In Belleville, July 4: Hear Mike Schreiner talking about the $26 trillion global clean economy

Image result for Mike Schreiner

Ontario’s first Green MPP is hitting the road this summer to discuss our economic future.

While the Premier is busy slapping stickers on gas pumps, Mike Schreiner will be engaging Ontarians about the $26 trillion global clean economy, where low-carbon jobs and investment are outpacing the industries of yesterday.

Meet Mike and the Bay of Quinte Greens to discuss what the Clean and Caring Economy means for our area and how we can create jobs that will tackle the climate emergency while making Ontario prosperous.

Host
Bay of Quinte GPO Constituency Association

Where
The Brake Room
34 Dundas Street East, Belleville

When
Thursday, July 4th, 2019 11:00 AM — 12:00 PM

RSVP


 

Report: Investing in Canadian Climate Science

Pioneering research in atmospheric sciences, meteorology and oceanography

Investing in Canadian Climate Science

This report is centered on what we heard from Canadian climate scientists about their experiences with research funding. It identifies strengths and weaknesses in how funding is allocated to climate science and puts forth seven recommendations for strengthening the landscape of climate science in Canada and ensuring that Canada remains a global leader in the field.

We took on this project because, in the face of the climate crisis, we understand that Canadian science plays a key role in our understanding of climate change.

Canada has unique access to the Arctic and Canadian researchers have pioneered research in atmospheric sciences, meteorology and oceanography. Given this, Canada is primed to be a global leader in these fields, if we strive to support our researchers by providing them the resources and funding that they require to carry out world-class research.

Here are some of our key findings: 

  • 77% of climate scientists think that highly qualified scientists are leaving the field due to a lack of support for their work.
  • 94% of climate scientists say that they rely on foreign resources to carry out their research.
  • There is significant anxiety about the federal approach to climate science within the scientific community, with 82% of surveyed climate scientists having concerns.
  • While there has been an increase in funding for climate related research in ecology and environmental science and management, vital work in the atmospheric sciences is being neglected.
  • As one climate scientist said “The current government funding approach is not a well-considered coherent approach but rather an amalgam of funding from diverse departments.”

For the rest of the findings, and to read  seven recommendations, check out the full report.

Tsilhqot’in Nation urges Taseko Mines to stop drilling plans before conflict grows

Nation said Teztan Biny area is of ‘profound cultural and spiritual importance’

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A view of part of Teztan Biny (Fish Lake)

The Tsilhqot’in Nation is calling for a safe and peaceful resolution to prevent Taseko Mines Ltd. from doing exploratory drilling for its proposed New Prosperity Mine west of Williams Lake.

The conflict is the latest confrontation in a long legal battle between the Nation, which has declared title rights in the area and the mining company.

On June 13, Taseko gave two-week notice that it planned to begin its drilling program on Tuesday, July 2 in an area 125 kilometres southwest of Williams Lake at Teztan Biny (Fish Lake).

In a statement issued Tuesday, the Tsilhqot’in Nation said it wants TML to stand down on the drilling program and not bring machinery and personnel to the site. The nation is also asking the B.C. government to step up and help resolve the issue.

“The Tsilhqo’tin Nation opposes this drilling program as an imminent violation of its human rights under the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples,” the statement noted.

Teztan Biny is located in traditional Tsilhqot’in territory and includes 300,000 hectares of wilderness and wildlife habitat. It is just outside of the 1,900 square kilometre area in which the TNG won title over in a historic 2014 Supreme Court of Canada ruling, but still within a broader area under land claim. MORE

Major global firms accused of concealing their environmental impact

More than 700 companies, including Amazon, Tesco and ExxonMobil, lack transparency, campaign group claims


ExxonMobil is accused of failing to reveal the full extent of their impact on the climate crisis. Photograph: STAFF/Reuters

A $10tn (£7.9tn) investor alliance has accused more than 700 companies, including Amazon, Tesco and ExxonMobil, of failing to reveal the full extent of their impact on the climate crisis, water shortages and deforestation.

