A must read!

In 2012 an enterprising Website ranked Canadian columnists who commented on climate change. Jeffrey Simpson walked away with the Project Beaver Award as the best!. 4RG has commented on numerous Simpson columns.  In our view he has continued to be the most balanced, most insightful and most persistent commentator on the subject. Read his recent …

Read moreA must read!

We are not surprised!

If we are permitted a bit of exaggeration, we would say that Canada has not a hope in hell of reaching its Copenhagen targets for reduced Greenhouse Gas emissions.

Not even its supporters expect the Harper Government to be a miracle maker.  Yet that is what is required if we are to meet this target.  Implementation of the long promised regulations on the oil and gas industry won’t do the trick. . . . and, apart from stricter emissions standards for motor vehicles (adopted from the USA), there is nothing else on the agenda.

Today Environment Canada finally released its analysis of GHG emission trends – three months behind schedule.  Perhaps Canada’s new Environment Minister had to warn her colleagues that the situation described in the report would not be pretty.

Then again perhaps not.  No one in this Government appears to believe in the necessity of avoiding global warming, possibly because they don’t accept the science.

Canada was failing in the other years since Copenhagen but this year it flunked out!  

Read moreWe are not surprised!

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

Canada reacts to the 5th Assessment Report

The public cannot expect a fair and objective press release issued in the name of a Conservative Cabinet Minister. Read our blog: Canadian Government Press Releases=”Spin”.

Fortunately, our Government could not “muzzle” the Environment Canada scientists who contributed to the IPCC 5th Assessment Report.  This Report sets out the current physical science that explains why we are experiencing global warming.

So an Environment Canada scientist, who is a co-ordinating author of the IPCC report, has given us the message that the Assessment Report confirms that the evidence is clear: global warming is occurring – and that humans are the main cause.

“Evidence for a warming climate is getting stronger and stronger, and the evidence of the influence of human activities on that climate change is getting stronger and stronger,” said Gregory Flato, an Environment Canada scientist and manager of the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and Analysis. The effects of climate change impact countries like Canada most strongly, he said.

Read moreCanada reacts to the 5th Assessment Report

Canadian Government Press Releases = “Spin”

“An Environment Canada press release advises that Canada will provide garden hoses to fight forest fires.  The Minister of the Environment pointed out that this program will support Canadian jobs.”

No, you will not find this “Press Release” on the Environment Canada site.  Or any other Government of Canada site. The Press Release is a parody of the numerous press releases that are shovelled out every week by Government Media Relations.

Environment Canada or Natural Resources press releases all extol the wonderful efforts of the Harper Government, such as its encouragement of renewable energy, Canada’s reduction of GHG or the support of other countries fighting climate change.   Almost invariably there is a mention of a dollar figure that is impressive . . . . as long as you don’t compare it with the billions of dollars to repair damages resulting from Climate Change or the billions of dollars required to develop reliable alternative energy sources to fossil fuels.

Other frequent claims in Canadian Government press releases are:

  • the Harper government is balancing the reduction of GHG emissions with the need to support Canada’s economy, or
  • the program will produce jobs across Canada, or
  • the financing of the activity is another example of Canada’s role in the fight against climate change/or maintaining the environment.

Read moreCanadian Government Press Releases = “Spin”