Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Climate Denial Machine Financing Exposed

Koch Industries, a huge privately-owned U.S. multinational oil company, has been exposed as the mastermind behind much of the climate change denial propaganda disseminated over the past number of years.

Between 2005 and 2008, Koch dwarfed even the  $8.9 million ExxonMobile has poured into climate denial groups. According to an in-depth study released today by Greenpeace, Koch Industries has spent $25 million.

Groups funded by Koch include the Mercatus Center, which received nearly $10 million between 2005 and '08, the Cato Institute, the Heritage Foundation and the Americans for Prosperity Foundation, all of which are deeply involved in the climate denial industry, as well as numerous other groups.

“...the biggest hoax our world has ever seen”

Remember that line?

How they operate: For example, it seems that the so-called "Climategate" scandal, timed precisely to coincide with last December's climate conference in Copenhagen, was nothing more than an illusion generated by numerous Koch-supported groups repeating the same message.

Americans For Prosperity (received over $5 million from Koch since 2005) Steve Lonegan, AFP’s New Jersey Director, said “ClimateGate” could have uncovered “the biggest hoax our world has ever seen”

The Heritage Foundation (received over $1 million from Koch since 2005) has posted several articles on its website regarding “ClimateGate.” The blogs run the gamut of possible climate-denier angles on the incident

The Cato Institute (received over $1 million in grants from Koch since 2005) is the frontgroup for climate-denier Patrick Michaels, who has been a vocal spokesperson regarding “ClimateGate”. Within two weeks following the email breach at East Anglia University, Patrick Michaels had appeared in over twenty media interviews on shows including CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360, NBC’s Nightly News, FOX’s Fox & Friends, C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, and BBC’s Have Your Say.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Climate Point of No Return May Already Be Upon Us

Sub-sea methane in the Eastern Siberia Arctic Shelf area is already bubbling to the surface at a rate 200 x faster than in the world's other oceans. According to a recent study, this release of sub-ocean floor methane reservoirs, due to destabilization of melting permafrost ice caps on the seabed, could represent the initial signals of a climate Armageddon that has been feared.       

There is an area in the Arctic, just north of eastern Siberia, where vast amounts of methane gas have been stored for eons, locked into place by permafrost on the floor of the Arctic Ocean. It has long been presumed that frigid Arctic seawater would keep the permafrost frozen in place.

Now, according to a study published in Science Daily, scientists have discovered that the permafrost "cover" has become unstable and that unprecedented amounts of the gas, which has a 30 times more potent greenhouse effect than Co2, are already being released.

According to the scientists, led by Natalia Shakhova and Igor Semiletov of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, methane is already escaping from the Siberian Arctic at a rate of approx. 7 teragrams, roughly 1 million tons, per year.   The concentration of methane in the Arctic has already reached 1.85 parts per million, a level unprecedented in 400,000 years.

None of the current climate models even include the feedback from methane being released from the permafrost covered tundra, let alone this methane from below the ocean floor.

 According to the Science Daily article, "Release of even a fraction of the methane stored in the shelf could trigger abrupt climate warming."

If these findings are confirmed, the next step, I suppose, will be to determine the extent of the deterioration of the ice on the seabed. Given that this one patch of ocean is already expelling as much methane as the rest of the world's oceans combined, I would say the chances are very strong that significant perforation of the ice cap on the sea floor has already occurred. If so, I don't know what could realistically be done to even slightly mitigate the effects of this. Could millions of collectors that would collect the methane either by a chemical or mechanical process be suspended in the sea somehow? Could the ice melting be slowed? I can't even imagine...

The difficult thing here is that the aspect of this equation that has been possibly human-triggered, that is the warming of ocean currents and the melting of the ice on the seabed, would be very difficult to reverse by any estimation. As temperatures in the Arctic have increased more than elsewhere on the planet, and have already resulted in the melting of almost all the multi-year ice in the Arctic, the chances of getting anything to cool down in the Arctic in the near future just seem extremely remote.

The size of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf is approx 2 million sq. kilometers, which represents about .5% of the Earth's ocean surface. 

