Climate Extremes

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LATEST NEWS ON THIS TOPIC

49% Want Urgent Climate Action as Canadian Wildfire Impacts Mount

Half of Canadians say the recent wave of heat, drought, and wildfires sweeping the country has given them a heightened sense of urgency about the climate crisis, according to an Ipsos poll released Wednesday by Global News.

‘Climate Allows Society’, Governor General Mary Simon Tells Official Ceremony

Trailblazing Northern Quebec Inuit leader Mary Simon emphasized climate change, Arctic environmental protection, and reconciliation as she was installed earlier this week as Canada’s first Inuk governor general.

Ottawa Announces $5.2-Billion Bailout for Muskrat Falls Hydro Megaproject

The Trudeau government has agreed to a tentative, C$5.2-billion bailout for Newfoundland and Labrador’s troubled Muskrat Falls hydropower megaproject, aimed at stopping local electricity rates from almost doubling while taking some of the immediate heat off a province facing serious financial woes.

Bangladesh Flooding Hits Thousands of Rohingya Refugees

Heavy rains in southern Bangladesh this week have flooded and destroyed dwellings at camps hosting more than 800,000 Rohingya refugees.

U.S. Nearly Doubles Wind and Solar Capacity in 2020

The United States almost doubled its new installed capacity of wind and solar power in 2020, according to the American Clean Power Association (ACPA).

California Insurers Abandon Farmers in Face of Wildfire Risk

In yet another sign that our current systems are poorly equipped for the demands of climate change, California farmers are being left unprotected as insurance companies raise premiums and drop renewals to compensate for the increasing risk of wildfires.

Athletes Swelter, Pass Out as Heat Wave Hits Tokyo Olympics

While the lion’s share of the sports reporting focuses on medal counts, COVID-19 prevention measures, and embarrassing gaffes by Olympic officials, the heat wave stifling much of the Northern Hemisphere is putting athletes’ health at risk, with at least one news outlet comparing the Tokyo Summer Games to a battlefield.

New York

IPCC Begins Two-Week Marathon Meeting on New Climate Science Assessment

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has launched a high-stakes, all-virtual marathon meeting aimed at finalizing a key climate science report, the first volume of the world’s first comprehensive climate change assessment in nearly a decade.

Pacific Salmon Face Massive Die-Offs as Temperatures Rise

With massive die-offs predicted for salmon populations across North America’s West Coast, as both home and migratory waters grow too hot for their survival, efforts are intensifying to restore and protect habitats and restrict the annual harvest.

Regulations Fail as Radioactive Oilfield Waste Piles Up in U.S. Landfills

Thirty-four years after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency first detailed the numerous harms emanating from radioactive oilfield waste, a new report concludes that regulation and accountability are even more urgently needed.

Scientists Scramble to Protect Kelp Forests from Heat Waves, Ecosystem Disruption

With kelp gaining recognition as “the ocean’s equivalent of trees,” decarbonizing oceans and providing critical habitat for aquatic species, scientists are racing to protect kelp forests from rising temperatures and disrupted ecosystems.

Food Rescue CEO Urges Waste Reduction While Meat Magnates Boost Emissions

The director of Canada’s largest food rescue organization is urging companies to both fight the climate crisis and secure their bottom lines by eliminating food waste, even as the meat industry lays plans to scale up production.

New Climate Adaptation Coalition to Stress Social Equity, Just Transition

A new climate adaptation coalition is bringing together an unusually wide mix of voices—from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce to the Métis National Council—and placing carbon reductions, social equity, and a just transition off fossil fuels at the centre of its strategy for building climate resilience.

Wilkinson Funds Alberta Flood Control Reservoir Because ‘the Hits Just Keep On Coming’

The federal government has provided the final piece of the puzzle to allow a controversial reservoir that could protect Calgary from future flooding to move forward.

Citizen Complaint Challenges ‘Sustainable’ Certification for Old Growth Logging

The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) is facing a citizen complaint before the federal Competition Bureau for certifying old-growth logging as “sustainable”, something it has being doing since 1996 through its Sustainable Forestry Management standards process.

More Trees, Less Pavement Can Reduce Urban Heat Islands

A new report from Climate Central lays out how U.S. cities can mitigate urban heat islands (UHIs) and adapt to the increasing frequency of extreme heat events. 

Wildfire Wave Creates New Risks for U.S. Solar Operators

Wildfires have cost the United States solar industry tens of millions of dollars in losses over the last decade, and the costs could add up as blazes across the western U.S. become more frequent and severe, warns renewable energy insurance specialist GCube.

Expanding Tailings Pond at Copper Mountain Mine ‘Flirts with Disaster’ for B.C., Washington

The expansion of a tailings pond at a southeastern B.C. copper mine must not be allowed to go ahead without a thorough environmental assessment, says one of the founding organizers of Earth Day.

Battery Fires Prompt Recall for Chevy Bolt EV

General Motors has issued a recall for Chevy Bolt electric vehicles manufactured between 2017 and 2019, after a dozen of them had their batteries catch fire in just over a year, including two in the last month.

Quebec Rejects $14-Billion LNG Terminal

Quebec has rejected GNL Québec’s application to build a C$14-billion liquefied natural gas terminal in the Saguenay region, capping years of opposition by Indigenous communities, climate campaigners, scientists, and health professionals.

Terrifying Headlines Sweep the Globe as Climate Impacts Accelerate Worldwide

While terrifying wildfires and flash floods make headlines across the globe, researchers are offering a starkly honest road map for cities looking for the swiftest path to greater resilience.

Two Manitoba Municipalities Declare Agriculture Disaster

Farmers are calling for emergency relief after two rural municipalities in Manitoba’s Interlake region declared a state of agriculture disaster earlier this month following drought, extreme heat, and a destructive surge of grasshoppers. 

Extreme Weather a Climate ‘Wake-Up Call’ for Canadians, Wilkinson Says

Extreme weather conditions across the country should be a wake-up call for people resisting taking action against climate change, Environment and Climate Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said Tuesday.

‘We Have No Choice’: Ottawa adds $1.4B to Climate Adaptation Fund

The federal government is adding almost C$1.4 billion to its disaster mitigation and adaptation fund this year to help communities across Canada facing climate change and environmental disasters.

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Carbon Capture a ‘Dangerous Distraction’, 500 Organizations Warn Canada, U.S.

Technological carbon capture is a “dangerous distraction” that will only delay the transition off fossil fuels, “despite occupying centre stage in the ‘net-zero’ climate plans trumpeted by the United States, Canada, and other countries”, more than 500 organizations are warning this week, in an open letter to political leaders published simultaneously in the Washington Post and the Hill Times.

Climate Change Adds New Risks for Retirement Savings

Individual retirement savings are facing a new form of risk as climate change wallops the corporate world’s physical assets and drives heavy economic losses.

Start Keeping Promises on Climate Finance, Developing Countries Urge G7, G20

Developing countries have presented G7 and G20 nations with a five-point plan to correct their “worrying lack of urgency” on climate finance in the lead-up to this year’s United Nations climate conference, COP 26, coming up in November.

Canada Must Protect ‘Near Urban’ Wild Spaces to Meet Conservation Goals

The federal government must prioritize the protection of “near-urban” nature—spaces rich in biodiversity but increasingly fragmented and fragile—if Canada is to make good on its promise to protect 30% of its land and waters by 2030.

New Solar Projects Train Indigenous Youth in 2 Saskatchewan Communities

Two Northern Saskatchewan Indigenous communities are engaging younger generations in renewable energy by launching in-school solar power projects.

Chicago, Detroit Floods Show Inland Cities Threatened by Rising Waters

As climate change wreaks havoc with the world’s water cycles, Chicago and Detroit are facing a serious reckoning with their engineering—and social—underpinnings.

New Wave of Atlantic Hurricanes May Be a Rebound from Earlier Lull

A new study of satellite data suggests that what has been perceived as a “century-scale increase” in hurricane activity in recent decades may just be a rebound from a lull caused in part by aerosol pollution.

188 Dead, Widespread Destruction as Western Europe Receives 2 Months of Rain in 2 Days

After two months’ worth of rain fell in just two days through July 14 and 15, causing severe flooding in much of Western Europe and leaving nearly 200 people dead, political leaders are attributing the deluge to the climate emergency.

In Conversation: ‘Crushing Moments’ of Wildfire, Drought Must Spur Governments to Action, Newton Says

Teika Newton is Managing Director of Climate Action Network Canada (CAN-Rac) and lives near Kenora, Ontario. In this feature interview conducted last Friday, she talks about the day-to-day realities of a climate emergency, the resilience she’s learned from other generations, and what it’s like to work on climate policy with wildfires nearby…and the winds blowing in her direction.

Amazon Deforestation Flips Carbon Balance, Puts 10,000 Species at Risk

With scientists confirming that parts of the Amazon rainforest now emit more carbon than they can absorb, a landmark report is warning that more than 10,000 Amazonian species are at high risk of extinction due to habitat destruction.

South Portland, Maine Wins Marathon Pipeline Battle

In a reversal being hailed as a new precedent, a pipeline operator is dropping its six-year-long federal
lawsuit against the city of South Portland, Maine.

Elon Musk’s Fort Lauderdale Tunnel Plans Don’t Hold Water

As Fort Lauderdale, Florida, formally accepts proposal a proposal from Elon Musk’s Boring Company
to build an underground transit tunnel, many are asking if the decision is wise, given the porous ground on which the city sits and the high risk of sea level rise in the area.

Toronto Endorses Fossil Non-Proliferation Treaty, Adopts New Building Retrofit Standards

Toronto city councillors carried off a two-fer this week, adopting two new policies Wednesday to accelerate energy-efficient building retrofits before endorsing the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Thursday afternoon on a 22-2 vote.

Northwest Ontario Fire Evacuations a ‘Race Against Time’

As much of Canada continues to bake under fierce heat, northwestern Ontario communities are calling out the provincial government’s failure to prepare for wildfire season.

Proposed U.S. Clean Energy Bill Could Save 317,000 Lives

The Biden administration’s proposed clean energy standard could enable a swift drop in emissions and save hundreds of thousands of lives between now and 2050, says a new report.

EU Introduces ‘Sweeping’ New Laws to Hit 55% by 2030

The European Union executive has introduced a dozen new laws aimed at curbing carbon pollution, raising renewable energy targets, plant three billion trees, and cut the continent’s greenhouse gas emissions 55% by the end of a “make-or-break decade” for climate and biodiversity.

Hunger Now Kills 11 People Every Minute

A roiling combination of climate crisis, pandemic shock, and war has disrupted food production, leading to a six-fold increase in people suffering famine-like conditions, according to a new report from Oxfam.

Replacing Bolsonaro May Not Be Enough to Solve Amazon Deforestation

Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon made global headlines in 2019, thanks to massive wildfires and the election of anti-environmentalist president Jair Bolsonaro. Brazilians took to the streets against it, and retailers and consumers threatened to boycott Brazilian products. But with the pandemic dominating the headlines in 2020 and 2021, deforestation continues to rise.

‘Nothing to See Here, Folks’, as Canada Sends Updated Carbon Target to UN

The federal government is facing reactions ranging from disappointment to mockery after filing its updated carbon reduction target, or Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), with the United Nations climate secretariat this week.

Opinion: Toronto Councillors Can Help Wind Down Fossil Fuel Proliferation

Days after people across the Greater Toronto Area watched a “heat dome” scorch much of western Canada and burn Lytton, British Columbia to the ground, Toronto City Council has a unique opportunity to help turn down the heat.

Experts Predict Future Health Impacts as Wildfires Rage, Two First Nations Evacuate

As two remote First Nation communities in Northern Ontario evacuate in the face of encroaching wildfires, experts are warning that impacts like trauma and respiratory damage from such events will become ever more common as the planet heats up.

Massive Alaska Pipeline at Risk as Permafrost Thaws

Melting permafrost is causing the structural supports for the Trans-Alaskan Pipeline—one of the world’s largest—to buckle, raising concerns for the delicate and remote ecosystem through which it passes.

Extreme Heat, Cold Kill Five Million Per Year

Extreme hot and cold temperatures brought on by climate change are causing five million deaths per year, amounting to 9.4% of all human lives lost around the world between 2000 and 2019, according to a new paper in the journal Lancet Planetary Health.

Gulf of Mexico Fracking Releases 250 Million Litres of Toxic Waste

Oil and gas fracking has released at least 66.3 million gallons/250 million litres of waste into the Gulf of Mexico since 2010, according to an analysis released last week by the Center for Biological Diversity.

Coffee Prices Surge as Brazil Faces Epic Drought

our morning cup of coffee may soon be delivering an extra jolt at the cash register as Brazil endures its worst drought in a century, Arabica plants fail to fruit, and wholesale bean prices soar.

B.C. Battles 300 Wildfires as Next Western Heat Wave Begins

Crews in British Columbia battled nearly 300 wildfires, temperatures in Death Valley, CA hit 130°F/54.5°C, more than 31 million Americans were under heat warnings, and a mega-drought spanned 93% of the western United States, as an entire region of North America faced a second massive heat wave just a bit milder than the last one less than two weeks ago.

abandoned oil well

Federal Orphan Wells Fund Replaced Money Fossils Were Already Spending: Report

Much of the federal subsidy that has helped clean up abandoned oil wells in Alberta may have simply replaced money that fossil companies would have spent anyway, according to a new analysis.

New York Commuters Wade Through Filthy Floodwaters as Storm Swamps Subway Station

Subway riders slogged through waist-deep water and more than a dozen people had to be rescued from a flooded stretch of highway Thursday as Tropical Storm Elsa brought heavy rains and winds up to 50 miles per hour to New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.

Verification Still an Issue as U.S. Gets Close to Funding Soil Carbon Capture

With the United States moving swiftly to fund credits for farmers who store carbon in their soil, there’s growing concern that the program may pay for carbon storage that is already happening—and give fossil companies and other major emitters a free pass to keep polluting.

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BREAKING: Deadly Western Heat Dome ‘Virtually Impossible’ without Climate Change

Less than a week after a deadly “heat dome” devastated western Canada and the U.S. Pacific Northwest and burned Lytton, B.C. to the ground, an international science team is reporting that the blistering conditions would have been “virtually impossible” without climate change.

Lytton-Area Tribal Council Criticizes B.C.’s ‘Slow, Chaotic’ Wildfire Response

As experts warn that the planet is entering a “runaway fire age,” First Nations in and around Lytton, British Columbia, are expressing anger as response crews prioritize fire-damaged rail infrastructure over people.

