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Letters and Commentary from 2015


December 12 - Waging war on climate change with your wallet

Our government developed a climate plan in great haste shortly after our provincial election earlier this year. The goal was to create and announce an Alberta climate change plan to take to the United Nations COP21 meeting in Paris. I felt duty bound to make a submission to the Alberta Climate Leadership Panel as a concerned citizen. (Needless to say, not many  of my recommendations were heeded by the Panel or Alberta Environment and Parks.) The plan was announced with considerable fanfare on November 22. It includes a commitment to phase out coal fuelled electricity generation by 2030. The goal is to generate the electricity with renewable energy (said to be mainly wind power) and natural gas.  The capital costs of such a transition will be extremely high. Albertan's will also be facing total dependency on natural gas for their electricity by 2030 as natural gas will be essential for periods of low or no wind. Detailed analysis  is provided in my letter published on December 12. Does anyone wonder about the availability and price of natural gas by 2030? So far the plan is short on detail. We can look forward to many more innovations in coming months and years, including schemes to subsidize the cost of building wind turbines and other renewable energy power plants. (DRP 15/12/30)

July 25 - Electrical costs spark action

An article in the Lethbridge Herald dated  July 25, 2015, and titled "Electrical costs spark action" by J. W. Schnarr of Southern Alberta Newspapers indicated the Taber Regional Economic Development Committee is concerned with the rising cost of electrical transmission fees.  Our energy discussion group decided to send a letter to the Committee explaining reasons for the increase. They  are strongly  related to the proliferation of wind power and associated transmission lines. I am providing the letter here. (DRP 15/08/26)

April 9 - PST or PCT: Is that the question?

Albertans have suddenly experienced a loss of provincial income, as the price of oil has plummeted in the past few months, with a consequent reduction in royalty income.  To date Albertans have eschewed the idea of a sales tax as applied in all other Canadian provinces. We have just elected a new government which so far seems very enthusiastic to do something to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Some organizations have touted the possibility of a carbon tax. There is a great opportunity for revenue take. A modest carbon tax as applied in the province of British Columbia, to the west, would rake in revenue equivalent to a provincial sales tax of about 7.5 percent. The province of BC does rebate its carbon tax to citizens and corporations. The idea underlying this "tax shift" is to provide some incentive to consumers of fossil fuels to reduce consumption, while reassuring voters they will not be paying more taxes. It is of historical interest that Stephane Dion, leader of the Liberal Party of Canada during the 2008 federal election, proposed just such a tax, referred to as the "Green Shift"  be imposed on all Canadians as part of the parties platform. He was soundly defeated at the polls. 

My letter to the Lethbridge Herald was published under the above title. It provides some quantitative analysis of  such a tax in Alberta. It will be fascinating to see if  our new leaders will actually put such a tax in place to capture some low hanging financial fruit while putting on the appearance of fighting climate change.  Will this be a double benefit for the Alberta economy or will it put our brand new government  at  more risk of losing the next election? (DRP 15/06/13)

April 7  - Man is 'recreating the Sun on Earth'

Dr. Allan Offenberger presented a talk on fusion energy to the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs on Thursday, April 9.  My letter of implicit advertisement was published under the above title in the Lethbridge Herald. The audio and PowerPoint file of his presentation, titled "Fusion Energy - Status and Prospects" is available at the SACPA website. (DRP 15/06/09)

January 6 - Questioning some climate science doesn't make a denier

I was identified as a climate change denier in a letter to the editor of the Lethbridge Herald on December 21, 2014.  I don't think I fit that billing, and clarified my position on climate change with a letter published under the above title. (DRP 15/01/13)



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