This week on Terra Informa, Chris Chang-yen Phillips brings you an interview with Valérie Masson-Delmotte, who is the Co-Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – Working Group I. This Working Group is one of three that inform the United Nations and its member countries and deals with the physical science basis of climate change.
Just one month ago, another alarming report emerged from the climate change scientists at the United Nations. It’s the fifth such report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and they only come out once every six years. In fact, the report is so large that we have only received the first of three sections. Working Group 1 released its report first, verifying the scientific basis of climate change.
This topic alone is so deep that it took the group more than three years of work, involving more than 800 authors, and incorporating over 9200 scientific publications. It’s work well worth the effort, as the IPCC is tasked with providing the proof that governments need to justify taking action on climate change.
Despite—or perhaps because of the report’s importance—its emergence has caused a furour in the media. All of which leaves those of us who simply want to understand what the IPCC is saying feeling lost. So this week, Terra Informa decided to devote the whole show to understanding the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report (WG1 AR5).
Jessica Kozlowski and Dimitri Kits are microbial physiologists at the University of Alberta. For their doctoral research, they are studying how microbial metabolisms affect the flux of greenhouse gas emissions—specifically organisms that consume methane and produce nitrous oxide. They’ll be guiding us through the report and answering questions you might have about climate science.
This week seems to be a lot about how we interact with, and understand nature. From the tenuous future of the Experimental Lakes Area, to a Stand Up For Science Rally, to learning how to make your dinner from an unlikely source…your local pond, Terra Informa is ready to get elbow deep and explore.
Experimental Lakes Area Finds a New Owner
1968 was a watershed year for the study of water management in Canada. It was in the spring of that year that the Province of Ontario and the Government of Canada set aside a sparsely inhabited region of Central Canada, containing 46 small, deep and pristine lakes for the scientific study of the causes, effects, and control of water eutrophication.
The area was given a mysterious, slightly disturbing name: The Experimental Lakes Area. But in the 46 years that the ELA has been in operation, the scientific community has insisted that the area is integral to our understanding of how to effectively protect our water ecosystems.
It makes sense then, when a decision was made by the federal government to defund the project, that scientists from around the world condemned the decision.
Matt Hirji talked with David Schindler — the founding director of the ELA — and Maggie Xenopoulos a professor at Trent University on what’s at stake.
Stand Up for Science
On September 16th, thousands of scientists and supporters around Canada, from Vancouver to Halifax, took to the streets to defend public funding of basic research.
Their banner: Stand up for Science.
And they have a message for Canadians: investing in good science and sharing the results makes good policy.
Chris Chang-Yen Phillips spoke to Dr. Katie Gibbs on the day of the protests. She’s one of the directors of Evidence for Democracy, a group of science experts, science communicators and citizens around the country behind the demonstrations.
Girl Gone Wild: Cooking Cattails
On this week’s edition of Girl Gone Wild, wildlife documentarian Jamie Pratt took Terra Informa’s Chris Chang-Yen Phillips out to cook up some cattails from her family’s backyard pond.
The City of Edmonton’s Speaker Series presents a talk on solar energy. Learn about the present state and future development of solar energy in Canada. Get details on solar initiatives, rebates, training and certification programs. Happening Thursday, September 26th, 7 pm at MacEwan University.
The Banff Mountain Film Festival is headed up to Whitehorse on Friday. The film screening will feature wild, high adrenaline mountain sports films from skiing and snowboarding to kayaking and climbing. That goes down at the Yukon Arts Centre, 7:30 pm on Friday, Setember 27th.
Share the Road is hosting Ontario’s first Youth Bike Summit. 120 high school students and 80 adults will meet up in Toronto on October 6th & 7th to make Ontario a more bike-friendly place for young people. Following the summit, participants will receive ongoing mentoring and support from Share the Road as they engage in cycling advocacy in their communities. Overnight accommodations are available, as well as limited travel subsidies.
Nova Scotia’s Ecology Action Centre is hosting a bikeway planning and development workshop. Velo Quebec will help provide participants with an understanding of the key steps involved in bikeway development. Learn the basics of planning strategies, design, analysis, and safety. There will be two workshops, one for Sydney and one for Halifax, on October 7th and 10th respectively.
News Links Coming Soon
There have been a series of climate change related scandals, dubbed ‘gates,’ cluttering up the mainstream media in 2010: Climategate, Glaciergate, and most recently the failed attempt by Sunday Times journalist Johnathan Leake to launch ‘Amazongate’… Although subsequent investigations into these ‘gates’ have consistently determined that the subject of scandal is irrelevant to the overwhelming scientific consensus that green-house gas induced climate change is happening and that humans are responsible for it, Climate Change Scepticism is on the rise. In fact, odds are you’ve encountered at least one climate change denier today. But don’t worry, this week Terra Informa will arm you with the tools to effectively combat the spread of misinformation. In a segment inspired by the Feb. 18th Blog post by Marlo Raynolds ‘How would we respond to an equal threat that wasn’t called climate change?’, Rebekah and Andy bring us… “Dealing with Deniers!”
Next on Terra Informa, we turn to the curious world of politics in Alberta. The pattern of governance in this province leaves many Canadians scratching their heads. In over one hundred years, only four parties have ruled, and each time, they’ve held power for decades. Stranger still, after being disposed of, each political party has disappeared completely. Albertans might give their governments generous terms, but once the love is lost, it’s lost forever. The current government is formed by the Progressive Conservative party, who have held office for almost forty years. But current Premier Ed Stelmach is sharply down in the polls, and he faces a new threat in the form of the upstart “Wildrose Alliance party.”
Some pundits are wondering whether the next election will deliver a rare change of government. Even though the Progressive Conservatives occupy the centre-right of the political spectrum, the Wildrose Alliance is finding resonance with an even more conservative pitch. Their leader, Danielle Smith, is a former journalist and business lobbyist. She describes herself as an economic libertarian and social moderate – in favour of small government, low taxes and free enterprise. Her support base lies primarily in the conservative and influential oil patch business community of Calgary. We at Terra Informa are particularly interested in the changing political landscape in the province of Alberta. The oil boom province has a lot to answer for with regard to Canada’s environmental record. Decisions made over the oil sands will impact the nation’s CO2 output, and its international reputation. The health of the boreal forest and the Athabasca river, as well as indigenous land rights issues, all hang in the balance. Will the province implement stronger environmental regulation? Will rapidly rising carbon dioxide emissions be curbed? The answers to these questions may just depend on the outcome of the next provincial election, to be held in 2012. David Kaczan spoke to Wildrose Alliance leader Danielle Smith last week, in an effort to discover where this party stands on environmental issues. Their reputation on green matters is certainly not good. And as heard here, Ms Smith holds a number of controversial views which could suggest a rocky time ahead for the environment. However, with several years before the next provincial election, who will be the next premier is far from certain.
“Terra Informa has requested an interview with Premier Ed Stelmach to hear
his vision for future environmental protection in Alberta, and we are
awaiting a response from his media office. We’ll let you know if he agrees
to speak to us.’