Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Daily Digest February 7, 2007



HALIFAX HERALD - Oda’s odyssey

MONTREAL GAZETTE - Perils of bargaining with Taliban

OTTAWA CITIZEN - Prisoners of conscience

OTTAWA CITIZEN - Islam's diversity

TORONTO STAR - Hold public probe into alleged abuse

TORONTO STAR - Unhealthy wait times

TORONTO STAR - Major cities deserve special attention

NATIONAL POST - For Garth, it's always about Garth

TORONTO SUN - Inspired by Garth's example

LONDON FREE PRESS - Past its best-before date

WINDSOR STAR - Your health: As simple as smart choices

CALGARY HERALD - Harper affirms key priorities
Commitment to tax cuts, Senate reform will assure westerners

CALGARY HERALD - A question of honour

CALGARY SUN - PM tips his hand

VANCOUVER SUN - Liberal leader ignores greenhouse gas facts in his lust for power

VANCOUVER PROVINCE - t's time we stopped running health care by trial and error


Legal food fight erupts over $175-million contract to fly fresh food to North

Top Tories told to vote 'nay'
Ordered to oppose Native women's rights bill

Afghans flee town as Taliban dig in for NATO raid

U.N. rights boss Arbour condemns Afghan amnesty

Inquiry into fall's friendly-fire death in Afghanistan completed

Taliban to be pushed into the mountains: Cdn commander

Scholar calls for resignation of Canada's top soldier for failure to address possible abuses in Afghanistan

No big deal
OPINION: Don Martin on the alleged prisoner abuse in Afghanistan

Afghan aid an exercise in 'feeling good'

Nature of U.S.-Canada ties shifts
Think grizzly-wolverine rather than elephant-mouse, Harper says

Americans pitch their anti-terrorist plan here =

Exporting our logs

Food inspection watchdog confirms mad cow disease in mature Alberta bull

Corporate ethical behaviour no longer a frill, conference told

Jordan's king condemns Israeli dig

Upstart website key to tracking outbreaks

'Culture of delay' irks judge

Fugitives switch provinces and 'laugh'
Vancouver chief seeks to close loophole that lets criminals go free

Premiers discuss national energy plan during conference call

Feds, Alberta may be set for climate-change showdown

Premier stands firm on greenhouse-gas plan
Stelmach, Harper governments in agreement on using intensity targets

B.C.'s police complaints process "flawed": judge

Ontario election date changed due to holiday

McGuinty hails report that finds Toronto being starved of fiscal resources it needs

Rude gestures, hoots greet Turner's first day as Liberal in question period

Turner defends decision to join Liberals

Turner joins Liberals

MP known for his maverick style
`I don't think there are any illusions on the part of the Liberals,' former Tory says

For Garth, it’s always about Garth


Liberals want Dion to focus on more issues than just climate change

Coming soon to a campaign near you, 'Liberal Senate is obstructionist': Tories

Tory anti-Dion ads produce more laughs than votes

Tories shy away from promising when ethics law will take full effect

Harper warns voters

Israel can count on Canada, Harper says

Less talking, more greening

Using the environment to save the market

Former liberal cabinet minister decides not to run in next federal election

PM outlines broad plan for Canada
In quasi Throne Speech, Harper addresses climate change, Afghan mission and taxes

Harper previews budget plan

Emerson pressured to run in Stephen Owen's riding

PM sees soaring greenhouse gas emissions;_ylt=ApZDZ2p7Uv34aS3_Eqj99JbwrGIF

Creeping Chretienism

MPs to pursue perjury investigation of Adscam players

MPs back $11B output plan
All-party panel supports aid package for struggling manufacturers Proposed tax cuts ackage of Tax cuts,

Youth justice on trial
Proposed changes to act put too much emphasis on deterrence

Canadians are hungry for environmental leadership

Simple truth about warming

Canadians won't pay to save the world

Al Gore requires parental guidance

Auto industry, Alta. warn Kyoto dangerous for business

Fuel targets could cost auto jobs: Industry

Blogger's betrayal
Renegade MP's 'digital democracy' just more cynical politics

Don't send e-mail that can't go public
Consultant's simple advice all-too-often ignored

The provinces, Ottawa and fiscal discord

Giving women the tools to stand on their own

Can fish farming save depleted cod?


