Prog Blog’s Flickr Photostream

The Disaffected Lib: Deniers Pretend to be Skeptics. They’re Not.

A lot of climate change deniers present themselves as skeptics.  There’s a huge difference that is often overlooked.

A denialist is someone who says, “No, the Earth is flat and that’s all there is to it.”  A skeptic, however, is someone who has done a bit of homework.  A skeptic goes through the process of testing a hypothesis against the evidence.

Earlier this year, physicist David Robert Grimes, offered this in The Guardian: The nay-sayers insist loudly that they’re “climate sceptics”, but this is a calculated misnomer – scientific scepticism is the method of investigating whether a particular (Read more…)

350 or bust: Take Time To Renew Your Spirit

350 or bust: Canadians Gather for “Carbon Fee Prosperity” Event in Ottawa

Climate-concerned Canadians from across the country are gathered in Ottawa today for the first day of the second annual Citizens’ Climate Lobby national conference and lobbying days. If you are in or around Ottawa and want to learn more about a dynamic, grassroots organization that is working to create the political will for a livable […]

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Dennis Raphael and Toba Bryant write about the devastating health effects of income inequality in Canada: Imagine the response, from industry, government and the public, if a plane was crashing every day. If there were something that killed as many people in a day as this kind of disaster, you’d expect it to provoke a similarly concentrated response.

A recent report by Statistics Canada highlights a preventable cause of premature death that is having exactly that kind of impact. This study demonstrates that income inequality is associated with the premature death of 40,000 (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: Putting Us In Our Place

Pit the arrogance of humanity against the power of nature, and nature prevails every time. A pity that those who are determining earth’s fate refuse to acknowledge that simple truth.

Recommend this Post

Politics and its Discontents: I See That Rob Anders’ Replacement Is No Prize Either

I’m sure some hoped that when Rob Anders, the Conservative MP for Calgary Signal Hill and national embarrassment, lost his riding’s nomination to run in the 2015 election, he might be replaced by someone with at least a modicum of balance and rationality. Alas, the new torchbearer for the riding, Ron Liepert, is proving such hopes were futile.

An appearance on the CBC’s The Current the other day amply demonstrates that while he will fit in well with the ethos that dominates the Harper regime, his ‘logic’ and his contempt for opposing views will prove to be a deep (Read more…)

350 or bust: The KXL Ad TransCanada Doesn’t Want You To See

Following yesterday’s defeat of the push to okay the Keystone XL Pipeline across the continental United States, here’s a video that the company trying to construct the tar-sands-oil-carrying “black snake” doesn’t want you to see. * TransCanada has made a series of videos entitled “Straight Talk about KXL” that seeks to convince people about the […]

Environmental Law Alert Blog: RISING to the challenge and protecting our communities and our coastlines

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

RISE, a recent competition organized by Simon Fraser University, asked entrants to come up with a visionary solution to make the greater Vancouver area more resilient to sea level rise. West Coast Environmental Law teamed up with DG Blair from the BC Stewardship Centre and Cathy LeBlanc, a senior planner at the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development to propose that an “old” idea—relying on natural shorelines to create a buffer zone for seaside properties—was an effective means to protect our communities from the impacts of rising seas if it was applied in a (Read more…)

350 or bust: Pro-Keystone Vote Fails in US Senate

More good news on the climate front, after last week’s announcement of a US-China climate agreement. A few years ago, pro-Keystone XL pipeline legislation was depicted as a “no-brainer” by Washington insiders. It looks like our climate isn’t the only thing that’s changing; so is the political climate with regards to the acceptability of pro-oil […]

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- A Gandalf Group poll finds (PDF) that Canadians have come to perceive and expect a disturbing level of self-serving action by our political leaders. And while Dale Smith is right to note that we’ve largely limited the most obvious forms of corruption, there’s still plenty of reason for concern that public policy is being driven by a few insiders and political cronies at the expense of the public.

- On that front, Gerald Caplan reminds us how the CRA is being used to silence only charities who promote social justice – while (Read more…)

daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: The least interesting part of Legislative Session: The Throne Speech

TweetEvery year, political watchers gather at the Alberta Legislature for the pomp and circumstance of the Speech from the Throne, hoping to get a glimpse of a political agenda. And every year they are sorely disappointed at the Throne Speech’s lack of detail. Yesterday’s Throne Speech, delivered by elderly Lieutenant Governor Donald Ethell, was unremarkable, […]

Bill Longstaff: The G-20′s failure on growth

There are, in my humble opinion, two overwhelming threats to humanity, either one of which will undermine global civilization if not dealt with adequately and quickly. The recent G-20 conference dealt with one—climate change—but not only ignored the other, it pushed us further down that path to Armageddon.

Article 19 of the Leaders’ Communiqué from the conference read:

We support strong and

Politics and its Discontents: Just a Little Reminder

While the right enthuses about Dear Leader’s performance on the G20 world stage, here’s something to bring everyone back down to earth:

And letter writers also have some thoughts to share on the issue.

This from The Globe: Yes, the U.S.-China climate deal is a really, really, really big deal (Yes, This Is A Really, Really Big Deal – editorial, Nov. 13). Climate change is not just one of the greatest threats facing humanity, it is the greatest threat. With a carbon fee and dividend, we can have a carbon-reducing mechanism, plus more jobs. Since B.C. (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your Sunday reading.

