In the July 2004 edition of The PEGG I responded to certain statements made by Dave Kachorowski, P.Eng., in his letter to the editor entitled Process Flawed.
The survey in question was conducted to get a better reading from a statistically relevant sampling of APEGGA members on the creation of a new category of membership. It was sent to 2,500 members.

Mr. Kachorowski forwarded an e-mail encouraging his colleagues to respond to the survey. This was interpreted by us as undermining a legitimate method of collecting reliable information for Council.

To have suggested in a public forum that Mr. Kachorowski exhibited "unacceptable conduct" was improper and for that I apologize to him.

Both Council and staff continue to work together toward making the engineering, geological and geophysical professions better, to add value for members and to be responsive to the needs of the public. It is sobering to realize that some members feel that we have hidden agendas that may not match these goals.

We recognize that we have to do a better job of communicating the issues of importance to our members in a clear, concise, transparent and time-sensitive way and we are taking steps to correct that.

Neil Windsor, P.Eng.
APEGGA Executive Director & Registrar

Rebuttal Contained Factual Errors

Re: Executive Director’s Note, Readers’ Forum, The PEGG, July 2004.

There were a few factual errors in this rebuttal to my letter (Process Flawed, Readers’ Forum, The PEGG, July 2004).

1) I did not receive an invitation to participate in the survey.

2) I received the URL for the survey in a two- or three-generation e-mail from a fellow member.

3) The survey was “compromised” before I participated. The URL was known to the membership before I was informed of the existence of the survey.

4) It’s implied that I was a ringleader of some organized campaign to bias the survey. I merely participated.

In the rebuttal, it was acknowledged that many members voiced their opinion by answering the survey without having being sent it by APEGGA. It was alleged that to do so was interfering with legitimate business of APEGGA.

Clearly, many who were made aware of the survey felt it was their business to participate and make others aware that they also could voice an opinion. The executive director implies that when members take an active part in an important issue, that the APEGGA administration considers that interference. Many members may beg to differ.

Uninvited participants of the survey were exercising a basic right we have in Canada - fee speech. And the survey URL was disseminated freely amongst the membership. I am not aware of any attempt to only make pro or con members privy to the survey's existence.

Hence, the randomness of the survey should be preserved.

The APEGGA administration provided the forum for the members to exercise their free speech rights. The rebuttal contains an implied threat that this exercising of free speech could be taken to be unprofessional conduct.

I request an apology from the executive director. The facts should have been investigated and confirmed before publication. A quick phone call or e-mail could have established these facts before he made statements to the membership.

Dave Kachorowski, P.Eng.


Responses Inappropriate

Re: Executive Director’s Notes, Readers’ Forum, The PEGG, June 2004 and July 2004.

The note following my June letter said that “the suggestion of a ‘hidden agenda’ is an incorrect and unwarranted innuendo, not worthy of a professional member.” The July note, following a letter from Dave Kachorowski, P.Eng., said, “This represents a deliberate attempt by Mr. Kachorowski to interfere with the legitimate business of APEGGA and is unacceptable conduct on the part of a professional member.”

The Association’s executive director wears two hats. The executive director is the senior administrator and, by statute, must also be a professional member. I am not aware that the ED has any right or responsibility to adjudicate what constitutes unprofessional conduct by any member.

In publishing judgmental and potentially prejudicial statements to the effect that a professional member's actions are unprofessional, the executive director has overstepped the authority of the senior administrator role.

There are formal mechanisms within the Association for making a determination of unprofessional conduct and the ED has no direct role in the investigation and discipline processes.

As a professional member, the executive director can make a formal complaint through these processes in the same way as any other member. When the executive director speaks as a professional member, such response should appear in the next edition of The PEGG, after being submitted as a letter to the editor, not as a note following a member's letter.

In general-audience newspapers, such editorial insertions appear rarely and are restricted to corrections in fact.

Dr. K. C. Porteous, P.Eng.


Let’s Work Together On Software Challenges

Re: Feud Goes On With Computer Science, Dr. Steven Knudsen, P.Eng., Readers’ Forum, The PEGG, September 2004.