Ottawa Announces $420 Million for ‘Green Steel’ Conversion in Sault Ste. Marie

Algoma Steel in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario will receive up to C$420 million in federal funding to replace its coal-fired production processes with electric arc furnaces, one of a trio of green infrastructure announcements this week that included a high-frequency rail promise for the Quebec City-Toronto corridor and light rail funding for the long-delayed Green Line in Calgary.

Attribution Science Could Bring More Wins in Climate Lawsuits

Better use of the latest climate attribution science in lawsuits against companies and governments that pollute could bring far more wins in the courts, says a new study in Nature Climate Change.

https://www.canarymedia.com/articles/environmental-justice-activists-in-california-fight-off-a-new-gas-plant/

Oxnard, California Declares Environmental Justice Win as Batteries Replace Gas Peaker Plant

A California utility’s decision to replace a natural gas peaker plant with a battery storage installation is being hailed as a victory for environmental justice and an example of what the future of the state grid could look like.

International Funding a ‘Moral Imperative’ as Madagascar Famine Looms

Having contributed nearly “zero” of the emissions that are driving the climate crisis, the people of Madagascar are now at serious risk of starvation as global heating brings crop-decimating drought, dust storms, and locust plagues.

Deadly Western Canada Heat Wave a ‘Wake Up Call’ for Climate Action

As the town of Lytton and the Lytton First Nation mourn all they lost to last week’s British Columbia inferno, climate experts and health professionals warn that further tragedies await in the absence of an “all hands on deck” approach to fighting the climate crisis.

Ocean Catches Fire after Gas Leak from Underwater Pipeline

Environmentalists criticized Mexico’s state-owned oil company Saturday after a gas leak at an underwater pipeline unleashed a subaquatic fireball that appeared to boil the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

Peace River

Extensive Fracking, Industrial Development Violate B.C. First Nation’s Treaty Rights, Court Rules

The Blueberry River First Nations will be able to limit development in a key natural gas fracking region in northeastern British Columbia, after the B.C. Supreme Court ruled the province violated Treaty 8 with the amount of industrial development it had permitted in the area.

‘Nationalize’ Old Oilfields and Use Revenue for Cleanup, Researchers Urge Alberta

Most of Alberta’s energy wells no longer hold enough oil and gas to pay for their cleanup and the public should take them over to ensure their remaining revenue funds remediation, a new report concludes.

Wildfire Smoke Suppresses Solar Panel Output

A recent analysis of California’s devastating 2020 fire season has confirmed something long suspected: wildfire smoke does have a negative impact on solar panel output.

Locals Evacuate, Firefighters at Risk as Lithium Batteries Explode in Illinois Paper Mill Blaze

Lithium batteries exploded loudly overnight inside a burning former paper mill in northern Illinois that officials had believed was long abandoned, and fire officials have decided to let the blaze burn out because they fear trying to extinguish it could trigger more explosions.

Scientists Affirm Climate Change Connection as Western ‘Heat Dome’ Shatters Records

Pavement buckled, light rail power cables melted, all-time high temperature records fell, then fell again, and utilities in British Columbia and Alberta reported record electricity demand as a brutal “heat dome” brought broiling temperatures to western Canada and the U.S. Pacific Northwest this week, prompting scientists to draw an immediate, obvious connection to climate change.

Canada Day 2021: A Time to Listen, Not Roar

With the discovery of the remains of more than 1,000 Indigenous children in unmarked graves at former residential schools in Kamloops, Brandon, and Cowessess, Saskatchewan, Canada’s national holiday July 1 is an essential moment for those of us in the settler community to absorb and reflect. (Warning: This story contains details of residential schools and the abuse that took place there.)

B.C. Old Growth Forest Panel Raises Hopes, Suspicions

British Columbians fighting to save the province’s remaining old-growth forests are cautiously welcoming the provincial government’s decision to assemble an independent Old-Growth Technical Advisory Panel.

EU’s Offshore Renewables Plan Must Not Sacrifice Marine Protections

If the EU does not want to sacrifice its marine ecosystem in its efforts to meet its Paris targets, it must deploy its plans for a 25-fold increase in offshore wind with more monitoring and less rule-breaking, says a new position paper.

Oregon Wildfires Leave Legacy of Psychosocial Risk, New Challenges for Mental Health Systems

People in rural Oregon are living through serious distress and trauma, in their case as a result of record drought an horrific local wildfires. Bob Doppelt, coordinator of the International Transformational Resilience Coalition, originally published this account on Undark.

Boston Transit Revival Must Connect Climate Resilience, Equity Concerns

If we want equitable cities, the post-pandemic revival of mass transit systems must prioritize both day-to-day and extreme-event climate resilience, says a new in-depth study by the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA).

‘Unprecedented’ Heat Wave Bakes Western Canada and U.S., Raises Wildfire Fears

As health authorities in British Columbia declare the ongoing heat wave a greater threat than COVID-19, experts are warning that the heat, arriving on the heels of the driest spring on record, is setting the stage for a summer of devastating wildfires.

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California Brings Renewables ‘Into the Spotlight’ with 11.5-Gigawatt Power Purchase Plan

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) is calling for 11.5 gigawatts of new generating capacity, almost all of it clean, by 2026, a procurement equal to one-fifth to one-third of the power the state consumes.

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Rich Nations Leave Island States to Shoulder Impacts, Effort in Climate Crisis

As the nations most responsible for the climate crisis continue to deny and dither, the world’s small island states are fighting hard to save themselves.

Analysts Present 10 ‘Key Elements’ of a Well-Designed Net-Zero Target

With governments, businesses, and institutions producing an avalanche of net-zero carbon commitments, and some observers writing off the whole exercise as a “big con”, Climate Action Tracker is out with a set of 10 “key elements” for distinguishing effective national targets from the less legitimate variety.

Dire Climate Thresholds ‘Closer Than Once Thought’, Leaked IPCC Report Warns

Dangerous climate thresholds that will fundamentally reshape life on Earth “are closer than once thought” and will create unavoidable, dire consequences in the short term, even if humanity gets greenhouse gases under control, according to a leaked draft of an upcoming United Nations science report obtained earlier this week by Agence France-Presse.

Earth’s Energy Imbalance from Sun’s Heat Has Doubled Since 2005

The Earth is warming much faster than expected, with the amount of trapped heat from the sun approximately doubling between 2005 and 2019, says a new study co-authored by NASA and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

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Regulator Restarts Pipeline Construction after Trans Mountain Files Tree-Cutting Plan

A federal regulator has lifted a stop-work order on tree cutting and grass mowing along the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project route.

U.S. Ban on Xinjiang Solar Components Could Jeopardize Climate Target

Chinese-made materials used in solar panels will be barred from the U.S. market as part of a broader effort to halt commerce tied to China’s repressive campaign against Uyghurs and other minorities, the Biden administration said Thursday.

New International Crisis Group Will Press for Climate Action

More than a dozen of the world’s top scientists, led by former UK chief scientific advisor Sir David King, have formed a new Climate Crisis Advisory Group (CCAG) to monitor and critique the global response to the climate and biodiversity emergencies.

U.S. Virgin Islands Refinery Shuts Down after ‘Raining Oil Droplets’ on Residents

A notoriously dirty oil refinery in the U.S. Virgin Islands is shutting down after “escalating environmental scrutiny made it impossible for backers to obtain desperately needed financing,” Bloomberg News reports.

$26-Billion Seawall System May Not Protect Houston Area from ‘Killer Surges’

When Hurricane Ike made landfall in 2008, Bill Merrell took shelter on the second floor of a historic brick building in downtown Galveston, Texas, along with his wife, their daughter, their grandson, and two Chihuahuas. Sustained winds of 110 miles per hour lashed the building. Seawater flooded the ground floor to a depth of over eight feet. Once, in the night, Merrell caught glimpses of a near-full moon and realized they had entered the hurricane’s eye.

Sea Level Rise Could Swamp Denmark’s Financial System

The Danish financial system is becoming concerned about future losses due to flooding, with its potential to swamp assets in a relatively small country with a coastline that stretches more than 8,000 kilometres.

Developers ‘Blindsided’ as Australia Scuttles 26-Gigawatt Renewable Energy Hub

Australia has pulled the plug on a proposed 26-gigawatt plan to produce green hydrogen and ammonia from wind and solar power, just months after the project was awarded major project status by Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s coal-friendly national government.

No Chance at 1.5°C Limit without Reducing Food Production Emissions

A safe limit to global warming won’t be possible without tackling food production emissions along with fossil fuels—but there are plenty of grassroot actions that can do both, says a new analysis.

Vision Zero Principles Reclaim City Streets for Cyclists, Pedestrians

The century-old mindset that framed pedestrians and cyclists who dared to use city streets as trespassers in the kingdom of the car is finally fading—and good riddance, says the Globe and Mail.

Judges Say Belgium’s Slow Climate Action Breaks Civil Law, Violates Human Rights

Belgium has breached civil law and violated the European convention on human rights by failing to meet its declared climate targets, a court in Brussels ruled Friday, in what The Guardian calls “the latest legal victory against public authorities that have broken promises to tackle the climate emergency.”

Enbridge Line 3

Sexual Assault, Human Trafficking Accompany Enbridge’s Line 3 Pipeline Project

Two contract workers involved with Enbridge’s US$2.9-billion Line 3 replacement project in northwestern Minnesota have been charged with human trafficking, and reports of sexual violence and harassment associated with the project have been flooding in to local crisis centres.

Global Health Impacts of Wildfire Smoke Show Desperate Need for Policy

Nearly three-quarters of the planet will be facing a significant increase in wildfires by 2100, leading to severe public health impacts, a new report by the Global Climate Health Alliance concludes.

Stumbling UN Climate Negotiations Raise Fears for 1.5°C Target

With scarcely four months before this year’s United Nations climate conference convenes in Glasgow November 1, negotiations are stumbling over multiple hurdles—from a frustrating and largely unproductive set of mid-year negotiations over the last 2½ weeks, to rich countries’ failure to deliver on promises ranging from climate finance to international access to COVID-19 vaccines.

drought crops

Advisors Scorch UK’s ‘Really Shocking’ Climate Record as COP 26 Approaches

In a searing indictment of its failure to act fast enough to prepare for the onslaught of rising heat, there is condemnation of the British government by its independent advisors for the UK’s “really shocking” climate record.

Opinion: Offsets Can Help Fund Climate Solutions if ‘Imperfections’ are Solved

The chorus of “net-zero” commitments continues to grow, fuelling the ambitions of businesses and governments around the world to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. And one hot topic of debate is the role of offsets.

UN Maritime Agency Accused of Greenwashing after Triple-Fail on Climate Action

The United Nations and its maritime regulatory agency are facing charges of greenwashing after a key committee adopted a “hopelessly weak” target for ocean-going ships to improve their carbon efficiency.

Poor Countries React to Failed G7 Summit as EU, U.S. Mull Carbon Border Adjustment

The European Union and the United States have agreed to work together on a series of climate, technology, and sustainable investment initiatives, possibly including a carbon border adjustment, just days after a G7 summit that is being written off as a failure on the two biggest crises the world’s wealthiest countries face—climate change, and COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

AGI New York

Giant UK Investment Manager Drops AIG Over Fossil Fuel Insurance, Climate Risk

The United Kingdom’s biggest asset manager, Legal & General Investment Management, is dropping its shares in U.S. insurance giant American International Group (AIG) and three other companies, after concluding they aren’t moving far enough, fast enough to address the climate risks in their activities.

Ontario Communities Face Health Risks from Thousands of Abandoned Oil Wells

The putrid smell makes Paula Jongerden sick to her stomach.
It comes from a natural gas well about 300 metres from her home near Delhi, ON, that erupts at least twice a week.

French Power Company Raises Safety Alert about Chinese Nuclear Plant

One week after the French company that co-owns the Taishan nuclear power plant in China issued a letter warning about an “imminent radiological threat,” Chinese authorities have declared that all is well.

Study Finds Surprising Role for Aluminum in Ocean Carbon Capture

Researchers from Quebec and China have highlighted the unexpected benefits of aluminum when it comes to trapping carbon dioxide (CO2) at the bottom of the ocean.

Canada Closes the Door on New Thermal Coal Mines

The federal government will no longer approve new thermal coal mines or mine expansions, after Environment and Climate Minister Jonathan Wilkinson released a policy statement pinpointing coal as a source of greenhouse gas emissions and other “unacceptable environmental impacts”.

Report Calls for Climate, Biodiversity Action to Work in Tandem

A landmark report is warning that global heating and biodiversity collapse are intertwined crises that will be solved only if they are solved together—critical information for policy-makers as the world prepares for this fall’s global biodiversity and climate conferences.

Alberta Government Mishandling Funding for Contaminated Sites, Repeat Audit Concludes

Alberta’s auditor general is criticizing the government for failing to fix problems pointed out six years ago in a program that’s supposed to guarantee coal and oilsands mines clean up after themselves.

High-Carbon Investments are ‘Mispriced’ for Climate Risk, Bank of Canada Warns

Canadian investors may be in for a rude awakening as they discover that their stocks and bonds in carbon-intensive industries are “mispriced” once the risks of climate change are taken into account, the Bank of Canada warned in its annual Financial System Review released last month.

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California Could Divert Floodwaters to Recharge Parched Aquifers

California may be able to address its side-by-side problems with flooding and drought by diverting water from areas with two much moisture to other parts of the state that need it, according to a new study in the journal Science Advances.

Oxygen Levels Plummeting in Freshwater Lakes

As global heating undercuts the ability of aquatic habitats to store and circulate oxygen, the myriad creatures that inhabit the world’s beleaguered freshwater lakes are finding it harder and harder to breathe, says a new study in the journal Nature.

Natural Solutions Could Cut Canada’s Emissions by More Than 10%

If work begins now to aggressively restore and protect Canada’s forests, grasslands, farmlands, and peatlands, the country could reduce its annual emissions by 78 megatonnes (Mt) by 2030, says a groundbreaking new study.

Severe Storms Could Wipe Out 167 Million Homes by 2040 without G7 Action

Unless G7 leaders find global solutions to climate change, 167 million homes around the world could be wiped out within the next two decades, warns the UK-based disaster relief charity ShelterBox.

Helicopter ‘Sand-Blasts’ Line 3 Opponents, 200 Arrested at Peaceful Protest

A peaceful protest against the expansion of Enbridge’s Line 3 pipeline in northern Minnesota on Monday was met with the same helicopter-as-weapon tactic that authorities deployed against citizens protesting George Floyd’s murder last summer.

New York

Oxfam, Swiss Re Predict Deep Economic Pain without Faster, Deeper Carbon Cuts

Canada’s economy could shrink 6.9% per year by 2050, the world’s most industrialized economies could drop 8.5%, and developing countries will fare far worse if governments don’t deliver on the faster, deeper carbon cuts they promised in the Paris Agreement, Oxfam and the Swiss Re Institute warn in an analysis released on the eve of this week’s G7 summit in Cornwall, UK.

marine clouds

Climate Models May Underestimate Clouds’ Cooling Ability, Scientists Say

Standard climate modelling may underestimate the extent to which some types of clouds cool the atmosphere, according to a new paper in the journal Nature Climate Change that raises questions about a new generation of global models that predict faster future warming.

85% of British Columbians Want Stronger Protections for Old-Growth Forests

A strong majority of British Columbia residents care a great deal about the health of the province’s old-growth forests, and many believe the Horgan government is doing a poor job of protecting them, a recent survey suggests.

Cyberattacks Could Shut Down U.S. Power Grid, Granholm Warns

U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm on Sunday called for more public-private cooperation on cyber defenses and said U.S. adversaries already are capable of using cyber intrusions to shut down the U.S. power grid.

World Climate Deal Could Fail Unless G7 Solves Vaccine Disparities

The shattering disparities in COVID-19 vaccination rates between rich and poor countries could defeat efforts to implement the Paris agreement, a growing chorus of international leaders is warning ahead of a three-day summit of G7 leaders in Cornwall beginning Friday.

Open house

Climate Risk Becomes Major Issue on Home Buyers’ Checklists

Climate risk, with its implications for a home’s safety today and its resale value tomorrow, is emerging as an important new item on many buyers’ checklists, as new mapping technologies and data sources make it easier to track down information on fires, floods, and other potential impacts.

‘Tipping Point Cascade’ Could Speed Climate Destabilization

New research is raising the alarm over a possible “domino effect” that could cause separate but interconnected climate systems to reach their tipping points at lower temperatures than previously estimated.

G7 Ministers Recommit to Climate Finance, Leave Details for Later

Finance ministers and central bank governors from the world’s seven wealthiest nations have signed off on a communiqué that recommits to US$100 billion per in international climate finance, but still leaves it up to G7 leaders meeting in Cornwall, UK next week to decide how the now dozen-year-old promise will be kept.

Biden to Restore State, Indigenous Right to Block Energy Megaprojects

In a major reversal of Trump-era efforts to advance fossil interests, the Biden administration is restoring the rights of state and Indigenous lawmakers to refuse major energy projects that could threaten water security.

Historic Megadrought Pushes Western U.S. Into New Dust (and Fire ) Bowl

From post-wildfire sere forests, to a sharply depleted Lake Mead, to a devastated spring salmon run, to threats of violence along the Oregon-California border, a dry spring is creating conditions for a challenging summer throughout the western United States.

Biden Administration Suspends Arctic Refuge Oil and Gas Leases

The Biden administration has suspended oil and gas drilling leases in the ecologically fragile Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), with Interior Secretary Deb Haaland ordering a new review of a Trump-era decision she says was approved with “insufficient analysis” of its environmental impacts.

Horgan Favours Lumber Access as B.C. Old-Growth Forests Fall

As the British Columbia government moves to overhaul the province’s forestry sector, the Sierra Club of BC is decrying the decision to prioritize access to wood fibre over old-growth forest protections.

Funding Must Address Climate Health Impacts, Inequities, Culbert and Ness Warn

The climate crisis is deepening the socioeconomic factors that lead to widespread ill health—and policy-makers must pay attention, say two Canadian public health experts.

Texas Storm

True Death Toll from Texas Winter Power Failure Rises to 702

The death toll from February’s power grid failure in Texas could be five times what officials have so far declared—and little is being done to ensure such a tragedy never happens again.

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Climate Change Causes 37% of Heat Wave Deaths, New Research Shows

Climate change due to human activity was responsible for about 11 million heat wave deaths between 1991 and 2018, and boosted the damage from Superstorm Sandy in 2012 by at least US$8 billion, according to two separate attribution studies over the last couple of weeks.

Fracking Means More Frequent, Damaging Earthquakes in Northern B.C.

More damaging earthquakes can be expected more often in northern British Columbia as fracking oil and gas wells increases pressure underground, says newly published research.

Guyanese Court Case Seeks to Halt ExxonMobil Drilling in Caribbean

Two Guyanese citizens are taking their government to court, arguing that its pursuit of oil royalties violates a legal duty to protect present and future citizens from the climate crisis.

mental health

Action is the Antidote as Climate Anxiety Creates Mental Health Crisis

Climate change is driving a secondary—and badly under-addressed—crisis for hundreds of millions around the world: the brutalization of mental health.

Massive Tree Planting Brings Only Limited Climate Gain, Researchers Warn

What would happen if every single patch of farmland in the tropics, from Brazil through Congo, India and Indonesia, was abandoned overnight and left to turn back into forests? That’s the question three climate scientists investigated in what they describe as a “hypothetical and idealized experiment”—and the answer is sobering.

Nikayla Jefferson

The Future is Ours as We ‘Glue Ourselves Anew’, Sunrise Organizer Writes

After a year of compounded crisis, cultures and attitudes are shifting and a better future can emerge, writes Sunrise Movement organizer Nikayla Jefferson. “The world is alive,” she says, “coming out of its own dark winter and into a spring that felt distant and unlikely.”

coal power plant

G7 Environment Ministers Pledge to Stop Financing International Coal Projects

Environment ministers from the world’s seven biggest advanced economies have agreed to phase out international financing for coal projects by the end of this year, do the same for all fossil fuels over a longer time span, and deliver tough enough national climate targets to help keep average global warming to 1.5°C.

WMO Reports 40% Chance in Next Five Years that Warming Temporarily Exceeds 1.5°C

There’s a 40% chance that average global warming will temporarily exceed 1.5°C in at least one of the next five years, according to analysis published last week by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). But that doesn’t mean a long-term cap on warming is out of reach, according to at least one leading climate analyst.

Australian Court Affirms “Duty of Care” to Protect Youth from Climate Crisis

In a global first, Australia’s federal court has ruled that the country’s government is legally obliged to protect young people against future harms from the climate crisis.

Global Spending on Nature Protection Must Triple by 2030

About US$8 trillion will be needed over the next 40 years to restore and protect nature and safeguard the systems that sustain much of life on Earth, says a new report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). And in the scheme of things, that amount is “peanuts”, says the agency’s chief executive.

Climate Disasters in 2020 Displace Three Times More People than War

Some 30 million people around the world were displaced last year by floods, severe storms, and wildfires, making climate change the cause of three times more internal migration in 2020 than war, according to new data this week from the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC).

abandoned oil well

Alberta Landowners, Taxpayers ‘Left Behind’ by Cost of Abandoned Wells

The costs of Alberta’s growing stock of abandoned and inactive oil and gas wells are falling unfairly on landowners and taxpayers, says a report from the University of Calgary.

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Canadian Plastics Manufacturers Take Ottawa to Court over ‘Toxic’ Designation

Mere days after Ottawa designated their product as a toxic substance, plastics manufacturers are taking the Canadian government to court—but experts say they are likely to be disappointed.

Half of Carbon Offset Projects Don’t Deliver on Promises, New Analysis Finds

A UK start-up that rates the carbon offset efforts of private companies has found that nearly half of them fall short of their claims.

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Louisiana Forms Climate Task Force as Fossils Dig In

Louisiana is sending mixed signals on climate action, with Governor John Bel Edwards (D) setting up a task force in support of his pledge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 while legislators push to make the state a “fossil fuel sanctuary.”

Syrians in Rebel-Held Region Embrace Solar Panels as ‘Blessing from God’

An “unlikely solar revolution of sorts” is taking place in Idlib Governate, a rebel-held province in northwestern Syria, where local residents are turning to a cheap electricity source they can count on in the midst of a brutal, 10-year civil war.

Air conditioner

Desert Cities Tap into Waste Water from Air Conditioning Units

From the Negev Desert to the state of Texas, the private and public sectors are tapping into a previously overlooked source of water: condensate from air conditioners.

Outdoor dining, Church Street Marketplace

Restaurants Gain from Pedestrian-Only Streets, Study Finds

As America’s cities begin to reopen, a new Yelp analysis is putting economic weight behind calls to make the temporary “slow streets” that many cities put in place during the pandemic a permanent feature.

Economic Hit from Prairie Drought Could Be ‘Like Losing Ontario Auto Sector’

Farmers in parts of the Prairies are worrying about crop failures and water-deprived livestock, and communities are already facing local water restrictions and at least one forest fire, as the region enters a period of near-record dry conditions.

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B.C. Water Watcher Raises Alarm after Oil Tanker Crosses Risky Gulf Islands Pass

A shipping pilot’s recent decision to guide an oil tanker through British Columbia’s navigationally tricky Active Pass has highlighted a legal gap that may be putting the Salish Sea at risk—along with human lives.

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NWT Communities Evacuate in Face of ‘Scary’ Mackenzie River Flooding

As extreme seasonal flooding hits riverside communities in Canada’s Northwest Territories, the region’s small towns are stepping up to help each other.

Underfunded Climate Adaptation Projects Aren’t Delivering What Communities Need

In 2019, an international climate fund approved a 10-year, US$9.3-million project to support communities in the drylands of Mozambique that are affected by frequent droughts. This money seems a lot, but it really is not much for a country also affected by other climate-related events such as cyclones. Indeed, the World Bank estimates Mozambique needs at least $400 million a year to protect itself from climate change.

Urban Food Forest Movement Tackles Food Insecurity One Community at a Time

The urban food forest in Browns Mills, Atlanta, is one of more than 70 such initiatives scattered across the United States: all the work of volunteers determined to fight food insecurity through urban agriculture.

Canadian physicist Louis Slotin

Canada’s Fatal Fission Attraction

Seventy-five years ago, Canadian scientists began a reckless romance with nuclear fission. Lessons from a tragic death, and a meltdown that destroyed a reactor, were not learned. Serious design flaws with the Candu nuclear reactor were never fixed. Today, Paul McKay writes, the tradition continues.

construction worker

‘We’re All Scared’, Worker Says, as Tar Sands/Oil Sands Mine Becomes Alberta’s Biggest COVID Outbreak

Tar sands/oil sands workers in the midst of Alberta’s biggest COVID-19 outbreak at Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.’s Horizon bitumen mine say their living and working conditions are putting them at risk—but they can’t afford not to work, even if they’re feeling sick.

ransomware

Colonial Pipeline Pays Ransomware Demand as Panic Buying Grips Eastern U.S. Gasoline Users

Drivers across the southeastern United States have been getting a new sense of the vulnerability of their fuel supplies over the last week, and operators of the Colonial Pipeline ended up paying a ransom to regain control of their system, after a successful cyberattack took out a 5,500-mile pipeline network that runs from Houston to New Jersey and supplies the eastern U.S. with 45% of its fuel.

Coronavirus Creates Opportunity for Zero-Carbon Transportation

When discussing low-carbon transportation and the question of why cars play such a dominant role in our society, it is often tempting to fall back on a comfortable and familiar answer: We drive cars because we like them!

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U.S. Tribes Work to Advance Water Equity as Colorado Basin Drought Worsens

As a megadrought deepens across the Colorado River Basin, the Indigenous nations of the region are seeing hope for real change after decades of water inequity.

Biden Administration Mulls Controversial Climate Deal with Bolsonaro

Defenders of the rainforest are watching with trepidation—and, for some, horror—as the Biden administration contemplates a climate deal with Brazilian president and “climate-scoffing populist” Jair Bolsonaro, aka “Capitão Motoserra” (Captain Chainsaw).

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Campaigners Plan ‘Eviction’ Events, Ottawa Backs Enbridge as Line 5 Closure Deadline Arrives

Campaigners in Michigan planned two days of “eviction” events today and tomorrow, Governor Gretchen Whitmer threatened to seize Enbridge Inc.’s profits if the Calgary-based pipeliner ignored her closure order, and the Trudeau government filed a legal brief in the company’s defence as today’s deadline loomed to shut down operation of the 68-year-old Line 5 pipeline.

COVID Cases Sweep Tar Sands/Oil Sands as Thousands Arrive for Spring Maintenance Work

Tar sands/oil sands companies are stepping up protective measures as a spate of COVID-19 cases sweeps through the region at the same time that thousands of workers are being brought in for spring maintenance shutdowns at various plants.

air conditioning

More Than One Billion Lack Access to Cooling, Risk Illness and Heat Stress

As the pandemic drives up poverty rates, a lack of access to cooling technology has now put more than a billion people at increased risk of heat stress, food insecurity, job loss, and COVID-19 infection.

depression

Climate Crisis Produces Widespread Mental Health Risks, UK Survey Finds

Some 84% of UK citizens believe that the effects of the climate crisis will be as damaging to mental health by 2030 as unemployment or even the pandemic, a new survey shows.

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Arizona Politics Flips from Climate Denial to Ecofascism

From lawsuits in Arizona to promises by French politician Marine Le Pen to make her country “the world’s first ecological civilization,” the far right is weaponizing the climate crisis to advance its xenophobic agenda, The Huffington Post reports.

deciduous forest

Deciduous Trees May Act as ‘Brakes’ on Boreal Fire Feedback Loops

The deciduous trees that are replacing conifers in the northern boreal forest may help slow the dangerous feedback loop that is now fuelling intense Arctic fires.

UK Grocery Chains Prepare Brazil Boycott as Amazon Becomes Net Carbon Emitter

The Jair Bolsonaro government in Brazil is once again risking international boycotts in response to a rainforest-imperilling law, as a new study confirms that the Amazon has become a net carbon emitter for the first time in recorded history.

Michigan Calls Line 5 a ‘Ticking Time Bomb’ with Closure Deadline Two Days Away

With Michigan’s deadline to shut down the Line 5 pipeline just two days away, the state and Calgary-based Enbridge Inc. are telling different stories about whether the leaky, 68-year-old line will still be operating Thursday morning.

