Terri-Jane Yuzda


Let's hear from you...

The PEGG welcomes letters as an avenue for members to express opinions and concerns on issues or topics of interest to the professions. Share your experiences with other members.

Mail to:1500 Scotia One, 10060 Jasper Avenue NW, Edmonton, AB T5J 4A2, E-mail: glee@apegga.org or Fax: (780) 425-1722 your letters to the editor, signed with your name and address.

Of course we can't publish all letters received and can't run letters concerning specific registration matters before any APEGGA regulatory body. Do try and keep your letters to 300 words or less. Remember, The PEGG reserves the right to edit for length, legality, coherence and taste. Letters that don't appear in the print version of The PEGG will sometimes appear in the electronic version only.

An Advocate of Advocacy

I want to weigh-in in favour of the apparent support of advocacy given by President Ron Tenove, P.Eng. In spite of the fact I disagreed with the line APEGGA took on the Kyoto Accord, I was pleased to see some action. As one who has belonged to APEGGA since the 1960s, and as a recipient of the APEGGA Community Service Award in 1984, I felt the Association was finally taking on more public responsibility.

I know the Association was criticized for representing the polluters, since most members are employed directly or indirectly by the oilpatch. However, many members are like me. I have made considerably more money out of oil and gas than politics, yet I support Kyoto. So much so that I am accused down East of influencing Prime Minister Jean Chretien's final decision when we were together in Africa.

Doctors advocated for Kyoto and have taken stands on other issues in the past. Lawyers and teachers do it all the time. It doesn't matter that 100 per cent of their ranks do not think the same way.
Advocacy serves a dual purpose. It sensitizes geologists, geophysicists and engineers into discussing and making political decisions, and it tells taxpayers you are attempting to pull your weight in decisions reached by society as a whole.

In my 14 years as an elected politician in the province, plus six years of appointment to the Senate, I have often been the only science representative in the chamber. Yet there's always been a plethora of lawyers and teachers plus, nearly always, two or three medical doctors. Shame on us.

I must admit to being a little brassed off because, as chair or vice-chair for six years of the Senate Standing Committee on Energy and the Environment, I was still not asked to appear at the APEGGA Calgary Branch Kyoto forum.

Senator Nick Taylor, P.Geol.

Where's the Evidence Of Bad Engineering?

The Dec. 31 Edmonton Journal carried a story on the front page of its business section regarding Shell's Muskeg River Oil Sands Project. In the article Neil Camarta, a Shell senior vice-president, attributes the significant cost overrun on this project ($5.7 billion versus a budget of $3.8 billion) as being due to a labour shortage, poor productivity and bad engineering.

APEGGA should insist that Mr. Camarta provide evidence to support his strong (and very public) accusation of bad engineering. If his allegations are unfounded, Mr. Camarta owes APEGGA and its members an apology.

Karl Pierzchajlo, P.Eng.

Dues Disappointment

With great disappointment I read in the February PEGG that membership dues have been increased once again. This time, the increase is largely attributed to additional expenses to be incurred to cover costs for the Calgary office expansion.

This type of news does not go along with a professional group, where we as engineers always strive to maintain on time and on budget, whatever has been entrusted to us. I believe that rather
than looking for an easy answer to raise fees, we ought to make an effort and look for ways to control our expenditures.

The fact that some other similar associations have had their fees increase does not necessarily justify us to raise ours. Any group is unique and responsible enough to make its own decisions.

This is no different than the ordinary politician going after constituents for additional tax increases. In that case we as citizens demand that politicians go back and sharpen their pencils, make all due diligence decisions, and take a managed and controlled risk to avoid in any way any tax increase.

I am sure you all have taken steps to avoid fee increases, but I believe we do still have room to go back and sharpen our pencils a bit more. Engineers are always up to the challenge and this is a great opportunity we should not let pass.

Jesus Aburto, P.Eng.

Against Kyoto, Humanly Speaking

Re: Don't Speak for Me, Readers' Forum, February PEGG.

Will Kriski, P.Eng., is very blunt in his pro-Kyoto comments. So will I be in my anti-Kyoto stance.

Mr. Kriski says I'm not being objective on the issue because I, as many Alberta engineers, get my "bread and butter" from oil and gas industry. Well, yes, I am not objective. I am a human, not a saint. The well-being of my family is far too important for me to trade it for something as wishy-washy as the reaction to "global warming."

There is no - repeat: no - conclusive evidence of any global climate change. Calgary got 40 centimetres of snow last May. What global warming are we talking about?

Don't be too carried away with what environmentalists say. Hype and hysteria are their usual tactics for dragging public attention to their prophecies and, eventually, to themselves. They've never been able to suggest anything realistic. We should go back to the caves? That is not going to happen.

No one can stop the world's technical and economical advancement, no matter what the motives. Dr. David Suzuki may go about without a car and be proud that he reduced the world's greenhouse gas emissions by one four-billionth. I can't take these theatrical escapades seriously.

