Archive for the 'climate change' category

Science in Canada: Save PEARL, The Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory

Sep 26 2017 Published by under Canada, climate change, Politics, Science in Canada

Deja vu all over again. Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.

Canadian science under the Harper government from 2006 to 2015 was a horrific era of cuts and closures and muzzling and a whole lot of other attack on science.

One of the most egregious was the threat to close the PEARL arctic research station. (PEARL website) Fortunately, the outcry was so fierce that the Harper government extended PEARL's funding for five years. Well, guess what? The five years is up and PEARL is threatened with closure once more.

Canadian science under the Justin Trudeau Liberals has shown signs of improvement, but has a ways to go.

One way for them to show their commitment to science (and to the environment and fighting climate change) would be to restore funding to PEARL and establish it as a permanent laboratory.

The fine folks at Evidence for Democracy have a campaign running whereby you can send a letter toScience Minister Kirsty Duncan asking to restore that funding.

The link is here.

The descriptive text from the E4D campaign site is here, including a great description of the importance of PEARL:

Canada’s high Arctic research station, The Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) will be closed in 2018 because its funding is being cut.

Surprised? So are we.

The federal government has made it clear that science and climate change are two of their top priorities, so why are they closing this key research station?

With the impacts of our changing climate already being felt in Canada and around the world, investing in climate science is a necessary part of ensuring that our decisions and actions around climate change mitigation and adaptation are based on up-to-date science and evidence.

PEARL is one of only a handful of high Arctic research stations in the world. From its scientifically strategic location in Canada’s high arctic, PEARL is able to investigate crucial environmental issues like ozone depletion, airborne spread of pollutants and monitor high Arctic climate changes.

After over a decade of internationally recognized scientific research, PEARL is at risk of closing.

PEARL, along with six other climate change and atmospheric research projects were all funded by the Climate Change and Atmospheric Research Program (CCAR). Money for the CCAR program runs out this year and the federal government did not announce any new funds in the 2017 budget. Without immediate new funding, all of these research programs are expected to end.

But it’s not too late to save PEARL and Canadian atmospheric climate science! Join us in asking the government to:

  • Invest $1.5 million per year to make PEARL a national laboratory
  • Provide a well supported and stable funding environment for climate research in Canada by reinstating a funding model for climate science similar to the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences (CFCAS) that was cut by the Harper government.

Given the Government’s commitment to addressing climate change, investing in climate and atmospheric science should be at the forefront of funding priorities.

With climate science under attack in the US, Canada has an opportunity and a responsibility to be international leaders on climate science. This starts by making sure PEARL and the other CCAR-funded projects aren’t shuttered.

The government has supported a new northern research center, the Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS), which is a valuable asset to Canadian polar knowledge. But there is no indication that any atmospheric or climate change research will be untaken at CHARS. Also CHARS is located 1200 km south of PEARL, so it simply can’t replace the high arctic data collected at PEARL.

Shutdown preparations at PEARL have already begun, we need urgent action to save this essential research station.

Send a message to the Minister of Science today.

The text of the letter to Minister Duncan:

Dear Minister Duncan,

Thank you for making science and climate change priorities for your government.

I am concerned that Canada’s high arctic research station, The Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL) is set to close at the end of this year unless its funding is renewed.

PEARL, along with the other projects funded by the Climate Change and Atmospheric Research program, conduct crucial research into important issues like ozone depletion, airborne spread of pollutants and changes to our climate.

Without new funding, we risk losing these facilities in the Arctic. This will jeopardize data continuity, productive collaborations between academic and government scientists, and recruitment of new researchers into the field.

I urge you to ensure that Canada continues to be a global leader in climate science by:
- Investing $1.5 million per year to make PEARL a national laboratory that could be overseen by Polar Knowledge Canada or Environment and Climate Change Canada; and
- Providing a well supported and stable funding environment for climate research in Canada by reinstating a funding model for climate science similar to the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences (CFCAS) that was cut by the Harper government.

These investments are a necessary complement to the other arctic and climate change research your government is investing in. While the Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS) is a valuable asset to Canadian stewardship of polar science, there is no indication that any atmospheric or climate change research will be undertaken there, nor does its location (1200 km south of PEARL) allow for the same high arctic data collection currently taking place at PEARL.

The funding of PEARL and the other CCAR projects are an essential part of ensuring that our decisions and actions around climate change mitigation and adaptation are based on up-to-date science and evidence.

I'm working on a readings list post about PEARL and hope to have that up within the next few days.

