I’ve been following the COP17 climate change conference in Durban, South Africa from right here in Riverdale. This will be a long, rambling omnibus post on my thoughts and concerns. Read more »
Archive for Scaremongering
Today, Ontario’s Environmental Commissioner Gord Miller slammed the Liberals for cutting hydro bills by ten percent, identifying the measure as a perverse subsidy. He stated:
The problem with the 10 per cent (cut) is it means the people who use the most energy get the most money back and that is a disincentive, a perverse incentive. It rewards and encourages increased consumption.
He then went on to criticize both the NDP and Conservatives for pledging to remove the HST from hydro bills. Read more »
If you watch through to the end of this short video, it covers why I entered politics. What is now at stake is food security, water security, and the ability to deliver the fundamentals of decent civil society. All of these are already stressed and becoming more so. Concerns about things like gas prices, while important in our current state of addiction, nonetheless need to be contextualized in a world of threats that are far, far greater.
The news from Japan keeps getting worse. Now it is reported that not only did the reactor core melt down, not only did it breach the pressure vessel, but it now appears that the material has penetrated the reactor building itself and seeped into the ground. That is close to the worst case scenario. Clean-up costs are now estimated at $250 billion, and that will not bring things back to normal. It will still mean living with elevated cancer rates, particularly in Japan, but spreading all over the world. And Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan has asked to close Hamaoka, another nuclear power plant that has been deemed not to be earthquake safe.
All of the costs for this disaster are being borne by the public. The Japanese government will absorb all the costs of clean-up, relocation and health impacts. Governments throughout the world will also be paying for the elevated health care costs arising from the increased rates of cancer in their countries. These will continue for many decades. Every other form of power generation is self-insuring. The nuclear industry clearly does not deserve this free ticket as nuclear power is inherently dangerous.
The NDP have now grown up into a mainstream, increasingly centrist party nickel-and-diming the poor for their vote and misleading on the environment. I’m deeply disturbed by their success in Toronto-Danforth.
Over a week has passed since the night while I watched in horror as the Harper government got its majority coupled with the relatively minor shock of seeing the Green vote collapse in Toronto-Danforth despite the widely acknowledged strongest campaign we have ever had.
Nationally I am most concerned about a majority government which clearly caters to oil industry priorities. In Toronto-Danforth specifically, I’m concerned about the success the NDP has had with convincing voters with timid and contradictory policies that will do little for climate change and will hurt the constituents the party has professed to care about in the past. I ran a campaign promoting the positive aspects of the Green plan without challenging the obvious defects of NDP policies. But it’s clear to me now that these need to be made explicit.
I had never expected to win in the NDP leader’s riding this time around, but I did hope for a strong Green vote to pressure Jack Layton and the NDP to improve their climate change policies and address some of the priorities of Green voters. That didn’t happen, so I need people who care about the Green Party, the thousands who told me that they were considering voting Green, to help put the pressure on the NDP to get it right.
It’s time to stop mincing words. The stakes are simply far too high. Read more »
International Energy Agency Chief Fatih Birol has stated that the IEA now believes that global crude oil production peaked in 2006. It’s all downhill from now. We can expect the kinds of supply discontinuities and price rises that led up to the 2008 economic downturn with regularity from now on.
So what is the US response? Shoot the messenger. They have cut funding to their own national energy agency and specifically ordered that agency not to prepare data on oil and gas reserves. Keep us in the dark, that’s the ticket. I expect the Harper government to follow suit shortly. Read more »
I’m a worrier. For most of my life, I’ve fretted over my children like many mothers do. Their health, their grades, their social development. The last few years I’ve been worried at a whole new level. When I was a young woman, analysts predicted a clean future powered by the sun and wind. They pointed out the urgency of starting this great transformation because a few decades later it would be too late. For multiple reasons including climate change, the imminent decline of oil and the stress on vulnerable but critical water and other resources, delay would bring on miserable results. That was a now a few decades ago. We are more dependent than ever on oil, our emissions keep rising, water tables are declining all over the world and food stresses are leading to riots in countries all over the world. Governments in North Africa are tumbling to populations that demand to be fed.
