parties know more and more their potential voters and what moves them. You underestimate them at great risk of loss to them.


Last month, before the Paradise fire happened, five wildfire experts looked at what BC could learn from the California wildfires, which are expected to be much more frequent in both places in the future because of global warming. Below is an article on that discussion. 

One thing they did not cover was the importance of looking at whether there are sufficient escape routes for rapidly spreading fires. Paradise had only two roads out of town because of its mountain location, a factor that contributed to the large death toll in this fire. Mountainous BC has some similarly located communities. Some people also had close escapes from the Fort McMurray fire in 2016. More attention needs to be paid to this issue. 

Wildfires in British Columbia could become just as deadly within 20 years as those burning now in California, says top Canadian forestry expert Bruce Blackwell. While British Columbia’s 2018 wildfire season burned more than double the land of California’s, no lives were lost in British Columbia from fire or during evacuations in the last two fire seasons. In contrast, 14 people died, and another 41 were injured during California’s latest wildfire season.

B.C.'s capability to recover from forest fire damage, potential loss of life, and unsustainable suppression costs will be overwhelmed, says forestry expert Bruce Blackwell. @mike_ruffolo reports #wildfire #BCpoli #climate 

"I think the pace of [housing] development, in combination with the growing probability of wildfire, are on a collision course where we will continue to see growing levels of wildfire damage, potential loss of life, and unsustainable suppression costs that will overwhelm our capabilities to recover in the short term and impact the quality of life of all British Columbians," stated Blackwell.

British Columbia just experienced two record-breaking fire seasons back to back. The 2018 season was the worst, with more than 3.2 million acres of land scorched. Five of the largest 11 wildfire seasons in British Columbia since 1950 occurred since 2010. ...

The discussion came hot on the heels of the special report by the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Leading climate scientists warn in the report that there are only a dozen years to keep global warming under 1.5 degrees Celsius; even half a degree more will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat, wildfires, and poverty for hundreds of millions of people. ...

Scott Stevens, fire science professor at University of California, Berkley, said that the fatalities in California were due to developing homes in fire prone areas without taking the necessary precautions to prevent future fires. ... The panelists were in unison that prescribed burns are necessary to prevent future fires, and that B.C. needs to increase the amount it burns. Prescribed burns are controlled forest fires in a specific area, aimed at reducing fuel that spreads fire.

Blackwell recalled that before the 1990s, “we used to burn about 485,000 hectares of land a year. That number through the nineties declined to where we’re burning, on average, less than 20,000 hectares a year.” Blackwell noted that in B.C., wildfires spread through areas that would have historically been subject to a prescribed burn. He said a drastic decline in prescribed burning is a result of negative public perception and from a concern for health. Smoke particulates in the air are harmful for those with asthmatic condition and respiratory diseases.



Like California, BC and the prairies are setting records in the number, intensity and size of wildfires as the climate warms and dries due to global warming. It's the new abnormal.

The 'new abnormal' — California megafires explode with off-the-charts fury

California is on the burning edge of climate breakdown. Record-breaking drought and heat have turned the Golden State into a tinderbox. The megafires have followed. In the last two years a string of off-the-chart wildfires have exploded with stunning speed and ferocity across forests, grasslands, rural areas and city neighborhoods. California Governor Jerry Brown has called it "the new abnormal."

To illustrate this new abnormal, I’ve charted California’s biggest and most destructive wildfires since modern records started being kept around 1930. 

Top 20 largest wildfires

"New normal” implies a new predictable plateau that we can get used to. Something different but ultimately … “normal.”  That is not what is happening. 

Let’s start by looking at the state's list of top-20 largest fires. My chart below arranges them by year. The height of each bar shows the number of acres burned. The red bars are the fires from 2017 and 2018. Two things jump out. 

California top 20 wildfires by size and year, thru 2018

First, you can see that California's megafires are becoming much more frequent. These gigantic fires used to be rare events. Now Californians are struggling against them with dizzying frequency. 

Second, you can see how they suddenly leap off-the-charts in scale. 

Less than a year ago I wrote about 2017's freakish Thomas Fire. It not only became California's chart-topping wildfire, it did it during the month of December during California's "rainy season." It was the first “rainy season” fire to burn its way into the top-20.



David Suzuki recently discussed how to deal with the polarized opinions on global warming. 

Canadian climate-change opinion is polarized, and research shows the divide is widening. The greatest predictor of people’s outlook is political affiliation. This means people’s climate-change perceptions are being increasingly driven by divisive political agendas rather than science and concern for our collective welfare.

