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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Countries participating in mid-year climate negotiations in Bonn this month are at risk of excluding the IPCC’s landmark report on 1.5°C pathways from their consideration of climate science, with alarmed health professionals calling out Saudi Arabia for its continuing refusal to accept the conclusions in the October, 2018 special report.

U.S. Health Professionals Call for Fracking Moratorium

An ever-growing chorus of American scientists, health professionals, politicians, and media is calling for a country-wide moratorium on fracking, as evidence accumulates that the industry and the known carcinogens it relies on are causing profound harm to public and ecosystem health.

Time for ‘We the North’ Fans to Understand ‘Hellish’ Climate Impacts in Canadian Arctic

To truly earn the “We the North” slogan, Canadians everywhere—basketball fans and otherwise—need to understand—and come together to help prevent—the downright “hellish” changes that a warming climate is bringing to the Arctic and all of its inhabitants.

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Canada Still Lacks ‘Orderly, Effective’ Plan to Welcome Climate Refugees

Nine years after federal civil servants first urged Ottawa to “plan an orderly and effective response” to help resettle at least some of the tens of millions of people forecast to be displaced by climate impacts by 2050, Canada has no comprehensive plan to do so, and international law isn’t helping.

Reducing Climate Damage Claims Depends on Flood Zone Mapping, Public Awareness

Mapping flood zones, raising public awareness, and investing heavily in climate mitigation are necessary pre-conditions for making a proposed “high-risk” insurance pool (rather than the public purse) available to homeowners at risk of overland flooding.

Midwestern Rains to Produce Near-Record Dead Zone in Gulf of Mexico

Boaty McBoatFace Research Sub Makes Sea Level Rise Discovery

BREAKING: Canadian Senate Passes Impact Assessment Act, B.C. Tanker Ban, Arctic Drilling Moratorium

The Canadian Senate adopted Bills C-69 and C-48 last night, along with a lower-profile measure enshrining a moratorium on Arctic oil drilling, clearing the way for the country’s new Impact Assessment Act and a federal ban on large tanker traffic off British Columbia’s environmentally sensitive north coast to become law.

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.

Permafrost in Remote Canadian Arctic Thawing 70 Years Earlier Than Predicted

Permafrost in the remotest parts of the Canadian Arctic is thawing 70 years earlier than predicted, providing further evidence that the global climate crisis is accelerating and drawing the planet ever closer to dangerous feedback loops.

RCMP Has ‘Army’ of Officers to Protect B.C. Pipeline, No Time to Investigate Murdered Indigenous Woman

Though suddenly possessed of an “army” of officers to thwart peaceful protests against TransCanada’s Coastal GasLink pipeline in northern British Columbia, the region’s RCMP couldn’t muster a single constable last summer to help desperate family members search for 18-year old Jessica Patrick of Lake Babine Nation—and have since demonstrated little inclination to investigate her murder.

Global Plastics Boom Drives Annual CO2 Increase to Seven-Year High

The global boom in plastics was a key factor driving the sharp rise in carbon dioxide emissions in 2018, Greenpeace UK’s award-winning Unearthed news site reports, based on analysis of the latest world energy review released by colossal fossil BP.

EPA Tosses Lifeline to U.S. Coal with Rollback of Obama’s Clean Power Plan

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has unveiled long-anticipated plans to complete its rollback of President Barack Obama’s signature Clean Power Plan, the latest in Donald Trump’s failing campaign to resuscitate his country’s dying coal industry.

Northeastern B.C. Drought Forces Fossils to Cut Fracking Water Use

CBC Casts Plastics Pollution, Climate Crisis as ‘Symptoms of the Same Disease’

UK Considers Massive Rewilding Plan

Russian Climate Campaigner Seeks Asylum in Germany

Trans Mountain Pipeline Approval Triggers New Lawsuits, Leaves Fossils Unsatisfied

In a move condemned by critics as the height of cynicism, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and several senior cabinet ministers announced re-approval of the C$9.3-billion Trans Mountain pipeline expansion Tuesday afternoon, not 24 hours after their government pushed a climate emergency resolution through the House of Commons.

Ottawa Could Face Youth Charter Challenge After Approving Trans Mountain Expansion

With its decision yesterday to re-approve the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, the Trudeau government could find itself face to face with a constitutional challenge filed by a leading environmental lawyer—on the urging of his 13-year-old daughter, a school climate strike veteran in Esquimalt, British Columbia.

Bui: Time for a Federal Leaders’ Debate on Climate Crisis [Sign-On]

After seeing the climate crisis crash into the two places she calls home, Vietnam and Ottawa, Our Time Ottawa organizer Vi Bui is pushing for Canada’s Green New Deal and calling for a leaders’ debate on climate during the federal election this fall.

Exxon, Amazon Head List of Companies that Fail to Reveal Climate Impact

ExxonMobil, Amazon, and UK grocery retailer Tesco head the list of 707 major global companies with combined value above US$15 trillion that have failed to reveal their full impact on the climate crisis, water shortages, and deforestation, according to CDP, the non-profit formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project.

Resource Development, Climate Impacts, Federal Negligence Bring Wood Buffalo Park Close to Heritage in Danger List

A UN agency is on the verge of placing Wood Buffalo National Park, Canada’s largest, on the World Heritage in Danger List, and urging the country to take far more strenuous measures to protect the territory and its extraordinary biodiversity.

