Canada and global warming: a state of denial

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Alberta is being bailed out because it has been all but giving away its provincially owned oil and gas natural resources for decades when compared to other countries. 

The Norwegian state owns 80% of its petroleum production and transportation infrastructure.

In Canada, petroleum production and transportation infrastructure is 100% owned by foreign and domestic private companies as well as foreign state-owned companies, including from China, France, Korea, Malaysia and Norway and Thailand. ...

From the outset, Norway maintained high non-petroleum taxes despite rising oil revenues. Its tax-to-GDP ratio (currently 42%) is among the highest in the OECD.

Alberta lowered its non-petroleum taxes as petroleum revenues rose, to the point where it now has by far the lowest overall taxes in Canada. This put pressure on other provinces to lower their taxes as well. ...

The Norwegian government captures an estimated 85% of the petroleum economic surplus, mainly through high taxes on producers and directly through the state corporation, SDFI.

The petro-surplus captured by the Alberta government (mainly through its royalty system) is among the lowest of all petroleum producing jurisdictions.

Norway realized revenues of $87.69 per barrel of oil in 2013 while Alberta took in only $4.38 per barrel— one-twentieth what Norway appropriated. (In the 2015-2016 fiscal year, the provincial government forecasts that it "will be collecting $1.54 per barrel of oil this year, a 72 per cent drop from the last fiscal year."


But Albertans and Canadians suffer in terms of revenue generated for government in comparison to virtually all other oil and gas producers, even notoriously corrupt regimes.

Canada taxes its oil and gas companies at a fraction of the rate they are taxed abroad, including by countries ranked among the world’s most corrupt, according to an analysis of public data by the Guardian. 

The low rate that oil companies pay in Canada represents billions of dollars in potential revenue lost, which an industry expert who looked at the data says is a worrying sign that the country may be “a kind of tax haven for our own companies.”

The countries where oil companies paid higher rates of taxes, royalties and fees per barrel in 2016 include Nigeria, Indonesia, Ivory Coast and the UK. ...

Companies like Chevron Canada paid almost three times as much to Nigeria and almost seven times as much to Indonesia as it did to Canadian, provincial and municipal governments.

Chevron used to run its Nigeria and Indonesia projects out of the U.S., but after allegations that they evaded billions in taxes, their operations were moved to Canada.

According to data collected by the Guardian, Suncor also paid six times more taxes to the UK, and Canadian Natural Resources Limited (CNRL) paid almost four times more to Ivory Coast. ...

Even with the low rates, the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers has been lobbying the federal government for more tax breaks to improve their “competitiveness.” ...

According to resource governance expert and UBC geography professor Philippe Le Billon, neoliberal policies in Canada and across OECD countries have resulted in lower taxes and royalties for companies.

“Companies in Canada will point to the jobs they are creating rather than acknowledge they could be sharing more of their profits, which mostly goes to shareholders who are not even in the country,” he said. “In key jurisdictions like Alberta, this has come about after decades of rule by Conservatives who are very cozy with oil interests. The numbers reveal a poor tradeoff: high emissions for not much revenue. It’s long-past time for Canada to follow a model like Norway’s, which captures far more revenue from oil production.”

While royalty rates in Newfoundland are the highest in Canada, in Alberta they have fallen from a 40 per cent high during the 1970s to less than four per cent, and a complex system of exemptions ensures companies often pay even less. The NDP government in Alberta backed away from a pledge to hike them.



Meanwhile, as the world continues to hurdle towards global warming catastrophe, Canada's greenhouse gas emissions continue to grow while the federal Liberal government proclaims there is nothing to worry about as we will meet our 2030 emissions, after similar Liberal promises were broken in failing to meet our Kyoto and 2020 emission reduction commitments. 

After decades studying climate change, chairing international committees on the issue and hoping for more progress on addressing emissions, one of Canada’s original climate change activist says it’s time to start adapting to the reality of a warming world.

“I thought we would be, and should be, farther ahead by now,” said Gordon McBean, professor emeritus at Western University and research chair for the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction. “We have to climate change adapt . . . Take actions to reduce your vulnerability, your exposure, your risk due to a changing climate in the future.” ...

New numbers from Environment Canada show the country is farther away from meeting its Paris Agreement emission reduction target. Canada is projected to fall 79 megatonnes short of its goal by 2030. A year ago, Canada was on track to fall 66 megatonnes short of that target.

Despite the latest projections, the federal government is confident it will be able to reach its goal =of cutting emissions 30 per cent below its 2005 levels over the next 11 years.

But even if all new carbon emissions were to end immediately, the earth would still warm over the coming decades, McBean said. So he says we need to start planning for that reality.

“We’re dealing with a warmer climate, which means more heavy rain events, more risk of high wind events, more flooding,” he said. “We should be taking action to reduce our vulnerability to those things . . . Adapt to the reality that the climate of the future is not the same as the climate of the past.”

Discussions about where to build roads and buildings and how to plan communities need to be done while thinking of how the changing climate could affect those investments, McBean said.



More evidence arrives on an ongoing basis now of how global warming is impacting Canada and the rest of the world. A May  2018 report concludes that glaciers in Western Canada are retreating at an unprecedented rate. As these glaciers melt they increase sea levels thereby creating flooding and massive bills associated with the resulting damage, as well as dams to reduce the effects. The loss of these glaciers also threaten to turn parts of the already dry prairies into desert.

Climate change is causing glaciers in British Columbia, Yukon and Alberta to retreat faster than at any time in history, threatening to raise water levels and create deserts, scientists say.

David Hik, an ecology professor at Simon Fraser University, said the region is one of the hot spots for warming and the magnitude of change in the glaciers is dramatic.

“Probably 80 per cent of the mountain glaciers in Alberta and B.C. will disappear in the next 50 years,” he said.

The Peyto Glacier in the Rocky Mountains and part of Banff National Park has lost about 70 per cent of its mass in the past 50 years, Prof. Hik said. “It’s a small glacier but it’s typical of what we’re seeing.”

Zac Robinson, a professor at the University of Alberta, said as the climate warms, the fragmentation of some of the large ice caps in the Rockies will continue. ...

The first “State of the Mountains” report, co-authored by the two professors and published in May by the Alpine Club of Canada, says outside of the ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland, Canada has more glacier cover than any other country. Of the estimated 200,000 square kilometres of Canadian glaciers, one quarter is found in the West and the remainder are in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. ...

The rates of melting are similar to what is seen in the European Alps and the Andes, he said.

One of the first effects of melting glaciers is an increase in sea level, Prof. Hik said. ...

While the melt increases water levels and sets off coastal erosion and flooding, it also causes dry areas and dust bowls. As glaciers recede, more water flows downhill, but the further the ice sheets retreat, the less water there is to go down stream and soon the area begins to dry, Prof. Hik said. ...

Glaciers act as a bank account during hot summers when water is scarce, he added. The melt also changes the way water flows and where it accumulates, creating lakes, wetlands or desert-like conditions. “In some places you’ll have locally increased water availability and in many, many, many places that water availability will be reduced as well,” Prof. Hik said. The changes alter the flora of the area. Tree lines are moving up the slope, and willows and birches – water-loving species – are prospering at higher elevations, Prof. Hik said.

Prof. Robinson said it’s important to study mountains because they respond rapidly and intensely to climate changes and are recognized as sentinels of change. “Mountains give an important glimpse into the future and can show us what’s coming down the line.”



The NDP BC government has made two decisions that counter each other in terms of dealing with climate change: the release of its Clean BC Plan and its approval of LNG Canada. 

The CleanBC plan divides all of B.C.'s emissions into three big groupings: Industry, Transportation, and Buildings & Communities. The problem is that while the Transportation, and Buildings & Communities sectors are projected to reach their 2030 target reductions of 40% below 2007 levels, the Industry sector is expected to increase, with the LNG projects being the main contributor to the growing greenhouse gas emissions. Furthermore, these projections do not include two other LNG projects, Woodfibre and Kwispaa LNG, that are currently pushing to also get approval. If these two additional LNG projects are approved, they would increase emissions another 50%. 

In other words, industry is being let off the hook, even though it is the primary polluter while communities and individuals will bear the burden of the greenhouse gas reduction costs. 

The LNG Canada project is massive. It will sprawl from new fracked gas wells in northern B.C., across the coast mountains via the hotly-contested, 650 km "Coastal GasLink" pipeline, to a new liquefaction terminal in Kitimat. From there, the gas will be loaded onto supertankers and shipped to Asia. The LNG terminal is designed to be built in two phases, each of which will produce 13 million tonnes of liquid natural gas. The first phase is now going ahead.

If both phases get built it will become the "biggest capital project in B.C. history." And probably the most climate polluting as well, with projections for up to 10 million tonnes of climate pollution (MtCO2) per year. For scale, that's more than the emissions from all passenger cars, trucks and SUVs in the province today.

Despite the increase in emissions, the B.C. government says that LNG Canada will be compatible with the province's legislated climate targets. And now the government has unveiled their CleanBC climate plan that charts the path for meeting those targets. ...

First up is B.C.'s 2030 climate target that calls for emissions to fall 40 per cent below 2007 levels. Then then in 2040, the target drops to a 60 per cent cut below 2007 levels.

First, the good news: CleanBC is expected to get two sectors close to the province's 2030 climate goal. The best performer is the Buildings & Communities sector shown by the dashed green line. With CleanBC policies, this sector is projected to cut its climate pollution even faster. It's expected to end up a bit below (i.e.: better than) the province's 2030 target. The biggest change in direction is in Transportation, shown by the blue dashed line. Under CleanBC policies, this sector's emissions are projected to start falling. By 2030 the government expects them to end up close to the provincial target.

Now the not-so-good news. Climate pollution from Industry is projected to stay stubbornly high. And the primary cause is — you guessed it — pollution from LNG Canada. To illustrate the projected impact of LNG Canada I've added three scenarios to my chart.  ...

Putting it all together — the 'missing chart'

cleanBC vs LNG Canada -- the missing chart

Assuming LNG Canada is the only project approved, the chart's orange zone shows the potential range for Industry depending on whether phase two gets built. When it comes to calculating the project's benefits, the government uses numbers that assume phase two will be built — $40 billion in spending and $22 billion in revenue. But when it comes to calculating the climate pollution, and what to do about it, the government uses numbers that assume phase two will not be built.

