According to Environment Canada’s peer-reviewed July report on Canada’s Emissions Trends [pdf], government action to date is not putting the country on track to meet the carbon emissions reductions it commited to in 2009.
The Canadian government is again being called out for providing misleading information about its commitment to reducing carbon emissions.
The National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE) has released its fifth annual report [pdf] analyzing government efforts to follow through with its obligations to reduce its carbon pollution, as set out under the 2007 Kyoto Protocol Implementation Act (KPIA).
The findings are disturbing and show that Canada’s emissions reduction policies are only about half as effective as advertised. The recent analysis shows that government policies aiming for 54 million tonnes of carbon reductions by 2012 will only yield around 27 million tonnes of reductions.
Each year, in advance of United Nations (U.N.) climate discussions, governments around the world submit an inventory of their carbon emissions. This year, Canada is taking a unique approach to lower its reported emissions in preparing the annual carbon inventory – it has purposefully excluded information in order to give the false impression that when it comes to climate-altering tar sands pollution, “everything is fine.”
In reality, Canada’s carbon emissions have tripled since 1990, and Canada is making only minor progress to lower its carbon production 17% by 2020, according to Environment Canada’s own figures.
Last week, however, it was revealed that in the 567-page report detailing the country’s emissions, the Canadian government decided not to include 2009 data. Why? Perhaps because it documents a 20% increase in pollution from Alberta’s tar sands industry. The elusive data was only gradually released through emails in response to an investigation by Postmedia News.
An Environment Canada report recently published in Geophysical Research Letters confirms that Canada’s lack of action on climate change is likely going to mean an inevitable 2 degrees Celsius of warming projected by 2100. The report, entitled Carbon emission limits required to satisfy future representative concentration pathways of greenhouse gases, suggests that Canada must “ramp down to zero [carbon emissions] immediately” to avoid a 2 degree Celsius rise in worldwide temperature.
That will be nearly impossible, since current Canadian leadership still has no climate policy in place to deliver on such an uncompromising action plan. The Vancouver Sun notes some of the consequences of inaction: “Allowing temperatures to climb more than 2 C could wipe out thousands of species, melt Arctic ice and trigger a rise in sea level of several metres.”
Environment Canada’s latest study confirms that Stephen Harper and other leaders have not honored their international commitments to avoid the dangerous climate disruption that will ensue with 2 degrees C or more of rising temperatures. Unfortunately, the Harper government remains a master at climate change inaction.
A number of Canadian environmental policies and programs are facing significant budget cuts during the next year. Not surprisingly, reducing carbon emissions and air pollution are two of the areas facing the budget axe from Stephen Harper’s anti-science administration.
Environment Canada will endure a 14% reduction in funding (or $222 million) and the budget to combat global warming emissions and other air pollution will drop a massive 59% (from $240 million to below $100).
It’s only early January, and already we’re witnessing what could be the most devastating climate change story of the year. A new study in Nature Geoscience this week shows that even if we go to zero emissions and completely halt our wholesale burning of fossil fuels, climate change will continue for the next 1,000 years.
If only we could take solace in saying, “I told you so” to climate change deniers and the fossil fuel lobby fighting to confuse the public about climate change. Such proclamations seem trite and trivial, however, when we’re faced with the burning reality that our dirty oil addiction is cooking the planet in an irreversible way.
The study, conducted by University of Calgary and Environment Canada’s climate centre at the University of Victoria is the first full climate model simulation to make predictions 1,000 years into the future. Dr. Shawn Marshall and his team explore the question: “What if we completely stopped using fossil fuels and put no more CO2 in the atmosphere? How long would it then take to reverse current climate change trends and will things first become worse?” Using simulations with the Canadian Earth System Model, the research team exploredzero-emissions scenarios if humans completely stop burning fossil fuels in 2010 and 2100.
The article shows, devastatingly, that climate change will continue even if we stop our use of fossil fuels immediately. We’ve had that much of an impact. With this news, Canada’s head-in-sand approach to climate issues just won’t cut it.
While the Gulf of Mexico continues to choke on oil from a man-made disaster, the Arctic is experiencing another form of man-made onslaught thanks to climate change.
Late last month, British explorers hiking in the Canadian Arctic reported that their ice base off Ellef Ringnes Island had been hit by a three-minute rain shower. A team of Canadian scientists camped about 145 km west also reported being hit by rain at the same time.
Pen Hadow, the British team’s expedition director, told Reuters, “It’s definitely a shocker … the general feeling within the polar community is that rainfall in the high Canadian Arctic in April is a freak event.”
Hadow, whose team is gathering data on the effects of climate change on the Arctic Ocean in the Catlin Arctic Survey, said that “scientists would tell us that we can expect increasingly to experience these sorts of outcomes as the climate warms.”
This is the first in a DeSmogBlog exclusive investigative series we're calling, “Operation ecoTRUTH.”
One of the Canadian government's banner climate change funds could easily go toward subsidies that actually make the problem worse - and officials in Prime Minister Stephen Harper's administration would neither know, nor care.
Canada's Auditor General, Sheila Fraser, recently reported to the government's Public Accounts Committee that she is investigating concerns about the Conservative government's $1.5-billion Eco-Trust for Clean Air and Climate Change.
Arctic ice has melted to its lowest recorded level, with scientists and researchers blaming rising concentrations of greenhouse gases, which have pushed up temperatures from one to four degrees.
The summer of 2007 was hotter than average and that’s becoming the norm. Canada’s statistical agency says the trend is “consistent with what scientists predict will happen more frequently as the world becomes warmer as a result of climate change.”