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Extreme Weather Events: Brought To Us By Big Oil & Gas

2011/07/01

Happy Canada Day! What a week it’s been on the climate/weather front. Here in northwestern Ontario we’ve been experiencing a lovely June, although firefighters say it’s the driest summer in five years (which means they’ll have a busy summer). As I write this early in the morning, the sky is blue, the temperature is hovering around 25 degrees Celcius (that’s 77 degrees Fahrenheit for my American neighbours), and Mark is already out on the lake fishing with my brother and 11 year-old nephew. There are wildfires fires burning in our region but none very close.

However, life is not so idyllic in other parts of the world, even parts not far from us. Floods have made much of Manitoba and Saskatchewan farm land unseedable this year – 1 in 10 Saskatchewan farmers are not putting in a crop, and 3 million acres of Manitoba farmland won’t be planted. Meanwhile, the entire state of Texas has been declared a natural disaster because of drought and wildfires.

While it may be comforting to repeat the mantra that no single weather event can ever be directly tied to climate change,   we should also remember the words of Aldous Huxley, “facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” Scientists have been warning us for decades that the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events is increasing as the atmosphere warms, and that this trend will only get worse as our greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise.

As Oklahoma and Texas swelter under record heat and drought, climate idiot Senator James Inhofe cancelled his appearance at the Heartland Denier conference due to being “under the weather”.  Climate Progress writes:

You may recall last year that Senator Inhofe’s grandchildren built an igloo to mock a killer snow storm, calling it ‘Al Gore’s New Home’.  Of course, extreme precipitation is precisely what we expect from human-caused global warming, but the story still got a lot of play in the media.

What’s more ironic is that the Senate’s leading climate denier bailed on the annual Heartland climate science denial conference this morning — saying “I am under the weather” (!) — just as his home state is being slammed by a record-smashing heatwave and a drought more severe than the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.

Yes, I know, it’s just coincidence, not a karmic backlash.  But then again climate science projects a permanent dust bowl for the Southwest if we keep listening to Inhofe.  It also projects that by century’s end, the state will be above 90°F for 135 days a year! Click here to read the full article.

But not all politicians share Inhofe’s anti-science bias. In Scotland this week, the government set a target of 100% renewable energy by 2020 (oh, Canada, you are so far behind in vision and leadership on this issue!). Go to “2020 Route Map For Renewable Energy in Scotland” to read more.

Meanwhile, showing that leadership on this issue must come from the grassroots, physicians in Prince Edward Island give their premier a petition signed by almost 200 island doctors asking for action on climate change. Click here for more.

Digital innovator Google also weighed in on the green energy economy this week. In a new report Google  says that without a private and public focus on innovation in renewables, storage, and electric vehicles, the cost of delaying the clean energy economy could be in the trillions of dollars to the U.S. economy. Go to Grist.org for a summary, with links to the Google analysis.

What are we waiting for? A new study outlines that the global temperature has been warmer than the 20th century average every month for more than 25 years. Read more at the Washington Post.   It’s time, folks, to “just do it”:

More links:

350.org

Citizens Climate Lobby U.S.

Citizens Climate Lobby (Canada)

Moving Planet – Manitoba: A Day To Move Beyond Fossil Fuels

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Keith Elliott permalink
    2011/07/01 9:28 am

    It seems that weather events are not limited in their location or scope any longer.

    Out here on the west coast of Canada, the University of Victoria reported the longest, coldest winter in the past 70 years…and now Environment Canada is saying that we will have the hottest, driest summer on record. That remains to be seen, but could happen. The real heat hasn’t got here yet.

    But yesterday, up in Onoway, Alberta, there was a hailstorm like none ever seen before. According to my friend Bill Ryder who was in the thick of it, hail stones were coming down the size of golf balls. Damage to RV’s in the region was considerable, and plant life suffered damage you would expect…flattened.

    Our local wind patters which have been reliable since records have been kept have been undergoing a change over the past few years. As yet, there is no reasonable explanation for this except for climate change which we are undergoing.

  2. Christine permalink*
    2011/07/01 3:10 pm

    Yet more evidence of the need for urgent action, Keith, thanks for sharing the West Coast perspective.

  3. 2011/07/02 1:12 am

    Go Scotland! Go PEI! Go Google! Maybe governments will take pause, maybe some will start listening to Google. We can only hope.

  4. Christine permalink*
    2011/07/02 6:33 am

    Hope – and put in time and effort to effect change in our corner of the world, as many of us (including you, Sherry) are!

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