Climate Change News Comment from 2006
Environment Minister Ambrose was placed in a particularly difficult position when "Canada's New Government" was formed in early 2006. [I emphasize the "newness" of the government as the phrase is getting old. Still, some wag pointed out on TV the other day that the NDP has been the "New Democratic Party since circa 1960.] My letter was a plea to give her a chance. Nevertheless, she was relieved of her duties in early 2007. The Herald, also sympathetic to Minister Ambrose's plight published my letter under the title above. (DRP 07/02/28)
An article in the Financial Post dated December 23 caught my attention and triggered a letter pointing out the storage in wood products of carbon taken from the atmospheric carbon dioxide. That will have to be said many different ways before any interest is aroused in those pursuing reduction of emissions. The letter was not published. (DRP 07/02/28)
David Suzuki had seemed a bit despondent with the progress of "Canada's New Government" on the climate change file through much of 2006. He rallied to provide some advice late in the year. My letter indicated he was recommending actions already underway. Subsequently Dr Suzuki has been very actively encouraging Canada's youth to tell the Prime Minister what they would do if they had his job. Parents! Watch your kids. They may be following the pied piper of Vancouver into the black hole of Kyoto. (DRP 07/02/28)
Canadians are often told that the Kyoto Protocol is legally binding. I'm not sure what that means. I guess it's meant to scare us into thinking we have no choice but to implement the Kyoto commitment. However, there is a withdrawal clause right in the Kyoto Protocol. I presume it was put there to make nervous Nellie nations comfortable with signing and ratifying it. Maybe Canada was one of those. Whatever, it may be timely for Canada to think again about Kyoto and the implications to our growing economy - and greenhouse gas reduction for that matter. That escape clause may yet prove to be the best, if not graceful, way out. My letter to the National Post of December 12 suggesting withdrawal be considered has not been published. Formal withdrawal from Kyoto seems a topic few want to contemplate. Even Internet denizens seem reluctant. I wonder why. (DRP 06/12/16)
David Suzuki's fine column in the Lethbridge Herald on November 26 didn't seem to form. It was too balanced. My letter to the Herald pointed out how it differed from many Dr. Suzuki columns on climate change over the years. My letter was published under the above title on December 7. Sadly, Dr. Suzuki is already back to lecturing Canadians on the perils of climate change. (DRP 06/12/16)
H. Douglas Lightfoot published an updated and shortened version of the peer - reviewed paper, "Nuclear Fission Fuel is Inexhaustible", in the Canadian Nuclear Society Bulletin (Vol. 27, No. 3). The short article generated some controversy as Canada's consideration of thorium as a reactor fuel was not discussed. I submitted an additional letter to encourage more discussion. My letter missed the fourth quarter volume for 2006 and may be published in the Spring 2007 Bulletin. (DRP 06/12/16)
The new Alberta premier, Ed Stelmach, has pledged to review royalty income from fossil fuel royalties. A letter to the Financial Post indicated royalties could possibly be increased by using nuclear energy to extract and upgrade oil from the tar sands, reducing the amount of natural gas used for that purpose. The letter was not published. (DRP 06/12/16)
Paul Geraghty's uplifting story in the National Post is posted elsewhere on this website. My letter of thanks to the to editor was astutely shortened to the following in the December 1, 2006 edition of the National Post.