The major global companies, with a combined worth ofmore than $15tn, lack transparency over their effect on the environment, according to the intervention by some of the world’s biggest financial names.

Campaign platform CDP has brought together a record number of investors, including banking giants HSBC and Investec, to demand companies reveal data on the environmental cost of how they do business.

The group said it was targeting 707 companies because of their “high environmental impact and lack of transparency” to date. The list includes the world’s largest fossil fuel companies such as BP and ExxonMobil as well as palm oil giant Genting Plantations and UK high street brands including Tesco, Ocado, WH Smith, Marks & Spencer and JD Wetherspoon.

The CDP said 546 companies were being targeted to disclose information on the climate crisis, 166 on water security and 115 on deforestation. More than 7,000 companies already disclose their environmental impact through the CDP platform.

The US is home to the highest number of companies named in the campaign, accounting for a fifth of the list, followed by Australia at 16%. UK companies make up 3.5% of the companies named and include constituents of the FTSE 100.

Many of the companies on the list report on their environmental impact in their own sustainability reports but the CDP claims this is insufficient because their reports do not use standardised data. This makes it difficult to compare company performances on the environment, according to CDP. MORE

So much plastic is being made that “recycling has no impact”

overflowing trash
Public Domain MaxPixel

A Canadian scientist wants us to rethink our approach to plastic and challenge the colonial system that produces it.

Recycling has been called a Band-Aid solution, but Dr. Max Liboiron, director of the Civic Laboratory for Environmental Action Research (CLEAR) in St. John’s, Newfoundland, had a far more poetic description when she said, “Recycling is like a Band-Aid on gangrene.”

Liboiron, who studies microplastics in waterways and food webs, is the subject of a 13-minute film called ‘Guts,’ created by Taylor Hess and Noah Hutton and published by the Atlantic (embedded below). She runs a laboratory that identifies itself as feminist and anti-colonial, which may sound odd in a scientific setting. Liboiron explains in the film:

“Every time you decide what question to ask or not ask others, which counting style you use, which statistics you use, how you frame things, where you publish them, who you work with, where you get funding from… all of that is political. Reproducing the status quo is deeply political because the status quo is crappy.”

The lab is concerned with preserving certain Indigenous traditions, such as smudging and praying over the disposal of dissected fish intestines following research. It implements protocols such as not wearing earbuds while working on a carcass, as this shows disrespect and lack of connection to the animal.

Liboiron is also committed to promoting citizen science. She has built two devices that trawl for microplastics, constructed from everyday materials. One costs $12, the other $500. These stand in contrast to the standard collection device, which costs $3,500. This makes it impossibly expensive for the average person to sample their own water, which Liboiron believes everyone has the right to do.

She doesn’t mince her words when it comes to recycling and its lack of efficacy:

“The only real mode of attack is to deal with the heavy decrease in the production of plastics, as opposed to dealing with them after they’ve already been created. Your consumer behaviours do not matter, not on the scale of the problem. On the scale of personal ethics, yes. Recycling has skyrocketed [with] no impact on the scale of plastic production whatsoever. Really it’s the cessation of production that will make the big-scale changes.”

As someone who advocates for personal plastic reduction, there’s a lot to take away from this statement. To the naysayers who argue there’s no point trying, the personal ethics response is powerful: We have to do these things so that we feel we are making a difference and to position ourselves to be able to challenge authority and the status quo without being a hypocrite. Does it actually help? Probably not much, if we’re being honest, but it can galvanize the broader societal change required to spur political decisions that can turn off the plastic tap eventually.

Liboiron views single-use plastic as a function of colonialism, the product of a system of domination that assumes access to land, both in terms of resource extraction and a product’s eventual disposal. She wrote in an article for Teen Vogue‘s Plastic Planet series,

“[The plastics industry] assumes that household waste will be picked up and taken to landfills or recycling plants that allow plastic disposables to go ‘away.’ Without this infrastructure and access to land, Indigenous land, there is no disposability.”

