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Lecture with Tim Flannery- October 14th

Source: SFU Centre for Dialogue

Source: SFU Centre for Dialogue

Acclaimed climate scientist and author Tim Flannery will be in Vancouver this fall to give a public lecture.

Tickets are now on sale for this event at the Vancouver Playhouse, October 14th at 7 pm.  Tim is the author of “The Weather Makers” and his newest release, “Atmosphere of Hope”.  He has been awarded the 2015/16 Jack P. Blaney Award for Dialogue by the SFU Centre for Dialogue, of which ACT Executive Director Deborah Harford is also a Climate Solutions Fellow.

Tim will be on stage with Andrea Reimer and Ross Beaty in an evening entitled ‘Reality Check: Climate Change, the Resource Economy and the Road to Paris’.

Until September 7th, tickets are 25% off. Click here to buy your ticket now! 

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Webinar Series: Creating a Blue Dialogue

blue dialogueOn September 16th, the Water Sustainability Project (WSP) is hosting the first webinar in its 2015/2016 Creating a Blue Dialogue webinar series.

Register now!

 

 

WHAT: Evolution in Transboundary Watershed Governance: Lessons from the Mackenzie Basin
DATE: Wednesday, September 16th, 2015
TIME: 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. PT (12 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET)

On March 18, 2015, the Governments of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) and Alberta signed an historic transboundary water agreement. In this webinar, speakers Hon. J. Michael Miltenberger (Minister, Environment and Natural Resources, GNWT) and Merrell-Ann Phare (Chief Negotiator, NWT-Alberta Bilateral Water Management Agreement) will share the story behind the development and negotiation of the transboundary water agreement “Mackenzie River Basin: NWT-Alberta Bilateral Water Management Agreement.”

Although grounded in the Mackenzie Basin context, this webinar will offer insight and value for communities across the country. The speakers will explain what makes the agreement innovative in Canada and the world, discuss how the agreement is connected to broader critical water and energy policy issues in Canada, and explain why they think similar transboundary agreements are critical to the successful governance of watersheds in Canada.

This webinar is the first instalment in the 2015/2016 Creating a Blue Dialogue webinar series. It will build on the 2014/2015 season and the January 2014 report “A Blueprint for Watershed Governance in British Columbia,” which focused on nine “winning conditions” needed to move towards a more sophisticated approach to watershed governance.

**SPACE IS LIMITED** Register now!

**If you are in Victoria, B.C., we will be hosting a live viewing of the September 16th webinar at the Centre for Global Studies on the University of Victoria campus. Contact Rosie Simms at water@polisproject.org to RSVP to the live viewing.**

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Climate change has the Earth in hot water

ocean_fullsize

Source: Forbes, NOAA

Water is the biggest thermal sink on Earth, and we better be able to stand the heat.

In this article, environmental scientist James Conca points out that water holds 90% of the heat from global warming. This means that rising water temperatures are even more important for the future of our planet than rising air temperatures. Hotter waters can mean problems for fish which need specific climates to live in, as well as lower snowpack levels leading to more droughts. Read more of the article here. 

ACT has worked with decision makers across the country on strategies for water governance. Our findings include the need for a new water ethic, whereby we will value and respect water as a fundamental building block of life on this planet. We also have work forthcoming on water management recommendations for coastal communities who will see more freshwater and saltwater interactions as climate change progresses. Read more of our work on water governance here.

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Exciting news: the CMA divests from fossil fuels

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Source: The Globe and Mail

The Canadian Medical Association has announced it will divest from its holdings in fossil fuel companies.

Doctors hope that this move will bring attention to the various health risks posed by fossil fuel extraction and use. The CMA will instead invest its $1.8-million holdings in renewable energy companies.

Canada’s doctors are following those in Britain and Australia who have also divested from fossil fuels. This move also follows the recent divestment campaigns of various university campuses, church organizations, and other groups across North America.

Read the full article here. 

ACT has done work encouraging renewable energy and engaging decision makers in supporting renewable energy. Though climate change is already here and will continue for some time, transitioning off fossil fuels will make adaptation easier to plan for and implement. Check out our reports on this important area of work here. 

