News Flash – The IPCC Fifth Assessment Report

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the first part of its Fifth Assessment Report today, Friday, September 27.  Earlier this summer we commented on the science that underlies this lengthy report. 

Climate Action Network Canada points out that the report shows with greater certainty than ever that climate change is real, caused by human activity and requires urgent action. The report shows that it is certain that the earth is getting warmer, precipitation pattern are changing sea levels are rising, sea ice and glaciers are melting and oceans are acidifying, with serious consequences for our communities, environments and economies.

Read moreNews Flash – The IPCC Fifth Assessment Report

Limiting GHG emissions in the North West Territories

The Diavik Mine ought to be a model for mining operations in the North West Territories.  This mine has large wind turbines to provide electric power for mine operations.  The result is that GHG emissions from the Mine have fallen by 6%, reducing the need for diesel fuel (the source of these emissions) by 5 million litres.

For Our Grandchildren (4RG) has been told that the Mine owners will amortize the large costs of this wind farm in a matter of years.  So shouldn’t this be the standard demanded from all other new mines that are to be opened in the NWT?  And shouldn’t it be a matter of policy to see that wind becomes the source of power for all aboriginal and northern communities and resource operations?

Read moreLimiting GHG emissions in the North West Territories

Albertans at their best!

What?  In the downtown center of Calgary?  Who would ever have expected a flood of such dimensions to hit this Canadian City as happened two days ago?   What an eerie experience! Listening to the noise of the torrential current in Cougar Creek, Canmore, Alberta start the Friday morning broadcast of the CBC‘s show “The Current”.

The most positive thing to come out of such a disaster is the community spirit that has sustained so many Albertans who have lost everything, or almost everything.

Read moreAlbertans at their best!

Fall out from Hurricane Sandy

The message in a recent Globe & Mail column by Eric Reguly was simple: ignoring the cost of climate change is bad business.  Richard Bloomberg, the Mayor of New York City, obviously agrees.  When following Hurricane Sandy the New York launched an inquiry into the costs of climate change, Mayor Bloomberg said:

“The biggest challenge that we face is adapting our city to risks associated with climate change. And meeting that challenge will require us to take a leap into the future. . .the good news is, compared to any other American city, we’ve got a running head start.”

The result of the inquiry was a recent report, entitled  “A Stronger, More Resilient New York.”

The cost of implementing the conclusions in the report will not be small.  They are estimated to be $19.5 billion.  Like all cost estimates the actual cost could well be much greater, particularly if implementation is delayed.  (For the full report follow this link.)

Mayor Bloomberg commented:

“As bad as Sandy was, future storms could be even worse. . . . In fact, because of rising temperatures and sea levels, even a storm that’s not as large as Sandy could, down the road, be even more destructive.”

Read moreFall out from Hurricane Sandy

Insane? Or Irrational? . . . Or?

The International Energy Agency (IEA), a well-recognized authority in such matters, has categorically stated that no more than one-third of proven fossil fuel reserves can be consumed prior to 2050 if the word is to reduce GHG emissions and limit global warming to 2 degrees C.  So for the environmental health of this planet, two-thirds of proven fossil fuel reserves must be left unexploited.

Read moreInsane? Or Irrational? . . . Or?

Waking up to Catastrophe

4RG’s Climate Change Forum, “Waking up to Catastrophe”, took place Saturday, May 25th, in Peterborough, Ontario. The title of the Forum was a carry-forward from last year’s “Sleep Walking to Catastrophe”. Since then public opinion in both Canada and the U.S. has changed, as most people now recognize that climate change is a threat to the future well being of the Earth.

Three panelists covered various dimensions of the topic:

Alanna Mitchell, the author of “Sea Sick”, reviewed the increase of Greenhouse Gas emissions.  She explained that the failure by the nations of the world to cap the emission of carbon dioxide means that the critical limit of GHG in the atmosphere will be exceeded in the next decades. She also pointed out that the oceans are absorbing both heat and carbon dioxide, a situation that will seriously impact fish stocks crucial to feeding the Earth’s population.

Gord Miller, the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario, reviewed the progress of the Province of Ontario in reducing GHG emissions.  He acknowledged that the Province had made progress to date, but pointed out that there were no programs in place for continued reductions from next year to 2020, the target date for Canada under the Copenhagen Accord.

The Honourable Jeff Leal, Minister of Rural Affairs and MPP for Peterborough, reviewed the various programs instituted by the Ontario Government that had put Ontario close at the top of Canadian provinces in reducing GHG emissions.  He then answered a wide variety of questions from the audience directed to environmental issues.

Read moreWaking up to Catastrophe

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