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Ottawa plan hacks green programs

Boss Hog

TRIBE Member
Ottawa plan hacks green programs

MARTIN MITTELSTAEDT AND MICHAEL DEN TANDT

From Thursday's Globe and Mail

The new Conservative government has decided to slash spending on Environment Canada programs designed to fight global warming by 80 per cent, and wants cuts of 40 per cent in the budgets devoted to climate change at other ministries, according to cabinet documents obtained by The Globe and Mail.

The documents also say that the Conservatives' campaign promise of tax breaks for transit passes would cost up to $2-billion over five years, but would result in an insignificant cut in greenhouse-gas emissions because the incentives are expected to spur only a small increase in the number of people willing to trade using cars for buses and subways.

The section of the documents on the budget cuts, written by an unidentified government official after a cabinet meeting in late March that approved the reductions, also said the Tories want to try to claw back $260-million the Liberals had pledged to the United Nations to fund its international climate-change programs.

Federal funding for wind power, considered by environmentalists to be one of the cleanest new energy sources, "is also uncertain," the documents said.

Ryan Sparrow, a spokesman for Environment Minister Rona Ambrose, refused to confirm or deny the details in the leak, and said the government hasn't finalized its decisions on climate change.

"Once there is an announcement to be made, we'll make one," Mr. Sparrow said.

The documents were obtained by the opposition Liberals and bolster previous reports that large-scale cuts have been under way in climate-change programs, such as the highly visible One Tonne Challenge, which had much of its funding abruptly axed without public announcement in late March.

The Tories have indicated that they are ambivalent about the Kyoto Protocol to fight climate change, planning to neither pull out of the treaty nor meet its emission-reduction targets.

According to the documents, the Tories have yet to develop their unique Canadian-based set of actions.

"No process has been put in place to determine next steps on climate change or to develop the new 'made in Canada' climate plan," the documents said.

The documents said that while the Tories are trying to save money by cutting the programs designed to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, they won't cut government staff positions, so most of the money earmarked for climate change will be going to salaries for bureaucrats.

"Only $375-million was approved for climate spending, with most of the dollars covering staff salaries until the new government determines next steps.

"What is clear is that staff will have little to do and that they will have no budgets to spend over the next year and that more cuts are coming."

According to the documents, the programs are being eliminated to help fund tax cuts, including the GST reduction the Tories pledged during the election, and to fund the transit-pass scheme.

The global-warming programs are being eliminated even though a Treasury Board review of government spending found that the vast majority of 166 such programs run by Ottawa were considered cost effective.

The review, which was begun by the Liberals and completed last fall, found only 22 programs were ineffective. The Treasury Board information was supposed to be used to reallocate funding from programs that weren't working to those that were achieving better results.

The Liberals did not deal with the review before the election, and many federal initiatives didn't have budget allocations after March 31, the end of the government's fiscal year.

Environmentalists reacted angrily to the cuts. John Bennett, a spokesman for the Sierra Club of Canada, accused the Tories of having a "slash and burn campaign."

The documents also show that senior officials in the Environment Ministry have told the government that its proposed tax credit for transit users will have virtually no impact on greenhouse-gas emissions and only a small effect on riders.

"A wide range of data suggests that people are not very responsive to changes in transit fares," said a memo prepared for Ms. Ambrose last week by officials in the office of her deputy minister. ". . . while the ridership impacts of the tax incentives are not known with precision, analysis suggests they will be low."

The six-page memo outlines five transit tax-incentive options, ranging from a 16-per-cent tax credit for all fares, at a projected cost of $2-billion over five years, to a credit for monthly pass holders only, at $1-billion, to the same credit for high-school students only, at a cost of $90-million.

The memo makes clear that the second option is the one the government prefers. But its benefits to transit users may be nullified, the memo states, because "it could be quite easy for the transit authorities to raise their fares to absorb the benefit of the tax credit."

