The Army Corp of Engineers predicts that the highest point in Newtok could be under water by as early as 2017. This is irrefutable evidence that climate change is here now, and the sea level rises are no longer a prediction by scientists, but happening as we speak.
Guardian journalist Suzanne Goldenberg writes,
These villages, whose residents are nearly all native Alaskans, are already experiencing the flooding and erosion that are the signature effects of climate change in Alaska. The residents of a number of villages – including Newtok – are now actively working to leave their homes and the lands they have occupied for centuries and move to safer locations.
Once upon a time, it was considered politically savvy in some quarters to downplay or outright deny the realities of climate change. But now, with communities in exile from the impacts, denying climate change seems to me to be borderline negligent.
Gerry Protti, Alberta's new overseer of environment and safety in the province's oilpatch, has been central to a network of oil industry front groups and lobbyists for many years and it is raising the eyebrows of more than a few people.
Protti was recently named as the new head of the Alberta Energy Regulator, a new provincial agency whose mandate, is "...to provide for the efficient, safe, orderly and environmentally responsible development of energy resources in Alberta."
Pitting the economy against the environment has always seemed to me to be a false dichotomy.
For example, here in British Columbia, we have an economy that relies both on the province's natural resources and its natural beauty, and to not care for the environment from which we draw those resources, seems a short term fools game.
Though right now in B.C., a person is either for the economy or for the environment, and neither the two shall meet. Again, it is a fools game. And the game is playing out most ridiculously when it comes to the debate over the development of the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline that would run from Alberta to an offshore shipping facility in the small northern town of Kitimat, BC.
In the provincial election that is underway, there are two parties (B.C. Liberals and B.C. Conservatives) that are being framed as "pro-business" for their support of the pipeline, while the two parties questioning the construction of the gateway pipeline (Green Party and the N.D.P.) are framed as "anti-business."
Despite an international agreement to reduce emissions from carbon-intensive sources, oil and coal companies continue to pour hundreds of billions of dollars a year into finding new fossil fuel deposits containing enough carbon to more than double global climate pollution emissions.
This is the conclusion of a new report finding that $674 billion was spent globally last year alone on the discovery of new fossil fuel deposits that will likely never be used.
The report, Unburnable Carbon 2013: Wasted Capital and Stranded Assets, authored by researchers at the Carbon Tracker Initiative, Grantham Foundation and the London School of Economics and Politics, describes the idea of a "carbon bubble" that is the result of global fossil fuel reserves that already far exceed the maximum amount we can afford to burn and still avoid the most disastrous effects of climate change.
Despite this growing carbon bubble, and the inevitable movement towards a greatly reduced reliance on carbon intensive fuels in the future, energy companies continue to pour billions of dollars into discovering new fossil fuel reserves.
The thought of more oil tankers and pipelines along the pristine coastline of Vancouver, British Columbia is a pretty disturbing thought for most people living in the area. While some tankers do ply the waters, Vancouver is a major tourist destination that relies heavily on its natural beauty and amazing ocean-scapes.
Adrian Dix, the leader of BC's New Democratic Party, announced today that his party officially opposes a proposed project that would see more oil pumped from Alberta's tar sands to Vancouver's coast. Dix, considered the front-runner in the provincial election underway in the province, told reporters,
“They are talking about an increase of five- or six-fold [in capacity] and I think that transforms Vancouver into a major oil export port. I don’t think people in Vancouver see that as the right way to go, and I don’t think that’s the right way to go."