UN Urges 45% Methane Cut This Decade to Reduce Warming, Protect Health

Countries can and must reduce methane emissions 45% this decade to avoid nearly 0.3°C of additional global warming by 2045, keep a relatively climate-safe future within reach, and prevent 260,000 premature deaths per year, according to a landmark Global Methane Assessment released last week by the Climate and Clear Coalition and the UN Environment Programme.

Alberta Hands Fossils a Price Break on Tar Sands/Oil Sands Cleanup Fund

Last year’s dive in oil prices has caused Alberta to change the way it calculates payments due from tar sands/oil sands mines make to ensure there’s enough money to clean up the mess they leave behind.

Children Face Future Wars for Water and Food Unless Adults Embrace Climate Action, Timmermans Warns

Policy-makers must do better at persuading adults to embrace the change the climate crisis demands, rather than fearing it, or “today’s children will face a future of fighting wars for water and food,” says the EU’s deputy chief.

Biden’s Infrastructure, Conservation Plans Not (Necessarily) in Conflict

U.S. President Joe Biden’s recent pledge to protect 30% of America’s lands and waters by 2030 need not clash with its earlier promise to reduce emissions by expanding the country’s wind and solar farms—as long as those implementing renewable energy policy do so with an eagle eye on sustainability.

New Study Shows Small Farms Delivering Higher Yields, Better Biodiversity

While much of the world’s food is produced on large farms, a recent review has found that smaller operations tend to have higher yields and biodiversity while being no less profitable or efficient—making them a fund-worthy lynchpin of sustainable development.

Ring of Fire Access Road Crosses Ontario’s ‘Thin Green Line’, Sierra Club Warns

The proposed “Ring of Fire” mineral development in northern Ontario is equivalent in destructive capacity to Alberta’s tar sands/oil sands, say two researchers from Sierra Club Canada.

U.S. Cities at Risk for ‘Deadliest’ Heat Wave-Power Failure Combo

Millions of urban Americans will be put at serious risk of heat exhaustion this summer if any heat waves coincide with power failures—a deadly conjunction that is increasingly likely, says a new study.

UK Must Protect, Rewild Its Oceans to Meet Its Carbon Strategy

A new report is urging the United Kingdom to develop a marine-centred climate mitigation plan to restore and “rewild” degraded marine habitats and develop low-carbon fisheries, noting that the UK’s coastal waters store four times the carbon of its forests.

Leadership Failures from COVID-19 Hold Lessons for Climate

With COVID-19 devastating the Indian state of Maharashtra, where he grew up, Bloomberg Green columnist Akshat Rathi is pointing to good governance as a factor that is mitigating the impact of the pandemic in some countries, and could do the same for the climate crisis.

Chinese Banks Rank Second as Financiers for Tropical Deforestation

China now ranks second in the world as a financier of industries linked to tropical deforestation—and a new report shows the country’s banks hold the keys to a better path.

Wilkinson Orders Federal Environmental Review for Ontario Highway 413

Environment and Climate Minister Jonathan Wilkinson has announced a federal environmental assessment of the Ford government’s contentious, C$6-billion plan for a new highway through the northwestern part of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), citing “clear areas of federal concern related to this project.”

Law Profs See Environmental Racism Bill as ‘Catalyst for Transformative Change’

This past winter, COVID-19 outbreaks at two Coastal GasLink work camps in northern British Columbia spilled over into neighbouring Wet’suwet’en communities, according to media reports. The spread of disease to Indigenous communities through industrial projects is an example of environmental racism—when government policies discriminate against racialized communities by disproportionately exposing them to harms from industrial and other toxic activities.

Victoria LNG Project Gets Swept Away in Australian Renewable Energy Surge

As Australian energy provider AGL officially pulls the plug on its proposed Victoria coast LNG import terminal, a new report predicts a surge in renewables could leave natural gas delivering as little as 1% of the country’s power mix by 2030.

Dakota Access Pipeline Won’t Shut Down During Environmental Review

The Dakota Access Pipeline will be allowed to operate without a key federal permit while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completes a new environmental review, the Biden administration announced earlier this week.

Low Pay, Hiring Gaps Haunt U.S. Forest Service Wildfire Program

In an oversight hearing late last month before the House of Representatives Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands a former U.S. Forest Service firefighter spoke truth to power, Wildfire Today reports.

10 Years After Fukushima, Japan Finally Begins Push for Renewables

A decade after the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, an entrenched reluctance to embrace renewable energy—fostered in part by utilities anxious to maintain their dominance—may be giving way, slowly, to a new dawn for green energy in Japan.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer

Line 5 Pipeline Battle Intensifies as May 12 Closure Date Looms

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer is less than 10 days away from implementing a momentous decision to shut down a 68-year-old, underwater pipeline that her administration and many of her constituents consider an environmental hazard and an affront to Indigenous rights, but that Canadian Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan has declared a “non-negotiable” irritant in bilateral relations.

Biden Connects Climate to Jobs as Coal Miners Hold Out for Results

With a US$2-trillion infrastructure plan on offer, and a $1.8-trillion American Families Plan backing it up, U.S. President Joe Biden took advantage of his first address to a joint session of Congress to reprise a central theme from his election campaign: that climate action and job creation go hand in hand.

Biden’s 2022 Budget Earmarks $220 Million for Climate Health Preparedness

President Biden’s budget blueprint for 2022 is looking to prepare the U.S. for future climate impacts by earmarking at least US$220 million for federal climate and health research and an expanded framework to help states and cities generate adaptation plans.

Grassy Mountain Coal Mine

B.C. First Nation Calls for Federal Environmental Review of Alberta Coal Mine Plan

A British Columbia First Nation has joined calls for the federal government to step in on the environmental review of a proposed open-pit coal mine in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains.

Study of Climate Tipping Points Shows Need for Rapid Carbon Cuts

A new study concludes it may still be possible to temporarily exceed the environmental “tipping points” that would signal a drastic deepening of the climate crisis—but only with rapid action to address those impacts and drive down the greenhouse gas emissions at the root of the problem.

Ford’s New Appointee Will ‘Actively Wreck Things’ as Greenbelt Council Chair, Critic Warns

The new chair of Ontario’s Greenbelt Council is a former Mike Harris-era cabinet minister who voted against the Greenbelt itself when it was established in 2005.

Cuts to UK Global Resilience Funding Undermine Cities’ Response to Fire, Floods

The UK’s decision to gut the budget for a key global disaster resilience research hub is putting millions of poor and vulnerable city-dwellers in developing countries at a greater risk of climate impacts like flooding and wildfire.

Greening Arctic Brings Added Danger, Uncertainty to Labrador Communities

Residents of northern Labrador are having to tackle a new set of miseries as climate change delivers fog, gale-force winds, exploding black fly and mosquito populations, reduced berry crops, and even new sources of camouflage for dangerous bears.

U.S. Food Publication Epicurious Takes Beef off the Table

Wondering what makes a steak tartare anything other than raw meat? If you’re looking for the answer in Epicurious, you’ll have to stick to the back issues—because the beloved foodie publication has formally declared that beef is no longer on its menu.

Child cycling with a mask

‘Globally Remarkable’ German Court Decision Enshrines Climate Protection as Human Right

In what Clean Energy Wire calls an “unexpected decision widely hailed as historic,” Germany’s Constitutional Court has declared the country’s 2030 emission reduction targets are insufficient, lacking in detail, and therefore violate the fundamental rights of citizens—including the nine youth climate campaigners who originally launched the case.

Borealis Lodge man camp Fort McMurray

Fort McMurray Reels Under 1.5% Infection Rate as Third Wave of COVID-19 Hits Alberta Oilpatch

The third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is hitting the Alberta tar sands/oil sands hard, with 12 active outbreaks at man camps and mining sites across the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, 738 active cases, and a total of 2,054 workers who’d tested positive as of Tuesday.

Studies Call for Urgent Methane Reductions as U.S. Senate Reinstates Obama-Era Regulation

Rapid action to curb methane could cut emissions of the climate-busting greenhouse gas in half by 2030 and slow global warming by 30%, new research concludes this week, just days ahead of a United Nations report that will call for urgent methane reductions to keep the targets in the 2015 Paris Agreement within reach.

Climate Scientists Explain Why Net-Zero is a ‘Dangerous Trap’: Part 1

In a searing historical account of the various technological fixes on the road to net-zero emissions, veteran climate scientists James Dyke, Robert Watson, and Wolfgang Knorr conclude the whole effort has been a “dangerous trap”. In Part 1 of this two-part series, they explain how early climate modelling replaced critical thinking, and carbon capture schemes gained traction against real carbon reductions.

UN Declares ‘Make or Break Moment’ on Forest Protection

Humanity is at a “make-or-break moment” to protect the forests we all depend on, United Nations leaders are warning.

North America Hit Hardest as Glacier Melt Doubles over 20 Years

A new study has used millions of satellite images to generate the clearest picture yet of the world’s glaciers and concludes they’re getting smaller, faster.

Canada Must Tie Budget 2021 Spending to Community-Based Action: Op-Ed

While the “serious coin” directed to climate action by Canada’s 2021 budget is most welcome, two experts are urging policy-makers at all levels to double down on community-based climate policies that integrate climate change adaptation and mitigation.

Judge Denies Wet’suwet’en Challenge to Coastal GasLink Permit

The British Columbia Supreme Court has rejected a bid to quash the extension of the environmental assessment certificate for the Coastal GasLink pipeline, the project at the centre of countrywide protests in February last year.

Nesting Hummingbirds Pause Trans Mountain Pipeline Construction through Mid-August

Environment and Climate Change Canada has ordered a halt to construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline through a forest in Burnaby, British Columbia until the end of bird nesting season.

Think Tank Mulls Looser Rules for Transferring Abandoned Wells to New Owners

A western Canada think tank is calling on Alberta to lower regulatory barriers that it says discourage businesses from reusing abandoned and unreclaimed oil and gas well sites. Observers say the scheme could allow fossils to hand off many billions of dollars in environmental liabilities.

Alberta Pauses Rocky Mountain Coal Exploration as Public Pressure Mounts

The Alberta government bowed to public pressure late last week and paused coal exploration in the most sensitive areas of the Rocky Mountains while it continues to gather public feedback about mines.

Don’t Fall for Fossil Industry Spin, NAACP Warns U.S. Communities of Colour

The NAACP is warning its regional chapters not to fall for fossil industry manipulation by outlining the key tactics through which Big Oil advances its own interests in U.S. communities of colour.

Research Team Aims for Full Accounting of Canada’s Natural Ecosystems

A team of Canadian scientists is about to embark on a five-year attempt to calculate just how much the country depends on the natural world—in economic terms, and in ways that are far less tangible.

California Pitches 2024 Fracking Ban, 2045 Oil Phaseout as Campaigners Urge Faster Action

California climate campaigners marked a moment of progress Friday while urging Governor Gavin Newsom to pick up the pace, after the state that calls itself the world’s fifth-biggest economy moved to ban new oil and gas fracking projects by 2024 and phase out oil extraction by 2045.

Climate Impacts Could Cost Canada $140 Billion by 2050, Insurance Giant Warns

Canada will be more than $100 billion poorer by 2050 if the world doesn’t work harder to fight climate change, says one of the world’s largest insurers.

Some Countries Commit, Others Deflect as White House Pushes for Faster Carbon Cuts

The Biden-Harris Leaders’ Summit on Climate was scheduled to open with statements from leaders of more than two dozen countries, in what the White House signposted as “an opportunity for leaders to highlight the climate-related challenges their countries face and the efforts they are undertaking”.

International Climate Finance Promise Puts U.S. ‘Back in the Game’ but Campaigners Demand More

The Biden-Harris administration’s agenda for yesterday’s Leaders Summit on Climate included a new international climate finance plan that puts billions of new dollars on the table, but not enough to shore up the United States’ credibility as a source of global leadership on climate action.

Over 100 Nobel Winners Call for Global Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty

One hundred and one Nobel laureates—including peace activists, economists, medical experts, chemists, and physicists—have released an open letter urging world leaders to sign a treaty for fossil fuel non-proliferation.

New International Forest Protection Fund a ‘Game Changer’, Says EDF

The United States, United Kingdom, Norway, and nine corporate heavyweights came together at this week’s Climate Leaders’ Summit with a joint commitment to mobilize at least US$1 billion before the end of this year to prevent tropical deforestation.

Small Temperature Shifts Can Drive ‘Chaotic’ Changes to South Asian Monsoon

As the world warms, monsoon changes are set to cause havoc across a huge and densely populated swathe of the planet, with the great South Asian summer monsoon becoming both stronger and less reliable.

Rising Temperatures Could Have Major Impacts on Ocean Circulation

If you’ve ever been seasick, “stable” may be the last word you associate with the ocean. But as global temperatures rise, the world’s oceans are technically becoming more stable.

Federal Budget Puts $17.6 Billion into Green Recovery, Tips 36% Emissions Cut by 2030

The federal government is getting decidedly mixed reviews for a 2021 budget that announces but doesn’t quite spell out C$17.6 billion in green recovery spending over the next five years, while tipping a 2030 emissions reduction goal of 36% that may be superseded within days by a more ambitious government target.

Ottawa Offers $40,000 Interest-Free Loans for Deep Energy Retrofits

The federal government is hoping a budget provision for C$40,000 interest-free loans will be sufficient incentive to encourage 200,000 Canadian households to undertake deep retrofits on their homes.

Federal Budget Directs Dollars to Farm Climate Solutions, Forest Bio-Economy, Protected Areas

Nature-based climate solutions show up at several points in this week’s federal budget, with funds set aside for emission reductions on farms, the forest-based bio-economy, and a continuing, multi-billion-dollar effort to extend Canada’s network of protected areas.

Over 50 Million People ‘Doubly Hit’ by Pandemic, Climate Disasters: WMO

The first year of the COVID-19 pandemic had no effect on the “relentless” increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases, but made the impacts of the climate crisis worse for tens of millions of people around the world, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) concludes in a report released this week.

EU Defers Decision on Green Label for Nuclear, Natural Gas

The European Union was expected to defer a decision on whether its new green finance rules, due to be published today, would list nuclear and gas-fired power plants as sustainable investments, according to leaked documents obtained last week by Euractiv.

‘Checking the Boxes’ in Federal Climate Plan Won’t Deliver on Canada’s Paris Targets, Researchers Warn

Two veteran public interest researchers have come up with a troubling equation they say is at the heart of the federal government’s climate strategy: Carbon Pricing + Hydrogen + Carbon Capture + Nuclear = Paris 2030 and beyond.

