Talk at Dalhousie on Feb 4th with Director of Science Policy, Canadian Enviro Assessment Agency

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Opportunity to input: Government and expert review of  Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Secretariat for Canada wishes to inform you that the Second Order Draft of the IPCC Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate is available for government and expert review until January 11, 2019, 19:00 EST.

The SROCC is highly relevant for Canada with its focus on high mountain areas; polar regions; sea level rise and implications for low-lying islands; coasts and communities; changing ocean, marine ecosystems and dependent communities; and extremes, abrupt changes and managing risks.

Review of the SROCC Second Order Draft by experts in Canada will help ensure that it provides a balanced and comprehensive assessment of the latest scientific findings and relevant, factual and scientific information for policy makers.

An online registration process is open for prospective expert reviewers via the SOD Review webpage. Registration will close on 4 January 2019, 19:00 ESTone week before the end of the review period.

The IPCC Secretariat for Canada values the contributions of Canada’s expert reviewers in this process and we thank-you in advance for your time and efforts. Opportunity to input: Government and expert review of

OPINION: Why I’m Finding it Difficult to Believe in the Current Corporate-Owned Capitalist Political System We Have

I wish I could believe. I respect progressive politics– the creators of the CCF (Co-operative Commonwealth Federation – they were my people after all [Baptists!]). I’ve believed for a long time. I want to believe now. I really do. Trudeau has nailed the final nail in the coffin of me not believing in the voting and election process. I wrote “Spoiling the ballot” as a shout out to trigger an example of the level of civil disobedience needed. I really feel we have flatlined as far as governments go–there are no worse and no better because what we desperately need NOW– a declaration of a state of emergency and a war level effort to slow global warming–they cannot produce. They are all chained to being bad because the corporate capitalist takeover of democracy is complete.

I’ve been reading and listening to Chris Hedges for eight years. He’s saying we MUST carry out acts of legal, peaceful civil disobedience. Most of us who have slipped from the middle to the lower income quintile are now the “underclass” that indigenous Canadians have been for 250 years. We really need to join with them in resisting environmental “extractivism” and degradation. John Risley doesn’t need any more profit for a second private plane. Galen Weston doesn’t need any more profit from his palm oil-laced processed foods to the detriment of the rainforests being decimated and the habitat of orangutans and tens of thousands of species lost. For our junk food? To make us obese? Why is this allowed? Because governments will not regulate industry because industry owns them, the way Northern Pulp owns McNeil, the way the Big Boys owned Dexter and every other politician who gets into power.

All our employment must come from small organic farming (permaculture) operations. Everyone must go “back to the garden” and governments need to help people get back to growing their own food. Focusing on a non-polluting energy industry and an improved grid, as well as a new tax system which heavily taxes the richest (as FDR did in the 1930s) in order to create clean infrastructure jobs,  should be prioritized. Selective silva culture forestry and rebuilding of the Acadian forest will follow.

Prevention of lifestyle disease through nutrition education and massive numbers of public government-run kitchens which distribute fresh food and teach skills about what our bodies need and what the environment can handle now is key for a healthy future. Extreme heat and irregular weather is upon us, so we must shut down biomass, fracking, coal mining and pulp mills, (nationalize our energy system), restore salt marshes for protection from storm surges and put people to work doing all these things.

We need to encourage the creation of organic farms, clean energy technology, conservation (rewilding, tree planting), a plant-based diet and active transportation programs to encourage exercise and healthy eating. Redistribution of excess food to low-income households should be a law–no corporation should be throwing out perfectly good food. All these things must be put in place by government.

Thirteen-year-olds are striking from school and suing federal governments. They know they have no future. We have to do something more radical because of the climate crisis is fully upon us. Even at the oft-quoted 1.5 degrees temperature rise limit, growing food may be too difficult. PEI ploughed under 30% of its potato crop this summer. Growers told me it was the hardest year to grow food they have seen in 30 years. If that’s the case at 1.1 degree temperature rise that we already have, what will 1.5 degrees bring?

Seven years ago we were at 380 parts per billion of CO2. Now we’re up to 412 and it’s rising in greater increments all the time, especially in the last two years. We have to draw down, and drawback from business as usual which federal and provincial governments exemplify as fast as possible on our own and maybe with the help of municipal governments declaring a state of emergency. We need to collapse unregulated corporate capitalism. Piketty’s book is called ‘The End of Capitalism‘. The sooner we get there, the very slight chance we have to create a green economy and a more socially just world.

Climate disruption demands we change everything from plastic bags to limiting flying to the shifting the tax system to upping public transportation and limiting car use in urban cores. We must tax the rich heavily and use all the money to transition to a no carbon, zero growth economy. We have no time to wait for governments who are under the thumb of Big Oil in the case of Trudeau and the Mafia (in the case of Thug Ford). We have no socialist party in Canada. Otherwise, the NDP or the Greens would have promoted things like “The Leap Manifesto” (in the case of the Federal NDP) or “Carbon Fee and Dividend” (in the case of the Green Party). There are no parties that will do what is needed. It’s a state of emergency, no less.

