According to multiple reports, scientists attending the Seismological Society of America annual meeting agreed that fracking can change the state of stress on existing faults to the point of failure, causing earthquakes. That stress is generally not caused by fuel extraction itself, but by a process called “wastewater injection,” where companies take the leftover water used to frack wells and inject it deep into the ground.
n 2012, the writer and activist Bill McKibben published a heart-stopping essay in Rolling Stone titled “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math.” I’ve read hundreds of thousands of words about climate change over the last decade, but that essay haunts me the most.
The piece walks through a fairly straightforward bit of arithmetic that goes as follows. The scientific consensus is that human civilization cannot survive in any recognizable form a temperature increase this century more than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit). Given that we’ve already warmed the earth about 0.8 degrees Celsius, that means we have 1.2 degrees left—and some of that warming is already in motion. Given the relationship between carbon emissions and global average temperatures, that means we can release about 565 gigatons of carbon into the atmosphere by mid-century. Total. That’s all we get to emit if we hope to keep inhabiting the planet in a manner that resembles current conditions.
Now here’s the terrifying part. The Carbon Tracker Initiative, a consortium of financial analysts and environmentalists, set out to tally the amount of carbon contained in the proven fossil fuel reserves of the world’s energy companies and major fossil fuel–producing countries. That is, the total amount of carbon we know is in the ground that we can, with present technology, extract, burn and put into the atmosphere. The number that the Carbon Tracker Initiative came up with is… 2,795 gigatons. Which means the total amount of known, proven extractable fossil fuel in the ground at this very moment is almost five times the amount we can safely burn.
Proceeding from this fact, McKibben leads us inexorably to the staggering conclusion that the work of the climate movement is to find a way to force the powers that be, from the government of Saudi Arabia to the board and shareholders of ExxonMobil, to leave 80 percent of the carbon they have claims on in the ground. That stuff you own, that property you’re counting on and pricing into your stocks? You can’t have it.
Eagle Spirit Energy and Aquilini stated Monday they have stolen support from two First Nations bands in Burns Lake and Fraser Lake who had granted conditional support for the Enbridge route and have now switched allegiance.
The announcement was attended by at least 20 B.C. aboriginal chiefs. And the consortium claims to have support from the majority of First Nations along their proposed routes.
The announcement came days after First Nations leaders revealed Enbridge is offering to give natives a much bigger stake in its project. The overtures, they say, came from Jim Prentice, a former Conservative minister of aboriginal affairs who was hired to revive Enbridge’s stalled negotiations with First Nations.
Winning First Nations support is key to any pipeline proposal to ship oil originating from the Alberta oilsands to B.C. through traditional territories.
Enbridge faces opposition from some First Nations groups who say the company has not addressed long-standing territorial and legal concerns.
Don’t talk to me about sustainability. You want to question my lifestyle, my impact, my ecological footprint? There is a monster standing over us, with a footprint so large it can trample a whole planet underfoot, without noticing or caring. This monster is Industrial Civilization. I refuse to sustain the monster. If the Earth is to live, the monster must die. This is a declaration of war.
What is it we are trying to sustain? A living planet, or industrial civilization? Because we can’t have both.
TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – While Canada has come a long way in reconciling pre-existing Aboriginal sovereignty with assumed Crown sovereignty, tension is rising between the proponents of several new mining projects located on Crown lands, or within Aboriginal reserves, and Aboriginals, who increasingly assert their rights.
In recent weeks, several Aboriginal communities have voiced their concerns regarding proposed mining projects, insisting on their right to self-determination.
For example, this week the West Moberly First Nations were in the Supreme Court of British Columbia, in Nanaimo, where they argued their case against a proposed coal project in an area 34 km north of Chetwynd, in north-east British Columbia, which had been deemed of “critical spiritual and cultural importance” by the community.
Last summer, the Energy and Mines Ministry issued mining permits to Canadian Kailuan Dehua Mines – a Chinese-backed mining company – for its Gething project, authorising the company to remove 100 000 t of material, transport 15 000 t of coal and construct the main components of a mine that would operate for about 30 years.
ournalist Dan Grossman and photographer Alex McLean are in the middle of their week long tour of the Alberta oilsands. Their on-the-scene reporting is meant to bring greater public attention to the scale – and the stakes – of developing oil from the world’s largest deposit of carbon-intensive bitumen.
As Grossman puts it on the Pulitzer Center website, “We know the ground beneath Alberta’s boreal forest—saturated with an estimated 150 billion barrels of oil—rivals all other troves of oil apart from those of Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. We know Alberta’s rich deposits underlie a territory of 54,000 square miles, as large as Iowa. But we can barely comprehend numbers this big. Alex will help us. He’ll show us waste ponds nearly the size of Manhattan and dump trucks that could swallow a McMansion whole.”
Grossman has been tweeting about his experience in the oilsands region prolifically since April 4th. Below you can see some of the duo’s photojournalist coverage of their trip so far.
Human-driven climate change poses a great threat, unprecedented in type and scale, to well-being, health and perhaps even to human survival,” write three of the contributors to the IPCC report’s health chapter.
Writing for Australia’s the Conversation, professors Colin Butler and Helen Louise Berry, and Emeritus professor Anthony McMichael say the focus has been largely on “spurious debate about the basic science and on the risks to property, iconic species and ecosystems, jobs, the GDP and the economics of taking action versus taking our chances.”
Missing from the discussion is the threat climate change poses to Earth’s life-support system – from declines in regional food yields, freshwater shortage, damage to settlements from extreme weather events and loss of habitable, especially coastal, land. The list goes on: changes in infectious disease patterns and the mental health consequences of trauma, loss, displacement and resource conflict.
According to a statement on the study from NASA, researchers developing warming estimates by calculating the Earth’s “transient climate response.” This measure determines how much global temperatures will change as carbon dioxide’s atmospheric presence grows at about 1 percent per year until the total amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide has doubled. Transient climate responses have range from near 2.52 degrees in recent research, to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) estimate of 1.8 degrees. Shindell’s study estimates a transient climate response of 3.06 degrees. He says it is unlikely values would cool below 2.34 degrees.
The global mean temperature change estimates from a new NASA report. The dashed line shows estimates assuming uniform sensitivity to all forcings, while the solid line shows results including the enhanced sensitivity to the inhomogeneous aerosol and ozone forcings. Graphic credit: Nature Climate Change journal
His study also considers how aerosols, or airborne particles contribute to climate change in the Northern Hemisphere. Aerosols are produced by both natural sources like volcanoes and wildfires, as well as by manufacturing, driving automobiles, producing energy and more. Some aerosols cause warming, depending on their components, while some create a cooling effect. According to NASA, it is necessary to account for atmospheric aerosols in order to understand the role carbon dioxide emissions have on global warming.