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climate change

So, yeah, climate change is just not happening, is it?

A few interesting graphics forwarded to me by a colleague.

CO2 seaice


Friday miscellany…

… colder than Vic Toews at a homeless shelter edition.

Robbie’s Follies… Will he stay or will he go? We’ll know this morning.

As I am apt to do once in a while
, I lamented the absence of a party leader, outside the GPO, with the balls to start the process of abolishing Ontario’s discriminatory and wasteful dual school system. A commenter came back saying that maybe I should be looking for a leader without balls (i.e., a woman).

Now it looks very likely that this will be the case as the OLP holds their leadership vote this weekend

Will the new leader move on the separate school file? Doubtful. But one can only hope.

For those of you who are interested, Scott and some other Progressive Bloggers will be live blogging from the convention and streaming photos at (Twitter account is @Prog_Blog).

The Americans “get” it.

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State nominee John Kerry calls global climate change a “life-threatening issue” and says the United States must play a key role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming

I never thought I’d see the day when Canada was an environmental laggard behind nations like the U.S. Sigh.


Here is what happens when you rely too much on the performance of one economic activity to base your fiscal policies on.

EDMONTON – Alberta Premier Alison Redford, in her first TV address, warned Thursday of tough fiscal times and multibillion-dollar revenue shortfalls due to the “bitumen bubble.”

She said the bubble — the difference between the benchmark price for oil in North America versus Alberta’s oilsands bitumen — has grown so wide it will take a $1-billion bite out of this year’s budget and $6 billion the next.

“As we prepare this year’s budget, it means we have to make some very difficult choices,” Redford said in the eight-minute TV spot aired around the province.

I don’t mind Premier Redford. She is preferable to some of the right wing whack-jobs you can find out there in the foothills. But I’m sure most non-Albertans aren’t shedding any tears over Alberta’s financial woes.




Scared ya, didn’t I!


Sun News Network, that fearless foe of state subsidies for the CBC, wants you, Dear Television Viewer, to directly subsidize it to the tune of $18 million a year.

Have no doubt, that’s just the beginning, but it would nicely cover losses the company says now amount to a modest $17 million a year — hardly a corporate killer, one would think, but apparently enough to get Sun News queuing up at the public trough.





Crops in the North?

Why not?

With a warming climate, this might be an opportunity for daring and hard working northern entrepreneurs!

This guy, from Norman Wells, NWT, grows a potato crop alongside an airstrip. And after a few years of trial and error, is showing a profit from his efforts.

What’s next? Bananas in Guelph?


Satellites show melting over much of Greenland

More weird climatic stuff going on… though I have two questions:

  1. Did they really have satellites in 1889?
  2. How can something that happened before be “unprecedented”?

Interesting topic – but poorly written.

Three satellites showed that on July 8, about 40 per cent of the ice sheet had undergone thawing at or near the surface and by July 12 an estimated 97 per cent of the ice sheet had begun melting.

Nearly all of Greenland’s massive ice sheet suddenly started melting a bit this month, a freak event that surprised scientists.

Even Greenland’s coldest and highest place, Summit station, showed melting. Ice core records show that last happened in 1889 and occurs about once every 150 years.

Three satellites show what NASA calls unprecedented melting of the ice sheet that blankets the island, starting on July 8 and lasting four days. Most of the thick ice remains. While some ice usually melts during the summer, what was unusual was that the melting happened in a flash and over a widespread area.




Most of North America has seen a remarkable paucity of precipitation this summer. While this has been heaven for sun bathers, it has been a disaster for crops across the continent. Expect food prices to sky rocket this fall!

Another effect of dry weather are increased numbers and the intensity of forest fires. I found this awesome map of the USA that grimly and dramatically illustrates the extent of the fires between 2001 and 2010.

Extreme weather, llike the present drought, is a direct consequence of climate change. And the extremes will become more frequent and more “extreme” over the coming decades.

I don’t think our species is ready for this.

