Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Corporate Influence in BC Politics - Time to End It

News came out this past week revealing the kind of influence industry, specifically the Oil and Gas Industry, has had on government policy here in British Columbia.

The story appeared here in DeSmog Canada, based on documents released to the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

Apparently, the Climate Leadership Team hired by the BC Liberals made 32 official recommendations to the Liberal Government.  Not one of them was adopted by the government.  Now, we know why.

Secret, parallel. meetings with industry and corporate donors set the parameters for BC's climate action, despite Premier Christy Clark's duplicity in pointing to the recommendations of the Climate Leadership Team at the UN's Paris Climate Meetings.  Recommendations that were not adopted.  Not a single one.

This highlights the power that industry has in influencing government policy, particularly when those industries are major donors to political parties.

Fortunately, the "wild west show" here in BC is about to end.  The new GreeNDP government has introduced legislation that will end corporate and union donations as well as put a cap on individual donations.  It's well past time.

Monday, September 04, 2017

Hurricane Harvey - Another Chance to Connect the Dots

An opening caveat - I'm not saying that this summer's events were "caused" by climate change.  But there is little doubt that they have been made worse by human-caused climate change.  So, in no particular order....

There are the forest fires near Los Angeles, one apparently the largest fire in the city's history.  Hundreds of homes are at risk and many people have been evacuated.  A state of emergency has been declared.  Temperatures are in the high +30s Celsius.  Another story here.

The LA Times posted an editorial "Harvey should be a warning to Trump that climate change is a global threat", noting that perhaps if Trump were to consult the experts, he might get some information worth acting on.  Unfortunately, this seems to be the way knowledge is viewed these days.

Houston has been flooded.  This is the fourth-largest city in the USA and it's mostly under water.

But for some reason, the media is reluctant to even discuss the elephant in the room: Violent storms like this one are made more violent by climate change.

If you want some information about how hurricanes form and how warm water and air interact, it can be found here.

The Guardian carried an article wondering why crucial questions about hurricane Harvey are not being asked.

An all-time record heat wave is affecting California, the Weather Underground writes.

Here in BC, it's been a record summer for area burned.  The Southern Interior is in the grips of a record dry, hot, spell and fires are breaking out all over.  The Province has been in a declared a state of emergency since July 1st and it was just extended, for the fourth time, until September 15th.

And yet, in social media, it is STILL easy to find posts pooh-poohing climate change, sea level rise, carbon emissions.... anything, really, that has to do with what is so easily observable, if only these people would crawl out of their mothers' basements and look.

Is sea level rising?  Apparently, yes.

Are glaciers melting at an unprecedented rate?  Apparently they are.

Even the occasional climate change denier has had to admit that they misspoke themselves.  They lied, in other words.  In the UK, prominent denier Nigel Lawson has admitted that claims of temperature decrease were false.

Rolling Stone had a recent article pointing out, as many others have, that Houston should serve as a wake-up call for Global Warming.

Articles have been comparing Katrina, Sandy and Harvey.

And it's not just in North America.  It's in Europe and in Asia....

Claims that what we see happening is natural is simply "junk science", as the article points out.

In a lengthy article, What Climate Skeptics Taught Me About Global Warming, the ways that science goes about finding relationships between events.  One example, that of smoking and cancer, is examined along with climate change and global warming.

There is a backlash starting against "leaders" and civic officials who can be accused of ignoring facts and putting who populations at risk.  "Climate Change Denial Should be a Crime".  Apparently, about this time in 2016, the head of flood control: 
criticized scientists for being “anti-development,” and not only ignored but denigrated studies — even those conducted by his own department, one of which he called “absurd” — that suggested development was worsening flooding, or that urged him to leave prairies intact to absorb floodwaters.
Almost exactly one year later, Harvey struck.  They can't say they weren't warned.  And, as the costs are being added up, it is looking like Harvey could cost in the vicinity of $200 Billion.  Only a few days ago, the estimate was closer to $160B.

And it's not much better in Canada.  "We are Not Well Prepared..." states an article on CBC News. 

Insurance companies have been taking this seriously for a few decades now.

And this is just the beginning of what is already a very heated argument.  

Sanity needs to prevail.

BC Fire Season 2017 - September 4

The long weekend has mostly come and gone.  By this time of the year, the nights are usually getting cooler, the air is starting to clear, heat haze is disappearing, the tourists have gone back home and we start thinking about getting ready for fall hiking, cleaning out the garden....

Not this year.

This is what our province looks like today.  The intense fires of the Cariboo are still burning, new evacuation orders are bring issued daily, new fires have started in the the Southeast, some forcing more evacuation alerts and orders, the temperatures continue extremely hot and it's still very dry across much of the south of the province.

West of Cranbrook, a large, intense fire near Moyie Lake has forced the evacuation of the area near the lake, visibility has been reduced on Highway 3, no boats are permitted on the lake at all to make way for helicopters and water bombers tanking up, forest access has been completely restricted in the whole Rockies Forest District, no off-road ATV use is permitted anywhere, and no change in the weather is anywhere in sight.

Still, in the Kootenay Lake valley, we remain relatively calm.  There are a few small fires, some in steep terrain to the north and west and some to the south, closer to the US border.  There are a couple of evacuation alerts. We've had smoke every day for weeks now and the air quality is quite poor.  Some of our neighbours are being affected by it.  For us, we water the garden early in the morning, do what yard work we can before the sun comes up and then we mostly work in the shade or go inside.

Where we are, daytime temperatures are mostly just below +30C and at night it's not cooling off.  Last night, for example, it was still +22C at midnight.  It managed to crawl down to +18C by 6 am.  We have two fans running on the main floor so it sounds like a twin turboprop airplane taking off.

How much longer?

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Either With Eyes Open, or Not

From the pages of the National Post (founded by Conrad Black - remember him?):

Andrew Coyne: After his Charlottesville response, no excuses possible for TrumpThe case against Trump is so voluminous that by this time argument is pointless. You either have the judgment to see him for what he is, or you do not

When normally right-of-center publications go this far, it's time to remind Houston that we have a problem. 

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Suffering Under Obama

Came across this article that provides some answers to those who complain how terrible times were under Obama.

Eight Years of Suffering Under Barack Obama

I wonder when we'll start seeing this one, but with a newer face....

Climate Change - The News Just Keeps Coming

There's really not much more to say about climate change that hasn't been said already, but here are links to more articles that highlight the unusual nature of 2016 and more reinforcement about what's happening.

The climate change deniers will say that scientists are exaggerating.  In fact, says this article, scientists are far too frightened for their jobs to talk about what they really know.  The article goes on to highlight moves China is making to secure land for crop production, around the globe.  Why?  Because China believes there will be serious food security issues related to climate change.

The Pacific Northwest and Europe have been sweltering under unseasonably hot, dry weather.  The Weather Underground has an interesting article about conditions in those places.  Interestingly, temperatures would have been even higher had it not been for all the smoke coming from those forest fires.

Then there is this article highlighting a report compiled by 13 US Agencies.  It starts out by noting that the report is awaiting approval....

"The average temperature in the United States has risen rapidly and drastically since 1980, and recent decades have been the warmest of the past 1,500 years, according to a sweeping federal climate change report awaiting approval by the Trump administration."
 Climate Central also weighs in on how hot this summer has been.  The article has a web interactive feature, but it only works for locations in the USA.

NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, discussed how unusual 2016 was and how repeated experiments and observations lead to the conclusion that this rapid pace of climate change is caused by humans.

Natural gas has been touted as one solution to our climate change woes, at least as a great transition fuel.  The BC Government was trying desperately to get an LNG project going until the company involved pulled the plug in mid-2017, citing poor prices and poor prospects.  However, this article says that Natural Gas will NOT save us from the perils of climate change.

Meanwhile, in BC, the fires keep burning.  It's well past time to connect the dots.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

BC Fire Season 2017 - August 15

A fellow I know in town posted this earlier on Monday:

This is the first day in Kaslo that we have had rain since July 10th and the first day since July 22nd that the temperature will not exceed 30 degrees.
The average high in July was 33.5 and that for August so far 33.9, with a mean daily temperature of 23.3 in July and 24.3 so far in August.
We are also hoping that the smoke, that has not allowed us to see across Kootenay Lake for the last few days, will dissipate, but I see there are eleven new fires along the west side of Kootenay Lake including an evacuation alert at Kokanee Creek along Highway 31 to Nelson.

Yes, for all of Monday, the temperature didn't go above +18C.  That's lower than the temperature has been most nights for the past couple of weeks.

We have had some showers, but nothing substantial.  Cloud and some fog and enough precipitation to dampen down the dust and cool things down a bit.

Overnight on Monday, it dropped to +12C.  That's almost like fall temperatures, and it was cool in the morning, allowing me to go work in the woods for awhile and not feel like I was dying.

The smoke, though, is still here.  We still can't really see across the Lake, which is only a mile away.

Sunday, we decided we needed to get away, so we drove over to the Slocan Valley and camped at Slocan City.  It was almost cold that night.  Biked for a couple of hours on the Slocan Valley Rail Trail.  No smoke, cool and fresh after the rain Sunday night.  It was a nice break.