Over the past year, the Alberta Narratives Project gathered input from a broad range of Albertans (teachers, faith groups, health professionals, farmers, artists, industry, environmentalists, etcetera) to better understand how they feel about public discourse on global warming. Participants said they want less blame and a more open, balanced, and respectful conversation. Many don’t see themselves in the conversation at all. No one is speaking to them, using language that reflects their values and identity. Albertans are deeply divided in their climate-change perceptions. In 2017, just over half the population was doubtful or dismissive. When an issue is highly polarized, people find it difficult to discuss. The Alberta Narratives Project found people rarely, if ever, speak to others about climate change.

Climate disruption is a collective threat, not just an environmental issue. We must all see ourselves as part of the effort to prevent extreme impacts and ensure sustainable, resilient communities. But how can we take shared action when we can’t even talk to each other about the problem? ...

Rising populist politics are weaponizing climate action as a wedge issue for political advantage—with tragic implications. How can we reverse this?

Cities are responsible for 70 percent of global emissions. According to C40 Cities research, they can lead the way by acting across four key areas: energy supply, buildings, mobility, and waste.

Recently, Regina’s council unanimously passed a motion to run on 100-percent renewable energy by 2050, a meaningful target in line with the international Paris Agreement and the most recent IPCC report. Victoria has adopted the same target. ...

In March, Edmonton partnered with the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy for the Change for Climate Global Mayors Summit. They developed the Edmonton Declaration, asking signatories to recognize the urgent need for action that will limit global warming to 1.5 C. ...

Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples is also crucial. Dene elder François Paulette says: “First Nations are in a unique position to be leaders in climate-change initiatives because of our knowledge of the sacred teachings of the land. We must not be situated as passive recipients of climate-change impacts. We must be agents of change in climate action.” 

To tackle climate change, we must heal the divide and act—as individuals, families, neighbours, communities, and societies. We can’t afford to wait.


epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Risking It All: New report shows how Export Development Canada’s support for fossil fuels drives climate change


Disclosures and analysis of transaction-level data reveals that EDC provides, on average, over $10 billion in government-backed support for oil and gas companies every year. Between 2012 and 2017, EDC provided twelve times more support for oil and gas than it did for clean technologies. In the first two years of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, EDC provided more support for oil and gas (22.4 billion) than was provided during the last two years of the government of his predecessor, Stephen Harper (20.9 billion).

“To avoid the worst impacts of a warming world, financial flows must shift rapidly away from fossil fuels, but when it comes to Canada’s government-backed public finance, we’re seeing just the opposite,” said Alex Doukas, Program Director for Oil Change International. “This money should be used in ways that deliver public benefits, but instead, it’s being used to pour gasoline on the climate change fire.”


epaulo13 wrote:

Risking It All: New report shows how Export Development Canada’s support for fossil fuels drives climate change


Disclosures and analysis of transaction-level data reveals that EDC provides, on average, over $10 billion in government-backed support for oil and gas companies every year. Between 2012 and 2017, EDC provided twelve times more support for oil and gas than it did for clean technologies.


The International Monetary Fund, which is the furtherest thing one can imagine from a left-wing environmental organization, puts Canada's subsidies to the fossil fuel industry at a much higher amount, $34 billion. 

Justin Trudeau has a problem. How can Canada meet our international climate commitments so recently inked in Paris with an increasingly empty economic larder? The International Monetary Fund may have the answer. Last summer, the IMF updated its global report on energy subsidies and found that Canada provides a whopping $46.4 billion in subsidies to the energy sector in either direct support or uncollected taxes on externalized costs.

IMF Pegs Canada’s Fossil Fuel Subsidies at $34 Billion

Globally, this figure balloons to US$5.3 trillion or 6.5 per cent of the world’s GDP. To put that enormous sum in perspective, the global giveaway to the energy sector amounts to 40 times more money than is contributed in aid to the world’s poorest people.

To be clear, the IMF is including all untaxed externalized costs of energy use under their definition of subsidies. The figures flagged for Canada still include $1.4 billion in direct “pre-tax” subsidies -- the kind of direct public giveaways that Trudeau campaigned to eliminate. The remaining $44.6 billion is in the form of externalized costs to society from dirty and dangerous fossil fuels -- things like air pollution, traffic congestion and climate change. ...

According to IMF economists, Canadian carbon-based fuels should be taxed an additional $17.2 billion annually to compensate for climate change, $6 billion for air pollution, $14.9 billion for traffic congestion and $2.1 for traffic accidents. Tacking on another $3.5 billion for uncollected value-added taxes, $880 million for road damage and of course the $1.4 billion in direct subsidies, we arrive at almost $50 billion annually that could help transition to a greener economy.

For instance, $30 billion of our total subsidies flagged by the IMF are for petroleum. Canadians buy around 58 billion litres of gas and diesel each year. Covering all externalized costs of that fuel use would require additional taxes of about $0.50 per litre, a tall order even for a politician of Trudeau’s current popularity.



