Canada and global warming: a state of denial 2

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jerrym

A new United Nations report warns that countries around the world must cut greenhouse gas emissions by more than 7% a year and by 55% overall by 2030, far far more than the Trudeau or other governments have done, or face cata strophic consequences. 

The Gorner Glacier in 1863, compared with the same location in August 2019, in Zermatt, Switzerland [Denis Balibouse Glaziologische/ Kommission der Akademie der Naturwissenschaften Schweiz/ETH Library Zurich/Reuters]

The Gorner Glacier in 1863, compared with the same location in August 2019, in Zermatt, Switzerland [Denis Balibouse Glaziologische/ Kommission der Akademie der Naturwissenschaften Schweiz/ETH Library Zurich/Reuters]

The world's countries have to cut their greenhouse gas emissions well beyond current pledges to make up for lost time - or face catastrophic climate changes, says a United Nations report released on Tuesday.

The annual Emissions Gap Report paints a grim picture of the rise in global warming, and points the finger at G20 countries, especially China and the United States, the two top greenhouse gas emitters, along with Russia and the European Union, which are doing too little to tackle the climate crisis. ...

"Emissions need to go down by 55 percent by 2030," said the report's colead author, John Christensen. "There is no way we are going to make it if we don't step up action as of next year with ambitious plans."

G20 countries are collectively responsible for 78 percent of all emissions, but they are not doing enough to contain global warming within the 1.5-2 degrees Celsius temperature goals established by the Paris Agreement in 2016. ....

Tuesday's report, compiled by some of the world's leading scientists, says that even if all commitments made in Paris were to be implemented, temperatures would likely rise - because of previous inaction - up to 3.2C this century, bringing destructive climate change. This means countries are now obliged to increase their joint commitments by more than fivefold, or the 1.5C goal will be out of reach before 2030.

"Our collective failure to act early and hard on climate change means we now must deliver deep cuts to emissions, over 7 percent each year," said Inger Andersen, the UN Environment Program's executive director.

"We need quick wins to reduce emissions as much as possible in 2020. Then we need stronger Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) to kick start the major transformations of economies and societies." ...

Limiting warming to 1.5C is possible, says the report, but doing so requires radical changes in our economic systems as well as in our social habits. The solutions proposed by the report depict a new world that would have to be transformed within just one generation for a reversal of the climate crisis. ...

Electricity should become the main energy source by 2050, with renewables making up at least 85 percent of global consumption. Coal production should be phased out; transport and industry should be decarbonised; energy efficiency should be improved.

This transition process would cost between $1.6-3.8 trillion a year globally between the years 2020 and 2050.

Developing economic and social policies that encourage materials efficiency, low waste and consumption, reuse and recycling should become a top priority, along with preserving the existing forests and planting new ones. "Solutions are available to make meeting the Paris goals possible, but they are not being deployed fast enough or at a sufficiently large scale," said the report. ...

The rise of just half a degree in global temperatures means the disappearance of entire ecosystems upon which the survival of half a billion people on the planet depends. A rise of 1.5C puts one million of the world's 7.6 million species at risk of extinction, and will kill off 75 percent of the world's coral reefs. A rise of 2C will kill all the world's coral, cause massive habitats and many insects to disappear, along with shorter rainy seasons, impacting harvests. ...

China, the world's top greenhouse gas emitter, said it would pursue a path of low-carbon development and announced a partnership that could potentially unlock up to 12 billion tonnes of global emissions reductions. India, the fourth-largest emitter, pledged to increase renewable energy capacity by 2022.

The EU, the most attentive to climate change despite its ranking third among the top emitters, said at least 25 percent of the next EU budget would be devoted to climate-related activities. The Russian Federation, the fifth-largest emitter, announced that it would ratify the Paris Agreement, bringing the total number of countries that have joined to 187.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/11/step-climate-action-face-catastro...

jerrym

The next Fridays for Future Global Strike will be on Friday November 29th, 2019. The map at the url below shows where these strikes will be occurring in Canada and elsewhere. By clicking on a particular strike marker more information is given about the time, exact place, etc. of the strike. 

To find those in Canada click on "All countries" at the top of the map and then click on "Canada". To find those on November 29 2019, click on "Future" at the top of the map and then click on "2019-11-29".

https://fridaysforfuture.ca/event-map/

Fridays For Future Canada 

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

Our History Is the Future: Lakota Historian Nick Estes on Thanksgiving & Indigenous Resistance

quote:

AMY GOODMAN: Your book’s last words are, “[W]e are challenged not just to imagine, but to demand the emancipation of earth from capital. For the earth to live, capitalism must die.” Explain.

NICK ESTES: So, that line is part of this longer section on liberation. And I think when we think about climate change, oftentimes the question of climate change really centers on market-driven solutions, such as, you know, green capitalism, and how do we create markets that sort of incentivize transition to sustainable economies, right? And I think, really, what we’re kind of like beating around the bush is, is that it’s the system of capitalism that led us into this economic crisis to begin with. It’s the sort of designation of certain populations in certain territories as disposable, that has led us into our current epoch of global climate change. And so, when we talk about who’s going to bear the most burden when we transition, you know, out of the carbon economy, it most likely is going to be those populations that have historically been colonized, you know.

And, you know, what’s happening in southeast Africa is a perfect example of why we need to transition away from not just the carbon economy, but capitalist economies in general, because if we look at the history of how Africa has been a resource colony for Europe and for North America, we can look internally in the United States and understand that indigenous nations continue to serve as resource colonies for the United States, whether it’s the Navajo Nation, where I’m living right now, that is producing oil and coal to generate electricity for the Southwest region, or whether it’s the Fort Berthold Reservation up in North Dakota, that is, you know, ground zero for oil and gas development in the Bakken region. We have to understand that indigenous nations have largely been turned into resource colonies and sites of sacrifice for not just the United States, but for the oil and gas industry.

And so we need to not just think beyond climate change and putting carbon into the atmosphere, but we actually need to think about the system, the social system — right? — that created those conditions in the first place. And so, capitalism is fundamentally a social relation. It’s a profit-driven system, whereas indigenous sort of ways of relating is one about reciprocity and a mutual sort of respect, not just with the human, but also with the nonhuman world. And we’re undergoing, you know, the sixth mass — sixth massive extinction event, which is caused by not just climate change, but is caused by capitalist sort of systems and the profit-driven sort of motive of our current economic and social system.

jerrym

Ontario Conservative Energy and former federal Conservative Minister of Natural Resources Greg Rickford cited a climate change denial blog in justifying the Ford government's ending green energy projects in Ontario. 

 

During question period at Queen's Park Monday, Rickford called Climate Change Dispatch one of his "favourite periodicals."

The website says its mission is to "deconstruct" climate change theories "propagated" by former U.S. vice president Al Gore and "the highly politicized" International Panel on Climate Change. It asks for donations to help "fight garbage science."

Rickford quoted from a post on the site, titled "Germany Pulls Plug on Wind Energy As Industry Suffers 'Severe Crisis'," in response to questioning from the Opposition about $230-million in cancelled renewable enery contracts in Ontario. ...

Rickford's comments come on the same day that the United Nations Environment Programme released its annual Emissions Gap Report. ...

The 168-page document, compiled by 57 leading scientists from 33 institutions across 25 countries, calls on governments to act immediately, within the next decade, to limit global warming to 1.5 C or 2 C by 2100.  ...

The NDP decried Rickford's reference on Tuesday, calling the site a "conspiracy website" and "digital rag."

It pointed out other articles on Climate Change Dispatch, including one post entitled "Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is Not a Pollutant" and a positive review of a book that compares climate activism to attitudes in Nazi Germany.

"Hate-filled conspiracy theories are not a foundation for good policy," said NDP Climate Crisis critic Peter Tabuns in a statement.

"We are past the point of debating whether climate change exists. Ontarians know climate change is real, and caused by human action. Does this government know that?"  

Meanwhile, a group of young Ontarians is suing the province over what they say is climate change inaction, arguing that the government has violated their charter rights by softening emissions reduction targets.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/greg-rickford-climate-change-blog...

jerrym

On the same day as Ontario Engergy Minister Greg Rickford quoted a climate change denial blog (described in post #150) to justify ending funding for  green engergy projects in Ontario, a group of young people sued the Ford government over its inaction on global warming, demanding greater action in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the province. 

 Climate director of Ecojustice, Alan Andrews, warns that any province that fails to deal with climate change in a meaningful way will face litigation. The Trudeau federal government has already been sued by young people over its failure to deal with climate change ( see https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/youth-to-sue-canadian-government-for-clima... for federal lawsuit). 

One of the plaintiffs is Shaelyn Wabegijig,  a 22 year old from the Rama First Nation near Orillia, who said  she's concerned about having children if the effects of climate change continue to worsen.

 one or more people and outdoor

A group of young Ontarians is suing the province over what they say is climate change inaction, arguing that the Ford government has violated their charter rights by softening emissions reduction targets.

The group claims that recent policy changes "will lead to widespread illness and death," an alleged violation of Section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which promises protection for life, liberty and security of the person.

They are calling on the Ontario government to commit to more ambitious emission reductions with the aim of limiting global warming to 1.5 C, a key target set out in the United Nations' Paris Agreement on climate change.

"Doug Ford is not doing enough to protect our future and it's just unacceptable," said Sophia Mathur, a 12-year-old from Sudbury and one of seven applicants taking part. "I just want to live a normal life in the future; I shouldn't have to be doing this, but adults aren't doing a good job," she told CBC News. ...

"I'm afraid that so many species that I love will go extinct," added Zoe Keary-Matzner, 13, from Toronto. "And that children in the future won't be able to enjoy nature the same way I do."

The applicants, ranging from age 12 to 24, are represented by Stockwoods LLP and Ecojustice, a group that specializes in public interest lawsuits in the name of environmental protection. Their challenge is part of a growing trend in which young people across the globe are suing governments over perceived inaction on climate change. ...

Earlier this year, more than a dozen young Canadians launched a similar lawsuit against the federal government. Similar legal challenges have gone to courts in the U.S. and the Netherlands, with varying degrees of success. This is the first lawsuit filed against a Canadian province over climate inaction.

"Any government that is failing to address the climate emergency in a meaningful way can expect to face litigation of this nature," said Alan Andrews, climate director at Ecojustice. ...

The group is focusing its lawsuit on the Ford government's decision to scale back emission targets set by the Liberals in 2015.

The previous plan called for a 37-per-cent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. The reduction target climbed to 80 per cent by 2050.

Under the Progressive Conservatives, Ontario now plans to reduce emissions by 30 per cent by 2030 compared to 2005 levels. There is no longer a 2050 target.

The PCs have also repealed a cap-and-trade agreement that gave companies incentives to reduce carbon emissions. They are also in the process of challenging a carbon tax imposed by Ottawa to take its place. ...

"People are very focused on other things; on making money, focusing on the economy, that they don't think about their connection to mother earth," said applicant Shaelyn Wabegijig, 22.

Wabegijig, who grew up at Rama First Nation near Orillia, said she's concerned about having children if the effects of climate change continue to worsen.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ontario-youth-climate-change-laws...

jerrym

The combination of a gale and climate change is resulting in 3 metre waves and flooding hitting Lake Erie now, that follows another flooding during Halloween. 

A gale warning has been issued for Lake Erie due to strong easterly winds in the forecast for Saturday evening.

The warning from Environment Canada will last through to Sunday morning.

The agency says there is a risk of shoreline damage, erosion and flooding along all areas of the Lake Erie shoreline, including the interior of Rondeau Bay.

https://windsor.ctvnews.ca/waves-could-reach-as-high-as-three-metres-as-...

WT-LO26-FloodWarning18

This file photo shows a section of washed out beach in Port Colborne following the Halloween storm. - Dave Johnson , Torstar file photo 

Niagara Peninsula Conservation Authority has issued a flood watch for the Lake Erie shoreline ahead of predicted low pressure system that will bring with it wind gusts of between 90 and 100 km/h starting Wednesday afternoon.

The agency said the event is expected to be similar in magnitude to the Halloween night storm that led to widespread flooding and damage along the shoreline from Haldimand County to Fort Erie.

https://www.stcatharinesstandard.ca/news-story/9740253-npca-issues-flood...

jerrym

The links between climate change and flooding in the Great Lakes region continually get stronger. 

‘There’s no doubt that we are in a region where climate change is having an impact,’ said Richard B Rood, a University of Michigan professor.

 ‘There’s no doubt that we are in a region where climate change is having an impact,’ said Richard B Rood, a University of Michigan professor. Photograph: Colter Peterson/AP

This summer, as rain relentlessly poured down on the Great Lakes region, Detroit declared a rare state of emergency. The swollen Detroit River had spilled into the low-lying Jefferson Chalmers neighborhood – an event not seen near this scale since 1986. ...

The havoc wreaked on communities bordering the Great Lakes is a result of their water level steadily rising over the last five years and spiking to record levels this spring and summer. In 2019, the lakes’ depths ranged from 14in to nearly 3ft above long-term averages, according to data from the US army corps of engineers. In June, water in the Lakes St Clair, Ontario, Superior and Erie set records for monthly mean levels, while Lake Michigan-Huron rose to 1in from its recorded peak. ...

That is leading to widespread damage in coastal cities, eroded shorelines and beaches and many other issues. The record levels come just five years after the lakes experienced historically low levels in 2014, and climate scientists say it is clear what’s fueling the drastic swing: the Earth’s rising temperatures.