The Canadian Urban Transit Association has estimated that the proposed tax break would increase transit use by up to 30 per cent by 2016. But in another Environment Minister memo drafted for Ms. Ambrose, ministry officials say that, based on a 1997 Canadian study, as well as a U.S. Department of Labour survey in 2004, use can be expected to increase between 2 per cent and 4 per cent. That means the effect on emissions will be negligible, the documents show.


http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RTGAM.20060413.wxclimate13/BNStory/National/home
 
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dig this

TRIBE Member
Ryan Sparrow, a spokesman for Environment Minister Rona Ambrose, refused to confirm or deny the details in the leak, and said the government hasn't finalized its decisions on climate change.

Next week at a Climate Change press conference

Ryan Sparrow: We have come to a decision about climate change.... and we like it!!!


We should just appoint David Suzuki as lifetime Environment Minister. Problem solved.
 

AdRiaN

TRIBE Member
The review, which was begun by the Liberals and completed last fall, found only 22 programs were ineffective. The Treasury Board information was supposed to be used to reallocate funding from programs that weren't working to those that were achieving better results.
The Liberals were content to pour money into climate change programs, while at the same time, falling short of our Kyoto commitments. How is that considered "cost effective?"
 
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The Watcher

TRIBE Member
FUCKEN FUCKETY FUCK I FUCKEN HATE THAT FUCKER

Well. looks like my breathing problems are only going to get worst, and a tax cut wont help me if I'm dying slowly.

FUCK YOU HARPER
 

~atp~

TRIBE Member
Oh that's great, a rationale! :)

Let's see, so:

a) the environment is "important",
b) the program that is being cut is inherently a benefit to (a),
c) therefore cutting the program is idiocy.


*clap clap*
 

Boss Hog

TRIBE Member
If Harper's government doesn't think that the program that is in place has been effective, why don't they devise one that is?

Unless of course it's not high on his list of priorities, which is what is being suggested here. Because it's still to be proven that global warming is even happening or whether or not we are having much of an impact on it... right?
 

Ditto Much

TRIBE Member
"A wide range of data suggests that people are not very responsive to changes in transit fares," said a memo prepared for Ms. Ambrose

Alright Mr Ambrose what fucking data suggests this. I think your just making this up out of your ass to try to justify why you should be given money instead of a mass transit system that really does have an effect.
 
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~atp~

TRIBE Member
Boss Hog said:
If Harper's government doesn't think that the program that is in place has been effective, why don't they devise one that is?

Unless of course it's not high on his list of priorities, which is what is being suggested here. Because it's still to be proven that global warming is even happening or whether or not we are having much of an impact on it... right?

Oh, I certainly agree that Harper's response is one of ambivalent deflection in pursuance of policy issues that are of more (certain) importance to his political framework. In so far as global warming science is concerned, I'd prefer to see a response that is driven by the scientific community, and not by political institutions.
 

atbell

TRIBE Member
Sounds a lot like Harper is trying to slash programs to be able to cut taxes and still have a balanced budget.

It would have been nice to run a surplus until we were out of debt maybe.
 

swilly

TRIBE Member
Ditto Much said:
Alright Mr Ambrose what fucking data suggests this. I think your just making this up out of your ass to try to justify why you should be given money instead of a mass transit system that really does have an effect.

Alot of people who use transit do so because of the ease with with which they are able to make it to work. On average people reside within a 30 min commute from work. With changing modes of transport this has changed the urban form into the suburban mess we see now. If you look at ridership rates on the TTC they dont change much with an increase in the fares. Most people use the TTC due to convience.

As well stephen harpers transit tax cut amounts to 100 dollars or so for the year. That is one free metro pass. I dont know anyone in the world who would is already a car owner who would switch from thier car to the TTC for less then 10 dollars a month.

swilly san
 

blahblah

TRIBE Member
AdRiaN said:
The Liberals were content to pour money into climate change programs, while at the same time, falling short of our Kyoto commitments. How is that considered "cost effective?"

