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Spring forecast: increasingly cloudy...for decades

If you have enjoyed this spring’s monotony of grey, gloomy days, then you are going to just fall in love with the weather we are cooking up...

If you have enjoyed this spring’s monotony of grey, gloomy days, then you are going to just fall in love with the weather we are cooking up for the coming years.

The latest climate simulations being run at University of Washington predict dramatic increases in springtime cloudiness across the Pacific Northwest. Cliff Mass, the popular Seattle meteorologist, summarized the results recently on his excellent blog:

"Want to know something REALLY depressing. According to the regional climate simulations being done by my group and others at the UW, global warming will bring MORE low clouds during the spring around here."

How much gloomier are we making our future springtimes? Here is a map of the results that Mass provided. Red shows areas that will be less cloudy in the springtime. Oops, there aren’t any. Sorry kids. Blue shows areas of increasingly cloudy:

Of course there are worse things than month after month of ever gloomier weather. You know, something along the lines of: a global climate “so irreversibly altered we will struggle to maintain our present way of life.”

That’s what the Australian Climate Commission says we face, if we keep acting like we have for even one more decade. Here's more from their just released report:

“Without strong and rapid action there is a significant risk that climate change will undermine our society’s prosperity, health, stability and way of life.

– To minimise this risk, we must decarbonise our economy and move to clean energy sources by 2050. That means carbon emissions must peak within the next few years and then strongly decline.

– The longer we wait to start reducing carbon emissions, the more difficult and costly those reductions become.

– This decade is critical. Unless effective action is taken, the global climate may be so irreversibly altered we will struggle to maintain our present way of life. The choices we make this decade will shape the long-term climate future for our children and grandchildren.”

Creating hope is still possible but it will take hard work, sacrifice and focus. Right now, not later. We have already entered what the report says is “The Critical Decade”.

Yet so far, the adults in Canada just don’t seem up to the task. Or even bothering to pay attention. Sorry kids, we are partying. Oooooh, yeah.

Maybe that is why kids in USA have decided they have to sue their parents generation to get them to stop trashing their future. Children in all 50 states have filed suit against their parents’ generation unrestrained dumping of literally billions of tonnes of climate pollution.

Amazingly, Canadian adults are spewing more and doing less about it than even the Americans. In fact, our government forecasts show Canadian emissions growing rapidly over the "critical decade” given our current lack of policies and action. So far, our Canadian kids are more polite about their parents trashing their future. So far. What’s the chance that a fossilgenarian judge is going to side with the young generation when even their parents won’t?

What do we watch for here in greenest Vancouver, BC?

  • Look out on any day and you can see a line up of oil tankers crowding our harbour but somehow escaping our carbon-tax and our accounting.
  • The largest coal export port on the West Coast of North America hides in plain view right next to the Tsawwassen ferry dock. Hey China, please burn our mountains of BC coal … we won’t even make you pay our carbon-tax or put any cap on how much we will sell you. We won't count it if you don't. Wink, wink.
  • Nearby our Vancouver airport bustles carbon-tax free. And conscience free. Ten tonnes of carbon damage with your vacation? Heck yeah. Best of all, we don’t even bother to count it in our city, provincial or national emissions. So much nicer that way.
  • Everywhere, shoppers reach longingly for fresh luxuries flown from around the globe, heedless of how much climate damage comes with them. 
  • Fuel-guzzling cars prance the carbon fandango down our crowded roads.
  • And beneath those roads, floods of climate-dirty natural gas are invited in to heat our buildings because it saves a few bucks. 

Carbon pollution damage (what UK’s Lord Nicholas Stern famously called the "greatest failure of market capitalism ever") continues to thunder along in Canada, in BC and in Vancouver. We don’t even bother to count most of the carbon that passes through our economy or our lives.

Our global weather gets nastier and more dangerous. Our unstable and dangerous economic carbon bubble swells. The bill grows daily. But why worry? Our children are going to pay for it.

Sorry, kids. We parents are carbon-addicted and burning the furniture for entertainment. Looks like it might be time to lawyer-up.

Forecast: gloomy.

More in Climate Snapshot

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A flood of mega-carbon projects threaten to quickly turn British Columbia into one of the world's dirtiest economies.

Car Carbon series: cool new animation, plus the jaw-dropping impact it left out

What weighs sixteen billion pounds yet hides in plain sight?
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