Monday, June 25, 2007

Solar energy continues to gain steam

Ontario is said to be leading the way in North America.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Nuclear energy is not the way to go about fighting climate change

To avoid effective action on climate change, the federal government is trying to sell Canadians on big spending on nuclear power.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Calgary booms

North America's biggest resources boom since the Klondike gold rush, according to the Financial Times of London as quoted by Naomi Klein in the following excellent article.

... In March 2003, the price of oil reached $35 a barrel, raising the prospect of making a profit from the tar sands (the industry calls them "oil sands"). That year, the United States Energy Information Administration "discovered" oil in the tar sands. It announced that Alberta–previously thought to have only five billion barrels of oil–was actually sitting on at least 174 billion "economically recoverable" barrels. The next year, Canada overtook Saudi Arabia as the leading provider of foreign oil to the United States. ...

All the majors, save BP, have rushed to northern Alberta: ExxonMobil, Chevron, and Total, which alone plans to spend $9 billion to $14 billion. In April, Shell paid $8 billion to take full control of its Canadian subsidiary. ...

Seventy-five percent of the oil from the tar sands flows directly to the United States ...

It has become fashionable to predict that high oil prices will spark a free-market response to climate change, setting off an "explosion of innovation in alternatives", as New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote recently. Alberta puts the lie to that claim. High prices have indeed led to an R&D extravaganza, but it is squarely focused on figuring out how to get the dirtiest possible oil out of the hardest-to-reach places. Shell, for instance, is working on a "novel thermal recovery process"–embedding large electric heaters in the deposits and literally cooking the earth.

And that's the Alberta tar sands for you: the industry already contributing to climate change more than any other is frantically turning up the heat. The process of refining bitumen emits three to four times the greenhouse gases produced by extracting oil from traditional wells, making the tar sands the largest single contributor to Canada's growth in greenhouse-gas emissions. The $100 billion in projected investments from the tar sands have also turned Canada into a global climate renegade.

That money is the primary reason why, at the June 6 to 8 G8 summit in Heiligendamm, Germany, my country's oil-friendly prime minister, Stephen Harper, will [this article was written before the summit] join George W. Bush in opposing all serious attempts to cap or reduce greenhouse gases. Back at home [this was first published in the USA], his government fully supports the oil industry's plans to more than triple tar sands production by 2020, with no end in sight. If prices stay high, it will soon become profitable to extract an additional 141 billion barrels from the tar sands, which would place the largest oil reserves in the world in Alberta. ...

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Bush, Harper and China focus on carbon intensity to sabotage the Kyoto Protocol

I cannot negotiate on the two degrees,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel. ... Her goal was to get the world’s biggest producers of greenhouse gases to agree to emissions cuts deep enough to limit global heating to two degrees Celsius by the end of this century, but that isn’t going to happen this year. ...

In order to meet that target, Merkel wanted countries to commit to a 50-percent reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions by 2050, compared with the base-line figure for 1990. ...

Like the Bush administration in the United States, the Chinese regime prefers to talk about cuts in “carbon intensity”, or the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per unit of national income. This is simply an elegant way of dodging the issue. ...

China proposes to cut “carbon intensity” 40 percent by 2020. If Chinese economic growth continues to be about 10 percent a year, that means that actual carbon emissions in China will more than double by then. And the Bush administration’s promise to reduce “carbon intensity” by 18 percent by 2012, assuming three-­and-a-half percent annual growth in the U.S. economy, means no net cut in total U.S. emissions. ...

Merkel’s target of no more than two degrees hotter by century’s end is already dangerously high, since that would mean falls of 12 percent to 25 percent in food production in most of the main food-producing areas of the world. There is not enough reserve food production available in the world to cover that shortfall: millions of people would starve.

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Canada's achievement

John Baird: "Canada achieved main goal at summit"

Cartoon by Aislin

Friday, June 08, 2007


The G8 decided to do nothing about climate ...

... except patting themselves on their own shoulders.

There should be "substantial global emissions reductions", with all major emitters seriously considering halving harmful gases by 2050.
The German chancellor won wide praise even though she failed at the summit of major industrialised nations to win U.S. backing for the fixed emissions targets climate experts say are needed to counter dangerous changes to world weather patterns.
Russia and the US did not sign up to the non-binding pledge by Germany, France, Italy, the UK, Canada and Japan. Acknowledging that the statement is not legally-binding, German chancellor and current G8 host Angela Merkel said she was sure that "no one can escape this declaration." "We have a great success...a major step forward," said the chancellor.

We've had unfulfilled promises about climate by these "leaders" for 17 years now and almost everyone of them set a new record as the hottest on record. Their promises are worth nothing. Just have a look at the bottom of the above linked article about aid promised to Africa at the last G8 meeting in Gleneagles.

Campaigners for Africa say the pledge is made up largely of money which has already been announced, including $30 billion from the United States, and falls short of United Nations targets for extending treatment to tackle AIDS.

