War on Science – the Climate front

Because denying evolution is the fundamental basis for evolution isn’t enough for some, it seems the climate change denialists are ramping up to an all out war.

Now, I’m not talking about such violent wars as the “war on Christmas” or “militant atheism,” but an actual, increasingly illegal and violent effort to attack, discredit and threaten real scientists.

The first big break the villains had was their release of hacked emails from the Climate Research Group of East Anglia University. Ignore the fact that these emails contain little more than the honest concerns and relays of human beings, it gave denialists the belief that they’d uncovered the TruthTM what they’d always known – that anthropogenic climate change is an international plot to make Al Gore the supreme leader of a new Communist dictatorship.

These denialists come in every form, some are ardent atheists that I share some common ground, others are Christian. Almost all tend to also believe in lazy-fairy capitalism though.

On a Facebook post about how Canada could actually be doing something to save the environment right now had the coalition actually achieved government a year ago I got these gems:

how is it possible to NOT be skeptical over climate change when it has recently become apparent that there is no pure science on this? The data have been manipulated and in some cases, completely fabricated. The "scientists" conducting these studies do not do so in the interest of gaining knowledge, but because they have an agenda.
I’m not saying that it’s all bullshit, but I am saying that it is irresponsible of the government to act on bad information, especially when doing so will cost taxpayers a metric shitload of money, and some people their jobs. [emphasis added]

I don’t believe in global warming with the data available at the moment and neither do most people. Thats why its been changed to "climate change". Ian, as a scientist or soon to be one, you should be appalled over the disgrace that has fallen over some of the scientific community. This is a disgrace to the "peer-reviewed" procedure. After all, what’s the point if your peer holds the same political and cultural agenda and is willing to cross scientific barriers to see it through.[Refuting links added]

If the emails really discredit all science accumulated over the past thirty years on climate change, then show me how and where they say that. Otherwise shut the fuck up.

But I guess stealing emails wasn’t enough.

Now, the University of Victoria is being broken into and sketchy “technicians” are wandering the halls at the Canadian Centre for Climate Modeling and Analysis. These are actual criminal acts.

I like this comparison of the increasing violence:

Unless we’re prepared to rewrite history so that the real villains of Watergate were the Democrats for having a hotel room worth breaking into.

I’m really worried about this conflict though.

In the evolution vs. creationism conflict, you have overwhelming evidence dogmatic ignorance.

In this debate though, you have overwhelming evidence, except now the dogmatic ignorance has big oil funding behind it.

If you thought the Georgia Straight was credulous…

Don’t even pick up The Epoch Times.

The Georgia Straight has raised the Skeptic North ire a few times now with credulous anti-vax and homeopathic articles, but the average edition of the Straight contains one credulous article and a bunch of left-wing bias, all buried after about 5 pages of pure ads.

The Epoch Times meanwhile, which is available nationwide for free, online, and for paid subscribers, takes the credulity cake with their latest edition.

2012, LHC destroying the Earth, evolution and global warming are myths.

That’s right, over half of their “science and environment” page is dedicated to anti- or pseudoscientific rubbish.

And this from a paper that looks and feels like a real newspaper. Of course CanWest has a history of anti-evolution and anti-global warming stances, so perhaps The Times is just trying to catch up through mimicry.

So let’s do quick dissections of the crap that prompted me to write this piece:

From the LHC article:

After a year’s delay, scientists at the world’s biggest accelerator have restarted an experiment to recreate "Big Bang" conditions that had sparked suggestions the Earth would be sucked in by millions of black holes.

Yes, there are “suggestions,” but not by any real scientists. The rest of the article also totally ignored this fact. Nothing like using juicy lies to hook readers into your article.