Dion doit parler d'autre chose que l'environnement, selon les libéraux

Un cas de vache folle est détecté


        My understanding is Garth Turner offered to resign if by-elections were called in Halton and Msississauga Streetsville?

        Was that a reasonable offer meeting the demand of the Calgary Herald editorial below?

It's time for Turner to walk his bombastic talk and give the people of Halton, Ont., the power to decide who represents them. That would be the honourable thing to do.

The National, CTV News, the Globe, La Presse, the Post, the Citizen and the Star go inside with the latest in party promiscuity­Ontario MP Garth Turner’s swing from the Tories to the Liberal party. A former journalist and ardent blogger, Turner was booted from Conservative caucus last fall. While no official reason was given for the oust, speculation points to Turner’s criticism of decisions by the Harper government, namely the appointment of Public Works Minister Michael Fortier as a Senator, and the recruitment from the Liberals of David Emerson. A self-admitted “pain,” Turner has drawn blood from MPs who cross the floor to join other parties, even going so far as to introduce a private member’s bill that would force politicians who switch to quit and run again. Unwilling to taste his own bitter medicine, Turner maintains, “I did not leave my party, it was my party who left me,” reports the Globe.

Turner’s latest move garners mixed reviews from the Big Seven. CTV News’s Keith Boag calls Turner a “showboater,” and promises that Stéphane Dion “will have his hands full.” The Post acknowledges Turner’s reputation as a “loose cannon,” while the Globe prefers the more detailed description of “outspoken millionaire investment manager.” The Citizen's Deirdre McMurdy provides the most entertaining account of Turner’s transition by pointing out that his move from the Tories was a “classic break-up manoeuvre, the pre-emptive dump, after the Tories made it clear that he wasn’t welcome to run under their banner again.” The Post, however, is the only source to address the political repercussions of Turner’s philandering: With an all-out cavalier comrade in his back pocket, Dion can now criticize the new Conservative ads that portray the Mr. Green as a listless leader.


Rene Moreau

Subject: Re: PRESSURE POINT SPECIAL: TO 08:58 AM 2/4/2007

    I don't how the name of the author got missed in the "10 Smart Green Ideas", but Joe could you let me know who it was.
    I suspect it was Dr. Michael Walker from the Fraser Institute or one of the staff there.
   To Suggest that privatization of our resources at a time when American corporate gets first grab at anything since Nafta says 'Thou shalt not discriminate against American corporations',
  suggests that they may not be aware that corporations are on the verge of needing a set of commandments instead of 'self-regulation'.
     No privatization goes to  individual people, it all goes to corporate entities with 'think tanks' to lobby and demand less taxes and regulation.
    A name would really help.
            Rene Moreau (416-489-8347)
Larry Storm


Hey Joe

  Any sort of committee, think tank or forum would be a great idea to get some idea's out there and play with possible scenarios.  If anything were to happen, count me in!

Rob Shanahan

Subject: Joe, my condolences for your pet rodent! ...I feel sorry that he-she (?) turned possum on you. ...BUMMER, huh?

