Knee-capping Ontario

Ontario’s new provincial government has acted recklessly and irresponsibly in shutting down the cap-and-trade emissions trading scheme the province set up with Quebec and California. Cap and trade has substantially reduced Ontario’s emissions of greenhouse gases, and carbon revenues have financed strong growth in energy efficiency and state-of-the-art low-carbon technologies. This progress has now ground to a halt.

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Stormwatch–they’re getting stronger

The 2017 catalog of global natural disasters has been finalised. Although storms kill fewer people, they are causing much more damage. Windspeed, size, and flooding potential are all factors that play a role. Particularly flooding. Storms are moving more slowly and dumping more rain. The Saffir-Simpson hurricane windscale is inadequate and dangerously misleading.

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A Tale of Two CA’s

Canada would benefit by paying more attention to the way that one of the world’s largest economies–California– is reducing its emissions of greenhouse gases. Its cap-and-trade emission reduction program is only a part of a comprehensive portfolio of regulatory policies that have been hugely successful. Canada’s federal government should drop its carbon tax and copy a couple of pages from California’s playbook.

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Greenhouse Hothouse Firehouse

A recent scientific paper uses systems analysis to project future pathways of the Earth System in the context of continuing emissions of greenhouse gases. As global temperatures rise, feedback mechanisms intensify and tipping point thresholds are crossed–leading to a cascade of effects that lead to a state characterized as Hothouse Earth. A different path is possible. But not without urgent action on a global scale.

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No let up–it just gets worse

The State of the Climate in 2017 report from the American Meteorological Society is packed with the latest data on the planet’s deteriorating climate. There are no signs that the situation is improving. On the contrary, most of the climate variables point to a worsening situation. The US, Canada, and Europe should be taking the lead. We got one out three.

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Pricing carbon: regressive or not?

Economists don’t always agree: but they all seem to like the idea of setting a price on carbon. Either through a carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme, a levy on carbon appears certain to eventually reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. But at a price. The poorest sector of the population carries a disproportionately greater burden. It’s a regressive tax. Is there a way to reduce emissions without penalizing low-income families?

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Antarctic melt accelerates sea level rise

Recent satellite data from NASA and the ESA show that the Antarctic ice sheet is melting much faster than previously thought–leading to more rapid global sea level rise. The rate of increase of atmosheric carbon dioxide is also increasing. These data show evidence of geophysical positive feedbacks that will be difficult if not impossible to control without forceful measures to reduce emissions of carbon.

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Solar, wind, and batteries: a winning trifecta

Solar energy and wind power are inexaustible sources of cheap renewable energy–but there’s a fatal flaw. They are inherently intermittent, and this makes them poor candidates for providing dispatchable power. But coupled with megawatt scale batteries, solar and wind become star performers..

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