Canada Losing Its Seasons — Winter is in full retreat

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By Stephen Leahy

UXBRIDGE, Canada, Mar 11 2013 (IPS) 

“Canada is not a country, it’s winter,” Canadians say with pride. But the nation’s long, fearsome winters will live only in memory and song for Canadian children born this decade.Winters are already significantly warmer and shorter than just 30 years ago. The temperature regimes and plant life of the south have marched more than 700 kilometres northward, new research shows.

The frozen north is leaving and won’t be back for millennia due to heat-trapping carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels, experts say.

By 2091, the north will have seasons, temperatures and possibly vegetation comparable to those found today 20 to 25 degrees of latitude further south, said Ranga Myneni of the Department of Earth and Environment, Boston University.

“If we don’t curb carbon emissions, Arctic Sweden might be more like the south of France by the end of the century,” Myneni, co-author of the Nature Climate Change study published Sunday, told IPS.

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In Canada Being Green Brings Police Surveillance

Man wanting a safe climate for his grandchild arrested in Ottawa
Man wanting a safe climate for his grandchild arrested in Ottawa

Harper government calls environmentalists “extremists” and “radicals”

By Stephen Leahy

UXBRIDGE, Canada, Feb 20 2013 (IPS)

Canada’s police and security agencies think citizens concerned about the environment are threats to national security, and some are under surveillance, documents reveal.

The RCMP, the national police force, and Canada’s spy agency CSIS are increasingly conflating terrorism and extremism with peaceful citizens exercising their democratic rights to organise petitions, protest and question government policies, said Jeffrey Monaghan, a researcher with the Surveillance Studies Centre at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario.

Protests and opposition to Canada’s resource-based economy, especially oil and gas production, are now viewed as threats to national security, Monaghan said. This conclusion is based on official security documents obtained under freedom of information laws over the last five years.

It is governments and the fossil fuel industry who are the extremists, threatening the prosperity of future generations.
For the past two years, officials in Canada’s Stephen Harper government have been calling environmentalists “radicals” and accusing environmental organisations of money laundering.

“The Harper government has a strong interest in suppressing environmental activism,” Monaghan told IPS.

By branding activists as extremists or radicals, many people will not want to be involved. Surveillance and other security activities will have a similar “chilling effect”, he fears.

“There could be an incredibly profound impact on public participation,” Monaghan noted.

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