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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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.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delhi

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

Electric Bikes Withdrawn Over Faulty Brakes

Northern Holland Installing World’s Biggest Floating Solar System

A company in The Netherlands has begun work on the world’s largest floating solar installation, a network of 73,500 panels on 15 islands on the Andijk reservoir in northern Holland that will have the ability to track the sun as it crosses the sky.

Central Bank Execs Stress Financial Sector’s Role in Addressing Climate Change

It’s time for central banks and the wider financial community to set clear, measurable goals for building a smooth transition to a low-carbon economy, 34 of the world’s biggest central banks declared last week, in the first comprehensive report by the Network for Greening the Financial System (NGFS).

Planners Look for U.S. ‘Climate Havens’ to Receive Millions of Internal Migrants by 2100

Urban planners are looking to cities like Duluth, Minnesota, Buffalo, Cincinnati, and Portland, Oregon as future refuges for climate migrants displaced within the United States by rising seas and higher temperatures.

Declare Climate Change a ‘Festering Injustice’, IPCC Author Urges Teen Protesters

I was invited to speak to a group of teenagers on climate strike in Oxford recently. Like many scientists, I support the strikes, but also find them disturbing. Which I’m sure is the idea.

Study Attributes Hurricane María’s Intensity to Climate Change

Borneo Oil Pipeline Spill Kills Five, Covers More Ground Than Paris

When Berries Ripen Earlier, Grizzlies Go Hungry

Ottawa City Committee Adopts Climate Emergency Resolution

Ottawa City Council is on track to adopt a climate emergency resolution after the measure was adopted on a 6-2 vote by the city’s environment committee.

Conservation Measures Avert Cape Town’s Day Zero, But Tensions Remain

While technical fixes like lowering municipal water pressure helped Cape Town keep the taps on through its recent drought, it was the city’s carefully calibrated and data-savvy escalation of camaraderie-building outreach (that, and some actual, long-overdue rain) which truly helped avert Day Zero.

Cities Scramble to Keep in Touch as Rockefeller Shutters 100 Resilient Cities Network

The Rockefeller Foundation is shutting down its 100 Resilient Cities network, a major initiative that has helped communities around the world prepare for the impacts of climate change and respond to local challenges as diverse as transportation, poor sanitation, flooding, fire control, and cholera outbreaks.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leadership_in_Energy_and_Environmental_Design

Commercial Buildings Drive 75% Growth in Property Assessed Clean Energy Financing

American commercial builders and retrofitters determined to deliver a lower-carbon product are signing up in droves for long-term financing using the Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) mechanism and hammering home cumulative savings of 6.3 billion kWh, the amount of electricity used annually by around 25,000 commercial office buildings.

Loevinsohn: Climate Resilience Matters, But Resistance Begins in the Courts

I was on Vancouver Island this August. The haze that dimmed noon to dusk and that drove air quality off scale—the worst on the planet for a time—was a shock, as it must have been for many. I have been working on and around climate change for a good while, mostly in the global South, but this summer I had it in my face and in my lungs.

Extinction Rebellion Debuts in U.S., Launches Week of Protest in Europe

The UK-based Extinction Rebellion is mounting its major debut in the United States, as part of a coordinated week of protests April 15-22 aimed at drawing attention to climate change and amping up public response to the crisis.

More Than 1,000 Dead, Hundreds of Thousands Displaced as Idai’s Toll Mounts

Climate Extremes Kill Nearly 450,000 Scottish Sheep in One Year

Crown Drops Charges Against 14 Unist’ot’en Blockaders

Trump Plans to Deregulate Deadly PM 2.5 Particulates

Microgrid Delivers Resilience in Alabama Suburb

Ex-Fire Chiefs Warn Australia on Mounting Climate Threat

Shade Trees Could Cool Cities by 5°C

Investment Houses See Climate Targets Undercutting Fossils, Warming Above 2.0°C Boosting Financial Risk

Continued fossil industry development came under increased pressure from investors over the last week, with a major fund manager concluding that climate targets could undercut global oil demand by the mid-2020s and one of the world’s biggest investment advisors warning of trouble ahead if global climate goals are missed.

Canada’s Arctic is Warmest in 10,000 Years as Region Faces ‘Unprecedented’ Change

Canada’s Arctic is the hottest it’s been in 10,000 years, and the Arctic as a whole is being transformed into an “unprecedented state”, according to two new studies in the journals Nature Communications and Environmental Research Letters.

Climate Change Devastates Honduran Coffee Farms, Drives ‘Desperate’ Northbound Migration

Small-hold coffee farmers from Honduras number increasingly in the caravans of desperate people streaming north out of Central America, as the devastation wrought by climate change makes what was once at least a tenable agricultural endeavour a near impossible one.

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

Expect ‘Flood of Litigation’ if Bill C-69 is Watered Down, Athabasca First Nations Warn

Canada will face a “flood of litigation” if the Trudeau government’s proposed Impact Assessment Act, Bill C-69, is watered down, four First Nations chiefs from the Alberta tar sands/oil sands region warned last week in testimony to a travelling Senate committee.

‘Timid’ Transit Operators Have Canada Missing Out on Electric Bus Conversions

With electric buses on track to replace 270,000 barrels per day of diesel fuel this year, Canada is at risk of “missing the bus” due to transit operators’ timid response to a quickly-growing trend, Clean Energy Canada warned last month, in a release republished by Below2C.

EPA Scientists Calculate Costs of Climate Change Through 2100

Canada Rewrites Building Code to Avert $300 Billion in Climate-Driven Losses

Canada’s National Building Code is undergoing a major rewrite in a bid to avert C$300 billion in climate change-driven infrastructure failures over the next decade, according to high-level federal briefing notes reviewed by CBC News.

Two New Studies Trace Massive Glacier Loss Linked to Climate Change

North America accounts for more than half of the 369 billion tons of snow and ice the world’s glaciers are losing each year, and the Alps are on track to see two-thirds of their glacier ice melt by 2100, according to two different studies released this week.

