Cameron Wigmore, Green Party Member: June 2007

June 25, 2007

Alberta Becoming A Petro-Tyranny

I attended a presentation by Mr. Nikiforuk in Rockyford a few months ago. He presented, to a room full of concerned farmers and land owners, an excellent slide show about CBM (coal bed methane) and the Tar Sands. He's a great journalist and this audio file offers very good information on what's happening with the Alberta government and our energy resources.

Click here (or for direct 'real media' file link click here) for the audio interview on CBC radio show The Current with Andrew Nikiforuk. Look for part two at the bottom of the page.

For the full written article 'Is Canada the latest emerging petro-tyranny?' by Andrew Nikiforuk, click here. (highlights below)

June 11, 2007 Monday
Calgary journalist and columnist for Canadian Business magazine
Is Canada the latest emerging petro-tyranny?

Every day, the First Law of Petropolitics quietly insinuates its way into the nation's political blood like a rogue parasite. The law, first coined by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, posits that the price of oil and the quality of freedom invariably travel in opposite directions.

As the price of crude oil goes higher in an oil-dominated kingdom, the average citizen will experience, over time, less free speech, fewer free papers and a steady erosion of the rule of law. The reason, argues Mr. Friedman, is simple: Oil and gas regimes don't need to tax their citizens to survive because they can simply tax another tar sands project, so they really don't have to listen to their people either...

...Alberta's politics mirror a global phenomenon. In a recent study of 105 oil-rich states between 1971 and 1997, political scientist Michael Ross consistently found that reliance on oil exports made a country less democratic regardless of its size, location or ideology. Oil corrupts and corrupts absolutely. Given that Canada is now ruled by Albertans and claims to be an "emerging energy superpower" as well as a "secure source of almost limitless energy resources" for North America, can Canada defy the axiom of our age?

Politicians serve those first who deliver the most revenue.

June 24, 2007

Energy Efficiency Better Than Expected

Energy Efficiency and Conservation: The Cornerstone of a Sustainable Energy Future

Here are a few highlights from a July '06, PDF report (985kb file) from the Canadian Renewable Energy Alliance on how conservation and efficiency measures have proven highly effective in an effort to meet energy demands. It's simple: we can meet demands by reducing them.

Energy efficiency is the least cost, most reliable, and most environmentally-sensitive resource, and minimizes our contribution to climate change.
California’s Energy Action Plan II *1

Energy efficiency is likely to be the cheapest and safest way of addressing all [of our energy] objectives, while also strengthening energy security and improving our industrial competitiveness as we develop cleaner technologies, products and processes.
UK Energy White Paper *2

Fortunately, energy efficiency and conservation are the lowest cost option for meeting energy needs, and they provide many other environmental, economic and social benefits as well:
· overall cost savings from lower expenditures on energy;
· a lower environmental load from avoiding the greenhouse gas and local air, water and land emissions associated with energy production and consumption;
· local economic-development opportunities and associated new jobs;
· an energy system with enhanced reliability and less price volatility; and
· improved energy-supply security.

*1 California Energy Commission. 2005. California’s Energy Action Plan II, p. 3.
*2 Department of Trade and Industry. 2003. UK Energy White Paper, Our Energy Future—Creating a Low Carbon Economy,

Recommendations for Provincial Strategies

1 Set a goal of meeting all new growth in energy demand over the next two decades through energy efficiency and conservation. Set energy efficiency targets for each sector along with appropriate intermediate milestones for energy utilities and industries. Make these milestones into legal requirements by using Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standards and tradable permit (white certificates) programs.

2 Treat energy efficiency as a resource and given priority over supply resources. All resources should be assessed using social, environmental and economic cost criteria.

3 Mandate an independent dedicated agency to coordinate and deliver energy efficiency and conservation programs, and recommend policy changes.

4 Establish permanent funding sources through the budget process to support a building code and equipment standard review cycle.

5 Provide a shared savings DSM incentive mechanism for energy utilities, technical support provided for smaller utilities, and coordinate DSM programs across the Province.

6 Establish regular review cycles of energy efficiency requirements in building codes and minimum efficiency requirements for equipment. Changes in codes and standards should be negotiatedwith all stakeholders and supportive incentives provided to builders and suppliers in the lead up to changes.

7 Provide comprehensive energy efficiency programming covering all sectors and geographic areas in the Province. Market transformation programs should target the whole supply chain – manufacturers/builders, suppliers, contractors, users/consumers.

8 Provide targeted financial incentives to kick start market transformation and raise efficiency levels between code and standards cycles, providing effective support to suppliers, users, or contractors as appropriate.

9 Build an infrastructure to deliver energy efficiency products and services through training/certification of DSM program managers, contractors, circuit riders, building operators.

10 Partner with municipalities and First Nations to deliver community energy plans and community based energy efficiency programs.

