Climate Change News Comment from 2003
December 30 - Virtual library a better alternative to construction of another building
Most human endeavor results in the release of some greenhouse gases. The City of Lethbridge recently proposed the building of another library for rather obscure reasons. The city is already well equipped with traditional libraries. Building and operating a library will result in emissions, while City Council has pledged to support the Kyoto Protocol. Perhaps my letter, and those of many other citizens, will bring city council to a reconsideration of their proposal. This letter was published by the Lethbridge Herald on 03/12/30 under the title above. (DRP 04/01/15)
December 26 - Grain stove presents paradox
A discussion with an entrepreneur promoting the use of waste oil from - biological sources - for diesel fuel led me to the web for more information. I discovered that several companies are actually promoting the burning of grain as a source of heat. It seems incongruous that the rich nations can use fossil fuel energy to produce food grain so cheaply it can actually be burned while people in poorer nations starve. A letter to the editor of the Lethbridge Herald was spurred by an article on food production in Ethiopia. It was fittingly published it on Boxing day for contemplation - after sleeping off our Christmas dinners. (DRP 04/01/15)
December 3 - How would diamonds help energy sector?
A Lethbridge Herald reporter suggested that a potential discovery of diamonds near Lethbridge might provide alternative employment to the energy sector. To me, vanity diamonds provide one of the the more conspicuous displays of human greediness and materialism. I don't understand the need they fulfill. Should we be expending energy and emitting greenhouse gases to dig diamonds. I could not resist a little diamond dig myself. The Herald published the letter on 03/12/03, dropping my thanks to the reporter, and providing the title above. (DRP 04/01/14)
November 16 - David Suzuki inconsistent on biomass energy
I don't know why I read Dr. Suzuki's column. Perhaps because he inspires me to write a counter letter. I guess that's a good thing. Thank you Dr. Suzuki. My letter was not published. (DRP 04/01/14)
November 7 - Alberta's oil sands, greenhouse gas emissions and nuclear energy
The Calgary Herald has published a few articles and editorials urging oil companies to look at the use of nuclear energy for extraction of oil from the tar sands. Another article in the Lethbridge Herald indicated Suncor might be exceeding it's original greenhouse gas reduction targets. This presented another opportunity to remind readers of both Heralds that nuclear energy could be used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from oil sand operations. Neither published my letter. I doubt editorial rejection was based on the observation that I understated production of oil from the sands by a factor of 1000. (DRP 04/01/14)
November 6 - Hydrogen fuel cell could wean us from reliance on fossil-fuel energy
A letter in the Lethbridge Herald from Jim Beattie, under the above title, warranted some additional explanation. Mr. Beattie seemed to be underemphasizing the need to use other sources of energy to produce hydrogen as fuel for planes trains and automobiles. My letter to expand on Mr. Beattie's, links to a paper I prepared on greenhouse gas emissions from various types of automotive power. My letter was not published. (DRP 04/01/13)
Several newspapers stories, including an article in the Lethbridge Herald, noted the production of a tiny amount of electricity from flowing water by researchers at the University of Alberta. Some of these waxed enthusiastically about the phenomena as a new source of clean renewable energy. My letter to the Herald on the topic was published promptly, under the title above, without noting the cc.'s to the Professors involved. I did send copies to them by regular mail but have not heard from them. Thankfully the furor died down in a day or two, avoiding the specter of media created embarrassment for all. (DRP 04/01/13)
September 5 - How should issue of greenhouse gases be addressed?
Klaus Jericho of Lethbridge wrote an excellent letter, with the subject title, to the editor of the Lethbridge Herald raising many questions pertaining to my letters on greenhouse gas management and renewable energy that were published in the Herald. His questions deserved a thoughtful complete response which I provide here. This letter was published by the Herald on October 14 under the title "Society depends on mastering energy". (DRP 03/10/15)
August 21 - Governments hindering wind energy?
