Climate Change

Mitigation, Adaptation and Litigation

Coastal communities, sea level rise and a new mortgage….

The Union of Concerned Scientists has released a new report dealing with sea level rise.  It can be downloaded here.   Jennifer Dorroh writing for cClimate Liability News has a solid summary here.

I recall sending an email around questioning whether we should be caustious about acting for landowners buying property in Ladner BC, near the Vancouver airport.  No one showed any interest.  I wish I still had access to that list!  The UCS study focuses on US coastal properties.  I suspect there will be little difference between the lower mainland surrounding Vancouver and Seattle.

One of the key points made by the report is summarised as follows:

“More than 300,000 of today’s coastal homes, with a collective market value of about $117.5 billion today, are at risk of chronic inundation in 2045—a timeframe that falls within the lifespan of a 30-year mortgage issued today. Approximately 14,000 coastal commercial properties, currently assessed at a value of roughly $18.5 billion, are also at risk during that timeframe.”

Most Canadian mortgages ammortize over a 25 year period.  The concerns for many Canadian coastal communities will be/are the same.



Old Growth and Carbon Sink

I last visited Port Alberni in 2003.   I still feel a connection to Cathedral Grove.  I was born in Port Alberni in 1953.    The city then had several mills – sawmills, plywood, shakes and shingles and then one monster of pulp and paper mill.   There were probably 50 – 100 mills if not more spread throughout Vancouver Island at the industry’s peak.  They are almost all gone.  Most of the island that can be logged has been logged.  I can still see in my minds eye clear cut logging encroaching on the boundaries of the grove.

It is time for a moratorium.  To treat the island’s forests as a carbon sink rather than as a harvestable resource.  As a viable ecosystem rather than industrial lands.  We have proven that we cannot harvest sustainably.  Old growth stands that are left should be preserved absolutely whether on private or crown lands as a public trust.  We can no longer rely on a bureacracy that inherits and some argue preserves a culture of clear cutting to the end.

The Great Divide

This divide is real. And in my humble opinion is growing wider. Coverage of CAPP’s recent presentation at oil and gas conference in Calgary reinforces the point. For them there are no brakes on expanding production capacity save opponents to pipelines. What bothers me the most is that CAPP gets it but really doesn’t care. Canada’s contribution to climate change includes the consequences of all of our decisions including permitting the growth in oil and gas exploitation. This includes the emissions from the processing and consumption of the fossil fuels exported from Canada.

The latest on Arctic climate and sea level from Jason Box

Prof. Box  is a researcher that must be followed.  He is a lead IPCC author.  If you cannot watch the entire video, then I recommend you skip to 10:50 and hang in for several minutes.  The Arctic is changing very fast and the prognosis for the near future is not good.   Remember, as the Artic warms releative to latitudes further south, there are worrisome implications for the northern jetstream that interacts with the temperature differentials between the northern Polar , Ferrel  and  Hadley cells.


How does accountability for damage done by climate change balance out against fossil fuel use? Or should it?

Amy Weservelt reviews how this issue is being addressed in climate change litgation involving cities and big oil in California.  All this is still going on in the context of a fight over the court’s jurisdiciton.

A similar suit has been mounted in Colorado where Canadian oil major Suncor is a defendant.  Here an interesting fact is that the Plaintiff’s are not coastal cities.

Republican AGs continue to support big oil defendants in climate change litigation

Climate Liability News is an important site to follow if you are interested in  climate change litigation.  Here is their coverage of the GOP AGs’ amicus intervention in a case brought by New York State. They filed a similar brief in litigation against big oil in California.