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Climate Change News Comment from 2007

December 20 - Making Carbon Markets Work

An article in Scientific American on carbon markets seemed to make no distinction between so-called carbon offsets related to reduction of emissions and those which would actually take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. In the case of carbon markets where no cap is imposed it seems to me there is a substantial difference. My letter to the editor tried to explain the difference and refers to terra preta as an example. (DRP 08/01/27)

December 4 - Wind may be free, but wind power sure isn't

The Alberta Electric System Operator (AESO) has been hosting open houses in southern Alberta. They are seeking public input in response to expressions of interest in the installation of massive amounts of wind power.  A cap of 900 MW wind capacity which had been put in place by AESO has just been removed by Alberta Energy,  the provincial department in charge of energy. At the same time AESO was charged with making sure transmission lines are available to allow more wind energy input to Alberta's electricity supply - and to make the overall system reliable. That is a challenge. I've had versions of a letter published in the Lethbridge Herald (07/12/04) and the Financial Post (07/12/09). Another version has been published in  the CNS Bulletin of December 2007. (DRP 08/01/27)

November 19 - Letter to Minister Baird re missing NCCP website

I'm trying once more to get our federal government to make  the multi-million dollar work on greenhouse gas management undertaken by  the National Climate Change Process again readily available to the public, and researchers on greenhouse gas management. Maybe the whole climate change issue is expected to drop off the public radar in a few years. Still, I think it is reasonable to expect that a serious work of the federal government should be made available to those who paid for it. The cheapest and easiest way to do that is via a website. Since that website was already established the cost to maintain it would have been negligible. Continuing maintenance and updating of the site would also have been a good way to communicate factual information on greenhouse gas management actions,  and their expected effectiveness, to Canadians. This open letter to Minister Baird is intended to bring the issue of the missing website to his  attention. (DRP 07/12/17)

November 5 - Getting on the green parade

An article in the Ottawa Citizen under the above title aroused my ire. It seemed to just add one more repetitive link to the endless chain of blame and gamesmanship on climate change and greenhouse gas mangement. My letter lamented the loss of a real study of greenhouse gas management, the documentation of the National Climate Change Process. My letter was not published. This kind of disinterest in the loss of easy access to  information on a topic of keen public interest seems  deplorable to me.  It might just be me though. I've mentioned this loss to a few of my Colleagues on the National Climate Change Process. They are able to laugh it off. I guess I'll have to too eventually. I've also written letters on this to Minister Ambrose and another to the Lethbridge Herald. I'll try one more to Minister Baird. The Herald has an interest in freedom of information and published it. (DRP 07/12/12)

November 3 - Canada on nuclear world stage

A Canadian press article in the Lethbridge Herald discussed Canada's invitation to join the Global Nuclear Energy Partnership (GNEP). The article focused almost exclusively on political infighting. Nothing was said about Canada's contribution to nuclear science and technology over the past half century. My letter sought to provide readers with more information on Canada's place in the nuclear world.  It was published under the  above title. NRCan announced on 07/11/29  that the invitation to join GNEP has been accepted. Good news. (DRP 07/12/12)

October 28 - Alberta royalty review outcome

For some reason I like to have information available that I can use to form opinions and make judgments.  Sometimes newspaper editors and reporters and writers defend freedom of information. I suppose they might be accused of just wanting information to make a living. Others suggest transparency and an informed citizenry is the basis for democracy. Many  don't seem to care if information not of immediate interest to them is kept from the public. Premier Ed Stelmach has been roundly criticized for promising  the Alberta Royalty Review during his election by Conservative Party members as premier. As a participant in the process I was impressed and pleased by this initiative to inform and consult Albertans. My letter to the Lethbridge Herald was not published. (DRP 07/12/12)

October 10 - Leave public money out of wind and solar

A Lethbridge Herald article flirts with providing city funding for wind and solar energy. My letter discourages that but does encourage the city to pass bylaws allowing the use of wind turbines within city limits. It was published under the above title on 07/10/10. (DRP 07/12/12)

September 25 - Canada needs courage on nuclear issue

Canada had been invited to join a new initiative to develop nuclear energy technology. The goal  is to provide energy to the world for the foreseeable future. There had been debate as to whether Canada should join. I submitted a letter to the Lethbridge Herald urging that Canada accept the invitation on 07/09/15. It was published under the above title on 07/09/25. Another letter above responds to some objections and explains why Canada should be involved. (DRP 07/12/12)

May 10 - Hold em or fold 'em?

David Suzuki's "Science Matters" column in the Lethbridge Herald prompted me to test the climate change as game hypothesis again. The model is my letter to the national Post  immediately down this page - "May1 - Baird versus Gore". (DRP 07/05/13)  The letter was published on May 16 under the title "Canada should fold on Kyoto". Mark Sandilands provided a spirited response in defence of Kyoto titled "Climate change no card game" on May 22. It is posted on his website under commentary (DRP 07/12/04)

May 4 - Library no match for science education

Many seem to believe climate change is easy science. They think a few hours reading highly polarized articles promoting fear of possible warming and planting confusion is all that is needed for understanding. Many environmental organizations excel at exciting  Canadians with the idea carbon dioxide emissions will lead to disastrous warming. They also lull them into  thinking all that's needed to save the planet is a little effort to avoid wasteful energy consuming habits.  This dual deception seems designed to goad our government to take expensive and futile action. The media panders to this, repeating every story ad nauseum.