Recommendations for Federal Enabling Policies and Support

1 Develop and implement a national energy efficiency strategy and action plan with targets and timelines, based on best practices, individual and joint initiatives across Provinces, and participation in international initiatives on energy efficiency.

2 Establish a permanent review cycle of the national model energy code for buildings, EnerGuide for Houses, and vehicle efficiency requirements, in cooperation with the Provinces.

3 Use the Energy Efficiency Act to raise minimum efficiency standards for all energy using equipment to the highest levels in North America in cooperation with Provinces and harmonized with the most progressive US States.

4 Provide enabling legislation and protocol support for energy performance and best in class labeling programs.

5 Promote and support the use of measures that provide value to energy efficiency labels so that they reflect the full environmental and social benefits of high efficiency. These should include tradable energy efficiency permits or “white” certificates, green mortgage concessions, preferential tax treatment, and targeted incentives.

6 Make market transformation the primary objective of federal energy efficiency programming, working with Provinces, Territories, Municipalities and all stakeholders to transform new and retrofit building, appliance, lighting, electronic equipment, and industrial equipment and process markets.

7 Provide national support for training/certification of DSM program managers, contractors, circuit riders, building operators.

8 Show leadership and support for market transformation by expanding the Federal Buildings Initiative into a full green procurement strategy where all federal facilities are built, leased, upgraded, equipped and operated to the highest levels of efficiency on a life cycle cost basis.

9 Establish a national energy efficiency finance fund in cooperation with the finance industry, private sector investors, and municipalities. Reduce financial incentives and tax concessions for fossil fuels and nuclear and divert them toward new incentives for energy efficiency (and renewable energy).

10 Put special programs in place to reduce “energy poverty” and raise building standards for First Nations communities and low income families.

11 Expand Canadian participation in international partnerships such as REEEP, NAFTA, and the IEA, providing support for energy efficiency in developing countries as well as North American and international discussions.

Also related, here is a link to a summary of an article on energy efficiency from a September '06 Scientific American issue on energy.

Excerpts from “An Efficient Solution,” by Eberhard K. Jochem, Scientific American, September 2006.

Energy Efficiency Is The Solution

Wasting less energy is the quickest, least expensive way to stem carbon emissions. The huge potential of energy efficiency measures for mitigating the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere attracts little attention when place alongside the more glamorous alternatives of nuclear, hydrogen or renewable energies. But developing a comprehensive efficiency strategy is the fastest and cheapest thing we can do to reduce carbon emissions. It can also be profitable and astonishingly effective, as two recent examples demonstrate...

...Improved efficiencies can be realized all along the energy chain, from the conversion of primary energy (oil, for example) to energy carriers (such as electricity) and finally to useful energy (the heat in your toaster). The annual global primary energy demand is 447,000 petajoules (a petajoule is roughly 300 gigawatt-hours), 80 percent of which comes from carbon-emitting fossil fuels such as coal, oil and gas. After conversion these primary energy sources deliver roughly 300,000 petajoules of so-called final energy to customers in the form of electricity, gasoline, heating oil, jet fuel, and so on.

The next step, the conversion of electricity, gasoline, and the like to useful energy in engines, boilers and lightbulbs, causes further energy losses of 154,000 petajuoules. Thus, at present almost 300,000 petajoules, or two thirds of the primary energy are lost during the two stages of energy conversion. Furthermore, all useful energy is eventually dissipated as heat at various temperatures. Insulating buildings more effectively, changing industrial processes and driving lighter, more aerodynamic cars would reduce the demand for useful energy, thus substantial reducing energy wastage.

Given the challenges presented by climate change and the high increases expected in energy prices, the losses that occur all along the energy chain can also be viewed as opportunities–and efficiency is one of the most important. New technologies and know-how must replace the present intensive use of energy and materials...

...Little heralded but impressive advances have already been made, often in the form of efficiency improvements that are invisible to the consumer. Beginning with the energy crisis in the 1970's, air conditioners in the U.S. were redesigned to use less power with little loss in cooling capacity and new U.S. building codes required more insulation and double-paned windows. New refrigerators use only one quarter of the power of earlier models. (With approximately 150 million refrigerators and freezers in the U.S., the difference in consumption between 1974 efficiency levels and 2001 levels is equivalent to avoiding the generation of 40 gigawatts at power plants.) Changing to compact fluorescent light-bulbs yields an instant reduction in power demand; these bulbs provide as much light as regular incandescent bulbs, last 10 times longer and use just one fourth to one fifth the energy...

The Importance Of Policy

To realize the full benefits of efficiency, strong energy policies are essential. Among the underlying reasons for the crucial role of policy are the dearth of knowledge by manufacturers and the public about efficiency options, budgeting methods that do not take proper account of the ongoing benefits of long-lasting investments, and market imperfections such as external costs for carbon emissions and other costs of energy use. Energy policy set by governments has traditionally underestimated the benefits of efficiency. Of course, factors other than policy can drive changes in efficiency–higher energy prices, new technologies or cost competition, for instance. But policies–which include energy taxes, financial incentives, professional training, labeling, environmental legislation, greenhouse gas emissions trading and international coordination of regulations for traded products–can make an enormous difference...

