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  • tar sands picture download
    Peter Jones - April 17, 2014

    Stating the Obvious that wasn’t stated!

    Former President Jimmy Carter and other Nobel Prize winners signed a letter to President Obama urging him to reject the Keystone Pipeline. Prime Minister Harper’s office responded quickly, citing the many arguments in favour of Keystone that its supporters have presented over the past three years.

    One comment in this response referred to the problems of oil supply that followed on the Iranian crisis of 1979. That crisis was a factor contributing to President Carter’s defeat in 1980.

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  • renewables
    Peter Jones - April 14, 2014

    Writing on the Wall: the IPCC Fifth Assessment (mitigation)

    The most important statement in the recently released IPCC Report from Working Group III on mitigation is the affirmation that disastrous effects of global warming can still be avoided.

    In practical terms avoidance of disastrous climate change requires international agreement on a price for carbon. The price must reflect the emerging scarcity of disposal space for carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere.

    With a price on carbon, fossil fuels will lose their competitive edge over renewable sources of energy. Canada and certain other countries will find that dependence on fossil fuels for energy cannot be sustained.

    There is another consequence for Canada in the displacement of fossil fuels as a source of energy. In future Canada’s fossil fuel resource industry will progressively contribute less and less to our economy.

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  • Syria
    Peter Jones - April 10, 2014

    An obvious connection: drought and civil war.

    Readers who wish more information on the connection between insurrection, drought and climate change should view the first episode in James Cameron’s series on Climate Change entitled “Years of Living Dangerously”. This episode deals with several countries but most relevant are the interviews and scenes concerning the four years of severe drought in Syria that preceded the civil war in that country.

    This video confirms our conviction that climate change can radically de-stabilize countries.  So we can’t agree with Chris Alexander, the Member of the Canadian Parliament for Scarborough East and now a cabinet minister.  Alexander thinks that terrorism and insurrection is a more important issue than climate change.  He fails to recognize that climate change establishes the conditions for terrorism and insurrection to flourish.

    So we have three areas in Africa and the Middle East – Darfur, Mali and Syria where the connection between drought and war is evident.

    Also remember that the Pentagon considers that climate change raises issues of national security for the United States.  That conclusion should now be obvious to every North American politician.

  • President Obama
    Peter Jones - April 8, 2014

    A human god with feet of clay?

    Noam Chomsky, Professor Emeritus of Linguistics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a very effective critic.  His most recent criticism is directed at President Barack Obama, who is a hero to people who look to the US for leadership on climate change.

    Chomsky’s criticism was preceded by his short summary of the world’s bleak situation:

    “But another dire peril casts its shadow over any contemplation of the future – environmental disaster. It’s not clear that there even is an escape, though the longer we delay, the more severe the threat becomes – and not in the distant future.  . . .  “

    Chomsky referred to a speech of President Obama’s two years ago in the oil town of Cushing, Okla., in which the President stated:

     ”Now, under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years. That’s important to know. Over the last three years, I’ve directed my administration to open up millions of acres for gas and oil exploration across 23 different states. We’re opening up more than 75 percent of our potential oil resources offshore. We’ve quadrupled the number of operating rigs to a record high. We’ve added enough new oil and gas pipeline to encircle the Earth and then some.”

    Chomsky observed:

    “The corporate sector is carrying out major propaganda campaigns to convince the public that climate change, if happening at all, does not result from human activity. These efforts are aimed at overcoming the excessive rationality of the public, which continues to be concerned about the threats that scientists overwhelmingly regard as near-certain and ominous. To put it bluntly, in the moral calculus of today’s capitalism, a bigger bonus tomorrow outweighs the fate of one’s grandchildren.”

    Chomsky concluded:

    “What are the prospects for survival then? They are not bright. But the achievements of those who have struggled for centuries for greater freedom and justice leave a legacy that can be taken up and carried forward – and must be, and soon, if hopes for decent survival are to be sustained. And nothing can tell us more eloquently what kind of creatures we are.”

    4RG recognizes the terrible dilemma of politicians, who must continue to retain support from a majority of today’s electorate, an electorate that too often is indifferent to solving tomorrow’s problem.    No doubt President Obama has had to wrestle with this dilemma. i

    But as much as we sympathize, we must side with Chomsky.  The prospects of survival of civilization are under threat. Our world leaders must act!

  • wg3cover 2014
    Peter Jones - April 3, 2014

    If you read the Globe Editorial on Climate Change. . .

    . . . you would have noted that the Globe is no longer sitting on the fence.

    Today’s Globe editorial describes the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment report “as a jolt of reality.” The editorial recommends that Ottawa “re-think its current do-next-to-nothing policy on emissions.” And adds: “On carbon emissions, Canada’s efforts rank as an epic fail.”

    An “epic fail” is hardly complimentary. Still, the editorial could have stated that Canada ranks dead-last in its peer group, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.  This fact would have brought home just how poorly Canada has been performing.

    The editorial notes that there are only a few years left to reduce carbon emissions to stave off catastrophic warming. It states that Canada has a role to play in avoiding that outcome.

    Possibly so, but the editorial should have stated that Canada first has to demonstrate it is serious.  Our Government’s well-worn, self-congratulatory statements about “world-class”, “a world leader” and “an energy super-power” are recognized by the international community as meaningless hype.

    There are steps that Canada could take tomorrow to demonstrate its commitment to fight climate change:

    • Eliminate tax breaks, subsidies and research grants that favour the fossil fuels industry.
    • Increase sweet-heart royalties paid by fossil fuel companies who mine carbon to a comparable international level as Norway has done (Alberta take note!)
    • Enact the long-promised regulations on the tar sands, including a limit on emissions.

    That won’t happen unless the Government feels threatened by an electoral reverse. Right now the Federal Conservatives have solid support in the principal fossil fuel provinces, particularly Alberta and Saskatchewan. Why alienate this support?

    The most that we can expect from our Government is tokenism, a far-from- adequate response to the threat identified in the Fifth Assessment report.

    In summary:  the editorial is middle of the road, recognizing the dangers of climate change but muting its criticism of the Harper Government. It doesn’t go far in driving home the urgency for Canada to act to avoid climate change.

  • borrow
    Peter Jones - March 31, 2014

    Climate change – but no ark in sight!

    The Fifth Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released today re-emphasizes the conclusions expressed in previous IPCC Reports.  What is new is a focus on risk.  The Fifth Report sets out the impacts of climate change in considerable detail, with a careful statement of the probability of their occurrence.

    Popular opinion may regard risk consequent on climate change differently from country to country.  People in Northern Temperate Climate Countries may think that global warming can’t be all that bad.  Particularly when they have come through a long, cold winter in which the snowfall compares with winters they experienced as children, oh so long ago – even before the term “climate change” had worked its way into a publicly consciousness. (Does that sound like Canada?)

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