15 Groups Receive Federal Dollars to Form Pan-Canadian Expert Collaboration

A new Pan-Canadian Expert Collaboration on climate change will receive up to C$20 million over five years to “generate, communicate, and mobilize trusted information, policy advice, and best practices for Canadians, governments, and stakeholders,” Environment and Climate Change Canada announced this week.

South Asia Children Hit Hardest as Dirty Air Cuts Lifespans by 20 Months

Atlantic Canada Needs Fast Action on Rising Seas

Freezing Rain, High Winds Leave 275,000 Without Power in Quebec

Estonia Refuses Permit for 600-MW Wind Farm, Cites Security Concerns

Alberta Oil Well Cleanup Costs Could Hit $70 Billion

The cost of cleaning up Alberta’s old and unproductive oil wells could max out at C$70 billion, according to a new report by a consortium of landowners and scientists that used data from the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) to come up with its estimate.

Alberta Officials Took 12 Hours to Notify First Nation of Potentially Toxic Hydrogen Sulphide Leak

When a cloud of toxic chemicals began wafting toward the First Nations hamlet of Fort McKay from Syncrude Canada’s Mildred Lake tar sands/oil sands plant 10 kilometres away, it took officials 12 hours to notify the community—a massive health and safety failure that critics blame on the fossil industry’s takeover of regulatory oversight in the Alberta oilpatch.

Mass Bleaching Drives Down Replenishment of Great Barrier Reef Corals by 89%

The replenishment of new corals on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef crashed 89% in a mass bleaching “event” in 2016 and 2017 triggered by climate change, and also produced a shift in the coral species on the reef, according to a new study in the journal Nature.

Cooling to Avert Heat Stress Could Cost African Regions $487 Billion by 2076

It will cost three key regions of Africa as much as US$487 billion in energy use by 2076 to deal with increased heat stress if the world’s governments fail to live up to their commitments under the Paris Agreement, according to a new modelling study reported in the journal Climatic Change.

UN Agency Backs Futuristic Floating Cities as Hedge Against Sea Level Rise

A research coalition backed by a United Nations agency will look at the possibility of building floating cities to provide a futuristic form of relief for coastal communities facing rapid sea level rise.

70% of Nova Scotia Dikes Need Redesign to Address Coastal Erosion, Rising Seas

With its oldest sections dating back to the Acadian settlements of the 1700s, the 241-kilometre dike system which today protects Nova Scotia’s maritime lowlands is in urgent need of a redesign, thanks to the combined threat of rising seas and foreshore erosion.

Indonesia Sees Path to Prosperity in ‘Mainstreaming’ Low-Carbon Development

Indonesia’s planning minister has said the country will choose a low-carbon development pathway after a government report found it could significantly boost the economy.
By 2045, the centenary of Indonesia’s independence, citizens could be as wealthy as those of the Netherlands or Germany today, the report found. But it will need to make careful choices across all sectors of the economy.

Alternative Cement Would Save 6.69 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050

Alternative cement places #36 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions, with the potential to avoid 6.69 gigatons of atmospheric carbon dioxide by 2050. The shift would save US$174 billion, because such alternatives ultimately last longer.

Montana Conservationists Push Coal Ash Cleanup as Job Creator

Cities Announce Scoring System for Air Pollution from Cars

Midwestern Floods Cut Ethanol Supplies, Drive Up Gas Prices

Particulates from Corn Growing Kill 4,300 Americans Per Year

Long-Delayed Emergency Warning for Steelhead Trout Has Implications for Trans Mountain Pipeline

The federal government has spent more than year considering an emergency warning from scientists that pits endangered steelhead trout, and their importance to the Coldwater Indian Band in southern interior British Columbia, against Ottawa’s determination to push ahead with construction of the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.

B.C. to Log Old Growth Forest ‘to Oblivion’, Release Thousands of Tonnes of CO2

A British Columbia agency is proposing to log the province’s last ancient stands of old-growth forest “to oblivion”, Elphinstone Logging Focus (ELF) and Sierra Club BC warned in a release last week.

Climate-Induced Warming Harms Food Chains by Leaving Insects ‘No Place to Hide’

Overheating is just as hazardous to insects in shaded woodlands as it is in open grasslands, meaning they receive no respite from climate-induced warming, according to a new study from the UK that points to possible impacts on food chains that depend on the smaller creatures.

Poor Community Bears the Brunt as ‘Racial-Ethnic Disparities’ Hit Bronx’s Asthma Alley

The low-income Bronx neighbourhood of Mott Haven, also known as “Asthma Alley”, is receiving some profile as an example of the “racial-ethnic disparities” in exposure to pollution captured in a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Meili: Saskatchewan Wants Climate Action, Not ‘All-or-Nothing Political Games’

Saskatchewan will be asking the wrong question on climate change until it looks beyond the carbon price debate and considers how to build a strong, diversified economy and shift to clean energy, provincial NDP leader Ryan Meili writes in an opinion piece for the Regina Leader-Post.

Republican Senators, Governor Call Out Trump’s ‘Idiotic’ Wind Turbine Cancer Claim

Iowa’s two Republican senators and its Republican governor are calling out Donald Trump’s latest fulminations on wind turbines after the former reality TV star claimed without evidence that noise from the devices may cause cancer.

Green Roofs Would Save 770 Megatons of Carbon by 2050

Green roofs rank #73 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. By the year 2050, an increase in green and cool roofs could save 0.77 gigatons of carbon at a net cost of US$1.39 trillion, while producing $988.5 billion in savings.

U.S. Heartland Faces $12.5 Billion in Flood Damage, Economic Losses

Thousands Evacuate as South Korea Wildfire Burns 135 Homes

Maize Harvests at Risk as Temperatures Rise

EU Food Consumption Drives Rainforest Destruction

Trump Says California Complains Too Much About Wildfires

Midwestern U.S. Loses Hundreds of Miles of Levees After ‘Bomb Cyclone’ Flooding

Severe flooding across midwestern U.S. states like Nebraska, Iowa, and Missouri has taken out hundreds of miles of levees, leaving officials to compare the failed system to Swiss cheese, on the heels of mid-March “bomb cyclone” storm conditions that inundated more than a million acres (405,000 hectares) of farmland.

