Canada and global warming: a state of denial

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NDP leader Jagmeet Singh revealed part of the party's climate change program today in promising to cut Canada's greenhouse gas emissions in half over the next decade. 

NDP leader Jagmeet Singh says his party will cut Canada’s emissions almost in half over the next decade as he tries to stake out a claim to the climate change agenda in the looming federal election.

The pledge is one contained in an NDP motion expected today in the House of Commons that will lay out eight broad strokes of the NDP’s climate change platform. The motion asks for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to declare “an environment and climate emergency” as well as pledge to cut emissions more deeply, eliminate government aid to the fossil fuel industry and cancel the planned expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline. ...

That urgency for him means a slow end to the Canadian oil sector, which Singh says is on its way out whether Canadians like the idea or not.

“This is the direction the world is headed,” he said. ...

Last October, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned drastic cuts to emissions are needed in the next decade to prevent global warming from becoming catastrophic. That report suggested Canada’s Paris climate change commitment, which would mean cutting annual greenhouse gas emissions by about 28 per cent compared to where they are now, is nowhere near enough.

Singh won’t put a specific number on his targets yet but he agrees the motion is “subtly suggesting” the NDP would aim for the UN targets, which would mean Canada has to cut emissions almost in half by 2030.

The Liberal government’s climate plan, including the carbon tax, getting rid of coal as a source of electricity and subsidizing the purchase of electric cars, still leaves Canada nearly 90 million tonnes shy of hitting the existing goal.

To slash more deeply would require more drastic action in Canada’s energy sector. Oil and gas production and refining accounts for about one-quarter of all Canada’s emissions.



We’re now at 415 ppm!


New scientific data released today indicates carbon dioxide concentrations have now reached a new record, the highest ever during mankind's existence, further emphasizing the need for urgent action on a worldwide basis to deal with the consequences of global warming. 


The inexorable rise of carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.

The relentless rise of carbon dioxide: Graph of atmospheric carbon dioxide in ppm versus years for 800,000 years humans have been on Earth

According to data from the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is over 415 parts per million (ppm), far higher than at any point in the last 800,000 years, since before the evolution of homo sapiens.

High levels of CO2 in the atmosphere -- caused by humans burning fossil fuels and cutting down forests -- prevent the Earth's natural cooling cycle from working, trapping heat near the surface and causing global temperatures to rise and rise, with devastating effects. 

The release of CO2 and other greenhouse gases has already led to a 1C rise in global temperatures, and we are likely locked in for a further rise, if more immediate action is not takenby the world's governments. ...

According to 70 peer-reviewed climate studies, in a world that is 2 degrees warmer, there will be 25% more hot days and heatwaves -- which bring with them major health risks and risks of wildfires. 

Around the world, 37% of the population will be exposed to at least one severe heatwaves every five years, and the average length of droughts will increase by four months, exposing some 388 million people to water scarcity, and 194.5 million to severe droughts. 

Flooding and extreme weather like cyclones and typhoons will increase, wildfires will become more frequent and crop yields will fall. Animal life will be devastated, with some 1 million species at risk of extinction. Mosquitoes however, will thrive, meaning a further 27% of the planet will be at risk of malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases. 

That's all at 2 degrees, a target that is increasingly becoming a hopeful one. At a temperature rise of 3 or 4 degrees, we enter a "hothouse Earth" stage that could render many parts of the planet uninhabitable.

    All of this has been predicted for decades now. We also know what needs to be done to stop it -- a drastic cut in carbon emissions, reforestation and creation of carbon sinks, and new technologies for carbon capture and other innovations, or, in the words of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, "rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society." 

    This can be done, and many are organizing to try to force their governments to take action, but we are running out of time to avoid a world that we literally do not know how to handle.


    In the video in the url below Concoridia University climatologist Damon Mathews discusses the damage the one degree average global temperature rise has already done, including the two degree average rise that has occurred in Canada and the five degree average rise in the country's Arctic region, as well as what this means for fossil fuel production if we are to avoid environmental catastrophe.



    Climate change is also playing a major role in reducing biodiversity with one million species under threat of extinction as the world warms up according to the United Nations' Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) report released on May 6th. 

    Compiled by 145 expert authors from 50 countries over the past three years, with inputs from another 310 contributing authors, the Report assesses changes over the past five decades, providing a comprehensive picture of the relationship between economic development pathways and their impacts on nature. It also offers a range of possible scenarios for the coming decades.

    Based on the systematic review of about 15,000 scientific and government sources, the Report also draws (for the first time ever at this scale) on indigenous and local knowledge, particularly addressing issues relevant to Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities. ...


    The report emphasizes that climate change is playing a major role in reducing the planet's biodiversity:

    • Permitting climate change from the burning of fossil fuels to make it too hot, wet or dry for some species to survive. Almost half of the world’s land mammals — not including bats — and nearly a quarter of the birds have already had their habitats hit hard by global warming. ...

    Fighting climate change and saving species are equally important, the report said, and working on both environmental problems should go hand in hand. Both problems exacerbate each other because a warmer world means fewer species, and a less biodiverse world means fewer trees and plants to remove heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the air, Lovejoy said. ...

    The world’s coral reefs are a perfect example of where climate change and species loss intersect. If the world warms another 0.5 degrees Celsius, which other reports say is likely, coral reefs will probably dwindle by 70-90 per cent, the report said. At 1 degree, the report said, 99 per cent of the world’s coral will be in trouble. ...

    “We’re in the middle of the sixth great extinction crisis, but it’s happening in slow motion,” said Conservation International and University of California Santa Barbara ecologist Lee Hannah, who was not part of the report. Five times in the past, Earth has undergone mass extinctions where much of life on Earth blinked out, like the one that killed the dinosaurs.



    BC is bracing for how bad the 2019 wildfire season will be after the record-breaking 2017 season, followed by the 2018 season breaking the 2017 season as climate change's impact continues to grow. In 2018 alone equal to 40% of the size of Nova Scotia was destroyed by BC wildfires. Twelve wildfires were already burning in BC by the end of March as the length of the wildfire season continues to grow. This weekend the first community, Fort Fraser, was threatened by a wildfire. The record hot temperatures associated for this time of the year with global warming helped spread the fire. 

    In the wake of two record-breaking years, B.C. is bracing for what could be another intense wildfire season. ...

    Unusually hot and dry weather fuelled an aggressive start to the fire season, with one central B.C. blaze triggering an evacuation order and a local state of emergency over the second weekend of May. Both have since been rescinded, though an evacuation alert remains in place.

    The Lejac fire, as it’s called, was discovered May 11 east of Fraser Lake and had grown to 260 hectares by the following morning. As of May 13, the fire was 50 per cent contained.

    Smoke could be seen from Osoyoos, B.C., in the afternoon as crews battled a roughly 15-hectare blaze 12 km west of the Southern B.C. town. Crews were also dealing with a smaller fire about 25 km east of Kamloops.

    Meanwhile, several other wildfires are burning across the province. The fire danger rating currently ranges from moderate to high, with pockets of extreme danger. ...

    Mike Flannigan, a professor of wildland fire at the University of Alberta, told the Star in early April that “historically, it’s rare to get three bad fire years in a row.”

    “But with our climate changing the way it’s been doing, I wouldn’t be surprised if you had another bad fire season,” he said.



    Climate research has shown that the record-setting 2017 and 2018 BC wildfire seasons have been greatly intensified by global warming due to greenhouse gas emissions. 

    Research suggests British Columbia's record-setting 2017 wildfire season wasn't an accident and Environment Canada scientists say that climate change stacked the deck against the province from the start.

    In a newly published paper, researchers from the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis say hot, dry weather directly caused by greenhouse gas emissions increased the province's fire risk that year by up to four times. The same factors are likely to have increased the amount of land scorched by up to 11 times.

    It's an example of science's growing ability to attribute the influence of climate change on specific events, said Megan Kirchmeier-Young, lead author of the paper published online by the journal Earth's Future. ...

    Kirchmeier-Young's team reached its conclusion through a complicated statistical analysis. They first built climate models based on two scenarios. One used current levels of greenhouse gases and one used levels from 1961 through 1970 before the strongest temperature increases began.

    They took the measure of 2017's wildfire risk from an index developed by Natural Resources Canada and calculated how likely it would be for that risk level to occur under both scenarios. "By comparing these two likelihoods, we can make a statement about how the human climate factors changed the risk," said Kirchmeier-Young.

    The researchers concluded, with 90 per cent certainty, that the addition of greenhouse gas emissions at least doubled and may have quadrupled the chance wildfire risks would reach the extreme values the province experienced in 2017. ...

    The scientists also compared the average area burned each year between 1961 and 1970 with area scorched in 2017. The paper attributes about 90 per cent of the 12,000 square kilometres burned that year to the influence of climate change.

    That figure dwarfed B.C.'s previous record for wildfires. The fires forced about 65,000 people from their homes and destroyed 509 structures, including 229 homes. The province spent more than $522 million fighting the blazes.

    Last summer was even worse. A new record was set when 13,000 square kilometres were devastated. Because the 2018 fires were in different parts of the province, the team wasn't able to tease out how climate change may have loaded the dice last year. But they do estimate about 85 per cent of the area burned can be blamed on climate change.

    Scientists have long warned that more frequent and larger fires are the likely consequence of a warming climate as more heat and less precipitation lengthens the fire season and adds to the fuel load in forests. Kirchmeier-Young said her findings are more evidence that climate change in Canada is much more than a distant threat."Our climate is changing as a result of human influence and Canadians are feeling the effects of that already."


    Once again the Liberals kept repeat that they were "absolutely committed" to their 2020 targets. When the auditor general told them they cannot meet their 2020 targets, their answer is they are "absolutely committed" to their 2030 targets. Considering the fact that emissions are continuing to rise even before their Trans Mountain pipeline that they did not have to buy comes online to further increase emissions, these reassurances are laughable. 

