SNAPSHOT: A Year of Climate Extremes

 
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2018 was another year of hell and high water as the extreme weather impacts predicted by decades of climate science and advocacy continued to accelerate. The rolling series of storms, floods, wildfires, severe heat, and drought produced a constant stream of headlines from around the world, making the human and ecological devastation of extreme weather one of the toughest but most important aspects of the climate change story.

The year opened with daunting but hardly surprising reports that an unstable global climate did record damage in 2017, with all the evidence pointing to the need for faster action on greenhouse gas reductions. Insurers warned of a $1.7-trillion gap in severe weather coverage over the next 10 years, while the U.S. National Institute of Building Sciences said investments in climate resilience pay off sixfold. In the run-up to a landmark report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in September, stressing the urgency of a 1.5°C target for average global warming, a small avalanche of studies and reports showed that the 2.0°C “guardrail” previously suggested by climate science would be insufficient to hold off severe impacts around the world.

While much of the news coverage of extreme weather focused on impacts in developed countries, governments and climate justice advocates continually reminded the rest of the world that the poorest countries and regions are almost invariably the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. As the 2018 United Nations climate conference in Katowice approached, the Climate Vulnerable Forum held a “carbon-free” virtual forum that demanded 1.5°C action for the world’s most vulnerable nations.

Severe Storms and Floods

At one time or another in 2018 just about every part of the world saw the extreme impacts of severe storms and flooding. While not every storm (or wildfire, heat wave, or drought) could be linked directly to the climate crisis, it’s settled science that climate change “loads the dice” for extreme weather events, making them more frequent and severe. The year also saw improvements in the science that allows attribution of specific events, pointing toward an emerging opportunity for litigation and liability focused on climate polluters.

The local impacts of severe storms and floods were chilling, and often heart-rending. A flash flood in Jordan in late October killed 18 people, most of them children and teachers on a school trip. A mudslide in Montecito, California, left 17 dead, 40 missing, and the immediate area looking like a First World War battlefield. An intense hurricane literally wiped a small Hawaiian island off the map, and Typhoon Mangkhut killed 64 in the Philippines before continuing on to southern China and Hong Kong, just a couple of weeks after another typhoon sent an empty fuel tanker careening into a bridge in Japan. Floods and landslides killed 200 people in Japan, even as the country missed an opportunity for a shift to renewable energy, and Fiji entered a frightening new era of extreme weather. Late autumn storms killed six people across northern Italy and flooded 70% of historic Venice.

In Canada, British Columbia endured heavy flooding in mid-May as it prepared for the approaching wildfire season. New Brunswick warned of possible municipal sewage contamination as floodwaters hit record levels, and a review of historical records showed the country’s weather getting wilder. One of a half-dozen tornadoes that suddenly hit Ottawa September 21 turned a beloved, wooded neighbourhood into a logging camp, and the Ottawa Renewable Energy Co-op pointed to the need and opportunity to build a more resilient, distributed local electricity system.

A Harvard University study concluded that 4,645 people died as a result of Hurricane María in 2017—73 times the official estimate from the U.S. government under Donald Trump—and hurricanes cost the Caribbean $3 billion in tourist revenue in 2017.

Boston confronted two “100-year storms” within weeks. Hurricane Florence bore down on North Carolina, a state that had previously tried to legislate sea level rise out of existence, eventually turning North and South Carolina into an archipelago until drenching floodwaters dissipated. The experience prompted North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper to set a 2025 deadline to reduce his state’s greenhouse gas emissions by 40%.

Less than a month later, a super-heated ocean boosted Hurricane Michael into a 250-kilometre-per-hour monster that churned through an impoverished part of the Florida Panhandle. Gaps in emergency response had some survivors worried that “they’re doing us like they did New Orleans.”

Fire and Heat

At mid-year, wildfires and heat emergencies were sweeping North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Eurasia, with the constant stream of news showing signs of finally burning climate denial to the ground.

Veteran climate hawk and meteorologist Eric Holthaus pointed to the firestorms sweeping much of the western United States as evidence that a new era of “fire tsunamis” has begun. “You can imagine standing in front of a tsunami or tornado and trying to stop it from destroying homes,” incident commander Ben Brack told the Denver Post. “A human response is ineffective.”

“The official term for the hellish meteorological event that hit La Veta [Colorado] is a ‘firestorm,’ a self-propelling explosion of flame generated by strong and gusty winds from a particularly intense fire over extremely dry terrain,” Holthaus explained. “When a fire gets hot enough, it can generate its own weather conditions and wind speeds can approach hurricane force, drying out the surrounding land.” U.S. firefighters got their first taste of a “fire tornado,” and a similar incident grabbed a responder’s hose and pulled it 100 feet in the air before letting go. “Sorry for the profanity,” wrote Vanderhoof, B.C., firefighter M.C. Schidlowsky at the end of an incident video on her Instagram feed.

A climate impact assessment pointed to wildfires as one part of the “apocalyptic threat” California faces if climate change is not brought under control, after an earlier assessment found that the state’s private utilities lost $20 billion in value after a prior round of blazes. Within months, both assessments were out of date, as the Camp Fire near Sacramento became the worst conflagration in California history, killing at least 85 people and destroying 14,000 homes.

British Columbia declared a(nother) state of emergency in late August in response to an epic wildfire season, as smoke from the province’s more than 600 fires worsened air quality in many parts of Canada. Analysts and activists connected dots between a year of severe climate impacts and energy policies destined to make the problem worse—including Ottawa’s decision to buy a leaky, 65-year-old pipeline from Houston-based Kinder Morgan.

An after-action review found that the emergency response to the Fort McMurray wildfire in 2016 largely neglected nearby Indigenous communities, even as it relied on some of them to shelter evacuees. Studies found that drought and heat make it tougher for forests to regenerate after a fire, that intense, repeat wildfires pollute rivers and threaten water supplies, and that homes destroyed in fires produce a disturbing spike in airborne toxic compounds. Fire, drought, and insect infestations were putting large swaths of the Canadian boreal forest at risk, and a new round of boreal mapping pointed toward future increases in all three.

Extreme Temperatures and Drought

Drought, extreme heat, and, sometimes, extreme cold showed that climate change is about a far wider range of localized effects than just “global warming.” The Washington Post captured a snapshot of the story at mid-summer: from scorching high temperatures in the Middle East and Southern California, to 51.3°C heat in Ouargla, Algeria, that set a record for all of Africa. North America set or tied temperature records in Montreal; Ottawa; Los Angeles; Denver; Mount Washington, New Hampshire; and Burlington, Vermont. A northeastern “heat dome” brought stifling temperatures above 100°F to Philadelphia, New York, and Washington, DC. While “no single record, in isolation, can be attributed to global warming,” the Post wrote, “collectively, these heat records are consistent with the kind of extremes we expect to see increase in a warming world.”

In Siberia, while actual weather observations are scarce, modelling put the temperature above 32°C July 5, more than 22°C above normal. “It is absolutely incredible and really one of the most intense heat events I’ve ever seen for so far north,” wrote meteorologist and blogger Nick Humphrey.

Record highs were recorded in Glasgow, Belfast, and Shannon in Ireland; Castlederg in Northern Ireland; Tbilisi, Georgia, and Yerevan, Armenia, in Eurasia; several locations in southern Russia; and in the Middle East in Quriyat, Oman. And experience in Iran showed that it didn’t take record high heat to trigger public protests, a violent response, and at least one strange burst of paranoia from a senior public official.

European cities were on track for more severe climate impacts. Studies linked a winter deep freeze across much of North America to climate change and found a strong correlation between Arctic warming and wacky winter weather, while a massive storm pushed temperatures at the North Pole 30°C higher than normal. The world’s oceans marked the warmest recorded temperatures in 2017.