The entire 2012 article mentions how the movie loosely mentions a few prophecies then delves into them without a single interview or fact check:

On the winter solstice of 2012, the sun will align with the dark rift of the Milky Way …Only in the last five years have scientists discovered that there is indeed a black hole in the center of our galaxy. [“…” in original]

Black holes again! Those things are scary! Too bad that one is a whopping 25,000 light years from the centre. Given Newton’s handy discovery of gravity being proportional to 1 over the square of the distance, that means that we’re not going to start plummeting to the centre of the galaxy regardless of how the galaxy turns. In fact, if you read that “dark rift” horseshit right, you could assume that we’d see slightly less mass between us and the big, bad black hole, and the gravitational force would actually be less in 2012 (to a crude approximation). Earth has been in the Milky Way for 4.5 billion years, and will continue to sit here for another 5 billion or so until the sun eats us up (or ejects us from the solar system).

Einstein affirmed Charles Hapgood’s theory of Earth crust displacement, that the Earth’s shifting crust will cause the north south poles to shift toward the equator. Recent research by geologists Adam Maloof and Galen Halverson proves that a polar shift has happened before, at least twice in the distant past.
Is this just a coincidence or are these prophetically accurate warnings?

Yes, it is a coincidence. I like how Einstein is trotted out for no reason other than to make the “polar shift” idea sound credible. Einstein corresponded with lots of people and he was “electrified” by Hapgood’s ideas of polar shifts, which has since been replaced by the widely accepted plate tectonic theory. “Pole” shifts still

It’s nice that they trot out the geologists, since Maloof wrote an explanation for National Geographic of how polar shifts will not result in 2012 like catastophes:

it would take 1-100 million years to accomplish a 50 degree pole shift. In other words, although pole shifting may seem rapid to a geologist, it would still be imperceptible to human generations and even to whole civilizations.

Pole shifting is a fascinating and important process in geological history, but will have nothing to do with the Mayans or with 2012.

Great research their Epoch Times. They end with this dire warning though:

But one fact remains certain—if indeed the poles were to shift and worldwide havoc were to ensue, the sight of tsunamis ripping apart cities, earthquakes splitting through supermarkets, meteors spewing from volcanic eruptions, and massive floods … will not be entertaining at all. This is, after all, a story about humans trying to survive what simply cannot be survived.

That fact is not certain. That is a distortion, a lie, and bad reporting.

Next they challenge the notion that CO2 is causing global warming, implying that no research has been done in climatology in 53 years!

While looking at some old copies of Life magazine in an antique store in the spring of 2008, I came across a very interesting article from August 1956 about the fear of global warming. It reviewed many possible causes for the phenomenon, including increased levels of CO2. There seems to be nothing new today that goes beyond this 1956 article.

Perhaps don’t read Life magazine for science then? The “journalist” then trots some discredited crap about sun cycles, the belief the world has been cooling for 4 years (not exactly the definition of climate…), this lie:

During the late 1960s and 70s, the press, the public and many “scientists” were worried about global cooling and the return of an ice age.

Well, perhaps not a lie, since he did put scare quote around scientists, a review of the literature proves that this was more a public misperception than what real scientists (note the lack of quotes) believed.

Then there’s this:

What about greenhouse gases? As noted in the Scientific American of July 2004, atmospheric methane gas remains in minuscule concentrations of only about 1.7 ppm, CO2 is roughly 220 times as concentrated at the planet’s surface (although, still at a very low 0.038 percent), while water vapour is a whopping 6,000 times as plentiful. Surely, the sun’s effect on atmospheric water vapour plays a much stronger role in global temperature variation than does CO2.

Just 1.7 ppm for methane, 374 ppm for CO2 but 10000 ppm water! Wow those are crazy numbers! Too bad they’re fucking meaningless to climate change.

Yes, water does affect global temperatures, but it’s really hard to change atmospheric concentrations of water, whereas to change CO2 and methane requires simply burning crap constantly since the middle of the nineteenth century. In fact, in the past 5 years, CO2 concentration has increased by 3% alone, and by 25% in the past century. The fact is we do not live in the same climate as we did 100 years ago.

Unfortunately this was only Part 1, with the second part promising to discuss “melting glaciers and ice sheets, long-term weather forecasting, and political support for CO2 reduction.” I somehow doubt real science will be reported.