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The hungry dystopia of climate change

An Indian farmer walks with his hungry cow through a parched paddy field in Agartala, India, 2005.    REUTERS/Jayanta Dey

An Indian farmer walks with his hungry cow through a parched paddy field in Agartala, India, 2005. REUTERS/Jayanta Dey

It’s the year 2026. A poor monsoon season in India leads to low wheat output, which is followed by a surprise thaw and refreeze that flattens crops in the Black Sea region, and a bad Chinese wheat harvest. Russia and some other producers impose export restrictions to conserve food. Next, drought strikes the U.S., and things suddenly aren’t looking good for soy and corn, either. Then, because nothing can possibly go right, the second monsoon season fails in India. Panic ensues and households in some countries start hoarding rice! Importers start bidding up for larger orders of grains! There are more export taxes and restrictions and the cost of food increases!

That’s the worst-case scenario laid out by a new report from a U.S.-U.K. task force on food security. Spoiler alert: It doesn’t include peace, sunshine, and an end to world hunger.

Thanks to climate change, farmers are now contending with more unexpected weather than usual in recent years. Farmers have always been subject to the whims of nature, but eaters in the developed world haven’t had to worry too much about their problems: For every crop failure there was someone else with a bumper harvest. That may be about to change.

Continue reading here.

To learn more about climate adaptation, biodiversity, crops and food supply, see the following ACT reports:

Biodiversity Reports

Crops & Food Supply

 

 

 

 

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Excerpt from Tim Flannery’s new book, “Atmosphere of Hope”

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Source: The Guardian
Globe Centred On Asia And Oceania, True Colour Satellite Image Photograph: Planet Observer/Getty Images/Universal Images Group

The Guardian has an excerpt from acclaimed climate author Tim Flannery’s new book, “Atmosphere of Hope: Searching for Solutions to the Climate Crisis”.

In it, Flannery shows how a changing climate in Australia and around the world will have impacts beyond higher temperatures: threats to human health, more extreme bushfires, degrading nutritional value of crops, and more mental illnesses induced by stress are some of the topics he touches on.

Read the full article here. 

Tim Flannery is the recipient of the 2015/2016 Jack P. Blaney Award for Dialogue at SFU. This award provides an opportunity to celebrate the significant role Professor Flannery’s work has had in advancing the global conversation around the critical issue of climate change.  ACT Executive Director Deborah Harford also looks forward to co-hosting him as one of the Climate Solutions Fellows at the SFU Centre for Dialogue.

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Feeding Nine Billion Video 5: Local Food Systems by Dr. Evan Fraser

Screenshot 2015-08-25 20.39.39By 2050 there will be 9 billion people on the planet – but will there be enough food for everyone? Food security expert Dr Evan Fraser guides you through a whiteboard presentation of his solution to the Global Food Crisis focusing in this video on the role of the local food system.

Brought to you by  http://www.feedingninebillion.com

 

 

To learn more about climate adaptation, biodiversity, crops and food supply, see the following ACT reports:

Biodiversity Reports

Crops & Food Supply

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13 Mind-Blowing Images of Landfills Around the World Show the True Cost of Our Waste

Every year, the world produces more than two billion tons of waste — enough to fill a fleet of trash trucks to circle the world 24 times, according to sustainability project the World Counts. The World Bank estimates the yearly global cost of dealing with waste is more than $200 billion and predicts annual waste will exceed 11 million tons per day by 2100 if current trends continue.

But where does it all go? Whether it’s an island built as a landfill or the outskirts of historic monuments, the world’s waste is piling up with no end in sight. These images offer an acute reminder of the seriousness of waste management and the desperate need to address it. It’s simply not sustainable.

maldives

Thilafushi is an artificial island created in the Maldives, a few miles off the coast of capital city Malé, to be used as a landfill. Smoke billows from Thilafushi as trash is burned in the background, with the Maldivian capital, Malé, in the foreground.

Click here to for more images.

