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Climate Change News Comment from 2005

December 26 - The vision of soil from oil

An initiative in Lethbridge county to use bio-materials to produce energy and fertilizer provided another opportunity to bring up the point that charcoal production might provide a viable agricultural path to carbon sequestration. The letter appeared in the Herald on Boxing day. I missed it myself. I don't suppose it sparked any interest in local agricultural educators and researchers as intended. I'm  leery of the current rush to use agricultural products such as vegetable oil and ethanol for automotive fuel. What will happen to soil, forests,  water supplies, carbon sinks, and food for people if we expand agriculture to provide food for the world's cars? (DRP 06/06/13)

December 07 - Canada stands to pay dearly for Kyoto

Gwynne Dyer's musings in the Lethbridge Herald on  the United Nations COP - 11  climate change  conference in Montreal anticipate demise of Kyoto. I wondered why he would lament that in my letter published on 05/12/07.  (DRP 05/12/09)

November 30 - Nuclear could be "new coal"

H. Douglas Lightfoot asked,  in a letter to the Lethbridge Herald, what will be the new coal to power the world when fossil fuels, including the tar sands,  are depleted. My letter to the Herald, published on 05/11/30, noted that sufficient nuclear energy resources are available. (DRP 05/11/09)

November 27 - United Nations Climate Conference in Montreal

The climate change conference in Montreal is bringing out some intense and naive lobbying in support of Canada's Kyoto pledge to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. An unpublished  comment to the Lethbridge Herald points out some, notably Canadian taxpayers, will pay the way to Kyoto. (DRP 05/11/09)

November 27 - Lumber exports and carbon content

The U.S. Coalition for Fair Lumber Exports has suggested that Canadian taxpayers are subsidizing lumber production. I can't claim to be following the softwood lumber debate between our countries very closely. I do know that there is no interest in Canada in the large volume of carbon dioxide absorbed by our forests and the possibility that credit to Canada for the carbon in our lumber exports could substantially reduce our greenhouse gas deficit. That is highly incongruous. It seems that Canada's  Kyoto negotiators must have been bamboozled by the interests of importers of our lumber and the environmental movement. Importers of our lumber do not want to pay for and be responsible for the carbon absorbed by Canada's  forests. Environmental organizations are lobbying to preserve old growth forest and to take timber land out of production as a limited form of carbon sink, than in setting up sustainable carbon dioxide management based on the continued harvesting and regrowth of trees. Computare's  submission to Parliament this spring explains this concept in more detail in the context of Canada's forest related greenhouse gas inventory. My letters to the Lethbridge Herald and Financial Post remain unpublished as of 05/12/09. (DRP 05/12/09)

November 23 - Scientists need to speak up

My letter of October 18 below did trigger one local scientist to write a letter. Unfortunately, the writer seemed a bit uncertain. The Lethbridge Herald published my response on 05/11/23, which urged local experts to keep us informed on issues relating to climate change. (DRP 05/12/09)

November 12 - Debunk Kyoto - Chrétien behind Kyoto too

Canada's Liberal Party and our federal government have been involved in some questionable practice with respect to advertising of Canada within Quebec. A review, known as the Gomery inquiry after the judge presiding, was published in mid-November. Former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien launched a lawsuit disputing some of the findings. During a related press conference he cited some of his good deeds including the ratification of Kyoto. I could not resist the opportunity to compare the activities investigated by the Gomery inquiry with activities related to Kyoto. I submitted letters to the Lethbridge Herald and the Financial Post. Both were published on 05/11/12. (DRP 05/12/09)

November 12 - Sierra Club slams province over CO2 pipeline plan

An article in Canada's newspapers credits the Sierra Club  with claiming  efficiency improvements would be better than sequestering carbon dioxide underground as a means of managing greenhouse gases. The Sierra Club seems particularly thick with respect to recognizing the  negative efficacy of efficiency improvement as a means of reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  Engineers have been improving the efficiency of many processes over the last couple of centuries and global emissions just continue to increase. A letter to the Lethbridge Herald explaining this particular shortcoming of the Sierra Club's  approach to Kyoto remains unpublished as of 05/12/09. (DRP 05/12/09)

