City and Sub-National Action: Climate Response from the Ground Up
Cities are on the front line of climate impacts. And provinces, states, and regions have a lot of say in the way practical climate solutions play out at the local level. As response to the climate crisis lags in many countries, urban and rural communities around the world are advancing climate solutions to deliver more resilient, livable communities for the citizens they serve. The patchwork performance of sub-national governments…gets complicated.
CITIES PUSH TO DECARBONIZE
Oregon Senate Adopts Five-Year Fracking Moratorium
The Oregon State Senate adopted a five-year moratorium on oil and gas fracking last week, after amending a House resolution calling for a 10-year ban.
Quebec’s Legault Promises 40% Cut in Oil Consumption by 2030
Quebec will invest massively to cut its oil consumption 40% by 2030 and shift transportation, buildings, and businesses to electricity, Premier François Legault announced Sunday, during his party’s general council meeting in Montreal.
100 Resilient Cities Closure Shows Limits of Climate Philanthropy
In the spring of 2013, the Rockefeller Foundation—the hundred-year-old charitable organization started by Standard Oil tycoon John D. Rockefeller—launched an ambitious program to help cities around the world adapt to the physical, social, and economic challenges of the 21st century. Known as 100 Resilient Cities, the initiative was designed largely to address challenges of urban population growth and the increasing threat posed by climate change.
Montreal Mayor Promises New Climate Action But Critics Call for More
Montreal’s city administration is vowing to get tougher on fossil-fueled heating and fossil company divestment, but its climate plan has already led to the defection of one borough mayor who plans to advocate for faster, deeper carbon cuts as a private citizen.
Ottawa, Toronto, Burlington, and Victoria Step Up with New Action on Climate
Four Canadian cities have stepped up their action on climate change in the last week, with Ottawa and Burlington, Ontario declaring a climate emergency, Toronto considering climate liability action against major fossil polluters, and Victoria endorsing free transit across B.C.’s Capital Regional District.
Nevada, Washington State Declare 100% Clean Energy Targets
Nevada and Washington State have been the latest in a string of U.S. jurisdictions to adopt rapid steps to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy.
New York Passes Landmark Bill to Cut Buildings’ Carbon Emissions, Energy Use
New York City has adopted a plan to reduce carbon pollution from large buildings by 40% from 2005 levels by 2030—roughly a 26% cut from present-day emissions—with an approach that limits the cost to low-income residents and creates local jobs.
Ottawa City Committee Adopts Climate Emergency Resolution
Ottawa City Council is on track to adopt a climate emergency resolution after the measure was adopted on a 6-2 vote by the city’s environment committee.
Ottawa, National Capital Commission to Study Local Climate Impacts
The National Capital Commission and the City of Ottawa have issued a call for a consultant to advise them on how climate change will affect local weather patterns over the next 20 to 80 years.
Connect Infrastructure Planning with Climate Crisis, Analysts Urge U.S. Legislators
Linking infrastructure policy with the climate crisis, introducing more low-carbon transit, and incorporating more nature in infrastructure design are all key steps in addressing the urban sprawl that is one of the underlying causes of the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions.
Kingston Becomes First Ontario City to Declare Climate Emergency
Kingston has become the first Ontario community to declare a climate emergency, after city council adopted a resolution Tuesday “for the purposes of naming, framing, and deepening our commitment to protecting our economy, our ecosystems, and our community from climate change,” the Whig-Standard reports.
Green New Deal Brings Climate Transition to the Mainstream, Omits Key Issue of Urban Sprawl
With supporters hailing U.S. Democrats’ Green New Deal resolution as a breakthrough and some of its predictable opponents declaring it wildly unrealistic, a handful of analysts are pointing to an important omission in the plan unveiled last week by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA).
Opponents Jubilant as Port of Vancouver Cancels 2015 Coal Transfer Permit
The Port of Vancouver has cut off a potential gateway for thermal coal from the United States with a decision to cancel its permit for a coal transfer facility at Fraser Surrey Docks, following adamant opposition from residents of Surrey and New Westminster.
Halifax Declares Climate Emergency, Aims for Net Zero Carbon Before 2050
The Halifax Regional Municipality became the third major city in Canada to declare climate change an emergency, after regional council unanimously adopted a motion yesterday that gives city staff a year to come back with an updated action plan.
Vancouver City Council Declares Climate Emergency, Seeks Faster Push to Net Zero Emissions
Vancouver City Council voted unanimously last Wednesday evening to declare a climate emergency and gave city staff 90 days to “come up with new ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and set new climate change targets,” Global News reports.
LNG Canada Megaproject Leaves Massive Emissions Gap in B.C. Climate Plan
The positive directions in British Columbia’s new climate plan will be offset by the greenhouse gas emissions from the C$40-billion LNG Canada liquefied natural gas megaproject, particularly if both phases of the project are built, data analyst Barry Saxifrage concludes in a post for National Observer.
Cut Red Tape, Make Rooftop Panels the Cheapest Power Source, Solar Industry Urges Ontario
The Canadian solar industry is urging the Ontario government to trim or eliminate red tape that is driving up the cost of connecting rooftop panels to the electricity grid.
Vipond and Keough: Alberta Can’t Win by Postponing the Transition Off Carbon
With climate change setting the house on fire (literally or metaphorically), it’s in Alberta’s best interest not to demand more lighters, Calgary emergency physician Joe Vipond and sustainable design professor Noel Keough argue in a year-end opinion piece for the Calgary Herald.
London Mayor Khan Declares Climate Emergency, Pushes Carbon Neutral Deadline from 2050 to 2030
London Mayor Sadiq Khan is declaring a climate emergency and calling for more urgent action by the UK government “to avert an ecological breakdown that he says poses an existential threat to future generations,” The Guardian reports.
Foundations, C40 Cities to Help Montreal Deliver on 2050 Carbon Neutral Target
The David Suzuki Foundation, C40 Cities, and the Trottier Family Foundation have formed a two-year partnership with Montreal to help it meet Mayor Valérie Plante’s goal of making the city carbon neutral by 2050.
B.C. Climate Plan Lays Out Rapid Shift from Fossil Energy to Electricity
Higher carbon prices and measures to shift individuals and industry off fossil fuels are key pillars of CleanBC, the new climate action plan unveiled last week by the provincial government in British Columbia.
Ontario Receives Failing Grades for Climate Plan, Misses Business Case for Environmental Commissioner’s Office
The Doug Ford government is receiving failing grades for the scantly-detailed climate plan released late last month by Environment Minister Rod Phillips, while a former senior official argues a strong business case for the Office of the Environmental Commissioner (OCE) after Team Ford decided to shut the office down.
Alberta Needs a Plan B Before Fossil Economy Collapses, Globe and Mail Columnist Warns
Alberta’s lack of a Plan B to prepare for the looming collapse of the fossil fuel economy received a stern response last week from Globe and Mail national affairs columnist Gary Mason.
B.C. Introduces 2040 Deadline for 100% ZEVs, but National Mandate Still Lacking
British Columbia has announced a 2040 deadline for all new cars and trucks sold in the province to be zero-emission, but the overall impact of the province’s move may be limited by the lack of a national electric vehicle mandate.
200 MNAs and Past Candidates, Massive Petition Response Press Quebec Government for Climate Action
While newly-elected Premier François Legault muses about offering “the deal of the century” to neighbouring provinces and states interested in buying some of Quebec’s surplus electricity, his Coalition Avenir Québec government is facing extraordinary pressure to deliver on an ambitious plan to tackle climate change.
Hurricane Prompts North Carolina to Set 40% Emissions Reduction Target by 2025
Prompted by the killer hurricane the temporarily turned his state into an archipelago, Governor Roy Cooper (D) signed an executive order Monday requiring North Carolina to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% below 2005 levels by 2025.
Mayors Urge Faster Phaseout of Gasoline, Diesel Cars
The mayors of Paris, Copenhagen, Seoul, and Medellín are urging automakers to stop building gasoline and diesel cars as soon as possible, following a World Health Organization report that found 630 million children around the world are exposed to unsafe air.
Edmonton Sets 2030 Deadline for 100% RE Operations as Texas Mayor Explains Renewable Transition
The City of Edmonton has set a 2030 deadline to power all its operations with renewable energy, and has turned to the Republican mayor of Georgetown, Texas for advice on how to make the transition.
Ford Climate Cuts Throw Away ‘Lowest-Cost Pathways’, Environmental Commissioner Warns
The Doug Ford government is on track to reverse reductions in Ontario’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) between 2005 and 2016 and throw away the lowest-cost pathways to a sustainable economy, according to the annual report published yesterday by Ontario Environmental Commissioner Dianne Saxe.