 

 

 

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Municipalities need to plan for climate change

B.C. and the Prairies have been scorched by wildfires this year. Here, a fire tears through a peninsula jutting out onto Lac La Ronge, Sask., in July. (Submitted by Scott Knudsen, Northscape Photography )

A wildfire near Lac La Ronge, SK in July. Source: CBC. Submitted by Scott Knudsen, Northscape Photography

In a new article from the CBC, an Environment Canada climatologist says that municipalities need to plan better for long-term impacts of climate change.

Municipal infrastructure takes a hit from more extreme and frequent weather events as well as from “weather whiplash”- when weather changes drastically from one season to the next. Effects from this are exacerbated when municipalities are still building infrastructure based on decades-old weather patterns.

In turn, municipalities point to the need for better options for funding and financing infrastructure and upgrades. ACT’s recent report on financing urban infrastructure deals with this exact question by providing a thorough analysis of different options municipalities can use to fund or finance climate-resilient infrastructure. Read the full report here. 

Check out the rest of the CBC article here. 

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Upcoming Webinar: Assessing Climate Change Risks to Build a Resilient Energy Sector

Check out the following webinar, offered by The Adaptation Platform:

Thursday, September 17, 2:00 – 3:30 pm ET

Assessing Climate Change Risks to Build a Resilient Energy Sector
Project Results from Toronto’s Distribution Infrastructure, Ontario’s Transmission System and the Oil & Gas Sector in Northeastern British Columbia.

Poster           Registration

Presentations include:

Toronto Hydro-Electric System Limited Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment

— Kevin Behan, Deputy Director, Clean Air Partnership
— Chee Chan, Urban Planner and Adaptation Specialist, AECOM

  • This study evaluates the vulnerability of Toronto Hydro’s electrical distribution system to a changing climate by employing Engineers Canada’s PIEVC Protocol. A high level screening analysis is used to determine infrastructure vulnerabilities, suggest potential adaptation measures, and identify areas requiring further research. This assessment covers the period 2015-2050 and includes 20 climate parameters, including high temperature, heavy rainfall, snowfall, freezing rain, high winds and lightning.

Assessing Climate Change Vulnerability in Ontario’s Electrical Transmission Sector

— Joel Nodelman, President and CEO, Nodelcorp Consulting Inc
— Simon Eng, Analyst, Risk Sciences International
— Ian McVey, Project Manager, Ontario Climate Consortium and Toronto & Region Conservation

  • This study aims to (1) identify risks to the electrical transmission system in Ontario that may result from changing climate patterns and extreme weather, (2) build capacity for climate adaptation planning within the electricity sector, and (3) apply a process that could serve as a foundation for future climate adaptation studies in the electricity sector and beyond.  The study evaluated climate on a time horizon of 35 years (2015-2050) and considers various parameters.

Climate Risk Assessment for the Oil & Gas Sector in Northeastern British Columbia

— Ian Picketts, Physical Sciences Tutor, Quest University
— Jim Vanderwal, Senior Manager, Fraser Basin Council

  • This project assesses the impacts and risks of climate change for the oil and gas sector in northeastern British Columbia. Targeted climate projections have been developed, taking into account relevant climate parameters for the oil and gas industry and the region.  Key climate risk issues identified include water supply, flooding, landslides, forest fires, and shifts in species distributions. The project also engages stakeholders in consultation activities and identifies recommendations toward adaptation.
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Revealed: Canadian government spent millions on secret tar sands advocacy

 The Syncrude tar sands site near Fort McMurray in Northern Alberta. Photograph: David Levene/David Levene

The Syncrude tar sands site near Fort McMurray in Northern Alberta. Photograph: David Levene/David Levene

Conservative government used public money on outreach campaign to counter criticism of controversial Alberta tar sands.

Canada’s Conservative government spent several million dollars on a tar sands advocacy fund as its push to export the oil faltered, documents reveal.

In its 2013 budget, the government invested $30 million over two years on public relations advertising and domestic and international “outreach activities” to promote Alberta’s tar sands.

The outreach activities, which cost $4.5 million and were never publicly disclosed, included efforts to “advance energy literacy amongst BC First Nations communities.”

Continue reading here.

