Destruction of Trees in Stanley Park - Due to Global Warming?

Here is some footage of the damage done to Stanley Park's trees during a recent wind storm.

The guy in the film likes to blame the destruction on global warming. Although I agree that world temperatures are rising, and I do agree that winds are partly caused by warm air rising or cold air falling which is all affected by air temperature, I would be interested in seeing some hard facts like number of days with winds over 50 km/h or something like that. Or average wind speed for every year since 1900. I am sure I have heard statistics like number of hurricanes per year and such. Last year was definitely a bad year for hurricanes in the Northern Hemisphere. We are all familiar with the "hockey stick" graph of global temperatures, it would be interesting to see a similar graph charting other weather observables.

Update (2007/01/08): this just hit the news today as John Baird, Canada new Minister of the Environment claimed that this freakish weather was due to global warming. Even if this wasn't due to global warming at least it will bring more attention to the issue.

Boil This

After some torrential rain and other weather stuff that I was totally oblivious to, a boil water warning was issued for the entire Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD). I wish I had bought some bottled water earlier; now I am pretty dehydrated. I would drink the water in our fridge that we boiled earlier but it is just so cloudy and gross-looking. You don't appreciate something until you lose it, and I definitely appreciate our normally clean drinking now.

Nuclear Energy as a Way to Reduce Global Warming Gets Boost From Australian Government

It looks like nuclear energy is starting to get the respect that it deserves as a very legitimate alternative to burning fossil fuels (or daming our rivers), as least in Australia. Australia's Foreign Minister Alexander Downer said:

If you want to address the climate change issues then it's very important you address the issue of CO2 emissions from power stations - in the short term wind mills and solar power are not going to provide you with a base load power in any country on earth that you need . . . Nuclear power is a very real option, it works well in a lot of parts of the world and it's entirely clean.

Australia currently has no nuclear power plants. Industry and Resources Minister Ian Macfarlane said:

Australia would be foolish not to consider introducing nuclear power because it could play a major role in slashing greenhouse gas emissions . . . We are preparing the ground for a factual, non-hysterical debate in Australia on nuclear energy.

Having a non-hysterical debate is going to be a bit challenging with so many environmentalists against the prospect of expanded generation electricity from nuclear sources. Fortunately, there is a called Environmentalists for Nuclear Energy. According to their website:

ENVIRONMENTALISTS FOR NUCLEAR is in favor of all energies which respect the environment, including the peaceful applications of clean nuclear energy (which has the greatest industrial potential), as well as renewable energies (hydro, solar, geothermal, and wind, all have appropriate roles to play, but with a much smaller potential).

It looks like their board of directors is comprised of a fairly diverse group of individuals, some environmentalists and some from industry.

Some environmental groups say: "renewable energy sources — such wind and solar power — are a safer, more sustainable long-term solution to global warming." I'd like to see someone actually crunch the numbers and tell me how much of the earth's surface area would have to be covered with solar panels and how much of the earth's surface area would have to be covered by wind wills to provide for the energy needs for the earth today.

Australia's Prime Minister John Howard gets the last word:

Those who say they are in favor of doing something about global warming but turn their faces against considering nuclear power are unreal . . . If we're serious about having a debate about global warming . . . we have got to be willing to consider the nuclear option.

I agree that we should not pursue the nuclear option willy-nilly, but it has to be considered, as Ian Macfarlane said, through factual, non-hysterical debate.

BC Parks Slated for Development

I just heard a talk show on CKNW tonight talking about the recent news that the BC government is inviting proposals for private development in BC Parks. One of the reasons this is controversial is because "it allows private development for profit within park boundaries and lacks tools to limit expansion of private facilities."

That's what concerns me is that although some of the parks they are currently requesting proposals for already contain a lot of front-country type facilities and areas that aren't exactly "untouchned wilderness" there does not seem to be anything in place to limit which parks can be developed in the future.

A few people that called in to the radio show were arguing that BC Parks are for people and that people should be allowed to use the parks (implying that we should be allowed to develop the parks willy-nilly). The radio show host (Michael Smyth) mentioned that some handicapped people can't go to some parks unless there is a resort there with proper facilities, etc... I don't really see how that logic makes any sense. That logic basically says that BC Parks are just some sort of "land commons." Land that can be used for whatever purpose people want to use it for. I don't really see it that way. I have always grown up to think of BC Parks as places for nature first and foremost. There are some campgrounds that I can't go to because there are literally no facilities (I'm not skilled enough to go back-country camping, front-country camping, sure. Call me back-country-capped) and that doesn't bother me. I see the purpose of those parks as being there to protect nature. A place where nature can do whatever it wants with it, not a place for humans to do whatever they want with it (the other 87% of BC or whatever is reserved for that purpose). As a BC resident I don't see BC Parks as "our land" (like 2 of the callers to the radio show including the host Michael Smyth did) but as "nature's land." Anyone who thinks that BC Parks are "their land" for all people to share are greedy and selfish. BC's Parks should be excluded from any development beyond facilities that already existed within those parks, small basic huts for back-country camping, and limited front-country camping facilities.

More information available at wildernesscommittee.org.

I couple other blogs are speaking out against this: daz who says "Our parks are one of BC's greatest riches, and should remain that way for our children and their children to enjoy. If these resorts/lodges have to be built then I make the argument, why on park land?" and also provides some links to MLAs and email addresses for Gordon Campbell and Barry Penner, the Environment Minister and frodowm.

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