As the chart shows, both the Transportation and Buildings & Communities sectors are already tasked with doing their share via big cuts. Will they also have to shoulder an extra burden to make even deeper cuts? Or will some collection of non-LNG companies in the Industrial sector be required to do it?

To provide a hint of how challenging this could be, consider that a full build out of LNG Canada could create an emissions gap (10+ MtCO2) that exceeds the expected emissions from the entire Buildings & Communities sector in 2030 (9 MtCO2).

For its part, the B.C. government says they will unveil more new policies in 2019 that will close the gap. British Columbians will get a better idea at that point who gets to shoulder the extra burden.

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Join an Event with Greta

Join in the climate strike and/or contact the Organizer. Just click on the marker to view details. Note the next strike we will co-ordinate globally will be Friday, January 11, 2019.


What is it in Canada 2% 3% Shame on us!

One-third of new cars sold in Norway electric

By . Published on Jan 2, 2019 12:10pm

Sean in Ottawa

Canada is still over-invested in gas engine cars.


A Prius Prime is our new ride. I went 1500 km on my last 36 liter tank. It didn't cost anymore than other mid-sized sedans and less than most of the small SUV's that everyone loves.  Toyota advertises 40 km of electric driving on a fully charged battery.  Most of the driving in the Valley I live in comes in under that but since it also has a gas engine I can still take it down Island. In hybrid mode for road trips it uses about 4.4 liters per 100 kms.  For old school folks that translates to over 60 miles per gallon on the freeway doing at least the speed limit.

The technology is here if the people buying vehicles want to look for it.

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Jobs vs the Environment?

Mainstream and alternative media coverage of pipeline controversies


Much of the argument advanced in support of expanding Canada’s fossil fuel production centres on job creation and economic benefits. Politicians, pundits and corporate spokespeople who support fossil fuel infrastructure projects—such as new oil and gas pipelines—often evoke this rhetoric when they appear in the media. Positioning themselves as friends of working people, they frame climate action as antithetical to the more immediately pressing need to protect oil and gas workers’ livelihoods. And as this study confirms, this framing has become dominant across the media landscape.

Focusing on pipeline projects that connect Alberta’s oil sands to export markets, this study examines how the press treats the relationship between jobs and the environment. More broadly, it asks which voices are treated as authoritative and used as sources, whose views are sidelined, which arguments for and against pipelines are highlighted, and what similarities and differences exist between mainstream and alternative media coverage of pipeline controversies. These are important questions as, even in the internet era, research shows that traditional “legacy media” outlets continue to heavily influence voters and political actors, and fuel the opinion merchants who dominate the digital sphere. These outlets continue to have “agenda-setting,” “framing” and “priming” effects — that is, they influence which issues people consider important, how those issues are understood, and what criteria are used to evaluate them.

This study uses a content analysis to examine two samples of online articles from corporate and alternative media outlets. The first sample comprises 129 articles about Canadian pipeline projects from January and February 2016; the second includes 170 articles about one particular proposal — the controversial Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion — published between September and December 2014 when protests erupted in the Vancouver suburb of Burnaby, and in January 2016 when the BC government declared qualified opposition to the project. A third component of the research drills more deeply into the text of several selected articles from mainstream, alternative and labour-focused media to more critically examine the jobs/environment relationship. From this exploratory analysis, several preliminary conclusions can be drawn, including that:

• There are substantial differences between mainstream and alternative media coverage. For instance, the mainstream media stories in the sample give more attention to fossil fuel industry organizations, while the alternative stories more often mention Indigenous people and environmental groups and protesters. In terms of themes, the mainstream stories more often focus on the economic and employment benefits of pipelines, while alternative media feature pipeline-critical themes.

• Although they tend to choose different sides, mainstream and alternative media both frequently reinforce the assumption that there is an inevitable trade-off between environmental protection and job creation.

• Themes that challenge this dominant narrative appear only infrequently. For example, the economic risks of pipeline development garner relatively little media attention, and the environmental concerns of energy sector workers and unions are rarely heard.

• While job creation is often touted as a rationale for pipeline projects, the actual workers and their unions — the presumed beneficiaries of fossil fuel expansion — appear to be largely missing from news reportage. Indeed, neither corporate nor alternative media gave much voice to the perspectives of workers and their unions

The latter finding is particularly notable since by failing to include energy sector workers’ voices, the media allow fossil fuel industry proponents to lay claim to them. Not only are workers excluded from the climate policy debate, but their interests have been coopted by fossil capital. This makes it more difficult to meaningfully include workers in a broad and effective coalition to transition away from fossil fuels — as we must do in order to stave off catastrophic climate change — and to build a greener economy powered by suitable, sustainable job.

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French Climate Petition Approaches Two Million Signatures in One Week as Groups Plot Legal Action

A petition protesting France’s failure to honour its commitments under the 2015 Paris Agreement has collected nearly two million signatures in one week, making it the country’s most popular sign-on ever—far exceeding the tally for the country’s well-publicized gilets jaunes (Yellow Vests) movement, at just over a million.

The petition was organized by four French environment and development groups: Notre affaire à tous, le Fondation pour la nature et l’homme, Greenpeace France, and Oxfam France, Radio France Internationale reports.

“It is wonderful that there is an awakening from citizens,” said actress Marion Cotillard, one of several celebrities who’ve signed. “But the task is so big that people are in a state of shock. This is why governments, which we elected, need to set the example.”

She added that “we cannot ask people to change their consumption habits if we don’t help them. We cannot ask farmers to transition to organic farming if we don’t support them.”


The four NGOs say they’ll go to court if the government doesn’t meet a stringent deadline for responding to the petition. “If in two months we don’t have an answer from the French government, or if we are not satisfied by the answer, then we can go to the administrative court to ask judges to order it to do more to tackle climate change,” said Greenpeace France Executive Director Jean-François Julliard.

The precedent for that action would be an October, 2018 appeal court judgement that upheld an earlier, landmark ruling requiring the Netherlands government to accelerate its greenhouse gas emission reductions.


2018 was another year of intensifying extreme weather around the world. 

The world in 2018 experienced many extreme weather events, from debilitating blizzards to raging wildfires to powerful hurricanes. They underscore the mounting costs and disruptions of changing climate patterns, experts say. ...

the global scientific consensus is that climbing temperatures, rising sea levels, and shifting atmospheric dynamics are already raising the probability that extreme weather events will be more frequent, more severe, and more deadly. Four notable trends made themselves felt in 2018.

I. Wide Temperature Swings and a Changing Jet Stream: The winter of 2018 was the warmest on record in the Arctic, which is warming twice as fast as the global average. Scientists say this has contributed to dramatic temperature variations elsewhere, including record-setting extremes of both heat and cold. January saw record low temperatures from Toronto to Virginia, accompanied by a massive bomb cyclone that formed as cold arctic air met warmer air farther south, covering the entire Eastern Seaboard.

In February, Europe experienced a similar system as a mass of arctic air moved from Siberia across Central and Western Europe. Dubbed the “Beast from the East,” it dumped snow from Italy to Ireland, disrupted transport across the continent, and caused dozens of deaths. ...

NASA data shows that the global average temperature has risen by 1.6°F in the past century, mostly in the past three decades. Scientists warn that arctic warming is changing the patterns of the jet stream, the area of the atmosphere where cold arctic air meets warmer southern air. A result has been that warmer air has been pulled farther north in some places—Alaska’s winter was more than 14°F above average—while arctic air dips further south elsewhere, contributing to frigid lows and powerful winter storms. ...

II. Prolonged Heatwaves and Intensifying Wildfires:  Around the world, temperature records were broken, including record highs of 120°F near Los Angeles in July. Japan recorded a national record high of 106°F, with the sustained heat killing dozens of people. Oman experienced what is likely the highest minimum temperature ever recorded anywhere, with temperatures never dropping below 108°F for several days straight.

The sustained heat was accompanied by severe fires. Across Europe, major fires spread from Scandinavia to southern Italy. Fires killed nearly one hundred people in Greece, drawing an emergency European Union response. Meanwhile, the American West suffered a historically severe fire season. California’s Mendocino Complex Fire in July was by far the state’s largest ever, burning nearly five hundred thousand acres. Then, in November, Northern California’s Camp Fire became the state’s deadliest, killing at least eighty-five people and leaving thousands homeless. ...

Experts say that warming has exacerbated fire risks as higher temperatures and drier conditions provide fuel for conflagrations and extend the fire season. The five warmest years on record have all happened since 2010, and many fire-prone regions are warming faster than the average. The American (and Canadian) West, for instance, has warmed twice as fast as the global average since 1970, lengthening the fire season by several months, according to U.S. government climate assessments. In parts of Europe, some scientists say, the fire season now runs from June to October rather than from July to August. ...

III. Rising Ocean Temperatures, Intensifying Storms: Early in the year, torrential downpours in Southern California, driven by unusual atmospheric rivers of moisture, caused flooding and mudslides. The Atlantic hurricane season later produced several unprecedented storms, which caused major damage and loss of life on the U.S. East Coast. September’s Hurricane Florence dumped thirty-five inches of rain over parts of the Carolinas. In October, Hurricane Michael hit the Florida Panhandle as a Category 4, becoming the strongest storm ever to make landfall in the region.

The year 2018 had the strongest storm season on record. In the eastern Pacific, ten major hurricanes formed. The strongest single storm of the year was Super Typhoon Mangkhut, which hit the Philippines and Hong Kong with force equivalent to that of a Category 5 hurricane, leading to more than 130 deaths. ...

Oceans are absorbing over 90 percent of the increased atmospheric heat. Climate scientists say this is likely making storms bigger and wetter. Warmer water means more energy in the storm system and more moisture in the air, making increased extreme precipitation one of the most confident findings of climate research. Several widely cited academic studies suggest that climate change boosted the rainfall totals of some previous hurricanes by more than 20 percent. ... some initial expert assessments of Florence estimate that its rainfall was 50 percent greater than it would have been without warming. Moreover, rising sea levels increase storm surge, or the amount of water pushed inland by powerful storms, worsening the effects of flooding. 

IV. Drought, Crop Failure, and Famine: In South Africa, a multiyear drought came to a head in Cape Town, nearly forcing officials to cut off water to four million people. In East Africa, several years of extreme drought and poor harvests have caused more than ten million people to face acute water shortages and potential famine. In the spring of 2018, meanwhile, torrential rainfall and record-setting flooding there displaced hundreds of thousands of people and further devastated farmland.