If you knew why the USA emissions reduced while Canadian emissions went up you would hear the Canadian electricity producers/sellers echoing in their annual reports that it certainly was profitable...

Many comparisons have been made between Canada’s growth in GHG (increased by 24% above 1990 levels) and growth of GHG in the US (increased by 16% over the same period.). US domestic oil and gas supplies are shrinking while US demand is growing. Emissions from Canadian oil and gas production have risen significantly: 37 megatonnes since 1990, primarily to supply the US. Canada also exports a great deal of hydroelectricity
to the US. Without this electricity our neighbour would have had to generate huge amounts of fossil fuel emissions. One could argue that the US is getting a free ride from Canadian electricity, oil and gas. The Chrétien government tried to have this recognized by asking for credit for “clean energy” exports under Kyoto.
 
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blahblah

TRIBE Member
OTTAWA (CP) - A scientist with Environment Canada was ordered not to launch his global warming-themed novel Thursday at the same time the Conservative government was quietly axing a number of Kyoto programs.

"Due process for this event was not followed and that's why it was cancelled," said Ryan Sparrow, a spokesman for Environment Minister Rona Ambrose.


Harper says he was not aware of the details, but his government was elected on a platform that included developing a new plan to deal with climate change.


*http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/2006/04/13/1533715-cp.html

HELLO MR HARPER......YOUR GOVERNMENT IS A MINORITY GOVERNMENT, DUE PROCESS WOULD BE TO RESPECT THE VOTES OF THE MAJORITY.
 

octo

TRIBE Member
Too late on global warming?
Apr. 15, 2006. 01:00 AM
CAMERON SMITH


Has climate change pushed the world past its tipping point — the stage at which melting of the Greenland ice cap becomes irreversible and oceans eventually rise 6.5 metres?

Earlier this month, Time magazine announced on its cover that it had, but the text of the story said only that it was near.

On the other hand, The Independent, one of England's major newspapers, stated unequivocally two months ago that the tipping point had been passed and "really dangerous climate change is likely to be unstoppable." The Independent's position was based on research that it had commissioned.

And then there's the opinion of James Hansen, NASA's chief climate scientist, who courageously defied a White House attempt to gag him earlier this year because his statements were contradicting positions taken by President George W. Bush.

Hansen says: "We are getting close to the tipping point." The average temperature has risen almost half a degree Celsius over the past 30 years, he says. Another half-a-degree rise is inevitable because of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and the fossil-fuel burning equipment already in place will add yet another half a degree.

This will make the world the warmest it has been in the past million years, he says in a Time article. The world can adapt to the increase, he adds, but unless emissions are slowed in this decade, and substantially reduced in the next 45 years, the situation will become impossible.

"Business as usual will yield warming of six to nine degrees Fahrenheit (2.8C to 4.25C)," he says. "The last time it was five degrees Fahrenheit warmer than now, the sea level was at least 80 feet (24.4 metres) higher."

Already, officials in other countries are expressing deep concern. Agence France Presse quotes the director of the Institute of Tibetan Plateau Research at the Chinese Academy of Sciences as noting that up to 64 per cent of China's glaciers may be gone by 2050. If that happens, the lives of 300 million Chinese, who depend on the glaciers for water, will be at risk.

In England, the Labour government has announced that its policies for fighting climate change have failed, and an all-party parliamentary group is going to hold a climate change inquiry to examine proposals to severely regulate carbon dioxide emissions.

Colin Challen, chairman of the parliamentary group, says that the current concept of growth, which hasn't significantly changed since Victorian times, needs to be radically altered. Growth should be governed by how much CO{-2} society can afford to emit, he says.

Here at home, a different kind of alarm has been rung. Global warming can be a greater threat than deforestation to species in some of the world's most important habitats, according to a study led by professor Jay R. Malcolm of the University of Toronto's Faculty of Forestry, and published this week in Conservation Biology (Vol. 20, No. 2, pages 538-548). Unless curbed, climate change could eliminate up to 56,000 species of plants and 3,700 species of vertebrates, the study says.

Whether the tipping point is past, or simply near, is almost academic, because it's clear that either way there'll be an enormous need to avoid the worst — by curbing emissions and by learning to adapt to what can't be avoided.

Unfortunately, Prime Minister Stephen Harper's laissez-faire approach to coping — relying basically on voluntary efforts and technology changes — doesn't inspire much confidence.

It's a Victorian concept, if there ever was one.
 

Boss Hog

TRIBE Member
The debate jumps from "is it happening?" to "we can't do anything so let's not bother trying".

haha. I wonder who commissions the studies.
 

Colm

TRIBE Member
There IS a problem with global warming... it stopped in 1998
By Bob Carter
(Filed: 09/04/2006)

For many years now, human-caused climate change has been viewed as a large and urgent problem. In truth, however, the biggest part of the problem is neither environmental nor scientific, but a self-created political fiasco. Consider the simple fact, drawn from the official temperature records of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, that for the years 1998-2005 global average temperature did not increase (there was actually a slight decrease, though not at a rate that differs significantly from zero).

Yes, you did read that right. And also, yes, this eight-year period of temperature stasis did coincide with society's continued power station and SUV-inspired pumping of yet more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

In response to these facts, a global warming devotee will chuckle and say "how silly to judge climate change over such a short period". Yet in the next breath, the same person will assure you that the 28-year-long period of warming which occurred between 1970 and 1998 constitutes a dangerous (and man-made) warming. Tosh. Our devotee will also pass by the curious additional facts that a period of similar warming occurred between 1918 and 1940, well prior to the greatest phase of world industrialisation, and that cooling occurred between 1940 and 1965, at precisely the time that human emissions were increasing at their greatest rate.

Does something not strike you as odd here? That industrial carbon dioxide is not the primary cause of earth's recent decadal-scale temperature changes doesn't seem at all odd to many thousands of independent scientists. They have long appreciated - ever since the early 1990s, when the global warming bandwagon first started to roll behind the gravy train of the UN Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) - that such short-term climate fluctuations are chiefly of natural origin. Yet the public appears to be largely convinced otherwise. How is this possible?

Since the early 1990s, the columns of many leading newspapers and magazines, worldwide, have carried an increasing stream of alarmist letters and articles on hypothetical, human-caused climate change. Each such alarmist article is larded with words such as "if", "might", "could", "probably", "perhaps", "expected", "projected" or "modelled" - and many involve such deep dreaming, or ignorance of scientific facts and principles, that they are akin to nonsense.

The problem here is not that of climate change per se, but rather that of the sophisticated scientific brainwashing that has been inflicted on the public, bureaucrats and politicians alike. Governments generally choose not to receive policy advice on climate from independent scientists. Rather, they seek guidance from their own self-interested science bureaucracies and senior advisers, or from the IPCC itself. No matter how accurate it may be, cautious and politically non-correct science advice is not welcomed in Westminster, and nor is it widely reported.

Marketed under the imprimatur of the IPCC, the bladder-trembling and now infamous hockey-stick diagram that shows accelerating warming during the 20th century - a statistical construct by scientist Michael Mann and co-workers from mostly tree ring records - has been a seminal image of the climate scaremongering campaign. Thanks to the work of a Canadian statistician, Stephen McIntyre, and others, this graph is now known to be deeply flawed.

There are other reasons, too, why the public hears so little in detail from those scientists who approach climate change issues rationally, the so-called climate sceptics. Most are to do with intimidation against speaking out, which operates intensely on several parallel fronts.

First, most government scientists are gagged from making public comment on contentious issues, their employing organisations instead making use of public relations experts to craft carefully tailored, frisbee-science press releases. Second, scientists are under intense pressure to conform with the prevailing paradigm of climate alarmism if they wish to receive funding for their research. Third, members of the Establishment have spoken declamatory words on the issue, and the kingdom's subjects are expected to listen.

On the alarmist campaign trail, the UK's Chief Scientific Adviser, Sir David King, is thus reported as saying that global warming is so bad that Antarctica is likely to be the world's only habitable continent by the end of this century. Warming devotee and former Chairman of Shell, Lord [Ron] Oxburgh, reportedly agrees with another rash statement of King's, that climate change is a bigger threat than terrorism. And goodly Archbishop Rowan Williams, who self-evidently understands little about the science, has warned of "millions, billions" of deaths as a result of global warming and threatened Mr Blair with the wrath of the climate God unless he acts. By betraying the public's trust in their positions of influence, so do the great and good become the small and silly.

Two simple graphs provide needed context, and exemplify the dynamic, fluctuating nature of climate change. The first is a temperature curve for the last six million years, which shows a three-million year period when it was several degrees warmer than today, followed by a three-million year cooling trend which was accompanied by an increase in the magnitude of the pervasive, higher frequency, cold and warm climate cycles. During the last three such warm (interglacial) periods, temperatures at high latitudes were as much as 5 degrees warmer than today's. The second graph shows the average global temperature over the last eight years, which has proved to be a period of stasis.

The essence of the issue is this. Climate changes naturally all the time, partly in predictable cycles, and partly in unpredictable shorter rhythms and rapid episodic shifts, some of the causes of which remain unknown. We are fortunate that our modern societies have developed during the last 10,000 years of benignly warm, interglacial climate. But for more than 90 per cent of the last two million years, the climate has been colder, and generally much colder, than today. The reality of the climate record is that a sudden natural cooling is far more to be feared, and will do infinitely more social and economic damage, than the late 20th century phase of gentle warming.

The British Government urgently needs to recast the sources from which it draws its climate advice. The shrill alarmism of its public advisers, and the often eco-fundamentalist policy initiatives that bubble up from the depths of the Civil Service, have all long since been detached from science reality. Intern-ationally, the IPCC is a deeply flawed organisation, as acknowledged in a recent House of Lords report, and the Kyoto Protocol has proved a costly flop. Clearly, the wrong horses have been backed.

As mooted recently by Tony Blair, perhaps the time has come for Britain to join instead the new Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate (AP6), whose six member countries are committed to the development of new technologies to improve environmental outcomes. There, at least, some real solutions are likely to emerge for improving energy efficiency and reducing pollution.

Informal discussions have already begun about a new AP6 audit body, designed to vet rigorously the science advice that the Partnership receives, including from the IPCC. Can Britain afford not to be there?

• Prof Bob Carter is a geologist at James Cook University, Queensland, engaged in paleoclimate research

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2006/04/09/do0907.xml
 
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deafplayer

TRIBE Member
Boss Hog said:
phew for a second there I thought C02 was having a noticable effect on our atmosphere.
I think I heard somewhere global climate is mind-bogglingly complex, and concerns were about a lot more than simply "warming."
but it turns out
Bob Carter said:
Two simple graphs provide needed context...

The essence of the issue is this. Climate changes naturally all the time...
So don't worry about it Boss :)

I love how its aaaaall about temperature up:mad: or temperature down:eek:

Hey temperature up could even be desirable!


Bob Carter doesn't even address how humans do or do not affect climate, or how this is or is not understood
Simply that some people say theres a problem
but look at this graph!
Like its a matter of rough temporal correlation of the most simple parameters you can imagine
 

~atp~

TRIBE Member
deafplayer said:
Bob Carter doesn't even address how humans do or do not affect climate, or how this is or is not understood
Simply that some people say theres a problem
but look at this graph!
Like its a matter of rough temporal correlation of the most simple parameters you can imagine

I'm trying to figure out where your sarcasm begins and ends here (let's not discuss grey areas, they don't exist in this democracy, mmmkay?).