Usually this land belongs to developing nations or remote communities, which are then criticized by wealthier ones for mismanaging their waste, despite much of it being shipped there from those wealthier countries. Suggestions such as building more incinerators are made, despite the harmful environmental impact these solutions would have.

It’s clear that recycling isn’t going to solve this plastic crisis, and rethinking the system that produces it is really our only choice. Scientists like Liboiron force us to think outside the box, and it’s refreshing.

MORE

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Indigenous guardians turn to their laws to protect the coast

To care, you must be connected

Jonas Prevost is worried about the younger generations’ addiction to technology. He said they think they’re connected through social media, but they’re often disconnected from everything around them. Photo by Emilee Gilpin

Twenty-four-year-old Jonas Prevost doesn’t own a cellphone. He has some social media accounts, but says he doesn’t use them, and he spends most of his time in the forests on Haida Gwaii.

He said if someone wants to get hold of him, they’ll have to just walk to his house in the village, see if his truck is in the driveway and knock on the door.

Prevost lives in Masset, one of two Haida communities on Haida Gwaii, located 100 kilometers west of the northern coast of British Columbia. About 800 people live in Masset.

Haida Gwaii is an isolated group of more than 200 islands, with a total landmass of about 10,000 square kilometres.

The Haida people have lived here for at least 14,000 years — probably longer.

Prevost works for the Council of the Haida Nation, doing “cultural feature identification surveys,” far from cell service, looking for medicinal plants, old village sites, canoe runs and collecting data, providing further evidence that his people have always been out on their territories, using “every last bit of it.”

“I don’t use Instagram, Facebook or all those things people have that make them stare at a screen for hours a day. Every day, I’m in the forest. We start our day with a coffee and safety briefing, then we’re out the door and don’t come back to the cabin till the day is done,” Prevost told National Observer in April.

“Everything you need is on your back. You can’t Google anything out there. If something goes wrong, you need to have the skills, self-reliance and confidence to be OK.”

Prevost is also an Indigenous guardian, which means he’s one of a number of people who monitor, survey, preserve and protect their homelands, upholding the stewardship responsibilities of their nation, and the governing structures that exist within their nation. While Canadians may be more familiar with the role of a park ranger or conservation officer, guardians are first and foremost accountable to their governing structures, ones that have mostly effectively managed and preserved lands and waters for thousands of years.

Indigenous guardians are on the front lines of a battle between unfettered development and sustainability. They strive to reconcile the differences between their own Indigenous laws, values and associated responsibilities, and the policies and practices of settler societies. MORE

RELATED:

National Observer Special Report: First Nations Forward

 

 

The Green Way to Fly

Airships could carry food, drugs, supplies and construction equipment to the Canadian North in all seasons at a fraction of the cost of road and plane transportation.

I [Silver Donald Cameron] recently finished re-reading – overnight, almost in one sitting, and mostly on my phone – John McPhee’s wonderful book The Deltoid Pumpkin Seed. I first read it around 40 years ago, soon after its publication in 1973. Like much of McPhee’s work, it has stayed with me not as a book but as an experience, an evergreen literary memory. The second reading was just about as good as the first.

The Deltoid Pumpkin Seed is the story of a group of men devoted to airships – blimps, dirigibles, zeppelins. They believed first, that the airships should never have been marginalized and abandoned, and second, that a new form they called “aeron” – which blended lighter-than-air vehicles with modern aerodynamics – would have even more incredible carrying capacity and flexibility. Such an Aeron would carry vast amounts of freight – or people – at low altitudes and modest speeds without any need for the whole infrastructure of roads, bridges and similar structures which our current transportation system requires. It would comfortably traverse forest and tundra, rock and water, crossing oceans, cities and Arctic terrain equally smoothly and cheaply.

These enthusiasts were – and are — right. In fact, there was actually no overwhelming need for a new invention; the airships that were in service a century ago did all those things and more – and what really drew me back to the book  was McPhee’s account of that background. For instance, I wanted to re-read a passage about the last great voyage of a US naval airship, when the Navy was trying to find an excuse to end their use. The chosen vehicle, a blimp called Snowbird, took off from the Naval Air Station at South Weymouth, Massachusetts, on March 4, 1957. It flew through gales, snow, freezing rain, heavy fog, desert sun and tropical storms. It burned about 7 gallons of fuel per hour, roughly the same as a smallish fishing boat.  It visited four continents, crossing to Europe, then flying south to Africa, westward to the Lesser Antilles and north to Florida. It was bound for Massachusetts when the Navy ordered it down in Florida. With 15 men aboard, it had flown for 11 days, covering 9,448 miles, a record that stood for many years as the longest unrefuelled flight, both in time and distance, ever made in the earth’s atmosphere.  Try that in a jet.

McPhee also provides an account of a transatlantic voyage in a huge Zeppelin. The voyage is downright magical. The trip took two and a half days. The airship was as long as an ocean liner. Cruising at 75 MPH, it was almost silent, and the ride was so stable that a milk bottle inverted on a table in Germany had not fallen over when the ship docked in New York. The accommodations were spacious – a writing room, a smoking room, a grand piano, fine dining and pleasant wines. Passengers could lower the windows and wave to people on the ground. The ship flew so low that it startled cows in Prince Edward Island and cyclists on the Isle of Man.

The Zeppelins provided regularly-scheduled passenger service across the Atlantic for thirty years without a single accident. The Graf Zeppelin, built in 1928, flew 1,053,391 miles, including one complete circuit of the earth. In nine years, it spent 17,000 hours aloft, and carried 13,000 passengers. The only fatalities in the entire history of airships occurred when the Hindenburg burned completely in 34 seconds in 1936, an event reported live on radio. Even then, of the 97 people aboard, 61 survived – but the fire, and the horrified radio report, put an end to the airships. MORE

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G20 countries triple coal power subsidies despite climate crisis

Major economies pledged a decade ago to phase out all aid for fossil fuels


A protest against the Drax power station in North Yorkshire. Photograph: Guy Bell/Rex

G20 countries have almost tripled the subsidies they give to coal-fired power plants in recent years, despite the urgent need to cut the carbon emissions driving the climate crisis.

The bloc of major economies pledged a decade ago to phase out all fossil fuel subsidies.

The figures, published in a report by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and others, show that Japan is one of the biggest financial supporters of coal, despite the prime minister, Shinzo Abe, having said in September: “Climate change can be life-threatening to all generations … We must take more robust actions and reduce the use of fossil fuels.” The annual G20 meeting begins in Japan on Friday.

China and India give the biggest subsidies to coal, with Japan third, followed by South Africa, South Korea, Indonesia and the US. While the UK frequently runs its own electricity grid without any coal power at all, a parliamentary report in June criticised the billions of pounds used to help to build fossil fuel power plants overseas.

Global emissions must fall by half in the next decade to avoid significantly worsening drought, floods, extreme heatwave and poverty for hundreds of millions of people. But emissions are still increasing, with coal-fired power the biggest single contributor to the rise in 2018.

“It has now been 10 years since the G20 committed to phasing out fossil fuel subsidies, yet astonishingly some governments are actually increasing the amount they give to coal power plants,” said Ipek Gençsü, research fellow at ODI and lead author of the report.

“Momentum is growing around the world for governments to take urgent action to tackle the climate crisis and ending subsidies to coal would bring benefits to all [including reduced air pollution] and help set a level playing field for clean energy,” she said.