    Despite years of lofty promises from government officials, a recent Auditors General report shows that Canada has made little progress towards its climate action goals. This follows a United Nations (UN) report that says Canada is in danger of missing its 2030 Paris Agreement targets by a wide margin. ...

    Canada’s auditor generals came together in 2016 to begin a collaborative investigation into our country’s progress on climate change action, looking back over recent decades and projecting ahead towards international climate goals. 

    Their report, Perspectives on Climate Change Action in Canada—A Collaborative Report from Auditors General, was released in March 2018 and the results are concerning. 

    The report details a lack of cohesion and implementation of climate action both within the provinces and territories and at the federal level, which has led to a series of missed climate action targets. Several provinces and territories still don’t have any set goals for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 2020, or even 2030. 

    States the report: “Canada has missed two separate emission reduction targets (the 1992 Rio target and the 2005 Kyoto target) and is likely to miss the 2020 Copenhagen target as well. In fact, emissions in 2020 are expected to be nearly 20 per cent above the target.”


    The annual UN Emissions Gap Report monitors the progress countries are making in reducing their carbon and equivalent emissions in relation to their respective 2030 targets, as agreed upon in the Paris Agreement on climate change.

    Canada’s Nationally Determined Contribution to the Paris Agreement on climate change, signed onto by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in 2016, is to reduce annual emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by the year 2030. 

    Released last November, the report states that Canada is well above its pledged target and that gap is expected to widen even further by 2030. ...

    In response to the auditors general report, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna told the CBC the federal government is “absolutely committed” to its 2030 target.


    While the NDP needs to answer some serious questions about their climate change plan, the track record of failure on climate change for the Liberals for more than twenty years was once again brought home by the Environment Commissioner Gelfand's report just last month. As Gelfand notes, the failure to meet targets has been common to both Liberal and Conservative governments.

    Why would anyone believe anything the Liberals or Conservatives say on global warming given their track record? 

    Environment Commissioner Julie Gelfand says Canada is not doing enough to combat climate change.

    Gelfand delivered her final audits Tuesday before her five-year term expires, looking at fossil-fuel subsidies, invasive aquatic species and mining pollution.

    But her final conclusions as the country's environmental watchdog say it is Canada's slow action to deal with the warming planet that is most "disturbing" to her.

    "For decades, successive federal governments have failed to reach their targets for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, and the government is not ready to adapt to a changing climate," she said in a statement Tuesday morning. "This must change."

    Gelfand's rebuke came a day after Environment Canada scientists sounded an alarm that Canada is warming up twice as fast as the rest of the world, causing irreversible changes to our climate. ...

    Gelfand said neither Liberal nor Conservative governments have hit their own targets to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Canada is not on track to hit its 2030 target, despite policies like the national price on carbon that took effect this week. ...

    Gelfand's audit says the Liberals are not keeping a promise to get rid of "inefficient" fossil-fuel subsidies, which are undermining efforts to combat climate change, encouraging wasteful consumption of fossil fuels and discouraging investments in cleaner energy sources.

    Canada has pledged to eliminate inefficient subsidies by 2025 as part of both the G20 and G7 economic groups of nations, and the Liberals also campaigned on a promise to get rid of them. Gelfand concludes that both Finance Canada and Environment Canada have defined "inefficient" so broadly they can't decide what subsidies fall into that category.

    Finance Canada's work on the subsidies focused exclusively on fiscal and economic considerations without giving any attention to the social and environmental issues at play. For its part, Environment and Climate Change Canada only looked at 23 out of more than 200 federal organizations when it compiled an inventory of potential subsidies for the fossil-fuel industry, Gelfand found. ...

    Philip Gass, a senior energy researcher for the International Institute for Sustainable Development, said Tuesday using the World Trade Organization definition of subsidies, his organization found several that could or should be phased out. The IISD list shows more than $1.2 billion in fossil-fuel subsidies from the federal government.


    The Bank of Canada is now identifying climate change for the first time as one of its top concerns for both the economy and the financial system. It finally woke up to the risks.

    he Bank of Canada is highlighting its expanding concerns about climate change and, for the first time, is listing it among the top weak spots for the economy and the financial system.

    The central bank’s financial system health report Thursday included climate change as an important vulnerability, elevating it to a category alongside its long-running worries about household debt and apprehension about the housing market. The assessment is part of the Bank of Canada’s annual review that explores key weaknesses and risks surrounding financial stability. ...

    Climate-change risks include the consequences of extreme weather events, such as flooding, hurricanes and severe droughts.

    In Canada, the bank said insured damage to property and infrastructure averaged about $1.7 billion per year between 2008 to 2017 — 8.5 times higher than the annual average of $200 million from 1983 to 1992. ...

    Beyond the physical damage, the bank said the shift to a lower-carbon economy will be complicated and could be costly for some.

    The transition will likely lead to complicated structural adjustments for carbon-intensive sectors, such as oil and gas, and could leave insurance companies, banks and asset managers more exposed, the report said. In some cases, the bank said fossil fuel reserves could be left in the ground, which could drain the value of important assets.

    The bank said the transformation to a lower-carbon economy also will likely provide a boost to sectors like green technology and alternative energy.

    Both physical and transition risks are likely to have “broad impacts on the economy,” the report said. “Climate change is of interest to central banks because of central bank mandates and how climate change can affect economic performance on the one hand and how it can affect financial stability on the other hand,” Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz told reporters Thursday.

    Last month, a letter co-authored by Bank of England governor Mark Carney and Banque de France governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau urged central bankers and decision-makers in the financial community to act on climate-related risks with concrete steps to preserve the stability of the global system. “We need collective leadership and action across countries and we need to be ambitious,” said the letter, published in the British newspaper the Guardian. “Climate change is a global problem, which requires global solutions, in which the whole financial sector has a crucial role to play.”



    Climate change induced by increasing greenhouse gas emissions has had a devastating effect on the Midwest of the United States this year, demonstrating that flooding is not simply a concern of coastal cities that are subject to flooding from sea level rise.  We have also seen record once in a hundred year floods along the Ottawa and St. Lawrence Rivers. 

    The following article's statement that "This country’s system of flood insurance is broken, in large part to an under-investment in resiliency and a willful ignorance of climate risk." applies equally to Canada and the Liberal and Conservative governments of the last 25 years. 


    Wednesday, March 20, 2019 aerial photo shows flooding near the Platte River in in Plattsmouth, Nebraska, south of Omaha. The worst of the flooding so far has been in Nebraska, southwestern Iowa and northwestern Missouri.

    For areas of the Midwest hit by this year’s deluge of rain and melting snow, extreme weather has caused some of the worst flooding in living memory. Governors declared states of emergency in Nebraska, Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri, and North Dakota. Thousands of homes and farms are facing water damage and the problem will get worse before it gets better. 

    As the record snowpack from the wettest winter on record melts over the next few weeks, it’ll add to already overflowing waterways. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicts major flood risk along the Missouri, Mississippi, and Red River of the North, defined as “extensive inundation of structures and roads, significant evacuations of people and/or transfer of property to higher elevations.” Federal officials warn that 200 million people in 25 states face a flood risk through May. 

    “This is shaping up to be a potentially unprecedented flood season,” Ed Clark, director of NOAA’s National Water Center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, told Wired.

    The midwestern floods join the lengthening list of unprecedented and unexpected natural disasters accelerated and made worse by climate change. And, just like other climate events that have caused widespread damage, our planning, resiliency, and flood insurance programs are ill-equipped to cope. ...

    When flood risk in the country is discussed, it’s often in the context of coastal communities and rising sea levels brought on by climate change. “Underwater: Rising Seas, Chronic Floods, and the Implications for US Coastal Real Estate,” a detailed analysis of future flood risks and property damage by the Union of Concerned Scientists, predicted that by 2045, roughly 300,000 homes and commercial properties on the country’s coastline may face chronic, disruptive flooding, threatening $135 billion in property. 

    But overflowing rivers and inland flooding present similar threats. Scientists are still determining the degree to which climate change impacted this spring’s flood cycle, but they do know that warmer temperatures, which lead to more moisture in the air, can potentially turn a minor flood into a full-blown disaster. This winter and early spring, the Mississippi River basin received three times as much rainfall as normal. 

    The last few decades have witnessed an unmistakable trend towards more extreme weather in the Midwest. Heavy-rain events have risen 37 percent since the 1950s, per the National Climate Assessment, which says climate change will bring extreme heat, drought, and heavy downpours to bear on America’s farms and eventually decrease productivity. Going forward, the Midwest is expected to receive some of the greatest increases in yearly precipitation. ...

    This country’s system of flood insurance is broken, in large part to an under-investment in resiliency and a willful ignorance of climate risk.

    Unlike recent hurricanes, which cost insurance companies billions of dollars, this current wave of river floods in the Midwest hasn’t registered as much with the industry, because they have little risk. Few Midwesterners have policies, and few realize the risk, since federal flood insurance maps are often outdated or don’t factor in future risk. ...

    But the economic damage, and insurance risks, of the current disaster will only exacerbate the business woes for farmers in the affected regions, who are already facing economic pressures from current trade wars

    The number of U.S. farms fell by 100,000 between 2010 and 2017, according to the USDA, as consolidation pushed out small farmers. That process will only accelerate after this spring’s flood. Without flood insurance to help get farmers rebound, government at all levels, as well as charitable groups, will need to step in and help.


    The costs associated with flooding are growing exponentially each year in both the US and Canada. 


    Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said Friday that recent flooding in the state has caused an estimated $1.6 billion US in damage, pushing the total costs from the devastating Midwest flooding to at least $3 billion US.

