Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Chevron Feels the Heat: Annual Shareholder Meeting Brings Huge Protests For Oil Giant's Abuses Around the World

Alternet - May 31-'11
"We are the human face of Chevron's operations, armed with the memories of our dead relatives, our neighbors, our sick children," said one woman who traveled from Ecuador. Details here.

Government of Manitoba Will Launch Action-Plan To Save Lake Winnipeg: Selinger

News Release - Manitoba - May 31'11 
The province will take the steps necessary to save Lake Winnipeg, Premier Greg Selinger announced today, following a five-year study of the lake. Details here.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Prospect of Limiting the Global Increase in Temperature to 2ºC is Getting Bleaker

May 2011 - International Energy Agency
CO2 emissions reach a record high in 2010; 80% of projected 2020 emissions from the power sector are already locked in. Details here.

Outrage Grows Over New Brazilian Rain Forest Law

Planetsave - May 30 '11 - A controversial piece of “forest reform” legislation was passed by the Brazilian senate this past Tuesday...Details here. 

Soy field in the Brazilian Amazon

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Factory Farms Produce 100 Times More Waste Than All People In the US Combined and It's Killing Our Drinking Water

Alternet May 28'11  "Factory farms are dangerous to the environment; they are ticking time bombs of manure just waiting to be spilled into public waters." Details here.
Sarah Kearny - Wpg Free Press.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Province, MB Hydro Sign Electric Vehicle Partnership With Nissan CA

The Province of Manitoba is distributing this release on behalf of Manitoba Hydro, Nissan Canada and the Province of Manitoba.
News Release - May 27'11

An electric (not necessarily a Nissan) car - IEA photo
Zero-emission Vehicles Key To a Fossil Fuel-free Future:  Chomiak

The Province of Manitoba and Manitoba Hydro are entering an agreement with Nissan Canada to work together on initiatives that will help advance the use of plug-in electric vehicles in the province, Innovation, Energy and Mines Minister Dave Chomiak announced today.

"Manitoba has a roadmap for a fossil fuel-free future and this agreement is another strategic partnership that will help move us along that pathway," Chomiak said.  "Electric vehicles could present a significant opportunity to help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions in Manitoba and benefit our economy by allowing us to replace imported fossil fuel with our own clean, renewable hydroelectricity as an affordable energy source for our cars."

"We continue to be encouraged by the ongoing interest of partners like the Province of Manitoba and Manitoba Hydro to find ways to encourage the adoption of zero-emission vehicles," said Allen Childs, President, Nissan Canada, Inc.  "As a manufacturer we can provide innovative vehicles that Canadians love and want to drive, but governments and utilities play an important role in helping build the infrastructure support for electric vehicles that will make a roll-out of the Nissan LEAF in Manitoba possible."

The memorandum of understanding (MOU) brings together representatives from each organization to identify opportunities to encourage the use of zero-emission vehicles. As part of the agreement, the partners will work together to further advance the potential that could come from the existing battery charging network within the province, and will discuss possible incentives for EV infrastructure providers and EV users. All parties also agree on the importance of public education activities to promote the use of EVs and that regulatory changes may also help achieve success.  In addition, the MOU paves the way for the province and Manitoba Hydro to test the Nissan Leaf in Manitoba's unique climatic conditions.

"We continue to work closely with the public and private sector to form partnerships to promote electric vehicle use in Manitoba," said Bob Brennan, Manitoba Hydro President and CEO.  "Understanding the grid requirements needed to support EVs will ensure Manitoba Hydro can reliably meet these requirements and provide for the future of electric mobility in our province."

Much of the infrastructure that could potentially support widespread adoption of electric vehicles in Manitoba is already in place, said Chomiak.  Manitoba also has clean, low-cost electricity and Manitobans have already shown their ability to plug in their vehicles.

The Nissan Leaf is a medium-size hatchback that seats five adults and has a range of 160 kilometres (based on U.S. EPA LA4 cycle) on one full charge to satisfy real-world consumer requirements.  It will be rolled-out in select Canadian markets this fall. 

The MOU agreement adds Manitoba to a growing network of zero-emission vehicle initiatives across the world. Nissan has formed partnerships with 95 governments, cities and other organizations to advance the deployment of electric vehicles worldwide.