Australian Farmers Face Suicide Risk as Multi-Year Drought Turns from ‘Crisis’ to ‘Marathon’

A brutal, multi-year drought brought on by climate change is taking its toll on the mental health of Australia’s farmers, just as it has in India, leading to higher suicide rates as farm incomes and the communities that depend on them suffer.

Rapid Warming Turning Banks Island to Mush, Triggers 60-Fold Increase in Landslides

Rapid regional warming is turning Banks Island in the Canadian High Arctic to mush, according to a new study in the journal Nature Communications, triggering a 60-fold increase in landslides over the last three decades and putting the Inuvialuit population on Sachs Harbour at risk.

WEBINAR SUMMARY: Connect Climate Crisis to Peoples’ Daily Lives, Pike Urges

At a time when public opinion on climate change is shifting in some “pretty positive ways”, climate communicators’ goal should be to make the reality of the climate crisis “understandable and relatable” in peoples’ daily lives, engagement specialist Cara Pike told a February 21 webinar hosted by Antioch University.

‘Ecological Turmoil’ of Ocean Heat Wave Produces Six-Year Drop in Australian Dolphin Population

A single, extreme heat wave in Shark Bay, Australia spanning two months in 2011 drove down the local bottlenose dolphin population by 12% over the six years that followed, leading to a decline in dolphin calf births and suggesting “that the ecological consequences of extreme weather events may be too sudden or disruptive for even highly adaptable animals to respond,” concludes a new study in the journal Current Biology.

Silicon Valley Start-Up Brings Off-Grid Solar Lighting to 100 Million People

A pair of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs has raised just over US$100 million on a mission to make renewable electricity available to 2.3 billion people.

No More ‘Existential Exceptionalism’: Climate Isn’t the First Survival Crisis Communities of Colour Have Faced

The “existential exceptionalism” of assuming that climate change makes the environmental movement the first in history to stare down a threat of such great magnitude is “downright insulting” to communities of colour that can trace back hundreds of years confronting equally pervasive perils, Bronx-based writer Mary Annaïse Heglar argues on Resilience.org.

44-Megawatt Nanticoke Solar Farm Goes Online, Marking One-Year Anniversary of the Day the Coal Towers Fell

The solar farm on the former site of the Nanticoke coal-fired generation station has gone into service with precisely 192,431 solar panels across 460 acres sending 44 megawatts to the Ontario grid, marking the one-year anniversary of the demolition of the plant’s 650-foot smokestacks.

Wildfire Kills 27 Responders, Three Others in SW China

Florida Wildfire Tougher to Fight Due to Hurricane Michael Debris

One Consulting Firm Mishandles Data for Katrina, Deepwater Horizon, and Houston Chem Fire

Termites Hold Lessons for Climate Adaptation

Canada Warming at Twice the Global Average, Deep Emission Cuts and Adaptation ‘Imperative’, Ottawa Concludes

Climate change is warming Canada twice as fast as the global average, Northern Canada is heating up nearly three times as fast, and three of the last five years were the country’s warmest on record, Environment and Climate Change Canada revealed this week, in the first of a series of Canada’s Changing Climate Reports (CCCR) the department plans to roll out between 2019 and 2021.

AT&T Studies Climate Impacts on Infrastructure Over 30-Year Span

Telecom giant AT&T is looking for advice on how climate change could damage its infrastructure over the next 30 years, after realizing that natural disasters had cost it US$847 million since 2016 and $626 million in 2017 alone.

Australia Yanks Support from UN’s Green Climate Fund as National Elections Loom

Australia will stop contributions to the United Nations’ major fund for battling climate change this year, according to government budget papers released on Tuesday.
With a federal election looming, the government followed up on Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s threat not to “tip money into that big climate fund”.

Lookback from 2050: NPR Essay Shows How We Got Climate Change Under Control

It’s 2050. We’ve got climate change under control. And we got the job done through mass electrification, reimagining cities, protecting forests, and changing the way cows are fed.

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.

Alaska Logs Earliest 70°F Readings on Record

Australia Records Worst Coral Bleaching Ever

Most Chinese Cities Fall Short of Winter Smog Targets

UK Tabloid Warns of ‘Killer Mosquitoes’ in Next Decade

Egypt, Liberia Train More Women for Solar Jobs

U.S. Judge Shoots Down Trump Repeal of Obama Ocean Drilling Ban, Puts 51.8 Million Hectares Off Limits to Fossils

A U.S. federal judge in Alaska put 128 million acres (51.8 million hectares) of Arctic and Atlantic Ocean waters off limits for oil and gas exploration in a ruling late Friday, declaring Donald Trump acted illegally by attempting to revoke an Obama-era ban on drilling in the sensitive ecosystems.

Extreme Weather Displaced Two Million, Affected 62 Million in 2018, WMO Reports

Extreme weather affected 62 million people in 2018 and displaced two million as of September that year, according to the latest in an annual series of State of the Climate reports released Thursday by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

738 Dead, 1.8 Million in Urgent Need, Cholera Cases Hit 271 as Cyclone Impacts Wrack Mozambique

Half a month after Cyclone Idai ripped through parts of Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi, destroying 90% of the port city of Beira, the numbers that trace the devastation are continuing to mount: At least 738 dead with many more missing, an estimated three million people affected and 1.8 million in urgent need, 136,000 displaced and 50,000 homes destroyed in Mozambique alone, and deadly disease spreading quickly to people with no choice but to drink contaminated water.

Svalbard’s ‘Doomsday’ Seed Vault in Trouble Due to Rapid Arctic Warming

The Global Seed Vault in Norway, intended as “the ultimate failsafe for biodiversity of crops,” is now threatened by rapid warming in Longyearbyen, the town on the island of Svalbard that is the world’s northernmost community with 1,000 or more residents.