Hey Joe,
For my first order of non-Parliamentary, nonpolitical business, I wish you the HAPPIEST OF BIRTHDAYS on this, your three score and tenth, merry-go-round trip outHurray for YOU, no-ordinary JOE! ...Psst! --Open up your sore eyes, give your head a REAL HARD shake, and then douse, KILL, the cancer, dynamite sticks that you kneel to!
Second, turning to politics, Uncle Joe, INCONTROVERTIBLY, WE DUMBED-DOWN FOOLS WILL SELF-SABOTAGE OUR ONLY MOTHER EARTH! ...JUST WHEN, REMAINS OUR OPEN QUESTION.  PRECISELY WHICH OF OUR ENDLESS, AGELESS, INSANE WARS WILL DO US IN, FINISH US RIGHT OFF for keeps? --Afghanistan's? ...Iran's? ...Syria's? ...North Korea's? ...Israel-the Middle East's? ...Russia's? ...Who to hell can tell?  --We diehard, predatory hawks, we obsessive-compulsive capitalistic slave masters, never, never, never learn from our violent, bigoted, cruel, torturing-tortured history!  So, why not? --No two ways about it, some mad, irrational, wholeheartedly-perfectly illogical "God" (???) has wired, has genetically designed and programmed us for mutual self-destruction! ...Civilization after civilization after.... --Ad infinitum!
However fatalistic, however hopeless, our Earthly cause down here, what should, could you and "I" do RIGHT NOW?  Well for Monopoly, roll-the-dice starters, your little, co-ordinate system game sure sounds downright cute and cuddly, warm and snuggly, Joseph.  But would it return us a lima, mole, or cyber-mouse hill? ...Who the hell knows?  Yet, if this easy, band-aid fix darns and fancy-knits you a lovely, woolly Linus blanket -- some psychological-mental peace -- then do her smartly!  However, for practical visions....
As a naturalist-environmentalist, a Mother Nature lover in creed, I could settle down in a Tuktoyacktook igloo, some Cree teepee, a Mohawk wigwam, an ascetic hermit's log cabin, some Prairie farmer's chicken shack, a fellow Maritimer's wood-stoved, fishing shanty, you name 'em all....  I wouldn't wanna, but I could quickly adapt.  Could you?
I think our self-sabotaging, Earth crisis unfolds in a much, MUCH higher dimension-sunlight.  Clearly, our disaster scenario runs on a global scale and scope.  ...We can't just whoop and holler for Buzz Hargrove to pull out another rabbit, another white, Easter bunny.  Nope! No Hargrove, no pure evil Donald Trump, could swing this marathon "let's cut a deal."  We will experience no "Eureka" moments in Ma Nature's real --non-financial -- world now! 
I see an irreversible balance here.  It carries so much more dead weight, stress and strain, than an unnerving, begrudging trade off on Western man's SO hi-tech, user-easy living standards, (a simple X azimuth), in a nice, neat deal for swallowing some "soft," literal and figurative costs-sacrifices. (On some intolerable, so! insufferable, Y ordinate.)  Nifty!
Man, consider how far and how fast we have devolved!  God, we have spent, sterilized, ourselves right to Death's doorstep.  Most effete Western (culture's?) humanity just keeps racing around our mortal coil, our poisoned rat cage, in a sleepwalking, obscenely consumptive, zombie trance. ...Jes, eveready at our fingertips, we whip out our bank books, America's current roaring-hot stock investments, our "can't miss" capital ventures... All this greedy ego-tripping just hooks, wires, indoctrinates us worse with each passing Western day.   We have done enthralled, entangled, our very well-being. --Our health, peace and deeper happiness in such FOOLHARDY, materialistic enslavement.  Christ, even now, while blindly staring at Mother Earth's zero hour, we question: "Duh, what did I ever do to deserve this?  Oh, my merciful God, what must 'we' do now in righting the balance, to right our so foolish wrongs?" 
Our bottom line: Without some depth, some real, brotherly love and world empathy, some noble virtue in living true "SPIRITUALITY," we crazy lunatics irredeemably doom this (latest!) civilization (?) to a WELL-EARNED perdition.  Knowing NO humble, universal, penultimate spiritual mission, how can we possibly live peacefully, live lovingly, neighbor by-and-for neighbor? ...Forget about it, man!!!  We must count ourselves dead, contaminated, foul and fetid meat! ...Phew! We stink bad!
Were humanity's planetary, GLACIAL, (tectonic s-l-o-w) self-destruction -- our common, global crisis -- not so damned, universally tragic, this "best guessing" game would pay back divine, deadly! laughter, Uncle Joe.  ...But regardless, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!
As an aside, weathercock Joe, are we Canadians (and non-Canadians) weatherin' a pre-Nuclear Winter?  Are we bearing some fool "God's" (?) DEW (Distant Early Warning) salvo across our rotten, long-reekin' deck? --Recount Bob Rae's starry-eyed ditty, "We're all in the same boat now?" ...If so, then LOOK OUT BELOW!  DIVE FOR COVER!  DIVE!  --Ontario's POWER-drunk, Exxon Valdez captain-navigator ended up torpedoing OUR god-damned boat.  Brilliant gambit, wonderful work, Captain-cum-Rhodes Scholar Robert! ..."Let's hear it now!  Another bubbly toast for...!" --And from some oceanic bottom, an SOS resounds: "Gurgle, gurgle, gurgle!"  May god bless!
From Hamilton West, Ontario: 51+-year-young (SLOWING!) "athlete" and forever-inspired naturalist Rob Shanahan, for Niagara Joe Hueglin's writing, wining, dining and dancing pleasure.   Bon appetit, mon amis! ...Protect your hefty, MP pension, for god's sake, Joe! ...My squaw and I are headin' back pronto into our igloo. --Brrr!

