Sunday, February 04, 2007


Joe Hueglin wrote:



        Larry Storm's post came in this morning.  It's the last you'll read, should you do so, in that they're posted in the order they came into my IN BOX.
        History was my field of study at university - with a few courses in economics, geography thrown in and one science course, geology.
        Science Fiction has been my leisure reading since enthralled by a story about Lensmen in The Star Weekly 60 years ago or close to it, 'twas
        the same winter Barbara Ann Scott became the first Canadian to win the figure skating gold medal as some will recall.
        One statement that occurs time and again in one series (I think its the Darkover novels  but can't validate that) shapes my take off position to
         "global warming" now transmogrified into "climate change":
"The world moves as it will and not as we would have it "
        Should you have the interest, the time and the skills do search out the recorded speech delivered in Winnipeg on January 26th by an individual
         sufficiently knowledgeable that he has been termed a "denier".
        Agree with him or not it is well worth your time

Open debates all the facts on the table . . . draw your own conclusion

What you're hearing is determined by how your ears are tuned.

A scientific truth if it stand tests.

If it predicts accurately.

If it tests out.



BiLL Brienza
Saint John

Dear Joe

I appreciate your scepticism but I shall remain a genetically created
pessimist.  Negativity is in my genes.  Mankind collectively is much
more ignorant than any single man.  We are doomed!  I do not give the
planet another fifty years.


BiLL Brienza
Saint John

Stephen Berg

Hi Joe.

Essentially every point made by Solomon about climate change in the "The Deniers" series is debunked at at least one of these sites.  Just search for each term (for example, "solar") and you will find a scientific refutation of the claims of the "deniers."


Here are some more links with sections on climate change:

and an exposé on the tactics of the oil industry (specifically ExxonMobil) to attempt to rebut the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report:,,2004397,00.html

as well as an article which states in no uncertain terms that the IPCC tends to use conservative rather than "alarmist" language in its reportage, which many prominent and respected scientists think is painting a much rosier vision of the future than what is actually the case:

(Lonnie Thompson of Ohio State University is one of, if not the most respected climatologists who deals with ice cores and glaciers.)

Stephen Berg
Winnipeg, MB

Paul Merriam


Being skeptical and critical is excellent, but we also need some information quality control.

Those links are all to the writing of journalists.  The information they give about the scientific research is of low quality.

The IPCC report is of only medium quality, but people would far better served to read the report than to read the newspaper (it's not hard to read).

BUT that report is only a summary, and (when I looked) gave no references to support its claims.  To get the really high-quality information, and judge the truth for ourselves, we must take the time to read the journals: such as Science, Nature, and Geology.  These are serious journals, worthy of respect and of the time it takes to read and evaluate their reports:

Paul Merriam
Ottawa, Ontario


For the most part, Joe, you are an ostrich  with your head in the sand. You are part of the problem. We are already decades behind in protecting the environment but I think I hear your Exxon shares talking instead of a person worried about the future for our children.
Take me off your mailing list. You are simply missing the point here as you have on other issues.

Ron Thornton

Hi Joe:

Thanks for the Pressure Point Special.  If nothing else, it highlights that the causes behind climate changed are far from agreed upon.  Of course, we should be concerned, as disappearing glaciers will affect our rivers, any rise in the seas will flood populated areas, and any climatic changes will affect both fauna and flora and everything that stems from them.

However, those who promote that economic program dressed up as an environment initiative, Kyoto, as any kind of solution are misguided. 

Fighting climatic change with Kyoto would be, at the very least, like making ice cream in response to a forest fire.  All it might do is make someone feel good, but does nothing  to solve the problem.  In fact, Kyoto will mean the misdirecting of potential resources away from meeting the challenge to dwell upon a meaningless, feel good, delusional wealth transfer scheme that in the long-term that will have minimal, if any impact, on climate change.

At worst, Kyoto will be like tossing gasoline on the flames.  While still not facing the real problems of unstoppable climatic change, it will exascerbate the problem by crippling our economies.  Business and industry, employment, health care, education, food delivery, social welfare, to name just a few, would all be adversely affected, while still doing nothing to address climatic change and our ability to respond to it.

We hear that the affects of climatic change, however caused, will be with us for centuries.  Giving billions and trillions to India, China, and Russia to allow them and us to continue to belch whatever we belch into the atmosphere does nothing to address this in any fashion.

It is like praying to a rock.  It might make you feel good, but it accomplishes zip.