Meanwhile, today the United Nations World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced that the levels of greenhouse gases in the earth's atmosphere rose to a new record high of 405.5 parts per million in 2017. Greenhouse gas emissions have risen 41% since 1990 causing the WMO to warn that the window of opportunity to act against climate change "is almost closed."

"The science is clear. Without rapid cuts in CO2 and other greenhouse gases, climate change will have increasingly destructive and irreversible impacts on life on Earth," WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said.

The data released by the WMO comes after an October report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which showed that net CO2 emissions must reach zero around 2050 in order to limit temperature increases. A temperature increase of under 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) would reduce the consequences of global warming for humans and ecosystems.

Both the reports will be the foundation for the UN climate change negotiations, which will take place in Katowice, Poland from December 2-14.

The negotiations aim to set down the guidelines for the implementation of the Paris Climate Change agreement, which aims to keep the global temperature increase as close as possible to 1.5 degrees.

"There is currently no magic wand to remove all the excess CO2 from the atmosphere," said WMO Deputy Secretary-General Elena Manaenkova in a statement. "Every fraction of a degree of global warming matters, and so does every part per million of greenhouse gases."


Today, driven by the strong and growing Quebec climate change movement, the province's three opposition parties formed a common front in demanding emergency action be taken by the CAQ government to deal with climate change. 

Saying they are dissatisfied with the Coalition Avenir Québec government’s stand on environmental issues, Quebec’s opposition parties united on Thursday to demand the creation of estates general on climate change as well as concrete action on the issue.

Accompanied by candidates defeated in the last general election, the opposition — the Quebec Liberals, Parti Québécois and Québec Solidaire — unveiled a tripartite statement calling upon the Legault government to initiate a socioeconomic transition in Quebec that will take into account changes to the environment.

The opposition cited recent comments by United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres, noting that if governments do not change their existing policies by 2020, it will be too late to slow the effects of climate change.



The growing pressure on the Quebec government is the result of the massive mobilization of Quebecois to fight climate change. 

Many thousands of Quebecers have mobilized to demand decisive measures to fight climate change as Premier François Legault’s new government and opposition legislators prepare to convene for the first time since the Oct. 1 election. About 214,000 signatures were registered in two weeks on an online pledge to reduce personal carbon footprints and to demand proactive political leadership on climate change. And hot off the heels of the largest environmental march in Montreal in six years, a gathering is planned outside the National Assembly in Quebec City next Wednesday, the day that Legault will give his inaugural address.

The Pact for Transition asks the Quebec government to stop all new fossil fuel exploitation in the province, abolish fossil fuel subsidies, ensure that Quebec reaches its climate target of 20 per cent less greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 compared to 1990 levels, and commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 50 per cent by 2040. The group behind a 50,000-strong Montreal demonstration earlier this month, The Planet Goes to Parliament, has a similar suite of demands and asks the government to commit to reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 before fully stopping them by 2050.

“The idea is to make François Legault feel that the whole population is listening and waiting for a response to our demands,” explained Isabelle Dupras, a spokesperson from The Planet Goes to Parliament. The volunteer citizens group is providing transportation to the provincial capital from Montreal and Brome-Missisquoi, a municipality in southern Quebec that borders Vermont, on Nov. 28.

Theatre director Dominic Champagne, the instigator behind The Pact for Transition, described the two movements as “cousins” in an interview with National Observer on Monday. His hope is that the petition forces Legault to “undertake a scientific, popular, business consultation on how Quebec can fight climate change and how can we change our economy, our way of production and consumption. We are hoping the weight of the numbers and public opinion will make a difference on the laws and the decisions made by our government at every level,” he said. “The Pact is answering to a huge need coming from the population. …It’s really about trying to understand and put into practice what scientific reason is calling on us to do. We are the contemporaries of a major collapse of life all over the planet.” ...

Greenpeace Quebec spokesperson Patrick Bonin told National Observer on Wednesday that the recent mobilizations in Quebec is the result of various factors. Among them are the release of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report on Oct. 8; a deadly heatwave that killed 89 Quebecers in the summer; Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s decision to purchase the Trans Mountain pipeline; and the polarizing environmental stances of parties in Quebec election campaign.

The left-leaning Québec solidaire party ran on a series of bold environmental proposals, including a ban on the sale of gasoline-powered cars by 2030. The party tripled its caucus to 10 seats on election night. Meanwhile the governing Coalition Avenir Québec plans to extend four major highways in Quebec and repeatedly said on the campaign that the best thing Quebec can do to fight climate change is to sell hydroelectric power to fossil-fuel dependent jurisdictions outside of Quebec, such as the United States. and Ontario.  The party also said it would be open to evaluating oil resources on the shale-rich island of Anticosti in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and would not rule out fracking in areas of northern Quebec where there was “social acceptability." Legault has since retracted his comments about Anticosti and told reporters on 14 Nov. that Quebec “was not open to fracking in shale gas.”

