Friday, June 29, 2007

Supreme Court upholds ban on Tobacco Ads

Because it has been shown that tobacco - smoking, chewing, 2nd hand smoke - is detrimental to public health and costs taxpayers through health problems treated under medicare.

Automobiles pollute the atmosphere - undisputed.
Autos produce greenhouse gases - undisputed.
People die in auto accidents - undisputed.
Autos consume valuable, irreplaceable oil stocks - undisputed.
People only buy huge pick-up trucks and muscle cars because of the image created in TV ads - probable, but companies buying strictly for business purposes aren't likely to be swayed by TV ads during the Super Bowl or Monday night Football broadcasts, are they?

Isn't it about time we banned automobile advertising because it is detrimental to the health of the planet and all who live on it?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Vancouver wants to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 1/3

That's easy. All they have to do is turn down the lights - street lights that is.
Street lights are by far the greatest single electricity use in a city, more than any single industry.

Can city dwellers learn to live with a little less illumination?
It's that, or live with the consequences of global warming.
In addition, leaving the lights on just burns up existing fuel suppllies that much faster, hastening the end of the petrochemical age.

Calgary has in motion a plan to replace all their street lights, currently, those yellow sodium vapour beauties, with low wattage LED bulbs. They expect to recover the capital cost of the new bulbs with electricity savings as the program is completed in two or three years.

Ironically, Calgary buys electricty generated by burning coal while Vancouver uses Hydro-generated power.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

A Letter to the Editor

The Editor,
Glenn Mitchell,
The Morning Star,
4407 – 25th Ave.
Vernon, BC.

June, 25th, 2007

Dear Sir,

Re: June17, 2007 - Federal Tories sponsor car #29 at Mosport.

No Government can be taken seriously when speaking about reducing greenhouse gas emissions, dealing with global warming or dealing with the depletion of oil stocks, when its members also endorse NASCAR racing.
At Sunday’s NASCAR Canadian Tire Series event at Mosport (Ontario), Federal Tories, including Citizenship and Immigration Minister Diane Finley, sponsored car #29 – a Dodge Charger driven by Pierre Bourque.
NASCAR is a circus, which has one purpose – to promote the sale of high-powered engines, and petroleum products consumed rapaciously by those engines. The byproducts are greenhouse gases and noise, so really it is a good mix for politicians.

If you care about the environment, these are not the people you want in parliament enacting laws and spending our tax dollars.


Monday, June 18, 2007

I watched CNN this morning at about 8:30am. It consisted of footage of flash flooding damage in Texas, destruction in the Middle East, deaths and injuries from street drag racing and other mayhem, all sponsored by car commercials.
We don’t need to see the misery and suffering of people in Texas since nothing we can do can prevent it, unless you think flash-flooding is worse because of human-caused climate change.
We don’t need to see the dead bodies on the street and hear the panicked commentary from observers who watched the dragster careen off the telephone pole and into a crowd of spectators – unless you think banning drag racing and other auto sport would help ease human-caused climate change.
We don’t need to see the death and misery in the Middle East either, unless you think that it is caused by war over petroleum deposits which may be themselves the cause of human-caused climate change.
And least of all do we need to see the commercials for a Dodge Ram 3500 truck or super-fast, fun-to-drive sports cars which are, beyond doubt, contributing to climate change.

Btw, the Federal Tories just sponsored a Dodge Charger stock car in a Canadian NASCAR race at Mosport on the past weekend. Now that's government leadership!


Gordon Bell, genius researcher at Microsoft in San Francisco is fastidiously recording his whole life, or at least all his e-mails, correspondence, papers, books, photos, in part because memory is so cheap now – a tera-byte hard drive goes for about $500 retail. This may relieve him of having to remember a “bunch of stuff.”


June 18th 2007 - CBC
Bruce Party of Queen’s University, Economic Law, said – no point to Kyota. It requires a Global Treaty, including major contributing polluters.
“We still live in an industrial civilization. The major feature of an industrial civilization is that.. economic activity is related to use of fossil fuels. .. Economic prosperity is directly linked to fossil-fuel use.”

