All posts in Climate Change

  • renewables
    Peter Jones - April 14, 2014

    Writing on the Wall: the IPCC Fifth Assessment (mitigation)

    The most important statement in the recently released IPCC Report from Working Group III on mitigation is the affirmation that disastrous effects of global warming can still be avoided.

    In practical terms avoidance of disastrous climate change requires international agreement on a price for carbon. The price must reflect the emerging scarcity of disposal space for carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere.

    With a price on carbon, fossil fuels will lose their competitive edge over renewable sources of energy. Canada and certain other countries will find that dependence on fossil fuels for energy cannot be sustained.

    There is another consequence for Canada in the displacement of fossil fuels as a source of energy. In future Canada’s fossil fuel resource industry will progressively contribute less and less to our economy.

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  • Syria
    Peter Jones - April 10, 2014

    An obvious connection: drought and civil war.

    Readers who wish more information on the connection between insurrection, drought and climate change should view the first episode in James Cameron’s series on Climate Change entitled “Years of Living Dangerously”. This episode deals with several countries but most relevant are the interviews and scenes concerning the four years of severe drought in Syria that preceded the civil war in that country.

    This video confirms our conviction that climate change can radically de-stabilize countries.  So we can’t agree with Chris Alexander, the Member of the Canadian Parliament for Scarborough East and now a cabinet minister.  Alexander thinks that terrorism and insurrection is a more important issue than climate change.  He fails to recognize that climate change establishes the conditions for terrorism and insurrection to flourish.

    So we have three areas in Africa and the Middle East – Darfur, Mali and Syria where the connection between drought and war is evident.

    Also remember that the Pentagon considers that climate change raises issues of national security for the United States.  That conclusion should now be obvious to every North American politician.

  • President Obama
    Peter Jones - April 8, 2014

    A human god with feet of clay?

    Noam Chomsky, Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a very effective critic.  His most recent criticism is directed at President Barack Obama, who is a hero to people who look to the US for leadership on climate change.

    Chomsky’s criticism was preceded by his short summary of the world’s bleak situation:

    “But another dire peril casts its shadow over any contemplation of the future – environmental disaster. It’s not clear that there even is an escape, though the longer we delay, the more severe the threat becomes – and not in the distant future.  . . .  “

    Chomsky referred to a speech of President Obama’s two years ago in the oil town of Cushing, Okla., in which the President stated:

     ”Now, under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years. That’s important to know. Over the last three years, I’ve directed my administration to open up millions of acres for gas and oil exploration across 23 different states. We’re opening up more than 75 percent of our potential oil resources offshore. We’ve quadrupled the number of operating rigs to a record high. We’ve added enough new oil and gas pipeline to encircle the Earth and then some.”

    Chomsky observed:

    “The corporate sector is carrying out major propaganda campaigns to convince the public that climate change, if happening at all, does not result from human activity. These efforts are aimed at overcoming the excessive rationality of the public, which continues to be concerned about the threats that scientists overwhelmingly regard as near-certain and ominous. To put it bluntly, in the moral calculus of today’s capitalism, a bigger bonus tomorrow outweighs the fate of one’s grandchildren.”

    Chomsky concluded:

    “What are the prospects for survival then? They are not bright. But the achievements of those who have struggled for centuries for greater freedom and justice leave a legacy that can be taken up and carried forward – and must be, and soon, if hopes for decent survival are to be sustained. And nothing can tell us more eloquently what kind of creatures we are.”

    4RG recognizes the terrible dilemma of politicians, who must continue to retain support from a majority of today’s electorate, an electorate that too often is indifferent to solving tomorrow’s problem.    No doubt President Obama has had to wrestle with this dilemma. i

    But as much as we sympathize, we must side with Chomsky.  The prospects of survival of civilization are under threat. Our world leaders must act!

  • borrow
    Peter Jones - March 31, 2014

    Climate change – but no ark in sight!

    The Fifth Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released today re-emphasizes the conclusions expressed in previous IPCC Reports.  What is new is a focus on risk.  The Fifth Report sets out the impacts of climate change in considerable detail, with a careful statement of the probability of their occurrence.

    Popular opinion may regard risk consequent on climate change differently from country to country.  People in Northern Temperate Climate Countries may think that global warming can’t be all that bad.  Particularly when they have come through a long, cold winter in which the snowfall compares with winters they experienced as children, oh so long ago – even before the term “climate change” had worked its way into a publicly consciousness. (Does that sound like Canada?)

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  • Paul Gildings
    Peter Jones - March 26, 2014

    Carbon Crash – Solar Dawn

    In July 2011, 4RG carried a commentary on The Great Disruption, a book by Paul Gildings. The message was simple:

    In one sense our problem is not climate change, but the delusion that we can have infinite quantitative economic growth supported by fossil fuel energy.  Fossil fuel energy has two large problems:  it is a finite resource where the costs are extraction are mounting rapidly, and it is the source behind ever increasing CO2 emissions to the atmosphere.

    Gildings is writing a second book on the inevitable decline of fossil fuels and in the meantime has written a short column with many warnings and prophecies about the future.

    Here are some of his more insightful predictions:

    • “Renewables and associated storage, transport and digital technologies are so rapidly disrupting whole industries’ business models they are pushing the fossil fuel industry towards inevitable collapse.”
    •  “. . . the utility sector now faces a “death spiral . . .”
    • “. . . all this brings increasing recognition by investors that the carbon bubble and stranded assets are serious financial risks.”
    • “. . . the game is up for fossil fuels. Their decline is well underway and it won’t be a gentle one. . . “

    Follow this link for Gildings entire column – “Carbon Crash – Solar Dawn”.


  • ice storm
    Peter Jones - March 24, 2014

    The Prospect of Resiliency

    In January 2013, Norm Kelly, now the Deputy Mayor of Toronto, reacted with scepticism to a study by experts describing the impact that climate change will have on Toronto. Kelly estimated that accepting the recommendations in the study would require billions of dollars in infrastructure upgrades.

    Kelly and other councillors shrugged off concerns that climate change would contribute to more frequent and more severe extreme weather events.  Kelly said that warmer temperatures in the future “tain’t bad”.   In effect Tennessee’s climate of today will be Toronto’s climate tomorrow. Perhaps he did not appreciate that extreme heat waves cause serious problems for seniors and in other countries have lead to a spike in deaths of aged people?

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