Ken Chapman

Thx for the links Joe and Happy Birthday. 

Ken Chapman

Charles Tupper


PANDEMIC, TERRORISM and GLOBAL WARMING/CLIMATE CHANGE are all pressure points.  Each has a continuing flow of info that for some, many, a few have the effect of creating anxieties.

Origin of pingo-like features on the Beaufort Sea shelf and their possible relationship to decomposing methane gas hydrates


The Arctic shelf is currently undergoing dramatic thermal changes caused by the continued warming associated with Holocene sea level rise. During this transgression, comparatively warm waters have flooded over cold permafrost areas of the Arctic Shelf. A thermal pulse of more than 10°C is still propagating down into the submerged sediment and may be decomposing gas hydrate as well as permafrost. A search for gas venting on the Arctic seafloor focused on pingo-like-features (PLFs) on the Beaufort Sea Shelf because they may be a direct consequence of gas hydrate decomposition at depth. Vibracores collected from eight PLFs had systematically elevated methane concentrations. ROV observations revealed streams of methane-rich gas bubbles coming from the crests of PLFs. We offer a scenario of how PLFs may be growing offshore as a result of gas pressure associated with gas hydrate decomposition.

Received 23 August 2006; accepted 20 November 2006; published 5 January 2007.
Posted Feb 2, 2007 09:22 AM PST

WRH COMMENT: Methane is a far greater cause of warming than anything linked to humans.

The above article(s) &/or letter(s) are accessible through links posted on the WHAT REALLY HAPPENED website today... For a variety of opinions on what's really happening around the world, visit this site frequently: ...and Reader Letters:

If you're not OUTRAGED... you're not paying ATTENTION !!

Michael Watkins

On Fri, February 2, 2007 10:12 am, Joe Hueglin wrote:
> The hurricane expert who stood up to UN junk science -- The Deniers Part

Several weeks ago Ian Berg quoted, incorrectly, a hurricane forecaster,
who would, if he could, be even more outspoken in his dismissal of climate
change forecasts which themselves are made upon science.

I started but lost a lengthy reply which included reviewing this
particular person's standing in the climate science world. I found it
interesting that this fellow was found to be dead wrong on one particular
aspect of climate science, 180 degrees opposite what was later proven to
be the case. No mention of this in Mr. Berg's report. Surely we should be
looking at the pedigrees of both climate change is "real" and climate
change is "faux" promoters.

There are pretty darn few "faux" folks out there with unimpeachable
records, but they will be held up as being reason enough to ignore the
work of thousands of unimpeachable scientists from across the world who
will testify to man's impact on the planet.

Grasping at straws is a familiar last ditch tactic.

Humankind has been futzing up the world for an awfully long time. Why is
it so hard to believe that we are having a significant impact on the
climate and world wide environment, given how much visible impact we've
made on the earth? Time after time we've found that what we thought was
"ok" in one day and age later is determined to be detrimental. Some once
thought a dose of radiation would be a good thing. DDT was seen as a boon
to humankind, until it started showing up throughout the food chain. Lead
for cars, excellent idea, until IQ's are found to suffer. CFC's to cool
our beer, why not! Oh, but they contribute to the destruction of the Ozone
Layer. Cheap beef? Feed them cow remnants. Oops. Sorry, BSE!

Consider that 1.2 kilos of Greenhouse Gas are produced just to fly one (1)
single Kiwi fruit from New Zealand to Canada. Just imagine how much GHG
will be emitted by each flight of those new 4 heavy lift military aircraft
which we don't really need.

Various "conservatives" and conservative parties (provincially and
federally) have been standing in the way of meaningful environmental and
climate change progress for decades. The Liberals were no better - afraid
of taking on the file. Harper blasts them quite correctly for "not getting
it done" but fails to add that he, Day, Manning, and certainly Klein (and
we can keep naming names) were always complicit partners in stalling any

The "western" world is by far the largest contributor to the climate
change problem. Not coincidentally, its our decades-old thirst for cheap
energy upon which we built our societies - at the expense of the lives and
quality of life for millions in countries far removed from our
(collective) shores, which is largely responsible for our headline role in
GHG raising emissions and CO2 concentration.

We are all collectively responsible for this. Perhaps the public awareness
of the issue will now force politicians to do the right thing, but I doubt
it. Until catastrophe occurs, humans are likely to look to their
politicians to make them feel good, instead of do good.