Bonin added that recent mobilization efforts in Quebec are a “continuum” of a proud Quebec history of climate demonstrations, dating from protests over the construction of the Suroît power plant near Montreal in 2004. He mused that this is partly due to the province’s unique culture, French language and insular media cycle, which encourages Quebecers to focus inwards on local environmental issues and priorities. “In French, we say on est tissé serré, we are tight knit,” he said. ...

The Pact was launched by a collective of 400 Quebecer celebrities and artists, including director Denis Villeneuve, author and comedian Yvon Deschamps and Cirque de Soleil founder Guy Laliberté.  They aim for one million signatories, or the equivalent of 12 per cent of Quebec’s population, according to Champagne. ...

In a “warm and open” meeting with Legault on Nov. 9 to discuss the Pact, Champagne said the premier acknowledged that he had “got the message” that climate action mattered for Quebecers, in part because of the traction gained by Québec solidaire in the recent election.


The United States Global Change Research Program, which consists of a team of more than 1,000 researchers from 13 federal agencies, issued a report today that documents the human and economic impacts of global warming. The report warned that the costs would reach hundreds of billions annually by 2100 and in the worst case scenario reduce the GDP by 10%, as well as having wide impacts on peoples' health. 

Since 85% of Canadians live within 100 miles of the US border, most will face the same economic and health problems as those of the neighbouring northern US states. 

new US government report delivers a dire warning about climate change and its devastating impacts, saying the economy could lose hundreds of billions of dollars -- or, in the worst-case scenario, more than 10% of its GDP -- by the end of the century. ...

Humans are living with the warmest temperatures in modern history. Even if the best-case scenario were to happen and greenhouse gas emissions were to drop to nothing, the world is on track to warm 1.1 degrees Fahrenheit. 

As of now, not a single G20 country is meeting climate targets, research shows. Without significant reductions in greenhouse emissions, the annual average global temperature could increase 9 degrees Fahrenheit (5 Celsius) or more by the end of this century, compared with preindustrial temperatures, the report says.

The costs of climate change could reach hundreds of billions of dollars annually, according to the report. The Southeast alone will probably lose over a half a billion labor hours by 2100 due to extreme heat. 

Farmers will face extremely tough times. The quality and quantity of their crops will decline across the country due to higher temperatures, drought and flooding. In parts of the Midwest, farms will be able to produce less than 75% of the corn they produce today, and the southern part of the region could lose more than 25% of its soybean yield.  Heat stress could cause average dairy production to fall between 0.60% and 1.35% over the next 12 years -- having already cost the industry $1.2 billion from heat stress in 2010. ...

Higher temperatures will also kill more people, the report says. The Midwest alone, which is predicted to have the largest increase in extreme temperature, will see an additional 2,000 premature deaths per year by 2090. 

There will be more mosquito- and tickborne diseases like Zika, dengue and chikungunya. West Nile cases are expected to more than double by 2050 due to increasing temperatures. Expect asthma and allergies to be worse due to climate changeNo one's health is immune from climate change, the report concludes. People will be exposed to more foodborne and waterborne diseases. Particularly vulnerable to higher temperatures in the summer, children, the elderly, the poor and communities of color will be at a much greater risk for illness and death.

Wildfire seasons -- already longer and more destructive than before -- could burn up to six times more forest area annually by 2050 in parts of the United States. Burned areas in Southwestern California alone could double by 2050. ...  Along the US coasts, public infrastructure and $1 trillion in national wealth held in real estate are threatened by rising sea levels, flooding and storm surges. Energy systems will be taxed, meaning more blackouts and power failures, and the potential loss in some sectors could reach hundreds of billions of dollars per year by the end of the century, the report said. The number of days over 100 degrees Fahrenheit will multiply; Chicago, where these days are rare, could start to resemble Phoenix or Las Vegas, with up to two months worth of these scorching-hot days.

Sea levels have already gone up 7 to 8 inches since 1900. Almost half that rise has been since 1993, a rate of rise greater than during any century in the past 2,800 years. Some countries are already seeing land underwater. By midcentury, it's likely that the Arctic will lose all sea ice in late summer, and that could lead to more permafrost thaw, according to the report. As the permafrost thaws, more carbon dioxide and methane would be released, amplifying human-induced warming, "possibly significantly." ...

The report was created to inform policy-makers and makes no specific recommendations on how to remedy the problem. However, it suggests that if the United States immediately reduced its fossil fuel use and greenhouse gas emissions, it could save thousands of lives and generate billions of dollars in benefits for the country. ...