The summer of 2003 has seen the erection of many new wind turbines in southern Alberta. An article in the Lethbridge Herald outlined Canadian Wind Energy Association concerns that more financial incentives are needed to encourage even more wind generated electricity. My letter to the editor was published under the title "When will the need for wind energy subsidies end?" on August 29. (DRP 03/10/15)
August 14 - So soon we forget
The Lethbridge Herald printed an editorial pointing out that environmental groups lamented the lack of support wind and solar energy in the latest round of federal proposals to meet Kyoto. I reminded readers of the failure of a recent federal support program to induce significant deployment of solar energy and biomass combustion systems. The Herald published the letter under the title "Reducing gas emissions will be costly" on August 22. (DRP 03/10/15)
August 13 - Another forest fire management issue
The widespread forest fires in Alberta and BC prompted two interesting and informative articles discussing the value of fire suppression techniques in the Lethbridge Herald. I sent a letter to the Lethbridge Herald raising the significance of fires and forests in the context of carbon sinks and Canada's management of carbon dioxide. It was published under the title "Fires highlight forest's importance" on August 19. (DRP 03/10/15)
A similar letter to the National Post in response to a similar article on forest fires went unpublished. (DRP 03/10/15)
July 22 - Probe of the Renewable Energy Deployment Initiative (REDI)
An article in the Globe and Mail suggested the federal governments Renewable Energy Deployment Initiative sets an example of what might happen with greenhouse gas reduction initiatives. That could easily happen, as the incentives provided for the renewable energy projects were simply too small to make them viable. The observed consequences are that administrative costs eat up the funding and few projects are started. My letter to Minister Dhaliwal, which was copied to the Globe and Mail, provides some help with the probe into the issue initiated by Natural Resources Canada.
The Globe and Mail did not publish the letter. Minister Dhaliwal did send a response which indicates the Government of Canada still believes modest subsidies will encourage renewable energy. The Renewable Energy Deployment Initiative told them otherwise. Perhaps that will be better understood when the review of the program is completed. (DRP 03/10/15)
July 15 - Feeding corn to cars
A series in the National Post debated the use of corn to produce ethanol as a gasoline additive. Some believe this is a means to reduce greenhouse gases. Some don't. I submitted a letter pointing out the potential conflict with producing food for people. Apparently the Post did not find it amusing or helpful as they did not publish it. (DRP 03/10/15)
July 8 - Green cars
Canada's Climate Change Plan includes a note that actions underway include negotiations with auto manufacturers for "25 percent improvement in new vehicle fuel efficiency by 2010". An article in the Globe and Mail cites support for this from the Canadian Auto Workers Union and the New Democratic Party. My letter in response demonstrates the high cost of carbon dioxide emission reduction based simply on trying to improve the efficiency of cars. My case is based on data from the Honda Civic which is available in a high efficiency hybrid model. The cost to avoid a tonne of carbon dioxide is about $1200. A couple of weeks later our Prime Minister assured the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers they could buy CO2 emissions for no more than $15 per tonne. My letter was not published. (DRP 03/10/15)
July 9 - Ontario's green energy
Eric Reguly published an astute article in the Globe and Mail commenting on Ontario's energy crunch and the role of renewable energy. He did use some words that implied, perhaps accidentally, that increasing the renewable energy component of the electricity might lead to a reduction of electricity cost. I explained that increasing the renewable component of electrify supply will likely raise the cost of electricity to consumers. My letter was not published. (DRP 03/10/15)
July 2 - Kyoto science fact or fumble?
The Ottawa Citizen published an article basically opposing Canada's commitment to the Kyoto Protocol. Unfortunately one of their main points focused on misinterpretation of an article in Science Magazine. I indicated my concern with their misinterpretation, copying my letter to the Science Magazine author, Ramakrishna Nemani. The Citizen did not publish my letter. Professor Nemani did send me an email noting his article had been misquoted. (DRP 03/10/15)
June 25 - Sierra Club grade should be welcomed
The Lethbridge Herald reported briefly on the Sierra Club's rating of environmental actions undertaken by our federal and provincial governments. Canada was given an A on climate change while Alberta was ranked F. My letter in response was published by the Herald under the subject title on July 17. (DRP 03/10/15)
June 25 - Kyoto too much, too soon
The Lethbridge Herald published an editorial commenting on the federal governments Kyoto plan. My response urged attention to the measured development of technology to manage greenhouse gas emissions. The Herald published the letter under the title "Kyoto's goals way too much, way too soon" on July 2. (DRP 03/10/15)
June 25 - ENMAX fixed price energy plan
I received a letter from ENMAX offering a variety of fixed-price energy plans this spring. A bonus "inducement" to sign up was the guarantee that 10% of my electricity would be from wind generation. I raised some related questions via a letter which the Lethbridge Herald published as an open letter to Sean Durfy, President and COO of ENMAX on July 14.
