Canadian permafrost thawing 70 years earlier than predicted


Landscape near Mould Bay. CanadaLouise Farquharson

❝ Permafrost at outposts in the Canadian Arctic is thawing 70 years earlier than predicted, an expedition has discovered, in the latest sign that the global climate crisis is accelerating even faster than scientists had feared…

❝ A team from the University of Alaska Fairbanks said they were astounded by how quickly a succession of unusually hot summers had destabilized the upper layers of giant subterranean ice blocks that had been frozen solid for millennia…

❝ Scientists are concerned about the stability of permafrost because of the risk that rapid thawing could release vast quantities of heat-trapping gases, unleashing a feedback loop that would in turn fuel even faster temperature rises.

All the worst of what has been predicted by climate science is coming home to roost – just earlier. The ignorant and backwards naysayers will have to put both hands over their eyes, now.

The fossil fuel era is coming to an end and…

❝ “Coal is dead.”

These are not the words of a Greenpeace activist or left-wing politician, but of Jim Barry, the global head of the infrastructure investment group at Blackrock — the world’s largest asset manager. Barry made this statement in 2017, but the writing has been on the wall for longer than that.

❝ Banks know it, which is why they are increasingly unwilling to underwrite new coal mines and power plants. Unions and coal workers know it, which is why they are demanding a just transition and new employment opportunities in the clean economy. Even large diversified mining companies are getting out of the business of coal.

The only ones who seem to have remained in denial are President Donald Trump and non-diversified mining companies like Westmoreland Coal. The Denver-based firm made a bad bet in 2013 when it purchased five coal mines in Alberta. Now it wants Canadian taxpayers to pay for its mistake.

This is becoming a battleground, many ways and means, many reasons. Workers who need retraining and creepy investors trying to get out of foolish contracts do not have common cause.

Canada’s government pledges $600M for media transition/training to digital

Finance Minister Bill Morneau said the government wants to protect the “vital role that independent news media play in our democracy and in our communities.”

❝ The plan in the government’s fiscal update allows non-profit news organizations to accept donations and issue tax receipts to donors…

The plan also includes a new refundable tax credit for labour costs at both for-profit and non-profit news organizations. To determine eligibility for the credit, the government plans to create an independent panel drawn from the “news and journalism community,” which will also “define and promote core journalism standards (and) define professional journalism.”

Further South, in the Land of the Free Press…the meathead-in-chief characterizes our Free Press as the ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE.

Cannabis now legal North of the border

❝ Canada’s parliament has passed a law legalising the recreational use of marijuana nationwide.

The Cannabis Act passed its final hurdle on Tuesday in a 52-29 vote in the Senate. The bill controls and regulates how the drug can be grown, distributed, and sold.

Canadians will be able to buy and consume cannabis legally as early as this September.

❝ The country is the first in the G7 to legalise the drug’s recreational use.

Overdue in the GOUSA. Our Northern Neighbors press on into the 21st century – while the White House builds internment camps for children and babies. Whatever century Republicans are heading for – it ain’t anything other than backwards.

Fake president wasted everyone’s time this weekend in Canada


Click to enlarge

❝ Just when it seemed that the G7 leaders had eked out a joint communique and avoided an open rift, Donald Trump in a stunning Twitter turnaround, retracted his endorsement. It’s probably better that way

❝ Sometimes it is good to rip off the band-aid. And by backing out of an apparently agreed upon joint G7 communique at the last minute via Twitter and on a plane en route to Singapore President Trump has done just that.

In his tweet he accused Canada’s prime minister Justin Trudeau of making false statements at his press conference and said he had “instructed our US Reps not to endorse the Communique…If he really does pull out of the agreement it would not be his first withdrawal. In fact, Trump is a master withdrawer. He pulled the US out of the Paris climate accord, the Iran nuclear deal, the Trans Pacific Partnership, and UNESCO, to name just a few…

But it is probably better that way than trying to paper over a fundamental rift that really can’t be papered over…Because President Trump’s appearance here in Quebec made clear one more time how he feels about America’s closest allies and the post-war international order that Washington was instrumental in building: he could not care less. More than that, he is actively trying to disrupt and undermine it.

With or without the encouragement of rightwing scumbags like Bolton, Miller and Navarro, I was confident Trump would back out of anything positive or constructive he pretended to agree to during the day-and-a-half he spent in Charlevoix. Look at Chancellor Merkel in the photo up top. She looks like she trusts Trump as far as she can throw him uphill into a heavy wind.

RTFA for the gruesome – predictable – results.

Climate change a major issue for forestry planning


Ho/The Canadian Press

❝ Canada loses 20 times more forested land to fires and invasive bugs each year than it does to harvesting wood for industry — and Canada’s lumber association says climate change is making it worse.

❝ Derek Nighbor, president of the Forest Products Association of Canada, says he believes developing plans to address the impacts a warming planet is having on Canada’s forests needs to be a priority.

“We spend a lot of time looking back at history and trends but we (have) got to be looking forward and doing some modelling in terms of the warming climate and how do we stay ahead of this so we can ensure healthy forests for the future,”…

❝ Nighbor said Canadians have to take time to figure out what the forest looks like in the future.

How can we ensure a healthy forest, one that balances ecological imperatives, social imperatives, economic opportunities for the country…”

Or they could follow the American model and put a government in charge that couldn’t care less about environmental causes and effects. Especially if that consideration negatively affected profits – short-term – for corporate owners.

Canadian province puts up $40-million for workers losing jobs during the end of coal

❝ Alberta is putting aside $40 million to help workers losing their jobs as the province transitions away from thermal coal mines and coal-fired power plants over the next decade.

Labour Minister Christina Gray said the money will top up benefits to 75 per cent of a worker’s previous earnings during the time they collect employment insurance…

“Our government is going to provide workers with income support,” Gray said…

❝ “This income would insure that workers are better able to support their families as they transition to new employment training opportunities or retirement,” said Gray…

❝ Vouchers up to $6,000 over two years will help cover the costs of post-secondary education, like tuition, books and fees…

❝ Alberta, under its Climate Leadership Plan, is phasing out coal-fired electricity and moving to renewable and natural-gas generated electricity by 2030, aligning closely with a similar deadline set by the federal government.

Conservatives hate this. The Harper government had no compunction about closing down diminishing, backwards, energy systems. But, provision for retraining workers was out of the question. No doubt other ideologues will also find a creative way to hate change, hate means of helping working folks through qualitative change.

Of course, none of these problems exist in the GOUSA. There is no concept of helping workingclass families from our present government, our fake president.

Solving the Mystery of the White Box That Fell From the Sky

❝ Fifty-five years ago, in the woods outside Moncton, New Brunswick, around 160 miles east of the Maine border, David McPherson Sr. found a very large white box adorned with some very large lenses. It was attached to a parachute, so McPherson thought it might be an American spy camera, possibly launched by the Central Intelligence Agency. The fact that Canadian military tried to take the box from him — before McPherson and his family voluntarily relinquished it in exchange for answers that never came — only added to his suspicions.

McPherson died 18 months ago, never having gotten to the bottom of the mystery. But this week his son, David McPherson Jr., said that his father had been right all along. Declassified CIA documents reveal that the white box was part of a CIA program to send cameras into the sky with balloons to spy on the Soviets. The McPhersons’ box likely hit some wind and went astray…

❝ The CBC helped the McPhersons crack the mystery after running a story Monday about the “thing in the woods.” A rush of tips soon came in, leading the family to some declassified documents on the CIA website, in addition to the Military Communications and Electronics Museum in Kingston, Ontario, both of which had photos of apparatuses that looked like the one they had found. Documents also reveal that the box was likely part of Project Genetrix, a program started under President Dwight D. Eisenhower that used balloons to conduct surveillance over Russia and China, according to the CBC.

It’s unclear where the box is now — maybe in a government warehouse somewhere — but the McPhersons still have some two-dozen photos from its discovery. They also now have closure.

Of course it would have been beyond stupid to think this thing was a weather balloon. Anymore than the replacement – shot down over the Society Union, the U2 spy plane – was doing weather research. The sad bit is that our government simply never feels there is an appropriate time to tell the truth to taxpayers picking up the tab.

Wonder what’s on the shelf labeled ROSWELL?