The PBS Frontline program “Climate of Doubt” masterfully exposed the strategies and tactics that climate denialists have used to delay, if not undermine meaningful action in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and addressing climate change in the US. Perhaps the #1 strategy they have pursued involves denying the scientific consensus on human-caused global warming.
The number one strategy this shadowy, well-financed group has pursued involves denying the scientific consensus on human-caused global warming. As Myron Ebell of the right-wing think tank Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) put it,
“We felt that if you concede the science is settled and that there’s a consensus…the moral high ground has been ceded to the alarmists.”
Republican Congressman from Wisconsin and climate denialist James Sensenbrenner explained the importance of the public awareness of the scientific consensus:
JOHN HOCKENBERRY:Do you think this will ever be settled scientifically, if 97 percent consensus doesn’t settle it for you?
Rep. JAMES SENSENBRENNER:Well, I — you know, I think that it’s up to the scientists and their supporters to convince the public that this is the right thing to do. And the supporters of that side of the argument in the Congress have been a huge flop.
A great article by Mike “Make It Right” Holmes, host of the television series Holmes on Homes & Holmes Inspection, on The David Suzuki Foundation’s blog today:
Over the past few weeks, Ontario politicians have engaged in heated debate about the province’s much lauded and much criticized Green Energy Act. Some say it is the backbone of the province’s promising green technology sector; others want to put a stake through its heart. Regardless of your political stripes, everyone agrees; the stakes are high.
So what is really happening in Ontario? Simply put, a lot...The Province of Ontario is two years along a brave new path that is expected to bring future prosperity and cleaner energy to Ontario communities. It has done this by encouraging the private sector to invest in local power projects and companies that make the thousands of components that are required to make windmills whir and solar panels purr. At the same time, the province has begun promoting energy conservation and making huge investments in our energy infrastructure — measures that will reduce energy consumption and save taxpayers money in the long run.
To read the full article, go to Get The Goods On Growing Green Energy In Ontario.
It’s a beautiful sunny Friday morning in northwestern Ontario, and I see out the window my daughter’s brightly coloured clothes drying on our clothesline. The fossil fools who steer the ship of the North American economy these days can’t see that their time is running out. Apparently they believe there’s another planet for their children and grandchildren when they have exhausted/polluted the natural resources on this one. There is an alternative, though, to running our economy on a finite supply of dead things. Here are some of my favourite quotes about solar energy:
“I’d put my money on the sun and solar energy. What a source of power! I hope we don’t have to wait ’til oil and coal run out before we tackle that.” Thomas Edison
“The world’s deserts can supply energy for every conceivable demand by humankind.” Dr. Gerhard Knies
“Rather than continuing to base our economy on a finite supply of dead things, we can base it on sources that are practically infinite and eternal: the sun, the moon and the Earth’s inner fire.” Van Jones
Want to learn more about the shift to a new way of doing things? Check out the Transition Network and/or 350.org’s Moving Planet event on Sept.24, a day to celebrate moving away from fossil fuels. Find or organize a Moving Planet event in your community – click here for more information.
From The Mark News:
Energy ministers from across Canada have just returned from an all-expenses-paid tour of the tar sands, given to them by the oil companies themselves. Now, they are sitting down to debate the future of energy policy in Canada at a meeting in Kananaskis, Alberta. This is the face of climate corruption in Canada.
Canada is at a crossroads, and it appears that our leadership has been seriously compromised. While much of the world is investing heavily in the clean, safe, and reliable energy of our future, the Canadian government, along with some provincial support, is insisting that Canada watch from the sidelines while we cling desperately to a resource that is responsible for creating the greatest challenge of our time. I am, of course, talking about fossil fuels and global climate change. Read the full article here.
Meanwhile, if we required more evidence of complicity and collusion between our representatives and Big Oil, it turns out that unelected Senator Pamela Wallin is a director of Oil Sands Quest, a tar sands exploration company. Ms. Wallin helped kill Bill C311, The Climate Accountability Act, which had been passed by the elected House of Commons. Ms. Wallin referred to Bill C311 as a “nuisance” bill that would “destroy Canada’s economy”. Oil Sands Quest, which Senator Wallin dismissed as “conducting small operations with small footprints” according to it’s website, is not so insignificant:
With over 800,000 acres of land —
Oilsands Quest Inc. is exploring and developing oil sands permits and licences, located in Saskatchewan and Alberta, and developing Saskatchewan’s first global-scale oil sands discovery. It is leading the establishment of the province of Saskatchewan’s emerging oil sands industry.
