Concerns and impacts of a rapid rate of climate change

NASA graphic shows record global heat anomalies

Collection of information from multiple listed sources and added commentary.

Kevin Yaworski – Canadian and Concerned Citizen

Posted: Nov 16 2018

Updated: May 5 2019 : Update on environmental cleanup by industry, man made earthquakes and flooding

Nearly everyone agrees the climate on our planet earth has changed in a varying cycle of hot and cold periods over millions of years. The biggest concern is in the rate it has been changing and accelerating since the industrial revolution compared to the rates in the past determined from geological evidence spanning much farther than human history.

The vast majority of peer reviewed research by those experienced in climate studies agree it is changing at a much faster rate than it ever has. They basing this on ice core samples that trap CO2, glacial records that can be used to estimate global average temperatures and the thickness width, height, pace of retreat or expansion of glaciers and other geological evidence going back hundreds of thousands of years or more..

Peer reviewed research links rising average ocean surface temperatures with more frequency of intense tropical storms and the rate they can increase in severity.

Many storms and the heavy winds, rains, storm surge and flooding that come with them fueled by the warmer waters and this leads to more destruction and impacts to the people, places and infrastructure in their paths.

Since the 1950s, the world’s oceans have absorbed almost 20 times as much energy as the atmosphere. The result has been the warming of ocean waters, not just within the upper sunlit 100 ft (30 m) of the surface but at depths of up to 1,500 ft (460 m).

There have been individual studies that have been found to have used some flawed methods or focused on limited areas versus global averages and not considering trends but many more peer reviewed studies that have similar findings.

Ocean Temperature Changes – Washington Post, National Post and NOAA

The oceans cover the majority of our planet and are the biggest conveyer of heat transfers and storage. Predicting this is extremely difficult even with super computers. There is enough evidence of rapid climate change outside this.

Warming seas double snowfall around North America’s tallest peaks

Date: December 19, 2017
Source: Dartmouth College

Research finds dramatic increases in snowfall since the beginning of the Industrial Age and explains global climate connections linking northern mountains with tropical oceans.

Unprecedented findings strengthen connections between winter storms and tropical waters

Is this how ice ages started? Warmer tropics and global ocean temperatures lead to more accumulation of snow in some higher altitude northern regions.

There has also been evidence that melting ice creates surface water on Greenland and other massive glaciers or ice sheets. The water is darker and absorbs more solar heat. This accelerates melting and the water above glaciers creates gigantic holes and rivers in and under the ice. Some of this lubricates the bottom of the glaciers and accelerates the movement and deposits of ice and fresh water into the oceans.

The melting of the Arctic sea ice therefore has the potential to disrupt or slow down the Global OceanConveyor. Paradoxically, this ocean circulation interference caused by global warming could lead to a cooling in Western Europe and some other places on the globe. Currently the ocean currents carry warmth from the tropics up to the high latitudes. The UK is similar latitude to Manitoba in Canada but has much warmer weather on average.

Melting Arctic Sea Ice and Ocean Circulation | UCAR Center for …

There is speculation that this has occurred in the past and helped create ice ages. Like after several mega or one super volcanic eruption that puts large amounts of C02 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere that lead to global average warming. Then the rapid melting of Greenland and other glaciers cooled and slowed down the oceans heat conveyer which reduced temperatures in the north. The warmer oceans around the equator created bigger tropical storms which carried more moisture that is deposited as heavy snow falls in northern regions. This built up to become glaciers, ice caps and sheets as part of an ice age.

The cycle has repeated many times but the geological evidence indicates it accelerating at a rate faster than ever before and likely with devastating consequences some of which is already being seen and felt.

Some of my personal experiences that are related and more details.

Several large glaciers I have visited as a child and young adult in Canada, the US and NZ have since reduced in mass and geological evidence they retreating at a rate faster than they have in hundreds of thousands of years. Around the world glaciers that fed fresh water to communities down river since recorded time or longer have vanished or well on their way.

