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Archive for the ‘3- Canada’ Category

AECL: Don’t Sell It Short!

22/06/2011 1 comment

 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 This isn’t just some historical reference though or a legacy technology, but rather one that is poised to lead an entire industry into the future as well…If it can first survive the short-sighted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.

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So…Who’s to Blame for Higher Energy Costs

10/02/2011 2 comments

Someday people will look back and wonder what could have possibly been the causes for such unprecedented increases in electrical costs on the average Ontarian – all without there being any truly impressive expansions in infrastructure or generating capacity to show for it all. The groundswell of grumblings from ratepayers has already become loud and clear as people are starting to demand reasons for our seemingly hyper-inflationary energy market. At the very least, are expecting some clarified views of any long-term benefits that might come from this short term pain. Otherwise, this information vacuum could really start to seriously damage our social structure and erode our trust in elected officials to not simply hoodwink an entire energy market with shallow short-term promises, and gouging new long-term rates.

Astoundingly, the Government continues falling well short of the mark in their communications efforts, seemingly without any thought for the political consequences.

Unfortunately this superficial approach leaves the electorate to slowly succumb to all sorts of nagging doubts. The most obvious one being that these mounting energy costs could have somehow been better managed by indentured public servants who remain immune to the negative and corrective effects of a truly free-market system. Or that bloated bureaucratic and political posturing has likely also created added costs that have simply been passed down onto the backs of ratepayers.

You can share your own thoughts, and add some new answers in in a quick survey below…Or just consider what others have been thinking and saying to date.

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MetroLinx Maps a Sustainable Air Rail Link

06/01/2011 Leave a comment

For anybody who hasn’t been following all the Big Moves being mapped out by the Ontario Governments public transit planning arm called Metrolinx, the projected Air Rail Link (ARL) is a bold initiative to finally connect Toronto’s Union Station with Pearson International Airport via a dedicated express train…All in time for the 2015 Pan American Games.

The objective behind the Air Rail Link is to ensure reliable travel times between the downtown core and the countries largest airport, while taking millions of car trips off the GTA’s already congested roadways in the process. The big challenge is to lay groundwork for a rail system that will be ‘Futureproof”, while still assuring that it can be up and running inside of the incredibly tight timeline for a project of this size.

Beyond the obvious need for re-establishing political unity and effective cost-controls at a time of enormous bureaucratic upheave in Toronto’s transit landscape (Thanks again, Rob Ford) the next biggest requirements for this project are the logistical challenges of assuring not just an environmentally responsible solution, but also a beneficial one that will set standards for clean transit systems for many decades to come…So what stands in the way of this progress?

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WikiLeaks: Canadian Targets for Terrorism

07/12/2010 1 comment

In a recent article in the Globe & Mail, we saw the latest flareup in the raging WikiLeaks firestorm that has pointed out some key hotspots right here on Canadian soil. This particular leak not only disclosed a list of Canadian sites that the United States considers essential to preserving its own “interests”, but also served to remind us of of a little known tri-lateral security agreement called the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, where unbeknownst to most Canadians, political forces have already aligned to undermine national trade and sovereignty issues in order to assure future security, under terms that have never been presented publicly, let alone offered up for legislative debate. So, inadvertently, this particular WikiLeaks flareup is also inadvertantly showing Canadians how any perceived security threats in an unknown Future would most certainly and quite radically impact our seemingly false sense of national sovereignty – if Terrorists were to ever actually use this newly disclosed list of prime Canadian targets.

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Last Call for Carbon Credits

16/11/2010 Leave a comment

Carbon Cap and Trade SchemeIt would seem that the ‘commodification of carbon’ is now well and truly in its final throes, and that the remediation efforts against of Climate Change will need to seek out a better method of self-correcting via the various (Consumer?) Markets. The death knell for carbon trading in North America is the significant, yet curiously under-publicized news that The Chicago Climate Exchange (Inc.) will close down its cap-and-trade market by the end of the year, as announced by spokeswoman Brook McLaughlin via CNN.

What’s curious is that hardly anybody else, out there in the more Mainstream Media, is so much as batting an eye – let alone packaging this news (and it’s deeper implications) for easy public consumption.  It seems that this letdown in the domestic trading of carbon credits is primarily due to political and public opinion shifts in the U.S. resulting in the failures of last years disappointingly de-clawed U.S. Clean Air Act.

The decision also coincided with a significant Republican victory and the loss of Democratic Control in the US House of Representatives. However, if you look abit deeper, we can all see that the Carbon Cap and Trade concept was indeed flawed at a much deeper level…and that this failure might also betray some underlying motivations for this financial scheme to begin with!

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BioChar: Locking in the Heat

03/11/2010 3 comments

Charcoal Farm BBQ BioCharFor most people, the only thing that farming and barbecuing might have in common is where the supply produced by one, meets the market demands of the other on the supermarket shelf. In a day and age where instant gratification trumps tradition, Farmers long ago turned their fields into sterile sponges that they must now constantly fertilize with man-made nitrogen and phosphates. Meanwhile back on the homestead, the fast-firing convenience of gas powered BBQ grills have largely displaced charcoal as the heat of choice for backyard barbecue. Yet charcoal might soon make an enormous comeback in ways that propane and petrochemical fertilizers could never touch, and which will have an enormous impact on farming practices that once relied on the natural biodiversity of soil to sustain healthy crops. This renaissance of ancient agricultural methods will not only enrich our largely depleted farm fields, but also serve to use currently wasted BioMass to sequester carbon and thus combat global warming….by turning it into BioChar.

The trick to this ecologically brilliant shortcut is to simply prepare charcoal at a higher temperature to produce BioChar in an environmentally beneficial process that will far surpass it’s popular role as the perfect heat for traditional barbecue. This old-fashioned soil enrichment method might not only break the petrochemical fertilizer addictions of industrial farming methods, but also serve to naturally capture and store carbon in a stable state that could benefit our environment for centuries to come. If you think that there are still lessons to be learned from the Past, here’s a peek at a Future that can be carbon fixed by BioChar

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Recycling Power From Old Industries

02/11/2010 2 comments

As a world supplier of primary resources like lumber and oil, Canadians were once stereotyped a “hewers of wood” working in a pristine green wilderness of fresh water and never-ending forests. Nowadays, thanks to the Eco-PR efforts of organizations like Greenpeace, Canada has gained more notoriety for oilsands that are widely regarded as a filthy and enormously wasteful source of fossil-fuel energy. A source of fuel who’s extraction is made economically feasible only by high price of crude oil yet without factoring in the environmental impact and future cleanup costs down the line. So much for “Green” stereotypes.

Forestry and Agriculture, on the other hand, are still a clearly green and renewable resources that are poised to turn into major sources of power production via the alluring prospects of widespread BioMass generation methods. No longer will we simply see crops and trees as a source of food for cities, construction materials and wooden poles for transmitting power along roadways, but rather as sources of feedstock for secondary green industries that can use otherwise wasted bio-mass to actually generate power for those very same hydro lines.

Big Oil

The question is, what stands in the way of displacing coal and natural gas from our current power supply, and how will bio-mass be different than burning any other fuel for electricity?

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