In the United States, drought conditions intensified in April and covered nearly the entire southwest by summer. Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, New Mexico, and Utah reached what the U.S. government considers “exceptional drought” levels, subjecting tens of millions of people to dangerous heat, reducing crop yields, and threatening water supplies.

Europe also experienced drought and crop failures. Farmers in Germany, Poland, and Scandinavia estimated crop losses of up to 50 percent in some places, costing billions of dollars in damages. ...

Scientists increasingly believe that warming temperatures, shifting rainfall patterns, and changes to soil moisture are making droughts more likely and more severe even as extreme precipitation and flooding are also on the rise, a phenomenon known as precipitation whiplash. The Food and Agriculture Organization, a UN agency, warns that the area of the planet affected by drought has doubled over the past forty years, placing agricultural production and food security under duress, especially in developing countries. ...

The U.S. National Climate Assessment, issued by thirteen federal agencies every four years, updated its outlook in November, concluding that warming would cost the United States at least 10 percent of its gross domestic product by 2100.



NorthReport wrote:

What is it in Canada 2% 3% Shame on us!

One-third of new cars sold in Norway electric

By . Published on Jan 2, 2019 12:10pm

What kind of electric car do you have?

Sean in Ottawa

Paladin1 wrote:
NorthReport wrote:

What is it in Canada 2% 3% Shame on us!

One-third of new cars sold in Norway electric

By . Published on Jan 2, 2019 12:10pm

What kind of electric car do you have?


This is not just individual choice. Read the article: government of Norway subsidizes the purchases.

The second issue is about those buying a new car that is not electric. It is not the same as blaming someone who cannot afford to replace their car or buys used and cannot afford new.

Better question is when did you last buy a new car and then explain if it is not electric. Be prepared if charging stations could be part of the explanation.

In my case I have not bought a car under ten years old in my life. As such I am not going to be a quick adopter of any new car change without changing that.


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Most economies around the world measure the economic conditions by means of GDP (gross domestic product). However, this economic sum of all the goods and services of a country does not take into account the effects of climate change, or the distribution of economic wealth. It does not take into account the damage done by climate change as noted in a May 2018 report. 

When Trump announced that the U.S. would be exiting the Paris Climate Accord, he justified his actions by saying that the agreement would “undermine our economy” and put the country “at a permanent disadvantage.”

However, according to a research letter published in Nature this morning, this justification is quite plainly not true. If most countries limit global warming to 1.5 ºC or less through the end of the century, the global economy will avoid $36.4 trillion in economic damage. ...

This is the largest study of its kind to analyze how long-term climate change impacts GDP, country-by-country, on a global scale. It involved more than half a century of economic data, and the input of over forty different climate warming scenarios. Before now, the long-term economic stakes behind the Paris Accord were much less clear.

This research also highlights a central problem in climate change mitigation: politicians in office for a finite amount of time—people with the power to actually make policy changes—are motivated to pursue short-term economic growth they can see while their in office. The long-term benefits of international cooperation can be practically certain, as they are in this case, but if these benefits will be reaped when they’re out of office, the idea of cooperation is less attractive.

But if countries follow the actual steps they've have agreed to curb emissions, we should actually expect 2.5–3 °C of global warming—which is a catastrophic, worst case scenario. The research letter notes that if countries actually want to meet the Paris warming target of limiting warming to 1.5 °C, they’d have to limit emissions far beyond what the Paris Accord outlines. “Achieving the 1.5 °C target is likely to reduce aggregate damages and lessen global inequality,” the research letter reads. “And failing to meet the 2 °C target is likely to increase economic damages substantially,” and create a global rise in economic inequality.

We’ve known for years that the average temperature of a country influences its economy. Biologically, many profitable crops function best at cool temperatures. Humans also tend to work best under mild temperatures. But of course, tropical areas are also more likely to be subject to the long-term economic consequences of violent European colonization. Countries that will be most affected by the fallout of climate change are already unfairly disadvantaged thanks to systemic factors that have nothing to do with their regular weather.

It’s important to note that this research is largely an underestimate. In other words, it doesn’t account for “climate tipping points,” or points of no return where an environmental problem reinforces itself and becomes worse and worse. For example, the more the Greenland ice sheet melts, the less sunlight that ice sheet can reflect back into space. This traps more heat in the air, which exacerbates the melting rate.


There are alternatives to GDP, which is a neoclassical economic measure, that take into account income distribution and environmental sustainablility. One of them is ISEW. 

The Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare (ISEW) is an economic indicator intended to replace the Gross Domestic Product, which is the main macroeconomic indicator of System of National Accounts (SNA). Rather than simply adding together all expenditures like the gross domestic productconsumer expenditure is balanced by such factors as income distribution and cost associated with pollution and other unsustainable costs. It is similar to the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI).

The Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare (ISEW) is roughly defined by the following formula.

ISEW = personal consumption
public non-defensive expenditures
private defensive expenditures
capital formation
services from domestic labour
costs of environmental degradation
depreciation of natural capital

GDP is misleading as an indicator or even as a proxy of the welfare of a nation, let alone as a measure of people’s well-being,[1] although the makers of economic policy commonly think to the contrary. This problem already became apparent in practical economic policies in most[citation needed] industrialised countries in the early 1970s. The most famous examples of this development are the MEW index developed by William Nordhaus and James Tobin in their Measure of Economic Welfare (MEW) in 1972, the Japanese Net National Welfare (NNW) indicator in 1973, the Economic Aspects of Welfare index (EAW) index of Zolatas in 1981, the ISEW indicator of Daly and Cobb in 1989 and the UN’s human development index, or HDI, in 1990[citation needed]. They are all based on neoclassical welfare economics and use as the starting point the System of National Accounts (SNA). The basic idea behind all these approaches is the inclusion of nonmarket commodities, positive and negative, to yield an aggregated macroindicator in monetary terms.

The ISEW was originally developed in 1989 by leading ecological economist and steady-state theorist Herman Daly and theologian John B. Cobb, but later they went on to add several other "costs" to the definition of ISEW[citation needed]. This later work resulted in yet another macroeconomic indicator Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI): see sustainability measurement. The GPI is an extension of ISEW that stresses genuine and real progress of the society and seeks especially to monitor welfare and the ecological sustainability of the economy. The ISEW and GPI summarise economic welfare by means of a single figure according to the same logic by which GDP summarises economic output into a single figure. Beside economic issues, social and environmental issues in monetary terms are included. ...

The calculation of the ISEW in the United States from 1950 to 1986 was done by Cobb and Daly in 1989. The results reveal that the increase in economic welfare of an average American has stabilised after the 1970s although the economy, measured by GDP, has continued to grow. According to Cobb and Daly’s calculations the external effects of production and the inequity of income distribution are the main reasons for this development in which an increase in production does not necessarily lead to an increase in welfare.

Besides the USA there have been at least seven other countries or regions which have attempted to implement the ISEW, namely the UK (Jackson & Marks 1994), Germany (Diefenbacher 1994), The Netherlands (Rosenberg & Oegema 1995), Austria (Stockhammer et al. 1995), British Columbia (Gustavson & Lonergan 1994), Sweden (Jackson & Stymne 1996), Chile (Castaneda 1999) and Finland (Hoffrén 2001).



Another measure that takes into account environmental as well as economic factors is the GPI. 

Vermont two years ago became the first state in the US to pass a law introducing a new metric for measuring economic performance and success.

The Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) offers an alternative to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which has been used at national and state levels since Simon Kuznets presented it to Congress in 1934, despite his warning of the oversimplifications embedded in the metric.

Systems thinker Donella Meadows, the founder of the Vermont-based organisation that I now direct, cut to the heart of GDP’s limitations when she wrote: “If you define the goal of society as GDP, that society will do its best to produce GDP. It will not produce welfare, equity, justice or efficiency unless you define a goal and regularly measure and report the state of welfare, equity, justice, or efficiency.”

So it should come as no surprise that Vermont has been joined by 19 other US states and dozens of nations in working on “beyond GDP” metrics.

Maryland’s commitment to the GPI came thanks to an act championed by governor Martin O’Malley. In Oregon, governor John Kitzhaber and first lady Cylvia Hayes are fervent advocates. Washington State, Colorado, and Hawaii are following Vermont’s example.


Here's how GPI works.

Genuine progress indicator (GPI) is a metric that has been suggested to replace, or supplement, gross domestic product (GDP). The GPI is designed to take fuller account of the well-being of a nation, only a part of which pertains to the size of the nation's economy, by incorporating environmental and social factors which are not measured by GDP. For instance, some models of GPI decrease in value when the poverty rate increases.[1] The GPI separates the concept of societal progress from economic growth.

The GPI is used in ecological economics, "green" economics, sustainability and more inclusive types of economics. It factors in environmental and carbon footprints that businesses produce or eliminate, including in the forms of resource depletionpollution and long-term environmental damage.[1] GDP is increased twice when pollution is created, since it increases once upon creation (as a side-effect of some valuable process) and again when the pollution is cleaned up; in contrast, GPI counts the initial pollution as a loss rather than a gain, generally equal to the amount it will cost to clean up later plus the cost of any negative impact the pollution will have in the mean time. While quantifying costs and benefits of these environmental and social externalities is a difficult task, "Earthster-type databases could bring more precision and currency to GPI's metrics."[1] It has been noted that such data may also be embraced by those who attempt to "internalize externalities" by making companies pay the costs of the pollution they create (rather than having the government or society at large bear those costs) "by taxing their goods proportionally to their negative ecological and social impacts".[1]

GPI is an attempt to measure whether the environmental impact and social costs of economic production and consumption in a country are negative or positive factors in overall health and well-being. By accounting for the costs borne by the society as a whole to repair or control pollution and poverty, GPI balances GDP spending against external costs. GPI advocates claim that it can more reliably measure economic progress, as it distinguishes between the overall "shift in the 'value basis' of a product, adding its ecological impacts into the equation".[1]:Ch. 10.3 Comparatively speaking, the relationship between GDP and GPI is analogous to the relationship between the gross profit of a company and the net profit; the net profit is the gross profit minus the costs incurred, while the GPI is the GDP (value of all goods and services produced) minus the environmental and social costs. Accordingly, the GPI will be zero if the financial costs of poverty and pollution equal the financial gains in production of goods and services, all other factors being constant. ...

