The “Green Thing” isn’t saving the planet

Posted January 4th, 2012 in Climate Change by Adrian MacNair

These poor bastards didn’t have the green thing either.

The most annoying thing about human beings is that we have a ridiculously short lifespan from a cosmic perspective, and an even shorter memory. This gives us the habit of thinking that every important event that will happen is likely to take place in our lifetimes, the most important time in all of history. And although we’re too advanced to believe in celestial deities anymore, we’re still fairly gullible when it comes to falling for the hell fire. Hence the reason we’re able to simultaneously mock the Mayan calender for ending in 2012 while in all seriousness predict cataclysmic climate change will end life on earth. We’re wonderfully naive like that.

What’s equally as annoying is that we, the twenty and thirty-somethings of planet earth, actually believe we’re the first people to conceive of the problems we face today, and thanks to our enlightened way of thinking we have time to fix them all. It is therefore the responsibility of every young person to undo the great damage done by our thoughtless and careless parents and grandparents, who selfishly ravaged the great blue planet of her beauty in the name of heedless progress.

I think it’s fairly commonly told to young people today, particularly by environmental movements like the David Suzuki foundation, that old people are responsible for the state of the world as it is today, and that only they can prevent these fuddy duddies from continuing to poison the planet. But educating these bewildered aged citizens of our society to do the simplest things, such as observing Earth Hour or putting empty milk jugs in the blue box, is a great burden for the young.

Indeed, just trying to get them to bring reusable grocery bags would be a great accomplishment. To wit:

In the queue at the store, the cashier told an older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. The woman apologized to him and explained, “We didn’t have the green thing back in my day.”

The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment.”

He was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

We walked up stairs, because we didn’t have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn’t climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks. But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.

Back then, we washed the baby’s diapers because we didn’t have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy gobbling machine burning up 220 volts — wind and solar power really did dry the clothes. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing. But that old lady is right; we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Back then, we had one TV, or radio, in the house — not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana. In the kitchen, we blended and stirred by hand because we didn’t have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used a wadded up old newspaper to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. Back then, we didn’t fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn’t need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity. But she’s right; we didn’t have the green thing back then.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull. But we didn’t have the green thing back then.

Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service. We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn’t need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza joint.

But isn’t it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn’t have the green thing back then?

Well, thank goodness we have the iPad generation to help you understand the error of your ways.

Four Out Of Five Canadians Believe Al Gore

Posted February 23rd, 2011 in Climate Change by Adrian MacNair

I live in B.C. where the carbon tax is responsible for higher energy and consumer prices, and has accomplished no significant reduction in emissions of any relevance. In fact, BC Liberal leadership candidate George Abbott recently suggested the carbon tax should go to a referendum to be cancelled.

Nevertheless, according to a new survey conducted by Leger Marketing, four out of five Canadians believe in global warming, and a majority would be willing to pay a $600 annual carbon tax. That’s in stark contrast to just 15 per cent of Americans who would pay for a carbon tax.

What the survey found is that belief in man-made climate change is largely dependent on the left-right dichotomy:

Canadians who described themselves as supporters of the federal Liberals or the Bloc Quebecois were the most likely to believe in climate change — even more so, surprisingly, than Green party supporters.

Of the Liberal supporters surveyed, 91 per cent said they believed in climate change, compared to 90 per cent of Bloc voters, 87 per cent of Greens and 84 per cent of New Democrat supporters.

A significantly smaller percentage of Conservative voters surveyed, 64 per cent, gave credence to global warming.

In the U.S., 69 per cent of Democrats and just 41 per cent of Republicans said they believed the science.

I’m somewhat surprised that two-thirds of Canadian Conservative voters believe in climate change, but then again their own political party has advocated for action on climate change, so maybe the surprise isn’t warranted.

In unrelated news, weather has been so cold in Florida and Mexico that tomato prices have nearly doubled.

Weather Climate Or Not, It’s Damn Cold

Posted January 25th, 2011 in Climate Change by Adrian MacNair

Before I attend to the purpose of this blog entry, a few of you may have noticed the absence of Mark Collins lately. This is a permanent change to the blog at my request. Although Mark is a fantastic blogger (in fact I’m the one who begged him to blog here in the first place) and provides amazing information and research on many topics, I decided that my blog has been a part of cultivating my writing and journalism career. I wanted to keep my blog as a source for people to read my writing samples, and unfortunately too often people were confusing Mark’s entries with mine.

I’m hoping Mark will start a new blog where he can continue his work, but I understand he is keeping busy at the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute blog where he is keeping people up to date on Afghanistan and military issues. I know he is also a frequent guest blogger at Small Dead Animals, so if you’ve been missing his content please venture to either of those locations.

The CBC is reporting that the National Roundtable on Environment and the Economy, created in 1988 under the Mulroney government, has advocated that Canada should proceed with its own climate change initiatives. They said we can’t afford to wait for U.S. support before we battle climate change:

“Harmonization, where possible and when feasible, makes sense for Canada,” NRTEE president David McLaughlin said. “But in the face of persistent U.S. uncertainty as to its own climate policy future, Canada will need to look to its own options, in the right way, at the right time.”

