Possible Lessons from the destruction of Fort McMurray

The Fort McMurray wildfire uprooted 88,000 residents of the area. When it is safe to do so, some of these people will return to run the industrial installations that extract bitumen from the neighbouring tar sands. For those who don’t, their immediate future will be uncertain.  They are Canada’s first climate change refugees. Ironically, only …

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“We’re having a heat wave!”

Nearly a century ago Irving Berlin wrote these words for his song: “We’re having a heat wave! A tropical heat wave The temperature’s rising It isn’t surprising . . .  Not so long ago heat waves, defined as three consecutive days of unusual heat, would hit North America approximately every twenty years. Now – unless …

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Reducing emissions before it’s too late!

The World Meteorological Office has confirmed that the year 2015 was the hottest ever.  The month of February just past was the hottest February the world has experienced since 1880, the first year temperature records were kept.  For Toronto and other parts of Canada, February 3rd was the hottest day ever in that month. Climatologists …

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Climate Change Refugees – Part 2

The 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees is the legal document that defines who is a refugee, spells out their rights and imposes legal obligations on states to assist them and grant asylum to bona fide refugees. The Syrian refugees were fleeing the devastation and perils of the civil war in Syria.  They were not climate change refugees, even …

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Climate Change Refugees (1st of two comments)

Last year approximately one million refugees fleeing from the civil war in Syria sought asylum somewhere in the world.  The largest group of refugees risked their lives travelling to Europe.  Many perished en route when the small, overloaded boats taking them to Greece sank or capsized. Everyone has seen the pictures of the grief of …

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