Brown Renews Pledge to ‘Launch Our Own Damn Satellite’ as Summit Urges Faster Climate Action
After three days of new low-carbon commitments from regional governments, cities, and industry, the Global Climate Action Summit concluded Friday with a call for governments to step up their climate ambition, and renewed pressure on California Governor Jerry Brown to suspend new fossil fuel permits and protect front-line communities in the state that hosted the landmark international event.
Flurry of Low-Carbon Announcements Marks First Day of Global Climate Action Summit
The Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco is entering its second day, with media and other observers scrambling to keep up with a cascade of carbon reduction announcements and commitments. Climate Nexus is live-blogging the news as it breaks.
California Must Go All-In on Energy Efficiency to Hit 100% Carbon-Free Target
Just a few days before Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation committing California to producing 100% carbon-free electricity by 2045, an analysis showed the state will only hit the target by going all-in on energy efficiency.
Climate Action in Cities Could Create 13.7 Million Jobs, Prevent 1.3 Million Premature Deaths
Cities around the world could create 13.7 million jobs and prevent 1.3 million premature deaths per year by 2030 by pursuing “ambitious urban climate policies” that “vastly reduce carbon emissions globally,” according to a report released over the weekend by C40 Cities, the Global Covenant of Mayors, and the NewClimate Institute.
Cities, States, Businesses Drive Down U.S. Carbon Pollution While Trump Prepares to Deregulate Methane Emissions
While the Trump administration prepares to undercut Obama-era controls on methane emissions from oil and gas operations, more than 3,000 U.S, cities, states, businesses, investors, counties, regional associations, faith communities, and post-secondary institutions are on track to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by at least 17%—and possibly by as much as 24%, bringing the country close to meeting its promised target under the Paris Agreement.
Coal is the Challenge as Orlando, Florida Pushes Toward 100% Carbon-Free Target
From floating solar panels atop thousands of storm runoff ponds, to LED lamps on city streetlights, to algae ponds to capture and sequester carbon, the city of Orlando, Florida is pushing toward a 2050 deadline to produce all its electricity from carbon-free sources—while acknowledging that setting ambitious targets is a lot easier than meeting them.
Subnational Governments Can’t Go It Alone on Climate Action
Without renewed ambition at the national level—and most urgently by the United States—the very best efforts by cities, regional governments, and the private sector to rein in greenhouse gas emissions will be insufficient to avoid dangerous levels of atmospheric warming, according to a recent data analytics study by an international team of researchers and programmers.
Climate Solutions Promise $26 Trillion in Benefits as Global Economy Hits ‘Use It or Lose It Moment’
The “bold action” needed to address the climate crisis could deliver at least US$26 trillion in economic benefits through 2030, while producing more than 65 million low-carbon jobs, preventing 700,000 premature deaths, and generating $2.8 trillion in government revenues in that year, according to a blockbuster report issued this morning by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate.
Espinosa and Hidalgo: Climate Action is Ramping Up, But ‘More is What We Need’
UN Climate Secretary Patricia Espinosa and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, Chair of C40 Cities, issued this post just days before delegates gathered for several days of climate negotiations in Bangkok.
California Climate Assessment Flags ‘Apocalyptic Threat’, Practical Solutions
Pointing to what Governor Jerry Brown calls an “apocalyptic threat”, a new report and call to action paints a dire picture of California’s future if the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for climate change are not brought under control.
Dauncey: ‘Timid’ B.C. Intention Papers Do Little to Boost Climate Action
With its recently-published series of “intention papers” on clean growth, British Columbia’s government is showing too much timidity and not enough initiative to counter the fear and cynicism that have begun to accumulate in response to the climate crisis, renewable energy veteran Guy Dauncey writes, in a blog post subsequent republished by The Tyee.
19 Cities, Combined Population 130 Million, Pledge Net-Zero Carbon Buildings by 2030
Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver are three of 19 cities around the world whose mayors have promised to ensure that all new buildings in their communities are net-zero carbon by 2030—and that all their cities’ buildings, old and new, meet a net-zero standard by 2050.
McKibben Urges California to Free Itself from Fossil Fuels
California must respond to a summer of wildfires and heat emergencies by freeing itself from fossil fuels, 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben argues in a New York Times opinion piece.
Ontario Plans New ‘Regulatory Plan’ on GHGs, But Won’t Commit to Paris Targets
Ontario is planning to introduce a new “regulatory plan” to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but won’t commit to a timeline or to aligning that plan with Canada’s targets under the Paris Agreement, the Globe and Mail reports.
Cities Must Act to Help Poorest, Most Vulnerable Prepare for Climate Impacts
Increasing economic opportunities, making clean energy more accessible, and making disaster preparedness a priority are the three crucial steps cities can take through an environmental justice lens to help their most vulnerable, lowest-income residents prepare for climate change, according to a recent Climate Reality Project primer published by CleanTechnica.
Scaled-Up Urban Solutions Could Free Billions from Climate Impacts
With new projections showing billions of urban dwellers affected by climate-related heat waves, drought, flooding, food shortages, and blackouts by 2050, C40 Cities is stressing the work municipalities are doing around the world to deliver “bold climate solutions to avert these outcomes”.
Mayors Plan Joint Bids for Renewables to ‘Help Power Our Cities’
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, co-chair of the 400-member Climate Mayors network, is inviting his counterparts in other U.S. cities to share their energy demand data, as a first step in pooling their requests for project cost estimates from renewable energy developers.
Wealthiest Cities Hold Key to Fast, Effective Climate Action
Researchers from Norway, Sweden, Japan, and the United States are pointing to the world’s big, affluent cities—with both huge carbon footprints, and the institutional capacity and infrastructure to shrink them rapidly—as the key to avoiding catastrophic global warming.
Quebec Bans Fracking, Restricts Fossil Drilling, But Enviros Question the Details
Quebec is moving to ban fracking for shale gas and protect 13 waterways from oil and gas exploration, CBC News reports. But major environmental groups are warning that the plan won’t offer the protection the province needs.
Republican Mayors Take Action on Climate. Just Don’t Call It Climate Action.
Fearful of a backlash from conservative talk show hosts and other climate deniers, most Republican mayors in the United States aren’t into “group photos at climate change summits,” Grist reports. But many of them are still quietly pursuing climate action at the behest of their constituents, according to a recent report.
Ohio Energy Innovation Study Foresees 20,000 Jobs, $25 Billion in New Investment
A new energy innovation plan that emphasizes electric vehicles, solar, and energy efficiency could bring 20,000 jobs and US$25 billion in new investment to the state of Ohio, according to a report released last week.
B.C. Dodges Accountability, Action with New Climate Legislation, Pundit Charges
British Columbia’s new Climate Change Accountability Act is more like “an act to avoid it”, empowering the provincial environment minister to set sectoral emissions targets that a future minister can just as easily repeal, writes Martyn Brown, chief of staff to former B.C. premier Gordon Campbell, in a scathing analysis for The Georgia Straight.
B.C. Aims for 60% by 2040, Promises Full Climate Plan This Fall
British Columbia is committing to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 40% from 2007 levels by 2030, 60% by 2040, and 80% by 2050 in legislation tabled Monday by Environment and Climate Minister George Heyman.
National Mandates, City-to-City Networking Build Stronger EU Climate Plans
Cities need a combination of national mandates to develop local action plans and opportunities to share best practices with other communities if they are to arrive at robust, forward-looking local responses to climate change, according to a new study of climate initiatives in 885 European municipalities.
Climate Report Card for Ontario Cities Reveals Need for Provincial Leadership
The Urban Climate Alliance (UCA) has released its first climate action plan report card for five Ontario cities—and results are unsatisfactory, with all struggling especially from underfunding, and all in need of support from Queen’s Park.
Everyday Consumer Goods Drive Up Cities’ Carbon Footprint by 60%
Municipal greenhouse gas emissions are 60% higher than city planners assume, after factoring in items that residents consume but are produced outside city limits, according to a study released by C40 Cities during this week’s IPCC Cities and Climate Change Science Conference in Edmonton.
2,500 Cities Back Climate Action, as Legislators from 45 States ‘Explicitly Refuse’ to Stand with Trump
With 2,500 cities around the world and politicians in 45 U.S. states onboard, the march toward implementation of the Paris agreement is continuing in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s decision to blunder his country out of the landmark global deal.
UN Climate Secretary Opens Door for Cities, States to Join Paris Accord
United Nations Climate Secretary Patricia Espinosa has opened a possible pathway for U.S. cities and states to join the Paris Agreement as full participants.