Brad Thomson

joe, interesting to see no evidence of the khan report even after access to information act applications, peter mackay was asked point blank by a reporter if he had seen khan's report, maybe a month ago now, and he said that he had, the CBC then ran this statement on the National that evening, i suspect the CBC remember the level of lie that this man is capable of and chose to set him us just in case there really is no report, how can we stay on this one? if it does eventually come out that there is no report then mackay will be in very, very serious trouble if the CBC simply chooses to dig up the clip, let's do what we can.... brad

Robert Ede

Subject: Fugitives 'laughing' - thwarted by s.94?

Dear NatPost Editor,
Re: Fugitives switch provinces and 'laugh' Feb 7/07
This jurisdictional problem was anticipated in 1867. Check out "Uniformity of Laws" Section 94 of the BNA  -the lost brother of the Distribution of Legislativer Powers section.
Contrary the 'expert' opinion to throw more money at policing "resources" and enforcement "tools", why not just make the law uniform across the country (with the normal distinct aspect for the Civil Law province).
Robert Ede
Thornhill ON

Ian Berg

Subject: Re: Daily Digest February 6, 2007

Today it is reported that automakers will lobby governments to
encourage older vehicles get off the roads.  Cars made before 1987 are
far less clean than new cars.  The rise of the environment as the most
pressing political issue of the day could lead to more government
subsidies, sales, and profits for automakers.  This is how the law of
unintended consequences works.

Ian Berg
Calgary AB

Ron Thornton
Subject: Re: Daily Digest February 6, 2007

Hi Joe:

Just a few comments spawned by the Feb. 6 Digest.  In regards to the article about the whining and dining by MHA's or MLA's or MP's or Senators or dog catchers at the public trough, I ask them to remember that they are spending OUR money.  We would rather they not spend any, but of what they must we expect them to freely and openly justify what they do, especially when it comes to spending OUR cash to feed themselves or go traveling.  If they have a problem justifying their spending of OUR funds, then they should expect that we would have a problem with that.  If they want to live high on the hog, then I invite them to return to (or enter) the private sector and see if those who actually have to watch the bottom line think these darlings are worth the expense.

The article about cross border travel reminded me at just how fast our federal government moved to ease the crush for passports.  No extended hours, no extra days, as the area's unwashed packed in to northern Alberta's only office.  This lack of foresight and service would sink a private firm.  Of course, the lack of foresight by many to get their passports before the rush began is what caused the problem in the first place.

Thanks to the Liberal energy critic, the Liberal's secret agenda is now in the open.  Convince the rest of the nation to screw Alberta, and all will be well.  I can assure you, it would spell disaster for this country on a number of fronts.  Only Stephane Dion could make me miss Jean Chretien.

I kind of liked Garth Turner.  There is something about a rebel willing to stand up for what he believes in that I respect.  Now that he has joined the Liberals, he has shown himself to be the kind of politician I would love to kick to the curb.  I guess he just figured out that his ethics are actually quite compatible with those of his new mates after all.

I see that the opposition are getting upset with what is happening (or not happening) with the Conservatives ethics and accountability legislation.  They should be.  However, I wouldn't even bother opening my mouth on the issue if I were a Liberal.  It sounds as hollow as Jesse James criticizing trains and banks over their lack of security.

Here's hoping any "greening" of the Conservatives is done with some common sense.  If greenhouse gases were such a problem, we certainly wouldn't be attempting to meet the threat with something like the Kyoto Accord.  I mean, it would be like getting permission to smoke a cigarette while pumping gas if you only give a loonie to a nearby panhandler for the credit to do so.  Any thinking person must scratch their head at this astounding lack of logic.


Diane Duttle

Subject: Re: PROPOSAL

Good for you Joe.  If we're a good part of the cause, we'd better be part of the solution.  I've taken the first step toward monitoring my gas consumption a) to see just what I'm contributing to the problem and b) to reduce it.  Diane

David E Code


Thanks for publishing the comments on the topic of climate change. The thoughts -- pro and con the need for action -- no doubt reflect those of many Canadians. As for me, I am solidly in the camp of those who would prefer to take some positive action rather than hide behind the pretext that nothing can be done. I suspect that those who deny the existence of the problem are really looking for an excuse to do nothing. Since the technology exists to cure or minimize many of the problems, it seems irresponsible to pretend otherwise. And who would not prefer to have clean air to breathe?
Imagine if the nay-sayers had, in the 1940s, decided to ignore the Nazi oppression and the holocaust. Or, for those who respect the Bible, if Noah had decided that building an ark would be too much trouble. (yawn).