One response so far

The Trump War on Science: Daring blindness, Denying climate change, Destroying the EPA and other daily disasters

The last one of these was in mid-June, so we're picking up all the summer stories of scientific mayhem in the Trump era. The last couple of months have seemed especially apocalyptic, with Nazis marching in the streets and nuclear war suddenly not so distant a possibility. But along with those macro-level issues, Trump and his cronies are still hammering away at climate change denial, environmental protection, research funding and public health issues. As exhausting as it seems -- and this is part of the plan -- amongst all of us opposed to Trump, we need to keep track of a wide range of issues.

If I'm missing anything important, please let me know either in the comments or at my email jdupuis at yorku dot ca. If you want to use a non-work email for me, it's dupuisj at gmail dot com.

The selections are by no means meant to represent a comprehensive account of everything written about science and science-related over the last few months. I'm not aiming for anything than complete or comprehensive. For example, there are probably hundreds of articles written about climate-change related issues over that period, but I'm just picking up what I hope is a representative sample.

The last time around was a bit more thematically organized rather than chronologically. I'm trying the later organizational method this time around to see if I can get a sense of which I prefer or which seems more useful.

This post covers from approximately mid-June, 2017 up to August 31, 2017. The fact that most days -- even in the summer -- there are multiple things to report is terrifying.

A few general resources:

 
And now the full list:
 

 

As usual, if there are any errors in the above list or if I've missed anything significant, please let me know in the comments. If you'd prefer not to comment, you can let me know via email at jdupuis at yorku dot ca or my non-work email dupuisj at gmail dot com.

No responses yet

Friday Fun: Is Game of Thrones an allegory for global climate change?

Aug 18 2017 Published by under climate change, friday fun, science fiction

After a bit of an unexpected summer hiatus, I'm back to regular blogging, at least as regular as it's been the last year or two.

Of course, I'm a committed Game of Thrones fan. I read the first book in paperback soon after it was reprinted, some twenty years ago. And I've also been a fan of the HBO series, which though a bit inconsistent and wobbly at times, has been quite worth watching.

And speaking of winter, has anyone else noticed that winter doesn't seem to be coming? Has anyone noticed the person most worried about climate-related issues, Jon Snow, is having trouble being believed? In fact, anyone who worries about the climate is having trouble being taken seriously. Sure, war is important, but the Army of the Dead will kill everyone, no matter who sits on the Iron Throne.

Sound familiar? Well, I'm hardly the first person to notice the link between our favourite apocalyptic TV show and our least favourite real life environmental apocalypse.

Enjoy, or at least seriously ponder, some of the links below.

 

Is “Game of Thrones” an allegory for global climate change?

Just as the White Walkers are being ignored by the houses fighting over the Westerosi throne, so too are the major producers of carbon emissions struggling to succeed in an economy that will, in the end, render the planet uninhabitable.

 

Jon Snow and Daenerys Targaryen's Face-to-Face Shows the Myopia of Climate Change Denial

How do we confront an enemy no one believes in because no one can see it? That's the question Snow leaves us with. We can see iceberg calving thanks to patient videographers positioned at the planet’s edges—a relative term, of course, as circles don’t have edges. But at this moment most would rather watch the videos on their screens rather than give up the behaviors that are part of the problem that’s causing calving. We tend to choose the superstitions that benefit us, not the ones that point at our destruction.

 


Like it or not, Game of Thrones is out biggest analogy for climate change

And what did Tyrion do with that information? What did he do when he learned that all of mankind was at risk? Did he beseech Daenerys to forego her quest for the Iron Throne and head north with her dragons? Did he explain to her that it was Jorah’s father who first told him about the White Walkers, in a desperate attempt to make her accept the existential threat they all face?

No, he did nothing more than convince her to give away some some worthless dragonglass as a show of good faith. He probably does believe Jon, but taking the Iron Throne is far more important to him, so the White Walkers will have to wait for another day.

 


Game of Thrones is secretly all about climate change

Swap climate change for White Walkers and "countries" for noble houses, and it starts to sound a lot like the real world.

Specifically, it sounds like the problem of international coordination on climate change. No one country can prevent catastrophic warming on its own: Every country that's a major greenhouse gas emitter is part of the problem.

Yet the biggest emitters, like the United States and China, are also geopolitical competitors: Both are wary of the other's intentions, making it hard for them to see any kind of deal that limits their emissions as win-win. And even if you get over the US-China hurdle, you have to get a deal that's acceptable to most every other country in the world — including developing ones that need cheap energy to fuel economic growth.

