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Trudeau Declared a Climate Crisis, then Backed Trans Mountain Again

Trudeau Declared a Climate Crisis, then Backed Trans Mountain Again

Opponents slam approval of potentially ‘catastrophic’ pipeline expansion.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announces the second approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline in Ottawa with fellow cabinet ministers. ‘We listened to community concerns and we are acting on community ideas.’ Photo by Sean Kilpatrick, Canadian Press.

A day after declaring a “climate emergency,” the federal government approved for the second time the expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline that it now owns. 

In announcing cabinet’s decision, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said fighting climate change and growing the economy are complementary.

“We need to create wealth today so we can invest in the future,” he said. “This project has the potential to create thousands of solid middle class jobs for Canadians.”

Opponents, including the B.C. government, slammed the decision and justification, saying the project puts the coast at risk, as well as tens of thousands of jobs that depend on a clean environment. 

The existing pipeline from Edmonton, Alberta to Burnaby, British Columbia has capacity to carry 300,000 barrels of oil and petroleum products a day. The $7.4-billion expansion project would triple that.The Tyee is supported by readers like you Join us and grow independent media in Canada

The federal government approved the pipeline expansion in 2016, but a Federal Court of Appeal ruling overturned the approval, finding that the government failed to adequately consult First Nations and that the National Energy Board’s review of the project should have considered tanker traffic and the threat to southern resident killer whales.

A year ago, the federal government spent $4.5 billion to buy the existing Trans Mountain Pipeline and take over the expansion project from Texas company Kinder Morgan.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Evacuations Ordered As Japan Issues Tsunami Alert After Large Offshore Quake

Evacuations Ordered As Japan Issues Tsunami Alert After Large Offshore Quake

large magnitude 6.8 quake has struck off the northwestern coast of Japan. Kyodo news reports that authorities have issued a tsunami alert…

The quake hit at 22:22: 20 Japan time.

NHK reports than people working at ports on the northwest coast of Japan should evacuate, as tsunami warnings for waves as high as 1m are issued.

Additionally, NHK reports that there are no concerns over the nuclear reactors in Kashiwazaki.

Developing…

Earth Is Moving Toward The Same Meteor Swarm That Scientists Believe Caused The Tunguska Explosion Of 1908

Earth Is Moving Toward The Same Meteor Swarm That Scientists Believe Caused The Tunguska Explosion Of 1908

Over the next several weeks, our planet will have a close encounter with the Taurid meteor swarm.  It will be the closest that we have been to the center of the meteor swarm since 1975, and we won’t have an encounter this close again until 2032.  So for astronomers, this is a really big deal.  And hopefully there will be no danger to Earth during this pass, but some scientists are absolutely convinced that the Tunguska explosion of 1908 which flattened 80 million trees in Russia was caused by an object from the Taurid meteor swarm.  As you will see below, the last week of June will mark the point when we are the closest to the center of the meteor swarm, and so that will be when the risk is the greatest.  According to CBS News, our planet “will approach within 30,000,000 km of the center of the Taurid swarm” by the end of this month…

This summer, Earth will approach within 30,000,000 km of the center of the Taurid swarm, the study says. That would be Earth’s closest encounter with the swarm since 1975 and the best viewing opportunity we’ll have until the early 2030s.

30 million kilometers may sound like a great distance, but in astronomical terms that is not very far at all, and it is important to remember that distance is measured from the exact center of the meteor swarm.

And there are some scientists that are convinced that giant rocks from this meteor swarm have been responsible for multiple “once-per-1,000-years catastrophic events on Earth” in the past.  The following comes from Forbes

In particular, it is now widely believed that the enormous object that exploded over Russia on June 30th, 1908 was from the Taurid meteor swarm.