David E. Code

Stephen Berg

Subject: RE: Daily Digest February 6, 2007

Hi Joe.  Great to hear the news about Aase.

Many of the comments about climate change state things like "it will cost too much to do something," "it will result in massive unemployment," and "our economy will go bottom up" if we take great strides to combat climate change.  Those who say this couldn't be more wrong.

The Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change (done by one of, if not the most prestigious economists in Britain, if not worldwide, Sir Nicholas Stern) found that if we spent 1% of the global GDP on measures to fight global warming today, it would result in avoiding a shrinkage of the economy of 20%.  Therefore, the time to act is now.  We cannot wait any longer or else the environment AND the economy will suffer greatly.

The report:

A summary from the BBC:

Stephen Berg
Winnipeg, MB

Caspar Davis

Subject: Part 1 Re: PROPOSAL The "critics"

I have broken this in two, the first addressing Tim Ball, the second (hopefully) your question.

Joe, I am really disappointed to see you giving credence to the climate change doubters. They are a small but noisy (due to cooperation of the corporate media) band of dinosaurs who have no scientific credibility. THERE IS NOT ONE PEER REVIEWED SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE TO COUNTER NEARLY 1,000 SUCH ARTICLES DESCRIBING THE CAUSES AND EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE.

Tim Ball has inflated and deceptively mis-stated his credentials, and he is a well known mouthpiece for those who seek to spread the seeds of doubt about climate change, knowing that there is no valid scientific data with which to dispute it. As noted in my post to of yesterday, it was spinmaster Frank Luntz who told Republicans to "make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate" over climate change, because "[s]hould the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly.""

Re Tim Ball, see:

and , where you will find:

Discredited Friends of Science Re-emerge as the Natural Resources Stewardship Project
12 Oct 06

NRSP exposed -- controlled by energy industry lobbyists (click here)

A breathless news release announced Thursday that Dr. Tim Ball is now the chair of a new "environmental" group called the Natural Resources Stewardship Project.

The snazzy new NRSP website announces a broad array of principles and strategies, but their goal is simple:

NRSP’s first campaign is focused on dispelling the notion that Canada needs CO2 reduction plans.

Here we have yet another "grassroots" organization, emerging spontaneously to fight the demonic international conspiracy to recognize the global threat of climate change.

At this point, the DeSmogBlog has no information on who is funding this high-tone endeavour, but it is impossible not to notice the overlap with the much-discredited Friends of Science. Both feature a list of "scientific advisors" including doctors Tim Ball, Tim Patterson, Tad Murty and Sallie Baliunas, and the ever helpful Tom Harris is back carrying the public relations file - you might call them the usual suspects.

The proprietors seem to be trying to clear up their messaging, though. For example, the FOS site still insists that Dr. Ball was the first Canadian Ph.D. in Climatology (even if he HAD a Ph.D. in climatology, this would not be true) and that "for 32 years (he) was a Professor of Climatology at the University of Winnipeg." But the NRSP site says only that "for 28 years (Ball) was Professor of Climatology at the University of Winnipeg."

Of course, that's not true either. According to a Statement of Claim in a libel suit that HE filed, Dr. Ball was only a professor at U of W for eight years. And according to the university's own calendar, he was, during that time, a professor of geography, not climatology.

It's remarkable that this group has found the funding to launch another such expensive campaign, denying science that every academy in the developed world has recognized and fighting any legislation that might inconvenience the fossil fuel industry. But it is more remarkable that they would choose as chair a man like Tim Ball.

If he can't even tell the truth on his own resume, why on earth would we believe him - or any of his friends of science - on climate change?

(end of quotation)

Caspar Davis

Subject: Part 2 Re: PROPOSAL - Terrorism vs Climate Change

At 04:24 AM 06/02/2007, you wrote:

Here are two points of view regarding climate change:

The United Nations document "Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis" .
Climatologist Tim Ball's in
a Q & A session :
in a video of a speech made January 26th .
Each of us must arrive at our own best guess as to which is correct - or perhaps better to say the more correct. 