This is not about who gets good marks in class, nor is it about "one size fits all.”

I understand that computer science is an integral part of engineering undergraduate education because, in my case at the University of Alberta, the Computing Science

Department delivers most of that education, just like the Math and Stats Department delivers theirs.

Professional engineering groups have adopted postures similar to those of traditional trade unions. I believe their public awareness campaigns are at least as much about the fear of losing ground in membership and influence as they are about protecting the public.

As all APEGGA readers can confirm, the issue of making decisions on who can practice is much broader than just the issues with computer science.

I think Dr. Knudsen is right that there are many situations where engineers and scientists work together for the common good. In fact, I would like to invite him to talk to me directly, as I expect he would find my experience with engineering and technology companies is extensive. Maybe the two of us could find some common ground.

That is what computer scientists are eager for. We're tired of having professional engineering groups tell us what we know and what we can do. The whole rest of the world knows that software engineering expertise is challenging and elusive.

Dr. Knudsen's references to various publications on software engineering acknowledge the challenge of such a new field. It is more likely that progress in both the science and engineering of software will be served well when good scientists and engineers work together and without the political meddling of engineering associations.

Dr. Randy Goebel
Professor and Chair
Computing Science
University of Alberta


What Real Software Engineers Know

Re: Stop Bullying, Dr. Randy Goebel, Readers’ Forum, The PEGG, July 2004.

Dr. Goebel is unhappy with recent court events that have sharply curtailed the ability of those without the proper qualifications to present themselves to the public as "software engineers.”

Microsoft is very clear in its legal prohibitions when it says it will not be responsible for any loss of life, damages or other calamities as a result of people depending upon the use of its software. In fact Microsoft limits its liability absolutely to the full refund of the software purchase.

A number of years ago, APEGGA's Enforcement Review Committee was confronted with a case in which someone decided it would be a grand idea to replace an engineered and approved cathodic protection system with an Apple computer and a custom "made in Alberta" program. The program emulated the cathodic protection system – at least while it ran, and while there were no power failures.

But in the real world, non-computer events such as power failures do happen. In this case, a long pipeline sat in the ground for months without proper corrosion protection after a late summer lightning storm caused a power outage. Not only was the public endangered because an unprotected pipeline is a potential killer, but the pipeline operator and insurance companies had to pay for repairs caused by this "cost-effective" design.

In my view, any and all real time software designs are engineering designs of the first magnitude.

Joseph M. Green, P.Eng., M.Eng.


Aura of Reliability

Coupling the vague term "software" with the specific designation "engineer" suggests that software is subject to the same kind of well-understood physical and mathematical underpinnings as the branches of engineering normally accepted
by professional engineering associations.

Unfortunately, despite worthwhile advances in software design and implementations such as object-oriented design, and in software project Management, the deterministic laws and mathematical models needed to make
software development an engineering discipline simply have not been discovered
yet. It’s possible they may never be discovered.

If software development were an engineering discipline, we should not be plagued with the multitudinous security and related problems at all levels that threaten to destroy the value of the systems that play such an important part in our lives.

Those developing software – from large organizations to individual entrepreneurs and consultants – should cease trying to attract an inappropriate aura of reliability for their offerings by using the terms "engineer" and "engineering," and instead designate themselves as Registered Professional Software Developers, or some similar title, as do the other disciplines, such as biology and psychology, that need professional recognition and regulation but are not in the more precise fields of engineering.

Perhaps such people should also consider more aggressively and successfully addressing problems such as unreliable software, insecure software, spam, security management, unusable software, and the like – instead of adding all those gratuitous bells and whistles that seem designed only to try to obtain a market edge and render last year's offerings obsolete.

I have been in the computer field for more than 40 years in both industry and
academia. I have managed the development of significant software but I have
never considered calling myself or anyone else a "software engineer."

The term is an oxymoron. Software development is about managing human error in both development and use, not about implementing useful artifacts according to the physical laws of the universe.