Pittsburgh Trumps Trump, Declares 100% Renewable Target
Just hours after Donald Trump sought to justify his withdrawal from the landmark global climate agreement by noting he was elected to represent Pittsburgh, not Paris, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto announced his city would shift to 100% clean, renewable energy by 2035.
World Leaders Respond, U.S. States and Cities Step Up as Trump Blunders Out of Paris Agreement
Successive waves of reaction from world leaders, U.S. states and cities, businesses, and climate analysts and activists greeted Donald Trump’s announcement Thursday afternoon that he will withdraw the United States from the landmark global climate deal that 195 countries negotiated in Paris in 2015. The overwhelming message: The rest of the world (apart from traditional U.S. allies Syria and Nicaragua) is getting on with the job of implementing the Paris agreement. U.S. states, cities, universities, and businesses will submit their own plan for meeting their country’s Paris targets. And if Trump thinks he can step away from Paris to negotiate a better deal for Americans, he’s about to crash into the harsh, intractable reality of international diplomacy.
UN Urges Business, Cities, Sub-Nationals to Step Up as U.S. Climate Commitment Fades
Businesses, cities, and sub-national governments must keep up the momentum for greenhouse gas reductions in jurisdictions where national leadership is flagging, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged last week, in a statement that made no direct mention of the United States but acknowledged that some countries are backsliding in their commitments to implement the landmark Paris agreement.
From LA to Boston, Paris to Cape Town, Cities Gear Up for Climate Action
Within minutes of a shocking U.S. election result November 9, cities were stepping up as one of the key bricks in the firewall against Donald Trump’s expected efforts to gut climate action at home and undermine carbon reduction commitments around the world.
With Trump now seated in the White House, America’s municipal leaders are gearing up to protect their own autonomy in an area of activity that is far less partisan at the local level than it has become in Washington, DC. And in a letter this morning in the Financial Times, the mayors of four of the world’s larger cities—Paris, Tokyo, Cape Town, and Sydney, Australia—are affirming their plans to continue transforming their infrastructure to combat climate change, and pointing to the benefits they expect their communities to reap as a result.
Low-Carbon Targets Put Cities in the Spotlight
In the nearly two months since a stunning election result in the United States, cities have emerged as one of the focal points for continuing and intensifying the climate and energy action that will be needed over the next four years—across the U.S., and around the world.
U.S. Cities Rally to Deliver Climate Solutions, Ask Trump to Join In
Cities like Miami Beach, San Antonio, San Diego, Los Angeles, and New York may well be on the front lines of U.S. climate action, now that their federal government is about to be taken over by a band of climate deniers and fossil fuel enthusiasts.
Cities Can Prepare for Population Growth While Addressing Climate Change, Ottawa Councillor Says
Rapid urbanization, combined with the need to reduce greenhouse gases and adapt to the impacts of climate change, will be two of the most serious challenges facing cities over the next two decades, Ottawa City Councillor Tobi Nussbaum argues in a Huffington Post article to mark the end of the United Nations Habitat conference in Quito Ecuador.
Tech Giants, Cities, and Some Utilities Line Up Behind Clean Power Plan
U.S. tech giants, municipal governments, and some utilities are all filing legal briefs in support of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan as the D.C. Court of Appeals prepares to hear arguments on the rule, a centerpiece of the Obama Administration’s response to climate change.
Cities could take a UK-size bite out of global emissions—in five years
A group of 40 global megacities that includes Mumbai, Mexico, New York and Lagos, released research at the Paris climate summit showing that city-level actions could reduce global greenhouse emissions by the equivalent of zeroing-out all of the United Kingdom’s CO2 releases within five years.
11 More Cities Commit to Climate Targets
Another 11 cities on five continents, representing 58 million people and US$3 trillion in GDP, have announced climate targets ahead of the UN climate summit in Paris later this year.
Time for More Canadian Cities to Think Big on Climate
To boost their influence and advance meaningful climate change solutions, more of Canada’s cities will have to start thinking big, The Energy Mix curator Mitchell Beer argued in a guest post for GreenPAC earlier this month.
Big Cities Need Transit to Fight Sprawl, Cut Emissions
Big cities need transit and other infrastructure, not just higher density, to reduce their carbon emissions, according to an analysis by Boston University student Conor Gately.
Low-Carbon Cities Could Save $16.6 Trillion by 2050
Low-carbon actions by cities could generate US$16.6 trillion in savings through 2050 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 3.7 gigatonnes per year by 2030, according to a working paper released last week by the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate.
20 Cities and Regions Tackle 5% of Global Emissions
Twenty of the world’s largest cities and regions representing 5% of global carbon emissions have banded together for greenhouse gas reductions of up to 90% by 2050 and 100% by 2060, the Compact of States and Regions announced last week.
Megacities on the Rise, Face Challenges with Resource Use
Cities with populations above 10 million people face unique challenges with resource use, according to a paper last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and the number of megacities is likely to grow from 27 today to 37 in 2020.
Climate-Smart Policies Create Jobs, Economic Development
A new World Bank report looks at climate-smart policies in Brazil, China, India, Mexico, the United States, and the European Union that created jobs and economic development while cutting emissions. The policies fell in three areas: clean transportation, energy efficiency in industry, and energy efficiency in buildings. “At the World Bank Group, we believe it’s possible to reduce emissions and deliver jobs and economic opportunity, while also cutting health care and energy costs,” said World Bank President Jim Yong Kim. “With careful design, the same development projects that improve communities, save lives, and increase GDP can also fight climate change,” […]
FRONT-LINE CHALLENGES & SOLUTIONS
Senate Committee Urges Federal Support for Northern Climate Resilience
The climate resilience of Canada’s Northern communities—many of them Indigenous—is an urgent priority that calls for better financial and technical support from the Trudeau government, the Special Senate Committee on the Arctic concludes in a recent report.
‘Data is Power’ as Alaska Tlingit and Haida Draft Climate Adaptation Plan
With no climate plan currently in place in the state of Alaska, and federal efforts focused on the state’s rapidly melting northern regions, the Indigenous peoples of the southeast are forging ahead, determined to acquire more data on climate issues most pertinent to them like the rise of lethal phytoplankton which thrive in warmer coastal waters.
Amsterdam to Cut 10,000 Parking Spaces by 2025, Faces No Serious Pushback
Two months after Amsterdam officials announced plans to cut some 10,000 parking spaces in the city core by 2025, pavements are rapidly blossoming with garden plots, children at play, and citizens delighted to have more space to move and mingle.
Ban Non-Electric Cars to Improve Air Quality, Extend Lives, Bloomberg Editors Urge
One of the surest ways to improve air quality and extend lives shortened by pollution is for cities to ban non-electric cars, two opinion editors with Bloomberg News conclude in a recent post.
Vrooman, Guilbeault Urge ZEV Mandate, Support for Deep Energy Retrofits
A federal zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) mandate and stronger support for deep energy retrofits are the main recommendations of the federal Advisory Council on Climate Action, released during the Clean Energy Ministerial in Vancouver earlier this week.
Energy Revolution Must Give Low-Income Communities Better Access to Affordable Technologies
It isn’t an energy revolution if it doesn’t “provide low-income communities with better access to affordable clean energy technologies”, Yale Environment 360 reports, in a post that points to the nearly one-third of U.S. households that struggle to cover their energy bills.
Louisiana Plans for Big Population Movements as Gulf Coast Washes Away
Responding to rising seas and their attendant storm surges, Louisiana has developed a 1,500-page plan to keep its citizens as safe as possible under the circumstances.
Food Waste Composting Would Save 2.28 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050
Normalizing and intensifying the composting of food waste ranks #60 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions, with the potential to reduce atmospheric carbon by 2.28 gigatons by 2050.
Green Leasing, PACE Financing Transform 1960s Commercial Building in Cleveland
A non-descript office building in Cleveland is about to complete a big leap in operating efficiency, becoming the community’s first to finance a major energy retrofit through Commercial Property-Assessed Clean Energy (C-PACE).
‘Climate Storytellers’ Needed to ‘Galvanize’ Public Support for Action
With entrepreneurs, engineers, scientists, and policy-makers working feverishly on the massive changes demanded by the climate crisis, every community needs a storyteller to help “galvanize” the population to support that activity, according to Climate Narrative Project founder Jeff Biggers.
Booming Community Solar Sector Promises Access for Low-Income Households
Determined to make good on the promise of equity contained in the phrase “community solar,” more than a dozen U.S. states and non-profit developers are working hard to ensure that low-income Americans have fair access to the power of the sun.
Bike Infrastructure Would Save 2.31 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050
Bike infrastructure ranks #59 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. Better and more widespread bike infrastructure would eliminate 2.31 gigatons of carbon dioxide and produce net savings of US$400.5 billion, with further lifetime savings of $2.1 trillion.
