Extreme Weather Events: Brought To Us By Big Oil & Gas

Happy Canada Day! What a week it’s been on the climate/weather front. Here in northwestern Ontario we’ve been experiencing a lovely June, although firefighters say it’s the driest summer in five years (which means they’ll have a busy summer). As I write this early in the morning, the sky is blue, the temperature is hovering around 25 degrees Celcius (that’s 77 degrees Fahrenheit for my American neighbours), and Mark is already out on the lake fishing with my brother and 11 year-old nephew. There are wildfires fires burning in our region but none very close.

However, life is not so idyllic in other parts of the world, even parts not far from us. Floods have made much of Manitoba and Saskatchewan farm land unseedable this year – 1 in 10 Saskatchewan farmers are not putting in a crop, and 3 million acres of Manitoba farmland won’t be planted. Meanwhile, the entire state of Texas has been declared a natural disaster because of drought and wildfires.

While it may be comforting to repeat the mantra that no single weather event can ever be directly tied to climate change,   we should also remember the words of Aldous Huxley, “facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” Scientists have been warning us for decades that the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events is increasing as the atmosphere warms, and that this trend will only get worse as our greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise.

As Oklahoma and Texas swelter under record heat and drought, climate idiot Senator James Inhofe cancelled his appearance at the Heartland Denier conference due to being “under the weather”.  Climate Progress writes:

You may recall last year that Senator Inhofe’s grandchildren built an igloo to mock a killer snow storm, calling it ‘Al Gore’s New Home’.  Of course, extreme precipitation is precisely what we expect from human-caused global warming, but the story still got a lot of play in the media.

What’s more ironic is that the Senate’s leading climate denier bailed on the annual Heartland climate science denial conference this morning — saying “I am under the weather” (!) — just as his home state is being slammed by a record-smashing heatwave and a drought more severe than the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.

Yes, I know, it’s just coincidence, not a karmic backlash.  But then again climate science projects a permanent dust bowl for the Southwest if we keep listening to Inhofe.  It also projects that by century’s end, the state will be above 90°F for 135 days a year! Click here to read the full article.

But not all politicians share Inhofe’s anti-science bias. In Scotland this week, the government set a target of 100% renewable energy by 2020 (oh, Canada, you are so far behind in vision and leadership on this issue!). Go to “2020 Route Map For Renewable Energy in Scotland” to read more.

Meanwhile, showing that leadership on this issue must come from the grassroots, physicians in Prince Edward Island give their premier a petition signed by almost 200 island doctors asking for action on climate change. Click here for more.

Digital innovator Google also weighed in on the green energy economy this week. In a new report Google  says that without a private and public focus on innovation in renewables, storage, and electric vehicles, the cost of delaying the clean energy economy could be in the trillions of dollars to the U.S. economy. Go to Grist.org for a summary, with links to the Google analysis.

What are we waiting for? A new study outlines that the global temperature has been warmer than the 20th century average every month for more than 25 years. Read more at the Washington Post.   It’s time, folks, to “just do it”:


More links:


Citizens Climate Lobby U.S.

Citizens Climate Lobby (Canada)

Moving Planet – Manitoba: A Day To Move Beyond Fossil Fuels

Operation Rock the Boat, and Other Climate Change News

What is going on in the climate change world these days?  I did some surfing and found some of the most interesting postings – hope you enjoy!

Although April Fool’s Day was last week, this April 1st posting from Real Climate is worth reading.  It discusses the “consensus view” of climate scientists that the Northern Hemisphere will be warming as spring approaches, as well as the response – including “scientific diagrams” –  of skeptic and author “Micheal Crikey”.  And don’t miss the comments section!

A “consensus view” amongst climate scientists holds that the Northern Hemisphere will be warming this month, as spring is coming. This is thought to be due to the Earth’s orbit around the sun and the inclination of the Earth’s axis, tilting the Northern Hemisphere progressively towards the sun throughout March and April and increasing the amount of solar radiation received at northern latitudes.

In a new novel, State of Euphoria, bestselling author Michael Crikey uncovers major flaws in this theory and warns against false hopes for the arrival of spring.

This is not merely fiction: Crikey underpins his thesis with numerous scientific diagrams. He presents measurements from over a dozen weather stations in the Northern Hemisphere where temperatures show a cooling trend in March. He further cites scientific results which show that in some places, snow and ice have increased in the past weeks, counter to climatologists’ claims that they should be melting away in the spring sun. He further argues that even the average temperature of the Northern Hemisphere has not increased steadily; during one week of March, it showed a slight cooling despite the increase in solar radiation.

“This casts a grave shadow of doubt on the theory of the seasons”, says Crikey…Click here to read the full article at Real Climate.

From Climate Progress: An Insider’s View of Climate Science, Politics, and Solutions, Joe Romm’s posting on The War Against Carbon Starts Now is the first in a new series Romm is launching about the kind of serious action on decreasing global warming emissions that people can push for at a local and state/provincial level — and even at a national and global level — without waiting for politicians. Part 1 discusses how the Carbon War Room (CWR) is starting to focus on lowering the carbon footprint of the worldwide shipping industry. The Carbon War Room is an exciting nonprofit initiative founded by Sir Richard Branson and several other world-class business leaders to harness “the power of entrepreneurs to implement market-driven solutions to climate change”. The CWR’s operational approach, Romm writes, is to:

“bring together successful entrepreneurs in collaboration with the most respected institutions, scientists, national security experts, and business leaders to implement the change required to avoid catastrophic climate change.”

The Carbon War Room has “identified 25 battles across 7 theaters that are material to winning the war against climate change. Each battle accounts for over 1 billion tons (or more than 2%) of global anthropogenic CO2e emissions annually.”   The figure above represents CWR’s “Theaters and Battles,” with filled in green circles representing an “Op in Progress” and the dotted circles a developing Op.  For instance, one area CWR has already start on is shipping, a too-neglected sector that has huge emissions and but only medium-sized market barriers, which they are addressing with Operation Rock The Boat“… Click here to read the full story at Climate Progress.org.

From Colin  Beavan, AKA “No Impact Man”, some thoughts on environmentalism 2.0:

1. Happier planet = happier people.

2. You make a difference.

3. Our culture is broken.

4. The personal is political.

5. Economic growth ≠ Life satisfaction growth.

6. Jobs are paramount but we should work to make our planetary home better not worse.

7. The concept of zero sum game is for people with zero sum brains.

8. There is a better, happier system out there.

9. If thine eyes (or thine economic system) offends thee, pluck them (or it) out.

10. It’s not about having less. It’s about having more. The question is: more of what?

Go to NoImpactMan.typepad.com to read the complete list.

And for a visual, here’s “60 Seconds of Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions: Actual Volume of Gas in Real Time”. For more images of our global warming emissions, check out “Carbon Quilt: Making Sense of the World’s Carbon Footprint” (thanks to Laurie for the link!).