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The Press is Dead…Long Live the Free Press

12/10/2010 Leave a comment

Print is dead...long live <PRINT>So here we are in the 21st Century looking for the signs of positive change in an ever-dawning Future. All the while being constantly reminded that many segments of the Mainstream Media still seem more interested in leading with stories that bleed, or in brow-beating the Past, rather than taking a more proactive approach to promoting genuine grass-roots change here in the Present.

So with the status quo being so well entrenched, people are increasingly turning to fringe sources of alternative “news” and information, and hoping that others are doing the same to preserve a realistic view of the world around them. Of course, this isn’t the time or place to delve into the greatly diminished role of the “Free Press” in protecting our various Democracies, but it bears mention that one of the greatest casualties of the Post-Modern Age has been the much publicised demise of the big, well-financed, and possibly overstaffed ‘Newsprint Giants’ of the 20th century, and quite possibly the venerable institution of Journalism itself.

Print is Dead Long Live PRINTAmong so many besieged traditional specialties in the Media, ones that are in particularly obvious decline are the the crucial roles of Researchers and Investigative Journalists. People who were once trained to dig up and develop stories that go against the grain and demand accountability from Governments and Corporations, and thus assure some basics checks and balances to the free-market versions of Democracy. After decades of relative peace and prosperity, some might just say who cares if ‘print journalism’ is in peril? Just because TV News operations are even more indentured to their Corporate parents, doesn’t mean that we should be concerned about the fate of Journalism as a whole…Should we?

After all…What harm could this do to the Future, if some archaic form of Mass Media from the Past were to die off?

 

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Enviro-Shock Therapy

07/10/2010 Leave a comment

Now obviously, that alarming little slice of Totalitarian propaganda (erm, Eco-PR?), was clearly meant to rattle people’s senses, for the sake of spreading online impressions through the social networks. Yet beyond offering cynical people a justification for using terms like “Eco-Nazi”, that ‘ad’ is likely to be also serving a purposeful and ulterior motive as well. Presumably, by helping survey the viral viewership that this ad will surely attract online, this ‘ad’ paves the road for Marketers to gauge how much shock value they can build into to other Eco-Marketing campaigns, much like we’ve already started to see in various Workplace and Children’s Safety messages here in Ontario. This is in reference to ads where graphic violence are used to brutally slam the Viewer with “safety” messages that would have been entirely unacceptable under in any other context, but which are implicitly condoned as being acceptable in these particular cases, since they supposedly serve a “greater public good”…Regardless of their horrific content…

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Autonomously Automated Automobile

04/02/2010 4 comments

The Future of highway transport could be driven on current roads,
without changing any existing infrastructure!

What if this Change started inside each car instead…

It was Jean-Paul Sartre who said;  L’enfers c’est les Autres, or “Hell is Others”.
So it seems more than just a little bit ironic to use the name “Sartre” for an automobile-guidance system that requires you to join others in a convoy, or  “train”. So leaving aside the existential quandaries of grouping cars together, let’s just look at the practical implications.

Sartre is a guidance system that creates “trains” of cars. Once cars join this train, drivers cede control of their cars to a lead driver through a combination radio telemetry, remote controls, and GPS (called ‘telemetrics’) to enable this automated form of road travel. Perhaps the philosophical tie-in offered by the “Sartre” system is that by willingly choosing to give up some of our cherished egotism and autonomy, we can become more socially aware (safer?) on the road in the process.

At the very least, it might encourage nervous or downright bad drivers to just group themselves together, and free up some time/space for those who can more effectively navigate the mildly ordered chaos of our shared roadways.

CLICK for MORE

Highway 401 in Ontario: Flickr / David Vincent Johnson

Highway 401 in Ontario: Flickr / David Vincent Johnson

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Carbon Capture: A Solution in Stasis?

25/01/2010 2 comments

– EVENT REPORT –


Spread the News!

Worldwide adoption of Carbon Capture and Storage solutions have been delayed by an announcement at the Copenhagen Conference

The link to this News Event is no longer available at COP15.dk but it has been cached at Google!

The primary thrust of the Copenhagen Conference on Climate Change was to implement an accord of limiting CO2 emissions worldwide, and thus necessitate various regulatory solutions which would have required industry to either reduce their emissions, or face stiff financial consequences. This is where Carbon Capture and Storage (CSS) would have liked to step in with some immediate industrial-grade solutions, presumably while the rest of us continued to consider the enormous challenges of actually reducing and eliminating our reliance on carbon emitting fossil fuels as a Society. As mentioned previously however (COP15.dk is History), the committee under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) had discussed the issue of CCS during the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, but delayed any decisions on the subject until future summits. The committee contended that some countries had concerns over the long-term viability for the storage site, including liability for any seepage. Thus the larger challenges of capturing CO2 have seemingly become stuck behind a roadblocking question of legal liability in the ‘storage’ component of this much larger process.

Deja Vu

Proponents of Nuclear Energy will no doubt see a parallel in the bitter irony of yet another Green industry being hindered by the wasted energy and by-products of bureaucratic finagling and legal wrangling over questions of waste storage…Rather than getting on with the business of refining the existing (and already adequate) processes, while continuing to develop new and improved waste management solutions, and effectively reducing greenhouse gas emissions IMMEDIATELY, rather delaying movement until later, once the technical details and legal liabilities of any unforeseen accidents have been ironed out to the Nth degree. Carbon Capture Left Out in the Cold

What did Copenhagen teach us about CCS

In it’s search for an accord, Copenhagen seemed like a direct precursor to establishing and implementing Carbon Cap/Trade/Tax solutions, that would place financial burdens on all CO2 emitters, and incent the development and application of CO2 capture technologies to reduce such burden. Although the COP15.dk site is now dead in the water, there are still “selected” pages made available by the Danish Government, which may cast light on what the Conference organizers wished to present as their lasting legacy from this historic conference, or at least demonstrate where the organizers left things on the rather important subject of CCS. A search for “Carbon Capture” yields only four (yes, 4!) results on this rather critical next step in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Click Here, if you’d like to consider what these meagre results say about the Future of CCS from the POV of those who selectively transplanted the entire the COP15.dk site less that a month after the Copenhagen Conference closed.

CCS…Does green Energy hurt the Carbon Market?

In a short blogpost at Envirogy (derived almost entirely from Spiegel Online), we can clearly see how Green (or low emisions Renewable) Energy sources have actually hurt the price of carbon at the European Climate Exchange (and thus the cost incentives for implementing CCS), and in fact the entire system can be proven to have not reduced European carbon emmisions by a single gram!

Sitting on the Border Fences

Meanwhile, in North America, the open markets for carbon at the Chicago Climate Exchange is still awaiting the kinds of regulatory and political pressures that will kick things into a higher gear, and properly comodify Carbon in the U.S. and thus at least make select financiers, investors, and other assorted Middlemen rich in the process, if not at least repeating the lessons already being learned in Europe.

Meanwhile in the Oilpatch

Even though Copenhagen squashed any immediate hopes for Carbon Cap/Trade pricing, and delayed it’s pronouncements on teh future of CCS, searching the transplanted COP15.dk site yields a link to shipping giant Maersk’s role in bringing CO2 to oilfields in the North Atlantic, and there are examples all over the world where CO2 is pumped down into older oilwells to force out remaining oil, and maximize yield.  In fact contrary to popular belief, CO2 has already been getting stored in large quantities within used up gasfields, with the only concerns so far being in small amounts of CO2 re-escaping via carbonated water in the formations, and the possible formation of carbonic acid within any porous water areas. The fixation in carbonate minerals is playing only a minor role, so the search to chemically ‘fix’ CO2 into a more neutral and stable state will continue.

TBC…This is a work in progress

Please feel free to add to this Report Stub via the Comments Section below

Worldwide adoption of Carbon Capture and Storage solutions have been delayed by an announcement at the Copenhagen Conferenc

COP15.dk is History!

20/01/2010 1 comment

MEDIA & IMPACT REPORT:


Spread the News!

The official website for the Copenhagen Climate Conference has been taken down, and traffic is being redirected to :

“The Official Website of Denmark”

Near the end of the proceedings at last months U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, news was posted to the official Conference website (COP15.dk) that capturing Carbon Dioxide (CO2) at the source (of industrial emissions) and storing it underground is not likely to become a measure supported by the UN-backed Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) this year. A committee under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has discussed the issue, but delayed any decisions until future summits.

Please don’t bother clicking on the above-mentioned COP15.dk link though, because less than a month after the conclusion of the conference, this newslink is now unavailable, along with all the rest of the COP15.dk website! Instead, all traffic is being directed to “The Official Website of Denmark”.

What we’re left with, as a reference on this historic event less than a month later, is a mere footnote that states: “this page contains a selection of some of the most popular content from Denmark’s Host Country website for UN Climate Change Conference 2009 –  cop15.dk ”

What possible reasons could there be for taking down this official site so quickly? What benefits could possibly be derived from removing this enormous resource? Most importantly, what are the perceived repercussions of such an obviously hasty demise of what should have our greatest reference point on Climate Change at the end of 2009, if not an actual public launchpoint as we move forward through the Post-Copenhagen letdown, and proceed with all the work adn understanding that still needs to be accomplished?

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ER: Where’s the EPA Going with Airliners and Automobiles?

14/12/2009 Leave a comment
Spread the News!

This Event has also generated the following Impact Report :

IR: EPA Kicks Tires on Airliners and Automobiles?

–  EVENT REPORT  –

Where’s the EPA Going with Airliners and Automobiles?

In decisive and well publicized move to strengthen the U.S. position on Global Warming, just in time for the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, the United States Environmental  Protection Agency (EPA) threatens to upstage the U.S. Congress by stepping in (with a compliant Department of Transport) to begin placing regulations of it’s own on Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions in America.  This event has also allowed Barack Obama to maintain his political poise and environmental commitments when assuring the World that the United States is indeed prepared to take clear and decisive actions against Global Warming. The significant risk in establishing this alternate legal route to the regulation of  Greenhouse Gases (GhG’s) via the EPA, rather than waiting for any similar Bills to finally clear Congress, means that a political gauntlet has been tossed down that could either spur U.S. lawmakers to regain their role in this fight, or possibly generate a severe backlash from those who see this as an affront to their authority and who can also control the EPA’s funding and functions, depending upon who picks up this tossed challenge and rises to the occasion.

This bold opening move is based in a 2007 U.S. Supreme Court ruling (from a deeply divided decision) that the Clean Air Act granted EPA the authority to regulate automobile emissions, and furthermore that GhG’s could fit within the Clean Air Act definition of air pollutants according to subsequent EPA reports.  At the risk of sideswiping industrialists and lawmakers throughout the land, on December 7/09, The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) came forward to issue its formal findings that greenhouse gasses (GhG’s), including carbon dioxide emissions, do indeed “threaten the public health and welfare of the American people”. This statement effectively sets the stage for the EPA to regulate a list of GhG  under provisions of the 1970 Clean Air Act, and CO2 is now at the top of that confirmed list.

Under the provisions of the 1970 Clean Air Act, EPA is obligated to address declared pollutants. Jackson explained that the “premise” of the Act is that “once you know you have a pollutant and you know it’s endangering public welfare, then EPA must act.” The question remains what is teh EPa’s next move?

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New Reports

01/12/2009 Leave a comment

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