The issue is not the skill of the person doing the work, but the nature and
understanding of the task being performed.

David Hill, P.Eng.
Professor Emeritus
Computer Science Department
University of Calgary


Too Much Read Into Examination Stats

Re: Rating Alberta Examinees, The PEGG, September 2004.

Congratulations to the 111 writers of the U.S. Fundamentals of Engineering exam. Your hard work certainly paid off – a near 100 per cent pass rate is a significant accomplishment.

Unfortunately, the article goes astray by using this statistic to generalize that the standard engineering training in Alberta meets or exceeds the FE standard. In fact, it's impossible to generalize about any non-random sample.

These 111 students self-selected to take the exam. A selection bias cannot be corrected by any statistical technique.

All anyone can really say is that the candidates who elected to take the FE exam in Alberta had a higher pass rate than those candidates who elected to take the FE outside of Alberta.

It may seem like an unimportant distinction. However, we are engineers: it behooves us to be rigorous.

Samir Kayande, P.Eng.
New Orleans


Universities Are the Experts In Judging Foreign Degrees

Re: Enforcing High Standards is What We’re Here For, Dr. Roger Toogood, P.Eng., Readers’ Forum, The PEGG, September 2004.

Of the two requirements for gaining APEGGA’s membership (academic qualifications and professional experience), the Board of Examiners should only be mandated to assess professional experience and references. APEGGA should have no business assessing engineering degrees issued by foreign universities.

This authority should rest exclusively with Canadian accredited universities. I am sure that the University of Alberta would not grant the graduates of the long distance learning programs Dr. Toogood refers to the status of its own graduates.

It is not clear why Dr. Toogood claims that a full acceptance by an accredited Canadian university of a foreign engineering degree is not relevant to professional licensure. APEGGA is not an academic institution. It does not issue engineering degrees in Canada, and as such it should not be allowed to evaluate foreign degrees.

While the University of Alberta gave my foreign engineering degree “category A,” which puts it on the same level of its own graduates, APEGGA requested 10 confirmatory exams. Hence, I suspect that the policy to impose “confirmatory exams” (a minimum of three and often more) on foreign graduates is an act of protectionism.

One should not forget that some time before the mid-1970s many foreign engineering graduates from around the world could join APEGGA with only the professional references from their peers. I know of no statistics that could prove that the quality of professional practice then was lower than nowadays.

Perhaps what precipitated the change in registration policy was the oil crash of the late 1970s and massive layoffs among APEGGA members. But we must remember that Canada was built by immigrants’ skills.

The lack of government control due to the self-regulating nature of APEGGA has only added to the problem. That is why the government is trying to step in, rectify this and protect the public interest at large – not only in engineering, but also in other self-regulating professions.

Dr. Nesa Ilich, P.Eng.


Edmonton CSChE Issues Position Paper On Inclusivity

Re: Inclusivity

The Edmonton Section of the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering issued a position paper on APEGGA’s Inclusivity Initiative in early September, after requesting input from CSChE members in Alberta. The national CSChE has not yet developed a position on this issue but has been asked to consider this at its meeting and AGM in Calgary, Oct. 3-6.

However, the Edmonton local section executive felt that we would proceed quickly on this important issue. The basic position taken is that the inclusivity initiative is based on an unrealistic and insupportable broad interpretation of the definition of the practice of engineering, in the EGGP Act.

We propose that APEGGA collaborate with the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers and other engineering associations to develop a more descriptive and accurate definition of professional practice. That revised definition should then be made official through a change in the EGGP Act.

The revised definition should clarify that the act only applies to situations where a statute, code, regulation, standard, contract or other specification for an activity requires that the individual doing the work is a P.Eng., or P.Geol., P.Geoph., R.P.T. or some other professional designation defined in the act.

The position paper includes a four-page discussion to support our position and finishes with the recommendation that APEGGA Council cancel any plans to vote on proposed new categories of membership.

Our paper states: “The definition of the practice of engineering need only be clarified and made more concise to better reflect a reasonable definition acceptable to its members, the provincial government and other stakeholders.”
Bruce Peachey, P.Eng.