October 18 - Column's intent must be to scare readers

David Suzuki's column of 05/10/02 lauded European "scientists" for a study of their long hot summer of 2003 and the effect on carbon dioxide releases from plants. I thought he was a bit effusive in his praise of a study more intended to promote Kyoto than shed real light on the effects of climate change - and perhaps overly admiring of the skills of European "scientists" relative to  local scientists involved in aspects of agriculture and greenhouse gas management. I submitted a letter of discussion to the Lethbridge Herald hoping to trigger some input from our local experts. It was published on 05/10/18 under the above title. By the way, the Suzuki column is available on the David Suzuki Foundation website. Don't forget to come back here for reasoned discussion on greenhouse gas management. (DRP 05/12/09)

September 20 - An update on Kyoto

The Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs (SACPA) hosts weekly talks in Lethbridge on topics of current interest. I served as moderator for a session on climate change from the Friends of Science Society from Calgary. A timely article on Environment Canada's initiative to declare  carbon dioxide a danger to the environment provided  an opportunity to help publicize the presentation  with a letter to the Lethbridge Herald. It was published  on 05/09/20. Albert Jacobs, a founder of Friends of Science, made the presentation based on a video titled "Climate Catastrophe Cancelled". It sparked considerable interest and a lively question period. Links to the video and an audio recording of the questions and answers are posted at the SACPA website. Readers might wish to visit the Friends of Science website directly as well. (DRP 05/12/06)

September 7 - Rethink lumber trade in terms of CO2 credits

Canada's trade dispute with the United States on softwood lumber keeps coming up. I never miss the opportunity  to show  the link with the greenhouse gas management issue. A letter to the Lethbridge Herald again points out that lumber is full of carbon Canadian trees have removed from the atmosphere. In a sane greenhouse management world, Canada could charge the United States for that removed carbon dioxide. At the same time we would, in effect,  be raising the stumpage fees as the United States has suggested. The United States   could drop the  contentious import duty. Canada's governments would receive more revenue and could consequently reduce taxes. Everyone would be happy. Why does no one seize on this opportunity? Could it be the greenhouse gas management world is not sane?  The Lethbridge Herald editor did get the point and published my letter on 05/09/07.  (DRP 05/12/06)

August 9 - One-Tonne Challenge an election campaign

This summer we have seen many advertisements in Alberta for the "One -Tonne Challenge" program. They are  sponsored by Alberta's Climate Change Central. I wondered if the funding was provided by the federal program of the same name. An article reporting on Quebecers view of the "Challenge" raised additional questions. I submitted a letter to the Lethbridge Herald speculating on possible connections between government, advertising, polling, voters and Canada's Kyoto strategy. It was published on August 9. Lately I've noticed that the Rick Mercer ads on the One-Tonne Challenge are being repeated in conjunction with the United Nations Kyoto conference in Montreal. Just call me cynical. (DRP 05/12/06)

July 28 - Power grid not storage system

We hear much about wind generated electricity here. Few articles are based on sober consideration of the technology. In particular it is very rare for authors to acknowledge the severe limitations arising from the lack of electricity generation when there is little wind. An article in the Lethbridge Herald implied that the power grid stores electricity. My letter of correction was published along with a note that the author's column "was not intended to infer the power grid can store energy". I appreciate that correction as an expression of responsible journalism. Perhaps my continued harping on this point is as tiresome to others as the neglect of the issue is to me. (DRP 05/09/05)

July 9 - "Climate change" could be related to global warming and cooling

An article in the National Post misquoted the Group of Eight (G8) by assuming that global warming and climate change are synonymous. My unpublished letter in response pointed out that climate change could be associated with warming or cooling, and that G8 leaders might be taking that broader view.  (DRP 05/09/05)

July 9 - G-8 summit helpful and reassuring on climate change

An Eric Reguly article in the July 5 issue of the Globe and Mail laments the United States failure to endorse the Kyoto protocol and dismisses the G-8 summit as a waste of time. My unpublished letter suggests that the G-8 meeting might bring some sobriety back to the climate change debate. (DRP 05/09/05)

July 4 - Risk to whales is hunting

A David Suzuki column published on June 26 in the Lethbridge Herald indicated climate change is a risk to whales. My letter to the Herald, published on July 4 identified this balderdash. (DRP 05/09/05)

April 27 - Climate change plan or scam?

The Government of Canada paid for advertisements in the National Post and Lethbridge Herald on April 14 and April 16, respectively, promoting something called Project Green. Details of the "project" are available at  http://www.climatechange.gc.ca/kyoto_commitments/report_e.pdf. No doubt this ad was placed in many Canadian newspapers.