...Other similar projects abound. The Board of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology, for instance, has suggested a technological program aimed at what we call the 2,000-Watt Society–an annual primary energy use of 2,000 watts (or 65 gigajoules) per capita. Realizing this vision in industrial countries would reduce the per capita energy use and related carbon emissions by two thirds, despite a two-thirds increase in GDP, within the next 60 to 80 years. Swiss scientists, including myself, have been evaluating this plan since 2002, and we have concluded that the goal of the 2,000-watt per capita society is technically feasible for industrial countries in the second half of this century.

To some people, the term “energy efficiency” implies reduced comfort. But the concept of efficiency means that you get the same service–a comfortable room or convenient travel from home to work–using less energy. The EU, its member states and Japan have begun to tap the substantial–and profitable–potential of efficiency measures. To avoid the rising costs of energy supplies and the even costlier adaptations to climate change, efficiency must become a global activity.

Finally, on the subject of the economics & profitability of going green with your business, have a look at the book Natural Capitalism. Click on the link to read selected chapter excerpts online.

June 18, 2007

Green Party Speaks Out Against Nuclear Energy

Here are two recent media releases by the Green Party of Canada about problems with nuclear energy.

Tritium study shows nuclear power is still too dangerous

Our governments and the nuclear industry have consistently downplayed mounting scientific concerns.

Ottawa – Green Party leader Elizabeth May today called for an immediate moratorium on the development of all new nuclear generating capacity and refurbishment of existing reactors pending a full investigation into the health impacts of radioactive tritium emissions on people living near nuclear plants.

“The federal and provincial governments and the nuclear industry have consistently downplayed mounting scientific concerns about the levels of tritium in the Great Lakes and around nuclear reactors,” said Ms. May. “Canadians have the right to know the truth about tritium before we rush headlong into a nuclear-powered future.”

The CANDU reactors used in Canada are among the world’s largest sources of tritium, producing much more of the radioactive hydrogen isotope than other types of reactors. Health Canada’s standard for tritium levels in drinking water is 100 times higher than the level permitted in Europe.

In a new study released this week, British radiation expert Ian Fairlie said that emissions of radioactive tritium from Canadian reactors are so high that children under age four and pregnant women shouldn't live within 10 kilometres of a nuclear power plant and those living within five kilometres shouldn't eat food grown in their gardens. Mr. Fairlie, who worked on a British government committee set up in 2001 to review the safety of tritium and other radioactive substances, published a report earlier this year in which he concluded that the danger of tritium is being underestimated.

“It is extremely worrying that the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA), our key legislation to protect human health and the environment from threats posed by man-made substances, does not include radio-nuclides such as tritium,” said Ms. May.

“The tradition of secrecy surrounding the nuclear industry has relegated radioactive tritium and other emissions from nuclear plants to a regulatory limbo. This must be remedied by bringing toxic radio-nuclides under the control of CEPA.”

- - - - -

Not safe, not long-term – Green Party blasts plan to bury nuclear waste

"Out of sight, out of mind" approach a crippling mortgage on future generations of Canadians.

Ottawa – Green Party leader Elizabeth May today condemned the federal government's plan to bury nuclear waste, calling it a crippling mortgage on future generations of Canadians.

"Environment Minister Gary Lunn proudly calls underground disposal a safe, long-term approach," said Ms. May. "That could only be true if your idea of safe is 'out of sight, out of mind' and you think long term means 'until I'm no longer in office.'

"This plan falls woefully short of providing a long-term solution to the ongoing problem of nuclear waste. It's a short-term management strategy. The NWMO proposal calls for final decisions to be made in 300 years.

"And it means that at an as yet undetermined point in the future, residents of some isolated Canadian community will be asked to live beside a pile of waste that will be deadly for thousands of years."

Minister Lunn announced this week that the government is accepting the plan put forward by the Nuclear Waste Management Organization (NWMO) to keep the waste where it is – at reactor sites in four provinces – for the next 30 years and then move it to a central repository where it will be kept either above the ground or in shallow underground storage. After another 30 years, it will be moved 500 to 1,000 metres underground. At all stages, the waste will be retrievable.

"Making it retrievable means that it could eventually be used to produce nuclear weapons or to fuel nuclear breeder reactors, which are even more dangerous that the current fission reactions."

Ms. May said the nuclear industry's favourable reaction to the plan came as no big surprise. "It is, after all, the work of the NWMO whose board consists entirely of individuals representing the Canadian nuclear industry."

I've posted on my blog three times in the past on nuclear energy. See here, here and here.

Green Tax Shift will protect Canadians against gas price shocks, says Green Party

Here are two recent press releases on the green tax shift that the Green Party is proposing, along with some background documents below.

A green tax shift is also known as ecological fiscal reform (EFR) and you'll find more info on EFR at this link.

Green Tax Shift will protect Canadians against gas price shocks, says Green Party

OTTAWA – The Green Party of Canada warned today that Canada will enter a period of sustained and escalating price shocks at the gas pump unless the federal government moves quickly to protect Canadians from the financial toll of declining oil supplies in an era of growing global demand for oil.

“The current spike in Canada’s transportation fuel costs is just the start,” Green Party leader Elizabeth May said today. “It is going to get much worse if, like Prime Minister Harper, we simply accept that there is nothing we can do because the price increase is due to the imbalance between global oil supply and demand.”

The Green Party’s recently-released climate change plan – A New Energy Revolution to Avert Global Catastrophe – sets out a detailed strategy to simultaneously stabilize transportation costs and protect personal disposable income while reducing greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution.

This comprehensive and integrated green economic plan maximizes the energy efficiency of vehicles, significantly expands public transit alternatives, introduces environmentally sustainable smart urban planning and agricultural practices, promotes development of renewable energy and encourages aggressive energy conservation measures.

The plan’s key policy lever is the Green Tax Shift, which cuts income and payroll taxes and introduces a variable carbon tax on different types of fuel. The tax shift is revenue-neutral: there would be no net gain to the government’s tax coffers because individual income and payroll taxes would be cut by the same amount as the revenue collected by the carbon tax.

Canadians employers and workers would pay more for energy but this would be offset by lower payroll and income taxes. Canadians on lower incomes, who pay no income tax, would be given a carbon tax rebate similar to the GST rebate.

According to the Green Party’s Industry and Entrepreneurship Advocate, Eric Walton, by gradually increasing the cost of energy in clearly prescribed stages, the carbon tax will drive rapid technological innovation, vehicle fleet conversion, appropriate government regulations and personal transportation adjustments that will in turn reduce energy consumption.

“Over time, this will reduce demand and protect Canadians from rapid, uncontrolled gas price increases by reducing the percentage of an individual’s or family’s budget spent on transportation costs,” said Mr. Walton. “It is a win/win strategy that protects both the environment and the disposable income of Canadians through the Green Tax Shift.

“Maintaining the status quo will continue to damage the atmosphere and provide no financial rebate on income and payroll taxes. That is the lose/lose proposition."

- - - - -

Averting Climate Catastrophe: Green Party lays out roadmap to Canada’s low-carbon future

– Green Party leader Elizabeth May today unveiled the party’s Environment Day gift to Canada – a comprehensive blueprint for a thriving low-carbon economy and a clean, green energy future that will reinstate Canada as a leader in the global campaign to prevent catastrophic climate change.

Ms. May released the Green Party Climate Plan: A New Energy Revolution to Avert Global Catastrophe, in Ottawa today – World Environment Day – with an urgent message for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Environment Minister John Baird and opposition party leaders:

“Please steal these ideas. They are decisive but workable and they will drive rapid progress towards achieving our Kyoto targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and keeping global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius. There is no time to lose.”

As the Prime Minister joins leaders of the G-8 industrialized nations in Heiligendamm, Germany – with climate change top of the agenda – Ms. May also urged Mr. Harper to reject the defeatist attitude being promoted by the Bush administration and to reaffirm Canada’s commitment to Kyoto and further medium- and long-term emissions reduction targets.

“This is no time to align ourselves with the laggards of the world,” said Ms. May. “It is a time for vision and ambition. The transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy represents the greatest business opportunity the world has ever seen. The federal government’s dogged refusal to recognize and seize that opportunity is a failure of leadership that puts Canada’s future prosperity in great jeopardy.”

The cornerstone of the Green Party plan is an immediate $50/tonne carbon tax, rising to $100/tonne by 2020 if necessary. Experts agree that a carbon tax is the most efficient and effective way to cut greenhouse gas emissions, but some say it is politically dangerous to enact a carbon tax. (See what experts say in the attached backgrounder.)

A $50 carbon tax adds 12 cents to the cost of a litre of gas at the pump. That revenue will be used to progressively reduce other taxes, including income and payroll taxes, and to provide tax incentives for reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.

The plan also includes a cap-and-trade CO2 market for Large Final Emitters – the big mining, manufacturing, oil, gas and thermal electricity companies responsible for about half of Canada’s total emissions. Trading of CO2 allocations will be overseen by a non-governmental body.

The Green Party plan also calls for:
  • Rapid development of Canada’s renewable energy sources through tax incentives, research funds and new policies, including carbon conditionality clauses requiring provincial adoption of Advanced Renewables Tariffs.
  • Tax incentives, regulation and funded programs to cut vehicle emissions 30% by 2015 and 85% by 2040, including incentives for the Canadian manufacture of electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles.
  • A retrofit of all Canada’s buildings to a high level of energy efficiency by 2025 and zero net energy after 2025 using refundable tax credits, tax-deductible Green Mortgages, 100% Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance, revolving federal loans and changes to Canada’s Building Code.
  • Regulations requiring all appliances to meet Energy Star rating by 2015 with most inefficient appliances and light bulbs phased out by 2010.
  • Adaptation strategies to cope with climatic disruption that is no longer avoidable, including a special task force to prepare area-specific strategies and a Climate Change Adaptation Fund to assist areas hard hit by “natural” disasters linked to global warming.
  • Withdrawal of federal funding for programmes such the Pacific Gateway Programme, that encourage urban sprawl and increase vehicle use.
  • Removal of all subsidies to coal, oil, gas and coalbed methane production, a cap on overall extraction levels of fossil fuels, and phasing out of coal, oil, gas and nuclear electrical generation.
  • Payments to farmers for carbon sequestration in soils within a domestic carbon market.
  • A carbon tax or carbon rebate for forest companies to reflect either the net loss of carbon storage or the net gain of carbon sinks from their lands.
  • A methane tax on all landfills and mandatory methane capture after 2015.
  • Global verification and certification standards for carbon credits and the establishment of a Canadian Carbon Bank along with a federal framework for local and provincial carbon banks to encourage the purchase of local offsets.
  • Expansion of the Kyoto Protocol beyond 2012 to include international aviation and shipping and commitments to ramp up solar energy, electric vehicles and other low carbon technologies.

Green Party Climate Plan (PDF)

Summary Plan & Carbon Tax Quotes (PDF)

Key Points on Climate Plan

Carbon Tax FAQ

June 11, 2007

Nuclear Energy Very Problematic

This post is my reply to a pro-nuclear comment on a previous post of mine covering this issue.

Nuclear energy is NOT a good option for our current or future power needs.

Regarding greenhouse gases, many are produce in the production of materials to build, shipping of materials, and building of nuclear power plants. Then there is a large amount of greenhouse gases produced in the further transporting, storage and reprocessing of nuclear waste. The energy is not entirely emissions free unless one unrealistically removes all indirectly related emission from surrounding activities.

People will still want to drive their cars once oil is gone, but if you look at the numbers, it just can't happen, nor can we all freely fly around the world at will. There will not be enough energy, even if you build dozens of nuclear power plants. An interesting side note is that it would take about twenty nuclear power plants to replace the level of energy used from natural gas to fuel operations in the Athabasca tar sands, and that's just so that they can get the oil out of the ground so it can be shipped to the U.S. to be processed.

In articles all over the media, people are talking about the future need to replace oil, as peak oil might be upon us in at most a few decades, and at soonest... right now. The problem isn't that we will need to find a way to meet our growing energy demands. I think that will prove to be impossible without cheap abundant fossil fuels. Instead the problem is that somehow people across the entire world will need to learn to live on far less energy. In the future the grid distribution system may prove so inefficient that it will be entirely unusable. Decentralized local energy generation will likely be the solution, but without oil, we'll have trouble even maintaining and replacing those systems. So, how easy will it be for our future society to maintain, replace or decommission nuclear power generators, or to ensure that radioactive waste continues to be stored in a safe and secure manner?

Nuclear energy is NOT an option for our power needs.

Nuclear power will never be completely GHG free. There are so many other things that we need to do before we try to promote nuclear energy as some kind of solution to global warming. Isn't it completely possible that our society would simply continue to consume fossil fuels at the same pace, regardless of how much extra energy for other purposes is from nuclear power? If we build nuclear power plants, will we drive less? Ship goods by truck less? Heat our homes less?

The waste issue which is thoroughly understood by the anti-nuke community is a very big issue. Waste can be reprocessed, but as France is discovering, eventually the leftover waste that cannot be reprocessed will build up and huge amounts will have to be dealt with. Nuclear waste could be put back in the ground, but there will always be a risk of contamination. This process has been utilized by the French for many years and they are starting to realize that there are issues with the sustainability of this strategy that is simply burying the problem and delaying the inevitable.

Radiation release is a concern with nuclear plants. No one has experienced radiation exposure from working in a solar panel or wind turbine factory.

I lived in Toronto many years ago when it was discovered that the Pickering Nuclear Power plant was not living up to promises.

Ontario Hydro failed to report decades of copper and zinc emissions from steam condenser tubes 1,800 tones into Lake Ontario, Southern Ontario's and northern New York States drinking water. Ontario Hydro admitted that groundwater at Pickering nuclear power plant has been contaminated with high levels of tritium since 1978. Ontario Hydro disclosed that up to 150,000 liters of waste oil had been illegally dumped in a landfill in the late 1970s. Both the tritium contamination and the oil dumping were brought to light by whistle-blowers not Ontario Hydro.

In October 1997 it was revealed and widely reported in the media that the Pickering nuclear power plant had 30 fires the previous year thats more than two a month. This nuclear power plant is just outside Toronto in a densely populated area on the shores of Lake Ontario. The water of Lake Ontario is used as a coolant in the reactors and then pumped back into the lake - the drinking water of Southern Ontario and Northern New York.

For more on Tritium see this story:
Canada vs. U.S. Tritium Standards in Drinking Water (A Primer on Tritium)

Also, terrorist attacks weren't on the top of peoples minds back then, but we seriously need to consider the fact that a nuclear power plant is a possible target for terrorists. They wouldn't need to try to break in to get the fuel rods to try to make bombs, as some might suggest. There is a concern about the nuclear plants themselves being possible targets.

Nuclear plants are very expensive to build. There is a tremendous amount of concrete and steel that goes into their construction. They are heavily subsidized with taxpayers money and the ongoing costs including the costs of decommissioning a nuclear plant make nuclear energy one of the most expensive forms of energy.

Some might try to say that only small amounts of fuel are needed to yield huge amounts of energy, and while this is technically true, 'small' does not equal safe, or manageable, or responsible, or even adequate, meaning that we will need 'large' amounts of fuel if we are to try to attempt to run the grid on nuclear energy. Very large amounts.

A lot of those who are pro-nuclear mistakenly dismiss people who are anti-nuclear as being uninformed or not in possession of the facts. I'm not 'crying out' that we'd all need a power plant in our backyards. In my well informed opinion, one nuclear power plant is one too many. We'll all be leaving behind highly toxic waste for our children's children's lives and beyond.

Nuclear power is a horrible source of energy.

Here are some links to some must read stuff that will help inform the pro-nuclear individuals who are not in full possession of the facts.

Nuclear energy 'not a viable response to climate change' - enviro group

Earlier this week, Sancan criticised State-owned Eskom for being “misinformed” about the sustainability of nuclear energy as a response to the threat of climate change, arguing that the full fuel cycle of nuclear power generation was fossil-fuel intensive and that nuclear energy was emitting large amounts of greenhouse gasses.
By March, Eskom would complete a business case for new nuclear investment, which would be predominantly conventional projects and could see the current installed nuclear base rise from 1 800 MW to over 20 000 MW over the next 20 years.

The action group also stated that the mining, milling, processing and transportation of uranium fuel for reactors were all carbon-intensive industries and that nuclear power was releasing three to four times more CO2 per unit of energy produced than compared with renewable energy.

Worthington said that renewable energy initiatives involved smaller power generation units, which was opening up opportunities for greater employment.

He also said that risk of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, as was evident in the international attempts to get Iran to shut down its uranium enrichment, was showing that enrichment for power generation and enrichment for the proliferation of weapons were one industry.

“There is no such thing as peaceful nuclear,” he said, adding that South Africa had enough renewable energy resources to provide energy for the whole of Africa.

The Long Emergency - James H. Kunstler (book review)
...Nevertheless, he does not see nuclear power as more than a short-term stopgap. Its ultimate limitations come first from safety issues with regard to plant operations and the disposal of waste fuel (although he points out that coal has cost far more lives than nuclear power, especially in the West). Second is the large amount of oil needed to mine and process nuclear fuel and to build and maintain nuclear plants. And the third, formidable objection Kunstler makes is that "Atomic fission is useful for producing electricity, but most of America's energy needs are for things that electricity can't do very well, if at all. For instance, you can't fly airplanes on electric power from nuclear reactors"—although, as he notes, the U.S. military has tried...

The Peak Oil Crisis: Alternatives – Decentralized Power
Most electricity is generated in massive remotely located plants – be they powered by coal, oil, natural gas, or nuclear reactors. These edifices, on average, waste two-thirds of the fuel that goes into them. Most energy is lost as waste heat that goes into the air or a local body of water, and the rest in line loses while bringing the power tens or hundreds of miles from the generator to the user.

In terms of green house gases, we could have the same lights, appliances, heating and air conditioning for half the carbon emissions if we simply switched from the current paradigm to decentralized power generation. If we toss some user conservation into the equation -- more efficient lights, appliances, insulation, and whatever – it just might be possible to stretch dwindling supplies of oil, natural gas, coal, and uranium far enough to allow time to replace fossil fuels with renewable sources of energy.

Government can’t solve energy crisis it created
...Americans are expected to consume 28 percent more oil in 2030, according to U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates, as global demand for oil increases more than 50 percent. Even under the most optimistic scenarios, alternative fuels, including nuclear, hydropower and renewables like ethanol, will account for less than 20 percent of our total energy profile...

My note: Interestingly, this article completely ignores that global warming and the climate crisis is human caused, and that fossil fuels are a huge part of that. It goes on to suggest that the government relax regulations and provide incentives to the oil & gas industry so that companies can get to the oil as fast as possible. The numbers indicate that even with aggressive increasing of nuclear power it will be impossible to meet the energy needs of North Americans.