I say guess because pretty well all of us haven't the capability of understanding all the data being tossed about.

That is precisely what the climate change doubt seeders are counting on, just as their predecessors - the cigarette-cancer connection doubters - did before them.

Rather than continuing debate consider this proposal. 

Let us assume that we are a committee of Link Byfield "people's parliament" of a "national online citizens assembly" tasked with exploring:


It's developing a two dimensional framework - the X axis, the options of action open to reduce emissions, the Y axis, the probable effects on our way of life.

Is such an undertaking worth a go?

Let me know - and if you have thoughts as to what can be done.  Let's have them.

A few days ago you compared the terrorist threat and climate change. To my mind, there are great contrasts between them, which make a good starting point for this discussion.

The "terrorist threat" is very useful to those who would reinforce the authoritarian, top-down nature of our society. Its biggest advertisement, the events of 9/11, are fraught with unanswered questions that cast significant doubt on the real nature of that terrible morning. Since then, there have been a very few other incidents, most of which seems to be the actions of local zealots rather than part of any international threat.

The deaths and injuries from the terrorist incidents (including 9-11), terrible a they are, pale before the hundreds of thousands killed and maimed in the course of the "retaliations" in Afghanistan and Iraq - the latter of course having had nothing whatsoever to do with Al Qaeda or international terrorism before the US invasion made it the main recruiting tool and training ground for enemies of the US.

The other part of the reaction has been to trash civil liberties that go back to Magna Carta, to initiate all sorts of hitherto unthinkable police and surveillance activities, and to squander hundreds of billions of dollars on ill-advised and horribly destructive wars and on highly invasive but dubiously effective "security" within and between the US and Canada.

By contrast, climate change is a natural phenomenon, observed and reported by thousands of scientists working on many different research projects all over the planet. THERE IS NOT ONE PEER REVIEWED SCIENTIFIC ARTICLE TO COUNTER NEARLY 1,000 SUCH ARTICLES DESCRIBING THE CAUSES AND EFFECTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE. Climate change is also apparent to lay people experiencing hotter average temperatures and heat waves and more intense storms and flooding, all of which are consistent with the predicted effects of climate change.

Terrorist attacks, including 9-11, have resulted in less than 10,000 deaths and injuries.

By contrast, storms, floods, tornadoes, and heat waves that are clearly related to climate change (although it is impossible to attribute any one of them to climate change, it is irrefutable that in the aggregate their increased frequency and intensity are related to it) have killed a great many more people and have destroyed far more property and disrupted the lives of millions of people.

However, the greatest difference between the two "threats" is that the reaction to terrorism has had enormous negative consequences for both the victims of the wars of retaliation and for the curtailing of civil liberties throughout the western world and especially in North America. The US has seriously damaged and possibly destroyed its economy by wasting close to a trillion dollars on an illegal and counter-productive war in Iraq, and on an assault on civil liberties at home that would never have been tolerated without the dramatic but greatly exaggerated terrorist threat.

By contrast, the results of an intelligent response to climate change would almost all be positive, even if climate change were not happening. The technology explosion of the last century and a half, coupled with the simultaneous population explosion, have put severe pressure on our planet's resources. We now have the power literally to move mountains and demolish "limitless" forests. We have put cities on much of the best agricultural land. Huge lakes are drying up in Africa and Asia, and the water table has dropped precipitously in much of North America.

The population and technological pressures are greatly exacerbated by our waste-based economy, which is founded on planned obsolescence and unrepairability to keep people throwing things "away" and buying new ones as fast as possible. Old-fashioned virtues like saving money and making possessions last have been rebranded almost as subversive activities. Similarly, rather than conserving and using prudently the hydrocarbon energy capital created over billions of years, we have consumed it as quickly and often as wastefully as possible.

The first planetary resources to show severe stress have been the planet's capacity to absorb waste and convert it into useful raw materials, and the thousands of species that are going extinct every year.

The very basis of the sustainability of life on earth is the remarkable ability of life as a whole to take almost all forms of waste and convert them into building blocks for fresh life forms. That ability, is exercised largely by the smallest and least glamourous creatures - insects and microbes - for whom the waste of larger animals (including their dead bodies) is food. This transformation of waste is challenged both by the stupendous quantities of waste generated by modern industrial societies, and by new man made chemicals that are extremely resistant to being broken down by existing organisms, and many of which bio-accumulate through the food chain, so that top predators (such as most large mammals, including humans) are subject to largish, often harmful doses of these chemicals.