Past Chair
Edmonton Section



E-mail Bruce Peachey, P.Eng.

Little Insight Offered

The official line from APEGGA Council has gone from telling the membership what a wonderful idea inclusivity is to getting the work done to make a proper assessment. Yet back in February, Mike Smyth, P.Eng., then APEGGA’s president, talked about all that was done to work "out the details of how to do it."

For a year's work, Council could not tell us how or even why.

I did a search on the APEGGA website, thinking there would be minutes recorded from the meetings of the inclusivity committee. I found minutes, but there were no more details in them than those printed in The PEGG.

In July 2004 APEGGA President Linda Van Gastel, P.Eng., told us that "another working group of Council will be reviewing and clarifying the case for change, including consideration of alternate models, pros, and cons, costs and benefits." Council has even decided to involve the Board of Examiners this time.

You have decided not to use the words, "engineer, geologist, or geophysicist" in the new title. That is good.

However, I do not think you need to do any further study. Industry long ago called these people technologists. Let the Alberta Society of Engineering Technologists deal with them.

Constructive comments or criticism are welcomed, APEGGA’s leadership tells us. When have you gotten anything but? Or is it just when members disagree with
Council and will not do as they are told that comments become non-constructive?

Deny that the e-mail survey was secret, but the optics aren’t good. I participated in an APEGGA survey a few years ago and it was advertised and everyone was invited to participate.

A PEGG readership survey just ended and, again, the entire membership was invited to participate. Council could have done the same thing with the inclusivity e-mail survey.

I strongly suggest that the minutes of the committee meetings be visibly posted, as well as the methodologies and the processes that will be used. I would like to see numbers that back up whatever you discover and then, of course, the final report. Just like any other engineering feasibility study.

I would also like to know the opinions of the Board of Examiners.

And I think it would be refreshing if the opposing side could get on the front page of The PEGG. I would think that Council would want balanced reporting.

Joanny Liu, P.Eng.


Assumptions Glossed Over

Re: APEGGA and Others Address the Future of Our Professions, President’s Notebook, The PEGG, July 2004.

Even though some very thoughtful objections have been presented to the new inclusivity proposal, Linda Van Gastel, P.Eng., talks about how associations must evolve to the dropping percentage of licensure from graduating classes and to other licensure challenges.

I believe, however, that a glossing over of the basic assumptions is what irritates many of the professional members, who want to see the step-by-step logic from the stated "problem" to the "solution."

This is tremendously important and boils down to questions of not only what APEGGA's role should be, but what value others – both employers and members – see in APEGGA. If we still disagree on how APEGGA should respond to these outside factors, we may have suffered from some shallow thinking and must return to this and get it right.

There are complex educational, economic and ethical issues involved that all bear on the numbers. Some are definitely counter-intuitive.

For example, we are talking like a political organization instead of an engineering association, when we refer to the "rights" of a broad spectrum of practitioners.

What rights would they be exactly? APEGGA is not a charitable organization and has a duty to discriminate against incompetent practitioners. It must do this with vigour and often to maintain professional integrity.

It is very important where we place the bar and that we do this honestly and with consistency. But the higher the bar, the better for APEGGA. Any members of Council that don't support this concept should explain to the members what they do believe in.

If this is a non-starter of an idea, it should be tossed in the bin. We aren't perfect and we should be able to admit it and move on.

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


Let’s Make Better Use Of International Registers

Wouldn’t the use and adoption of the APEC and international registers solve some of our inclusivity problems?

In Ireland, where I am currently working, to obtain chartered engineer status, all I have to do is demonstrate that I am on the international register. This is no requirement for one year of Irish experience.

Why do we have this requirement in Canada? Is gravity so different? Is water compressible in other countries?

If someone has professional experience as an engineer, he or she has professional experience as an engineer, period.

Adding a new category and undermining the P.Eng., P.Geol. and P.Geoph. titles does not solve the problem – it creates new ones.

