Christy Clark Gives Up Climate Change Battle
BC’s brief commitment to action ends with launch of ‘leadership plan’ that rejects expert panel’s advice.

The BC Liberals’ latest Climate Leadership Plan marks the end of the government’s commitment to any serious effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The 52-page document has a classically Orwellian name.

There is no “leadership” — Premier Christy Clark rejects that role for B.C., saying the province has to wait and see what happens in other jurisdictions.

And there is no “plan,” just lots of photos, paragraphs and words that set out shiny, vague hopes for the distant future.

Climate change mattered to the government for a few years. In 2007, then-premier Gordon Campbell got religious on global warming after treating the issue as irrelevant for six years. He had read some enlightening books, he said in explaining his conversion, and was shocked by China’s sprawling, polluted cities on a 2006 trade visit. (Campbell had also noticed that California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger rode the issue to a big election victory. Schwarzegger’s chief environmental advisor Terry Tamminen was quietly brought in to help the Liberals develop their plan.)

Campbell, who had opposed ratification of the Kyoto accord on climate change a few years earlier, said the battle against climate change was as important to the planet’s future as the last two world wars.

The government followed up with a plan in 2008, with specific targets. By 2012, emissions would be cut to six per cent below 2007 levels. By 2016, to 18 per cent. And by 2020, to 33 per cent. By 2050, they would be 80 per cent lower than they were in 2007.

An action plan — starting with a carbon tax — was created to achieve the goals.

The government met the 2012 commitment, helped by the 2008 global recession.

By the province’s count, emissions fell from 64.3 megatonnes to 60.5 megatonnes (including one megatonne in forestry offsets) — 5.9 per cent, close enough to claim success. (Though hardly a grand achievement — Canadian emissions declined 5.3 per cent in the same period without a carbon tax or climate plan.)

But the government has no chance of coming close to meeting this year’s target, which called for carbon emissions of 52.7 megatonnes. Statistics Canada reported B.C.’s 2014 emissions at 62.9 megatonnes — up from 2012.

Which in turn means the government has no chance of meeting its 2020 commitment to cut emissions to 43.1 megatonnes. That’s a big failure, as the reduction is required under the Liberals’ own legislation.

A government serious about leading in the effort to slow global warming would produce a credible new plan to meet the objectives.

But Clark, at a slickly staged, expensive and empty announcement in a warehouse, took a different approach. She abandoned the targets and bailed on the climate issue.

The new Climate Leadership Plan pretends the 2016 and 2020 commitments don’t exist. It focuses on 2050, but offers no plan to meet that target.

Continue Reading.

Tony Abbott’s target of greenhouse gas emissions reductions of %26 by 2030 has been dubbed inadequately small compared to other countries.

“Gosh, you all sound like my wife… look, it’s better than nothing isn’t it?” Tony whinged with no follow up statements.

After a prolonged awkward silence a journalist asked a question “Do you think this gives off the impression that you’re just not trying to tackle the issue?”

God, who gave my wife a media pass? Oh wait, you’re a man… Well I would certainly think my apathy is more of a statement than an impression at this point.” He then wrote down “fuck the environment, long live your cold blooded overlords who will flourish in the hot sun” on a piece of paper, scrunched it up, and threw it at the journalist’s head.

“Anyone else want to ask questions?”

“Yes. When are you going to take the car to the car wash for a clean?” came a familiar woman’s voice.

“DAMN IT MARGARET I SAID TUESDAY OK? I’M BUSY RUINING THE PLANET!” he slammed his fist down on the lectern. “Really though, who gave my wife a media pass? Was it you Jerry? Jerry you’re fired.”

“I don’t work for you.”

“Then I’m going to dislocate my jaw like a snake and eat you.”

Jerry slinked away quietly, dreading for his life.

By 2047, Coldest Years May Be Warmer Than Hottest in Past

“If greenhouse emissions continue their steady escalation, temperatures across most of the earth will rise to levels with no recorded precedent by the middle of this century, researchers said Wednesday.

Scientists from the University of Hawaii at Manoa calculated that by 2047, plus or minus five years, the average temperatures in each year will be hotter across most parts of the planet than they had been at those locations in any year between 1860 and 2005.”

The Atlantic Cities:

A Small Number of People Are Causing a Huge Share of Our Greenhouse Emissions

Emily Badger. June 27, 2013

You probably don’t need a sophisticated climate model to tell you that a compact, car-free apartment in the city has a smaller carbon footprint than a 3,000 square-foot single-family house in the suburbs. But add all of those big, far-flung homes together, and their cumulative impact starts to look really disproportionate. In many metropolitan areas, this means that a narrow slice of households are responsible for a vastly larger share of the region’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Just how much larger are we talking? An interesting new study out of Switzerland, published in the American Chemical Society’s journal Environmental Science & Technologylooked at this question in a single town there. Researchers at ETH-Zurich developed a model using census data for the life-cycle assessment of housing and local transportation consumption in the town of Wattwil, home to 3,238 households. Twenty-one percent of the households there, the researchers calculated, were responsible for 50 percent of the region’s housing and mobility-related emissions.

The main culprits? Large homes requiring a lot of energy to heat and cool, and relatively long commutes. This snapshot of a small town in Switzerland obviously doesn’t translate directly to New York City (the authors also did not factor into their model other kinds of consumption, like food and clothing). But previous statistics from the U.S. suggest that the paper’s main conclusion likely applies broadly: "The findings,” the authors write, “suggest that [greenhouse gases] are not emitted equally.”

Image: Shutterstock

There may be an argument for Australia to price carbon but it can’t be to arrest global warming or slow climate change - we’re simply too small an emitter of greenhouse gases for moderate cuts to make any measurable difference.

- Dr Ziggy Switkowski, Sydney Morning Herald, 12 April 2011

(Really? We’re going to be that defeatist?  Change has to start somewhere…)

Driving On Awesome Solar Roadways Is Right Around The Corner (IMAGES & VIDEO)

Driving On Awesome Solar Roadways Is Right Around The Corner (IMAGES & VIDEO)

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Imagine solar panels that melt snow and let you drive, park, and walk on all while outing greenhouse gases by 75 percent. While flying cars ala’ the Jetsons still hasn’t happened, solar roadways is a pretty cool start.  It seems that these technological marvels may just be closer to becoming a reality as the Solar Roadways crowd funding campaigntopped its goal of $1 million and with 3 days left…

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When It Comes to Cutting Carbon, Cities May Be More Powerful Than National Governments

When it comes to leadership on climate change issues, don’t bother looking to the top. National governments have made little headway in developing plans and policies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Kyoto protocol was the start of an international conversation, but one with a limited impact. The COP 15 Climate Change Conference in 2009 resulted in little, as did its follow-up meetings in 2010 and 2011. Delegates at theRio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development are hoping those talks will continue to develop, but recent history suggests leadership at the national level is far off.

At the local level, though, progress has been made. As we’ve previously reported, cities across the planet are crafting and implementing plans to adapt to and even reduce the impacts of global climate change. And according to a coalition of the world’s largest cities, progress continues. The C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group says its 58 member cities are on a track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 248 million tons by 2020 – about 0.8 percent of global emissions.

Not a huge bite, but at least its something. C40 notes that many of these city-level efforts have been enacted without the support of national governments.

The Carbon Disclosure Project’s 2012 global cities report [PDF] also asserts that mayors have direct control of over 75 percent of urban emissions sources, from municipal fleets to residential waste management to outdoor lighting to urban planning. This is a pretty striking figure.

And according to the report, city governments are responsible for 77 percent of the actions being taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

So while it might be nice and useful to see some leadership on climate change and greenhouse gas emissions at the national level, down at the city level there is power, funding and inclination to take action.”

Via: The Atlantic Cities

Photo:   Sergio Moraes / Reuters
A global transition to efficient lighting

The demand for electricity is set to rise dramatically. 

For lighting alone, electricity consumption is expected to increase by 60 per cent in the next 20 years. 

Today, lighting is responsible for 19 per cent of global electricity consumption and for six to eight per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). The good news 

is that the technology is here to enable a global transition to lighting efficient enough to slash emissions by half.