The article is a criticism of the politicization and subsequent propagandization of global warming. His opening paragraph shocks us with the startling revelation of a global temperature decrease, and proceeds to summarize a) why you are surprised at this revelation given the severe global threat of anthropogenic warming and b) how it is even scientifically possible to see a decrease in temperature (I mean, how could we see a decrease if we have global warming?!?!). The article is clearly vindictive and intended -- I believe quite specifically -- to reinvigorate debate in a press that is woefully inadequate at presenting a balanced opinion, even though the "opinion" is so terribly, conveniently postured on the left side of the fence (right, Boss Hog?).

"Two simple graphs provide needed context..." is the precursor to a paragraph demonstrating a broad variation in the apparent changes in temperature; one graph over a large span of time, showing dramatic changes, the other over a small span of time, showing little variation. Two simple graphs which provide the reader with context around the political propaganda wars that have since ensued, since we are only presented with alarming and overtly hostile-looking graphs that raise the heckles and magically accelerates the influx of funds into the coffers of IPCC-affirming studies...when he refers to the "essence" of the "issue", he is referring specifically to the fundamental, macrocosmic truths of global warming (hence his use of the word "essence"), in that we have experienced far more severe temperature shifts over the millenia and the small rise over this century pales in comparison to the more probable (based on past patterns of global temperature change) decrease in average temperature, which -- as he correctly points out -- would be far more damaging to our species.
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
Well here's something I've been thinking about on this whole global warming debate. Is global warming the ONLY bad thing to worry about from smokestacks and car exhaust? Dont all the particulates POISON our air and our earth?

So who gives a f*ck whether the reason is for global warming or for our own lungs (whatever the stats on global warming, rising asthma rates and hospital visits on smoggy days tell another side of the story when it comes to pollution). In my mind, it makes SENSE to curb our dangerous emissions, because they're just that, DANGEROUS. And it makes sense not just for our health, but the health of all living things that share our air and water (here in canada air pollutants have rendered sterile more and more lakes as sulphur creates more acidic rain). And lets just pretend for the moment that global warming ISNT the greatest worry when it comes to air pollutants - arent the other reasons good enough for us to become more efficient and sustainable? And lets say global warming IS a serious side effect from carbon dioxide and other air pollutants - curbing emissions is then even more of a smart idea.

Its like a version of Pascal's wager - which I've never really thought that strong an argument for believing in god, but works well in other variants such as this one: if we're WRONG and global warming is ACCELERATED by human emissions, then NOT curbing emissions puts us in jeopardy. If we choose to curb emissions and global warming proves NOT to be so closely tied to our emissions, then at least we've actually LOWERED THE AMOUNT OF POISON going into our air - which will mean we're more efficient, healthier and happier (its nice to go fishing, for example), even though global warming tied to emissions didnt turn out to be as necessary for curbing global warming as the scientific consensus would seem to suggest nowadays.

In my mind we have nothing to lose, and LOTS to gain (not all of it related to global warming) forom curbing emissions. The gains from NOT curbing emissions are only short term, and it means a continuance of rising asthma rates and poisoned air and water and a RISK of cataclysmic environmental change. Seems to me that its pretty obvious we should be curbing emissions, even without the global warming issue added to the mix. Its just the prudent thing to do!
 

praktik

TRIBE Member
I would also just add that being more efficient and sustainable brings its own economic benefits, even if it does cost in terms of investment in technology and research to make it happen. But those countries that do best on this score will have a competitive advantage in terms of knowledge (for example, the technology to reduce reliance on carbon fuels will be needed the world over) and also in efficiency -> the more efficient you are the less raw materials you need, the less raw materials you need the less you need to rely on others to supply them for you.

Again, just another reason why reducing emissions makes sense, even WITHOUT thinking about global warming...
 
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