An important waste product is, of course, carbon dioxide (CO2). It is created both by the respiration of animals, and by the burning of anything containing carbon. Throughout most of human history, the CO2 generated by breathing and fires was taken up by plants, and converted back into the carbon-based structure of the plants and free oxygen for us to breathe. Now we are not only releasing vast amounts of carbon from oil, gas and coal - carbon that was sequestered by prehistoric plants over almost a billion years (roughly 10,000 times as long as the whole span of human life on the planet), and at the same time we have been clearcutting and often burning immense tracts of ancient forests. It is therefore not surprising that the buildup of CO2 is one of the first places where the stress on the planet's systems is becoming apparent.

The increased concentrations of CO2 are one of the most dramatic early indicators of unbearable stress, but like the canary in the coal mine they indicate a much wider crisis. We cannot go on for very long before we start running into a whole series of planetary limits. Nor is there any reason to continue our recklessly wasteful way of life, except that we have become addicted to it. There is nothing natural about this way of living; it has existed for only a few generations and even now it is enjoyed by only a tiny fraction of the Earth's population. A few of us have been acting like careless teenagers, behaving as if we are immune from both the environmental and the social consequences of the way we live. We are literally squandering the inheritance of a billion years of planetary evolution

And our spending spree is not even making us happy! The very high rates of stress, family breakdown, depression, lifestyle induced diseases, and abuse of both pharmaceutical and recreational drugs are hardly signs of health and happiness. But just like many drugs, it is highly addictive and most of us are addicted to it regardless of the consequences to ourselves or to our children. Good or bad, it cannot long continue, let alone be shared by the billions in India, China, and elsewhere who aspire to it.

Our addiction blinds us to the fact that it may well be possible to achieve an even more satisfactory society, one where everyone has more than adequate food, clothing and shelter, as well as having sufficient time to enjoy family, friends, learning and creativity. That is a long-term goal, but it is one towards which we must aspire because the only alternative is more of what we have - dwindling resources, more pollution, greater gaps between the rich and poor (both within and between nations), and more resource-based wars - until at last some desperate group or nation starts throwing nukes around, leaving a greatly reduced number of us trying to survive in a vastly polluted and irradiated world.

Even if I am wrong about this big picture, it should be clear that we would do better by doing the same things or more with less, by conserving a significant part of the remaining hydrocarbons as raw materials for the future (rather than recklessly burning them up), and by developing new technologies that let us harness some of the plentiful present-time energy that abounds in sunlight, in the winds, and in the tides and currents - as well as in less obvious places.

The Chicken Littles who say that the sky would fall if we cut back sharply on hydrocarbon burning (and nuclear power) are analogous to people who saw doom in the demise of horse-based transportation. Many of them are connected to the corporations that became immensely rich by destroying North America's public transportation systems half a century or so ago and creating an automobile culture, based on roads built at public expense and powered by heavily subsidized hydrocarbon fuels. They also tend to be enthralled by megaprojects that centralize control and allow a few people to flip switches and turn valves that affect the lives of millions. Renewable energy is by nature more dispersed and more available to individuals without the intermediation of corporations and politicians. It is liberating rather than enchaining, and therefore greatly threatening to people whose greatest joy comes from exercising control.

In summary, the evidence that climate change is a serious threat is much greater than the evidence that terrorism is a serious threat (or would be if it were not constantly stirred up by wars and by malicious books like Huntington's Clash of Civilizations). Moreover, the reactions to terrorism have extremely wide-reaching consequences that do great harm not only to the countries that are (rightly or wrongly) attacked in retaliation, but also to our own society.

On the other hand, an intelligent response to the threat of human-accelerated climate change would provide great benefits to both individuals and society, even if the overwhelming scientific evidence indicating anthropogenic climate change were to turn out to be wrong.

Caspar Davis

Subject: Part 3 Re: PROPOSAL - Options for Reducing CO2

So, you are asking what options we have to reduce emissions, and what are the probable effects on our way of life.

The lowest hanging fruit is always conservation. Since our way of life is so very wasteful, there are huge opportunities for both direct and indirect conservation of energy.

