Global warming heats up

The IPCC's report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5 degrees sets out the disastrous consequences of government inaction. Pathways to limiting global warming are possible--with a massive transition to renewable energy and the phasing out of coal. Read More

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. Read More

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. Read More

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. Read More

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. Read More

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. Read More

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? Read More

Two steps forward? Not for Canada.

2017 was an exceptional year for renewable energy. That was the good news. But the bad news is that energy intensity declined worldwide, CO2 emissions are once again on the rise, and king coal refuses to cede its place to cleaner fuels. Surprisingly, the US gets good grades--and Canada gets the raspberry. Read More

Three suicides and climate change

It was a depressing week. Three suicides, one of which was by a man who made the ultimate sacrifice in protest against the environmental policies of Scott Pruit's EPA. But no-one should be driven to the point where they are willing to sacrifice their life in the hope that government climate policies will change for the better. Read More

Maria’s death toll in Puerto Rico more than 5700

A recent review of the additional mortality in Puerto Rico associated with the destruction caused by Hurricane Maria in September 2017 has sharply revised the numbers upwards--by almost two orders of magnitude. Most deaths occurred after the hurricane had passed--and are due to the failure of health care systems because of power outages, water shortages, and communication black-outs. Read More