“Bigger picture, it’s climate change,” said Richard B Rood, a professor in the University of Michigan’s department of climate and space sciences and engineering. “There’s no doubt that we are in a region where climate change is having an impact.”

Rood said the Great Lakes basin, which holds 90% of the nation’s freshwater, can expect similar shifts in the coming decades as world temperatures increase.

The numbers back that up. By May, Cleveland, Ohio on Lake Erie’s shore saw more rainy days than any year since 1953. Muskegon, on Lake Michigan’s shore, experienced 7.45in more rainfall than average throughout the first eight months, while Sault Ste Marie on Lake Superior tallied about 9in more than average for the same period. Buffalo saw 34% more rain than typical.

The moisture rained down on ground and lakes already more saturated than usual because a January polar vortex brought frigid temperatures that prevented wintertime evaporation crucial to keeping water levels in check. Meanwhile, a heavy snow pack melted. pushing up levels even further. ...

Meanwhile, the impact of continued climate change on the Great Lakes’ ecosystem is still unknown, Breederland said. However, there is more certainty with water levels. Long-term, as temperature increases continue, the region will see levels “bouncing from low extreme to high extremes”, Rood said, though the lakes will eventually start to disappear if temperatures aren’t brought under control.

“If we don’t mitigate our emissions … and the temperature gets to a certain level, then it does become evaporation dominant,” he said.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/sep/03/great-lakes-region-f...

jerrym

When people think of new fossil fuel pipelines, they usually think of the Trans Mountain pipeline from Alberta to the BC coast but there is a proposal for another pipeline from Ontario to Quebec's Saguenay region and from there to markets in Europe and Asia, despite all the questions it raises about climate change and the concerns the federal and Quebec governments raise about global warming. In fact, Premier Legault says that he is "open" to such a project. 

Quebec scientists have demanded that the pipeline proposal be rejected, noting we need to have less fossil fuel infrastracture, not more. These scientists also point out that total emissions from the project would cancel all the emission reductions Quebec has achieved since 1990, without taking into account leakages, which would further greatly increase emissions.

Image result for Picture Gazoduc pipeline Saguenay Fjord

Tankers bound for Europe and as far away as India and China would carry LNG from a proposed liquefaction plant and marine terminal near this deep-water, inland port on the Saguenay Fjord. CBC News Interactives - CBC.ca ...

The wrenching debate over fossil fuels and climate change is lapping up against the shores of the magnificent Saguenay Fjord in the heart of Quebec. Here, just upstream from the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park — a protected area for the endangered beluga whale — two major, intertwined projects are in the planning and evaluation stages. 

Gazoduc is to deliver Alberta natural gas through an as-yet unbuilt, 782-kilometre pipeline extending from northern Ontario through Quebec's Abitibi and Lac-Saint-Jean regions. If the project gets approval, it would be an important boost for an industry struggling to get its product to market. ...

Its promoters say it would be among the greenest LNG plants in the world. Tanker ships would carry the LNG from the marine terminal, down the Saguenay Fjord and on to markets in Europe and Asia. ...

But standing in the way are profound concerns about increased greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with many demanding action in the face of the global climate crisis. ...

Adrien Guibert-Betez, an organizer of the opposition group Coalition Fjord, doesn't think there is anything the promoter can do to make the project acceptable.

"All the scientists all over the world said that we have to cut our greenhouse gases, and by that, we have to stop the utilization of gas and petrol and coal. So at the foundation itself, the project is not a good project."

Guibert-Betez's coalition has been mobilizing residents along the Saguenay Fjord who question whether a company should contribute to the production of natural gas at all, regardless of its environmental commitments. ...

In June, a group of 160 Quebec scientists signed an open letter calling on the federal and Quebec governments to reject the projects because they are "incompatible with the idea of energy transition."

"It is essential to reduce the number of infrastructures linked to fossil fuels and not build more," they wrote, in order to meet the 2050 goal of carbon neutrality.

"The total emissions connected to the project in Canada would be comparable to the total of Quebec's GHG reductions since 1990," concluded the two principal authors of the letter, Université Laval chemistry Prof. Jesse Greener and Université du Québec à Montréal environmental science Prof. Lucie Sauvé. ...

That total, the scientists said, doesn't take into account leakage, known as fugitive emissions, along the way.

"Since natural gas is essentially made up of methane, a greenhouse gas that is 84 times more powerful than CO2 over a 20-year period, the contribution of these leaks to planetary warming is enormous," they wrote.

"So it is possible that the total GHG emissions associated with the project will be considerably higher than the best available estimates." ...

If it becomes simply another energy source in the market and does not replace coal or oil, "the result will be a global increase in emissions."

Université Laval's Greener says that last conclusion is important to highlight. "That's the massive amount of the problem: its utilization or misutilization downstream," the chemist said. "Obviously, we can't even guarantee that this gas is not going to replace sustainable energy projects." 

"So the report is being spun," Greener said. 

"If we're supposed to assume the product is going to be replacing dirtier forms of energy, there's no guarantee of that. And if you just look at the energy needs across the world, it's much more likely that these products are simply going to add to current consumption, not replace."

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/energie-saguenay-how-green-is-na...

jerrym

A large crowd protested at the student strike as part of the global student strike for climate action in Toronto on Friday November 29th.

View image on Twitter

Mobs of shouting people convened in downtown Toronto this afternoon — not to shop, as one might expect on Black Friday, but to demand that immediate action be taken to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Because you can't enjoy a half-price big screen 4K TV when your entire home is underwater, now can you? ...

Like the massive international climate strike that brought thousands out to protest in Toronto a few months ago, today's march saw activists walk from Queen's Park to Toronto City Hall with all sorts of creative signs. ...

"On November 29th, we will be joining people around the globe to demand climate justice for all before the COP 25 meeting in Madrid, Spain on the implementation of the Paris Agreement," reads a description for the event on Facebook.

"Here in Canada, in the wake of the federal elections, it is also crucial for us to hold our newly elected officials accountable to their electoral promises, and to push all levels of government to be more ambitious in their climate action."

https://www.blogto.com/city/2019/11/toronto-climate-strike-black-friday-...

jerrym

Victoria BC also held a student strike for climate action on November 29th that focused on the Green New Deal and ending BC's LNG projects. 

 

Youth climate protest

Traffic was diverted along Blanshard Street on Friday as Victoria students marched in a climate rally: Nov. 29, 2019 (CTV News)

The rally began in Centennial Square at approximately noon before youth activists marched southbound on Blanshard Street towards the office of B.C.'s Ministry of Energy, Mines & Petroleum Resources.

Student activists say they are calling on the government to begin a structured transition into greener sources of energy so that the province can become less dependent on coal and liquefied natural gas (LNG). ...

"So this specific strike we're targeting LNG and the Green New Deal and right now, the B.C. government is putting millions of dollars into LNG projects that will lock B.C into decades of GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions and we have to stop that," said Victoria student Grace Sinats. "If we allow them to put this much money into projects that will destroy our planet, there is no hope," said Sinats.  ...

"There are now people that think they can have this energy transition in 10 years, well, be my guest," said van der Hoeven. "It's impossible."

"It's not only about energy transition, it's also about an economic transition and it's about a societal transition," said van der Hoeven. "You know, the biggest issue ... is there will be new winners and new losers. That means if people feel they are being left behind, they will be protesting because they are not going to accept this.”

Students at Victoria's youth protest said that while they are calling on the government to transition away from LNG, they were aware of the challenges that workers in the industry may face.

"Not only do we wish for LNG and fracking to have a smooth decline, but we need a just transition for all workers," said Victoria student Elliott Anderson. "If we just stop plain-out and there’s no training for workers to go to a new place, our economy will collapse and there's nothing we can do about it. We need a just transition so that workers can continue to sustain families and themselves," said Anderson. ...

"I feel like a lot of the time people can forget about the strikes pretty quickly," said Sintas. "Like it’s this big event and then not a lot happens. So, I feel like having regular strikes is really important to remind people that this is still an issue and it’s not going to be solved overnight."

https://vancouverisland.ctvnews.ca/student-activists-occupy-downtown-vic...

 

jerrym

Student strikes for climate action were also held in small towns such as Nelson BC by taking on the fashion industry, a major contributor to global warming. Black Friday is the busiest retail day of the year and capitalist consumerism is based on the assumption that consumpiton can grow forever without destroying the planet.

by Nelson Daily Staff on Wednesday November 27 2019 

1

Fridays for Future Nelson is organizing another climate strike, complete wtih clothing swap for Friday, to bring awareness to the massive environmental impacts of consumerism and the fast fashion industry. — The Nelson Daily photo

“The fashion industry is responsible for more than 10% of global emissions,” said 16-year-old Jade Osecki, one of the organizers.

Instead of simply bringing awareness to the issue of fast fashion the students want to also make an actual change so they will be holding a clothing swap at the strike.

http://thenelsondaily.com/news/fridays-future-nelson-organizing-black-fr...

jerrym

The climate action strike in Vancouver also focused on consumerism on Black Friday. 

Supporters of the Extinction Rebellion movement take part in a protest and funeral march for the environment Friday, November 29, 2019 in downtown Vancouver, BC. JASON PAYNE /  PNG

“Nov. 29 is Black Friday. On this day, huge corporations exploit consumers by encouraging us to buy more and more. Their ‘special offers”’ trigger a sense of urgency and ‘exceptional opportunity’ to consumers, resulting in an overconsumption of unnecessary goods,” the group, which also goes by XR, states on its Facebook page.“We will mourn for the future of our planet, our ecosystems, and the lives lost due to climate crisis, human and non-human,” XR said.

Participants were invited to wear funeral attire to the event, which began at 1 p.m. at Art Phillips Park on Burrard Street. ...

The march concluded at Robson and Burrard, where Extinction Rebellion shut down the intersection for a post-funeral wake that included a garment repair station, screen printing activities, clothing swap and live performances.

https://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/climate-activists-protest-mass-...

 

jerrym

On Friday November 29th, there was  another set global student strikes for climate action with 630,000 strikers coming out in Germany alone. Around the world there were 2,300 student strikes in 152 countries. The strikes focused on the links between Black Friday consumer capitalism on the day when there is the greatest level of retail sales and global warming. 

 

Participants of the Fridays for Future movement demonstrate at the Global Climate Action Day on Simsonplatz.

Participants of the Fridays for Future movement demonstrate at the Global Climate Action Day on Simsonplatz. dpa/picture alliance via Getty I—(c) dpa-Zentralbild

For years, Black Friday has been sold as a holiday day for the consumer. In the 2018, Black Friday resulted in $6.22 billion in online sales alone, per CNBC. This year, climate activists wants people to stop and reconsider such rampant consumption.

Climate protests are taking place around the world this Black Friday to raise awareness about the dangers of climate change. The protests are also timed to demand action during the U.N. climate negotiations, COP25, which will begin in Madrid, Spain on Dec. 2.

Climate activists say more than 80 strikes are happening in the U.S. alone. Protests have already happened in Asia and Europe. In Germany alone, activists say 630,000 turned out.

According to organizers, protesters plan to disrupt large shopping centers in Chicago and hold a march and a rally in Los Angeles called “Don’t Shop. Strike!” According to Reuters, organizers expect strikes to take place in 2,300 cities in 152 countries around the world.

https://time.com/5741593/black-friday-climate-strike/

jerrym

Despite its promise to deal effectively with climate change during the election, the Trudeau Liberal government continues to support pipeline expansion. Today, just one month after the election, the Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline from Alberta to Manitoba is up and running carrying 400,000 barrels a day, with the Line 3 US extension expected to be completed next year, which would increase pipeline flow to 760,000 barrels per day. 

Image result for Picture of Line 3 pipeline construction Canada

In this file photo, Enbridge workers weld pipe just west of Morden, Man., in 2018. The Canadian portion of the pipeline went into commercial operation Sunday. (John Woods/The Canadian Press)

A major pipeline project — long anticipated by the Canadian oilpatch — reached a significant milestone Sunday as Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline from Alberta to Manitoba is now up and running.

Calgary-based Enbridge sees commercial operation of the Canadian portion as important progress, even as the U.S. portion of the pipeline replacement project is still navigating Minnesota regulators. ...

The Line 3 replacement is the largest project in Enbridge history, with a total cost expected to top $9 billion, of which the Canadian portion is about $5.3 billion. ...

The company has operated Line 3 since 1968, shipping oil from Hardisty, Alta., to Superior, Wis. The Canadian portion of the line runs from Hardisty to Gretna, Man., a distance of 1,067 kilometres. ...

The American part of the project could still be in service in 2020. Timing is unclear, though, after state utility regulators in Minnesota in October ordered further study on the potential effects of oil spills in the Lake Superior watershed. ...

Upon full completion of Line 3, the pipe will have oil export capacity of 760,000 barrels per day (bpd). 

Until the U.S. side of the project is finished, it will operate at about 400,000 bpd. Still, that will help the company boost the oil-moving capability of its current system across western Canada. ...

Of the other two major oil pipelines for Canadian crude, construction is proceeding on the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to the B.C. coast. The Keystone XL pipeline has been delayed by court challenges in the U.S. ...

All three major pipeline projects have faced opposition over concerns about their environmental impact, including climate change, should Alberta's oilsands continue to grow and add to industry's carbon emissions.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/business/enbridge-line-three-shipping-oil-1.5377031

jerrym

Post #159 describes another pipeline that has been proposed the Ontario to Saguenay Quebec LNG pipeline aimed at exporting LNG to Europe and Asia. Once again the federal Liberals don't seem ready to put the brakes on another project that would further increase greenhouse gas emissions and Premier Legault says he supports it. However, it would create major environmental problems, as well as problems for First Nations along its path. 