For instance, most of us still use incandescent bulbs, when we could get the same quality and quantity of light from compact fluorescents, for 1/4 the energy. In many applications, we could use LED's for one hundredth of the energy. We also leave empty offices lit up at night, consuming megawatts for no apparent reason. Many of us leave our computers on all the time, and most of our appliances draw considerable current even when they are "off". In California, they are starting to require that appliances actually turn off when you shut them off.

What is true of the small is also true of the larger. Buildings offer huge opportunities for savings of both energy and money. It is already possible, for little or no extra construction cost, to build energy efficient buildings that will save a LOT of energy and money over their lives, and that movement is just getting started. New organizations are establishing standards that start where the highest present ecological certification (LEED Platinum) leaves off. It is possible to have pleasant buildings that not only have no negative environmental impact, but that actually contribute energy and other goods to their neighbours.

Companies that reduce inputs of energy and materials - like Interface Carpets and even WalMart - find that using less costs less, and is MORE PROFITABLE.

Transportation is one of the places where we are most wasteful, thanks in large part to the premeditated destruction of transit systems in many North American cities half a century or so ago, and also thanks to the hugely inefficient suburban subdivisions that have been the norm for almost 60 years. This is a way of living that cuts people off from their neighbours and makes it impossible to do anything - even get a loaf of bread or a quart of milk - without a car. This building pattern needs to change and is slowly changing. More efficient developments that include denser housing and more open space, while also incorporating shops and business space, sell at a premium. But there are now many people who have access to public transit but who still drive. As I know from my own experience, this is a matter of habit. Like most North Americans, I have an ingrained reflex to jump in the car. But if I walk the 20 minutes to downtown instead, I get some pleasant exercise, and I have the freedom to go where I like without worrying about parking, parking meters, or parking fees. It is very liberating. The bus is also very liberating. Instead of the stress of driving in traffic, it lets you relax and read, or chat with a neighbour, or look out the window. And again you don't have to worry about what to do with your car when you get there.

I just heard two phone in segments on the radio. The first was about CO2 reduction and the second was about preventing heart disease. The recommendations in both segments were almost identical - eat healthy, simpler, often locally grown foods, and get out of your car and walk more. Reducing CO2 may not just save you money, it might save your life.

People who like to ride bikes say that their lives are greatly enhanced by biking to work, but I am not among them. I prefer to walk, or take the bus.

There are also manifold business opportunities for solar, wind, and tidal power. They are mostly more labour intensive than hydrocarbon generators and will therefore mean more jobs. Despite being so slow off the mark that we are already far behind both Europe and China, it is not too late for Canada to become a major supplier of renewable energy systems, especially if we divert some of the massive public subsidies to the oil sands, our major source of CO2, into the development of renewable energy.

In many Chinese cities, in Spanish cities, and in other parts of the world it is mandatory to have solar water heating in new buildings. That saves a lot of energy - and money - over the life of the building. It makes economic as well as ecological sense even on BC's raincoast.

Many countries and cities in other parts of the world emulate the natural cycle of turning waste into valuable resources. Manufacturers are required to take back and reuse or recycle worn out products. Sewage is stripped of its excess heat, which is used to heat nearby buildings. It is also used to generate methane which powers the sewage plant. Sometimes there is extra methane, which can be used to power buses and cars.

People have already found many ways to improve our lives while reducing CO2 emissions and other waste. Given some incentives, they will no doubt discover many more.

Any major economic change produces winners and losers. Like the harness and buggy whip makers, those who have grown fat using public subsidies to exploit hydrocarbons may have to tighten their belts a bit, but there will be enormous new opportunities for those who manufacture and install new more efficient power systems, appliances, buildings, and transportation devices.

Not doing anything to counter climate change has enormous costs. We have already seen the mountain pine beetle eat its way across BC and into Alberta, no longer held in check by frigid winters. The permafrost is melting under all the structures in the Arctic. New Orleans has been destroyed. Floods, wind storms and tornadoes are becoming regular visitors to places where they were seldom if ever seen before. The human and economic costs are staggering - just ask the reinsurers.

Even on the purely business front, it may well cost more to do nothing than to embrace the cleaner, more carbon neutral future. As I have shown, it would be well worth doing even if climate change were non-existent, or benign - which it ain't.