Fearless Summer Heats Up

INM in New Brunswick.June 2013


  • There have been five arrests this week of people protesting the presence of SWN Resources Canada on traditional Mi’kmaq territory in New Brunswick. The protests are being led by First Nations leaders, and are a result of the fears that SWN’s seismic testing will result in hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, on the land. Read more at “Anti-fracking Arrests Continue on Highway 126″.
  • A new report states there are “potentially catastrophic” changes underway in Canada’s northern McKenzie River Basin. Published on Monday, the report from an international panel of scientists warns that Canada’s Mackenzie River basin—among the world’s most important major ecosystems—is “poorly studied, inadequately monitored, and at serious risk due to climate change and resource exploitation” – and is particularly at risk because of the tar sands development:

In a report, nine Canadian, US and UK scientists convened by the US-based Rosenberg International Forum on , say effective governance of the massive Basin, comprising an area three times larger than France—holds enormous national and global importance due to the watershed’s biodiversity and its role in hemispheric , stabilizing climate and the health of the Arctic Ocean.

The panel agreed the largest single threat to the Basin is a potential breach in the tailings ponds at one of the large oil sands sites mining surface bitumen. A breach in winter sending tailings liquid under the ice of the tributary , “would be virtually impossible to remediate or clean-up,” says the report, available in full online. Read more at http://phys.org/

And there was flooding in the Fort McMurray area this week, putting those tailing ponds even more than usually at risk of breaching.

  • Brace yourself – a climate scientist from the University of Ottawa is predicting that the Arctic summer ice will disappear this summer. On his blog on Sierra Club Canada‘s website, Paul Beckwith discusses his predictions and reminds us that it’s way past time for an adult conversation about climate change.
For the record—I do not think that any sea ice will survive this summer. An event unprecedented in human history is today, this very moment, transpiring in the Arctic Ocean.The cracks in the sea ice that I reported in my Sierra blog and elsewhere have spread. Worse news is at this very moment the entire sea ice sheet (or about 99 percent of it) covering the Arctic Ocean is on the move (clockwise), and the thin, weakened icecap has literally begun to tear apart.

This is abrupt climate change in real-time.

Humans have benefited greatly from a stable climate for the last 11,000 years (roughly 400 human generations). Not anymore. We now face an angry climate — one that we have poked in the eye with our fossil fuel stick — and have to deal with the consequences.

We must set aside our differences and prepare for what we can no longer avoid: massive disruption to our civilization.”


fearless summer

Because of all of the above, I have decided to attend the 4th Annual Tar Sands Healing Walk, July 5 & 6 in Fort McMurray Alberta, and join people from across Canada and beyond who are traveling there to support our First Nations in their fight for climate justice. Along with the other participants, I will call on the Alberta and Canadian governments to stop the reckless mismanagement of these resources. Go to HealingWalk.org for more information.

Arctic Sea Ice Death Spiral Visible From Space

Holy sh*t – if this video doesn’t alarm the heck out of you, you don’t have a pulse!

New findings on the state of the Arctic sea ice, resulting from a collaboration between many international agencies, confirm new data collected from the European Space Agency’s CryoSat-2 satellite spanning 2010 to 2012, and data from NASA’s ICESat satellite from 2003 to 2008. And the news isn’t good, folks. Humanity has never experienced an ice-free arctic, but that’s all going to change in the next decade unless we make a dramatic downward shift in our production of carbon dioxide. In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s time to address the global climate crisis; let’s put our human ingenuity, the hallmark of our species, to work.

A few years ago, some scientists were predicting that the total volume of summertime ice in the Arctic, what many call the “air conditioner of the planet,” could decline by as much as 75 percent by 2020. For the most part they were dismissed by their peers for being “too aggressive” in their climatological models. Now, thanks to two high-tech satellites capable of directly measuring both area and depth of ice (and thus calculate total volume), these experts have been vindicated. Read more on MNN.com.


More links:

NERC – CryoSat-2 Mission Reveals Major Arctic Sea-Ice Loss

Climate Nexus

Climate Emergency: Arctic Sea Ice Bombshell

arctic sea ice decreased by 80%*

As Joe Romm at ThinkProgress points out, this should be the story of the week/year/decade:

Now the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the UK’s primary agency for funding and managing environmental sciences research, has made it official. In a Wednesday press release, they report:

Arctic sea ice volume has declined by 36 per cent in the autumn and 9 per cent in the winter between 2003 and 2012, a UK-led team of scientists has discovered….

The findings confirm the continuing decline in Arctic sea-ice volume simulated by the Pan-Arctic Ice-Ocean Modelling & Assimilation System (PIOMAS), which estimates the volume of Arctic sea ice and had been checked using earlier submarine, mooring, and satellite observations until 2008.  

Read full article on ThinkProgress.

Now is it time to take action on climate change, Prime Minister Harper?