Canada has pledged to reduce its emissions to 17 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020, less than 10 years away. Waiting for the U.S. to chart its course puts Canada in danger of not meeting those targets, the paper said. Worse still, it might require a higher carbon price in Canada than in the United States to achieve those targets.

You know climate change will always be a tough sell in Canada, particularly when record temperatures are being broken this year. Record cold temperatures I mean:

A deep freeze that has engulfed Eastern Canada shattered records Monday and made it dangerous for anyone to go outside unprepared.

The culprit is a frigid Arctic air mass gripping the region and leading to warnings for people to bundle up and avoid frostbite or hypothermia.


Meanwhile, on the other side of the spectrum, it was an unseasonable 0 C in Whitehorse, Yukon, on Monday evening — a far cry from the city’s January average of -17.7 C and its coldest day on record, when the mercury dropped to -52.2 C in January 1977.

But in New Brunswick, with the wind chill close to -40 C Monday, the only good walk was a short one. In such cold with brisk winds, exposed skin can freeze in as little as 10 minutes.

A glance at the CBC website notes that the “unseasonable” warmth in the Arctic is being attributed to global warming, but the record cold is just weather.

Don’t look now, but BC Liberal leader hopeful George Abbott is calling for a referendum on the hated carbon tax, saying the province can’t remain competitive as the only jurisdiction in “North America to address the issue [of climate change].” Not the province’s current carbon tax is likely to drive down emissions given the province’s paradoxical relationship with energy.

Just so you know, the Pembina Institute, who advocated for B.C. to set its carbon tax to $200 per tonne of CO2 emissions (a 48-cent tax on each litre of gasoline), fully agrees with the recommendations of the NREE. Which should scare you, just a little bit.

What can happen if you take global warming too close to heart

Posted December 24th, 2010 in Canada, Climate Change, International, Technology by MarkOttawa

Chaos! From Roger Cohen in the NY Times on the European travel catastrophe:

Snow! Hit the Panic Button

Add to that dismal stew a pinch of global warming, which some people, including Matthews [British Airports Authority chief executive], apparently took to mean the end of European winters, and you end up with the current farce. Europe, thy name is pitiful…

Apparently, if you don’t want to blame greed or the cuts or Matthews or the breakdown of the French state, you can blame the North Atlantic oscillation. That, for the uninitiated, is the difference of atmospheric pressure at sea level between the Icelandic low and the Azores high. When the difference is low, Arctic air penetrates Europe. That happened a lot in the 1960s. Now it’s happening again.

This, according to some, is the result of global warming. So if all else fails, blame global warming for the freeze…

Now for some British understatement:

Passengers may experience delays and cancellations due to adverse weather conditions at airports across Europe. Select the relevant airport below to find out the latest situation:

Heathrow Airport

Stansted Airport

Glasgow Airport

Edinburgh Airport

Aberdeen Airport

Southampton Airport


I’m dreaming of a white…


Today across the Channel:

Paris Charles de Gaulle terminal evacuated due to snow on roof

And two days hence in the UK?

Boxing Day travellers could be disrupted by heavy snow

Update: Guess who’s involved in the profit-making at Heathrow?

Matthews…[is] running a vital British public service, which remains, despite BAA’s forced sale of some of its airports, a kind of monopoly – there are other London airports, but there’s only one Heathrow. At the same time he isn’t running it for its users, the passengers and airlines. He’s running it for its shareholders – Ferrovial is the majority owner, the government of Singapore and the Quebec pension fund are the others…

And it ain’t just Québec involved with British airports:

…the C$100bn (€73.7bn) Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan has stakes in both Birmingham and Bristol airports…

A fellow Canadian fund, the Caisse de Dépôt et Placement du Québec, owns 26% of BAA, the UK airports operator that runs Heathrow…


Climate Change Blamed For Earthquakes And Volcanoes

Posted December 20th, 2010 in Climate Change by Adrian MacNair

I wish I were joking. The beginning of an Associated Press article carried by the Canadian Press carried by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation:

This was the year the Earth struck back.

Earthquakes, heat waves, floods, volcanoes, super typhoons, blizzards, landslides and droughts killed more than a quarter of a million people in 2010 — the deadliest year for natural disasters in more than a generation.

The Earth “struck back”? Sounds like a really bad B-movie.

And just what the hell is a “super typhoon”? Is it a typhoon that wears a cape and spandex tights?

Here’s the end of the article:

Scientists say Earth’s climate is also changing as a result of man-made climate change, bringing more extreme weather, such as heat waves and flooding.

That is why those who study disasters for a living say it would be wrong to chalk 2010 up to just another bad year.

Debarati Guha Sapir of the World Health Organization said the planet often strikes back as a result of bad decision-making by people.

Debarati Guha Sapir sounds like a real swell human being.

But the problem is that the largest number of deaths and disaster this year were caused by earthquake (Chile, Haiti), while the chaos caused in Europe was due to the explosion of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland. The last time I checked, anthropogenic tectonic plate movement was something even Al Gore didn’t try to sell.

Now, I’m certain our friend Debarati would blame the current ice age in Europe on climate change (cold being the logical conclusion to a warming planet), but I fail to see how she can blame the thousands killed in Earthquakes for their poor decision-making.

