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

The Arctic Polar Jet Stream has gone “loopy”!

In the latter half of March Canadian weather was cold – in the case of the Prairies extremely cold! Surprisingly the settlements on Baffin Island were experiencing relatively mild weather.     One could say that North American weather was turned upside down:  some southern Canadian regions were very cold while Arctic regions were milder. Or, to be more precise, record cold in Saskatchewan and record high temperatures in Nunavut.

In the UK things were so bad that a family member complained to us about the March climate miseries, which were threatening to crack her stiff upper lip. Easter was the coldest ever recorded in the UK, more than 20 degrees below average, and the month of March was the second coldest in 100 years of record keeping. The Met Office extended their Cold Weather Alert Service, which usually finishes at the end of March, by an additional two weeks because of the unrelenting bad weather. The Daily Telegraph thought up the headline: “It’s snowing and it really feels like the beginning of a mini-ice age”.

Robert Browning wrote:

“Oh to be in England, now that April’s here!”

Unfortunately April is predicted to be a month much colder than the average.

Why this weird weather?

Read moreThe Arctic Polar Jet Stream has gone “loopy”!

The Doha Conference– Canada’s Credibility (2)

In our last blog we referred to the assessment of Climate Tracker, an internationally recognized Non-Government Organization, of Canadian Government estimates of progress to meeting reduction targets for Greenhouse gases. Saturday’s Globe & Mail has an article about the risk that Arctic warming presents to polar bears.  The Commission of Environmental Cooperation, established under the …

Read moreThe Doha Conference– Canada’s Credibility (2)

“Chasing Ice”

Last night we saw the Oscar Award Winning Documentary “Chasing Ice” by National Geographic Photographer James Balog. Although previously a climate change sceptic, Balog had witnessed the transformation of the Arctic, and so set about to record changes in glaciers in North America. Perhaps Balog was prodded into action by the virulence of the denial …

Read more“Chasing Ice”

“Climate breakdown is right here, right now.”

Almost two years ago, ForourGrandchildren noted that the Arctic is the fastest-warming region on the planet.  The study quoted in our blog stated that as sea ice melts, darker ocean water is exposed. A darker surface absorbs more heat, and this additional energy then melts more ice, setting in motion a self-reinforcing feedback. For the whole …

Read more“Climate breakdown is right here, right now.”