"Do they think we can't read or count?" said Bono.

What a bunch of self-serving clowns!

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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The latest attempts to derail efforts to curb global warming

Prime Minister Harper said Canada could be a leader in the fight against global warming. US President George W. Bush - after having denied there was a problem for years - also wants to play a leadership role.

These are nothing but attempts to throw sand into peoples' eyes and derail the entire Kyoto process and this was their plan all along.

The Pembina Institute concluded that the Canadian government's proposed regulations have little chance of meeting the target of stopping the growth in Canada's greenhouse gas pollution by 2010-12. The analysis also highlights numerous loopholes and gaps that undermine the credibility of the government's target for 2020, which is to limit Canada's emissions to about 2% above the 1990 level."

This compares to our legal obligations under the Kyoto Protocol of 6% below the 1990 level by 2012. Or to the European Union's governments call for developed countries' emissions to be reduced to 15-30% below the 1990 level by 2020. An analysis of the Government of Canada’s April 2007 Greenhouse Gas Policy Announcement can be found here. (Free Adobe Reader is required to open the file.)

Harper said that leading polluters who never endorsed the Kyoto protocol — like the United States, China, and India — need to be brought into the fold in the post-Kyoto era. He's right but maybe he should catch up a little on reading the protocol. The second phase, which would include countries such as India and China, still needs to be negotiated but is to begin in five years time. India might work on a plan to propose a system under which responsibility to cut emissions would be differentiated depending on historical levels and per capita pollution without setting a deadline, an official said. India currently contributes around three percent of global emissions. But as a developing nation, it is not required to cut emissions. China's position that it needs unfettered economic growth to defeat poverty before anything can be done, is well known. In absolute terms China has the second largest emissions. See this article for a list of 50 countries ranked according to their greenhouse gas emissions.

Rona Ambrose, when she was still the Environment Minister, offered this jewel on CTV's Question Period a few months ago: "We're on track to meet all of our obligations under the Kyoto protocol but not the target."

Canada will not meet its Kyoto accord targets but can still be a model for the rest of the world in battling climate change, Prime Minister Stephen Harper told an international audience on Monday, June 4, 2007.

Canada a leader? When it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, Canada's record stinks, according to CTV's Bill Doskoch. We are the worst performer among countries that did sign the treaty other than Luxembourg. (In the case of Luxembourg there are some peculiar factors putting it on the bottom. See document linked.) And we can show others how it could be done? According to the World Wildlife Fund only the United States has done less to fight global warming.

Is Harper deluding himself? Or is he just dishonest and still working on his avowed goal to defeat the Kyoto Protocol? He questioned the science of climate change, just like his puppet master George W. Bush did until not so long ago. Harper also called it "a money-sucking socialist scheme".

Now both want to play a leading role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions? It sounds like something from a Kafka novel.

Machiavelli showed the way a long time ago. It was used masterfully by Karl Rove, "George W. Bush's brain". According to this the people want to be deceived by their rulers and the bigger the lie the better it will be implemented.

But as the saying goes, ' you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can't fool all the people all the time'. An environmental group has launched a landmark lawsuit against the Canadian federal government, alleging it is violating the law by failing to honour the Kyoto Protocol.

It'll be interesting to see how the court rules but by that time the Conservatives might not be in power anymore, or, at the very least, they gained some more time to fiddle while the planet is burning.

"Sigmar Gabriel, the German environment minister, said Mr Bush’s speech could mark a 'change in the US position or a manoeuvre aimed at causing confusion'. ... Ms Merkel “will be pleased” with his proposals, which run counter to her own, was seen as provocative. There were signs on Friday night (June 1, 2007) that Mr Bush’s proposals would split the G8, which some sceptics argue is his intention. Stephen Harper, Canada’s prime minister, welcomed the plan, as did - surprise, surprise! - Tony Blair. Bush torpedoes Merkel’s climate plans was the front page headline of the German financial paper Handelsblatt, which goes to show that one doesn't have to be an environmentalist to see through this charade.

According to an article in the New York Times (June 1, 2007) Bush's goals are “aspirational.” They would not be binding and yet Bush has the nerve of claiming “the United States is taking the lead, and that’s the message I’m going to take to the G-8.”

The right wing Heritage Foundation still questions the scientific basis of warnings about global warming urging Bush to stick to the "US-do-nothing" status quo. It wrote "the U.S. should take prudent steps to increase the reliability of global climate predictions before adopting far-reaching public policies in this area." They even claim that "America [sic] continues to lead the world with its development of cleaner technologies". It is of course a lie, charitably called "cherry picking data" by some commentators.

In any case, these US proposals won't fly and the rest of the world is either disgusted with, or laughing at, Harper and Bush.

This latest Bush/Harper strategy is a diversion and delaying tactic - nothing else - but the gambit just might work.

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