The nuclear energy option - Why environmentalists go silent when it's raised
Last week, John Rowe, chief executive of Exelon Corp., speaking at the CERES conference in Boston where hundreds of environmental officers from major corporations were in attendance, advocated the use of nuclear power to meet future energy needs.

The room went silent.

This is a telling sign of the state of the energy industry as a whole: "Environmentalists" create a lot of noise about creating alternative energy sources. The oil and gas industry quietly goes about its business. And when the nuclear option is brought one has much to say about it.

The silence from the environmentalists can be attributed to the fact that nuclear power doesn't create carbon emissions. And it's readily available. It's an answer to the issue of global warming.

However, nuclear power isn't "clean energy" like solar or wind power. It's source and waste are radioactive material and therefore dangerous.

I personally don't want to bet the long-term future of the planet on whether we can find a solution to the carbon emissions from fossil fuels with nuclear power that in the short term can decimate pretty much every living thing on the planet.

There has to be a solution to meeting the world's energy demands, predicted to increase by 50% over the next 25 years. But nuclear power isn't it. There are too many hazards to consider.

There is NO solution save for reducing our levels of consumption of energy. Not solar, not hydro, not wind and not nuclear. Nuclear energy will meet part of the demand, but this is akin to widening the freeway to accommodate more cars in order to reduce congestion, only to see more and more cars and renewed congestion, or buying bigger pants and a bigger belt to accommodate weight gain.

Nuclear is NOT an option.

Union of Concerned Scientists on Nuclear Power and Global Warming
It must be borne in mind that a large-scale expansion of nuclear power in the United States or worldwide under existing conditions would be accompanied by an increased risk of catastrophic events-a risk not associated with any of the non-nuclear means for reducing global warming. These catastrophic events include a massive release of radiation due to a power plant meltdown or terrorist attack, or the death of tens of thousands due to the detonation of a nuclear weapon made with materials obtained from a civilian-most likely non-U.S.-nuclear power system. Expansion of nuclear power would also produce large amounts of radioactive waste that would pose a serious hazard as long as there remain no facilities for safe long-term disposal.

In this context, the Union of Concerned Scientists contends that:

1. Prudence dictates that we develop as many options to reduce global warming emissions as possible, and begin by deploying those that achieve the largest reductions most quickly and with the lowest costs and risk. Nuclear power today does not meet these criteria.

2. Nuclear power is not the silver bullet for "solving" the global warming problem. Many other technologies will be needed to address global warming even if a major expansion of nuclear power were to occur.

3. A major expansion of nuclear power in the United States is not feasible in the near term. Even under an ambitious deployment scenario, new plants could not make a substantial contribution to reducing U.S. global warming emissions for at least two decades.

4. Until long-standing problems regarding the security of nuclear plants-from accidents and acts of terrorism-are fixed, the potential of nuclear power to play a significant role in addressing global warming will be held hostage to the industry's worst performers.

Countries Undecided on How to Store Nuclear Waste

France Deals with Legacies of its Nuclear Programs - Why the French Like Nuclear Energy

Here's an informative video clip about Frances nuclear waste crisis. It's surprising free of anti-nuclear rhetoric.
Greenpeace on Frances Nuclear Waste

June 4, 2007

Jennifer and Alberta Greens shocked by great local support

Below is a recent letter to the editor that Jen & I wrote. It has been carried widely throughout our constituency.

Jennifer did very well at the recent forum in Stettler. I have uploaded her speeches onto YouTube. You can view them by searching her name in YouTube or by going to my account at

In the Q&A in Stettler Jen owned the subject of landowner surface rights, came across very credibly and informed on CBM issues, and set the pace with the subjects of trade, integration, and the Security & Prosperity Partnership (SPP) agreement. She also covered water transfer issues with Balzac and the Special Areas very well, and of course she brought up a number of policies from our platform. Jennifer didn't miss a beat, while the other candidates did, and Jennifer has gained the support of many local farmers, ranchers and landowners. It could have something to do with her knowledge of landowner rights, her ability to communicate the solutions that are within the Alberta Greens policies, and her ability to gain media attention on how our regulatory bodies are failing us.

After the forum, I went to the Legion parking lot where we were parked and noticed a couple of tables full of happy people. I said surprised, "this legion has an outdoor patio in the shade?!? That's awesome!"

They all smiled and laughed, and asked if I was from out of town. I told them I was just on the other side of the Legion at the political forum and a couple of people remarked that they wanted to be there (but not as much as they wanted to enjoy the evening outside on the patio - I can't blame them ;-).

I handed them a pamphlet and said "it's a little light reading, if you want to check it out and pass it along." One lady remarked, "Oh! The Green Party! That's the one I want to see. I've told my friends I'm voting Green!"

I replied, "Excellent! I'm hearing that a LOT."

See her bio here.

Jen is participating in a forum in Hanna right now. I had to work late and watch our son so I was unable to attend. On June 6th, 7pm, there's another forum at the Drumheller Inn at 100 South Railway Ave.

Door knocking and phone canvassing is going well, and we've received a number of donations from people around the constituency. Jen has more support than I did in the last federal election. I'm very proud of her.

Here is the letter to the editor we've sent out.

Letter to the editor regarding water and landowners rights

Submitted by Jennifer Wigmore
Drumheller-Stettler Candidate for the Green Party of Alberta

A water transfer proposal for the Special Areas in Drumheller-Stettler sits on the shelf, while the Province fast tracks a plan to get water to a mega mall in Balzac. Their priorities do not lay with the people, the farmers or the small business persons; their priorities lay with the foreign and big business interests. Big business is being put ahead of our agricultural industry, and while this government tries to keep agriculture afloat with subsidies, they are avoiding any real solutions to our problems.

Rather than pursuing made in Alberta plan that will strengthen our economy an make it flourish in a sustainable fashion, they are looking to the United States through the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) Agreement for ways to complete the sale of our national independence.

In April of this year CanWest News reported that a series of closed-door conferences for the North American Future 2025 Project will include the discussion of “water transfers” and diversions, according to the outline for the project, a trilateral effort to draft a “blueprint” on economic integration for the governments of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.

The project was launched to help guide the ongoing Security and Prosperity Partnership, a wide-ranging effort to further integrate the countries’ practices on everything from environmental rules to security protocols and border controls.

“It’s no secret that the U.S. is going to need water. It’s no secret that Canada is going to have an overabundance of water.” said Armand Peschard-Sverdrup, director of the project, which is spearheaded by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a powerful Washington think-tank.

An 'overabundance of water'? Is this what they think we have here in Alberta? Why is our government allowing the US to discuss our water and resources as if they are something they own?

This is bigger that the proposed Balzac water transfer, which, in my informed opinion, will probably be coming from the WID (Western Irrigation District). This is about fast-tracking without public consultations.

A proposed 1,607-kilometre cross-country oil pipeline will run from Hardisty, southeast of Edmonton to Superior, Wisconsin. The pipeline is aimed at transporting Alberta tarsands crude to U.S. markets, and it will run right through our agricultural land.

David Core, President of the Canadian Alliance of Pipeline Landowners Associations, who is active with the Green Party, is saying, “pipeline landowners can no longer pretend that pipelines crossing their farms are out of sight and out of mind, and can no longer make excuses when dealing with pipeline companies and the boards that regulate them.”

Landowners must spread the word and stand up for their rights. Joining together with other landowners to form associations is a must, as Joe Anglin of the Lavesta Area Landowners Group, and declared Green Party of Alberta candidate in Lacombe-Ponoka, knows all too well.

The Lavesta Area Landowners Group represents more than 800 landowners in the area that are battling Alta Link, a controversial $495 million power line that would cut through Central Alberta to help provide power to the City of Calgary.

A high powered transmission line was considered and pursued by Alberta's provincial government, before any real consultation with or approval from the landowners and farmers it will directly affect.

The public has been misled into believing this transmission line was only needed for Calgary’s growth. The EUB has utilized fear tactics of possible rolling blackouts in Calgary in 2009 if this line isn’t built but they have never addressed why there wouldn’t be rolling blackout when this line is used 100% for export in 2010.

To quote Mr. Anglin, “No one is allowed to say no to any type of oil and gas development and that is fundamentally wrong. The real question for the province is how do we get from where we are today, of an environment of unsustainable oil and gas development, to a sustainable development of energy resources? Our future will not lie in oil and gas development. Our future will rely on our ability to develop new technologies. Who best to help protect the environment than people who own the land and who work the land? People should have the right to say no to development on their land. You should have the right to protect your water and soil and that will protect the environment in your community."

The Green Party has hit on something that is directly related to us in this riding, to Alberta, and the entire country. It's the security of our energy and our resources. The Green Party recognizes that it is extremely important that we act now on this information.

On January 23rd 2006 the Harper minority government was elected to parliament. Shortly after, Harper made it very clear that he would not participate in the traditional media scrum in Parliament, but would instead enter and exit Parliament through a back door and then directed his entire Party to issue only prepared statements through his office.

Eight months later, some of North America's most powerful political, business and military leaders gathered in Banff for three days in order to decide on how to create a North American super-state. No media was notified, invited or even allowed, except for one reporter from the Wall Street Journal.

The guest list included then US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Canadian chief of Defense staff General Rick Hillier, Canada's public safety minister Stockwell Day, and Lockheed Martin executive Ron Covais.

In the last federal election Canadians voted out a government that had forgotten that it was there to represent it's citizens. We recognized their self-serving pattern, and got rid of them.

Here we are today in this great province, with the same patterns from our provincial government. Their lack of real consultation or follow through on what Albertans have said shows that they are no longer representing us.

Jennifer Wigmore
Candidate, Drumheller-Stettler
Green Party of Alberta