In Mar. 2001, President George W. Bush withdrew the US from the Kyoto Protocol due to Senate opposition and concerns that limiting greenhouse gas emisions would harm the US economy. From July 16-27, 2001 the COP 6 conference (conference of signatory parties to the UNFCCC) took place in Bonn, Germany, and the final amendments to the Kyoto Protocol were made. 179 countries reached a binding agreement without the participation of the US.
—  The more I educate myself on things Bush did the more I grow to despise him and others alike.

Watch a City Aglow in Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The above picture is a snapshot of the city of Indianapolis, as seen through its greenhouse gas emissions. All those glowing green patches of land – those are individual residences contributing to the city’s carbon footprint thanks to home heating, lighting and appliances. The tall red towers illustrate the emissions coming from commercial properties and industry. And those squat red bars cutting through the city – those are cars traveling Indianapolis’ beltway at rush hour, emitting carbon dioxide as they go.

This image comes from the Hestia Project, a software system just developed by researchers at Arizona State University that can estimate greenhouse gas emissions across a city’s landscape, right down to its individual buildings and roadways.

“We all love to point the finger at everyone else for greenhouse gases, but one thing that becomes imminently clear when you look at emissions in this detail is that blame is a ridiculous thing to do,” says Kevin Gurney, an associate professor in ASU’s School of Life Sciences and a senior scientist with the Global Institute of Sustainability. "We’re all part of the system. All of us engage in these activities. I drive a car, I have a home, I go to work. And you really see that.”

The software corrals publicly available data wholly unrelated to climate change. That includes property tax filings that reveal the size and age of buildings, how they’re used and what fuel heats them, DMV records on auto maintenance and inspections, and Metropolitan Planning Organization traffic count estimates. “None of that data has been collected technically for any environmental reason,” Gurney says.

And this is one of the strengths of Hestia. The United States and other nations have objected to international climate treaties that don’t include rigorous verification of emissions levels and reduction efforts. We can’t solve the problem, the argument goes, until we can accurately measure the scope of it and what governments say they’re doing to address it.

Well, Hestia has figured out how to estimate those measurements at the micro scale, using internally consistent data that could hardly be classified as suspect (think cities are manipulating their DMV records to paint a rosier picture of their carbon footprints?). “This is starting to eliminate that excuse,” Gurney says.

Hestia can also track patterns in emissions over time. In this hypnotic hourly animation, you can watch the people of Indianapolis head to work in those red buildings by day, then return home to residences that light up in green with tens of thousands of households turning up their thermostats and TVs by night. Traffic along the city’s main highways ebbs and flows in purple.

This seasonal animation, meanwhile, illustrates how dramatically different a city’s energy use appears in summer and winter.“

Via: The Atlantic Cities

Image: Hestia

  • vegan:There is also some sad irony here in that, according to the United Nations "Raising animals for food generates more greenhouse gases than all the cars and trucks in the world combined.
  • :That is completely untrue. According to the most recent IPCC report put forth for the UN, GHG emissions as a result of agricultural practices (both crops AND livestock) account for approximately 14% of all GHG emissions. Industry and transportation account for 23 and 26% respectively, and that it's even counting buildings, electricity and forestry emissions. Get your facts straight, get on the IPCC and get an informed opinion.
  • :The bit of nonsense from Livestock's Long Shadow has been discredited. Even one of the authors of LLS, Pierre Gerber, has acknowledged that it was based on flawed data.
  • :

30 Nov 2012

A good thing:

In April and May last year, Swiss-based disease control company Vestergaard Frandsen distributed more than 877,000 LifeStraw Family filters to households in Kenya in an area where piped water is rare and unsafe for drinking. The microbiological filter is composed of a plastic container with a hollow fibre filter, which catches bacteria, parasites and viruses.

Approximately 90% of Western Province’s population – about 4.5 million people – now benefit from clean water. People save money on both firewood, because they no longer have to boil water to make it safe – which in turn reduces emissions, and medicines. 

The programme is also the first safe water project to generate gold standard voluntary emissions reductions carbon credits, and has earned 1.4m credits so far.

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