- 30 -

Killer Tornadoes: How Devastating Extreme Weather Is Linked to Human-Caused Climate Change

AlterNet - May 27-'11 - News audiences are seeing an increasing number of "severe weather" warnings on TV, but little connection has been made to the role humans have played in driving climate change.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Updated Building Codes in Manitoba Apply Only To New Hog Barns. Why?

Barn Fire Kills 4000 Hogs (Free Press 23 May) - Letter to the Editor
There are not many experiences as horrifying as trapped animals
being burnt alive and the stench of death after the fire.         
Kichiro Sato AP
I consider this great loss and the multitude of previous hog barn fires can be attributed to the failure of our government(s) to protect the welfare of animals and those who take care of them. 

Where was the stand of the Pork Council and the Association of Manitoba Municipalities.? Shouldn't they have been questioning the lack of appropriate safety codes and regulations.? Regulations and codes that would help  protect "the Industry" that they helped to spawn, nurture and expand over the past decade and more?.                                                                                 

For years, Hog Watch organizations and rural people complained that those huge hog  factories being constructed as ordinary farm buildings, was wrong for the  building codes were not adequate.

These were Industrial complexes, being built to the minimum of building code standards.

Nobody paid attention. It was too expensive.

John Fefchak, 
Virden, Manitoba.
Also by John Fefchak, "Born of the Stump."

Iraq and Syria Under Attack From Devastating Alien Weed

FAO - May 24th - UN
Rome - Silverleaf nightshade takes root in Lebanon and Jordan too. Details here.

PLT - Globalization strikes another blow - against farmers. l.p.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Elizabeth May Calls for Federal Flood Support

OTTAWA - Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party and MP-elect for Saanich-Gulf Islands, is calling on the federal government to provide federal government support for the thousands of Canadians impacted by flooding in Manitoba and in Quebec.
“The provinces and victims should not have to bear the burden of clean-up and recovery for these massive disasters alone. There should be federal support, especially for the First Nations communities that have been affected,” said Ms. May. “The federal government will also have to be prepared to assist with the environmental impacts, as there are concerns these floods have washed large quantities of sewage and farm chemicals into sensitive waterways.”
“This is an unprecedented situation, with serious flooding happening simultaneously in multiple regions of the continent,” added Ms. May. “Once the clean-up is done and life has returned to normal for the affected communities, we are going to have to look at the broader ramifications.”
Kieran Green
Director of Communications

Busting the Climate-Deniers - Crock of the Week

Friday, May 20, 2011

Climate Change Blamed for Record Mississippi Floods

WASHINGTON, DC, May 20, 2011 (ENS) Human-induced climate change is contributing to the recent heavy rain and ongoing record flooding along the Mississippi River, and we can expect more extreme weather events in the future, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. Details here.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

'Like a Monster Coming Down the River'

By Kiley Kroh 5/17/11 Center for American Progress
Record Flooding Threatens Gulf Coast—Again. Details here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Canada Oil Output Cut as Alberta Wildfires Rage

May 17, 2011
Canadian oil production cuts could more than double by Wednesday as companies move to protect employees and property from wildfires raging through northern Alberta…Details here.

Pop Goes the Crop: Fields of Watermelon Burst After Growth Chemical Overdoses in Eastern China

By: Alexa Olesen, The Associated Press - 05/17/11
BEIJING, China - Watermelons have been bursting by the score in eastern China after farmers gave them overdoses of growth chemicals during wet weather, creating what state media called fields of "land mines." Details here.

PUBLISHER'S COMMENT: This is certainly a jurisdiction we ought to be emulating. Now all we have to do is grow exploding watermelon here and we won't have to import them from way over there! Yeah! That's the ticket! l.p.

Help Launch the New Rainbow Warrior!

My Letter on Climate Change Touches a Nerve!

Below are some of the comments which my letter "Ditches Not Enough,' generated when published in the Winnipeg Free Press.

    •    "'reducing your carbon footprint' nonsense.What a ridiculous belief."
    •    "'Fixing the climate' is a tomorrow problem. We neither caused climate change nor do we have the means/know-how to correct it."

Is this what you think, too? 

Please go to the link, above, or this one and add your own comment, "like" or "dislike" them, OR write a letter of your own. OR use the comment link on this post, below! Thanks!
Let's get a dialogue going!  l.p.

                                 There's little freeboard beneath the Lake of the Prairies bridge (l.) near Roblin, MB. The lake (on the Assiniboine River) is the     reservoir created by the Shellmouth Dam, downstream. And the crest on the Assiniboine, the highest in 300 years, is just now upon us.

(Photos by l.p.)

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Grandpa's Plea for Future Generations

David Suzuki - Science Matters - May 13'11

Harper Ignores Climate Change to his Discredit

NOTE; My letter below, now appears in the Winnipeg Free Press online at: http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/opinion/letters_to_the_editor/121825344.html as "Ditches not enough."
Dear Editor,

It was quite a spectacle.

There was Prime Minister Harper, who once called climate change "a Communist plot," blissfully inspecting the devastation it has created in Manitoba before his very eyes.

But rather than launching a frontal attack on its root causes, he predictably promised to help Manitoba dig deeper ditches and build higher dikes.
Scientists who know the most about the topic have warned for years that climate change is playing a role in the terrible storms around the world which are getting worse and more frequent. And that, in all likelihood, includes the worst flooding this province has seen in centuries.

So, if we hope to protect our earthly home in more meaningful, lasting ways, we need to cut back on the fossil fuels we burn in our cars and passenger planes. We need meaningful emission control regulations and clean energy sources now.

If this is not done, we will surely be placing future generations at even higher risk.

But I'm not naive.

I know that scandalous neglect by governments, industry and individuals has gone on for so long, we now have no choice but to take the kind of heroic and desperate measures to flood-proof our province which we are now taking.

I also know that action by Canada alone, won't go very far. This is a global problem. It needs global co-operation.

But leadership and backbone by Harper and his newly-minted government would go a long way.

Too bad they have neither.

Maybe in four years.

Larry Powell
Roblin, Manitoba, CA

Please also read: High Waters: A Climate Connection to the Mississippi River Floods?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Canadian Wheat Board's Going... Now What?

By: Laura Rance - Wpg. Free Press - Posted: 05/7/2011 
Monopoly did much more for farmers than just sell their grain for them. Details here.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Divisive Dams Approved in Patagonia, Chile

International Rivers - 9/5/11
Coyhaique, Chile - A five-dam hydroelectric scheme that locals fear will destroy the character of one of Chile's most important wild regions was approved today. 
Details here.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Manitoba's Flood Picture Remains Challenging

Manitoba News Release - May 8, 2011 - FLOOD BULLETIN #38 - Manitoba Water Stewardship reports:
*    A three-day unstable weather system is expected to bring widespread rain ranging from 20 to 50 millimetres across the entire southern Manitoba watershed. 

The Assiniboine River, just below the Shellmouth Dam.
Due to recent rain, soils have a reduced capacity to retain water and any further rain will likely run off into streams and rivers. 
*Communities along the Assiniboine River between Portage la Prairie and Headingley are advised that water levels along the river will be increasing in approximately two to four days.  The unprecedented flows are a result of last week's weekend storm, the timing of the melt from the storm and additional rainfall forecast for this week.  
*Water levels on the Assiniboine River at the First Street Bridge in Brandon are 1,182.17 ft., an increase of 0.87 ft. since yesterday. 

*    Protective dikes in Brandon are being raised another two feet today in preparation for heavy rains expected in the next two to three days.

*    In Brandon, PTH 110 is being protected by large flood-barrier tubes put in place yesterday.  The road is open but down to one lane and is flagged and marked.

*    Dikes are being raised at 18th Street to add a third super-sandbag layer.  Dikes are being closely monitored on First Street, which may need to be closed later today as a safety precaution.  Pumps are also running at both locations.

*    Provincial sandbags are being delivered to Brandon to support flood-fighting efforts.   

*    Water levels on the Assiniboine River at the First Street Bridge in Brandon are 1,182.17 ft., an increase of 1.18 ft. since yesterday.

 Without the Shellmouth Reservoir, (r.) water levels at Brandon would be three ft. higher.  
 Natural flows on the Assiniboine River at Brandon today would be comparable to the 1882 flood without the benefits provided by the reservoir.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Evacuations Possible in Brandon Due to Rising River

Winnipeg Free Press - 05/6/2011
Faulty gauge led to innaccurate water level readings. Details here.

Water thunders over the Shellmouth Dam spillway, upstream of Brandon in late April, with the reservoir behind it at near capacity. (l.p. photo)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

An Update on Manitoba's & Saskatchewan's (Climate-Spawned?) Flooding

-by Larry Powell
In the community of Eriksdale, north of Winnipeg, flooding is now threatening homes, the hospital and personal care home. 

A farm home near Yorkton, SK, isolated by floodwaters.

A flood warning is in effect for the Dauphin Lake Basin, including Parkland and the Duck Mountains, especially once the snow melts & there's lots of that yet to come. Runoff from Riding Mountain has already increased the flows of the Valley, Vermillion and Ochre Rivers significantly. The Turtle River has risen by over a meter (4 ft) since Monday! 

Runoff from both the "Ducks" and Riding Mountain are adding significantly to the flow of the Assiniboine River. Because of a swollen Assiniboine, points downstream, St. Lazare, Brandon, Portage and Winnipeg are still under a continuous and prolonged flood watch. Conditions on the Assiniboine have been affected by the same blizzard and heavy rains which struck a wide area last weekend.

The huge Lake of the Prairies near the Saskatchewan border (the Shellmouth Reservoir) was "drawn down" to extremely low levels in recent weeks to accomodate expected crests from upstream. 
A dry spillway at Shellmouth Dam (late April)

Those crests have now arrived and 10,000 cubic feet per second is now flowing over the dam and will be for the next couple of days! (see video - May 3rd.) 

As has already been stated in this space, this is the largest flood, in area, ever recorded in this province. Flood waters affect communities in virtually all parts, from the Pas, south. Cool weather and wet conditions will mean continued flood misery well into the summer.

Hundres of people remain displaced, hundreds of roads are closed and scores of "states of emergencies" have been declared. 

Flooding on the Red is described as the 3rd worst in a-century-&-a-half.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

UN Targets Widely-Used Pesticide Endosulfan for Phase-Out

Geneva, 3 May 2011
Representatives from 127 Governments meeting in Geneva last week agreed to add endosulfan to the United Nations' list of persistent organic pollutants to be eliminated worldwide. Details here.

Voting System Cheats Canadians Again - Fair Vote Canada

Fair Vote Canada - May 3, 2011
Canada’s national citizens’ movement for voting reform has released an analysis of Tuesday’s federal election results showing that the outcome does not accurately reflect the way Canadians voted. 

Details here.

A Small Step Forward

by Larry Powell 

Last winter, I asked CBC Manitoba to start announcing atmospheric C02 levels on their weathercasts. (See "CBC Manitoba Thinks Nothing Can Be Done About Climate Change!)

C02 levels cause global warming, melting ice caps and glaciers, rising sea levels, droughts, floods, blizzards, tornadoes, cyclones, hurricanes, and ice storms. Safe levels are 350 ppm or below. They have already been way above that for some time.

At the time of my request, the CBC said it would be "inflammatory" to announce such levels. 

But I finally did convince their broadcast meteorologist,  John Sauder, to place a link to C02 atmospheric levels on his website, "John Sauder's Forecast." 
(Lower left.)

Thank you, John! You have done the public a real service! l.p.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Soggy Fields Put Northern U.S. Farmers on Tight Deadline

Manitoba Co-operator - Apr 29'11 - By: Suzanne Cosgrove -Chicago | Reuters

Conditions described here are hardly confined to the US. Vast farm fields, such as this one near Winnipeg in March, were covered by snow-melt in another vast flooding event. l.p.

Incessant rains have turned Indiana farmer Larry Winger's grain fields into ponds, making it impossible for him to seed his corn crop. Details here.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Fossil Fuel Industry Gives us Cause to be Skeptical

Science Matters - David Suzuki  
The priority for people who run oil companies is to maximize profits. Details here.

Massive B.C. coal mines are about to get a new owner. Why some are worried about Glencore’s record

THE NARWHAL Coal mine at Tumbler Ridge, B.C.  Jeffrey Wynne ,      If the sale goes through, the company will inherit a contamination proble...