Image result for picture LNG Tanker

A natural gas liquefaction and transportation infrastructure project may see the light of day in Quebec. The project, which would export natural gas from Western Canada to South America, Europe and Asia, is comprised of two elements. The first, led by Gazoduq, consists of building a gas pipeline from Eastern Ontario to the Saguenay. The second, Énergie Saguenay, is the construction of a natural gas liquefaction plant in the Port de Saguenay referred to as GNL Québec, from which natural gas will be shipped to foreign markets.

The GNL Québec project would have enormous repercussions. It would cause disruptions along the length of the pipeline route, which will cross protected areas and rivers and will affect numerous First Nations communities. The supertankers that would transport the gas would also destabilize beluga habitats and those of other endangered species living in the Saguenay Fjord. What’s more, the project could wipe out in a single year nearly all the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions that Quebec has achieved since 1990.

Given this context, it’s important to set the record straight about natural gas, and explain why it cannot be considered a transitional energy source.

The methane problem 

There is a lot of messaging about the potential of natural gas as a “cleaner” resource than other fossil fuels, such as coal or oil. And indeed, gas use does produce fewer CO2 emissions.

However, CO2 is not the only gas that can heat up the planet, nor is it the most potent. Over a 20-year window, methane has a planetary warming potential 84 times greater than CO2. Since natural gas is composed almost entirely of methane, the emissions caused by gas leaks, which occur at every step of the production process (from drilling to distribution), are particularly dangerous. As it is extremely difficult to measure these fugitive emissions, there is no scientific consensus as to their frequency. There is, however, agreement that no more than 3 percent of the gas can leak for natural gas to have a smaller impact than coal.

In Quebec, Premier François Legault has perpetuated the myth of “clean” natural gas while defending the GNL Québec project: “You have to remember: this is a gas pipeline – gas, not oil.” Although the GNL Québec project targets export markets, the gas industry, in an effort to paint the project as socially acceptable, likes to tout the “environmental advantages” of natural gas for the markets the project would serve.

However, developing a fossil fuel is an extremely risky proposition from both a financial and environmental standpoint, because Canada has committed to limiting global warming to 1.5°C in order to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change.

A substitute for dirty energy?

The gas industry argues that in foreign markets, gas will replace high GHG emitting energy sources such as coal, oil or local natural gas sources. But this is a very optimistic assumption, and one that is impossible to prove.

Three different scenarios are possible when determining the effects of adding a Canadian supply of natural gas to foreign markets:

  • Addition: imported natural gas is simply added to the energy sources already available, which increases global energy consumption;
  • Substitution with a rebound effect: imported natural gas replaces other energy sources, which are then moved to other markets. The environmental impact would therefore be similar to that of the addition scenario;
  • Net substitution: imported natural gas replaces other higher carbon-intensive energy sourcesfor which the demand lessens.

The only scenario where an overall reduction in GHG emissions is possible is therefore net substitution. In both other scenarios, emissions resulting from the use of Canadian natural gas abroad would simply be added to existing emissions.

So, how do we know whether a net substitution scenario applies? That depends on the quantity of natural gas exported and the characteristics of the export market. In the case of the GNL Québec project, the export contracts have yet to be signed. The environmental impact study carried out by Énergie Saguenay simply states that the target markets are Europe (OECD countries), Brazil and Asia. However, even once these markets are confirmed, uncertainty will remain as to the scenario that will unfold.

There is no guarantee, therefore, that exporting natural gas will lead to marginal gains in GHG reductions. And considering the current climate emergency, we must break from the status quo and implement ambitious public policies that will reduce our energy consumption, especially when it comes to fossil fuels.

Renewable energy 

To reduce the share of fossil fuels from our energy mix, we need an increased global supply of renewable energy. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) estimates that in a number of countries, renewables will account for over 60% of total final energy consumption by 2050.

In this context of energy transition, the natural gas exported by the GNL Québec project would increasingly rival hydroelectric, wind and solar power in export markets.

The policies needed to curb climate warming will also dampen the demand for natural gas. In a scenario where global warming is below 2°C (the signatories to the Paris Agreement are committed to limiting it to 1.5°C), the International Energy Agency is forecasting that global natural gas demand will peak toward the end of the 2020s before dropping after 2030, and will eventually fall below 2000 levels in 2050.

In the face of this projected decline, we must recognize that exports of Canadian natural gas are at odds with the evolution toward an energy transition.

Investing in the future

Exporting Canadian natural gas in no way guarantees marginal gains when it comes to GHG reductions, and is incompatible with the changes that are essential to the energy transition. We must also ask ourselves about the economic impact of investing in such an industry.

There is a risk that the massive investment required to build a natural gas export infrastructure ― pipelines, liquefaction plants, marine terminals ― ends up as stranded assets, because the useful life necessary to make these projects cost-effective is not guaranteed. Canada wants to build pipelines and liquefaction plants while knowing full well that to avoid catastrophic climate warming, it will be forced to decommission them before the end of their useful life. So why not, as a society, invest right now in energy systems that we know are compatible with the world of tomorrow?

Said Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, an international organization dedicated to combatting climate change: “The climate movement’s biggest failure has been its inability to successfully make the case that natural gas is not a clean replacement for other fossil fuels.”

Let’s not fall for the myth that natural gas is a transitional energy source. Instead, let’s leverage the expertise, labour force and renewable resources unique to Quebec to become an uncontested global energy transition leader. After all, that is where we have a competitive advantage!

https://policyoptions.irpp.org/magazines/may-2019/quebecs-natural-gas-ex...

 

jerrym

Besides the environmental dangers created by the proposed Ontario to Saguenay Quebec LNG pipeline, there are major questions about the job numbers offered by the pipeline supporters - numbers that are even questioned by economists. Furthermore, those jobs will be temporary and gone was construction is finished relatively leaving few jobs in their wake. As the picture below shows, there are relatively few jobs created for the many billions that goes into such a megaproject. 

Image result for picture pipeline construction

A group of Quebec economists have gone public with their criticism of a proposed 750-kilometre natural-gas pipeline and a liquid natural gas (LNG) processing plant that GNL Québec intends to buildin Saguenay, expressing serious doubts over its promised economic benefits.

In an open letter published Tuesday in several media outlets, the 40 signatories contend that the gas carried along the pipeline would replace cleaner, conventional natural gas or renewable source electricity as well as increase greenhouse gas emissions.

The economists contend that natural gas replacing more polluting forms of energy, such as coal, is not a credible assertion.

They also question the promise that 6,000 jobs would be created directly or indirectly by the construction of the project and of 1,100 more once the processing plant is operational.

The economists point out that last month, Quebec’s Commission de la construction announced that more than half of the construction trades in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean area lacked workers, that mining firm Rio Tinto had to repeatedly halt production because of a shortage of workers and that Resolute forest products needed to find 800 employees to replace those on the verge of retirement. ...

The authors of the letter conclude that the jobs promised by GNL Québec will be filled by workers from outside the region or those quitting their jobs to work on the construction of the plant, which will simply increase the area’s labour shortage.

https://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/economists-question-number-o...

 

jerrym

Despite the environmental risks and the major questions about jobs for people in the Saguenay region described in posts #166 and #167, Premier Legualt has said he is open to the building of the Ontario-Saguenay pipeline. 

Image result for Picture Premier Legault

Answering Kenney’s question about whether Quebec wants “ethical oil” from the west or oil from the United States and foreign dictatorships, Legault flipped around the comment to note Quebec already gets 53 per cent of its oil from Western Canada via the Enbridge pipeline.

The two provinces are in talks to develop another pipeline — the 750-kilometre GNL Québec project — which will carry natural gas from Alberta, across northern Ontario and through the Abitibi region to a natural gas liquefaction complex at Port Saguenay.

The goal is to export 11 million tonnes of liquefied natural gas per year sourced from Western Canada. The project is worth $13 billion and will create an estimated 6,000 direct and indirect jobs, the premier said. ...

“We are open to a gas pipeline coming from Alberta,” Legault said.

https://montrealgazette.com/news/quebec/alberta-natural-gas-is-welcome-b...

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..these people have been dismantling environmental regulation and monitoring. now want to be in charge of nuclear energy. this is a nightmare added on to the ecological crisis we already face.

Ford, Moe and Higgs look to nuclear to fight climate change

Three of Canada's premiers will announce Sunday a plan to fight climate change by working together on small nuclear reactors, a company that's developing the technology said Saturday.

New Brunswick-based ARC Nuclear Canada said in a news release that its president will attend a signing ceremony Sunday between the provinces of New Brunswick, Ontario and Saskatchewan to work in collaboration on the modular reactors "in an effort to mitigate the effects of climate change."

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

UN Chief Warns Global Warming 'Point of No Return' Is Hurtling Toward Us

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Sunday that the world's efforts to stop climate change have been "utterly inadequate" so far and there is a danger global warming could pass the "point of no return."

Speaking before the start Monday of a two-week international climate conference in Madrid, the UN chief said the impact of rising temperatures – including more extreme weather – is already being felt around the world, with dramatic consequences for humans and other species.

He noted that the world has the scientific knowledge and the technical means to limit global warming, but "what is lacking is political will".

"The point of no return is no longer over the horizon," Guterres told reporters in the Spanish capital. "It is in sight and hurtling toward us.".....

jerrym

In British Columbia, forests have been devastated by pine beetle infestation and wildfires over the last decade. This year this has contributed to massive job losses in the industry. Studies now show these problems are studying all the way across the country to Eastern Canada, as trees there are now becoming more susceptible to the pine beetle and wildfires. 

What the forest industry in the rest of the country can look forward to: "barely a day goes by without an announcement about layoffs, temporary closures or permanent mill shut downs in British Columbia's struggling forest industry. ... I would say 80 per cent or more of the coastal forest sector is down. ... Low timber prices and the large-scale destruction of Crown harvest zones during the pine beetle epidemic and two successive record wildfire seasons have hurt the industry" (https://www.nationalobserver.com/2019/12/01/news/uncertainty-logging-ind...)

Pines killed by mountain pine beetle infestation in the 100 Mile House are of British Columbia glow red among the green of other trees.Postmedia News files

Mills in the heart of Canada’s timber industry have fallen quieter this winter as wildfires and infestations made worse by climate change have made vast tracts of once valuable forest into barren stands of dead trees.

Canada’s forestry industry is facing an uncertain future due to falling demand from a cooling U.S. housing market, increasingly frequent and intense forest fires and the continuing damage from pests such as the mountain pine beetle. ...

“We’re kind of at that point in the cycle where, unfortunately, permanent reductions have to happen,” said Ed Sustar, a forestry products analyst at Moody’s Investor Service. “It’s going to be a relatively sizable part of the B.C. lumber industry." ...

British Columbia, home to close to a third of Canada’s wood manufacturing jobs, is showing the most visible effects of reduced supplies as numerous companies have cut back mill production in recent months. ...

The supply issue has, however, been looming for some time, as the large swaths of B.C. forest killed by a pine beetle epidemic decay into worthless dead stands. The tinderbox created by the outbreak, combined with warmer, drier weather, have in turn helped create back-to-back record forest fire seasons in the province.

In 2017 wildfires destroyed about 1.2 million hectares of forest. This fiscal year it’s estimated at 1.4 million, compared with an average of 151,000 hectares for the 10 prior years. ...

The wild card in all of this continues to be the effects of climate change, and how much it will change the supply picture.

“It’s already really created huge problems in terms of timber supply,” said Sally Aitken, a professor at the University of British Columbia.

“Climate change will touch pretty much everything we do in forestry, and everything that lives in forests.”

She’s studying how to create forests that will be more resilient to climate change, by selecting genetic varieties of trees that could better withstand the changes coming.

The impact of climate change on the health of forests is hard to predict, however, as changing weather patterns lead to both wetter and drier conditions, while a variety of threats including insects like the pine beetle, fir beetle, spruce budworm as well as diseases and fungi get worse.

Barry Cooke, a forestry researcher at Natural Resources Canada, describes the trend as climate weirding, since so many factors are at play.

“You have climate changes percolating through this cascade of physical and biotic consequences,” said Cooke.

His research has focused in part on Canada’s far north forests, where melting permafrost has let to what he describes as drunken trees falling over in the waterlogged soil.

But he notes that government research is showing climate change impacts are coming to all areas of the Canadian woods, including the fires of the west coming east. He also sees a deterioration in the quality of the forests, as growth-rings thin and faster-growing but lower quality plants and trees mask the decline of core species.

“Yeah there are a lot of trees here, but they’re not as healthy as they used to be…the forest is in a process of transforming,” said Cooke. “We are seeing growth declines in Eastern Canada, and this wasn’t predicted to happen this soon. We thought maybe in 20, 30 years we might see this, but it’s happening already.”

https://business.financialpost.com/commodities/agriculture/the-changing-...

jerrym

Research released since October shows that both the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheet are melting faster than ever. The Greenland ice sheet is now melting six times faster than in the 1990s. One third of current sea level rise is due to this melt. 

Research has also shown that the last time carbon dioxide levels reached 400 ppm, as is the case now, during the Pliocene 3 million years ago, the result was a rise in sea level of up to 20 metres, something that would submerge most coastal cities in the world. 