To avoid the worst impacts of climate change, the move to a low-carbon economy is critical. ACT has done work on how and why a transition to renewable energy is necessary. You can learn more about this work here.

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Cost of inaction on climate change: $44 trillion

Source: CNBC Luiz Filipe Castro | Moment | Getty Images

Source: CNBC
Luiz Filipe Castro | Moment | Getty Images

According to new research from Citigroup, the cost of doing nothing on climate change could be up to $44 trillion worldwide by the year 2060.

“What we’re trying to do is to take an objective view at the economics of this situation and actually look at what the costs of not acting are, if the scientists are right,” says Jason Channell, Global Head of Alternative Energy and Cleantech Reseach at Citigroup.

With the upcoming talks in Paris this December, research like this will hopefully add pressure on world governments to make strong commitments on climate- and to uphold those commitments. Though it will be expensive to act to prevent worsening climate change and to adapt to the effects that are already here, such preventative action will be much less expensive in the long run than doing nothing and paying for it later.

Read more about the report here. 

ACT continues to work on the economic case for preventative adaptation planning.  In Canada, much of this planning is being done by local governments; however, finding the necessary resources to pay for these projects can be difficult. To make such planning more accessible, ACT recently completed a report on ways local governments can fund and finance these projects. Check out this work here. 

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Join the David Suzuki Foundation: VOTE to protect the people and places you love

On October 19, voting is the most important thing you can do to protect the people and places you love.

Send a strong message to all federal candidates that you are committed to voting for bold leadership that recognizes our right to live in a healthy environment and helps me protect the people and places we all love.

Click here to proclaim the following:

I am a Canadian voter. This fall, I am voting for a candidate who will:

  • take immediate action to reduce Canada’s emissions by at least one-third by 2025 and create a 100 per cent clean energy economy by 2050.
  • commit to basing decisions on the best available evidence, using science and inclusive and transparent public participation.
  • recognize and respect the unique role that Canada’s indigenous communities have in decision-making.
I am

David Suzuki Foundation

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Is the Local Economy the Solution to a Post-Capitalist World?

localismIn his new book, The Local Economy Solution: How Innovative Self-Financing “Pollinator” Enterprises Can Grow Jobs and Prosperity (Chelsea Green, June 2015), Shuman debunks many of the myths around economic development—that tax breaks for wealthy corporations are beneficial for all, that only big businesses create jobs, that consumers only care about price, and that social enterprises can’t be self-financing.

Shuman, who has been a leader in the local economy movement for more than two decades, proposes low-cost pollinator businesses to stimulate the local economy through small business development. He defines a pollinator as a self-financing business with a mission of supporting other local businesses.

Pollinators lead to more dollars spent within that community, and often favor a triple bottom line approach that makes a connection between the three Ps: people, planet and profits.

Continue reading here.

 

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Climate change having affect on coastal infrastructure

Climate change can have especially detrimental affects for coastal communities such as coastal erosion, saltwater inundation, and flooding affecting coastal infrastructure.

This is especially a problem for wastewater treatment, as some communities found out after Hurricane Sandy:

“The danger is that stormwater could inundate the [treatment] plants, damage electrical systems and other vital controls and result in raw or partially treated sewage being released into streams, rivers and Long Island Sound. That’s exactly what happened in 2012 during Storm Sandy, when about 24.3 million gallons of sewage overflowed from Connecticut wastewater systems, according to some estimates.”

Click here to read the article. 

ACT is currently doing work on the coastal risks of climate change, specifically focusing on effects on freshwater which includes wastewater treatment facilities. Our past work on water governance and sea level rise provide more background about coastal risks.

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30 Year Old Trial Finds Organic Farming Outperforms Conventional Agriculture

organic vs conventional

http://www.permaculture.co.uk/news/1006156357/30-year-old-trial-finds-organic-farming-outperforms-conventional-agriculture

Is organic farming more resilient, higher yielding, more energy efficient and more profitable? The Rodale Institute’s latest report of a 30 year trial says it is. Read the full report free here.

To learn more about climate adaptation, biodiversity, crops and food supply, see the following ACT reports:

Biodiversity Reports

Crops & Food Supply

 

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