If you are not familiar with the Tunguska event, here is some excellent information about it from Wikipedia

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

‘Climate Crisis’ Open Letter to Media: Who’s Responded (So Far)

‘Climate Crisis’ Open Letter to Media: Who’s Responded (So Far)

Five-point plan on Tyee finds allies in CWA union and top US journos.

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Journalism prof Sean Holman fired off to Canada’s news orgs a public challenge to better cover the climate crisis. Who got back? Photo by Laura Balanko-Dickson.

Now the responses are rolling in, some from beyond Canada’s borders. 

Here’s how Holman came to write the widely shared letter and what it’s helping to trigger.

As record wildfires raged out of control across B.C., spreading smoke into the Rockies and Alberta, Holman looked out the window of his Calgary home and thought about a book he’d read as a child. The World of the Future: Future Cities predicted “if drastic steps are not taken to control pollution and achieve some sort of ecological balance,” the city of the 21st century could become a “polluted pesthole.” 

The book’s image of gas-mask-wearing citizens in a dystopian streetscape choked by smog “always stuck with me,” Holman said. The view of smoke turning the sun into a sickly orange dot was strikingly similar. “That was really troubling.” The Tyee is supported by readers like you Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Even more disturbing to Holman, though, was the failure of Canadian news media to accurately report the underlying reasons for this hellscape: the greenhouse gas emissions that are warming Canada twice as fast as the rest of the world.

Holman, an investigative reporter, associate professor of journalism at Mount Royal University and an occasional Tyee contributor, found that of the 182 media pieces produced about the wildfires last summer by outlets like the Calgary Herald and Vancouver Sun, only 14 of those pieces mentioned the scientific reality that global temperature rise caused by the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities contributed to the fires’ unprecedented intensity and destruction.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Midwest Flooding Will Cause Shortages of THESE FOODS

Midwest Flooding Will Cause Shortages of THESE FOODS

Floods are dangerous natural disasters. People and animals can be swept away and easily drown. Floods can carry bacteria and pollutants great distances. Floods can bust through levees and tear down bridges. Floods can also lead to food shortages when they destroy farms, like the recent floods in the Midwest have. Smart preppers will take measures to beef up their food storage now.

By now, most US-based preppers have either heard about (or experienced) the massive, damaging floods in the Midwest since this past March. To make matters worse, the potential for more floods in key agricultural states looms in front of us as more rain is predicted for the rest of this spring.

So far, heavy flooding has impacted important agricultural states, including Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, and Missouri. From NOAA:

“Additional spring rain and melting snow will prolong and expand flooding, especially in the central and southern U.S. As this excess water flows downstream through the river basins, the flood threat will become worse and geographically more widespread.”

Let’s take a look at why this is happening, what are the real risks involved, and what steps you can take to keep you and your loved ones fed and safe during a food shortage.

What Caused the Floods

Last fall brought heavy rains which soaked the ground heading into winter. The frozen winter earth was covered in heavier than normal snowfall. As warmer temperatures arrived in early spring, the snow began to melt, but the ground remained frozen underneath.

This would have resulted in minor flooding, except that heavy rains followed. According to The New York Times,

“The flat, frozen land, unable to soak in much of the water, spread it fast and furious, the way liquid would spread across a tiled floor. And the runoff quickly filled many rivers and streams to overflowing.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

WHO Expected To Declare Ebola Outbreak “International Emergency” As It Jumps Borders

WHO Expected To Declare Ebola Outbreak “International Emergency” As It Jumps Borders

In April, we pointed out that over the prior months, many public health experts had claimed the deadly Ebola virus outbreak that has been ravaging the Congo will not become a global health threat, despite recent events painting a much less optimistic picture. We also warned that despite people in the West often thinking of Ebola as a disease that only strikes “superstitious locals” in the deepest jungles of the Democratic Republic of Congo, there are now pressing warning signs and it’s time to start paying attention.

According to Reuters, the World Health Organization (WHO) is now preparing to declare an “international emergency” over the latest Ebola epidemic fast spreading through central Africa. 