I remain hopeful that by investing in a green economy, we may still turn things around in time and deliver a future not too unlike the present for our children. That is what I’m working for, that is what I want to see – a Canada much like the Canada we all know, but moving boldly into a transitional economy from which we will emerge into a more permanent economy that’s more efficient and respectful of our limits. Read more »
I’ve just been alerted to an article by Gwynne Dyer, who anticipates increasing food riots globally. We may be sheltered from actual rioting in Canada for a while, though we won’t be spared the rising prices. And of course, the global destabilization involved will have inevitable impacts on Canada long before we face actual shortages here.
Patricia is going to get the President’s new text, just available hot off the press in the Azteca building here at the Moon Palace in Cancun.
Outside, some 50 young people are counting in unison. Some are crying. They are counting the dead. 21,000 annual deaths from climate change now, a number destined to climb right along with the temperatures. We desperately, desperately need some good news.
[Adriana is blogging from the UN climate change negotiations in Cancun, in an attempt to keep the Canadian delegation honest.]
I just attended the depressing mayoral debate on the environment, sponsored by the Toronto Environmental Alliance. Read more »
Last week, I attended a speech by former Governor General Ed Schreyer, who predicted that the moratorium on deep-sea drilling would be shortlived – embraced briefly while attention focused on the devastation of the gulf but enduring only to the time that fuel prices began increasing again. Read more »
2009 Dec 3: Earth 2100 film screening
JustEarth and the East Toronto Climate Action Group are co-sponsoring a documentary film screening:
Earth 2100 — the Final Century of Civilization?
Thursday, 2009 December 3, 7 pm
South Riverdale Community Health Centre
955 Queen St East (between Pape and Carlaw)
About the film and forum from the sponsors: Read more »
According to a study jointly co-authored by researchers at Columbia University’s Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN), the United Nations University and CARE International, the stresses of climate change could create 700 million refugees by 2050. That’s about 20 times the entire population of Canada desperately searching for a new home. 40 countries may cease to exist altogether.
While canvassing today, I met a nice man who recommended this site and movie to me. I just watched it. It sort of languishes lovingly over primarily aerial images of tremendous beauty, both natural and man-made, while soaring music plays in the background and frightening assessments are made about our climate, our energy sources, and our ability to feed and water humanity. It ends with a worried but uplifting message of hope. It’s well worth the hour and a half.
We thought it was bad enough that Prime Minister Harper planned only to achieve 2% emission reductions by 2020 below 1990 levels while the rest of the Kyoto signatories among developed countries were negotiating in the 25-40% range. It was worse that a number of environmental organizations, economists, and even the government’s own Environmental Commissioner doubted that Prime Minister Harper’s plans could even achieve his own woefully inadequate goal. Now Environment Minister Jim Prentice suggests we’re going to scrap any action for a few years. We’re waiting for Obama, it seems. Until our neighbours say “Jump!”, it’s apparently too difficult to implement the “Made in Canada” solution that our Prime Minister insisted on. Read more »
There was more grim news on the impacts of climate change yesterday. A new study from the Global Humanitarian Forum (GHF), a group headed by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, estimates that climate change now kills 315,000 people annually. This is an increase from a previous World Health Organization estimate of 150,000 deaths per year. Read more »
On this first smog day this spring in Toronto, there’s grim news on the climate. Read more »
2009 May 21: Carbon Shift
Thurs, 2009 May 21, 7 pm
Sanford Fleming Building, Lecture Hall #1105
University of Toronto
10 King’s College Road
Thomas Homer-Dixon is the author of Carbon Shift: How the Twin Crises of Oil Depletion and Climate Change Will Define the Future. Adriana will be there. Read more »
I know that ardent environmentalists and climate change deniers alike accuse Al Gore of not living up to his own standards, but he does compile some very graphically compelling images of the problem we are facing. Here is his latest: