Oil Sands Toxins Poison Food


Living downstream from Canada’s oil sands mega-project, the people in Fort Chipewyan, Alberta believe they are getting cancer at an alarming rate, and hired their own expert to find out if their food is toxic. Turns out they were right — the fish and water is loaded with “high levels of carcinogens and toxins” (New York Times).

Watch the CBC documentary: http://www.cbc.ca/sunday/2007/12/120907_4.html

For the complete story on the Oil Sands Project that supplies much of America’s oil see: Destroying Canada’s Boreal Forest for America’s Oil 

Measuring Bali With A Scientific Yardstick

By Stephen Leahyunfccc-bali-logo.jpg

Dec 17 (IPS) – A tiny step was taken Saturday in meeting the greatest challenge humanity has ever faced.

But it was nearly a step backward as the crucial climate talks in Bali almost collapsed when the United States refused to join the global consensus. However, after Kevin Conrad representing Papua New Guinea told the U.S. delegation if they weren’t going to be leaders, to please get out of the way, the U.S. reversed its position and accepted what is called the “Bali roadmap“.

But before considering this new political roadmap on climate change, what route did the scientific roadmap tell us to take? Continue reading

Fish Farms Pushing Wild Salmon to Extinction

courtesy Alexandra Morton

By Stephen Leahy

Dec 14 (IPS) – V
ast populations of pink salmon on Canada’s west coast will be extinct in four years due to infestations of parasites from open ocean salmon farms, scientists reported Friday in the prestigious journal Science.

Canadian officials seem likely to let the wild salmon go extinct, if past inaction is any indicator, Alexandra Morton, the study’s co-author and director of the Salmon Coast Field Station in Broughton, British Columbia, told IPS.

The Science study shows that infestations of sea lice have killed more than 80 percent of the annual pink salmon returns in British Columbia’s Broughton Archipelago, 300 kms north of the city of Vancouver, over the past four years. In another four years, there will be no more pinks if the infestations continue.

“If nothing changes, we are going to lose these fish,” said lead author Martin Krkosek, a fisheries ecologist from the University of Alberta. Continue reading

Catch less fish, Make More $


By Stephen Leahy

Dec 11 (IPS) – Catch less fish. Make more money.

Could this be the solution to the global overfishing crisis?

Australian economists writing in the current issue of Science magazine think so.

Reducing fish catches in the short term will bring fishers big profits later. And that profit potential may finally persuade an intransigent fishing industry to agree to lower catch limits, they say.

“Bigger stocks mean bigger bucks,” says co-author Quentin Grafton, research director at the Crawford School of Economics and Government at the Australian National University (ANU).

“Our results prove that the highest profits are made when fish numbers are allowed to rise beyond levels traditionally considered optimal,” Grafton said. Continue reading

Petition to Stop Canada from Sabotaging Climate Talks

From Avaaz.org:

Canada is actually sabotaging the UN talks!

There’s still a few days left to save Canada’s reputation — and the climate — but we need a massive democratic roar to remind our Prime Minister what Canada is all about, and stop him from blocking the world at Bali. Click below to sign the petition and we’ll advertize the number of signatures we get in an ad campaign across Canada this week. Our goal is to get 25,000 people to sign in just 3 days before the ads run. Click below, then forward this email to all your friends and family right away:


The vast majority of Canadians are hopping mad on this issue — we can win this. We just need to show Harper how serious we are that he change course. Sign up now and forward this email to everyone you know – we’ve got just 3 days to hit 25,000 signatures!

[“Avaaz.org is an independent, not-for-profit global campaigning organization that works to ensure that the views and values of the world’s people inform global decision-making]

Related stories:

Canada flounders on issue of climate change —CBC.ca

Greedy Canada Tries to Poison UN Climate Talks

Canada Tries to Wreck Crucial Climate Talks

Greedy Canada Tries to Poison UN Climate Talks


By Stephen Leahy

Dec 10 (IPS) – The family has just finished up an expensive seven-course restaurant meal, and the late-arriving cousins can only snack on bread sticks. When the bill arrives, the truculent, rich uncles — Canada, Japan and the United States — insist that the cousins, although poor and still very hungry, ought to pay a full share.

