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Climate Change

Even Capitalists Are Starting to See the Zombies in the Tarsands!

Posted December 21, 2014 by Stephen Elliott-Buckley

[Shhh, it’s the Solstice today, but don’t tell the carbon energy sector!] Extracting and burning oil, gas and coal [the carbon criminals destroying our climate] is a bad move. Capitalists, zombies themselves seeking to maximize shareholder wealth at the expense of everything [or, brainz!], are now starting to do the math and realize that too. […]

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Climate Change

Politics, Re-Spun: Even Capitalists Are Starting to See the Zombies in the Tarsands!

Posted December 21, 2014 by Stephen Elliott-Buckley

What kind of oil investments become zombies with cheap oil?

[Shhh, it’s the Solstice today, but don’t tell the carbon energy sector!]

Extracting and burning oil, gas and coal [the carbon criminals destroying our climate] is a bad move.

Capitalists, zombies themselves seeking to maximize shareholder wealth at the expense of everything [or, brainz!], are now starting to do the math and realize that too.

Stranded assets are investments in sectors that evaporate. Factories that make 8-track tapes. The asbestos industry [just kidding, it’s still running, but it should be a zombie]. But what happens to all (Read more…)

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Environment

reeves report: Historic dam latest line of defence against invasive Asian carp

Posted December 20, 2014 by awreeves

Carp over Barge. (Photo: Dan O’Keefe, Michigan Sea Grant)

THE NEXT LINE OF DEFENCE against keeping invasive Asian carp out of the Great Lakes will come at an 81-year-old lock and dam in Joliet, Illinois, 65 kilometres south of Chicago on the shores of Lake Michigan.

The Brandon Road dam, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in March 2004, is being investigated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as a suitable location to test run new deterrents for halting Asian carp and other aquatic nuisance species. In addition to the electric barriers already in place eight (Read more…)

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Climate Change

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Posted December 20, 2014 by Greg Fingas

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Thomas Walkom discusses why politicians have thus far failed to take any meaningful action on climate change. But it’s also worth noting that the question of whether voters are pushing for change may not be the only determining factor in government decision-making.

Most obviously, debt and deficits (which are no less distant from the immediate interests of voters than climate change) are seen as demanding constant and immediate action even at the expense of anybody’s apparent short-term political interests – with unpopular and destructive policy choices regularly defended based on the accepted belief (Read more…)

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Environment

New York State to ban fracking

Posted December 17, 2014 by JR

The anti-fracking scaremongers score another win.  And it’s all political:

… Fracking, as it is known, was heavily promoted as a source of economic revival for depressed communities along New York’s border with Pennsylvania, and Mr. Cuomo had once been poised to embrace it.

… For Mr. Cuomo, a Democrat, the decision on fracking — which was immediately hailed by environmental and liberal groups — seemed likely to help repair his ties to his party’s left wing.

…  the acting state health commissioner, Dr. Howard A. Zucker, said the examination had found “significant public health risks” associated with fracking.  “We cannot afford to make a mistake,” he said. “The potential risks are too great. In fact, they are not even fully known.” [Risks too great? Not fully known? In spite of a million plus fracked wells across the country, over 60 years, with no significant adverse environmental effects?]

… As he traveled around the state, Mr. Cuomo was hounded by protesters opposed to fracking, who showed up at his events and pressed him to impose a statewide ban. Opponents were also aided by celebrities who drew attention to their cause. …

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Climate Change

Alberta Government Begins to Sunset Oil Production

Posted December 14, 2014 by Stephen Elliott-Buckley

This week, as an early Christmas present to the province, the world and future generations, the Alberta government has begun the process of completely ending oil, coal and gas production in the province within a generation. Citing its historic mismanagement of oil royalties compared to Norway’s nearly trillion dollar endowment, the Finance Minister spent much […]

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Energy

Burnaby Mountain Unmasked

Posted December 10, 2014 by JR

Greg Renouf has investigated and documented in minute detail what happened and who was involved in “protesting” Kinder Morgan’s work on Burnaby Mountain.  He supplies pictures, videos and narrative.  He supplies the backgrounds of and links b…

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Capitalism

Why Are Capitalists So Lazy?