Image result for pictures of greenland ice sheet calving

We know that our planet has experienced warmer periods in the past, during the Pliocene geological epoch around three million years ago.  ...

Using a new method we developed to predict the water level from the size of sand particle moved by waves, we constructed a record of global sea-level change with significantly more precision than previously possible. 

The Pliocene was the last time atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations were above 400 parts per million and Earth’s temperature was 2°C warmer than pre-industrial times. We show that warming of more than 2°C could set off widespread melting in Antarctica once again and our planet could be hurtling back to the future, towards a climate that existed three million years ago.

Our research, published today, shows that up to one third of Antarctica’s ice sheet melted during this period, causing sea levels to rise by as much as 20 metres above present levels in coming centuries.

At the current rate of global emissions we may be back in the Pliocene by 2030and we will have exceeded the 2°C Paris target. One of the most critical questions facing humanity is how much and how fast global sea levels will rise.

https://theconversation.com/if-warming-exceeds-2-c-antarcticas-melting-i...

 

Nearly 70 percent of Earth’s population lives within 100 miles of a coast, and vast amounts of infrastructure—from airports to ports to cities to roads to Internet cables—sits in zones that could flood within decades. Small, low-lying island nations, city planners, insurance adjustors, homeowners—everyone is clamoring for the most accurate estimates of how much extra water they’ll need to prepare for. ...

Nearly 70 percent of Earth’s population lives within 100 miles of a coast, and vast amounts of infrastructure—from airports to ports to cities to roads to Internet cables—sits in zones that could flood within decades. Small, low-lying island nations, city planners, insurance adjustors, homeowners—everyone is clamoring for the most accurate estimates of how much extra water they’ll need to prepare for. ...

Overall, there’s enough water locked up in the Greenland ice sheet to add about 25 feet to the world’s oceans. It’s not likely that such catastrophic loss will happen soon, as in within the next few hundred years. But the whole of the ice sheet doesn’t have to collapse to cause massive, planet-wide reverberations.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2019/10/greenland-ice-oceans-...

jerrym

epaulo13 wrote:

UN Chief Warns Global Warming 'Point of No Return' Is Hurtling Toward Us

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Sunday that the world's efforts to stop climate change have been "utterly inadequate" so far and there is a danger global warming could pass the "point of no return." ...

He noted that the world has the scientific knowledge and the technical means to limit global warming, but "what is lacking is political will".

 

The UN Secretary-General also said on the eve of the COP 25 Madrid conference that countries must end "Subsidies that promote the use of fossil fuels are helping 'to destroy the world', and are a bad way to deploy taxpayers’ money, the head of the United Nations said on Tuesday." (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-climatechange-energy/fossil-fu...)

Unfortunately, the Trudeau Liberal federal government and provincial governments provide $60 billion (which is $1,650 per capita) to Canada's fossil fuel industry, according to the International Monetary Fund, which is a major corporate ally. There is no sign of this ending. In fact, because of election results in October and pressure from the large oil producing provinces, subsidies may well increase, despite what this means for the health of the planet. 

Alberta's oilsands north of Fort McMurray.

Alberta's oilsands North of Fort McMurray. Photo: Louis Bockner / Sierra Club BC 

According to a new International Monetary Fund (IMF) report, Canada subsidized the fossil fuel industry to the tune of almost $60 billion in 2015 — approximately $1,650 per Canadian.  

Yet subsidizing one of the world’s wealthiest industries is folly. Such subsidies not only hurt Canadian taxpayers and the economy — they also exacerbate the climate emergency.

Indeed, the G20 countries have already agreed that subsidizing fossil fuels is irrational in a warming world — and have called for action to eliminate inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that distort markets.

The problem is that subsidies encourage the production and wasteful consumption of fossil fuels all while impeding the shift to cleaner renewables. 

For these reasons, during the last election campaign Justin Trudeau sensibly committed to “phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.”   

The problem is that government has not yet delivered on this promise.   ...

Canada continues to subsidize the fossil fuel industry in myriad ways. First, it provides tax breaks under the federal Income Tax Act. For example, in 2015 the federal government introduced a new accelerated depreciation rate for equipment used in LNG facilities, which was a change proposed by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers. ...

Second, government provides funding to the fossil fuel industry at favourable rates through direct financing and loan guarantees. A recent example is Export Development Canada’s administration of a nearly $5 billion loan to support the government’s controversial purchase and operation of the Trans Mountain pipeline.   Ottawa has no plan to recoup that principal cost from industry — and is also subsidizing half the interest expense with taxpayer dollars.

Third, Canada provides direct funding to the fossil fuel industry through research, development and other services provided by federal agencies. 

For example, the federal government is paying $1.5 billion for the Oceans Protection Plan, an initiative to safeguard bitumen transport through the Port of Vancouver. This plan was necessitated by new oil tanker traffic — and should be paid for by oil shippers. ...

The IMF estimates that elimination of global fossil fuel subsidies would reduce CO2 emissions by 28 per cent and reduce premature air pollution deaths by 46 per cent. Equally important, the IMF concluded that elimination of subsidies would actually result in a net economic gain. Eliminating fossil fuel subsidies will be a win for the environment andfor the economy.

In sum, Canada needs to implement robust carbon taxes to pay for the massive climate change costs that society now confronts. Just as important, Canada must finally follow through on its specific promise to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.  

After all, claiming to fight climate change while subsidizing fossil fuels is as crazy as brushing your teeth while eating Oreos. It may make you feel virtuous, but it isn’t going to work.

https://thenarwhal.ca/canadas-fossil-fuel-subsidies-amount-to-1650-per-c...

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

..they give the peoples' wealth away to the corporations then ask for help from others when their bad decisions come to roost. then turn around and continue to subsidise the corporations that are taking the wealth and fuelling the climate crisis. what a racket!

Premiers unite behind a call for more aid to oil and gas provinces

After meeting in the Greater Toronto Area on Monday, the leaders of Canada’s provinces and territories made a rare show of unanimity in calling on the federal government to provide more help to energy-producing provinces during tough times.

The Council of the Federation asked Ottawa to consider changes to the Fiscal Stabilization Program, which provides financial aid to provinces that undergo sudden economic disruption, so that more federal funds can be directed to parts of Canada negatively impacted by volatile global energy markets in recent years.

It was a major win for Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, who chaired the meeting behind closed doors, and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. The leaders of the country's Prairie provinces, which boast significant resource economies, expressed gratitude to their fellow first ministers.

"Let me thank my colleagues here for showing they understand the adversity folks in Alberta are undergoing," said Kenney, at a joint press conference at the Hilton Toronto Airport Hotel in Mississauga, a Toronto suburb. "I have been trying to convey to Albertans that we are not alone."

 

NDPP

Earth Needs Fewer People To Beat the Climate Crisis Scientists Say

https://twitter.com/business/status/1200078223037673472

"11,000 scientists call for population control in mass climate alarm..."

Wondered when they'd get to this. Knew it was coming. Seems only fair white liberals agree to go first to set a good example.

Michael Moriarity Michael Moriarity's picture

NDPP wrote:

Earth Needs Fewer People To Beat the Climate Crisis Scientists Say

https://twitter.com/business/status/1200078223037673472

"11,000 scientists call for population control in mass climate alarm..."

Wondered when they'd get to this. Knew it was coming. Seems only fair white liberals agree to go first to set a good example.

My favourite debunking of this error is a video by Peter Coffin. It's 51 minutes long, but for me it was engaging enough to feel much shorter.

jerrym

The Spanish Socialist government of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez is the first large economy to promise to implement a Green New Deal but is facing restrictions from European Union rules and hostile opposition from the right, as well as problems both internally and with the Socialists political allies. Meanwhile  the Canadian federal and provincial governments promote more pipelines. 

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez became the first major world leader to endorse the idea of a “Green New Deal". ...

Now, as Madrid prepares to host the United Nations’ 25th Conference of the Parties following Chile’s abrupt decision to back out amid fiery protests over inequality, Sánchez’s government is offering an alternative vision of what it might look like to close the income gap and lower emissions at once. That will be on full display this week as world leaders hash out plans to meet the 2015 Paris Agreement’s goals, and under the terms of the pact, consider more ambitious targets. 

On the face of it, Europe’s fifth-largest economy makes a sweeping industrial policy to curb emissions and expand the public sector look like good politics. In April, Sánchez’s Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party, or PSOE, won reelection, even picking up votes in the coal-producing region where, just months earlier, his government shuttered most of the country’s remaining mines. ...

It was a narrow victory and, without a majority in Parliament, the Sánchez administration was forced to call another snap election last month. The Socialists again eked out a slim win, and this time agreed to form a coalition with Unidos Podemos, a party to its left. If Sánchez’s center-left vision of a Green New Deal could be criticized for not being ambitious enough, the inclusion of the anti-austerity Podemos could make the country the first to seriously attempt the kind of Green New Deal progressives elsewhere have laid out to curb soaring economic inequality and planet-heating emissions. ...

But, even with a new left flank in the governing coalition, experts say the chances of making transformative changes are slim, thanks to the European Union’s rules on spending and public ownership. It’ll be a test for how much effectively the Green New Deal can beat back the far right while still confined by what one researcher called the “straitjacket of austerity.” ...

Between 1990 and 2017, Spain’s emissions grew by 17.9%, even as the European Union’s fell on average 23.5% during the same period, according to a bloc-wide report. More vehicles on the road and increased production of electricity and heating drove the spike. Spain is Europe’s second-largest carmaker and biggest importer of liquefied natural gas in the European Union. 

The spike in emissions reflected efforts to rev Spain’s beleaguered economy, which last year grew by 3%, faster than France or Germany. In 2017, 90% of new jobs in the country were temporary, with a third lasting less than three weeks, according to The New York Times. This year, the unemployment hovered at about 14.2% all year. It was the lowest in a decade, and down from a 2013 peak of 27%. But the rate was still more than double the European Union average. 

The Sánchez administration’s efforts have been largely focused on triage. The government started the year with an unprecedented 22% hike to the minimum wage. After Parliament rejected his budget, Sánchez called a snap election in April, where the Green New Deal debuted as a platform issue. 

In November’s election, the issue once again took a backseat. Sánchez pivoted away from climate, pitching the Socialists as the best chance at stability as tensions erupted over Catalonia’s attempted independence vote, Britain’s exit from the European Union and a slowing economy. Podemos veered left, campaigning on structural critiques of the market economy itself, said Riccardo Mastini, an environmental policy researcher at the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

“The Green New Deal sounded like too reformist an idea,” Mastini said. “So they preferred to talk about capitalism as the issue.”

Más País, a new ecosocialist party formed as a green breakaway from Podemos, made the most vibrant appeal to climate voters. But it only won three seats in the Parliament. 

“It’s not easy to see how the green agenda on its own has a real sell to Spaniards,” said Victor Lapuente, a Spanish political expert and professor at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

Vox’s official party line, meanwhile, is that anthropogenic climate change is “una tomadura de pelo” ― a term roughly translating to “a joke.” In September, all parties in the Spanish Parliament except Vox voted to declare a state of emergency over the climate crisis. Rocío Monasterio, Vox’s leader in Madrid, celebrated the schism within Podemos that gave rise to Más País as a potential opportunity to peel off left-wing voters. ...

Yet some of the European far-right parties that back Vox are starting to shift away from denialism. Following Green parties’ surge in April’s European parliamentary elections, the far-right Alternative for Germany’s youth wing in Berlin conceded that climate moves “more people than we thought” and urged its party leaders to abandon the “difficult to understand statement that mankind does not influence the climate.”

France’s National Rally vowed in April to make a “Europe of nations” the “world’s first ecological civilization.” Its leader, Marine Le Pen, claimed those “rooted in their home” are “ecologist,” and suggested “nomadic” people “do not care about the environment; they have no homeland,” alluding to Nazi-era blood-and-soil myths about ethnic ties to geography. ...

Vox rode a different political wave to power, surging in polls after taking a hardline stance against Catalonia’s chaotic vote to secede last year, vowing to rein in decentralized Spanish regional governments and crush autonomist movements....

The problem, Adler said, is that “the Spanish government, like the French government, has been unable and unwilling to challenge the restraints on investments” put in place by the European Union. 

The 1992 Maastricht Treaty that established a transnational government on the continent and laid the groundwork for a single currency poses significant hurdles to left-wing Green New Deal proposals like bringing more industries under public ownership. 

Under the rules outlined in the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, member states cannot run a budget deficit exceeding 3% of gross domestic product or rack up a public debt greater than 60% of GDP. With a nearly 98% debt-to-GDP ratio, Spain’s government has little wiggle room to take out loans to pay for the Green New Deal program. 

“If you’re looking for Spain to engage in massive fiscal stimulus through a big Green New Deal, I’m sorry to say that’s not likely to happen,” said Robert Fishman, a political science professor at Carlos III University in Madrid. “It’s not so much because of a lack of commitment on the green and environmental front, but because of the resistance the government will encounter from European institutions.”

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2019/12/03/news/spain-might-be-worlds-m...

jerrym

jerrym wrote:

The UN Secretary-General said on the eve of the COP 25 Madrid conference that countries must end "Subsidies that promote the use of fossil fuels are helping 'to destroy the world', and are a bad way to deploy taxpayers’ money, the head of the United Nations said on Tuesday." (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-climatechange-energy/fossil-fu...)

Unfortunately, the Trudeau Liberal federal government and provincial governments provide $60 billion (which is $1,650 per capita) to Canada's fossil fuel industry, according to the International Monetary Fund, which is a major corporate ally. (https://thenarwhal.ca/canadas-fossil-fuel-subsidies-amount-to-1650-per-c...)

