b.c. climate news: demonstrators protest fracking at ndp convention | thousands of christmas tree seedlings lost in b.c. drought | province releases draft proposal to protect biodiversity
here's your weekly roundup of local and international climate change news for the week of nov. 13 to nov. 19, 2023.
in climate news this week:
• b.c. releases draft proposal to protect biodiversity
• canada’s environment minister considers appeal after plastic companies win suit challenging ottawa over listing substance as ‘toxic.’
• scientists warn in a new report this week that the world is facing a dangerous future because of climate change if emissions are not reduced
• ubc professors use math skills to teach climate crisis in the classroom
research shows that the warmer, drier conditions are leading to increased drought, which exacerbates the wildfire situation. whether the cause is human or lightning, many of the planet’s tinder-dry forests are igniting earlier in the season because of global heating.
climate change quick facts:
- the earth is now about 1.2 c warmer than it was in the 1800s.
- globally, 2022 was the fifth hottest year on record, while 2016 was the hottest.
- human activities have raised atmospheric concentrations of co2 by nearly 49 per cent above pre-industrial levels starting in 1850.
- the world is not on track to meet the paris agreement target to keep global temperature from exceeding 1.5 c above pre-industrial levels, the upper limit to avoid the worst fallout from climate change.
- on the current path of carbon dioxide emissions, the temperature could increase by as much as 4.4 c by the end of the century.
- in april, 2022 greenhouse gas concentrations reached record new highs and show no sign of slowing.
- emissions must drop 7.6 per cent per year from 2020 to 2030 to keep temperatures from exceeding 1.5 c and 2.7 per cent per year to stay below 2 c.
- 97 per ent of climate scientists agree that the climate is warming and that human beings are the cause.
anti-fracking demonstrators gather at ndp convention saturday
dozens of anti-fracking demonstrators, led by activist group frack free b.c., gathered outside the victoria conference centre, where the b.c. ndp was holding a convention saturday.
the group is calling on the b.c. government to take action to end fracking because of the emissions that contribute to the climate crisis.
the demonstrators want b.c. to stop issuing new fracking permits, to set a timeline to phase out existing fracked gas production and infrastructure, and to develop a plan to support workers and communities to transition to a more sustainable economy.
“there is a critical mass of public and political opposition to the continued expansion of fossil fuel extraction while the world burns – and it’s reaching a tipping point,” said ashley zarbatany, chair of the b.c. ndp standing committee on environment and economy in a statement saturday.
“fracking has become a political issue that the b.c. government must fix; it cannot continue to avoid having to stand up to the big oil and gas companies that are fuelling the climate crisis.”
the cop28 climate summit in dubai later this month is perhaps the last chance for the world to change course and start cutting emissions this decade. after months of bumps and hiccups, things may be clicking into place for the meeting to make progress.
the us and china, the world’s biggest polluters, vowed to step up joint action to tackle climate change in a revival of collaboration that will be crucial for a successful cop. the bilateral deal between washington and beijing comes after negotiators secured a framework deal to set up a fund to help vulnerable nations deal with loss and damage from increasingly extreme weather — something that just two weeks ago looked as though it could upend the talks.
it adds up to momentum for the united nations conference in two weeks time, which will focus on charting how far off course the world is to keeping global warming below 1.5c and what needs to be done to correct it. key barometers for a good outcome include clear commitments on phasing out fossil fuels, while also providing funding for those countries dealing with the most severe impacts of climate change.
cooperation between the us and china has been key in recent years to unlock climate progress, paving the way for global pacts. there have been concerns that china could try to block stronger emissions-cutting language. the terms of the deal were announced by the us state department and china’s ministry of ecology and environment in identical statements.
a washed-out section of the coquihalla highway has been permanently repaired with six new “climate-resilient” bridges as part of the project.
a stretch of highway 5 between hope and merritt was heavily damaged by flooding during an unprecedented atmospheric river on nov. 14, 2021. overall, 20 sites and 130 kilometres of highway were hit by washouts and floods.
emergency repairs allowed for a reopening to commercial traffic 35 days later, and the coquihalla reopened to all traffic on jan. 19, 2022.