Farmworkers in the United States were dying of heat-related illness, and 70 people in southern Quebec, most of them impoverished, died in a summer heat wave. An Omani fishing village endured a record 24-hour period in which the low temperature was 42.6°C, and a heat wave in Karachi, Pakistan, killed at least 65 people. A study found that 3.0°C average global warming would lead to a fivefold increase in heat waves in Africa. A sweltering summer left 72% of Britons concerned about climate change; Alaskans faced severe impacts due to surging Arctic temperatures; Colorado ski operators stood to lose billions of dollars due to warmer, drier winters; and an early snow drought was expected to cut reservoir levels, resulting in billions in costs across the western United States.

Cape Town, South Africa, was on track to run out of water on April 22, until the imminent threat of Day Zero prompted residents to cut their per capita consumption by half.

Human Impacts and the Way Forward

Droughts and floods drove global hunger to a 10-year high, wiping out previous gains and prompting United Nations agencies to call for greater emphasis on climate resilience. A migrant caravan from Central America heading toward the United States was driven primarily by climate-induced drought, and millions around the world were being displaced each year by climate impacts, while the Trump administration scaled back its quota for incoming refugees. The poorest and most marginalized bore the brunt as air pollution killed eight million people per year, and many young adults faced a wrenching ethical dilemma as they weighed whether to become parents.

Analysis showed that the economic costs of climate change will hit hardest in India and the United States, placed the annual cost of unchecked sea level rise at $27 trillion by 2100, and stressed that compensation for loss and damage—the unavoidable costs that vulnerable countries and regions face due to climate disasters—must push beyond market-based measures like insurance.

Puerto Rico was in the midst of a major mental health crisis a year after Hurricane María, and Fort McMurray faced higher rates of depression, substance abuse, and post-traumatic stress after its 2016 wildfire. British Columbia unveiled a mental health plan for 2017 wildfire evacuees just as its 2018 wildfire season kicked off, and the overwhelming devastation from Hurricane Florence hit poor and rural North Carolinians the hardest. Australian farmers demanded practical solutions to the climatic changes they could see unfolding before their eyes, local solar installations pointed toward a better way to rebuild Puerto Rico, and a study found that a suite of urban solutions could free billions of people from climate impacts by 2050.

Media largely missed the memo on the urgency of the IPCC report on 1.5°C pathways, a new Canadian climate atlas showed that the crisis is real, and Texas fossils—without a trace of irony—sought federal government funding to protect their vulnerable, greenhouse gas-producing operations from climate change.

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Protecting the Arctic from rapid warming is one of the essential steps in averting runaway climate change for the entire planet, Inuit leader Sheila Watt-Cloutier states in an opinion piece for the Globe and Mail.

Confusion Reigns as California Utility Cuts Power in 34 Counties to Reduce Wildfire Risk

California is getting a close-up look at the challenge of trying to prevent severe climate emergencies, and the costs of relying on a “feeble” power utility to adapt on the fly, after Pacific Gas & Electric took 800,000 to a million electricity accounts offline Wednesday in a bid to avert another season of devastating wildfires.

Big Investment Funds BlackRock, Vanguard Resist Shareholder Resolutions for Climate Action

Two of the biggest investment funds in the United States, BlackRock Inc. and Vanguard Group, are consistently voting against shareholder resolutions calling for faster, more effective action to address the climate crisis.

Climate Disasters Cost U.S. Health Care $10 Billion in 2012: NRDC

Calgary Hires Climate Change Planner

In Nunavut, Jobs Come as a Region Thaws

Permafrost Study Updates Maps to Help Communities Adapt

Climate Change May Reduce Soil’s Ability to Absorb Water

Saskatchewan Farm Family Shifts to Regenerative Agriculture

Google Searches for ‘Climate Change’ Outstrip Game of Thrones in September

With concern about climate change heating up and interest in Winterfell cooling down (because…wait for it…Winter is Coming, Jon Snow), it was bound to happen: last month, United States Google searches on the climate crisis finally exceeded those for Game of Thrones, for the first time since the long-running TV melodrama became a thing.

Net Zero Buildings Would Save At Least 1.7 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050

Net Zero Buildings place #79 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions, capable of sequestering 7.1 gigatons of carbon by 2050 if only 9.7% of new buildings hit the standard. Net zero designs, which enable a structure to generate as much energy as it consumes over the course of a year, integrate multiple energy solutions, so Drawdown calculates their impact as a single system.

Fall Foliage Colours in Nova Scotia, U.S. Point to Later Autumn

Millions Left On Unstable Ground by ‘Radical Warming’ in Siberia

Wildfires, Heat Drive Tunisian Youth to Join Climate Protest

Texas Gets Too Hot for Outdoor Baseball

U.S. Institute Probes Health Effects of Wildfires

Mont Blanc Glacier at Risk of Collapse Triggers Evacuations, Road Closures

With a glacier on Mont Blanc, Italy’s highest mountain, at risk of collapse, authorities closed roads and evacuated Alpine hamlets late last month, while Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte called for action on climate change.

Explainer: Arctic Warming Affects Northern Communities, Reshapes Global Weather Patterns

Rapid ice loss is already having a devastating impact in the world’s Arctic and Antarctic regions. And in an explainer on the implications of an ice-free Arctic, CBC stresses that what happens in the polar region doesn’t stay there.

Road Tests Show LNG Trucks Producing Higher NOx Than Diesel, with Little or No GHG Benefit

Trucks fuelled with liquefied natural gas (LNG) produce twice to five times the oxides of nitrogen as the equivalent running on diesel, and only cut tailpipe greenhouse gas emission by 3.0 to 14%, Brussels-based Transport & Environment reports, citing road tests commissioned by the government of The Netherlands.

Repopulating the Native Step Could Keep 1.4 Trillion Tons of Carbon Sequestered in Permafrost

Drawdown lists Repopulating the Mammoth Steppe as a Coming Attraction—one of a collection of climate solutions that are not yet ready for widespread adoption, but should be able to contribute to global decarbonization by 2050. The solution hinges on reintroducing herds of migratory herbivores to the Arctic regions of the world, where vast stores of carbon are locked in the permafrost.

UN Cites Sand, Dust Storms as Global Threat

Global Migration Agency Self-Censors to Accommodate Trump

Kathmandu Faces Rise of Dengue Fever as Climate Warms

Toronto Unanimously Adopts Climate Emergency Resolution, Still Rebuilds Major Highway

The City of Toronto unanimously adopted a climate emergency resolution Wednesday morning and reaffirmed its plan to bring its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero before 2050.

Sea Level Rise, Severe Storm Surge Could Sever Nova Scotia’s Land Link to Canada

The 23-kilometre land link that connects Nova Scotia to the rest of Canada is at risk as climate change drives up sea levels and makes severe storms more frequent.

Donner: No Federal Party Has a Plan to Hit a 1.5 or 2.0°C Climate Target

At the midpoint in Canada’s climate change election, analysis by a University of British Columbia climatologist shows that none of the federal parties have put forward platforms that support holding average global warming to 1.5 or 2.0°C.

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Dozens of Countries Agree to Tackle Short-Lived Climate Pollutants

Faster, more coordinated reductions in short-lived climate pollutants (SLPCs) may be one of the lower-profile but more important results of last week’s United Nations Climate Summit in New York, after environment ministers from dozens of countries agreed to focus on a class of greenhouse gases that has mostly been overlooked so far in international climate agreements, InsideClimate News reports.

First Nations, Landowners, Local Governments File Objections to Trans Mountain Pipeline Route

Construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion could be held up by objections from dozens of First Nations, landowners, and local governments along the route, the Globe and Mail reports.