The Genuine Progress Indicator is measured by 26 indicators which can be divided into three main categories: Economic, Environmental, and Social. Some regions, nations, or states may adjust the verbiage slightly to accommodate their particular scenario. For example, the GPI template uses the phrase "Carbon Dioxide Emissions Damage" whereas the state of Maryland uses "Cost of Climate Change"[13] because it also accounts for other greenhouse gases (GHG) such as methane and nitrous oxide. (see the url below for a full listing of these 26 indicators)



While governments continue to take relatively small steps to deal with global warming, the atmosphere of the planet continues to both significantly increase both its carbon dioxide levels and its temperature. As carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hit a new record according to the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service, 2018 turned into the fourth warmest year globally on record. All four of the warmest years have occurred during the last four years, with 2016, an El Nino year, establishing the all-time record. According to the United Nations' World Meteorological Organization (WMO), there is 75-80% chance that December 2018 to February 2019 will produce another El Nino year, leading meterologist and climate scientist Eric Holthaus to conclude: 

"Since El Niño also works to warm the atmosphere, it's possible that 2019 could beat 2016 as the warmest year on record. ... 'It's not a safe bet 2019 will beat 2016, but it will very likely be warmer than 2018," Hausfather told me.'


The rising global atmospheric temperature once again had major negative impacts around the world through a wide range of weather events.

Last year was the fourth warmest on record, extending a scorching streak driven by a buildup of man-made greenhouse gases, the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service said on Monday. Average world surface air temperatures were 14.7 C in 2018, just 0.2 C off the highest, it said in the first global assessment based on full-year data. This year will also likely be hot, its scientists said.

"Dramatic climatic events like the warm and dry summer in large parts of Europe or the increasing temperature around the Arctic regions are alarming signs to all of us," said Jean-Noël Thé​paut, head of Copernicus. Among other extremes in 2018, California and Greece suffered severe wildfires, Kerala in India had the worst flooding since the 1920s and heatwaves struck from Australia to North Africa. Around Antarctica, the extent of sea ice is at a record low at the start of 2019, according to the U.S. National Snow and Ice Data Center. ...

The last four years have seen the highest average temperatures since records began in the 19th century — 2016 was the hottest, boosted by an El Nino event that warmed the surface of the Pacific Ocean, ahead of 2017 and then 2015. The Copernicus report said that concentrations of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere rose to a new record of 406.7 parts per million (ppm) in 2018 from 404.1 in 2017, stoked largely by human burning of fossil fuels.

And the average global temperature in the past five years was 1.1 C above pre-industrial times, it said. According to a UN climate report last year, temperatures will rise 1.5 C above pre-industrial times by mid-century on current trends — bringing the prospect of even more extreme weather.

The Copernicus report confirms projections by the UN's World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in November that 2018 would be fourth warmest. The WMO will issue its own estimate for 2018 temperatures in coming weeks, also comprising data compiled by U.S., British and Japanese agencies.



David Suzuki has spoken out once again about the failure of Canadian governments to deal the existential crisis created by global warming and its impacts on all forms of life. 

Here in Canada, politicians claim to take climate change seriously but reject plans to mitigate it without offering better alternatives. Some provincial and federal leaders are governing or building campaigns around rejection of carbon pricing, a proven tool for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It's interesting, because carbon pricing is a market-based strategy, whereas the kind of government regulation that would be required in its absence is something conservative thinkers usually reject.

To be fair, few politicians are emerging as climate heroes, regardless of where they sit on the political spectrum. Our federal government has some good climate policies, including carbon pricing, but is still pushing for pipelines and oilsands expansion. It's even watered down carbon-pricing plans to appease industry.

Alberta's NDP government has likewise implemented some good policies and encouraged clean energy development, but by promoting pipelines and the fossil fuel industry to appease a bitumen-beholden voting base that likely won't support it anyway, the party is alienating young people and others who care about climate and the future.

It bewilders me that so many people are opposed to environmental protection, to ensuring Earth remains habitable for humans and other life. It doesn't take much to see that we've screwed up in many ways. Climate disruption, species extinction, plastic pollution, and contaminated water and air are all symptoms of our wasteful, consumer-driven lives, in which profit is elevated above all else. Prioritizing a relatively recent economic system designed when conditions were much different over the very things that keep us healthy and alive is suicidal.

We can't stop using fossil fuels or shut down the oilsands overnight. But if we don't start somewhere, we'll get nowhere. ...

As we head into an election year in Canada, we must ensure that climate and the environment are priorities for all parties. This costly crisis will bring devastation to economies, food production, human health, and much more if we fail to put everything we can into resolving it. ...

Now, as humanity faces an existential crisis, we must do everything we can to push those who would represent us to truly act in our interests rather than kowtowing to a dying industry. Climate change should be the top issue in this year's federal election and all others.



Ponteverde Spain is an example of a city that has went a long way towards making its urban habitat more livable while reducing its greenhouse gas emissions at the same time. 

Pontevedra have an experience of 14 years where they have been trying to create a deep improvement of the urban environment and a high urban quality in all its facets. Thus they focus in the following objectives.

-Drastically reduce air, noise and water pollution
-Achieve an inclusive city in which social class, physical or disability barriers, by age, sex or any other diversity are mitigated or eliminated.
-Eliminate the dangers of traffic and enhancing non-motorized mobility, reversing priorities and placing foot-travel as a central element of urban mobility.
-Convert urban public spaces, the city, into a center of socialization a city of integrated plural uses
-Promote the autonomy of children and their integration into urban life
This project shows that more than two-thirds of the trips are made by foot or on bicycles, physical barriers for wheelchairs and children’s cars have disappeared, the whole city has a top speed of 30 km / h;
Pontevedra has become in recent years in a model for many cities that look at how in just 15 years more than 70% of urban displacements are done by foot or by bicycle.
C02 emissions in the urban centre have been reduced by 88%, besides liquid wastes that were returned to nature without purification have been eliminated by 70%.

As a result of this different performances the city of Pontevedra received in 2015 the UN Habitat Award in Dubai, which recognizes the best practices in cities throughout the world that seek to improve people’s lives.
In this sense, the work of Pontevedra has been recognized in terms of innovation, urban quality and social inclusion within its model city. Its urban planning model focus in 7 main points:

1. In 1999 traffic was closed in the city centre and since then it has managed to reduce vehicle pollution in the urban area by 66%,

2. Besides it has reduced the maximum speed to 30 km / h to achieve a calm and safe circulation

3. In 14 years 40 km of footpaths and cycling paths have been created near the rivers.

4. Eradication of wastewater discharges in rivers

5. The recognition of Its urban model as a transferable model, since it can be perfectly executed in other municipalities without no obstacle.

6. It has been constituted as an inclusive social city that allows people with some physical disability to move smoothly throughout the city

7. Pontevedra has been considered a healthy city by the increase of green areas, places to practice sport, as well as its fluvial beach. ...

Pontevedra is the perfect example about how is possible to create a “city model” focusing on people and how to make the city more sustainable without forget that the people who live in the city is as important as this idea. ...

t the beginning this ideas was not the most popular one, due to the fact that citizens especially in the case of local shops were worried for their commerce. They thought that the prohibition of cars in the city centre would have a negative impactive in their sales.
Nevertheless this is far from reality, the local commerce are doing better and even some of them are asking for more pedestrian zones. People have learnt and see how their quality of life have improved with this revolutionary urban planning model, even if at the beginning they were not enthusiastic about this Municipal General Town Planning Plan. ...

Thus in the town hall of Pontevedra they are trying to adapt and modulate its strategy to be able to extend its model to the edge and the periphery and to achieve a balanced territorial development through the next initiative and projects:

-Extension and adaptation of the people-centered urban transformation model: extending it to the peripheral neighbourhoods and the peripheral crown of medium density that surrounds the compact city, they try to create a city better connected with its peri-urban environment, to achieve more friendly, comfortable, safe and accessible urban spaces and a high urban quality that meet the standards reached in the most central grid of the city. ...

Words of Pontevedra’s Mayor Miguel Anxo Fernández Lores

“In Pontevedra a revolution was made, not only for reserving a special place for pedestrians in mobility plans, but also because it integrates the pedestrian network into the city’s transport plans”




The following video shows temperature anomalies by country (how much warmer or cooler each country was than the average temperature) each year from 1880 to 2017 with the increasing frequency of red for warmer become totally dominant as the year approaches to 2017.




A new analysis released this week by Science magazine shows that the Earth's oceans are warming 40% faster than predicted by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change just five years ago, showing that global warming is accelerating with dire consequences for the planet and humans. 

Five years ago, a United Nations panel estimated how quickly the world’s oceans would continue to heat up as the planet warms due to climate change.

The oceans are heating up all right. In fact, the Earth’s oceans are warming 40% faster than that UN panel predicted, according to new analysis published Thursday in the journal Science.

About 93% of the greenhouse gasses humans emit are trapped by the oceans, which serve as a vital buffer as carbon emissions continue to climb despite warnings that we’re causing irreversible destruction to the planet. And warming oceans lead to a lot of other dire consequences, some immediately felt by humans and other creatures, and some more generally destructive to life as we’ve long known it. The Science study sums up some of the catastrophic impacts of warming oceans in one alarming list, which includes “rainfall intensity, rising sea levels, the destruction of coral reefs, declining ocean oxygen levels, and declines in ice sheets; glaciers; and ice caps in the polar regions.” In the Arctic, the warming oceans are also causing a serious decline in sea ice, which only compounds the ongoing threats of climate change such as sea level rise.

Climate change isn’t just bad for all living creatures. It also happens to be bad for the economy, with consequences ranging from collapsing coastal real estate values to the rising cost of food production and distribution in areas once fertile for farming but now in decline due to new weather patterns and extreme weather.


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The Big Stall – How big oil and think tanks have blocked climate action in Canada

Just weeks after Justin Trudeau won the October 2015 federal election, John Manley (former Liberal cabinet minister), head of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, business’s main lobby group, gave him some advice on how to get serious about climate change. Writing in the online magazine ipolitics, Manley reminded Trudeau that the chief executives had been on record since 2007 about the need to put a price on carbon. He then made two points: Trudeau had to demonstrate a commitment to “responsible” climate action and he needed to step up efforts to support the export of energy products. More pipelines please. And from the actions Manley said must be undertaken — don’t damage the competitiveness of Canadian companies, phase in carbon pricing gradually, use revenues raised primarily to cut corporate and personal income taxes — it’s clear the responsibility was to the financial well-being of Canadian companies and not to the future of the planet.

And that’s what Trudeau did over the next year, demonstrating a commitment to “responsible” climate action without damaging the corporate bottom line, an agenda also followed by Alberta premier Rachel Notley. On the export side of the equation, Trudeau approved two diluted bitumen pipelines plus a liquefied natural gas plant on the British Columbia coast. But he rejected Enbridge’s Northern Gateway pipeline which by this time was clearly dead to everyone, probably including Enbridge. ... Manley restated his two points as a “grand bargain”: acquiescing to a price on carbon on one side, building pipelines on the other. Manley reminded all and sundry that the Business Council of Canada had signed on to carbon pricing, so long as it meant getting resources out of the ground and to their customers. ...

There was more to this seeming convergence between CEOs and Trudeau. The Liberal government’s blueprint for a low-carbon future, the “Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change,” was eerily similar to the declaration of Manley’s group nine years earlier, “Clean Growth: Building a Canadian Environmental Superpower.” Aside from a focus on clean growth — a declaration that growth will continue whatever “clean” comes to mean. ...

In Paris, at the make-or-break climate change meetings, the talk was all about two degrees Celsius and even 1.5 degrees Celsius, a vastly more ambitious target promoted by Trudeau’s Minister of Environment Catherine McKenna. It was a target Canada had no intention of meeting, as became obvious over the next year. Canada’s goal was to cut greenhouse gas emissions — its intended nationally determined contribution — 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. ... Yet while McKenna was setting praiseworthy temperature and emission-reduction targets and Trudeau was telling the assembled dignitaries that “Canada is back,” McKenna was designing Canada’s escape hatch as well, as chair of the Paris Agreement Article 6 committee that authorized emission markets. This would allow Canada to purchase carbon credits from foreign jurisdictions such as California. ...

 Justin Trudeau’s certainly not taking on the fossil fuel industry, nor is he transforming our energy system away from fossil fuels. ... In fact you’d be hard-pressed to find a politician in Canada, or anywhere in the world for that matter, with the exception of Sanders, soon-to-be New York State Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and a handful of others, who are advocating for what clearly needs to be done — get our society off fossil fuels – and fast! ... Big Oil’s vast power and influence over politicians and how this is augmented by the critical backing of neoliberal ideology, which limits the range of possible global warming responses to market solutions. As a result, Big Oil and neoliberal think tanks have blocked action on climate change in Canada and around the word for 30 years. And they’re still doing it.

 we need to achieve zero-carbon in 32 years, because if we don’t, the average global temperature will break the 1.5 degree limit that’s considered to be relatively safe. But only relatively safe. We’re already up slightly more than one degree since the beginning of the industrial era in 1750 and we can see the enormous negative impacts of this increase.

We’ve got to get Big Oil and neoliberalism off our backs. The solutions they offer—carbon taxes, cap and trade, clean growth, a low—not zero—carbon future—will never get us where we need to be. We’ve been living with market solutions to global warming for two decades and the dial continues to move in the wrong direction.

Governments need to step up to the plate and take charge. If they can’t entice industry to shift to renewable energy, for instance, then they must step in decisively and do it themselves. Just like governments used to do before neoliberalism became our prevailing ideology.



While the Liberals and Conservatives continually promote jobs in the fossil fuel industry, this industry creates few jobs per dollar invested compared to renewables and fossil fuel sector employment has been in decline globally for more than five years while renewables have been the fastest growing sector in terms of employment. Furthermore, Trudeau has inflated both the number of construction and permanent jobs involved in the Trans Mountain pipeline. 

When Prime Minister Trudeau announced approval of the Trans Mountain project, he said the expansion would “create 15,000 new, middle class jobs, the majority of them in the trades.” ...

Kinder Morgan told the National Energy Board (NEB) that construction employment for the project would be an average of 2,500 workers a year, for two years. It was laid out in detail in Volume 5B of the proponent’s application. ...

Trans Mountain’s estimate of 15,000 construction workforce jobs is a scam. The more realistic figure is less than 20 per cent of that size. That Trudeau, Carr and Notley so eagerly got behind Kinder Morgan’s manipulated jobs figure — without checking to make sure it made any sense — amounts to a betrayal of the public trust.


Only 50 permanent jobs will be created by Trans Mountain, according to Kinder Morgan itself.

Kinder Morgan has projected 50 direct full-time jobs once the pipeline is up and running.


Both Unifor, Canada's largest private sector union, and the Alberta Federation of Labour have concluded the project is not worth its economic and environmental costs.

"The Kinder Morgan expansion project is all risk and no gain for the public or our environment," said Joie Warnock, Unifor's Western Director. "Despite applying conditions for approval, in the absence of any realistic, enforceable regulations, the NEB failed to consider the very serious risks a project of this magnitude has for residents and our economy."

Over the past year, Unifor called on the NEB to reject the Kinder Morgan expansion project expansion citing it was not in the public's interest. Unifor supports regulated, sustainable development of the oil sands. "This expansion is about foreign companies dictating over our future and Canadian jobs; it's a classic case of foreign profits winning over our jobs and the public's interest," said Warnock.


The bar graph below shows that green energy generates far more jobs for the same investment than fosil fuel does.

Robert Pollin, the President of Pear Energy and a professor of economics at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, has studied this matter [green energy jobs versus fossil fuel jobs and found:]

“The basic facts are simple. When we invest, say, $1 million in building the green economy, this creates about 17 jobs within the United States. By comparison, if we continue to spend as we do on fossil fuels and nuclear energy, you create only about 5 jobs per $1 million in spending. That is, we create about 12 more jobs for every $1 million in spending — 300 percent more jobs — every time we spend on building the green economy as opposed to maintaining our dependence on dirty and dangerous oil, coal, natural gas, and nuclear power.” ...

Transit Rocks It. (Click Here To Enlarge.)



While Canada continues to pour more and more money into the fossil fuel sector, the rest of the world is shifting to renewables both in terms of investments and jobs, including the world's biggest economies, leaving Canada in danger of being an economic dinosaur. 


Clean energy employs an incredible 9.8 million people worldwide. Here’s how three countries – the US, China, and Germany – are making clean energy work at home. 

Clean energy employs an incredible 9.8 million people worldwide. Here’s how three countries – the US, China, and Germany – are making clean energy work at home. 


Even with the White House’s vocal support for all things fossil fuels, clean energy is powering more and more of the US economy every year. And it’s not just happening in California and New York – thanks to the power of market trends, the clean energy revolution is taking hold even in states like Texas and Iowa. Here’s the scoop:

  • The American renewable industry is growing – and hiring – rapidly. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, wind and solar technicians top the list for fastest-growing jobs in America over the next decade. Between 2012 and 2017, solar employment grew  about 16 percent annually. That’s about nine times faster than the overall US economy!
  • Clean energy jobs tend to pay well. Not only is the industry rapidly expanding, it’s giving Americans steady, reliable, and well-paying jobs with a future. Wind turbine technicians and solar panel installers are making a median of $52,260 and $39,240 per year, respectively, while other jobs such as electrical engineer in the field of renewable energy are making even more—up to $88.50 dollars an hour.
  • Renewable energy industry is booming in states that many may not expect. States are investing in clean energy because it makes good economic sense and reduces emissions. Midwestern states are leading the clean energy revolution: Iowa’s largest utility plans to generate 85 percent of its electricity from wind while Kansas’s utilities are on track to supply over half of the state’s power with wind by 2019. And Texas, alone, hosts more than a quarter of the country’s wind capacity.


China is already a renewable powerhouse—and the country is really putting its money where its mouth is. Check it out:

  • China invests big in clean energy. Yes, China is the world’s biggest country by population – but you might be surprised to learn that it’s also leading the world in the renewable energy investment. That’s right! China is investing more in renewable energy than any other nation on Earth: In 2017, the country invested more than $44 billion in clean energy projects. China also accounts for about 60 percent of global solar cell production, and is the largest wind turbine manufacturer in the world.  
  • Renewable energy is creating jobs in China, too. Thanks to massive investments in renewables and energy efficiency, China has become the world leader in clean energy jobs, with nearly four million employed in 2016. The country aims at creating 13 million clean energy jobs by 2020.


Ever heard of the Energiewende? It’s Germany’s revolutionary plan to secure “a reliable, economically viable, and environmentally sound energy supply.” The country is aggressively moving away from nuclear energy and fossil fuels in favor of clean power. It’s right there in the name – the word literally means “energy turn.” Some highlights:

  • Germany is a renewable energy leader. Not only has Germany been replacing fossil fuels with wind and solar energy, it’s also the fifth-largest clean energy employer in the world. An incredible 334,000 Germans work in the renewable energy sector, making the country the largest clean energy employer in the European Union.
  • Renewable energy is shaping new businesses and transforming the job market in Germany. With nearly two million jobs belonging to environmentally related fields, the German Federal Environmental Agency estimates that at least half of those jobs are tied to the Energiewende.



Renewable energy is the fastest growing sector in the US economy, despite Trump's counteractions which are still slowing down renewable development as is Trudeau's ongoing subsidization of the oil and gas sector, even though the fossil fuel sector has been losing jobs since 2012.

In 2016, the renewable energy sector employed about 9.8 million people, which is a 1.1% increase compared to 2015. Moreover, the solar power industry alone generated twice more workplaces than the coal or oil industry combined.

Most of the fossil fuel jobs in extraction or other supportive activities have been declining since 2012 when gas and oil industry reached their peak. Therefore, people are looking for new opportunities and along comes renewable energy registering a 12% faster growth than the US economy.

Today, jobs in clean energy become more available and well-paid because, according to European Defence Fund (EDF), solar energy supply companies are able to offer more jobs per dollar invested. It develops 12 times faster than the whole US economy.

The main reason for such growth is the economic indicators. Businesses have realised that sustainable development is key to success, long-term performance, and investment. Besides that, the prices on solar and wind products have dropped—making it more affordable. ...

The Great Powers such as US, China, and Germany are pushing for renewables, which made them launch a plan to reduce the global gas emissions by 40%. It will include building factories generating clean energy that would require creating 430,000 additional jobs.

For example, the wind power is looking for specialists in manufacturing, project development, and construction and turbine installation; financial services, transportation and logistics, and maintenance and operations. The local governments have built more than 500 factories that will also require a work force.

Other technologies do not fall behind and in 2009, the hydroelectric power industry created 250,000 jobs. The solar power sector employed around 100,000 people while the geothermal industry hired 5,200 people to perform their activities.

The increasing investments in the renewable energy sector has the potential to provide more jobs than any other fossil fuel industry. Local businesses and renewable industries will benefit from this change as their income will increase significantly.

