July 2021 This is a newsroll page on A Socialist In Canada consisting of headlines with weblinks to published news articles and political analysis. Occasional commentary by the website publisher, Roger Annis, appears in square brackets [ ]. For preceding months, go to ‘News pages archives’ on the home page of A Socialist In Canada and use the drop-down menu. See also the feature articles on ecology and global warming that are listed in the website category ‘Environment‘ (listed on the main website page). Articles about the politics in Canada of the global warming emergency are listed in the ‘Canada newsroll‘ page of the website. To find past stories on this and other news pages on this website, use the ‘find’ (word search) function on your web browser. Headlines in red denote items published on the main news page of A Socialist In Canada.
Ecology newsroll headlines on A Socialist In Canada, July 2021
China’s ecology, essay by the editors, Monthly Review, print issue of March 2021
[See other, recent analysis of China’s response to the global warming emergency further below on this website page. Use your website browser’s ‘Edit’ function and search using ‘China’.]
Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) begins two-week meeting to finalize key report on the state of the world’s ecology as floods, fires, droughts and heat waves batter countries, The Energy Mix, July 27, 2021 and read: report in Common Dreams, July 26, 2021
Related: What is the IPCC and what does it do?, Deutsche Welle, July 26, 2021
Critical measures of global heating reaching tipping point, study finds, The Guardian, July 28, 2021 and read: report in Common Dreams, July 28, 2021 A new study tracking the planet’s vital signs has found that many of the key indicators of the global climate crisis are getting worse and either approaching, or exceeding, key tipping points as the earth heats up. Overall, the study found some 16 out of 31 tracked planetary vital signs, including greenhouse gas concentrations, ocean heat content and ice mass, set worrying new records…
The race for electric vehicle production leads to risky deep-ocean mining, by Tatiana Schlossberg, Yale Environment 360, July 28, 2021 …Ironically, while critics worry about deep-sea mining’s environmental impacts, proponents are offering up the urgency of global warming and the need to transition to a clean-energy economy as the reason to press ahead. In a report published earlier this year, the International Energy Agency found that achieving net-zero emissions [sic] by 2050 would require six times more of certain minerals by 2040 than are being mined today…
Plan for ‘carbon capture’ pipeline network double the size of the existing oil pipeline system quietly gaining ground at U.S. Dept. of Energy, by Sharon Kelly, DeSmog, July 18, 2021 …The blueprint leaves open many questions about how the carbon would be captured at the source — a process that so far has proved difficult and expensive — and where it would be sent. Instead, it focuses on policies the federal government can adopt to boost CO2 pipeline construction…
Wildfires in British Columbia are now burning ten times more than in 1990s, by Barry Saxifrage, researcher and columnist, National Observer, July 27, 2021 This year’s wildfire season has exploded across British Columbia. The provincial government has declared a state of emergency. Hundreds of wildfires are burning and thousands of people are under evacuation order. One of those fires, the Lytton Creek wildfire, made international headlines when it burned the village of Lytton to the ground within hours of starting. That particular fire is still “out of control” and is threatening towns to the north. To illustrate the recent trend in wildfires and how this explosive wildfire year fits into it, I’ve created a series of charts using B.C.’s official greenhouse gas inventory and the latest wildfire statistics… Even more troubling, the amount of climate pollution being added to the atmosphere in BC is much greater than what this chart shows. That’s because it doesn’t include the massive and rising emissions from BC’s forests — both from human-caused climate impacts and logged wood. The government continues to exclude this climate pollution from its climate targets and policies. The reason given is that the forest is re-absorbing all that CO2 each year, meaning the forest and the wood logged from it is “carbon neutral”. But as I wrote in my last article, the government’s own data shows that forests stopped absorbing more CO2 than it emitted more than a decade ago…
[To date in 2021, some 300,000 hectares of forest land have burned in Britih Columbia. That’s many times higher than in all of 2019 and 2020 combined. The years 2017 and 2018 were record years, with 1.2 milion hectares and 1.35 million hectares, respectively, burned in total. (source)].