A subsidy-free energy market.

Changing to more energy efficient light bulbs is a waste of time and energy, and because it distracts us from the problem by making us think that we are helping, it harms us. Get rid of the notion that you can solve climate change by nickel and diming your way towards Kyoto.

The premise of Kyoto is way off base. Developing countries must be allowed to catch up.”

That is racial suicide.

India and China produce hugely more greenhouse gases than Canada.
Perhaps a brutal example would serve to illustrate:
Reducing Canada’s per capita emissions by 50% by 2050 would be the equivalent of removing half the population or about 16 million people.

If Canadians produce 4 times more, no let’s be generous, say five times more greenhouse gas than Chinese, then to match Canada’s cuts under Kyoto, China would have to lose 80 million people. Then we would made equal sacrifices towards solving the problem. However, to put this in perpective, Canada would then have a population of 16 million people (about what we had in 1957,) while China’s population would have been reduced from a current 1,400 million people (1.4B) to a paltry 1,320 million people (1.32B)


Global warming has the potential to cause World War Three.
China, India and other developing countries aren’t going to give up their dream of a life like we have in the West. They want fridges and stoves and air conditioning and the freedom granted by automobiles. This development of industrial economies means the increased use of energy. They will not refrain from using coal, oil, natural gas as fuels.

Oil resources are increasingly scarcer, DAY-BY-DAY, as we have passed peak oil production in the world.

They will fight over control of these resources, JUST AS THE USA IS DOING NOW in the Middle East.

Tensions will escalate. Politicians and dictators alike will see that they have nothing to lose by using military force. Some will use tactical nuclear weapons. The consequences of this can be imagined by anyone who has watched the Middle East power struggle since Israel was established in 1948.


White #29 car sponsored by Federal Conservatives – Idiots. This will go down as yet another huge political blunder by the Federal Conservatives. Not only does it clearly signal that they have no interest in achieving goals defined under the Kyoto accord because nothing could more clearly demonstrate a complete disregard for the value of oil as the profligate waste symbolized by motor sport. NASCAR celebrates the global warming crisis and their complete ignorance of the crisis by burning up hundreds of gallons of precious petroleum products in a two-hour long spectacle of high-powered cars uselessly, racing around an oval. The whole point of which is to sell more high-powered, gas-guzzling automobiles. What could be a more despicable display of carbon fuel waste?
Our politicians really know how to pick their causes.


7 Canadian children were saved from a kiddy-porn ring along with 24 other children.
24 people were arrested.
This sting / arrest / investigation cost the taxpayer hundreds of thousands of dollars, during which time thousands of children starved to death in Sudan and dozens of corrupt criminals profited by diverting UN supplies into black market sales.
7 children were killed yesterday in Afghanistan during fighting.

Dozens of homeless were put out on the streets by the closing of a shelter.


Nuclear plant to be built in Grande Prairie region.

To produce hot water to loosen up oil shale deposits west of the Alberta Tarsands a nuclear power plant will be built in that region. Oil will become increasingly valuable as a source of lubricants and for chemicals produced from petroleum beyond its use as cheap fuel.


John Mighton, The End of Ignorance, released today.
Kids have much more ability in math than it appears.


First Global Warming Lawsuit Filed Against Government of Canada
29 May 2007

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Saturday June 16th

Last evening, Friday, I rode the bike out to Armstrong to Eileen's house 27kms at 29kph.
It was calm, clear, mild, perfect for a bike ride.

This morning, I rode the bike 47kms from Armstrong to Vernon via the Yankee Flats store.
Sunny day to start, no wind, perfect for the bike ride.
Then 30 minutes after I got to Vernon it started to rain. Bummer.
I was looking forward to a dip in the lake then a few hours of work to make some money, but I wussed out of visiting prospective clients in the downpour.
Maybe I'm not cut out for riches.
As Gertrude Stein said,
"Of course I want to be rich,
I just don't want to do what there is to do to become rich."

