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

Next, U.S. Republicans Vote To Repeal the Law of Gravity

Last Thursday, Democratic Senator Ed Markey responded with sardonic humour to the anti-science, pro-pollution bill introduced by Senators Inhofe and Upton to overturn the Environmental Protection Agency’s rules on climate pollution, including its endangerment finding:

Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to a bill that overturns the scientific finding that pollution is harming our people and our planet.However, I won’t physically rise, because I’m worried that Republicans will overturn the law of gravity, sending us floating about the room.

I won’t call for the sunlight of additional hearings, for fear that Republicans might excommunicate the finding that the Earth revolves around the sun.

Instead, I’ll embody Newton’s third law of motion and be an equal and opposing force against this attack on science and on laws that will reduce America’s importation of foreign oil.

This bill will live in the House while simultaneously being dead in the Senate. It will be a legislative Schrodinger’s cat killed by the quantum mechanics of the legislative process!

Arbitrary rejection of scientific fact will not cause us to rise from our seats today. But with this bill, pollution levels will rise. Oil imports will rise. Temperatures will rise.

And with that, I yield back the balance of my time. That is, unless a rejection of Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity is somewhere in the chair’s amendment pile.


More links:

During Climate Hearing, Markey asks if Anti-Science GOP will repeal Gravity, Heliocentrism, Relativity. ThinkProgress.org

Risky Business: Will Facts Ever Drive the Congressional Debate On Climate Change?

Hope from Africa: Whatever Happens, Don’t Ever Give Up

Tcktcktck – 5 days until Copenhagen.  And the global warmer deniers continue to be hot and bothered.  They persist in their focus on the hacked emails from the University of East Anglia which I wrote about on Monday. Senator James Inhofe is one of the people leading U.S.’s denial lobby; and he also happens to be the U.S. senator who receives the most money from the oil and gas industries.  Inhofe thinks that “global warming is debunked everytime he drinks a slushie and gets a brain freeze” (Jon Stewart).

As Copenhagen gets closer, if you are anything like me, you might be feeling the need for a dose of encouragement. Here’s some:

William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer’s book The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind has made it to Amazon’s top 10 Best Books of 2009, as well as Publisher Weekly’s Best Book of the Year.  It tells about how Kamkwamba, “a simple farmer in a country of poor farmers” built a windmill about of bicycle parts and other scrap pieces when he was 14, after being forced to drop out of school because of a severe drought in Malawi. He built his windmill to pump water and generate electricity for his home. Now every home in Wimbe, Kamkwamba’s hometown, has a solar panel and a battery to store power. His message to  “all the people out there – to the Africans, and to poor people” is to never give up.

Trust yourself, and believe.  Whatever happens, don’t ever give up.”

Click here view a video of Mr. Kamkwamba speaking at the TED Global Conference this past July.

The situation that we are in is too important to let the deniers sidetrack us. Let’s take Mr. Kamkwamba’s words to heart, and keep up the good fight for a real, fair and binding treaty on global warming. Check out the links on my blogroll and take action.