* Today’s wildfires in North America are taking us into uncharted territory, Scientific American, July 20, 2021 Data on 2,000 years of Rocky Mountain forest fires shows skyrocketing damage
* What I saw in Yosemite National Park was devastating, commentary in New York Times, July 22, 2021 …The evidence of our planet’s warming is all around us. But many of us have been able to comfort ourselves, if only slightly, with the knowledge that the more cataclysmic fallout is still a ways off, that it may be preventable. What I saw in Yosemite National Park feels like a wake-up call that’s come too late…
* The Bootleg Fire in Oregon is so large, it’s creating its own weather, CNN, July 20, 2021
[The Bootleg Fire in southern Oregon, near the California border, is the third largest in the state’s history and is spurred by months of drought and last month’s blistering heat wave. It is the largest wildfire so far this year in the United States, having already burned more than 340,000 acres (138,000 hectares) of forest and grasslands. It’s one of at least eight large fires burning in Oregon and one of at least 80 burning across 13 states, according to the National Interagency Fire Center. The climate crisis has made deadlier and more destructive wildfires the new normal.].
* Punishing summer heat dries out thunderstorms and fuels raging wildfires in U.S. West, updates on extreme weather and climate, in New York Times, July 20, 2021
Climate change will drive rise in ‘record-shattering’ heat extremes, by Ayesha Tandon, Carbon Brief (UK), July 26, 2021 A new study published in Nature Climate Change finds that the northern mid-latitudes are particularly vulnerable to record-shattering heat. This is exemplified by the recent heatwave over northwest U.S. and Canada, in which many long-standing temperature records were broken by as much as 5C.
The way out, by Caitlin Johnstone (Australian writer), Consortium News, July 26, 2021 What will it take for society to turn away from the path of extinction and begin working in collaboration with our ecosystem?
‘Advanced’ nuclear reactors? Don’t hold your breath, Scientific American, July 23, 2021 With little hard evidence, their developers maintain they’ll be cheaper, safer and more secure than existing power plants
Global warming emergency: Planning, not carbon pricing, is what’s needed, by Michael Roberts, published on his website, July 23, 2021
Climate crisis turns world’s subways into flood zones, New York Times, July 22, 2021 Swift, deadly flooding in China this week inundated a network that wasn’t even a decade old, highlighting the risks faced by cities globally.
Inside the race to rescue clues to Earth’s past from melting glaciers, New Scientist (UK weekly print magazine) June 16, 2021 Glacial ice records all manner of precious information about the planet’s environmental history, but it is melting fast. The Ice Memory project is scrambling to extract samples for posterity before it’s too late. read the article here in pdf format: Earth’s melting glaciers
Heat waves are dangerous. Isolation and inequality make them deadly, Washington Post, July 21, 2021 As they assess the toll of last month’s heat wave, Oregon officials say ‘social resilience’ is needed to cope with climate change and protect those most vulnerable
How the meat industry is climate-washing its polluting business model, by Caroline Christen, published by DeSmog, July 18, 2021
Rescue efforts ramp up in Germany as flood destruction spreads to east of country and Austria, Deutsche Welle, July 18, 2021
* Unprecedented rain and flood waters destroy towns and kill scores in Germany and Belgium, New York Times, July 17, 2021 and read: news report with live updates, New York Times, July 17, 2021
* Rescuers race to prevent more deaths from floods in Europe, Associated Press, July 16, 2021
* Global warming to bring more intense storms across Europe, EurekAlert!, July 16, 2021 Climate change is driving a large increase in intense, slow-moving storms, a new study by Newcastle University and the UK Met Office has found (EurekAlert! is published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.)
* Climate experts shocked at severity of floods in Germany and Belgium, Common Dreams, July 16, 2021
* Extreme weather in the age of global warming, New York Times, July 16, 2021 The storm that brought flooding and devastation to parts of Europe is the latest example of an extreme weather event. More are expected.
European Union unveils tough climate rules, including taxes on foreign firms, Associated Press, July 14, 2021 and read: report by The Energy Mix, July 15, 2021 The European Union unveiled sweeping new legislation on Juy 14 to help meet its pledge to cut emissions of the gases that cause global warming by 55 per cent (from 1990 levels) over this decade, including a controversial plan to tax foreign companies for the pollution they cause…
* The EU’s new ‘Fit for 55’ emissions reduction plan puts energy poor in jeopardy, statement by Friends of the Earth Europe, July 14, 2021 ‘We really hoped the European Commission would live up to its promise of a Green Deal that leaves no-one behind, but instead this package gives energy-poor people a punch on the nose.’