"If we're going to run this country like a business, it's time to address climate as the threat multiplier we know it is before more lives are lost," said Robert Bullard, an environmental scientistat Texas Southern University. ...

Scientists who have been raising the alarm about the negative consequences of climate change for years welcomed the findings.





Volume I and II of the United States Fourth National Climate Change Assessement that is referred to in the previous post and Volume II, which has just been released, can be viewed at the urls below.

Volume I:

Volume II:

The third url looks at the effects of global warming on the regions of the United States.Since the Alaska, Coasts, Great Plains, Midwest, Northeast, and Northwest regions all border on Canada, the climate change findings for these regions will also impact Canada.



Was it a coincidence that this report was released on Black Friday?


JKR wrote:
Was it a coincidence that this report was released on Black Friday?

Not at all. The 2018 United States Fourth National Climate Change Assessement report was scheduled to be released in December. Releasing bad news on Friday is done by many organizations as coverage tends to be less and in the modern 24 hour news cycle, its old news by Monday. Releasing the report on Black Friday was aimed at getting the report even less coverage because of the holiday weekend.

For government agencies and corporations with bad news they are reluctant to put out, there’s long been a tradition in public relations called the Friday news dump. In essence it’s a way of saying, OK, fine, we screwed up somehow, but let’s wait to admit to it until the last possible moment so fewer people will hear about it.

The problem is now that everyone is constantly connected to their phones, news travels further on a typical Friday evening than it used to. The Trump administration and Facebook needed another way to bury a couple of alarming stories last week. Enter the Thanksgiving news dump. ...

While those all sound like serious and important news stories none of them are going to matter if civilization as we know it comes to an end. In a vastly more alarming news dump on Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the year, the Trump administration released the findings of a major climate science report. Cynics would say that this was done in order to bury one of the most detailed and comprehensive reports of its type.

The 1,656-page National Climate Assessment, which is mandated by the US Congress, is a peer-reviewed report from scientists from 13 federal agencies. They conclude that the impacts of climate change are already here and are projected to intensify.

Climate change is expected to bring more of the types of natural disasters we’ve seen across the US this year, including deadly wildfires in California and rising sea levels on the coasts, the report says.

The report concludes that “the evidence of human-caused climate change is overwhelming and continues to strengthen, that the impacts of climate change are intensifying across the country, and that climate-related threats to Americans’ physical, social and economic well-being are rising”.



The United States Fourth National Climate Change Assessement reports that global warming has cost the US economy nearly $400 billion in just the last three years. Furthermore, many US economists agree with the reports findings.

The Canadian government needs to start determining and reporting how much economic damage is being done to Canada by global warming.

The National Climate Assessment report , quietly unveiled Friday, warned that natural disasters are worsening in the United States because of global warming. It said warming-charged extremes “have already become more frequent, intense, widespread or of long duration.” The report noted the last few years have smashed U.S. records for damaging weather, costing nearly $400 billion since 2015. ...

“The potential for losses in some sectors could reach hundreds of billions of dollars per year by the end of this century,” the report said. It added that if emissions of heat-trapping gases continue at current levels, labor costs in outdoor industries during heat waves could cost $155 billion in lost wages per year by 2090.

“The potential for losses in some sectors could reach hundreds of billions of dollars per year by the end of this century,” the report said. It added that if emissions of heat-trapping gases continue at current levels, labor costs in outdoor industries during heat waves could cost $155 billion in lost wages per year by 2090. ...

Nearly every country in the world in 2015 pledged to reduce or slow the growth of carbon dioxide emissions, the chief greenhouse gas.

“We’re already there,” said Wesleyan University economist Gary Yohe, who was a reviewer of the national report, which was produced by 13 federal agencies and outside scientists. “Climate change is making a noticeable impact on our economy right now: Harvey, Florence, Michael, Maria.” ...

Economist Ray Kopp, a vice president at the think tank Resources For the Future and who wasn’t part of the assessment, said the economics and the science in the report were absolutely credible. “I believe this is going to be a devastating loss without any other action-taking place,” Kopp said Monday. “This is certainly something you would want to avoid.”

Throughout the 29-chapter report, scientists provide three scenarios that the United Nations’ climate assessments use. One is the business-as-usual scenario, which scientists say is closest to the current situation. That is the worst case of the three scenarios. Another would envision modest reductions in heat-trapping gases, and the third would involve severe cuts in carbon dioxide pollution. For example, the $155 billion a year in extra labor costs at the end of the century is under the business-as-usual scenario. Modest reductions in carbon pollution would cut that to $75 billion a year, the report said. The report talks of hundreds of billions of dollars in economic losses in several spots. In one graphic, it shows the worst-case business-as-usual scenario of economic costs reaching 10 percent of gross domestic product when Earth is about a dozen degrees warmer than now with no specific date.