And then Uncle Canada suggests that he pay less because he has a big appetite and can’t help himself.

With the fate of the planet in the balance, many critics say that is the current state of the negotiations ongoing in Bali at the international climate change talks. And that is despite an urgent appeal by more than 200 of the world’s leading climate scientists late last week.

“Drastic reductions are needed…we have no time to lose,” said Richard Somerville of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at University of California at a press conference in Nusa Dua, on the island of Bali. Political leaders from virtually every nation will finalise the next steps to a new climate change treaty under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the end of this week. Continue reading

Canada Tries to Wreck Crucial Climate Talks

picture-9.jpgCanada publicly declared a 2 degree C rise in the planet’s temperature “unacceptable” but it is putting all of its resources at the Bali climate change conference into wrecking the process said Hans Verolme, director of WWF’s Global Climate Change Programme.

“What they are doing here will will get us 4 degrees C” of global warming, said Verlome at a press conference today from Nusa Dua on the island of Bali, the site of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference running until Dec. 14

Anything above two degrees scientists term “dangerous”. Indeed, even at 2 degrees the IPCC says we have just a 50-50 chance of avoiding dangerous climate change.

Canada and Japan seem to be playing the US card of doing nothing he said.

And yet on Monday Dec 3, Environment Minister John Baird made a speech in Canada’s House of Commons: “a rise of 2° in the Earth’s temperature as a result of human activity contributing to global warming, simply put, is unacceptable.”

“I don’t understand Canadian politics,” said Verolme.

Related stories:

Canada’s Shocking Environmental Decline

Destroying Canada’s Boreal Forest for America’s Oil

Kill Kyoto or Kyoto II Our Only Hope?

Climate Change Experts Warn World

Amazon Forest Could Cook the Planet


By Stephen Leahy

Dec 7 (IPS) – A two-degree Celsius rise in global temperatures could flip the Amazon forest from being the Earth’s vital air conditioner to a flamethrower that cooks the planet, warns a new report released at the climate talks in Bali, Indonesia Friday.

And we’re already past 0.6 degrees C., climate experts say.

Paradoxically, a two-degree C. rise in global temperatures cannot be prevented without a largely intact Amazon rainforest, says Dan Nepstad, a senior scientist at the Woods Hole Research Centre in the U.S. state of Massachusetts and author of the report “The Amazon’s Vicious Cycles: Drought and Fire in the Greenhouse”, issued by WWF, the global conservation organisation.

“The importance of the Amazon forest for the globe’s climate cannot be underplayed,” said Nepstad at a press conference from Nusa Dua on the island of Bali, the site of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) conference running until Dec. 14. Continue reading

Forests, the Great Green Hope?

By Stephen Leahy

Credit:Tomasz Kuran

Mixed forest near Radziejowice, Poland.

Dec 3 (IPS) – Expanding European forests absorbed 126 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from 1990 to 2005 — equivalent to 11 percent of European Union emissions from human activities — while a U.N. target to plant one billion trees mainly in Africa has been surpassed.

“Forests reduced carbon dioxide more than twice the amount of Europe’s renewable energy programmes,” said Pekka Kauppi, who led the University of Helsinki study, published in the British journal Energy Policy on Nov. 29.

Better conservation, migration to cities, and conversion of surplus farmland are the reasons behind the growing and expanding forests, which are mainly in Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, Slovenia, Bulgaria and Finland Kauppi, told IPS. The study is based on forestry statistics provided by governments and that were not independently verified.

The resulting “surprisingly high carbon dioxide removal” may be the major factor in Europe achieving its ambitious target of 20 percent reductions in greenhouse targets by 2020, Kauppi said.

“On a global scale, there is hope for the future if we stop deforestation and expand forests,” he added. Continue reading