CLIMATE CHANGE July 17, 2021



A “wet bulb” temperature of 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit) — which factors both heat and relative humidity — can be fatal after a few hours, even assuming ideal conditions such as unlimited drinking water, inactivity or shade. In practice, the bar for this wet bulb temperature, which is measured by covering a thermometer with a wet cloth, is much lower — as shown by the deadly heat waves in Europe in 2003 that are estimated to have claimed 70,000 lives.

Relentless heat increases Patrick Verkooijen
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Alberta can expect more hot, dry summers thanks to climate change, climatologist says

Though temperatures in Calgary aren’t expected to climb past the low 30s this time around, we can expect much of the same weather until fall

The record-breaking weather Calgary and much of Alberta has seen since the start of summer is likely to continue through July and August, according to Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC).

As Alberta enters its second significant heat wave in recent weeks, temperatures in the high 20s and low 30s will continue to scorch the Calgary region for the forecastable future.

More than 80 per cent of the province, including Calgary, was under a heat warning Wednesday with daytime temperatures ranging between 29 C and 33 C in the city. Temperatures are expected to cool by Saturday but come back up on Sunday to near or above 30 C.

This year was the second hottest June on record, behind 1961, with the hottest day, June 29, coming in at 36.3 C, only 0.2 C off the highest temperature ever recorded in Calgary.

“On average, we typically only see five days above 30 C in the Calgary area. We’ve had 12 so far this year, and we have four more in the forecast for this week,” said Kyle Fougere, meteorologist with ECCC.

“That forecast goes on till Tuesday but, next week, there’s not really a strong signal for cooling . . . With this ridge of high pressure over the province, we’re not forecasting any record-high temperatures for an individual day, but it’s going to be consistently above normal for this week and likely into next week.”

Fougere noted Calgary has nearly reached a normal amount of precipitation, with 61 millimetres of rain falling since July 1. The average for the entire month is 65 millimetres.

The ridge of high pressure the city is under creates a heat dome, much like what was seen at the end of June, and though temperatures in Calgary aren’t expected to climb past the low 30s this time around, we can expect much of the same weather until fall.

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Why green hydrogen — but not grey — could help solve climate change

What if you could drive your car for 1,000 kilometres on a single tank of fuel and with zero emissions? That is just one example of what is possible in a hydrogen economy.

After decades of development, hydrogen and renewable electricity are poised to revolutionize the global energy system, enabling climate-friendly solutions. When combined with digital technologies, they will trigger economic growth as transportation, telecommunications and civil infrastructures become smart and interconnected.

In a post-pandemic world, several countries have included hydrogen fuel in their national recovery strategies. Canada and the United Kingdom have incorporated net-zero targets and disclosures to climate risk into national legislation. By identifying hydrogen’s role explicitly, the world is creating an international market for related zero-carbon solutions.

I have worked on hydrogen energy systems since 1993, and I have never seen such rapid changes in hydrogen policy, markets and technologies.

Carbon intensity is colour blind

Hydrogen is a zero-carbon fuel, and it comes in three basic colours: grey, blue and green.

Grey hydrogen can be produced inexpensively using coal or natural gas, but it has a significant carbon footprint. Most of the grey hydrogen produced today is made by a process called steam methane reforming, which generates between nine kilograms and 12 kilograms of carbon dioxide for each kilogram of hydrogen produced. Grey hydrogen can turn “blue” when most of these carbon emissions are captured and, for example, sequestered underground.

Green hydrogen is more expensive to produce, but it can be manufactured with zero emissions using renewable electricity to split water into oxygen and hydrogen. Globally, less than two per cent of hydrogen is produced this way

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EU unveils tough new climate rules, including tax on foreign polluters

Europe has already cut emissions 24% from 1990 levels, but is now aiming for 55% by 2030

European Union policy-makers on Wednesday unveiled their most ambitious plan yet to tackle climate change, aiming to turn green goals into concrete action this decade, and in doing so lead the way for the world’s other big economies.

The European Commission, the EU executive body, set out in painstaking detail how the bloc’s 27 countries can meet their collective goal to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by 55 per cent from 1990 levels by 2030 — a step toward “net zero” emissions by 2050.

This will mean raising the cost of emitting carbon for heating, transport and manufacturing, taxing high-carbon aviation fuel and shipping fuel that have not been taxed before, and charging importers at the border for the carbon emitted in making products such as cement, steel and aluminum abroad. It will consign the internal combustion engine to history.

“We’re going to ask a lot of our citizens. We’re also going to ask a lot of our industries, but we do it for a good cause,” EU climate policy chief Frans Timmermans said.

“We do it to give humanity a fighting chance.”

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