Climate Change

Record Arctic high confirmed

It’s no secret in Canada or other northern nations that the Arctic has become a bellwether for global warming. The World Meteorological Organization confirmed today that a record high of 38 degrees Celsius was reported on June 20 last year in Siberia. That was some 18 degrees above the region’s daily average for the month, a situation the UN agency said had contributed to “massive sea ice loss” and evoked the Mediterranean rather than the Arctic.” [node:read-more:link]

Mercedes-Benz offers “dieselgate” deal

Daimler AG and North American Mercedes-Benz subsidiaries have agreed to pay $243 million to settle a class-action lawsuit with the Canadian owners of 83,000 diesel vehicles sold between 2009 and 2016. The settlement, which must be approved by an Ontario court in February, includes repairs to make some models’ emissions legal, and cash payments for their owners as well as buy-back options. [node:read-more:link]

New way forward for NATO

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says the alliance’s political leaders will endorse its latest Strategic Concept at a summit set for Spain next June. He says it will cover’s NATO’s relationship with China and give more prominence to technology and climate “reaffirming the centrality of the trans-Atlantic bond to our security and defense” during “turbulent times.” [node:read-more:link]

Arctic shipping urged to curb emissions

A UN resolution urging maritime operators to use clear fuels in the Arctic is being widely hailed for its potential to reduce carbon black emissions in the region. The fine particulates from incomplete fossil fuel combustion land on snow and ice, increasing melt rates by reducing the surface’s albedo or reflectivity. [node:read-more:link]

U.S. sets out space priorities

A United States Space Priorities Framework issued Dec. 1 by the White House is designed to “transition to a more resilient national security space posture and strengthen its ability to detect and attribute hostile acts in space.” It also, among other things, commits to space-based observation to “support action on climate change” and to protect “space-related critical infrastructure.” [node:read-more:link]

Soaring need for humanitarian aid

The UN says the global need for humanitarian aid is rocketing toward an all-time high in 2022 as COVID-19, climate change and regional conflicts exacerbate the prospect of widespread famine. Accordingly, its humanitarian relief arm appealed today for a record US$41 billion in funding to help people it says are most in need, up from $35 billion in 2021 and double what it sought four years ago. [node:read-more:link]

Natural disasters and climate change

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used a Nov. 24 House of Commons emergency debate on B.C.’s floods to not only reassure residents of continued federal help but also to press the government’s case for more aggressive action on climate change. “This is not an isolated case,” he said, also citing devastating wildfires in B.C. last summer and recent flooding in the Atlantic provinces. “We know that this is not an isolated case,” he tsaid. “If the last year has shown us anything, it's the impacts of climate change are here sooner than expected and they're devastating.” [node:read-more:link]

Suzuki stirs up pipeline debate

Noted environmentalist David Suzuki is standing by his weekend speculation that frustration with governments’ handling of climate change could lead to protesters “blowing up” pipelines. After he broached the possibility, there was a flurry of accusations that he was inciting violence, but he countered Nov. 22 that “we’ve come to a time where civil disobedience is what we have to do now — to put our bodies on the line.” [node:read-more:link]

Climate Change and Economic Growth

(Jan 2009) Grim descriptions of the long‐term consequences of climate change have given the impression that the climate impacts from greenhouse gases threaten long‐ term economic growth. However, the impact of climate change on the global economy is likely to be quite small over the next 50 years. Severe impacts even by the end of the century are unlikely. The greatest threat that climate change poses to long‐term economic growth is from potentially excessive near‐term mitigation efforts. [node:read-more:link]

World’s largest rainforests still threatened

There was a 22 per cent surge in deforestation of Brazil’s Amazon Basin in the year ended last July, according to the government, which is led by President Jair Bolsonaro, a proponent of more development in the world’s largest rainforest. The government says 12,235 square kilometres were deforested between August 2020 and last July, the most since 2006. [node:read-more:link]

UofT scientist wins major prize

University of Toronto theoretical physicist and professor Sajeev John has won this year’s Gerhard Herzberg Canada Gold Medal for Science and Engineering. The prize, which comes with key funding, recognizes his work since 1984 on trapping light, a technology which has been used in laser surgery and now is seen as having applications for improving solar power technology. [node:read-more:link]

Biden and Xi virtual summit

U.S. President Joe Biden used a virtual meeting to press Chinese President Xi Jinping on human rights and trade but Xi, who has not left his country in nearly two years, warned against what he said is continued U.S. provocations over Taiwan. Xi likened the two countries “giant ships sailing in the sea” which needed steady hands to avoid a collision. [node:read-more:link]

More long-term promises on climate change

The 26th Conference of the Parties to the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change wound up on the weekend with nearly 200 leaders drafting a non-binding agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. India, one of the major coal-users, succeeded in getting 11th-hour acceptance that the use of coal, a major global source of GHGs, should be phased “down” rather than “out.” [node:read-more:link]

No Ontario subsidy for EVs

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has flatly dismissed the possibility of reinstating a rebate program for buyers of electric vehicles that the previous government had implemented. “I'm not going to give rebates to guys that are buying $100,000 cars — millionaires," he said even though his own government is counting on rising EV sales to help curb emissions and other provinces’ have rebate programs. [node:read-more:link]

Three Amigos meet next week

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet in Washington next week with Presidents Joe Biden of the U.S. and Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico in the first gathering of the “Three Amigos” since 2016. The usually annual event was interrupted the election of Donald Trump and Trudeau’s office says COVID-19, climate change and migration are among the issues to be discussed. [node:read-more:link]


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