    The ongoing flooding along the Missouri River has damaged thousands of homes and inundated vast swathes of agricultural land with water in Nebraska, Iowa and Missouri. The flooding, which followed heavy rains and snowmelt this month, has also been blamed for three deaths.

    Reynolds said she sent a letter asking U.S. President Donald Trump to quickly issue a disaster declaration for 57 counties in Iowa where businesses, homes and levees have been severely impacted by flooding, including along the Missouri River. More counties may be added to the list.

    More than 1,200 homes in Iowa have been destroyed or extensively damaged, while another 23,540 have at least minor damage, she said. Cost estimates indicate the flooding has caused more than $480 million US in damage to homes, while businesses have suffered $300 million US in damage. Agriculture damage is estimated at $214 million US. ...

    Flooding in Nebraska has caused an estimated $1.4 billion in damage. ...

    About 12.7 kilometres of levees in Iowa operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are damaged or destroyed, and the cost to repair them is estimated at $350 million US. About 281 kilometres of non-federal agriculture levees also need repair, at an additional cost of $175 million US. ...

    The Missouri Department of Transportation said Friday that 120 roads were closed because of flooding, including stretches of Interstate 29 and U.S. 61. The National Weather Service said the Missouri River was expected to crest Friday at levels just short of those reached during historic 1993 flooding in Atchison, Kan., and St. Joseph, Mo. ...

    About 1,200 residents of the Kansas town of Elwood were urged to leave, and the governor eased restrictions on large vehicles carrying relief supplies. Across the river, parts of an industrial area in St. Joseph were inundated with water.

    The Missouri River floodwater surging on an air base housing the U.S. military's Strategic Command overwhelmed round-the-clock sandbagging by airmen and others. They had to scramble to save or move sensitive equipment, munitions and dozens of aircraft. Days into the flooding, muddy water was still lapping at almost 80 flooded buildings at Nebraska's Offutt Air Force Base, some inundated by up two metres of water. ...

    The floods were a reminder that the kind of weather extremes escalating with climate change aren't limited to the coasts, said retired Rear Adm. David W. Titley, founder of both the Navy's Task Force on Climate Change and the Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk at Penn State University. ...

    The flooding comes during a week in which the NOAA released its spring weather outlook, in which they warned more than 200 million Americans are at risk for some kind of flooding, with 13 million of them at risk of major inundation. About 41 million people are at risk of moderate flooding.


    Today in Alberta we had people return to Marlboro near Edson after being evacuated due to a wildfire nearing the community, but remaining on evacuation alert because of the ongoing danger. Meanwhile, in northern Alberta near Wood Buffalo Park, the 4,000 people of High Level received an evacuation order due to another wildfire. The First Nations community of Bushe River also received evacuation orders issued by Chief and Council of the Dene Tha’ First Nation. 

    Meanwhile people debate if we should do anything about climate change. 

    The order was issued by Chief and Council of the Dene Tha’ First Nation, saying that all residents must register at the Four Chiefs Complex in Bushe River prior to leaving. ...

    About 4,000 people are being forced from their homes in High Level late Monday afternoon as an out-of-control wildfire moved within three kilometres of the northwestern Alberta town. ...

    Officials rescinded an evacuation order covering parts of the small community of Marlboro at 9 a.m. Monday morning. Residents were allowed back into the area west of Edson but were told they may need to evacuate again if the fire situation changes.

     We are even close to the height of the wildfire season in Alberta or Canada. All of the above wildfires threatening the above communities are part of the 23 wildfires, six out of control, occurring in one single day in a wildfire season that now starts March 1st, lasting much longer and more intensely than two short decades ago. On March 1st, the following article describe the smoke covering much of the province. 

    As hard as it is to believe with snow still blanketing much of the province, wildfire season is now underway.

    In Alberta, the season opens March 1, which means Alberta Wildfire has begun preparing firefighting crews to ensure they’re in place around the province. The season begins this early to account for how much longer Alberta summers are lasting in recent years, and so experts have enough time to forecast what kind of season to expect.

    “We’re already seeing longer fire seasons, we’re seeing bigger, more intense fires. British Columbia has had two really bad seasons in a row,” said Glenn McGillivray, managing director with the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction.

    On May 20, a total of 23 wildfires were active across Alberta.

    On May 20, a total of 23 wildfires were active across Alberta.



    ETA: Mike Flanagan, a wildland fire professor makes the connection between wildfires and global warming. Alberta, BC and the North have had the highest temperatures rises since 1948 due to climate change and these are regions suffering the most form global warming, including wildfires. 

    With three communities in Alberta under threat in a single day and the largest uncontrolled fire already having burned more than 700 sq. km., the wildfire season looks to be another one of great damage.

    Don't worry though the Liberals and Conservatives are planning to build more pipelines. 

    A change in weather patterns, stoked by climate change, has a wildfire expert predicting "a hot, smoky future" for Canadian summers. The spectre of wildfires looms in B.C., Alberta and Ontario — provinces that have been repeatedly scorched by catastrophic fires in recent years.

    Mike Flannigan, a professor of wildland fire at the University of Alberta, is warning that a dramatic rise in temperature and a changing climate have pushed things over the edge and will continue to cause unprecedented wildfires. "We can't always rely on our experience and the history of what we've seen in fire; we're moving into new territory," he told CBC Radio's special Smoked Out.

    An average of about 2.5 million hectares of land is charred every year during Canada's annual wildfire season, he says. "That's half the size of Nova Scotia, and it's doubled since the early '70s due to our changing climate," said Flannigan, who's also the director of the Western Partnership for Wildland Fire Science in Edmonton.

    Climate change's role in reshaping wildfires

    His research suggests the size of land consumed by wildfires will double or quadruple — again — as the earth heats up. According to Natural Resources Canada, about 3.4 million hectares of land was consumed by wildfires in 2017 — well beyond the annual average. Ministry data shows in recent years fire destruction has steadily climbed in terms of area covered. ...

    Canada is, on average, experiencing warming at twice the rate of the rest of the world, according to Canada's Changing Climate Report. The study, commissioned by Environment and Climate Change Canada and released last month, found that Canada's annual average temperature over land has warmed 1.7 C since 1948 — with higher rates seen in the North, the Prairies and northern B.C.

    These parts of the country have been some of the hardest hit by wildfires in recent years, Flannigan points out, and that may signal a trend toward longer and more destructive seasons in these areas as a result of climate change.  The devastating 2016 wildfires in Fort McMurray saw the largest evacuation in Alberta's history. More than 2,500 homes were destroyed and damage amounted to $9 billion — making it the most expensive natural disaster in the country's history, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada. B.C. recently experienced two record-breaking wildfire seasons in a row, and numerous fires have already torching swaths of the north and interior. 

    Image result for map Canada observed changes in annual temperatures 1948 2016



    Hunziker: Custer's Last Stand Meets Global Warming

    "Because we are facing an existential threat and there is no time to continue down this road of madness..."


    A just released scientific study involving 22 top ice sheet experts warns that the previous worse case scenario of a 1.0 metre sea level rise by 2100 under a scenario of continuing on our current growing global emissions fails to take into account several factors that increase this scenario to a 2.0 m rise in sea level. Under a 2.0 m rise, Shangai and New York and many small island nations, especially in the South Pacific, would no longer exist and it would lead to 187 million people being displaced.

    Global sea levels could rise more than two meters (6.6 feet) by the end of this century if emissions continue unchecked, swamping major cities such as New York and Shanghai and displacing up to 187 million people, a new study warns.

    The study, which was released Monday, says sea levels may rise much faster than previously estimated due to the accelerating melting of ice sheets in both Greenland and Antarctica. The international researchers predict that in the worst case scenario under which global temperatures increase by 5 degrees Celsius (9 degrees Fahrenheit) by 2100, sea levels could rise by more than two meters (6.6 feet) in the same period -- double the upper limit outlined by the UN climate science panel's last major report. 

    Such a situation would be "catastrophic," the authors of the study warn. "It really is pretty grim," lead author Jonathan Bamber, a Professor of Physical Geography at the University of Bristol told CNN. "Two meters is not a good scenario."

    He said the mass displacement of people in low-lying coastal areas would likely result in serious social upheaval. It would also pose an "existential threat" to small island nations in the Pacific which would be left pretty much uninhabitable.  The researchers found that under the extreme-case scenario, about 1.79 million square kilometers (691,120 sq miles) -- an area more than three times the size of California -- would be lost to the sea.

    Such a rise would place up to 187 million people at risk, which is about 2.5% of the world's total population. ... 

    The United Nations climate panel's last major report in 2013 predicted that sea levels would rise between 52 and 98 cm (20.4 inches and 38.5 inches) by 2100 at the current trajectory. But many experts saw those findings as conservative. 

    Scientists are worried that the current models used to predict the influence of massive melting ice sheets have flaws, and fail to capture all of the uncertainties.  To try to get a clearer picture, the report's authors asked 22 ice sheet experts to estimate how the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets might respond to future climate change, using newly advanced regional- and continental-scale, process-based models.  Scientists say there is still time to avoid the worst if global greenhouse gas emissions are cut sharply in the coming decades.  The study has been published in the journal Proceedings of the US National Academy of Sciences.



    There are now 5,000 people out of their homes, primarily form High Level where the ongoing nearby wildfire threatens the town. With the expanded wildfire season now starting on March 1st because of global warming, there have already been 430 wildfires with 30 still active in Alberta even though we are a long way from the height of the wildfire season. The High Level wildfire is a Level 6 wildfire, the highest category and is still out of control after burning 920 square kilometres, an area larger than metro Calgary. Because this wildfire is so intense, it is only being fought from the air, as it is too dangerous to have firefighters on the ground attack it. Alberta is bringing in 267 firefighters from BC alone, as well as from elsewhere, as its own firefighters are already overmatched. 