By my rationalistic view, there is still enough oxygen around for us and for many more generations to come; there's no reason for panic and economic devastation. At least not in this country. Canada's contribution to the global greenhouse effect is minuscule.

Every time some political and unfair decision is forced upon us, it finds "scientific" and "academic" support from those who take everything for real, and are blind enough not to see that this whole campaign is not about environmental protection at all.
We are witnessing the struggle of political and economic elites for domination on the tomorrow's world energy market. As for me, I sure hope that Russia, and if not then our Alberta government, will find the way to free us from this self-imposed yoke.

Konstantin Ashkinadze, P.Eng.

This is the Way Democracy Works

Re: Don't Speak for Me, Readers' Forum, February PEGG.

Mr. Kriski's letter could easily be re-written in a different way. How about: "I am appalled that the Prime Minister is ratifying the Kyoto Accord without consulting the public. I, for one, do not agree with his statements and resent being represented in this fashion."

It's called democracy, Mr. Kriski.

Martin Bélanger, P.Eng.

Earn A Degree First, Then a Scope of Practice

I am strongly opposed to engineering technologists receiving signing rights in a "limited scope of practice." My background is as a HVAC consulting engineer, which is one of the defined limited scopes of practice from which a registered professional technologist, engineering, may be licensed.

Our industry is already lacking skilled engineers, and our fees are suffering due to the lack of fee guidelines and an already over competitive marketplace. By allowing technologists to practice, APEGGA is effectively driving down the quality of work as well as engineering fees even further.

In addition to this, the professional credibility of the industry is lowered since apparently anybody who went to a technical institute (who very likely couldn't get into university because the academic standards were too high) can do the same things that an engineer can do.

I went to both a technical college and a university, and there is no comparison in credentials. If a technologist wants to become an engineer, go back to school like I did.

Darren Todd, P.Eng.

Quality Management Is a Worthy Topic

Re: Megaheadaches? Quality Management Can Ease Your Pain, February PEGG

As a quality assurance analyst, I was pleased to see this article. More companies are starting to realize the need for quality assurance programs and ISO registration. I look forward to seeing more quality-related articles in the fields of engineering, manufacturing, environment and safety.
Readers might gain some more insight on this topic from Quality Process magazine, published by the American Society for Quality. Visit www.asq.org for information.

Tom Taheri, E.I.T.

United Nations' Selective Editing

The arguments to date put forward in The PEGG regarding our role as a society in the Kyoto debate have dealt with both science and the economics. What has been missing thus far has been an examination of the ethics of the United Nations, specific to the initiative. It is in this arena that APEGGA has a responsibility to speak out.

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change document, Climate Change 1995, the Science of Climate Change, was edited after it had been peer reviewed and signed by Working Group 1 (the group charged with investigating the scientific basis for climate change). These edits changed the conclusions arrived at by Group 1. Whereas the edited documents published by the IPCC conclude that there is a discernable human influence on global climate, this was not the conclusion of the original Group 1 document, signed by the members of the panel.

The following is just one example of the post-submission editing. In this example one sentence has been removed and replaced with another. Judge for yourself whether the intent of the section has been altered.

Deleted: "None of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed changes to the specific cause of increases in greenhouse gases."

New: "Implicit in these global mean results is a weak attribution statement - if the observed global mean changes over the last 20 to 50 years cannot be fully explained by natural climate variability, some (unknown) fraction of the changes must be due to human influences."

The primary purpose of APEGGA is to safeguard the public. Editing of the Group 1 document by the IPCC is the equivalent of corporate management editing a signed or sealed engineering report before release. In this later example, an engineer's responsibility to the public requires him or her to ensure that the changes to the document do not expose the public to harm. In the former example of the IPCC editing Group 1 documentation, the same responsibility should exist.

Both sides of the Kyoto debate agree that significant societal changes will be required to implement the protocol. However, the necessity of these changes is based on a doctored technical document. It is necessary for APEGGA to speak out against implementation of the Kyoto Protocol until such time as accurate and unimpeachable scientific data is presented.

Bruce Deagle, P.Eng.

Editor's Note: The Group 1 editing information comes from the Science and Environmental Policy Project in this U.S., which defines itself as an "independent research effort to study and document, through publications and symposia, the relationship between scientific data and the development of federal environmental policy." Visit www.sepp.org/ipcccont/ipcccont.html for more information on the project and its IPCC analysis.

Three Kyoto
Fallacies Expressed

Thanks to The PEGG for providing a large forum for member debate on Kyoto. The only unfortunate part is that the public at large may only glimpse at what is approaching the only reasoned debate on the topic.

I say "approaching" because the membership has not yet made it. There are three fallacies from the November 2002 issue that lead me to believe deductive reasoning needs to be a refresher course in the APEGGA professional development offerings.