- Eric Reguly opines that the best way to ensure that banks (and other businesses) operate under the law is to make sure that individual executives are held accountable for failing to do so: (I)f fines and the odd firing are no deterrent to bad bank behaviour, what is? The obvious answer is shareholder rage. The trouble is, shareholders are not enraged. They have not grabbed pitchforks and torches and stormed CEOs’ houses when the multibillion-dollar fines are paid to secure settlements. Instead, they meekly accept the fines as if they are a cost (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: Stephen Harper, Vladimir Putin, and the Great G20 Showdown

OMG. I see Stephen Harper has stolen the spotlight at the G20 summit, by going dictator to dictator, with Vladimir Putin.Stephen Harper told Russian President Vladimir Putin flatly that he needs "to get out of Ukraine," when the two met at a Group of 20 summit of major economies in Brisbane.Or mano a mano.The Russian Leader stuck out his hand. Mr. Harper accepted the gesture but said to the Russian Leader: "I guess I'll shake your hand but I have only one thing to say to you, you need to get out of Ukraine."‎In a (Read more…)

Progressive Proselytizing: Dealing with Climate Change and Inequality

Two of the defining problems of our times are wealth inequality (both globally and within the first world) and climate change. With any socioeconomic order – our mixture of capitalism and government being just one – there are going to be consequences both good and bad. There are going to be challenges that the socioeconomic order is particularly good or bad at addressing. The point of this post is to expand on how these two defining problems – global warming and inequality – are products of our particular socioeconomic order, that they are two problems that our system is particularly (Read more…)

The Liberal Scarf: Whitby-Oshawa Conservative candidate Pat Perkins questions science on climate change

So Pat Perkins is willing to spend thousands of your tax dollars to fly herself out to a real-estate conference in Cannes, France that by her own admission “nothing concrete” has come out of, but she isn’t willing to listen to scientists on climate change?

Whose priorities do you think she’ll listen to in Ottawa, the residents of Whitby-Oshawa, or Stephen Harper?

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

This and that for your weekend reading.

- The Economist discusses how a tiny elite group is taking a startling share of the U.S.’ total wealth: The ratio of household wealth to national income has risen back toward the level of the 1920s, but the share in the hands of middle-class families has tumbled (see chart). Tepid growth in middle-class incomes is partly to blame; real incomes for the top 1% of families grew 3.4% a year from 1986-2012 while those for the bottom 90% grew 0.7%. But Messrs Saez and Zucman reckon the main cause (Read more…)

Politics and its Discontents: More Of The Same

In today’s Star, Thomas Walkom explains why the U.S. China climate deal is not likely to have any impact whatsoever on Harper’s ongoing and egregious contempt for all things related to climate change: For this prime minister, only one player in the climate change debate matters: the petroleum industry.

When Harper talks about dealing with climate change in a way that protects jobs and growth, he means jobs and growth in the Alberta tarsands.In part, this is sheer politics. Alberta is the Conservative heartland. If Harper were to be seen as neglecting Alberta, he would risk triggering (Read more…)

Montreal Simon: The Day Stephen Harper Couldn’t Hide Any Longer

He has always been a strange bird.

When it comes to the Great War on Terror, or any war from 1812 onwards, he's a raging chicken hawk.

He can't get enough of it, or squawk loud enough

But when it comes to the Great War on Climate Change, he has always been a clucking chicken…

But at least now Stephen Harper can't hide any longer.Read more »

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Field Notes: Coal exports in the BC Supreme Court

Friday, November 14, 2014

On the morning of October 27, I was excited not to have to go into the office, but not for the reasons one might think.  As an articled student for WCEL, I look forward to going to the office because everyone there is so inspirational and the work they do seems so worthwhile, I am thankful just to be a part of it all.  This day was not any different except I had a change of venue. This morning, I was attending a legal challenge brought by Voters Taking Action on Climate Change (VTACC) (Read more…)

The Progressive Economics Forum: IPCC doom, gloom and an LED light at the end of the tunnel

The latest from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a super-synthesis of the state of agreed knowledge about climate change, adaptation and mitigation. Imagine thousands of research papers summarized in three major volumes (released over the past year), with this new report the grand summary of that. And even that condensed into a 40-page summary for policymakers.

Now I will humbly boil that down to a few key observations: climate change is happening and costs are piling up; it’s caused by human activity, primarily the combustion of coal, oil and gas; staying on our current pathway risks ever-greater danger (Read more…)

Environmental Law Alert Blog: Hey, Suncor: your greenhouse gases are showing!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

We’re gratified that Suncor – one of Canada’s largest oil sands companies – has taken the time to read – and publicly disagree with – our recent report, Payback Time, cleverly downplaygin Payback Time as just one of several efforts to single out someone as responsible for climate change. Suncor then argues that we are all to blame, suggesting that singling Suncor out for special blame is simply wishful thinking on the part of equally blame-worthy polluters (ie. the general public).  The reality is that Suncorp’s product and operations are already causing tens of billions (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Dear Tony, You Can Kiss Our…

A group of Australians gathered on Bondi Beach to bury their heads in the sand in protest of their prime minister’s fossil fuel fetish.

More than 400 protesters stuck their heads in the sand on Australia’s Bondi Beach on Thursday, mocking the government’s reluctance to put climate change on the agenda of a G20 summit this weekend. Prime minister Tony Abbott’s perceived failure to address climate change is all the more galling in the wake of an agreement between the United States and China on Wednesday to limit their carbon emissions, they said.“Obama’s on board, Xi Jinping’s on (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Paul Krugman discusses the U.S.’ multi-decade pattern of income stagnation. David MacDonald and Kayle Hatt study the price we’ve paid to suit the Cons’ political purposes, while Kristin Rushowy reports on two new calls for a genuine child care system. And Andrew Jackson notes that the Cons’ only real end goal has been to hand free money to people who don’t need it: The government forecasts a deficit of $2.9 billion in this fiscal year, (2014-15.) Yet there would almost have been a surplus this year if the (Read more…)