The Best Technology for Fighting Climate Change Isn’t a Technology

Forests are the most powerful and efficient carbon-capture system on the planet

The Best Technology for Fighting Climate Change Isn't a Technology
A forest planted on an abandoned open-pit coal mine, Germany. Credit: Hans Blossey Getty Images 

So far, advocates and politicians have tended to focus on reducing fossil fuel consumption through technology and/or policy, such as a steep carbon tax, as climate solutions. These proposals are, of course, essential to reducing manmade carbon emissions—71 percent of which are generated by just 100 fossil fuel companies. For this reason, fossil-fuel–related emissions reductions rightly figure heavily in the national climate commitments of the 181 nations that signed the global Paris Agreement.

Yet the international focus on fossil fuels has overshadowed the most powerful and cost-efficient carbon-capture technology the world has yet seen: forests. Recent scientific research confirms that forests and other “natural climate solutions” are absolutely essential in mitigating climate change, thanks to their carbon sequestering and storage capabilities. In fact, natural climate solutions can help us achieve 37 percent of our climate target, even though they currently receive only 2.5 percent of public climate financing.

Forests’ power to store carbon dioxide through the simple process of tree growth is staggering: one tree can store an average of about 48 pounds of carbon dioxide in one yearRecent research shows intact forests are capable of storing the equivalent of the carbon dioxide emissions of entire countries such as Peru and Colombia. MORE

These 100 Companies Could Be the Death of Us All. Sign to Demand That They Stop Using Fossil Fuels.

 

 Sandbag’s report into the emergence of emissions trading in China : carbon pollution
 Oil, coal and gas companies are contributing to most carbon emissions, causing climate change and some are also funding denial campaigns. Photograph: David Gray/Reuters

A staggering 71 percent of all carbon emissions since 1988 can be traced back to just 100 corporations, most of which are fossil fuels producers. Even more alarming, half of all global industrial emissions can be traced to just 25 corporate and state-owned entities.

If emissions continue at this rate, the global average temperatures would rise by 4 degrees celsius by the end of the century.This would mean catastrophe for civilization.

Without a serious change, the world as we know it will be a thing of the past. Coastal cities will disappear under rising sea waters. Global food production will collapse causing malnutrition and starvation over vast swaths of the planet. Unpredictable and extreme weather patterns will batter our lands and thousands of species will disappear from Earth. SIGN THE PETITION

RCMP concerned Indigenous rights advocates will gain public support: new study

New research shows Canada’s police force assesses the risk Indigenous activists and protesters pose to the nation — not based on factors of criminality — but based on their ability to summon sympathy from the broader populace

Image result for RCMP surveillance
An RCMP officer records at a citizens’ protest rally against Kinder Morgan on Burnaby Mountain in November 2014. Several protesters were arrested. PHOTO: Mark Klotz, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License

As police enforce a court injunction against two Indigenous camps standing in the way of a proposed B.C. pipeline, the authors of a new report say their research indicates the RCMP’s action against Wet’suwet’en land defenders will be neither fair, nor objective.

Jeffrey Monaghan of Carleton University and Miles Howe of Queen’s University outline in a new report published in the Canadian Journal of Sociology how RCMP assess individual activists according to political beliefs, personality traits, and even their ability to use social media.

The report says government and RCMP documents uncovered through access to information requests indicate the police are not assessing Indigenous protests in Canada based on factors of criminality but are more concerned about the protestors’ ability to gain public support.

It also shows the government’s risk assessments of Indigenous protests, court injunctions initiated by private corporations against Indigenous people, and RCMP policing tactics all favour corporate interests and private property rights over Indigenous rights and title. MORE

RELATED:

Strategic Incapacitation of Indigenous Dissent: Crowd Theories, Risk Management, and Settler Colonial Policing

Yes, climate change is a crisis: surveys


Canadian military personnel assist with disaster relief on May 10, 2017 in Gatineau, Que, as part of Operation LENTUS, a deployment of 2,200 troops dispatched following severe flooding in Ontario and Quebec. File photo by Alex Tétreault

After many people were buzzing about a new Angus Reid poll that concluded most Canadians believe the country faces a crisis due to a lack of pipelines, we did a few informal surveys of our own to ask the public some questions that we felt had been left out.