Michael Watkins
Vancouver Kingsway

Ian Berg

My question for Climate Change pundits:
How can the United Nations force the largest CO2 emitting countries to
actually cut back rather than continue on as always by simply purchase
credits in the carbon trading market?  Any practical solutions out
there besides the anti-industry, anti-American rhetoric?

Ian Berg
Calgary, AB

Garry Holland

I'm old and pretty cynical/sceptical.
I did however find the attached to be balanced and well worth the read.
Best regards


         PANDEMIC, TERRORISM and GLOBAL WARMING/CLIMATE CHANGE are all pressure points.  Each has a continuing flow of info
        that for some, many, a few have the effect of creating anxieties.
        The UN has issued a report that Global warming is ``very likely'' caused by humans, Climate change unstoppable, Climate change 'unequivocal,' ,
        climate change paints a gloomy picture of rising CO2, and Warming to worsen droughts, floods, storms this century depending upon the headline.

Brian Peckford

If you want more go to or read Bjorn Lomborg's book 'the skeptical environmentalist ' or Michael Crichton's book The State of Fear --and read the bibliography as well -----or his essays and speeches at his website. Google Richard Lindzon and read his presentation to the Us Congressional Committee.
Brian Peckford

William Haines

Subject: Environnement - English

February 1, 2007
Letter to the Editor
Open Letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Subject:            Environmental Targets of the Clean Air Act versus targets of the Kyoto Accord

Our forefathers, over the past 140 years of Canadian history fought many challenging battles, including wars against Fascism and Nazism, to protect the standard of living of all mankind. Today, to continue this standard, we are being challenged by deteriorating events in our environment.

Canadians do not want to wait to 2050 to see results with respect to the improved status of our environment.  Canadians want our various levels of governments to initiate actions now to significantly improve the environment.  We seek important improvements in our environment long before 2050

By staying with the targets of the Clean Air Act, we will have to wait, as is the present situation in our hospitals.  We do not want to wait on another important file, i.e. the environmental file.

That is to say, to have a continually improving standard of living and also a continually improving quality of environment after 2050, the parents of the youth of today together must be willing and motivated now to pick up the environmental struggle for the next generation – our grandchildren – many of whom are not yet born.  Present, and more importantly, future Canadians will be grateful to you for your enhanced action now in the environmental file.

To raise the environmental targets of the Clean Air Act much closer to those targets of the Kyoto Accord, I ask you, in memory of deceased Canadians who have been hard working volunteers in the environmental battles to date, e.g. Anne Piche and Pierre Gariepy of Val Morin, Quebec and the many other Canadian environmentalists in the other provinces and territories of Canada, to answer the petitions of the living and dedicated Canadian environmentalists, who are also voters, across our country.

Canadians’ Standard of Living may well decline due to many cases coming to fruition in the environmental file.  There is now prediction of great flooding caused by global warming and the melting of icebergs.  Because of this flooding millions of people residing in low levels around the world will be displaced. It is now predicted that polar bears will cease to exist in thirty years.  Perma frost in Canada’s far north is melting and it now is only a matter of time before buildings there start to sink, etc. etc. 

It is not an exaggeration that Canadians’ Standard of Living may well decline because of our government’s low level of commitment and low level of acceptable environmental targets, which are not respected on the international scene.  I am sure Mr. Harper, it is not your desire that your place in Canadian history, as Conservative Prime Minister, will be one of inaction on the environmental file, which will also result in the deterioration of our Canadian Standard of Living.

Canadians want now, as a minimum, the Kyoto Accord’s environmental targets to be our environmental objectives.  Canadians demand of their Federal Government to take action to restore our level of respect on the international scene with respect to the environmental file.

The environmental file is going to cost us, one way or another, billions of dollars whether we adhere to the targets of the Kyoto Accord or do not adhere to these targets. Let us spend these billions of tax dollars wisely and correctly.

We Canadians are not prepared to accept now or in the future a worse environment for our loved ones.

Canadians would be greatly impressed if the Conservative Government greatly changed its targets on the environment.

This challenge is a great opportunity for Canadians to develop new technologies to protect and to improve the environment for all mankind.

“Window-dressing” on the environmental file will not fool anyone.  We together must do a 180-degree turn in this important dossier.