The deadly disease, which can take just days to kill an infected person, has now jumped from the Democratic Republic of Congo where the newest outbreak was first documented, to neighboring Uganda. 

The number of total confirmed cases is reported as follows:  

Congo’s epidemic is the second worst worldwide since West Africa’s Ebola outbreak in 2014-16, with 2,084 cases and 1,405 deaths since being declared in August. The WHO said on Thursday that two people had died in Uganda having arrived with the disease from Congo.

Despite hopefulness that the virus can be contained in Uganda, given so far there’s been no known human-to-human cases of its spreading inside Uganda, health officials are still urging the WHO to quickly move forward with a global emergency declaration. 

The WHO’s Emergency Committee (EC) reportedly met Friday to evaluate whether the epidemic constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) amid growing pressure to immediately make the declaration. 

Reuters reports further of the outbreak

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

How much will the US Way of Life © have to change?

How much will the US Way of Life © have to change?

On the future of farming, socialist science, and utopia

Image: Karla S. Chambers

Debates about the Green New Deal—Ocasio-Cortez’s version and occasionally radical varieties such as that of the US Green Party—have incited much discussion about paths to utopia. Central to these conversations is the labour question: who will do the work of making the world, and how will that work be apportioned? And how much will the US Way of Life © have to change?

Ecologically-minded socialists and degrowthers tend to point out that cheap energy and excess material use are built into the socio-technical structures of capitalism. Getting rid of capitalism requires replacing capitalist technology. We must build, literally, a new world, which may require more labour and much lighter consumption patterns in the core, especially among the wealthy. Eco-socialists also tend to be more attentive to agriculture’s role in development in the periphery and core.

Eco-modernists tend, instead, to focus on eliminating exploitation while maintaining as much as possible of the physical infrastructure and patterns of consumption of capitalism. They imagine machines that will take the place of the current ecologically destructive physical plant, including in the countryside—prototype AI bots to supplant fruit pickers, or non-existent carbon-dioxide-sucking machines in place of restorative agriculture, a proven method of sequestering atmospheric carbon. Very frequently, they imagine a totally post-work world, creating the conditions for a new utopia: Fully Automated Luxury Communism.  

Those who hold the latter position often forget that the current distribution of labour is the fruit of a very specific historical moment, marked not merely by a temporary cheapness of energy—and tell Bangladesh, the Seychelles, or your grandchildren that petroleum is cheap—but specific sectoral allocations of labour in farming, industry, and services in the core states.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Climate Change Could Trigger Global Financial Crisis

Climate Change Could Trigger Global Financial Crisis

NYSE

A top U.S. financial regulator is worried that climate change could threaten global financial markets.

Rostin Behnam, a commissioner at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), said that the financial system was at risk from the growing frequency and severity of storms. “The impacts of climate change affect every aspect of the American economy – from production agriculture to commercial manufacturing and the financing of every step in each process,” Behnam said at the meeting of the CFTC’s market risk advisory committee on Wednesday. “As most of the world’s markets and market regulators are taking steps towards assessing and mitigating the current and potential threats of climate change, we in the U.S. must also demand action from all segments of the public and private sectors, including this agency.”

He added: “Our commodity markets and the financial markets that support them will suffer if we do not take action to mitigate the risk of contagion.”

The message is not necessarily a new one, but it is significant since it comes from the CFTC, which is not exactly a hippy enclave. Also of significance is the fact that Behnam was appointed to the CFTC by President Trump, although by law the vacancy that he filled had to be a Democrat.

Behnam will help setup a panel of experts to study the risks to the financial system from climate change.

