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!

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A Carbon Tax bites the Australian dust!

A week ago we thought that a non-political, reasonable discussion about a carbon tax was possible. BUT that may not be so in Australia, where a carbon tax is a “hot-button” issue!

Canadians voters rejected a Federal carbon tax in the 2008 Federal Election.  New Zealand considered a carbon tax in 2005, but instead opted for an emissions trading scheme that imposed minimum financial burdens on industry. Two days ago Australian voters rejected a carbon tax that had been in effect for several years.

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Down-Under Drama!

Australians are never uninteresting people, and Australian politics is a fascinating story of palace coups, policy flip-flops and personality battles. In this exciting environment it is easy to lose sight of the need for action to reduce climate change.

Australians vote in a general election scheduled for mid-September of this year. Tony Abbot, the leader of the opposition Liberals, is relying heavily upon one principal promise: if elected his party will repeal the Carbon Tax enacted by the current Labour Government – within days. Just recently Abbot has made public a letter that re-iterates and repeats this promise in many different words. He claims that repealing the Carbon Tax will ease cost of living pressures on families, help small business and restore confidence to the economy.

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Australian wildfire disaster: It’s not rocket science – it’s climate science!

The Sandy Hurricane scenario has its counterpart in other “natural disasters”. Particularly in Australia where wild fires this week have devastated large parts of New South Wales and Tasmania, destroying many homes.  These conditions went hand in hand with record temperatures -52 degrees C, easily eclipsing a record of 50.7 C set over fifty years … Read more

A Website for Grandparents

We have been in touch with a colleague, John Price, a retired physician and university teacher living near Ipswich, Australia. John has his own website, one of the best on climate change at http://www.grandkidzfuture.com Price is motivated – as is For Our Grandchildren – by a concern that if we don’t take action to stop global … Read more

After Doha, what’s next?

Last year we said that the Durban Conference (COP 17), “was probably the last chance to come up with a world order that would indeed stop climate change.” Yet, as we have since pointed out, GHG emissions have continued to rise, world temperatures have set new records, most governments have wavered in their determination to … Read more

Listen to the critics!

Nigel Lawson, (now Lord Lawson), a Chancellor of the Exchequer in the UK Government of Margaret Thatcher, published a book in 2008 with the title “An Appeal to Reason”, and sub-titled “A Cool Look at Global Warming”.   Lord Lawson was a member of the UK House of Lords Select Committee on the Economic Effects of Climate … Read more

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