South Pacific Islands Lead Fight for Faster Carbon Cuts as UN Prepares for September Summit

South Pacific islands whose very existence is imperiled by climate change continue to use the “moral force” of their endangerment to build consensus on the imperative for swift climate action. With two weeks of mid-year climate negotiations under way in Bonn, Germany, and a United Nations special summit on climate coming up in September, Time Magazine is out with a timely recap of their progress since the 2015 conference that adopted the Paris Agreement.

Dengue Risk to Hit Two Billion More People in 2080 Unless Carbon Emissions Are Curtailed

Based on a warming scenario “roughly representative of the world’s current emissions trajectory,” more than two billion additional people will be at risk of dengue fever by 2080, within its current geographic range and well beyond, according to a study just published in the journal Nature Microbiology.

New Fossil Investment in China Hits 14-Year Low

China’s investment in building new coal and other thermal power plants hit a 14-year low last year, down to ¥78.6 billion (US$11.35 billion) across the fossil sector and ¥6.44 billion ($930 million) for the most polluting fuel of all.

Regenerative Agriculture Would Save 23.15 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050

Regenerative Agriculture places #11 on the Drawdown list of climate solutions, with the potential to cut atmospheric carbon dioxide by 23.15 gigatons. It carries an up-front cost of US$57.2 billion, but promises savings of $1.93 trillion, by 2050.

Canadian Arctic Island Collapses by a Metre Per Day

Greenland Loses Two Billion Tons of Ice in a Day

U.S. Water Supplies Affect Pacific Northwest Hydro Generators

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.

Oceans Could Lose 17% of Biomass by 2100 Unless GHG Emissions Are Brought Under Control

The world’s oceans could lose 17% of their biomass by 2100 if humanity fails to get greenhouse gas emissions under control, representing a devastating blow to biodiversity and a terrifying reduction in a resource base upon which much of humanity ultimately depends.

Investigative Report Links Foreign Funding to Pro-Fossil Propaganda Outlet

Urgent alert to Jason Kenney and Vivian Krause! Another “foreign-funded radical” has just been identified, and the unity of our country will hang in the balance until you can direct all your taxpayer-funded investigative might toward…Alberta-based Rebel Media and its self-styled “Rebel Commander”, not-quite-disbarred former lawyer Ezra Levant.

Autonomous Vehicle Use Could Hit 75% by 2040

Autonomous vehicles are included in Drawdown’s list of “coming attractions” as an up-and-coming climate solution that hasn’t yet become the norm.

Sierra Urges B.C. to Declare Forest and Climate Emergency

Toxic Tailings Don’t Belong in Athabasca River

New Zealand Boosts Funding for ‘Wellbeing Budget’

Feds Fund Four Climate Resilience Projects in Greater Montreal

Mathematician Sees Climate Solutions in Restaurant Kitchens Everywhere

TBT: Modern Homes Burn Eight Times Faster, Emit More Toxics Than 50 Years Ago

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.

Iowa Democrats Cite Climate as Second-Highest Voting Priority as 2020 Caucuses Approach

Climate change has landed as the second-highest ballot box priority, right behind abortion rights, for Democrats voting in the all-important Iowa caucuses early next year.

Forest Product Companies See Opportunity in Canada’s Single-Use Plastic Ban

The federal government’s plan to ban single-use plastic products like straws and cutlery as early as 2021 could put new pressure on carbon storage in Canada’s threatened forests, with the forest products industry just a few years from being able to accommodate the new demand.

‘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.

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.

Annual Peace Index Cites Climate Change as ‘Tipping Point’ for Conflict

Climate change will threaten peace in countries around the world in the next decade, according to the latest edition of an annual index produced by Australia’s Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP).

Heat Impacts in African Cities Set to Grow 50-Fold

Climate Crisis Propels Greens to Top of the Polls in Germany

Victoria School Board Poised to Declare Climate Emergency

Green Flood Control Gains Ground in Texas

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.

Mothers, Grandmothers in Siberian Coal Region Beg Trudeau for Environmental Refugee Status

Mothers and grandmothers desperate to get their loved ones away from the physically and psychologically toxic effects of trying to live at the epicentre of Siberia’s dismally-regulated coal mining and processing industry have made a heartfelt appeal, direct to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau via YouTube, to be admitted to Canada as environmental refugees.

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.

String of Cancellations Could Spell the End of New Gas Plants in California

The latest in a string of project cancellations is opening up the possibility that California will never have to build another new natural gas plant.

U.S. Utilities Invest in Technology, Build Customer Trust to Cope with Future Storms, Wildfires

Facing the rising threat of wildfires in the west and devastating storms throughout the country, American utilities say they’re improving their storm response strategies, “hardening” and digitizing grids, and building proactive relationships with customers who don’t want to be left in the dark.

U.S. Farmers Fall Far Behind on Planting After Record Midwestern Floods

After suffering through the wettest year on record, and with rain continuing to bucket out of June skies, American corn farmers are desperately behind on planting, with little relief in sight and their distress compounded by Donald Trump’s trade war with China and Congressional Republicans’ reluctance to provide flood relief.

Stiglitz: Green New Deal Would Deliver the Second World War-Scale Investment to Confront the Climate Crisis

Describing the climate crisis as the “third world war,” Nobel laureate and former World Bank chief economist Joseph E Stiglitz is urging critics of the Green New Deal to take a second look at an agenda that could avert catastrophe and usher in a new golden age for America.

Nutrient Management Would Save 1.81 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050

Nutrient management ranks #65 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions, with potential to eliminate 1.81 gigatons of carbon dioxide and save a total of US$102.3 billion by 2050.