Chris Hedges doesn’t even get to talking about climate change. He has just thoroughly dissected and exposed neoliberalism, austerity and the corporate takeover of government. In Canada as well, we have books and articles written by whistleblowers. Such as ‘Deep Oil State‘, which spells out how the multinational oil companies took over the federal government, and Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret exposes what factory farming is doing to the atmosphere, not to mention our health. The UN has announced our global food system is broken. People are starving; people are morbidly obese; people are full of disease caused by what they eat or don’t eat. Corporate agriculture and billionaire food processing giants are killing us so that big pharma can squeeze millions of insurance dollars out through heavy drug prescribing.

As Chris Hedges said, “If we don’t stop them, they’re going to kill us all.” Climate change is the most obvious evidence of how the thugs, the goons, the greedy, the sociopaths, the criminal, the power mongers that control the world are killing us.

We need to have face to face discussion about what we, the people must do in Nova Scotia and all across Canada. That’s why I’m trying to bring activists together to brainstorm and listen to each other. Convince me that the NS NDP will come with policies that address all these concerns.

The frog is seconds from croaking its last croak. We need to get him out, do major revival work on him and there’s a minuscule chance he will recover. But we have to make Nova Scotians understand what Hedges is saying and that’s a big challenge unless maybe they can see how serious it is now because of the difficulty growing food.

By Joanne Light

“My Little Bit Won’t Hurt” – Carbon Emissions & Biomass Burning

The following graph of an Antarctic ice core sample covers Earth’s last 800,000 years. It was done by the British Antarctic Survey (Natural Environment Research Council) and reported on 14 November 2016. {Amos14Nov2016} {Mulvaney2016}. The double graph shows the correlation between atmospheric CO2 in the top graph and temperature in the bottom graph. The CO2 lows are around 190 ppm (parts per million); the highs around 270 ppm. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but obviously is when it comes to Earth’s climate. The graph shows a cycle of approximately 100,000 yrs.

There are lots of highs, lows, zigzags everywhere. As some people love to say, weather changes constantly – changes are normal. They are right, weather does and those zigzags would agree. Throughout those 800,000 years, Earth has had droughts, wildfires, and created large deserts. Earth has had vicious storms, enormous floods, and eroded. It has seen large freshwater lakes created and emptied, has seen incredible changes in sea levels, had islands created, and islands washed away. Earth has had multiple ice ages and had areas become parched. It has also had continental plates move, earthquakes, numerous volcanic eruptions, and has been hit by objects from space. All many times.

However, since most changes were localized or slow enough, most life had time to adapt or migrate. In all those times, there wasn’t such rapid melting of Earth’s Poles, such destruction of the oceans, and ruination of land ecosystems and food systems. Recent CO2 changes have already required plants, insects, animals, and humans to migrate and to die off. {UN} {WWF} {Audubon} {World Meteorological Organization (WMO)}

In those turbulent 800,000 yrs., species have evolved; and others have become extinct. Around 750,000 ya (years ago) Neanderthals came into existence, around 350,000 ya Homo sapiens, around 50,000 ya humans met and mated with Neanderthals affecting 1–3 % of our DNA, and, between 9000 and 7000 ya, humans began to domesticate animals and clear the forest for farming.

By 2000 ya, from the fallout of increasing deforestation, the bones of wild animals in Ireland from 90 archaeological sites were already showing a loss of nitrogen caused by exposed soils’ and consequently plants’ nitrogen sources. {Green13June2018} Since nitrogen is a key to plant’s chlorophyll and to plants’ and animals’ proteins, this was a significant happening. It is much like nitrogen losses in the Maritimes which is why forests have regressed to the plants which were first here, shortly after the ice age, and which required only thin soil: aspen, birch, and spruce. Soil scientists have declared clearcutting is not sustainable. {Keys2016} {Lahey2018}

Besides nitrogen, exposed and warmed soils have also lost calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus to leaching, and CARBON to the atmosphere. {Bandy1999} 2000 ya! “Scientists estimate that the Earth contained approximately 1,000 billion tons of carbon in living biomass 2000 ya. Since that time, humans have reduced that amount by half.” {Schramski2015}

100 Year Ice Age Cycles

Before the years 800,000 before present, building Earth’s present-day atmospheric conditions had taken much of nature’s effort and time. When mosses evolved around 480 mya (million years ago), the Earth’s atmospheric levels of CO2 “are thought to have been 16 times higher than they are now, and average global temperatures are thought to have been 25C, around 10C higher than they are now [2012].” {Lenton2012} Between 330 mya and 140 mya, ferns and conifers could only bring the CO2 down to 3 times the current levels. {Bradshaw2016} Ferns and conifers had 200 million years, but conifers don’t store water and, though they photosynthesize in the winter, are relatively inefficient at photosynthesis compared to flowering plants. {Wohlleben107} {Simonin2018}