The first fallacy: Both a letter in Readers' Forum and the Pembina Institute submission assert that since the earth is getting warmer and carbon dioxide is going up at the same time, carbon dioxide is the cause. Notwithstanding the fact that carbon dioxide does have greenhouse properties (as do water vapour, methane and many other gases), the assertion of a causal link is speculation. There is no statistical analysis that yields anything close to a meaningful correlation coefficient in any literature I have read. My waist size appears to be better correlated to Canadian economic growth than global carbon dioxide concentration is to temperature.

Even if there was a correlation, correlation does not prove causality. If carbon dioxide is such a key driver, why were the epochs preceding the ice age so much warmer than the current era? If I remember correctly, Fred Flintstone did not drive an internal combustion engine. Statistically, one could expect the Earth to be warming just because its current temperature is lower than the average over geologic time. The case for global, human-driven climate forcings is at best tenuous.

The second fallacy: There is only one choice, that of Kyoto or "unrestrained, uncontrolled and unregulated exponential growth" (to quote a letter). Current population projections indicate no growth in European and developed Asian countries, and only linear growth in Canada, the U.S. and Australia - the latter primarily through immigration. Since the only "unrestrained" etc. growth will be in Third World countries beyond Kyoto's scope, how does signing it reduce the stress on the planet?

More importantly, the most restrained, controlled and regulated regimes of the 20th century were the ones that coincidentally had the greatest environmental impacts on the planet. I am not invoking causality between over-regulation and environmental disaster. However, the evidence would not suggest central planning and emissions permits are the way to go.

The third fallacy: Canada is grossly inefficient. The Pembina Institute gleefully pointed out that "Canada has the second highest per-capita level of GHG emissions in the world - over twice as high as Western Europe or Japan." If only we were so blessed to live in a warmer climate or in a more populated part of the world.

The statistics, when corrected for climate and population density, would show Canadians on a per-capita basis are average consumers. Not great, but not bad. On a per-capita basis Canada would also continue to improve. In fact, Canada could probably meet its Kyoto commitment of a six per cent reduction if it were measured on a per capita basis instead of a gross number.

It is this last point of population growth that places three countries at a terrible disadvantage in Kyoto. Europe, the UK and Japan all have relatively stable populations, and all will meet their Kyoto obligations through continuously improving per-capita reductions. Canada, the U.S. and Australia all have increasing populations, and all three will be required to reduce their individual standard of living through Kyoto to balance that population growth. This is because Kyoto is based on country targets, not per-capita targets.

Thus because Canada readily (and appropriately in my opinion) accepts residents from other - mostly non-Kyoto - countries, the Pembina Institute believes we must commit economic self-mutilation. The statement that the federal government, or anyone in Canada, has any clue how to achieve these goals is false. The numbers don't go around. The U.S. and Australia have already realized the inherent unfairness in Kyoto, and we should before it's too late.

That doesn't mean do nothing (see fallacy number two). It means immediately progressing a program to reduce GHG emissions on a per-capita basis. Our target would be to exceed any per-capita reduction in Europe and Japan.

If we achieve this, we would be reducing the emissions of our current population as per Kyoto, and would reduce the environmental impact of our continuing immigrant population by an order of magnitude versus the growth in non-Kyoto countries.

We would do this while maintaining our economic strength, which would in turn enable our continued environmental and social improvement throughout the twenty-first century.

Gary L. Bunio, P.Eng.

Opportunity Knocks
As We Meet Kyoto Challenges

The engineering profession has a moral responsibility to society to develop the technologies needed to meet our Kyoto reduction commitments. I, for one, am looking forward to the challenge and opportunities awaiting in this endeavour.

I believe there will be tremendous benefits to our profession and to Alberta as we are called upon to do what we do best, which is solve technical problems. The solutions we discover can form the basis of new industries and provide a much-needed economic diversification for Alberta with new skills and products that will have a global market.

Let's get on with the challenge!

Paul Dusseault, P.Eng.

New Leader Needed
For Book Shipments to Africa

Re: Your Books Find a Home in West Africa Universities, The PEGG, September 2002.

Many thanks to all those who responded to my article. I have received offers from many people for their books to be sent to Africa. However, my situation has changed significantly in that I will be taking early retirement from Chevron Texaco after 29 years of service. Accordingly, I will no longer have that valuable link with the company for shipping books from Alberta to overseas.

I plan to remain longer in Angola and join an aid organization based in Oslo, Norway, called the Yme Foundation. It is doing water exploration and water development projects here in Angola. I will be its residential representative in Angola and based in Luanda. Visit www.yme.no for more information.

My hope is that someone who has read the article on book donations will feel inspired to organize a similar effort. It would need to be someone with a company involved in international projects. My hope is that, perhaps with some APEGGA help, a shipment of books will be sent to an overseas location.

Tako Koning, P.Geol.
Luanda, Angola


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