“Half-baked” change will not sell.  It must be a true “California style” endeavour in order to sell to all Quebecers (environmentalists and non-environmentalists).  This applies equally to the rest of Canada.  Today, there are fewer and fewer non-environmentalists.  It is now politically incorrect to be a non-environmentalist.  You drive or, I should say are driven in a sport utility vehicle.  Please, don’t tell Canadians that “the RCMP makes me do this”.    With the Arar case, the RCMP has lost their credibility.  Anything that you or Mrs. Harper drive, or are driven in within Canada, “to set the example for all Canadians” should be a hybrid vehicle; if not a more friendly environmental vehicle. 

Canadians will not think less of you for having reconsidered your decision on targets for our environment and your acting to significantly enhance the environmental targets of the Clean Air Act.

Yes, Canadians, like our forefathers, are willing to make sacrifices for the successful realization of the Kyoto Accord objectives in order to protect, continue and improve the Canadian way of living for our future generations and also for new aspiring immigrants to Canada. 

Are there any Canadian politicians up to the challenge to lead and to inspire the people of Canada for this noble objective?

Quebec environmentalists and those Quebecers who are not environmentalists but cynics demand of their Federal government change of substance not change of form in the environmental file.

William (Bill) T. Haines
Pointe Claire  QC

Member of
Parc Regionale Dufresne, Val David, QC
Plein Aire Val Morin, Val Morin, Qc

Subject: environnement - Francais

1er Février 2007

Lettre à l’Éditeur

Lettre ouverte au Premier Ministre Stephen Harper

Sujet : Les objectifs environnementaux de l’Acte sur la qualité de l’Air Pur (Clean Air Act) versus les objectifs de l’Accord de Kyoto.

Nos ancêtres, qui ont marqué l’histoire du Canada depuis 140 ans, ont relevé de nombreux défis et se sont sacrifiés dans les guerres contre le  Facisme et le Nazisme, qu’ils ont gagné haut la main et avec raison afin de proteger le niveau de vie de toute l’humanité. Aujourd’hui pour maintenir ce standard, on doit lutter contre la détérioration de notre environnement.

Les Canadiens d’aujourd’hui ne veulent pas attendre jusqu’en 2050 pour voir des résultats concrets sur l’amélioration de l’environnement. Les Canadiens veulent que les différents paliers de nos gouvernements prennent des initiatives concrètes pour améliorer dès maintenant notre environnement, et nous désirons que ces changements à notre environnement arrivent bien avant 2050.

En maintenant les objectifs de cet accord, soit l’Acte sur la Qualité de l’Air Pur, nous allons être obligé d’attendre, comme on le fait présentement dans nos hopitaux, mais cette fois-ci nous ne voulons plus rester passif devant un enjeux si important, celui de l’environnement.

Pour ainsi dire, si nous voulons améliorer de façon continue notre niveau de vie et également celui de l’environnement avant 2050, les parents et nos enfants d’aujourd’hui doivent se mettre d’accord maintenant et se motiver ensemble pour entreprendre ce combat pour l’environnement pour notre prochaine génération – nos petits-enfants et ceux à venir. Mais le plus important ce sera la reconnaissance des futurs Canadiens envers vous pour vos actions concrètes dans le dossier sur l’environnement.

Je vous demande, au nom de tous ces pionniers canadiens décédés et qui se sont battus pour la cause de l’environnement, tels que : Anne Piché et Pierre Gariepy de Val Morin, Qc et tous les autres Canadiens des autres provinces et territoires, d’écouter les pétitions de tous ces autres environnementalistes canadiens, qui sont également des électeurs, sur la nécessité de relever le niveau de standard de l’Acte sur sur la qualité de l’Air Pur pour se rapprocher le plus près possible des objectifs de l’Accord de Kyoto.

Le niveau de vie des Canadiens pourrait péricliter dû à tous ces bouleversements climatiques. On prévoit de grandes inondations causées par le réchauffement global et la fonte des glaciers, ce qui entrainera une plus grande salinité des eaux et le déplacement de millions de gens vivant sur des terres près ou sous le niveau de mer actuel. D’ici 30 ans on prédit la disparition des ours polaires. La couche glacée (pergélisol) dans nos régions antartiques fond de plus en plus et c’est une question de temps avant que les structures commencent à s’enfoncer……etc., etc.

On pourrait dire sans exagérer que le niveau de vie des Canadiens sera grandement affecté par le faible niveau des engagements de notre gouvernement envers les objectifs environnementaux et le non respect des normes tel qu’établi dans l’Accord de Kyoto. Je suis sûr M. Harper qu’en tant que Premier Ministre du Canada, vous n’aimeriez pas voir votre nom dans l’histoire du Canada comme celui qui a dirigé un gouvernement d’inaction en matière de politiques environnementales et qui a mené à la détérioration du niveau de vie de vos concitoyens.