The closing of GM's Oshawa auto plant is not just devastating for the workers who will be losing their jobs, it sends a signal about where the global automotive industry is going that has far wider implications for Canada. While a number of factors are involved in the closure, GM's shift to zero emission vehicles is a major one in a world that is shifting away from using fossil fuels in response to global warming. "General Motors is shuttering its plant in Oshawa as part of a restructuring of its global operations to focus on autonomous and zero-emission vehicles, sources say." (

If Canada does not push to get a share of the zero emission vehicle production market, it will eventually find it has no automotive sector as that is where the world is going. 

The global shift to zero emission vehicles also means in time there will be less need for oil production. This shift to green energy is occurring in other industries as well. So continuing to focus on expanding oil pipelines and production instead of using money to grow renewable green energy production is also going to put us out of synch with the rest of the world over time. 

AFTER MORE THAN a century peddling vehicles that pollute the atmosphere, General Motors is ending its relationship with gasoline and diesel. This morning, the American automotive giant announced that it is working toward an all-electric, zero-emissions future. That starts with two new, fully electric models next year—then at least 18 more by 2023.

That product onslaught puts the company at the forefront of an increasingly large crowd of automakers proclaiming the age of electricity and promising to move away from gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles. In recent months, Volvo, Aston Martin, and Jaguar Land Rover have announced similar moves. GM’s declaration, though, is particularly noteworthy because it’s among the very largest automakers on the planet. It sold 10 million cars last year, ranging from pickups to SUVs to urban runabouts.

“General Motors believes the future is all-electric,” says Mark Reuss, the company’s head of product. “We are far along in our plan to lead the way to that future world.”

Reuss did not give a date for the death knell of the GM gas- or diesel-powered car, saying the transition will happen at different speeds in different markets and regions. The new all-electric models will be a mix of battery electric cars and fuel cell-powered vehicles. ...

The Trump Administration may be moving to roll back fuel efficiency requirements in the US, but the rest of the world is insisting on an electric age. France, Great Britain, the Netherlands, and Norway have all said they plan to ban the sale of gas and diesel cars in the coming decades. More importantly, China—the world’s largest car market—and India, a rising star, plan to join them. No automaker can compete globally without a compelling stable of electric cars.

GM intends to grab as large a slice of the Chinese market as possible. It has previously announced plans to launch 10 electric or hybrid electric cars in the country by 2020. This summer, it started selling a two-seat EV there, for just $5,300. Last year, it sold more cars in China (3.6 million) than it did in the US (3 million).



epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Quebec youth apply to sue Canada to get tougher carbon pollution targets

A network of young people in Quebec have applied to sue the Canadian government for failing to get tough on the carbon pollution that is heating the planet and putting their futures in jeopardy.

Environnement Jeunesse applied Monday to bring a class action lawsuit against the Government of Canada, on behalf of all Quebecers aged 35 and under. The group is being represented pro bono by Montreal-based law firm Trudel Johnston & Lespérance.

Canada is infringing on the fundamental rights of these young people, the group alleged — rights that are protected by both the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.

A Quebec Superior Court judge will now have to decide whether to authorize the class action before the group can move forward with a trial, Anne-Julie Asselin, a lawyer at the firm, told National Observer. She expected that this step would take about a year.

The moves comes after thousands of Quebecers mobilized to demand measures to fight climate change, like halting all new fossil fuel exploitation in the province.


Similar legal actions ongoing around the world

The group is hoping to emulate the success of the Urgenda Foundation campaign in the Netherlands, whose case forcing the Dutch government to accelerate its emissions cuts was upheld in a Hague court last month. The severity of the climate crisis demands that the cuts be deeper, judges there ruled.

“Similar legal actions are ongoing in the United States, Belgium, Norway, Ireland, New Zealand, Switzerland, Colombia and the United Kingdom,” the law firm notes on its web page detailing the class action.

The firm has pointed to several examples of how weak climate targets infringe on rights in Canada. The right to life, integrity and security of the person, for example, is protected by section 7 of the federal charter and section 1 of the Quebec charter.

As well, the right to equality is protected by section 15 of the federal charter and section 10 of the Quebec charter, and the right to live in a healthful environment in which biodiversity is preserved, is protected by section 46.1 of the Quebec charter....

50,000 people march for climate action in Montreal on Nov. 10, 2018. Photo by Eric Demers, Fédération des Travailleurs et Travailleuses du Québec


Last week the NDP BC government announced it plans to introduce legislation by the spring requiring all new cars and trucks be zero emission vehicles by 2040, making it the strongest such legislation in North America. 