Ottawa, National Capital Commission to Study Local Climate Impacts

The National Capital Commission and the City of Ottawa have issued a call for a consultant to advise them on how climate change will affect local weather patterns over the next 20 to 80 years.

Indonesia Could Quit Paris Agreement Over EU Palm Oil Ban

Indonesia is threatening to withdraw from the Paris Agreement if the European Union pursues plans to ban palm oil as a component of renewable fuels.

Electric Bikes Would Save 960 Megatonnes of Carbon by 2050

Electric bikes place #69 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. They can eliminate 0.96 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 at a cost of $US106.8 billion, with net savings of $226.1 billion.

Bank of Canada to Study Climate-Related Risk

Canadian Doctors Pan B.C. LNG Subsidies

Detroit Trashes Controversial Energy-from-Waste Plant

‘Underwater Homeowners’ Mobilize in Miami

EXCLUSIVE: Ottawa Leans Toward California on Fuel Economy Rules, Will Seek Feedback on Fossil Subsidies

The federal government is leaning toward supporting tougher fuel economy standards against Trump administration rollbacks, and is about to announce incremental progress on curbing fossil fuel subsidies, The Energy Mix learned Thursday evening, during a town hall hosted by Environment and Climate Minister Catherine McKenna.

UK Fossils Should Pay £44 Billion Per Year in Climate Damages, Campaigners Calculate

The United Kingdom should apply the “polluters pay” principle by assessing the country’s coal, oil, and natural gas companies at least £44 billion per year for the climate damage their products cause, according to a new estimate by campaigners at Friends of the Earth UK.

Climate Disaster Losses Could Undermine Financial System Stability, U.S. Federal Bank Exec Warns

Economic losses from natural disasters and other climate impacts could produce enough risk to undermine the security of the financial system, according to a research letter released Monday by Glenn D. Rudebusch, a senior policy advisor and executive vice president with the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Nearby Neighbours Prefer Wind Farms to Fossil, Nuclear or Solar Plants, Study Finds

People who actually live near operating wind farms see them as better neighbours than fossil, nuclear, or solar plants, even if they’re located in U.S. coal country, according to a new study in the journal Nature.

Nearly 600 Companies Falling Short of 2020 Target to Reduce Deforestation

Not one of the nearly 600 companies that issued deforestation pledges between 2010 and 2014 is on track to keep those promises by the 2020 deadline, the UK-based non-profit Global Canopy revealed in a release to mark International Day of Forests March 21.

Greenland Glacier is (Temporarily) Growing Again

Frac Sand Mines Raise Health Concerns for Rural Americans

Warming World Dictates New Strategies to Protect Watersheds

Urban Forests in U.S. Need Better Management

Sulphate Injections to Cut Warming Could Boost Rice Yields in China

Motion Asks Toronto City Council to Study Climate Disaster Costs, Consider Fossil Lawsuit

Toronto will look into the costs it will incur as a result of climate change and whether a climate accountability lawsuit against fossil producers is worth pursuing if city council adopts a motion being introduced this week by Councillor Mike Layton.

Pine Ridge Reservation in Crisis, 13 Million People at Risk, as Experts Say Midwestern U.S. Flooding Could Continue for Months

The record-breaking floods that hit parts of the midwestern United States last week are shaping up as a long-term, slow-moving disaster, with residents of the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation stranded for nearly two weeks with limited food and water, at least 50 levees across the region breached or overtopped, experts predicting months of flooding, and nearly two-thirds of the lower 48 states facing elevated risk through May.

Rising Premiums Due to Severe Weather Could ‘Threaten Social Order’, Insurers Warn

The world’s biggest reinsurer, Munich Re, is warning that climate change may soon turn rising insurance costs into a pressing social issue, as more frequent, severe weather puts rates beyond the reach of most households.

Apps Track Canadian Climate Back to 1840 to Support Research, Boost Public Awareness

A data visualization team at Montreal’s Concordia University is raising an alarm about the decline of active climate stations in Canada and Quebec from their peak in the late 1970s and 1980s, in a country that faces faster climatic changes than the world average.

Houston Petrochemical Fire Produces More Toxic Air Than Hurricane Harvey

Warming, Acidification May Threaten Key Ocean Carbon Sink

Amnesty International Flags Carbon Intensity, Conflict Minerals in Battery Supply Chains

Miami Beach Fights Expensive, Losing Battle Against Rising Seas

Great Lakes Face Severe Impacts from Rapid Warming

Rapid warming in the Great Lakes is likely to bring more extreme storms, degraded water quality, increased erosion, and challenges for farmers, the Chicago-based Environmental Law & Policy Center warns in a report issued last week.

Rive Brothers Join Solar+Storage Firm to Help Africa ‘Leapfrog the Electric Grid’

SolarCity co-founders Lyndon and Peter Rive, cousins of Tesla CEO Elon Musk, are signing on with ZOLA Electric, a Silicon Valley effort to bring off-grid, pay-as-you-go solar+storage systems to Africa.

Solnit Contrasts Climate Action with White Supremacists’ ‘Ideology of Separation’

In a post for The Guardian following the terrorist attack on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand March 15, renowned author and Oil Change International board member Rebecca Solnit says it’s no mistake that you’ll never find white supremacists involved in climate action.

Insulation Would Save 8.27 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050

Insulation places #31 on the Drawdown list of climate solutions, with the potential to cut atmospheric carbon dioxide by 8.27 gigatons by 2050. The option carries an upfront cost of US$3.66 trillion, $2.5 trillion of which would be recouped within 30 years.