 

Despite all the warnings from the Secretary-General of the UN on the eve of the COP 25 Climate Change conference in Madrid, from 10,000's of scientists for decades, and from our own youth about their futures, Premiers at the Council of Federation meeting this week asked for more subsidies for the major fossil fuel producing provinces in order to produce more natural resources, instead of requesting a transition fund to green energy. Furthermore, they requested that all resource development projects under provincial jurisdiction be exempt from bill C-69, thereby enabling premiers like Kenney and Moe to sanctify all fossil fuel projects. 

The Council of the Federation asked Ottawa to consider changes to the Fiscal Stabilization Program, which provides financial aid to provinces that undergo sudden economic disruption, so that more federal funds can be directed to parts of Canada negatively impacted by volatile global energy markets in recent years. ...

In a joint message, the premiers asked that the government make the Fiscal Stabilization Program "more responsive to economic circumstances and downturns in resource sectors" and suggested changes including the removal of a per capita cap of $60 and retroactive payments to cover the last five years of volatile crude prices. ...

The premiers also called on Canada to develop its natural resources "in a responsible manner" in order to boost the country's economic competitiveness, and asked that development projects be subject to a "one project, one assessment" policy, under which all resource development falling under provincial or territorial jurisdiction would be exempt from mandatory federal impact assessment — a direct challenge to the controversial federal bill C-69, which Kenney and Moe have both said will hinder resource development.

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2019/12/02/news/premiers-unite-behind-c...

 

Sean in Ottawa

It is urgent that we fix the way GHG responsibility is allocated. The premier of Ontario is lciaming we have a low carbon footprint. He can claim this due to the consumed benefit of GHG emitted offshore. As well using a carbon tax that only taxes some sources of carbon as a single strategy risks moving the behaviour from a consumption of taxed carbon to one of untaxed carbon.

Carbon taxes have to get it right and be inclusive and proportional so that the behaviour they encourage is a benefit to the net production of GHG globally rather than a tax avoidance where we artifically reduce what we are accountable while maintianing the GHG that we are responsible for without much change.

As well local carbon emissions are more likely to be for essentials hitting lower income hard while GHG emissions from more luxury items (including foreign vacations) are often not taxed. Why should we allow a flight within Caanda to be taxed while a person flying on a short hop across the border to fly to thousands of km not be taxed. 

Canada needs strategies to reduce the carbon footprint of our country, our citizens, our economy, our investments - on a global basis. Instead, we are encouraging avoidance and ignorance about the real impacts of our lives on the planet.

Not all of these strategies have to cost the economy. Right to repair legislation and longterm warranty requirements save resources and create jobs in repair industries here while potentially making our manufacturing a little more competative making less wasteful products.

Support for artists who make cultural products that consume less carbon encourages investments in other things that add more well-being and jobs to Caanda than another dollarstore of stuff built for sale but not to last.

Items sold with no benefit -- the built for sale rather than use stuff -- should incurr fines. This is adding to consumer as well as environmental protection.

Applying taxes to flights at the airport that leave Canada is essential. So is regulation to prevent airlines carrying more fuel due to filling it up offshore to save money is important as this extra weight increases emissions. Flights landing in Caanda should have enough fuel to get here not calculated to avoid fueling here.

Public transit cna be supported and improved with fares reduced.

Canada needs a different apporach if we want to be honetst about making a difference but many of those policies provide benefits and not just costs.

jerrym

Canada "subsidized the fossil fuel industry to the tune of almost $60 billion in 2015 — approximately $1,650 per Canadian" - according to a International Monetary Fund report released in October 2019 (https://thenarwhal.ca/canadas-fossil-fuel-subsidies-amount-to-1650-per-c...)

These subsidies not only increase the rate at which we reach climate catastrophe, they could have been used to fund many social programs. 

 

Examples of federal subsidies include tax breaks like flow-through shares, which incentivize oil, gas and mining exploration, and research and development support programs, like those provided by Natural Resources Canada. Examples of provincial subsidies include crown royalty reductions in Alberta valued at an average of CAD 1.16 billion and deep drilling and infrastructure creditsin British Columbia valued at an average of CAD 247 million from 2015 to 2018.

WHAT DO FOSSIL FUEL SUBSIDIES COST ME?

Canada’s subsidies represent a lot of money. Let’s put it in perspective.

Wouldn’t you rather this money be spent on issues that matter to Canadians? 

SO SUBSIDIES ARE EXPENSIVE AND THEY COST ME MONEY. IS THAT WHY THEY ARE A PROBLEM? ...

Yes, but it gets worse. Fossil fuel subsidies also undo the other climate change actions that Canada is taking.  But through money and tax breaks, fossil fuel subsidies increase the same pollution that we’re trying to lower. Rather than making pollution expensive, they make it cheaper. This is like raising taxes on cigarettes to discourage smoking, while also giving tobacco companies tax breaks so they can make more cigarettes and profits. ...

Here are some of the largest current subsidies in Canada.

Subsidy nameWho gives it?Who gets it?How much is it worth?*Flow-through shares**CanadaOil and gas companiesCAD 265 millionDirect spending & budgetary transfers***CanadaOil and gas companiesCAD 112 millionCrown royalty reductionsAlbertaOil and gas companiesCAD 1.162 billionTax exemptions for certain fuels & uses in industryAlbertaIndustryCAD 298 millionRoyalty reductions, including deep drilling and infrastructure credits†British ColumbiaOil and gas companiesCAD 631 millionReduced tax for aviation fuelOntarioAviation IndustryCAD 292 millionTax exemption for coloured fuels used in agricultureOntarioAgricultural industryCAD 248 millionFuel tax exemptions and reductions ‡QuebecIndustry and other consumersCAD 301 million.

https://www.iisd.org/faq/unpacking-canadas-fossil-fuel-subsidies/

jerrym

There is another form of taxpayer subsidy that is not taken into account in these reports on fossil fuel subsidies and its by far the largest, the $260 billion to clean up the contaminated fossil fuel sites - and that's just for Alberta. The sad part of this is that these numbers were provided to  the fossil fuel companies by the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) privately while a much smaller number, $58 billion was being told to the public. Can one say regulatory capture by the fossil fuel industry?

The picture below shows an aerial view of the Alberta Tar Sands.

  Green Peace )

(Credit: Green Peace)

The cost of cleaning up Alberta’s fossil-fuel industry could be as staggeringly high as $260 billion, according to internal Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) documents obtained by the National Observer, Global News, the Toronto Star, and StarMetro Calgary.

The documents were used by Rob Wadsworth, a high-ranking AER official, in providing liability estimates to a private Calgary audience back in February. The liability costs pertain to the amount needed to shut down inactive oil and gas exploration wells, abandoned facilities and pipelines, as well as toxic tailings ponds near Fort McMurray, Alta.

Wadsworth blamed the costs on a “flawed system” of industrial oversight, urging companies and stakeholders to accept tougher regulations and begin the cleanup process promptly. ...

Until now, the public had been told the cleanup would cost approximately $58 billion. The AER said that Wadsworth’s estimates are based on a “worst-case scenario” of a total industry closure, yet Wadsworth’s presentation suggests the actual costs will be more than his estimates. Several experts who have reviewed Wadsworth’s presentation describe the situation as an economic and environmental crisis, the National Observer reports.

https://ipolitics.ca/2018/11/01/the-drilldown-cost-to-clean-up-albertas-...

 

jerrym

How bad is this failure to regulate this industry and the failure to demand it pay for the cleanup of its sites, as well as to force the energy industry to start transitioning to green energy? Below is the disaster that is Alberta's situation. 

tar sands

 ‘These ponds hold 1 trillion litres of sludge that is unlike any other industrial by-product in the world.’

 

The truth is, Canada cannot yet meet its own arguably weak climate targets. The country plans to expand oil and gas production despite evidence that this is inconsistent with Paris goals. Then, there is the issue of the toxic sludge of waste products from Canada’s tar sands destruction, which form what are known as tailings ponds. 

As of this year, these ponds hold 1 trillion litres of sludge that is unlike any other industrial byproduct in the world. They contain a unique cocktail of toxic chemicals and hydrocarbons that will remain in molasses-like suspension for centuries if left alone. 

These open, unlined ponds currently cover 220 sq km, an area of land equivalent to 73 New York Central Parks. A single tailings pond – the Mildred Lake Settling Basin – has been identified by the US Department of the Interior as the world’s largest dam....

Last month the government of Alberta approved a tailings management plan for Suncor Energy Incorporated, the oldest mining company in the Canadian tar sands. By approving this plan, Suncor will get an additional 70 years after their operations shut down to clean up the environmental mess that they have created over 60 years of oil extraction. ...

This recent Suncor approval highlights the staggering and growing cumulative environmental footprint of the Alberta tar sands. Mining the tar sands for oil produces over 3,600 tonnes of CO2 emissions per hectare, consumes freshwater at a rate that rivals the daily water use of several major Canadian cities combined, and has destroyed a New York City-sized chunk of boreal forest and muskeg habitat. ...

For these reasons, the tar sands have been dubbed the largest (and most destructive) industrial project in human history. 

Unfortunately, the now full-blown environmental crisis of tar sands tailings ponds has only gotten worse in the last decade. In Canada, provinces and territories have jurisdiction over resource extraction, and the implementation of a new tailings regulation by the provincial regulator has resulted in a recent review of all tar sands operations tailings management plans. 

Suncor’s plan is the first to be approved, but represents a typical submission. For this reason, the approval decision has now set the precedent for what will be considered acceptable by the regulator in the sector, and it isn’t pretty. ...

Meanwhile, the buck is being passed even further into the future. ...

If they are not dealt with now, tar sands tailings could become a permanent toxic legacy of the most reckless forms of 20th-century fossil fuel extraction. 

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/nov/14/canadas-shameful-e...

 

 

 

jerrym

Just months after getting elected, Jason Kenney is asking for federal money to clean up the large number of abandoned fossil fuel wells that Alberta failed to force the fossil fuel industry to restore. In fact both federal and provincial money has been spent on clean up as the article below makes clear. Furthermore, another 1,000 wells is likely to soon be added to the officially 3,406 abandoned wells. But this is only a very tiny fraction of the 93,000 inactive wells that will need clean up at some point. 

 Once again the taxpayer is subsidizing the industry that is pushing the planet toward climatic catastrophe. 

Abandoned oil well equipment, once owned by now defunct Legal Oil and Gas Ltd., on an Alberta farm.SUPPLIED /  POSTMEDIA/FILE

The Kenney government wants Ottawa’s help — and some money as well — to deal with the growing number of abandoned oil and gas wells in the province, while creating jobs in the process. ...

In a letter sent Monday to Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Alberta is seeking federal assistance to “accelerate the reclamation of abandoned oil and gas wells.”

Finance Minister Travis Toews spoke with his federal counterpart Monday and pressed the issue.

“Ultimately, we would like funding from the federal government to assist us as a province in cleaning up our orphan wells,” Toews told reporters at the legislature. “It would create jobs in much-needed regions of the province.” Toews didn’t put a price tag on the request but noted Alberta’s Orphan Well Association is facing a growing backlog of such wells that require downhole wellbore abandonment and surface reclamation, but don’t have an active owner to pick up the bill. ...

According to the Orphan Well Association, there were 3,406 orphan wells slated for abandonment at the beginning of this month, almost a five-fold increase since March 2015.

What’s also disconcerting is the number continues to grow, even as the industry’s annual funding to the association has ramped up to $60 million this year from $15 million five years ago.

However, the failure of petroleum producers such as Lexin Resources Ltd. and Trident Exploration Corp. has added more unwanted wells to the list. Earlier this month, Calgary-based Houston Oil & Gas Ltd. went into receivership, which could potentially bump up the number of orphan wells by more than 1,000. ...

There are also an estimated 93,000 inactive wells in Alberta, meaning they haven’t produced oil or natural gas for six to 12 months. According to the Alberta Energy Regulator, this count has increased by about 11,000 in the past five years due to “company insolvencies, low commodity prices and a maturing producing basin.”

https://calgaryherald.com/opinion/columnists/varcoe-alberta-seeks-ottawa...

 

jerrym

The UN's World Meteorlogical Organizaiton (WMO) released its latest report at the start of the COP25 conference on climate change in Madrid. The report confirmed that the planet in the warmest five period in history and that climate change is accelerating. The report also identified the numerous impacts of climate change that are already visible. 

The year 2018 was the fourth warmest on record and the past four years – 2015 to 2018 – were the top four warmest years in the global temperature record. The year 2018 was the coolest of the four. In contrast to the two warmest years (2016 and 2017), 2018 began with weak La Niña conditions, typically associated with a lower global temperature.

The UN weather agency released a new report showing that the current decade is likely to set a new 10-year temperature record, providing mounting evidence that the world is getting ever hotter.

Preliminary temperature measurements show the years from 2015 to 2019 and from 2010 to 2019 “are, respectively, almost certain to be the warmest five-year period and decade on record,” the World Meteorological Organization said.

“Since the 1980s, each successive decade has been warmer than the last,” the agency said.

While full-year figures aren’t released until next March, 2019 is also expected to be the second- or thirdwarmest year since measurements began, with 2016 still holding the all-time temperature record, it said.

This year was hotter than average in most parts of the world, including the Arctic.

“In contrast a large area of North America has been colder than the recent average,” the UN said.