now, six bridge spans in three locations are in place that are designed to withstand extreme weather events better than those that were destroyed by the floods.
newly completed are spans at bottletop bridge, 50 km south of merritt, and jessica bridge, 20 km north of hope. the two bridges at juliet, 53 km south of merritt, were finished earlier this year.
canada’s environment minister considers appeal after plastic companies win suit challenging ottawa over listing substance as ‘toxic’
canada’s federal court has ruled in favour of several major plastic companies in a lawsuit challenging the canadian government’s decision to list plastic items such as straws and grocery bags as toxic.
earlier this year, the court heard a suit launched by a coalition of plastic companies, which included dow chemical, imperial oil and nova chemicals, challenging regulations of single-use plastics. the companies allege that ottawa’s listing of plastics as toxic under the canadian environmental protection act is unlawful. the province of alberta also intervened in the case.
the federal court judge ruled thursday that the government order to add plastic as a schedule 1 toxic substance is “both unreasonable and unconstitutional,” and retroactively quashed and declared it invalid and unlawful as of april 23, 2021. the judge said it’s not reasonable to say that all plastic manufactured items are harmful because the category is too broad.
a b.c.-based environmental law group, which intervened in the federal government’s court battle, expressed disappointment with the decision thursday.
lindsay beck, a lawyer at ecojustice, said that by listing plastics as a toxic substance the government took a “vital first step” toward curbing plastic pollution and ensuring its harms are mitigated.
canada’s environment minister steven guilbeault said the government is “strongly considering” an appeal.
b.c. releases draft framework for protecting biodiversity
the b.c. government is inviting the public to comment on its draft framework to protect biodiversity.
members of the public can access the draft framework on the b.c. government website and provide comments by contacting: email@example.com.
ahead of cop28, scientists warn of ‘dangerous future’ if emissions not curbed
the lancet countdown report, published this week, says the health impacts of climate change, such as heat-related deaths and food insecurity, are surging worldwide.
canadian government adds $170 million to challenge fund for low-carbon projects
applicants can find more information on the program, project eligibility, and the application process by visiting the low carbon economy challenge website.
🌍the lancet countdown 2023 report highlights the urgent need for a health-centered response to climate change. as we approach cop28, let's seize the opportunity for a just transition to renewable energy, saving lives and creating a healthier future. #healthforall #climateaction https://t.co/7gruyevd4x— @cape-acme (@cape_acme) november 16, 2023
yet more confirmation that climate change is having a planetary-scale impact: “global warming puts increased energy in the atmosphere, resulting in stronger storms with intensified winds that generate increased wave heights” https://t.co/sxbkvjs7t4— jonathan overpeck (@greatlakespeck) november 17, 2023
unprecedented amazon drought tipping pt.— peter d carter (@pcarterclimate) november 17, 2023
“the forest’s tipping point is coming closer — and it’s coming quick.” negro river brazil, shrank to its record lowest level. lake tefé 150 dolphins dead, water 40 °c heat.https://t.co/lshe2th3hh#drought #climatechange #globalwarming pic.twitter.com/evkmr2petm
a glance at carbon numbers:
- b.c.’s gross greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions in 2020 (latest available data) were 64.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (mtco2e). this is a decrease of 0.9 mtco2e (one per cent) from 65.5 mtco2e in 2007, the baseline year for emissions reduction targets.
- b.c.’s net greenhouse gas (ghg) emissions in 2020 were 63.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (mtco2e.) this is a net decrease of 2.0 mtco2e, or three per cent, since 2007.
- b.c.’s net emissions in 2019: 67.2 mtco2e, an increase of 1.5 mtco2e, or two per cent, since 2007.
- b.c. does not include emissions from wildfire smoke in its calculations.
- b.c.’s 2030 target: 40 per cent reduction in net emissions below 2007 levels.
- b.c.’s 2040 target: 60 per cent reduction.
- b.c.’s 2050 target: 80 per cent reduction.
- canada’s greenhouse gas emissions in 2021 were 670 million tonnes, up from 659 million tonnes in 2020.
- canada’s 2030 emissions target: between 40 and 45 per cent reduction.
- canada’s 2050 emissions target: net-zero.
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