Thursday, June 14, 2007

World Fresh Water Crisis

"Twenty-two countries in Africa are without [safe drinking] water. People just have no access. South Africa is in very, very serious trouble. [In] many parts of Latin America, although there is water, the ordinary people have no access to water unless they're wealthy. Mexico City is running out of water; the whole Mexican Valley is in serious trouble. China is paying for its economic miracle, becoming the economic superpower of the world, so-called, by destroying its water tables. Two thirds of the cities in northern China are now in severe water scarcity situations. Seventy-five percent of all of India's rivers and waterways are polluted beyond use, as are 80 percent of China's."

"To me, this water crisis is the comet. It's here. … [T]he human family, the Earth is about to experience a water crisis of monumental proportions. It is, in my opinion, the worst, most frightening environmental threat that exists, more than climate change, more than the oceans, more than anything. This is the one."

Source: Maude Barlow, Chairperson of the Council of Canadians
November 5, 2004

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Daughter of Erin

Called a meddlesome witch by the Brits,
this black-haired beauty, pride of County Claire,
this daughter of Erin, this Nightingale,
stole the heart of young William whose air
praised her walk, and the stones beneath her feet.
She cast off the crone
to stride as a Queen,
did young Kathleen.
But Billy did not win her hand; this water hyacinth,
with her labyrinthine lust,
and in-your-face politics,
did time in Holloway,
her youth martyred by an unjust Crown.
Iseult, and Geroges, by Lucien,
gave silent testimony to the strength
of her patriotism. Though she lost her husband
and her youth to British greed and cruelty,
she gave it willingly. Now interred in Glasnevin,
with Pearse and Plunkett,
her beauty is her legacy.

This poem about Maude Gonne, the unrequited love of William Butler Yeats, I have posted in response to Library Princess's post of a poem about Yeats by W.H.Auden.
Oh, btw, I wrote it, for whatever that is worth.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Coal’s Knockout Blow To Kyoto:

“By 2012, expected cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions under the Kyoto treaty will be swamped by emissions from a surge of new coal-fired plants built in China, India, and the United States.”


The desire for profit is overwhelming the desire to produce clean electricity.
China is planning the construction of 562 coal-fired generating plants by 2012. They will use traditional “dirty” coal-burning technology. There is no economic incentive to use Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) technology which extracts sulphur and CO2 before it goes up the stack - but which plants cost 15%-25% more than traditional, less efficient, designs.

India is planning 213 similar plants and the US 72 plants.

Kyoto countries by that year are supposed to have cut their CO2 emissions by some 483 million tons by 2012. These 850 new plants will produce about 2.7 billion tons of CO2.

This alone peels the death knell of Kyoto agreements.

The cover story on this month’s Discover magazine asks, Can the world survive the return to coal?

If IGCC technology is employed in the pre-burning phase AND if efficient emissions scrubbers are used at the exhaust phase, coal-fired electricity generation plants could replace petroleum fueled plants, thus deferring the energy crisis another 250 years based on current coal reserve estimates, BUT currently there is no incentive to do this. They will build dirty ones anyway because the consumer demands electricity to power their fridges, TVs, washers & dryers, next their hybrid cars and, oh yes, the streetlights!

Better invest in companies manufacturing SCUBA gear!
Cf, John Brunner’s dystopic masterpiece: Stand On Zanzibar.

Additional sources:

Monday, June 11, 2007

Reason #2 why US / Canada won't be Kyoto compliant anytime soon!

The City of Calgary is currently replacing its streetlights with low – wattage bulbs citing the following:

"Energy prices reached an all time high in
January 2001. The streetlight system is
The City's single largest electricity
consumer. The City needed to find a way
to reduce costs in operating the streetlight
system. By going to lower wattage fixtures,
we will use less energy which will help
keep operating costs down. Using less
electricity reduces the greenhouse gas
emissions from gas and coal-burning
generators. When all the residential
streetlights have been replaced, carbon
dioxide emissions will be reduced by
approximately 16,000 tonnes a year."