Dismantling Climate Icon Culture: Make the Story ‘About Greta’s Facts, Not Her Face’

The “climate icon culture” surrounding #FridaysForFuture founder Greta Thunberg has Heated publisher Emily Atkin thinking the focus for the wider climate community “should be about Greta’s facts, not her face”.

Suzuki and Yano: Climate Action Must Counter ‘Unequal Privilege’, Rebuild Democratic Systems

At a time when 70 to 75% of Canadians are largely disengaged from a political arena often dominated by “unproductive partisan pot shots and misplaced accountability,” getting serious about climate solutions is one way for politicians to earn trust, two of the country’s leading environmentalists argue in a post for the David Suzuki Foundation (DSF).

Rice Intensification Would Save 3.13 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050

A change in rice cultivation methods known as a System of Rice Intensification (SRI) lands at #53 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. Wider adoption of the technique could cut carbon dioxide emissions by 3.13 gigatons and save US$678 million by 2050.

Hibernia Restarts Offshore Drilling After Oil Spills Shut Down Production

Amazon Wildfires Decline Sharply in September

U.S. Judge Blocks Logging in Tongass National Forest

Giant Iceberg Break in Antarctica is Unrelated to Climate Change

Warming Will Produce Rapid Sea Level Rise, Annual ‘100-Year’ Storms, Declining Fish Stocks, Shrinking Glaciers Without Fast Climate Action: IPCC

The world’s oceans will rise nearly one metre (three feet) by 2100, 100-year coastal storms and flooding will happen annually, fish stocks will see serious declines, snow and ice cover will diminish, and killer storms will get wetter and more powerful without fast action to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change, concludes the latest science report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), issued last week after a contentious negotiating session in Monaco.

Beer: Emissions Are Set to Rise Through 2050. And Fossils Think Climate Protesters Are the Naïve Ones?

With the latest trend report for fossil fuel consumption projecting higher carbon dioxide emissions through 2050, Canadian fossils are expressing the odd view that the million or more people who took to the streets for #ClimateStrike Friday are naïve to expect a rapid phasedown of fossil production.

Trudeau Promises to Plant Two Billion Trees Over 10 Years, with Funding ‘Offset’ by Trans Mountain Pipeline Revenue

Liberal leader Justin Trudeau promised last week that a second-term government under his leadership would invest C$3 billion over 10 years to plant two billion trees across the country. But a Liberal Party backgrounder says the cost of the program would be “offset” by revenue from the controversial and financially fragile Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

All Eyes on 2020 After UN Climate (Action) Summit Fails to Deliver

The tepid results of last week’s United Nations Climate Summit pointed to the need for political will to match the urgency of the climate crisis, the opportunities in climate solutions, and rising public demand that governments take action, E3G co-founder and CEO Nick Mabey writes for Climate Home News.

Temperate Forest Restoration Would Save 22.61 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050

Temperate forest restoration places #12 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. The research team estimates that by 2050, temperate forests will naturally grow by 235 million acres and could sequester 22.61 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions.

World Bank Says Pricing Pollution Won’t Kill Economic Growth

Whitehorse, Yukon Declares Climate Emergency

Coal Plants in Asia, India Gulp Limited Water Supplies

UN Climate Summit Falls Short as Major Emitters Fail to Commit

With 77 smaller countries pledging to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, but the world’s biggest emitters largely failing to step up, UN Secretary General António Guterres’ much-anticipated Climate Action Summit is being cast as a missed opportunity to gain ground in the fight to get the climate crisis under control.

‘Climate is Fast Outpacing Us’, Hitting ‘Sooner and Faster’ Than Expected, Agencies Warn UN Summit Delegates

The world’s leading international climate science agencies are predicting 2.9 to 3.4°C average global warming by 2100 based on governments’ current climate commitments, “a shift likely to bring catastrophic change across the globe,” The Guardian reports.

Global Backlash Against Plastics Emerges as Latest Threat to Fossil Industry

Just when they thought they were ready for the decline of gasoline- and diesel-fuelled cars, driven by surging electric vehicle sales, a mounting aversion to plastics is undercutting fossil producers’ latest plan to save their industry, according to market analysts at New York-based MSCI.

Nearly 1,500 Dead in France’s Summer Heat Wave

Warming May Disrupt ‘Great Orgy’ of Coral Spawning

Former U.S. Emergency Official Accused of Bribes in Puerto Rico Hurricane Recovery

Health Professionals Flag Anaesthetic as Potent Greenhouse Gas

BP Plans Continuous Monitoring to Reduce Climate-Busting Methane Leaks

McGill Law Student Wins Global Essay Contest Arguing for Future Generations’ Climate Rights

A McGill University law student earned a spot at the United Nations Youth Climate Summit this past weekend by writing the winning submission to The Economist’s Open Future Essay Competition.

Trump White House Ignores Climate Crisis Driving Guatemalan Exodus to U.S.

The Trump White House ignored warnings from its own acting homeland security department that poverty and food scarcity, partly driven by climate change, had helped make Guatemala the single biggest contributor to undocumented migration to the southwestern border of the United States, NBC News reports.

Five Dead in Southeast Texas as Tropical Depression Imelda Dumps Up to 43 Inches of Rain

At least five people are dead in southeast Texas after Tropical Depression Imelda dropped up to 43 inches (1.1 metres) of rain on the region, becoming the seventh-wettest tropical cyclone in U.S. history.

Trip to Block Island Test Site Shows U.S. Offshore Wind Has Arrived

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists is out with a detailed, exquisitely-designed and -illustrated look at the offshore wind boom now getting under way off the east coast of the United States.

McKibben: A World Run on Renewables Would Never Go to War for Oil

If the world ran on renewable energy, it would never be at risk of going to war for oil, 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben argues in a post for The Guardian.

Small, Sustainable Ocean Farms Would Produce Food and Fuel, Capture CO2 and Nitrogen

Ocean farming is featured as one of Drawdown’s “coming attractions”—climate solutions that weren’t ready for prime time when the book appeared, but could make a difference by mid-century. 

South Dakota Judge Stalls Lawsuit Aimed at Keystone XL Protesters

California Seeks to Reduce Wildfires with Home Battery Incentive

Climate Crisis Wreaks Havoc on Zambia’s Fragile Economy

Pennsylvania Utility Shuts Three Mile Island, Site of Worst-Ever U.S. Nuclear Accident

New Models Put Warming at 6.5 °to 7.0°C by 2100 Without Fast Action to Cut Carbon

Average global warming could hit 6.5° to 7.0°C by 2100, up to two degrees higher than the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s latest scenarios, if humanity doesn’t get its greenhouse gas emissions under control, according to new modelling by two leading research agencies in France.

North America Bird Population Falls by Three Billion in 50 Years

North America’s bird population has declined by three billion, 29% of its total population, since 1970, according to a new study in the journal Science in which top ornithologists and government agencies from Canada and the United States warn of an “overlooked biodiversity crisis”.

Unlike 2020 Democrats, No Canadian Politician is Spotlighting Big Oil’s Climate Influence

Although three of the major parties running in Canada’s federal election have put forward serious climate plans, “none of them explicitly names the oil and gas industry as the main barrier to avoiding warming having double the effect on Canada compared to the rest of the world,” reporter Geoff Dembicki writes in an analysis for The Tyee.

Energy Transition Plan Shows Nova Scotia Cutting Emissions 50%, Creating 15,000 Green Jobs by 2030

Supplying 90% of Nova Scotia’s electricity from renewable sources, cutting energy consumption in social housing 60%, tripling energy efficiency in the electricity sector, electrifying personal and public transportation, cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half, and creating 15,000 green jobs are the key 2030 targets in a plan for the renewal of the province’s Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act, released this week by the Halifax-based Ecology Action Centre.