“If climate change causes more volatile frequent and extreme weather events, you’re going to have a scenario where these large providers of financial products — mortgages, home insurance, pensions — cannot shift risk away from their portfolios,” Benham said in an NYT interview. “It’s abundantly clear that climate change poses financial risk to the stability of the financial system.” Related: OPEC’s Struggle To Avoid $40 Oil

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

From Dollar Hegemony to Global Warming: Globalization, Glyphosate and Doctrines of Consent

From Dollar Hegemony to Global Warming: Globalization, Glyphosate and Doctrines of Consent

There has been an on-going tectonic shift in the West since the abandonment of the Bretton Woods agreement in 1971. This accelerated when the USSR ended and has resulted in the ‘neoliberal globalization’ we see today.

At the same time, there has been an unprecedented campaign to re-engineer social consensus in the West. Part of this strategy, involves getting populations in Western countries to fixate on ‘global warming’, ‘gender equity’ and ‘anti-racism’: by focusing on identity politics and climate change, the devastating effects and injustices brought about by globalized capitalism and associated militarism largely remain unchallenged by the masses and stay firmly in the background.

This is the argument presented by Denis Rancourt, researcher at Ontario Civil Liberties Association, in a new report. Rancourt is a former full professor of physics at the University of Ottawa in Canada and author of ‘Geo-economics andgeo-politics drive successive eras of predatory globalization and socialengineering: Historical emergence of climate change, gender equity, andanti-racism as state doctrines’ (April 2019).

In the report, Rancourt references Michael Hudson’s 1972 book ‘Super Imperialism: The Economic Strategy of American Empire’ to help explain the key role of maintaining dollar hegemony and the importance of the petrodollar to US global dominance. Aside from the significance of oil, Rancourt argues that the US has an existential interest to ensure that opioid drugs are traded in US dollars, another major global commodity. This explains the US occupation of Afghanistan. He also pinpoints the importance of US agribusiness and the arms industry in helping to secure US geostrategic goals.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Earth Offline: A ‘Solar Superflare’ Could Impact the Grid Sooner Than We Think

EARTH OFFLINE: A ‘SOLAR SUPERFLARE’ COULD IMPACT THE GRID SOONER THAN WE THINK

Scientists are warning that a solar superflare on the sun could take Earth’s power systems offline sooner than previously thought. New research suggests that our sun could be capable of shooting a superflare in our direction, and it might be relatively soon impacting our power grid.

Even though our sun is older and less active than other stars in the galaxy, that doesn’t mean it’s totally lost its power, according to Yuta Notsu, a visiting researcher at CU Boulder. Notsu and colleagues used Kepler Space Telescope data to check for evidence of superflares on other stars like our sun. “The Kepler results suggest that slowly rotating, sun-like stars can also have superflares,” Notsu said during a press conference at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in St. Louis on Monday.

According to a report by Forbes, Notsu said the type of superflares his team describes would be at least 100 times more powerful than the Carrington Event of 1859, which is said to have caused Aurora Borealis as far south as Hawaii and destroyed telegraph infrastructure. “Our study shows that superflares are rare events,” said Notsu. “But there is some possibility that we could experience such an event in the next 100 years or so.”

That would mean the power grid is potentially at stake. Depending on the severity of the super flare, we could have major problems that could stretch into months-long issues.

As humans, we are reliant on the power grid for almost everything in our daily lives.  If something goes wrong, and people lose power, we could have societal upheavals and massive civil unrest. While this scenario seems less likely than an all-out economic crash, it’s still important to have the basics of survivalism in the forefront of your mind.  Adopt a preparedness mindset and just consider the possible outcomes if we have problems.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Fire and Flood: Politics as Usual Amid Planetary Destruction

Fire and Flood: Politics as Usual Amid Planetary Destruction

Photograph Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture – Public Domain

More and more, we look into our screens and gizmos. And this helps us — almost as if they were made for that purpose — not to think about the weather outside. Kept busy “curating” our own lives, we are regularly spared evidence of the coming catastrophe.

Long ago, in a memorable poem, Robert Frost guessed that there was a human need to bring the moods of the world into conformity with our moods:

“Tree at my window, window tree,
My sash is lowered when night comes on;
But let there never be curtain drawn
Between you and me.”

