Dependence on Oil: Alberta and Scotland

In our blog of January 21st last we commented on the inconsistency between governments encouraging exploitation of fossil fuels and their endorsement of a 2 °C limit on global warming. This inconsistency arises in part because governments risk rejection by voters if their policies don’t benefit fossil fuels companies. The UK has had a relatively good … Read more

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

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”!

Adapting to Climate Change British Style

Complaints about “weird weather” are mounting.  By tradition and character Brits don’t complain about the weather although they talk about it all the time.  The new “normal“ has stressed this national characteristic, and understandably so:  the United Kingdom has suffered droughts in the last several years to be succeeded more recently by intense rainfall causing … Read more

Click below to subscribe to any of our email newsletters.