U.S. Coal Miners ‘Ain’t Being Done Right’ as Trump Administration Squeezes Black Lung Fund

Melting Glacier Exposes Bodies of Dead Mount Everest Climbers

JP Morgan Exec Calls for Faster Climate Action After Company Cited as ‘World’s Worst Climate Banker’

A senior executive at J.P. Morgan Asset Management is telling clients that global carbon reductions aren’t moving nearly fast enough—just as a coalition of climate organizations identifies his employer’s parent company, JPMorgan Chase, as “the world’s worst banker of climate change”.

Humanitarian Disaster in Mozambique Points to ‘Fundamental Injustice of Climate Change’

With thousands of people in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, and Malawi still in need of rescue in the aftermath of Cyclone Idai, and nearly three million affected, meteorologist and Grist climate writer Eric Holthaus is pointing to the massive natural and humanitarian disaster as an example of the “fundamental injustice of climate change”.

U.S. Judge Invalidates Wyoming Drilling Leases, Cites Inadequate Review of Climate Impacts

A federal judge in Wyoming has disallowed oil and gas drilling leases on more than 330,000 acres (133,500 hectares) of federal land after determining the Trump administration gave inadequate consideration to the climate impacts of the authorization.

Climate Threat to North Atlantic Ecosystem Means Newfoundland Can’t Double Oil Production

Climate change is a threat to the entire North Atlantic ecosystem, and the province of Newfoundland and Labrador won’t be able to do its part to confront the crisis without abandoning plans to double its oil and gas production, Memorial University professor Sean McGrath told a conference audience in St. John’s last weekend.

Researchers Scramble to Understand Environmental Health Impacts of Climate Disasters

As wildfires and other climate-driven natural disasters become more frequent and severe, scientists are scrambling to understand the human and animal health hazards they leave behind.

Rooftop Solar on 500 Palestinian Schools to Deliver Power for 16,000 Homes

Photovoltaic solar installations on 500 schools in the West Bank and East Jerusalem will produce 35 megawatts of electricity, enough to power more than 16,000 homes, under a US$18-million loan agreement between the European Investment Bank and the Palestine Investment Fund.

Equity, Fairness Connect Climate Community with France’s Yellow Vests

In Paris on Saturday, March 16, more than 100,000 people according to organizers—36,000 according to local authorities—poured into the streets to demand climate action.

Rural Leaders Must ‘Come Out of Their Foxholes’ on Climate, Farm Writer Urges

It’s time for the “sharp lawmakers and staff” on the U.S. House and Senate agriculture committees to bring their expertise on farm and rural policy to a discussion on climate change, DTN Agriculture Policy Editor Chris Clayton writes in a recent opinion piece for Progressive Farmer.

Change Now or Pay Later, Australian Central Bank Warns

Caribbean Turns to Soil as Carbon Solution

Trees Alter Their Ecosystems in Response to Climate Change

Morneau’s Pre-Election Budget Boosts ZEVs and Energy Retrofits, Extends New Fossil Subsidy

Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau tabled a pre-election budget yesterday that included a 2040 deadline to phase out new internal combustion vehicle sales, major new funds for building energy retrofits, and a budget boost for municipal infrastructure, but introduced a new fossil fuel subsidy while doggedly claiming a fossil subsidy phaseout is still on the government’s agenda.

‘Alarming’ Report Shows $1.9 Trillion in New Fossil Investment Since Paris Accord

Leading global banks have invested nearly US$2 trillion in fossil projects since the Paris Agreement was signed, according to an annual report card released today by the Rainforest Action Network, BankTrack, Sierra Club, Oil Change International, the Indigenous Environmental Network, and Honor the Earth.

Up to 1,000 Feared Dead in Mozambique, Making Tropical Cyclone Idai Africa’s Worst Ever

More than 1,000 people are believed dead, 90% of the port city of Beira has been destroyed, and 1.5 million people have been affected after Tropical Cyclone Idai slammed into Mozambique late last week with wind speeds of 175 kilometres (110 miles) per hour, before pushing inland to Zimbabwe and Malawi.

Three Dead, Thousands Evacuated as ‘Bomb Cyclone’ Brings Massive Floods to Nebraska

At least three people are dead, thousands have been evacuated, millions are under flood watch, and many farm operators have lost their livelihoods after last week’s “bomb cyclone” storm brought massive flooding to much of Nebraska, western Iowa, and parts of Wisconsin and South Dakota.

New Laws Aim to Protect Environment, Not Stop Trans Mountain, B.C. Tells Appeal Court

British Columbia has the right to pass environmental laws to mitigate the harm that could result from the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, but it isn’t trying to stop the project outright, provincial lawyer Joseph Arvay told the B.C. Court of Appeal earlier this week.

Air Pollution Causes 8.8 Million Early Deaths Per Year, More Than Tobacco Smoking

Air pollution, most of it from fossil fuel burning, led to 8.8 million premature deaths world-wide and nearly 800,000 in Europe in 2015, almost double the previous estimate of 4.5 million and even more than the seven million per year caused by tobacco smoking.

Biomass for Electricity Would Save 7.5 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050…But Perils Await

Burning biomass to produce electricity places #34 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. It could avoid 7.5 gigatons of atmospheric carbon dioxide by 2050 at a net cost of US$402.3 billion, with net savings of $519.4 billion.

California Declares End to 376-Week Drought

Iconic U.S. Forests Reach Climate Tipping Point

California Mudslides, Wildfires Inspire Montecito Community Microgrid

Central Arctic Hunters Say Fossil Development Harms Marine Life

Extreme Weather Can Feel Normal in Just a Few Years

Massive Arctic Warming Can Still Be Averted by Rapid GHG Cuts, Carbon Brief Concludes

Climate analysts are taking a second look at a key paragraph in a widely-reported study, published last week by the UN Environment Program, that appears to have overstepped with the claim that Arctic warming between 5.0 and 9.0°C is locked in and inevitable by 2080.

B.C. Faces $3-Billion Tab for Inactive Oil and Gas Wells as Fracking Boom Gains Momentum

British Columbia now has more than 10,000 inactive oil and gas wells, and the cost of cleaning them up stands at C$3 billion and rising, according to a new report by the provincial auditor general that also tracked a seven-fold increase in “orphan” wells whose owners are bankrupt, insolvent, or can’t be found.

