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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.