    The number, intensity of the wildfire season, as well as the length of wildfire season in Alberta, are all a reflection of the impact of global warming on daily life. 

    Image result for 2019 alberta wildfire pictures(Smoke billows from the wildfire near High Level. Photo courtesy Lee Filliol via Facebook.)

    An out-of-control wildfire burning Tuesday near a town in northwestern Alberta is rated at the highest possible danger level, and the dry, windy weather means the danger is expected to increase this week, says Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.

    "The fire is jumping from crown to crown of trees," Kenney said at a news conference Tuesday. "Unfortunately, the dry conditions in northern Alberta are expected to continue for the foreseeable future, with the fire danger possibly increasing this week."

    The fire near the town of High Level is ranked as a Level 6, the top of the wildfire intensity scale. Increased fire danger is common during the spring because of the abundance of dry, flammable materials in the period between the snow melt and the green-up of the landscape.

    The High Level wildfire is being fought from the air, because it's not safe to have people on the ground attacking the fire, Bruce Mayer, assistant deputy minister for Alberta Agriculture and Forestry, said at Tuesday's news conference. ...

    There have been 430 wildfires in Alberta since March 1, of which 30 are still active and five are classed as out of control. ...

    Evacuation has been ordered for more than 4,000 people living in High Level, a town about 730 kilometres north of Edmonton, as well as about 750 people living at the nearby Bushe River Reserve of the Dene Tha' First Nation.




      Today there student climate change strikes in 1664 cities in 125 countries around the world as young people fail to see older generations dealing in any effective manner with the global warming crisis.  


      Activists in Melbourne, Australia, take part in the Global Climate Strike on May 24, 2019.

      Activists in Melbourne, Australia, take part in the Global Climate Strike on May 24, 2019.

      Hundreds of thousands of students around the world walked out of their schools and colleges Friday in the latest in a series of strikes urging action to address the climate crisis. According to event organizers Fridays for Future, over 1664 cities across 125 countries registered strike actions, with more expected to report turnouts in the coming days.

      The “School Strike for Climate” movement was first started by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who began her strike alone outside the country’s parliament in Stockholm in August 2018. ...

      “May 24 is the last chance to affect the E.U. elections. Politicians are talking about the climate and environmental issues more now, but they need more pressure,” she said. Voting across the European Union takes place May 23-26, where the 751 representatives of the European Parliament will be elected by citizens across the continent. Recent polling suggests environmental issues and policies tackling climate change are high on the agenda for voters considering who to elect. ...

      The school strike movement has emerged in tandem with other environmental movements worldwide. The British-based direct action group Extinction Rebellion occupied major locations in London for ten days in late April, and their first demand, for the British government to declare a state of “climate emergency,” received approval from parliament on May 1. And in the U.S., the young activists of Sunrise Movement have pushed to transform climate action into a political reality by calling for a Green New Deal, attracting the support of several legislators and 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.



      In the summer of 2018 during the hottest July in the history of Montreal, there were 66  heat-related deaths and the number of hospilizations almost doubled to 6,000. In the province of Quebec there were 89 heat-related deaths.

      However, in Ottawa and Ontario there were no recorded heat-related deaths. It turns out that the real difference was in the way data was recorded. In Ontario only those who died directly of heat stroke are recorded as heat-related deaths, but nearly all such deaths are not of heat stroke but of the stresses put on the body by extreme heat, such as heart attacks. In other words, in Ontario there were almost certainly more than a few heat-related deaths brought on by last summers extreme temperatures induced by global warming. So the true death toll during last summer's heat wave is well above the recorded number.

      The article below discusses this and also discusses how are cities are currently designed as heat traps that put many more people at risk. The peril of heat-related deaths is almost certainly going to grow as temperatures rise in the future. 

      Sixty-six people died from the heat in Montreal in the first week of July 2018. Eighty-nine across Quebec. Yet zero in Ottawa. Zero in Ontario. ...

      Some speculated that a lack of air conditioning caused more people to die in Quebec. Statistics Canada data seem to bear this out. Only 53 per cent of households in Quebec have central air or use a window unit, while 83 per cent of Ontarians have some form of A/C at home. In Montreal, 65 per cent of households have A/C, while in Ottawa it’s 82 per cent and 87 per cent in Toronto.

      But could this really account for the stark difference in deaths between the two provinces? Dr. David Kaiser, a preventive medicine specialist with Montreal public health, doesn’t think so. “It’s because of the way things are counted,” he said.

      Rather than being an issue of more people dying in Quebec, the death discrepancy reflects the fact that Montreal health-care workers count better. They’re finding the kinds of heat-related deaths that are surely occurring in Ontario as well but remain hidden because no one is looking for them.

      This is because people who die during heat waves are not dying from heat stroke, a medical diagnosis that is coded into medical records, Kaiser said. If you only count deaths by heat stroke, you’re missing the vast majority. ...

      Depending on how quickly we reduce greenhouse gas emissions, extreme heat that now occurs once every 20 years could happen once every five, or even every other year, by 2050, the report says. Couple that with the fact that heat is worse in cities, where more than 83 per cent of Canadians live, and, contrary to our snowy reputation, we’re going to have a heat problem.

      Why is it so hot in cities? Urban areas can feel as much as 12 degrees hotter than surrounding rural areas thanks to the heat island effect. Concrete, asphalt and shingles, which cover much of a city's surface, absorb sunlight and retain and radiate heat even after sundown. By contrast, rural areas have more vegetation to deflect the sun's radiation and trees that provide shade, both of which help keep temperatures cooler.

      People who die in heat waves are often already very frail, and this can obscure for health-care workers the role that heat might have played to hasten their demise. ...

      “Somebody who has a weak heart and is exposed to high temperatures for a couple of days, they tend to have heart attacks because it just is an additional stress on a system that is already strained,” he said. The people who died from the heat last summer were predominately low-income, elderly and living alone, and many had severe mental health illnesses, alcohol dependency or chronic heart or lung disease.




      The Canadian courts and the Constitution have played and will continue to play an important role in what happens with regards to climate change in Canada, as recent rulings in BC and Saskatchewan have shown, but major questions remain to be resolved.

      In B.C., judges ruled Friday that the province doesn't have the right to stop diluted bitumen flowing through the proposed Trans Mountain expansion pipeline project which runs from Alberta to the Pacific Ocean.

      And in Saskatchewan, their counterparts found Ottawa has the right to impose a carbon tax on provinces that oppose it. ...

      Both cases centre around the question of who best represents Canadian citizens — the province where they live, or the one with an eye to the concerns of the country as a whole? And are those interests necessarily at odds? Both cases also appear headed for the Supreme Court of Canada. That's a good thing, says University of British Columbia environmental law assistant professor Jocelyn Stacey. ...

      "It becomes real when you consider questions about how do you regulate greenhouse gas emissions? How do you regulate oil spills? How do you regulate mining? All of these things that have a huge range of environmental effects," says Stacey, author of The Constitution of the Environmental Emergency. "When you're approaching it from an environmental perspective, that's when these questions become really pressing." ...

      Stacey believes both the Trans Mountain pipeline case and the carbon tax debate are a good opportunity for Canada's top court to update its position on protection of the environment. "The Supreme Court of Canada hasn't considered environmental issues in relation to the Constitution and the division of powers in a very long time," she says. The courts have held that all levels of government have a role to play in protecting the air, land and water. But all governments also have to negotiate their own mazes of related economic and social interests. ...

      The debate over division of powers when it comes to the environment has been around for more than a century. One of the key cases cited by British Columbia in defence of legislation proposed to restrict the increased flow of "heavy oil" from Alberta dates back to 1899, when a Quebec municipality tried to force the Canadian Pacific Railway company to remove rubbish from a ditch alongside its tracks. The courts back then found that an interprovincial railway was subject to the "municipal code" of Quebec, but that the province couldn't regulate the "structure" of the ditch. ...

      The kinds of environmental concerns at play in 2019 didn't exist in 1867. And divisions over the way to handle them aren't likely to vanish anytime soon — no matter what the courts decide. Even the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal was split in its ruling. ...

      The two dissenting judges in Saskatchewan summed up the nature of the debate in a chapter of their opinion entitled "Climate Change and Confederation." "We agree that all levels of government in Canada must take action to address climate change," the judges wrote. "Federalism in Canada means that all governments of Canada must bring all law-making power to bear on the issue of climate change, but in a way that respects the division of powers under the Constitution Act."


      Sav Dhaliwal, who was elected Metro Vancouver chair in November, sees climate change as his top concern. Metro Vancouver, which includes 21 municipalities, the Tsawwassen First Nation and Electoral Area A, is responsible for services such as drinking water, solid-waste disposal and sewage treatment for more than 2.5 million people. It also does work to improve air quality.

      “We recognize that no matter how well we reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, our infrastructure must be able to withstand the inevitable impacts of climate change like rising sea levels, stronger and more-frequent weather events and prolonged drought,” he said during his keynote speech. ...

      He described climate change as a “complex” problem that will require collaboration among everyone living and working in the region. He cited recent reports finding that Canada is heating up at twice the global rate and that one million of Earth’s eight million species are at risk of extinctiondue to human activity. “These are critical, shocking findings by scientists,” Dhaliwal said. “The problem cannot be fixed by governments alone. All of us — the citizens, the businesses and the government — must be united in our resolve to combat climate change by taking bold action.” ...

      “In 30 years, the world is supposed to also change dramatically,” he said. “Whether it’s the rising seas, whether it’s the earthquakes — all of it. Well, how do we make sure that systems, our pipes … and our facilities, our dams, can withstand (that)? That’s a big challenge.”