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Island washes away in the Bay of Bengal

A small island has disappeared into the Bay of Bengal, between India and Bangladesh. The island, known as South Talpatti in Bangladesh and New Moore, or Purbasha, in India, was as large as 3.5 km by 3 km at low tide, (about 10,000 sq. meters) or about 2,500 sq. meters at high tide.

The island was located in an ecologically sensitive region known as the "Sundarbans", which also includes two UNESCO World Heritage sites and a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. As can be seen on the attached video, the same problems that sunk South Talpatti are endemic in the region.

Rising waters in the Bay of Bengal, increased incidence of cyclones and extreme weather, and a variety of human activities are all contributing to the loss of real estate into the ocean.

Complicating matters is the fact that the Sundarbans region has been called the "closest thing that Bangladesh has to a tourist attraction."  Opening the area up to significantly more tourism could hardly be beneficial to the environment, although it would no doubt be a welcome cash boost for Bangladesh.

Although the Sundarbans includes a World Heritage Site in both Bangladesh and India, the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve is only in India.

The Sundarbans are home to over 400 rare Bengal tigers, as well as other such threatened and endangered species as leopard cats,  fishing cats, gangetic dolphins, giant herons, estuarine crocodiles, several species of turtles and monitors and numerous other wildlife.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Canadian Conservatives in Hiding Day

Having a tough time finding your local friendly Conservatives out and about today?

Not surprising! They are frantically trying to avoid having to explain to anyone WTF Ann Coulter was doing in Canada.

And WHY apoplectic American neocons are going nuclear trying to deny guaranteed health care to children. LOL

A bad day to be a disciple in Stevie's flock...

Friday, March 19, 2010

London - Beijing via India in two days by train?

China is planning to build 3 continental high-speed rail lines that will link China to all of Europe and Asia.in an intense, dynamic network. All within the next ten years.

The other two continental-scale lines include - one linking through Russia to north-central Europe and another southeast to Saigon - all high-speed.

China already has the world's fastest train and is working on getting all of its major cities linked by high-speed rail.

High-speed rail in Canada - Jackrabbit or Jackass?

Meanwhile, in Canada, we putz around over a high-speed line from Windsor to Quebec that is already overdue by 50 years. Not to mention, the main mode of transport in our capital city is still the "jackass". We should have had high-speed rail installed from coast to coast by now.

What does our Prime Minister do?


So that he can "recalibrate" for a do-nothing budget - and the country as a whole loses a full year of progress (as if this visionless government would do anything useful anyway).

We have to get it together folks.

Canada may be smelling like a rose now due to a decade of prudent Liberal management. But watch out ahead! Harper is running this country right off the rails. We have already lost five years - more like seven or eight if you count the Martin period.

Install high-speed rail in the Quebec City - Windsor corridor now. Don't worry - it won't put us ahead of anyone - but it may just keep Canada in the conversation as a country of possibilities.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Traffic stats for missing nuclear scientist Lachlan Cranswick's website

January 18 of this year, a nuclear scientist working at the Chalk River nuclear site in Ontario disappeared into thin air. The case has been reported in most of the mainstream media but has been given a surprisingly low profile.

Lachlan Cranswick, an Australian who had been working in Canada for several years, left work on the night in question and took the bus home to the nearby town of Deep River, as usual. After getting home, he sent an email, put his garbage out to the curb and then vanished, leaving wallet, phone, and other personal items in the house.

His website, a vast storehouse of personal photos, obscure links, literary passages, and all kinds of super interesting stuff, has been attracting interest from all around the globe since his disappearance (not to mention before his disappearance as well).

Considering this individual's sensitive position, and the illogical particulars of the case, one genuinely gets the impression that the local police investigation was perfunctory and that the media's coverage, on all levels, has been much less than would be expected.

 So I want to do my part to keep this case front and centre - and I thought an item of interest to many would be the traffic stats for his website. There are extensive stats open for all to see on the site, which may give some insight into the person, his interests and his disappearance.

Here is the requests by country report for year-to-date:

Listing domains, sorted by the amount of traffic.
151901734.15%.com (Commercial)
103487317.61%.ru (Russia)
114630816.21%.net (Networks)
63679913.85%[unresolved numerical addresses]
310158 5.27%.au (Australia)
193865 2.83%.ca (Canada)
89428 1.52%.edu (USA Higher Education)
49053 1.43%.org (Non Profit Making Organisations)
66889 1.18%.uk (United Kingdom)
42271 0.42%.ie (Ireland)
16907 0.39%.de (Germany)
12142 0.37%.jp (Japan)
12336 0.32%.fr (France)
8604 0.26%.in (India)
16110 0.24%.it (Italy)
12807 0.23%.nl (Netherlands)
24486 0.19%.gov (USA Government)
7140 0.17%.be (Belgium)
4997 0.17%.ro (Romania)
10627 0.15%.pl (Poland)
7339 0.15%.br (Brazil)
5769 0.14%.cz (Czech Republic)
6410 0.13%.mx (Mexico)
11519 0.12%.us (United States)
2362 0.12%.tr (Turkey)
3872 0.11%[domain not given]
7891 0.11%.nz (New Zealand)
3694 0.10%.ua (Ukraine)
4766 0.10%.ch (Switzerland)
3279 0.10%[unknown domain]
2876 0.10%.cn (China)
5337 0.10%.gr (Greece)
5995 0.08%.mil (USA Military)
2574 0.07%.pt (Portugal)
2836 0.07%.za (South Africa)
6410 0.07%.info (Informational)
3662 0.06%.hu (Hungary)
2196 0.06%.id (Indonesia)
3974 0.06%.es (Spain)
2637 0.06%.il (Israel)
361 0.06%.tt (Trinidad and Tobago)
5375 0.05%.dk (Denmark)
652 0.05%.ph (Philippines)
3568 0.05%.se (Sweden)
2782 0.05%.arpa (Arpanet)
1598 0.05%.pe (Peru)
2368 0.05%.lt (Lithuania)
2700 0.05%.fi (Finland)
1603 0.05%.th (Thailand)
3296 0.04%.ar (Argentina)
1845 0.04%.tw (Taiwan)
2896 0.04%.at (Austria)
906 0.04%.lv (Latvia)
1913 0.03%.no (Norway)
1570 0.03%.sg (Singapore)
2253 0.03%.my (Malaysia)
2448 0.03%.hr (Croatia)
2387 0.03%.bg (Bulgaria)
227 0.02%.biz (Businesses)
910 0.02%.md (Moldova)
1345 0.02%.sk (Slovakia)
1778 0.02%.ee (Estonia)
2112 0.02%.co (Colombia)
227 0.02%.nu (Niue)
963 0.01%.sa (Saudi Arabia)
329 0.01%.lu (Luxembourg)
774 0.01%.pk (Pakistan)
393 0.01%.kr (South Korea)
1331 0.01%.tv (Tuvalu)

Anyway, that doesn't even scrape the surface of what you can see in the stats, let alone throughout the site itself.

Another source of plenty of info regarding Cranswick is a thread on the site Websleuths, where amateur (or otherwise?) sleuths follow up leads or ideas and post their findings for all to see.

There is an amazing amount of info there about Cranswick, as well as fodder for any number of conspiracy theories you care to imagine, although objectively set out in most cases. In fact, much of the material originates on Cranswick's own website.

Many facts surrounding this case do boggle the mind. Such as police stating already several weeks ago that there was nothing on Cranswick's computer that could help them to determine his whereabouts. Yet, I have serious doubts whether anyone has managed to go through even a small fraction of the information Cranswick had on his website, elsewhere on the internet or even on his personal computer.

The view of Cranswick's house in Deep River is taken from his website via the Websleuths message board.

Apparently when police called off the search weeks ago, they had written the disappearance off to some sort of explanation related to the scientist wandering off and somehow falling in the river, or getting hit by a car and lost in a snow bank.

It is true that unlikely things happen every day. These explanations for Cranswick's disappearance seem to border on something beyond unlikely.


Friday, March 12, 2010

What a Hidden Agenda Might Look Like...

Texas Conservatives Rewriting History

The Texas Board of Education today approved a new curriculum that will stress the superiority of American capitalism, question the founding fathers’ commitment to a purely secular government and present Republican political philosophies in a more positive light.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

"Summer Biathlon" the New Sport at the B.C. Winter Games

Due to lack of snow, the British Columbia Winter Games, held recently in Terrace, were forced to replace the biathlon event with a "summer biathlon", where competitors run and shoot instead of cross country ski and shoot.

The average snowfall in Terrace in February is 30 inches and 16 inches in March.  Terrace is located about 1000 km northwest of Vancouver, where the recent Winter Olympics also faced major issues due to lack of snow. Although they did manage to truck in snow and thereby avoid replacing snowboards with skateboards.

The photo shows a typical summer biathlon, although it is not the one held at Terrace during the B.C. Winter Games, which I could not find a photo of.

The games were held over a few days last week and this past weekend and were reportedly very well supported in Terrrace. There was plenty of snow in the mountains for downhill skiing, by the way..

The "summer" biathlon is an established sport, and a totally appropriate replacement for biathlon, especially considering that most serious biathlon competitors do train in the summers.

Attention Drudge Report: No Winter in Canada!!!

Yeah, Drudge Report always runs weather stories. They comb the world for unusual weather phenomena.

Today, for example, they are linking this article:

Barcelona hit with heaviest snowfall in 25 years

I would like to give a modest suggestion for a headline to the editors at Drudge. It is:

Canada Gets No Winter


Not a Single Snowflake to Be Found in Canada

Today is March 9. Forecasts across the country call for highs above freezing across the board, with very mild overnight lows slightly below freezing. In the far north, normally the land of perpetual -20, -30, -40 temps, the mildness continues.

Forecast high today in Whitehorse: -2, Yellowknife: -3, Iqaluit: -15.


The high temperatures have been in effect throughout most of the country ALL WINTER. There was a nice little two or three-week period of snowy days, just to give us a white Christmas here in Montreal, but that has been about it. There have only been a few days that a Montrealer would call cold all winter.

This coming weekend is the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Montreal. Normally one of the biggest St. Patrick's Day Parades in the world, if not the biggest, I predict this year will top them all. Accuweather is calling for a high of +8 C Sunday, which should mean a huge crowd in the 100s of thousands.

Here's an idea - announce a demonstration to protest inaction over global warming and call it for downtown Montreal on parade day - LOL. That would be on a par with the disinformation tactics practiced by the Drudges and Fox Newses of the world.

Where did winter go? I would like to see a story on that in Drudge. Like it will ever happen.


Friday, March 5, 2010

Harper axes Renewable Power Program - after Canada places 9th in 2009 Wind Olympics

Echoing Russian President Medvedev's call for resignations from those responsible for his country's Winter Olympics performance, the Harper Conservatives have scrapped the successful ecoENERGY for Renewable Power Program in the 2010 federal budget.

“The failure to extend and expand the ecoENERGY program will slow wind energy development and reduce our ability to compete with the United States for investment and jobs at a critical time in our economic recovery,” said CanWind Energy Association President, Robert Hornung.

Despite Harper's stated intention of harmonizing climate change and clean energy policies with the United States, the latest Conservative failure will have the result of setting Canada even farther behind world leaders in the devlopment of this resource.

In 2009, Canada added 38% to its wind energy capacity, or about 950 MW in all, thanks in no small part to federal subsidies . China led all nations with 13,000 MW of new wind power going online and U.S. was a close second with 9,000 MW.

Globally, 37,600 MW of wind power were added in 09, bringing the total installed capacity to 158 MW.

The fact that no federal funding for new wind projects will be available in Canada now suggests that investment dollars will go elsewhere. Especially since since President Obama's incentive plan continues through 2012. Some harmony.

It's a harmony of jobs and windmills spinning to the south of us while an increasingly foreign-owned cabal of corporate greed merchants cash in on Alberta's tar sands.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Hydro Quebec wangles 500% better deal with NB Power than B.C. Hydro gets from Teck Resources?

B.C. Hydro's amazing purchase of a 1/3 share in the Waneta Dam from Teck Resources has been approved by the B.C. Utilities Commission.

The decision actually came down a month ago and I missed it - so I just publish this as a matter of follow through to previous blog posts and also to provide a little more insight. And, some may also want to hold this sale up against the NB Power sale to Hydro Quebec., which has been delayed until May to allow for more public debate in New Brunswick.

You can actually go to a BCUC website and read the submissions by the intervenors, which include the City of Trail, the Sinixt Nation, the B.C. Public Interest Advocacy Centre and so forth. Mind you, no guarantee that all the submissions are shown... One of the many submissions to the BCUC proceedings on the proposed purchase was submitted jointly by the B.C. SUSTAINABLE ENERGY ASSOCIATION and the Sierra Club B.C.
Although many of the submissions from a variety of parties were opposed to the purchase, this joint submission in favour of the transaction, from two environment-conscious organizations, I felt warranted a closer look. So I've put the link here to the argument, which is relatively easy reading.

Following were the criteria "to be considered" in determining whether the Waneta Transaction would be in the public interest:
a) cost in comparison with feasible alternative
b) need, in consideration of forecasts
c) considerations of clean, green and B.C. origin
d) "opportunity cost" of Teck Resources
e) and the so-called "honour of the Crown" with respect to First Nations issues

In short, in consideration of all of the above, this joint submission found the transaction to be in the public interest. So, read that if you want.

What I find to be the most pertinent part of the argument, and the hardest part to swallow, is the cost.  I get that they are talking "comparables".
So, let's compare: B.C. Hydro is getting access to 167 MW of capacity for $825 million. NB Power had 3,297 MW of installed capacity as of 2008, most of which Hydro Quebec is supposed to be taking over for a revised price of $3.2 billion. So, put simply, HQ pays four times the price and gets 20 times the capacity!

To all appearances, a 500% better deal than B.C. Hydro negotiated with Teck Resources! One New Brunswick hydro station alone, Mactaquac, provides 672 MW of capacity for NB Power. A person truly needs more time to delve into these matters because what meets the eye does not make sense.

Another criteria to note is the 890GWh of energy that B.C. Hydro expects to get from Waneta. I haven't found exactly what the equivalent "energy" figure would be for NB Power.

OK, here is is: NB Power - 07/08 power sold, inside and outside of the province, total: 16,500 GWh. So, the ratio of 20-1 holds true for both capacity and power generated.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

“This country is a blessing for the world” - Donald Sutherland

During the wrap-up at the end of the Vancouver 2010 Olympics, CTV's Ben Mulroney interviewed Donald Sutherland at some point and asked whether these Olympics were perhaps as big as Expo '67 or other landmark Canadian events.

Sutherland said it was bigger. And, in his own inimitable way, he went on to deliver the parable of two wolves that has been floating around the internet for a while, which goes something like this:

An old Cherokee chief was telling his grandsons what life would be like for them...

There is a  fight going on inside me, he said.
It is a fight between two wolves and it never stops.
One wolf is evil - he is anger, sorrow, regret,
jealousy, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, self-doubt, false pride, and ego.
The other wolf is peace,
joy, kindness, faith, hope, serenity,  sympathy, generosity, truth, humility, compassion, and love.
The same fight goes on inside everyone.

One of the grandsons then asked of the grandpa,
"Which wolf wins?"

The old chief simply replied,
"The one you feed."

Then Sutherland went on to say, "the wolf that we feed in this country is the wolf of generosity and kindness".

"We have demonstrations but we don't say you're either with us or against us."

“This country is a blessing for the world”

Interestingly, there are several references to this interview around the internet and on Twitter, and buried in comments on blogs here and there. But, I am unable to find either the text, video or audio of the interview anywhere.

(I believe the photo is of Sutherland in his customary seat at Olympic Stadium, where he was a regular at Expos' games.)