Finally, the evolution article follows Carl Wener (no, not the German watercolourist, this one has a doctorate in medicine), the seemingly sole winner of the Norman D Jones Science Award, who later went on to preach biblical creationism (not mentioned in the “science” article).

Werner doubts evolution because the “laws of chemistry would preclude life from forming by itself.” After a fun “life-long adventure” (it obviously didn’t last a lifetime since he’s still around to talk about it, maybe he needs to keep searching), he decided there was no evidence for evolution and now makes up lies against science.

The entire article is an advertisement for the creationists book “The Grand Experiment” and finishes with these quotes from Werner,

“Basically what I read in the college textbook was in contradiction to what I was finding out in the field when we did the interviews with the scientists. So there was great disparity between what was written and what the reality was,” Werner said.
“There’s a lack of candor in the universities on this one topic. It is kind of a closed topic. Scientists are unwilling to discuss it openly because of fear of repercussion.”

Scientists are always investigating evolution. How about read a real book on evolution, learn that we know a lot more than just fossils (which we have lots), and stop shouting persecution when you’re just wrong.

Usually when a newspaper tries to present creationism, it’s usually a point-counterpoint that results in a draw, with a real scientist at least getting interviewed. Epoch Times, you fail even the basic test.

I’ll end with this note: The main readership of The Epoch Times are Chinese populations (seeing as how the paper was founded by Falun Gong members and routinely attacks the atrocious human rights record of the Chinese Communist Party), meanwhile, nearly all North American skeptics groups are predominantly white, middle-class males(even in Vancouver where nearly 20% of the population is Chinese). While some attention has been paid to the gender discrepancy, race has been an even greater taboo.

If we want to grow as a movement, we need to take action to diversify beyond our limited appeal. Clearly there’s credulity in other cultures, but there’s also skeptics. We’re more alike than we are different and we only limit our potential by not reaching out to skeptics of other cultures.

Where was the Liberal Party?

In response to my MP Joyce Murray’s recent press release slamming the Harper Conservatives on climate inaction, I sent her the following:

Dear Joyce Murray,

I appreciate your statement challenging the Harper Conservatives on their inaction on climate change, however your own record in parliament is not much better. Can you please explain why you weren’t present for the vote to postpone Bill C-311, the Climate Change Accountability Act, and why a number of your caucus members sided with inaction and postponed the bill, which the Liberals NDP and Bloc passed in the last parliament.

For your words to have meaning, they need to be backed with action. Without the passage of Bill C-311, we have no stance before the Copenhagen talks. We all knew the Conservatives were against action, but when the time came to stand against them and stand up for the environment, where were you, and where was the Liberal Party?

Sincerely,

Ian Bushfield

A concerned constituent.

How to lose what little credibility you had

I wrote a while back about “Wind Concerns Ontario,” the NIMBYist anti-wind turbine group run by ex-Ontario Liberal staffer John Laforet and their connection to the dubious pseudo-science of “wind turbine syndrome.”

Well, now they’ve upped their crap level by republishing an article straight from the climate change denialist (and creationist columnist for the Calgary Herald) Lorne Gunter.

Gunter comments on the recent “climategate” scandal of supposed “cooked data” and claims again that the world’s been cooling for years now. This is crap since the top 11 warmest years on record have been in the past 13. Never mind the fact the whole scandal is overblown and doesn’t actually discredit any real science that’s been done by countless climatologists working the world over.

So WCO: You’re not Progressive, you’re demonstrably anti-science, and you are setting this country back. It’s time to stop now.

Next thing you know we’ll see Laforet endorsing Harper and Prentice’s attempts to derail the Copenhagen talks. Perhaps he’ll even join the Blogging Tories since his denialism and anti-environmentalism will fit right in.

Now, countdown till the Defenders of the TruthTM return.

Update: My countdown lasted only an hour. Also, see this website for a great dissection of the so-called scandal (h/t Brian D.).

I’ve incited the Defenders of the Truth(tm) part 2

Any time you attack a conspiracy, the Defenders of the TruthTM always seem to crawl from the woodwork to smack you down with further gibberish and then scream of censorship.

So let’s look at MAnderson and AAW’s comments on my post “Wind Concerns Ontario, and the sun doesn’t?

MAnderson:

Funny you should mention Wikipedia. Is this your master source of information you turn to in order to give validity to a subject?

My goodness. Give your head a shake. This is Wikipedia we’re talking about!

There has been a long standing battle with Wiki to get a balanced view on the subject. They immediately delete anything that offends their paridigm. [sic] One moderator even said “But this might hurt the wind industry” as his basis for removing the information. They are blinded by ideology (much like yourself) and refuse to allow anything to do with WTS on their site.

When the words “paradigm,” “blinded by ideology” and un-sourced quotes (remember, Wikipedia talk pages maintain most debates on the issues) are trotted out, you likely have one of two options:

A. Wikipedia is clearly biased against the TruthTM and won’t accept their articles without scholarly sources.
B. They have no scientific backing and are therefore not notable enough to even be worth mentioning.

Perhaps they might be able to get an article over at Conservapedia (which just so unfortunately is having server issues right now).

Why did I go first to Wikipedia? Maybe because while their information isn’t always the most thorough, it is generally unbiased, and a relatively high quality of encyclopedia (as good as real encyclopedias). Suffice it to say, if you’re not in Wikipedia, you’re not that important.

You didn’t mention the survey led by Dr. McMurtry, former Dean of Medicine at the University of Western Ontario. You didn’t mention the work done by Dr’s in the UK, Australia and the US. You didn’t mention that reports of these same symptoms are being reported by hundreds of people in Australia, Japan and the US. No, you chose to do what most who are confronted with this information do, attack Dr. Pierpont personally.

Of course I didn’t mention those studies! I don’t have the references to all your random articles. They aren’t listed by Ms. Pierpont on her website, and they aren’t linked to anywhere on your own WCO website. Who’s suppressing information now?

As far as I can tell from a quick Google Scholar search, shows only Ms. Pierpont showing up for “wind turbine syndrome,” a clear call that her views aren’t even narrowly accepted. You can find a pdf of a draft of her book this way though.

Unfortunately, I can’t find Dr. McMurtry’s paper (note: the survey link that’s buried on WCO’s website takes you to this 404 page), perhaps you could enlighten me with a real reference, as well as some others so I may be as privileged to the TruthTM as you are.

After my spam filter ate most of MAnderson’s posts (which I recovered after awakening this morning), he flipped out and posted this friendly response:

Censoring my information, are you? I’m no longer allowed to post here? Obviously your need to be “right” outweighs your compassion to people.

Yep, I’m officially as evil as Wikipedia. Don’t disagree with my obscure science/atheism/political blog or I’ll delete your comment! I get all of a few dozen readers and I’ll be damned before they see a competing view.

Or maybe you just overposted or something, I don’t know what happened, my SpamKarma plugin ate them, and I made it spit them out. I’ve left worse comments online then yours MAnderson.

Then my favourite comment from AAW:

Bat Lungs are Exploding because of Wind Turbines…..do you think bats do this intentionally to create alarm to the NIMBY’ist position? Get real.

No link, no mention of a study, just a bunch of capitalized words that resemble a sentence. I have to assume it’s in reference to this University of Calgary study, which proposes the following explanation (which have no relation to claims of “infrasound” or noise levels) and solutions:

The movement of wind-turbine blades creates a vortex of lower air pressure around the blade tips similar to the vortex at the tip of aeroplane wings. Others have suggested that this could be lethal to bats, but until now no-one had carried out necropsies to verify the theory.

One solution could be to increase the minimum wind speed needed to set the blades in motion. Most bats are more active in low wind.

So remember my conclusion?

Some sceptics admit it’s likely if the low frequency noise disrupts your sleep there’s some cause for concern, but agree that it shouldn’t be that hard to just limit turbines to a radius of a few kilometres from residences.

Move wind turbines and people apart and no problem. WCO seems to find the only justifiable response to be to ban all wind turbines (of course they offer no mission statement on their website, and just vague attacks on “industrial wind power”). Now that’s reasonable.

So what does a real scientific paper have to say about wind turbine’s and health?

Abstract from: E. Pedersen et. al., “Response to noise from modern wind farms in The Netherlands,” J. Accoust. Soc. Am. 126 (2) pp. 634-643, August 2009.

The increasing number and size of wind farms call for more data on human response to wind turbine noise, so that a generalized dose-response relationship can be modeled and possible adverse health effects avoided. This paper reports the results of a 2007 field study in The Netherlands with 725 respondents. A dose-response relationship between calculated A-weighted sound pressure levels and reported perception and annoyance was found. Wind turbine noise was more annoying than transportation noise or industrial noise at comparable levels, possibly due to specific sound properties such as a “swishing” quality, temporal variability, and lack of nighttime abatement. High turbine visibility enhances negative response, and having wind turbines visible from the dwelling significantly increased the risk of annoyance. Annoyance was strongly correlated with a negative attitude toward the visual impact of wind turbines on the landscape. The study further demonstrates that people who benefit economically from wind turbines have a significantly decreased risk of annoyance, despite exposure to similar sound levels. Response to wind turbine noise was similar to that found in Sweden so the dose-response relationship should be generalizable.

Even from just the abstract, we see a lot of the annoyance is a psychological result of NIMBYism. If you don’t like wind turbines, they’re likely to bother you more and you’re likely to get more sick when you’re stressed.

I wonder if the first people to live near airports or roads got as annoyed and as sick. What if in 30 years when there’s wind turbines everywhere no one cares anymore?

Finally, this is for MAnderson:

Wind Concerns Ontario, and the sun doesn’t?

There’s a new Coalition in Ontario, no not a political, NDP-Con / Con-Lib / Con-Bloc / Lib-NDP-Bloc type, instead it’s:

…a province wide coalition of thirty-three grassroots organizations in twenty-one counties and the City of Toronto that seeks to raise awareness about the impacts of industrial wind power facilities on health, the environment, the economy and the quality of life.

And it goes by the name of Wind Concerns Ontario.

Chaired by former-Liberal Blogger John Laforet, this group is getting press for opposing the Government of Ontario’s attempt to put those dastardly green wind turbines across the province.

Laforet and his coalition have clearly read “Wind Turbine Syndrome” by Dr. Nina Pierpont. Note, this is a book, not a scientific paper. I’d come across this website months ago, but dismissed it too out of hand to even blog.

So what is WTS?

Don’t look to Wikipedia, because it doesn’t even get notability for its own page. Hell, even the “Environmental effects of wind power” page doesn’t mention it. It even says on the talk page:

Health effects

Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Health effects of wind power was today closed as “delete”, but much of the material immediately re-appeared in this article at Environmental effects of wind power#Health effects (see [1]) so the questionable content hasn’t been deleted at all. As I say, the article is to be deleted, not merged, so I am removing the merged content. Johnfos (talk) 21:21, 15 August 2009 (UTC)

I agree, the closing rationale of the deletion discussion was that “While some articles do not need peer reviewed sources, those, that deal with scientific issues, such as health, do. If this is to be a serious article, it needs relevant basis. If those are found, the article should be written again. Until then, no article is better.” Hence, the contents of that article should not have been copied by their creator to appear in this article – rst20xx (talk) 23:30, 20 August 2009 (UTC)

WTS is claimed to be a set of symptoms experienced by a select few who live near wind turbines. The research is thin and not widely accepted.

Some sceptics admit it’s likely if the low frequency noise disrupts your sleep there’s some cause for concern, but agree that it shouldn’t be that hard to just limit turbines to a radius of a few kilometres from residences.

Nevertheless, the media loves to overstate the results of Dr. Peirpont’s “research” which greatly fails the test of scientific legitimacy.

Greyhound wants out? Time for mass-public transit!

Greyhound says it can’t afford Northern Manitoba or Ontario to continue doing business, so it’s pulling out, leaving many rural communities stranded.