Federal Budget-Watchers Expect ‘Pivotal Moment’ for Canadian Climate Action

From transit to home energy retrofits, from natural climate solutions to green innovation funding, the federal budget tabled today by Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland will put an end to months of lobbying, advocacy, and speculation from climate policy advocates looking for a solid federal commitment to climate action.

UK Seabed Has More Economic Value Than Oil Beneath It, Study Finds

Official estimates from the United Kingdom are showing that the carbon sequestration capacity of the country’s seabed is more valuable than the oil and gas reserves that lie beneath it.

Florida Takes Climate Adaptation Funds Out of Affordable Housing Budget

Two recent bills passed in Florida are sending hundreds of millions of dollars toward improving climate resiliency in the state—at the expense of established funding for affordable housing.

Canada Must Show Up at Biden Summit with ‘More than Just Words’ , International Experts Warn

With the new U.S. administration taking real action on climate change, both domestically and internationally, Canada will have to show up next week at President Joe Biden’s climate leadership summit with more than just words, former Irish president Mary Robinson said Wednesday.

U.S Global Intelligence Report Presents Stark Climate Vision for 2040

The latest Global Trends report from the U.S. National Intelligence Council offers harrowing projections alongside glimmers of hope in its visioning of how the post-pandemic world may—or may not—respond to the climate crisis by 2040.

Here’s What it Would Take to Decolonize ‘British Columbia’

This summer will mark 150 years since British Columbia joined Canada. While some will celebrate a landmark anniversary, Dogwood’s Kai Nagata and Christina Smethurst say decolonizing the province begins with acknowledging the true history of how it came to be.

Melting Greenland Ice Sheet ‘Like a Book of History Being Erased’: Op-Ed

The slow erasure of Greenland’s vast ice sheet—an archive of planetary and human history made of air bubbles and frozen water molecules—is a devastating loss of potential knowledge, says an expert in such memory traces.

Oregon Forest Partnership Shows Blueprint for Building Common Ground

The town of John Day, Oregon, once the site of a “venomous” battle between loggers and environmentalists, has been saved by a shared determination to act with humility and empathy.

Wildfire

U.S. Prepares for Another ‘Devastating’ Fire Season

From California to Wisconsin, U.S. policy-makers are putting dollars into pre-emptive action and more “boots on the ground” as a lower-than-normal snowpack portends a fierce fire season.

B.C. Wood Pellet Industry Feeds on Whole Trees, Not Waste Wood

Environmentalists and loggers are crying foul after revelations that British Columbia’s thriving wood pellet industry is sourcing its feedstock not from wood waste, but from forests—and employing scant few workers in the process.

Alberta Researchers Land $2.9-Million Federal Grant to Produce Jet Fuel from Ag Waste

A research team at the University of Alberta has received a C$2.89-million grant from Natural Resources Canada to produce jet fuel from waste fats and oils.

Drastic Ridership Drop During Pandemic Prompts TTC to Speed Up Subway Maintenance

Toronto transit users can expect to return to a much-improved subway network once the COVID-19 pandemic begins to subside, after the Toronto Transit Commission took the opportunity to speed up its maintenance and upgrades to tracks, stations, and vehicles.

U.S. Army Corps Declines to Close Dakota Access Pipeline Despite Missing Permit

Indigenous leaders and progressive Democrats are urging the Biden administration to shut down the Dakota Access pipeline after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, ignoring a weighty, Indigenous-led petition, declined to do so.

Site C Man Camp Makes Good Use of Waste Food on Project Meant to Inundate Prime Farmland

A B.C. man camp operator’s well-intentioned plan to keep waste food out of the nearest landfill is colliding with the permanent food security impact of the hydro dam the camp was built to serve, raising tough questions about how socially responsible a contractor can be when the bigger-picture impact of the project is far beyond their control.

Thinning Sea Ice, Changing Weather Strain Inuit Communities in Labrador

The psychological scars of cabin fever and adaptation fatigue are adding to the immediate physical dangers for Indigenous people in Labrador of pursuing a traditional life on the thinning sea ice.

Inuit Party Election Win in Greenland Casts Doubt on Rare-Earth Mining Project

Greenland’s plans for a massive rare-earth metals mine have been thrown doubt with the recent election victory of Inuit Ataqatigiit (IA), a party firmly opposed to the project.

Albertans Demand Federal Impact Assessment for Controversial Coal Mine Plan

A fourth request has been made to the federal government to get involved in the environmental review of a coal mine proposed for Alberta’s Rocky Mountains.

Pandemic Disrupts Alberta Fossils’ Maintenance Plans with Nine Sites Reporting Outbreaks

Canadian tar sands/oil sands operators are having trouble lining up the skilled work force they need for a busy period of essential scheduled maintenance, with nine facilities fighting COVID-19 outbreaks as the country lurches through a third wave of the pandemic.

70 Missing, 150 Dead as Cyclone Seroja Hits Indonesia, East Timor

Catastrophic landslides driven by climate change and deforestation have killed at least 150 and displaced thousands after Tropical Cyclone Seroja hammered remote islands in Indonesia and East Timor last week.

Global Forest Loss Accelerates Despite Pandemic Restrictions

Two recent studies are offering new evidence that the carbon-sequestering forests required to hold average global warming to 1.5°C are in peril.

New Start-Up Aims to Build U.S. Energy Equity One Neighbourhood at a Time

To be poor and a person of colour in the United States all too often means living with energy poverty and its associated health effects. A Brooklyn-based business founded by the son of Guyanese immigrants is working to change that reality, one building at a time.

Climate Impacts Wipe Out Seven Years of Food Production Growth as Big Ag Blocks Climate Action

Climate change has caused global food productivity growth to drop more than 20% since the 1960s, despite the billions of dollars Big Ag has funnelled into production technologies. Meanwhile, some of the world’s biggest meat and dairy producers have been spending further billions to undercut climate action.

Biden Jobs, Infrastructure Plan Aims to ‘Turbocharge the Transition’ Off Fossil Fuels

U.S. President Joe Biden travelled to Pittsburgh last Wednesday to unveil a US$2-billion jobs and infrastructure plan that includes a 10-year, $650-billion commitment to a U.S. clean energy transition, with big allocations for building energy retrofits, electric vehicle infrastructure, grid modernization, public transit, and union jobs cleaning up abandoned oil and gas wells and mines.

Indigenous People Are Best Guardians of Amazon Rainforests, Study Finds

Securing Latin America’s rainforests from further degradation will be critical to fighting the climate crisis and protecting biodiversity. And according to a recent United Nations report, Indigenous peoples in the region are already the best at forest guardianship, and should be paid for their stewardship.

Ottawa City Committee Flags Concerns, Declines to Oppose Upriver Nuclear Waste Site

An Ottawa city council committee has stopped short of opposing plans for two new nuclear waste disposal sites less than 200 kilometres upriver, but will ask privately-owned Canadian Nuclear Laboratories (CNL) to refrain from accepting waste from outside Ontario and take steps to protect the Ottawa River, on which the community depends for its drinking water.

Furey, O’Regan Reject Chrétien Pitch for Labrador Nuclear Waste Dump

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey says he rejected an idea last summer from former prime minister Jean Chrétien to store international nuclear waste in Labrador.

Leaked Fossil Documents Reveal 50 Years of Suppressed Air Pollution Science

Leaked memos make it clear that Big Oil has known about the links between air pollution and fossil fuel combustion for at least 50 years—and, in a familiar pattern, has for decades been doing everything it can to bury the threat to its bottom line.

Planned Plastics Plant in Louisiana’s ‘Cancer Alley’ Fails to Pass Economic Muster

Yet another behemoth plastics complex planned for Louisiana’s infamous “Cancer Alley” is running into headwinds as a new report declares it economically unviable and suggests it be abandoned.

Protecting Half of the World’s Oceans Could Deliver Massive Global Gains

Protecting 45% of the world’s oceans would deliver a “triple win” of increased biodiversity, restored fisheries, and a greater capacity to sequester carbon, says a new report just published in the journal Nature.

Central Banks See Climate Impacts Driving Permanent Shifts in Monetary Policy

An era of climate-driven extreme weather will force governments to keep interest rates low and usher in a new era of monetary policy, the world’s oldest central bank, Sweden’s Riksbank, warned last week.

Wildfires, Toxic Gases Lead to Mass Bird Deaths in West-Central U.S.

The 2020 wildfire season caused a mass die-off of birds in the western and central United States, according to crowdsourced science and weather location data summarized in a new study in the journal GeoHealth.

Reliable Solar Can Support Vaccine Distribution in Africa

The struggle to acquire and distribute COVID-19 vaccines in many African countries is only the latest iteration of a long-standing problem: poor electricity access. Reliable and easy to install, distributed solar may be the answer for the world’s rural health clinics.

Capping Warming at 1.5°C Could Cut Expected Deadly Heat Stress by Half

Limiting global warming to 1.5°Cwill reduce the exposure of hundreds of millions of South Asian people to lethal heat events by half, in turn preventing economy-destabilizing drops in labour productivity, says a new study by an international climate science institute.

New Study Reveals Mega-Tornadoes More Common than Previously Believed

Meteorologists have long used infrastructure damage to calculate tornado wind speeds, but that metric underestimates the real number of truly terrifying storms by as much as a quarter, a new study suggests.

Bigfoot Director Thanks Alberta’s ‘Ludicrous’ Fossil War Room for Big Publicity Boost

The director of a children’s movie about Bigfoot wants to thank the Alberta government’s energy centre for starting a “ludicrous” fight over the film.

Youth Declare ‘Historic Legal Victory’ as Ontario Court Sends Climate Case to Full Hearing

The Doug Ford government in Ontario is now 0 for 2 in its bid to stop a youth-led climate lawsuit from going to a full court hearing.

Water Contamination Nets Record Fine for Teck Mine as Conservationist Questions Long-Term Impacts

Teck Coal is facing the largest fine ever imposed under the federal Fisheries Act after pleading guilty to contaminating waterways in southeastern British Columbia.

Fragile Labrador Sea Ice Arrives Five Weeks Late, 85% Thinner

The sea ice was five weeks late to arrive along the north coast of Labrador this year—and is still 85% shy of its typical thickness. The Inuit communities that rely on that ice are rallying as best they can under conditions that pose both immediate dangers and long-term peril.

Devastating Australian Floods Show ‘Tricky’ Connections to Climate Change

Pounding rain arriving on the heels of an unseasonably wet summer has displaced thousands of people and inundated hundreds of kilometres of Australia’s southeast coast. Scientists say the answer on whether climate change is the culprit…is complicated.

New Legislation Requires Massachusetts to Reach Net-Zero by 2050

Two months after he vetoed a landmark climate bill, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (R) has signed something very similar, with a 2050 net-zero target and raft of measures that include more offshore wind, new building codes, and benchmarks for electric vehicle adoption.

Kenney Under Fire After Documents Show Roadbuilding for Coal Exploration Exceeds Legal Limits

Road-building approvals for coal exploration already exceed legal limits in some parts of Alberta’s Rocky Mountains and foothills, suggest documents from the province’s energy regulator.

GNL Québec Project Risks Far Outweigh Benefits, Government Review Panel Concludes

Quebec’s environmental review board says the risks associated with GNL Québec’s proposed Saguenay gas terminal project far outweigh its benefits.

Alberta Eased More Environmental Rules During COVID than Any Other Canadian Government

Alberta relaxed more environmental rules in response to the COVID-19 pandemic than any other government in Canada, says a study from the University of Calgary.

Canadian Environmental Racism Bill Addresses ‘Toxic Divide’

Aamjiwnaang First Nation near Sarnia, Ontario, is ringed by some 60 toxin-spewing petrochemical plants, more than any other community in Canada. That kind of environmental racism is the motivation for a private member’s bill currently before the House of Commons that calls for a national program to help communities measure the impacts they face.

U.S. Fracking Counties Face Economic Crunch as Coal Country Looks to Diversify

As the energy transition picks up across the United States, fossil-dependent states like Pennsylvania are struggling with the devastating financial and environmental price of betting the farm on oil, gas, and coal. But a policy brief published late last year offers some hints on how to build back better.

Wild Spaces Left Undeveloped Have Higher Dollar Value, Scientists Calculate

British scientists have once again made the commercial case for conserving wilderness. They have demonstrated that in its pristine state—mangrove swamps, wetlands, savannahs, forests, and so on—nature left alone is of more value to humankind than as exploited real estate.

Canada’s Opposition to Line 5 Closure Flies in the Face of Science, Courts Disaster, Ex-IJC Chair Warns

In announcing its “non-negotiable” opposition to the closure of the Enbridge Line 5 pipeline, the Canadian government has seemingly kicked to the curb a longstanding cross-border commitment to protect the Great Lakes from harm, says an experienced U.S. advisor.

New Report Counts 600+ Cities in 72 Countries with 100% Renewable Energy Plans

The latest global status report on renewable power in cities shows that 2020 was a good year for the development of targets and policies at the municipal level, with more than 610 municipalities in 72 countries setting 100% renewable energy targets by year’s end.

Deep Ocean Trawling Produces a Billion Tonnes of Carbon Pollution Per Year, Study Concludes

A new study is calling for countries’ greenhouse gas emission inventories to include deep ocean trawling that accounts for a billion tonnes of carbon pollution per year, more than the total produced by Germany and about the same as the global airline industry.

Nuclear Fuel ‘Recycling’ in New Brunswick Could Drive Weapons Proliferation, Analysts Warn

Two veteran safe energy campaigners are raising the alarm after the federal government announced a C$50.5-million subsidy to a New Brunswick company that wants to build a new 300-megawatt small modular nuclear reactor at the site of the current Point Lepreau nuclear station by the early 2030s.

U.S. Lawmakers to Vote on Groundbreaking Environmental Justice Bill

A landmark bill currently in front of the U.S. Congress could change the game for environmental justice in the country. Two key provisions: an annual US$75 million in funding to improve public health in disadvantaged communities, and taxing the fossil sector in order to support fossil-dependent workers and communities in the transition to green jobs.

10.3 Million Displaced by Climate Disaster from September 2020 to February 2021

In just a six-month period over the past year, climate disasters sent more than 10 million people fleeing from their homes, adding to trauma already levied by the pandemic. Now, the world’s largest international aid network is pleading for compassion, and for funds.

