Tag: climate

Land of the Left – Santa is Being Relocated

Here in the ‘Land of the Left’ (Canada) our Government is attempting to cut our 1.69% of the world’s Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Though our emissions are as you would expect for one of the coldest, largest countries in the world, our Federal Government is doing everything it can to let the world know they simply don’t want warmer winters (the season that has experienced the most warming in Canada).

Our government is even willing to sacrifice the ‘North Pole is Santa’s home fable’ in order to advance their cause. They published this document on its Policy Horizons website this past December:

Is it Satire? An attempt at humour? Virtue signalling?  Whatever it is, it misrepresents the basic facts about the North Pole (which isn’t on a land mass) but is a location in the Arctic Ocean where the water is usually covered with drifting ice 6 to 10 feet (1.8 to 3 m) thick and where the annual mean temperature in the winter is minus 40F (minus 40 C).

Does the Canadian Government really believe that Canadians, or the world for that matter, think that Santa can be dislodged from the North Pole by the ‘on again, off again’ vagaries of Arctic Ice and a couple of Ice Breaking ships that pass by now and then?

Consider this: Santa’s mode of transportation circles the globe in 24 hours and makes billions of stops. He has stealth capabilities and all weather traction. He has an intelligence network that Google would die for. He can enter and exit any building without tripping alarm systems, and he can eat millions of cookies and drink gallons of milk in a single night without feeling ghastly sick. Would Santa (who has maintained a residence there since about 1866 when an American illustrator, Thomas Nast, declared it was so) agree to being labelled a climate change refugee and consent to being shipped off to the South Pole? I think not.

What a wasted opportunity for a better message. The Canadian Government could have announced they were in support of a global initiative to establish the S. Claus Marine Life and Sea Ice Research Station

… or better yet, they could just leave Santa to the children.

 

‘Unseasonable’ Weather, Climate Change and Forest Fires

burned sticks

What causes ‘unseasonable’ weather? According to this report in ‘theguardian’, unseasonably warm weather is an indication of climate change:

April 28, 2016, Australia – “Unseasonably warm weather a clear sign of climate change, say scientists.”

But what causes unseasonably cold weather – like this snow in the UK?

April 26, 2016, Britain – “Snow stops play at cricket matches in the south as Britain suffers unseasonable late April cold snap.” – The Telegraph –

‘The Telegraph’ did not attribute this colder weather to Climate Change (which generally means Global Warming and refers to warmth, droughts, fire, floods, melting, etc.) Instead, The Telegraph offered this tongue-in-cheek explanation:

Some (twitters) suggested the arctic conditions were a gift from the late popstar Prince, alluding to the lyrics of his song ‘Sometimes It Snows In April’.

Are you as tired of the term ‘Climate Change’ as I am? I blame the media for that. Weather (which is the day-to-day state of the atmosphere in a region and its short-term -minutes to weeks- variations) is being reported like it is our Climate. Climate is the statistical weather information that describes the variation of weather at a given place for a specified interval (usually 30 years or more.)

‘Climate change’, a concept that should have remained in the hands of scientists and been vigorously researched and debated, has moved out of the realm of research and into the political arena. The cheerleaders of alarm – the media – consistently argue that unseasonably warm weather is the harbinger of climate change.

If ‘Climate Change’ really was about science, then scientists would all be working together and learning from one another. There would be a wealth of research from a diverse number of individuals and groups who didn’t try to mold their results to fit a believer, skeptic or denier position. The ‘Good Guys’ would not be on the payroll of ‘Big Government’, while the ‘Bad Guys’ were funded by ‘Big Oil’. The public would not be bombarded with fear mongering weather stories masquerading as apocalyptic climate change.
– Margie –

Perhaps you’ve been following the story of the Fort McMurray Fire here in Alberta. Many journalists jumped on the Climate Change bandwagon, though a few paused to consider whether the timing was good. More than 80,000 people, many of them employed by the Oil Industry, have been evacuated and are temporarily homeless.

burned sticks

The rush to draw the connection between the Fort Mac fires and climate change could come across as blaming, Pike said, adding “I really personally question the timing and how best to have that conversation”.
– Cara Pike, climate communications expert with Climate Access, National Observer, May 12, 2016 –

Other reporters looked beyond the unseasonably warm, dry spring in Alberta to ask – what else is happening to Alberta’s forests?