Pollution Controls Will Decline as Alberta Shutters Monitoring Office, Ex-Official Warns

The former chief monitoring officer of Alberta’s Environmental Monitoring and Science Division (EMSD) is raising the alarm about the province’s decision last week to shutter the office and fold it into a new administrative structure, at the same curtailing its stand-alone climate change office, warning that the province’s monitoring of fossil-driven industrial pollution will continue to decline as a result.

Mississauga to Seek Public Input on 10-Year, $450-Million Climate Plan

The City of Mississauga is going out for public comment on its draft of a 10-year, C$450-million climate plan aimed at cutting its greenhouse gas emissions 80% by 2050.

Big Investors Demand Faster Action on Climate Change, Amazon Deforestation

With the United Nations Climate Summit coming up in New York City next week, investor groups with tens of trillions of dollars at their command are calling for more effective government action on climate change and deforestation. But that isn’t stopping some of Wall Street’s biggest asset management companies from voting against climate change resolutions that would begin to bring colossal fossils like ExxonMobil and Duke Energy into the fight.

Solar Sister Helps African Women Become Renewable Energy Entrepreneurs

OECD Numbers Show Donor Countries Falling Short on Climate Adaptation Finance

The wealthy economies whose contributions are expected to pay for climate action in developing countries are failing to fund efforts to adapt to the climate crisis, with just under one-fifth of the dollars secured in 2017 earmarked to help communities adapt to climate change impacts, according to a new report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Blown Fracking Well in Louisiana on Fire Since August 30, Could Burn for Another Month

A fracked gas well in northwest Louisiana that blew out August 30 was still on fire as of September 12, and was expected to keep burning for another month until a relief well can be built, DeSmog Blog reported last week.

UK Takes Heat for Plan to Leave Abandoned Rigs in North Sea with Toxic Oil, Chemicals Onboard

The United Kingdom is running into outrage from the European Commission and five EU countries after allowing Shell to leave some of its decommissioned oil rigs in place in the North Sea, with thousands of tonnes of toxic crude oil and chemicals still onboard.

Alberta Looks for Advantage, But Oil Prices Recede Within Days of Saudi Drone Attack

Canada’s biggest oil refinery came in for some unwanted scrutiny and Alberta put itself forward as a more stable source of supply in the wake of the devastating drone strike on a Saudi oil production facility over the weekend. But within days of the attack, analysts were already talking down the impact the attack by Houthi rebels would have on global oil supplies or prices.

Clean Cookstoves Would Save 15.81 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050

Clean cookstoves are ranked #21 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions, with the ability to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 15.81 gigatons by 2050. Nearly three billion households—40% of the people on earth—prepare meals over open fires fueled by wood, coal, animal dung, or agricultural refuse. Drawdown estimates that replacing these traditional methods with newer, cleaner technologies would cost US$72.16 billion, roughly $41 per stove, for a net saving of $166 billion in total operational costs over the 30-year period.

Australia Natural Disaster Minister Questions Climate Reality as Wildfires Burn

Cambridge University Takes Red Meat Off the Menu

Climate Acceleration is ‘Scary’, Says Ex-UK Chief Scientist

Hurricane Dorian Damage Hits Annapolis Valley Worse Than Expected

Climate Change Affects One-Third of UK Bird Species

Drought-Resistant Gene Could Help Barley Withstand Climatic Changes

Canada’s Climate Change Election: Will Extreme Weather Drive the Vote?

As Canada’s federal election moves into its first full week, one of the looming questions is how and whether voters’ concerns about climate change, extreme weather, and environment will translate at the ballot box.

Trump Threatens Military Action After Drone Strikes Cut Saudi Oil Production by Half

Saudi Arabia’s daily oil output has been cut by half after Houthi rebels in neighbouring Yemen claimed responsibility for a drone strike on what CNN describes as “among the world’s largest and most important energy production centres”.

New Analysis Shows ‘Enormous Area’ of the Earth Above 2.0°C

Some of the planet’s hot spots are already above the temperature agreed by scientists and politicians as the maximum allowable to prevent a disastrous climate crisis, Climate News Network reports, in a summary of a detailed and evocative analysis from a team led by Washington Post climate specialist Chris Mooney.

Atlantic Canada Rethinks Infrastructure, Tree Planting to Prepare for More Frequent, Severe Storms

A steady stream of hurricane-force storms has Atlantic Canada rethinking its approach to electricity grids, shoreline defences, and even tree planting, while insurance companies brace themselves for damage claims that are set to double every five to seven years.

Extreme Weather Displaces a Record Seven Million People in First Six Months of 2019

A record seven million people were displaced from their homes by extreme weather in the first half of this year, marking 2019 as “one of the most disastrous years in almost two decades” before Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas or the rest of the Atlantic hurricane season got under way, the New York Times reports.

Even When Fracking Stops, Earthquakes Continue

Bahamas Utility Was Already Working on Microgrids When Dorian Struck

Rising Temperatures Will Undercut Solar Performance

‘Time to Pull the Plug’: Report Shows Construction Delays, Safety Issues Delaying Trans Mountain, Making Pipeline a Financial Loser

Construction challenges, steadfast opposition from landowners along the route, shocking safety and health risks at two tank farms, and the looming risk of construction “man camps” near B.C. Indigenous communities all call into question the federal government’s stated belief that the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion will open on schedule in 2022, Vancouver-based Stand.earth concludes in a blockbuster report released Wednesday.
The resulting delays could boost the project’s completion costs, undercutting its financial viability and turning the now publicly-owned pipeline megaproject into a “white elephant”, Stand says.

Kenney’s ‘Foreign Influence’ Probe Draws Criticism from All Sides

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is under fire from all sides, after unveiling details of a taxpayer-funded investigation of supposed foreign-funded pipeline opposition that includes an email “snitch line” for Albertans to report allegedly “un-Albertan” activities by their neighbours.

‘Climate Apartheid’ Hits Dorian Survivors Denied Temporary U.S. Entry from Bahamas

The treatment of 119 Bahamian hurricane survivors denied entry to the United States is being described as an early example of the “climate apartheid” many more parts of the world will face as the impacts of climate change accelerate.

Weathered Crude from Deepwater Horizon Disaster Could Take Decades to Biodegrade

Pollution from the deadly Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in 2010 could take decades to biodegrade, with golf ball-sized clods of weathered crude oil staying buried on Gulf Coast beaches, according to a new paper in the journal Scientific Reports.

Developing Countries Look for More Money, Greater Efficiency as Green Climate Fund Goes for Replenishment

The developing world will remember which rich countries kept their promises and which ones didn’t when it comes time to replenish the Green Climate Fund, the most important United Nations financing mechanism that will enable the majority of the world’s countries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change impacts.

Japan Nuclear Regulator Announces New Probe of Fukushima Disaster

Japan’s Nuclear Regulatory Authority is opening a new investigation into the triple meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in March, 2011 that forced 160,000 people to evacuate, many never return, and is now expected to take “decades and decades” to clean up.

Squamish Nation Pans Poor Consultation by Woodfibre LNG

Polar Bear Health Study Highlights Value of Inuit Community Knowledge

Adaptation Efforts Need $1.8 Trillion by 2030 to Avert ‘Climate Apartheid’

Countries must invest US$1.8 trillion in climate adaptation funding by 2030 to prevent a world of “climate apartheid”, in which the wealthiest pay to protect themselves from sea level rise and mounting food shortages while everyone else suffers.

First Nations List Climate Action as First Priority for Next Federal Government

Just two days ahead of the official launch of Canada’s federal election, expected later this morning, the Assembly of First Nations released a policy paper identifying climate change as the top priority for the next federal government.

Amazon.com Faces First-Ever Walkout as Employees Join Global Climate Strike September 20

Tech behemoth Amazon.com will face the first strike in its 25-year history September 20, when staff at its Seattle headquarters walk off the job to protest their employer’s inaction on the climate crisis.