U.S., Saudi Arabia Scuttle International Bid to Regulate Geoengineering Technologies

The United Nations and Saudi Arabia were tagged as the biggest offenders late last week after the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA), under pressure from high-emitting countries, failed to make any progress on a plan to look into the risks of geoengineering technologies and address the need for stricter controls over their development.

Resource Extraction Drives 53% of Carbon Emissions, 80% of Biodiversity Loss, UN Reports

Resource extraction, from fossil fuels and mining to food and biofuels, is responsible for more than half of global greenhouse gas emissions and 80% of biodiversity loss, according to a Global Resource Outlook released last week at the United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya.

Doig: International Equity is the Key to Faster, Deeper Carbon Cuts

Hitting the Paris Agreement goal of keeping average global warming well below 1.5°C will depend on a “frank and open discussion on equity” that drives negotiators toward faster, deeper emission cuts and away from “conventional development paths,” argues Dr. Alison Doig, Head of Policy at Christian Aid, in a blog post published late last week.

http://cdooginz.deviantart.com/art/California-Drought-518267539

Key U.S. Water Basins Could Fall Short of Monthly Demand by 2071

Up to 96 of the 204 water basins that supply most of the freshwater in the United States could be falling short of monthly demand by 2071, due primarily to climate change and population growth, according to preliminary modelling funded by the federal government and published in the journal Earth’s Future.

Silvopasture Would Save 31.9 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050

Silvopasture ranks #9 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. By 2050, the technique could eliminate 31.9 gigatons of carbon dioxide at a net cost of US$41.6 billion, leading to $699.4 billion in net savings.

Patagonian Iceberg Breakaway Raises Climate Alarm

‘Extremely Dangerous’ Cyclone Idai Bears Down on Mozambique

Early Spring Means No Easter Daffodils for England

Plastic is Toxic at Every Stage in Life Cycle

Climate Hero Darcy Belanger, Canadian Youth Delegates Killed in Ethiopian Airlines Crash

It isn’t every day that someone sets out to build an international environmental treaty with their bare hands. That’s what Darcy Belanger, Director of Strategic Initiatives for Parvati.org, was trying to achieve when he boarded Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 to attend this week’s United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) in Nairobi, Kenya.

Connect Infrastructure Planning with Climate Crisis, Analysts Urge U.S. Legislators

Linking infrastructure policy with the climate crisis, introducing more low-carbon transit, and incorporating more nature in infrastructure design are all key steps in addressing the urban sprawl that is one of the underlying causes of the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions.

Extreme Weather Drives 57% Drop in Italy’s Olive Harvest

Italy will be depending on olive imports beginning in April, after a 57% drop in this year’s harvest brought about mostly by extreme weather.

Pasture Cropping Restores Depleted Soils, Improves Wood Yields

Pasture Cropping, where annual crops are cyclically planted in perennial pastures, 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.

Climate Change Undercuts Science Behind Homicide Investigations

Restaurants Can Boost ROI by Cutting Food Waste

Hot Garbage Grifters: SNC-Lavalin’s Plan to Turn Nuclear Waste into Long-Term Gold

If it is true that one person’s garbage can be another’s gold, then Montreal-based multinational SNC-Lavalin and its new U.S. partner, Holtec International, plan to be big global players in what promises to be a very lucrative, long-term business: handling highly radioactive nuclear wastes until permanent disposal methods and sites might be found, approved, and built…A special report by Paul McKay.

Fossils Threaten Job Losses After Colorado Moves to Regulate Oil and Gas Health and Safety

U.S. fossils are rumbling about a threat to hundreds of thousands of jobs after the transport and energy committee of the Colorado state senate voted 4-3 to refocus the state’s oil and gas regulations on health and safety.

Courtenay Becomes 20th B.C. City to Send Accountability Letter to Major Fossils

British Columbia municipalities campaigning to have oil, gas, and coal companies cover their fair share of the cost of local climate impacts celebrated a milestone last week, when the City of Courtenay became the twentieth community to send accountability letters to 20 major fossils, West Coast Environmental Law reports.

Winter Rainfall Accelerates Melting of Greenland Ice Sheet

Rainfall is making the Greenland ice sheet melt more quickly, even during the long Arctic winter, concludes a new study in The Cryosphere, a journal of the European Geosciences Union.

Risks of Higher Emissions, Community Impacts Add Complexity to Green New Deal

With Congressional Democrats planning to “go on offence” on climate change in hopes of mobilizing younger voters, the Green New Deal unveiled last month by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) is coming in for some thoughtful criticism from analysts who support its direction but worry about its unintended consequences.

Campaigners Celebrate as Turkish High Court Blocks 1,320-MW Coal Plant

Turkey’s highest administrative court has blocked a major coal power plant on the Black Sea coast, in a victory for campaigners.
The Council of State ruled February 21 that Hema Elektrik’s environmental impact assessment for the 1,320-megawatt project in Amasra district, Bartin province, was inadequate.

Forest Protection Would Save 6.2 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050

Forest protection places #38 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions, with the potential to avoid 6.2 gigatons of carbon dioxide emissions by 2050 and sequester an astonishing 896.29 gigatons.

Low Sea Ice Threatens Bering Sea Communities

‘Concerning’ Methane Leaks Traced to UK Fracking Site

Wetland Mud Emerges as ‘Secret Weapon’ in Climate Fight

Crowdsourced Seeds Can Mean Climate Adaptation for Farmers

Dam Collapses Loom as Latest Climate Risk

How Everyone Can Turn Dirt Into Soil

Oceans ‘Spiking a Fever’ as Heatwaves Become More Frequent and Severe

A new paper in the journal Nature Climate Change says ocean heatwaves act like “wildfires that take out huge areas of forest” and are becoming much more frequent, killing off kelp, seagrass, and coral and imperiling an ecosystem humanity relies on for oxygen, food, storm protection, and atmospheric carbon removal.