Cities Scramble to Keep in Touch as Rockefeller Shutters 100 Resilient Cities Network
The Rockefeller Foundation is shutting down its 100 Resilient Cities network, a major initiative that has helped communities around the world prepare for the impacts of climate change and respond to local challenges as diverse as transportation, poor sanitation, flooding, fire control, and cholera outbreaks.
Commercial Buildings Drive 75% Growth in Property Assessed Clean Energy Financing
American commercial builders and retrofitters determined to deliver a lower-carbon product are signing up in droves for long-term financing using the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) mechanism and hammering home cumulative savings of 6.3 billion kWh, the amount of electricity used annually by around 25,000 commercial office buildings.
Canada Takes Aim at Range Anxiety with Expanded EV Charging Network
Alert to the allure of the long-distance road trip—and corresponding anxieties around electric vehicle range—Canadian governments, utilities, and automakers are working to support potential EV buyers by installing more public fast-charger stations along busy big-city connectors and more lightly-travelled routes in northern Ontario and on the Prairies.
UN Agency Backs Futuristic Floating Cities as Hedge Against Sea Level Rise
A research coalition backed by a United Nations agency will look at the possibility of building floating cities to provide a futuristic form of relief for coastal communities facing rapid sea level rise.
Green Roofs Would Save 770 Megatons of Carbon by 2050
Green roofs rank #73 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. By the year 2050, an increase in green and cool roofs could save 0.77 gigatons of carbon at a net cost of US$1.39 trillion, while producing $988.5 billion in savings.
Florida Utility to Replace Two Natural Gas Plants with World’s Biggest Battery
Florida Power & Light has announced plans to build the world’s biggest battery and charge it from an existing solar power plant to replace two of its existing natural gas generating stations, a deal it says will save its ratepayers US$100 million.
Idaho Signs Solar Contract at Record-Low 2.175¢/kWh, Sets 2045 Target for 100% Clean Power
A new, 120-megawatt solar farm in southern Idaho is on track to deliver electricity at prices started at 2.175 cents per kilowatt-hour, believed to be the lowest ever for a U.S. project.
EV Adoption Won’t Drive Full Decarbonization Without Better Policies, Consultants Warn
Simply electrifying personal vehicles won’t be enough to complete the transition to livable, low-carbon cities without efforts to help users drive less, walk more, and use parking lots as the “gas stations of the future”, four different consultants argue in posts published over the last three weeks.
Climate Politics Complicate Copenhagen’s Drive for Carbon Neutrality by 2025
Copenhagen is setting out to reach a carbon neutral target by 2025—in a move that will “show what’s possible, and what’s tough, for other urban governments on a warming planet,” the New York Times reports.
Two Alberta Projects Aim for Wider Dialogue on Energy Futures
With the Alberta election campaign taking on the look and feel of a brutally divisive, month-long political brawl, a couple of recent news reports have focused on new strategies seeking common ground on the province’s shift to a post-carbon future.
Federal Budget Creates New Revolving Fund for Municipal Climate Action
The Atmospheric Fund (TAF) and its local partners are taking a victory lap after the federal budget included C$183 million for Low Carbon Cities Canada (LC3), a permanent revolving fund that will support local climate action plans in cities across the country.
Quebec Cap-and-Trade Revenues Exceed $3 Billion as Carbon Market Withstands Ontario Withdrawal
A new infusion of C$215 million has pushed Quebec’s cumulative carbon cap-and-trade revenues above the $3 billion mark, at just the moment when Ontario has cancelled its carbon pricing program and Alberta’s Jason Kenney is vowing to do the same if he wins the provincial election later this year.
New U.S. Accelerator Aims for 2.8 GW of City Renewables Purchases by 2021
U.S. cities are setting out to procure an additional 2.8 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity by 2021, as part of a wider, US$70-million initiative by Bloomberg Philanthropies to promote municipal climate action.
Mass Transit Would Save 6.57 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050
Expanding use of mass transit ranks #37 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions, with the potential to eliminate 6.57 gigatons of carbon dioxide and produce US$2.38 trillion in savings. The cost, according to Drawdown, is too variable to be determined.
Runaway Uptake of Community Solar Has St. Louis Utility Planning Big
A stellar community response to a St. Louis-based utility’s launch of a community solar program has renewable energy advocates in Missouri celebrating and the utility planning to expand its renewable energy.
Smart Policy, No Natural Gas Deliver Green Win for Small New York Town
Marbletown, New York, population 5,500, is poised to achieve 100% low-cost renewable electricity within the year, and has a serious plan to decarbonize the rest of its energy supply, thanks to its newly-minted membership in a community choice aggregation (CCA) program, a fortuitous absence of natural gas resources, advances in heat pump technology, and progressive local policies.
B.C. Budgets $902 Million to Fully Fund CleanBC Climate Plan
The British Columbia government is getting strong positive reviews for a provincial budget that allocates $902 million over three years to fully fund its CleanBC climate program.
Métis Receive 50% Stake as Alberta Announces Three New Subsidy-Free Solar Farms
Alberta will double its solar capacity and save C$3.9 million per year after commissioning 94 megawatts of new generation under a 20-year contract with Canadian Solar Solutions and Conklin Metis Local 193, which has a 50% equity stake in the project.
California Sets Sights on Up to 100,000 New Net-Zero Homes Per Year
Net-zero buildings that produce as much energy as they consume may be about to hit the mainstream in California, where most new homes and multi-residential structures up to three stories high will be equipped with rooftop solar panels beginning next year.
Los Angeles Shifts Billions of Dollars from Gas Plants to Storage, Efficiency, and Solar
Los Angeles is walking away from a plan to spend billions of dollars rebuilding three natural gas power plants along the coast, in what Mayor Eric Garcetti cast as a boost for the city’s 100% renewable energy goal and its plan to improve air quality in polluted neighbourhoods.
Green New Deal Comes to Life in Portland Affordable Housing Project
Affordable, green, and employing immigrant Americans, a new housing project in a low-income neighborhood in Portland, Oregon is being cast as an early glimpse of all that a Green New Deal could bring.
Policy Support Could Make Community Projects the Second-Biggest Source for U.S. Solar Power
Community solar in the United States is seeing such an influx of funding and an uptick in institutional interest that one of its proponents says the right policy support could make it the country’s second-biggest source of solar-electric capacity.
Developers Announce New Solar Farms in Fort Chipewyan and Calgary
Alberta has two new solar farms in its immediate future, following an announcement by First Nations and Métis in Fort Chipewyan and a planning decision this week by the City of Calgary.
Union Pitches Postal Stations as Local Green Hubs
The Canadian Union of Postal Workers is trying to sell Canada Post on a plan to connect neighbourhood post offices to a greener, more just future by expanding their services to include community banking and electric vehicle charging stations.
California Could Become a ‘Timely Laboratory’ for Cutting Fossil Fuel Production
California may be setting itself up as a “timely laboratory” to test supply-side reductions in fossil fuel production as a key tool for reducing global greenhouse gas emissions, three authors with the Stockholm Environment Institute suggest in a recent paper in the journal Nature Climate Change.
City Housing, Transportation Policies Can Cut Carbon…Without Intending To
Cities across the United States are beginning to adopt housing and transportation policies that also end up reducing the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change—even if carbon reductions are the farthest thing from their decision-makers’ minds.
Municipal Opposition, Earthquake Restrictions Could Put an End to UK Fracking
A wave of municipal opposition, on the heels of falling natural gas prices, is raising serious questions about the future of hydraulic fracturing in the United Kingdom, just days after the company with the most extensive exploration rights in the country warned that it won’t proceed unless regulations to protect communities from fracking-related earthquakes are eased.
Minnesota Non-Profit Brings Community Solar to Low-Income Households in Vermont
A successful community solar garden partnership launched by a team of volunteers out of a garage in rural Minnesota is pushing its boundaries to Vermont, after concluding that a development model first introduced in 2017 can be extended across the United States.
New York Offers Free Community Solar to 10,000 Low-Income Households
New York State is supplying free access to community solar to 7,000 low-income households across the state, and plans to extend the program to a total of 10,000 homes by the end of this year.
Alberta Procures 760 MW of Wind in Five New Projects, Three with First Nations
Alberta is procuring 760 megawatts of wind-generated electricity, enough to power 300,000 homes, and creating an estimated 1,000 jobs by investing C$1.2 billion in five new green energy partnerships, three of them involving First Nations.
Alberta Fossils Boycott Whistler Conference After City Flags Climate Costs of Fossil Extraction
Several Alberta fossils are boycotting a CIBC investor conference in Whistler, British Columbia, and the bank is considering moving its annual event elsewhere, after Mayor Jack Crompton asked Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. to commit to pay for its “fair share of the costs of climate change being experienced” by the weather-dependent ski resort town.