The benefits of shifting to renewable energy are clear-cut and for this reason the governments should react positively towards the transition to clean energy.



There is good news and bad news when it comes to renewables. The good news is that renewable energy and the jobs associated with it are growing rapidly. The bad news is that the growth is not fast enough to deal with our global warming crisis. 

It’s good news, bad news on the renewable energy front this week. First, the good news. The latest report from the International Energy Agency suggests as much as 1.3 terawatts of new renewable energy could come online between now and 2023 if the most optimistic scenario becomes a reality. Even if more conservative forecasts prevail, 1 terawatt of new renewable energy can be expected before that date. 1 terawatt is enough electricity to power all of Europe, the IEA says. ...

At the current pace of development, renewables will only account for 18 percent of the energy the world uses by 2040. That is far short of the 28 percent threshold the IEA believes is necessary to mitigate the impacts of climate change, produce cleaner air and provide access to modern energy around the world.

IEA says renewable energy could grow 25 percent faster, if governments enact policies and regulations that give companies and investors confidence to invest in clean energy.

The group now expects renewables to meet 40 percent of new global energy demand between 2018 and 2023.

By 2023, China is forecast to surpass the European Union as the world's top consumer of renewable energy, thanks to policies aimed at decarbonizing the energy sector and cutting the country's notoriously high pollution levels. The nation will account for 40 percent of the growth in renewable energy over the next five years alone, the agency predicted.

After China, the European Union will see the fastest growth in renewable energy deployment, topping the United States as the 28-nation bloc aims to achieve renewable energy targets in 2020 and 2030.

Renewable energy capacity is still projected to rise by 44 percent in the United States, but the IEA warns that changes to the tax code, trade policy and energy plans under President Donald Trump could hold back growth.


More on the good and bad news as the world attempts to shift away from fossil fuels, but keeps delaying the needed shift, especially in the US and Canada. 

It’s good news, bad news on the renewable energy front this week. First, the good news. The latest report from the International Energy Agency suggests as much as 1.3 terawatts of new renewable energy could come online between now and 2023 if the most optimistic scenario becomes a reality. Even if more conservative forecasts prevail, 1 terawatt of new renewable energy can be expected before that date. 1 terawatt is enough electricity to power all of Europe, the IEA says. ...

About 40% of the new renewable energy will be installed in China during the next 5 years, while Brazil will derive half of its electricity from renewables — mostly hydro and bioenergy — by 2023, according to the latest IEA report.

Now The Bad News

While renewables are making great strides in the electricity sector, that segment only represents about a third of the world’s total energy needs. Transportation, industry, and heating make up the other two thirds, and the impact of renewables is much less in those areas than in the energy sector. Unless policy makers address these “blind spots” aggressively, the goal of keeping average global temperatures from rising more than 1.5º C will be out of reach according to a report by CNBC.

“Indeed, their role in heat and transport is often overlooked even though decarbonizing these sectors is a key priority to achieve our long-term climate and sustainability goals,” Birol wrote in the IEA’s 2018 report on renewable energy. He says renewable energy could grow 25% faster if governments enacted policies and regulations that give companies and investors confidence to invest in clean energy.




BC's proposed LNG does not make economic sense, so BCer's will pay for it in their taxes and their environment.

In British Columbia, LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) is an industry on life support. The problem: the public is paying for the treatment.

At the height of ex-Premier Clark’s LNG-mania in 2013-14, high prices in Asia for the super-cooled fuel provoked a gold rush frenzy in BC. The business idea – to liquefy and ship cheap, fracked BC gas to Asia for high profit – spawned two dozen projects. An obliging National Energy Board granted each of them a permit to export a non-renewable resource. The high prices of 2013, nearly $20 per million British Thermal Units (mmBTU) subsequently tanked in 2015, scuttling the economic case for BC LNG. The current Asian price for LNG ($9/mmBTU) is lower than the $11-$12 costs of mining, piping, liquefying and shipping it to Asia. ...

So we now have publicly-funded concessions that Federal and Provincial Governments – past and present – have placed in the industry’s begging bowl, including:

  • no Provincial Sales Tax on gas purchased;
  • subsidized (6 cents/ kilowatt-hour) electricity rates (residential customers pay 12 cents/KWh). The 6-cent industrial rate was originally conceived for labour-intensive industries, which LNG definitely is not;
  • zero percent LNG royalty tax; 9 percent corporate tax rate on future profits declared in BC. Royalty taxes are payments to the resource owners – in this case the BC public. Much of the LNG industry is financially structured to offshore any profits to lower-tax jurisdictions, as Australia has already learned to its chagrin;
  • $35/tonne carbon tax cap and $0/tonne on “fugitive” (vented and leaked) gases. The public will pay much higher carbon taxes, as this is ramped up in future years to limit global climate disruption. Fugitive emissions, when fully and accurately accounted for, make LNG a worse climate-warmer than coal;
  • $120 Million a year for infrastructure costs (roads and pipelines to fracking holes). When this is factored into the skimpy returns to the public purse, the fracked gas industry remits less to BC’s coffers than do parking fees and fines in the City of Vancouver;
  • reduced property assessments and property taxes. BC has legislated discounted property tax rates for all port facilities;
  • relaxed Temporary Foreign Worker restrictions for imported workers. Unlike Australia, Canada has not negotiated local employment guarantees for the construction and operation of LNG facilities and pipelines;
  • exemption from 25% import duty on machinery and equipment. The industry is also appealing a ruling by Canadian International Trade Tribunal imposing a hefty anti-dumping tariff on LNG modules constructed in Korea and floated here for final assembly. Constructing these units abroad denies jobs to Canadian steelworkers and revenue to Canada;
  • accelerated capital cost write-downs. The Harper Government hiked the speed at which the LNG industry could write off its huge capital costs (to 30 percent per annum, previously 8 percent), effectively delaying income taxes and reducing borrowing costs for the industry.

All in all, this is extremely generous treatment for a foreign-owned industry which would employ, at most, a tiny fraction of BC’s 2.5 million-strong workforce – far fewer than each of BC’s high-tech, film and tourism industries. A 2014 study by the Centre for Policy Alternatives showed that, at a $12 LNG price in Asia, it would be 14 years before the capital costs of these projects were written off and LNG royalties begin to trickle into BC’s public coffers. The fracked gas industry has built up tax credits of a whopping $3 billion, meaning that, should it ever actually record a profit locally, the first $3 billion will be tax-free. As the LNG price has fallen to under $10/mmBTU, that 14-year break-even timing is likely to be further delayed. This mirrors the Australian LNG experience, which has shown break-even periods of 15 years or more for its LNG projects, and a tripling of local gas prices in the face of export competition for local supplies. Australians are paying more for their own gas than are foreign buyers.



Back to the Future of Emissions

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rejected Obama-era fuel efficiency standards and set the stage for a battle with California clean air regulators. In a reference to the special exemption that allows California to set tougher emissions standards than the federal government does, EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said, "cooperative federalism doesn't mean that one state can dictate standards for the rest of the country." 

Back to the Future of Emissions





Drought, Flood, Repeat 

A new study shows California weather is set to get even wilder, with more extreme droughts and floods in the state's future. UCLA climate scientists project wetter wets and drier dries as climate change increases California's "weather whiplash." The lead author of the study, Daniel Swain, said, "I can definitely attest to being unnerved by some of our findings." Increasingly extreme weather events could lead to $1 trillion catastrophes.


epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..more on the bc position.

Review and reform natural resource revenues


The ongoing decline in natural gas royalties shows that the provincial government continues to heavily subsidize an industry that must, for the sake of our climate and environment, be rapidly wound down. As an incentive to increase natural gas production, the Province allows companies to dramatically reduce their royalty payments. Credits can be claimed for drilling deep, horizontal and marginal gas wells, and companies can also claim back a portion of infrastructure costs.

In 2018, such reductions allowed the industry to reduce royalty payments by $447 million, a 23 per cent increase over the $363 million in discounts in 2017. Also in 2018, the outstanding balance in BC’s “deep well credit account”—the value of future credits that the industry can claim back, thereby reducing royalty payments—rose by nearly 21 per cent to $2.6 billion. The credit account’s growth has mirrored a steady decline in royalty revenues. In 2008, net natural gas royalty payments were $1.2 billion. By 2017, in stark contrast, they stood at just under $147 million.

The decline in royalty revenues plays out against the notable backdrop of a two-thirds increase in marketable gas production in BC over the same 10 years and a nearly seven-fold increase in the production of valuable natural gas “liquids” such as condensate. Royalties paid on condensate, in particular, are not disclosed in current provincial financial reports.

To safeguard the interests of British Columbians, more information must be made publicly available about the Province’s credit programs and royalty revenue streams. Therefore, the Province should:

  • Publish a comprehensive strategy to wind down all natural gas and liquids production in BC by mid-century and identify future revenue streams to replace all revenues associated with current gas production.
  • Publish annual reports on the number of gas wells that qualify for credits as well as the credits claimed by individual companies on gas produced at qualifying wells.
  • Publish revenues on all natural gas liquids produced. This is essential because the most attractive financial returns to the gas industry are for liquids, not gas.
  • Publicize royalty revenues collected as a percentage of the natural gas and gas liquids produced to allow for comparison with other fossil fuel producing jurisdictions.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Vancouver council sets a good example in tackling climate change, but this is only the beginning

This week, many Vancouverites were thrilled that council unanimously passed a motion recognizing that we're in a "global state of climate emergency".

It was refreshing to see council vote to direct staff to establish a remaining carbon budget for corporate and community emissions. It would be commensurate with limiting warming to 1.5° C above pre-industrial times, based on Vancouver's share of global emissions and population.

In Canada, it's unheard-of to hear governments take carbon budgets seriously. This is true even as they devote untold attention to fiscal budgets.

So this motion, introduced by OneCity councillor Christine Boyle, was a major step forward in this regard.

She noted that almost all governments have failed to meet targets for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.


The motion also talks about incorporating a gendered intersectional lens into climate actions and the city's climate adaptation strategy.

It highlights the need to encourage residents, businesses, and visitors to move toward carbon-free transportation modes.

And it includes a call to explore ways to reduce the cost of public parking for electric vehicles.

These are all positive things.

That's because there's no denying that we are in a climate emergency.

At current rates of greenhouse gas emissions, the average temperature could increase by 5° C above pre-industrial times by the end of the century.