India’s Coal Sector Faces Stranded Asset Risk as Demand Falls, Water Supplies Run Short

India’s coal sector faces a multitude of serious threats, as customers report they have more supply than they need, water supplies run short, and affordable renewable energy and hydropower increasingly undercut demand for their product, states a report released last week by the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) and the Applied Economics Clinic at Boston’s Tufts University.

Report Links Human Rights Abuses to Raw Materials for EVs, Solar Panels, and Wind Turbines

The raw materials behind electric vehicles, solar panels, and wind turbines are being linked to local land rights infringements, corruption, violence and death, with 87% of the 23 largest companies supplying the industry’s six most essential minerals facing allegations of abuse over the last 10 years.

Large Methane Digesters Would Save 8.4 Gigatons of Carbon Equivalent by 2050

rge methane digesters rank #30 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions, with potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 8.4 gigatons by 2050. They operate at less cost than the conventional coal and natural gas power plants they replace, and would produce an estimated US$148.83 billion in savings over 30 years.

PEI’s Cavendish National Park Loses 80% of Trees in Hurricane Dorian

Montreal North Shore Nets $50M in Federal Flood Prevention Funds

Air Monitoring Shows Benzene Spikes as South Porland Worries About Oil Storage Tanks

Canadian Climate Hawks Face Death Threats, Safety Fears as Federal Election Call Looms

On the eve of what promises to be a gruelling, six-week federal election campaign, the online venom the climate community has faced from assorted social media trolls is picking up momentum and translating into real-life threats, prompting some of Canada’s leading climate advocates to fear for their safety.

Bahamas Devastated, Coastal North Carolina Swamped as Hurricane Dorian Passes Through Atlantic Canada

Recovery efforts are under way in Atlantic Canada after a weakened but still-punishing Hurricane Dorian swept through the region as a Category 2 storm that toppled trees and a giant construction crane, brought down power lines, sent at least one roof airborne, and left about 80% of Nova Scotia without power.

Trans Mountain Wouldn’t Respond Fast Enough to Burnaby Mountain Tank Farm Fire, Federal Regulator Concludes

Trans Mountain Corporation won’t be able to respond fast enough if one of the bitumen storage tanks in its massive Burnaby Mountain tank farm boils over and spills, according to an audit completed in May by the National Energy Board, before it was replaced by the new Canada Energy Regulator.

‘Cruel Parody of Anti-Trust Enforcement’ as Trump Justice Department Probes Automakers’ Emissions Deal with California

In what a New York Times editorial calls a “cruel parody of anti-trust enforcement”, the U.S. Justice Department has launched an investigation after four major automakers embarrassed Donald Trump by striking a deal with California to boost their vehicles’ fuel efficiency and reduce their tailpipe emissions.

Whales, Salmon, Sea Lions at Risk in West Coast Ocean Heat Wave

Whales, salmon, and sea lions are at risk as an ocean heat wave takes shape off the west coast of North America, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warned in a recent blog post.

Floods, Landslides Force 900,000 to Evacuate in Southern Japan

Baghdad Offers Example of Future Climate Apartheid

Heat, Drought Bring ‘Dramatic Shift’ in France’s Wine Crops

Australian Agency Downgrades Great Barrier Reef Status from ‘Poor’ to ‘Very Poor’

An Australian government agency has downgraded its outlook for the Great Barrier Reef to “very poor” for the first time, shining a light on what the Financial Times describes as a “fierce battle between environmental campaigners and the government over the country’s approach to climate change”.

One-Third of Fort McMurray High Schoolers Show Signs of PTSD

More than one-third of high school students in Fort McMurray are showing signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), three years after the wildfire known as The Beast tore through their home town and forced many of them to escape by road through a wall of surrounding flames.

Trump Moves to Roll Back Protections for World’s Largest Intact Temperate Rainforest

Donald Trump and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue are planning to roll back Bill Clinton-era logging restrictions in Alaska’s 16.7-million-acre/6.75-million-hectare Tongass National Forest, exposing more than half of the world’s largest intact temperate rainforest to logging, fossil, and mining projects.

How ‘Stupid Politics’ Could Undercut U.S. Support for Carbon Farming

Used EV Batteries Could Power Farms in Developing Countries

Peru Plans to End Deforestation from Palm Oil by 2021

Bahamas Devastated by Hurricane Dorian as Storm Shifts to Florida Coast

After stalling for 36 hours over parts of the Bahamas and leaving mind-boggling destruction and devastation in its wake, Hurricane Dorian is on the move as a Category 2 storm and began hitting Florida’s east coast with 110-mile/177-kilometre-per-hour winds Tuesday evening, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

Rising Seas, Catastrophic Storms to Deliver ‘Misery on a Global Scale’ by 2100 Unless Climate Action Accelerates

Rising sea levels and catastrophic storm surges could displace 280 million people from the world’s coastlines and produce “misery on a global scale” unless countries speed up their efforts to control the greenhouse gas emissions responsible for the climate crisis, according to a draft United Nations report obtained last week by Agence France-Presse.

Don’t Let ‘Neanderthals’ Block Climate Action, Kerry Urges, as Australia Faces Winter Heat and Drought

With parts of southern and eastern Australia suffering through a winter of intense heat and drought, and the Australian Medical Association declaring health emergency, former U.S. secretary of State John Kerry called for immediate action on the climate crisis and took what The Guardian called “veiled swipes” at governments that aren’t responding.

Reducing Food Waste Would Save 70.53 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050

Reduced food waste places #3 on the Drawdown list of climate solutions. Reducing global food waste by 50% could decrease carbon emissions by a total of 70.53 gigatons by 2050, including emissions that would be cut by preventing deforestation for farmland.

U.S. Rust Belt Study Finds Billions in Health Benefits in Shift to Renewables

Canadian Parks & Wilderness Study Traces ‘Double Whammy’ of Climate, Biodiversity

Climate Change Boosts Flood Risk Around U.S. Coal Ash Ponds

Muslims on Hajj Pilgrimage Face ‘Extreme Danger’ from High Heat

Climate News Coverage Depends on Where You Live

Canada, UK Boost Their Green Climate Fund Contributions, Still Fall Short of Fair Share

Canada and the United Kingdom both announced new contributions to the United Nations Green Climate Fund (GCF) during last weekend’s G7 meeting in France, but Canada’s announcement brought immediate concern the level of funding would short-change the countries most affected by the climate crisis.

G7 Wrap: Brazil Conditionally Accepts Some Wildfire Aid as Trump Skips Key Climate Discussion

Brazil closed off a chaotic end to this week’s G7 meeting in France by accepting some of the financial aid countries had offered to fight out-of-control wildfires in the Amazon rainforest, after President Jair Bolsonaro initially turned down the funds and questioned the motives behind the offer.

High Arctic Melting Stores Carbon in Glacier-Fed Rivers

Melting glaciers are one of the iconic impacts of climate change, but the watersheds they feed sequester a surprising amount of carbon, according to a new paper published last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Sorry, Trump: You Can’t Set Off a Nuclear Bomb to Stop a Hurricane

Sorry, Trump—firing a nuclear weapon is not the way to stop a raging hurricane or tropical cyclone in its path.

Microgrids Can Deliver Decentralized Power, Boost Renewable Energy Use and Improve Public Health

Microgrids come in at #78 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. Defined as locally-managed electricity generation systems, microgrids can be powered by renewable resources like micro-wind, solar power, in-stream hydro, and biomass energy—whatever resources are available. Drawdown doesn’t quantify the carbon reduction value of microgrids independently, but includes their positive impact in its calculations for each energy source.

