Yellowknife Twitter Bot Spreads Global Warming Knowledge

Climate change is occurring at a faster pace with every passing year. The rate of change is hard for us to comprehend and think rationally about. An engineer with Ecology North in Yellowknife decided to help us all understand how quickly things are changing by making a twitter bot – @ykclimatewatch that compares temperatures of the past with those of today.

“The more you act on climate, the less likely you are going to be anxious about it,” said Gagnon.
His solution was to create bot that compares each day’s temperature to average temperatures in the community on that date, so people can see the trend for themselves.

Ecology North’s YK Climate Watch Twitter bot is still in its infancy. Its official tweets started in January.
The bot automatically calculates the mean, or average, temperature of the day between 1971 and 2000. It then compares the historical average — or the “climate normal” which is the three-decade averages — to the average temperature of the day on Environment Canada.

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British Columbia’s Carbon Pricing Works Well

carbon output

British Columbia shows carbon pricing works while another province looks uselessly backwards.

The regressive and antidemocratic Ontario “conservative” government is set to sue the Canadian government for protecting the environment. The argument by the Conservatives is basically that an economy allowed to inefficiently consume non-renewable resources is good and that sustainable policy (carbon pricing) is bad. Yes, it’s as ludicrous as it sounds.

Hopefully this wasteful battle between governments ends in the environment’s favour. If Ontario just followed British Columbia’s lead this wouldn’t be an issue and arguably the economy would be in better shape. In B.C. the carbon pricing has reduced emissions while making a more energy efficient economy. Sustainable businesses are seeing growth in B.C. that they wouldn’t see elsewhere.

“This carbon tax is a model for the world that well-designed carbon pricing can be good for the environment and the economy. In the 11 years since B.C. brought in its carbon tax, it’s outpaced the rest of Canada both on emission reduction and GDP growth,” said Stewart Elgie, a professor of law and economics at the University of Ottawa.

In the meantime, numerous researchers have tried to determine the impact of the tax. According to a 2015 paper, B.C.’s emissions had dropped by between five and 15 per cent since the tax was implemented, and it had a “negligible impact” on the overall economy.

Elgie, of the University of Ottawa, was part of a wide-ranging 2013 study that showed a 19 per cent drop in B.C.’s per capita fuel consumption in the first four years of the tax, while the province’s economy slightly outperformed the rest of the country.

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New York Banning Plastic Bags

fruit store

Everyone knows the harm plastics are bringing to the world, especially to marine animals and waterways. In an effort to reduce the harm done by plastics New York state is banning single use plastic bags. This is a great step due to the sheer size of their population and will hopefully pace the way for more states to follow (California already banned them). Way to go New York!

The plan would have an additional element allowing counties to opt in to a 5-cent fee on paper bags, revenue that would go to the state’s Environmental Protection Fund as well as a separate fund to buy reusable bags for consumers.

In a statement released late Thursday afternoon, Mr. Cuomo said that “these bags have blighted our environment and clogged our waterways,” adding that the plan agreed to in Albany would be a way to “protect our natural resources for future generations of New Yorkers.”

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18 Countries Easily Decreased CO2 Emission with Policy

wind turbine

There’s now even more evidence that countries around the world can reduce carbon emissions without sacrificing economic growth. Carbon intensive industries often argue that regulations will destroy the economy and do little to protect the planet. They couldn’t be more wrong. A recent study looked at emissions and economic growth and found that countries can indeed reduce emissions and increase their GDP.

The study looked at emissions from between 2005 and 2015. Globally, CO2 was on the rise — about 2.2 per cent annually — but in 18 countries, their emissions saw a decline. These 18 account for 28 per cent of global emissions.

What the researchers found most encouraging about their study is that, for the two countries that were the control group, if you removed their economic growth, policies encouraging energy efficiency were linked to cuts in emissions.

“Really, this study shows it’s not a mystery. We have the technology: you put the effort in place, you develop the policies, you fund them, and then you get emission decreases,” Le Quéré said.

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How to Remove Plastic From Your Life

beans

We all know that plastics are bad for the earth and the oceans. Indeed, a study published last month found that plastic was found in the deepest ocean dwelling animals. Obviously that’s not good, but what we as individuals can do some good for the planet by removing plastics from our lives. It’s easier than you think. Over at Fast Company they have an easy guide to get you started on using less plastic.

No more packaged fruit: There’s no reason for produce to be packaged in plastic. (I’m looking at you, Trader Joe’s.) Most groceries sell their fruit and vegetables by weight, so just buy your items piecemeal if you can. When you get home, you can give your produce a wash when you’re preparing it. Eco-friendly brand Full Circle has a very handy veggie scrubber ($5) I keep by the sink.
Stock up on reusable containers and wraps: Clear out your Ziploc and Saran wrap drawer, and fill it with reusable versions. I now pack my daughter’s snacks in reusable Lunchskin bags (starting at $5) or paper sandwich bags ($4). They come in cute patterns, which is an extra perk for the toddler set.

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