      For Metro’s part, it’s increasing work to adapt to the changes and reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Last year, it approved its Climate 2050 Strategic Framework, and over the next two years will develop its Climate 2050 Roadmaps, which will provide specific goals, strategies and actions for issues such as nature and ecosystems, infrastructure, human health, transportation and energy.

      In 2020, Metro will complete an update of its Clean Air Plan. In 2021, it will develop its next regional emissions inventory to track emission sources and trends.

      Dhaliwal said Metro has also been focused on building energy-creating facilities, replacing aging infrastructure with cleaner infrastructure, and steering local governments toward committing to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.

      “We’re taking it very seriously, to make sure that our planet is a little better than what it is now, 25 years from now,” he said.

      Asked by an audience member how Metro was dealing with waste-management issues, Dhaliwal said it’s making progress, with diversion of waste from landfills reaching about 63 per cent in 2016, up from below 50 per cent 20 years ago, according to Metro. ...

      Mustel capped the Q&A by asking Dhaliwal how he hopes to remember his one-year term when it comes to an end. “It would be to do some work (in a) more meaningful way on the climate-change strategy that we have, to actually set some plans into motion not just for ourselves but bringing everybody to the table,” he said. “This is way beyond Metro Vancouver.”


      There is good and bad news with regards to Canada's clean energy sector. It's growing faster than the overall economy and creating more jobs than the fossil fuel, quarrying and mining sectors combined, but is still largely ignored by our politicians, while fossil fuel companies receive billions in subsidies at the same time that they raise greenhouse gas emissions to dangerous levels in terms of global warming. As a result, we may well be left behind as the world shifts away from fossil fuels, hopefully in time to prevent a global warming catastrophe. 

      Our government, unlike other developed countries, does not even keep data on the clean energy economy so data had to be compiled by a Simon Fraser University think tank called Clean Energy Canada. 

      Clean energy includes everything from the production and transmission of renewable electricity to transit workers and construction workers making buildings more energy-efficient. So a hydroelectric-dam operator, a bus driver, and the person who installs a high efficiency furnace would all be included in Clean Energy Canada's job count.

      All told, the study concluded, nearly 300,000 Canadians were directly employed in clean energy in 2017, nearly 100,000 more than Statistics Canada data said worked in mining, quarrying, and oil-and-gas extraction. There are 7.5 times as many people working in clean energy as in forestry and logging.

      Smith said the goal of the report is to show Canadians just how big a piece of the economic pie clean energy represents.

      "We were surprised to find how big the sector is," she said. "What we found is that we're missing more than half the picture when we talk about energy in Canada. We think of oil and gas, we think of pipelines, we think of Alberta, and we are missing this clean-energy sector which is in every province across the country." ...

      The study concluded clean energy accounted for about three per cent of Canada's GDP in 2017, or around $57 billion. It grew almost five per cent annually between 2010 and 2017, outpacing the 3.6-per-cent growth of the economy as a whole.

      By comparison, oil and natural gas contribute about six per cent of Canada's GDP; agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting account together for about 2.1 per cent and the hotel and restaurant industry 2.3 per cent. The number of jobs in clean energy grew 2.2 per cent a year between 2010 and 2017, compared to 1.4 per cent for the total number. ...

      Canadian governments, she said, are often quite focused on selling Canada's natural resources and must do better at marketing Canada as a clean-energy giant as well. Many Canadian companies find better opportunities to sell their products overseas than they do in Canada.


      The August 7, 2018 extensive flooding that occurred in Toronto, followed by another major downpour just ten days later and 2019's Toronto Island flooding  is a reflection of how a regional climate that is changing due to global warming combines with local conditions to increase the risk of flooding on an ongoing basis. This followed massive downpour that immersed the Toronto Islands for months in 2017.  When the increase is torrential downpours that are now occcurring every two or three years is combined with an infrastructure designed to deal with the previous climate where such rainfalls had a historical once in 50 to once 100 year rate of occurrence, a massive buildup in concrete and pavement that prevents ground absorption, and a very low level of investment in stormwater runoff, the result is an ongoing risk of massive flooding in Toronto.

      Police officers look on as water floods King St. W. during heavy rain, stopping a streetcar in Toronto on Tuesday, August 7, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Shlomi Amiga

      Historical data shows that Toronto temperatures have increased 1 to 1.5 degrees over the last 30 years, said Kent Moore, a professor of physics at the University of Toronto. Snow-melting rains are the most obvious example. Compared to Toronto winters of 40 years ago, Moore said there are now an extra 10 days when temperatures creep above zero.

      Moore is a specialist in climate change and does not overstep the boundaries of evidence. He will say Toronto’s rainfall is “consistent with the view that as we warm the planet, we intensify the hydrological cycle or the rainfall cycle. That is consistent. But the devil is in the details — exactly how that happens ... and I think that is where the uncertainty is. All we can say is that it is consistent.” ...

      Canada’s mean annual temperatures are now double the global warming rate, increasing by 1.7 degrees between 1948 and 2016, with higher temperatures in the north than the south, particularly in the winter, according to the report called Canada’s Changing Climate. Rainfall is increasing too. Weather patterns will vary nationwide, but scientists agree that Canadians can expect more wildfires, droughts and, floods. ...

      The reason is both simple and complex. Rising temperatures that accompany climate change can add moisture to the air, increasing the odds of intense rainfall. But those heavy rains fall on Toronto neighbourhoods serviced by sewers built a century ago when the weather was, frankly, a lot more civilized. ...

      Old infrastructure — nearly one-quarter of the city has a single pipe carrying raw human sewage and stormwater — might have been sufficient in gentler times but is now overwhelmed by volatile storms that stall over a slice of the city and unleash rains of 70 mm or more. Just 10 days after the storm of Aug. 7, Toronto took another hit, with as much as 50 mm of rain falling through the late afternoon and evening, once again flooding Queens Quay and Union Station, forcing pedestrians in neighbourhoods like Trinity Bellwoods to walk through ankle deep water. ....

      If the weather has changed, so too has Toronto’s above-ground landscape. The city used to have acres of greenspace that could absorb rain, allowing the storm sewers to manage the rest but Toronto is increasingly encased in concrete and asphalt, from condos to big box stores and acres upon acres of shopping mall parking lots. ...

      All of that impermeable space creates a massive volume of runoff with nowhere to go but to follow the natural flow of water toward Lake Ontario. It rushes through waterways, like the Black Creek in west Toronto, into old combined sewers, where pressure builds until the excess explodes into basements or streets, destroying homes and streetcars, not to mention shoes and suits. ...

      All of that impermeable space creates a massive volume of runoff with nowhere to go but to follow the natural flow of water toward Lake Ontario. It rushes through waterways, like the Black Creek in west Toronto, into old combined sewers, where pressure builds until the excess explodes into basements or streets, destroying homes and streetcars, not to mention shoes and suits. ...

      Wild downtown rains in May of 2017 left the Toronto Islands immersed for months. In July of 2013, a slow-moving cluster of thunderstorms drenched the city, particularly Etobicoke, destroying basements and turning Tom Riley Park’s baseball diamond into a lake. ...

      here’s a third factor adding to Toronto’s vulnerability, said Dianne Saxe, Ontario’s former Environmental Commissioner, whose office has been eliminated by the Ontario government. ... City hall politics, Saxe said, have led to “gross under-investment” in green and stormwater infrastructure, such as permeable surfaces in parking lots, holding tanks and landscaping that directs runoff toward trees and greenery built into the hard cityscape. ...

      In 2017, Toronto councillors, including Gord Perks, tried and failed to get a “stormwater management charge” applied to homes, shopping malls and other businesses. Despite a staff report supporting it, Toronto’s infrastructure improvements still rely on water consumption fees that all residents pay. ... While some politicians remain reluctant to embrace change, most scientists, urban flood experts and climatologists agree that hot, moist summer days leading to intense rains are the type of weather created by a warming climate. ...



      The 2017-18 flooding described in the last post has been followed by massive flooding in the Hamilton and the Toronto Islands which is what climate scientists say we can expect due to the rise in Lake Ontario levels and torrential rains induced by global warming. 

      Saving the Great Lakes from ecological disaster

      Lake Ontario is one of the Great Lakes that may be severely negatively affected by climate change. DINA DONG/THE VARSITY (

      Lake Ontario water levels are on the rise and on pace to exceed record levels from just two years ago. Climate experts say the resulting flooding is a new reality for those living by the water.

      Earlier today [May 24th], reporters toured what used to be parks and docks on the Toronto Islands as Lake Ontario continues its surge inland. The sights bring back harsh memories of disastrous flooding from Lake Ontario in 2017. That spring, the lake’s water levels rose by almost 1.5 metres. ...

      As the shores of Hamilton are now being flooded, it’s expected that these lake levels will set a new record.

      Gail Krantzberg is an expert on the great lakes and says the flooding is a result of climate change. ...

      Krantzberg says the damage is already so far along that there might no longer be such a thing as normal weather.



      I am no fan of Francois Legault or CAQ, but I am happy to see Legault's proposal to shift Quebec from fossil fuels to renewable energy. Hopefully, this will not be an empty promise like those of the federal Liberals and Conservatives over the last 25 years where promises to reduce greenhouse gas emissions ended in ever increasing emissions.

      However, although CAQ had almost no climate change policies during the campaign, it make turn out to be true for Quebec because its hydroelectric potential could save the province billions of dollars in such a shift.

      Legault also mentioned that he got the message from the youth protests demanding that the shift to renewable energy needs to begin in a major way now. The proposal drew support from the David Suzuki Foundation and Le Pacte Pour La Transition. 

      Legault announced he wants the province to cut its oil consumption by 40 per cent by 2030, to be replaced by clean electricity. Currently 36 per cent of the energy consumed in Quebec is electric.