Alberta Courts Wildfires by Leaving Watch Towers Unstaffed

Mangroves Shelter Coastal Areas from Cyclones

Climate Emergency Declarations Should Lead to Citizen Assemblies, Greater Resilience

BREAKING: Ottawa to Ban Single-Use Plastics as Soon as 2021

The Trudeau government is planning to ban single-use plastics as early as 2021, as part of a wider plastic pollution strategy set to be released today in coordinated announcements by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna, CBC revealed in an exclusive report late Sunday afternoon.

Bloomberg Funds $500-Million Campaign to Shut All U.S. Coal Plants by 2030

Billionaire former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg is donating US$500 million over three years to Beyond Carbon, a new push to phase out all remaining coal plants in the United States by 2030 and begin the process of shutting down the country’s natural gas plants.

Kenney Unveils Fossil ‘War Room’, Faces Criticism on Carbon Tax Repeal, Wildfire Impacts

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney announced the cost but few details of his much-touted, C$30-million oil and gas “war room” Friday, prompting immediate pushback from the environmental groups he vowed to target during the recently-concluded provincial election campaign.

Keystone Wins Court Appeal, But Further Legal Challenges Await

Opponents of the ever-controversial Keystone XL pipeline are exploring “all available legal avenues” to halt the project, after a U.S. appeal court overturned a judge’s decision to reject its construction permit in Montana last November.

Women, Younger Voters, and Key Provinces Cite Climate as Top Ballot Box Issue

Climate change continues to place as a top ballot box concern in the months leading up to federal election in October, with nearly six in 10 Canadians saying the issue will influence their vote and women more than men, younger voters more than older ones, and voters in Quebec, the Atlantic, and British Columbia giving higher priority.

India Bakes Under Stifling Heat Wave as Data Show Warming Trend

Much of the Indian subcontinent was blanketed in a stifling heat wave last week, with five of the 15 hottest places on the planet located in India or Pakistan and the northern town of Churu hitting a high of 50°C (122°F) on Monday.

Cracked, Leaking Storage Tanks Point to Alarming Safety Risks for Leading U.S. LNG Exporter

A series of leaks and cracks in the massive liquefied natural gas storage tanks operated by Cheniere Energy, the Houston company that until recently had a virtual monopoly on U.S. LNG exports, is raising alarming questions about a company that has seen a decade of rapid growth and enjoyed steady support from Trump Republicans and Obama Democrats alike.

Cracks in Scottish Nuclear Reactor Could Mean Massive Evacuations

Thunberg, #FridaysforFuture Win Amnesty International Award

Rising Heat Will Kill Hundreds More in U.S. Cities

U.S., Canadian Youth Take Climate Inaction to Court as Juliana Gets a Hearing, ENJEU Argues Class Action

Major youth climate lawsuits in the United States and Canada both advanced this week, with the 21 plaintiffs suing the United States government for its inaction on the climate crisis finally getting to petition for their day in court, and Montreal-based ENvironnement JEUnesse arguing for its class action suit against the Trudeau government.

Ottawa’s Climate Response Violates the Rights of an Entire Generation, Class Action Argues

Lawyers representing Montreal-based ENvironnement JEUnesse went to court yesterday to make the case for the organization’s class action suit against the Trudeau government’s inadequate response to the climate crisis.

Ottawa Announces $15-Million Lifeline After Ontario Cuts Successful Tree Planting Program

The federal government has tossed an emergency lifeline to Ontario’s 50 Million Tree Program, committing C$15 million over four years after the Ford government suddenly cut the non-profit initiative in its 2019 budget.

‘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.

Big Companies Foresee $970 Billion in Climate Risk, $2.1 Trillion in Gains from Climate Action

More than 200 of the world’s biggest companies anticipate nearly US$1 trillion in business risk—more than half of it in the next five years—due to climate change, but $2.1 trillion in benefits from climate-friendly products and services, according to an analysis of thousands of corporate disclosures by CDP, the UK non-profit formerly known as the Carbon Disclosure Project.

Rainforest Destruction in Brazil Hit 10-Year High in May

Brazil recorded its worst rate of rainforest destruction in a decade over the crucial month of May, with the government’s own satellite imagery showing illegal loggers stepping up their activity under the deregulatory regime of President Jair Bolsonaro.

Trump’s EPA Offloads Thousands of Deaths by Changing Its Math

Vulnerable Red Sea Corals Get a Break from Desert Dust

Minnesota Appeals Court Rejects Line 3 Pipeline Approval

Fossils were disappointed and Enbridge saw its share price fall 4.7% Monday, after a Minnesota appeals court ruled a state regulator had failed to properly consider the impacts of a Lake Superior oil spill in its approval of the proposed Line 3 pipeline replacement.

Quebec LNG Megaproject Would Boost Emissions by 37 Million Tonnes Per Year

The GNL Quebec liquefied natural gas megaproject would increase life cycle greenhouse gas emissions by more than 37 million tonnes per year, a group of more than 150 Quebec scientists is warning in an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Premier François Legault.

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Abandoned Well Cleanup Could Take 2,800 Years, Alberta Regulator Tells Industry

It may take more than 2,800 years to clean up abandoned oil and gas wells across Alberta, National Observer and Star Calgary reveal in an exclusive report this week, after obtaining a September 2018 presentation to a private industry gathering by a senior official with the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER).

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.