Whose economy is Ms. Wallin concerned about – Canada’s, or her own? It turns out Ms. Wallin’s total compensation from Oil Sands Quest has ranged from $136, 885 last year to $442,083.00 in 2009. It’s time Canadians say enough is enough – we want our politicans out of bed with the fossil fuel industry (remember, the federal government hands out $1 Billion of taxpayer’s money in tax breaks to oil, coal, and gas companies EVERY YEAR) and serving the best interests of all Canadians, especially our children, who deserve a safe and stable climate and ecosystem.
Meanwhile, from The New York Times, the President of Nauru, a Small Island Nation, speaks out on climate change, a “threat as great as nuclear proliferation or global terrorism”. Read On Nauru, A Sinking Feeling.
To contact Senator Wallin and let her know you think she’s in a conflict of interest, call 1-866-599-4999 and ask to speak to Senator Wallin. Let her know that Canada doesn’t need the tar sands to prosper, and that in fact leaving the oil in the ground is the best thing to do for the health and prosperity of Canadians. Make sure you follow up your call with an email to Senator Wallin: email@example.com. And contact your own MP as well. Canadians deserve better. If you are on Facebook, you can join the group Canadians Demanding the Resignation of Senator Pamela Wallin.
Thanks for taking action, and (as my friend and fellow climate hawk Cathy Orlando likes to say) joining us on the journey from me to we!
More from The Agenda With Steve Paikin, this week broadcasting from the Equinox Summit: Energy 2030 – Ingenuity in Energy Solutions being held at the University of Waterloo. Last night’s discussion focused on transportation and how they way we move impacts on the current climate crisis. The hour-long discussion started off with an excerpt from this short video:
To listen and view the discussion, go to The Agenda’s website.
Click here for an interactive map of global CO2 emissions.
Our family is one giant step closer to being part of Ontario’s innovative micro-FIT program, which is encouraging the growth of renewable energy production in the province by paying a premium to regular folks like us for generating electricity using renewable technologies and feeding it back into the grid. Our journey started last February when my husband Mark filled out the application to the program, acting on advice given to him by David at the R.E. Source Store in St. Thomas, Ontario. For more details on the process that has got us to where we are today, go to the “Ontario’s microFIT program: The Nitty-Gritty On Going Solar” page.
Here are some pictures of the process:
And just for fun, a video of putting on the last solar panel:
Did I mention I’m not fond of heights? Oh well, what doesn’t kill a person makes them stronger…
We are still not quite to the point of feeding our electricity back into the grid. That requires hooking up the solar array to a separate meter, which will be done by a local electrician. And, of course, approval from the electrical inspector. So stay posted!
I don’t know about you, but by Friday I’m ready for some good news for a change, especially after hearing that the Canadian government is planning to spend $16-billion on fighter jets, by untendered contract. This is the same government that has done nothing to address climate change, by far the biggest threat to Canadians in the coming decades. They seem to be caught in a time warp, still wrapped up in the Cold War when enemies could be clearly identified and – possibly – fought with fighter jets.
But back to the good news:
- It seems that BP has finally capped the oil well that’s been spewing between one million plus to 4 million plus barrels of oil a day (nobody really knows, because BP has been low-balling the numbers since the beginning and the US government doesn’t seem to be in a big hurry to clarify how bad things really are). We won’t know for sure if the oil has stopped permanently for a while, as now a time of monitoring begins. BP engineers will be monitoring pressure gauges and watching for signs of leaks elsewhere in the well. Apparently, there is a chance that pressure from the oil gushing out of the ground could fracture the well and make the leak even worse!
This video is from 2 weeks ago, but Robert Kennedy Jr. has some interesting – and disturbing – things to say about the economic disincentives to swifter action by BP , and why they used toxic dispersants to hide the oil:
The U.S. Climate Network has an interesting page that has been clocking how much oil has been poured into the gulf so far, and the gauge can be adjusted up or down depending on whose estimates are used. Click on their name to go the page.
Okay, back to good news:
- Morris County, New Jersey is planning to go solar with some unique financing. The county plans to install 3.2 megawatts of solar panels on county property roofs with the help of $30 million in county-guaranteed bonds. The remaining costs will be financed in conjunction with the energy utility Tioga Energy, which qualifies for federal solar tax incentives through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). Go to Green Tech at CNET.com for the full story.
- The Solar Pebble, a low-cost solar lamp designed by three undergraduates at the University of Leeds in conjunction with Solar Aid, a UK charity which works to fight poverty and climate change, may prove to be revolutionary for families in Africa. The students’ company Plus Minus Design,
…is vying to replace unsustainable and potentially dangerous lanterns in the homes of off-grid Africans with the Solar Pebble. Engineered with the economic constraints of developing-world citizens in mind, the Solar Pebble will provide one hour of LED light for every two hours of charge, and will cost only $2.70 to manufacture…
The Solar Pebble provides light and a means of portable charging, but its implications are even greater. The lamp will ship partially assembled, providing jobs for locals who would finish assembly. Furthermore, Plus Minus Design hopes the lamp will increase radio usage, providing rural African families with HIV/AIDS prevention information.
