After a decade of research, here’s what scientists know about the health impacts of fracking

This is important scientific health information that you need to know to protect your family. It’s also important to get this information to policy makers. For example, Alberta and British Columbia are embarking on major LNG developments. The bottom line is these developments will further frustrate our efforts to meet our climate targets.

“This should be of serious concern to policymakers interested in protecting public health.”


Credit: Mark Dixon/Flickr

Fracking has been linked to preterm births, high-risk pregnancies, asthma, migraine headaches, fatigue, nasal and sinus symptoms, and skin disorders over the last 10 years, according to a new study.

Fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing, is a process of extracting oil and gas from the Earth by drilling deep wells and injecting a mixture of liquids and chemicals at high pressure.

The study, which was published in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Global Public Health in February, looked at several hundred scientific articles about the community and health impacts of fracking. The researchers focused on the design of those studies to ensure that the ones they included in their study were scientifically valid, then summarized what’s been learned about the industry in the last decade.


Credit: Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Global Public

They found evidence that water pollution, air pollution, and soil contamination caused by the industry have been linked to adverse health impacts through both exposure to toxic chemicals released during fracking, and through increased stress and anxiety caused by the increased light, noise, and truck traffic associated with fracking.

“As a fossil fuel, natural gas extraction and use is contributing to climate change, of course,” Gorski said, “but before conducting this study, I didn’t realize the amount of of evidence we have that it may be even worse than coal.”

MORE

Anti-capitalism is entering the mainstream. Are we ready?

Faced with the urgent need to address climate change, the pitch that individual environmentally-friendly consumerist choices is finally falling flat with more and more people. The New Green Deal proposes a blueprint to address climate change that will demand concerted action by all levels of government, national, provincial or state, and municipalities if we are to reach the IPCC’s crucial targets to avoid climate disaster It’s time to ask,  Where is the County’s New Green Deal?

George MonbiotGeorge Monbiot. Image: John Russell/Flickr

For years it seemed that anti-capitalism wasn’t really the stuff of polite conversation.

It may have been okay to talk about corporate power or corporate rule and maybe more recently about the 1% or even neo-liberalism, but in many civil society circles in this country, it felt like it was a step too far to be explicitly anti-capitalist.

With climate breakdown upon us, might that be changing?

 “What we have to do is the big structural, political economic stuff. We have to overthrow this system which is eating the planet with perpetual growth. We’ve got to go straight to the heart of capitalism and overthrow it.” -George Monbiot

Naomi Klein — whose 2014 book This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate helped move this critique along — tweeted about Monbiot’s TV appearance, “Gotta love it when the live studio audience of a British chat show cheers for overthrowing capitalism to save our habitat.”

Klein has commented, “After years of recycling, carbon offsetting and light bulb changing, it is obvious that individual action will never be an adequate response to the climate crisis. Climate change is a collective problem, and it demands collective action.”

Always ready with a new trick, the Trudeau government is now trying to sell us the spin that the carbon tax is a significant measure to address climate breakdown.

But that argument quickly breaks down when you look at the numbers, says Mark Jaccard, professor in the School of Environment and Resource Management at Simon Fraser University….the federal carbon tax is $20 a tonne and will max out at $50 a tonne in 2022. In other words, it’s an insufficient tax that won’t help us reach an insufficient target. MORE

 

OCASIO-CORTEZ SAYS CLIMATE CHANGE IS ‘FUELING’ THE IMMIGRATION CRISIS

Image result for daily caller: OCASIO-CORTEZ SAYS CLIMATE CHANGE IS ‘FUELING’ THE IMMIGRATION CRISIS

Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said climate change was a “major factor” behind the wave of migrants making their way to the U.S. southern border.

“The far-right loves to drum up fear [and] resistance to immigrants,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Tuesday. “But have you ever noticed they never talk about what‘s causing people to flee their homes in the first place?”

“Perhaps that’s [because] they’d be forced to confront 1 major factor fueling global migration: Climate change,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

@AOC

The far-right loves to drum up fear & resistance to immigrants.

But have you ever noticed they never talk about what‘s causing people to flee their homes in the first place?

Perhaps that’s bc they’d be forced to confront 1 major factor fueling global migration:

Climate change.

The Leap@TheLeap_Org

Did you ever notice that the same leaders denying climate change are the ones drumming up fear and hatred against migrants? Check out our new video on why the climate movement must fight for migrant justice to win the world we want. Voiceover by @thandienewton

Embedded video

32.5K people are talking about this
Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet links to a video by The Leap, a group founded by author and activist Naomi Klein. The Leap’s video discusses “why the climate movement must fight for migrant justice to win the world we want.”

It’s part of a growing effort to link global warming to a host of seemingly unrelated issues, like immigration, national security and health care. Former Vice President Al Gore repeatedly tried to link man-made warming to the current wave of migration from Central America to the U.S. MORE

RELATED:

ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: IT’S TIME TO CONFRONT THE MAJOR FACTOR FUELING GLOBAL MIGRATION—CLIMATE CHANGE

ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: IT’S TIME TO CONFRONT THE MAJOR FACTOR FUELING GLOBAL MIGRATION—CLIMATE CHANGE

GettyImages-1129765438
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attends the 2019 SXSW Conference and Festival on March 10 in Austin, Texas. Ocasio-Cortez has hit out at immigration critics who do not acknowledge the role climate change plays in driving global migration. GARY MILLER/FILMMAGIC/GETTY

New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter on Tuesday to highlight one of the driving factors behind global migration that, more often than not, goes ignored by those seeking to quell it: climate change.

“The far-right loves to drum up fear & resistance to immigrants,” said Ocasio-Cortez, whose own Green New Dealproposal aims to address climate change and economic inequality. “But have you ever noticed they never talk about what’s causing people to flee their homes in the first place? Perhaps that’s [because] they’d be forced to confront [one] major factor fueling global migration: Climate change.”


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

@AOC

The far-right loves to drum up fear & resistance to immigrants.

But have you ever noticed they never talk about what‘s causing people to flee their homes in the first place?

Perhaps that’s bc they’d be forced to confront 1 major factor fueling global migration:

Climate change.

The Leap@TheLeap_Org

Did you ever notice that the same leaders denying climate change are the ones drumming up fear and hatred against migrants? Check out our new video on why the climate movement must fight for migrant justice to win the world we want. Voiceover by @thandienewton

Embedded video

…The United Nations has identified Central America as one of the regions most vulnerable to extreme weather connected to climate change. A drought in Central America from 2014 to 2016 left millions in need of food aid.

A large portion of the asylum seekers arriving at the U.S. border come from the so-called Northern Triangle of Central American countries—Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador—where drought has devastated food and economic security. MORE

RELATED:

Green New Deal has kicked off new climate conversation

 

Putting ‘the language of the Earth on the agenda’

Indigenous leaders offer unique perspective on climate change

Nainoa Thompson at the podium

Climate change may finally be making headlines, but it is far from news. Addressing an overflow crowd at “The Land and the Waters Are Speaking: Indigenous Views on Climate Change” at Andover Hall on Thursday evening, Angaangaq Angakkorsuaq, an Eskimo Kalaallit elder and storyteller, recalled hearing of the first warning signs back in 1963.

The occasion was a traditional ceremony in which hunters in Greenland go inland to the glacier — the “big ice” — to give thanks.“ And they looked up there and water was trickling down,” said Angakkorsuaq. “The big ice was dripping water.” This was in January, when the temperature averaged 35 degrees below zero Celsius, a hard freeze that would typically last for three months. When a group of elders repeated the ceremony that March, they found the same stream. What they would eventually learn was that rising temperatures were creating lakes on top of the glacier, and that water was seeping down through cracks, accelerating further melting.

Angakkorsuaq, now 72, later became a runner for the elders, spreading news from village to village. It was with that mission that in 1978 he was sent to address the United Nations, where he spoke of the increasing melt. In a folksy, often humorous style, the silver-haired storyteller known as “Uncle” described being in the city, in a three-piece suit, and returning to tell his community about his triumph.

“Then all of a sudden, my beloved father stopped me and said, ‘Did they hear you?’ I said, ‘They gave me a standing ovation!’ And then he asked again, ‘Did they hear you?’ And he wanted to know if they heard my message from the elders: The ice is melting and it’s not good for the Earth and the people who live on her and the animals who live on her and the plants who live on her.”

Angakkorsuaq repeatedly drew the connection between the spiritual and the physical, linking kindness and love with stewardship of the Earth. “It’s too late to stop the melt of the big ice,” he said, frequently returning to this ominous note. “The ice will melt and the ocean will rise, and many of our families will lose their land. Boston will be under water. Where should we put you? Who should take care of you?” MORE

 

Glaciers and Arctic ice are vanishing. Time to get radical before it’s too late

No one should be annoyed when schoolkids start leaving class en masse or surprised that Green New Deal advocates call for dramatic overhaul of American society. We should be grateful


‘The respectable have punted; so now it’s up to the scruffy, the young, the marginal, the angry to do the necessary work.’ Photograph: UPI/Barcroft Images

Forget “early warning signs” and “canaries in coalmines” – we’re now well into the middle of the climate change era, with its epic reshaping of our home planet. Monday’s news, from two separate studies, made it clear that the frozen portions of the Earth are now in violent and dramatic flux.