I have been repeatedly asked: “what does it hurt to say that the fire was caused by climate change?”… As a pragmatist I recognize that we live in a world where our governments have finite budgets and need to allocate resources wisely; to do that they need good information. Bad information makes for bad decisions, and attributing the forest fire to climate change would mean advancing bad information over good.
– Blair King, HuffPost Alberta, May 10, 2016 –

Mr. King’s article points out that the larger concern in Alberta is that Wildfire suppression programs have been successful! Now we have large swaths of mature forests that present new problems:

Before major wildfire suppression programs, boreal forests historically burned on an average cycle ranging from 50 to 200 years as a result of lightning and human-caused wildfires. Wildfire suppression has significantly reduced the area burned in Alberta’s boreal forests. However, due to reduced wildfire activity, forests of Alberta are aging, which ultimately changes ecosystems and is beginning to increase the risk of large and potentially costly catastrophic wildfires.
– Flat Top Complex Wildfire Review Committee Report, May 2012 –

rain drops

Rain drops on spruce needles – my trees after a summer rain.

While it is important to recognize that Alberta’s climate may become warmer, the more critical issue is how Alberta will manage aging forests.

Canadian forest fire management agencies have, for several decades, been gradually moving away from their traditional fire exclusion policies that were based on the assumption that all fire is bad and that it was to be excluded from the forest at almost any cost – and towards the development and implementation of enlightened fire management policies. These call for achieving an appropriate balance between reducing the detrimental impact of fire on people, property and resources and letting fire play a more natural role when and where it is appropriate for it to do so.
– David Martell, professor in the Faculty of Forestry and Fire Management Systems Laboratory, UofT News, May 6, 2016 –

As wildfires increase in severity, Smokey the Bear’s legacy makes it harder for the public to get behind controlled burns. Maybe it’s time for Smokey to advocate the need for smart forest fires.

In the past 30 to 40 years, how has the climate changed where you live? Has it made your life better or worse?

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Climate Change Fear – Invoking Santa

If there was a fear mongering ‘Hall of Shame’, then the Climate Change Alarmists would hold most of the top ten positions.

Fear mongering is the deliberate use of fear based tactics including exaggeration and continuous repetition to alter the perception of the public in order to achieve a desired outcome.
– Wikipedia –

Right at the top of the list would be the most despicable example of fear mongering that I’ve seen recently – a ‘Catastrophic Climate Change’ Christmas Story that targets little children. Author Ian Irvine has released a book called ‘The Last Christmas‘ – what would it be like for Santa Claus, the elves and the reindeer if the North Pole was melting? The author says his book is “…targeted for five to ten-year-olds, helps break down information on climate change that can sometimes be too difficult for children in primary school to understand.”

Climate Change fear – I know what effect that has had on many intelligent, rational adults who are extremely fearful that we are on the fast track to a catastrophic future. They feel helpless and anxious. But, is the fear of Climate Change really something they want to teach to their little children?

… why are adults so keen to focus on children? Why concentrate on the weakest, least influential members of society and ask them to act? …Climate change makes most adults working on it feel powerless. We compare the actions we are capable of with the scale of the problem and feel weak. We look at the extent of our influence and feel helpless. We struggle to combat our contrary desires to consume and feel shame. We feel like children. Children – who are actually socially and politically powerless – are an ideal receptacle for the projection of these uncomfortable and unacceptable feelings.
By focusing on the weakest members of society and influencing them, the not-very-powerful adults make themselves feel better at the expense of the absolutely-not-powerful children.
– Rosemary Randall, Environmentalist and Psychotherapist –

In 2011, “Help Santa find a new home” was the Christmas-time plea of the biologist and environmentalist David Suzuki. Supporters of the cause were invited to save Santa from climate change by buying whimsically named contributions to support his foundation. Reaction to this fear mongering was mixed, with supporters saying it was all just humourous fun. There were many who weren’t amused and some news outlets questioned the ethics of manipulating childhood images to sell a corporate message.

How about we agree to leave Santa (and Frosty and all storybook characters) to the kids so the grown-ups can deal with real world issues, like adults?
– Stephen Ewart, Calgary Herald, November 29, 2011 –

 

What would you say to a tearful 6 year old child who was worried that Santa’s home at the North Pole was going to sink into the ocean?

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Oil Isn’t Just Gasoline; Cows Aren’t Just Beef – An Alberta Story

wordle procucts made from oil

Oil -the viscous liquid derived from petroleum – is loved by some, and hated by others. But no matter how hard we try to reduce our reliance on it, it plays a much bigger role in our lives than we realize. In addition to gasoline, diesel, and other fuels, about 6000 or so everyday products are made from it. Some of them are shown in this diagram:

The first oil wells were drilled in China in 347 AD, but it wasn’t until 1849 that oil was distilled to produce kerosene. (This was the fuel that replaced whale oil.) There is no question that we will eventually have to find a replacement for oil too, but I have it on some authority that the whales do not want to take part again.

Here in Alberta, we are vilified in some quarters for our oil industry, (most recently because of the Oil Sands.) This industry accounts for approximately 8.5 per cent of Canada’s total GHG emissions and about 0.12 per cent of global GHG emissions. (Environment Canada 2015). Canada’s total emissions are 1.6% of global GHG emissions (Environment Canada 2012).

In recent years, the Oil Sands has countered the anti ‘tar sands’ rhetoric with discussions about the value of ‘Ethical’ oil that is produced in a  Democratic country that gives equal rights to all citizens, pays fair wages to employees, reclaims the land after projects are completed, and does not fund terrorism. This makes some Canadians wonder why Eastern Canada imports oil from Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Angola and Iraq, instead of building the pipe lines that would allow for Alberta oil to easily flow east.

Alberta is also known for a Beef Industry that is the largest of the province’s agriculture sectors. It is estimated that Alberta’s livestock industry contributes about 1% of Canada’s total GHG emissions. The main gases emitted by this industry are methane from the animals, and methane and nitrous oxide from manure handling and storage.

But what about those cows? How ironic is it that the animal that is being blamed (partly) for global warming is the source of so many things, including manure, which is an excellent fertilizer and must be viewed and managed as a resource rather than as a waste. Other products include beef, milk, marshmallows, fertilizer, hides, soap, insulin, sutures, shoes, glue and more recently a motor oil that is made from animal fat.

The point of this story is – everything is intertwined, often in ways we don’t realize. The very things we think are the problem, might just end up being the solution to something else.

When I heated my home with oil, I used an average of 800 gallons a year. I have found that I can keep comfortably warm for an entire winter with slightly over half that quantity of beer.
– Dave Barry –

Let me tell you something that we Israelis have against Moses. He took us 40 years through the desert in order to bring us to the one spot in the Middle East that has no oil!
– Golda Meir, 1973 –

Putting Weather into Perspective – Climate Change

I have shoulder strain from the last two days of raking. Not just ordinary raking, either. On the north side of the house, I was raking snow off the patio, out onto the driveway. I thought it would expedite the melting process. Otherwise the four foot drifts will take a long time to melt, and I’ve got pansies under there somewhere! On the south side of the house, I was raking dead grass. I was spreading it onto the flower beds where it will act as mulch. I’ve never raked snow and grass on the same day before…

Today, I’ll take a day off from raking and I’ll go back to shoveling. It is snowing, and about 4 inches of very large, fluffy flakes have fallen in the past few hours. The big rock behind the house looks quite a bit different than yesterday’s photo. No ducks and geese sitting on top, basking in the sunshine. The ducks have abandoned both the rock and the pond, and are wading through the snow on the lawn. Duck Foot Prints are everywhere.

I expect ducks have come across this situation in the past, and they will deal with it in whatever way ducks cope with adversity. They adapt pretty well. Their forefathers have been coming to this pond for hundreds, if not thousands of years, so ducks as a species have a pretty long range perspective about how climate changes.

Which brings me to the topic of my perspective on Global Warming and/or Climate Change. I am much like a duck. I’ve seen decades where it got colder, and ones where it got warmer. So yes, I believe the climate is changing, and I’ll even agree that the climate is warming right now. I’m not, however, convinced that ALL of this change is the result of mankind. I think we give ourselves way too much credit to think we can so completely and utterly affect the climate, while ignoring all the historical cycles the planet has gone through since life first appeared 3.8 billion years ago.

And selfishly, I’d rather see the world warming than cooling. These really big rocks behind my house arrived on the glaciers and I’m not keen on seeing some more of them move into the neighborhood…

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