B.C.’s proposed zero emission vehicle mandate would be the strongest in North America, leapfrogging California, other U.S. states and Quebec. 

The government’s policy will require ZEV market share of new vehicle sales in B.C. of:

  • 100% by 2040;
  • 30% by 2030;
  • 10% by 2025.

Year-to-date ZEV market share has been about four per cent in British Columbia — the highest in Canada. Sales hit a peak of 6.9 per cent in September (owing to a variety of one-off factors).



**Canada's Carbon-Pricing Policy Is NOT A Climate Change Action Plan**

"Having a single stand-alone carbon price strategy is a bit like saying the way to raise a child is to buy the child a winter coat - and that is it.

This doesn't work.

The findings of 206 studies of 6 carbon price countries and two Canadian provinces indicated the carbon emission intensity nd energy use affected by the price of carbon is less than one per cent."

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..includes video


Today on November 30th, we are occupying the offices of Jodi Wilson the Justice Minister of Canada. This is part of a movement of youth across Canada which are occupying MP offices to call for the federal government to take real action on climate change at COP24. Youth are demanding a climate just future, centering connection between systems of colonialism and climate change, and the most marginalized people being impacted first. Youth will raise awareness about the hypocrisy of the Liberal government’s claims of climate leadership, hypocritical given their decisions: oil and gas subsidies, the recent purchase of the Trans Mountain Pipeline, investment in LNG Canada, and the approval of BP offshore drilling in Nova Scotia. Youth across the country are rising up for fear of their future. We recognize the urgency of real climate action. #NotOurYouthMinister #OneMillionClimateJobs #youthrising


A UN report released on Tuesday found that the current emission targets for all countries would result in an average global temperature rise of 3.2 degrees Celsius by 2100 causing global dire consequences. We need to decrease emissions by 25% by 2030, according to the UN's October 2018 report in order to have a chance of keeping the global temperature rise to 2.o degrees Celsius by 2100.  However global emissions increased in 2017, instead of decreasing. 

According to a United Nations report released Tuesday, however, projected emissions of carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas, from nations around the world fall woefully short of the 2 degree Celsius goal set in the Paris Climate Agreement in 2015.

In fact, the report states that the current emission targets for all countries would result in an average global temperature rise of 3.2 degrees Celsius (5.8 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100.  A 3.2 degree warmer world by the end of this century would bring about many of the dire consequences for human health, global economies and sea level rise that are projected from the "higher-emission" scenarios (also known as worst-case scenarios).

The 2018 Emissions Gap Report is the flagship annual report from the UN Environment Program and acts as a report card on how countries are doing on their individual contributions to the Paris Climate Agreement; it also helps determine the gap between those expected contributions and what will be necessary to stay within the range of 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial temperatures (before burning fossil fuels for industrial needs led to major increases in greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere). 

This year's report shows the largest gap ever, resulting from increasing emissions and slow action to mitigate. The foreboding message in the report aligns with the recent findings in the "Special Report on 1.5 Degrees" issued last month by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), that the world is failing to act fast enough to avoid the dire future climate and weather and time is quickly running out.

According to Tuesday's report, global emissions of CO2 in 2017 were 53.5 gigatons (a gigaton is 1 billion tons), the most ever released into the atmosphere, representing an increase of more than 1% over 2016 emissions. Global emissions need to be 25% lower than this figure by 2030 in order to limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius and 55% lower in order to limit to 1.5 degrees, the report claims. The increase in 2017 follows relatively stable global emissions from 2014 through 2016, a period that allowed for optimism that global greenhouse gas emissions may be peaking.

But Tuesday's report shatters that optimism. "Global peaking of emissions by 2020 is crucial for achieving the temperature targets of the Paris Agreement," the report states, "but the scale and pace of current action remains insufficient." Global emissions are not expected to peak by 2030, let alone 2020. In fact, only those of 57 countries (representing 60% of global emissions) are projected to peak by 2030.

The authors of the report conclude that nations must be more ambitious in their projected emission cuts, increasing them by three times in order to meet the 2 degrees goal and by five times to meet the 1.5 degrees goal by 2030. Knowing that level of action is extremely unlikely, the 2018 Emissions Gap Report points to the growing potential of "non-state actors" to help reach global emissions goals.  These include smaller governing bodies such as city, state and regional governments, as well as private entities such as companies, investors and civil organizations.


Although the federal Liberal government portrays itself as a global leader in fighting climate change, a new study published in the journal Nature Communications, that assesses each countries' greenhouse gas emission goals, finds that Canada's greenhouse gas emissions goals are some of the weakest. If all countries followed Canada's reduction goals, global temperatures would rise by 5 degrees Celsius, basically frying the planet. 

