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Letters and Commentary from 2010

October 23 - Canada's National Climate Change Process (NCCP) Records

I've written to three of Canada's Minister's of the Environment over the past four years lamenting the federal government's carelessness with keeping records of the very expensive National Climate Change Process undertaken circa 1998 in response to the Kyoto protocol. My letters to Environment Ministers Rona Ambrose, John Baird and Jim Prentice are all available elsewhere on this site. The first two of these three minister's  didn't really last long enough to initiate a response. Finally, after about three years I received a response from Minister Prentice via Mr. Tony Young of Environment Canada which I provide here. Mr. Young's response was less than satisfactory. My letter to him expresses that dissatisfaction and provides links to a newly discovered web archiving service (Internet Archive) which seeks to preserve information that is made available to the public via the internet. A substantial portion of the original NCCP site is available there, although I've noticed recently some key reports are not.  Environment Minister Prentice resigned November 4, 2010. This posting represents my resignation from this issue too. I remain disappointed with those I helped elect, partially on the promise that they  would impose greater transparency on government processes. The disregard for taxpayers, and those who worked hard, at great expense, to evaluate means to meet Canada's commitment to the Kyoto protocol is disgraceful. We've forgotten that historical commitment, however foolish it may have been, and are possibly bound to repeat it.  (DRP 10/11/05)

October 13 - Climate change issue hasn't gone away

Professor Don Lawton came to the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs (SACPA) in Lethbridge to talk to us about carbon capture and sequestration on October 14. My letter to the Lethbridge herald was intended to provide extra advertising for the event.   The audio of the talk and the Q&A session following is available at the SACPA website. (DRP 10/11/05)

September 09 - BHP scouts Saskatchewan's uranium

A strange article in the Financial Post on September 9 indicated that uranium is worth more than gold. That is true on the basis of it's energy content. It is nonsense at current prices. My letter of correction to the Financial Post  was not published. (DRP 10/11/04)

September 04 - Clean energy is a wise investment

Bjorn Lomborg  had a disappointing  article published in the Financial Post of August 30th. He tried to draw an analogy between  the electronics revolution and what might be achievable with wind and solar power. He seemed not to realize that the huge cost benefits accruing to miniaturization of electronics does not apply to wind and solar power systems. Those systems are restricted by the low energy density of primary wind and solar energy. Components must remain large although costs may be reduced somewhat. My  letter to the Financial Post was not published. (DRP 10/11/04)

May 13 - Where's the cost benefit analysis?

"Smart" meters received quite  a lot of attention in Lethbridge. Baynish Basset made me eat my words of faint praise (se January 28 below) for smart meters. Others promised careful evaluation of them before any rush to installation in Lethbridge. I encouraged them all to continue their skepticism with a letter published under the above date and title.  (DRP 10/11/04)

April 10 - Nice to see just the facts

I complimented the Lethbridge Herald for publishing an article on climate change which  stuck to factual information and avoided speculation on cause. (DRP 10/11/04)

April 1 - New meters could be sensible initiative

An article in the Lethbridge Herald indicated  that Alberta's plans to modify the electricity system could include "smart" meters which would cost residents on order of $30 million.  My letter to the Herald indicated that smart meters might be one of the better ideas,  and reminded readers and consumers of electricity they would also be paying for the transmission lines and economically inefficient wind turbines - or "unreliables" as some are beginning to call them and other intermittent sources of electricity. Consumers don't usually realize that these sources of electricity impose high costs on the system through the need to supply alternative sources for those frequent times when the sun does not shine and/or the wind does not blow and other costly measures such as oversized transmission lines. The letter was published under the title and date above. (DRP 10/11/04)

January 28 - We are able to safely handle nuclear waste

A letter in the  Lethbridge Herald, by Doug Petherbridge, on January 13 raised questions about nuclear power and global warming. In particular Mr. Petherbridge was looking for a "guarantee" that no accidents occur in the handling of nuclear waste.  I wrote a letter to the editor, which was published under the above title and date. It provides a link to the activity of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization. Interestingly Mr. Petherbridge responded with another letter on February 24 which I missed at the time as I was traveling. He had searched through the NWMO site and found no "guarantee" that an accident could not occur in the handling of spent fuel.  Of course we hear all kinds of guarantees from many organizations, oral and written, that are not worth much. The fact the NWMO does not talk in terms of guarantees is a sign of  a thoughtful organization that does not rule out possibilities - however remote they might be. That thoughtfulness will also ensure procedures are in place to manage accidents should they occur. (DRP 10/11/04)



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