The first, led by the veteran Greenland glaciologist Jason Box, looked across the Arctic at everything from “increased tundra biomass” to deepening thaw of the permafrost layer. Their conclusion: “the Arctic biophysical system is now clearly trending away from its 20th century state and into an unprecedented state, with implications not only within but beyond the Arctic.” To invent a word, the north is rapidly slushifying, with more rainfall and fewer days of hard freeze; the latest data shows that after a month of record temperatures in the Bering Sea, ocean ice in the Arctic is at an all-time record low for the date, crushing the record set … last April.

The other study looked at the great mountain ranges of the planet, and found that their glaciers were melting much faster than scientists had expected. By the end of the century many of those alpine glaciers would be gone entirely; the Alps may lose 90% of their ice. From the Caucasus to the South Island of New Zealand, mountains are losing more than 1% of their ice each year now: “At the current glacier loss rate, the glaciers will not survive the century,” said Michael Zemp, who runs the World Glacier Monitoring Service from his office at the University of Zurich.

…For the moment, though, don’t worry about the “effects”, just focus on what it means that some of the largest systems on Earth are now in seismic shift.

What it means, I think, is that no one should be shocked when Extinction Rebellion activists engage in mass civil disobedience. No one should be annoyed when school kids start leaving class en masse. No one should be surprised that Green New Deal advocates are now calling for dramatic overhaul of American society. In fact we should be deeply grateful: these activists, and the scientists producing these reports, are the only people on the planet who seem to understand the scale of the problem. MORE

2019 is the year young people rise for climate justice


Photo Credit: Allan Lissner

In Ottawa, Canada — unsurrendered lands of the Algonquin Anishnabe, water protectors and land defenders from across the country gathered on February 14–18th for the mass youth climate convergence, Powershift: Young and Rising, organized by 20 youth. Young and Rising came at a critical time in Canada, falling months after the worst wildfire season on record in the country and reports that glaciers are melting much faster than expected in the North.

Even with the latest UN report stating we have less than 12 years to radically transition off of fossil fuels to prevent the worst possible climate crisis, the Canadian government continues to invest in the oil industry at the cost of Indigenous rights and a liveable planet, while promoting a public image of reconciliation and climate leadership.

Within the past year, the Canadian government purchased an oil pipeline for $4 billion taxpayer dollars, and forcefully removed the Wet’suwet’en Nation from their unsurrendered lands (which they had already proven title to in the Supreme Court) for the Coastal Gas Link pipeline. Kanahus Manuel, Secwepemc Tiny House Warrior, aptly dubbed pipelines in Canada as “transportation corridors that are taking stolen resources off of Indigenous territories,” in her keynote at Young and Rising.

“We are told that we have 12 years to act before irreversible catastrophe yet the urgency of the crisis is flatly denied or met with false solutions. We must build mass power capable of actually reversing this trajectory,” Nayeli Jimenez, Powershift Organizer told me.

Nayeli affirmed that the real solutions are being championed at the grassroots level, “Indigenous communities are standing on the frontlines against resource extraction and fossil fuel infrastructure across Turtle Island.” MORE

What Will You Say to Your Grandchildren?

Facing oncoming climate disaster, some argue for “Deep Adaptation”—that we must prepare for inevitable collapse. However, this orientation is dangerously flawed. It threatens to become a self-fulfilling prophecy by diluting the efforts toward positive change. What we really need right now is Deep Transformation. There is still time to act: we must acknowledge this moral imperative.

Every now and then, history has a way of forcing ordinary people to face up to a moral encounter with destiny that they never expected. Back in the 1930s, as Adolf Hitler rose to power, those who turned away when they saw Jews getting beaten in the streets never expected that decades later, their grandchildren would turn toward them with repugnance and say “Why did you do nothing when there was still a chance to stop the horror?”

Now, nearly a century on, here we are again. The fate of future generations is at stake, and each of us needs to be prepared, one day, to face posterity—in whatever form that might take—and answer the question: “What did you do when you knew our future was on the line?”

Jews humiliated by Nazis
Many ordinary Germans looked away as Jews were publicly beaten and humiliated by Nazis

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock the past few months, or get your daily updates exclusively from Fox News, you’ll know that our world is facing a dire climate emergency that’s rapidly reeling out of control. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued a warning to humanity that we have just twelve years to turn things around before we pass the point of no return. Governments continue to waffle and ignore the blaring sirens. The pledges they’ve made under the 2015 Paris agreement will lead to 3 degrees of warming, which would threaten the foundations of our civilization. And they’re not even on track to meet those commitments. Even the IPCC’s dire warning of calamity is, by many accounts, too conservative, failing to take into account tipping points in the earth system with reinforcing feedback effects that could drive temperatures far beyond the IPCC’s worst case scenarios.

People are beginning to feel panicky in the face of oncoming disaster. Books such as David Wallace-Wells’s Uninhabitable Earth paint a picture so frightening that it’s already feeling to some like game over. A strange new phenomenon is emerging: while mainstream media ignores impending catastrophe, increasing numbers of people are resonating with those who say it’s now “too late” to save civilization. The concept of “Deep Adaptation” is beginning to gain currency, with its proponent Jem Bendell arguing that “we face inevitable near-term societal collapse,” and therefore need to prepare for “civil unrest, lawlessness and a breakdown in normal life.”

There’s much that is true in the Deep Adaptation diagnosis of our situation, but its orientation is dangerously flawed. By turning people’s attention toward preparing for doom, rather than focusing on structural political and economic change, Deep Adaptation threatens to become a self-fulfilling prophecy, increasing the risk of collapse by diluting efforts toward societal transformation. MORE

Doug Ford and his caucus forgot to mention something when they filled up their gas tanks last weekend


A sample of fhe photos Ontario MPPs posted on Twitter on March 31 reminding them is was the last day to fill up their vehicles before the federal carbon tax kicked in and increased gas prices. Graphic by Fatima Syed

Ontario’s leaders were at the pumps all weekend reminding residents that the federal carbon tax was kicking in Monday.

From Kenora to Oxford to Ottawa and Toronto, all 55 members of the Progressive Conservative provincial government of Doug Ford posted photographs of themselves at gas stations warning drivers to fill up their tanks before a federal price on pollution adds to the cost.

The question of what to do about climate change was also largely avoided; none of the tweets even mentioned the phrase “climate change” or addressed the cost of failing to adequately address the problem.

Ontario’s leaders were at the pumps all weekend reminding residents that the federal carbon tax was kicking in Monday.

From Kenora to Oxford to Ottawa and Toronto, all 55 members of the Progressive Conservative provincial government of Doug Ford posted photographs of themselves at gas stations warning drivers to fill up their tanks before a federal price on pollution adds to the cost.

The question of what to do about climate change was also largely avoided; none of the tweets even mentioned the phrase “climate change” or addressed the cost of failing to adequately address the problem.

Rod Phillips

@RodPhillips01

Tomorrow life gets more expensive for you because of the Federal Carbon Tax. Ontario has a plan that does our share to reduce emissions without a tax. A Carbon Tax is not the only way to fight climate change – that’s why we are using every tool at our disposal to fight this tax.

Asked about it later at a news conference — held to herald the end of the province’s Drive Clean program, an automotive emission control test — Premier Ford said he doesn’t believe Ottawa will follow through on something that has been written into federal legislation and regulation and is written into tax forms.

“Nobody trusts the federal government when they cross their fingers and they say they will eventually, eventually, that’s a magical word, give money back to us,” he said. “I’ve yet to see governments give money back.” MORE

Why the Guardian is putting global CO2 levels in the weather forecast

As CO2 levels climb, the carbon count is a daily reminder we must tackle climate change now


The Mauna Loa weather observatory in Hawaii. The Guardian will publish the Mauna Loa carbon count every day. Photograph: Courtesy of NOAA

The simplest measure of how the mass burning of fossil fuels is disrupting the stable climate in which human civilisation developed is the number of carbon dioxide molecules in the atmosphere.

Today, the CO2 level is the highest it has been for several million years. Back then, temperatures were 3-4C hotter, sea level was 15-20 metres higher and trees grew at the south pole. Worse, billions of tonnes of carbon pollution continues to pour into the air every year and at a rate 10 times faster than for 66m years.

At the dawn of the industrial revolution, CO2 was at 280 parts per million (ppm) in the atmosphere. By 1958, when the first measurements were made at Mauna Loa in Hawaii, it had reached 315ppm. It raced past 350ppm in 1986 and 400ppm in 2013.

The Guardian will now publish the Mauna Loa carbon count, the global benchmark, on the weather page of the paper every day.

“Levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have risen so dramatically, and including a measure of that in our daily weather report is symbolic of what human activity is doing to our climate. People need reminding that the climate crisis is no longer a future problem – we need to tackle it now, and every day matters.”

Atmospheric CO2

While the CO2 level is an important and symbolic measure of the global warming caused by humanity, it is a simple one. The increases in temperature the world experiences, and the heatwaves, storms and droughts that strike, also depend on how fast emissions rise or fall and how long they remain at high levels. The 350ppm level was proposed in 2008 by Nasa’s Prof James Hansen as a suitable target. MORE

March 15 CO2 level: 411.75