Andrew Ference heads to the Edmonton Oilers

The former unrestricted free agent and former Boston Bruin Andrew Ference has signed with the Edmonton Oilers.

Ference has been a prominent celebrity voice that has spoken out against the Alberta oilsands located north of Edmonton.

On the eve of President Obama’s first foreign visit to Canada, a group of over 50 prominent Canadians have signed an open letter telling Obama that the tar sands don’t fit in the new energy economy.
 
“In your discussions with the Canadian government, we encourage you to raise concerns over the environmental and social problems associated with tar sands production and make no exemption for the tar sands in any binational agreement addressing climate change” says the open letter.
 
Actress Neve Campbell, authors Ann-Marie MacDonald and Farley Mowat, musicians Anton Kuerti and Jim Creeggan of the Barenaked Ladies, athletes Adam Kreek (Olympic Gold Medalist) and Andrew Ference (Boston Bruins defenceman), and political leaders Jack Layton of the NDP and Elizabeth May of the Green Party, are just a few of the many prominent Canadians to sign the letter.

It is unclear if Mr. Ference’s views on Alberta’s resource sector will change now that Oiler ticket holders — many who work in oil and gas — will be paying his salary.

Or will Ference insist he plays for the Edmonton Tarsanders?

Putting the polar bear myth to rest

“My humble plan was to become a hero of the environmental movement. I was going to go up to the Canadian Arctic, I was going to write this mournful elegy for the polar bears, at which point I’d be hailed as the next coming of John Muir and borne aloft on the shoulders of my environmental compatriots …
 
“So when I got up there, I started realizing polar bears were not in as bad a shape as the conventional wisdom had led me to believe, which was actually very heartening, but didn’t fit well with the book I’d been planning to write.”

Oops.

The Inconvenient Truth About Polar Bears [NPR]

Related:

From the pages of Nature’s Climate Change Journal

Nature Climate Change,

Members of the public with the highest degrees of science literacy and technical reasoning capacity were not the most concerned about climate change. Rather, they were the ones among whom cultural polarization was greatest. This result suggests that public divisions over climate change stem not from the public’s incomprehension of science but from a distinctive conflict of interest: between the personal interest individuals have in forming beliefs in line with those held by others with whom they share close ties and the collective one they all share in making use of the best available science to promote common welfare.

So here we learn that “deniers” aren’t dumb or scientifically illiterate. But one rhetorically wonders which group they refer to that suffers from a “distinctive conflict of interest” that is driven by “personal interest” that “individuals have in forming beliefs in line with those held by others with whom they share close ties.”

This from the peer-reviewed journal of the prestigious Nature Publishing Group.

Eco-authoritarians

From the global movement that brought you “the debate is over” and the push to tax that which is most intricately linked with productivity, industry, er, life… CO2.

Warning: graphic

[link]

All those in favour of keeping away from power those with a violent, intolerant, and dogmatic view on how humans should collectively and individually behave… don’t raise your hand.

UPDATE: The producers of the film have responded to the predictable response,

Last week, 10:10 made available a short film. Following the initial reaction to the film we removed it from our website and issued an apology on Friday 2 October.

Subsequently there has been negative comment about the film, particularly on blogs, and concern from others working hard to build support for action on climate change. We are very sorry if this has distracted from their efforts.

We are also sorry to our corporate sponsors, delivery partners and board members, who have been implicated in this situation despite having no involvement in the film’s production or release.

We will learn from this mistake. Today I have written to supporters and stakeholders explaining that we will review processes and procedures to make sure it cannot happen again. Responsibility for this process is being taken by the 10:10 board.

The media coverage of the film was not the kind of publicity we wanted for 10:10, nor for the wider movement to reduce carbon emissions.

If people have been in touch with us personally about the film, we will be replying to individual emails over the next few days. Meanwhile our thanks go out to all those who support 10:10 and who work to combat the threat of climate change.

Eugenie Harvey
Director, 10:10 UK

Tar vs. Blood – Fools, PR and the shifting sands of corporate social responsibility

The trendy thing to do these days for trendy companies that sell trendy products is to show their trendy customers that these companies care about more than just their bottom line, they also care about how showing that they care can affect the same.

Take climate change. An issue that is all the rage (at least is was before the global economic downturn) among consumers who have been inundated with a large and wasteful awareness campaign about it. Yes, we’ve all learned about the perils of out-of-control consumption, have been directed to consume more, but to consume products that are allegedly less harmful to humanity. So how are multinational corporations serving humanity these days?

Take the Gap, Timberland and Levi’s.

These three companies are the latest to boycott the Alberta “tarsands” because of the CO2 emissions that come from the extraction process. Here’s CP’s writeup:

Another four major U.S. companies are joining the move to either avoid or completely boycott fuel produced from Alberta’s oilsands.

The Gap, Timberland and Levi Strauss have all told their transportation contractors that they will either give preference to those who avoid the oilsands or have asked them what they’re doing to eliminate those fuels.

