Nathanael Baker's blog

Top Tweets from #WebofDenial Speech Blitz in U.S. Senate

On Monday and Tuesday this week, climate change denial is facing intense scrutiny as U.S. Senators take to the floor to speak out against the network of industry-funded climate denial organizations purposefully deceiving lawmakers and the general public about climate science and stalling action to tackle this critical issue.

On social media, the #WebOfDenial event captured the attention of the Twitterverse, quickly becoming a trending term on the social network. Throughout the event, DeSmog is capturing some of the top Twitter highlights for you.

China Will Close 1,000 Coal Mines As Industry Continues to Sputter

China has announced plans to close more than 1,000 coal mines in 2016, cutting production by 60 million tonnes. The move is part of a larger mandate to eliminate as much as 500 million tonnes of surplus production over the next five years, the government says. 
 
When it comes to coal, China is king: it is the world's largest producer and also its largest consumer. Last year, the country's 10,760 mines produced 3.7 million tonnes of coal. Yet, it's estimated that over half (2 million tonnes) that capacity does not get used, every year. According to a Reuters report, demand has waned due to the combination of a slowing economy and government policy to curb pollution by moving away from fossil fuels.
 
In addition to the air pollution from burning coal that plagues Chinese cities and exacts huge costs on society, the country's coal mining over-production is a real problem. Last year the country's supply surplus drove domestic prices down by a third.  Prices have dropped for five straight years thanks to a glutted market. Recognizing one of its most important economic sectors is in trouble, China hopes to stimulate the industry through consolidation.  The government has plans to eventually shut down all mines that produce less than 90,000 tonnes per year. Under this policy 5,600 mines will be shuttered.

Gary Braasch Photos: The Shrinking of India's Precious Gangotri Glacier

Photography is a key tool used by scientists to monitor and analyze the physical effects of climate change on the planet.  More than that, images are an essential tool for informing the public of what is happening – as they say, pictures tell a thousand words.

Gary Braasch is a photojournalist who has captured the extraordinary images of climate change for the last 11 years through his organization World View of Global Warming.

Braasch's most recent expedition took him to the Himalayas, where he documented the state of the Gangotri Glacier.*

Gangotri, India's second largest glacier, has been retreating for more than a century.  Now, this key source of fresh waters shrinks by 18 meters per year.

Below are a few samples of Braasch's striking and revealing photographs. Alongside some of the images, I've also inserted quotes from Braasch explaining more about the photo and how it fits into the climate change story.

Just 2% of Canadians Deny Climate Change Occurring, Poll Finds

Originally published on EnergyBoom.com

A recent survey conducted by Insightrix Research, Inc. has found that only 2% of Canadians believe climate change is not taking place.

The online poll, commissioned by IPAC CO2 Research Inc., a Saskatchewan-based center studying carbon capture and storage, asked respondents where they stood on the issue of climate change.

32% of participants said they believe climate change is occurring as a result of human activity, and 54% said they believe climate change is happening because of a combination of human activity and natural variation.  Meanwhile, 9% believe climate change is the result of the natural climate cycle.  Far in the minority were respondents (2%) that believed climate change is a hoax.

Conversely, in the United States climate denial represents a much larger chunk of the population, as a recent survey shows. 15% of Americans believe climate change is not occurring.

Much like the United States, Canadians' opinions on climate change vary depending on the region.  The Insightrix survey found that residents in the Prairies (Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba) are least likely to believe humans are changing the climate, while those living in the Maritimes, Quebec, and British Columbia are most likely to hold the belief. 

Scientists Storm Ottawa After Harper Government Cuts Environmental Protections and Research Again

Canadian scientists are taking to the streets in protest of the Harper government's latest cuts to scientific research and its increasingly backward environmental policies.

Over the last several weeks, the government has shut down major research institutions such as the iconic Experimental Lakes Area (ELA), eliminated funding for the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Science, and passed a budget bill which cuts government jobs for scientists and scraps pollution control programs.

The Harper government has made no bones about the energy future it envisions for Canada.  Alberta's oil sands lay at the center of not only the government's energy plan, but also its economic plan.  Now, it is becoming abundantly clear that if environmental protections get in the way of this plan, they wil be removed.  Hence Canada's withdrawl from the Kyoto Accord and its awful record at international negotiations on a new, legally-binding climate pact.

BC Premier Clark Redefines Natural Gas as "Clean Energy" to Serve Political Interests

Christy Clark, the premier of British Columbia, has joined the ranks of public officials the world over, which have clouded the definition of “clean energy” by using the term to seve their own interests.

In an effort to make good on her promise that the three new liquified natural gas plants under development along BC's northwest coast would be powered by clean energy sources, Clark has announced a new classification of the term “clean energy” in British Columbia. 

According to the Premier, only natural gas that is used to power the LNG plants will be classified as “clean energy,” while keeping the classification of all other natural gas in the province the same.

The province's Clean Energy Act of 2010, includes language that would allow natural gas to be redefined as a clean energy source under certain circumstances.

Speaking at an energy conference in Vancouver, Premier Clark said, “This is consistent with our comprehensive natural gas strategy and it's also consistent with our efforts to use renewable energy.”

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