Council needs to become much more proactive in the use and application of the APEC and international registers of professional engineers. Both these vehicles could go very far in solving the problem of foreign-trained engineers trying to obtain licensure in Canada.

Andrew Gower, P.Eng.


Volunteer Opportunity

The Edmonton Science Outreach Network invites scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians to help us engage students in science and technology. Volunteering with ESON gives you the opportunity to:

• Encourage student participation in science
• Share knowledge with students
• Provide information to students on careers in science.

ESON volunteers may visit classrooms and share their passion for science and technology through hands-on presentations. The majority of our requests are from elementary schools.

You can provide curriculum support on topics including rocks and minerals, testing materials and designs, waste and our world, plant growth and changes, electricity and magnetism, weather watch, sky science, and heat and temperature.

Students benefit from personal, interactive contact with people working in diverse scientific fields. Following a classroom visit from our volunteers, students report being increasingly aware of science and technology in their lives. They learned from ideas “being explained in a different way,” say students.

“Science isn’t just about taking notes,” they say. “Scientists can tell you so much more.”

Your members are also a vital resource for teachers. Feedback from teachers emphasizes the value of tactile learning and the positive response from the students.

Edmonton Science Outreach Network volunteers “bring the curriculum to life and in my opinion, reality beats virtual science,” said one teacher. “It amazed me how electric the atmosphere became, and how interested the kids were,” said another.
ESON volunteers also answer science and technology questions, facilitate field trips, guest lecture at conferences, and deliver teacher professional development workshops.

ESON is committed to changing the way students think about science and scientists. A classroom visit from a volunteer can change the image of the “mad scientist” working in isolation in a cluttered, bubbling laboratory. In actuality, your members and others work in a dizzying array of fields. ESON volunteers represent the natural sciences, physics, chemistry, the petrochemicals industry, medicine, astronomy and space science, agriculture, construction, the mechanical trades, engineering and technology, geology, and meteorology.

Those examples are hardly exhaustive. Your members may also, for example, contribute expertise garnered from personal interests or hobbies such as bird watching or model building.

ESON is a non-profit organization that has connected volunteer scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians with teachers for 14 years. To volunteer with ESON or for more information contact Dr. Michael Caley at 780-448-0055, e-mail us at, or visit

Anyone interested in volunteering but who does not live in the Edmonton region, please contact the Alberta Science Literacy Association at 403-245-8942 or e-mail ASLA is a provincial organization that coordinates the five science outreach networks in Edmonton, Calgary, Grande Prairie, Medicine Hat and Red Deer.

Cathy Perraton
Edmonton Science Outreach Network


Let’s Spend on Real Pollution

Re: Climate Change Causes Have Had a Hearing, J. Edward Mathison, P.Geol., Readers’ Forum, July 2004 PEGG, and Climate Change Science Actually is Important, David Barss, P.Geol., April 2004.

Government processes and tactics have caused grave doubts, disappointment and worry. A strong continuation of the debate is justified. It is in our best interests that it be thoroughgoing and enlightened.

The flaws in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change process need to be considered. The scientific assessment report of the IPCC was indeed authored by many and checked by more (actual figures: 124 authors, 397 expert reviewers and 15 review editors).

It is an excellent scientific compilation. It is a weighty document but read by few and perhaps not even glanced at by the media and politicians.

This document is then boiled down and put into layman's language to make the summary for policymakers. It is in this process that "political corrections" appear.
IPCC, 2001a p.97, reads: "The fact that the global mean temperature has increased since the late 19th Century and that other trends have been observed does not necessarily mean that the anthropogenic effect on the climate system has been identified. Climate has always varied on all time-scales, so the observed change may be natural.”

Yet in IPCC, 2001 TAR Working Group 1, p.774, the wording is: "In climate research and modelling, we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

These and other comments have been "simplified" for policymakers to read: "There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities." (SPM IPCC, 2001b, p.10). Later on the same page: "Most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gasses.”

One cannot help but recall the words of Roger Bate, director of the environment unit at the Institute for Economic Affairs, London: “Much 'big science' requires vast sums of money, and competition for funding is intense. Having a high profile and apparent policy relevance help in the scramble for funds – climate change has both. Due to their success in capturing funding, many climate scientists' careers now depend on global warming.”