      “Instead of pumping our money into the coffers of oil companies, we will keep it here to create wealth for people here,” Legault said in his speech to 1,300 delegates at a downtown hotel Sunday.

      “The path I invite all of us to follow is to electrify our economy. That’s the way for more prosperity and a greener economy.” Addressing the province’s growing environmental lobby, which has accused him of not doing enough to save the planet, Legault said: “I want to be perfectly clear — we got the message from our youth. We are going to do more. The skeptics will be proven wrong.” ...

      Following a weekend in which environmentalists cranked up the pressure and the party adopted a package of green political resolutions, Legault chose to run with the movement rather than fight it. ...

      That includes using more electric power in Quebec and exporting surpluses for profit to the power-hungry states south of the border.  Making use of that power also represents Quebec’s contribution to reducing greenhouse gases everywhere, he argued. ...

       Dominic Champagne — the media-savvy theatre director who launched a major environmental movement in November known as Le Pacte pour la transition and recently joined the CAQ membership — beamed as he left the council, as did representatives of the David Suzuki Foundation. Noting the CAQ has come a long way after winning the Oct. 1 election with almost no environmental platform, Champagne said the party now has the makings of a good one. ...

      Legault’s plan has three tiers: converting homes and public buildings such as hospitals and seniors’ residences from oil and gas heating to electric; weaning industry off oil; and, by far the largest chunk of the plan, a massive investment in the electrification of public transportation systems. That includes finishing and expanding Montreal’s $6.3-billion REM light-rail network, extending the Blue métro line and adding a tramway to the city’s east end, plus tramways on Taschereau Blvd. in Longueuil and in Quebec City.

      There was no mention of Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante’s pet project, the Pink métro line, which the CAQ government does not support, but the party does endorse improvements in bus transportation. In all cases, any new trains, tramways and buses financed by the Quebec government will have to be electric by 2030 and, for the most part, built in Quebec, Legault said. ...

      As a bonus, he estimates Quebec will be able to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 37.5 per cent of the benchmark 1990 levels by 2030. If potential deals to sell power to Massachusetts and New York materialize as he hopes, greenhouse gases would be cut by five million tonnes a year and Quebec would be richer by $1 billion from the sales, Legault said. ...

      Asked if he is sending a message to newly elected Alberta premier Jason Kenney, who dreams of exporting oil via pipelines through Quebec, Legault said Quebec will still need oil for many years. He cautiously did not repeat his previous comments about Alberta’s oil being a form of “dirty energy.” Quebec already gets 80 per cent of its oil from Alberta and the United States, and that won’t stop for now, he said. “We want to decrease (consumption) but we won’t be able to reduce it to zero in the next few years,” Legault said. “It’s a transition.”

      The upside to cutting oil consumption by the reduction goal, he added, is Quebec would save $10 billion a year, which is what it pays now for oil supplies.



      With Premier Francois Legault proposing to reduce Quebec's dependence on fossil fuels greatly by shifting to renewable hydroelectricity (see the last post), there small chance of Scheer getting Quebec to agree to an energy (read fossil fuel) corridor across Canada were reduced even further.


      Jason Kenney's solution to the wildfires threatening Alberta's boreal forests and communities is to pretend it has no relationship to global warming and the production of fossil fuels. At least he's consistent. Meanwhile former Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith and the vast majority of Edmonton's MSM scream what problem. 

       Shawn Cahill/Creative Commons

      Wildfire near High Level Alberta

      It is an irony, though not a particularly satisfying one to observe, that while Premier Jason Kenney's United Conservative Party government moves swiftly to repeal Alberta's carbon tax, the province is aflame, with more than 5,000 Albertans required to leave homes and communities in imminent danger of destruction. It is only May. ... In other words, it's barely spring. God only knows what things will be like around here by midsummer. 

      Well, get used to it. It gets harder by the day to deny the reality of global climate change. One of the effects of this inconvenient fact on Alberta's part of our planet is that there are going to be more frequent and more severe forest fires -- the kind that destroyed large swaths of the town of Slave Lake in 2011, Fort McMurray in 2016, and which are now threatening High Level.

      "Fire driven weather is 'new reality' for Canada and elsewhere, expert cautions," said the headline on the news summary of an episode yesterday of The Current, CBC Radio's daily news analysis program hosted by Anna Maria Tremonti. Tremonti's interview with Ed Struzik, author of Firestorm: How Wildfire Will Shape Our Future and a fellow of the Queen's Institute for Energy and Environmental Policy, was playing on the car radio as I drove to work. Fire-caused weather that results in dynamic, fast moving fires is "the new reality," Struzik was saying. "We saw it in B.C. in the last two years, and Alberta the year before, Waterton National Park. Ontario got hit hard last year. I think this is what we're going to be seeing more of every summer."

      Pine beetle infestations that have killed vast swaths of trees in this region, another manifestation of global warming, have left explosively dry dead forests in their wake, compounding the problem.

      Kenney's response to this situation is to pretend it isn't happening. Oh, sure, he and members of his government make pro forma acknowledgements of global climate change from time to time, but their actions and intentions belie them.

      This includes, of course, their Trump-like efforts to dismantle all of the inadequate measures taken by the previous NDP government to reduce Alberta's massive carbon footprint. Alberta oilsands extraction operations alone add more carbon pollution to the atmosphere than the entire economies of British Columbia and Quebec combined.

      Bill 1, An Act to Repeal the Carbon Tax, was introduced in the provincial legislature on Wednesday and will take effect on May 30. A federal carbon tax will likely replace it, although Kenney has vowed to fight that in the courts. The position of this bill atop of the government's radical agenda is intentionally symbolic and tells you everything you need to know about where Kenney really stands on climate change.

      Premier Kenney also intends to fight measures to ameliorate climate change in the court of public opinion. In the fall he plans to travel to his native Ontario to campaign against the Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and try to install another climate-change denying Conservative government in the nation's capital. ...

      Scheer, whose energy policies are drawn from the same playbook as Kenney's and Ontario Premier Doug Ford's, has his own answer to stories like the CBC's interview with Struzik. Back in 2016, he promised that if he became prime minister, he'd shut down the CBC's news division. Easy-peasy, that solves the problem of stories about global warming! ...

      "Alberta's public sector unions back doomsday anti-oil campaign," screeched former Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith in a column typical of the drivel published on this topic by Postmedia, the U.S.-controlled corporation that dominates media in Alberta. "It simply doesn't follow that catastrophe awaits humanity with an additional 1.5 degrees more," insisted Smith, who nowadays hosts a right-wing talk radio show. "The record shows that humanity has proven remarkably resilient and adaptable to climate change. There’s no reason to believe that will stop."

      kropotkin1951 kropotkin1951's picture

      We have a white haze of smoke from those fires blanketing Vancouver Island and they want Canadians to build the tar sands oligarchy a pipeline,


      This map from earlier today is already out of as CBC on the evening news is showing the smoke from the Alberta wildfires extending over Vancouver and Vancouver Island as well going as far east as Northwestern Ontario which is shown on the map. There has been more than 500 wildfires so far this year as global warming continues its exponential growth on impacts around the world. 

      The  article accompanying the map that states there are 5,000 people out of their homes in Alberta is also out-of-date. There are now 9,500 people out of their homes.

      The Chuckegg Creek wildfire alone is spreading at the previously unheard of rate of 29 hectares a minute and" is now estimated to be 230,000 hectares (2300 squar km.) in size, having grown from 150,000 hectares Wednesday morning." (



      Premier Jason Kenney says May 30th will mark the end of the Alberta Carbon Tax. Photo courtesy Jason Kenney (Facebook).

      Meanwhile Nero (aka Jason Kenney) continues fiddling as his province burns. 

      Although the Carbon Tax Repeal Act — the UCP’s first bill — is yet to pass, fuel sellers were expected to stop collecting the tax at 12:01 a.m.

      Just hours later, the skies of Edmonton darkened with smoke from wildfires in the north of the province.

      A press conference with Premier Jason Kenney, planned for a gas station in west Edmonton Thursday afternoon, was cancelled when the fire situation worsened.

      His office said it was so he could receive a briefing on the emergency.



      View image on Twitter

      By yesterday Alberta wildfire smoke had caused major smoke  visibility and health advisories in Edmonton as seen above, with those problems extending to Calgary today. Smoke from Alberta wildfires is now affecting air quality as far east as New England and as far south as North Carolina. 

      The area burned in Alberta wildfires has increased from 2300 square km to 4,976 square km since yesterday from 552 wildfires that have now displaced more than 10,000 people, according to CBC. The area burned will all but certainly surpass the area of Prince Edward Island (5,660 square km) soon even though we are still early in the wildfire season that lasts until October and typically reaches its height in July-August. 

      Meanwhile Jason Kenney cancels celebration of carbon tax repeal to get briefed on wildfires but leaves out any mention of climate change in later comments. As the title of the following article says, Kenney is not a climate change denier, but a climate change dodger. Unfortunately, he sees campaigning for Doug Ford and Scheer in Ontario as more important than dealing with the reality of global warming and wildfires in Alberta.

      Last week, when wildfires forced 5,000 people to flee their homes in and around the northern Alberta community of High Level, Premier Jason Kenney headed to Ontario on a business trip.

      And then stayed there over the weekend to campaign with federal Conservatives.

      No surprisingly, Kenney has since been lambasted by the NDP Opposition as a later-day Nero who fiddled while Alberta burned.

      “Sticking around an extra two days to campaign for his buddies in the Conservative party when people were being evacuated from towns in northern Alberta doesn’t show leadership,” said NDP leader Rachel Notley. “He could be reaching out to people who have been dislocated, talking to them. They’d like to see their premier.” ...

