Monday, January 28, 2008

Next Climate Change Conference will be in Edmonton

So here it is, last week of January and out at my ranch 120 km north of Edmonton, the temperature outside is a balmy minus 35 degrees (minus 45 with the wind chill) outside. I on the other hand, am sitting in front of the fireplace contemplating whether or not the environmentalist slogan “Cold Is Cool” has any merit to it.

In reality global warming has made Canada what it is today, literally. Twenty thousand years ago virtually all of Canada was covered by massive ice sheets often kilometres thick, with only pockets of exposed of land here and there. To imagine what Canada’s political and economic would be like if the glaciers had remained, all a person must do is examine the island of Greenland; over 2 million square kilometers, 81 % covered with ice small population, limited accessible resources, a climatic limited tourism season, huge transportation costs and an economy that is largely supported by grants from the Danish government

The truth is Canada has already substantially benefited from global warming already and will continue to do so for many years to come. In this latest round of global warming that began more than 18,000 years ago, Canada has emerged from beneath thousands of metres of ice to become a major economic and social powerhouse in the world. Continue global warming will bring many economic benefits to agriculture, new employment opportunities, and enhanced productivity while minimizing everything negative about living in a cold climate including hypothermia deaths, snow shoveling heart attacks, winter accidents on slippery roads and even some respite from the common cold.

But I digress, it does add some credence why IPCC choose tropical sites like Bali to hold their climate change conferences, because if they held them in Edmonton, the conference would be cancelled due to the cold.

Why I Try not to Read the Letters Section of the Edmonton Journal

The "Letters" section of the Edmonton Journal should be changed to the "Laughs" section, because it gives a venue for all the ill-informed wannabe environmentalists to remove all doubt as to their complete ignorance to current event issues.

Heres a little economic primer to help them absolve their errant ways. Carbon dioxide production equals riches. A few examples proving this point. China's increase in GNP progresses in lockstep with its increase in carbon dioxide emissions. As a corollary, when the Communist economies collapsed in 1991 so did their emissions. United States is the richest country in the world - their emissions are also the highest. Alberta is the richest province in Canada, guess what? So are their emissions.

On January 21, Michael Haack made reference to California's low carbon standard which calls for a 10% reduction in carbon emissions, but he forgot to mention that environmental champion Arnold "I have my own private jet to fly me to the ski hill and five Hummers" Schwarzenegger proposed "steep cuts to schools, health-care programs and other state services... for closing a 14.5 billion budget deficit." as reported in the January 16 Journal on page A4.

J.C. Taylor on the same day pointed out that "the American economy moving to a reduced dependence on not just foreign oil but all oil". J.C. come out from that cave, the sunlight will do you good. Even the White House predicts that U.S.consumption of oil, gas and coal (and their associated carbon emissions) will soar by 20% by the year 2020 (Edmonton Journal March 4, 2007, page A4). The only way that consumption will fall is if the U.S. economy falters (read recession) as it did in following the Arab oil embargo in 1979.

I got two more big laughs from the American "Keep your dirty oil " protests against the Alberta Oilsands mining operations. The first was the people dressed as polar bears. While I understand the American knowledge of geography outside of the United States is similar to Mr. Taylor's knowledge of American oil imports, and that the range of the polar bears is more than 1500 kilometres from the oilsand mines, I was happy to see that they were able to spell Canada correctly.

The second laugh is a little more cerebral (this leaves out both Mr. Haack and Mr. Taylor) but isn't Americans blaming Canada for selling it oil a little like an alcoholic blaming the liquor store for selling him booze?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Pembina Institute starts throwing rocks in a glass house

The Pembina Institute recently gave a failing grade for environmental protection to almost every oilsand mine in Alberta, but in doing so forgot the adage "Never give a sermon, unless you can walk naked in front of the congregation.

Like reverend Ted Haggard, the disgraced evangelical minister of the 14,000 strong New Life Church in Denver Colorado, the Pembina Institute has some dirty laundry it would not to have displayed in public.

Ted Haggard, as you may remember, was a vocal opponent of gay lifestyles and same sex marriages, until sadly, a male prostitute named Mike Jones told a radio show in Denver that he had been paid to have sex with Mr. Haggard almost monthly over a period of nearly three years.

Likewise, the Pembina Institute is selling carbon offsets, otherwise known as wind power certificates, that actually profits the largest carbon dioxide emitter in Canada. After the Pembina Institute strips off 50% of the purchase price of the wind power certificate for "Administration Fees" the remaining value of the certificate goes to Vision Quest Windelectric, a wholly owned subsidiary of Transalta Utilities. Transalta Utilities also owns the Sundance Generating Plant west of Edmonton which, according to a October 6, 2006 article in the Edmonton Journal, emits a whopping 16.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents and is the largest carbon dioxide emitter in Canada. The Sundance facility produces almost double of the carbon dioxide than either Syncrude or Suncor, both who received failing grades from the Pembina Institute.

The Canadian non-profit Pembina Institute has decided to cash in on the recent wave of environmental emotionalism by selling Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). Identical to trading carbon credits, the REC’s, advertised as a fast and easy way to make a difference, are not concerned about reducing consumption, they simply allow purchasers to consume energy ad infinitum guilt-free by paying a self-imposed fine. The institute’s claim that a consumer can become “carbon neutral” by purchasing REC’s is the equivalent of obese people becoming “calorie neutral” by paying money to the Canadian Olympic team and having the athletes exercise for them.

The Pembina Institute cannot actually separate and send only wind generated electrons into your home, so the REC holder will actually be receiving electricity from exactly the same source as every one else. Nor can the REC be used to offset your current electricity bill, so the bottom line is that the consumer is actually getting the same product as the neighbours, but paying triple the price. The REC’s cannot be used as a charitable donation and have no resale value once they are purchased.

Of the $27 per megawatt cost of the REC (the average home uses 8 megawatts of electricity per year) 50% is retained as an administration fee by the Pembina Institute while the rest of the money goes to the general revenue account of Vision Quest Windelectric, a division of Transalta Energy Corporation; the largest non regulated electrical generation company in Canada.

Traded on the both the New York and Toronto stock exchanges, Transalta’s net earnings were for 2005 were in excess of $173 million dollars. In 2005, Transalta used part of the REC’s to buy a 50% stake in Epcor’s $695 million 495-megawatt coal fired generator at Genesee west of Edmonton. Transalta also plans to partner with Epcor on building Keephills 3, a 450-megawatt coal burner slated to come on stream in 2011. Environmentalists buying RECs to help Vision Quest develop wind power would be like Iraqi refugees buying war bonds to support the American military