Iran has put out a call to Hackers everywhere to join in combat with the “Iranian Revolutionary Guard” and has amassed the second-largest online army to counter the ‘Stuxnet’ attack that has crippled their nuclear program. This malware is now freely available online, and has laid the foundation for creating industrial-grade cyber weapons that can infiltrate the systems of energy producers, utilities, and even traffic control systems and factories the world over. This malicious software is highly sophisticated and can even generate false instrument readings to mask destructive processes that would go undetected by hapless operators until it’s too late. This is just the tip of an ice-berg….
There’s rampant speculation that this malware was developed and unleashed by U.S and Isreali operatives as a weapon against Iranian nuclear infrastructure and enrichment capabilities. However the real twist in this story is how this technology has now become widely available to anyone with an agenda for infiltrating and manipulating industrial systems.
It’s become obvious to everyone in the general public that the future of cyber-warfare has now arrived, and we’re sure to see the environment taken as it’s first hostage.
Not only did Guelph Ontario, top MSN Money’s Next Most Livable Cities list this year, it’s also paving the way for sustainable cities to properly secure their energy futures as well. In a time when so many organizations are blowing alot of hot air about their sustainability practices, Guelph Hydro is actually taking a clear, visible and (most importantly) measurable public stance on how it expects to achieve such goals. By releasing its 2010 Sustainability Report, Guelph Hydro Inc. not only becomes one of the first electrical utilities in Ontario to publish a such a report, but also becomes one of only a few utilities in the entire world to actually measure its performance according to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). This thrusts Guelph Hydro into a valued leadership position as Ontario’s municipalities map out their own paths towards sustainable futures.
So what’s in this for you?
Since this particular report outlines Guelph Hydro’s efforts to balance its environmental stewardship, social responsibility and economic success to benefit ALL stakeholders, there are all sorts of opportunities here to discover unique challenges, beneficial lessons, and innovative solutions for other businesses and municipalities. This report can also foster greater public understanding and stimulate future considerations of the enormous impact that can be made at the community and municipal level in terms of assuring sustainable energy practices.
So feel free to post your concerns and questions below, and share your resulting thoughts, because the people behind this report are eager to see where all this can go!
In his last State Of The Union address, Barack Obama repeatedly emphasized the critical need for America to do what it does best and inspire the world with bold ideas and innovations. Not only to invigorate existing industries and the domestic economy, but also to lead the rest of the world into new phases of growth and prosperity. Meanwhile here in Canada, we’ve long claimed to no longer be just a source of primary resources, but rather a knowledge and technology based economy that can claim leadership in such progressive fields as communications, aerospace, and biotech. Yet these claims of leadership need to be supported in order to remain true. Take for example the leadership demonstrated by Canada in supplying medical isotopes to the world, and providing the planet’s safest nuclear powerplants with the world famous CANDU reactors. This isn’t just some historical reference though or a legacy technology, but rather one that is poised to lead an entire industry into the future as well…If it can first survive the short-sighted dangers of politics.
Ontario is well ontrack to be one of the first industrialized jurisdictions in the world to eliminate coal-fired electrical generation. The original plan was for Ontario Power Generation (OPG) to transition to a lower carbon future by phasing out the use of coal at its four remaining coal-fuelled stations by the end of 2014, but things are proceeding ahead of schedule already! This possibility is due to wide a variety of contributing factors, with one of the most compelling ones being a clear option to convert these plants to burning BioWaste – if indeed the cost of natural gas proves to be too volatile or costly by comparison.
Of course, there’s a whole range of other considerations to factor into this decision, and alot of due-diligence still to be performed. But the considerable economic and ecological benefits to converting bio mass and waste into usable fuel has everyone at OPG considering the very real possibilities of a BioWaste fueled future.
The ‘politics of power’ is an age-old conundrum where controlling people and capital often becomes more important than actually managing that power to produce the original and intended results. Take ‘public works projects’ as a fine example of how more energy can go into bickering, back-room deals, and bloated bureaucracy than into just getting the job done. The ambitious Niagara Tunnel Project here in Ontario isn’t just a remarkable feat of engineering, it’s also a fine example of how politicians and bureaucrats are able to kick a ball around for as long as they want, because they know that the public purse will get stuck with the bill for any overtime costs.
All of which begs the question; how can the public truly demand more accountability from it’s public servants and politicians, or has this type of wrangling simply become an accepted feature in our over-financed plans to try and build a sustainable future?
If we consider just how much energy gets wasted in process and procedures, and how much capital gets siphoned off into padded margins and under-scrutinized overruns, we can start to see scenarios where short-term benefits can actually hurt long-term outcomes. The answer to our public accountability question could be a defining force in whether that future actually gets built or not.
In a rare demonstration of a nearly non-Leftists bias, the Toronto Star printed an article that shows that it’s still capable of presenting slightly balanced views of contentious issues. In this case, it offered some visibility for a realistic presentation from the Organization of CANDU Industries (OCI) which offered clear insights into the effects of replacing two proposed nuclear reactors with the equivalent in renewable sources. In particular, the OCI demonstrates the physical scale of both the solar and wind turbine installations that would be required to match the energy production available from a nuclear site measuring 1.6 square-kilometers. In the end, the Star’s article simply took this issue as another opportunity to discredit nuclear energy, by (indirectly) claiming that the facts aren’t complete.
So in an attempt to right the scales abit, we’ll off our own slant on the subject as well…