Les Canadiens exigent maintenant et rien de moins que les objectifs de l’Accord de Kyoto deviennent le seul standard acceptable. Les Canadiens demandent au Gouvernement Fédéral de prendre action pour rebatir son image sur la scène internationale sur le dossier de l’environnement.

D’une manière ou d’un autre, tous ces changements nécessaires pour protéger l’environnement vont couter des milliards de dollars, que nous adhérons ou pas aux objectifs de Kyoto. Trouvons le moyen de dépenser cet argent d’une façon à ce que tous les Canadiens et la génération future puissent vivre dans un environnement sain et propice à son développement.

Nous, les Canadiens ne sommes pas prêts d’accepter maintenant ou dans le futur une détérioration de l’environnement pour notre génération à venir.

Les Canadiens seraient grandement impressionnés si le Gouvernement Conservateur modifiait ses objectifs en matière d’environnement.

Ce défi offre une opportunité à tous les Canadiens de développer de nouvelles technologies afin de protéger et d’améliorer l’environnement pour toute l’humanité.

Un maquillage superficiel dans le dossier de l’environnement ne dupera personne. Nous devons tous ensemble faire un virage à 180 dégrée pour réaliser ce changement.

Les ``demi-mesure`` ne sont plus vendeurs. Ca doit être un vrai virage ``style Californien`` pour être acceptable par tous les Québécois, qu’ils soient environnementalistes ou pas, et ceçi s’applique également au reste du Canada. Ce n’est plus politiquement acceptable d’être un non-environnementaliste de nos jours. Vous conduisez, ou plutot vous êtes conduit dans un véhicule de type utilité sport. S.V.P. ne dites surtout pas aux Canadiens que c’est la G.R.C. qui vous oblige d’utiliser ce type de véhicule. Depuis l’affaire Arar, la G.R.C. a perdu toute sa crédibilité. Vous et Madame Harper devriez donner l’exemple à tous les Canadiens en adoptant un véhicule hybride pour vos déplacements au Canada.

Les Canadiens n’en penseront pas moins de vous parce que vous avez reconsidéré votre décision sur les objectifs environnementaux et de vos actions pour améliorer grandement les objectifs contenus dans l’Accord sur la Qualité de l’Air Pur.

Oui, les Canadiens tout comme nos ancêtres, sont prêts à faire des sacrifices afin de continuer à protéger et à améliorer le niveau de vie Canadien pour notre génération future et pour tous les immigrants qui aspirent à venir s’établir au Canada.

Y a-t-il un ou des politiciens Canadiens prêts à relever ce défi et en mesure d’inspirer les Canadiens à cette noble cause?

Les environnementalistes québécois et tous les autres Québécois non environnementalistes mais plutot cyniques demandent au Gouvernement Fédéral des changements en substance et non sur la forme dans le dossier de l’environnement.

William (Bill) T. Haines
Pointe-Claire, Qc.

Membre du Parc Régional Dufresne, Val David, Qc.
Plein Aire Val Morin, Val Morin, Qc.   

Real Gagne


Having already passed the three score and ten a few years ago, I'm with you in skepticism.

Is the climate changing to a warmer mode?  My totally unscientific guess would be, yes.  Is this exclusively the result of human-generated greenhouse gas emissions, as the doomsayers now proclaim from a variety of pulpits, I very much doubt it.  The part of Alberta where I now live was once the bottom a shallow tropical sea at a time when there were no pesky humans around to contribute to climate change of any kind.  And some twenty-five thousand years ago this same spot was under some two thousand feet of glacial ice, again when there weren't enough humans around to make a difference.  Also, I remember reading somewhere that England was once a significant wine exporter in the early middle ages, something it is now too cold to accomplish.  So climate does indeed change, without the necessary influence of man.  This could be happening now.

So, for the moment, I'm a skeptic.


Caspar Davis

Subject: Global Dimming

Hi Joe,

I haven't had time to respond to your Pressure Points. I hope to do so today.

In the meantime, this is the best explanation of global dimming I have seen.

As things stand, CO2 levels are projected to rise strongly over coming decades, whereas there are encouraging signs that particle pollution is at last being brought under control. "We're going to be in a situation, unless we act, where the cooling pollutant is dropping off while the warming pollutant is going up. That means we'll get reduced cooling and increased heating at the same time and that's a problem for us," says Cox.