"Re: Saskatchewan’s Badlands: My connection to the cosmos, Paul Geraghty ,
I've been disturbed by the closure of some government websites on climate change since the new Conservative led government took office in early in 2006. I wanted to look at some of the studies which had been done back in 2002 and 2005. I found major reports and climate change plans of the previous Liberal led government were no longer available. Government staff suggested I write the Minister. I did. I wrote from the viewpoint of one who voted for the Conservatives in the last election. My partisan letter to Minister Ambrose is provided here. To date (06/12/15) I've received a postcard acknowledging my letter was received by my local MP. I've also received a computer generated receipt indicating the copy I emailed to Minister Ambrose was deleted without reading. Of course it will take a lot more than a month to get any sort of formal reply. (DRP 06/12/15)
Canada is in away over her head on the Kyoto Protocol. With a growing population and economy, greenhouse gas emissions are continuing to rise. At the same time we hear ever more strident calls that Canada must meet the Kyoto commitment. Greenhouse gas emissions are now so high, and the Kyoto reduction commitment is so close in time, that it can not be met within Canada. Canada's government, citizens and industry are thus exposed to possibly severe penalties to reduce emissions much more after the Kyoto commitment period and/or to buy emission reduction credits from other countries. Fortunately the Kyoto Protocol includes an escape clause. One of these is described in a letter published by the Lethbridge Herald on November 8. (DRP 06/11/11)
Many writers from the environmental and sustainable development camps like to claim we are living far beyond the planet's capacity to sustain life. A letter in the Financial Post provided an opportunity to point out that they seem to forget humans are part of the planet and the environment. The intelligence that humans bring to the table has provided and will sustain the support capacity of the planet substantially beyond that available from the much vaunted "renewable" resources we hear so much about. My letter identifies the means. (DRP 06/10/30)
Canada's latest climate change plan, Bill C-30, the Clean Air Act was finally published on October 19. A letter to the editor of the Lethbridge Herald placed it in the context and pointed out some of it's features. My letter was published under the above catchy title with minor editing. I do like those Herald headlines. This letter pretty well supersedes the one below dated October 14, although I'm still not satisfied the new government is fully dedicated to openness and transparency. (DRP 06/10/30)
Quite a few news stories commented on a leak to environmental groups of the alleged contents of the new governments Clean Air Act. I'm not quite sure what is going on here. I do very much resent the possibility that government employees are leaking information preferentially to these organizations over the Canadian public. After all the Conservative party ran on a platform of transparency and accountability. Either the government has little intention of making good on that promise - or disgruntled employees are sabotaging the development of policy. I provided a letter to the Lethbridge Herald which was published on November 14. (DRP 06/11/18)
Over the past few months two major climate change websites established by the former Liberal government have become "unavailable" to Canadians. The issue has come up in the media occasionally. Environmental organizations suggest the new Conservative government is undertaking some draconian action to suppress information. I wonder if the closures reveal unruly rebellion from civil servants inculcated with years of collusion between environmental organizations and the former Liberal government to generate favored election issues via polls and lead Canadians by the nose to the desired X box on ballots. Closing the sites could make the new masters look bad. Of course that is just idle speculation.
I am concerned that the websites have been shut down as they did provide information to Canadians on climate change - even though some of it may have been of dubious veracity and quality. It is particularly vexing that former government climate change plans have gone missing in advance of a new plan from our new government. I submitted a letter to the Lethbridge Herald in response to their editorial on access to information. It advised them of these closures and was published on October 4. (DRP 06/10/30)
The day after the 2006 Report of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development, the National Post published an article evaluating the report. Unfortunately, it seemed the author, Paul Vieira, had barely read the report. My letter to the National Post points out a major error. It suggests that Mr. Vieira not only misinterpreted the report - he has little knowledge of government analysis of of the implications of Kyoto to the Canadian economy. If he would do some more homework he might understand where the analysis that was done prior to ratification of Kyoto went wrong. (DRP 06/10/02)
Speculation on the new government's Kyoto plans led to a raft of stories with headlines suggesting that Canada's Kyoto pledge had been rescinded. No such luck. A few days later as many stories indicated that Rona Ambrose denied the claims. My comment to the Lethbridge Herald on these conflicting stories was published under the above title on September 26. (DRP 06/09/26)
The Lethbridge Herald published a particularly virulent "Science Matters" column on July 23. My letter was published, with modest editing of the introduction, under the above title. (DRP 06/08/09)
The National Post published a letter from Allan MacRae which provided an update on evaluation of Michael Mann's "hockey stick" plot of Northern Hemisphere temperature over the past millennium. I had just read the referenced Wegman Report and submitted a supplementary letter to expand on Allan's. (DRP 06/08/09)
The August Issue of CARP For the 50 Plus magazine - The Authoritative Magazine for Seasoned Canadians - included editorial commentary from the president indicating misunderstanding of the differences between climate change and pollution. The president indicated Canada should support Kyoto to achieve clean air and water. I submitted a letter explaining why meeting the Kyoto commitment would have little effect. (DRP 06/08/09)
I've been waiting for the October issue to see if my letter would be published. No. However, a letter on the same topic from T. Calvert, P.Eng., Oakville , Ontario was. I congratulate Mr. Calvert for a much more succinct and forceful letter - and for getting it published. (DRP 06/10/04)
I submitted a letter to the editor of the Lethbridge Herald commenting on comparative water use from oilsands and biodiesel fuel production. The editor preferred the background article in the Commentary section of this site and asked to publish that under the title above on the basis it is more informative. (DRP 06/08/09)
An article in the Lethbridge Herald discussing some problems facing a new cross border (US - Canada) power line raised an opportunity for comment. My letter to the editor raised the possibility it could introduce some competition for local electricity suppliers. The letter was published under the above title. (DRP 06/08/09)
David Suzuki's campaign continues. His fourth column in a row on climate change prompted another letter to the Herald. It was published under the above title and is a follow-up to the one below dated May 20. A quick check of his "Science Matters" column indicates he is now up to his seventh article in a row that makes politics of Canada's role in the environment, climate change and the Kyoto Protocol. (DRP 06/06/16)
David Suzuki has started a dogged politicized campaign. In the guise of science (Science Matters), he is attempting to discredit the rather modest forbearance the new government has shown with respect to plunging us into a full commitment to the Kyoto Protocol emission reduction targets. My initial letter of comment was published by the Herald under the title above. (DRP 06/06/16)
A Vancouver Province editorial requested reader input on the need for additional consideration of the strength of the relationship between greenhouse gases and climate change. That inspired my two minute email which was published under the title above. (DRP 06/06/16)
I wrote a letter to the Honorable Rona Ambrose, Canada's new Minister of the Environment, with respect to funding for climate change and greenhouse gas management programs. I urged, in general, that funding for programs that actually advance relevant science and technology be continued and that the emphasis on advertising and promotional programs be reduced. In particular, I indicated that that BIOCAP Foundation Canada warranted consideration for continuing funding support, as an organization focusing on greenhouse gas management science and technology related to the biosphere.