I noted, in letters to the papers, the subterfuge and deceit of the ad. It indicated that Kyoto is more about clean air and water than climate management. At the same time one wonders who benefits from these kinds of advertisements. Is it the Canadians who are footing the bill or advertising agencies and newspapers who are transmitting the message? The letter to the Herald was published on 05/04/27. The National Post did not find it commentary worth publishing. (DRP 05/09/05)

April 17 - Report misses how human ingenuity tapping energy supports ecosystem

A massive report titled the "United Nations Millennium Ecosystem Assessment" has recently been published. It is available at: http://www.millenniumassessment.org/en/index.aspx. David Suzuki inspired my  review, published in the Lethbridge Herald, which concluded the report overlooked the possibility that human ingenuity could harness additional energy to enhance ecosystems. (DRP 05/09/05)

April 5 - Canada overdue for Kyoto damage control

A Canadian Press article published in the Lethbridge Herald on 05/03/31 suggested our federal government was upset with environmental groups who had criticized the Kyoto related plan for "large final emitters". I hoped, in my letter published on April 5, that our government was finally recognizing the folly of Kyoto and beginning to seek ways out of our hasty commitment to it.  (05/09/05)

March 24 - Let's get past duelling conspiracy theories

My letter of comment (See March 3 below) on David Suzuki's column of 05/02/27 sparked a couple of counter letters from Lethbridgeans. I responded to try and get us back on track to establish climate science and potential solutions before rushing to implement knee jerk "solutions" such as the Kyoto Protocol. (DRP 05/03/26)

March 22 - Change in accounting would answer 150M tonne challenge

A Canadian Press article in the Lethbridge Herald provided another opportunity to bring up the carbon sink which could be established from forest products. Canada's greenhouse gas inventory assumes  carbon dioxide is released from forest products when they are harvested - as if they were burned. There are alternative accounting procedures which would leave the carbon content of the wood sequestered in lumber and houses.  I compared the assumed releases with estimates of real carbon dioxide generated from forest fires which ends up in the atmosphere. The Herald published my letter on 05/03/22 under the above title. (DRP 05/03/26)

March 3 - There may well be a conspiracy

David Suzuki suggested, in his weekly column in the Lethbridge Herald, that doubters of climate change have little more to contribute to climate science  than to repeat mythical conspiracy theories. That prompted me to undertake some Internet research. I found some surprising interconnections between environmental organizations that made me wonder if there really is a conspiracy to delude Canadians on the climate change issue. I submitted an excessively long letter to the Herald. I found it very difficult to write as  I'm not particularly keen to engage in speculation and tried, perhaps too hard,  to avoid that. The Herald edited the letter, with my concurrence,  to about half its original length making it much more direct and succinct, if less sensitive to the perspective of others. It was published under the title above on 05/03/03. (DRP 05/03/26)

February 16 - Switch from gas to electricity really a trade  off in emissions

One Lethbridge construction company is exploring the use of ground source heat pumps as a means of heating and cooling new homes. They are hopeful that they will be reducing greenhouse gases. Certainly greenhouse gases from the houses chimneys will be reduced. However electricity in Alberta is produced from fossil fuel. The extra electricity consumed to run the heat pump will likely produce sufficient greenhouse gas to counter the savings from not burning natural gas in a furnace. Further explanation is provided in a letter. The letter was published by the Lethbridge Herald under the title above on 05/02/16. (DRP 05/03/25)

February 13 - Taking a wooden nickel

I've been frustrated for years by the oblique and opaque policies on forest and other biological sinks in the Kyoto Protocol and Canada's developing position on Kyoto. I offered a long letter/article to the National Post on the topic as it relates to Canada's National Greenhouse Gas Inventory. The National Post is more cognizant of issues relating to climate change than many newspapers. Nevertheless, my letter went into the usual black hole of indifference on this topic. I'm as stubborn about bringing the anomalies surrounding forest sinks to light as others are in their disinterest. I've submitted a modified version of this proposed article to the Standing Committee on Environment and Sustainable Development of Canada's Parliament. The committee  is studying implementation of Kyoto now (05/03/26). My submission is available under the menu item "Fora Input" at the left side of your screen. (DRP/03/26)

February 13 - Terence Corcoran slips and stumbles on greenhouse gas emissions

Terence Corcoran, editor of the Financial Post, provides much sage advise and insight into climate change and the Kyoto Protocol. However, he goofed when he suggested switching to electricity would not help Canadian manufacturers reduce greenhouse gas emissions. My letter of explanation was not published. (DRP 05/03/26)

January 30 - A single-issue fixation

The Financial Post has  provided a needed public forum for sceptics of the global warming hypotheses for several years. Considerable discussion has focused on a plot of Northern Hemisphere warming over the last millennium. The plot shows temperature remaining almost constant over the period, except for the last few decades when it suddenly shoots upward. As result of this shape it has become known as the "hockey stick".  I made use of the original hockey stick plot in a presentation displayed on this site. I paid scant attention to the handle in view of temperature data uncertainty hundreds of years ago as indicated by the error bars.