140 mya, flowering plants’ (hardwoods) began to evolve smaller genetic material/genome, and could build smaller cells. “In turn, this allows greater carbon dioxide uptake and carbon gain from photosynthesis.” {Briggs15January2018} {Simonin2018} Additionally, a study of 673,046 trees by the US Dept. of Interior found the oldest trees work best, not 40-year-old trees and, looking at them, why wouldn’t the oldest work best? {Stephenson2014} {Quinn16Jan2014} What chance would saplings have? “Research has documented that for many years after a clearcut, a resprouting forest emits more CO2 than it absorbs.” {CarterFEN} “Plantations can sequester only a quarter of the CO2 that functioning woodland can, and converting forests to plantations actually releases carbon trapped in the soil.” {GraberStiehl3March2016} “Scientists say halting deforestation [is] ‘just as urgent’ as reducing emissions.” {Milman4Oct2018} {IPCC4October2018. (UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change)}

The graph shows, over the last 800,000 yrs., Earth’s CO2 ppm “natural” range, has been 190 to 270 ppm. The thing is, the Earth’s atmosphere is now [2018] at 410 ppm. There is nothing like 410 ppm on this graph of the last 800,000 years. Additionally, the Earth has never had more CO2 put into its atmosphere per year than this year in 66 MILLION YEARS, two major extinctions ago. {Zeebe et al 2016} {Amos21March2016} What’s happening is not “natural”!

Many rationalize “their little bit won’t hurt”. They wait, wanting someone else to change first. Individuals and families wish to warm and amuse themselves with carbon-fueled energy and play with carbon-run toys and vehicles. People want to make money from creating energy and fuels. They want to call those fallen trees and remnants of harvests just “waste”. That so-called waste could have recycled hard-won forest nutrients and carbon-sequestered soils. They want to cut hardwood trees and shrubs, chip, and send them to England, France, throughout North America and locally for biomass energy or biofuels, and claim it causes no harm. They don’t know or are indifferent to the FACT that the older trees’ and hardwoods’ ability to sequester is far more efficient than the young replacement trees and those future forest nutrients are found in the decaying wood.

There are 7.6 billion people on Earth. It soon will be 10 billion. Even those, who pick up loose kindling to keep a small fire going or cook a picnic meal, are adding carbon to an atmosphere that can’t take much more.

Our Earth is in grave trouble. There is no reason for ignorance. The science is there. We have arrived at the “Final call to save the world from ‘climate catastrophe’” {McGrath8October2018} {UN’s IPCC 8 October2018}. People need to have new eyes. Eyes that appreciate what older trees do. Eyes to see the difference between aspen, poplar, birch, and spruce forests and the older mixed elm, hemlock, oak, beech, ash, and maple forests. Eyes to see what is lost when the sides of forests are opened. Eyes to see and understand what happens to exposed soils. Eyes to see the most important uses for so-called wastes. With new eyes, people can make appropriate changes and work within forest-covered areas. Each of Earth’s 7.6 billion people’s pieces doesn’t have to hurt.

 

Norris Whiston 4945 Highway 311, Tatamagouche, Nova Scotia B0K 1V0 902-657-3476 norrisw@ns.sympatico.ca

Can be shared freely.

Government Consultation Document: Vulnerable populations

One of the commitments in the  Government response to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development’s Report “Healthy Environment, Health Canadians, Healthy Economy: Strengthening the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999” was “to develop, engage on, and publish under CEPA a policy on vulnerable populations, which will include a definition of vulnerable populations and the objectives of the program, including the framework for how Health Canada considers vulnerable populations as part of risk assessments.”  This document is a first step to meeting this commitment.

This is a preliminary consultation, and you are welcome to provide comments during the public consultation as well which is planned for fall 2018.  In the interim, we are asking for your comments on this proposed definition, as well as the examples within the document by November 15, 2018.  Please forward all comments to:  hc.esrabdirector-directeurberse.sc@canada.ca.  Please note that there will be a mechanism established for sustained input from stakeholders and experts as we advance consideration of vulnerable populations in a more comprehensive and transparent manner.

 

Document: Consultation vulnerable population

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Marine Sanctuary Webinar Series

The National Marine Sanctuary Webinar Series provides educators with educational and scientific expertise, resources and training to support ocean and climate literacy in the classroom. This series targets formal and informal educators that are engaging students (elementary through college) in formal classroom settings, as well as members of the community in informal educational venues (e.g. after school programs, science centers, aquariums, etc.).

 

Check them out here: https://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/education/teachers/webinar-series-archives.html