Ford ‘Silences Accountability’ by Cutting Provincial Environmental Commissioner
The Doug Ford government tabled legislation yesterday to eliminate the Office of the Environmental Commissioner (OEC), an independent watchdog accountable to the provincial legislature, as part of a fall fiscal update ironically titled “A Plan for the People”.
50,000 March in Montreal to Demand Provincial Action on Climate
An estimated 50,000 people braved cold weather in Montreal Saturday to demand climate action by the new Quebec government of Premier François Legault, in what CBC describes as “part of a wider campaign with sister marches happening in cities throughout Quebec.”
District Heating Would Save 9.38 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050
District heating ranks #27 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. By 2050, the technique could eliminate 9.38 gigatons of carbon dioxide at a net cost of US$457.1 billion, and produce $3.54 trillion in savings.
Walkable Cities Would Save 2.92 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050
Walkable Cities place #54 on the Drawdown list of climate solutions. The strategy could cut atmospheric carbon dioxide by 2.92 gigatons by 2050 and produce an astounding US$3.28 trillion in net operational savings, though the corresponding costs are too variable to measure.
Ottawa Co-op Revives Two Community Solar Projects After Ontario Cancels Contracts
The Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-op has managed to revive two out of four community solar projects that were cancelled when the Ford government in Ontario summarily trashed hundreds of project agreements with renewable energy producers across the province.
64 Ballot Initiatives in 24 U.S. States Show Citizens Seizing the Energy Agenda
With United States mid-term elections just 33 days (and 14 hours, 55 minutes) away, citizens across 24 mostly western states have launched 64 separate ballot initiatives to push back on the Trump administration’s determination to gut greenhouse gas regulations and prop up the country’s fossil fuel industries.
Community Network in Catalonia Pushes for ‘Regional Energy Sovereignty’
A regional energy sovereignty network has taken hold in the Catalonia region in northeastern Spain, where Xarxa per la sobirania energètica (Xse) is helping to drive a “resistance to Spain’s dominant energy model” that has been building for years.
Massive Job Counts Show Renewables, Efficiency Taking Hold in ‘Every U.S. Zip Code’
The Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, and Boston regions lead the list of metropolitan areas that emerge as “America’s top 50 clean energy job engines,” producing 1.8 million jobs in energy efficiency and renewable energy—more than half of the country’s 3,176,8329 clean energy employment, Environmental Entrepreneurs reports in a survey released this week.
OREC: Ottawa Tornadoes Spotlight the Need for Distributed Electricity Production
The devastating tornadoes that hit parts of Ottawa and Gatineau last Friday showed the need for a more resilient, distributed electricity system, the Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-op (OREC) concludes, in an after-action blog report on the impacts of the storm.
Canada’s Biggest-Ever Battery-Electric Bus Buy to Bring 40 New Vehicles to Montreal, Laval
Transit agencies in Montreal and Laval, Quebec are on the verge of buying 40 new electric buses from Winnipeg-based New Flyer Canada ULC, in what the company is calling Canada’s biggest battery-electric bus procurement to date.
TAF Completes Greater Toronto and Hamilton’s First Regional GHG Inventory
The Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA) held one-fifth of Canada’s population and GDP in 2015 but produced only about 7% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, according to a first-ever regional inventory produced by The Atmospheric Fund.
London, New York Mayors Urge Cities Worldwide to Dump Their Fossil Investments
Pointing to a summer of record heat and extreme weather in which London was improbably hot and dry, while New York was unexpectedly rainy, Mayors Sadiq Khan and Bill de Blasio are calling on cities around the world to join them in divesting their shares in fossil fuel companies and join a new global initiative on finance and investment.
Green Roofs Can Help Urban Poor Survive Heat Waves
Green roofs will play a key role in making summer heat waves less uncomfortable—and less lethal—for the urban poor, according to a new study in the journal Environmental Research Letters.
250,000 People at 900 Events Join Rise for Climate Protests
With UN climate talks about to conclude in Bangkok and the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) due to convene in San Francisco this week, more than 250,000 citizens took to the streets Saturday from Kathmandu to Paris, from Antarctica to Puerto Rico to demand action on climate change and carbon pollution.
Legislation Drives Entrepreneurship as Community Solar Soars in Illinois
Entrepreneurial enthusiasm—enabled and secured by serious state legislation—is building a strong future for both local and out-of-state solar companies in Illinois.
Pollinator-Friendly Solar Sites Boost Biodiversity, Draw Community Support
Utilities developing large-scale solar installations are taking a second look at how they affect the fragile natural ecosystems that surround them, and insect pollinators may be the beneficiaries.
Greening Paris Schoolyards Will Create ‘Islands of Cool’ for Summer Heat Waves
A plan to green the schoolyards of Paris will make local children happier, promote social cohesion, and may even help cool the City of Lights as it faces epic hot summers—if the plan itself can survive a widespread psychological lockdown resulting from repeat terror attacks.
Sault Ste. Marie Battery System, Canada’s Largest, to Save Local Businesses $3 Million Per Year
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario is about to become the home of Canada’s biggest battery storage system, a 48-megawatt/144-megawatt-hour system to be supplied by Fluence, a joint venture of AES Corporation and German industrial giant Siemens.
Vermont Utility Uses Home Batteries to Cut Peak Demand During Heat Wave, Save $510,000
Vermont utility Green Mountain Power (GMP) saved at least US$510,000 during the northern hemisphere’s continuing summer heat wave, using its customers’ Tesla Powerwall batteries to reduce peak electricity demand in what Greentech Media is calling “one of the most robust natural experiments so far to test the efficacy of decentralized energy resources in reducing system-wide stress”.
Calvert: Cities Need Practical Programs More Than ‘Earnest’ 100% RE Targets
Canadian municipalities serious about the post-carbon transition should abandon earnest declarations of formal 100% RE targets—avowals which promise far more than cities can actually deliver—and instead focus on facilitating that transition, writes University of Guelph geographer and community activist Kirby Calvert, in a recent post for Policy Options.
Colorado’s Low-Income Solar Program Sets the Pace for Other States
Colorado has hit on a formula for energy assistance that helps low-income communities cut their energy bills, while expanding the state’s use of renewable energy and reducing its greenhouse gas emissions.
Ontario Cancels Renewables Projects and Cycling Funds, Pushes On with Nuclear Relicencing
Doug Ford’s new Progressive Conservative government in Ontario continued to flail away at the province’s efforts at an energy transition last week, with new moves that risked C$100 million in ratepayer costs for a cancelled wind farm, undermined renewables supply chains by cancelling 758 smaller projects, and put municipal cycling infrastructure at risk as funds from the previous government’s carbon cap-and-trade program begin to dry up.
Berkeley Must Embrace Urban Density to Achieve Climate Goals
Earnest pledges to increase Berkeley’s urban density, thereby making it a world-class leader on climate action, are being threatened by neighbourhood opposition which all too often has thwarted the city’s past impulses toward progressive action.
Massachusetts, Rhode Island Take the Lead in Emerging U.S. Market for Offshore Wind
Recent contracts for 1.2 gigawatts of offshore wind development have thrust Massachusetts and Rhode Island into the lead among U.S. states preparing to participate in a nascent but rapidly-growing market, Greentech Media reports.
Paris Sweats the Details of Making Transit Free for All
As Paris looks to make all public transit free in a bid to sharply reduce air pollution and carbon emissions and improve human health, planners are coming to grips with the cost of the effort—and the reality that many people may still prefer their cars.
India, California Set Renewable Energy Records
Two of the world’s biggest economies, India and California, both reported big renewable energy breakthroughs last week, with each of them logging multiple gigawatts of increased electricity generation capacity.
Seattle Mulls Congestion Pricing to Cut Tailpipe Emissions
Determined that Seattle will do its part to battle global climate change, Mayor Jenny Durkan is floating a 12-point plan to reduce her city’s sizeable greenhouse gas emissions, including a possible fee for drivers entering the congested downtown core, reports community radio station KUOW.
More Canadian Cities Adopt ‘Transit-Supportive’ Development
New research by the Pembina Institute is shining a light on several Canadian cities that are making it easier for citizens to build their day-to-day lives around transit, rather than private vehicles.
New Climate Atlas of Canada Shows ‘Climate Change is Real, Full Stop’
Interactive mapping and compelling storytelling are dual elements of a new Climate Change Atlas of Canada launched last week by the University of Winnipeg.