Study Predicts End of Civilization by 2050 if Global Warming Hits 3.0°C

An alarming new study by Australia’s Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration is pointing to the “high likelihood of human civilization coming to an end” by 2050—with the all-important caveat that that’s the outcome to expect if humanity fails to take action on the climate emergency and get greenhouse gas emissions under control.

Mass Puffin Die-Off in 2016 Shows the ‘Ocean is Screaming’

Climate change is being blamed for the starvation deaths of up to 9,000 Alaskan puffins and other seabirds in 2016, and millions in less than a decade, after rising sea temperatures prompted the fish they eat to migrate north.

Kenney Courageously Strikes Back After Wildfires Defame Alberta’s Oilpatch

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is all set to strike back at the perfidious wildfires besmirching the fossil industry’s good reputation, reports Canada’s satirical online magazine, The Beaverton.

Recycled Paper Would Save 900 Megatons of Carbon by 2050

Recycled paper ranks #70 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. By 2050, recycled paper could eliminate 900,000 megatons of carbon dioxide emissions at an initial cost of US$573.5 billion, with eventual savings that are too indefinite to calculate.

Heat Wave, Drought Sweep Two-Thirds of India

Number of Pikangikum Wildfire Evacuees Grows to 1,300

Alberta Wildfires Shut In 65,000 Barrels Per Day

Hotshot Crews from Oregon, Montana to Assist with Alberta Blazes

Fire Recovery Takes Longer for Less Affluent California County

Scientists Study Non-Toxic Microbeads as Arctic Climate Solution

Canada Can Hit Paris Targets, ‘Zero Out Carbon’ by Mid-Century, Study Shows

Canada can get its energy system on track to meet its targets under the Paris Agreement and “zero out carbon pollution” by mid-century by adopting a menu of 10 technically feasible options to cut carbon emissions, the David Suzuki Foundation concludes in a report issued last week.

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.

Kenney Kills Carbon Tax, Offers ‘Hopes and Prayers’ as Wildfires Rage

With Alberta Premier Jason Kenney helpfully pointing out that carbon taxes don’t prevent forest fires, multiple communities were under evacuation orders and crews across Alberta, British Columbia, and northern Ontario spent the week fighting the flames as an early fire season hit full stride.

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.

World’s Dirtiest Air, Cheapest Solar Produce Challenge and Opportunity for Modi’s Second Term

The world’s dirtiest air and its lowest prices for installed solar will be two of the influences shaping Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s second term of office in India, according to news reports circulating around the time of his swearing-in last week.

Japan’s 2018 Killer Heat Wave Was ‘Essentially Impossible’ Without Climate Change

Japan’s heat wave in July 2018 could not have happened without climate change.

Toronto Islands Face Distressing Lake Rise, High Winds

B.C. Liberal ‘Climate Candidate’ Downplayed Oil and Gas Health Risks

Smithsonian’s New Fossil Hall Sends Powerful Climate Message

Bodies Emerge from Mount Everest Ice as Atmosphere Warms

Coastal First Nations Demand Senate Passage of B.C. Tanker Ban

A coalition of nine First Nations from coastal British Columbia is demanding that unelected senators endorse the Trudeau government’s bill to ban tanker traffic on the province’s northern coast, after the Senate Energy Committee defeated the measure on a tie vote May 15.

Australia Reports Rising Emissions, Sees Strong Renewables Potential, as Adani Mine Fight Intensifies

The intensity surrounding recent national elections in Australia is rolling over into the post-campaign period, with the country’s greenhouse gas emissions still rising, its potential for renewable energy development still catching attention, the fight over the massive Carmichael coal mine reaching a fever pitch, and its most heavily-populated state feeling the full force of climate-driven drought.

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.

Mexican Wildfire Jumps Rio Grande, Burns Historic Site in U.S.

Shuttered California Oil Rigs Could Find New Life as Artificial Reefs

Historic Drought Creates Snags for Panama Canal Shippers

Local Fracking Suspended After Earthquake Near Alberta’s Brazeau Reservoir

An earthquake last March near the Brazeau Reservoir, a large dam in east central Alberta, has prompted the province’s energy regulator to restrict oilfield fracking in the surrounding area.

Spill Response Only Recovers 15% of the Oil Lost in an Average Marine Spill

News reports of a recent oil spill recovery drill off the coasts of British Columbia and Washington State are shining a light on an alarming reality: that only about 15% of the oil is recovered after the average marine spill.

Alberta Party Leaders Unanimously Back C-69 Amendments from Unelected Senate Committee

The 187 amendments to Canada’s proposed Impact Assessment Act adopted by the unelected members of the Senate Energy Committee would make the bill acceptable to Alberta, according to a joint letter signed by Premier Jason Kenney, opposition leader Rachel Notley, Alberta Party Leader Stephen Mandel, and Alberta Liberal leader David Khan.

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.

Firefighters Scramble to Defend High River

PG&E to Cut Power to Avert Wildfires, and Californians Aren’t Ready

U.S. Utilities Want to Charge Billions for Toxic Coal Ash Cleanup

Community Solar in Minnesota Helps Veterans, Families in Need

Air Pollution Causes Unprecedented Weakening in Asian Monsoon

Local Ecological Knowledge Shows Climate Impact on Mediterranean Species

Climate Could Lead European Forests to ‘Live Fast, Die Young’

More Than 500 Israeli, Palestinian Students Rally in Jerusalem for Climate Action

The Israeli school strike branch had a very successful strike on Tuesday, which was three times bigger than the last one in March.

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.