The move adds to growing international economic pressure on the oilsands industry and the Alberta government to reduce its environmental impact.

Indeed, the Gap, Timberland and Levi Strauss are shifting away from the Alberta oilsands. But is it a focus on the elimination of oil? No, we can see that the order put out has been to only avoid oil from Alberta’s oilsands projects.

In a market system, when you pull one source you must supplant with another. And indeed, that’s what’s happened here. If these companies don’t get their oil from Alberta, the supply will be increased from other sources, namely countries that breed terror and radicalized citizens that wish to see people in Western countries suffer.

It is unclear whether the Gap, Timberland and Levis have told their stores in Riyadh Saudi Arabia to boycott Alberta’s oilsands oil, but this poses an important question: does the socially conscious Saudi shopper care enough about how those Albertan oil tycoons are murdering the Earth? And if so, when will we see a boycott?

Have we finally chilled out about climate change?

and is the media being slow to catch up?

I actually had to go look for this article this year. Usually it finds me. Here’s the story from CTV:

Extreme heat wave example of climate change: expert

Canadians should expect more extreme weather like the current heat wave baking southern Ontario and Quebec in the future because of climate change, a leading climatology professor says.

“My strong opinion is that these kinds of extremes are something you would expect in a warming world, and expect to happen more frequently,” Harry McCaughey, a professor of climatology at Queen’s University, told CTV.ca.

McCaughey says climate models show that overloading the climate with carbon and water vapor (a byproduct of a warming globe) makes the system much more unstable.

Ok, typical short-news-cycle-driven story about something observed (it’s hot!!) that’s happening now but exists in geological time (tens of thousands of years).

Even more telling is the “climate change fatigue” expressed in the comments section of the post which seems to be in a condemning consensus about this news story:

“That global warming sure is horrible, look at all those pictures of people having fun at the beach ! We should really try and stop this thing immediately, call your local politicians, I know I am ! On second thought ……….. last winter was horrible, bring on global warming !” — NM

“There was a three to four day spread in December in Edmonton last winter where it was record setting cold, -49 w/ windchill of ~ -55 to -60. Where was Mr. McCaughey then ? In fact last winter was the coldest in some areas in over 30 years, remember ice in Florida where they lost over $100 million in orange crops. I really don’t care if global warming is happening or not, but seriously the more the marrier if that means I have to go through another winter like last year !” — Sure …….

“As a child I remember summers always being hot in July. Southern Saskatchewan was always 90 to 105 degrees. IMO we are just too used to our comforts-central heating in winter and airconditioning in summer.” — jjaycee

“I was wondering how long it would take until the media blamed this latest of many heatwaves dating back hundreds of years on climate change.*sigh*” — Mike

“Yes, it is called summer, Dr. Doom. Normally, summer is preceded by gradual warming following winter, which can be extremely cold.” — Lou

For your information…

I received this from a friend yesterday. It was taken on a mobile phone in Copenhagen where world leaders are meeting today in, as one newspaper amazingly put it, “the most important international meeting since World War II”. “Brad Pitt is saving planet Earth in Copenhagen” is printed on the side of a 20 ft long reflective metallic trailer parked in the streets of Copenhagen.

Here is another image of this monstrosity from (of all places) the America.gov Flickr photostream:

The caption?
“Brad Pitt is Saving Planet Earth in Copenhagen”… a fun experimental project that will feature 12 non-Brads dressing up like the megastar to promote climate change action.

Yes, this comes from a US government social media account.

On the other side of the trailer is a web address which reads “bradpitt.dk”. When I checked the website, I found this awesome image:

In other decidedly non-warming news, Copenhagen was hit with a blizzard last night dumping 4 inches of snow on the Danish capital.


Copenhagen, December 6th 2009


Copenhagen, December 17th 2009

Drastic climate change in our lifetime.

Do I have to tell you about the ice caps of Mount Kilimanjaro?

Jumping into today’s climate hoax

Many of you have now heard of the well-organized hoax against Environment Minister Jim Prentice this morning that involved a fake Jim Prentice Twitter account, a fake Wall Street Journal Article, a fake follow-up press release and now an “accusation” by the Prime Minister’s Spokesman Dimitri Soudas as reported by the “accused”, Equiterre:

Equiterre’s reaction on allegations from the Associate Director- Press Secretary of Prime minister Stephen Harper, Dimitri Soudas

Copenhagen, December 14, 2009- Equiterre reacted in the following terms regarding allegations made today by the Associate Director- Press Secretary of Prime minister Stephen Harper, Mr. Dimitri Soudas. Mr. Soudas accused Steven Guilbeault, cofounder and Deputy Director of Equiterre, to be the source of the spoof on Environment Canada that promotes an important change in the federal government’s climate change policy, The information can be found at the imitation website: www.enviro-canada.ca/index.php.