That would doom humanity on Earth.

Massive amounts of carbon would be released from oceans, creating feedback loops accelerating warming.


The animated video included with the following url shows how much of the Arctic sea ice has disappeared between 1984 and 2016.

One significant change in the Arctic region in recent years has been the rapid decline in perennial sea ice. Perennial sea ice, also known as multi-year ice, is the portion of the sea ice that survives the summer melt season. Perennial ice may have a life-span of nine years or more and represents the thickest component of the sea ice; perennial ice can grow up to 4 meters thick. By contrast, first year ice that grows during a single winter is generally at most 2 meters thick.

Below is an animation of the weekly sea ice age between 1984 and 2016. The animation shows the seasonal variability of the ice, growing in the Arctic winter and melting in the summer. In addition, this also shows the changes from year to year, depicting the age of the sea ice in different colors. Younger sea ice, or first-year ice, is shown in a dark shade of blue, while the ice that is at least four years old is shown as white. A color scale identifies the age of the intermediary years.

A graph in the lower right corner quantifies the change over time by showing the area in millions of square kilometers covered by each age category of perennial sea ice. This graph also includes a memory bar — the green line that represents the current maximum value seen thus far in the animation for the particular week displayed. For example, when showing the first week in September, the memory bar will show the maximum value seen for all prior years' first week of September since the beginning of the animation (January 1, 1984).



Image result for Burnaby fire near oil depot

The Trudeau Liberals have a new problem with their Trans Mountain pipeline expansion that is raising major concerns with people in Metro Vancouver in addition to the greenhouse gas emissions that it will triple.

The fire on Saturday next to the Kinder Morgan oil depot that is the terminal point of Trans Mountain pipeline is also  likely to impact the Burnaby South byelection as it raises more concerns about what the increased storage of oil from the expanded pipeline would mean for Burnaby residents. A 2015 report discussed below describes the increased risk. In addition, the assistant Burnaby fire chief warned that it was lucky that the fire did not occur in the summer because it would be more difficult to deal with the fire. Even in winter conditions, it required 34 firefighters to put the fire out.

Opponents of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project said they are worried about fire risk at the Kinder Morgan tank farm on Burnaby Mountain, after flames from a dramatic fire on Saturday came within hundreds of metres of tanks storing petroleum products. ...

"I'm glad there were no explosions because that tank farm that is just 250 metres from there is like a bomb waiting to go off in our community," said Elan Gibson with Burnaby Residents Opposed to Kinder Morgan.

On Saturday, a fire broke out in a storage facility at a property owned by a demolition company on Aubrey Street near Pinehurst Drive. The facility is surrounded by forest, with a residential neighbourhood on one side and the tank farm on the other. It took 34 firefighters to keep the flames from spreading, while the structure was destroyed.

It took 34 firefighters to keep the flames from spreading, while the structure was destroyed. ...

"We did have a bit of concern," said Barry Mawhinney, an assistant fire chief with the Burnaby Fire Department, about the proximity to the tanks, which store a variety of petroleum products.

"If it was in the summer and the green space was a bit drier, we would have had a bigger concern," he added.

Gibson and the Burnaby Residents Opposed to Kinder Morgan are also worried a fire in the forest during dry summer conditions could end up spreading to the tanker farm and result in large fire involving hazardous materials.

The Trans Mountain Expansion Project would increase the amount of tanks at the site by 14 and the proximity to one another.

In 2016, SFU released a report which said the expansion—especially the increase in tanks—poses "significant health and safety risks" to the school and its community. The report, prepared by PGL Environmental Consultants, said that the extra tanks and the greater volume of refined bitumen will increase the risk of accidents, fires and exposure to toxic chemicals. It also said the greater number of tanks and their location near the intersection of Burnaby Mountain Parkway and Gaglardi Way could cut off access to and from SFU if there was a fire at the site.


Despite all the evidence that global warming is happening now and the warning from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change October report based on thousands of scientific studies and agreed to by 195 national governments, Canadian federal and provincial governments are substantially increasing subsidies to the petrochemical industry

Canada's slow-growing petrochemical industry is headed for its biggest surge of expansion spending in five years in 2019, thanks in large part to incentive programs by federal and provincial governments. The government support has angered environmental groups who point out that almost 90 per cent of plastics used in this country wind up as litter or in landfills. ...

Capital spending on industrial chemical industry projects in Canada this year is expected to jump by 65 per cent to $1.9 billion, the highest since $2.2 billion in 2014 and third-highest in a decade, according to a year-end members survey by the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada, which represents producers of 75 per cent of the country's chemical products by value. Employment is expected to rise by about four per cent or 640 jobs to 17,670.

The growth is coming despite rising concern over single-use plastics. Many jurisdictions are banning plastic straws and grocery bags in reaction to scenes like the great Pacific Ocean floating garbage island between Hawaii and California and dead and dying sea creatures. "Yes, we need plastics. What we want is to stop wasting plastics," said Keith Brooks, programs director for Environmental Defence, who says voluntary initiatives by industry aren't good enough. ...

Capital spending in Canada this year will come mainly from construction already underway on two projects to turn petrochemicals produced with natural gas into plastic pellets: Inter Pipeline Ltd.'s $3.5-billion polypropylene project in central Alberta and the $2-billion expansion of Nova Chemicals Corp.'s polyethylene plant at Sarnia, Ont. The former is to receive $200 million in royalty credits under a 2016 Alberta NDP government program — the latter is backed by $100 million through Ontario's Jobs and Prosperity Fund and $35 million from Ottawa's Strategic Investment Fund. ...

In both Canada and the U.S., the main driver of growth is an ample and inexpensive supply of natural gas-based feedstocks like methane, ethane and propane that can be transformed into chemical building blocks such as methanol, ammonia, ethylene and propylene, said Stephen Zinger, senior vice-president, chemicals, at consultancy Wood Mackenzie.

Provincial and federal government supports, and Ottawa's recent decision to allow a 100 per cent accelerated capital cost allowance for new investments, are being noticed by investors, said Bob Masterson, CEO of the Chemistry Industry Association of Canada. "Where for most of the last decade the global chemistry community has just bypassed Canada ... now we're back on the radar. We've got the resource, we've got the people and now we're starting to see the favourable investment conditions at the provincial and federal level," he said.

The Canadian industry is well aware of its environmental reputation.




If you’ve heard Bill Nye explain the basics of climate change, you know that greenhouse gases, mainly released by the burning of fossil fuels, are causing the average temperature of our planet to increase. By the end of the century, it could be 4–5˚C warmer. So what’s the big deal? XKCD shows how just a few degrees can cause a huge shift.


epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..from democracy now headlines.

16-Year-Old Activist Greta Thunberg Demands Elites Act on Climate

And the 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has arrived in Davos, Switzerland, where she’s calling on heads of state and global elites gathered for the World Economic Forum to take urgent action on climate change. Ahead of her trip to the forum, Thunberg posted a video online accusing corporate and government leaders of essentially doing nothing to prevent a climate catastrophe.

Greta Thunberg: “Some people say that the climate crisis is something that we all have created. But that is just another convenient lie, because if everyone is guilty, then no one is to blame. And someone is to blame. Some people—some companies and some decision-makers in particular—has known exactly what priceless values they are sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money. I want to challenge those companies and those decision-makers into real and bold climate action, to set their economic goals aside and to safeguard the future living conditions for humankind. I don’t believe for one second that you will rise to that challenge. But I want to ask you all the same. I ask you to prove me wrong.”



While Google, Microsoft and Facebook have publicly stated that climate change is a major problem they have at the same time funded a climate change denial conference that claimed increased carbon dioxide atmospheric concentrations has a negligible affect on weather, correlates with wealth (which it may as the wealthiest nations tend to be the biggest per capita carbon dioxide producers) and increases life expectancy. As expected, the Kochs and Mercers who were major Trump contributors, also funded the conference. The tech firms see the libertarian climate change deniers as supporters in their fight against government regulation.

Google, Facebook, and Microsoft have publicly acknowledged the dangers of global warming, but last week they all sponsored a conference that promoted climate change denial to young libertarians.

All three tech companies were sponsors of LibertyCon, the annual convention of the libertarian group Students for Liberty, which took place in Washington, DC. Google was a platinum sponsor, ponying up $25,000, and Facebook and Microsoft each contributed $10,000 as gold sponsors. The donations put the tech companies in the top tier of the event’s backers. But the donations also put the firms in company with some of the event’s other sponsors, which included three groups known for their work attacking climate change science and trying to undermine efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

Among the most notable was the CO2 Coalition, a group founded in 2015 to spread the “good news” about a greenhouse gas whose increase in the atmosphere is linked to potentially catastrophic climate change. The coalition is funded by conservative foundations that have backed other climate change denial efforts. These include the Mercer Family Foundation, which in recent years has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to right-wing think tanks engaged in climate change denialism, and the Charles Koch Institute, the charitable arm of one of the brothers behind Koch Industries, the oil and gas behemoth.

In the LibertyCon exhibit hall, the CO2 Coalition handed out brochures that said its goal is to “explain how our lives and our planet Earth will be improved by additional atmospheric carbon dioxide.” One brochure claimed that “more carbon dioxide will help everyone, including future generations of our families” and that the “recent increase in CO2 levels has had a measurable, positive effect on plant life,” apparently because the greenhouse gas will make plants grow faster.

In a Saturday presentation, Caleb Rossiter, a retired statistics professor and a member of the coalition, gave a presentation titled “Let’s Talk About Not Talking: Should There Be ‘No Debate’ that Industrial Carbon Dioxide is Causing Climate Catastrophe?” In his presentation, Rossiter told the assembled students that the impact of climate change on weather patterns has been vastly exaggerated. “There has been no increase in storms, in intensity or frequency,” he said. “The data don’t show a worrisome trend.”

He insisted that when he hears the news that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are rising, “I’m cheering!” That’s because, he said, carbon dioxide “is a fertilizer” that has made Africa greener and increased food production there, reducing human misery.

Google was a platinum sponsor, ponying up $25,000, and Facebook and Microsoft each contributed $10,000 as gold sponsors.

Rossiter also claimed that carbon dioxide emissions correlate with wealth and that the greenhouse gas “improves life expectancy” because poor countries that start burning fossil fuels have a more consistent power supply and can then clean up their water. “I’m happy when carbon dioxide is up, because it means poverty is down,” he declared.

“I come not to bury your carbon but to praise it,” he concluded.