400 Million Gain Electricity Service, But Countries Fall Behind 2030 Deadline for Universal Access

Although 400 million people around the world have gained access to electricity since 2010, progress is still too slow to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of supplying “affordable, reliable, and modern energy for all” by 2030.

Invasive Earthworms Could Drive Up Carbon Loss from Forest Soils

Invasive earthworms are catching scientists’ attention as the latest threat to the ability of soils in the Canadian boreal forest to sequester carbon.

China Boosts Unsubsidized Renewables But Storms Ahead with Coal Production, Air Pollution

While China is surging ahead with more than 20 billion watts of unsubsidized renewable energy, the country is also seeing alarming increases in coal consumption, coal-driven air pollution, and emissions of an ozone-destroying chemical that was banned in 2012.

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.

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.

Radioactive Waste ‘Coffin’ on Marshall Islands Develops Cracks, Could Break Apart in Tropical Storm

The huge, concrete dome the U.S. military built on Enewetak atoll in the Marshall Islands to contain waste from early atomic bomb tests may be leaking radiation into the Pacific Ocean, even though it was designed to last for 25,000 years, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warned during his recent trip to the Pacific islands.

Perennial Bioenergy Crops Would Save 3.33 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050

Increased cultivation of perennial bioenergy crops ranks #51 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions, with the potential to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide by 3.33 gigatons by 2050 at a net cost of US$77.9 billion, but net savings of $542 billion.

Firefighters Scramble to Protect High Level, Alberta

Northwest B.C. Bans Campfires Amid Drought, Low Snowpack

Decades of Preparation Reduced Losses in Montecito Wildfire

Three Dead, Extensive Damage After Twister Hits Missouri Capital

New Crack Has Southern Patagonia Ice Field ‘Split in Two’

Ford’s Anti-Carbon Tax TV Ad Backfires, But Indigenous Budget Cut Hits Home

The Doug Ford government in Ontario faced widespread ridicule last week for an inept anti-carbon tax video that delivered the opposite of its intended message when played on mute.

New York State Rejects $1-Billion Natural Gas Pipeline

Presenting their decision as rooted in a responsibility to protect state waters from pollution, New York State regulators have rejected a contentious US$1-billion dollar natural gas pipeline that would have linked their state to the gas fields of Pennsylvania.

More Countries Put Up Barriers as Migrants Flee Climate Chaos

With many governments still dragging their feet on climate action, many are also actively preparing—via militarized borders and regressive immigration policies—for one of its most dire and tragic consequences: refugees fleeing climate-driven conflict, desertification, and sea level rise.

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.

UN Shipping Agency Wastes Time ‘Rearranging Deck Chairs’, Ignores Climate Emergency

The International Maritime Organization (IMO) squandered valuable time debating procedure and process when it could have been working to decarbonize the global shipping industry, appalled members of the Clean Shipping Coalition concluded after the agency wrapped up a meeting of its Marine Environment Protection Committee in London, UK last week.

Former U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Chair Calls for Nuclear Reactor Ban

The former chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission says the country’s nuclear industry should be banned, after concluding that the dangers of climate change no longer outweigh the risk of catastrophic reactor accidents.

Style Guide Update at The Guardian Reflects Climate Crisis

One of the world’s leading public news outlets on climate change is shifting its style guide to “more accurately describe the environmental crises facing the world.”

Inslee Declares Drought Emergency Over Half of Washington State

GHGs Accelerating Acidification in Arctic Ocean

Global Food Yields at Risk as Climate Changes

U.S. Study Shows Path to Climate Recovery Without Economic Hit

New Federal-Provincial Rules Will Allow ‘Inevitable’ Release of Toxic Tar Sands/Oil Sands Tailings

The federal and Alberta governments are planning to allow tar sands/oil sands companies to release 1.3 trillion litres of liquid waste, currently held in 220 square kilometres of tailings ponds across the northeastern part of the province, into the Athabasca River, under new regulations intended to take effect in 2022, the Globe and Mail reports.

Stop New Coal Plants by 2020, Cut Fossil Subsidies, UN Secretary General Urges

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres is calling on countries to stop new coal plant construction by 2020, accelerate the shutdown of existing facilities, and “tax carbon, not people” in order to avert the “total disaster” that will occur if climate change is not brought under control.

Wildfire Expert Warns of ‘Nightmare Scenario’ as High Level, Alberta, Bushe River Dene Evacuate

About 4,000 people in and around High Level, Alberta are under an evacuation order as the 60,000-hectare Chuckegg Creek wildfire, one of six burning out of control across the province, approaches from the southwest.

350 Declares ‘Time to Stand Together’ as Climate-Denying Liberal-National Coalition Wins Australia Election

Despite 29% of Australians identifying climate change as their top ballot box issue—up from just 9% in 2016—Scott Morrison’s climate-denying Liberal-National Coalition eked out a victory in a weekend election that the opposition Labor Party was widely expected to win.

‘Unprecedented’ Interference by Unelected Senators Puts Environmental Reforms in Jeopardy

Politicians and environmental groups are raising the alarm about political interference after unelected Canadian senators voted down one environmental protection bill in committee and adopted hundreds of amendments to a second one, after both had been passed by the elected House of Commons.

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.

Vietnam Aims to Boost Non-Hydro Renewables, Avert Climate Impacts That Would ‘Destroy 30 Million Livelihoods’

With hydroelectric resources maxed out and coal reserves in decline, Vietnam is seeking to mobilize its significant wind and solar potential—and the requisite investment of roughly US$8 billion.