101 Cities Source at Least 70% of Electricity from Renewables
Just over 100 cities around the world sourced at least 70% of their electricity from renewable sources in 2017, a dramatic increase from the 42 that had hit that milestone in 2015, according to a new report by UK-based disclosure and environmental impact researchers CDP.
30 U.S. Cities Plot Joint Buy for 114,000 Electric Vehicles
A US$10-billion buying spree for electric vehicles is the latest step 30 American cities are taking to demonstrate demand for low-emission vehicles and undercut the Trump administration’s pro-fossil, anti-regulatory agenda.
‘Green Steam’ Cuts Cities’ Energy Demand By 30-50%
“Green steam” from underground pipe networks could be a promising source of process heat for the world’s major cities, National Geographic reported earlier this month.
C40 Cities To-Do List Highlights Familiar Urban Solutions
A report late last year by C40 Cities and the Arup global consulting group lists more than 2,000 immediate actions—two-thirds of them in the buildings sector—that could reduce global carbon emissions by 45 megatonnes by 2020, the Toronto Atmospheric Fund reported in a blog post last week.
Ohio Becomes Battleground on the Legal Rights of Nature
Ohio is becoming a battleground in the fight over the legal rights of nature, after voters in Toledo adopted a ballot initiative in February that establishes a bill of rights for Lake Erie.
Motion Asks Toronto City Council to Study Climate Disaster Costs, Consider Fossil Lawsuit
Toronto will look into the costs it will incur as a result of climate change and whether a climate accountability lawsuit against fossil producers is worth pursuing if city council adopts a motion being introduced this week by Councillor Mike Layton.
Courtenay Becomes 20th B.C. City to Send Accountability Letter to Major Fossils
British Columbia municipalities campaigning to have oil, gas, and coal companies cover their fair share of the cost of local climate impacts celebrated a milestone last week, when the City of Courtenay became the twentieth community to send accountability letters to 20 major fossils, West Coast Environmental Law reports.
Landmark Court Ruling Cites Climate Impact in Refusing New Australian Coal Mine
In what’s being hailed as a landmark ruling, the Land and Environment Court in New South Wales, Australia has listed climate change as one of the reasons to reject construction of a new open-cut coal mine.
Victoria Supports Class Action Lawsuit to Hold Fossils Accountable
Victoria has become the first city in British Columbia to support a class action lawsuit calling on fossil companies to cover their fair share of the costs municipalities will incur as a result of climate change.
EU Court Shoots Down Post-Dieselgate Emissions Standard, Empowers Cities to Fight Air Pollution
The General Court of the European Union has upheld the cities of Paris, Brussels, and Madrid in a challenge to what they see as excessively high emissions standards set by the European Commission in the wake of the Dieselgate standard, with C40 Cities hailing the decision as a “huge legal win”.
B.C. to Argue for Shared Federal-Provincial Role in Ontario, Saskatchewan Carbon Lawsuits
British Columbia is intervening in two separate court cases launched by Saskatchewan and Ontario, both aiming to undercut federal authority to establish a floor price on carbon pollution.
Ecojustice, Greenpeace Declare Partial Victory as Ford Government Opens Climate Consultations
Ecojustice and Greenpeace Canada declared a partial victory Wednesday after the Doug Ford government opened public consultations on its decision to eliminate Ontario’s carbon cap-and-trade plan, just hours after the groups filed suit over the province’s pre-emptive rollback of the Wynne-era program.
Ecojustice, Greenpeace File Suit Against Ford Government’s Climate Rollback
The Doug Ford government in Ontario is about to land in court, after it cancelled the province’s carbon cap-and-trade system without putting a replacement program in place.
Tesla 1, Ontario 0 as Judge Overrules ‘Arbitrary’ Treatment on EV Subsidy
The Doug Ford government in Ontario arbitrarily singled out Tesla Canada for harm by excluding the company’s vehicles from a grace period for the phaseout of the province’s electric vehicle subsidy, Superior Court Judge Frederick Myers ruled Monday.
U.S. Publishes Tailpipe Emissions Rollback, Prompts Legal Threat from 19 States
After the Trump administration picked a fight on tailpipe emissions that Acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler tried to avoid, 19 states and Washington, DC are headed to court to defend their auto energy efficiency rules and their right under Section 177 of the Clean Air Act to set their own standards.
Rhode Island Becomes First U.S. State to Sue Fossils for Climate Impacts
Tiny Rhode Island is casting a big shadow this week, becoming the first U.S. state to sue the fossil industry for its contribution to the coastal impacts of sea level rise, extreme weather, and warming oceans.
U.S. Judge Rejects Cities’ Climate Liability Suit, But Acknowledges Climate Science
It’s up to legislators, not one unelected judge, to decide whether countries around the world are better off without oil, U.S. District Court Judge William Alsup concluded this week, in his rejection of a climate liability case that pitted the cities of San Francisco and Oakland against five colossal fossils.
U.S. Judge Strikes Down Oakland’s Ban on Coal Shipments
U.S. Judge Upholds Cities’ Right to Sue Fossils for Climate Adaptation Costs
A San Francisco judge opened the door last week for more climate lawsuits when he upheld two cities’ right to attempt to sue greenhouse gas emitters in U.S. federal court.
Court Orders German Cities to Consider Banning High-Polluting Diesel Vehicles
At least one major German city is preparing to place limits on diesel vehicles at the end of April, after a court ruled yesterday that municipalities should consider banning the most heavily-polluting diesels from their streets.
Cities’ Climate Impact Lawsuits Borrow Tactics from 1980s Tobacco Fight
In a move reminiscent of the tobacco lawsuits of the 1980s, San Francisco and Oakland are demanding billions of dollars from five fossil companies to help them protect themselves from sea level rise brought about by climate change.
Court Challenges, 75 Cities Line Up Against Trump ‘Executive Disorders’
Donald Trump’s decision to lift a moratorium on new coal leases on federal lands and his approval of the Keystone XL pipeline were the focus of the first two lawsuits launched by environmental groups this week, in what the Washington Post describes as initial shots “in what’s likely to be a long, bitter war over the environment.”
LOCAL IMPACTS & RESILIENCE
India’s Sixth-Largest City Runs Out of Water
India’s sixth-largest city has run out of water, after a crippling drought and heat wave left its four main reservoirs completely dry.
Villages Evacuate, Leaving Sick and Elderly Behind, as India’s Crippling Drought Deepens
Families in hundreds of villages in parts of India have been forced to leave the sick and the elderly behind, as they evacuate their communities in the face of extreme heat and drought.
Ellicott City, Maryland Faces Implications of Two ‘1,000-Year Floods’ in 22 Months
A small Maryland river town which endured a terrifying 1,000-year storm in May 2018, having barely recovered from the one that hit in 2016, is struggling to decide how best to move forward—even as some of its citizens who suffered most remain reluctant to invoke climate change as the underlying cause.
Alberta Wildfire Specialist Links Fort Mac Megafire, B.C.’s 2017 Fire Season to Climate Change
The 2,117 wildfires that hit British Columbia in 2017 and the massive megafire that consumed much of Fort McMurray, Alberta a year earlier were both connected to climate change, and a similar impact is already visible as this year’s fire season gets under way, University of Alberta wildland fire specialist Mike Flannigan told The Canadian Press earlier this week.
Inuit Call for Federal Partnership to Address ‘Life and Death’ Climate Impacts
With the Arctic warming at nearly twice the national average rate, Canada’s Inuit are urging the federal government to form a working partnership grounded in the recognition that climate change is a matter of life and death for them—even if it remains an abstraction for many living south of the (melting) ice.
Great Lakes Due for Extreme Highs, Lows as Climate Change Shifts Water Levels
With 2019 precipitation in the region running 150 to 200% or more above normal, water levels in the Great Lakes have risen by as much as 0.3 metres (one foot) from the same time last year, inundating shoreline communities and leaving experts certain of yet another marker of a destabilizing climate.
‘Conflicts Are Predestined’ Where Climate Disasters Threaten Food, Water, Livelihoods
Governments must invest new effort and money to prevent climate change from driving new conflicts, according to a diplomatic statement drafted by the German foreign office.
MMIWG Inquiry Highlights Connection Between Megaproject Work Camps, Sexual Violence
Natural resource companies and their regulators must factor in the safety and security of Indigenous women and girls at every step in planning and developing a project, Canada’s National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls concluded this week, in a final report in which five out of 231 recommendations were devoted to the connection between megaproject work camps and sexual violence.
Scientists Consider Possible Climate Connection to Severe Midwest U.S. Tornado Season
With the American Midwest looking like assembly line central for tornadoes this spring, many are wondering whether a toll of 1,000 twisters and counting means climate change—or just a very bad year.