Canada’s current climate policies are "very insufficient" and would help increase global temperatures by a catastrophic 5 C by the end of the century, according to a new study that ranks the climate goals of countries around the world.

The study found that Canada, along with Russia, China, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and a dozen other countries, are dangerously contributing to the global temperature rise, and is on course to vastly exceed the 1.5 C that scientific research assessed by the IPCC found is a moderately safe level of global warming.

The U.S., Australia and the European Union are not far behind in the ranking. The EU countries are often portrayed as being among the leaders in fighting climate change.

Canada has also portrayed itself as a climate leader. Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna regularly speaks about the urgency of addressing climate change, while promoting the government's actions, including plans to introduce a national price on carbon in 2019, as part of the solution. ...

The new study, published on Nov. 16 in the journal Nature Communications, assesses each nation’s ambitions and goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the temperature rise that would result if the world followed their example. A supplementary data visualization website called presents these results. 

The study's author Dr Yann Robiou du Pont from the University of Melbourne’s Australian-German Climate and Energy College said its aim is to help inform politicians and climate leaders as the United Nations begins a two-year process of re-assessing global climate commitments, which numerous studies have now found fall far short of the 1.5-2 C goal set in the 2015 Paris Agreement.

The Paris agreement set a deadline of 2018 for all signatories to adopt a work program for the implementation of their emissions reduction commitments which will include a financial plan for climate action worldwide.  At the time, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau committed to achieve an economy-wide target to reduce Canada's greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030.  But, in order to meet the Paris Agreement, Canada should be looking to decrease their emissions by nearly 70 per cent, said Robiou du Pont.

The Pledged Warming Map provides an assessment of global warming when all countries follow the ambition of a given one. The scale goes from 1 degree (green) to 5 degrees (dark red). Graphic:



While the federal Liberal government's greenhouse emission goals have been judged to be some of weakest of all countries in a climate change study (see the previous post), the Ontario Ford government's plan released on Thursday is much weaker still and is greatly lacking in detail. As might be expected from a conservative government, it largely involves incentive giveaways to corporate polluters to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The Ford government is also joining Saskatchewan in a $30 million lawsuit with the federal government over carbon pricing. 

The government plans to spend $400 million over four years through a new Ontario Carbon Trust. It includes $350 million that would leverage private investment in clean technologies at a 4:1 ratio. The details of the trust are still being finalized, so how much industries will pay into the fund "will depend on the final design and mandate of the trust," according to the plan.

Another $50 million is set aside for a reverse auction, modelled after Australia’s Emissions Reduction Fund, to encourage businesses, farmers and land owners to bid on government contracts to develop environmentally friendly practices and technologies that produce the lowest cost per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions. Climate experts, however, say that emissions are likely to continue to increase in Australia.  "The Ontario Carbon Trust should be able to leverage over $400 million to unlock over $1 billion of private capital, " the announcement said. The remaining $100 million will be invested in green energy innovation and conservation efforts. 

Few details were laid out on how the funds will work, but as promised, the new plan does not include a carbon price that the Ford government fiercely opposes. ...

Ontario is also joining Saskatchewan in a $30 million court battle against federal carbon pricing for provinces that don’t have their own. ...

NDP MPP and energy critic Peter Tabun noted these reports in his remarking that the plan is "scandalously thin" and would take Ontario down "a path to disaster. These targets are totally reckless and take us into the danger zone that we don't want to be in," Tabuns told reporters. "If you have a forest on fire, worrying about an individual shrub is not enough...Under cap and trade you were generating billions of dollars a year to take action on climate change and their trust is what, $350 million over the next few years. The scale of what has to happen does not match at all." 

Tabuns added that commending Ontario's alignment with Canada's commitment to the Paris agreement ignored the fact that "we need higher targets" to avoid the catastrophe detailed in the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which warns there are 12 years left to take serious action before hitting dire consequences. "We need higher targets, we need a consistent plan with investment by government and regulation by government that would actually substantially reduce emissions year over year," Tabuns said.





Ontario Environment Minister Rod Phillip said Ontario's greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan of corporate giveaways was partly based on Australia's plan, whose "emissions record is terrible. In the week before Christmas (2017) the government yet again released its latest data on greenhouse gas emissions in the hope they would be missed amid other news and the nearing festivities."

In the 12 months to September 2016, Australia’s annual greenhouse gas emissions rose to a record level of 550.2 Mt CO2-e if you include the rather dodgy emissions from land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) sectors. ...

Since the removal of the carbon price in June 2014, annual emissions have grown every quarter. ...

And you don’t need to be a Rhodes scholar presiding over a party room full of climate change deniers to know why. Putting a price on carbon provided an incentive for firms to use less of it. Removing that price removed the incentive.




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