* How marginalized communities in the southern U.S. are paying the price for ‘green energy’ in Europe (biomass from forest clearing). Interactive report by CNN, July 9, 2021 …To say cutting down trees and burning them for power is a renewable energy source feels counterintuitive and, in reality, it is. Burning wood is less efficient than burning coal and releases far more carbon into the atmosphere, according to almost 800 scientists who wrote a 2018 letter to the European parliament, pushing members to amend the current directive “to avoid expansive harm to the world’s forests and the acceleration of climate change.” …“I can’t think of anything that harms nature more than cutting down trees and burning them,” said William Moomaw, professor emeritus of international environmental policy at Tufts University. Yet by burning wood, European power plants can reduce their carbon footprint — at least on paper…
As China boomed, it didn’t take climate change into account; now it must, New York Times, July 26, 2021 China’s breathtaking economic growth created cities ill-equipped to face extreme weather. last week’s dramatic floods showed that much will have to change.
China has opened a national carbon market; here’s why it matters, New York Times, July 15, 2021 China, the world’s biggest source of greenhouse gas pollution, opened a national carbon emissions trading market on July 16, a long-awaited step aimed at fighting climate change. The market turns the power to pollute into an allowance that can be bought and sold, and is part of an array of policies that the Chinese government is putting in place as it tries to demonstrate its commitment to significantly reducing carbon dioxide emissions in the coming decades… The program covers only coal and gas plants that supply power and heat; other industries may be brought into the market in coming years…
* China’s emissions trading scheme commences on July 1, 2021. Will it help tackle climate change?, by Hongqiao Liu, Carbon Brief, June 24, 2021
* Fact check: Is China the main climate change culprit?, Deutsche Welle, June 30, 2021 (with extensive charts) China currently releases more carbon emissions than any other country — leading many to believe it bears the greatest responsibility for climate change. However, the situation is more complex than it seems.
Building solar farms may not build the middle class, New York Times, July 16, 2021 Some of the wealthiest companies in the world are investing in the green economy. But they’re not investing in paying union wages.
How promoting nuclear energy is the opposite of climate action, by Michael Nabert, published on his website page on Medium, July 14, 2021
* Ten reasons why climate activists should not support nuclear energy, by Simon Butler, published on Climate and Capitalism, June 23, 2021
* Editor of Jacobin publishes statement in favor of nuclear power. Commentary by Bhaskar Sunkara, in The Guardian, June 21, 2021 [Support of nuclear energy on the part of left-wing and other environmental thinkers is a sign of resignation before the juggernaut of the endless, mindless productivism of globalized capitalism. Such resignation is inevitable among those who refuse to countenance the imperative of degrowth. The latter is a strategy of class struggle for a radical reduction in the wasteful productivism of capitalism and to lessen and eventually overcome the great social and national equalities endemic to that same system.]
Will Russia’s forests be an asset or an obstacle in climate fight?, by Fred Pearce, Yale Environment 360, July 15, 2021 New research indicating Russia’s vast forests store more carbon than previously estimated would seem like good news. But scientists are concerned Russia will count this carbon uptake as an offset in its climate commitments, which would allow its emissions to continue unchecked.
Flooding and wreckage in Detroit from rain expose the city’s vulnerability to global warming, Washington Post, July 14, 2021 …Much attention has been given to the potential for climate-change-driven devastation in coastal cities from rising seas, but with storms intensifying, inadequate city infrastructure is being exposed, as seen in New York over the past week.
Heat wave roasts western U.S. as wildfires explode in size, USA Today, July 12, 2021 …In California, wildfire season is outpacing last year’s – the worst on record – according to the LA Times, based on data from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection… [British Columbia is escaping the worst of the new heat wave hitting the U.S. west. But 1,005 wildfires have burned 163,324 hectares to date in 2021; the province set wildfire records in 2018 (following 2017’s record year) with 2,117 wildfires that burned 1,354,284 hectares.].
* Amid mega-drought, U.S. gov’t expected to issue a first water shortage declaration along the Colorado River, NPR, July 13, 2021
* Soaring temperatures and wildfire threaten California’s power grid, Scientific American, July 12, 2021
* Extreme heat and cold kill five million every year, by Tim Radford, Climate News Network, July 9, 2021
Record temperatures felt across the world, Deutsche Welle, July 9, 2021
Offshore wind energy industry in U.S. remains far short of long-awaited boom, Inside Climate News, July 8, 2021 There are only two offshore wind energy farms in operation in the U.S.
Related: Scotland’s Orkney islands are producing excess renewable energy and using it to diversity their economy, by Paul Brown, Climate News Network, July 2, 2021
Pacific North-west heatwave in late June 2021 shows climate is heading into ‘uncharted territory’, by Robert McSweeney, Carbon Brief, July 7, 2021
* Village of Lytton BC shocked the world’s meteorologists with record-high temperatures. Now a wildfire has burned it to the ground. Report in Globe and Mail, July 1, 2021 read the report here in pdf format: Lytton BC burned by wildfire
[Lytton set records three days in a row for highest temperatures ever recorded in Canada, topping out at 49.6C (121 F) on June 29. That surpasses the highest temperature ever recorded in Las Vegas. Nowhere else in the world north of the 37th parallel has ever been hotter in recorded times. That’s the border between Colorado and New Mexico or Utah and Arizona. The town and surrounding area has a population of some 2,000 and is located some 250 km north of Vancouver and 200 km inland from the Pacific Ocean.].
* Global warming has gotten deadly. It will get worse, Washington Post, July 3, 2021 read the article here in pdf format: Global warming gotten deadly …Studies show the chance of a given tropical storm becoming a hurricane that is Category 3 or greater has grown eight percent every decade. The acreage of the U.S. West burned by wildfire is twice what it would otherwise be. The heat wave that struck the Northwest this week brought temperatures that were as much as 11 degrees above the previous all-time high. “The heat wave is well beyond what straightforward statistical analysis would suggest,” says Michael Wehner, a climate scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. “It’s well beyond what climate models suggest,but it happened.” …
* Historic heat wave in Pacific Northwest has killed hundreds in U.S. and Canada over the past week, Washington Post, July 1, 2021 [The Canadian province of British Columbia recorded 777 ‘sudden deaths’ during the six days of extreme heat from June 25 to 30. The average number of sudden deaths for that period in past years is 200.].
* Underpaid firefighters, overstretched budgets: The U.S. isn’t prepared for fires fueled by climate change, Washington Post, July 1, 2021 …Fire experts say the escalation of wildfires, fueled by climate change, demands an equally dramatic transformation in the nation’s response — from revamping the federal firefighting workforce to the management of public lands to the siting and construction of homes… On July 1, authorities across the Pacific Northwest and western Canada said they were investigating at least 500 suspected deaths from heat illness that occurred amid the week’s record-shattering temperatures…
* Montana is melting thanks to fossil fuel-addicted politicians, by George Ochenski, columnist, The Missoulian, June 30, 2021 (re-published in CounterPunch, July 1, 2021)
Drought hits the U.S. Southwest and New Mexico’s fabled canals, built by Spanish settlers, run dry, New York Times, July 12, 2021 The fabled irrigation ditches, acequias, that are a cornerstone of New Mexican culture, have endured centuries of challenges. …More than 77 percent of New Mexico is in severe drought, limiting pasture yields and stunting irrigated crops, according to the National Drought Mitigation Center…
Related: Once a rich desert river, the Gila struggles to keep flowing, Yale Environment 360, July 8, 2021 The Gila River was listed in 2019 by the advocacy group American Rivers as the nation’s most endangered river. It drains an enormous watershed of 60,000 square miles.
Alberta tar sands producers say it will cost $75 billion to achieve ‘net zero emissions’ and governments need to pay most of that. Report by Bloomberg News, July 8, 2021 …To achieve the goal announced last month of ‘net zero emissions’ by 2050 in Alberta oilsands production, about half of the emission cuts would need to come from capturing carbon at oilsands sites and sequestering it deep underground… [Tar sands industry production in Alberta emits nearly 70 million tons per year of CO2, some ten per cent of Canada’s total emissions.].
Related: Carbon capture and storage won’t work, says report out of UK, by Paul Brown, Climate News Network, Jan 14, 2021 One of the key technologies that governments hope will help save the planet from dangerous heating, carbon capture and storage, will not work as planned and is a dangerous distraction, a new report says. Instead of financing a technology they can neither develop in time nor make to work as claimed, governments should concentrate on scaling up proven technologies like renewable energies and energy efficiency, say researchers at the UK’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research… It is a complex and expensive process, and many of the schemes proposed in the 1990s have been abandoned as too expensive or too technically difficult. Currently, there are only 26 CCS plants operating globally, capturing about 0.1% of the annual global emissions from fossil fuels…
At annual Austrian World Summit, Greta Thunberg rips into ‘climate theatrics’ of world leaders, Common Dreams, July 2, 2021 ‘Let’s be clear—what you are doing is not about climate action or responding to an emergency. It never was.’
China is declared officially malaria-free by World Health Organization, CNN, July 1, 2020