Hungry Nations Contribute Least to Climate Crisis

Amazon Fires Drive 1150% Surge in Downloads from Tree Planting Search Engine

G7 Offers Assistance, Bolsonaro Faces Withering Pressure as Amazon Rainforest Burns

G7 leaders meeting in France are close to an agreement to help Brazil curtail devastating wildfires in the Amazon rainforests, with a coveted trade deal between the European Union and key South American countries hanging in the balance and at least one politician urging the continent to ban Brazilian beef imports over the role of “Capitão Motoserra” (Captain Chainsaw), also known as Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro, in enabling and encouraging the fires.

Increase in Wildfires Could Turn Boreal Forest from Carbon Sink to Source

Wildfires across northern Canada are “mining” carbon from the soil and turning the boreal forest into a carbon source after millennia of acting as a carbon sink, in a process that could accelerate global climate change, according to a new paper in the journal Nature.

Lawsuits Begin After Trump Attack on U.S. Endangered Species Act

Hot on the heels of the Trump administration’s decision to aggressively weaken the nation’s highly effective Endangered Species Act, eight environmental organizations have launched a legal challenge, citing multiple violations of due process as well as a fundamental breach in the enshrined federal duty to protect America’s wildlife.

Newfoundland Regulator Takes Notice as Latest Offshore Oil Spill Points to Continuing Risk

The latest in a series of offshore oil spills has roused the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (CNLOPB) to express some displeasure at fossils’ ability to meet their obligations for environmental protection.

California Cuts Carbon Even Faster Than Ambitious State Mandate

California is cutting its greenhouse gas emissions even faster than state regulations require, and produced more electricity from renewable energy than from fossil fuels for the first time in 2017, according to data released earlier this month.

Sanders Unveils $16.3-Trillion Climate Plan as Inslee Withdraws from Presidential Race

A 2030 deadline to convert the United States electricity and transportation systems to 100% renewable energy is a centrepiece of a US$16.3-trillion Green New Deal platform released last Thursday in Paradise, California, site of last year’s devastating Camp Fire, by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

‘Flight Shame’ Produces Uptick in European Train Travel

The desire to lead “climate-friendlier lives”—an impulse driven by a mixture of shame and anxiety—is one of the reasons more and more young Europeans are choosing trains over planes as their mode of travel around the continent. (The ever-escalating hassle of flying coach is another.)

Mayor of Impoverished French Town Combines Green Strategy with Social Supports

Undaunted by 28% unemployment, and the fact that Marie Le Pen’s xenophobic National Rally party continues to appeal to a majority of his constituents, the Green Party mayor of an impoverished coastal town near Calais is determined to prove that strong environmental policy means a better life for working people.

Managed Grazing Would Save 16.3 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050

Managed grazing ranks #19 on the Drawdown climate solutions list. Altering conventional grazing practices would sequester 16.3 gigatons of carbon dioxide by 2050, making it the second-most effective land use carbon sequestration solution. Extending the approach to 1.1 billion acres, up from the 195 million acres where they are now in use, would cost US$50.48 billion to implement and deliver savings of $735 billion by 2050.

Climate Brings New Urgency to Resilience Discussions in Detroit

Ocean Heat Waves Mean Instant Death for Endangered Corals

Arizona Regulator Flags Safety Risk from Utility-Scale Batteries

E-Bikes Deliver as Much Exercise as Regular Pedal Power

Macron Declares International Crisis with 165,000 Fires Burning Across Amazon Rainforest, 70,000 in Brazil

With inadequate firefighting resources leaving massive swaths of the environmentally crucial Amazon rainforest in flames, and Brazil’s conspiracy-breathing president falsely blaming environmentalists and discounting his own government’s data, French President Emmanuel Macron is declaring an “international crisis” and urging the G7 countries to “discuss this crisis” at their meeting this week.

Financial Risk of Climate Change Has Economists, Ratings Agencies Worried

The potentially devastating economic and financial impact of unrestrained climate change has been coming into focus in several recent news stories, with global GDP on track to fall as much as 7.2% by 2100, accountants and ratings agencies taking note, and an economic historian warning the United States Federal Reserve to take action against a risk that could trigger the next global economic crash.

Trump Officials Throw Roadblocks at Offshore Wind Project After Accelerating Fossil Development

The Trump administration is showing a distinct double standard in a series of decisions to deregulate fossil fuel development while slowing down the landmark Vineyard Wind offshore wind farm in Massachusetts.

Bankrupt California Utility Will Still Honour $42 Billion in Solar, Wind Contracts

There were sighs of relief in California earlier this month, after utility giant Pacific Gas & Electric confirmed it will honour all its contracts with renewable energy providers as it goes through bankruptcy reorganization.

Memorial for Iceland’s First ‘Fallen Glacier’ Provokes Grief, Galvanizes Action

In a ceremony designed to provoke the deepest sense of grief, and to galvanize all who hear of it to action, Iceland recently commemorated the loss of its first glacier, once known as Okjokull, to global warming.

Deadly Drug-Resistant Candida May Have Link to Climate Change

One-Third of Zimbabwe Faces Food Crisis

More Frequent Coral Spawning Boosts Great Barrier Reef Resilience

Fukushima Running Out of Storage Space for Radioactive Water

UK Tries ‘Sandscaping’ to Save Coastal Homes

Blockbuster News Investigation Reveals ‘Culture of Silence’ in Fossil Health and Safety Violations

National Observer and Global News are out with a blockbuster investigative report that alleges potentially deadly health and safety problems in the western Canadian oilpatch, driven by a pervasive “culture of silence” in which accident reports are falsified, would-be whistleblowers are at risk of being fired and ostracized, and not a single fossil in Alberta or Saskatchewan has ever been charged or penalized for filing deliberately misleading paperwork.

Trump’s ‘Buy Greenland’ Push Reflects U.S. Interest in Rare Mineral Supplies, Arctic Geopolitics

While Donald Trump’s recent ruminations about “buying Greenland” proved excellent fodder for political satirists, there is realpolitik at work in the White House’s sudden interest in acquiring the mineral-rich, strategically significant “constituent country”, reports the Guardian.

Lac-Mégantic Rail Line Faced ‘Several Urgent’ Issues in May, 2019 Transport Canada Inspection

The rail line that runs through Lac-Mégantic, the Québec community whose downtown was incinerated by a runaway oil train that killed 47 people in 2013, faces “several urgent” issues, according to a May, 2019 inspection report issued by Transport Canada and obtained by CBC.

Increased Emissions May Drive Atmospheric Warming Farther, Faster Than Scientists Thought

Increased greenhouse gas emissions may drive up atmospheric temperatures by as much as 35% more than climate scientists previously believed, according to more than a half-dozen of the new climate models that will inform the next major assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Climate Change Makes Record-High Great Lakes Water Levels the ‘Evolving Normal’

Climate change is a “deciding factor” in this summer’s record high water levels on the Great Lakes, CTV News reported earlier this month, citing climate adaptation specialist Blair Feltmate of the University of Waterloo.

Enviros Warn of ‘Propaganda’ as Indonesia Sets Permanent Moratorium on Logging Primary Forest

Indonesia has announced that a 2011 moratorium on logging primary forest will be made permanent, but environmental groups looking at gaps in the plan are declaring it little more than greenwashing.

4,000 Evacuated from Canary Islands Wildfire

Brazilian Telenovela Dramatizes Amazon Rainforest Destruction

South Africa Inquiry Drives Calls for Community Power Ownership

Nile Basin to See Water Scarcity Despite Higher Precipitation

New Battery Design Produces Electricity from Fresh, Salt Water

Arizona Postal Worker Cooks Steak on Searing Hot Truck Hood

Trump Officials Move to Weaken Endangered Species Act, Speed Up Pipeline Approvals Under Clean Water Act

The Trump administration has introduced two new deregulatory efforts over the last 10 days, aimed at weakening protections under the U.S. Endangered Species Act, making it more difficult to factor climate impacts into endangered species determinations, and fast-tracking pipeline development with amendments to the federal Clean Water Act.