Commendable. However..

At the same time we must recognize the growth that is taking place in cities not only in North America but also the rest of the world. The world when viewed from space is spectacular. We see cities lit up at night for security reasons, glowing brightly. 90% (or some large number) of the populace is sleeping. We are lighting the cityscape for the criminals and the security forces employed to protect us against them.

As the quote form the City of Calgary above notes:

"The streetlight system is the City's single largest electricity

The SINGLE LARGEST CONSUMER of electricity is the streetlight system. Security of property and persons is undeniably an important concern, and not until the devastation implied by global warming is realized will citizens and property owners act to turn out the lights. Only when they have weighed the relative costs inherent in the two scenarios will they act.

Worse, 90% of electricity in Alberta is produced by burning COAL.

On the one hand there is the actual cost of loss to property through break-ins under cover of darkness, and other night time crimes, including muggings, etc.

On the other hand is the more widespread and insidious costs of global warming, such as higher food costs, water shortages, losses due to fires (uncontrolled because of water shortages) and so on. Actually the list is extensive but space prevents me listing all of them here.

At present, you can sleep soundly in Calgary because you can park your new SUV under a streetlight where it will be safe – thieves prefer to steal cars parked under cover of darkness. Of course if you didn't drive a gas-guzzling, CO2 emitting monster in the first place, and went to bed at a decent hour you wouldn't need the street lights in the first place. But that would be a lifestyle change wouldn't it?

Only when it is realized that ignoring global warming will cost more than keeping the lights burning all night will people be willing to turn out the night lights and return to what it was like in the 19th century – when there were only 1 or 2 billion people on the planet. Overpopulation is an intrinsic part of the climate change / global warming problem, but that's for another post, another day.

Friday, June 8, 2007

Kyoto is a Fraud

Global Energy Crisis: Why the US won't play along.

Worried voices can be heard around the world these days, speaking in strident tones about the horrors of climate change. They demand that the G8+5 summit in Heleigendamm next month for example, be about action, action taken to reduce carbon emissions by forced agreement. The U.S. is balking at this saying that remedies must take the form of technological solutions rather than by forced measures.

The American position is understandable enough, given that their economy would suffer dramatically if carbon-reduction measures were forced on it. The U.S. is top dog in the world at the moment and it would be foolish to think that they will give that up without a fight. Isn't that exactly what they are proving in Iraq and Afghanistan? While the military action in the Middle East is ostensibly and idealogical conflict fought against the bogey-man of the "terrorist," and while nobody is saying it, the real reson why the U.S. is there and why they aren't leaving anytime soon, maybe never, is oil. Peak oil production in the continental U.S. was reached in 1969 (see Hubbert report: and world oil production is predicted to be reached by 2010. This means the cost of retrieving each barrel of oil from then on is going to become increasingly more difficult and expensive, so the value of oil reserves that are relatively easy and cheap become more valuable. They lie in the Arab countries of the Middle East. No superpower can afford to let those reserves fall under the complete control of regimes antagonistic to their cultural agenda.

The American cultural agenda can be read by viewing the commercial messages aired every 15 minutes on network television. It is an agenda of motor vehicles using petroleum products, drugs derived from petroleum and other products from plastic disposable diapers to processed foods derived from or packaged in plastics, themselves derived from petroleum products.

The voices heard around the world should be worried. Americans aren't giving up their suburban lifestyle anytime soon. And the alternative is worse.

Coal gas has long been known as a source of energy, pharmaceuticals, plastics, and chemicals necessary to industry. Many regions produce their electricity by burning coal. Any reduction in the use of petroleum products will likely result in an increase of coal usage. Coal burning produces more greenhouse gases than does burning oil. In addition it is higher in sulphur and other deadly pollutants.

