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It’s Gettin’ Hot in Here: ‘Melting Polar Ice Causing Changes to Jet Stream?’

Some pretty decent climate change reporting from Global News here in Vancouver. The segment looks at whether:

The wacky winter weather around the globe may be due to polar ice caps impacting the jet stream.

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The sun setting from the peak of Mount Maxwell on Saltspring Island last weekend. The island is a short ferry ride away from Vancouver and so worth a visit.

The sun setting from the peak of Mount Maxwell on Saltspring Island last weekend. The island is a short ferry ride away from Vancouver and so worth a visit.

Water… the stuff of life

Water… the stuff of life

It’s Gettin’ Hot in Here: ‘Key Climate Change Impacts’ (Slideshow)

So, how does a former news editor, TV producer, foreign correspondent, news anchor in the Canadian Broadcast Hall of Fame, and current federal Minister of the Environment suddenly forget how to tell the news? That sure seems to be the case here in Canada right now. That is, unless Peter Kent is deliberately keeping Canadians in the dark about how climate change is already affecting the country’s ecosystems, regions, economies, and people. But, that couldn’t be right. Could it?


The slideshow above was created by Environment Canada and posted by journalist Mike De Souza showing tips for the Conservative Environment Minister, to communicate the reality of global warming in Canada. It includes detailed numbers highlighting the ecologic and economic impacts of climate change related events in different regions of the country. De Souza highlighted some of the key impacts in a recent article for the news site Canada.com and reported that Kent has not included them in any of his recent speeches. Here they are:

- An average temperature increase of 1.6 degrees Celsius across Canada compared to a global increase of 0.7 degrees Celsius, and a 2.1-degree-Celsius increase in the Canadian north from 1948 to 2010;

- Combined spending of $1.2 billion by the governments of Canada, British Columbia and Alberta to respond to the mountain pine beetle epidemic that is resulting in the loss of 8,000 jobs and the closure of 16 lumber mills by 2018;

- Economic losses of $5.8 billion and 41,000 jobs lost because of droughts in Alberta and Saskatchewan in 2001 and 2002 that have affected the agriculture industry;

- A 20-day annual increase since the 1950s in the average number of days with rain;

- The year 2010 was the warmest on record with average temperatures three degrees Celsius above normal; it was also the 14th consecutive year with above-normal temperatures;

- Massive Arctic ice melting is opening the door to a doubling of cruise ship voyages and new opportunities for gas exploration; it’s also opening the door for transmission of diseases across oceans and species;

- Melting permafrost creating risks to waste containment and resulting in a 130-kilometre retreat in the southern limit of Quebec’s permafrost, as well as up to $50 million in costs to the province of Manitoba in a season to airlift fuel and food that could not be transported by ground;

- Lower water levels in the Great Lakes, forcing ships to lighten their cargo, causing multimillion-dollar decreases in business shipping volumes, as well as reducing hydroelectricity outputs and compromising wetlands that filter contaminants and absorb excess storm water;

- Record costs of up to $400 million to fight forest fires in a single season in British Columbia, with the three most expensive seasons recorded over the last decade;

- Hundreds of millions in damage in recent years from extreme weather and rain events that have affected Toronto, Atlantic Canada and other regions;

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Seen around town: Three of the signs posted on BC Premier Christy Clark’s constituency office earlier this spring by about 200 university and high school students rallying to oppose the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline. The pipeline is intended to transport bitumen (i.e. heavy oil) west from Alberta’s tar sands through British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest to the province’s ecologically rich coast before being shipped to Asian markets.
The pipeline is currently going through a federally mandated joint review panel process, but there is an incredibly diverse movement growing here in BC to stop the pipeline and speed the transition to a climate resilient, clean energy economy. Here are two recent examples: Yesterday, green groups sued the federal government to protect four endangered species living along the proposed pipeline and shipping route. Today, the province’s local governments passed a resolution opposing oil tanker expansion on the BC coast. Interesting times in BC, Canada, and on this planet we call Earth.
Related:
'Pipeline to prosperity or channel to catastrophe?' (Globe & Mail)
'Great Bear Rainforest: Pipeline through paradise' (National Geographic)
Dr. David Schindler: ‘The Canadian oil sands: economic saviour or environmental disaster?’ (key points) (YouTube)
‘First Nations warn of civil disobedience if Northern Gateway pipeline goes ahead’ (Times-Colonist)

Seen around town: Three of the signs posted on BC Premier Christy Clark’s constituency office earlier this spring by about 200 university and high school students rallying to oppose the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline. The pipeline is intended to transport bitumen (i.e. heavy oil) west from Alberta’s tar sands through British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest to the province’s ecologically rich coast before being shipped to Asian markets.

The pipeline is currently going through a federally mandated joint review panel process, but there is an incredibly diverse movement growing here in BC to stop the pipeline and speed the transition to a climate resilient, clean energy economy. Here are two recent examples: Yesterday, green groups sued the federal government to protect four endangered species living along the proposed pipeline and shipping route. Today, the province’s local governments passed a resolution opposing oil tanker expansion on the BC coast. Interesting times in BC, Canada, and on this planet we call Earth.

Related:

Earlier in the summer we hiked the Ripple Rock Trail near Campbell River on Vancouver Island. It’s a short, 3-hour hike that ends on a rocky bluff overlooking Seymour Narrows. In 1958, it was the site of the largest non-nuclear human generated explosion of all time. It’s a beautiful place to eat a sandwich, feel the breeze, and watch birds of prey flying overhead. We were lucky enough to see a pod of transient orcas swimming up the Narrows while we were there.

Around Town: "Yogi Bear" posted on a wall just east of Main Street along the 10th Ave bikeway. More pics here if you’re interested.

Around Town: "Yogi Bear" posted on a wall just east of Main Street along the 10th Ave bikeway. More pics here if you’re interested.

Around town: Six shots from the weekend

I’m a little scratched up, but no worse for wear. Picked 3 buckets full of these suckers along an old railway corridor this afternoon. It’s blackberry season… time to make some jam!

Fossil Fuels | 'Infographic: How Tar Sands Oil Is Produced'
From NPR:

The oil product extracted from Canada’s tar sands isn’t like conventional crude. Known as bitumen, it’s sticky and so thick, it can’t flow down a pipeline without extensive processing. There are two methods for getting bitumen out of the ground and turning it into usable products. Both are complex, energy-intensive and expensive processes – but high oil prices are finally making tar sands profitable.

Related:
'When This Oil Spills, It's 'A Whole New Monster' (NPR)
‘Oil Sands: Canada’s 10 Ethical Challenges: The Series’ (The Tyee)
‘Oh Canada: The Government’s Broad Assault on Environment’ (Yale e360)

Fossil Fuels | 'Infographic: How Tar Sands Oil Is Produced'

From NPR:

The oil product extracted from Canada’s tar sands isn’t like conventional crude. Known as bitumen, it’s sticky and so thick, it can’t flow down a pipeline without extensive processing. There are two methods for getting bitumen out of the ground and turning it into usable products. Both are complex, energy-intensive and expensive processes – but high oil prices are finally making tar sands profitable.

Related: