It’s Gettin’ Hot in Here: Putting Climate Change Warning Labels on Gas Pumps (Video)

Here’s an idea whose time has come. 

A proposal to bring climate change home through cigarette style warning labels on gas pumps. Presented by an impressive and well informed 16-year-old in West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. 

The non-profit organization promoting the labels explains

We’re running out of time with climate change. We need something to shake us out of our sense of complacency. This is it. The labels create feedback by taking faraway consequences – like famine, the extinction of species and extreme weather – and bringing them into the here and now. Their placement on a gas nozzle reminds us that we each contribute to the problem by locating responsibility right in the palm of your hand. Finally, the idea captures the hidden costs of fossil fuel use in a qualitative way; the labels provide information to the marketplace to engage our sense of humanity in a way that a price increase of a few pennies at the pump never will.

If you think this is a good idea: reblog it and share it with your friends and family. Even better share it with them and your city or town’s elected officials too.

(Photos: Our HorizonVideo: Our Horizon via YouTube)

It’s Gettin’ Hot in Here | David Roberts: ‘Climate Change Is Simple’ (remixed by Ryan Cooper)

Via YouTube:

David Roberts is staff writer at In “Climate Change is Simple” he describes the causes and effects of climate change in blunt, plain terms.

On April 16, 2012, speakers and attendees gathered at TEDxTheEvergreenStateCollege: Hello Climate Change to reflect on the ability — and responsibility — of formal and informal education to inspire and empower action in this era of climate change.


It’s Gettin’ Hot in Here: Arctic Sea Ice Breaking Up, February-March 2013 (Video)

For those keeping score at home, February and March are winter months.

Video source: NOAA via YouTube


From CBC:

The Harper government is pulling out of a United Nations convention that fights droughts in Africa and elsewhere, which would make Canada the only country in the world outside the agreement.

The UN body has a research committee dedicated to finding ways to stop the spread of droughts that lay waste to farmland across the planet, particularly Africa.

Scientists, governments and civil society organizations are headed to Bonn next month “to carry out the first ever comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of desertification, land degradation and drought,” says a notice from the United Nations Environment Program.

"Also, for the very first time, governments will provide concrete data on the status of poverty and of land cover in the areas affected by desertification in their countries."

The issue of encroaching deserts has become urgent because of renewed droughts that have plunged millions into poverty in Africa’s Sahel belt last year and in East Africa the year before.

The Bonn-based secretariat for the UN body said no Canadian official had contacted them about the withdrawal.

In my opinion this is irresponsible and embarrassing and definitely not my Canada. Though I should hardly be surprised. Canada is one of the world’s worst when it comes to tackling climate change and drought is a symptom of climate change.

You can check out the rest of the article here. The bold facing in the article quote is my own.

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 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;

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.

'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.


From The Tyee:

Fifty years of ‘environmentalism’ and we’re less sustainable. So what do we do now?

Click here to read the article. 

(Infographic source: MV)

From The Winnipeg Free Press

A fresh round of global environment talks has just begun, and Canada has the dubious distinction of being the second country to receive a "Fossil of the Day" award.

Tens of thousands of government delegates and organizations from around the world are gathering this week and next in Brazil for the Rio+20 talks on sustainable development.

As at other summits in the past, some of the non-governmental organizations in Rio are singling out countries for what the groups say is an obstructionist role in negotiations.

On Friday, activists handed Canada the award for deleting wording for funding for developing countries, weakening language on fossil-fuel subsidies, and causing confusion on policies related to oceans and fisheries.

They also pointed to C-38, the government’s omnibus budget bill that streamlined environmental assessment rules and changed protections for fisheries.

"As leaders gather in Rio, Canada is weakening key parts of the Rio agreement while rolling back decades of environmental legislation and climate protection by pushing through Bill C-38," Amara Possian of PowerShift Canada, a youth organization said in an email from Brazil.

"They are being given the Rio Fossil for standing in the way of a just and sustainable future at home and here in Rio."

From The Guardian:

A quintessentially Canadian winter tradition – outdoor ice hockey – could be facing extinction within decades because of climate change, a new study says.

Pick-up games of ice hockey, also called shinny or pond hockey, are a way of life during the long winters. Many towns are studded with neighbourhood ice rinks, some families even freeze over their backyards. Ottawa has the Rideau Canal, the 5-mile skate run through the nation’s capital. But such pursuits are in peril as milder winters and earlier springs pare down the outdoor ice season.

The ice season has shortened noticeably over the last 50 years, especially in southern British Columbia and Alberta and parts of the prairie provinces, the study in the Institute of Physics’ journal, Environmental Research Letters, says. 

It takes a long cold spell to be able to build a good foundation for ice sports – at least three days in a row at -5C, the researchers determined, from interviews with public rink officials.

But temperature records from 142 weather stations across the southern belt of Canada, where most of the population lives, showed a distinct warming trend from 1951-2005.

Check out the rest of the article here.

(Photo credit: Globe & Mail)