The Tipping Points

As the world dithers, climate scientists are peering into their crystal balls to predict when the next shoe will drop. In a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a team of international researchers led by Elmar Kriegler of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research surveyed 43 leading scientists to estimate the likelihood of a tipping point occurring in the near future.

The four tipping points the researchers studied include the restructuring of the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (also known as the ocean conveyor belt or thermohaline circulation), the complete melting of the Greenland ice sheet, the disintegration of the West Antarctic ice sheet, and the increased frequency of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon.

Based on the scientists’ feedback, they concluded that there is a one in six chance that at least one tipping point will be triggered under conditions of medium warming (2 – 4ºC) and a more than one in two chance (56%) under conditions of high warming (4 – 8ºC) by 2200.

Nine Days to Save the Great Bear and a Ban on Trophy Hunting

The Great Bear Rainforest has been in the news a lot over the last couple of months. First off, the BC government is coming down to the wire on following through on its promise to protect the region.  Three years ago, the province of British Columbia committed to protecting this region under a new conservancy.

Harper Handout for Friends at National Post?

Readers of Desmog Blog know very well what we think of the outrageously inaccurate editorial position of the National Post on climate science.

We have often wondered, “Why would a paper on the verge of bankruptcy consistently print articles so clearly wrong about such a high profile issue? What’s in it for them?”

Well the murky waters are becoming slightly more clear. CanWest Global Communications, the parent company of the National Post has been bleeding red ink for years. Their crushing debt now tops a whopping $3.7 billion and the latest deadline to make a massive loan repayment is early next month.

What to do? Now comes word that CanWest has hired Ken Boessenkool to lobby the government of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper for concessions to keep the doors open.

Boessenkool is not just any old lobbyist. He a close confident of Harper and the reclusive Harper doesn’t have many of those. Boessenkool worked with Harper since 2000 and was his chief policy advisor in the 2004 election. He recently was with enormous PR firm Hill and Knowlton in Calgary.

Boessenkool is also registered lobbyist on behalf a number of fossil fuel and tar sands giants including Suncor, Enbridge and TransAlta. TransAlta also has an interest in Harper’s favourite climate panacea – carbon capture and storage.

Clean Coal Opposition Mounting

The last month has seen a flurry of activity on the clean coal opposition front and it doesn’t seem to be letting up. 

I thought it would make an interesting post to take some of the best blog post out there on so called “clean coal” and share them with you here on DeSmogBlog. As much as the multi-million dollar coal industry lobbyists want us to think their product is clean, it just ain’t so.

How America Can Break Its Coal Addiction (Or: no, coal isn’t necessary)

Very simply, 50% of US electricity comes from coal at this time. This is a serious portion of the overall US carbon load. It is also a major source of mercury and other pollutants worsening our lives. And, just remember, clean coal is like dry water — it simply doesn’t exist other than in advertising slogans.

Celebrate, C’mon! (Seriously, please c’mon)

Anti-coal protesters out on Monday: ~2,500 Pro-coal protesters out on Monday: 15 + this guy.

On Monday afternoon, pro-coal activists like the impassioned young man shown above gathered near Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. as part of a “Celebrate Coal!” counter-protest against a massive anti-coal rally taking place at the nearby Capitol Power Plant.

“Clean” Coal and “Healthy” Cigarettes - Coal Industry Huckster Won’t Admit Burning Coal Causes Climate Change

Joe Lucas has a hard job. He’s the PR huckster that heads up the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity, the front group that shills for the coal industry.

Climate Battle Spawns More than 2,300 DC Lobbyists

If the stage is now set for the climate battle to begin, there is no shortage of combatants. A Center for Public Integrity analysis shows that, by the end of last year, more than 770 companies and interest groups had hired an estimated 2,340 lobbyists to influence federal policy on climate change. That’s an increase of more than 300 percent in just five years, and means that Washington can now boast more than four climate lobbyists for every member of Congress.


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