The World Meteorological Organization’s annual report, which brings together data from numerous national weather agencies and research organizations, also highlighted the impacts of climate change including declining sea ice and rising sea levels, which reached their highest level this year since high-precision measurements began in 1993.

https://www.pressreader.com/canada/starmetro-vancouver/20191204/28159094...

jerrym

The just released Ontario auditor general's report blasted the Ford government's climate action plan for not having any chance of coming anywhere near achieving its 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets, despite Ford's claims otherwise. Ford is probably would love to fire the auditor general, Bonnie Lysyk, if he could, like he did the environmental commissioner, Diane Saxe. 

Image result for photo Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk,

Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk

The threadbare climate and environment policies of Doug Ford’s Ontario government are insufficient to meet Ontario’s 2030 emission reduction targets and are riddled with errors and omissions, according to the province’s fiscal watchdog.

The Progressive Conservative government calculated some reductions based on green policies it scrapped when it came to power last year, double-counted other savings, and failed to properly estimate costs for more than half of the initiatives in its Made-in-Ontario environment plan, Auditor General of Ontario Bonnie Lysyk said.

“Our audit concluded that the emission-reduction estimates in the plan are not based on sound evidence or sufficient detail,” Lysyk said in her 2019 annual report, which was released on Wednesday. ...

The scathing critique of the replacement environment plan the Ford government first put forward in November last year is part of a wide-ranging four-volume report considering the value-for-money of a range of government policies, including those related to hospitals and health care; the judiciary and prisons; and food, vehicle and workplace safety.

Its sections on climate change and environmental policy are the first reckoning Ford has faced on that file from an independent watchdog since he fired Dianne Saxe, the former Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, and transferred a portion of her mandate to the auditor general’s office on April 1. ...

The report says the environment ministry’s own calculations from last November would only get the province’s globe-warming emissions to 160.9 megatonnes (Mt) by 2030. 

That is well short of the 143.3 Mt target it would need hit to achieve a 30 per cent reduction in emissions from 2005 levels by 2030, its stated policy goal.

But Lysyk’s office in August also asked Ontario’s environment ministry to recalculate its forecast to account for new data, and in response the ministry lowered its projections to say it expected to emit 163.6 Mt in 2030, even further from a target many critics say is not ambitious enough.

The report did not estimate the cost to Ontario of dealing with the effects of climate change, which include more severe and more frequent flooding and other extreme weather that is putting a heavy strain on the insurance industry. 

Global economic losses from climate-related extreme events were estimated at around $10 billion a year in the 1970s and since 2010 have exceeded $100 billion (at constant 2012 currency values), according to a 2015 report commissioned by the Insurance Bureau of Canada. ...

The report was immediately jumped on by climate activists and opposition politicians, with NDP Leader Andrea Horwath saying it showed Ford’s government “is acting like the climate crisis isn’t a problem.” ...

Keith Stewart, Greenpeace Canada’s senior energy strategist, went further, saying that the auditor general had ”unmasked Doug Ford’s so-called climate plan as a fraud.”

The report shows that Ontario’s climate change plan falls apart under serious scrutiny, Environmental Defence’s Sarah Buchanan said, and actually works against serious climate action. ...

The auditor general said the most egregious error in the government’s climate change calculations was an assumption that Ontario vehicle owners would switch in large numbers to electric models despite its slashing of rebates on such purchases and their supporting infrastructure and the ripping up of charging stations at Toronto-area train stations. ...

Ford’s environment ministry had assumed the number of electric vehicles in Ontario would jump from 41,000 in 2019 to 1.3 million by 2030, reducing emissions by 2.6 Mt, “but had no policy mechanisms to drive this uptake,” the report said. ...

The report also pointed out major policy changes that did not comply with the province’s Environmental Bill of Rights, including the repeal of cap and trade without public consultation. Ford’s government had argued that the Ontario election last year amounted to a “substantial equivalent” to that consultation, an argument the Ontario Divisional Court rejected in October. ...

Her report also said the provincial environment ministry was being undermined by actions taken in other parts of the government that were not adequately taking into account the environmental impacts of their decisions.

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2019/12/04/news/ontario-auditor-general...

 

 

jerrym

The September United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's report entitled Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere, warns that Canada's Arctic and mountain regions face extreme problems as global warming continues. The reports notes that indengous communities in Canada are both being some of the people being hit by climate change, even though indigenous environmental knowledge has been helpful in mitigating global warming effects to some extent. 

The effects of human-caused climate change will be dramatic and severe in mountain and Arctic regions of Canada, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is predicting in a special report.

The IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere says climate change will cause up to 80 per cent loss of glaciers, disruptions of recreational and cultural activities in mountain regions and heightened risk of landslides and other hazards, water shortages and unprecedented sea-level rise.  The cryosphere encompasses all the Earth's water in solid form, including sea ice, lakes and rivers, snowpack, glaciers and permafrost. ...

Ko Barrett, vice-chairwoman of the IPCC and the deputy assistant administrator for research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), reminded everyone that commitments made so far on greenhouse gas reductions still have the world on a path to warm by three to four degrees Celsius in the lives of children who are already born. ...“And while the report’s findings are stark, one of the most important things that came across from this report is that the cryosphere is amazingly sensitive to small changes in temperature. Small changes in temperature lead to large impacts in the cryosphere, where we are seeing some of the strongest signals of a warming world.”

What the report says about glaciers and Canada’s mountain region

In a best-case scenario where we act on climate change now and lower greenhouse gas emissions, the report says, glaciers in Western Canada will still shrink by roughly 70 per cent by the end of the century compared to their size in 2005. In a less optimistic scenario, where emissions continue unabated for the time being, glaciers will shrink by roughly 90 per cent. Meanwhile, glaciers in the European Alps are projected to be gone, or virtually absent, by 2100 in the latter scenario. ...

This loss of glacial ice is triggering significant changes in water runoff for snow- and glacier-fed river basins. In Western Canada, for example, the report notes there’s been an average increase in winter runoff but decreases in summer runoff — similar trends are being seen in the European Alps and in Norway. Overall in Western Canada, a decrease in annual runoff has been observed. 

The report predicts water in glacier-fed rivers has already peaked and will decline from here, as we’re already beginning to witness.

Changes in the amount of water flow from mountain regions and when it flows during the year is expected to affect how hydropower facilities in British Columbia — such as those in the Skagit River basin — operate.

Runoff changes are also expected to cause significant shifts in the nutrient content of water “and influence water quality through increases in heavy metals, particularly mercury, and other legacy contaminants posing a potential threat to human health.”

What the report says about permafrost and the Arctic

Climate change in the Arctic is having significant, wide-ranging negative effects on food security, water resources, water quality, livelihoods, health and well-being, infrastructure, transportation, tourism and recreation, as well as the culture of human societies — particularly in Indigenous communities, the report says. 

“Adaptation efforts have benefited from the inclusion of Indigenous knowledge and local knowledge,” it reads.

Between 1979 and 2018, sea ice has decreased for all months of the year. Using September as an example, that decrease has been roughly 13 per cent per decade. 

Some of the main issues resulting from the changing Arctic climate are increased risk of food- and water-borne diseases, malnutrition, injury and mental-health challenges.

Should we fail to reduce carbon emissions, the continued thaw of permafrost globally will lead to hundreds of billions of tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions. 

Indigenous communities have been forced to alter many traditions and activities to adapt to the seasonality of land, ice and travel-safety conditions. Infrastructure failures are resulting from flooding, and thawing permafrost. ...

The size of the glaciers melting in Arctic Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Russian Arctic, Scandinavia, Svalbard and Antarctica dwarf the effects of smaller glaciers melting, with about 80 per cent of global sea-level rise from glaciers coming from the aforementioned regions, out to 2100.

Over the past two decades, the Arctic has warmed more than twice as fast as the global average because of the feedback cycles developed from the melting of the sea ice and spring snow cover.  

What the report says about recreation and safety in the mountains

The report specifically looks at what climate change means for mountain recreation and safety, and the verdict isn’t promising. 

Snowfall averages in mountain areas are expected to decrease between 10 and 40 per cent to 2050 regardless of whether we reduce emissions. If we fail to reduce emissions, mountain snowfall averages will drop by 50 to 90 per cent to 2100. The report also points out snowmaking technologies will be less effective, given warmer climates in Canada, the United States, Japan and European countries. 

The report uses former Olympic host cities to help demonstrate the problem.

By 2050, only 13 of 21 prior Winter Games host locations would be predicted to have adequate snow reliability if we reduce emissions now. If we don’t, the number of viable locations drops to 10. 

By 2080, the number drops to 12 and eight, respective of the two scenarios. 

Adaptation to cryosphere change for ski tourism focuses on snowmaking and is expected to be moderately effective for 

“In summary, financial risks to mountain communities that depend on tourism for income, are high and include losses to revenues generated from recreation primarily in the winter season. 

What the report says this all means for the oceans

It’s no secret that the world’s oceans are bearing the brunt of rising temperatures and CO2 emissions, having taken up more than 90 per cent of the excess heat in the climate system, the report says. 

Consequently, ocean warming has more than doubled since 1993. Marine heatwaves have doubled in frequency since 1982 and their intensity is increasing.

Acidification is ongoing and a loss of oxygen has occurred up to depths of 1,000 metres.

Ice loss in Antarctica tripled between 2007 and 2016 compared to the decade prior, and in Greenland, loss doubled in the same time frame.

https://www.nationalobserver.com/2019/12/03/news/prospects-look-bleak-ca...

jerrym

There  were 500,000 protesters at the climate strike in Madrid led by Greta Thunberg on Friday where the UN COP 25 climate change conference was being held. 

View image on Twitter

As Greta Thunberg and other activists spoke at a rally, an estimated 500,000 people took part in a climate justice protest in Madrid on Friday, December 6, 2019. (Photo: @GretaThunberg)

Before taking part in a 500,000-strong climate march in Madrid, teen activist Greta Thunberg spoke plainly yet forcefully Friday about the impact the global climate strike movement has had thus far and reiterated the demand of the climate justice movement for global leaders to act with the urgency the planet's ecological emergency mandates.

Speaking to reporters at the cultural center La Casa Encendida in Madrid, Spain—where COP 25 is underway—Thunberg called herself "just... a climate activist—a small part of a big movement" that needs even more activists to effect change. ...

"I sincerely hope that the COP 25 will lead to something concrete and that will lead to also an increase in awareness among people in general." She said she hopes that those in power "grasp the urgency of the climate crisis because right now it doesn't seem like they are. I know that we will do everything we can to make sure that this is something that cannot be ignored anymore, that they cannot just hide away anymore," Thunberg said. Some world leaders "are afraid of change," she said, but the status quo must be disrupted.

"Some people want everything to continue like now, and change is what we young people are bringing. And that's why they are trying to silence us. But that is just proof that we are having an impact, that our voices are being heard," Thunberg said, and is the reason powerful opponents "try so desperately to silence us." ...

Thunberg suggested that COP 25 may be viewed "as a kind of middle year," with next year's COP 26 seen as "the big event. But we cannot afford middle years," the Swedish teen said. "We cannot afford more days going by without real action being taken." COP 25, said Thunberg, mustn't be brushed off "because every chance we get to improve the situation we must take." ...

"We have been striking now for over a year and still, basically, nothing has happened," said Thunberg. "The climate crisis is still being ignored by those in power and we cannot go on like this. It is not a sustainable solution that children skip school." The strikers, Thunberg said, "don't want to continue. We would love some action from the people in power... because people are suffering and dying from the climate and ecological emergency today and we cannot wait any longer."

A lot has been achieved, added Thunberg. "We have have raised public awareness and we have created opinion and that is a big step in the right direction. But of course it's nowhere near enough. The CO2 emissions aren't reducing. They are in fact increasing," Thunberg continued, "so of course there is no victory because the only thing we want to see is real action and real action has not been happening. So of course we have achieved a lot," she added, "but if you look at it from a certain point of view we have achieved nothing."

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/12/06/even-500000-march-madrid-gr...

 

jerrym

Yukon Regional Chief Kluane Adamek, who is taking part in the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform of the UN COP 25 Climate Change Conference in Madrid, answered questions on the concerns of indigenous and others living in northern Canada just before she left for COP 25.

 

Kluane Adamek

Kluane Adamek Yukon Regional Chief and UN COP 25 Climate Change Conference Delegate

As the regional chief for the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) Yukon Region, and national chair for the AFN environment and climate change portfolio and committee, I am deeply honoured to be representing the AFN and First Nations, and the North, at my second United Nations Conference of the Parties event — this year in Madrid, Spain — as head of the AFN delegation. ...

One of the focus areas for involvement at the conference will be the Indigenous Peoples platform [formally called the Local Communities and Indigenous Peoples Platform], uniting voices of Indigenous Peoples from across the world. My hope for this conference is that the recognition of Indigenous rights be at the forefront of all discussions, and that Indigenous Peoples are recognized as leaders in creating the pathways forward that will mitigate the impacts of climate change and create a just future for all beings on the planet. ...

When it comes to environmental priorities and policy concerns, we need to acknowledge and appreciate that things are very different in the northern and rural communities and especially in the North. Decisions that impact the North need to be made by northerners. The impacts of climate change affect northern regions two to three times faster than the rest of the globe. So, we experience firsthand the accelerated and disproportionate impacts of climate change, particularly in our First Nations and remote communities. I’m talking about changes happening on the land that are directly impacting ways of life for our people. I will continue to push for full implementation of our modern treaty agreements, including self-government and land claims agreements, and I will continue to elevate the environmental and cultural strides being made by our Yukon First Nations. ...