Confront Climate Crisis, Embrace New Energy Sources, Obama Urges in Calgary and Vancouver

Former U.S. President Barack Obama called for urgent action on climate change earlier this week in back-to-back speeches in Calgary and Vancouver.

Central Alberta Fracking Site Shuts Down After Reporting 4.6 Magnitude Earthquake

The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) has ordered Calgary-based Vesta Energy Ltd. to suspend fracking activities at one of its drilling sites after a 4.6 magnitude earthquake hit central Alberta early Monday morning.

Microbial Farming Would Mobilize the ‘Intricate Ecosystems’ Beneath Our Feet

Microbial farming, which involves reseeding exhausted farmland with the diverse microbiome upon which productive soil depends, 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.

Manitoba Train Derailment Spilled One Million Litres of Crude

UK Assesses Climate Connection in ‘Incredible’ February Temperature Jump

Record Heat Scorches Australian Wine Grape Crop

Thousands Flee 19 Wildfires in Southeast Australia

Fossils, Not Wildfires, Deliver Biggest Black Carbon Burden to Arctic

Biopharma Sees More Risk than Opportunity as Climate Impacts Mount

Ocean Warming Leads to Declining Fish Stocks, with Developing Regions Hardest Hit

Ocean warming has delivered a significant decline in sustainable fish catches over the last century, but holding average global warming to 1.5°C would help protect future catches worth billions of dollars per year, according to two new studies.

Environmental Groups Fight Controversial Licence Renewal for East Coast Oil Explorer

Five environmental groups represented by Ecojustice were in court last week, trying to stop the Canada-Newfoundland Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board (CNLOPB) from extending an offshore drilling licence for the Old Harry prospect, near the marine border between Newfoundland and Quebec.

New Iceberg Twice the Size of New York Won’t Be ‘Massive’ by Antarctic Standards

A 660-square-kilometre iceberg roughly twice the size of New York City is about to break away from the Brunt ice shelf in Antarctica, risking further instability in a region that is expected to add more than 25 centimetres (10 inches) to global sea level rise by 2070.

Marine Permaculture Could ‘Reforest’ the Oceans, Draw 102 Gigatons of CO2 by 2050

Marine permaculture technology that seeds the world’s oceans with kelp forests while pumping up colder, nutrient-rich waters from the ocean depths 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.

Solar Shines, Coal Crashes in Australian Heat Wave

County in China Suspends Fracking After Earthquake Kills Two

Toxic Black Snow is Ecological Disaster in Siberian Coal Mining Region

Another Century of Fossil Use Could Eliminate Cloud Cover, Trigger 8.0°C of Additional Warming

A startling new study in the journal Nature Geoscience concludes that another century of burning fossil fuels at today’s levels could trigger the total loss of the world’s stratocumulus clouds and trigger another 8.0°C/14.0°F of global warming.

Reforestation Could Offset 10 Years of Emissions, But Countries Are Behind on Forest, Land Use Promises

After years of severely underestimating the number of trees on Earth, scientists are now calculating that a massive, global reforestation effort could offset at least 10 years of greenhouse gas emissions produced by human activity.

Mi’kmaq Water Protectors Headed to Court Against Gas Company Injunction

Mi’kmaq protesting a controversial project to transform underground salt caverns near Halifax into natural gas storage tanks say a recent court injunction forbidding further protests at the project site, purportedly in the name of public safety, is nothing more than a deliberate act of corporate intimidation.

Arizona in Line for Crashing Property Values as Climate Impacts Mount

With property values plummeting across south Florida as prospective buyers prepare for the reality of rising sea levels, Arizona real estate will be next to feel the savage bite of climate change as researchers forecast that rising temperatures will leave the Grand Canyon State feeling like Kuwait at its most humid.

Norway to Compensate Indonesia for Cutting Deforestation Emissions

China, India Add One-Third of New Vegetation Worldwide

UK Institute Sees Climate Change Bringing Economic Collapse

Montana Judge Orders Climate Review of Giant Coal Mine Proposal

Chernobyl Exposé Details Continuing Cloud Over Hundreds of Thousands of Lives

Bipartisan U.S. House Bill Would Block ANWR Drilling

Former Army Corps General Lobbied for Dakota Access Pipeline

NEB Sidesteps ‘Significant’ Impacts, Recommends Trans Mountain Pipeline Approval

Canada’s National Energy Board is recommending federal cabinet re-approval of the controversial Trans Mountain pipeline expansion despite its likely “significant” environmental and climate impacts, prompting multiple Indigenous and environmental opponents to vow the project will never be completed.

Report Links Climate Change to Majority of 2018’s Under-Reported Humanitarian Disasters

Climate change caused the majority of the world’s under-reported humanitarian disasters last year, and nine of the top 10 occurred in Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific, according to an analysis of more than a million online news stories released last week by CARE International.

Coalition Uses Saskatchewan Carbon Case to Stress Governments’ Intergenerational Duty

Saskatchewan’s long-shot effort to defeat the federal government’s floor price on carbon has turned into a venue for one intervenor to argue for Canada’s obligation to protect future generations from the impacts of climate change.

Alberta Oil-By-Rail Plan Could Block Grain Shipments, Farmers Warn

Alberta grain farmers are expressing serious concern about the province’s three-year, C$3.7-billion plan to ship oil by rail.

Canada’s Forests Emit More Carbon Than They Absorb, But Ottawa Spins a Different Story

A mid-February analysis on CBC gets at one of the most persistent myths in Canadian carbon accounting—that the country’s forests absorb more carbon than they emit, or in some erroneous versions of the story, soak up so much carbon dioxide that there’s no need to worry about the rest of the country’s emissions.

From Vegan to Paleo, Farm Practices Matter More Than End Product

A solution to the raging food wars between vegans, paleos, and everyone in between is to recognize that good, bad, or terrible farming practices are far more important than the end product that lands on dinner plates, according to a recent post on Resilience.org.