With Industry Dating Back to 1859, Pennsylvania Struggles with 200,000+ Orphan Wells
Although pressure is building on the fossil industry to address fugitive emissions from abandoned oil and gas wells, deadbeat drillers and insufficient public funds for cleanup mean Pennsylvania landowners who once played host to oil and gas extraction remain captive to all that was left behind.
Unchecked Warming Could Drive Two Metres of Sea Level Rise by 2100, Experts Say
Coastal communities around the world should gear their climate resilience planning for a “catastrophic” two metres (6.5 feet) of sea level rise by 2100, more than double the likely outcome most recently projected by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), if nothing is done to reverse the greenhouse gas emissions driving the climate emergency, according to a survey of expert judgement published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Canadian Recycling Industry Scrambles After China Begins Refusing Plastic Waste
A year after China declined to continue serving as the world’s recycling bin/rubbish heap, Canadian municipalities are scrambling to figure out what to do with their blue box waste, a task made tougher by consumer habits, ill-judged petrochemical subsidies, and a tenaciously linear economy.
Appalachians See Fraud, Condescension in ‘Coal to Coding’ Retraining Promise
Two years after buying into a shiny new non-profit’s promise to train them in stable and lucrative computer jobs that would turn “coal country into coding country,” residents of Appalachia are suing for fraud—but also seething at the arrogant condescension with which outsiders all too often treat them.
Rapid Warming Devastates Alaska Ecosystems, Destroys Ways of Life
Record-high sea surface temperatures, record-low Bering Sea ice, and the early disappearance of river ice in Alaska this winter are among the red flags of a rapidly warming climate that is devastating Arctic ecosystems, destroying traditional ways of life—and killing people outright.
Deadbeat Fossils Withhold Taxes, Lease Payments from Alberta Municipalities and Landowners
Rural municipalities in Alberta are out more than C$81 million in tax revenue from oil and gas companies, and deadbeat fossils are also asking landowners, mostly farmers, to let them skimp on lease payments on the properties their oil and gas rigs occupy, according to a follow-up news report on Trident Exploration’s decision last week to shut down operations and abandon 4,700 gas wells.
Percent of Actuaries Citing Climate as Top Insurance Risk Grows 200% in One Year
The percentage of actuaries who view climate change as the top insurance risk, ahead of cyberthreats, terrorist attacks, and financial meltdowns, has rocketed upwards more than 200% in the last year, a recent industry survey concludes.
The ‘What Were They Thinking’ Moment: How Was St-Marthe Built on a Lake Bed?
In the aftermath of last month’s catastrophic flooding in Sainte-Marthe-sur-le Lac, on the shore of Lake of Two Mountains outside Montreal, some local planners are having a ‘what were they thinking’ moment: How is it that much of the town, which more than doubled in population between 1995 and 2016, was built on a lake bed?
Epic Eastern Canadian Floods Drive Adaptation Discussion as GHG Reductions Lag
With record, devastating flooding in parts of Quebec, New Brunswick, and Ontario, thousands of people evacuated with their homes underwater, 2,000 Canadian Forces troops providing assistance, and everyone from students to inmates volunteering to fill sandbags or lend a hand, experts and commentators are calling for a more serious approach to climate change preparations and adaptation.
But it remains to be seen whether the latest round of climate-fuelled natural disasters will be enough to shift the national debate on greenhouse gas reductions.
Town Evacuates Ahead of Possible Dam Failure as West Quebec Floodwaters Surge
With the decommissioned Chute-Bell/Bell Falls hydro dam west of Montreal holding back “millennial” water levels and the downstream town of Grenville-sur-la-Rouge evacuated against a possible breach, authorities are watching and waiting as provincial utility Hydro-Québec predicts a 30% increase in water flow over several days.
Trudeau Warns of More Climate-Driven Floods, as Researcher Suggests Rethinking Quebec’s Relationship with Water
In the wake of massive spring flooding in Quebec, New Brunswick, and parts of Ontario, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is warning of more of the same in an era of climate disruption, while a researcher in Quebec says it’s time for the province to rethink its relationship with water.
Planners Look for U.S. ‘Climate Havens’ to Receive Millions of Internal Migrants by 2100
Urban planners are looking to cities like Duluth, Minnesota, Buffalo, Cincinnati, and Portland, Oregon as future refuges for climate migrants displaced within the United States by rising seas and higher temperatures.
Conservation Measures Avert Cape Town’s Day Zero, But Tensions Remain
While technical fixes like lowering municipal water pressure helped Cape Town keep the taps on through its recent drought, it was the city’s carefully calibrated and data-savvy escalation of camaraderie-building outreach (that, and some actual, long-overdue rain) which truly helped avert Day Zero.
Canada Rewrites Building Code to Avert $300 Billion in Climate-Driven Losses
Canada’s National Building Code is undergoing a major rewrite in a bid to avert C$300 billion in climate change-driven infrastructure failures over the next decade, according to high-level federal briefing notes reviewed by CBC News.
Poor Community Bears the Brunt as ‘Racial-Ethnic Disparities’ Hit Bronx’s Asthma Alley
The low-income Bronx neighbourhood of Mott Haven, also known as “Asthma Alley”, is receiving some profile as an example of the “racial-ethnic disparities” in exposure to pollution captured in a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
AT&T Studies Climate Impacts on Infrastructure Over 30-Year Span
Telecom giant AT&T is looking for advice on how climate change could damage its infrastructure over the next 30 years, after realizing that natural disasters had cost it US$847 million since 2016 and $626 million in 2017 alone.
Optimism, Opportunism, and Climate Denial Combine as Florida Keeps Building Condos
Florida’s coastal real estate may be poised to deliver a wake-up call on climate change, at a time when sea levels are rising, new condos are still being built, and not everyone seems to see the severe risk lurking right around the corner.
Study Projects Warming Trends, Rain and Drought for 540 North American Cities in 2080
Average winters in 2080 will be 9.5°C warmer in Montreal, 7.3°C warmer in Quebec City, 6.1°C warmer in Ottawa, and 5.6°C warmer in St. John, New Brunswick than they were in 1990 unless humanity moves quickly to get greenhouse gas emissions under control, according to a new study in the journal Nature Communications.
Insurance Giant Aon Places Extreme Weather Costs at $653 Billion Over 2017-2018
A US$653-billion global price tag made 2017-2018 the most expensive two-year period ever for extreme weather, according to a report issued last month by UK-based Aon, the world’s biggest insurance broker based on revenue.
California Town Launches ‘Goat Fund Me’ Page to Clear Brush, Reduce Wildfire Risk
A small town in northern California is turning to one of the most charming natural climate solutions known to humanity to get a leg up against killer wildfires.
New Florida Governor Opposes Fracking, Opens State Resilience Office
Although he didn’t breathe the words “climate change” or “carbon emissions”, newly-installed Florida Governor Ron DeSantis issued executive orders on his second day in office to establish a new state resilience office and invest an additional US$1 billion in Everglades restoration and water cleanup.
UK Resort Town Declares Climate Emergency, Seeks Funds for Net Zero Carbon Target
The town council in Scarborough, a resort community on England’s North Sea, has declared a climate emergency as a first step in taking action against global warming.
Accountability Letter a ‘Fair’ Way to Share Cost of Climate Impacts, Victoria Mayor Asserts
Victoria, British Columbia is stepping into the spotlight as one of the 16 municipalities across the province asking fossil producers to cover their share of the cost of the climate impacts communities can expect to encounter in this century.
Most Canadian Cities Have Failed to Assess Climate Risk, Study Shows
Most Canadian cities have failed to assess the threats they’ll face as climate change makes weather disasters more frequent and severe, according to a new study in the journal Climatic Change.
Regions Could Face Up to Six Climate Threats at Once by 2100
The risks and hazards associated with climate change are already coming in combination, and some parts of the world could face as many as six climate-related threats at once by the end of this century, warns a paper published last week in the journal Nature Climate Change.
California’s Camp Fire Finally Contained: 17 Days, 85 Dead, 249 Missing, 14,000 Homes Lost
After 17 days, 85 dead, another 249 still missing, 14,000 homes destroyed, and flames that took out an area the size of Chicago, California fire officials declared yesterday that the Camp Fire, the deadliest in state history, has been contained.
California’s Worst-Ever Wildfire Kills 23, Claims 7,000 Structures
California is dealing with the onslaught of three ferocious November wildfires, with satellite images showing dramatic growth in the Camp, Woolsey, and Hill Fires over the last couple of days.
With 155,000 Abandoned Oil and Gas Wells, Albertans Bear the Clean-Up Costs
Hot on the heels of National Observer’s report last week that clean-up costs in Alberta’s oilpatch could hit C$260 billion, a new investigation by The Narwhal shows how individual Albertans are already facing down the cost of abandoned fossil infrastructure.
