RE: Energy Policy / Junk Science Environmentalism

From: Tjalle T Vandergraaf <>
Date: Thu Dec 15 2005 - 22:59:21 EST

Of course, Glenn is correct in that common sense needs to prevail and I'm
sure I would probably eat the last remaining Porcupine Caribou if my life
(or, more importantly, that of my dependents) depended on it. But, that's
not what I was referring to! Neither did I want to single out the US as the
culprit. I fully agree that Canadians are, on a per capita basis, use as
much or more energy than our US cousins (my wife, an ex-US citizen, has
cousins in the US!). However, when we think of the enormous amounts of
energy used in moving materials back and forth across the globe, when we
decide to build 200+ m^2 single-family homes on the bald prairies where the
temperature can drop to -40, or in the "sweat belt" in Tennessee,
Mississippi, etc., or in the sun-baked "Valley of the Sun," we can hardly do
this without heat and/or cooling. About 10 years ago, we replaced the
windows in our home with triple-paned windows, low-E, Ar-fillled, the whole
nine-yards. Our energy consumption has decreased by about 30% but that may
also be due to the fact that the kids have left home. If I drive to small
communities in our area, I see homes that cannot be more than 80 m^2 and,
yet, held more than the average, 21st century family. So, maybe the time
has come to move to a smaller house or to a condo, where the neighbours help
heat and cool the apartment.


Although I have not looked into the energy consumption in Canada in
sufficient detail, I'm sure that at least some of the energy usage is due to
the fact that we still very much have a resource-based industry. One factor
that is often ignored is that we export a lot of "energy added material."
For example, we import bauxite and export aluminum, primarily because we
have cheap and abundant hydroelectric power in the west (Kitimat, BC) and in
the east (Arvida, Quebec). Yet, I don't think that exporting energy in this
form is factored into the apparent consumption. This is not to excuse our
increase in GHG emissions since 1990, which is higher than that of the US,
even though we have signed the Kyoto Accord and the US has not. I do not
know if the figures cited by BP include military operations. Incidentally,
I've been told that aluminum companies are now investing heavily in Iceland
because of its hydrothermal energy resources, so we may soon see Iceland
listed as using a lot of energy.


As to living in "50 degree households," nobody wants that, but I also recall
people on TV bemoaning the fact that heating costs had gone up. Yet, they
sat in their house in a T-shirt, apparently not aware that, maybe, a sweater
would not be such a bad idea. We keep our home at 21 C during the day and
at 16 C at night. We could go even further, I suppose, and reduce the heat
to rooms that are not used all that much. And yes, Glenn, it does get down
to -40 here in the winter and I've waited for the bus at -40, so I know how
it feels. I've also been in Beijing in March and that was not pleasant


If getting the oil out of the ANWR is the only option, then I would hope
that adequate attention be given to vulnerable species.


Finally, it was not my intent to pit one nation against another. I was
simply pointing out that there is some concern "up here" when it comes to
the ANWR.


Chuck Vandergraaf






From: []
Sent: Thursday, December 15, 2005 8:58 PM
To: '' Michael Roberts '';; 'Tjalle T Vandergraaf'
Subject: RE: Energy Policy / Junk Science Environmentalism



THis is really huge problem that 'common sense' is causing. The reality is
that it is 'common sense' that I not let my children die from the cold.
Thus, if it becomes a choice between freezing and getting energy or other
necessities at the risk of some other species, human beings will chose the
common sense approach--get the necessary items in spite of the cost. Now
before someone says it isn't a choice of freezing if one lives in a 50
degree household, the reality is that if the body temperature in children
drops a wee bit, they are much more likely to literally catch their death in
colds/flus and other nasty diseases. Thus warmth is a matter of life and

Now, one of the little known facts is that Canadians are the largest per
capita energy users on earth. I saw this in Beijing on CNBC one morning
this last month. I know, everyone points to the US, but that is what the
quiz said. So I looked up the populations and the BP Statistical world
Energy Review energy consumption data to check this out. Canadians use 9.6
tonnes of oil per citizen and the US uses 8.0, which means that each
CAnadian uses 20% more energy each year than us slovenly bad-mouthed US
folk. The tough question for you, and other Canadians is, how much colder
are you willing to keep your houses to save those species? If I were a
Canadian, facing similar temperatures (or worse) than what I have
experienced in Beijing the last 2 weeks, my personal answer would be to get
the oil out of ANWR. A point of interest, the Tar sands, which are said to
be the future fuel of the world, today produces something near .001 of the
total energy consumed in Canada.

I would add, that the reason what I am saying IS common sense, is that for
each human, his personal death seems so much worse than all others. The
death of a family member is worse than the death of a friend. The death of a
friend is worse than the death of a stranger. And the death of a human seems
much worse than the death of my cat. And the death of my cat seems worse
than the death of some animal in a far away place. Thus, I would suggest
that we are engaging in common sense and that is what is creating these

On Thu Dec 15 20:49 , "Tjalle T Vandergraaf" sent:

As much as I have been tempted to respond to Janices snippets (after all,
~90% (or more!) of her e-mail is regurgitated from various web sites), I
dont think we should bother. Remember that all this correspondence ends up
in the ASA archives.


Canada feels very strongly about drilling in the ANWR because of its
importance to the Porcupine Caribou and other wildlife. (see: The USA has
already lost the passenger pigeon and, most likely, the ivory-billed
woodpecker (although there continue to be rumours of sightings). I wonder
how many species have to be sacrificed on the altar of consumerism and
extravagance before common sense sets in.


Chuck Vandergraaf




Received on Thu Dec 15 23:02:45 2005

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