“Mr. Guilbeault clearly indicated that he is not the source of this spoof. Neither is Equiterre. It is shameful that Office of the Prime Minister is making such accusations without any proof. Mr. Guilbeault and Equiterre are asking Dimitri Soudas to retract his accusations and to present his excuses.

We also deeply regret that Canada’s position on cilmate change is nowhere near the one presented on Environment Canada’s fake website.

Equiterre suggests that the Associate Director, Communication/Press Secretary, Dimitri Soudas, from the Prime Minister office, should stop throwing baseless accusations. A better way to use his time would probably be to advise the Canadian government to change its deeply flawed position on climate.”

– 30 –

Source :
Marie-Eve Roy
équiterre
à Copenhague
+ 45 41 63 37 95

éveline Trudel-Fugère
équiterre
à Montréal
514-605-2000

Where did the “accusation” come from? Soudas had send this email out to the media regarding the Prentice/WSJ spoof:

Dear media,

You may have received a release entitled:

“CANADA ANNOUNCES REVISED FIGURES FOR EMISSIONS REDUCTIONS, RELIEF FUNDS”

This is not a government of Canada press release.

We’re told it may have been issued by mr. Guilbault from equiterre.

If that’s the case, time would be better used by supporting Canada’s efforts to reach an agreement instead of sending out hoax press releases.

More time should be dedicated to playing a constructive role instead of childish pranks.

What made Soudas suspect Guilbault? Apparently, Guilbault forwarded the spoof press release to people and press attending the Copenhagen climate change summit.

UPDATE: A group calling themselves the “Yes Men” have claimed responsibility for the elaborate hoax.

Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack has jumped the candlestick

Tonight, Jack Layton attended a local candlelight vigil to mark/protest/mourn/do-something about climate change. The vigil was part of a larger global effort organized via Blackberry, cellphones and Facebook. He tweeted:

http://twitpic.com/taa1o – Joining a moving global candle vigil, in #Toronto, with new friends Anastasia and Michelle #cop15

Throughout our history of scientific achievement as a civilization, progress has most significantly been marked by maximizing outputs while minimizing input and waste output. This is the standard engineering principle of efficiency.

The industrial revolution that started in the 18th century is referenced as a pivot point of human impact on its environment. Since this era of increased efficiency, from the advent of the assembly line and distributed tasks at the outset to the miniaturization of electronics to maximize calculative output most recently, our progress is marked by our giant leaps of efficiency. It may be unpopular, but no less true, to recognize that it has been the industrial revolution — indeed still ongoing — that has and will continue to allow us to produce more from less and waste less in the process. For example, the wheel is one of our earliest innovations and has been improved and made more efficient at least one thousand fold with respect to input costs, labour and yes, even CO2 output.

Tonight, the leader of Canada’s socialist party — a party representing an ideology that has sought to increase the costs of input (organized labour, tariffs on inputs) while diminishing the benefit of the output (taxation on goods produced, regulations of its use) — very symbolically holds a flame for the very principles that would jam the gears of modernization, efficiencies and progress. Instead of allowing the inherent market mechanism that favours efficiency to reduce waste (CO2 as a by-product), Layton and friends use a sledgehammer instead of a scalpel to act broadly against desired outputs and necessary inputs rather than just waste.

While leaders around the world seek to reinvent the wheel outside of market based innovation and progress, Jack Layton is at home tending to our earliest invention. One hopes that Layton realizes that the candle he holds is more symbolic than logical as a burning candle produces 7x more CO2 output per lumen of light than a 40W incandescent lightbulb (calculation here). To decry our own greed and supposed inefficiencies, Layton harkens back to a time before the first refinement of our first spark of genius.

Layton’s flame is symbolic, though perhaps not in the way he intended. Indeed, his burning candle is symbolic to our self-loathing attitude towards a process that brought billions out of relative poverty since the 17th century, has extended our life expectancies by decades through health research and nutritional knowledge, and has allowed mass communicative capacity to organize protests, rallies, vigils and the like. Jack’s flame, much like his solutions, are inefficient and regressive.

Though Mr. Layton would put up flame to the bridges that have brought us health, wealth and happiness since a darker age, hopefully other leaders will have a lightbulb moment and realize that it has been our unbridled innovative capacity and not a misguided effort for central planning, that has and always will move us along the road to enlightenment.

Greenhouse gases over Copenhagen

We’re only partway through the conference in Copenhagen and there has already been criticism of the size of the so-called carbon footprint left by delegates. From flights, to limos to the food imported to feed everyone, the eco-conference is an eco-disaster isn’t it? And if there’s no deal, what was it all for?

Brazil has sent over 700 delegates to the conference while the tiny island nation of Tuvalu has sent 20. Each delegate represents just 750 Tuvaluvians who earn an average of $2000 per year. Presuming there aren’t many direct flights from Tuvalu to Copenhagen, travel costs, let alone hotel costs, would seem to me to be quite prohibitive for the island’s treasury.

The United Nations boasts 30,123 registered delegates and 2,941 media passes granted.

That’s a lot of dead polar bears.