Lack of Environment

A blog on the politics and psychology underlying the denial of all our environmental problems

The storm clouds are gathering…

with 6 comments

Storm clouds gather over Helmesley Farm (Dane Valley, Cheshire, UK).

Storm clouds gather over Helmesley Farm in the upper Dane Valley between Congleton and Buxton.

This photograph was taken on 9 December 2011, on a walk down the Dane Valley (in the Cheshire part of the UK’s Peak District National Park). For those who know the area, I took a wrong turn out of Lud’s Church and got a view I had not seen before. Thus proving that sometimes it is good to get lost – especially when the light is so intense; with the Sun behind you and low in the sky). More information about this photo/location etc., is abvailable on the Geograph website here.

Given that the La Nina effect is now waning; the Sun is about to enter a more active phase in its solar cycle, and the air pollution problems faced by less developing countries and emerging economies are likely to improve, whatever humanity does (and there is very little evidence that anything significant will be done), the next few years are likely to see a rapid acceleration in the rate of climate change.

But don’t take my word for it, this is what James Hansen et al at the Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) are now saying will happen, as per this recent item on Skeptical Science website: NASA scientists expect more rapid global warming in the very near future.

photo credit: phrases.org.uk

I was going to say, “Live long and prosper” but, in the circumstances, it might be more appropriate to just wish you, “Good luck”!

However, being slightly more constructive, I shall instead implore you to… “Carpe diem!”, which is Latin for “Wake up and smell the coffee”!

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Written by Martin Lack

28 January 2012 at 00:02

6 Responses

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  1. It does seem hard to be positive about this whole “climate change” mess we have put ourselves in. Being Canadian, I am especially ashamed of my country’s obstructive behaviour. I can work as hard as I can to reduce my personal carbon footprint, but when my government is squarely focused on oil and gas exploration as a source of economic wealth, it makes my efforts rather useless…
    (sigh)

    jpgreenword

    29 January 2012 at 01:18

    • At least your government is transparent about it. Ours says all the right things but does very few of them (e.g. getting taken to Court for trying to remove incentives for people to invest in solar power; and pretending that carbon capture and storage will allow it to continue burning fossil fuels with impunity). However, can you explain to my why the Canadian government waited until after COP17 at Durban to say it was pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol?

      Martin Lack

      29 January 2012 at 09:52

      • The transparency issue can also be a problem over here. Our government is also investing big dollars in carbon capture and storage, saying that it will save the day and using it as a tool to promote the Alberta Tar Sands, our biggest single source of carbon emissions. However, there is next to no dollars going to energy efficiency and renewable energy and the Federal Department of the Environment has been systematically gutted. We aren’t even funding new research regarding climate change (mitigation or adaptation). And right now, the government is attacking the environmental assessment process for new energy projects. (I wrote a post about an open letter to Canadians written by our Natural Resources minister. In it, he wrote that environmentalists and other radicals were trying to game the environmental assessment process. Of course, he failed to mention how corporations from all over the world are investing billions into projects like the Tar Sands.)

        But, to answer your question about Kyoto, I can only give you an educated guess. I know that the Canadian delegates used the conference as an opportunity for bullying other countries regarding Kyoto and carbon emissions. There was an interview with one of the leading South African members where she said that we were going around threatening countries receiving aid from us, saying that the aid would run out if they didn’t support our move to pull out of Kyoto.

        All in all, I believe that COP17, or rather the lack of commitment from developing countries was simply used as an excuse. The argument that was repeated by our politicians was that there is no point in reducing Canada’s emissions if China and India don’t do so as well (since they are such large emitters). The hypocrisy is, of course, that Canada’s government wants to build a massive pipeline in Northern Alberta and Northern British Columbia (through sensitive forests, across hundreds of lakes and rivers and through the territories of various aboriginal groups who wholeheartedly oppose it) in order to ship raw bitumen to China!

        Our government has said that it wants to be an “energy super-power” (their words) and it is doing everything it has to do in order to make that a reality. The sad part is that all that energy that we produce is from unconventional sources such as the Alberta Tar Sands, hydraulic fracturing and offshore drilling. (They actually want to drill in the Gulf of St Lawrence, the most important body of water in our country. A spill at that site would severely harm the economies of four provinces, and probably ruin Prince Edward Island. That’s where I live.) That means that we will do a whole heck of a lot of damage to our country in the process of reaching that “super-power” status.

        And the saddest part is that we are exporting, and will continue to export, most of what is produced. So despite all our “natural resource wealth”, we still need to import our fuel. We let private corporations extract the resources, ship them and refine them in other countries and our government only receives royalties in the process. And we subsidies the oil and gas industry to the tune of about 1,4 billion dollars a year. It is a giant giveaway to private corporations.

        Ok. Sorry for rambling on. I’m done now.

        jpgreenword

        29 January 2012 at 12:08

        • No, no. Thank you for taking the time to explain the situation as you see it so fully. It is a great shame that the Canadian government should be so short-sighted as to sell every last drop of fossil fuel it can find; especially since it is also the custodian of so much pristine wilderness (i.e. that not being killed-off by the Mountain Pine Beetle – whose natural predators have already succumbed to climate change). Is there no-one like James Hansen to tell them how foolish they are being? Isn’t James Hoggan from Canada?

          I am astonished by what you say of Canada’s behaviour at COP17. I thought I had heard it all (via Praful Bidwai); but that is very cynical indeed. Kyoto is and was the wrong kind of deal (i.e. emissions limits rather than carbon taxes) but, clearly, that is not why Canada was and is against it. Maybe what you should do is buy and send copies of James Hansen’s Storms of my Grandchildren to each member of the Canadian cabinet?

          The Canadian government sounds more right-wing than any I have ever heard of. When did this happen? No doubt, they may feel they are doing everything they can to keep the lights on but, what they are in fact doing is ensuring that one day the lights will all go out: Burning all the Earth’s fossil fuels is not a survivable option.

          Martin Lack

          29 January 2012 at 23:00

        • Well, we do have David Suzuki. He is, in my opinion, the most well know environmentalist in Canada. And his Foundation (The David Suzuki Foundation) does the best it can. Unfortunately, our Prime Minister is a fairly right-leaning politician who seems to have very tight controls of our government and his party. Every conservative votes with the party. And if they don’t, they’re in trouble. And because they have a majority, there is little that the opposition can do.

          But even the opposition isn’t promising much when it comes to climate change. Two elections ago, during the campaign, the leader of our Liberal Party (pretty much a “center” party) proposed a revenue-neutral carbon tax (great idea). Unfortunately, the party did not do a good job of explaining it (not helped by the fact that the leader’s English wasn’t great). And the Conservatives did a “great” job at scaring the population into thinking that the tax would bring about the end of civilization! I exaggerate, but the Conservative Party does negative adds with the best of them.

          In the last election, climate change wasn’t even an issue. The NDP (left of center) was proposing Cap and Trade (which I do not support) but they never really brought it up. It is a sad time to be an environmentalist in Canada.

          By the way, in case you are interested, here are a couple of sites about cap and trade that might interest you:

          http://www.carbontax.org/

          http://www.storyofstuff.org/movies-all/story-of-cap-trade/

          jpgreenword

          30 January 2012 at 01:14

      • Thanks for all of that. As they apear to have forgotten what conservation means, your Canadian Conservatives need to read this!

        Martin Lack

        30 January 2012 at 09:58


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