But back to the U.S. and global warming.
The threat assessment of global warming has included: disruptive weather in the form of violent storms, flooding, wind damage, altered growing seasons leading to crop failures, even long-lasting drought. None of these threats are greater in the minds of the White House and the American people, than the thought of the end of the era of the automobile. It is a nation founded on personal freedoms and the automobile has become the over-riding symbol of that freedom. To be unable to "get away" from your problems by going for a drive, or unable to go visit a loved one anytime you feel like it, or to have access to a resource (like food) simply by hopping in your vehicle and going to get it, is anathema to the American way of thinking, and contra-indicated by their whole social planning strategy, centred as it is, on suburban living. They would rather give up unassisted breathing than give up their automobiles, and that is exactly what they will be doing if they start using coal as an alternative source of fuel. People in Taiwan and mainland China wear surgical masks as they walk down the city streets or travel by motor scooter about their daily lives, because the air is harmful to breathe. This is the fate of North American cities. Like the frog boiling gradually in the pot of water as the heat is turned up, we, the citizens of North America, just like those in Asia, will asphyxiate ourselves before we give up the automobile and its associated freedoms.

Therefore, we may conclude that the U.S. government will not untertake ant action that will mean the reduction in the use of the personal vehicle by its citizens. The dynamic isn't as simple as the political rhetoric: we serve the people and they want their cars. It is more subtle. The government, any government, exists to serve its dominant class (see John Ralston Saul, Voltaire's Bastards for a fuller exposition). In the Western nations and increasingly throughout the world the dominant class has become the corporation. The corporations sell goods and services and influence the government with huge amounts of cash and considerations at the personal, party and public levels as well as intense lobbying by highly proficient professionals. These corporate interests profit by pandering to the tastes of the multitudes without regard to their direct well-being. The corporation after all is designed to look after the well being of only one group: their stockholders, and the stockholders typically want only one thing: profit.

Technological solutions to the coming oil shortage will be found. Given that massive profits can be had by pandering to the comforts of the masses as in cheap, personal transportation, the solutions likley won't be "Green", ie. Friendly to the environment, polar bears and such. However, declining air quality has a more insidious effect. In Silent Spring, Rachel Carson warned of the disaster awaiting us as rampant insecticide use meant declini9ng bird and non-harmful insect populations. Recently reports of honeybee population decline has agricultural experts worried as the bees are the best, maybe the only effective, long term means of pollinating plants, the stuff we eat. Food production can be affected more drastically by a scarcity of insects than by erratic weather. Air pollution kills insects – the good kinds- and that starves the birds and that affects humans in ways perhaps not yet understood.

The overwhelming message seems to be: ya gotta give up the cars, and the consumptive lifestyle that goes with it. But the automobile itself, or rather, the internal combustion engine, is not the problem. It is the plenitude of them. In 1850 there were only one billion humans on the planet. Today there are 6.7 billion humans. If population had stalled at say 1920 levels when the automobile began its heyday, global warming wouldn't even be a topic of idle discussion. And even if we were to reduce the greenhouse gas production per capita by 50% not the 10% or 20% talked about by Kyoto, it won't make a bit of difference to climate change since that takes decades but it will take only one more lifetime for the population to double to 12 billion people (estimates vary, some predict 11 billion by 2050.)

Let me say that again,

even if you halve the greenhouse gas output per capita, it means nothing to global warming if the population doubles.

Will the population double before we have technological solutions to transporrtation needs, flora and fauna preservation issues and catastrophic weather phenomena?


Okay, so I haven't blogged lately.
I've been busy.
It's June 8th.
Since January I have been in a play and a drama festival - we received 4 awards including best ensemble cast - from Jeff Hyslop (Phantom of the Opera)
I was part of a team that won the BC Provincial Basketball Championships M55+
I've been training for Ironman Canada 2007 on Aug 26th.
Playing tennis twice a week.
Haven't written a thing, well a few things, but not much.
Okay I'll post one now.