Toronto Globe and Mail:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took his climate-change battle to Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s backyard on Tuesday, unveiling a carbon-tax plan that would see 80 per cent of households in the province financially better off as a result of annual rebates to be paid in the spring.

Mr. Trudeau announced details of the program during a speech at Toronto’s Humber College − located in Mr. Ford’s riding − where he argued that the price on carbon emissions is a critical part of Canada’s commitment to the international effort to combat climate change and its dire impacts on people and the overall environment.

With an election due a year from now, the Liberal government is facing concerted attacks by Mr. Ford, federal opposition Leader Andrew Scheer and other conservative politicians across the country over the imposition of a carbon tax that they say is too burdensome and will do little to address global climate change.

The federal levy will apply in four provinces − Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and New Brunswick − whose governments have declined to adopt their own plans for carbon pricing. Canadians elsewhere will be covered by provincial plans, either a direct tax or cap-and-trade system, and those governments must determine what to do with the revenue.


Ottawa estimates that the average Ontario household will pay $244 in direct and indirect costs next year, and will receive $300 under the “climate-action incentive,” for a net benefit of $56. In Saskatchewan, the average family would pay $403 in carbon-tax costs and receive $598 in rebates. In Manitoba, the costs will be $232 and the rebate $336. In New Brunswick, the breakdown is $202 and $248.

The amounts vary from province to province because each jurisdiction has a different reliance on fossil fuels, and therefore a different amount of revenue per person that will be generated from the tax. The payments in each province − which will increase as the price per tonne rises − will be based on the number of people in a household and paid to one tax filer. Washington State..

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A large area of warm water in the northern Pacific, nicknamed “the Blob”, hung around for a few years, exacerbating the California drought of the past decade. I covered it in this 2015 video.

Now it’s back – and we’re just starting to appreciate the damage it’s doing.

New York Times:

The underwater forests — huge, sprawling tangles of brown seaweed — are in many ways just as important to the oceans as trees are to the land. Like trees, they absorb carbon emissions and they provide critical habitat and food for a wide range of species. But when climate change helped trigger a 60-fold explosion of purple urchins off Northern California’s coast, the urchins went on a feeding frenzy and the kelp was devoured.


“It would be like one of those beautiful deciduous forests turned into a desert,” said Gretchen Hofmann, a professor of marine ecology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. “But in the matter of five years.”

The dangers extend far beyond this inlet: Kelp forests exist along the cooler coastlines of every continent but Antarctica. And they are under threat both from rising ocean temperatures and from what those warmer waters bring.

The story of the kelp’s disappearance is the story of an interwoven food system breaking down, and in the process threatening people’s livelihoods. Some of the first people to sound the alarm about the purple urchins, Dr. Catton said, were commercial red urchin harvesters.

One of them is Gary Trumper, who has harvested red urchins for more than 30 years. Red urchins, larger than purple urchins, are commercially viable because people eat them — or more specifically, their gonads. The delicacy is better known to sushi aficionados as uni.

But the growing purple urchin population outcompeted the red urchins for the available kelp. Without kelp, the red urchins starved.

That cut the value of Northern California’s commercial red urchin fishery from $3.6 million in 2013 to less than $600,000 in 2016. Many harvesters have moved on. “It’s probably 10 or 15 guys left doing it in the harbor,” Mr. Trumper said, sitting in a bar near the slip in Fort Bragg where he docks his boat. “But there used to be probably 100.”

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The low-hanging musical fruit.


Helen Harwatt is a researcher trained in environmental nutrition, a field focused on developing food systems that balance human health and sustainability. She’s interested in policy, but realistic about how much progress can be expected under the aforementioned leadership. So she and colleagues have done research on maximizing the impacts of individuals. As with so many things in life and health, that tends to come down to food.

Recently Harwatt and a team of scientists from Oregon State University, Bard College, and Loma Linda University calculated just what would happen if every American made one dietary change: substituting beans for beef. They found that if everyone were willing and able to do that—hypothetically—the U.S. could still come close to meeting its 2020 greenhouse-gas emission goals, pledged by President Barack Obama in 2009.

That is, even if nothing about our energy infrastructure or transportation system changed—and even if people kept eating chicken and pork and eggs and cheese—this one dietary change could achieve somewhere between 46 and 74 percent of the reductions needed to meet the target.

“I think there’s genuinely a lack of awareness about how much impact this sort of change can have,” Harwatt told me. There have been analyses in the past about the environmental impacts of veganism and vegetarianism, but this study is novel for the idea that a person’s dedication to the cause doesn’t have to be complete in order to matter. A relatively small, single-food substitution could be the most powerful change a person makes in terms of their lifetime environmental impact—more so than downsizing one’s car, or being vigilant about turning off light bulbs, and certainly more than quitting showering.

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Lots of comments on the recent post on wooden skyscrapers – here’s some further info.

International District Energy Association

Enwave Chicago is one of the largest district cooling systems in the world. Its 5 interconnected plants and 100,000 Tons of cooling capacity serve over 100 buildings totaling 45 million sq ft. By utilizing ice thermal energy storage, the system reduced its peak electric demand by over 30MWe.

Vast majority of Americans are under the impression that there is some kind of debate about climate change among scientists.

Actually, no.
97 percent is the right number.


When queried about the most recent IPCC report, Republican lawmakers delivered a consistent, false message – that climate scientists are still debating whether humans are responsible. The previous IPCC report was quite clear on this, attributing 100% of the global warming since 1950 to human activities. As Nasa atmospheric scientist Kate Marvel recently put it, “We are more sure that greenhouse gas is causing climate change than we are that smoking causes cancer.”

Donald Trump articulated the incorrect Republican position in an interview on 60 Minutes:

We have scientists that disagree with [human-caused global warming] … You’d have to show me the [mainstream] scientists because they have a very big political agenda

Americans badly underestimate the expert climate consensus

Numerous papers have shown that over 90% of climate science experts agree that humans are the main cause of global warming since 1950, and when considering peer-reviewed papers, the consensus exceeds 97%.

And yet as surveys by Yale and George Mason universities have found, only about 15% of Americans are aware that the expert climate consensus exceeds 90%.

Some have argued that efforts to communicate the consensus won’t work – that Americans’ opinions on climate change simply break down by political ideology (realism on the left, denial on the right) and in our age of ‘alternative facts,’ new information doesn’t change peoples’ beliefs.

However, numerous social science papers have found that the perceived consensus acts as a “gateway belief,” meaning that when people are aware of the high level of expert agreement on human-caused global warming, they’re more likely to accept that reality and support policies to address the problem.

That tells us the 97% consensus figure just hasn’t been effectively communicated to the public, and therefore consensus communication will make a difference.


Energy choices we are making include – how much intrusion into communities will be allowed for oil/gas drillers and frackers?

Aside: Wind turbines and solar panels do not explode,  produce toxic fumes, poison wells.

Washington Post:

A years-long fight over how close oil and gas drilling can safely be to places where people live and work is coming to a head with an unprecedented November ballot measure that would ban such operations within at least half a mile of homes, schools, businesses and waterways.

Proposition 112 is pitting homeowners against Fortune 500 companies and even neighbor against neighbor. The stakes involved are immense in a state that is the nation’s seventh-largest oil producer and fifth-biggest supplier of natural gas.

Opponents say increased setbacks would put tens of thousands of people out of work, plunge Colorado into a recession and jeopardize U.S. energy independence. An industry-backed political action committee, Protect Colorado, collected about $33 million through Sept. 26 to defeat the initiative. That sum, which dwarfed the amount the other side raised, has made Proposition 112 one of the most expensive referendums in state history.

Proponents counter that industrial operations pollute the air and threaten health and safety. Colorado Rising, the committee leading the effort, has highlighted more than a dozen fires, leaks and explosions since 2017. Several have been deadly, and the loss of life is one likely reason Proposition 112 supporters succeeded this time in getting enough signatures to put Initiative 97, which will appear as Proposition 112, on the ballot.

As the Nov. 6 midterm elections near, both sides are going door to door and holding rallies, especially in the most populous counties near Denver. Most Coloradoans vote by mail, and they’ll start receiving their ballots this week.

According to Tracee Bentley, executive director of the Colorado Petroleum Council, the state is considered “a bellwether.” If Proposition 112 were to pass, she said, “we are certain we would see it pop up in a couple years in other oil-and-gas-producing states.”

The showdown comes as applications to drill in the shadow of the Rockies tripled in the past year and oil production hit record highs. The nation’s fourth-largest oil field based on proved reserves lies beneath the Front Range here, ensuring that more rigs will go up in metropolitan areas dealing with historic growth.

Current law requires wells to be set back 500 feet from homes and 1,000 feet from schools. The referendum would push that to 2,500 feet and allow local governments to move it even farther away.

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