Seeing as Greyhound is a Texas based company, perhaps the most economically stimulating solution (to our economy) would be (rather than bailing out foreign interests which would save 20-100 jobs of drivers and station managers)  to invest in a public transit option.

In fact, there’s a few options here.

The governments could opt to buy out Greyhound’s business in the provinces, thereby providing public busing between the towns and cities (the major city bus routes would also have to be bought up to afford the smaller routes). This would be the fastest and cheapest solution, but maintains a dirty diesel fleet of buses.  It’s worth noting that in this first option since Canada Post is already delivering mail daily to these communities, the parcels could be carried along with the buses, saving a trip to each location (and lessening the environmental impact since buses are likely marginally worse than the Canada Post trucks).

A better option might be to pay Greyhound to run the lines while the governments invest in a large-scale commuter rail project, thereby creating hundreds to thousands of jobs (something “Canada’s Economic Action Plan” seems to have been failing to do) across the country. The rail system could even be expanded to cover the entire country.

Of course, both of these options being far too interventionist by nature will likely give way to the Friedmanite Third Way of saying screw the small communities that aren’t profitable and let them pay for gas to get to town.

Although, perhaps with an NDP government, Manitoba may actually be able to make some real changes here (they supposedly already demand that Greyhound service all routes or none).

Ft. McMurray and misconceptions

I just got home yesterday after a week in Fort McMurray, Alberta’s largest unincorporated town. I was there giving science workshops as part of my summer job.

The students were awesome, and the town is surprisingly beautiful (it is in the middle of the Boreal Forest).

Then we made our trip to the Oil Sands on Wednesday evening. And for this, I think pictures will speak louder than words (and remember, this is only what you can see from the highway, it’s not even the bad stuff that lurks beyond the hills).

First the Google Map of our road trip:


View Ft. McMurray in a larger map

(Click any image to enlarge)

Here we can see the change from natural forest on the right to strip mining on the left:

Now, to understand the scale of the Oil Sands, you have to remember that the machines are big (zoom in on the map above to the marker where you can see the following from space):

And now the tailings ponds and vast stretches of strip mining that you can see from the highway:

DeSmogBlog: Your bias is showing

Adam Rawlings, over at “To Ride, Shoot Straight and Speak the Truth” has been following and slamming DeSmogBlog’s recent growing and near glowing endorsements of the BC Liberals and trash talk of the BC NDP. (See: here, here, here, and here).

Basically, the position DeSmogBlog has taken is that the Carbon Tax implemented by the corrupt Gordon Campbell Liberals is redeeming enough to forgive the fact his government has done little to nothing else on the environmental portfolio and is actually increasing drilling and emissions over the same period as putting a modest tax on gas at the pumps.

It smells of partisanship, but that can’t really be there, can it?

So who’s behind DeSmogBlog?

James Hoggan

The B.C. Liberal Party received six donations totaling $8,943 from James Hoggan and Associates from 2005 to 2008. Hoggan’s company was paid $353,855 by the B.C. government from 2005-2006 to 2007-2008, according to Public Accounts. Contracts included the Sea-to-Sky Highway expansion project and Canada Line.

“I don’t think it’s any secret that I’m a Liberal supporter,” Hoggan told 24 hours.

Well that’s not exactly a non-partisan thing to say Jim.

John Lefebvre

John Lefebvre, the so-called “teddy bear hippie” millionaire from Saltspring Island who recently ran into legal troubles in the U.S. on allegations of promoting illegal Internet gambling, is listed on the site as a benefactor.

Lefebvre, 55, remains in the U.S. on a $5-million bond pending a court hearing which is scheduled to begin Wednesday.

So, not an avowed Liberal, allegedly a crook, but definitely wealthy.

Kevin Grandia

The site is managed by Kevin Grandia, a former political aide to Liberal MP Raymond Chan…

It is worth noting that the federal Liberals and BC Liberals are separate entities though.