I have swam amoung Coral reefs in Australia, Tahitti, Cook Islands, Fiji and others reef types in Mexico. Many are dead or dying along with much of the ecosystems dependent on them after being bleached from warmer and more acidic waters. The oceans provide humans more protein food sources than any other means and in some areas it accounts for over 90%.

Although the following issues are not part of climate change it is reflective of what ignorance, unfeathered capitalism and influenced or corrupted elected and appointed officials, regulators and corporate executives can lead too.

We have islands of floating plastic and other garbage in our oceans that are larger than some countries. Hundreds of miles of petroleum based fishing nets left adrift with deadly consequences.

Hundreds of whales dieing after beaching themselves, being hit my large ship propellers or starving after their stomachs filled with plastic garbage. Killer whales moving into once ice covered and safe artic waters to feed on beluga and other whales and their calves. Thousands of polar bears drowning after longer and longer swims due to shorter ice covered periods and less time to hunt for seals on the ice to bulk up. Some that make it are so depleted and weak they cant hunt on land or become prey for other wildlife.

Ice jams on the Red River and rapid climate change concerns

Ice sheets at the poles change all the time as well from year to year but the average rate globally they shrinking or disappearing also off the charts.

I have seen what the tar sands has done to vast areas of Alberta and how little reclamation has been done. Unrecognized landscape and lakes of toxic tailings as far as the eye can see.

Aboriginal Canadians on reserves downstream of the Athabasca river where it cuts through the tar sands project area have much higher rates of rare cancers.

Some say it due to bitumen entering the water naturally. Does this look natural or a safe way to protect the river from contamination?

Syncrude upgrader facilities right on the Athabasca river near Fort McMurray Alberta

Short video only film that is a must see for any Canadian before forming an opinion on the tar sands operation or expansion.

Petropolis: Aerial Perspectives on the Alberta Tar Sands…

Financial issues from low oil prices and pressure from investors for profits leading to poor decisions affecting workers safety and the environment.

‘New problems continue to arise’ Syncrude woes are hitting Suncor, Imperial — and oil supply — hard

The release of methane and other gases from oil and gas wells is enormous during drilling and continues until capped but leaks still continue after. These leaks get worse as wells age and methane can trap 20 times as much heat in our atmosphere than CO2.

I have flown over the US near Denver and for hundreds of miles in all directions all you can see is wells old and new. Similar although not always to the same scale in North Dakota, parts of south western Manitoba and elsewhere. Many of these oil and gas areas expanding rapidly with plans to export more gas to some large economies in Asia that are currently largely dependent on coal for energy.

Alberta Energy Regulator suspends fracking well linked to Red Deer earthquake

More important facts about the oil and gas industry which Canada is divided on plus some tough questions.
One of the reasons tar sands oil is called dirty and has reduced value compared to US Brent, West Texas and others is they burn enormous amounts of natural gas or methane to heat water with chemicals and force it under high pressure into wells to make the heavy bitumen / tar based oil more fluid and allow it to flow under natural or induced pressure. Once brought to the surface it must be separated or upgraded which uses more resources and creates the massive tailings lakes.

Even than it is still thicker than other oil and has different and often more costly requirments for transport by pipeline or rail and when refining. It is also more toxic if spilled.

In tar sands extraction and fracking the toxic water reused until it no longer effective and is pumped back into old wells with little to no research done on the long term impacts or implications.

In Alberta there is often water rationing yet trillions of gallons used in the tar sands and then discarded after it too costly or toxic to clean.

Current environmental regulations require tailings and land reclamation and other costly cleanup when done properly. The industry has lobbied and influenced to have these limited and they often not being enforced in return for lucrative royalty payments to Provincial and Federal governments.

Many oil and gas corporations have gone out of business after mismanagement and or sharp drop in oil prices and the tax payers now on the hook for the cleanup.

A six month investigation into this proves it much worse than many had realized.

Hustle in the oil patch: Inside a looming financial and environmental crisis – Investigation

No one knows where the money for proper cleanup will come from as no rainy day funds created or left after oil prices dropped and rate of spending by governments and many corporate executives maintained or increased. Most of the taxpayers are already scrapping by or saddled with large debt.

