We simply have to be even more aggressive in our thoughts. We recently announced that there will only be zero-emission vehicles sold in Canada by 2035, for light trucks and cars. This creates a positive feedback loop. When you begin to make a shift, suddenly the opportunities, the market shifts, the business cases, the pitch to shareholders in investing in capital upgrades, suddenly everything becomes easier and you get a positive feedback loop. I think that’s what you’re seeing now.

Prime Minister Trudeau on climate change
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The craft brewery using algae to cut emissions

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How building demolitions impact carbon emissions

Powerful fire tornado in California is latest extreme weather sign


Climate change made B.C., Alberta heat wave 150 times more likely, study concludes

‘Everybody’s really worried about the implications of this event, nobody saw this coming’

A recent heat wave in Western Canada that blew past records and contributed to hundreds of deaths could not have happened without climate change, an international group of scientists has concluded.

And even if the world meets greenhouse gas reduction targets, weather that saw temperatures crest to 45 C in many parts of British Columbia could reoccur every five to 10 years, the World Weather Attribution group said in a paper released Wednesday.

“An event of this extremity would have been virtually impossible in the past,” said co-author Sarah Kew of the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute. “But we are going to be seeing more intense and more frequent heat waves in the future.”

The end of June and early July saw unheard-of temperatures across B.C. and Alberta. The community of Lytton, B.C., reached nearly 50 C and was engulfed days later by a wildfire.

During the heat, sudden and unexpected deaths tripled in B.C. to 719 and weather is believed to have been a significant contributor.

“We’ve never seen a jump in record temperature like the one in this heat wave,” said Geert Jan van Oldenborgh of Oxford University. “These are incredibly high temperatures for these fairly temperate regions.”

Faron Anslow of the University of Victoria said several factors contributed to the crushing heat: a dry spring, a lingering ridge of high pressure over the region and a low pressure system off the Pacific coast that pulled heat from east to west.

“That put the icing on the cake,” he said.

But analysis using 21 different climate models and advanced statistical tools showed those factors wouldn’t have been enough on their own to push the mercury so high. Climate change, the paper concludes, made the heat wave 150 times more likely.

In fact, records were broken by such a wide margin that the scientists suggest two possibilities.

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This craft brewery is using carbon capture to reuse CO2 in its brews

Blindman Brewing will be using carbon dioxide from the fermentation process to carbonate its beer

A central Alberta business is taking a unique approach to carbon capture by serving up some of its emissions in beer. 

Breweries produce carbon dioxide during the fermentation process and they use CO2 to carbonate beer.

So, a central Alberta brewery is taking what seems like the logical next step by becoming the first in Canada to use carbon capture technology and recycle those emissions.

Blindman Brewing, based in Lacombe, spends about $60,000 a year buying CO2 canisters to give their beers the perfect, refreshing texture. 

But during fermentation, yeast devours sugars, producing alcohol and CO2 as the byproducts. 

Now, the brewery will be capturing that CO2, scrubbing it and compressing it to carbonate their beers and run canning lines — reducing their emissions, and need for purchased CO2 to near zero. 

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A third of B.C.’s 200 wildfires are burning out of control Monday

There are nearly 200 wildfires burning in B.C. Monday morning and a third of them are considered to be burning out of control.

In the past two days, there have been 40 fires started with most of them caused by lightning.

There are currently 12 major wildfires burning with the majority of them in the Cariboo and Kamloops fire centres.

The biggest wildfire is the Sparks Lake wildfire, burning 15 kilometres north of Kamloops Lake and is out of control. The fire is suspected to be human-caused but is under investigation.

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The Future of Fire in Canada

Five days after wildfire destroyed the town of Lytton in British Columbia killing two people and injuring several others, officials were still trying to account for some residents who were missing. No one apparently saw the fire coming. When they saw smoke, according to Mayor Jan Polderman, it took all of 15 minutes before the whole town was ablaze.

This was the third time in five years during Premier John Horgan’s time on the job in which catastrophic fires have taken their toll. “I cannot stress enough how extreme the fire risk is at this time in every part of British Columbia,” he said the day after the evacuation. “This is not how we usually roll in a temperate rainforest.”

Lytton is actually located in the drier, fire-prone montane forest which dominates most of the interior of B.C. Contrary to what Horgan said, this is exactly how things have been rolling since at least 2003 when more than 45,000 people were evacuated from Kelowna and Kamloops as fires tore through thick stands of forests filled with ponderosa and lodgepole pine, Douglas fir and Sitka spruce. Some of these tree species need to burn because heat from a fire is the most effective way of opening up enough cones to release the seeds they hold. Others like the Douglas fir can regenerate without fire, but their seedlings do best in areas opened up by fire.

Hotter hells

The year 2003 was notable not for the amount of forest that was consumed, but for the number of people in the West who were in harm’s way. Twenty-five fires that burned 13 per cent of Glacier National Park along the Alberta-Montana border that summer sent bus and car tourists packing so quickly that those who were eating at a historic lodge didn’t have time to finish their meals. Two thousand people in Crowsnest Pass along the Alberta-B.C. border spent a good part of their day watching the fires from a place that was not their home. Jasper National Park burned big and scary enough that officials feared it might spread to the towns of Jasper and Hinton.

Banff would have burned bigger and possibly historically had wildfire managers fighting a fire in neighbouring Kootenay National Park not thrown away the playbook and lit a backfire that stopped it before the fire jumped into Banff. Parks Canada firefighters named it the “Holy Shit Fire” because that’s how a slew of senior government bureaucrats reacted when they were flown in to have a look at it.

What I remember most about Kootenay when I was there was Parks Canada’s Rob Walker telling me that this was a harbinger of future fires in rapidly warming landscapes. Walker was the fire and vegetation specialist in Kootenay. He had never seen a fire behave the way this one did. Young stands of aspen that are typically slow to burn literally vaporized as the hot wall of flames passed through them. Instead of slowing down in the coolness of the night, the fires kept chugging along like a freight train going down the tracks.

There have been a lot of things at play that have made the fire situation much more volatile since 2003. Suppressing fire so successfully as we have done for more than a century has shifted the balance away from young, mixed forests that are resilient to fire to older forests that are much more likely to ignite and burn intensely. Draining wetlands that can stop or slow a fire has made things worse.

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G20 recognizes carbon pricing as climate change tool for first time

 G20 finance leaders recognized carbon pricing as a potential tool to address climate change for the first time in an official communique on Saturday, taking a tentative step towards promoting the idea and coordinating carbon reduction policies.

The move marked a massive shift from the previous four years when former U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration routinely opposed the mention of climate change as a global risk in such international statements.

The communique, issued on Saturday after a meeting of Group of 20 finance ministers and central bank governors in the Italian city of Venice, which is threatened by rising sea levels, inserted a mention of carbon pricing among a “wide set of tools” on which countries should coordinate to lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Such tools include investing in sustainable infrastructure and new technologies to promote decarbonization and clean energy, “including the rationalization and phasing-out of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption and, if appropriate, the use of carbon pricing mechanisms and incentives, while providing targeted support for the poorest and the most vulnerable,” said the communique from the financial leaders of the world’s 20 major economies.

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