I’m still alive

Things are busy.  I’m about to jump in to the fine art of homeschooling.  I recently did a presentation on Peak Oil and Gas.  One week after we gathered again to talk a little bit about it.  The group inquired about my personal sense of urgency.  I answered honestly in saying I really don’t know because no one knows for sure how much oil Saudi Arabia can pump out.  I think natural gas is the more prominent issue for an institution because of the capital cost of switching to an alternative.  My guess was that there is about a 20-40 percent chance that society could “go off a cliff.”  I reflected more about this afterwards.  I don’t really have that much doubt that we will hit Peak Oil in the next 10 years.  The variable that matters is how people respond.  Are we a going to shuttle emails around about boycotting supposedly evil oil companies are we are going to use our collective imagination to work a way out of the challenges ahead?

We do have the potential to do amazing things.  That is really the great hope. 

Lots of people have been asking me about Obama.  George W. Bush is a little more than radioactive in Canada and McCain is close enough to him to be reflecting that radioactivity.  One would think that I’d like Obama but I don’t.  I don’t like his tax cuts idea, I don’t like what I’ve seen of his energy policy, and I don’t find a lot of substance in what we says.  He is a great orator and he has cute kids and a seemingly normal family but that doesn’t make him qualified to lead the US.  I don’t know if McCain is any better.  McCain does strike me as someone who is just a little past his prime now.  His gaffes are a little too reminiscent of the later Reagan years.

A Canadian election is coming up.  Nice fixed election date promise Stephen!  I’m afraid that Dion’s Green Shift will turn Saskatchewan in a Liberal free zone.  It is too bad because I really like the idea of carbon tax, I just think the revenue from the tax needs to stay in the region that is taxed.

I’m not sure what the Green Party is going to do.  If I think Canada needs a carbon tax, and one party can win and deliver on it, and the other will struggle to get a seat, which one do you think I’d vote for?  I think Dion is banking on absorbing some of the green vote to put him over the top.

  1. #1 by JC on August 28, 2008 - 7:26 am

    Just wondering if you have checked out the NDP’s Better Plan for addressing the reduction of green house gas emissions? The NDP plan has a hard cap on industrial emissions and will have a cap and trade system which will mirror the system which has successfully reduced the toxins that cause acid rain. Not only is there a hard cap but the funds generated from the sale of carbon credits will be used for significant increased federal funding for transit, rail infrastructure, consumer rebate/tax credits for green vehicles and home retrofits.

    It would seem that of the plans out there, the NDP plan would ‘tick’ more of your boxes with a party that is electorally viable.

    You can find more information about the plan at http://www.ndp.ca. You might also want to read up on the legislation that Jack and the Caucus were able to pass over the past session, in particular the first legislation that requires a government to report back on their ghg emissions reductions programs and their success. It really is a groundbreaking piece of legislation.

  2. #2 by Leighton Tebay on August 28, 2008 - 8:25 am


    I like a carbon tax more than cap and trade because it is more honest. The NDP’s plan is an effort to pin the problem solely on big business. The whole idea is a bit of a fallacy because the “big polluters” will just pass their costs down and we will pay for it anyway. It doesn’t do enough to create an impetus for the average citizen to change their habits and renovate their homes. We need to do more than just cut GHG emissions, we need reduce our dependence on our finite resources of fossil fuels. A carbon tax will create an additional incentive for everyone, not just big industry, to use less fuel before resource scarcity causes the price to spiral out of control. The bottom line is we are all part of the problem, we all need an incentive to be part of the solution.

    I’m all for government spending (or tax breaks) to stimulate public transit and rail infrastructure. The rebates on vehicles and the home retrofits are already implemented by the conservatives.

    As for “electorally viable” the NDP and Greens run pretty close in the polls. The NDP has more supporters in concentrated areas but neither party is going to win an election anytime soon. I’m tired of NDP rhetoric and the Greens at least try to transcend the left/right polarization.

  3. #3 by Bene D on August 28, 2008 - 11:22 pm

    Figured you were preparing to teach at home.:^) Tough job, all the best.

  4. #4 by len hjalmarson on August 30, 2008 - 6:58 pm

    Leighton, from material I read the best experts say we have now hit peak oil.. it’s not future. IIRC, this includes the “new” oil like the tar sands and deep offshore sites that may now be reachable because prices make it feasible. That is, it is not “new” in the sense that it was previously included in estimates.

  5. #5 by len hjalmarson on August 30, 2008 - 6:58 pm

    btw, some of the sources I have been reading are Naomi Kline, pieces from her book as well as recent interviews (Rolling Stone for one)

  6. #6 by len hjalmarson on August 30, 2008 - 7:01 pm

    btw2 (heh, I just like to see my own name) the larger issue is not just peak oil, but the rate at which the haves burn energy on behalf of the have-nots.. We consume energy at a rate that is way beyond sustainable..


    To measure your ecological footprint


  7. #7 by len hjalmarson on August 30, 2008 - 7:02 pm

    dang, first link is wrong..

    Earth Day info from Macleans


  8. #8 by Leighton Tebay on August 31, 2008 - 9:24 am

    The real question is Saudi Arabia. We don’t really know what their production capacity is. It is hard to predict the world’s excess capacity.

    We may have hit a new production record in August which might be the new “peak.”


    With the North Sea and Mexico in such serious rates of decline it is hard to see how will be able to maintain this rate of production.

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