If you were one of these scientists, he asks, would you admit that the whole thing was nothing to worry about?

Carbon dioxide is a natural gas and is essential to life on this planet. Its concentration in the atmosphere has a negligible effect on the natural cycles of climate. Rather than waste money trying to sequester CO2 we should be fighting true pollution – NOX, SOX and particulates.

Barry M. McVicar, P.Eng.
APEGGA Life Member


A Canadian Hearing

Mr. Mathison says “another review by non-experts is unnecessary.” That was never suggested. There is a long list of professors and PhDs in climatology, geoscience, meteorology, oceanography, astrophysics, mathematics and other sciences in Canada. Most, if not all, have peer-reviewed papers on the subject.
Mr. Mathison puts great reliance on the IPCC reports, as well as the number of climate scientists backing it.

We are not impressed with the validity of the IPCC’s report or the number count. There’s no question as to the value and integrity of the work carried on by scientists in Working Group I of the IPCC. However, the public’s knowledge of the IPCC comes mainly from a summary report put together by representatives (not always scientists) from different countries.

Science is not decided at the ballot box. If it were, then the IPCC would be big losers. The Oregon Petition with over 17,000 individuals (more than 2,500 scientists in atmospheric science), the Leipzig Declaration and the Heidelberg Appeal all questioned Kyoto climate science.

Mr. Mathison accepts the IPCC and the summary report as sources for climate science in Canada. However, the following shows why it is unreliable and why there is an urgent need for an independent hearing.

The late Dr. Roger Pocklington, an oceanographer for many years with Bedford Institute, was one of the Canadian representatives from the IPCC. He commented that the politicization of climate science by the IPCC is primarily responsible for the misunderstanding that human-caused CO2 emissions are a major contributor to global warming.

He went on to say: “The IPCC was established with the objective of associating climate change with fossil fuel emissions. That fossil fuels might have no significant effect on climate was effectively discounted from the very beginning by the IPCC’s mandate.”

Dr. Richard Lindzen is professor of meteorology at MIT and a member of a National Academy of Sciences. The NAS panel (2001) was requested to evaluate climate change and the IPCC Report. Prof. Lindzen said: “Within the confines of professional courtesy, the NAS panel essentially concluded that the IPCC’s Summary for Policymakers does not provide suitable guidance for the U.S. government.”

The pros and cons of the evidence need to be heard, evaluated and conclusions passed onto the public and critically to our ministers in Canadian government who are in the process of spending billions of taxpayer dollars.

We need to sort out the confusing and controversial statements that appear on climate change, in particular the scary media comments on climate change – catastrophic warming, droughts, rivers running dry, deaths due to heat, and so on – and the best scientific advice on causes of climate change. The integrity and qualifications held by the scientists and engineers in APEGGA make it an ideal body to address this issue.

William H. Hommel, P.Eng.

Albert F. Jacobs, P.Geol.

John I. P. Leeson, P.Geol.

Leonard F. Maier, P.Eng.


A Geological Engineer Looks at Climate Change

The climate of the Earth has varied dramatically many times in its 4-billion-odd years. Salt deposits in Nova Scotia, Ontario, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the Northwest Territories speak of hot, dry, Dead Sea-like conditions. Fossil glacial deposits tell us of cold conditions, coal of hot, humid “Mangrove-like” conditions, and fossil reefs of tropical seas.

Twenty thousand years ago two-thirds of North America was covered by glaciers. The world has indeed warmed since then – and without the aid of coal-fired furnaces or diesel trucks.

There is ample evidence that the ebb-and-flow of glaciers has repeated numerous times. Bear in mind that fluctuations are at least as dependent on precipitation as on temperature.

Research from the universities of Calgary and Western Ontario shows that 8,000 years ago glaciers in the Rockies and west had receded far above their present limits, and that since then they have advanced and are now receding again.

