Sunday, December 05, 2010

Baird's Cancun Position: "All Oars in Water -- Except for Canada's"

John Baird, notorious for his anti-Kyoto antics, is at it again. According to the Globe, the
"...Environment Minister says Canada will be pressing for an approach that leaves no one out, that demands all 'oars in the water'...."
But Canada is in no position to lecture anybody about "oars in water". Having promised to reduce carbon emissions in Kyoto and done nothing about it since then (actually increasing emissions significantly), Canada would have very little credibility when trying to convince other countries to "do as we say but not as we do".

Moreover, since the Industrial Revolution, the rich, industrialized countries like Canada have emitted most of the carbon. Much of it is still in the atmosphere, harming the climate. The fact that countries like China and India have become major emitters on an annual basis recently is not nearly as significant as Baird and Co. would have you think. Even setting aside their much lower emissions per capita, it would be many years before China's and India's share of the accumulating carbon in the air equals that of countries that had been at it for centuries. Confusing flows (annual emissions) with stocks (accumulated pollutants) is such a basic, blatant error that it is clearly nothing more than an excuse for further inaction.

Insisting on this unreasonable position is a sure way to sabotage progress at Cancun -- developing nations are already warning that the talks are in danger. Nothing would please the fossil fuel special interest groups than the collapse of negotiations for at least one more year. For the planet, on the other hand it is total accumulated carbon that matters.

Dr. James Hansen states that

"...we must reduce the [accumulated] CO2 in the atmosphere to 350 ppm in order to avoid disaster for coming generations.
"Humans have caused carbon dioxide to increase from 280 ppm in 1750 to 387 ppm in 2009. 387 ppm is already in the dangerous range. Such a reduction is still practical, but just barely [bolding in original]"

He also warns that

"Continued unfettered burning of all fossil fuels and other human-caused climate changes will cause the climate system to pass tipping points, such that we hand our children and grandchildren a dynamic situation that is out of their control.

"If we continue down this path, by the end of this century envision a future where:

• droughts, heat waves, and forest fires of unprecedented ferocity

• 20% of Earth’s species—about two million species—will be extinct or on the way to certain extinction

• a rapidly rising sea level, with more coming out of humanity’s control

• frontal (cyclonic) storms with hurricane-like winds, which, with rising seas and storm surges, will devastate thousands of coastal cities

But that does not have to be our future [bolding in original]."

We must act now. Obstructionism must not carry the day.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

James Hansen and Climate Change - on TVO Big Ideas, TODAY Sat. and Sun., 5pm Eastern, or Download Online

Check out this very informative and sobering presentation. Hansen is a leading client scientist at NASA, who has been very outspoken about the hazards of doing nothing.* He gives detailed rebuttals to climate change deniers/skeptic claims, warns about being in the danger zone already, and explains the risk of reaching sudden points of irreversible change. On the plus side, he also states that it not too late to act.

The video is already available to download from the TVO show's video podcast feed

Direct link to video file:

Note: MP4 video with MP4 audio, Size 215MB, Length 53:30 (MM:SS), Resolution 480x270. May need to adjust brightness/contrast/saturation for best results, depending on your display settings and visual preferences. Subtitles do not seem to be included.

It should be available eventually for viewing online (Flash player, no big MP4 download needed) via their Past Episode page at

(H/T Sudbury Steve.)

* See Storms of My Grandchildren - a call to action for more about Dr. Hansen's book, Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth about the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Global warming hitting Canada hard - The Weather Network

"According to the World Meteorological Organization, 2010 is expected to be Canada's warmest year ever.
"Research shows that temperatures across Canada last winter and spring were an average four degrees above normal, making it the country's warmest-ever winter and spring.
"Arctic temperatures last winter averaged about six degrees above the normal temperature."

[sarcasm] Oh no! More inconvenient facts! Quick, call 1-800-DEN-IERS! Whew, I feel better already. [/sarcasm]