Of course, if you believe this continent’s conservative politicians, there is absolutely nothing to worry about; the notion that the climate is changing as a result of human activity is just a liberal conspiracy, right?


Friday miscellany…

Wanna know what climate change “looks like”?

Well, here you go:

Extreme weather events are textbook examples of an effect that an overall warming of the planet will have.

But since at least 1988, climate scientists have warned that climate change would bring, in general, increased heat waves, more droughts, more sudden downpours, more widespread wildfires and worsening storms. In the United States, those extremes are happening here and now.

So far this year, more than 2.1 million acres have burned in wildfires, more than 113 million people in the U.S. were in areas under extreme heat advisories last Friday, two-thirds of the country is experiencing drought, and earlier in June, deluges flooded Minnesota and Florida.

“This is what global warming looks like at the regional or personal level,” said Jonathan Overpeck, professor of geosciences and atmospheric sciences at the University of Arizona. “The extra heat increases the odds of worse heat waves, droughts, storms and wildfire. This is certainly what I and many other climate scientists have been warning about.”

Of course, the far right believe that climate change is all a bunch of BS made up by lefties in some sort of vendetta against big business. And the far right is driving the government’s agenda right now with regard to environmental policies, so don’t expect any changes anytime soon.


Canadians are NOT becoming “more conservative”…

… in spite of the CPC’s best efforts to drive us in that direction.

Six years into the Harper era, Canadians are inching inexorably into the conservative, and Conservative, columns. Right? And though not all are pleased with this incremental, rightward shift, most — the so-called silent majority — tacitly accept it.

Well, no, actually. The latest data from pollster Ipsos Reid, part of a wide-ranging examination of popular sentiment for Postmedia News and Global Television, doesn’t suggest this at all. If anything the numbers indicate Canadians today are more solidly progressive than we have ever been. Perhaps we are a more complex and mature people than the received wisdom gives us credit for. And perhaps this means that our national political leaders, across the spectrum, don’t understand or reflect our views nearly as fully or as precisely as they might.

I think that most Canadians – with the possible exception of the majority of those in Alberta – are firmly wedded to the core principles of social justice and are by and large a progressive bunch. We are also a conservative gaggle from a financial perspective; we want our governments to be fiscally prudent.  The Harperites are failing on both fronts, and as soon as there is a viable progressive alternative, they are screwed.
Speaking of rodents, a squirrel followed me this morning for the full length of my walk to the bus stop (about 400 metres).

This one:


It hopped along  about 10 feet behind! Then it sat in front of me on the sidewalk at the bus stop… staring expectantly. It was very weird!


Again, speaking of rat-like critters, the slimy tentacles of the Koch bros. are everywhere it seems.

They are spending 100’s of millions to try to oust Obama, plus they have funneled a cool half mill to the CPC’s fave “think tank”.

Though “think” and Fraser Institute are two words that should seldom be used in the same sentence.



Speaking of anachronisms: Yay. Catholic school labour peace is upon us in Ontar-i-ar-i-ar-i-o. But wouldn’t it be even more efficient if there were only ONE teacher’s union representing educators from ONE school system in Ontario?

Wouldn’t it?


Learned a trick last night about Facebook. One can filter the number / type of updates that you get from specific friends. I’m already happy as hell about this as I don’t have to even so much as glance at some of the fluff that goes across my screen!

Thank you, Facebook!


Finally, it is sad to see OCDSB Trustee Cathy Curry say enough is enough and resign from her position on the Board. While I personally do not know her, I am told by those who do that she has been a tireless worker for the advancement of education in Ottawa – always putting sound principles and evidence-based thinking into her decisions… unlike some of her soon-to-be former colleagues…

Thanks for your service!


This getting a bit creepy…

… seriously. 26 degrees in MARCH???

Look, I know that I go on and on about the weather – I am a Canadian, after all – but is this not just a wee bit strange?