During the Medieval Warm, from 1000 AD to 1350 AD, the world was warmer by about two-to-four degrees C than it is now.

About 1350 AD the world started to cool and the Little Ice Age set in. The Thames froze in London. I have a copy of a 1706 painting of people skating on frozen canals in Venice.

We are currently emerging from the Little Ice Age. Temperatures started to rise about 1850 and rose fairly steadily until about 1945, when they began to drop again until about 1975. Then they started to rise again.

Many interpreted the drop in temperatures from 1945 to 1975 as the start of another ice age. Many of the scientists who now foretell catastrophe from global warming in the 1970s predicted disaster from global cooling.

In 1800 Herschel (the British astronomer who discovered the planet Uranus) noted that “there are copious emissions from the sun when it is highly spotted.” He correlated agriculture success and failure with the 11-year sun spot cycle.

In 1867 James Croll noted variations in the energy received from the sun due to orbital variations of the Earth around the sun. This work was expanded by Milankovitch in 1920 and these variations became known as the Milankovitch Cycles. Correlations were made with the advances and retreats of European glaciers.

Most recently Dr. S. Baliunas and W. Soon of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and Dr. Tim Patterson of Carleton University have shown close correlations between global temperatures and the various solar cycles.

CO2 is a minor player in climate fluctuations. Reduction in CO2 emissions and the sequestering of CO2 as envisioned in the Kyoto Protocol are not only ineffective but very costly. This money could so much better be spent in reducing true pollution – chemical pollutants and of course particulate emissions. These do damage health and the environment.

Kyoto chases the wrong culprit. Climate change is and always has been a natural phenomenon. We can no more stop global climate change than we can the tides.

A.M. Patterson, BASc, P.Eng.
APEGGA Life Member


E-Marketplace Introduced

I’d like to introduce your readers to SourceCAN, a secure, web-based e-marketplace that electronically matches the products and services of Canadian companies, with business opportunities posted by domestic and foreign corporations and governments. It is a joint initiative of Industry Canada and the Canadian Commercial Corporation.

SourceCAN's services include:

• Government and corporate tenders from Canada and around the world.
• A bid-matching system that identifies the kinds of business opportunities that you would like to receive.
• Automatic delivery of business opportunities to your desktop by e-mail, daily.
• A booth in the Virtual Trade Show.
• An up-to-date database of Canadian goods and services producing companies.
• Facilitating market research, trends analysis and competitive intelligence gathering.

Register with SourceCAN at

Bob Bell
Industry Canada


Wind Power Is No Panacea

Editor’s Note: The following letter is condensed from a letter that first appeared in the February/March 2004 edition of Professional Edge, the news magazine of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Saskatchewan.

Wind power cannot be justified, either as a source of electricity or as a significant alleviator of CO2 emissions. Professional engineering associations whose mission is to protect the public from bad engineering need to examine the public benefit of using these installations to reduce CO2 emissions.

Wind farms can only generate electricity some of the time, so any city or plant using it as a source of electricity requires back-up. In fact when frigid arctic highs move in and electricity demand is at a maximum, usually there is no wind.

Costs are three to four times those of conventional sources, when 100 per cent backup is included in the calculation. Engineers should advise the public of this.

“Green” governments try to overcome this cost disadvantage by providing subsidies. These hurt the economy because they distort private sector investment by directing capital to projects with little wealth-creating merit, all at taxpayers’ expense. Burying wind power costs in the overall power costs amounts to the same thing.

Winds are gusty, requiring back-up systems to be kept on-line at all times, which substantially reduces the amount of carbon fuel saved.

The whole Kyoto Protocol revolves about the notion that CO2 generated by human activity is the fundamental cause of the global warming seen in the late 20th century. As the ongoing debate in The PEGG attests, the “scientific” basis for this is far from certain.

If people want to reduce CO2 emissions regardless of the need, engineers should promote ways that impose the least additional economic burden. For electricity, conservation would be much more effective than windmills, and would reduce the cost to the consumer – instead of increasing it like wind power does.

Dr. Fred Langford, P.Eng.
Sidney, B.C.

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