The Claim: “A Real Plan to Protect Our Environment is Canada’s best chance to meet the Paris targets.“
— Federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer introducing his party’s climate plan in June.
The Conservative Party’s climate change-fighting blueprint, dubbed A Real Plan to Protect Our Environment, was more than a year in the making — and it promises many things.
There’s a pledge to create a Green Homes Tax Credit, which would allow Canadians to recoup 20 per cent of what they spend to make their homes more energy efficient, up to a maximum of $3,800. And a vow to tax made-in-Canada climate-friendly inventions at a lower rate in order to spur research and development. The Tories are also committing to improving conservation funding and coming up with better ways to manage wetlands and other habitats.
But Andrew Scheer’s environmental plan has one big hole: It doesn’t set any targets for greenhouse gas reductions, which is the very point of the 2015 Paris Agreement.
And some of the other measures that the document envisions — like doing away with the carbon tax and new fuel standards, changing the threshold for large emitters, and promoting the export of more Canadian oil and gas — seem destined to increase GHG emissions.
Periodically, we receive queries asking if Earth is cooling. Although multiple lines of converging scientific evidence show conclusively that our climate is warming, stories sometimes appear in the media calling that into question. New studies are interpreted as contradicting previous research, or data are viewed to be in conflict with established scientific thinking.
Last spring, for example, a number of media outlets and websites reported on a story that looked at data acquired from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) Surface Temperature Analysis (GISTEMP), which estimates changes in global surface temperature. The article discussed a short-term cooling period that showed up in the data in 2017 and 2018 and correctly stated that short-term cooling cycles are “statistical noise compared to the long-term trend.”
Afterward, we received some queries from readers who wanted to know if this finding meant a significant period of global cooling either could be or already was under way.
The answer is no. This story is a great example of why focusing on just a short period of time – say, one, two or even several years — doesn’t tell you what’s really going on with the long-term trends. In fact, it’s likely to be misleading.
So, what’s really important to know about studying global temperature trends, anyway?
The heat wave that smashed temperature records in western Europe last month was made more intense by human-caused climate change, according to a study published Friday.
The rapid study by a respected team of European scientists points to an array of evidence that man-made global warming was behind the continent’s most recent heat wave.
“The July 2019 heat wave was so extreme over continental Western Europe that the observed magnitudes would have been extremely unlikely without climate change,” the study concluded.
In countries where millions of people sweltered through the heat wave, temperatures would have been 1.5 to 3 C lower in a world without human-induced climate change, the study said.
Global warming is also making such extreme heat more frequent, the study by experts from France, the Netherlands, Britain, Switzerland and Germany found.
Attempts to solve the climate crisis by cutting carbon emissions from only cars, factories and power plants are doomed to failure, scientists will warn this week.
A leaked draft of a report on climate change and land use, which is now being debated in Geneva by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), states that it will be impossible to keep global temperatures at safe levels unless there is also a transformation in the way the world produces food and manages land.
Humans now exploit 72% of the planet’s ice-free surface to feed, clothe and support Earth’s growing population, the report warns. At the same time, agriculture, forestry and other land use produces almost a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions.