Less winter snow could spell disaster for snowshoe hares

Changing climate in the Canadian North will have a ripple effect for many species, study shows

Less winter snow could spell disaster for snowshoe haresWarmer winters with less snowfall could wreak havoc on snowshoe hare populations in the Canadian North – and the fallout has consequences for other wildlife such as lynx and coyotes, according to a new study by University of Alberta ecologists. “Our study shows that snowshoe hare survival is significantly reduced in shallow snow, particularly when…

Federal Clean Fuel Standard is all smoke and mirrors

As proposed, the CFS will do little to reduce GHG emissions, will hike the cost of energy and undermine Canadian energy security

Federal Clean Fuel Standard is all smoke and mirrorsBy Jock Finlayson and Denise Mullen Business Council of B.C. Amid the worst economic and public heath crisis in Canadian history, the federal government has decided to proceed with a major new regulatory initiative that promises to add billions of dollars to the cost of energy for households and businesses in every corner of the…

How Canada can cut global emissions and boost its economy

How Canada can cut global emissions and boost its economyWhat can Canada do to reduce global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions while creating substantial economic benefits? My October column explained why attempting to replace fossil-fuel-generated electricity with wind and solar energy is technically impossible and economically disastrous. Here’s another solution: Export liquefied natural gas (LNG) to replace coal-fuelled electricity generation. This will cut coal plant…

Financial quagmire engulfing oil-producing countries

The rush to monetize oil and gas assets gathers momentum as major debt problems rise for many oil-producing countries

Financial quagmire engulfing oil-producing countriesClimate change is at the top of U.S. president-elect Joe Biden’s priority list. By nominating a person of the stature of former secretary of state John Kerry as the special presidential envoy on climate change, Biden has spelled out his intentions. The message is getting loud and clear to stakeholders. Consequently, the rush to monetize…

Don’t blame wildfires on climate change

Fueled by decades of forest mismanagement policies inflamed by radical environmentalist ideology

Don’t blame wildfires on climate changeIn what has become an annual summer tragedy, wildfires again destroyed western U.S. forests this year. Millions of acres and millions of animals have been incinerated, hundreds of homes reduced to ash and rubble, dozens of parents and children killed, and many more people left missing, injured or burned. Air quality across wide regions and…

Is Biden about to alter the war on climate change?

Is Biden about to alter the war on climate change?With the incoming U.S. administration of Joe Biden vowing to embark on an extraordinarily ambitious international climate agenda, the world is reaching a tipping point as far as climate is concerned. The president-elect has announced the U.S. will return to the Paris climate agreement on day one in office. The incoming administration has also released…

Soil fungi act like a support network for trees: study

U of A research is first to show that growth rate of adult trees is linked to fungal networks colonizing their roots

Soil fungi act like a support network for trees: studyBeing highly connected to a strong social network has its benefits. Now a new University of Alberta study is showing the same goes for trees, thanks to their underground neighbours. The study, published in the Journal of Ecology, is the first to show that the growth of adult trees is linked to their participation in fungal…

Shedding the destructive legacy of the baby boomers

Someone said, ‘Greed is good’ and we repeated it. But the only thing that matters when you die is your legacy

Shedding the destructive legacy of the baby boomersI have to apologize to the youth of the world for the state we find ourselves in. Yes, great things have happened in my lifetime. We watched the fall of the Berlin Wall and we have taken some steps in the progress of human rights. But the legacy of the baby boomer generation leaves little…

Wildfires, logging affect key fungi in pine forests: studies

Disturbances by humans or nature change the balance of fungi in soil, potentially making it harder for seedlings to regenerate

Wildfires, logging affect key fungi in pine forests: studiesDisturbances can hit Alberta’s lodgepole pine forests hard – including life under the soil, new University of Alberta research shows. Fungal communities that nourish pine tree roots are being altered by both human-made and natural disturbances, which can stress forests and make it tougher for pine seedlings to regenerate, said Jean Rodriguez Ramos, a PhD…

Butterflies ‘sentinels’ of climate change in mountain ecosystems

U of A scientists urge more monitoring of butterfly populations to help understand alpine environments predicted to change rapidly

Butterflies ‘sentinels’ of climate change in mountain ecosystemsMountains and butterflies are conceptualized as the ultimate juxtaposition – enduring and resolute versus fleeting and delicate – but the surprising robustness of alpine butterflies could help scientists better understand the impact climate change is having on mountains. In an essay written for the third annual State of the Mountains report by the Alpine Club of Canada, University…

As California burns, so does our winter lettuce

Canada depends on imports for fruits and vegetables. We need to think differently about how we feed ourselves during cold months

As California burns, so does our winter lettuceCalifornia is on fire. Although most of the fire-affected territory has nothing to do with agriculture, the smoke is so intense that it could damage many crops. And as fall approaches, the California fires could affect Canada’s food supply for the coming months. Like the labour issues affecting Canadian farmers this summer, this is certainly…

How changes in ancient soil microbes could predict Arctic future

Changing balance of microorganisms in Arctic soil due to climate change could have widespread effects, according to new research

How changes in ancient soil microbes could predict Arctic futureMicrobial communities in Arctic permafrost changed drastically at the end of the last ice age – and the shift could happen again due to modern climate change, according to a new study by University of Alberta scientists. The researchers compared the microbial communities found in permafrost formed during the last ice age, at the end of…

Paris emissions targets carry extra costs for Canada’s economy

The gap between expectations and existing policy is wide. Closing that gap will cost thousands of jobs and devastate whole economic sectors

Paris emissions targets carry extra costs for Canada’s economyBy Mark Milke and Lennie Kaplan Canadian Energy Centre Aspirations are important in life but it’s always helpful to be clear on the means to the desired end, especially if others are involved. A case in point: General commitments by governments in Canada to significantly reduce carbon emissions by 2030, i.e., the Paris commitment. In…

Oil industry not dead yet despite disruptions

But a true recovery in oil prices will require an economic recovery, whose timing remains unclear

Oil industry not dead yet despite disruptionsWhile there’s certainly carnage and woe in the oil and natural gas sectors at the moment, reports of the death of the industry are exaggerated. Many climate change activists and their sympathizers have been cheered by the dramatic drop in oil prices that coincided with, and were partly caused by, the COVID-19 pandemic. Prominent among…

Boreal forests offer refuge to plants, animals as climate changes

U of A biologists lead effort to identify lakes, hills and peat lands where species stand a better chance of survival

Boreal forests offer refuge to plants, animals as climate changesNorth America’s boreal forests are warming and drying from climate change. But they still hold places that can offer refuge for plants and animals, according to University of Alberta scientists who have taken the lead in creating a guide to identify those areas. The information about these sheltered places known as climate-change refugia – including…
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