My letter to the Lethbridge Herald comments on one citizens limited knowledge of climate change.  It was published under the title above.  (DRP 07/05/13)

May 1 - Baird versus Gore

The debate over climate change and greenhouse gas emissions has become totally inane.   Our parliamentary representatives make claims and counter-claims with little basis in reason. Our media seems so pressed to write stories they don't even have time to hear or read what the scientists and politicians are saying. I'm seeking  to try and understand why. I'm reminded of the proliferation of so-called reality games on television these days.  Has the climate change dispute become just another grand version of those?  My unpublished letter to the National Post suggests that is the case. (DRP 07/05/01)

April 22 - Yellow journalism

It has been good to see some of the thinking and analysis undertaken by the National Climate Change Process resurface recently. This took the form of an Environment Canada analysis report  on the costs of meeting the Kyoto Protocol target. The report has generated a lot of controversy, although from the tone of most articles it appears few journalists have actually read it. Nor do they seem to have any appreciation for it's linkage with the earlier analysis by the government. That analysis was readily available to the public till about a year ago when it mysteriously disappeared.

My letter to the Lethbridge Herald defending the Environment Canada has not yet been published. The initial furor over the report has died away. It seems from recent polls that Canadians have been convinced that the report is "unbelievable" and no one is bothering to read it. We are told by pollsters and others that Canadians believe we can and should meet Kyoto. It's too bad Canadians are so confused. Canada  can't and won't meet Kyoto. (DRP 07/05/13)

March 22 - Pembina Ignores Benefits of Nuclear

Pembina Institute continues to make much of minor releases of greenhouse gases (GHG) from the full lifecycle of nuclear plant operation. They undertook a study of nuclear power in Ontario.  It  used data from a paper I prepared with colleagues (Andseta et al)  to imply  operational GHG emissions from CANDU nuclear power plants are significant. My paper is posted here and shows the very low emissions from CANDU plants relative to the emissions savings relative to the coal plants that would have been built in their stead. The Lethbridge Herald  invited an article from Pembina Institute which repeated their claim. My letter of objection was published under the above title. Dr. Mark Winfield had a counter letter published in the Herald which acknowledged the use of my paper but went on to blame the unreliability of nuclear plants for the increased emissions from Ontario's CANDU plants in recent years. It is interesting that an earlier  Pembina Institute publication acknowledges the low greenhouse gas emissions from nuclear energy. Oops! (DRP 08/06/08)

February 22 - Kyoto think

The Kyoto Protocol has gone far off  track as a means of reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. It's focus on reducing emissions at the source is part of the problem. That goal couples nicely with efficiency and conservation initiatives started with the energy crisis of the seventies. Those who push those means of greenhouse gas control have not noticed that they failed to reduce total energy consumption. They will similarly fail to reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions. Programs which might work, such as conversion to nuclear power or the use of forests in a way which creates a sustainable carbon sink, are routinely rejected on environmental grounds. In summary a perverse methodology for greenhouse gas control has developed out of Kyoto which will ultimately lead to higher amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. A tongue in cheek letter to the National Post from Paul Meyers suggested the western provinces leave Canada so she could reduce her emissions. His concept fits well with  "Kyoto think". The National Post apparently didn't find my letter of support amusing or insightful as it was not published. (DRP 07/02/28)(DRP edited 07/05/13)

February 22 - Media off Kyoto target

There has been a lot of hysteria over climate change in the Canadian media this month.  The release of the IPCC summary report on climate change and the fuss over Kyoto (See February 15 below) in parliament have filled the news. Amazingly, the media still does not tell Canadians what the Kyoto target is. My letter to the Lethbridge Herald illuminates their subtle duplicity in promoting the Kyoto target as something Canada can achieve.  Similar letters to the Calgary Herald and National Post went unpublished. (DRP 07/02/28)

February 15 - Kyoto goal will cost lots but improve little

The opposition parties in Canada seem mischievously bent on subjecting Canadians to the expense and futility of Kyoto. The Lethbridge Herald nicely published my letter across from an article indicating that Bill C-288  - to re-marry Canada to former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's  Kyoto commitment of 2002 - had been passed. Mischief accomplished. (DRP 07/02/28)

February 11 - Branson prize

At first glance Sir Richard Branson's prize of $25 million for an atmospheric carbon dioxide removal technology seems little more than a publicity stunt. My unpublished letter to the Lethbridge Herald explains that it might bring needed attention to such methods of carbon management. I also read a thoughtful note of caution from another commentator. It was suggested a method might be developed that would strip too much carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. That reminds me I should see the 1972 movie "Silent Running". It is apparently developed from the premise that all almost all plant life on earth has been eliminated by human carelessness. (DRP 07/02/28)

February 04 - We'd better be sure

Friends of the Earth is proposing a carbon tax for Canadians and it's my duty to let them know how much it would increase our utility bills. My letter to the Lethbridge Herald spells it out. (DRP 07/02/28)



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