By Andy Rowell
Love him or loath him, you can certainly say one thing about Al Gore: he is winding the Canadians up into a right-old rage.
Yesterday, I blogged how he called the tar sands an “open sewer.”
He added that he did not know what Obama would do on Keystone XL, but regarding Obama and his climate policies he said, “I still hold out hope that he will be as positively surprising in his policy initiatives this year as he was in his speeches.”
He also dismissed the Canadian’s long-term public relations campaign to dress up the dirty tar sands as somehow being “ethical oil” compared to oil from the Middle East.
“There’s no such thing as ethical oil,” he said. “There’s only dirty oil and dirtier oil.”
And the tar sands is among the dirtiest of them all.
Gore’s “open sewer” comments have certainly stirred up a hornets' nest back in Canada. It is worth looking at Gore’s comments in context. He was asked:
“Have the oil-sands boom and pipeline debates affected Canadian-U.S. relations?”
To that he replied:
“Yes, and I think that ultimately it hurts Canada. The so-called resource curse is most often understood in the context of small nations whose revenue streams are dominated by the exploitation of a single resource.”
“It’s a bit more complex than that with Canada, but the resource curse has multiple dimensions and [including] damage to some extremely beautiful landscapes, not to mention the core issue of adding to the reckless spewing of pollution into the Earth’s atmosphere as if it’s an open sewer.
“We will come to our senses, but I had hoped that Canada, like Australia, would point us in the right direction and added to the chances for the world as a whole to make a moral and courageous decision sooner rather than later.”
Many people would see these sentiments as wholly rational, and a continuation of what Gore has been saying for a while. But not in Canada. A columnist for the Edmonton Journal called Gore's comments both “insulting” and “untrue.”
Joe Oliver, Canada’s Natural Resources Minister, who is in Europe, has also been widely quoted as complaining about the remarks. He is on yet another lobby tour of Europe, trying to bully the Europeans into submission on their climate legislation, as I blogged about yesterday.
But Al Gore’s comments have had a favorable response from some Canadian politicians.
“If it’s a choice between Al Gore and Joe Oliver on climate change, I think that we should be listening to Al Gore,” the New Democrat leader Thomas Mulcair told reporters. “Al Gore is simply calling it the way everybody else who’s looked at the science of climate change is calling it,” he added.
Mulcair then called Oliver “an embarrassment to all of us.”
Many people in Europe would agree with Mulcair on that one.
Visit EcoWatch’s KEYSTONE XL page for more related news on this topic.
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By Katherine Kornei
Clear-cutting a forest is relatively easy—just pick a tree and start chopping. But there are benefits to more sophisticated forest management. One technique—which involves repeatedly harvesting smaller trees every 30 or so years but leaving an upper story of larger trees for longer periods (60, 90, or 120 years)—ensures a steady supply of both firewood and construction timber.
A Pattern in the Rings<p>The <a href="https://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/coppice-standards-0" target="_blank">coppice-with-standards</a> management practice produces a two-story forest, said <a href="https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Bernhard_Muigg" target="_blank">Bernhard Muigg</a>, a dendrochronologist at the University of Freiburg in Germany. "You have an upper story of single trees that are allowed to grow for several understory generations."</p><p>That arrangement imprints a characteristic tree ring pattern in a forest's upper story trees (the "standards"): thick rings indicative of heavy growth, which show up at regular intervals as the surrounding smaller trees are cut down. "The trees are growing faster," said Muigg. "You can really see it with your naked eye."</p><p>Muigg and his collaborators characterized that <a href="https://ltrr.arizona.edu/about/treerings" target="_blank">dendrochronological pattern</a> in 161 oak trees growing in central Germany, one of the few remaining sites in Europe with actively managed coppice-with-standards forests. They found up to nine cycles of heavy growth in the trees, the oldest of which was planted in 1761. The researchers then turned to a historical data set — more than 2,000 oak <a href="https://eos.org/articles/podcast-discovering-europes-history-through-its-timbers" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">timbers from buildings and archaeological sites</a> in Germany and France dating from between 300 and 2015 — to look for a similar pattern.</p>
A Gap of 500 Years<p>The team found wood with the characteristic coppice-with-standards tree ring pattern dating to as early as the 6th century. That was a surprise, Muigg and his colleagues concluded, because the first mention of this forest management practice in historical documents occurred only roughly 500 years later, in the 13th century.</p><p>It's probable that forest management practices were not well documented prior to the High Middle Ages (1000–1250), the researchers suggested. "Forests are mainly mentioned in the context of royal hunting interests or donations," said Muigg. Dendrochronological studies are particularly important because they can reveal information not captured by a sparse historical record, he added.</p><p>These results were <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-78933-8" target="_blank">published in December in <em>Scientific Reports</em></a>.</p><p>"It's nice to see the longevity and the history of coppice-with-standards," said <a href="https://www.teagasc.ie/contact/staff-directory/s/ian-short/" target="_blank">Ian Short</a>, a forestry researcher at Teagasc, the Agriculture and Food Development Authority in Ireland, not involved in the research. This technique is valuable because it promotes conservation and habitat biodiversity, Short said. "In the next 10 or 20 years, I think we'll see more coppice-with-standards coming back into production."</p><p>In the future, Muigg and his collaborators hope to analyze a larger sample of historic timbers to trace how the coppice-with-standards practice spread throughout Europe. It will be interesting to understand where this technique originated and how it propagated, said Muigg, and there are plenty of old pieces of wood waiting to be analyzed. "There [are] tons of dendrochronological data."</p><p><em><a href="mailto:email@example.com" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Katherine Kornei</a> is a freelance science journalist covering Earth and space science. Her bylines frequently appear in Eos, Science, and The New York Times. Katherine holds a Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of California, Los Angeles.</em></p><p><em>This story originally appeared in <a href="https://eos.org/articles/tree-rings-reveal-how-ancient-forests-were-managed" target="_blank">Eos</a></em> <em>and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.</em></p>
Earth's ice is melting 57 percent faster than in the 1990s and the world has lost more than 28 trillion tons of ice since 1994, research published Monday in The Cryosphere shows.
By Jewel Fraser
Noreen Nunez lives in a middle-class neighborhood that rises up a hillside in Trinidad's Tunapuna-Piarco region.