In-Stream Hydro Would Save Four Gigatons of Carbon by 2050

In-stream hydro ranks #48 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions, with the potential to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide by 4.0 gigatons by 2050, at a net cost of US$202.5 billion but with net savings of $568.4 billion.

Provinces Ask Ottawa for $138 Million to Buy Out Flooded Properties

Wildfire Smoke Produces Health Emergency in Mexico City

Tuvalu’s Sinking Islands on Track to Disappear

Lake Erie Wind Project Agrees to High-Tech Bird, Bat Monitoring

Fish Hatched in Bitumen Slurries Can Grow Out of Deformities

Two Emergency Resolutions, One New Climate Platform as Parties Position for Fall Vote

Three federal political parties in Canada are talking about the climate crisis this week, with the Liberals and New Democrats tabling duelling emergency resolutions in the House of Commons and the Green Party releasing a five-page plan that includes a call to double the country’s 2030 emissions reduction target to 60%.

Blockbuster Report Shows Plastics Producing 850 Million Tonnes of Emissions This Year

Producing and incinerating plastic will emit more than 850 million tonnes of greenhouse gases this year, the equivalent of 189 new 500-megawatt coal plants, according to a blockbuster report released this week by the U.S. Center for International Environmental Law and five other organizations.

Lab Tests Show Plastic Pollution Harming Ocean Bacteria that Produce 10% of World’s Oxygen

The eight million tonnes of plastic entering ocean ecosystems each year are having an impact on the bacteria that produce 10% of the world’s oxygen, according to a set of laboratory results published this week in the journal Communications Biology.

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.

Federal Tanker Ban Goes to Full Senate After Committee Defeat [Campaign]

The Trudeau government’s ban on oil tanker traffic off the north coast of British Columbia, Bill C-48, was defeated Wednesday evening on a 6-6 vote of the Senate Transportation and Communications Committee. It now goes to the full chamber for further debate.

Nebraska Flooding Points to Spill Risk from Keystone XL

The “bomb cyclone”-driven flooding across the midwestern United States has become the latest in a litany of arguments against construction of the US$8-billion Keystone XL pipeline, with a Nebraska farmer, former oilfield worker, and avowed Republican pointing out that the rising waters could have triggered a spill on his property if the pipeline had been in place.

Pressure Mounts for Emission Cuts, Speed Reductions in International Shipping

With a key International Maritime Organization (IMO) committee meeting in London this week to address pollution and greenhouse gas emissions on the high seas, environmental groups are warning that the UN agency is off-course in the effort to align the industry with a 1.5°C world.

Climate Change Drives Deoxygenated Dead Zone in Arabian Gulf

Climate Shifts Could Undercut Canada’s Iconic Maple Syrup Production

Study Traces Human Impact on Climate Back 100 Years

Poorest in Guatemala Bear the Brunt of Climate Impacts

Climate Change Might Force Indonesia to Relocate Capital City

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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.

Nye Declares the Planet ‘On Fire’ After Joining John Oliver to Explain Green New Deal

“I think we’ve all broken Bill Nye,” TV host John Oliver declared Sunday evening, after the renowned science educator dropped his usual, jovial persona during a segment of Oliver’s Last Week Tonight dealing with the climate crisis.

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.

Indigenous Australians Take Government to UN in ‘Landmark’ Climate Complaint

Six Months After Typhoon, U.S.-Held Islands See Scant Aid

Amnesty International Extends Mandate to Include Climate Change

Houston Ship Channel Collision Produces Major Gas Product Spill

Edmonton Prepares Backup Plan if UCP Cuts Energy Efficiency Funds

European Fossils Struggle with 30M Barrels of Contaminated Russian Crude

Biosolar Leaf Targets London, UK Air Pollution

Study Says Restored Forest Can’t Co-Exist with Cropland

Carbon Farming Could Sequester Billions of Tonnes of CO2, with U.S. Pilot Project as One First Step

A concerted, well-supported effort by the world’s farmers to restore and protect soil health could reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide by as much as 65 parts per million (ppm) from the current, alarming level of more than 413 ppm, participants heard during an April 10 carbon farming webinar hosted by Washington, DC-based Environmental Entrepreneurs (E2).

Ireland Declares Climate Emergency

Ireland has become the second country, after the United Kingdom, to declare a climate emergency, with Climate Action Minister Richard Bruton warning that “things will deteriorate very rapidly unless we move very swiftly, and the window of opportunity to do that is fast closing.”

September Climate Summit Prompts Goal-Setting on Climate Mitigation, Adaptation, Finance

United Nations agencies and various international coalitions are beginning to gear up for the Climate Action Summit that UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is set to convene in New York City September 23, with the heads of 37 UN agencies issuing a joint appeal for an “ambitious” climate response and nine track coalitions unveiling their work plans to deliver on that call.

‘Rewilding’ Natural Habitats Restores Biodiversity, Boosts Carbon Storage to Address Climate Change

Restoration of natural habitats through “rewilding” is a key component of a rapid ecological transition, as both a “vital defence” against climate breakdown and a way to restore badly damaged biodiversity, the Rapid Transition Alliance argues in a post for Resilience.org.

Trump Blocks Relief Funds, Mocks Puerto Rico as Hurricane Season Looms

Geothermal Set to Support Farm Operations in Kenya

Thousands of Chicks Drown, Penguin Colony Wiped Out in 2016 Ice Sheet Collapse

Trudeau: Green Victory in B.C. Shows Canadians ‘Preoccupied About Climate Change’

Green Party candidate Paul Manly’s decisive victory in Monday’s byelection in the B.C. riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith shows that Canadians are “preoccupied about climate change,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said this week.