This includes advocating for change with respect to climate action at all levels, honouring the spirit and intent of modern treaties and advancing the Calls for Justice identified in the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. ...

The Yukon continues to demonstrate exceptional leadership at all levels, from the community level to First Nations and municipal and territorial governments. Collectively, this leadership has contributed to an increased momentum and political traction for climate action and the implementation of solutions. Yukon First Nations have an important history of governance leadership stemming from the monumental 1973 document titled Together Today for our Children Tomorrow. On climate specifically — an issue that affects our health, economy, culture, virtually everything — we are driving forward on a “Yukon that Leads” vision that builds on the important history of leadership in this region and elevates the work being done today.

There are some particularly important things to highlight from the Yukon region in terms of the development of a climate action strategy across governments and communities. In May, Chief Tizya-Tramm of the Vuntut Gwiychin First Nation declared a climate state of emergency, which really communicated the urgency of addressing climate change impacts on our communities in the North. This set a precedent not only in the Yukon, but across Canada and beyond.

This June, at the AFN Yukon Regional Annual Summit, our leaders passed a climate action resolution, calling for the development of a Yukon First Nations climate gathering — a forum dedicated to highlighting and building on the important environment work being done in our communities and uniting Yukon First Nations around this incredibly complex challenge. My team and the Council of Yukon First Nations are working collaboratively to plan this gathering and create a unified Yukon First Nations declaration on climate action that can serve as the foundation for a Yukon First Nations Climate Strategy. ...

Simultaneously, two other important actions are taking place: First, the AFN national environment sector is working to develop an Indigenous lens for climate strategy. Second, the Yukon territorial government is in the midst of developing a climate strategy. ...

I strongly and continually advocate for the creation of space and platform for those voices that don’t generally take the main stage. I am incredibly passionate about giving our youth — our leaders of the future — every opportunity that we can to ensure that their voices are heard. We need to lift up and celebrate our young leaders, and the countless others — including our elders and women — that work diligently and tirelessly to strive for the equality of our people and the healing of our planet.

https://www.opencanada.org/features/five-questions-with-yukon-regional-c...

jerrym

Canadian young people, including Canadian UN COP 25 Climate Change Conference youth delegate Lea Ilardo, demanded Canadian political leaders take immediate action on climate change. 

Lea Ilardo, a student from Canada, speaks at the Fridays for Future press conference at COP 25 in Madrid, Spain, on Dec. 4. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Young climate strikers are sending a clear message to Canadian leaders who are attending the COP25 climate conference in Madrid, Spain, this week: Act now. In an open letter from various branches of Climate Strike Canada, youth are urging leaders to commit to reducing emissions by 60 per cent (instead of 30 per cent) below 2005 levels by 2030.

“Ladies and gentlemen, you are the last people in a position of power to have the possibility to allow us to avoid an unprecedented global catastrophe,” the letter reads. “Please be bold.”

Lea Ilardo is representing Canadian youth at the two-week conference, which started on Monday. She’s part of a group that is meeting daily with the Canadian delegation to follow the negotiations as they happen. ...

“The youth really has been waking up for a year and so this is really like the COP that youth is going to be following,” said Alienor Rougeot, a university student who has been leading the climate strikes in Toronto.

“The fact that we’ve been in the streets increases the pressure and maybe just gives leaders … the legitimacy to be bolder,” she added.

https://www.cbc.ca/kidsnews/post/please-be-bold-message-from-youth-clima...

jerrym

Indigenous youth from around the world are demanding action on climate change and social justice issues at COP 25 in Madrid. 

A man raises his left arm in protest.

An activist speaks at a protest about the destruction brought by carbon markets and carbon offsets at the venue of the UN climate change conference (COP25) in Madrid, Spain, Dec.5, 2019.

A worldwide climate change movement is well underway, highlighted by strikes, protests and school walkouts increasingly led by young people. And this week in Spain, that message is being delivered by a diverse group of young, Indigenous people from around the globe to the United Nations. ...

“We’re realizing that our leadership ... is not taking the mandatory steps to save our future and [we have] to step into that position …" (Nanieezh Peter, 15, Alaska Federation of Natives convention, Fairbanks, Alaska)

Peter Nanieezh and his best friend, Quannah Chasing Horse Potts, 17, both Alaksa Native, successfully convinced their leaders to declare a climate change emergency in Alaska, the northernmost state in the US. Their request for the emergency declaration on the debate floor in a hockey arena in Fairbanks, Alaska, sparked a fervent and hours-long debate during the annual convention. 

Indigenous youth voices have historically been silenced in the fight against climate change. For many decades, if not centuries, Indigenous people in Alaska, Canada and elsewhere were forced to abandon their cultural heritage, traditions and in some cases, their homelands. Those who spoke out were often punished. But now, their grandchildren are finding a voice. 

On Thursday, Dec. 5, the Indigenous Climate Action Youth Delegation sent a letter to Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Johnathan Wilkinson. The delegation is concerned that the international agreement on greenhouse gas mitigation, the Paris agreement, is “disproportionately focused on market-based climate solutions.” They wrote carbon-based markets “further enable the colonial legacy of dispossession, privatization, violence against Indigenous women and girls and destruction of Indigenous lands and culture for fossil fuel extraction.”

“Young people in this period of history, they’re no longer afraid to speak up, they’re no longer afraid of policy, they’re no longer afraid of the government, they’re no longer afraid of speaking their mind .... (Ben Charles, Inuit Circumpolar Council)

Ben Charles, who is also Alaska Native, and recently named an emerging leader by the Inuit Circumpolar Council, said, “Young people in this period of history, they’re no longer afraid to speak up, they’re no longer afraid of policy, they’re no longer afraid of the government, they’re no longer afraid of speaking their mind …" The international organization represents more than 180,000 Indigenous people in four Arctic nations. ...

Inuit aren’t the only Indigenous people represented at the meeting. Representatives of the Rapa Nui and Mapuche Indigenous Peoples of Chile are also in Spain for the meeting. SustainUS, an American nonprofit, has sent its first-ever delegation of Indigenous young people to Madrid.

In New Zealand, a group of young Maori adults who are indigenous to the region spent at least a month fundraising to cover their travel expenses to the UN Climate Summit. And on Friday, a group of First Nations kids will premiere a documentary film they produced about their first-hand climate change experience in northern Canada. 

https://www.pri.org/stories/2019-12-05/indigenous-youth-take-global-stag...

 

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Baby Yoda uses reusable alternatives, you should too.

jerrym

Trudeau has accepted Jason Kenney's pricing system for large industrial emitters in Alberta making it easier for them to meet their emission targets. The original Trudeau government targets, which were similar to the Notley government's targets, were inadequate in dealing with global warming. The now accepted Kenney targets are even poorer. 

Syncrude's Mildred Lake facility north of Fort McMurray, Alta., on Thursday, September 13, 2018. (Codie McLachlan/Star Metro Edmonton)

Ottawa has announced an agreement with Alberta to allow it to keep its carbon pricing plan on large industrial emitters.

Environment and Climate Change Canada said on Friday that Alberta’s regulations on big polluters meets the federal government’s stringency criteria for carbon pricing systems.

Alberta’s new Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) levy will go into effect at the beginning of next year, keeping a $30 per tonne price on emissions from industrial sectors such as oil and gas, electricity, cement and agriculture. Oil sands facilities, for example, will be subject to the levy.

The move will prevent Ottawa’s output-based carbon pricing system from being slapped on Alberta. The federal system priced pollution based on average emissions intensity for industrial sectors likely to be severely hurt in the global market if they were hit with a high carbon tax burden.

Ottawa’s system was similar to the formula under the former Notley government, but the TIER system will price each facility based on past emissions, which could give firms a higher chance to hit their emissions target.

The other portion of the federal carbon pricing system, the fuel charge, will still be applied to Alberta starting Jan. 1, as the Kenney government cancelled its own levy last May.

https://ipolitics.ca/2019/12/06/ottawa-green-lights-albertas-carbon-pric...

 

jerrym

A report released yesterday by the International Union for Conservation of Nature at the United Nations COP 25 Climate Change Conference in Madrid warns that oxygen levels in the oceans has declined due to climate change. This is creating dead zones in the ocean where little or nothing survives and is a particular threat to large marine life, which require more oxygen. 

Dead sardines in Redondo Beach, Calif.

Dead sardines in Redondo Beach, Calif.Credit...Noaki Schwartz/Associated Press

Oxygen in the oceans is being lost at an unprecedented rate, with “dead zones” proliferating and hundreds more areas showing oxygen dangerously depleted, as a result of the climate emergency and intensive farming, experts have warned.

Sharks, tuna, marlin and other large fish species were at particular risk, scientists said, with many vital ecosystems in danger of collapse. Dead zones – where oxygen is effectively absent – have quadrupled in extent in the last half-century, and there are also at least 700 areas where oxygen is at dangerously low levels, up from 45 when research was undertaken in the 1960s.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature presented the findings on Saturday at the UN climate conference in Madrid, where governments are halfway through tense negotiations aimed at tackling the climate crisis. ...

Grethel Aguilar, the acting director general of the IUCN, said the health of the oceans should be a key consideration for the talks. “As the warming ocean loses oxygen, the delicate balance of marine life is thrown into disarray,” she said. “The potentially dire effects on fisheries and vulnerable coastal communities mean that the decisions made at the conference are even more crucial.”

All fish need dissolved oxygen, but the biggest species are particularly vulnerable to depleted oxygen levels because they need much more to survive. Evidence shows that depleted levels are forcing them to move towards the surface and to shallow areas of sea, where they are more vulnerable to fishing.

Some ocean areas are naturally lower in oxygen than others, but these are even more susceptible to damage when their oxygen levels are depleted further, the report’s authors said. Species that can more easily tolerate low oxygen levels, such as jellyfish, some squid and marine microbes, can flourish at the expense of fish, upsetting the balance of ecosystems. The natural oceanic cycles of phosphorus and nitrogen are also at risk. ...

Low oxygen levels are also associated with global heating, because the warmer water holds less oxygen and the heating causes stratification, so there is less of the vital mixing of oxygen-rich and oxygen-poor layers. Oceans are expected to lose about 3-4% of their oxygen by the end of this century, but the impact will be much greater in the levels closest to the surface, where many species are concentrated, and in the mid to high latitudes.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/dec/07/oceans-losing-oxygen...

jerrym

Three days after the 500,000 person protest at the UN COP25 Climate Change Conference, Greta Thunberg and young indigenous leaders spoke out about the enormous impact global warming is having on indigenous societies. 

 Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

Sweden’s Greta Thunberg (centre) with representatives of indigenous people at the COP25 climate conference in Madrid, Spain. Photograph: Pablo Blazquez Dominguez/Getty Images

Greta Thunberg turned a spotlight on the struggles of the world’s indigenous peoples when she appeared at the UN climate conference alongside young campaigners experiencing the consequences of an overheating world first-hand.

The Swedish teenager, who arrived at COP25 in Madrid after crossing the Atlantic by catamaran, said she was availing of “some media attention” to give a voice to people whose stories needed to be listened to, including those from Africa and places where climate activism is actively suppressed.

She stayed largely silent during her first official appearance at the summit to allow a young Native American, a Chilean, a Pacific islander, a Russian and a Filipino to speak. 

“Their rights are being violated across the world, and they are also among the ones being hit the most and the quickest by the climate and environmental emergency,” she said.

Their testimonies indicated the emergency was not an issue for today’s children when they grow up, Ms Thunberg said. “People are suffering and dying from it today.”

Rose Whipple of the Santee Dakota, native to Minnesota in the US, said: “The climate crisis is a spiritual crisis for our entire world. Our solutions must weave science and spirituality and traditional ecological knowledge with technology.” 

She described the decline of the Mississippi, a “sacred river that fed people for thousands of years”, and her people’s failed attempt to halt a Limetree oil pipeline in the courts. She said “the system continues to value corporate profit over indigenous lives”. ...

“While countries congratulate each other for their weak commitments, the world is literally burning out,” said Chilean activist Angela Valenzuela

She said the people of Chile were not protesting about 30 pesos but 30 years of governments “that failed to protect us and fuelled the climate crisis for the benefit of a few”. ...

The low-lying Marshall Islands was the first nation to comply with a requirement in the Paris Agreement to scale-up its planned emissions reductions in 2018 – a move bigger emitters are under pressure to follow by next year.

Carlon Zackhras, representing the atoll nation, said rising sea levels threatened his home, which is only two metres above the waterline. “We are having to deal with issues we did not create.”

He said two weeks ago the island had its latest inundation, while infectious diseases such as dengue fever and measles were being made worse by global warming. “Migration is the only plan B.” 

Arshak Makichyan from Russia said a year ago he knew nothing about the climate crisis. When he heard Thunberg say “the world is on fire” he believed it was a metaphor. Seeing fires in the Amazon and Congo last summer proved otherwise. 

He has been arrested for protesting in solidarity with the global Fridays For Future movement and detained for a few days but that did not bother him. It was an action he expected to be repeated. ...

The Madrid meeting was supposed to be a “blue cop” to underline the importance of oceans, but negotiating nations had not brought the issue centre stage, said Kisha Erah Muana from the Philippines

As a consequence the colourful coral and rich marine life “is a playground I once knew” that no longer existed.

At the conclusion of the briefing, Thunberg said indigenous people had lived in balance with nature for many hundreds of years, and had valuable knowledge that needed to be taken on board “in this crucial time of crisis”.

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/environment/thunberg-takes-climate-stanc...

jerrym

The United Nations COP25 Climate Change Conference was supposed to have been held in Santiago Chile but was transferred to Madrid because of the protests about Chilean inequality that led to excessive use of force in their suppression. Those protests also had a close relationship with climate change as the following article which Maisa Rojas, Director of Chile’s Centre for Climate and Resilience Research, discusses below. The global warming crisis cannot be solved unless everyone around the world is involved. 

 ‘We should be meeting in Santiago.’ Environmental protesters in Santiago, Chile. Their banner reads: ‘From Santiago to Madrid, the world has woken up to the climate crisis.’

On 18 October 2019, the president of Chile declared a state of emergencyand instituted a curfew to quell three days of public unrest that started because of an increase in metro fares. The outbreak of anger was summed up by the message, “This is not about 30 pesos, it is about 30 years”, referring to discontent lasting three decades, which appeared on walls across the city and on social media. The protests ultimately led to COP25’s move to Madrid. 

The movement they spawned continues to this day. Its demands are wide-ranging: better pensions, education, health, a minimum wage; but also water rights and action on environmental degradation. What they have in common is their roots in a profoundly unequal society that can be traced back to Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship. The economic framework he instituted has hardly changed since the return of democracy in the 90s.

But why did this violence and rage explode so suddenly? Chile ranks as one of the most unequal countries among the OECD nations according to the Gini index (the most widely used measure of inequality). The latest survey by the Chilean government shows that the richest 10% of the Chilean population has 39 times more income than the poorest 10% – worse than it was in 2015. ...

At first glance, other than disrupting a climate summit, this kind of social unrest doesn’t seem to have much to do with the climate crisis. But look again. 

We know that climate change acts as an amplifier of social inequality, disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable. Think for example about heatwaves, of which we saw several this year. The impacts of such extreme events are experienced very differently depending on whether you have access to air conditioning or whether you have a park or green space close by. The ability to recover from the impact of a tropical storm also depends on your access to insurance or finance, and to natural resources such as water.

In Chile, just a month before the social crisis exploded, we saw the first internal displacement as a result of the climate crisis. A 10-year-long drought has resulted in many small-scale and subsistence animal farmers losing their livelihoods. In the same areas, competition for water is fierce between local people and agriculture, particularly avocado producers. So as the impacts of the climate crisis become more intense, we can expect more displacement and more unrest. Not just in Chile but around the world.

But it’s not just the direct effects of climate change that have the potential to cause social instability. The way we respond to those effects – if done without care and consent – can threaten even more social turbulence.

In order to achieve the Paris Agreement goal – limiting warming to 1.5C – the global community needs transformations that are unprecedented in scale and scope. Only recently we heard from the UN that, to reach this target, the world needs to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases every year by about 7%. Part of the work that needs to be accomplished by this climate meeting and the next one, which will be held in Glasgow in 2020, is that countries must become much more ambitious about their commitments.

Can we implement these transformations without addressing all the other social challenges that our countries face? Clearly not. The Chilean crisis illustrates this very vividly, highlighting the great social, economic and environmental obstacles ahead of us. Climate emergency plus growing inequality is a recipe for chaos.

We can see what happens when those whose social demands have been ignored are asked to contribute to the climate effort: the gilets jaunes (yellow vests)movement in France grew up in response to rising fuel prices. Protests in Ecuador, over an end to fuel subsidies, brought the capital Quito to a standstill and forced the government to back down. These, along with events in Santiago, demonstrate that we need to pay attention to social and cultural impacts, too. ... 

The good news is that addressing social issues alongside the climate crisis has the potential to generate powerful, long-lasting solutions. In Chile, one of the measures to achieve carbon neutrality is phasing out coal power plants. The closures come with a host of benefits, from better air quality to – eventually – cheaper energy. Those who work in the industry, however, are naturally concerned about their employment rights. If the government can support the community through the transition, they will emerge into a better, cleaner and safer future. In other words, making sure “no one is left behind” is key.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/dec/08/un-conference-glob...

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Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron & BP Could Be Legally & Morally Liable for Climate Crisis in Philippines

The Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines has just determined that 47 major companies, including Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP and Total, could be found legally and morally liable for human rights harms to Filipinos resulting from climate change. The commission found the companies could be held accountable under civil and criminal laws. Climate activists have hailed the decision as a landmark victory for climate justice. According to Greenpeace, this marks the first time big polluting companies have been found responsible for human rights harms resulting from the climate crisis. 

We’re joined now by Yeb Saño, executive director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia. He was the chief climate negotiator for the Philippines in 2013.

quote:

YEB SAÑO: Yes, this is truly an exciting time for all of us, especially those who are personally involved in this legal action. In 2015, we filed this petition with the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines, together with 18 individuals at the forefront of climate impacts and 14 civil society organizations. Now we see the results of this long journey and with the Commission on Human Rights making a statement here in Madrid, saying that the carbon majors, fossil fuel companies, who have contributed significantly to climate change, and therefore are threatening the human rights — are threatening the human rights of Filipinos. It is such a momentous occasion for us. This is very historic for us.

quote:

YEB SAÑO: Yes, this is really groundbreaking. But what people need to understand is this has been filed — this case has been filed in the Commission on Human Rights. It’s not a regular court. So, the rules of evidence there is a bit different. And the Commission on Human Rights has a mandate to investigate, recommend and monitor whether people’s human rights are being violated. And our aim in launching this case with the commission is to implore with the commission to find these carbon majors, all of these fossil fuel companies, responsible for the harms that they have caused, especially our enjoyment of our basic human rights. And this decision points to that. This decision points to a finding that they can be held legally and morally liable. But what the commission is saying is that legal courts of law will need to come in, and cases need to be filed, as well, against these companies so that they can be found guilty.

jerrym

CBC reports that Jason Kenney said in the Canadian Club he wants Alberta to be the place in the world that removes the last barrel of oil taken from the ground. Of course he received a large round of applause in the elitist Canadian Club. However, this mentality will leave Alberta in the same position as the buggy whip industry as automobiles appeared on the scene. Those oil producers who do not start transitioning away from oil will be left with the debris of abandoned and shut-down oil wells eventually. There already are "estimated 93,000 inactive wells in Alberta" (https://calgaryherald.com/opinion/columnists/varcoe-alberta-seeks-ottawa...).According to the  Alberta Energy Regulator (AER), "Cleaning up the Alberta oilpatch could cost an estimated $260 billion, internal regulatory documents warn". Since only "The government, meanwhile, has only collected $1.6 billion in liability security from companies", the taxpayer is on the hook for nearly all the clean costs (https://globalnews.ca/news/4617664/cleaning-up-albertas-oilpatch-could-c...). In fact, Kenney is asking for federal tax money for the clean up, arguing it will provide jobs for laid-off oil workers. 

The staggering financial liabilities for the energy industry’s mining waste and graveyard of spent facilities were spelled out by a high-ranking official of the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) i

Instead Kenney also described five demands to help expand the Alberta oil industry, many of them involving taxpayer subsidies of course.  

The Trudeau Liberals government said it is considering exempting new oilsands developments from a federal review if Kenney maintains a cap on emissions. Since any provincial review under Kenney would end in an automatic go-ahead, this would be a license to produce significantly more oil.

Image result for picture Jason Kenney

Speaking at a lunchtime reception in Ottawa, Kenney said for decades Alberta has been an outsized contributor to the Canadian economy and the federal treasury, and now it's time for Ottawa to lend some support by implementing a five-point plan Kenney has dubbed the "fair deal for Alberta." ...

Chief among Kenney's demands is a promise to set a "firm, fixed and fast deadline" for the completion of the Trans Mountain expansion pipeline project. The expansion, which will nearly triple the amount of Alberta oil moving to the B.C. coast. ...

Kenney is also formally asking the federal Liberal government to lift a cap on fiscal stabilization program that helps provinces facing a short-term cash crunch. The program, which is administered by Finance Minister Bill Morneau, provides financial assistance to any province faced with a year-over-year decline in its non-resource revenues greater than five per cent. However, the money available to eligible provinces is capped at $60 per resident — something Kenney said is inadequate given the size of the budget deficit the province is facing after oil prices cratered. ...

The third demand is for Ottawa to repeal Bill C-48, which forbids crude-laden ships from docking at ports in the B.C. north. He said the legislation unfairly targets Alberta and severely limits pipeline export capacity.

Kenney is also seeking a "substantial amendment" to Bill C-69. He said his principal concern is with the legislation "projects list," the criteria Ottawa uses to determine which proposed natural resources developments should go through a federal environmental review. Under the legislation passed in the last Parliament, Kenney said, the Liberal government has created a "bureaucratic morass". ...

Kenney wants Ottawa to exempt some projects that fall under provincial jurisdiction — most importantly oilsands projects in Alberta — from a mandatory federal review. The federal government has said it would consider exempting new oilsands developments if Kenney maintains a cap on emissions from the sector. ...

The fourth demand is for Ottawa to expand flow-through shares, a financial instrument used by resources companies to raise capital, so that firms can raise more money to build developments like carbon capture projects or to help pay for the decommissioning of spent oil and gas wells.

Lastly, Kenney wants Ottawa to accept Alberta's methane reduction regulations. The province has said its plan to curb methane from the oilpatch is just as effective as, but less costly than what the federal government has proposed to impose on the province.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/jason-kenney-ottawa-visit-five-point-pl...

jerrym

Even Moody's now recognizes the economic dangers associated with Alberta and Jason Kenney's over-dependence on oil as the foundation of the provincial economy, especially as global warming gets worse, but Kenney sees only one solution - produce more oil.

Moody's downgrades Alberta bond rating because of overdependence on oil

Premier Kenney had just added Moody's Investor Service to his long and growing list of public enemies, moments after it downgraded Alberta's credit rating and stated the reason, which should be obvious to anyone who's been paying attention: It's your dependence on fossil fuels, stupid! 

Or, in the blander language actually used by the respected New York-based bond-rating service, there is "a structural weakness in the provincial economy that remains concentrated and dependent on non-renewable resources -- primarily oil -- which causes volatility in financial performance." ...

"Environmental considerations are material to Alberta's credit profile, and Moody's considers environmental risk to be high," the report explained, noting accurately that "Alberta's oil and gas sector is carbon intensive and Alberta's greenhouse gas emissions are the highest among provinces."

This development was genuinely ironic given the way Kenney's United Conservative Party and its predecessor political entities used to moan and wail whenever the same thing happened for similar reasons to the previous NDP government. ...

Moody's decision was based on "distorted, torqued data, provided by green-left pressure groups," Kenney insisted to Danielle Smith.

As if a private-sector bond-rating agency deeply embedded in the structure of the modern Western capitalist economy would rely on lefty Green Europeans for its conclusions, let alone actively conspire with them to advance a supposedly false narrative! ...

This is crazy talk, of course, but presumably it sells well with the party's red-meat base and it's on message with Kenney's war room and his other belligerent and inquisitorial efforts to blame Alberta's continuing problems on someone, anyone, other than his government.

Somehow, though, it seems doubtful this is going to help very much in the financial capitals of the world.

https://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/alberta-diary/2019/12/jason-kenney-prot...

 

 

 

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Volkswagen could enter plea in charges for faking emissions tests

quote:

"At the hearing, the parties will submit for the court's consideration a proposed plea resolution and seek its approval," the statement said. "The details of the proposed plea resolution will be presented at the hearing."

Environment Canada officials published notice of the charges Monday, but said they won't comment further because the matter is before the courts.

Environment Canada's investigation, launched in September 2015, was repeatedly criticized by environmental experts and lawyers for taking too long.

The company pleaded guilty in U.S. court in 2017 for violating American laws and was fined $4.3 billion. In 2018, German prosecutors fined the company one-billion euros for the emissions cheating case, which some dubbed "dieselgate" because it involved Volkswagen's diesel engines.

Several Volkswagen executives and managers involved in the deception were charged in the U.S. and Germany, and some have already been sent to prison.

In total, the elaborate scheme has cost the company more than US$30 billion in legal fines and civic lawsuits as well as compensation to customers who returned the affected cars for refunds or exchanges.

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..another world is possible

Denmark Passes Climate Act to Reduce Emissions by 70% by 2030

Denmark has passed historic, legally binding climate legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 70% by 2030. The Climate Act also commits current and future climate ministers to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 at the latest.

jerrym

Greta Thunberg has won Time's Person of the Year Award, reflecting the growing impact of young people's demand for quick and strong action on global warming. 

 Greta Thunberg is TIME's 2019 Person of the Year.

"She became the biggest voice on the biggest issue facing the planet this year, coming from essentially nowhere to lead a worldwide movement," Time editor-in-chief Edward Felsenthal told the show, adding that Thunberg is the magazine's youngest choice ever to be named Person of the Year. ...

Her initiative to strike galvanized students to protest against climate change throughout Europe and that momentum quickly fanned across the globe, becoming the “Fridays For Future" movement.

Her solo protest, Fensenthal noted, eventually prompted millions of people in 150 countries "to act on behalf of the planet."

He also said that Thunberg "represents a broader generational shift in the culture" — with youth standing up for what they believe in — from Hong Kong to Chile.

"Young people are demanding change, and urgently," Felsenthal said. "She embodies youth activism."

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/greta-thunberg-time-s-2019-person-y...

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