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.

Editor's Note: Members' keyboards have been clattering over the subject of global warming. The letters are in response to the Alberta government's stance on the Kyoto Protocal, APEGGA's policy to remain neutral on climate change, and a Readers' Forum letter supporting the use of the precautionary principle in addressing the issue. We've published the letters separately on this page, the second page of letters in this month's Readers' Forum.

Fear Mongering Over Science

Re: Erring On Side of Caution, Readers' Forum, July/August PEGG.

I believe a more appropriate headline for the letter from David J. Parker, P.Eng., would be Erring On the Side of Insanity! The global warming theory, with its resultant fear-mongering, has no scientific basis. It is strictly a political ploy similar to the ozone hole hoax (read the book Global Warming, The Rest of the Story, by Gerd R. Weber) and the "sustainable development" myth.

This is why, in a serious scientific debate, supporters of the global warming theory have to admit that it has no scientific basis. But as soon as it has been docu-drama'd on CNN, we should regard them as credible scientists and "err on the side of" their propaganda.

The Weber book, as well as an article by APEGGA member Kenneth V. Allen, P.Geoph., in the July 2000 issue of The PEGG, show that there is a close correlation between sunspot activity and the rise and fall of the Earth's global temperature, but no such correlation involving concentrations of carbon dioxide or other "greenhouse" gases.

With respect to the simple-minded conclusions that global warming
would create catastrophic increases in sea levels, read an article in the summer 1998 issue of 21st Century magazine, titled There's No Truth to the Rising Sea-level Scare, by Dr. Richard D. Terry. Dr. Terry, now retired from a career in marine geology, received his PhD in marine geology from the University of Southern California.

One key source of environmentalist fear-mongering is the World Wildlife Fund. Human population control is the goal of the WWF. The Kyoto Protocol is just another tentacle of this beast.

We do not have a world overpopulation problem, we only have a world underdevelopment problem. Having worked in the deserts of Libya and Algeria, I have seen, first-hand, how prolific those so-called wastelands can be.

Without a speck of fertilizer, but with adequate watering, plants and trees grow rapidly. Because the Saharan region has no real winter season, it could conceivably grow up to three crops per year, something impossible in the farming areas of Canada and other industrialized nations. Yet, our faming industry (up until recently) has been thriving.

How much better could farming (and economic well being) be in Africa with industrialization, versus the environmentalists' mantra of "sustainable agriculture" - a policy for permanent poverty. All that is needed for the Sahara to become green is a concerted water development program -- and the will to carry it out.

Mr. Parker states that climate change "is technologically created and can only be resolved through technology." But nowhere in his letter does he even hint at what technology he advocates as a solution to this (mythical) crisis.

I suggest that we convert to producing energy (home-heating and electricity) exclusively from nuclear sources, ASAP. It is insane to burn hydrocarbons (a depleting resource) for energy, when hydrocarbons are the only feedstock for essential industrial products like petrochemicals and fertilizers, whereas energy can be efficiently and cleanly produced from nuclear power plants. If we don't make that conversion soon, we will, before long, freeze in the dark.
I agree with Mr. Parker that APEGGA should become more politically
active. The most immediate and reasonable political action for APEGGA is to endorse a worldwide, aggressive economic development policy as a cure for the insanity of "sustainable development."

Bill Bohdan, P.Eng.

Group Promotes Alternative View

The debate on the Kyoto Protocol has deteriorated from science into politics and economics. Environment Canada is on record as saying that it does not wish to discuss the science. Recent regional closed meetings with "stakeholders" provided no opportunity for those who did not take the politically correct position to state their case.

In view of this, a number of Calgary APEGGA members, mostly earth scientists, have formed an organization under the Alberta Societies Act, named Friends of Science, to bring alternative science views to the attention of politicians, the media and the public.

Our main arguments are:

· Climate change has been a regular feature of our planet for many millions of years.

· Earth has been warming since the end of the last glacial period about 20,000 years ago; there have been smaller undulations since: the Medieval Warm Period, when vines grew in Yorkshire and the Vikings farmed in Greenland and Newfoundland, and the Little Ice Age, which put Europe in the deep-freeze between 1300 and 1700 AD. We have been warming ever since.

·Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere rise and fall with temperature increases, not the other way around. In fact the CO2 level trails temperature increases by some 600 years. Human-induced CO2 is therefore only a very small contributor. Counting influences of oceanic absorption and release, deep sea methane upsets and volcanic eruptions, the human factor pales.

· Greenhouse gases make up about three per cent of our atmosphere. Of this tiny amount, water vapour accounts for 97 per cent. Even Sir John Houghton, one of the British originators of the Kyoto campaign, has acknowledged that water vapour and clouds constitute the largest uncertain factors in climate modelling.

· NASA's James Hanson, who led the campaign in the U.S. and was the great proponent of human-induced CO2 as the culprit in global warming, reversed himself last year.

· Climate changes have been recognized to occur as a result of changes in solar radiation. This radiation changes with the excentricity of the earth orbit, the tilt of the earth's axis, the precession of the axis and sunspot cycles. All of these factors have their own well known periodicities which vary from 100,000 to 11 years. Milankovitch was in 1930 one of the first investigators to mathematically add these "wave functions" and to come up
with a curve that fit the glacial periods over the last 600,000 years
very well. His work has since been fine-tuned, but the principle remains intact.

· The evidence used by Environment Canada rests primarily on computer generated general circulation models, or GCMs. Environment Canada loves computers. They are also used to provide you with your five-day weather forecast. Computer simulations depend on a set of assumptions as basic input. These values are often uncertain, incomplete and in some cases questionable. These
GCMs are like a house of cards. They can even be manipulated to provide the answer that one desires. In industry we used to refer to these efforts as "Monte Carlo simulations."

Don't take my word for it. Visit our website, www.friendsofscience.org, check us out and support us if you can.

Albert F. Jacobs, P.Geol., M.Sc.

Precautionary Principle Is Simplistic Approach

Re: Erring On Side of Caution, Readers' Forum, July/August PEGG.

I disagree with the positions taken by David J. Parker, P.Eng., on both global warming and the precautionary principle. There are at least as many scientists who disagree with the Kyoto Protocol as there are in favour of it. Kyoto is currently based more on politics than it is science and APEGGA should not be taking positions on political issues other than those that impact our ability to continue to be a self-regulating profession.

The "precautionary principle" is an overly simplistic way of saying: "I can't clearly substantiate my position, so let's just assume I'm right until maybe I can." Frankly, I would much rather assume that we're likely to have another Ice Age since the effects would be more disastrous for Canadians than global warming.

I further suggest that Parker's inclusion of the Kyoto Protocol along with such things as fire alarms, emergency exits and pressure relief valves is beyond belief.

For those that wish to see how use of the "precautionary principle" can lead us astray, I suggest they read Aaron Wildavsky's book, But Is It True? It outlines the facts behind the various scares such as asbestos, PCBs, Love Canal, saccharin, alar, CFCs, acid rain etc. These and others are also discussed in the recent book, The Skeptical Environmentalist, by Bjorn Lomborg.

Al King, P.Eng.
Former APEGGA Councillor

Re: APEGGA's stance on Kyoto.

APEGGA represents a large number of professionals, but we don't maintain a standing "climate change committee," staffed with all the appropriate experts to respond to Kyoto initiatives. So it's fair to say that APEGGA doesn't hold one position or the other. I agree with Mr. Parker, though, that justifying a neutral stance on the basis of all the individual positions held by our members can look weak to the public. People expect us to take a position, whether this is fair or not.

The public can handle the truth and we can trust them with it. We can simply tell them that APEGGA hasn't commissioned any studies on Kyoto - yet -- but that our long standing policies of protecting the environment and promoting conservation still back up our guiding principles.

As far as being responsible, I believe that APEGGA members are some of the strongest friends of the environment in the province. But that does not mean that being responsible must translate into support for the Kyoto treaty. Mr. Parker and many others are mistaken in thinking that there is a scientific consensus on this issue. And no wonder, from the frontal assault mounted by the media, Dr. David Suzuki and the UN.

Before we do anything foolish, we could listen to some wise advice from the growing army of credible scientists who oppose Kyoto. A good starting place is the Oregon Petition, sponsored by Dr. Frederick Seitz, past president of the National Academy of Sciences. It's on the web at oism.org/pproject/s33p36.htm. More than 17,000 scientists signed on in support of this; it's no fringe movement. This well-documented report pretty well buries the global warming hypothesis.

Based on the evidence, APEGGA should oppose Kyoto, and should present to the public the arguments that disprove the link between global warning and manmade CO2. There is no need to "err on the side of caution" here; in fact no need to err at all. The precautionary principle does not apply because we have no convincing proof of additional risk.

Let's spend the money instead helping our poorer neighbours in cost effective ways that measurably improve their lives. And let's send the UN and federal bureaucrats back where they came from - where they can help the people they abandoned by climbing onto our backs.

W.G. Whitney, P.Eng.
Fort McMurray

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