June 12 - Hydrogen as an energy carrier
Tom Adams, Executive Director, Energy Probe, and Terence Corcoran, National Post Editor, both criticized federal government initiatives to develop the use of hydrogen as an energy carrier. Tom drew a very strange, and seemingly inappropriate, analogy between electrons and hydrogen. My letter to the National Post was not published. (DRP 03/10/15)
June 3 - Hybrid Honda and Kyoto
Canada's plan for Kyoto was under discussion again in June. Diane Francis and Paul Brent inspired me, with articles in the National Post, to write a letter related to the Canada's Climate Change Plan's "one tonne" challenge to Canadians. I found that Canadians could meet the challenge by buying a Honda Civic hybrid instead of the regular model. The cost of greenhouse gas reduction was found to be very high at about $1200 per tonne avoided. My letter was not published. (DRP 03/10/15)
June 2 - Surfing the "green" wave
Many, actually most, proponents of wind energy are silent with respect to the variable and intermittent nature of their preferred energy source. An excellent letter to the Lethbridge Herald from Neil Fransden dared to mention this point. I replied with a challenge to proponents to explain how this shortcoming of wind generated electricity can be overcome and wondered about the basic sincerity of involved utilities. The Herald published my letter under the apt title "Power firms committed to "green"?". We are still waiting for a credible response. (DRP 03/10/15)
We've been hearing more and more that climate change is leading to reduced water supplies in Alberta. It seems environmental organizations will resort to unlimited exaggeration and hyperbole to make their point on many issues. The use of water for oil recovery is related. An article in Alberta Views aroused my sense of fair play to defend the poor beleaguered oil companies. My letter was published in the July/August issue. (DRP 06/10/16)
May 1 - Energy efficiency not a climate change solution
The Lethbridge Herald reported on a discussion of energy efficiency in the context of climate change. It is all to easy to be led into the misconception that improvements in energy efficiency will reduce energy consumption and thus greenhouse gas emissions. An individuals emissions can certainly be reduced this way. Unfortunately, it does not hold true in the big picture. Greater affordability and the consequent use of energy by more people tends to increase total consumption. Population growth, partly driven by the use of energy, compounds this effect. A letter to the Lethbridge Herald discusses this. The Herald published it on May 9.
April 27 - Our place in nature
David Suzuki's weekly column is published in the Lethbridge Herald. I found one on our role in nature depressing. Humans are, indeed, playing a big part in the evolution of life on earth. I think we rate a little positive press and wrote a letter in response. The Herald published this with the title "Remember humans part of nature, too". (DRP 03/10/15)
April 23 - Emissions cut is good news
The Lethbridge Herald published an editorial "Emissions cut is good news" reviewing some news on Canada's National Inventory of greenhouse gas emissions for 2001. Some of the claims with respect to the steel industry seemed extraordinary to me. My letter details the nature of the error. I also noted that the United Nations seemed privy to Canada's greenhouse gas information sooner than Canadians.
The Herald published my letter on April 25 under the title "Emission reduction figures not as glowing as they appear". A similar letter was sent to the Globe and Mail and the Edmonton Journal, but nether published it.
I copied the letter(s) to Environment Canada, and sent a supplementary email with the expectation a simple correction would be made. I recall I had a telephone call in response indicating Environment Canada would look into it. I reviewed the status today on October 13. The claims for emissions reduction in the steel industry remain posted and the 2001 National Inventory report is still not available at the appropriate Environment Canada website. (DRP 03/10/15)
February 17 & 24 - Carbon dioxide absorbed by forests exported freely as a carbon component of lumber
Lumber exports to the United States were a major issue through the year. I wrote about a dozen letters to the Globe and Mail, Ottawa Citizen, Calgary Herald, National Post and Lethbridge Herald to point out Canada is exporting her forest carbon sink via our lumber exports with no recognition - let alone financial compensation. I find this quite incongruous when we are engaged in earnest discussion about managing greenhouse gas emissions and sinks. My persistence was rewarded when the Calgary Herald and Lethbridge Herald published versions of the letter on February 17 and 24 respectively.
I applaud the Herald's for publishing this letter with what some may consider a extremely oblique thought. I'm sure governments and the forest industry do not want to contemplate complicating the lumber export issue further. (DRP 03/10/15)
February 01 - Ideas lost
A series of articles in Alberta's press on the idea nuclear energy might be used to help extract oil from the tar sands quickly degenerated to irrelevant debate and discussion. I wrote a clarifying letter to the Lethbridge Herald with a copy to the Calgary Herald. The Lethbridge Herald published the letter under the title "Let's examine nuclear option for oilsands" on February 14. (DRP 03/10/15)
January 21 - Politically and technically incorrect
An article in the Calgary Herald indicated that the province will undertake a measurement program that will detect carbon dioxide emissions at the tailpipe of cars. My letter provides a correction which was not published.
January 7 - Uneven Burdens: Special deal for auto industry proves West's worst fears about Kyoto
Alberta newspapers were quick to jump on the idea that the East might be benefiting from the exclusion of the auto industry from the group of large industrial emitters. The Calgary Herald published an editorial to which I responded with a correction. The Herald published an appropriately shortened version under the very apt title "Small fish" on January 9. (DRP 03/10/15)