Friday miscellany…

… climate change, robo-calls, dingoes and Oscars edition…


Sugar bushes in Ontario and Quebec have tapped their trees weeks early this year due to the non-winter that we have been experiencing in this part of the world. Tapping in February hasn’t happened in decades. The sugar bush owners are pretty happy about this, yet I cannot help but wonder about the longer term impacts on our ecosystems.


The family and I made it onto the Rideau Canal twice this winter. Only 38 days of the longest skating rink in the world this year. I wonder if we won’t see a year sometime soon when the Canal won’t open to skating at all!


So the EU countries stopped short of condemning tar sand oil as “dirtier” than petroleum from other sources. I don’t know about this decision. A “dirty” label really would have been only symbolic and wouldn’t impact policies as Canada exports very little of its crude to the EU..

BRUSSELS — Years of lobbying over European Union rules that would label fuel from tar sands as more polluting than fuels from other sources reached a stalemate Thursday when a committee of technical experts failed to agree on the draft.

The European Commission, the Union’s executive branch, and many environmentalists say the “dirty” label is necessary to help fuel buyers choose the least carbon-intensive energy forms and help to curb global warming.

Canada, home to vast crude reserves most of which are in the form known as tar sands or oil sands, has challenged the E.U. law, saying it is discriminatory and could damage trade ties.

The vote Thursday at a meeting of technical experts, which was held behind closed doors, failed to reach a qualified majority under the Union’s voting system, which weights voting to reflect the populations of E.U. member states. The European climate commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, claimed victory in averting a “no” vote. “Now our proposal will go to ministers, and I hope governments will realize that unconventional fuels of course need to account for their considerably higher emissions through separate values,” she said in a statement.


Robo-call-gate. Will it stick? J’en doute.

This is the Teflon government, don’t forget. And also the government that thinks it is A-OK to get tough on crime. Unless said crime is election fraud. Then it’s soft-as-a-kitten on crime.


Yeah, yeah, I know that nothing has been proven yet re: a direct connection to the CPC, but c’mon! How many dots does it take to make a line? Senior staff were likely blissfully unaware of what was happening, but you can bet your patootie that someone in a position of decision-making within the party did know the scoop. And approved it!


No! Not the dingoes again!

CANBERRA — An inquest started hearing new evidence on Friday into the 1980 death of baby Azaria Chamberlain. It’s a case that has haunted Australia for decades, drawing international attention after her parents said she had been killed by a dingo, or wild dog.

The inquest into baby Azaria’s death in the Australian outback of baby Azaria, the fourth such inquest since the infant disappeared, began in Darwin Magistrates Court in the Northern Territory in response to new information provided by the baby’s parents.

The evidence concerns several dingo attacks on infants and young children since Azaria’s death. Her parents expect the court to declare officially that Azaria was killed by a dingo, rather than by her mother, a lawyer representing parents Lindy and Michael Chamberlain said.

No word on whether Meryl Streep will be asked to do a sequel.


And it looks like dingoes of the two-legged variety are squaring off big-time Downunder. The prize? The office of President! When it comes to political infighting, we Canucks have nothing to match this battle royale!


Oscars? Meh. You know what I think about award shows. I saw Moneyball. Good flick.


The Noravirus has been making its rounds in O-Town. I think that is what my eldest had the other day. Brutal little bug.  Ottawa Public Health recommends the following:

At this time of year, increased cases of Noravirus circulate in the community and can affect schools, hospitals, day care centres and long term care facilities, and anywhere groups of people gather. To avoid infection with Norovirus, we recommend the following:

If you think you have Norovirus, the following will help you and help prevent others from getting sick with Norovirus:

Good advice.


Duh-o! Winter is coming!



Cons – in the black helicopter biz since 1951….

Funny cartoon…



Interesting map…climate change laggards?

And, at face value, it shows quite vividly what fine company Canada keeps on this file.

But, do use a bit of caution when interpreting this map literally. I haven’t been able to track down the report from whence this came so am unable to assess the robustness of the methodology used to reach these conclusions.

But they do seem to be in line with my thinking on the subject.