Wildfire Leaves Fort McMurray with Higher Rates of Depression, Substance Abuse, PTSD
A paper in an international journal is pointing to increased rates of depression and related mental health problems in Fort McMurray, almost exactly 2½ years after a ferocious wildfire nicknamed “The Beast” tore through the town and forced the entire population to evacuate.
Fort McMurray Evacuation, Firefighting Largely Neglected Indigenous Communities
The massive evacuation and firefighting effort in response to the Fort McMurray wildfires in 2016 largely neglected First Nations and Métis communities, according to a two-year study commissioned by the region’s Indigenous groups, funded by the Canadian Red Cross, and released this week.
Search and Rescue Continues, Poorest Among the Hardest-Hit as Hurricane Michael Recedes
Poor communities in Florida, Alabama, and Georgia have been hit first and worst by Hurricane Michael, with some shellshocked evacuees returning home and realizing the storm has sent them “back to frontier days”.
Businesses Look to Adaptation as the Cost of Climate Impacts Mounts
With the impacts of climate change mounting, more Canadian businesses are beginning to pay attention, with risk managers, financial analysts, and investors weighing the cost of inaction and becoming advocates for more resilient communities and infrastructure.
B.C. Cities Narrowly Reject Sending Climate Accountability Letter to 20 Colossal Fossils
West Coast Environmental Law and the Georgia Strait Alliance came up short last week, when 47.8% of local officials at the Union of B.C. Municipalities (UBCM) voted to send a climate accountability letter to 20 of the world’s most colossal fossils. But while “we narrowly lost the vote,” writes WCEL staff lawyer Andrew Gage, “I felt surprisingly good about it”.
Poor and Rural North Carolinians Are Hardest Hit as Aerial Photos Show ‘Overwhelming’ Devastation
Aerial photos showed “overwhelming” devastation, an 1,870-megawatt nuclear plant had to be shut down, and poor and rural residents of the Carolinas were hit hardest as tropical depression Florence continued to drop rain on a waterlogged region.
‘It’s All About the Water’ as ‘Slow-Moving Natural Disaster’ Turns Carolinas Into an Archipelago
Meteorologists may have downgraded it from a hurricane to a mere tropical storm, but the “storm known as Florence is creating a slow-motion natural disaster for the Carolinas,” as rivers and streams overflow their banks and the waters continue to rise, the Washington Post reports.
Typhoon Mangkhut Kills 64 in Philippines Before Hitting Southern China, Hong Kong
At least 64 people are dead after 550-mile-wide Typhoon Mangkhut tore through the northern end of the Philippine island of Luzon, uprooting trees and setting off landslides and floods. But officials were at least tentatively relieved that the impact wasn’t even worse after the region sustained the world’s most powerful storm so far this year.
Hurricane Florence Bears Down on State That Tried to Legislate Sea Level Rise Out of Existence
With Hurricane Florence bearing down on the North Carolina coast and 1.5 million people under evacuation order, a secondary storm of news coverage laid out the dysfunctional state of U.S. hurricane preparedness—from the coal ash disposal sites and nuclear power plants in the storm’s path, to the state’s ill-advised attempt to legislate against the reality of sea level rise in 2012, to Donald Trump’s preposterous claim that nearly 3,000 hurricane deaths in Puerto Rico last year were no more than fake news.
Canadian Physicians Urge Rapid Climate Action in Response to Wildfires, Heat Emergencies
Canada must “wake up and smell the smoke” and recognize rapid climate action as the only response to a season of wildfires and heat emergencies, Drs. Melissa Lem and Larry Barzelai of the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment write in an op ed for the Vancouver Sun.
70 Dead in Southern Quebec Heat Emergency
A sudden, intense heat wave last week killed at least 54 people in southern Quebec, 28 of them in Montreal, and the most likely victims were poor people living alone with chronic or mental illnesses—just as they were nearly a quarter-century ago, when a similar heat disaster hit Chicago.
‘Maddening, Futile’ FEMA Bureaucracy Prevents Houston’s Poor from Rebuilding After Harvey
Byzantine bureaucracy, discriminatory regulations, and sometimes outright fraud have left thousands of families in low-income and minority communities struggling, and largely failing, to rebuild their homes and lives nine months after Hurricane Harvey, a Politico investigation has found.
B.C. Sets Mental Health Plan for 2017 Wildfire Evacuees as 2018 Season Kicks Off
British Columbia is launching a mental health program for victims of its horrific 2017 wildfire season, just as the first major blazes of 2018 have firefighters gearing up for another windy, dry summer, according to back-to-back reports this week on CBC.
History of Racism, Injustice Haunts Norfolk, Virginia’s Climate Adaptation Plan
With rising sea levels already a clear and present danger, the city of Norfolk, Virginia is crafting a serious plan to keep its 400-year-old self afloat. But people living in its poorest neighborhoods fear they’ll ultimately be cut adrift to fend for themselves.
Heavy Flooding Hits B.C. as Wildfire Season Approaches
British Columbia is moving into another season of heavy flooding and potentially severe wildfires, with thousands under evacuation orders in the southern Interior and 45 active fires already burning in different parts of the province.
New Brunswick Warns of Sewage Contamination as Floodwaters Hit Record Levels
Heavily contaminated floodwaters in southern New Brunswick were expected to continue rising for several days, as a week of inundation reached “historic levels” and the provincial Emergency Measures Organization continued to urge people in affected zones to voluntarily leave their homes.
Oil and Gas Produces New Health Problems in Rural Utah, Colorado
Oil and gas extraction is producing serious air quality problems for rural counties in Utah and Colorado that previously managed to avoid pollutants more commonly associated with bigger cities, according to the latest edition of the American Lung Association’s annual State of the Air Report.
Study Points to More Severe Climate Impacts for European Cities
Assailed by flooding, high temperatures, and drought, European cities will suffer far more serious climate change impacts than researchers previously believed, says a new study in the journal Environmental Research Letters.
U.S. Cities, States Will See Bond Ratings Dive Unless They Address Climate Risk
Moody’s Investors Service issued a stark warning this week to coastal states and communities across the United States: If they fail to prepare for the local impacts of climate change, they’ll lose the favourable bond ratings that give them access to cheap credit.
Climate-Related Migration Puts Cities on the Front Line: Robinson
Cities have a central role to play when migrants displaced by climate change, poverty, and conflict are seeking a new place to rebuild their lives, said Mary Robinson, former UN Commissioner for Human Rights, in a Newsweek article published ahead of her presentation to the Global Mayors Summit in New York earlier this week.
Trudeau Urges Cities to ‘Rebuild Better’, But Disaster Preparedness Falls Short
All levels of government in Canada must learn to “rebuild better” as more frequent floods and fires become a reality thanks to climate change, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last week, after touring flood zones in Gatineau with Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard.
1.5°C Target Still Means Dramatically More Heat Stress in Global Megacities
Millions of people who live in the world’s megacities will be at greater risk due to extreme heat, even if average global warming is kept at the preferred threshold of 1.5°C, according to a recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Law Group Urges Cities to Demand Fossils Pay Their Fair Share
A coalition of more than 50 community groups led by West Coast Environmental Law issued an open letter this week, calling on British Columbia’s 190 municipalities and regional districts to hold the fossil industry accountable for local climate impacts, now and in the future.
Two Middle East Cities May Have Set World Record for Extreme Heat
“Incredible” temperatures measured at 54°C/129.2°F last Thursday in Mitribah, Kuwait, and 53.9°C/129°F in Basra, Iraq Friday were the hottest ever recorded in the Eastern Hemisphere if they are confirmed, Weather Underground meteorologist Jeff Masters and weather historian Christopher Burt reported last week.
Flooded Cities Face $158 Trillion in Property Risk by 2050: World Bank
River and coastal flooding worsened by climate change will put 1.3 billion people and US$158 trillion in property at risk before mid-century, the World Bank warns.
2ºC Warming Limit Could ‘Begin Drowning Coastal Cities’ Before 2100
International leaders’ Paris commitment to limit global warming to 2ºC above pre-industrial levels may be too little, too late to avoid drowning the world’s coastal cities, a research team led by former chief NASA climate scientist James Hansen contends.
Rating Agencies Factor Severe Weather Risks Into Cities’ Credit Scores
Natural disasters brought on by climate change are emerging as a threat to local governments’ credit ratings, as rating agencies get serious about factoring climate risk into their financial assessments.
More Than 400 U.S. Cities Could Be Overtaken by Sea Level Rise
More than 400 U.S. cities and towns with a combined population in the millions could eventually be overtaken by sea level rise, according to a study published last month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.