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Letters and Commentary from 2013

December 19 - Climate change issue clouds talk of energy alternatives

The letters mentioned below spawned some more energy related letters in the Lethbridge Herald. One of these appealed to a perceived need to move to "renewable" alternatives to fossil fuel on the basis that reducing greenhouse gas emissions is essential.

Humanities record of proposing and implementing urgent action, over the past 25 years, to reduce fossil greenhouse gas emissions has proved to  be a dismal failure. The world has spent huge amounts of money and effort to make reductions. Emissions have simply continued to rise.  At this time global warming seems to have taken a break for about a decade, with the temperature record showing very little rise in that time, in spite of the continually increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Perhaps it is time to change tactics.  Humanity has demonstrated great skill in producing and using energy to solve problems. Lets carry on with that, instead of trying to reduce emissions, and make sure we proceed to develop the technology to tap known abundant sources of energy.  As we learn more about predicting climate change and possibly see a recurrence of warming, we might consider putting technology in place to remove it from the atmosphere. My  letter to the Herald, published under the above title, suggested such. (DRP 14/01/01)

November 06 - Letters point out wind energy shortcomings

An article on the Canadian Wind Energy Association's  aspirations for more subsides, by reporter Dave Mabell,  was published in the Lethbridge Herald on September 14. Several  related letters were subsequently published pointing out pros and cons. My letter , published November 6, thanked the Herald for initiating the discussion and suggested the Herald invite Cosmos Voutsinos to provide a review of the Association's published report. Mr. Voutsinos could point out to readers the costs to electricity users and taxpayers which would be  associated with their proposed subsides. So far my suggestion has not borne fruit. (DRP 13/12/31)

October 31 - Four hundred thousand Hiroshima bombs per day

An article by Peter Foster in the Financial Post mentions that the earth is said by some to be absorbing the heat equivalent of 400,000 Hiroshima bombs per day as a result of CO2 emissions. Some claim it is mostly going to the oceans and as a result global warming is less than some predict.   I wondered if that amount of heat absorption by oceans would be able to buffer earth's way through the fossil fuel age. My calculations outlined in an unpublished letter to the editor  indicated that might be the case as the ocean would not need to warm much over 1200 years to absorb that much GHG heating via  the atmosphere. (DRP 14/01/01)

October 26 - Irish lambaste Canada for letting ‘biohazard’ derelict cruise ship MV Lyubov Orlova bob toward Emerald Isle

An article in the National Post under the title above indicated that the ship had been cut loose in the Atlantic and left to drift. Ireland tried to find it with computer modeling and was unsuccessful. My thoughts turned to climate change models which depend on ocean circulation modeling. My unpublished letter  drew an analogy with climate change modeling which I thought insightful and amusing. Apparently the National Post did not. A search of the WWW reveals no new information on the ships location. (DRP 14/01/01)

October 20 - Premier right to stand up for Albertan's interests

A recent court decision in Alberta deemed that the "Oil Sands Environmental Coalition" should be allowed to participate in a review of a plant expansion in northern Alberta, contrary to decisions made by Alberta officials earlier that the Coalitions input was not warranted. The Coalition members involved are the Pembina Institute and the Fort McMurray Environmental Association. Premier Redford suggested the court decision might be appealed. My letter published October 20 in the Lethbridge Herald indicated my appreciation of her stance. I've subsequently learned  the province has decided not to appeal the decision. This is unfortunate, as our elected representatives and our responsible government staff are  being marginalized by environmental organizations little affected by development of the oil sands resource. Hopefully a stronger government stance on who can and should participate  in environmental assessments will be established soon.

The Coalition apparently claims it is affected by the proposed development as they have a recreational lease on parcels of land in the region.  The lease is available at the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. A copy is provided here for readers to judge the purpose of the arrangement.  Note the lease payment of $200 to Fort McKay Métis Local #63 for quite a large parcel of land. Is it possible the primary purpose of this lease is simply to provide Pembina Institute with a license to harass oil companies in the region? Great recreation if you are not responsible for Alberta's resource development or representing the interests of Albertans!  (DRP 13/12/31)



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