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Earthgauge news bits and pieces

China’s newest high speed train – Reuters
Top speed of 350 km/hr. Let’s see – that would get you from Toronto to Montreal in less than 2 hours instead of the 5 hours it currently takes. So where are Canada’s plans for a high speed rail network? Imagine what we could accomplish with some political vision. Instead, we’re simply ramping up production in the tar sands.

10 things you can do to help the sorry state of our oceans – Huffington Post. In case you missed my recent post on the shocking decline of our oceans, here are a few ways you can help to heal our ocean life support systems.

Bill McKibben asks this week why Brazil has to protect its rainforest while Canada gets to continue burning tar sands. “You could argue that the world would be better off if the government in Ottawa was replaced by, say, the one in Brasilia, which has made a far better show of attending to the planet’s welfare. It’s a tale of physics, chemistry, and most of all economics, and it all starts in the western province of Alberta.”

Is this really a surprise to anyone? A new study links mountaintop removal for coal mining to adverse local health effects. 

 I’m going Huff Post crazy this week. Finally, at a time when the global community is trying to reign in carbon emissions, production in the Alberta tar sands (one of the dirtiest forms of crude mining) is ramping up. And now China has its eyes on the tar sands as a means to help fuel its voracious economy. Again, this comes as little surprise but just how will we reconcile the increasing global demand for (dirty) fossil fuels with the near-existential need to reduce planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions?

And the answer is…I’m afraid we won’t. We will choose one path or the other: fossil fuels as our primary source of energy in the coming decades or a planet with climatic conditions to which human civilization has adapted over the millenia. So far, our choice seems clear.

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