He says he has seen the “head” of the tree “taken and tossed” in rough weather, as his own head was “taken and swept” by a dream. This resemblance between the world and himself somehow added to his interest in life:

“That day she put our heads together,
Fate had her imagination about her,
Your head so much concerned with outer,
Mine with inner, weather.”

This sense of the human place in the fabric of nature — that there may be a deep connection between inner and outer weather — is starting to seem a thing of the past.

Can we still have inner weather when the outer weather changes so regularly and drastically? When 500 tornadoes rip through the country from Kansas to Pennsylvania in a matter of weeks? Or when 875,000 California acres burn down in the course of a summer? Rather than hear the message, we look into our smartphones or at our computer screens whose backgrounds may include breathtakingly lovely pictures of the planet — photos that show how beautiful a place it has been. As if we could have this Earth forever in reach, as if we could preserve it with a password or, by logging off, exchange it for another as lovely.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Exclusive: Enbridge Is Behind This Front Group Pushing the Company’s Line 3 Oil Pipeline Project

Exclusive: Enbridge Is Behind This Front Group Pushing the Company’s Line 3 Oil Pipeline Project

Enbridge building

Minnesotans for Line 3, a group established last year to advocate for an Enbridge oil pipeline project, presents itself as a grassroots organization consisting of “thousands of members.”

But a DeSmog investigation has found that behind the scenes, the Calgary-based energy giant is pulling the strings. Enbridge has provided the group with funding, public relations, and a variety of advocacy tactics.

The investigation has also found that a public relations firm behind the operation recently tried to erase its ties to Enbridge.

Facebook Splurge and Secret Tactics

Minnesotans for Line 3 first appeared in the battle over Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Project early last year.

Opponents, who this week employed direct action tactics to block initial work on the project and delivered a petition to Minnesota Governor Tim Walz, include several Native communities — among them the White Earth and Mille Lacs Bands of Ojibwe and the Red Lake Band of Chippewa. Of their main concerns, these groups cite violation of Indigenous rights, risks associated with oil spills, and climate change impacts.

Through a series of TV ads and op-eds, along with a social media campaign and a petition delivered to state authorities, Minnesotans for Line 3 called for approving Enbridge’s multi-billion dollar plan to replace and reroute its aging pipeline that transports Canadian tar sands oil through North Dakota and Minnesota to Superior, Wisconsin.

Facebook ad library archive for Minnesotans for Line 3 ads

The group spent considerable funds on Facebook advertising, making it the tenth largest digital ad purchaser among interest groups between November 2018 and April 2019. And it allegedly engaged in more stealthy tactics as well: Dozens of young people wearing Minnesotans for Line 3 shirts occupied spots in a line at a state Public Utilities Commission (PUC) hearing on the project at the expense of the project’s opponents – only to disappear shortly after receiving the tickets.    

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Bee Roadzz

Bee Roadzz

Transition Marlborough wanted to help save the bees so they started joining up landscapes to connect pollinators and people. 

This is the story of a small, local project to help bees. They are in trouble, along with all flying insects, and we can all do something to help.

There are 25 native species of bumblebee, over 250 species of solitary bee and one species of honeybee in the UK. Many are in decline, but even DEFRA’s 2014 10 year National Pollinator Strategyhighlights that we know very little about many of them, so measuring baselines and progress is a real challenge. Last year German research hit the headlines showing a 75% drop in flying insect biomass over just 27 years across 63 nature protection areas. What a wake-up call.

Sweet William – Sara Wilman, British flower grower,  took this on her ‘My Flower Patch’ field Photo © Sara Wilman

Our four key project aims:
1. Raising awareness of bees and their predicament
2. Encouraging everyone to contribute, however they can, to join up the landscape by creating more pollinator-friendly forage and nesting habitat
3. Actively contributing to national insect monitoring schemes
4. Creating a replicable model of effective community-based response to the National Pollinator Strategy. 