Many  have claimed the hockey stick demonstrates the last few decades have been the warmest of the millennium. Indeed our own government of Canada climate change website repeats this claim with  the statement that; "The 20th century has been the warmest globally in the past 1000 years." Others have questioned the plot as it seems to dismiss evidence of a warm spell early in the millennium and a cold spell later on. One diligent Canadian, Stephen McIntyre,  undertook a personal project to investigate the original data and the calculations used to produce the plot. He has found errors. A review of his findings was published in the Financial Post during the week of January 24. The basis for the review, a paper by Marcel Crok, is available at the website of Ross McKitrick.  When corrections are made, the revised plot indicates  warming earlier in the millennium was  greater than that experienced now in the age of carbon dioxide emissions. My letter to the Financial Post was difficult to write. I'm pleased it was published on February 2 as the lead to several letters  under the headline above.

It seems a big meal of  crow has been served up by McIntyre. Those who claim we are now in the warmest period of the past millennium seem to be avoiding the feast. The Financial Post deserves a lot of credit for its persistence in bringing recognition to McIntyre's analysis.  (DRP 05/02/11)

January 27 - A breath of fresh air

Clive Schaupmeyer wrote a very coherent letter to the Lethbridge Herald commenting on the distinction between carbon dioxide emissions and pollution. I wrote  to discuss the apparently deliberate blurring of this fundamental issue by environmental organizations. They seem to cleverly link pollution to greenhouse gas emissions in a way intended to solicit public support for the Kyoto protocol. My letter was published under the title above. (DRP 05/02/10)

January 22 - Environmentalists should be chided

Late in 1997, after signing the Kyoto accord, our federal government proceeded to set up a transparent and open process to allow Canadians to  understand and help develop actions to implement the accord. That was known as the National Climate Change Process (NCCP). It was managed by a new federal government department known as the Climate Change Secretariat. An extensive website provided Canadians with access to the work of these two entities. The work of the NCCP essentially ended with the preparation of the federal Kyoto plan and Kyoto ratification in late 2002. I learned last fall that the Climate Change Secretariat had been quietly disbanded, and confirmed that with former staff.  Since the influence of those two organizations has declined and disappeared, federal government deliberation on the issue has become much less open. This month Kyoto implementation planning documents are "leaked" to the press. Then they seemingly  find their way to environmental organizations that base their propaganda campaigns on them. I submitted a letter to the Globe and Mail commenting on this dismal state of affairs. It was not published. (DRP 05/02/10)

January 21 - A way out of Kyoto

The National Post, the Toronto Star, and the Globe and Mail all published articles indicating that the federal government is contemplating making use of the penalty clause in the Kyoto accord. Kyoto commitments not achieved during the 2008 to  2012 commitment period may be met later with a 30% escalation in total reduction.  That concept could buy time to put technology in place. I wrote letters to the three papers speculating on another risky strategy which our government may be contemplating as a way out of Kyoto. A sample letter is posted here. None of the three letters were published at the time of posting. Perhaps  the Kyoto exit strategy postulated is just too sleazy to contemplate in print. (DRP 05/02/08)

January 17 - "Micro" greenhouse gas management does not work

Andrew Coyne, a columnist with the National Post, wonders why the actions undertaken by the federal government on Kyoto have not resulted in significant greenhouse gas emission reduction. I submitted an explanatory letter  indicating the environmental lobby organizations deserve some credit. They have helped push our government, and members of the public, into believing the Kyoto commitment  can be achieved with micro efficiency and conservation initiatives at a very low total cost. Many in government, industry and academia know such measures, however meretricious they may be,  will not limit greenhouse gas emissions in a growing and evolving economy.   My letter was posted in the Online Extras of the National Post website following 05/01/17. (DRP 05/10/30)


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