The climate change lawsuit that could stop the U.S. government from supporting fossil fuels

A lawsuit filed on behalf of 21 kids alleges the U.S. government knowingly failed to protect them from climate change. If the plaintiffs win, it could mean massive changes for the use of fossil fuels

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Kelsey Juliana

VIEW 60 MINUTES HERE 

Of all the cases working their way through the federal court system, none is more interesting or potentially more life changing than Juliana versus the United States. To quote one federal judge, “This is no ordinary lawsuit.” It was filed back in 2015 on behalf of a group of kids who are trying to get the courts to block the U.S. government from continuing the use of fossil fuels. They say it’s causing climate change, endangering their future and violating their constitutional rights to life, liberty and property. As we first reported earlier this year, when the lawsuit first began hardly anyone took it seriously, including the government’s lawyers, who have since watched the supreme court reject two of their motions to delay or dismiss the case. Four years in, it is still very much alive, in part because the plaintiffs have amassed a body of evidence that will surprise even the skeptics and have forced the government to admit that the crisis is real.

The case was born here in Eugene, Oregon, a tree-hugger’s paradise, and one of the cradles of environmental activism in the United States. The lead plaintiff, University of Oregon student Kelsey Juliana, was only five weeks old when her parents took her to her first rally to protect spotted owls. Today, her main concern is climate change, drought and the growing threat of wildfires in the surrounding Cascade Mountains.

Kelsey Juliana: There was a wildfire season that was so intense, we were advised not to go outside. The particulate matter in the smoke was literally off the charts. It was past severe, in terms of danger to health.

Steve Kroft: And you think that’s because of climate change.

Kelsey Juliana: That’s what scientists tell me.

It’s not just scientists. Even the federal government now acknowledges in its response to the lawsuit that the effects of climate change are already happening and likely to get worse, especially for young people who will have to deal with them for the long term.

“The government has known for over 50 years that burning fossil fuels would cause climate change. And they don’t dispute that we are in a danger zone on climate change.”

Steve Kroft: How important is this case to you?

Kelsey Juliana: This case is everything. This is the climate case. We have everything to lose, if we don’t act on climate change right now, my generation and all the generations to come.

She was 19 when the lawsuit was filed and the oldest of 21 plaintiffs. They come from ten different states and all claim to be affected or threatened by the consequences of climate change. The youngest, Levi Draheim, is in sixth grade. MORE

It’s time we took a seat ‘at your table’: Guterres calls on world youth to keep leading climate emergency response

Older generations have “failed to respond properly” to the climate emergency said the UN chief on Sunday, while the young are “stepping up to the challenge” and taking the lead to slow the destructive pace of global warming.

Lisboa +21 The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, at the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth 2019 and Youth Forum Lisboa+21, in Lisbon, Portugal

António Guterres was making the closing address at the UN-backed World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth, and Youth Forum, in the Portuguese capital Lisbon, Lisboa+21.
António Guterres was making the closing address at the UN-backed World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth, and Youth Forum, in the Portuguese capital Lisbon, Lisboa+21.

The summit comes 21 years after the adoption of the Lisbon Declaration on Youth Policies and Programmes, and provides a place for national governments to talk about progress made with young people directly, and well as introducing new approaches to empowering youth in politics and decision-making.

Building on an argument he has been making for some months now in the face of the existential threat posed by climate change, enshrined in the Paris Agreement of 2015 to keep warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, the Secretary-General said that it’s “not enough to listen to young people and provide a seat at the table – we need to take a seat at your table”.

The summit comes 21 years after the adoption of the Lisbon Declaration on Youth Policies and Programmes, and provides a place for national governments to talk about progress made with young people directly, and well as introducing new approaches to empowering youth in politics and decision-making.

Building on an argument he has been making for some months now in the face of the existential threat posed by climate change, enshrined in the Paris Agreement of 2015 to keep warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, the Secretary-General said that it’s “not enough to listen to young people and provide a seat at the table – we need to take a seat at your table”.

The summit comes 21 years after the adoption of the Lisbon Declaration on Youth Policies and Programmes, and provides a place for national governments to talk about progress made with young people directly, and well as introducing new approaches to empowering youth in politics and decision-making.

Building on an argument he has been making for some months now in the face of the existential threat posed by climate change, enshrined in the Paris Agreement of 2015 to keep warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius, the Secretary-General said that it’s “not enough to listen to young people and provide a seat at the table – we need to take a seat at your table”. MORE