The reasons for decline are complex, multiple and their impact is cumulative. They include loss of diversity and quantity in year-round pollen and nectar-rich flowers, loss of nesting and hibernation habitat, pesticides, habitat fragmentation, climate change, disease and parasites.

Just here in the UK, in the last 60-70 years we have lost 97% of wildflower meadows, 300,000km of established hedgerows and 80% of flower-rich chalk downland. Two species of bumblebee were lost in the mid-late 20th century, eight are currently conservation priorities and two more survive in rare and limited areas.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Honey Bee Colonies Across Europe Plunge 16%, Says Study

Honey Bee Colonies Across Europe Plunge 16%, Says Study

The total number of honey bee colonies across Europe plunged 16% over the winter 2017–18, according to COLOSS(Prevention of honey bee COlony LOSSes), an international, non-profit organization based in Switzerland, tasked with the goals of protecting honey bees.

Allison Gray, the lead researcher on the study, sent a COLOSS questionnaire to 25,363 beekeepers in 36 countries: 33 in Europe, plus Algeria, Israel, and Mexico.

The data collected revealed an overall loss rate of 16.4% of honey bee colonies during winter 2017/18 between the countries.

Beekeepers were asked several questions about their hives: (a) were alive but had unsolvable queen problems (e.g., a missing queen, laying workers, or a drone-egg laying queen), (b) were dead or reduced to a few hundred bees and (c) were lost through natural disaster (from various possible causes).

Gray and her team determined that Portugal, Northern Ireland, Italy, and England had the most significant colony collapses of more than 25%. The authors noted that smaller bee farms experienced higher loss rates than large-scale ones.

“The overall loss rate in winter 2017/18 was highest in Portugal (32.8%), a new country to the survey. Other countries with high losses (above 25%) were Slovenia, Northern Ireland, England, Wales, Italy, and Spain, countries mostly in Western Europe,” wrote Gray.

A year earlier, loss rates were the lowest in Norway, Northern Ireland, and Algeria, and the year before that in Central Europe.

Winter losses linked to queen difficulties was 1% in Bulgaria to 20.3% in Slovenia, whereas for winter 2016/17, the rate for this loss for Slovenia was the lowest for the study.

Each hive’s queen is crucial for the survival of the overall colony. If a queen goes missing or doesn’t lay eggs to create more drones, the colony will collapse. Honey bees are also at risk from parasitic mites.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

‘’Biofuels Haven’t Cut Gasoline Prices Or Emissions’’

‘’Biofuels Haven’t Cut Gasoline Prices Or Emissions’’

Grass

Since its introduction more than a decade ago, the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) hasn’t cut gasoline prices outside the Midwest and has even led to a slight rise in pump prices in states far from ethanol production, while the standard has had a limited effect, if any, on greenhouse gas emissions.    

These are the key findings of a new report from the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) prepared at the request of Republican Senator for Oklahoma, James Lankford, who supports policies to lower the biofuel volumes to reflect market realities that gasoline demand turns out to be lower than what the legislators had predicted when enacting the RFS more than a decade ago.  

Under the RFS, oil refiners are required to blend growing amounts of renewable fuels into gasoline and diesel. This policy has long pitted the agriculture lobby against the oil refining lobby. The Midwest farm belt benefits from the RFS policy because it increases demand for ethanol, but the oil refiners do not—they lose petroleum-based market share of fuels, and meeting the blending requirements costs them hundreds of millions of dollars.

In a recent blow to the ethanol industry in the farming vs. oil refining battle, a federal appeals court has denied a renewable fuel group’s attempt to block the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from issuing small refinery exemptions (SREs) to the Renewable Fuel Standard.

Now it looks like the RFS and its effects on prices and emissions are also pitting one government agency against another.   

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai III: Cataclysm
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