The wildfires burning from coast to coast in Canada have Canadians worried about their livelihood, neighbours, and the planet itself. Finding good news in fires is tough, but in the context of the climate crisis knowledge about to fight fire is good news. The best way to stop wildfires is to prevent them from happening in the first place, and that means eliminating all fossil fuel emissions. Researchers continue to connect the extreme weather events the planet has been experiencing to industry actions.
If we’re to avoid more extreme wildfires then we need to act now, and perhaps we’ll save brave politicians in the future literally make certain companies pay for the damage they wrought.
“Last year, there were a number of studies that directly attributed the increase in emissions and associated climate warming with the massive heat waves that hit Europe,” said Baltzer, the Canada Research Chair in Forests and Global Change.
“I think we’re increasingly seeing scientists make stronger statements, which we need to be doing — stronger statements about the fact that, yes, these changes in climate are human-caused and they are driving these massive catastrophes that we’re seeing around the world.”
Baltzer, who was also not involved in the study, said the findings aren’t surprising, given previous research.
But she said the data helps draw links between previous research and the emissions from the world’s largest fossil fuel companies. “It’s really important to demonstrate those links.”
The COP26 news coverage has focussed on pledges from counties to cut their emissions (which is good) and on funding for new technologies to suck carbon out of the air (which isn’t so good). Increasingly scientists, ecologists, and activists have been calling out that technical solutions are a distraction from the core problem: we’re burning up fossil fuels. Technology won’t save us, cutting greenhouse gas emissions to zero will.
This isn’t to say we shouldn’t research carbon capture technologies, rather we should prioritize not putting more carbon into the air in the first place. Leave the oil in the ground, stop all coal consumption, and ban the production of fossil fuel powered engines.
“Simply put, technological carbon capture is a dangerous distraction,” they wrote. “We don’t need tofixfossil fuels, we need toditchthem.”
Despite these groups’ concerns, we’re likely to be bombarded with more good-news climate stories like the coverage accorded to the plant in Merritt and the project in Iceland. And carbon capture, utilization, and storage is a key component of Canada and B.C.’s plans for reducing overall emissions.
The report acknowledges that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s future scenarios allow for the deployment of carbon-capture technologies from the air in achieving the Paris targets.
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 â€” about 2.2 per cent annually â€” 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.
Economists used to measure progress using emission rates correlated to GDP, now that comparison is ridiculous. A few years ago we looked at how carbon output is shrinking while economies grow and that is continuing to be the case. Earlier this year it was predicted that the global economy will continue to see a separation of economic progress and an increase in carbon output. This year it looks like we have been able to stall carbon output again (so now I’m hoping it will start going down).
What makes the three-year trend most remarkable is the fact that the global economy grew at more than 3% per year during this time. Previously, falling emissions were driven by stagnant or shrinking economies, such as during the global financial crisis of 2008.
Developed countries, together, showed a strong declining trend in emissions, cutting them by 1.7% in 2015. This decline was despite emissions growth of 1.4% in the European Union after more than a decade of declining emissions.
In the fight to curb CO2 emissions and hold back the rate of increasing climate change, researches have mapped out where the emissions are coming from. Unsurprisingly, they have found that where there is a lot of human activity there are more emissions. This will help convince naysayers and ignoramuses that humans are at fault for climate change and now we know the exact areas where we need to drastically cut emissions.
Using simulation results from 12 global climate models, Damon Matthews, a professor in Concordia’s Department of Geography, Planning and Environment, along with post-doctoral researcher Martin Leduc, produced a map that shows how the climate changes in response to cumulative carbon emissions around the world.
They found that temperature increases in most parts of the world respond linearly to cumulative emissions.
“This provides a simple and powerful link between total global emissions of carbon dioxide and local climate warming,” says Matthews. “This approach can be used to show how much human emissions are to blame for local changes.”