Indigenous Land Defender Murdered in Mexico Ahead of Key Pipeline Vote

Pro-Pipeline Convoy Delivers Toxic Mixed Message as White Nationalists Take Centre Stage

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer welcomed pro-pipeline protesters to Parliament Hill and white nationalist Faith Goldy told Indigenous protesters to go back where they came from as the United We Roll protest descended on Ottawa Tuesday and Wednesday.

B.C. Budgets $902 Million to Fully Fund CleanBC Climate Plan

The British Columbia government is getting strong positive reviews for a provincial budget that allocates $902 million over three years to fully fund its CleanBC climate program.

Canada’s $180-Billion in Infrastructure Investment Must Emphasize Low-Carbon Opportunities

The C$180 billion Canada is set to invest in infrastructure over the next decade represents a massive opportunity to cut greenhouse gas emissions, two senior policy advisors from Clean Energy Canada argue in a post last week for Policy Options.

Exemptions Raise Flags as European Commission Moves to Restrict Palm Oil in Biofuels

The European Commission is moving to restrict transportation fuels based on palm oil whose cultivation is linked to deforestation, but is taking criticism for the loopholes in its phaseout plan.

Canadians Cite Climate as Top Global Issue, But Confusion Reigns on Impact of Human Activity

While a large proportion of Canadians identify climate change as the most important global issue, they’re still confused about whether it’s caused by human activity or natural cycles, according to the latest polling by Vancouver-based Insights West.

18-Month Reprieve for Hambach Forest Won’t End Germany’s ‘Climate Policy Paralysis’

Global Food Traders Pledge to Monitor (But Not Curtail) Brazil Deforestation

New MN Governor Vows to Continue Fight Against Line 3

One in 10 New Publicly-Traded Companies Cite Climate as Risk

Exotic Carbon Capture Techniques Prop Up Fossil Interests, Aren’t Needed to Hit 1.5°C, New Study Asserts

The urgency and scope of the climate crisis are being needlessly exploited to drive fringe ideas like carbon dioxide removal (CDR) and solar radiation management (SRM) from the margins to the mainstream, according to a hard-hitting report issued last week by the Washington-based Center for International Environmental Law and Berlin’s Heinrich Böell Foundation.

Study Reveals Unreliable, Inconsistent Assessments of Tar Sands/Oil Sands Impacts

Inconsistent science has marred the credibility of dozens of past environmental impact studies of the Alberta tar sands/oil sands, according to a new assessment published in the journal Environmental Reviews.

Earlier Arctic Rains Speed Permafrost Loss, Boost Methane Emissions

A study of a single wetland in Alaska suggests that earlier spring rains in the Arctic are speeding up permafrost melt that will in turn lead to the release of more climate-busting atmospheric methane.

Optimism, Opportunism, and Climate Denial Combine as Florida Keeps Building Condos

Florida’s coastal real estate may be poised to deliver a wake-up call on climate change, at a time when sea levels are rising, new condos are still being built, and not everyone seems to see the severe risk lurking right around the corner.

Efficient Water Distribution Would Save 870 Megatons of Carbon by 2050

More efficient water distribution places #71 on the Drawdown list of climate solutions. It could cut atmospheric carbon dioxide by 870 megatons by 2050 at a cost of US$137.4 billion, producing net savings of $903.1 billion.

Runoff from Queensland Floods Threatens 300 Miles of Great Barrier Reef

Anti-Turbine Activists Spread Asbestos to Protest Netherlands Wind Site

Study Projects Warming Trends, Rain and Drought for 540 North American Cities in 2080

Average winters in 2080 will be 9.5°C warmer in Montreal, 7.3°C warmer in Quebec City, 6.1°C warmer in Ottawa, and 5.6°C warmer in St. John, New Brunswick than they were in 1990 unless humanity moves quickly to get greenhouse gas emissions under control, according to a new study in the journal Nature Communications.

Climate Change Imperils Centuries-Old Speed Skating Race in Netherlands

When a thousand Dutch speed skaters gathered in January’s pre-dawn darkness to race on an enormous ice-bound lake in a small town in Austria, they were both determined participants in a joyous, nearly 400-year-old sporting event—and witnesses to the escalating reality of climate change.

Tropical Staple Trees Would Save 20.19 Gigatons of Carbon by 2050

Tropical staple trees rank #14 on Drawdown’s list of climate solutions. This option could eliminate 20.19 gigatons of atmospheric carbon dioxide at a cost of $US120.1 billion, producing savings of $627 billion.

U.S. Senate Adopts Major Public Land Conservation Bill

Local Traffic Concerns Block Approval of UK Firm’s Second Big Fracking Site

More CO2 Won’t Boost Tree Growth

Kids Have Lower Test Scores, More Absences After Moving to Schools Near Major Roadways

Micromobility ‘Revolution’ Must Put Safety First

Los Angeles Shifts Billions of Dollars from Gas Plants to Storage, Efficiency, and Solar

Los Angeles is walking away from a plan to spend billions of dollars rebuilding three natural gas power plants along the coast, in what Mayor Eric Garcetti cast as a boost for the city’s 100% renewable energy goal and its plan to improve air quality in polluted neighbourhoods.

Insect Collapse Over Next Century Could Trigger ‘Catastrophic Ecosystem Collapse’

The world’s insect populations could disappear in the next century, triggering a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, according to a first-ever global scientific review that points to climate change as one of the main threats to species that are a foundation of the Earth’s food chains and ecosystems.

Health Professionals Point to Cumulative Impacts of Wildfire Smoke

Experts who attended a wildfire workshop hosted by the British Columbia Lung Association last week in Vancouver are sounding the alarm about the health threats posed by wildfire smoke.

Green New Deal Comes to Life in Portland Affordable Housing Project

Affordable, green, and employing immigrant Americans, a new housing project in a low-income neighborhood in Portland, Oregon is being cast as an early glimpse of all that a Green New Deal could bring.