RE: Energy Policy / Junk Science Environmentalism

From: <>
Date: Fri Dec 16 2005 - 06:23:54 EST

I knew this would get a reaction! :-)  One of the reasons I jump when I see what may look like finger pointing is that the way this issue is always phrased is this: if only those others would get their act together' or 'if only those nasty energy companies would invent new laws of physics to give us problem free energy'. 

Like Chuck, I too would kill the last caribou and feed it to my granddaughters if it came to that.  The reality is that we are the problem not them. And until we recognize that we will never have a chance to  solve this thing.  And, it is a really really fair question to ask, what are we willing to sacrifice to save another species, because that is exactly the choice we have before us.  If we all move into tiny homes and cut energy use by 1/3 we would save 10 billion barrels of oil per year.  That would move the peak of oil production back by 3 months per year.  Thus even drastic conservation will only delay the problem by 3 months.  Don't get me wrong, we should do that, but it won't change our fate.  And given that we are either at or within 2 years of peak production, immediate implementation of the 1/3 conservation plan will help us at most by only 6 months.

I don't know the solution, but I do know this. I am part of the problem as are all others in our modern society.

On Thu Dec 15 22:59 , "Tjalle T Vandergraaf" sent:

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 either.


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 death.

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 problems. 

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 Fri Dec 16 06:27:05 2005

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