The big wars in Game of Thrones — the Baratheon-Targaryen-Stark-Tyrell-Lannister free-for-all — are basically supposed to stand in for these complications. All of these noble houses are focused on their short-term interests, but pursuing them is blocking the real problem: stopping the White Walkers and their zombie army. Likewise, CO2 emissions skyrocketed in the past 100 years — with potentially catastrophic consequences for the human race.

Summer is coming.

 

And a few more...

3 responses so far

The Trump War on Science: EPA budget cuts, More on climate change, The war on wildlife and other recent stories

Jun 16 2017 Published by under climate change, Politics, Trump war on science

Another couple of weeks' worth of stories about how science is faring under the Donald Trump regime. If I'm missing anything important, please let me know either in the comments or at my email jdupuis at yorku dot ca. If you want to use a non-work email for me, it's dupuisj at gmail dot com.

The selections are by no means meant to represent a comprehensive account of everything written about science over the last couple of weeks. I'm aiming for something representative rather than complete or comprehensive. For example, there are probably hundreds of articles written about the Paris Climate Agreement over the past few weeks and I've only chosen a few for this list.

By the way, the idea that this long list of items is from just a little over two weeks is astounding to me. And by astounding, I mean terrifying.

One response so far

Around the Web: Saving Government Data from the Trumpocalypse

Jan 21 2017 Published by under climate change, Politics, Trump war on science

While I'm working on a major update to my Documenting the Donald Trump War on Science: Pre-Inauguration Edition and preparing for the first of the post-inauguration posts, I thought I'd whet everyone's appetite with a post celebrating all the various efforts to save environmental, climate and various kinds of scientific and other data from potential loss in the Trump presidential era.

The list only includes one or two items per project. Plus I'm very likely missing some. Please let me know in the comments so I can add ones that are missing.

It's worth noting that libraries and libraries are closely involved in pretty well all the projects mentioned.

I'm also including some projects that are saving data about Donald Trump, his campaign and his presidency.

The Environmental Data and Governance Initiative is coordinating many of these events.
 

Project Archiving Government Information to Protect from Trump Administration

 

Archived Information About Donald Trump

 

As mentioned above, please add any projects I've missed in the comments or send to me at dupuisj at gmail dot com.

One response so far

Documenting the Donald Trump War on Science: Pre-Inauguration Edition

Update 2017.01.31: First post-inauguration chronology post is done, covering the first week of the Trump administration.

From the point of view of someone sitting North of the Canadian/US border, the results of this week's US Federal election are somewhat terrifying. And honestly and truly as a Canadian and a Torontonian, I say this without a bit of smugness. Been there, done that, if not quite on the same scale.

And by done that, I mean that I've often seen my mission to document important stories in the world. In the past, mostly Canadian or mostly in the library world and all basically about science.

This time around, I'm going to start a project about science in the new Donald Trump administration. I believe Trump will be terrible for science, technology, the environment and public health. And I intend to document that here. Of course, Trump won't be terrible for science in exactly the same way that Harper was in Canada. For example, he may not target research funding in the same way. On the other hand, the environment may fare much worse and ultimately muzzling may also prove to be a problem. It's only over the course of the next couple of years that we'll really and truly get a sense of the implications.

But why wait until we see the share of how exactly Trump is bad for science to start keeping track?

I like what David Kipen said today in the LA Times.

If all these experiences have taught me anything, it’s that librarians may be the only first responders holding the line between America and a raging national pandemic of absolutism. More desperately than ever, we need our libraries now, and all three of their traditional pillars: 1) education, 2) good reading and 3) the convivial refuge of a place apart. In other words, libraries may be the last coal we have left to blow on.

First Responder -- Information Division is a role I can live with.

Like Anil Dash says, "Forget “Why?”, it’s time to get to work."

Don’t waste a single moment listening to the hand-wringing of the pundit class about Why This Happened, or people on TV talking about What This Means. The most important thing is that we focus on the work that needs to be done now. While so many have been doing what it takes to protect the marginalized and to make society more just, we must increase our urgency on those efforts, even while we grieve over this formidable defeat.

It is completely understandable, and completely human, to be depressed, demoralized or overwhelmed by the enormity of this broad embrace of hateful rhetoric and divisive policy. These are battles that have always taken decades to fight, and progress has never been smooth and steady — we’ve always faced devastating setbacks. If you need to take time to mourn, then do. But it’s imperative that we use our anger, our despair, our disbelief to fuel an intense, focused and effective campaign to protect and support the marginalized.