Posted December 8, 2014 by Stephen Elliott-Buckley

Entrepreneurialism, innovation, competition, insight, optimization, excellence? These are the self-satisfying hallmarks of our jackboot triumphal capitalism. But what’s with the laziest of the lazy capitalists? You know, the ones who run the fossil fuel sector. The science is in. They’re causing much of the climate change we’re seeing, except of course for the spoutings of […]

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Environment

Understaffed and incapable, by design

Posted December 6, 2014 by Norm Farrell
In The Tyee, Scott McCannell, executive director of the Professional Employees Association, asserts,
The B.C. government has slashed professionals in the public service to the point where it doesn’t have a full picture of what’s happening. In a March 2014 report, the Professional Employees Association (PEA) demonstrated that the province has reduced its complement of scientific and technical professionals by 15 per cent since 2009.

Looking back to 2001, there are 25 per cent fewer professionals in the public service…

Government policy over the last 13 years has been to dramatically reduce in-house government professionals, deregulate natural resource industries and to reduce the role of public service professional staff in monitoring, compliance and enforcement.

We believe that government policy increases the risks of disasters like Mt. Polley and may have significantly contributed to this event. Watchdog agencies, including the Forest Practices Board and the Auditor General, have already voiced concern over the lack of on the ground monitoring happening in natural resource ministries.

The 25% reduction of professionals in public service, despite the economy growing by 46% ¹ (in constant dollars) tilts the balance in favour of private parties with deep pockets, able to hire never-ending parades of consultants who will fortify the aims and objectives of their paying clients. These specialists have little concern for public interests; they are like lawyers paid to defend “every person, however wicked, depraved, vile, degenerate, perverted, loathsome, execrable, vicious or repulsive he [or she] may be.”

The very large companies who exploit British Columbia resources understand the advantage of a mismatch and I’ve heard it expressed crudely, as in “Bullshit baffles brains.” Urban Dictionary defines that as,

“A deception. To put on such a good show the inspector is so impressed (s)he won’t bother with a detailed check or to question anything.”

Not just taxpayers suffer from disadvantage. Small businesses – the putative economic backbone – typically cannot afford to muster similar resources and, by comparison, they become easy pickings for bureaucrats. I recall an example from my own career. An obdurate tax auditor argued that a supplementary regulation superseded a section written in the Provincial Sales Tax Act that formulated our position. He issued an assessment that could have cost tens of thousands of dollars. Our dispute fell on deaf ears for the longest of time, despite clarity of the Act. Only after we spent a considerable sum on lawyers and demonstrated willingness to go to trial was our position reviewed at the highest level and accepted as correct. Had our company been unable to afford defensive actions, we’d have faced a serious financial burden.

That story may sound like a complaint about government service but my intention is to reinforce the importance of employing skilled and knowledgeable professionals throughout government. Downsizing public agencies has eliminated or reduced functions seen as expendable, including optimum levels of supervision and human resource training and development. Inevitably, that results in a civil service that is less effective than it ought to be. For most of us, that is unfortunate. For laissez-faire capitalists, it is movement in the right direction.

My examination of public revenues from the resource industries began after a knowledgeable person offered a tip that material revenues were failing to reach government coffers because industry routinely undervalued and under-reported production. The individual said this continued because government’s enforcement resources were inadequate to ensure collection of amounts properly due. An additional allegation was that mid-level officials were aware but believed corrective action was not welcome at the highest levels.

I also heard a separate claim that top managers of the resource and environment ministries have less commitment to pollution abatement than the major resource businesses they regulate. The reasoning behind this situation was said to be philosophical, the belief of classical liberalism promoted by the Fraser Institute that governments should minimize involvement in the private sector and trust participants to make acceptable decisions in unfettered economies. Believers reject the need for government to act as conservators or guardians of public assets. They believe that private enterprises should be left to maximize their own economic returns.

We’ve reached a strange point in political history where the BC Liberal message machine spins in overdrive, proclaiming more and more accomplishments of government, while the functioning reality is that, in the trenches, managers are looking for government to initiate and achieve less and less.

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1. Statistics Canada, CANSIM Table 384-0038, Expenditure-based real GDP, chained (2007) dollars

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Activism

What Kind of Politicians Ignore THEIR OWN SCIENTISTS?

Posted December 1, 2014 by Stephen Elliott-Buckley

OK, you tell me. What do you call politicians who ignore their own scientists? It’s not a trick question. What if scientists tell their political bosses about the climate impacts of ramping up a mythical $1 trillion LNG industry, then the politicians ignore the warnings so they can go frack ahead anyway? Ignorant? Stupid? Corrupt? […]

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Activism

International Day of Action for Burnaby Mountain and ALL Land Defenders

Posted November 29, 2014 by Stephen Elliott-Buckley

This is an international day of action, so check the event page to see what’s up in your town, for TOMORROW! And if there’s nothing at your home, be the change! Let’s consolidate our recent victories and continue moving public opinion to transitioning to the post-carbon energy infrastructure: wind, solar, tidal, geothermal, rail, transit, energy […]

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Environment

Why the Burnaby Mountain protesters will make no difference to the Kinder Morgan project

Posted November 24, 2014 by JR

Brent Stafford in Vancouver’s “24 Hours:

These Kinder Morgan protesters have a lot of nerve. Who elected them to speak for the “people?” No one. They only speak for a small hyper-ideological fringe that is radically hell bent on upending our entire economic system. …

…  the protests have nothing to do with an impending danger to the local environment. It’s all about fighting capitalism and the primary target is the fossil fuel industry. … 

… It is for this very reason the people protesting Kinder Morgan will make no difference. Their demands are unreasonable and entirely unfeasible. And I suspect they know that. …

Good for Mr. Stafford.  News and opinion on this subject much more often than not foolishly sympathizes with the protesters, lending them undeserved attention and legitimacy.

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Books

How a “green” journalist came to hate radical environmentalists

Posted November 24, 2014 by JR

Elizabeth Nickson explains how she came to write her book “Eco-Fascists: How Radical Conservationists Are Destroying Our Natural Heritage”:It’s an excellent book, by the way.See also, Agenda 21.

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Activism

Tens of Billions Wasted

Posted November 12, 2014 by Stephen Elliott-Buckley

How much will we keep spending to develop more fossil fuels when we know we have to stop to avert climate breakdown? $88b/year? More? How about zero. It’s time to redirect that money to wind, solar, geothermal, and hydro so we can stop exacerbating our climate crisis. Redirect NOW! Let us end this silent accord […]

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Environment

You can’t handle the truth: BC Liberals – Updated

Posted November 11, 2014 by Norm Farrell
Site C not necessarily a slam dunk: Bennett, Business in Vancouver, October 15, 2014
“Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett says he is still torn on whether his government should give the green light to BC Hydro’s $7.9 billion Site C hydroelectric dam…”

Vaughn Palmer quoting Bill Bennett, The Vancouver Sun, October 17, 2014

“Despite the rumours to the contrary, government has not made a final decision on Site C. We are definitely not in the ministry of energy biased toward one choice or another. No one should think that we have made a decision to build Site C, because we haven’t.”

Meanwhile, in the real world, Partnerships British Columbia issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) to three shortlisted proponents for Site C worker accommodation as part of the selection process for building worker accommodation at the Site C dam site.

“The design, construction, partial financing, operation and maintenance of two temporary accommodation camps for the Site C Clean Energy Project (Site C). The two camps — one located on the north bank and one on the south bank of the Peace River — would provide accommodation and recreational facilities for the majority of workers at the dam site for the duration of the Site C construction period.”

Above published November 11, 2014
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Update November 12, 2014

Request For Proposal (RFP) #1951, BC Hydro and Power Authority, BC Hydro and Power Authority, Site C Dam

Site Preparation – North Bank

The purpose of this RFP is to select a proponent who will be responsible for site
preparation on the north bank of the Peace River at the site of the proposed dam and
surrounding project area. Any work contemplated under this RFP is subject to a provincial
investment decision to proceed to construction of the Project. No construction will begin
unless all relevant approvals are in place.

The scope of work under the Contract will generally include the following site preparation
activities:
(a) excavation and disposal of approximately 3,000,000m3;
(b) quarry development, including riprap production, of approximately 100,000m3;
(c) building of approximately 7.25 kilometres of access roads; and
(e) clearing and grubbing of approximately 115 hectares.

BC Hydro will give consideration to a request from a proponent for a site visit and has
tentatively identified November 18 – 20 as dates for such site visits. To register please
email the Contact Person at alison.hall@bchydro.com.

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Activism

Con MP Supports Action on Climate Change? What?

Posted November 8, 2014 by Stephen Elliott-Buckley

What? What? What? What? Could this be the end of the denial of science? Chong for prime minister? What? “This most recent report concludes that the warming of the planet due to emissions is ‘clear’ and ‘unequivocal,’” Chong said. “The report also concludes that without urgent action to reduce emissions, by the end of this […]

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Environment

Salmon spawn in East Vancouver?

Posted November 12, 2013 by Darren

The other day–I can’t recall where–I read a story about salmon spawning in East Vancouver. It turns out that they spawn in Still Creek, near the…

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