Posts filed under ‘Climate’

We’re Teaching Kids the Wrong Ways to Fight Climate Change

Illustration courtesy of Seth Wynes and Kimberly Nicholas, 2017, Environmental Research Letters

When Seth Wynes was teaching high school science in Canada, there was one question his students asked him that he had trouble answering: What can I do to stop climate change? The existence of climate change was an unpleasant surprise for many of them—they had grown up hearing adults talk about things like peak oil in doom-laden tones, so the news that humans would trash the atmosphere before they even reached peak oil filled them with alarm. They wanted to do something.

Then Wynes began comparing their resesarch to climate-related documents aimed at teenagers and adults in the three most high-emitting countries on the list: Canada, Australia, and the United States. He wanted to know—were the actions on his list the same as the actions these documents recommended?

They were not, as Wynes and Nicholas reveal in a paper that was published this week in the journal Environmental Research Letters. The most high-impact actions on his list, like living without a car, avoiding transatlantic flights, and eating a plant-based diet were often ignored entirely in educational climate change materials, which favored less-effective actions like recycling and using more energy-efficient lightbulbs.

Read the full article We’re Teaching Kids the Wrong Ways to Fight Climate Change by Heather Smith at Sierra Club.

August 9, 2017 at 10:37 am Leave a comment

Central Canada pounded by ‘severe hardships’ as flooding continues

 A new report shows high water levels and floods are still pounding Central Canada and causing “severe hardships” to residents and business owners, almost three months after a joint Canada-United States body warned of “major coastal flooding.”

Water is rushing into Lake Ontario at “close to record-high values for this time of year,” the board has said, complicating an effort it began in June to drain the lake at “unprecedented” rates.

The extended period of high water is in line with warnings from both politicians and Canadian scientists, who have anticipated that climate change will increase the “frequency and severity of extreme weather events” such as floods, heat waves and droughts.

Read the full article Central Canada pounded by ‘severe hardships’ as flooding continues by Carl Meyer at the National Observer.

August 7, 2017 at 10:50 am Leave a comment

The best way to reduce your personal carbon emissions: don’t be rich

carbon inequality

One of the perennial debates around global warming has to do with the role of individual choices. What responsibilities do individuals have to fight climate change? Are people who advocate for political action on climate change hypocrites if they drive to work, fly to climate conferences, or have three children?

Discussing the role of individual choices in climate change without discussing income inequality is a mug’s game. It smears the responsibility evenly over everyone, when the responsibility ought to be concentrated where the emissions are concentrated: among the wealthy. And the only way to get at the individual consumptive choices of the wealthy, in any meaningful way, is through policy.

So if you’re rich, quit flying so much. But if you’re not, the best thing you can do to reduce carbon emissions is to get involved in politics and policymaking. That’s the only frame for climate mitigation that makes sense.

Read the full article: The best way to reduce your personal carbon emissions: don’t be rich by Dave Roberts at Vox.

July 17, 2017 at 10:51 am Leave a comment

Energy East pipeline review may look at broader climate impacts

Image result for sunset lake ontario

The National Energy Board’s review of TransCanada’s Energy East pipeline has had more than a few hiccups along the way. Take, for example, the revelation of secret closed-door industry meetings and the allegations of bias that led to the entire National Energy Board’s panel reviewing the project stepping down last September. In January, the newly appointed panel voided all prior decisions, sending the process back to square one and appointing a new panel.

With that black mark behind it, the board recently announced it would be taking public input on the issues it should consider as part of its review. It’s especially interested in hearing about the issue of the pipeline’s broader environmental effects, including greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Read Energy East pipeline review may look at broader climate impacts by Charles Hatt and Dyna Tuytel at Ecojustice.

June 21, 2017 at 9:48 am Leave a comment

No country on Earth is taking the 2 degree climate target seriously

If we mean what we say, no more new fossil fuels, anywhere.

One of the morbidly fascinating aspects of climate change is how much cognitive dissonance it generates, in individuals and nations alike.

The more you understand the brutal logic of climate change — what it could mean, the effort necessary to forestall it — the more the intensity of the situation seems out of whack with the workaday routines of day-to-day life. It’s a species-level emergency, but almost no one is acting like it is. And it’s very, very difficult to be the only one acting like there’s an emergency, especially when the emergency is abstract and science-derived, grasped primarily by the intellect.

Read No country on Earth is taking the 2 degree climate target seriously by David Roberts at Vox.

May 8, 2017 at 10:45 am Leave a comment

Despite Trump, Canada’s budget stays the course on climate change

Some industry groups and politicians worry about making a clean energy transition in Canada when President Trump still “digs coal.”

So perhaps the most important test for this budget was whether Canada would stick to its guns, or whether Trump’s influence would spur a change in course.

The budget’s clean technology section opens by saying that the “global campaign against climate change is an economic opportunity for Canada,” an opportunity where Canada “can be a true global leader.”

The government zeroes in on clean tech, along with digital industries and agri-food, as growing industries that are key to Canada’s economic success.

The clean power sector alone employed over 9 million people in 2015, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (and including large hydro).

Canada has a strong clean tech foundation. According to data from Analytica Advisors, a consultancy tracking Canada’s clean tech sector, Canada had over 700 companies, $11 billion in revenues, and 55,600 people working in the sector in 2016. But we’ve also been losing market share to our peers, falling from 14th to 19th among the world’s top 25 clean tech exporters in 2016.

Read Despite Trump, Canada’s budget stays the course on climate change by Clare Demerse at cleanenergycanada.

March 27, 2017 at 10:56 am Leave a comment

Ten Climate-Conscious Parents on Talking to Kids about Global Warming

walkingNobody wants to frighten their kids. (We know even the most reasonable adults are shut down by fear.) But as the stakes grow more stark and the politics get more divisive, it’s more crucial than ever that we bring the full force of our emotions to this fight and that we raise active, community-minded, and environmentally-aware citizens. And, I believe, talking to our kids is one way to focus all our own difficult and powerful feelings in a way that fuels rather than saps our civic and political engagement.

Think about it: dealing with climate change is about things kids already know well. It’s about cleaning up our messes; about the sun, wind, air, water, and our own bodies; it’s about treating all people with respect and dignity, about stopping bullies; about sharing; and also about making rules that keep us safe — and making sure everyone follows the same rules! Young people are naturally curious, observant, and creative — they can get excited about nature, science, and new ideas.

Read Ten Climate-Conscious Parents on Talking to Kids about Global Warming by Anna Fahey at The Tyee.

March 1, 2017 at 11:05 am Leave a comment

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