Yet apparently we have a better record of cleanup than many countries.

On top of this the industry has lobbied and influenced successfully for enormous tax breaks to operate, explore and expand. The world bank peggedathus at over $35 Billion in 2013.

Subsidies for fossil fuels and investing revenues

Climate change denial won’t even benefit oil companies soon

Can we leave it in the ground where it took millions of years to be created or put a freeze on expansion while we transition and invest in more sustainable energy sources and industries to minimize the economic impact of this?

Should we reduce what we are buying and using with better choices as consumers.

Canada is leading in some of these areas but has falling behind in many of them as other countries have invested more heavily in them and rainy day or trust funds when oil prices were high.
Or should we extract it while it still worth something even if we can’t due to the proper cleanup and not subsidize it and still be competitive and make a profit?
Do we have the will to reduce or change what we are buying or using with better choices as consumers?
Is the oil sands extraction and fracking in Canada and the US with environmental, health and related issues the lesser of two evils?

While we transition should we buy more oil or refined petroleum and related products from the US? Much of Canada’s heavy oil is sold and shipped by pipeline or rail to huge refineries in the southern US that are very costly to build, maintain and retool as source oil and demands change. Then we buy back refined products.

Is it wise long term, do we have the public will and can we afford to refine more in Alberta so the jobs and more of the profits created here?

The wealthy Irving corporation with refineries in Eastern Canada buying oil or petroleum from Saudi Arabia and other countries with known or questionable human rights violations and other issues. They have said they would continue to even if Energy East pipeline project approved.

Oil Tankers, protesting, Irving and Canadian oil and gas

How can we answer these questions when so much misleading and misinformation allowed, our governments and regulators proven to be incompetent, self and special interest serving and influenced?

I hope I am wrong and there is more good in the picture than I am not seeing. Can we risk not erroring on the side of caution?

These are only a tiny fraction of what harm humans are doing to our planet that sustains us.

Respected Financial and Economic experts have called for divesting from fossil fuels and taking drastic measures to reduce the risks of rapid climate change.

Yes climate has changed for millions of years but never at this rate except from mega volcanic or meteorite events. There is no doubt in my mind that it being accelerated by humans.

Part of the issue is incompetent or corrupted officials and corporate execs and boards that care only about themselves and special interests.

There has also been think tanks that claim to be independent, oil and gas industry lobby groups that are well funded and some activists or environmental groups that use false or misleading information and tactics to try and prove their point.

Canada as a country absorbs more carbon than it emits. This is due to its large land mass (through Photosynthesis, calcium carbonate fixation). Canada produces about 1.5% of the world’s emissions and is responsible for absorbing about 12% of the world’s total emissions. The carbon tax is seen as non-nonsensical by many Canadian scientists. Some feel that only by tariffs/taxes on the polluting countries will planetary change be enacted.

Do we want to lead by example or just blame others?

It proven if a carbon emmissions reduction plan or tax done properly it can reduce emissions and minimize economic impact. The current Liberal plan and many provincial plans leave too many grey areas that can lead to failure of both goals.

India and many other countries have a carbon reduction plan or tax and some have proposed them. Some in place have helped reduce CO2 emissions and some have failed. Can we learn from those?


Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan or Taxes – Wikipedia

Canada divided on climate and not leading by example

The costs of climate change are rising

Rising seas and climate change: Everything you need to know

97% of “active” climate experts agree on man made climate change but more research needed on the risks and impacts

Wind and other renewables vs. fossil fuels and is climate change happening faster than ever?

Canada & other countries should listen to Mark Carney’s warnings on costs of climate change

There is a some information from those supporting expsnding the oil, gas and tar sands and for curbing it.

What we don’t know about US energy and climate change priorities and we need to accelerate the shift away from fossil fuels.

About Kevin Yaworski

I use my blog to write about things that I think are a matter of public interest or that I think others will be interested in
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7 Responses to Concerns and impacts of a rapid rate of climate change

  1. Pingback: Oil and Gas subsidies and investmenting revenues | Whats Up

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