Pipeline Opponent Sees Fossil Subsidies Campaign as Latest Front Against Trans Mountain

A new campaign against the fossil fuel subsidies on which projects like the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion depend is just the latest front in a fight against the pipeline that is far from over, writes Robert Hackett, professor emeritus of communications at Simon Fraser University and co-director of NewsWatch Canada, in an opinion piece for National Observer.

IPCC Land Use Report Draws New Attention to Soil Carbon, Regenerative Agriculture

In the wake of the IPCC land use report earlier this month, with its urgent focus on food supplies, soil conservation, and natural methods of storing carbon, follow-up news stories in the United States and Canada are tracing the steps farmers are already taking to shift their practices.

Arctic Ice Loss May Be a Consequence, Not a Cause, of Conditions Behind Winter Polar Vortex

A new study in the journal Nature Climate Change is suggesting that Arctic sea ice loss may be a consequence of the atmospheric conditions driving colder winters in parts of North America, Europe, and Asia, rather than the cause of a series of cold snaps dating back to the polar vortex of 2013-2014.

Power Prices Hit $9,000/MWh as Texas Grid Declares First Supply Emergency Since 2014

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) issued its first emergency alert since January 2014, after record demand driven by a summer heat wave last week pushed electricity prices above $9,000 per megawatt-hour and reduced the sprawling state’s electricity reserves from at least 3,000 to less than 2,300 MW.

Living Buildings Would Revitalize the Environment, Build Community

Living buildings is one of the 20 carbon reduction options that Drawdown lists as Coming Attractions—strategies that weren’t ready for prime time when the book was published, but looked like promising approaches through mid-century.

Wisconsin Mayor Raises Safety Concerns After Deadly Enbridge Pipeline Explosion

Town Sees Population Rise, Crime Surge After Devastating California Wildfire

B.C. Actively Promotes Fracking Boom as New Study Reaffirms Climate Impact

British Columbia is taking heat from two different news outlets for its avid support of natural gas fracking to feed its liquefied natural gas (LNG) boom, just as a new study reasserts the connection between fracking and a continuing increase in climate-busting methane emissions.

Water Shortages in 17 Countries Put One-Quarter of Global Population at Risk

From India to Iran to Botswana, the New York Times is out with text and graphics that illustrate the 17 countries, home to one-quarter of the world’s population, that are at increasingly urgent risk of running out of water, according to new data from the World Resources Institute (WRI).

Pediatricians, Public Health Link Children’s Health Hazards to Climate Crisis

The Canadian Paediatric Society and the Ontario Public Health Association are both out with new warnings about the impacts of climate change on children’s health.

Fracking Sites in Texas, New Mexico Need $9 Billion to Dispose of Salty, Radioactive Wastewater

Oil and gas fracking producers in Texas and New Mexico will be looking for more than US$9 billion over the next decade, just to drill new wells to dispose of their polluted water, according to analysis published late last month.

India Plans to Cut Coal Imports, Boost Domestic Production

India is planning to cut its coal imports by at least one-third over the next five years, while boosting domestic coal mining and renewable energy generation to take up the slack.

Alberta Reviews Prevention, Response in Wake of ‘Massive’ Wildfire Season

New York Officials Tour Quebec Cree Territory Before Deciding on New Hydro Project

First Big U.S. Offshore Wind Farm Runs Into Fishing Industry Concerns

Lack of Soil Nutrients Could Undercut Amazon Carbon Sequestration

BREAKING: Australia Tries to Drop 1.5°C Target from Pacific Declaration as Endangered Countries Demand Real Carbon Reductions

Australia is trying to water down references to the climate “crisis”, the long-term goal of 1.5°C average global warming, a ban on new coal-fired generation, and an end to fossil subsidies in the final declaration from this week’s annual Pacific Islands Forum leaders’ meeting in Tuvalu, according to an annotated draft seen and reported by Climate Home News.

IPCC Land Report Paints Stark Picture for Food Supplies, Charts Course for Immediate Action

Global food supplies, species and ecosystem diversity, and the health and safety of populations are all in peril without immediate, wide-ranging shifts in land use, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes in a landmark report released in Geneva last week.

‘Stunning’ Poll Results Show Canadian Public ‘Ahead of Our Politics’ on Climate Action

Two-thirds to 84% of Canadians would accept bold measures to address climate change, more than four-fifths see the climate crisis as a serious problem, 47% consider it extremely serious, and one in four “report thinking about climate change often and are getting really anxious about it,” according to a new Abacus Data poll commissioned by Seth Klein, an adjunct professor of urban studies at British Columbia’s Simon Fraser University.

Massive Arctic Heat Wave Produces Record Ice Melt in Greenland, Wildfires in Siberia

Caught up in the harrowing fallout from the planet’s hottest July—and June—on record, Greenland shed a mind-boggling 10 billion tonnes of ice in a single day, while Siberia lost a Belgium-sized section of its boreal forests to monster wildfires that have sent emissions soaring.

EU Urged to Draw the Line After Brazil’s Amazon Deforestation Increases 278% in July

An influential UK newspaper is calling on the European Union to step up and help prevent a global deforestation disaster, after Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research reported that Amazon rainforest destruction had “exploded” to an estimated 2,254 square kilometres in July.

Afforestation Would Sequester 18 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050

Afforestation—cultivating timber plantations on previously depleted land—comes in at #15 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. By sequestering carbon in timber, soil, and biomass, newly-planted forests can reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide by 18.06 gigatons, Drawdown calculates. And from an initial implementation cost of US$29.44 billion, a net operational savings of $392.33 billion is projected to grow.

Ethiopia Plants 350 Million Trees in a Day, Breaks Global Record

Peru Can Gain from Ancient Water-Saving Methods

July Likely to Be Hottest Month Since Record-Keeping Began in 1880

With another week still go to in the month, dozens of climate experts are already predicting that heat waves covering North America, Europe, and the Arctic will make July 2019 the hottest month since record-keeping began in 1880.

Babies with Congenital Heart Disease More Likely Near Active Oil and Gas Sites

Mothers living near active oil and gas sites in Colorado are 40 to 70% are more likely to give birth to babies with congenital heart defects (CHDs) compared to their counterparts in areas with less intensive fossil development, researchers at the Colorado School of Public Health conclude in a study published last week in the journal Environment International.

Global Water Crisis Requires Local Solutions, Not More Megaprojects

Human-scale water conservation methods, both ancient and modern, not big-budget, Delhi-directed megaprojects, will be critical to helping India survive and gain resilience as monsoon rains fail and temperatures rise, says journalist and environmental activist Meera Subramanian.

Record Heat, Humidity Create New Risks for Elite Athletes

Athletes around the world whose sports demand extreme exertion at whatever temperatures nature has on hand are increasingly guarding against the dangerous physiological stresses that heat and humidity bring.

Local Naturalist Blames Climate Change, Human Activity for Steep Drop in Alberta Bird Populations

Alberta bird populations have declined dramatically over the last 50 years, and a Calgary naturalist and citizen scientist is blaming a combination of human activity and climate change.

Protecting Africa’s Forest Elephants Would Prevent Three Billion Tonnes of Carbon Emissions

Failing to protect Africa’s remaining elephants from extinction could further accelerate the climate crisis, as the massive herbivores play a significant role in allowing long-lived hardwood trees of the rainforest to grow huge and dense enough to store vast quantities of carbon.

Perennial Food Crops Could Boost Soil Carbon and Food Security, Reduce Deforestation

Replacing soil-depleting annual food species with perennial crops is one of the 20 carbon reduction options that Drawdown lists as Coming Attractions—strategies that weren’t ready for prime time when the book was published, but looked like promising approaches through mid-century.