      The NDP argues the disturbing number of large forest fires the past decade in Alberta, including the 2011 fire that destroyed one-third of Slave Lake, is evidence that climate change is making wildfires more likely and more destructive.

      It’s a position put forward by climate scientists. But Kenney is apparently having none of it. “There have always been forest fires,” he said on Monday. “Back before human contact there were forest fires that took millions of acres of forested land.”

      It’s this kind of comment that has Kenney’s critics calling him a denier of man-made climate change.

      But Kenney is careful in his wording. “I accept the science on anthropogenic climate change and the need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions,” said Kenney. He says nobody can point to any one wildfire and say it’s the result of climate change — and on that point he is correct. ...

      [Wildfire expert Mike] Flannigan points out, Alberta’s wildfire season now starts in March, not April. His conclusion: “It’s climate change in action, absolutely.”

      Flannigan is not alone. His argument that climate change is a force multiplier making large, devastating fires more likely has long been supported by other scientists.

      Federal research scientist Megan Kirchmeier-Young, for example, studied the devastating fires in BC in 2017 and concluded in a report early this year, “As the climate continues to warm, we can expect that costly extreme wildfire seasons — like 2017, in BC — will become more likely in the future. This will have increasing impacts on many sectors, including forest management, public health, and infrastructure.”

      But if Kenney was to accept the science, he’d have to then explain what he’ll do about it. And that tends to take politicians down the road of carbon taxes and climate leadership plans — and Kenney just won a provincial election campaigning against both.



      Pikangikum First Nation, a remote fly-in reserve 500 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay, Ont., has declared a state of emergency as plans to evacuate 1,200 to 1,300 people who are vunerable to smoke and other wildfire conditions ramp up. Because many First Nations people live in or near Canada's boreal forests face increasing threat of wildfires as the boreal forests face the warmer, drying conditions associated with global warmer, they are suffering greater impacts from climate change than the general population. 

      Evacuation efforts in Pikangikum First Nation are ramping up as a wildfire threatening the northern Ontario community gains strength and cripples local telecom services.

      Alvin Fiddler, Grand Chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, which represents 49 First Nation communities across northern Ontario, says he's hoping at least 1,200 people will be airlifted from the community by end of day Friday. He says a forest fire burning near the eastern edge of the fly-in community has grown in the past 24 hours and has damaged the broadband communications line running through the area, knocking out all phone and internet service. Fiddler says just over 200 people on a list of residents prioritized for evacuation left Pikangikum on Thursday, and he hopes the remaining 1,200 to 1,300 will be flown out soon. ...

      Environment Canada has issued a special air quality statement for the Pikangikum area, warning residents could experience symptoms such as coughing, headaches or shortness of breath. “Children, seniors and those with cardiovascular or lung disease, such as asthma, are especially at risk,” the agency said, adding the northerly winds should help improve conditions in Pikangikum but blow smoke towards communities further south.


      Man-made barriers set up to prevent flooding on Ward's Island. 680 NEWS/Momin Quresh

      Lake Ontario water levels set a new record in reaching the highest level in recorded history with strong winds increasing the impact on the Toronto Islands, as climate change hits home in the city, as described by Councillor Joe Cressy. The second url deals with a report on long-term climate change adaptation and resilience measures commissioned in 2017 following similar flooding in the Toronto Islands will be released on June 21st.

      Water levels on Lake Ontario have reached the highest point in recorded history, putting the Toronto Islands at risk of significant flooding.

      Current levels have reached 76.03 metres above sea level, topping the previous record of 75.93 metres which was set in 2017 when the islands were inundated with water.

      Ferry service to Hanlan's Point has been suspended and the area around Gibraltar Point has been closed off as a result. Worse, strong winds are expected on Thursday afternoon, something that could lead to "significant wave action," local Coun. Joe Cressy warned. "This is a difficult time for local residents, who are also working tirelessly to protect the Islands. We are all grateful for volunteer assistance from visitors and the public," Cressy said in a tweet. ...

      City officials say the winds and rising lake levels could lead to further breaches of the Islands' shoreline, which has been heavily sandbagged in anticipation of flooding.

      While Cressy considers those efforts crucial, he also sees them as a band-aid fix to the larger issue of climate change, and he’s hoping a report due for publication on June 21 will lead the city towards more sustainable solutions.

      The city commissioned the report on long-term climate change adaptation and resilience measures with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) after the devastating Islands flooding in 2017 that shuttered the popular tourist destination and caused extensive property damage to homes and businesses.

      “In an era of escalating climate change … an annual sandbagging effort is not and cannot be the solution,” Cressy said. “As the local councillor I am not satisfied with having my residents every year going out and sandbagging their front doors in order to keep their properties and their friends and families safe. We see that climate change is real, it is happening daily and it’s not just Toronto,” he added. “But if we don’t get in front of it the water will consume us.”



        The NDP announced their $15 billion climate change plan that will eliminate $3 billion in fossil fuel subsidies today. 

        The NDP’s newly revealed climate change plan that promises 300,000 new jobs is drawing praise from environmental advocates who hope it will pressure the Liberals to announce higher emissions reduction targets ahead of the fall election. ...

        The Liberals have committed to a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2030—the same commitment as the previous Stephen Harper-led Conservative government. In their plan released earlier this month, the Greens committed to a 60 percent reduction below 2005 levels by 2030. The Conservatives have yet to release a climate change plan but say they will later in June.

        The NDP does not make a commitment based on a percentage reduction. Specifically, the NDP promises they will “adopt science-based GHG emissions reduction targets for 2030 that are in line with stabilizing the global temperature increase at 1.5 degrees Celsius, and be accountable for meeting them.”

        The NDP claims that all the measures in their plan will reduce emissions to 450 megatonnes by 2030, which amounts to a 37 percent reduction below 2005 levels. But NDP policy wonks emphasized to VICE that this is just a start; they are planning additional measures that will bump that percentage up. They said the important thing is to commit to keeping warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius in line with what the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has recommended. ...

        The Liberals have committed to a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions below 2005 levels by 2030—the same commitment as the previous Stephen Harper-led Conservative government. In their plan released earlier this month, the Greens committed to a 60 percent reduction below 2005 levels by 2030. The Conservatives have yet to release a climate change plan but say they will later in June. 

        The NDP does not make a commitment based on a percentage reduction. Specifically, the NDP promises they will “adopt science-based GHG emissions reduction targets for 2030 that are in line with stabilizing the global temperature increase at 1.5 degrees Celsius, and be accountable for meeting them.” 

        The NDP claims that all the measures in their plan will reduce emissions to 450 megatonnes by 2030, which amounts to a 37 percent reduction below 2005 levels. But NDP policy wonks emphasized to VICE that this is just a start; they are planning additional measures that will bump that percentage up. They said the important thing is to commit to keeping warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius in line with what the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has recommended. But he said there’s still a question mark hanging over proposed projects that would increase fossil fuel production, including pipelines that would transport liquefied natural gas to an export facility in Prince Rupert, BC. ...

        “From an economic standpoint this makes sense,” he continued. “The cost of not acting is greater than the cost of acting. We’re going to pay a lot more if we don’t take action along with the rest of the world.”

        Cam Fenton, spokesperson for Canada’s, an organization working to end the climate crisis, said the NDP plan is “really exciting.” “There are areas it can be pushed and be bolder, but it looks like the pathway we need to be on.” is calling for a Green New Deal in Canada, similar to what New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has proposed in the U.S.  Fenton says the NDP plan is in line with their proposed Green New Deal, but less ambitious. “When we talk about the Green New Deal, we talk about this idea of a World War II scale economic mobilization to tackle the climate crisis. ...

        “Given last fall’s IPCC report, given the flooding in eastern Canada, the fires that are already starting in the west this summer, I don’t think [the Liberals] can get up and say, ‘We’re doing enough’.”


        Mighty Middle

        jerrym wrote:

        While the NDP needs to answer some serious questions about their climate change plan

        It didn't help matters that on the day of his Climate Plan rollout, Jagmeet Singh refused all interviews on Friday and on the Sunday AM Political shows.

        Go 43 Minutes into video below


        Mighty Middle, the NDP have gotten praise for their plan from environmentalists while the Liberals have faced a lot of criticism on this front for their failures to address the issue successfully for the last 25 years and their ongoing support for fossil fuel subsidies and the Trans Mountain pipeline. How about discussing the issue for a change? 

        There are also clear commitments like immediately ending fossil fuel subsidies to producers, and implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh had also previously committed to cancelling the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion if elected.

        “It seems like a pretty strong plan,” said Dale Marshall, National Climate Program Manager for Environmental Defense, a climate advocacy organization. “It basically covers the vast majority of the bases that are needed.” ... Marshall said the NDP plan promises big benefits, even for Canadians who don’t take climate change seriously. “They talk about the job creation potential, which is in line with what the research shows, that we will create more jobs by moving toward a low-carbon economy,” he said. “From an economic standpoint this makes sense,” he continued. “The cost of not acting is greater than the cost of acting. We’re going to pay a lot more if we don’t take action along with the rest of the world.”

        Cam Fenton, spokesperson for Canada’s, an organization working to end the climate crisis, said the NDP plan is “really exciting. There are areas it can be pushed and be bolder, but it looks like the pathway we need to be on.”  is calling for a Green New Deal in Canada, similar to what New York congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has proposed in the U.S. Fenton says the NDP plan is in line with their proposed Green New Deal, but less ambitious. “When we talk about the Green New Deal, we talk about this idea of a World War II scale economic mobilization to tackle the climate crisis. ...

        Fenton said “Given last fall’s IPCC report, given the flooding in eastern Canada, the fires that are already starting in the west this summer, I don’t think [the Liberals] can get up and say, ‘We’re doing enough’.”