Rossiter’s presentation puts him on the far fringes of the climate denial world. Not even Exxon is trying to make such arguments anymore. And it’s a long way from what Google, Facebook, and Microsoft have said about the dangers of carbon dioxide; all three companies have committed to reducing their own carbon footprints. Microsoft has pledged to cut carbon emissions by 75 percent by 2030. Google claims to be committed to a “zero carbon” future and is aggressively pursuing renewable energy sources for its operations to reduce its carbon footprint and help combat climate change. And Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg criticized President Donald Trumpafter he announced that the United States would withdraw from the Paris climate accord, writing, “Stopping climate change is something we can only do as a global community, and we have to act together before it’s too late.”

The presence of the tech sponsors at a libertarian conference is not itself unusual, as governments around the globe move to try to regulate social media and online privacy. Tech companies see libertarians as natural allies in the fight against regulation. Indeed, Google sponsored two different sessions at the conference, one on why “permissionless innovation” needs to be defended and another on whether the government will “continue to let the Internet be awesome.” But the companies’ underwriting of a conference with a climate denier on the schedule shows the hazards of trying to advance a policy agenda through interest groups without also supporting their fringe elements.





A new scientific study concludes that global warming caused primarily by fossil fuels produced the record-breaking 2017 BC wildfire season, whose record, was, in turn, broken in 2018, in the process increasing the area burnt by wildfires between sevenfold and elevenfold. In 2017,

The devastating (wildfire) season saw an area go up in flames in B.C. that was seven to 11 times larger than what would be expected without human influence on the climate, according to scientists at Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and the University of Victoria (UVic). 

The 2017 wildfires burned up over 12,000 square kilometres, forcing 65,000 people from their homes, exposing millions to harmful smoke-filled air and plunging the province into a state of emergency for months. It was the most disastrous fire in recent memory, breaking records going back six decades — until 2018 brought even larger wildfires.

ECCC and UVic researchers have now completed a study showing how anthropogenic, or human-caused, climate change dramatically increased the risk of wildfires in Canada’s westernmost province. The study showed that humanity’s effect on the climate increased the area burned in 2017 by a factor of seven to 11.

The global scientific consensus is that climate change is being furthered by humans burning fossil fuels like oil, natural gas and coal, which dump carbon pollution into the atmosphere, trapping heat and warming the planet. They say extreme weather events like droughts, floods and wildfires are expected to increase, both in intensity and frequency.

"As the climate continues to warm, we can expect that costly extreme wildfire seasons—like 2017, in B.C.—will become more likely in the future,” said Megan Kirchmeier-Young, a research scientist at ECCC and an author of the study, according to a press release.

“This will have increasing impacts on many sectors, including forest management, public health, and infrastructure,” said Kirchmeier‐Young, who also works at the Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium at UVic.

The subject of the massive increase in forest fires has been a preoccupation for Canadian scientists, who have found that roughly four million hectares of land were affected by forest fires in Canada over the three years to 2016, well above the long-term average.

In May 2016, a terrifying wildfire swept through Fort McMurray, Alberta, forcing an evacuation of at least 88,000 people, the largest in Alberta history and destroying at least $3.7 billion worth of property, more than twice the amount of the previous natural disaster on record.

Federal scientists in the Canadian Forest Service demonstrated in 2018 that large portions of Canada’s vast boreal forest could be at risk of dying off by the end of the century, as climate change will dramatically aggravate the risk of wildfires, drought and insect infestations. ...

The latest study, titled “Attribution of the influence of human-induced climate change on an extreme fire season,” was first published Dec. 13 in the science journal Earth's Future, a trans-disciplinary, peer-reviewed publication, and announced by ECCC on Jan. 8, 2019. ...

The researchers gathered a large body of regional climate model simulations to compare two scenarios, one involving human influence on the climate and one without, using the decade 2011-2020 to represent the current climate and 1961-1970 to represent an alternative climate with reduced human influence. They then demonstrated the risk factors connected with the wildfire season and the area burned, and found that the maximum temperature anomalies that were observed are over 95 per cent likely to be due to anthropogenic factors.




kropotkin1951 wrote:
A Prius Prime is our new ride. I went 1500 km on my last 36 liter tank. It didn't cost anymore than other mid-sized sedans and less than most of the small SUV's that everyone loves.  Toyota advertises 40 km of electric driving on a fully charged battery.  Most of the driving in the Valley I live in comes in under that but since it also has a gas engine I can still take it down Island. In hybrid mode for road trips it uses about 4.4 liters per 100 kms.  For old school folks that translates to over 60 miles per gallon on the freeway doing at least the speed limit.

The technology is here if the people buying vehicles want to look for it.

We're currently in the grip of a cold snap with temperatures staying below minus 20. Think about what your cell phone battery will do in that kind of weather. Do you think an electric car will do any better? How about all the emissions that come from making the new cars as people rush to buy these "green" transportation items? How about the materials used in these cars? How about the fact that we still need roads and paved surfaces to drive these things on, paved surfaces which are unavailable to help take carbon out of the air? How about the fact that electric cars are being promoted to say that we don't have to make any fundamental lifestyle changes, thereby continuing destructive car culture and not addressing things like community planning and more walkable communities?


Kropotkin, are the hybrids less expensive to drive when the cost of gas and electricity is added together? I've never heard a comment on that and it could be because people think the charging is free? Or it could be beside the point because they think it's non-polluting?


Montg In dollar terms it is way cheaper for the electricity. A-24 I live in a community without proper bus service so my wife and I still need a vehicle to live in this society. I have no idea how my vehicle would handle -40 below however  -10  is just fine and it handles really well in the snow.  I am tired of the false dichotomies so I will use one of my own. Until you stop NATO forces from their consumption don't talk to me about personal sacrifice. A couple of hours of flight time over the Ukraine is far more significant than any form of land vehicle I could chose even a Hummer. If we grounded NATO's air force except for required training and intercepting any real threats and reduced the armaments being built we might have a chance to save the planet. What are you doing to stop NATO is the best question to ask people who claim to want to reduce emissions globally.


Krop, I get that people in the smaller communities have to drive everywhere, and I certainly don't expect to see personal vehicles ever go away in my lifetime. Regarding carbon emissions, even if you count such things as public transportation, I'm quite certain that urban areas have a far greater impact on that area than the smaller communities. I tried very hard to move in an area in central Winnipeg where if I can't walk to get something then most things are an easy bus ride away. I go out of my way to not drive, but even I have times where I have so much to do that I will drive just in the interests of accomplishing errands efficiently. I'm also guessing that your community doesn't have to cope with the traffic and congestion issues we have here in Winnipeg. Winnipeg suburbs also continue to expand and eat up valuable land that can either feed people or take up carbon dioxide at a far greater rate than population growth would warrant. That's why I spent over half a decade as part of a group lobbying the city to bring in rapid transit, so that people have more options. I also want to see more public transportation options available to people in the smaller communities, however I don't know how that would be done, and when you get small enough like individual farms, I don't know that it is even practical at that level. But you're absolutely right, it's not a false dichotomy. So to take Winnipeg as an example. My big worry with that is that they come on the market and the decision makers here will say, "we have electric cars, all of our problems are solved." No, that won't solve all of our problems. It is one piece of the puzzle we need to put together.

As for stopping NATO, I agree that is a problem. What I can do about that right now I'm not sure, but I can at least affect change in my own community by giving people more options.


kropotkin1951 wrote:

Montg In dollar terms it is way cheaper for the electricity.

That's not an answer.

A-24 I live in a community without proper bus service so my wife and I still need a vehicle to live in this society.

You lost me with the A-24 thing?

I have no idea how my vehicle would handle -40 below however  -10  is just fine and it handles really well in the snow.  I am tired of the false dichotomies so I will use one of my own. Until you stop NATO forces from their consumption don't talk to me about personal sacrifice. A couple of hours of flight time over the Ukraine is far more significant than any form of land vehicle I could chose even a Hummer. If we grounded NATO's air force except for required training and intercepting any real threats and reduced the armaments being built we might have a chance to save the planet. What are you doing to stop NATO is the best question to ask people who claim to want to reduce emissions globally.

Nato's air force isn't significant consumption compared to private vehicles on our roaads. That's got to be the worst reason for grounding Nato I've heard yet! 

But I'm all for grounding them and disbanding Nato completely. There aren't any real threats that should concern Nato that our armed forces couldn't handle. Nato is only a tool of US aggression. Not sure what you're on about with the flight time stuff and personal sacrifice though?

Do you have any idea at all how much it costs to run a hybrid on gas and electricity combined?

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Close to half of Canadian program touted for electric cars is funding natural gas stations

Almost half of the funding in a federal program Canada has promoted as a boon for electric vehicles is being used for natural gas refueling.

The Trudeau government has funded a nationwide rollout of 102 electric vehicle (EV) chargers, as part of a Natural Resources Canada program called the “Electric Vehicle and Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Deployment Initiative.”

The program has been promoted as fulfilling a commitment to put more zero-emission vehicles on the road. Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna recently touted the program as part of her announcement on new EV chargers across Quebec.

What is less known, is that this program has also funded the installation of seven natural gas refueling stations, and three hydrogen refueling stations.

While there are far fewer natural gas and hydrogen stations than EV chargers, the refueling stations cost much more to install, typically $1 million each, compared to $50,000 for an EV charger — meaning they are sucking up much more program funding per station.....


epaulo13 wrote:

Close to half of Canadian program touted for electric cars is funding natural gas stations

Almost half of the funding in a federal program Canada has promoted as a boon for electric vehicles is being used for natural gas refueling.

The Trudeau government has funded a nationwide rollout of 102 electric vehicle (EV) chargers, as part of a Natural Resources Canada program called the “Electric Vehicle and Alternative Fuel Infrastructure Deployment Initiative.”

The program has been promoted as fulfilling a commitment to put more zero-emission vehicles on the road. Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna recently touted the program as part of her announcement on new EV chargers across Quebec.

What is less known, is that this program has also funded the installation of seven natural gas refueling stations, and three hydrogen refueling stations.

While there are far fewer natural gas and hydrogen stations than EV chargers, the refueling stations cost much more to install, typically $1 million each, compared to $50,000 for an EV charger — meaning they are sucking up much more program funding per station.....

So the funding that's got to be around $5 million. ($50,000x 102=$5.1M) has already been spent twice over on natural gas and hydrogen stations? (7+3=10x$1M=$10M)

Can you clear that up and get back to us?


Topic locked