My last post was about Canadian Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq, and her office's rebuttal to an opinion piece in which I concluded she's not the best thing that's happened to the Environment portfolio. Not that there are any Conservatives who would do much better, but her heavily pro-northern development focus and admitted scorn for science (including the validity of climate change and associated threats to northern wildlife, such as polar bears), are somewhat of a liability.
I wouldn't have believed it if I hadn't seen it, so I thought you should see it too.
Someone today sent me a recent article by Michael Harris on ipolitics, describing a letter that someone in the constituent offices of Minister of State for Science and Technology, Greg Rickford, sent to his party faithful. The article (behind a paywall) is…
I could have sworn there was a glacier there a minute ago
Here is a recent photograph of yours truly – the GP, the Grumpster – standing next to a marker that says 1992. So what, you say? Well, I was standing on that spot (or close to it) in 1992, and just behind me was the Athabasca Glacier. Between the day I was there in 1992 and September 23rd, 2013, that glacier had retreated at least 200 meters.
Figure 1. The GP by the former edge of the Athabasca glacier
In fact the Athabasca glacier has retreated about 1.5 kilometers since 1898, and has lost about half its volume during that period. Much the same could be said for the Saskatchewan glacier (Figure 2), which has been retreating at a rate of up to 25 meters a year.
The retreat of the Athabasca and Saskatchewan glaciers have obvious implications for the supply of water flowing into two major Alberta rivers, the Athabasca and North Saskatchewan. Continue reading
“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it!”
This phrase was coined by Evelyn Beatrice Hall in her biography of Voltaire as a condensed description of the great man’s devotion to freedom of speech.
In Canada, unfortunately, the Harper-Cons attitude seems to be “I disagree with what you say, and if you try to say it, I’ll use the weight of my powers to crush you, redact you, and deprive you of employment”.
The latest skirmishes in Harper’s war against knowledge and information played out in the last 24 hours. First, we have the inexplicable decision (by “environment” minister Peter Kent) to prevent 25 years worth of research by the National round table on the Environment and Economy (NRTEE) from being kept in the public domain. Continue reading
Image from scienceuncensored.ca
Do you hear that sound………………………?
What, you don’t hear anything?
Well, it’s not surprising, because that sound – or lack thereof – is just an Environment Canada (EC) Scientist hard at work. What; you thought Environment Canada Scientists were extinct – victims of overzealous harvesting by the Federal Government?
Happily, that is not the case. A few isolated populations of EC and DFO scientists are hanging on to their jobs in fragmented office habitats scattered across the country. And the silence – well, you can’t hear them cos’ they have Duct tape firmly clamped across their mouths.
It’s for their own protection really – and yours, because if they contradicted some pet government doctrine, well, that might confuse you, or make the government look like they were wrong about something.
And we couldn’t have that!
OK, so they don’t literally have Duct tape across their mouths, but they do have secrecy-minded gatekeepers between them and the public, and “minders” shadowing them at conferences. And they are increasingly hemmed in by rules about who they can or can’t talk to, whether they can publish their work in a timely manner, and even whether they can apply for grants. Continue reading
An hour ago, two members of the Arab Youth Climate Movement were arrested. They held up a banner in the COP18 conference centre that read, “Qatar, why host, not lead?”. Onlookers erupted in cheers as they were escorted out. In their wake, the mood was sombre. The process at COP is failing, the deal on the table is not an ambitious one.
The lead author is Mark Bigland-Pritchard, Ph.D with contributions from CYD members Karen Rooney and Alana Westwood.You may also want to check out the latest podcast from the excellent Earthgauge Radio, in which Kevin Anderson, one of the UK’s leading climate scientists, gives some very inconvenient and disturbing climate truths……
Canada gets First Place Fossil of the Day in Doha
Our fearless youth representative in Doha, Alana Westwood, reports on Canada’s dubious achievment of a first place “Fossil of the Day” award for our refusal to back financing of climate adaptation measures in developing nations.
Yesterday, Canada received the ‘honour’ of a first-place Fossil of the Day (the award is given for bad performance during the negotiations). Though not our first Fossil in Doha, it is our first time owning the top of the podium all to ourselves at COP-18.
What did we do this time? Continue reading
Peak oil or Peak Canada?
Yogi Berra famously said “It’s hard to make predictions – especially about the future”. I like to think that Steven Harper was thinking this exact thought if he read the Globe and Mail’s double page spread on how shale oil promises to make the USA the world’s biggest producer of crude within a decade.
What price Canada’s status as an energy superpower now, Mr. Harper?
The Bakken Shale Zone, an area of Devonian and Lower Carboniferous rock that straddles Montana, North Dakota, Saskatchewan and Manitoba (Figure 1), may contain upwards of 3.65 billion barrels of oil. Production in the region is increasing exponentially, up to 750,000 barrels a day last year. This “glut” of light, easily transported crude is already depressing prices for our northern bitumen, threatening the viability of current operations and future plans.
So, this should be good news for Canadian environmentalists, right? Continue reading
What follows is the first of several dispatches from the front lines of climate negotiations. You can link to the Canadian Youth Delegation at www.cyd-djc.org
Part I:Tackling climate change from the air-conditioned desert.
COP 18, this year’s instalment of the annual United Nations climate negotiations, opens today (November 26th) in Doha, Qatar.
In the 28°C winter of Qatar, dust shifts on the street as I make my way to the shuttle. My shoes squeak in sand stained with black soot. With no sidewalk in sight, I gave up trying to preserve my shoes after dodging SUVs and 4×4 trucks on the road, almost all of them bearing the insignia of luxury brands. Continue reading