Transition Brockville archive

Category : Big picture (487)

A ‘new abnormal’ — megafires explode with off-the-charts fury

National Observer / Barry Saxifrage / 29 November 29 2018

Author’s note: The size and destruction of the Camp Fire grew significantly since this article was originally published. Now that this record-breaking fire has been fully contained, I’ve updated the charts and article to show its shocking “off-the-charts” scale.

California is on the burning edge of climate breakdown. Record-breaking drought and heat have turned the Golden State into a tinderbox. The megafires have followed. In the last two years a string of off-the-chart wildfires have exploded with stunning speed and ferocity across forests, grasslands, rural areas and city neighborhoods. California Governor Jerry Brown has called it “the new abnormal.”

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

Quantifying climate hypocrisy – the Canada file

An Outside Chance / Bart Hawkins Kreps / 28 November 2018

It was within the first few weeks of the Justin Trudeau administration that Canada surprised most observers by backing a call from island nations to hold global warming to 1.5°C, as opposed to the 2°C warming threshold that had been a more widely accepted official goal.1

Yet according to a new peer-reviewed study2 of countries’ pledged emissions reduction commitments following the Paris Agreement, Canada’s level of commitment would result in 5.1°C of global warming if all countries followed the same approach to carbon emissions. In this tally of the potential effects of national climate commitments, Canada ranks with the worst of the worst, a select club that also includes Russia, China, New Zealand and Argentina.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

Alberta’s problem isn’t pipelines; it’s bad policy decisions

The Tyee / Andrew Nikiforuk / 23 November 2018

The Alberta government has known for more than a decade that its oilsands policies were setting the stage for today’s price crisis.

Which makes it hard to take the current government seriously when it tries to blame everyone from environmentalists to other provinces for what is a self-inflicted economic problem.

In 2007, a government report warned that prices for oilsands bitumen could eventually fall so low that the government’s royalty revenues — critical for its budget — would be at risk.

The province should encourage companies to add value to the bitumen by upgrading and refining it into gasoline or diesel to avoid the coming price plunge, the report said.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

Fourth National Climate Assessment (US)

U.S. Global Change Research Program / 23 November 2018

The Global Change Research Act of 1990 mandates that the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) deliver a report to Congress and the President no less than every four years that “1) integrates, evaluates, and interprets the findings of the Program…; 2) analyzes the effects of global change on the natural environment, agriculture, energy production and use, land and water resources, transportation, human health and welfare, human social systems, and biological diversity; and 3) analyzes current trends in global change, both human-induced and natural, and projects major trends for the subsequent 25 to 100 years.”

The Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4) fulfills that mandate in two volumes. This report, Volume II, draws on the foundational science described in Volume I, the Climate Science Special Report (CSSR). Volume II focuses on the human welfare, societal, and environmental elements of climate change and variability for 10 regions and 18 national topics, with particular attention paid to observed and projected risks, impacts, consideration of risk reduction, and implications under different mitigation pathways. Where possible, NCA4 Volume II provides examples of actions underway in communities across the United States to reduce the risks associated with climate change, increase resilience, and improve livelihoods.

[ EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ]

The many ways climate change worsens California wildfires

Yale Climate Connections / Dana Nuccitelli / 13 November 2018

California has been ravaged by record wildfires in recent years. 2017 was the state’s costliest and most destructive fire season on record. The Mendocino wildfire in July 2018 was California’s largest-ever by a whopping 60 percent.

Even though California’s wildfire season has traditionally ended in October, the Camp Fire raging in November 2018 is the state’s most destructive on record.

The data tell the story: Six of California’s ten most destructive wildfires on record have now struck in just the past three years.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us

The Guardian / George Monbiot / 14 November 2018

Only one of the many life support systems on which we depend – soils, aquifers, rainfall, ice, the pattern of winds and currents, pollinators, biological abundance and diversity – need fail for everything to slide. For example, when Arctic sea ice melts beyond a certain point, the positive feedbacks this triggers (such as darker water absorbing more heat, melting permafrost releasing methane, shifts in the polar vortex) could render runaway climate breakdown unstoppable. When the Younger Dryas period ended 11,600 years ago, temperatures rose 10C within a decade.

[ FULL ARTICLE ]

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The Transition Framework

Resilience is the ability of a system or community to withstand impacts from outside. An indicator is a good way of measuring that. Conventionally, the principal way of measuring a reducing carbon footprint is CO2 emissions. However, we firmly believe that cutting carbon while failing to build resilience is an insufficient response when you’re trying to address multiple shocks such as peak oil, climate change and the economic crisis together.

— Transition U.S.
TB Projects

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