Richard Littlemore

No obvious connections, but he does have some issues actually doing research of BC NDP positions:

Asked whether he was aware of the reason the New Democrats voted against the legislation, the article’s author Richard Littlemore – a senior counsellor with Mr. Hoggan’s corporate communications firm James Hoggan and Associates Inc. – said, “I didn’t read the whole of the Hansard record. Between (DeSmogBlog operations manager Kevin Grandia) and I we sort of hustled it up together. But I understand they have a host of specific complaints about the nature of that agreement or the timing or I’m not sure what. So let me give you a direct answer to that: no, I’m not sure.”

Further, he lets us know that the whole DeSmogBlog group hates the NDP at this point:

But, speaking specifically about the article in question, Mr. Littlemore told Public Eye, “We are bugged beyond imagining by the fact the NDP – which I had cherished personally in my life as a party of principle – has on the issue of the carbon tax abandoned principle. Everybody else who works on the DeSmogBlog, we’re pretty much of a mind that we’re mad as Hell at the NDP for standing up against the single most positive piece of climate change legislation in North America. And, in fact, I think that because of the nature of political opposition and antipathy to taxes generally, if the Liberals lose this election it could very well be seen in all quarters as a referendum on the carbon tax. And that could undermine the ability or willigness of politicians all over North America to face up to this and to want to try to tackle a carbon tax.”

One commenter on that news story best responds to Littlemore with this gem:

With all due respect to Mr. Littlemore, YOU are trying to turn this election into a referendum on carbon tax. And it is a big risk.

My view

Sometimes you like to think a site that trumpets progressive environmental ideas could actually step back and consider the bigger picture than just obsessing over one policy.

And as for the “axe the tax” campaign by Carole James?

Obviously it’s to win votes to beat Campbell. The tax is unpopular and very likely ineffective. My ideal platform would be that they reform and expand the carbon tax – increasing it and applying it to industrial emitters too (a larger problem).

But rubbish posting like what’s happening with DeSmogBlog (and the affiliated organizations, which includes the David Suzuki Foundation, chaired by Liberal Hoggan) threatens the very nature of climate progress in BC.

Hell, they could at least be endorsing the BC Greens over the regressive Liberals.

January updates

Well it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything, and considering Geer Week (formerly Eng Week) is coming up on campus, it may be another week before I really get going again.

Anyways, here’s a round up of news items I feel like sharing:

  • The Garneau Theatre is under new ownership. I was initially very conserned about this story, as they were talking (and still are) about tearing down the front entrance. However, it turns out that they are doing this to essentially revamp it and the theatre will continue to operate (even during construction). This is a great indie theatre, and it’s good to know it will continue. (Speaking of indie films, see Milk if you haven’t yet).
  • In the past month and a bit the Alberta Tories have found another way to increase our carbon emissions and finger the recession: spending a quarter million on flying across the globe. Teleconferencing is so 1990s, face to face is the only possible way to convince people that the tar sands aren’t evil.
  • And speaking of tar sands, the oil companies released a poll that found that almost half of people polled in Edmonton and Toronto don’t trust a word they say. I feel a little bad that they had to spend money to confirm this.
  • Alberta leads Canada in job losses in December as Albertans lost nearly 20,000 jobs. But the good news that the Journal finds: Edmonton is still tied for lowest unemployment rate (however, they neglect to mention homeless rates).
  • And finally, keep your eyes peeled for an upcoming report on carbon-capture technology that the Tories are banking $2 billion on (and wanting the broke federal government to match). Eng Phys director Dr. Backhouse did a (very rough) ballpark calculation on carbon-capture and figures that if we bury all our carbon burned and continue to increase at a steady rate that we’ll be out of oxygen (since you have to take 2 oxygen atoms for every carbon atom you remove from the atmosphere, since we bury carbon dioxide) in 750 years. Of course, the issue becomes more of a threat if you realize that a slight change in oxygen content in our atmosphere will likely have drastic effects.

Until I get another chance to write, here’s some blogs (that are regularly updated) that I follow regularly (in loose category labels):

Atheism:

Web Comics

Politics

I read lots more than that, but that should be a good start.