Forget Kenney: Climate Change is Already Canada’s National Unity Crisis, Columnist Concludes

With Alberta Premier Jason Kenney fulminating about western alienation as a national unity crisis—after working so hard to stoke that alienation on the campaign trail—Globe and Mail columnist Gary Mason says Kenney is too late. The unity crisis is already here, and its name is climate change, amped up by the extreme communications of the social media era.

Biologists Say Biodiversity Crisis is Already Happening, Despite Limited Public Attention

In the wake of this week’s UN commission report warning of up to a million plant and animal extinctions in the next couple of decades, biologists in Quebec are raising alarms about species loss that is already happening, while U.S. media focus on the challenge of getting the issue on the agenda.

U.S. Blocks Climate Language in Arctic Council Declaration

The biennial Arctic Council summit failed this week to release a joint statement for the first time since the organization formed in 1996, after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo objected to draft language on climate change, BBC reports.

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.

New Zealand Promises Net Zero by 2050 for All Greenhouse Gases Except Methane

New Zealand will cut net emissions to zero for all greenhouse gases except methane by 2050, under a draft law sent to parliament on Wednesday.

2019 Already Sets All-Time Record for UK Wildfires

Eight Countries Urge EU to Spend 25% of Budget on Climate Change

Butts Resurfaces as Consultant on Global Climate Risk

Extinction Threat Calls for ‘Paris Moment for Nature’: McKenna

Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna is calling for a “Paris Agreement moment for nature” after an alarming UN commission report found nature declining “at rates unprecedented in human history”, with up to a million species at risk of extinction within decades.

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.

Canadian Coalitions’ Election Platforms Call for Faster Action on Climate

With national elections in Canada just 5½ months away, three different coalitions are out with non-partisan campaign platforms aimed at propelling all the federal parties toward faster, more ambitious action on climate change.

Climate Change is the Real Job Killer, Makes Flying Less Safe, Flight Attendants Warn

Climate change—not climate solutions like the ones envisioned in the U.S. Green New Deal—is the real job killer, the union representing the world’s airline flight attendants argues in a recent post for Vox.

Two Profs Quit McGill University Board to Protest ‘End-Run’ Around Fossil Divestment Resolution

Two professors have resigned from the McGill University Board of Governors, in anticipation that the institution will reject its own Senate’s resolution to divest its holdings in fossil fuels.

Idaho Republican Acknowledges Climate Change, Considers Dam Removals to Save Endangered Salmon

A U.S. Congress member from deep-Republican-red Idaho is acknowledging climate change and stressing the need for action, as part of an all-out effort to save his state’s critically endangered salmon population.

Coastal Wetland Protection Would Save 3.3 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050

Protection of Coastal Wetlands ranks #52 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. The strategy could reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide by 3.3 gigatons by 2050, as long as 75 million acres of these vital ecosystems (out of a total of 121 million world-wide) can be secured within the next 30 years.

UNICEF Reports 2.3 Million at Risk in Angola Drought

Solar to Power Humanitarian Hub in South Sudan

Angry Louisiana Coalition Fights Expanding Petrochemical Industry

California Rebuilds Lost Neighbourhoods Without Fire-Safe Standards

Satellite Photos Show Scope of Siberian Wildfires

Arctic Nitrous Oxide Leaks Add to Atmospheric Buildup

Losing Up to a Million Species Will Create ‘Danger Zone’ for Humanity: UN Commission

The Earth is on track to lose up to a million species, many of them within decades, a rate of extinction that represents a danger zone for humanity, according to a leaked draft of a global biodiversity assessment due to be released today.

Bankrupt Alberta Fossil Abandons 4,700 Wells, $329 Million in Clean-Up Costs

A bankrupt Canadian fossil is walking away from 4,700 abandoned natural gas wells and an estimated C$329 million in clean-up costs, according to a report last week by the industry-funded Alberta Energy Regulator (AER).

Canada Falls Behind on Climate Risk Reporting, Sustainable Finance

With Canada’s Expert Panel on Sustainable Finance due to report this spring, and a recent national climate assessment showing the country warming at twice the global rate, two community investment strategists say it’s time to catch up with other jurisdictions in requiring companies to disclose their climate-related investment risk.

Students Take Action on Climate Anxiety as #FridaysforFuture Logs 725 Strikes World-Wide

The latest in the series of #FridaysforFuture school strikes took place May 3, with youth in 725 locations expected to make what one social media videographer called “beautiful trouble” in communities around the world.

Soil Health Emerges as Critical Climate Mitigation Tool as ‘Carbon Farming’ Takes Hold

The urgent need to restore the health of the world’s agricultural soils—for the sake of the food supply, and as a critical tool in climate mitigation—is one of the major themes of the global biodiversity report due for release today by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

‘Meticulous’ Disaster Planning Means Massive Destruction But Low Death Toll After Cyclone Hits India, Bangladesh

People on India’s eastern coast were counting themselves lucky over the weekend after Cyclone Fani brought winds of up to 120 miles (200 kilometres) per hour, causing massive damage but fewer than 20 reported deaths after authorities evacuated about 1.2 million people in Odisha, one of the country’s poorest states.

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?

