CLIMATE CHANGE Aug 7, 2021

CLIMATE CHANGE NEWS & VIEWS FROM AROUND THE WEB

QUOTABLES:

Smoke hours are relatively new, since about 2016, we have started to look at data about smoke conditions to help tell the story about forest fire smoke. 

Alysa Pederson, ECCC meteorologist
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Climate scientists sound alarm over extreme temperatures at Tokyo Olympics

Turkey: People flee popular tourist spots to escape wildfires

US fires: Inside a US fire truck driving through a wildfire

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ALBERTA NEWS

$100 million committed to AgriRecovery drought relief by federal government

The federal government says it has committed $100 million through the AgriRecovery disaster relief framework to helping farmers affected by drought in Western Canada and parts of Ontario.

The government says it’s still working with provincial governments of B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario to finalize the details of how payments will work, but sources tell RealAgriculture the first provincial announcements could come as soon as Friday (August 6.)

The federal announcement also removes some of the uncertainty about how disaster relief would proceed with the anticipation of a federal election campaign beginning shortly.

“Today we are announcing $100 million to add to provincial AgriRecovery initiatives, ready to be delivered as quickly as we can turn around provincial submissions, and ready to seek further funding for requests exceeding this amount,” said federal Ag Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, in a statement issued Friday morning. “We will continue to support farm families to get them through the challenges we face today, and position them for a sustainable future, since we know climate change will continue to pose challenges.”

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‘Wrapping these buildings in a nice, warm sweater’: Edmonton retrofit first of its kind

The project is based on energy-saving techniques from the Netherlands

Bees buzz between tomato plants, rows of Swiss chard and flowering zucchinis. Defend Alberta Parks signs dapple the Sundance Cooperative Housing property, between porches with lines of pegged drying laundry. Scaffolding surrounds one faded colourful townhouse and construction workers compare measurements. 

“I’ve been in construction for 50 years and this is my hardest project,” according to Peter Amerongen, managing partner at Butterwick Projects Ltd.

The project in Edmonton’s Riverdale neighbourhood is based on Energiesprong, a program from the Netherlands that retrofits buildings to net-zero standards with a minimum amount of construction waste.

The co-op’s 59 townhouse units will be encased with high-density foam and the existing structures covered with panels that have been pre-fabricated with new windows and doors. Insulation made from recycled newspapers is then blown into spaces between the new panels and the old building. 

The homes will also be powered by solar power and other green energy.

“We’re basically wrapping these buildings in a nice, warm sweater,” Amerongen told CBC Edmonton’s Radio Active in a recent interview.  

Residents continue living in their homes throughout the construction, expected to be complete in 2022.

Amerongen said a similar project was done in Ontario in the last few years but Edmonton’s is bigger and more ambitious.

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CANADA NEWS

Grassy Mountain coal project blocked by the Canadian government

A controversial open-pit coal mine project in the Canadian Rockies will not proceed because of its “significant adverse environmental effects”, the government has decided.

The Minister of Environment and Climate Change Jonathan Wilkinson made the announcement Friday that the Grassy Mountain coal project would seriously impact water, wildlife, plant life and the heritage of Canada’s First Nations.

“After careful deliberation and review of available and relevant information, which includes the joint review panel’s report, the minister concluded the project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects under CEAA 2012,” officials wrote in a statement

“The Government of Canada has determined those effects are not justified in the circumstances and therefore, the project cannot proceed.”

The panel, established with the Alberta Energy Regulator, highlighted the project’s potential impact on surface water quality, the habitat of the westslope cutthroat trout – a threatened species of fish, the endangered whitebark pine, the little brown bat and the lands of the Kainai, Piikani and Siksika First Nations.

“The Government of Canada must make decisions based on the best available scientific evidence while balancing economic and environmental considerations,” Wilkinson said in a statement. “It is in Canada’s best interests to safeguard our water ways for healthy fish populations like the westslope cutthroat trout, respect Indigenous peoples’ culture and way of life, and protect the environment for future generations.”

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WORLD NEWS

COP26: What is the UN climate conference in Glasgow and why is it so important?

Leaders from 196 countries are meeting in Glasgow in November for a major climate conference.

They are being asked to agree action to limit climate change and its effects, like rising sea levels and extreme weather.

how the world is projected to warm by 2100 GRAPHIC
how the world is projected to warm by 2100

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Neil deGrasse Tyson — Climate Science, with Bill Nye | Science Talks

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Climate crisis: Scientists spot warning signs of Gulf Stream collapse

Climate scientists have detected warning signs of the collapse of the Gulf Stream, one of the planet’s main potential tipping points.

The research found “an almost complete loss of stability over the last century” of the currents that researchers call the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). The currents are already at their slowest point in at least 1,600 years, but the new analysis shows they may be nearing a shutdown.

Such an event would have catastrophic consequences around the world, severely disrupting the rains that billions of people depend on for food in India, South America and West Africa; increasing storms and lowering temperatures in Europe; and pushing up the sea level in the eastern US. It would also further endanger the Amazon rainforest and Antarctic ice sheets.

The complexity of the AMOC system and uncertainty over levels of future global heating make it impossible to forecast the date of any collapse for now. It could be within a decade or two, or several centuries away. But the colossal impact it would have means it must never be allowed to happen, the scientists said.

“The signs of destabilisation being visible already is something that I wouldn’t have expected and that I find scary,” said Niklas Boers, from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany, who did the research. “It’s something you just can’t [allow to] happen.”

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