Nature Destruction Has Humanity Playing ‘Russian Roulette with Pathogens’ Like COVID-19

The trillions of dollars being spent worldwide on health care and pandemic recovery will ultimately be for naught if governments fail to tackle the destruction of nature as the root cause of emerging zoonotic pathogens like COVID-19, says a new international coalition of health and environmental groups.

Unchecked Climate Change Could Mean $270B Per Year in Higher Interest Costs for Countries, Businesses

More than 60 countries could see their credit ratings downgraded by 2030, while countries and businesses could be in line for as much as US$270 billion per year in higher interest costs by 2100, without tough policies to get climate change under control, according to a study released last week by three United Kingdom universities.

Don’t Let Nuclear Boosterism, ‘Hydrogen Hype’ Distract from Practical Renewable Alternatives, Analyst Urges

Nuclear boosterism and “hydrogen hype” mustn’t distract countries from the renewable energy technologies that can actually deliver on a 2050 target for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions, @Forum4theFuture founder Jonathan Porritt argues in an opinion piece last week for The Guardian.

Consultations Will Let Albertans Say ‘No’ to Rocky Mountain Coal Mining, Minister Promises

Alberta’s energy minister has promised people will be able to say “no” to coal mining in the Rocky Mountains during upcoming consultations.

Canada’s Pandemic Bike Lanes Boost Accessibility, Should Be Made Permanent, Advocates Say

A recent study in shows that new bike lanes set up during the pandemic made the city more accessible for all, prompting cycling advocates to urge policy-makers to make the lanes permanent.

2/3 of Tropical Rainforests Destroyed or Damaged by Logging, Farming

New research concludes that roughly 64% of the world’s original tropical rainforest has been either degraded or destroyed by the hunger for commodities like palm oil, soy, and beef. Such devastation bodes ill for the climate, which desperately needs the carbon storage capacity these rich ecosystems provide.

Food System Produces 34% of Global Emissions, New European Database Shows

Food systems around the world accounted for 34% of humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2015, according to a new database assembled by the European Union. And drawing down those emissions will call for a full toolbox of approaches.

Line 5 Court Fight Would Take ‘Many, Many Years’, Pipeliner Tells Commons Committee

Courts in the United States would take “many, many years” to resolve the battle between Canada and Michigan over Line 5, the pipeline’s operator told MPs Tuesday as he pleaded for a negotiated solution to the dispute.

UK Climate Scientist Traces Three Lessons Learned from the Pandemic

The planet had already warmed by around 1.2℃ since pre-industrial times when the World Health Organization officially declared a pandemic on March 11, 2020. This began a sudden and unprecedented drop in human activity, as much of the world went into lockdown and factories stopped operating, cars kept their engines off, and planes were grounded.

Tsleil-Waututh Study Proves Damage from Marine Traffic in B.C.’s Burrard Inlet

The Tsleil-Waututh Nation on Canada’s southern west coast has been warning for years that heavy marine traffic in the Burrard Inlet is producing too much wave action and eroding the shoreline. Now, a new study has confirmed this to be the case—and the situation is set to worsen as the Trans Mountain Pipeline brings in even more ships.

From https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:ChineseCoalPower.jpg

China’s International Investments Undermine ‘Green is Gold’ Domestic Mandate

China’s efforts to assert the green credentials of its Belt and Road Initiative are being undermined by its long-standing habit of ignoring public opinion, especially when it comes to human and ecosystem health. And recent successful pushback from community groups in Africa suggests it’s time for a rethink.

Reopening Tesla Plant Last May Resulted in 450 Extra COVID Cases, Health Records Show

Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s insistence on reopening his Fremont, California auto plant last May in the midst of a global health emergency resulted in an estimated 450 extra COVID-19 cases in California’s Alameda County, according to public health data obtained by the legal transparency website PlainSite.

Ex-Conservative PM’s Message to Trudeau: Put Your House in Order Before Pushing Others

The 30th anniversary of one of the most successful environmental treaties ever reached holds lessons for today’s fight against climate change, says the former Conservative prime minister who negotiated the deal.

http://www.greenpeace.org/canada/en/campaigns/Energy/tarsands/

U.S. Congress Aims to End Tax Exemption for Tar Sands/Oil Sands, Set Price on Methane

Congressional Democrats in the United States are considering reversing a long-standing excise tax exemption for tar sands/oil sands crude entering the country, a move that could cost the Alberta industry US$665 million over the next decade.

More Systemic Racism than Storm Damage in Jackson, Mississippi Water Crisis

The winter storm that famously brought Texas to its knees last month also delivered misery to places like Jackson, Mississippi. Weeks later, more than 70% of Jackson’s mostly Black residents still don’t have safe water, an infrastructure failure that owes directly to systemic racism, past and present.

Federal Carbon Tax Revenue Funds Energy Retrofits for 172 Ontario Schools

The federal government will spend more than C$40 million of carbon tax revenue to make Ontario schools more energy efficient, the Environment and Climate Minister Jonathan Wilkinson announced last Wednesday.

World’s Lost Forest Regions May Never Regenerate

From the Rocky Mountains to the Amazon to the boreal stretches of Siberia, vast swaths of forest are being lost to drought and wildfire. Now, recent research is showing that these forests may never return, because the climate that nurtured them no longer exists.

Increases in U.S. Floods, Flood Damage Fuel Insurance Crisis

Sea level rise and severe storms are sending more and more water surging into America’s towns and cities, destroying property and lives. That has activists calling for reform of the country’s National Flood Insurance Program as inequitable insurance rates leave many citizens unable to pick up the pieces.

Climate Hawks in Dismay as Australian Climate Denier Named OECD Secretary General

Leading climate analysts say the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is on track to lose credibility with developing countries with the appointment of ex-Australian finance minister Mathias Cormann as its new secretary general.

Climate Change May Not Drive Dryland Expansion, New Research Reveals

Plants respond to high levels of atmospheric CO2 by retaining water, a process that in turn dries out the surrounding air. And new research that recognizes this critical interplay is contradicting earlier studies that say the climate crisis will cause the world’s drylands to expand.

EXCLUSIVE: Blaming Campaigners for Rising Premiums Masks Trans Mountain’s Shoddy Safety Record, Ex-Insurance Exec Says

The federal Crown corporation responsible for the Trans Mountain pipeline is diverting attention from its own shoddy safety culture by blaming campaigners for its rising insurance premiums, while trying to conceal information on its operations that properly belongs in the public domain, two insurance industry veterans have told The Energy Mix.

A Decade After Fukushima Nuclear Disaster, Cleanup ‘Has Barely Begun’ [Sign-on]

A decade ago, on March 11, 2011, a massive earthquake created a 14-metre-high tsunami wave which destroyed the reactors of a Japanese nuclear power station at the town of Fukushima. Ten years on, the cleanup has barely begun.

Caribbean Refinery Poses an Early Test for U.S. Climate Justice Commitments

U.S. President Joe Biden’s promise to advance the cause of environmental justice is being put to the test by a U.S. Virgin Islands oil refinery that insists it is exempt from implementing monitoring protocols.

Local Councillors Raise Coal Mining Concern in Alberta Environment Minister’s Home Riding

A municipal council in Alberta Environment Minister Jason Nixon’s constituency is the latest in a growing number of communities expressing concern about the province’s plan to expand coal mining in the Rocky Mountains.

Relying on BECCS Could Leave 4.5 Billion at Risk of Water Shortages

Banking heavily on bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) to keep average global warming under 1.5°C could put more than 50% of the world’s population into high water stress by the end of the century, with South America and southern Africa in line to suffer the worst.

Lethal Heat Waves More Likely, More Extreme in Poor Neighbourhoods, Study Shows

As the summer thermometer soars, and the cities of the southwestern United States are caught up in extremes of heat, the poorest people who live in the least prosperous districts may find their streets as much as 3°C hotter than those of the wealthiest 10%.

Decline in Western U.S. Butterflies Linked to Higher Temperatures

Summer temperatures in the western parts of the U.S. are not just creeping higher, they’re creeping longer, too. And this gradual loss of cool, crisp autumns is proving particularly deadly to butterflies, with numbers declining 1.6% every year for the past 40 years.

New Type Font Dramatizes Arctic Sea Ice Loss

Two typographers in Finland and South Africa have developed a new font, and named it Climate Crisis, to embody a range of scientific projections for the loss of sea ice through the middle of this century.

Experts Brace for Disaster as Canada, U.S. Increase Oil-by-Rail Shipments

The fierce debate over cross-border pipelines is putting more Canadian oil and gas on trains destined for the United States—a country experts fear is ill-equipped for the potential consequences.

Sketchy Carbon Accounting Turns Net-Zero Targets into ‘Weapons-Grade Greenwash’, Scientist Warns

Carbon accounting tricks won’t be enough to solve the climate crisis, and “disaster looms if big finance is allowed to game the carbon offsetting markets to achieve ‘net zero’ emissions,” global change scientist Simon Lewis argued last week in an opinion piece for The Guardian.

Rising Emissions Make Animal Protein, Dairy the ‘New Oil and Gas’, Analysts Warn

Some of the same banks and investment funds that are promising to scale back their financial support for fossil fuels are still throwing their dollars at agri-food companies that produce massive amounts of carbon pollution and play a direct or indirect role in the loss of the world’s forests, Inside Climate News reports.

Economic, Racial Bias Skews Cascadia’s Push to Decarbonize

The fight for climate justice continues to struggle for air as Cascadia races ahead to decarbonize. But brighter days may lie ahead.

Decentralized Energy Is Critical for African Vaccine Distribution

Getting vaccines (and good health care in general) to all the people who need it depends on connecting remote and rural health centres to renewable energy. And making that happen will require multilateral cooperation, including the United States taking its “build back better” mantra to the global stage.

David Schindler, Alberta Scientist Who ‘Talked Truth to Power’, Dies at Age 80

His research in the lab and the field was published in some of the world’s top journals, but that was never enough for David Schindler, who died Thursday at the age of 80.

Ottawa Releases Rules for National Carbon Offset System

The Trudeau government has released draft regulations that will set the rules for companies intent on buying and selling credits for projects that reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

U.S. Senate Committee Vote Brings Haaland Closer to Confirmation as First Indigenous Secretary of Interior

A committee vote by a U.S. Senate Republican and the political clout of First Peoples in Alaska have brought Rep. Deb Haaland (D-NM) one step closer to confirmation as the United States’ first Secretary of Interior of Indigenous origin.

Alberta Regulator Clamps Down after Deadbeat Fossil Falls $67 Million Short on Cleanup Funds

The Alberta Energy Regulator says it is suspending licences for thousands of wells and pipelines after an oil and gas producer failed to bring its operations into regulatory compliance.

‘Milestone’ 4-0 Vote Permanently Halts Fracking in Delaware River Basin

In the face of vociferous opposition from natural gas interests, an interstate commission has voted to put a permanent stop to fracking in the Delaware River Basin.

Transition to Electric Cars Need Not Demand a Toxic Lithium Legacy

Despite widespread assumptions, lithium and rare earth minerals like coltan—and all the environmental and social harms that attend their extraction and use—are not necessarily essential to the green energy transition, says a new book on building a climate-friendly economy.

Ice Shelves at Risk as Antarctic Summer Sets New Temperature Record

Antarctic warming is accelerating: at least one of the southern continent’s ice shelves has been melting faster than ever. The polar summer of 2019-2020 set a new record for temperatures above freezing point over the George VI ice shelf off the Antarctic Peninsula.

COVID-19, Climate Hold Lessons About Colonialism, ‘Syndemic Events’

Neither the pandemic nor the climate crisis came out of a vacuum—both are rooted in systemic racism and the bitter legacy of colonialism, says Indigenous environmental journalist and academic Candis Callison. And recognizing climate change as a “syndemic” event will help humanity rethink its response.

$565-Billion House Bill Aims to Cut U.S. Emissions 50% by 2030, Decarbonize Grid by 2035

The United States would cut its greenhouse gas emissions 50% from 2005 levels by 2030 and count on a clean electricity standard to achieve a 100% clean energy grid by 2035 under legislation reintroduced this week by Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Forget ‘Safe’ and Focus on Impact to Make Carbon Credits Work: WWF

Despite more than a decade of policy discussion, questions still remain over how to differentiate “good” carbon forest credits from those that just squeak by the grade. A new primer from World Wildlife Fund attempts to lay out the challenges and offer a path forward.

Criminalizing Ecocide Could Give Teeth to Easy-to-Evade Climate Targets

While most of the world’s countries are, for all intents and purposes, reneging on their promises to keep global warming below 1.5°C, individuals and organizations are fighting to hold such ecocidal inaction to account in criminal court.

Canadian Environmental Justice Bill Set for Commons Debate [Petition]

A private member’s bill seeking to address environmental racism in Canada, in part by empowering BIPOC communities to act in their own defence, is due to be debated in the House of Commons later this month—the first step in moving the legislation forward to committee.

Heritage Group Places Entire City of Providence, RI, on ‘Endangered Property’ List

The iconic 1928 “Superman” building is just one of many heritage treasures to be found in the 385-year-old Rhode Island city of Providence. Now, a local preservation society has moved to place the entire city on its annual “most endangered properties” list, citing sea level rise and storm surge risk.

War-Torn States Look to Local Renewables, Rooftop Solar for Greater Stability

Desperate to improve energy access for their citizens, some of the world’s most fragile states have delivered an open letter to wealthy nations, development banks, and the private sector, pleading for support to expand distributed renewable energy systems like inexpensive and relatively conflict-resistant rooftop solar.

Rapid Alpine Warming Threatens Soil Carbon, Food Production

The early melting of snow in the Alps is not just bad news for ardent skiers and for those who are dependent on the money they earn during the winter sports season: Alpine plants are in danger, too.

B.C. Pushes Forward with Site C Hydro Megaproject Despite $16-Billion Price Tag

Premier John Horgan has given the green light for work on British Columbia’s Site C hydroelectric dam to proceed, citing termination costs of more than C$10 billion and expert opinion that the geotechnical problems that have haunted the project can be fixed. Members of the West Moberly First Nations say they’ll see the province in court.

Coalition Urges Federal Funding to Drive Down Farm Emissions, Bring Producers Onboard for Climate Action

A new coalition of agriculture and environmental groups is calling for a two-year, C$600-million federal investment to begin reducing the sector’s greenhouse gas emissions, pave the way for further improvements over time, and dial down concerns about carbon pricing and its potential impact on farm producers.