It’s pretty specious to blame a quarter million deaths on global warming, too. Lumping everybody who dies as a result of floods, drought and hurricanes into one big catch-all category called climate change is the surest path to confirmation bias.

Hey look, somebody just drowned in a flood. Climate change. Oh no, a drought killed thousands in Africa. Climate change. A storm killed a dozen people in the South Pacific. Climate change.

The end result of such imbecility is a new generation of children who actually believe the planet is an entity and strikes back at people:

Global Warming Paralyzes Europe

Posted December 18th, 2010 in Climate Change by Adrian MacNair

Damn humans heating up the Earth. When will they ever learn?

Bury the lede.

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Progressives not averse to all American interference in our country

Posted December 16th, 2010 in British Columbia, Canada, Climate Change, Technology, united states by MarkOttawa

Maudits hypocrites. Kate McMillan lays it out:

The First American Prime Minister

In the pocket of the American rich;

Last week, Michael Ignatieff and 142 other Members of Parliament voted in favour of a motion to ban oil tanker traffic on the north coast of British Columbia. This week, Liberal MP Joyce Murray from Vancouver Quadra introduced Bill C-606 to put that motion into law by amending the Canada Shipping Act to prohibit oil tanker traffic on the north and central coast of British Columbia.


If marine conservation were really the issue, the ban wouldn’t be only for the north coast of British Columbia and U.S. foundations would be funding a tanker ban in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California, on the Eastern Seaboard and in the Gulf of Mexico. But no, U.S. foundations are funding a tanker ban campaign only for the central and the north coast of British Columbia — right smack where oil tankers, export-bound for Asia would need to travel…


Cancouldn’t and Tinkerbell

Posted December 14th, 2010 in Canada, Climate Change, International by MarkOttawa

Margaret Wente of the Globe and Mail nails things nicely:

…Christiana Figueres, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, declared: “This is not the end, but it is a new beginning.”

Translation: Nothing happened, but we need to save face. See you next year in Durban! Actually, something happened. There were lots of parties with Mexican music and free booze. At the end, everyone agreed to agree next time. One thing they did agree on was a $100-billion transfer of money from rich countries to developing countries – just as soon as they can figure out where the money’s coming from and where it’s going to. If you seriously believe that will ever come to pass, then you probably believe in Tinkerbell.

Why does no one tell the truth? Maybe they believe that, so long as they keep clapping, Tinkerbell won’t die. Even worse, they’d be forced to admit that the hopeless UN climate process, in which they have invested so much lip service, is a ridiculous boondoggle that benefits no one but the vast bureaucracy needed to support it.

Besides, events such as Cancun are an inexpensive way for politicians to show they really care about the planet…


The Dippers’ Big Idea: Negawatts

Posted December 10th, 2010 in Canada, Climate Change, Technology by MarkOttawa

I kid you not. And I thought they didn’t believe in negative campaigning. Dan Gardner (talk about muscular writing) of the Ottawa Citizen reveals what’s at the core of Jumpin’ Jack Layton’s thought, Vladimir Ilyich he is not.  No ringing call for “Peace! Bread! Land!

New Democratic Party leader Jack Layton faces a problem that has plagued the left for 30 years: Nationalization and wealth redistribution have vanished from the intellectual climate.
Photograph by: Mark Blinch, Reuters, Ottawa Citizen

…Layton elaborated. “If you look at the new approach to energy, for instance, it’s all based on decentralization, particularly around energy efficiency. My buddy Amory Lovins likes to talk about negawatts. If you can save a megawatt cheaper than you can produce one, then go out there and save it. And by the way, you’ll also create more work by doing that. And we’ve got lots of negawatts out there. We’ve got lots of homes, we’re moving into the heating season, and they’re turning up their furnaces, if we have people out there with caulking guns, insulation, and new tripleglazed windows, all over the country, people apprenticing, young people having jobs in their local area, you wouldn’t have to fly to the tarsands for a three-week shift or a two-week shift and then go back home for a week. You’d be able to work right there in your own community, upgrading the building stock.”

Now, I like triple-glazed windows as much as the next guy, but we were talking about global politics at a pivotal moment in history. This sounded like the third bullet point on page six of a really boring campaign brochure. Could there be a clue here about why the left is failing to seize the day?..

The piece is Norman Spector’s “The column I wish I’d written” today. Well chosen.  As for the V.I. guy:

Nice threads, at least Jack has that in common.


Copenhagen and Cancun: Cheer for the Dragon? (And not needing more Canada)

Posted December 8th, 2010 in Canada, Climate Change, International, united states by MarkOttawa

Two interesting stories:

Copenhagen Climate Cables
The US and China Joined Forces Against Europe [once again the world did not need more Canada]

Canada accuses China of intransigence on climate change

See also the end of this post:

I’m dreaming of a white…

And last year from Adrian:

I’m Sure Murray Dobbin Can Find A Way To Blame Stephen Harper

Strangely, a few recent articles in international news makes no mention of how a failure to come to a global agreement in Copenhagen is all Canada and Stephen Harper’s fault.


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