An area of forest the size of France has regrown naturally across the world in the last 20 years, a study suggests. The restored forests have the potential to soak up the equivalent of 5.9 gigatonnes (Gt) of carbon dioxide — more than the annual emissions of the US, according to conservation groups. A team led by WWF used satellite data to build a map of regenerated forests. Forest regeneration involves restoring natural woodland through little or no intervention. This ranges from doing nothing at all to planting native trees, fencing off livestock or removing invasive plants. William Baldwin-Cantello of WWF said natural forest regeneration is often “cheaper, richer in carbon and better for biodiversity than actively planted forests”.
Nature & Environment
If you thought Canada’s domestic carbon tax was controversial, just wait for its new global equivalent now being negotiated behind closed doors, say Canadians who have been following its progress. It’s not a secret. In fact the new charge got its own subheading in the recent federal budget. The plan is to “make sure that regulations on a price on carbon pollution apply fairly between trading partners,” said the budget document. “This levels the playing field, ensures competitiveness, and protects our shared environment.” It’s prompted, in part, by fear of a Rust Belt repeat. Then, industries hollowed out in rich countries as manufacturing chased cheaper labour. This time, the draw would be from countries with climate regulations to those without. So far, the border charge, which is officially not a tax at all but “border adjustments” has garnered little attention outside specialist circles. But according to Aaron Cosbey, one of Canada’s foremost experts on the subject, that is about to change.
Fewer than 40 years after humans discovered Tiehm’s buckwheat, a Nevada plant with yellow flowers, they may drive it to extinction in pursuit of electric vehicles, a technology widely hailed as being environmentally friendly. Environmentalists say the benefits of Tiehm’s buckwheat could be vast, but its full significance is unknown. What’s certain, they say, is that guarding Tiehm’s buckwheat is important for preserving biodiversity on Earth. The flower is so newly discovered that it hasn’t been studied thoroughly, they say. But botanists say they’re impressed with Tiehm’s buckwheat’s ability to thrive where few species can — poor soil that’s full of boron and lithium. That lithium in Nevada, and elsewhere in the world, increasingly has the attention of businesses and governments. Ioneer, an Australian mining company, has said it’s ready to break ground on a lithium mine later this year on the land where Tiehm’s buckwheat grows. Under the barren soils lies 146.5 million metric tons of lithium and boron. The project has been valued at $1.265 billion.
April in the U.S. came out colder than normal (despite what NOAA say), which has extended the nation’s stark cooling trend observed over the past five years. And now, into the second week of May, the Arctic is still refusing to abate as it delivers record low temperatures and record mid-spring snow to many states. A fresh round of unseasonable polar chills is plunging southward as I type… The MSM is blaming this rare phenomenon on blocking in Greenland, which, although true, isn’t the full story. CBS News writes: “You may have noticed that cool temperatures have been slow to lessen their grip this spring. That’s because there is an atmospheric condition that meteorologists call a blocking pattern near Greenland. This is when a ridge of high pressure — you can think of it as a mountain of warm air in the atmosphere — gets stuck over the Polar regions of eastern Canada and the North Atlantic. The result is cold pockets of air that would normally be way up north get pushed out and displaced south across the northern U.S. This stubborn pattern has been around since the beginning of April. In fact, we can trace this pattern all the way back into winter when Texas and the Central U.S. suffered with historic cold. In climate, these blocky patterns are sometimes tough to break down, especially when they are as robust as what we saw this past winter.” Research shows “blocking persistence” increases when solar activity is low, and that this blocking can lead to weather patterns becoming locked in-place at high and intermediate latitudes for prolonged periods of time. During a Solar Minimum — such as the one we’re still struggling to escape from now (of SC24) — the jet stream’s usual Zonal Flow (a west–east direction) reverts to more of a Meridional Flow (a north-south direction). This pattern exaggerated further during a Grand Solar Minimum, and explains why regions become unseasonably hot or cold and others unusually dry or rainy for extended periods of time.
Upon being re-elected prime minister in 2019, albeit with a minority of MPs and fewer votes than his chief opponent, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that it was time to tackle “our greatest problem: climate change.” It is routinely and endlessly bandied about by most of our politicians and practically all of our media that climate change is, in the second-most tedious and toe-curling platitude in the current political lexicon (after “systemic racism”), “an existential threat” — i.e., our existence as human beings is threatened by climate change. Yet there is a great deal of learned dissent from that conclusion, and even those reports most frequently cited as evidence that the end is nigh if we don’t pull up our socks and, in the case of Canada, shut down Alberta, if read carefully, do not justify the terrifying headlines that the media normally attaches to them. These alarmist predictions have been ringing in the eardrums of all of us for decades. At one point, former British prime minister Tony Blair advised us that we only had a few months to take the measures necessary to avoid our self-inflicted doom.
A citizens’ group is accusing Canada’s nuclear industry of using its financial might to groom a declining Ontario farm community into becoming a willing host for the country’s most dangerous radioactive waste. In a pamphlet about the proposed disposal site that was published last year, the Ontario municipality of South Bruce — which encompasses the farming communities of Teeswater, Mildmay, Formosa and Salem — says it’s “on the decline.” The pamphlet tells of a shrinking population, where rural towns and village “downtowns are fading from what they used to be,” with vacant store windows, big infrastructure bills and few prospects for new economic growth. Protecting Our Waterways – No Nuclear Waste, a grassroots citizens’ group, accuses the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) of taking advantage of the decline by spending millions of dollars on “goodwill” projects the community couldn’t afford on its own.