I've recently learned that "hundreds" of letters were sent to Minister Ambrose on BIOCAP's behalf. I'm sure my general points were thus lost in the crowd. I'm posting it here so Minister Ambrose might get a chance to read it should she be searching the web for information. I add that neither I nor Computare is involved financially with BIOCAP or any project supported by BIOCAP. (DRP 06/06/16)
Update - Minister Ambrose did respond with a letter dated July 25, indicating that the Government of Canada appreciates BIOCAP's role. She indicated funding had been provided to support a conference BIOCAP is hosting. (DRP 06/08/09)
Former PM Jean Chrétien, who was responsible for ratifying Kyoto, provided Canada's new government with assurance that Canada's Kyoto goals could still be met. My unpublished letter to the Lethbridge Herald suggested he would be wise to keep quiet on his involvement with Kyoto. (DRP 06/06/16)
David Suzuki's weekly column irked me into writing yet another letter published under the above title. (DRP 06/06/15)
The Lethbridge Herald highlighted two proposed energy projects for Alberta. Both keep a weather eye on subsidies for "renewable" energy and incentives for greenhouse gas reduction. The reasons for these projects are not perfectly clear to the general public. I suggested "environmental assessments" would provide a good way to take into account local citizens concerns. I guess the provision of such a recommendation must be considered the purvey of local environmental groups as my letter was not published.
I did contact Alberta Environment and was advised by the local office there would be hearings on the cogeneration proposal and that the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (EUB) was responsible for reviews of the power line. These proposals are apparently still under development. The power line proposal of Montana Alberta Tie Ltd has not progressed to the point that it is listed as a "project" at the EUB, although the November 2005 schedule indicates completion in 2006. (DRP 06/06/14)
News on Iran's nuclear aspirations remains on the front pages. I thought Gwynne Dyer had written a very mature column on the topic and said so in a letter to the editor of the Lethbridge Herald. I appreciate that this seems a little remote from climate change. However, this world is allegedly very concerned with greenhouse gas emissions and running out of oil. It is hard to understand the continual derision and dismissal of Iran's assertion it wishes to establish nuclear energy capability. Surely diplomacy would simply and quietly acknowledge the legitimacy of that goal. (DRP 06/-6/14)
Robert Matthews reported in the Financial Post that it had been recently discovered living trees produce methane. This observation was intended to highlight uncertainty with the science of climate change and greenhouse gas management. It seemed that Robert did not fully appreciate the role of climate change in Canadian politics though. This letter was my opportunity to enlighten him. It was published in the Financial Post.
By the way, it is rather incredible to think that plant physiologists have missed observing this methane production by plants previously. I suspect few topics have been more diligently investigated than photosynthesis. I wonder if this new methane news is simply the reinvention and reincarnation of Ronald Reagan's assertion in 1980 that "Approximately 80 percent of our air pollution stems from hydrocarbons released by vegetation". Something to look into.
I've heard little more of the phenomena since last January when it was reported in Nature. The authors have subsequently hastened to point out that many have misinterpreted their work by concluding methane emissions from plants might substantially alter the greenhouse gas absorption capability of forests. They point out the methane produced by trees reduces the CO2 sink capability by only 1 to 4%. (DRP 06/06/14)
The United Nations UNFCCC COP - 11 meeting in Montreal generated much self contradictive hysteria on global warming and Kyoto. A letter in the Herald provided some perspective in the context of bringing up the likely eventual reversion to glacial conditions. I submitted a letter suggesting we figure out the problem before rushing forward with solutions that might not work.
Since January Canada has elected a new government. It does seem to be engaging in some re-thinking of Kyoto. It is hard to tell if the global warming issue itself is a cause for re-thought. It should be. (DRP 06/06/13)