Quebec River is First in Canada to Gain ‘Legal Personhood’

With its kilometres of rapids and deep blue waters winding through Quebec’s Côte-Nord region, the Magpie river has long been a culturally significant spot for the Innu of Ekuanitshit.

Now the river, a majestic, world-renowned whitewater rafting destination, has been granted legal personhood status in a bid to protect it from future threats, such as hydroelectric development. Its new status means the body of water could theoretically sue the government.

Maryland Capital and Its County Launch New Climate Suits Against Big Fossil

Annapolis, Maryland, has launched a lawsuit against 26 fossil companies—including heavyweights ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, and Shell—in a bid to hold the industry liable for its decision to pursue fossil fuel development despite full knowledge of the environmental consequences.

New ‘Proxy’ Evidence Shows Atlantic Ocean Current at Its Weakest in 1,000 Years

Evidence is growing that a critical part of the Atlantic Ocean’s circulation system is weaker than it’s been in 1,000 years, a climate-driven change that could someday have a major impact on both the European climate and the fishing economies of the U.S. East Coast.

Nine Big Emitters Would Pay Their Share Under ‘Hypothetical Climate Liability Regime’

The world’s big oil and mining companies emit vast amounts of climate-changing greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. By extension, the actions of these corporate giants stand accused of contributing to floods and droughts and other climate-related disasters around the globe, extremely costly in both human and financial terms.

LNG Tanker Completes First Winter Passage of Russia’s Melting Northern Sea Route

Since the New Year, an LNG tanker has twice navigated the Northern Sea Route—a feat that until recently would have been impossible in mid-winter. While some see the opening of the passage as a worrying sign for the climate, others are salivating at the thought of a new frontier for commerce.

Rising Rents, Hurricane Damage Drive Homelessness Crisis in Louisiana

Only six months after seeing their homes destroyed by back-to-back hurricanes, many renters in the industrial heartland of southwest Louisiana have found themselves literally on the street due to unconscionable eviction laws, a woefully insufficient federal aid response, a pre-existing housing crisis, and pandemic-related job losses.

Great Barrier Reef Geoengineering an Expensive Smokescreen, Scientists Say

Researchers and innovators are piling on to the effort to geoengineer a way to protect Australia’s Great Barrier Reef from a warming ocean. But as intriguing as some of the solutions are, critics say such projects do nothing but put a very expensive, potentially destructive band-aid on a problem that will only be solved by sharp emissions cuts.

‘There’s a Lot to Rebuild’, Trudeau Tells Biden, as Canada, U.S. Map Climate Partnership

Accelerating climate ambition and building back better are two of the six components of a new U.S.-Canada partnership roadmap that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Joe Biden released yesterday, during the first official summit between the two leaders and their senior cabinet officials.

Russian Veto Blocks UN Security Council Action on Climate

The sitting president of the United Nations Security Council was left “stabbing at a broken panic button” yesterday after Russia’s veto threat prevented the council from recognizing the climate crisis as a global security risk, Politico Europe reports.

Coastal GasLink Costs Rise as B.C. Flags Environmental Impacts Along Pipeline Route

The CEO of TC Energy Corp. is warning that the cost of its Coastal GasLink pipeline to bring natural gas from northeastern British Columbia to Canada’s first LNG export terminal is rising and completion will likely be delayed due to a construction halt to control spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

World Bank, IMF May Link Debt Relief for Poor Countries with Climate Investments

The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are looking at how to take climate change into account as they open negotiations to reduce unsustainable debt loads for some of the world’s poorest countries, Reuters reports, citing an interview last week with World Bank President David Malpass.

Australian Megafires Could Have Lasting Consequences on Outback Vegetation

Australia’s desperate summer of ferocious bushfires in 2019-2020 burned more than 19 million hectares, devastating plant ecosystems and razing more than 90% of the range of 289 species across the continent. Such comprehensive destruction, coupled with the fact that many species were already weakened by drought, has left experts fearing “regeneration failure and landscape-scale decline” in the country.

City Forests Hold Promise for Significant CO2 Offsets, Study Concludes

Urban reforestation in cities in the Global South could be a cost-effective path to offsetting some part of global city emissions, according to a new study. And the researchers are calling their findings a conservative estimate, calculated with due concern for land use conflicts and other fundamental constraints.

Off-Gassing Upholstery, Highway Emissions Make Cars Toxic Inside and Out

The average commute time in California is 30 minutes, and growing. And according to a new study, the half-hour spent in vehicles that off-gas benzene and formaldehyde—and driving on highways befogged with toxic tailpipe emissions—is increasing some very specific health risks.

UN Report Urges End to ‘Suicidal’ War on Nature

A landmark UN report has delivered a shattering synopsis of the three intertwined emergencies facing humanity—the climate crisis, a devastated natural world, and catastrophic air and water pollution—along with an authoritative and detailed blueprint for how to fix a “broken planet.”

Texas Blackouts Highlight Disaster Risk for U.S., Canadian Utilities

With many Texans still scrambling to recover from a week of freezing cold weather, power blackouts, and water shortages, early analysis in the United States and Canada is pointing to the episode as a wake-up call for grid operators—and electricity users—across the continent.

Tree Programs Should Favour Natural Regeneration Over Commercial Plantations

The oil company Shell recently miscalculated the extent of its reserves on a pretty massive scale. The mistake meant its new scenario for meeting the internationally agreed 1.5°C climate target would need a new forest about the size of Brazil. And that renewed a debate about just what trees can do to ease the climate crisis.

BREAKING: Texas Was ‘Seconds and Minutes’ from Months-Long Blackouts, Grid Operator Admits

At least 47 people were dead, hundreds of thousands of homes were still without power, half of the state was under a boil water order, racialized communities were bearing the brunt, and the electricity system operator admitted it had only narrowly averted months-long blackouts as Texas began taking stock of a rolling disaster brought on by climate-driven severe weather and ideologically-driven grid deregulation.

Missouri Solar Installer Reports ‘Overwhelming’ Interest as Customers Face Rolling Blackouts

Though politicians in Texas might insist on wrongly blaming renewable energy for the devastated condition of the state’s power grid, people in northwestern Missouri know what to do. A solar company in St. Joseph, about 55 miles north of Kansas City, says its phones have been ringing off the hook as customers respond to rolling blackouts in the region and across much of the United States

Giant Whales, and Their Giant Poop, Serve as Natural Carbon Sinks

The Earth’s great whales are magnificent, intelligent, and peaceful. But new research shows that they also help keep the planet cool—in life, and in death. Such knowledge has put a new urgency to the call to “save the whales,” as doing so may also help cool the climate.

Brutal Cold Snap Triggers Rolling Blackouts, Drives Up Power Costs as Texas Gas Plants Fail

A brutal blast of cold, winter weather this week killed at least 14 people in four U.S. states, dropped snow and ice on an area from Texas to New England, took 34,000 megawatts of power offline in Texas, drove wholesale electricity rates up by more than 10,000%—and prompted a brief, inevitable burst of complaints directed at the state’s wind farms, before it became clear that most of the missing electricity was from the state’s gas plants.

Bar Association Resolution Calls for ‘Climate-Conscious Lawyering’

The Canadian Bar Association is expected to vote on a climate leadership resolution at its annual meeting later today. In this guest post, an excerpt from a longer analysis for Lawyers for Climate Justice, Canadian environmental law pioneer David Estrin talks about what’s at stake.

New Deforestation Map Reveals Shocking Loss of B.C.’s Old Growth Stands

Despite its “Super, Natural” branding, British Columbia is by no means a haven for old-growth forests, according to a new mapping project that points to a massive toll from logging and industrial activity.

Pickering-Area Citizens Launch Blockade, ‘Shoe Strike’ to Protect Sensitive Local Wetland

Community groups and angry citizens from Pickering, Ontario are going up against what one news report calls “a billionaire and a business-friendly government” to try to stop the Lower Duffins Creek Wetland, a provincially significant local green space, wildlife habitat, and buffer against climate impacts, from being bulldozed for a massive warehouse and entertainment complex.

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Deliver Real Protections for Climate Migrants, Refugee Group Urges Biden Administration

As work begins on a new climate change and migration report commissioned by the Biden administration, Refugees International is urging the White House to turn the initiative from “some sort of risk scenario and planning exercise” into a gateway to real solutions.

Citizen ‘Climate Brigades’ in Ecuador Build Resilience, Cohesion

The citizen brigades of Guayaquil, Ecuador, were established to help the city’s poor find safety during extreme weather events. But the results have gone far further—with positive reverberations both political and personal.

Too Much Sahara Solar Development Could Bring Regional, Global Climate Impacts

The world’s most forbidding deserts could be the best places on Earth for harvesting solar power—the most abundant and clean source of energy we have. Deserts are spacious, relatively flat, rich in silicon—the raw material for the semiconductors from which solar cells are made—and never short of sunlight. In fact, the 10 largest solar plants around the world are all located in deserts or dry regions.

Amtrak One? With a Rail Enthusiast in the White House, Transit Advocate Eyes a Renaissance

Through a three-decade career in the U.S. Senate, President Joe Biden famously made the commute from Delaware to Washington, DC by rail, and his plans to arrive at his inauguration in a train car were only derailed by threats of Trump-instigated violence.
Now, a former customer advocate for New Jersey Transit says the new occupant of Air Force One should imagine a transition to Amtrak One.

Shareholders Squirm, Climate Analysts Pounce as Shell Releases ‘Grotesque’, ‘Delusional’ Climate Plan

Colossal fossil Royal Dutch Shell is taking criticism from all sides for its latest attempt at a decarbonization strategy, with fossil-friendly investors driving its share price down 2% after last week’s announcement while climate campaigners declare the plan “grotesque” and “delusional”.

Appalachia Counties Lose Jobs, Population Despite Massive Fracking Boom

The 22 counties in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio that have been at the centre of an extraordinary, decade-long fracking boom have seen very little job creation or economic gain as a result, concludes a new study released last week by the Pennsylvania-based Ohio River Valley Institute.

1930s Jobs Program Holds Mixed Lessons for Biden’s U.S. Climate Corps

A recent executive order by President Biden has set policy-makers on course to design a strategy for a new U.S. Civilian Climate Corps, with details due by late April. Comparisons to the New Deal’s Civilian Conservation Corps and to the present-day AmeriCorps are inevitable, but also problematic, observers warn.

Indigenous Clean Energy Seeks Federal Endowment to Build ‘Decolonized Energy Future’

With nearly 200 renewable energy projects in progress, each of them generating more than a megawatt of electricity at full capacity, Indigenous Clean Energy is calling on the federal government to invest C$500 million in a “decolonized energy future” for Indigenous communities.

Alberta’s Reinstated Coal Policy Leaves Gaping Opportunities for Mining

Its recent mea culpa notwithstanding, the Jason Kenney government in Alberta has by no means closed the barn door on the idea of metallurgical coal mining in the beloved, and ecologically sensitive, eastern slopes of the Rockies.

Kolbert’s Geoengineering Review Contrasts Bright Ideas with More Controversial Schemes

An enthusiastic—if imperfect—command of our technological powers has made humanity the dominant force on Earth, and we human beings are unlikely to stop monkeying around with nature. But some of our ideas may prove better than others, says author Elizabeth Kolbert.

Alberta, B.C. Receive New Funding Under Federal Oil Well Cleanup Program

The Alberta, British Columbia, and federal governments have unveiled a new round of funding to help clean up inactive oil and gas sites in the province, including C$400 million in Alberta and $120 million for B.C.

India Was Forewarned About Himalayan Flood Disaster Risks

Experts and residents in India have long been sending a message to the Modi government in India: Do not build hydroelectric dams in the Alaknanda-Bhagirathi basin. But those warnings were ignored, and now the collapse of the Nanda Devi glacier has left a toll of at least 26 dead and nearly 200 missing, as the fear of further collapse grips the living.

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Climate Crisis Will Be More Deadly than COVID, Carney Warns

Climate change could cause as many deaths each year by mid-century as the COVID-19 pandemic has produced over the last 12 months, UN climate action and finance envoy Mark Carney said last week, in an interview in which he called on governments to double their investments in a green recovery.

From Aquifers to Tree Canopies, New Research Flags Shrinking Fresh Water Supplies

Courtesy of climate change, the many and diverse parts of the Earth that hold fresh water are drying up, putting 66% of the land surface on track for significant water scarcity, says a recent report in the journal Nature Climate Change.

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Fossil Fuel Pollution Caused 8.7 Million Premature Deaths in 2018, New Study Finds

Fossil fuel pollution killed 8.7 million people prematurely in 2018—more than 18% of the total global death toll that year, and more than twice the impact calculated in recent research—according to a new study published this week in the journal Environmental Research.

Canada Can Thrive on Road to Net-Zero if Governments Make Good Decisions Now

Canada has multiple opportunities to thrive along the road to a net-zero economy by 2050 as long as governments make the right decisions now, concludes a study released this week by the Canadian Institute for Climate Choices (CICC).

In Conversation: New Fibre Sources Are Key to Protecting Forest Ecosystems, Drawing Down Carbon, Rycroft Says

Nicole Rycroft is founder and executive director of Vancouver-based Canopy, and one of this year’s two recipients of the 2020 Climate Breakthrough award, a US$3-million, unrestricted award that supports “the kind of novel and potentially game-changing strategies we need in order to achieve massive greenhouse gas reductions”. In this feature interview, she talks about how to quickly and fundamentally shift supply chains and scale up next-generation alternative fibres as a key step to protect intact, carbon- and biodiversity-rich forest ecosystems.

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Line 5 Pipeline Battle Produces Overheated Claims on Job vs. Environment

As officials in Michigan look to shut down the Line 5 pipeline, business interests in Ontario and Quebec are warning of dire economic effects. But others—like Green Party Leader Annamie Paul—say there are opportunities, too, and that presenting the pipeline as a choice between jobs and the environment is a false, and dangerous, dichotomy.

Peruvian Study Connects Flood Risk to Climate Change, Boosts Litigation Hopes

A landmark study of a Peruvian glacier has concluded that climate change caused by human activity is the key factor in the dangerous phenomenon of outburst flooding from glacial lakes. That finding could prove useful in a David vs. Goliath climate lawsuit currently being heard in a German civil court.

EXCLUSIVE: UNESCO Partnership Helps Global Gas Exporters ‘Boost Legitimacy’, Undercuts UN Climate Goals, Analysts Say

The United Nations agency responsible for science, education, culture, and protected areas is undercutting global action on the climate emergency, analysts and campaigners warn, by forming a partnership with a global forum dedicated to promoting and greenwashing natural gas exports.

Nine Dead, 140 Missing as Fractured Himalayan Glacier Triggers Flash Flood in Northern India

Officials are already pointing to climate change as the cause of a devastating disaster Sunday that killed at least nine people and left 140 construction workers missing in northern India, after a Himalayan glacier fractured and triggered a torrential flood that slammed into two hydroelectric plants.

‘Intense Public Protest’ Prompts Alberta to Restore Some Coal Industry Regulation

The Alberta government says it plans to restore some aspects of a policy it revoked last spring that protected a wide swath of the province’s foothills and mountains from coal mines.
The move has provoked intense public protest.

‘Tears of Joy’ as Court Orders Compensation for Shell Pipeline Spills in Nigeria

A European campaign organization responded with “tears of joy”, and a reporter predicted a wave of new litigation after an appeals court in The Hague ruled late last month that colossal fossil Royal Dutch Shell must pay compensation to four Nigerian farmers affected by large pipeline spills between 2004 and 2007.

Permian Basin Drilling Leases Put New Mexico’s Aquifers at Risk

The vast and pristine network of caves that thread through the limestone and gypsum landscape of southeastern New Mexico are otherworldly in their beauty, rich in scientific and cultural revelation—and increasingly threatened by ongoing Permian Basin fossil exploration.

Industrial Hog Farm Biogas Projects Ignore Community Impacts

Many Black and low-income communities in the U.S. have long played unwilling hosts to industrial hog farms and their sub-par waste-treatment processes. Now, efforts to turn hog-generated methane into renewable natural gas are doing little to improve the quality of life in these communities—and may even be making it worse.

White House Abandons Trump-Era Attacks on Vehicle Efficiency, Methane Standards

The Biden administration is abandoning a controversial Trump-era attempt to challenge California’s legislated authority to set its own tailpipe and methane emission standards under the U.S. Clean Air Act.

Perth, Australia Bushfire Forces Evacuations Despite Pandemic Lockdown

A bushfire outside Perth, Australia has destroyed 71 homes, injured six firefighters, and forced some residents to evacuate—even though the city had just entered a snap, five-day pandemic lockdown.

Sea Level Rise Could Put 100 Airports Below Sea Level, 572 at Risk by 2100

Passengers, prepare for splashdown. Take-off may have to wait for low tide. By 2100, thanks to rising sea levels, around 100 of the world’s airports could be below mean sea level and at least 364 will be vulnerable to flooding, Climate News Network reports.

Canada and U.S. Drastically Underestimate Methane Emissions as Atmospheric Levels Rise

Federal environmental agencies are underestimating methane emissions from abandoned oil and gas wells by 20% in the United States and 150% in Canada, according to a McGill University study published late last month in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, one of several in recent weeks that have pointed to a mounting crisis in releases of the climate-busting gas.

Executive Orders Good, Action Better, U.S. Environmental Justice Campaigners Say

Environmental justice campaigners in the United States have been feeling hopeful as President Joe Biden signs a string of executive orders to begin setting his climate program in motion. But more trust-building is needed, say observers—particularly after a long history of politicians talking big but delivering little.

Musk Faces Headwinds in Bid to Power SpaceX Rockets with Fossil Gas

Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk is facing serious criticism for plans to power his other major business venture, SpaceX, with fossil gas.

B.C. Logging Practices Drive Up Climate Risk, Sierra Club Warns

After failing to assess elevated risks of drought, wildfire, and flooding resulting from its standard logging practices, British Columbia urgently needs to address impacts of forest clearcutting that were left out of its 2019 Strategic Climate Risk Assessment, according to a report released Monday by Sierra Club BC.

Climate ‘Pariah’ Bolsonaro Faces International Court Complaint for Crimes Against Humanity

At home and abroad, the environmental policies being adopted in President Jair Bolsonaro’s Brazil are leaving the country increasingly isolated, especially now his climate-denying idol Donald Trump has been replaced by the climate-friendly U.S. President Joe Biden.

Jason Kenney vs. the Plimsoll Line

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney proved to be “all hat but no horse” when it came to roping and tying down the ill-fated Keystone XL pipeline. Now, after risking billions in taxpayer funds on that folly, it appears he may soon be riding out of town on a one-trick pony. A metaphorical analysis by veteran journalist Paul McKay.

Collapsed Section of Pacific Coast Highway Points to Climate Perils Facing Coastal California

A section of the Pacific Coast Highway near Big Sur, California has collapsed into the ocean due to heavy rains and erosion.

Global Climate Adaptation Funding Overreported, Underspent

Even if global climate adaptation financing were as high as reported—and it isn’t—it would still fall woefully short of what’s needed. And the projects that are being funded may be leaving their intended beneficiaries worse off due to oblivious planning that ignores local drivers of vulnerability.

Major Canadian Solar Firm Denies Reports of Forced Labour

A Canadian solar company is claiming that no Uyghurs are employed at its 30-MW solar farm in China’s Xinjiang region, nor are any members of the persecuted Muslim community being forced into labour anywhere along its solar supply chain. But human rights observers say that last assertion doesn’t stand up to the evidence.

Trudeau Tree-Planting Plan to Run $2.78B Over Budget, PBO Warns

The parliamentary budget office says a pledge by the Trudeau Liberals to plant two billion trees could cost almost double what the government says.

Coldest Town in Finland Unveils Satirical Bid for 2032 Summer Olympics

The self-described coldest town in Finland is making a pitch to host the 2032 Summer Olympics, with a mock promotional campaign that highlights the impacts of climate change in a place with an annual average temperature of -0.22°C/31.6°F.

Sweeping Biden Executive Orders Halt Fossil Leases, Boost Renewables, Stress Environmental Justice and Scientific Integrity

With a set of three sweeping executive orders Wednesday, U.S. President Joe Biden launched an abrupt shift from four years of climate denial and inaction. The orders included measures to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, increase its reliance on renewable energy, accelerate government renewables procurement and research, restore scientific integrity, and begin addressing the searing inequities and environmental justice issues that had been allowed to fester under his predecessor’s watch.

Alarmingly Warm Water Temperatures Put Gulf of St. Lawrence in ‘Uncharted Territory’

Deep waters in the Gulf of St. Lawrence are hitting record highs that fall far beyond normal variations, part of a decade-long trend emerging from research released earlier this week by the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO).

‘Staggering’ Ice Loss Accelerates as Greenland Melt Rate Approaches 12,000-Year High

Planet Earth is losing its frozen mantle faster than ever as the world’s huge ice loss intensifies. Between 1994 and 2017, the polar regions and the mountain glaciers said farewell to a total of 28 million million tonnes of ice. This is a quantity large enough to conceal the entire United Kingdom under an ice sheet 100 metres thick.

Critics Weigh Merits of Soil Sequestration-Based Carbon Storage

Soil scientists, carbon credit start-ups, and now U.S. President Joe Biden want to enlist American farmers to fight the climate crisis through soil sequestration. Some, however, are questioning whether the benefits are as advertised, or if the initiative is a dangerous distraction from more proven, heavyweight carbon solutions like peatland restoration and forest protection.

Discouraging EV Battery Recycling Could Lead to Environmental Disaster

In September, Tesla announced that it would be phasing out the use of cobalt in its batteries, in an effort to produce a US$25,000 electric vehicle within three years. If successful, this bold move will be an industry game changer, making electric vehicles competitive with conventional counterparts.

Biden to Pause Oil and Gas Leasing, Emphasize Environmental Justice in ‘Climate Day’ Executive Orders Expected Today

U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to pause new oil and gas leasing on federal lands and waters and unveil an ambitious plan to put environmental justice at the centre of his climate program in a series of executive orders to be signed later today.

Alberta Coal Expansion Plan Raises Flags Over Past Toxic Contamination, Missed Monitoring

EDMONTON — Critics are asking why Alberta Environment has been sitting on years’ worth of data about pollution from coal mines while the government considers a dramatic expansion of the industry.

Rising Emissions Will Shift Tropical Rain Belt, Increase Food Scarcity

The year 2100 could see billions facing food insecurity if continued emissions—and their attendant warming—causes the planet’s tropical rain belt to shift its position. And immediate climate action is needed to prevent already hard-hit regions in Africa and Central America from experiencing further catastrophic suffering.

Land Titles Empower Indigenous Peoples while Promoting Forest Conservation

Forest conservation as a carbon reduction strategy has led to a trammelling of human rights for forest dwellers around the world, but it need not be this way: managed with human rights at the forefront, legally protected community lands are a proven boon to both climate and people.

Plastic-Free Food Delivery Service Launches in San Francisco

As home grocery delivery ramps up plastic use in cities across North America, a Bay Area start-up is hoping to become the 21st century’s answer to the milk delivery company—but with a much expanded product list.

White House Says More Climate Action Coming in ‘Omnibus’ Order Next Week

U.S. President Joe Biden is planning another week of rapid action on the climate emergency, Reuters reports, citing a White House memo that promises a “series of regulatory actions to combat climate change domestically and elevates climate change as a national security priority”.

Youth Activists Demand Voice in Climate Policy

Youth climate organizations like Fridays for Future have proven themselves to be non-partisan, passionately intersectional, and naturally animated by a dauntless “get-it-done” spirit. With such extraordinary power and capability in their hands, younger people must have a seat at the table on climate policy, two youth activists say.

Slovenia’s Bee Conservation Success Has Lessons for North America

Thanks to the efforts of Slovenian beekeepers, May 20 has officially become World Bee Day. Now, it’s up to everyone else to advocate for the protection of bees everywhere as pesticides, starvation, and especially climate change lay waste to hives around the world.

Bug-to-Bowl Companies Create Feed and Fuel from Fly Larvae

Hardy, easy to breed, and above all voracious, insect larvae are being recruited to the cause of bio-waste treatment, an innovation critical both to building a circular economy and lowering emissions.

Flurry of Biden Executive Orders Returns U.S. to Paris Agreement, Begins Reversing Trump Deregulatory Agenda

News reports Wednesday heralded the dawn of a new era in U.S. climate, energy, and environmental justice policy, as President Joe Biden marked his first day in office by signing a wave of executive orders to begin rolling back four years of deregulation under Donald Trump.

B.C. Regulator Imposes Independent Auditor After Coastal GasLink Imperils Prime Fish Habitats

Northeastern British Columbia pipeliner Coastal GasLink has been ordered to abide by provincial laws and start preventing polluted sediments from flowing from its work sites into prime fish habitats. And it won’t be trusted to take these protective measures on its own.

‘Essential’ Insect Populations Declining by 1-2% Per Year

Too often denigrated as “creepy crawlies,” insects are essential to life on Earth, supporting everything from pollination to the carbon cycle. Poisoned, starved, robbed of habitat, and hammered by climate change, 1 to 2% of insect species are now being lost each year.

Residents’ Court Claim Links Landslide to Site C Construction

VANCOUVER — Residents of a tiny community in northeastern British Columbia are suing the local and provincial governments over two slow-moving landslides they claim caused their property values to plummet.

Biden Brings a Policy ‘Sea Change’, Podesta Tells GreenPAC Webinar

An aggressive program of executive actions and green investments, a White House staffed with “climate champions”, and a concerted effort to rebuild the U.S. government’s scientific capacity and morale will all begin to take shape today with the inauguration of President Joe Biden, former White House counsellor John Podesta said Tuesday afternoon, during a webinar hosted by Toronto-based GreenPAC.

Alberta Cancels 11 Coal Leases, Allows Development on 420,000 Hectares after Petitions Gather 100,000 Signatures [Sign-Ons]

EDMONTON — Alberta has decided to cancel recently issued coal leases in the Rocky Mountains, as public opposition grows to the United Conservative government’s plan to expand coal mining in the area.

Be Wary of Plans for Direct CO2 Removal, Greenpeace Warns Investors

While direct carbon removal (DCR) technologies like afforestation and direct air carbon capture are showing up in climate plans across the corporate world, it will be sharp emissions reductions, not DCR, that actually will keep a 1.5˚C climate target in view, Greenpeace UK warns in a new report.

Smoke Exposure Could Mean Higher Microbial Infection Risk for Wildland Firefighters

Wildfire smoke contains microbes, a fact that’s often ignored, but one that may have important health repercussions, Wildfire Today reports.

UNEP Calls for Better Funding to Speed Global Climate Adaptation

As the climate crisis accelerates and the Earth nears a fast-approaching “temperature tipping point,” the world’s nations need to speed up their adaptation planning and funding, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) warns in its latest Adaptation Gap Report.

New Exposé Reveals $171 Million in No-Bid Contracts on Site C Hydro Megaproject

Disgraced engineering giant SNC Lavalin and a former BC Hydro chief engineer were among the big winners when the provincial utility awarded C$171 million in sole-source, “no-bid” contracts for its controversial Site C hydropower megaproject, according to an exposé published by The Narwhal last week.

75 Indigenous Women Leaders Urge Biden to Halt Major Pipelines

Indigenous women leaders across the United States have called upon President-elect Joe Biden to put an immediate and permanent halt to three of the country’s pipeline projects, saying Indigenous rights and the threat of “climate chaos” demand an end to the reign of fossil fuels.

New Ministerial Mandate Letters Lay Out Federal Agenda on Climate, Green Recovery

While the government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is still necessarily taking up most of the oxygen on Parliament Hill, climate action and a green recovery figure fairly prominently in a new batch of ministerial mandate letters released last Thursday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

New Offshore Drilling Permits Could Put Canada’s Climate Targets Out of Reach, Endangered Right Whales at Risk

The federal government is putting its own climate targets out of reach, triggering higher carbon dioxide and methane emissions, putting endangered North Atlantic right whales at further risk, and undercutting the new impact assessment process it adopted less than two years ago, according to environmental groups reacting to the approval of three new fossil exploration projects off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador earlier this week.

Alberta Sends Warning Letters, Imposes No Fines in ‘Really Serious Case’ of Falsified Documents

A “huge” case of falsified records, in which 59 reclamation certificates for abandoned gas wells were rescinded by the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER), has resulted in warning letters and media coverage but no financial penalties for the two companies involved, after a complex investigation ran into the two-year limit imposed by provincial legislation.