It’s snowing more in Antarctica

Antarctica has seen a “significant” change in ice mass following increased snowfall during the 20th century

The factual part of the story:

“Our new results show a significant change in the surface mass balance [from snowfall] during the 20th century.

“The largest contribution is from the Antarctic Peninsula, where the annual average snowfall during the first decade of the 21st century is 10% higher than at the same period in the 19th century.

“From the ice cores we know that the current rate of change in snowfall is unusual in the context of the past 200 years.”

Additional ice mass gained from snowfall only makes up for about a third of overall ice loss.


Renewable Energy in Europe = Wood = Killing Trees

As of 2016 you can see from this graph that renewable energy for a lot of Europe really just means wood.

The red bar is woods percentage of renewables.

The green bar is wood share of total energy.

For example, Estonia gets 90% of its renewable energy from wood.

Green energy means killing trees.

Estonia is killing trees.

In April 2018, representatives from the international forest movement gathered in Estonia to discuss the protection of forests and peoples’ rights. While there, they learned about the serious threats to Estonia’s forests.  

One significant threat to forests is a planned biorefinery close to Tartu, in the east of the country. The biorefinery would use a quarter of Estonia’s annual wood production (approximately 3.3 million m3 of wood), and the impact on the environment is immense: between 2001 and 2015, 285,000 hectares of the country’s forests were lost, despite warnings from the Estonian Academy of Sciences that the logging was compromising healthy and resilient ecosystems. For example, habitat for several birds and the flying squirrel, a species protected by the EU Habitats Directive, decreased significantly.  

While the national government continues to ignore local resistance against the biorefinery project, the international forest movement published a statement supporting the people of Tartu in their fight to have it stopped. 

The expansion of the biorefinery and other ongoing projects in Estonia are a perfect example of how the EU’s renewable energy directive (RED) can backfire. The EU allows its Member States to subsidise the production of energy from wood, and Estonia has taken this seriously: between 2009 (introduction of the RED) and 2016, renewable energy production from wood grew by more than 65 per cent, accompanied by an ominous increase in logging. This has also negatively affected Estonian forests’ role in mitigating climate change: between 2005 and 2030, it is projected that the country’s forests will turn from a sink into a source of emissions. Currently, Estonia already harvests 90 per cent of its annual forest growth.  

Estonia plans to ‘trade’ a surplus of its renewable energy with other EU countries. But the EU should be warned that this comes at the expense of a considerable forest and climate deficit. 

Electric Cars – 40,000 Children Working in the Mines From Hell

Electric cars aren’t so clean.

Picking through a mountain of huge rocks with his tiny bare hands, the exhausted little boy makes a pitiful sight.

His name is Dorsen and he is one of an army of children, some just four years old, working in the vast polluted mines of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where toxic red dust burns their eyes, and they run the risk of skin disease and a deadly lung condition. Here, for a wage of just 8p a day, the children are made to check the rocks for the tell-tale chocolate-brown streaks of cobalt – the prized ingredient essential for the batteries that power electric cars.

And it’s feared that thousands more children could be about to be dragged into this hellish daily existence – after the historic pledge made by Britain to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2040 and switch to electric vehicles.

Dorsen and 11-year-old Richard are pictured. With his mother dead, Dorsen lives with his father in the bush and the two have to work daily in the cobalt mine to earn money for food.



Saskatchewan Bright Sunshine Hours November 2018

Canada has essentially quit recording bright sunshine hours. What a tragedy.

Environment Canada And Climate Change (I can’t believe they changed the name to that!) has dropped the ball. One exception is the Saskatchewan Research Council. They collect sunshine data at two locations.

This is the November data for Saskatoon.

November 2018 had 54.7 hours of Bright Sunshine.

20.7% of the 1981-2010 normal of 97 hours of bright sunshine.