And it has to start now.

My small contribution is focusing on the effects the Trump administration will have on science, technology, the environment and public health. (As with my Canadian project, I consider healthcare funding models outside of my scope.)

So let's get started. I have a few sections to this post. The first will focus on documenting what happened before November 8, 2016. What he said about science and the environment. The second section will focus on commentary in the past few days since the election. The third section will be similar, but focusing on the implications for Canada. The final section will begin documenting actual anti-science actions and policies (yay, we already have a couple!)

Wish me luck. As usual, everyone should feel free to suggest things I've missed, either in the comments or privately at dupuisj@gmail.com. I'm not attempting to be comprehensive or complete in the commentary I'm picking up, but I do want to attempt to be fairly representative.

 

Pre-Election Commentary

 

Post-Election Commentary

 

Post-Election Commentary Added November 21, 2016

 

Post-Election Commentary Related to Implications for Canada

 


And finally, the beginning of the tally of cuts, etc.

 

Some Meta-Commentary Related More to Activism than Directly to Science

 

To repeat. This initial list is quick and very preliminary. Please let me know if there's anything you think I should include, either in the comments or at dupuisj@gmail.com. I'm not attempting to be comprehensive or complete in the commentary I'm picking up, but I do want to attempt to be fairly representative.

If I've missed anything or if anything I've included probably shouldn't be included, let me know and I'll take a look and evaluate.

I will be updating this master list as time goes by.

 

Update 2016.11.21. Quite a bit of commentary added, as well as some general info related to activism and resistance. One incident added, related to Steve Bannon. I'm treading a fine line between "what might happen and it would be bad" and "this is a thing that we know is actually happening." Probably the announcement of the actual cabinet will bring more information on the what the Trump presidency will mean for science, the environment and public health.
Update 2016.12.06. Quite a bit added again, lots of commentary and "meta" items. In particular, as the cabinet and other appointments are fleshed out, there's more to identify as issues.

14 responses so far

Around the Web: What About the Planet?, Partisan polarization on climate change and more on the science and politics of climate change

Oct 08 2016 Published by under around the web, climate change, environment

One response so far

Around the Climate Web: Are We Feeling Collective Grief Over Climate Change? and more on the science and politics of climate change

Aug 21 2016 Published by under around the web, Canada, climate change, environment

No responses yet

Around the Web: How climate change may be fueling Canada’s fire season and more on the science and politics of climate change

Jul 25 2016 Published by under around the web, Canada, climate change

No responses yet

Around the Web: The Fort McMurray wildfire and climate change

May 06 2016 Published by under around the web, Canada, climate change, environment

The town of Fort McMurray, Alberta and it's surrounding region are experiencing a horrific wildfire. Tens of thousands of people have been forced to evacuate.

The absolute most important thing in the short and medium term is to take care of the people of Fort McMurray. Yes, Fort McMurray is the hub of tar sands development in Canada. Yes, the tar sands and other fossil fuel development projects contribute to climate change. Yes, the tar sands in particular have been identified as a carbon source that needs to be left in the ground. But those aren't short and medium term considerations. Those are very clearly about making sure the people of Fort McMurray are safe and that they can re-start their lives in the wake of this tragedy. The issues around fossil fuel development that have gotten us into the trouble we're in are systemic and historic, not in any way directly the fault of the actual people who are caught in this situation.

But in the longer term we need to stop brushing aside what is constantly happening in the short and medium term. We need to stop saying, "This isn't the time to talk about this." We meed to stop focusing on how you can't pin each individual weather disaster on climate change. It's true but it can't be the only point we ever make.

Every time we forget about how the short and medium term turn into the long term, one day and month and year at a time, one climate-change-related disaster at a time, we are letting ourselves off the hook in using the focus and attention to build longer term solutions.

The Edmonton Journal website is a great one-stop news portal for what's happening.

The Canadian Red Cross is probably the best place to donate to the relief effort.

In the meantime, here are some of the articles and posts I've been reading, reflecting a diversity of opinion and analysis.

 

And some more-or-less dissenting views on whether or not we should be talking about climate change in relation to the wildfire right now.

 

 

If there's good commentary I've missed, please let me know in in the comments.

And you might also want to take a look at my recent posts on The Leap Manifesto and recent readings on climate change.

3 responses so far

Older posts »