Biochar Would Save 810 Megatons of Carbon by 2050

Accelerating the production of biochar ranks #72 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions, with the potential to reduce atmospheric carbon by 810 megatons by 2050.

U.S. Rolls Back Rules Meant to Prevent Next Deepwater Horizon

U.S. EPA Contradicts Politicians, Tells Communities to Brace for Climate Impacts

Grain Stores Ruined, Farms Still Underwater as U.S. Midwest Takes Stock

Beyond Meat Value More Than Doubles in First Day on Stock Market

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.

Permafrost Loss Could Produce $70 Trillion in Long-Term Costs, and Abrupt Thawing May Make It Worse

Just a week after researchers placed the cost of Arctic ice and permafrost melt as high as US$70 trillion, albeit over a span of nearly three centuries, a commentary in the journal Nature concludes that sudden permafrost collapse could double the warming from greenhouse gases released from northern tundra.

Studies Show Accelerating Ice Loss in Greenland, New Threat to Antarctica’s Ross Ice Shelf

The rate of ice loss in Greenland has sped up massively, from 51 billion tons in the 1980s to 286 billion tons between 2010 and 2018, according to a study based on nearly a half-century of data published last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Rainforests Lose 12 Million Hectares in 2018, Global Forest Watch Reports

The World Resources Institute’s Global Forest Watch report is flagging 2018 as another devastating year for most of the planet’s rainforests, with responsibility falling on usual suspects like cattle ranchers, loggers, and palm oil companies, small-scale gold miners and firewood harvesters, and sectors like cocoa that had pledged to do better.

U.S. Supreme Court Backs Fight for Reparations Against Indian Coal Plant’s Funder

In a precedent-setting case that corporate polluters will be watching closely, fishers in India’s westernmost state of Gujarat have taken their plea for reparations against the financier of a massive coal plant to the U.S. Supreme Court—which recently ruled in their favour.

Cocoa Pod Husks Emerge as Bioenergy Feedstock

UK Parliament Could Become First National Legislature to Declare Climate Emergency

The United Kingdom will become the first country in the world to declare a climate emergency this week if the House of Commons supports a motion to be put forward by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

Saudi Oil Imports Rise 66% Since 2014, with Irving Oil Refinery Calling the Shots

Canada’s oil imports from Saudi Arabia have been increasing steadily since 2014, producing serious concerns for human rights campaigners and political talking points for the fossil lobby—but the problem traces back to business decisions at the Irving oil refinery in New Brunswick, not to pipeline delays in Alberta or political machinations in Ottawa, according to a CBC News report.

Wet’suwet’en Raise Human Rights Violations with UN Special Rapporteur

Hereditary leaders of the Wet’suwet’en Nation spoke before the special rapporteur for the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York last week, alleging ongoing human rights violations in the name of resource development—most immediately, the construction of TransCanada’s Coastal GasLink pipeline.

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.

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.

Trump Administration Freezes Massive Offshore Drilling Scheme Until After 2020 Election

The Trump administration is acknowledging at least a temporary defeat in its effort to open 128 million acres (51.8 million hectares) of Arctic and Atlantic Ocean waters to oil and gas drilling, announcing Thursday that it will delay release of the plan until after the 2020 U.S. election.

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Climate Change Boosts International Inequality, Cuts India’s GDP by 30%

Fifty years of rising global temperatures have significantly impoverished equatorial countries like India and Nigeria, producing economic losses on the scale of that North America faced during the Great Depression, while wealthy northern nations like Canada and Norway have thrived in the early stages of the climate crisis, says a study published last week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Ontario Cancels Plan to Plant 50 Million Trees

Second Cyclone Hits Battered Mozambique

Indigenous Knowledge Can Help Stem Wildfires

Coastal Inundations Look Terrifying for Hawaii’s Tourist Economy

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.

Climate and Environment Emerge as Top Public Concerns Before Canadian, Australian Elections

With federal elections coming up in Canada in October and in Australia in May, opinion polls are identifying climate change—and in Canada, waste reduction, nature conservation, and Indigenous management—as top-tier issues for voters in two of the world’s most stubborn fossil economies.

Coal Plants Failed, Renewables Shone as Epic January Heat Wave Hit Australian Grid

Australia’s mammoth coal plants failed while its wind and rooftop solar installations shone during a major January heat wave in Victoria state, according to a report last week by the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO).

Ontario Guts Endangered Species Act with ‘Pay-to-Kill’ Revisions

Doug Ford’s Conservative government in Ontario is taking serious criticism for a plan to allow municipalities and developers to pay a fee in lieu of meeting their responsibilities under the provincial Endangered Species Act.

Independent Data Confirms Warming Trend, as Models Suggest Worse May Be Ahead

A recent review of satellite data is confirming that the Earth is already warming, possibly somewhat faster in the highest latitudes than previously believed, while new modelling suggests a warming surge may be on the horizon.

Study Traces Options for Cutting Life Cycle Emissions from Plastic

With carbon pollution from every stage of the plastics life cycle on track to grow four-fold by mid-century, a new study in the journal Nature Climate Change lays out a set of four strategies that, taken to their extreme, could reduce those emissions by up to 93% from what they would otherwise be in 2050.

McKibben Compares Climate Fight to Second World War, Sees Solutions ‘Well Within the Realm of the Possible’

Today’s climate crisis is akin to the challenges an earlier generation faced in the Second World War, and it’s “an honour and a privilege to be part of the battle,” 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben told an audience in Vancouver earlier this month.

Floodwaters Bring Coal Ash Contamination Risk to Illinois