Section: International

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News from the rest of the world.

What would Ronald Reagan do?

The linked article argues President Obama should deal decisively with climate change because it is what Ronald Reagan would do. How is that? A cost-benefit analysis is what led Reagan to address the ozone depletion problem. The costs of climate change are outlined in a new intelligence report, which says climate change "will place unparalleled strains on American military and intelligence agencies".

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Will US use a carbon tax to avoid "fiscal cliff"?

The US is struggling to deal with the upcoming "fiscal cliff" when legislated tax increases and spending cuts come into force. Revenues must rise, and one way being discussed to accomplish that is to institute a CARBON TAX. The idea even has support from some moderate Republicans. Aaron Wherry points out more articles advocating the same. This would be a game changer in Canada.

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US hurricane forecasting models are also falling behind

Yesterday we discussed how failures in the aging US earth observation satellite network will put hurricane forecasting at risk. Hurricane researcher Kerry Emmanuel points out that US forecasting models (computer simulations) have also fallen behind their counterparts in the rest of the world. Readers may be interested to know that Environment Canada relies on US simulations for our own hurricane forecasts.

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Deteriorating satellite networks threaten hurricane prediction

Accurate landfall predictions for Hurricane Sandy helped the US East Coast prepare and undoubtedly helped save lives. Predictions have improved in recent years given the availability of appropriate satellite data. Unfortunately, the US satellite network has been neglected (sound familiar?), and is reaching the end of its lifetime with replacements years away. This has implications for both the US and Canadian East Coast.

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Climate speaks to presidential candidates (end everyone!)

The US presidential election campaign has been "roundly criticized for its utter lack of high-level discussion of climate change", particularly given the widespread heat and drought that damaged crops over the past summer. With Hurricane Sandy now bashing the US East Coast, HuffPo writes "The climate is now speaking to them -- and to everyone else." Readers may be interested to visit

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Shell sued by Nigerian farmers in The Hague

Nigerian farmers are suing multinational oil company Shell in The Hague, Netherlands, over oil pollution that has fouled their environment, destroyed croplands, and made people sick. Shell blames sabotage and thievery for the problem but a lawyer for the farmers insists "it was insufficient maintenance, not sabotage, that was responsible for the leaks." This case is one to watch because it could set a precedent.

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Minister defends Tory environment plan, dials back criticism of charities

By Shawn McCarthy/Globe & Mail, Mon May 7 (2012)

Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver is defending the Harper government’s plan to overhaul environmental assessment rules and denying that Ottawa is out to silence charitable groups.

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Climate change already costing lives and the economy

A new inter-governmental study indicates that climate change is already contributing to the deaths of nearly 400,000 people a year and costing the world more than $1.2 trillion annually, which is 1.6% of global GDP. By 2030, the researchers estimate that the cost will rise to 3.2% of global GDP. The findings make obvious that environmental protection is in our economic best interests. Harper's war on the environment is ultimately a war on our economy and global health and safety.

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InterAction Council (IAC) warns water shortages are a major threat

Stephen Leahy writes "Growing water shortages in many countries are a major threat to global security and development and should be a top priority at the U.N. Security Council, a panel of experts said in a new report." Former Canadian prime minister Jean Chrétien, co-chair of the InterAction Council (IAC), warns “Using water the way we have in the past simply will not sustain humanity in future.”

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