Ottawa gets it right!

In our 4RG blogs we have commented on mitigation of risks (adaptation) created by a warming climate:  severe weather events that result in flooding, and long periods of drought that lead to devastating forests fires. According to Don Forgeron, the President and CEO of the Insurance Bureau of Canada, the annual economic costs of natural disasters …

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Canada’s biggest climate change event of 2016

The wildland/urban interface disaster that struck Fort McMurray, Alberta in May 2016 was the largest ever insured loss in Canada.  This wildfire destroyed more than 2,400 structures. Wildfires are a distinct emergency that have and will lead to increasing losses. This is clear from comparing Fort McMurray, where the losses topped $3.6 billion, with previous …

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Premier Notley visits Fort McMurray

The Fort McMurray wildfire was sufficiently under control to allow Premier Notley to visit the damaged area of the town.  The wildfire is still advancing towards the Saskatchewan border, but, as it is no longer a risk to any inhabited area, there is no immediate need to check its progress.  Some rain and cool temperatures should …

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Destruction of Fort McMurray

In 2011 we commented on the tragedy of Joplin, Missouri, a town that was wiped out – flattened! – by a severe tornado.   The videos of the residents surveying the destruction were heart-wrenching: the speakers were in shock as they recognized they had lost everything! Nobody wishes to exploit a tragedy as severe as the wild fires that …

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The Climate Change link for Globe & Mail Headlines

“Crash renews oil-by-rail fears”

In June of this year President Obama stated that the he will not approve the Keystone XL pipeline if that would lead to increased GHG emissions.

The North American fossil fuel industry notes that tar sands oil is already moving and will move by rail to US refineries on the Gulf Coast.  This means that approval of Keystone would not result in significantly increased emissions.

The recent Lac Megantic disaster and now the derailment of tanker cars near Gainford, Alberta, raise the question whether the fossil fuel industry will find the risks of rail transport of tar sands oil acceptable.   The industry may change tacks and justify approval of Keystone for safety reasons.

“Canada to push resource development”

Leona Aglukkaq, Canada’s Minister of the Environment, is chair of the Arctic Council, which includes other polar nations. She will be pressing for “responsible resource development” and safe Arctic shipping.

According to the Minister, “safe circumpolar communities” will be free from “short-lived” climate pollutants such as black carbon and methane.  Still the real risk is that warming of the Arctic will result in the release of large quantities of methane from the permafrost.

Responsible resource development includes extraction of oil and natural gas from the Arctic Ocean seabed. Scientists advise that a large part of fossil fuels reserves  must be left “in the ground” to avoid the most serious consequences of global warming.  Embarking on a mammoth program for extraction of fossil fuels from Arctic regions would make any limit on global warming impossible to achieve.

“Officials warn that blaze may reach Sydney”

Last month, Australians rejected a government that was very committed to reducing GHG emissions. Clearly a majority of Australians did not accept the warnings of climate change science.

As promised in its election platform, the new Government immediately disbanded the  Climate Commission, which was established in 2011 with the task of communicating the dangers of climate change to the Australian public.  The Government is also dismantling the Climate Change Authority, which provides advice on emission reduction targets, and the Clean Evidence Finance Corporation, which invests in renewable energy.

Nature “responded” with an enormous blaze that could merge with others and create a “mega fire” as weather conditions worsen!  What hubris: this blaze threatens the great Australian city of Sydney!

Read moreThe Climate Change link for Globe & Mail Headlines