This BBC documentary is accessible online

We are all seeing rather less of the Sun. Scientists looking at five decades of sunlight measurements have reached the disturbing conclusion that the amount of solar energy reaching the Earth's surface has been gradually falling. Paradoxically, the decline in sunlight may mean that global warming is a far greater threat to society than previously thought.

The effect was first spotted by Gerry Stanhill, an English scientist working in Israel. Comparing Israeli sunlight records from the 1950s with current ones, Stanhill was astonished to find a large fall in solar radiation. "There was a staggering 22% drop in the sunlight, and that really amazed me," he says.

Intrigued, he searched out records from all around the world, and found the same story almost everywhere he looked, with sunlight falling by 10% over the USA, nearly 30% in parts of the former Soviet Union, and even by 16% in parts of the British Isles. Although the effect varied greatly from place to place, overall the decline amounted to 1-2% globally per decade between the 1950s and the 1990s.

Gerry called the phenomenon global dimming, but his research, published in 2001, met with a sceptical response from other scientists. It was only recently, when his conclusions were confirmed by Australian scientists using a completely different method to estimate solar radiation, that climate scientists at last woke up to the reality of global dimming.

Dimming appears to be caused by air pollution. Burning coal, oil and wood, whether in cars, power stations or cooking fires, produces not only invisible carbon dioxide (the principal greenhouse gas responsible for global warming) but also tiny airborne particles of soot, ash, sulphur compounds and other pollutants.

This visible air pollution reflects sunlight back into space, preventing it reaching the surface. But the pollution also changes the optical properties of clouds. Because the particles seed the formation of water droplets, polluted clouds contain a larger number of droplets than unpolluted clouds. Recent research shows that this makes them more reflective than they would otherwise be, again reflecting the Sun's rays back into space.

Scientists are now worried that dimming, by shielding the oceans from the full power of the Sun, may be disrupting the pattern of the world's rainfall. There are suggestions that dimming was behind the droughts in sub-Saharan Africa which claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in the 1970s and 1980s. There are disturbing hints the same thing may be happening today in Asia, home to half the world's population. "My main concern is global dimming is also having a detrimental impact on the Asian monsoon," says Prof Veerhabhadran Ramanathan, one of the world's leading climate scientists. "We are talking about billions of people."

But perhaps the most alarming aspect of global dimming is that it may have led scientists to underestimate the true power of the greenhouse effect. They know how much extra energy is being trapped in the Earth's atmosphere by the extra carbon dioxide (CO2) we have placed there. What has been surprising is that this extra energy has so far resulted in a temperature rise of just 0.6°C.

This has led many scientists to conclude that the present-day climate is less sensitive to the effects of carbon dioxide than it was, say, during the ice age, when a similar rise in CO2 led to a temperature rise of 6°C. But it now appears the warming from greenhouse gases has been offset by a strong cooling effect from dimming - in effect two of our pollutants have been cancelling each other out. This means that the climate may in fact be more sensitive to the greenhouse effect than thought.

If so, then this is bad news, according to Dr Peter Cox, one of the world's leading climate modellers. As things stand, CO2 levels are projected to rise strongly over coming decades, whereas there are encouraging signs that particle pollution is at last being brought under control. "We're going to be in a situation, unless we act, where the cooling pollutant is dropping off while the warming pollutant is going up. That means we'll get reduced cooling and increased heating at the same time and that's a problem for us," says Cox.

Even the most pessimistic forecasts of global warming may now have to be drastically revised upwards. That means a temperature rise of 10°C by 2100 could be on the cards, giving the UK a climate like that of North Africa, and rendering many parts of the world uninhabitable.

That is unless we act urgently to curb our emissions of greenhouse gases.

Larry Storm

Subject: environmental concerns

Good morning Joe.

  I read with great interest all the deniers reports that you forwarded to me everyone.  I am very concerned about the environment, and the footprints we leave for future generations.

  I think it is agreed by all scientists that global warming exists and that the main culprit is man.

  I saw the Al Gore video and he suggested that if certain ice sheets melted that the sea level would go up 40 feet.  But I also heard that if ALL the ice on the planet melted that the sea level would go up only six feet.  A thirty four foot difference could be a big deal.

  I agree that the environmentalist leaning scientists never account mans ability to adapt and innovate.  Holland has always been a great example of man's ability to tame the sea.

  I do agree that science still does not have all the facts to determine whether global warming as a whole is a good or bad thing.