Read the full story at Green Tech at CNET.com. In fact, the Green Tech column written by Martin LaMonica is a really interesting resource about all things alternative – I highly recommend visiting it regularly.
I think it’s time for good news for a change, don’t you? First, let’s recognize that it’s day 81 of the BP oil disaster in the Gulf, and that results of that catastrophe, on the people and the environment, are just beginning to be felt. But today I’m going to talk about bright spots on the green horizon – because there are some! For example:
- Yesterday in Payerne, Switzerland a solar-powered plane landed after a 26 hour record-breaking flight. The pilot, Bertrand Piccard, said:
“There is a before and after in terms of what people have to believe and understand about renewable energies,“
He went on to say that the flight was proof new technologies can help break society’s dependence on fossil fuels.
“When you took off it was another era,” said Piccard, who achieved the first nonstop circumnavigation of the globe in a balloon, the Breitling Orbiter III, in 1999. “You land in a new era where people understand that with renewable energy you can do impossible things.”
Click here for the full story.
And while we are discussing solar, some good news on my family’s steps towards generating some “green” energy. This week, our 20-year old roof shingles were replaced to prepare for the 6 – 7 Kilowatt solar panel system that will be going up sometime in the next few weeks. We have applied, and been accepted into, the Ontario microFIT program. I will share more info, and pictures, as the project progresses.
- And in other good news, one year after a ban on lawn pesticides in Ontario, surface water is much cleaner. It only makes sense, but it’s nice to have confirmation that legislation like this can make a dramatic difference in just twelve months. From Treehugger.com:
68 stream water samples were taken over 2008 and 2009, representing the water quality before and after the ban took effect. Sampling points were selected in areas mainly influenced by residential run-off — away from golf courses, sewage treatment plant effluents, and agricultural applications. The samples were analyzed for 105 pesticides and pesticide degradation products.
The results are dramatic: three pesticides estimated to account for half of lawn care product applications dropped by 86% (2,4-D), 82% (dicamba), and 78% (MCPP: 2-methyl-4-chlorophenoxyacetic acid). On the other hand, concentrations of glyphosphate (Roundup) and carbaryl did not drop significantly. The results for glyphosphate (Roundup) are attributed to continued use of this pesticide in certain exempted applications. The carbaryl results are not explained; perhaps this is due to the persistence of carbaryl in sediment.
Go to TreeHugger.com for the full story.
- A third independent inquiry into the so-called “Climategate” scandal that was headline news all over the climate skeptics blogs six months ago has, once again, cleared the scientists of any wrong-doing. Muir Russell, the author of the third report, said clearly “Their rigor and honesty as scientists are not in doubt.”Yet the blogosphere remains strangely quiet on the matter, except those who are claiming (yet another) conspiracy. To read more, check out “Third Inquiry Clears ‘Climategate’ Scientists of Serious Wrongdoing” at Newsweek.com. Here’s a bit of what it says:
Climategate, as its “gate” suffix suggests, has attained mythical status. For skeptics, the 1,000 or so e-mails and documents hacked last year from the Climactic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia (UEA), in England, establish that global warming is a scientific conspiracy. There is no such proof. Here’s what happened.
And then a brief synopsis of events leading up to the latest inquiry is given, including Sarah Palin’s damning (and now, clearly completely inaccurate) opinion piece in The Washington Post that asserted “leading climate ‘experts’ deliberately destroyed records, manipulated data to ‘hide the decline’ in global temperatures, and tried to silence their critics by preventing them from publishing in peer-reviewed journals.” The Newsweek article concludes by pointing out the muted response by the media and blogosphere to the news that there was no conspiracy on the part of climate scientists, compared to the blaring headlines touting a conspiracy when the story initially broke:
But, as NEWSWEEK’s Sharon Begley pointed out, the retractions of the original “smoking gun” stories have been muted. Climategate, now a firmly established “gate,” will probably continue to be cited as evidence of a global-warming conspiracy. Indeed, the reaction to the report today has been somewhat odd. Bloomberg News’s headline was ‘Climategate’ Scientists Wrongly Withheld Data, Probe Finds‘*. It is inflammatory and misleading—the report did not say that information was withheld. It said that the scientists could have been better at responding to Freedom of Information Act requests, and generally, as Begley also noted, more open to scrutiny.
Go to Newsweek.com for the full story
*Interestingly, if you click on this link to Bloomberg.com, the story headline is now changed to “Climategate Scientists Cleared Of Manipulating Data”
And, for those of us not in the United States, go this link and ask YOUR leader to put solar on his/her home this year: