Friday, May 10, 2024

Thursday, May 09, 2024

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Damian Carrington reports on the response to the consensus among climate scientists that we're headed for climate catastrophe, including the UN's recognition that there's no higher-stakes issue for humanity. Matt McGrath, Mark Poynting and Justin Rowlatt discuss how the oceans are headed for yet another record-breaking year of heat. And the Canadian Press reports that British Columbia is facing unprecedented threats to its natural waterways due to years of extreme heat and limited precipitation. 

- Meanwhile, Phil Tank offers a reminder that the Sask Party's choice to blow billions on carbon capture and storage has produced little result other than to delay action which would actually reduce carbon pollution.  

- Matt Gurney implores Doug Ford to stop exacerbating his province's health care crisis by refusing to offer reasonable compensation to family doctors. 

- Katie Dangerfield reports on new research into the myriad health risks of ultra-processed foods. 

- Craig Lord reports on the Bank of Canada's recognition that renters rather than property owners are facing the greater level of financial stress. 

- Finally, Geoffrey Picketts writes about the utter lack of reason behind separatist rhetoric in Alberta and Quebec - though there's probably nothing more pathetic than Saskatchewan's "me-too" equivalent which replicates the economic social and risks of separatism, while replacing any theory of self-determination with complete subservience to Alberta puppetmasters. 

Wednesday, May 08, 2024

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Damian Carrington reports on the consensus among climate scientists that the fallout from the climate crisis looks to include at least 2.5 degrees of global warming. And Jason Hickel comments on the gap in impacts between the wealthy few who are responsible for most carbon pollution, and the less wealthy people who are facing its worst effects. 

- Lucas Chancel reviews Ingrid Robeyns' Limitarianism as providing a useful framework as to the necessary limits on the accumulation of wealth. And Gabriel Zucman rightly argues that at the very least, the need to properly tax wealth and excess income is conclusively established by the fact that U.S. billionaires are now paying a lower effective tax rate than the working class. 

- Meanwhile, Ashley Burke, Kate McKenna and Andrew Ryan report on the glaring contradiction between Pierre Poilievre's message criticizing lobbyists as a matter of political positioning, and his eagerness to have them assemble wealthy donors to funnel money toward him. 

- Andre Picard calls out the Ford PCs for devoting their energy to suppressing damning evidence of the crisis in health care, rather than making any effort to ameliorate it. 

- Finally, Rani Molla examines the lengths car makers have gone to in making it impossible for consumers to protect their privacy while using a new vehicle. 

Tuesday, May 07, 2024

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Curled-up cat.

Life in plastic

One of the more significant subjects I've included in my link posts over the past few years is that of plastic contamination. We're learning more and more about the accumulation of plastic in our bodies and the environment, as well as about a growing list of harms caused as a result. 

So naturally, the Cons are looking to undermine any and all regulation of consumer plastics with campaign blending of misinformation and denialism. 

The misinformation side involves a blatant lie of omission as to what Corey Tochor's anti-regulation bill would do. 

Contrary to what you'd think from Tochor's presentation, the scope of the bill is not in any way limited or targeted to the regulation of straws in particular. Instead, its purpose and effect is to eliminate all existing federal regulation of plastics in any form. Which means that any steps to limit even the most dangerous and easily and cheaply substituted plastic products would be trashed.

Needless to say, that outcome would represent a source of cheap and dirty profits for an oil sector which is looking to plastics as a substitute market in the event the world takes any meaningful steps toward reducing the burning of dirty fuels. But how to justify yet another naked attempt to foist the costs of fossil fuel profits on the public in the form of avoidable personal risks?

Tochor has that covered as well, combining an absolute lack of willingness to acknowledge the immense and growing scientific consensus around the dangers of plastics for people and the environment, with an attempt to treat developing concerns about a single substitute (which itself arise out of insufficient study of chemicals in consumer products) as mandating that the entire toxic plastic edifice be allowed to keep growing without regulation. 

All of which makes for a single bill reflective of the entire Con political mindset: using a small but salient public complaint as the basis to gut public protections, all in order to ensure that the oil sector can rake in money at the expense of people's health and well-being. And the combination of dishonesty and disregard for the public should serve as a warning of what would follow if the Cons can take control of Canada's regulatory apparatus.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Joe Vipond and Steve Bentley write about the need to treat the climate breakdown in progress as a serious problem requiring immediate action rather than a game. David Thurton reports on the Libs' inexplicable choice to eliminate the federal government's ability to carry out environmental assessments based on carbon pollution with multi-jurisdictional impacts. And Steve Hanley points out that the fossil fuel sector's response to the development of satellites capable of tracking methane releases has been to direct its "innovation" toward new steps to conceal its continued emissions. 

- Mark Olaide and Nick Bowlin expose how Oklahoma courts and regulators alike went out of their way to prevent the oil industry from paying the cost of its contamination of a family farm. And Drew Anderson reports on the UCP's choice to ban new renewable energy for threatening the hegemony of the fossil fuel sector. 

- Meanwhile, Justine Calma discusses how environmental journalists face disproportionate and increasing threats of violence for daring to expose the reality of corporate malfeasance. 

- Adam King discusses how Canada's latest income survey shows a deteriorating standard of living for the working class - driven largely by the withdrawal of supports in the midst of an ongoing pandemic. 

- Finally, Alex Hemingway points out that it will be impossible to meaningfully alleviate Canada's housing crisis without massive investment in public and not-for-profit homes.