The results are in:

Out of 223 votes, 86 per cent of the respondents said that the Alberta Energy Regulator’s internal estimate of $260 billion in financial liabilities for the oilpatch is a “crisis.”

Out of 182 responses, a whopping 96 per cent said that a recent scientific assessment by the United Nations IPCC ( Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) that said the world had only 12 years left to prevent some of the worst impacts of climate change is a “crisis.”

Out of 193 responses, 89 per cent said that the Ontario government’s recent decisions to cancel green energy policies is a “crisis.”

And finally, out of 181 votes, 96 per cent said that the fact that large portions of Canada’s forests are at risk of dying off as climate change aggravates wildfires, droughts and infestations is a “crisis.” MORE

 

To curb climate change, we have to suck carbon from the sky. But how?

Once considered a distraction, scientists now say using technology—and nature—to remove CO2 from the atmosphere is not only possible: It’s a must.

Radish cover crop traps nitrogen; mystery follows

The long radish root creates deep channels in the soil that can make it easier for subsequent  to reach water in the soil below.

At McCarty Family Farms, headquartered in sun-blasted northwest Kansas, fields rarely sit empty any more. In a drive to be more sustainable, the family dairy still grows corn, sorghum, and alfalfa, but now often sows the bare ground between harvests with wheat and daikon. The wheat gets fed to livestock. The radishes, with their penetrating roots, break up the hard-packed surface and then, instead of being harvested, are allowed to die and enrich the soil.

Like all plants, cereal grains and root vegetables feed on carbon dioxide. In 2017, according to a third-party auditplanting cover crops on land that once sat empty helped the McCarty farms in Kansas and Nebraska pull 6,922 tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store it in the soil across some 12,300 acres—as much as could have been stored by 7,300 acres of forest. Put another way: The farm soil had sucked up the emissions of more than 1,300 cars.

Moves like this are among a host of often overlooked steps that scientists now say are crucial to limiting the worst impacts of climate change. MORE

Thousands skip school again to go to Belgium climate protest

More than 10,000 youngsters skipped school again in Belgium to join a march demanding better protections of the globe’s fragile climate

Students and others hold up placards with climate messages during a demonstration against climate change in Brussels, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. Thousands of students as part of the Youth for Climate movement took time off school Thursday to call for stronger action against climate change. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

(The Associated Press) Students and others hold up placards with climate messages during a demonstration against climate change in Brussels, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019. Thousands of students as part of the Youth for Climate movement took time off school Thursday to call for stronger action against climate change. (AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert)

More than 10,000 students skipped school again in Belgium to join a march demanding better protections of the globe’s fragile climate.

Despite the rain and cold, the colorful protest march in Brussels was bigger than the initial one last week.

Banners reading “School strike 4 Climate” and “Skipping school? No. We fight for our future,” highlighted the march, which was free of incidents. MORE

RELATED:

DO WE REALLY LOVE OUR CHILDREN WELL? #CLIMATESTRIKE
 

Meet the Economist Advising BC on Whether to Go Ahead with a Basic Income

‘I’m an agnostic because I can see both sides,’ says UBC’s David Green.

Cover-David-Green.jpg
There’s no clear case for or against basic income, says David Green, who is chairing a BC government advisory committee.Photo by Geoff Dembicki.

The idea of adopting basic income in B.C. is appealingly simple.

During an era when the gap between rich and poor is reaching levels not seen since the Gilded Age, machines threaten to automate tens of millions of jobs and owning a home is becoming impossible, the idea that governments should make no-strings-attached cash payments to citizens struggling to survive seems to make sense.

That’s the basic logic of an idea that has been debated and tested in Canada for over 40 years and is at the centre of a potentially groundbreaking new $4-million study funded by the B.C. government.

“In British Columbia, as in Ontario, 70 per cent of the people who live beneath the poverty line have a job.”

The three-person expert committee leading the study will compile findings from about two-dozen independent research projects later this year. MORE