        Meanwhile the Liberals have had no answers that have worked for 25 years, as shown below, and are still subsidizing the fossil fuel industry with billions and proposing to build more pipelines. 

        The Liberals have failed to live up to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) reached in Rio de Janiero that came into effect under the Chretien government in 1994  to "stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system"; (; 

        failed to live up to the 1997 Kyoto Accords under the Chretien and Martin governments to reduce emissions by 6% compared to 1990 levels of 461 Mts, but instead raised them from 671 Mt in 1997 to  747 Mt - the last full year of the Martin government - (; 

        Trudeau adopted Harper's greenhouse emissions targets when Trudeau gained power after decrying the terrible job Harper had done on environmental issues (;

        continued $3.3 billion in subsidies to the fossil fuel industry instead of shifting this subsidy to renewable energy (; 

        will almost certainly fail to meet the greenhouse gas emission (Harper's) targets that Trudeau said they were "absolutely committed" to, according to the auditor general (; 

        bought the Trans Mountain pipeline for $4.5 billion and are now estimated to have to spend at least $9.3 billion on building it for a total cost of $13.8 billion to taxpayers to triple the bitumen flow and greenhouse gas emissions;(

        in April 2019 Canada's Environmental Commission, Julie Gelfand, in her final report said the Trudeau government is not on track to reach its 2030 fossil fuel emissions reduction targets despite the fact that Canada is warming twice as fast as the rest of the world. Her final conclusions as the country's environmental watchdog say it is Canada's slow action to deal with the warming planet that is most "disturbing" (; 



        The following Chatelaine article gives a good description of some of the many challenges of global warming that Canada's regions are facing, including: an ice-free Arctic will create security concerns andinvite oil drilling; thawing permafrost will destabilize infrastructure; likely extinction of the polar bear; B.C. and Alberta will experience even more fires, as well as nothern Ontario and Quebec; B.C. salmon stocks will dwindle; the Canadian Prairies will get a longer growing season but parts of it will become a dust bowl; warmer Great Lakes mean more  invasive species; Central Canada temperatures will often be scorching; loss of significant Atlantic coastal areas to sea level rise.



        Extreme weather events driven by global warming are increasing across North America. While the following article is about the United States, these extreme weather events won't stop because there is a border. 

        Flooding along the Mississippi River is the worst it’s been since 1927. More than 50 tornadoes touched down during the Memorial Day weekend. In Denver, it snowed more than three inches last week. 

        Climate scientists say this is only the beginning of what will be decades of increasingly dangerous and damaging extreme weather – and there’s no question that much of it’s being driven by global warming.

        The scientific data is too clear and too overwhelming to come to any other conclusion, said Richard Rood, a meteorologist and professor of climate research at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. ...

        The coherent and convergent data signals climate scientists across the globe are seeing “make it extraordinarily unlikely that this is just a set of typical weather events that just happen to occur at the same time,” Rood said.  ...

        Global warming has already increased the odds of record hot and wet events happening in 75% of North America, said Noah Diffenbaugh, a professor of climate science at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California. 

        For dry events such as droughts, it’s 50% of North America, said Diffenbaugh, who has provided testimony and scientific expertise on climate change to the White House, the governor of California and U.S. congressional offices. 

        The Fourth National Climate Assessment released in November found that as the planet warms because of human-caused climate change, heavy downpours are increasing in the Midwest. From the early 1990s to the mid-2010s, very heavy precipitation events in the Midwest increased by 37%. ...

        The report said "an increase in localized extreme precipitation and storm events can lead to an increase in flooding. River flooding in large rivers like the Mississippi, Ohio, and Missouri Rivers and their tributaries can flood surface streets and low-lying areas, resulting in drinking water contamination, evacuations, damage to buildings, injury, and death." The United States is seeing clear increases in historical terms of severe heat, heavy rainfalls and storm-surge flooding. ...

        Those events include the hot, dry summer over the central United States in 2012 that led to severe declines in crop yields, the recent California drought that lasted seven years, the storm-surge flooding during Superstorm Sandy in 2012 and the record rainfall delivered to Houston by Hurricane Harvey in 2017, said Diffenbaugh.

        In the Midwest, the characteristics of winters are changing, they’re getting warmer and wetter, followed by large amounts of spring rain. “That’s a formula for flooding."


        Young people advocating for a Green New Deal in the recent European elections played a major role in the outcome of the election. In addtiont to dealing with climate change, the European Green New Deal is even bringing up the word that cannot be spoken - nationalization, in terms of some private real estate and corporations like BMW for breaking antitrust rules. The extent of the Green New Deal activism of youth on the federal October election results remains to be seen. 

        With major votes occurring within the span of five months this year, the European Union and Canadian federal elections are critical in deciding our planet’s future.

        The results of the EU election — in which each European country elects an allotted number of representatives to the EU parliament — have already resulted in big changes, largely due to youth getting involved in politics.

        Young people around the world are demonstrating a thorough understanding of the larger economic and environmental threats that are endangering not only individual freedom, but the very survival of our own species and more than a million others.

        Around the world, youth protest movements like #FridaysForFuture have been growing steadily. Student protesters recently turned out in 120 countries and 1,700 cities to demand action on climate change just days before the EU elections on May 26. The next global student strike has already been announced for Sept. 20 and is expected to draw even bigger numbers. ...

        There was a renewed brawl pitting democratic eco-socialists and liberals against conservatives and far-right parties, as Europeans witnessed most strikingly in the first debate of the lead candidates of the pan-European parties.

        The debate focused on “digital Europe,” “sustainable Europe” and the future of Europe. 

        The prospect of a European Green New Deal — popular among young voters — has been increasingly paired with renewed discussions about democratizing the European Union not just politically, but also economically. 

        Yanis Varoufakis’s transnational party European Spring included a Green New Deal in its platform, with the following pledges: “To dismantle the habitual domination of corporate power over the will of citizens; to re-politicize the rules that govern our single market and common currency.”

        The party only marginally missed the threshold for securing seats in Germany and Greece, but more than 1.4 millions Europeans voted for a Green New Deal. In Spain, the Socialist Party (PSOE) won on a Green New Deal platform.

        As World Economic Forum writer Katie Whiting explained, a European Green New Deal would invest “at least five per cent of Europe’s GDP in emissions-free transportation infrastructure, renewable energies and innovative technologies, while creating jobs and transitioning Europe to zero-emissions — all without raising taxes.” ...

        The European Greens, with 69 projected MEPs in the European Parliament, will certainly need to respond to calls from the Left Bloc (38 seats) and the Socialists and Democrats (153 seats) to work together on making Europe environmentally green and socially just.

        They’ll have to do so while dealing with MEPs from pan-European parties like Volt Europa who want to democratize the European Union as far-right parties like Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) embrace increasingly nationalist and isolationist views.

        The EU environmental agenda is also being shaped by particular national New Green debates. For example, in Germany, there is talk of reappropriating apartment units and car manufacturers to alleviate inequality and establish a more sustainable Europe. ...

        Soon after discussions about nationalizing real estate properties emerged in the state of Berlin, Kevin Kühnert, the head of the 80,000-member-strong youth movement of the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD), was recently in the news for public remarkscalling for the nationalization of corporations like BMW as well. 

        BMW is in the spotlight due to allegations it “breached EU antitrust rules from 2006 to 2014,” according to the European Commission. It’s being investigated for allegedly using illegal defeat devices to cheat regulatory emissions tests.

        It’s not just young people making the case for abolishing private ownership of some entities. These daring remarks by young people, sometimes considered taboo, have inspired older generations too. As Germany celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Federal Republic and its German Basic Law, even Baby Boomers are reminding the public about the law’s Article 15 that allows the nationalization of private property

        Demands for action on climate change are growing louder every day. British parliament recently declared a climate emergency due in part to ongoing protests organized by the Extinction Rebellion movement, which has also been supported by #FridaysForFuture student activist Greta Thunberg.


        In Fredericton on June 4th the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions put out a warning on climate change in the form of a discussion paper. It warns nurese to expect a enormous growth in the health impacts of global warming around the world that will make it the #1 health crisis of the 21st century, including in Canada. It also warned of the need to divest from the fossil fuel industries. 

        About 1,000 nurses from across Canada in town for the CFNU's biennial convention heard from one of the paper's authors, Dr. Wanda Martin of the University of Saskatchewan, and from Dr. Courtney Howard, president of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment. Both noted a need to promote the divestment of shares in high-emissions sectors from investment plans.

        Indeed, Howard was a leader of the successful campaign in 2015 to get the Canadian Medical Association to divest fossil-fuel holdings. In 2016, the CMA announced it had completed divestment of its own organizational fund from fossil fuels. It set up a fossil-fuel-free investment fund that physicians are also encouraged to use for their own savings.

        From food security to the impact for wildfire smoke, medical professionals are starting to treat the global climate crisis as a global health crisis -- in the words of Martin, a registered nurse with a PhD, "the biggest health crisis of the 21st century. ...

        To critics who advise such medical professionals to stay in their lane, they have an easy answer: the health impacts of extreme weather events, drought, famine and refugee migration are right in their lane.

        The paper -- Climate Change and Health: It's time for nurses to act -- connects the dots between the emerging climate crisis and health care, said CFNU president Linda Silas.

        "Canada's nurses can prepare their health care communities to help patients during the coming climate crisis," she said in a public statement. "But this paper also provides nurses with a blueprint on how to become strong advocates for a sustainable and healthy future for our planet."

        "As the paper says, it's our duty as nurses, citizens and parents to move quickly in response to this catastrophic threat," Silas explained.




        Ape Goes To Dahr Jamail: End of Ice (UVIC, June 5, 2019)

        "Bearing witness and finding meaning in the path of climate disruption..."