Thursday, June 14, 2018

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Jonathan Amos and Victoria Gill report on Antarctica's alarming rate of melting - with three trillion tons of ice lost in the past 25 years. Peter Erickson reminds us that the avoidable greenhouse gas emissions from subsidized oil sands development will only make matters worse for the world as a whole. And Crawford Kilian previews what we can expect when the carbon bubble bursts:
Some models assume we will work hard to keep global warming to a two-degree rise or less by moving to renewable energy and cutting back on fossil fuels; others assume we won’t, and will keep burning oil and gas despite rising temperatures.
All the models end up with a “sellout” by 2035 or earlier, in which oil-producing nations put on history’s greatest bargain sale, dropping oil prices as low as possible just to get it out of the ground before demand falls to zero. After all, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau observed not long ago, “No country would find 173 billion barrels of oil in the ground and leave them there.” Least of all when all those barrels would soon be “stranded” in the ground and $1 trillion to $4 trillion vanishes from the global economy.

Once the sellout was truly under way, what would happen?
(O)ur domestic woes will be like those of many other rich countries, only worse. Migrants and refugees will still find Canada a better option than staying home. Wars, revolutions and climate-driven disasters will make demands on us we won’t feel able to respond to. Poverty at home will trigger new problems in public health, just as it has in Venezuela.

Mercure’s forecast is unlikely to be the first; governments and fossil fuel corporations alike have probably commissioned reports with similar conclusions. With such politically ugly implications, it’s understandable that such reports have not been publicized, let alone acted upon.

But a wise government would break the news to its people, commission still more studies, and commit to acting on them: cutting losses in fossil fuels, subsidizing renewable energy companies, and promoting research in the field that might give Canada a chance to catch up with other transitioning countries.

And if we ignore Mercure’s warning, we will learn our lesson anyway, with a tuition fee of up to $4 trillion.
- Keith Reynolds studies the billions of dollars British Columbia is paying to the corporate sector due to its use of P3s rather than public ownership.

- The Guardian rightly argues that rather than limiting itself to empty words, the UK should be responding to the Grenfell Tower disaster by ensuring safe housing for everybody. And Laura Paddison examines the glaring lack of affordable housing for U.S. renters.

- Finally, Karl Nerenberg writes about Doug Ford's first-past-the-post-dependent election win. And Martin Lukacs discusses the urgent need for a strong grassroots movement to counter Ford's top-down destruction.

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