Wildfire Hits Near Idaho Nuclear Lab

Spread of Ticks Through U.S. Poses New Threats for People, Pets, Livestock

Six-Year California Drought Killed 150 Million Trees, Turned Carbon Sink Into Source

Landmark Court Case Holds France Responsible for Air Pollution Impacts

Scientists Propose ‘Absurd’ Snow Cannon to Avert Antarctic Ice Loss

India Renewables Capacity On Track to Overshoot Paris Target by 60%

India is on track to overshoot a key Paris Agreement target by nearly 60% by obtaining close to two-thirds of its installed electricity capacity from renewable sources by 2030, according to a new report from the country’s Central Electricity Authority (CEA).

12,000-Litre Hibernia Oil Spill Produces ‘Russian Roulette’ for Ocean Wildlife

As cleanup efforts continue in the wake of last Wednesday’s 12,000-litre spill in the Hibernia oilfield off the Newfoundland coast, questions are being raised about the wisdom of letting fossils self-report on the cause and extent of such incidents, and the effort they put in in response.

Canada’s Approach to Trans Mountain Violates International Law, Washington State’s Lummi Nation Asserts

Canada is violating the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) and sidestepping international environmental law in its handling of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion and a proposed three-berth marine container terminal south of Vancouver, contends the Lummi Nation in northwest Washington state, in a letter this week to Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.

Forget Mars: Ex-NASA Exec Says Agency’s Next Mission Should Be Studying, Acting on Climate Change

Amid a flood of news accompanying the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, and continuing hype about humanity returning to the lunar surface and pushing on to Mars, a former deputy administrator of the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) says the agency should focus its attention closer to home.

Yellowknife-Area Wildfire Triples to 900 Hectares

Heat Wave May Shut Down French Nuclear Plant

U.S. Coastal Seawalls to Cost $400B

Palm Oil Harvest in Malaysian Forests Drives Orangutan Population Down 30%

Open Letter Backs Heiltsuk Nation Call for Compensation in Nathan E. Stewart Diesel Spill

Searing Heat Waves Leave Europe’s Alpine Resorts High and Dry

Alberta Fossil Spills 320,000 Litres of Crude Oil, ‘Produced’ Water

Visibly Retreating Glacier Motivated UK’s Theresa May to Net Zero Goal

Leaving Wood Debris on Forest Floor Can Spur Regeneration, Boost Biodiversity

2.0°C Would Bring ‘Profound Climate Shifts’ to Every City in the World

Virtually 100% of all global cities will experience profound shifts in climate by 2050 if average global warming reaches 2.0°C, with 77% on track to experience the temperature and rainfall patterns now associated with equatorial regions and 22% projected to suffer conditions never before seen in any city on Earth, says a new study.

Two Million People Lose Access to Water as Drought, Dam Management Problems Hit Harare

Only about half of the 4.5 million people living in the Zimbabwe capital of Harare and four satellite towns have access to municipal water supplies, with some suburbs going weeks without water and reported cases of typhoid beginning to emerge, Climate Home News reports.

Climate-Driven Drought, Deforestation Create Devastating Challenges for Honduran Farmers

Though long accustomed to poverty, violence, and political corruption, many Honduran farmers are experiencing an ongoing drought compounded by deforestation as a whole new level of suffering and fear—with little hope of resolution.

Utility Safety Outages in California, Nevada Boost Interest in Solar and Storage

With utilities in two southern U.S. states resorting to planned outages to stop their equipment from sparking wildfires during dry, windy conditions, power users are looking for more reliable electricity—and solar and storage battery providers are stepping up to respond.

Chevron Gets Two-Month Oil Spill Under Control After California Orders Action

Two months and 800,000 gallons (three million litres) of crude oil-contaminated water later, Chevron Corporation has been ordered by California officials “to take all measures” to shut down an oil spill into a dry creek bed in Kern County and prevent any and all future disasters.

Decentralized Renewables Create Jobs, Boost Economic Activity in India, Kenya, Nigeria

Off-grid energy systems already employ as many people as centralized utilities in India, Kenya, and Nigeria, and that total is expected to more than double by 2022-23, Power for All reports in its first-ever census of employment in rural electrification.

Replacing Cotton with Industrial Hemp Could Reduce Demand for World’s ‘Dirtiest Crop’

Substantially replacing cotton with industrial hemp is one of the 20 carbon reduction options that Drawdown lists as Coming Attractions—strategies that weren’t ready for prime time when the book was published, but looked like promising approaches through mid-century.

‘Unprecedented’ Heat Wave Drives Alert, Nunavut Temperature Above Victoria, BC

Monsoon Flooding in India, Nepal Kills 90, Displaces One Million

New Orleans Catches a Break as Hurricane Barry Weakens to Tropical Depression

New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and other Louisiana communities caught a break over the weekend as Barry, the first named storm of the 2019 season, briefly came ashore as a hurricane before being downgraded to a tropical storm, then a tropical depression.

CBC: Climate Action Costs Less, Delivers More Side Benefits Than Estimates Usually Assume

Reversing the climate crisis will cost less and deliver more positive impacts than most estimates usually assume, and that gap in analysis is shaping up as a barrier to climate action, CBC reported last week, as part of its In Your Backyard climate series.

Record Arctic Heat Produces Wildfires, Health Alerts in Alaska and Beyond

A record heat wave across Alaska and much of the Arctic is thawing tundra and sucking moisture out of circumpolar forests and peat bogs, triggering wildfires and choking, black smoke that are starting earlier, burning hotter, and spreading farther north than they have before.

‘Staggering’ Data Dump Shows CSIS Spying on Northern Gateway Pipeline Protesters

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association says a “staggering”, 19-volume trove of previously restricted documents it published last week shows the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) illegally spied on activists and environmentalists opposing the controversial Northern Gateway pipeline.

New Investment, Demand from New Data Centre Make Georgia a Hot U.S. Market for Solar

The southeastern U.S. state of Georgia has emerged as the country’s hottest new market for solar, driven largely by data centre demand from tech giant Facebook and regional reaction to the punishing, 30% tariff the Trump administration imposed on solar components from China in 2018.

Ocean Acidification Could Drive Mass Extinction Without Rapid Drop in CO2 Emissions

Ocean acidification driven by ever-increasing carbon dioxide levels could take on a life of its own and begin driving a sudden, mass extinction if emissions are not brought under control by the year 2100, according to a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Building with Wood Could Sequester Carbon, Produce Fewer Emissions Than Concrete

Building with wood is making a comeback, and is included in Drawdown’s list of “coming attractions” as a decarbonization option that hasn’t yet hit the mainstream, but could be a part of a wider set of post-carbon solutions by 2050.

Transit Agencies Fail to Report, Take Action on Sexual Violence

Climate Making Some Homes Uninsurable

New Orleans Already Flooding as Tropical Storm Barry Nears Louisiana

Arctic Waters Now Warmer than Great Lakes

Thawing Permafrost Uncovers Centuries-Old Moss

Saulteau First Nation Deploys Sheep to Protect Tree Seedlings Without Chemical Sprays

Conservation Groups Appeal Trans Mountain Approval on Behalf of Endangered B.C. Orcas

The Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is headed back to court, with the Raincoast Conservation Foundation and the Living Oceans Society asking an appeal court to rule that the federal cabinet failed to protect British Columbia’s endangered southern resident orca population when it re-approved the controversial, C$9.3-billion project.

UN Stresses Adaptation Funding as Frequency of Global Climate Disasters Hits One Per Week

The frequency of major climate disasters has reached one per week around the world, a top United Nations official warns, in a new report that calls for developing countries to prepare now for the “profound impact” they will continue to face.