  What I think is that we need to worry more about the resource debt that we are creating.  I read in Popular Science that futurists predict that one day every resource on earth will be used up.  We will one day run out of crude oil, minerals and every other non renewable resource that permits us to have all the luxuries that we have.  And even when that happens the necessity will be the mother of invention again and our adaptability will be prominently displayed.

  But I do think that we do need to make very conscious decisions that can reduce our impact on the environment.  I've heard that changing to compact florescent light bulbs saves billions in energy costs.

  It was suggested shortly after 9/11 that big SUV's supported terrorism.  I hate the idea of spending 89 cents a litre for gas, so why are so many people buying such big cars when something smaller is just as safe as a big car gets the same job done, and costs less to own.

  I think it boils down to making conscious decisions to reduce our personal resource debt.

  Here's an idea I had shortly after seeing the Al Gore video.  According to Gore, lakes all over the world are drying up, especially in locations of high population density.  This would cost trillions of dollars and one day the need to build it may arise.  If the oceans are to rise 40 feet, then how hard would it be to build a tunnel to bring in ocean water and then desalinate it to augment the naturally occurring  fresh water.  I thought that places in the world like Lake Mead in Nevada, Lake Chad in Africa and the Caspian sea would be ideal locations to venture such a large undertaking.  After all the Romans did it 2500 years ago with their system of aqueducts.

 Anyway just a few things to think about.


10 “Smart Green” Ideas for Reducing Greenhouse Gases

In Brief:

    * Wealth creation is a necessary condition of environmental improvement.
    * There is no shortage of ways to be both smart and green.
    * Removing subsidies and improving the regulatory climate for transportation provide several of them.
    * Clear principles provide a template for successful environmental policy.

It is one of Canada’s great policy ironies. Our environment has never been better, yet public dialogue on the subject verges on the apocalyptic, and governments are under pressure to “do something now.” A religious eco-fundamentalism oblivious to evidence is setting the stage for considerable mischief. It’s therefore imperative to find ways to improve our environment without old-style, “command and control” methods that restrict freedom and diminish wealth creation. Thankfully, there is no shortage of ways to be both smart and green.

First, the silent good news. Over the last few decades, new technologies and higher wealth levels have enabled significant improvements in air and water quality. More efficient agriculture allows us to produce food with a smaller footprint, which protects Canada’s vast forests and wilderness areas. Our cities are investing in environmental infrastructure like sewer and water plants. Petroleum markets are working as they should, to reflect future scarcity by increasing prices and make carbon dumping more expensive.

Despite having achieved the highest levels of environmental quality in the history of mankind, developed countries are obsessing over wild predictions of catastrophic flooding and disease pandemics. Excoriated for demurring on the Kyoto accord’s lethal changes to Canada’s lifestyle and economy, the federal Conservatives are striving to brush up their green credentials with “me too” junk regulations.

Face it, folks. Taking all the cars off Canada’s roads would get us only halfway to Kyoto’s targets for greenhouse gas reductions. Raising the price of energy through carbon taxes in developed countries would progressively push energy-intensive industries to relocate in Kyoto exempted countries like China. This is why Australia and the United States, which have little interest in economic suicide, rejected Kyoto. To deflect criticism over its abandonment of Kyoto, Harper’s Conservatives are offering some minor moves, like tax deductions for transit passes and a raft of strict regulations dealing with minutiae like lawnmower and snowmobile emissions.

Treading down the tired path of 1970s-style top-down, regulatory models that expand government’s bureaucratic whimsy will make our environmental programs more intrusive, but no more effective. But creative ways to increase our energy efficiency and reduce so-called “greenhouse gases,” broad, frequently counter-intuitive measures that help both the environment and the economy without expanding government or reducing human freedom, do exist. Here are 10:

1) Promote Telecommuting

High-speed internet access is revolutionizing patterns of work, shopping and living. Home-based entrepreneurs and workers now outnumber transit users in many communities. Telecommuters are environmentally benign, with zero impact on fossil-fuel consumption, greenhouse-gas emissions, accident rates, air pollution or peak-hour congestion. They represent the future, the emerging technologically dispersed economy. Decision-makers should stop obsessing with policies that look to the past – mass transit, “containing” sprawl and building up centre cities – and focus on the future, by moving public services online and encouraging video-conferencing, telemedicine and distance education. They should accommodate the extension of high-speed Internet service to rural and remote areas, maximize provider competition and otherwise create zoning and tax reforms that accommodate telecommuters.

2) Remove hidden subsidies that depress energy prices.

In theory, carbon taxes stimulate less demand by raising energy prices. But a “smart green” approach would avoid this difficult political territory by simply removing existing, but hidden, subsidies. One example is government–owned municipal or provincial power utilities exempt from paying income tax and GST. More complicated are policies that subsidize their debt financing and deliberately accept a below-market return on equity. The solution is to impose a nominal equivalent charge for these subsidies to increase prices to market levels, or, more elegantly, simply privatize the assets to make them pay their fair share of taxes and carry the true cost of capital.

3) Cut federal equalization subsidies for cheap electricity in Québec and Manitoba.

Government-owned power monopolies in Manitoba, Québec and B.C. keep hydro prices low for political reasons. This results in artificially high consumption of a clean energy resource which, if exported instead, would displace dirtier forms of energy. A low price also discourages other forms of renewable energy like wind, bio-mass and bio-gas energy and forces governments to hand out subsidies so they can look “green.” The subsidies in Ottawa’s equalization program help both Québec and Manitoba to sell a valuable resource far below market prices. The answer? Reduce equalization payments to those provinces by the difference between market and subsidized prices.

4) Improve Traffic Flows

Speed, convenience and affordability mean that the car will remain the dominant mode of transportation. Stop-and-go driving increases both fuel consumption and exhaust emissions. Cities can counter that by deploying the latest technology to better synchronize traffic flows and by separating roadways with overpasses, underpasses and four-leaf clovers wherever possible to eliminate traffic lights. Smoother traffic flows from refinements like these increase average speeds to more efficient levels resulting in substantial environmental benefits.

5) Expand Car Scrappage Programs

Automobile fuel efficiency is rising and our environment benefits as we retire older, more polluting cars, from our roads. Various Canadian jurisdictions have so-called scrappage programs which provide a small subsidy to take polluting wrecks off the road. These programs should be expanded.

6) Cabotage Rights for Truckers

A recent study from the University of Manitoba’s Transport Institute discusses how archaic regulations prohibit American and Canadian truckers from the right of cabotage – picking up a new load and carrying it to another destination within the other country. Instead the truck must drive back empty until it crosses the border. Empty trucks waste time and gasoline and produce emissions to move nothing at all. Our free-trading economies should embrace cabotage.

7) Smarter bio-energy

Ethanol is the policy fashion of the day and politicians are stampeding to subsidize it. Its environmental pedigree is marginal at best, because it produces much less energy output per unit of energy input than other forms of bio-energy. Pelletized biofuels turn Prairie grasses into combustible heating fuels that generate few greenhouse gases and produce far more net energy gain. Policy could assist the fuel pellet industry, for example, by retrofitting heating systems in schools, hospitals and other government infrastructure to get the ball rolling on this much needed green energy alternative.

8) Pay farmers to conserve the land

If we value stewardship of the land then we should pay farmers for it. ”Alternate Land Use Services” provide a means for government to compensate them for altering their behaviour to place ecological values in the mix. If farmers preserve a wetland or other habitats, , in short, if they act as responsible stewards, ALUS provides a means of paying them for that positive effort. Such conservation incentives are encouraged under world trade rules and Canada is the only industrialized country without such a program.

9) Help end global farm subsidies

Both Europe and the U.S. dish out billions in farm subsidy programs every year to grow mountains of surplus product, consuming fuel and producing unnecessary emissions. Our politicians have repeatedly caved in to Canada’s highly organized supply-management lobby, thus assisting the recent failure of Doha round of talks aimed at curbing farm subsidies. We need to reform farm policy at home to boost the prospect for reversing environmentally deleterious farm policy abroad.

10) Nuclear Power?

On the environmental front, this is the elephant in the room. Despite its mixed record on operating efficiency and cost, nuclear power produces zero greenhouse gases. It deserves another careful look.

These ten “smart green” ideas make sense because they conform to tried and true principles for superior environmental policy. They will produce real improvement, not just “good feelings,” and they use incentives and new technology to accomplish it, not mandates. They include human needs in the calculation of costs and benefits, and recognize that clumsy government programs often cause more environmental harm than they’re worth.

Most importantly, these ideas recognize that the key to a cleaner world is wealth creation. As the failure of governments around the world to endorse or comply with Kyoto-style directives proves, there is no political constituency demanding a less affluent society. It’s not smart to be poor. When the environmental movement incorporates that thought, we will all be smart green.

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