Dear Mr. Prentice,
Congratulations on your elevation to Minister of the Environment. I use the term advisedly because you are now in a position to do great good for current and future generations of Canadians.
With respect, I submit you have a golden opportunity to effect real improvements in our environment by redirecting funding to appropriate areas.
Pollution, not global warming/climate change, is the problem.
It’s time to put finite public funds to work in support of things that have already been proven to work.
Set up a HUGE bond programme – say, $30 Billion, $50 Billion, whatever, to be drawn on by municipalities and corporations. Provinces would not be entitled to get in the way of funding flowing to the body doing the work. Announce that this fund will provide 75% of the cost of a project – money to flow as stages are ready to begin (see Mississauga’s handling of the building of its Arts Centre). Direct the funding support to three areas – 1. water pollution, 2. air pollution and 3. ground pollution.
Utility bills will pay for operating and maintenance expenses. Sales of byproducts will redeem the bonds.
1. Support building sewage treatment plants. Cities and towns from St. John’s to Victoria are pouring raw sewage into our oceans, lakes and rivers. It may not be very glamourous, but, think of the votes to be had when Torontonians can swim off their own beaches once again!
2. a) Support building hydro power plants on the great rivers draining wastefully into James and Hudson’s Bays and the Atlantic from the Shield. Support building Trans-Canada transmission lines for the hydro power already being generated in Labrador, Quebec, Ontario and Manitoba. Brush the provos aside. Support building new clean-coal burning plants in the west and southern Ontario. Alberta has 300 years’ supply of clean coal! The technology to scrub its burning clean has long been practiced in Europe, Japan and even in the the U.S.
If we can clean up the stacks in Copper Cliff, we can clean up any stacks!!!
Support expanding existing nuclear power plant sites – not new sites. Fuel cells, solar panels and other low-output technologies should be left to private market enterprise. Windmills don’t work most of the time, according to extensive and expensive experience with them. Tidal power – how many years has that Utopian scheme been around? Stick with supporting what has already been proven to work.
2. b) SMOG, made up of particulate matter, is visible in our big cities. It is caused partly by vehicles forced to move slowly, or idle, because the road systems are inadequate, resulting in incomplete combustion of their fuel. Cars’ and trucks’ emissions of particulate matter have been vastly decreased in the last 30 years. Pressure is continuing on auto makers to produce vehicles that emit even less particulate matter while maintaining performance expectations.
All the evidence says cancel the ethanol foolishness.
A major contributor to smog in southern Ontario is the particulate matter belched out by the filthy coal burning power plants in Ohio and Michigan. Thus, it made no sense to blow up Mississauga’s coal burning Lakefield power plant, instead of retrofitting its stacks with scrubbers. Now Ontario has to buy even more power from those dirty U.S. plants to compensate for the loss of Lakeview! Keep the provinces out of it!
Solution – support building new and retrofitting existing coal burning plants, as in 2.a) above, and support building the highways that will move our vehicles quickly.
3. Solid waste incineration is working in a multitude of municipalities around the world and even in Canada. It also generates electricity and/or heat. Support a major programme to replace open pit garbage dumps in all the major cities and towns in Canada. In smaller municipalities, the sanitary dump might still have a place. “Building tomorrow’s golf course and ski hill.” is how you sell them.
The keys are heavy duty incentives for municipalities and corporations to get on with profitable good works using existing technology. No need to wait for studies, no need to wait for pusillanimous provo politicians to grab their pound(s) of flesh.
The whole programme could have a hugely inspirational effect on Canadians as worthy of intense national pride and support if it was positioned BIG. A real mission to build a clean, green future for all Canadians.
But, you’re going to have to undo major damage!
At this time, it looks like most of the media, non-scientific academic and bureaucratic class have bought into the lie that humans burning fossil fuels are the cause of global warming/climate change. Thus governments are close to subjecting us to some sort of carbon dioxide taxation that will serve only to wreck our economy while having zero effect on the climate.
When History reports the tale of this late 20th/early 21st centuries’ hysteria, the bulk of their incredulity will centre on why politicians didn’t stand up for the truth instead of pandering to the drivel spouted by non-climate-scientists like Gore, Stern, Suzuki, Strong and a few others.
The host of peer-reviewed scientific reports, charts, statistics, movies and photographs that destroy the claims made by these few Global Warming Swindlers have had no effect. Truth has failed. Facts don’t matter.
You’ll have to launch a counterattack with the emotional power of “An Inconvenient Truth”.
Anybody who paid attention in high school should be able to get it – it’s not complicated.
1. Nobody denies that the global average temperature has been increasing since about 1850. We’re 25% to 30% of the way into a “Little Warm Period”. That’s a fact. The average has varied over those 160 years – warming for a few decades then cooling for some. And some areas cool when others are warming. But the consensus is that the global average has increased by about 0.9 degrees celsius – less than one degree – since about 1850. In the year 2000, the global average was still one degree less than the average in the year 1000, which was about 25% to 30% of the way into the Medieval Warm Period.
Between c. 1350 and 1850, the earth was in what was called a “Little Ice Age”. For many millions of years, the earth has been cycling between little ice ages and little warm periods lasting a few hundred years each, long before human beings showed up. And it will continue to do so for millions more years no matter what we do to ourselves.
2. Radiation from the sun heats everything in the solar system, including the earth.
Long term, the amount of radiation reaching the earth is affected by cyclical changes in the shape of the earth’s orbit around the sun, cyclical changes in the tilt of the earth on its axis, cyclical changes in the earth’s “Wobble” on its axis and random variations in the amount of cosmic radiation from outer space – all of which interact with the sun’s constantly varying levels of radiation.
Short term, solar activity is by far the most important influence affecting temperature on earth. When the sun is more active, the earth warms. Less active, it cools.
Instruments have picked up a slight warming on Mars in recent years. So far as we know, no one is burning fossil fuels on Mars.
3. The sun’s radiation warms the earth’s surface and atmosphere because of the “greenhouse effect”.
Greenhouses are buildings with roofs and half-walls made of glass. Radiation from the sun pours in through the glass in the form of short waves. They strike the dark surfaces in the greenhouse and are bounced back as long waves. Long waves cannot penetrate the glass and are doomed to bounce back and forth inside the greenhouse thereby “exciting” and warming the molecules of air therein. Warm air rises but can’t escape because of the glass. Soon all the air inside is warmed and sometimes needs to be vented in order not to overheat.
4. The world is not enclosed in glass (!) but it’s atmosphere works the same way as the glass in a greenhouse. It’s a thin layer of air and water vapour. The sun’s short wave radiation pours through clear skies, strikes the dark surfaces of the earth and bounces back as long waves. (About 30% of the incoming short wave radiation is bounced right back into space by bright white snow and ice surfaces and by clouds.) The long waves cannot escape because of the greenhouse effect of our atmosphere thus they bounce around inside warming the air that permits all life on the planet to exist.
The greenhouse effect doesn’t cause the warming, the sun does. The greenhouse effect simply keeps some of the converted radiation from the sun bouncing around inside our atmosphere.
5. The greenhouse effect of our atmosphere is caused by the water vapour in it – clouds, humidity, rain, fog, mist, etc. – and by four greenhouse gases in it – carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), and Fluorcarbons (various).
Even the UN’s IPCC acknowledges the scientific fact that 95% of the greenhouse effect is caused by the water vapour in our atmosphere, that water vapour is completely natural and that there is no possible way for human activity to control it. That leaves 5% of the greenhouse effect for the four gases in the dry air.
6. The four greenhouse gases constitute less than 0.04%, or
less than 4 molecules per million molecules of all the air in our atmosphere.
Nitrous Oxide and fluorcarbons are not really greenhouse gases. They are pollutants – toxic byproducts of a few specialized industrial processes. They occur in only trace amounts in our atmosphere – too negligible to be measureable – and are already so tightly restricted they are simply not a factor.
Methane occurs in microscopically small quantities in our air, 0.000174%, or 17.4 molecules per billion molecules of the air in our atmosphere. It is a very minor byproduct of fossil fuel burning and comes mainly from decaying organic matter. The bad smell from swamps, garbage dumps and other stagnant places is methane. In fact, methane is often called “swamp gas”. It is also the gas that gives all animal belches and farts their bad smell. (Couldn’t a “Gord” and “Frank” have fun with the N.Z. government’s declared intention to tax the farts of all the sheep and cattle in that country!)
That leaves Carbon Dioxide (CO2) which amounts to 0.0383%, or 383 molecules per million molecules of the air in our atmosphere.
Carbon Dioxide has been painted as the arch villain by the Swindlers. It is in fact essential to all life on this planet, vegetable and animal (including us!), because that’s what vegetation breathes and animals eat vegetation. The fact is that the more CO2 there is in the atmosphere the greener the planet has been and will be. And all scientists agree it is not a “pollutant”.
Increases in CO2 don’t cause warming – warming causes increases in CO2! That’s because the waters of the earth, which cover 75% of its surface, release some of their CO2 content when they warm and absorb CO2 when they cool. They’ve been warming since 1850, ergo CO2 has been released into the air by the waters of the earth. In fact it’s gone up from 291 molecules to 383 molecules per million molecules of air in the same period. A 32% increase on a miniscule base!
But to really put a scale on things, it’s a scientific fact that 95% of the CO2 in the air is produced by three natural causes – the waters of the earth mentioned above, volcanoes, and animal exhalations. (Can’t wait for the N.Z government to ban volcanoes and require all animal life in the islands to stop breathing for six hours a day!)
That means 5% of the carbon dioxide in our air is produced by burning wood, coal, natural gas, and petroleum products to heat our homes, cook, provide us with electricity, enable us to get from place to place and to manufacture the thousands of things that are an integral part of our daily lives.
Thus 19 molecules of carbon dioxide in 1,000,000 molecules of air (5% of 0.0383%) are declared to be the worst evil to have ever befallen humanity and so the state will have to freeze us in the dark to save the planet!
Mr. Prentice, please be a hero and reintroduce common sense to our government.
Charles W. Conn, Mississauga.
November 1, 2008.Tags: fluorcarbon, gases, greenhouse, nitrous oxide