The price of climate change: $80 million and mounting fighting fires in BC alone
“Drought is part of our cycle, but if we look at this from a North American context, this drought is exceptional. We haven’t seen something of this extent since the North American West was settled,” Pomeroy said.

Two days ago Robert Falls woke up to an orange glow in the morning and since then it has only increased. Falls lives in West Vancouver overlooking Howe Sound, the archipelago of islands and water. On Monday he couldn’t even see the water, just the smoke from hundreds of fires burning across British Columbia.

Inside his house, even with the windows closed, he can smell the smoke and outside ash is falling on homes and cars.

“I’ve lived here my entire life. I’ve never seen anything like this,” the executive director of the Centre for Applied Earth Observation, at the University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Forestry, told the National Observer.

“I’ve never seen weather like this. It’s worrisome. It’s uncanny. It’s unprecedented.”

With thick orange smoke blanketing British Columbia and mass evacuations taking place from wildfires in Saskatchewan, Canadians are getting their first real glimpse of what a hotter future from climate change might look like.

From California to Alaska and from the West coast to Manitoba, the fire season has begun earlier than anyone recalls and it’s causing problems on a massive scale.

In British Columbia alone, the province has spent $80-million already this year battling the blazes. To date, 866 fires have consumed 222,000 hectares of land.

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When viewed in just the right way, Earth is covered in swirling brushstrokes that put Van Gogh’s most famous works to shame. Differences in temperature and pressure, friction and other phenomena cause fluids like water in the ocean and air in the atmosphere to move in mesmerizing patterns. Sometimes it just takes a supercomputer to see the dance. 

These images represent the next generation of ocean current models that reveal some of the hidden action. Produced by the Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Lab, the top image shows Atlantic Ocean water surface temperatures and the bottom illustrates the Southern Ocean’s currents and eddies flowing eastward around Antarctica. 

Both are part of the lab’s Climate, Ocean and Sea Ice Modeling program to project global alterations to the planet from climate change using the most advanced technologies and methods. Models were built using a supercomputer that operates 8,000 processors simultaneously and verified against real-world satellite and shipboard observations. 

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NOAA Satellite and Information Service:

Carbon Cycle & Climate Change

This week, we look at the impact of carbon dioxide or CO2 on Earth’s atmosphere. In this activity, you can adjust the carbon sources by dragging the graph points and clicking the projection to see the impact of atmospheric CO2.

(Carbon Cycle and Climate Change)

Projecting climate into the future and forecasting regional impacts depends upon our understanding of the exchange of CO2 between the atmosphere, oceans and land ecosystems.  The CO2 in the atmosphere acts like a blanket over the planet by trapping longwave radiation, which would otherwise radiate heat away from the planet. As the amount of CO2 increases, so will its warming effect.

Learn more about NOAA’s role in atmospheric measurements and analyses at

Read more from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Harper government a no-show at climate forum in tale of two summits
The snub comes after a broad coalition of 10,000 people took to the streets of Toronto on Sunday for the March for Jobs, Justice, and the Climate to push for a transition to a clean-energy economy in Canada.

The Harper government is sending three top ministers to International Economic Forum of the Americas in Toronto this week – but can’t be bothered to send a single representative to the Climate Summit of the Americas being held at the same time at the exact same hotel.

That’s right, International Trade Minister Ed Fast, Transport Minister Lisa Raitt and Treasury Board President Tony Clement – a guy with 50 million reasons to love international summits – have all cleared room in their schedules to speak at the Economic Forum at the Fairmont Royal York hotel.

Environment Minister Leona Aglukkaq will be tied up in her home riding to celebrate Nunavut Day, but the government didn’t think of sending a stand-in for the Climate Summit to speak alongside the governors of California and Vermont, the premiers of Ontario and Quebec, and the environment ministers from BC, Quebec and Ontario.

Mexico is even chipping in its top environment bureaucrat and former president, Felipe Calderón, who chairs the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate.

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Worried about climate change? So why aren't you vegan?
You might be forgiven for thinking that climate change is all about fossil fuels, writes Chris Lang. But with livestock farming causing around a sixth of global emissions, there's one quick, cheap way to cut our carbon footprints: go vegetarian, or better still, vegan. So what's taking us so long?

This week I decided to go vegan. The decision came after many years of being a (sometimes meat-eating) vegetarian, or a (sometimes vegetarian) meat-eater.

There are many reasons behind my decision. I recently read Jonathan Safran Foer’s book Eating Animals, which I picked up almost by accident. Having read it, I can’t justify eating animals on moral grounds, given the current way animals are farmed…
The 5 Most Important Points of Pope Francis's Climate Change Encyclical
We can and must make things better

Hot topic of the moment. Not everyone agrees with the Pope’s encyclical, and I have little ‘faith’ that the environmental community will do anything more than wave the Pope’s call around for political gain. I doubt they (well, ‘we’ since I am clearly part of the enviro-community!) will change behaviors to pivot to help others. We won’t agree to get involved in political decision making (are you going to run for office or go to your city council meetings?). I doubt we’ll make serious and effective efforts to basically reverse the western way of life. And I am firmly confident the enviro-left will absolutely reject his call to reduce investments and dependence on new technologies.

So, what will change because of his call? After all, conservatives and business leaders around the world have openly condemned Pope Francis as a temporary blip. The right are masters of the ad-hominen attack (namely because the media eats it up). The right thinks the Pope no longer has influence. So, to them, it’s not risky to throw a world-religious leader under the bus. For me, I wonder if there are changes, how will people be held accountable if they don’t act? How will possible changes be monitored and measured? Climate denial knows no bounds.  

Here are the five according to TIME:

1. Climate change is real, and it’s getting worse. Though some politicians in the U.S. still argue about the reality of the climate change, Pope Francis doesn’t mince words: “Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day,” he says. “If present trends continue, this century may well witness extraordinary climate change and an unprecedented destruction of ecosystems, with serious consequences for all of us.”

2. Human beings are a major contributor to climate change. While many agree that climate change is real, some believe that human beings don’t contribute to it. The science suggests otherwise, and Pope Francis—a trained chemist—says human beings do have an effect on the Earth: “We have come to see ourselves as her lords and masters, entitled to plunder her at will.”

3. Climate change disproportionately affects the poor. Climate change’s worst impact, Pope Francis says, “will probably be felt by developing countries in coming decades. Many of the poor live in areas particularly affected by phenomena related to warming, and their means of subsistence are largely dependent on natural reserves and ecosystemic services such as agriculture, fishing and forestry.” This environmental inequality creates a strange economic phenomenon: Poor countries are often financially indebted to rich countries. The world has what Pope Francis calls a “social debt towards the poor … because they are denied the right to a life consistent with their inalienable dignity.”

4. We can and must make things better. Some of those who study climate change believe this process to be irreversible, too far gone. But Francis—whose first major letter was entitled Joy of the Gospel—says he doesn’t believe we should be robbed of hope. “Human beings, while capable of the worst, are also capable of rising above themselves, choosing again what is good, and making a new start”

5. Individuals can help, but politicians must lead the charge. Francis argues that personal responsibility is an important step toward reversing climate change, but that political and structural transformations are needed for lasting change. “Every effort to protect and improve our world entails profound changes in lifestyles, models of production and consumption, and the established structures of power which today govern societies.”


How Do Greenhouse Gases Actually Work?

MinuteEarth provides an energetic and entertaining view of trends in earth’s environment – in just a few minutes!


By: MinuteEarth.
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Check out this awesome new climate-themed benandjerrys flavor, Save Our Swirled!

“Since the very beginning, Ben & Jerry’s has been a company with a passion for social justice. We’ve advocated for a broad range of causes over the years, and climate change is one we take particularly seriously. While we’ve been working tirelessly at cleaning up our own act and spreading the word around the world, we recognize that there’s power in numbers and know that our passionate fans hold the greatest potential for positive change.

2015 is a critical year for climate change. Later this year, leaders from around the world will gather in Paris, France for the U.N. Climate Summit—a meeting we hope will produce a legally binding agreement to keep global warming in check.

If it’s melted, it’s ruined.” 

Applies to our polar ice and ice cream, too. :(


March for Jobs, Justice and the Climate: Toronto, Ontario, Canada; July 5th, 2015

Photos and commentary by

On July 5th, we made history. In a spectacular demonstration of unity, over 10,000 people marched together in Toronto for Jobs, Justice and the Climate. This is the most diverse climate mobilization ever to take place in Canada.

The March brought together frontline Indigenous communities, Canada’s largest unions, students, social justice organizations and grassroots activists. Together, we sent a clear message: the people of Canada are ready for a new economy that works for people and the planet. By standing in solidarity with one another on July 5th, we have demonstrated that future is possible.

We marched as wild fires sweep across Saskatchewan and communities in South Asia recover from a series of devastating heat waves. The extreme climate events taking place this summer have been another solemn reminder that every minute we delay means more catastrophic and irreversible damage to people and the environment.

We are tired of sitting on the sidelines as world leaders repeatedly fail to deliver the action that we need to combat climate change. Politicians have failed to lead us– it’s clear that people are leading the way.

We know that the economy we need puts justice first by prioritizing Indigenous rights. It is one that secures good work, clean jobs and healthy communities– that means fair wages for all including migrants without status. Ultimately, we have the solutions we need to get there and we know very well who is responsible for the climate crisis.

Thank you for taking part in this historic moment.


Warming and Overfishing Sent Seabirds Flocking to California            

Mexico’s elegant terns have begun nesting farther north in years when their traditional food is scarce

by Sarah Zielinski

The Mexican seabirds called elegant terns have had a rocky history. Thanks to invasive species gobbling up their eggs and El Niño events depleting their food supply, the birds have seen their numbers rise and fall for decades. But they weathered those trials and steadfastly held to their traditional nesting grounds off Mexico’s Pacific coast.

Now, however, a one-two punch of climate change and overfishing has the elegant terns moving into California by the thousands, scientists report today in Science Advances.

“The elegant tern is unique to the eastern Pacific,” notes Enriqueta Velarde of the University of Veracruz in Mexico, who has studied the birds since 1979. The terns migrate on a long path from wintering grounds in Chile and Peru north to their breeding grounds on Isla Rasa, in the Gulf of California. Dependent on small fish such as sardines, the birds’ reproductive success has been an indicator of the gulf’s health, accurately predicting food availability for species such as blue whales and sea lions…

(read more: Smithsonian Magazine)

photographs by drferry/iStock and velarde