APEGGA Boosts Joy of Learning
I would like to thank APEGGA very much for all you have done
in sponsoring the Calgary Youth Science Fair, April 2-5. I
realize how important sponsors such as you are in creating
such a joyful, memorable and educational experience.
I was one of the participants in this year's science fair.
I am in Grade 8 and my project was titled Motus Elatio, Latin
for earthquake waves. In my project I tried to discover which
bridge design would be able to sustain the least amount of
damage and be able to rise the highest before breaking when
a vertical primary wave motion is applied to it.
I won a gold medal and the award you sponsored, the APEGGA
Award for Earth Sciences. As well, I was chosen to go to the
Canada Wide Science Fair.
I worked even harder to extend my base of knowledge after
the Calgary Youth Science Fair. For example, I learned more
about statistical analysis, which helped me to further understand
my results. I had a great time presenting my project to all
my judges. I saw some old friends and even made some new ones.
At the Canada Wide Science Fair, I won a silver medal, the
Dow Communication Award, and also the Top Junior Engineering
I wish to thank you and let you know how much I love to work
in the areas of engineering and earth sciences. Your sponsorship
may open doors to my future. I am putting all the money that
I won towards my education.
I thank you for this and I hope you continue to be involved
with science fairs in the future.
Important Letter Sent to PM
Thanks to APEGGA President Ron Tenove, P.Eng., and APEGGA
Council for encouraging Prime Minister Jean Chretien to approach
climate change from an objective and constructive angle (instead
of the "legacy" angle the prime minister appears
to be on at the moment).
The letter to the PM, published in the October PEGG, was very
well positioned and crafted in a way that carried the weight
of 37,000 technical, thoughtful professionals.
Well done. Let's hope he reads his mail - carefully.
Kevin Walker, P.Eng.
General Debate Not Productive
It was with great surprise that I read the October President's
Notebook (Defining Our Role in the Kyoto Debate). I do not
believe that the federal government should initiate a debate
among the general public on whether or not to ratify the Kyoto
Very few people have the background to form an intelligent
opinion on the agreement.
I would venture to say that if the implementation of Kyoto
is known to cost the average Albertan, say, $1,000 annually,
a minority of Albertans would support it. That is the sad
part and one reason why it should not become a matter of public
There has over the last few years been lots of opportunity
to debate climate change but I have not noticed very much
written about it in The PEGG.
The letter to Prime Minister Chretien confirms my suspicion
that APEGGA has become just another special interest group.
I don't think that the general public was consulted when the
Alberta Government started implementing the austerity program,
the flat tax and other policies years ago, despite the fact
that these programs had vast implications with the introduction
of user fees, decreased services etc.
And I do not recall seeing any official reaction from APEGGA
at the time.
Henning Rasmussen, P.Eng.
Professional Debate Is What's Needed
Unfortunately, the debate on the effects and cost of implementing
a quixotic plan such as the Kyoto Protocol has been largely
sequestered by activists with hidden agendas searching for
popular attention. This is a repetition of an old strategy:
predict doom-and-gloom by means of catastrophe for all, and
once heard unleash the true scheme: anti-industrialism, anti-capitalism,
anti-globalism, anti-(fill in the blank)ism. By inhaling an
excess of Kyoto bromides, politicians disregard the real issues
and expertly follow the path of least resistance.
However, the real debate on Kyoto necessarily embraces topics
in a multitude of disciplines, including geology, geophysics,
meteorology, oceanography, geography, zoology, medicine and
economics. The best and most conclusive forum must take place
within and among the professional associations.
It must begin soon, move quickly and earn recognition by the
sheer weight of the thoughtfulness and analysis employed.
Facts derived from truly scientific methods must confront
the misguided fiction so far professed.
An APEGGA-sponsored conference, as proposed by Wim Veldman
(The PEGG, October 2002), focused on bringing out critical
information on this far-reaching subject, is well in line
with the Association's mandate: the protection of the public
Juan C. Joffre, P.Geoph.
Survey Hits Mark On Geoscience Opinions
I took the time to both participate in the member survey and
to read the summary report on the website. As I suspected,
the survey indicates that a lot of professional geologists
and geophysicists find very little value in belonging to APEGGA.
We are often treated as the "poorer cousins" by
the Association. My introduction to being a full professional
member serves as an example of the lack of respect we are
often shown. I remember that the form letter welcoming me
began with Dear Engineering Colleague. I'm a geologist, by
Phil Esslinger, P.Geol.
Ingenuity is the Answer - Not the Kyoto Protocol
Carbon dioxide is a waste product from animals, including
a huge share from bacteria, and is a fuel for plants by photosynthesis
to produce oxygen to give life to the animals. This natural
cycle created the life-giving biosphere in the first place.
The industrial age of hydrocarbons wastes carbon dioxide to
the atmosphere to produce energy for mankind's tool-making
devices. We all must acknowledge this value to mankind over
Carbon dioxide, as a waste industrial product, is in our time
being continually reduced by innovative scientists in their
discovery and by engineers in application. Whether today's
waste of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere influences the warm/cold
cycle of climatic change is not known as a certainty, and
it will be many years, if ever, before this becomes a scientific
The net result of the Kyoto regulation in Canada will be to
end our market-stimulated research and development for supply
of market product, from the premier Canadian natural assets
- the oilsands, the natural gas of our North, and off-shore
prospects on the east and west coast shelves. All of these
projects require a higher input of energy (hydrocarbon-based)
than conventional fields.
The bitumen oilsands process removes carbon and replaces it
with hydrogen compounds, reducing carbon dioxide waste when
burned as a fuel in transportation. The recovered carbon is
burned as electrodes in the great hydroelectric powered electro-metallurgical
industries, primarily in Quebec.
Both these global products are enormously important in export
for the Canadian economy. Which is to be penalized?
A common-sense explanation is needed about the Kyoto system
of regulation to be imposed upon the Canadian people and their
industries. If explained for reasonable understanding, one
may assess this as a benefit donated by Canada as a contribution
to the people of the world, and compare it to its effect on
the Canadian economy. This is the usual standard for assessment
of any project before commitment.
Kyoto will be a legislative measure influencing our future,
based upon a government's opinion; verified as to usefulness
not now, but in the next generation, perhaps two.
In the Kyoto mechanics, Canadians are committed to send our
money to places such as Russia and Africa, or to the federal
government, supervised by a supranational agency, for the
bureaucrats to use as it will, with no strings attached. This
rather than use these funds to continue to reduce the greenhouse
gases by our own ingenuity, as is our system heretofore.
The Russians and the Africans or other non-regulated entities,
a source quite different in terms of security, could increase
their production of conventional hydrocarbons for the market.
This could replace our oilsands product to be used in a non-regulated
This is ironic as the future of Canada is inextricably dependent
upon the development of our great Northern territories. The
40 or more years of research and development have successfully
produced and delivered market-grade oil from bitumen, which
requires heat and hydrogen, both wasting GHG.
Canada is on the threshold of the hydrogen age with the hydrogenation
of oil, the fuel cell, and fusion producing electricity. The
hydrogen age for direct energy source will surely supplant
the carbon age as the carbon age replaced the water/steam
In due time this carbon waste will be recovered or eliminated,
a bet as sure or better than that of the projected climate
control result predicted from the Kyoto regulation.
In North America we have been in the hands of innovative scientists
and engineers causing much of our growth and comfort, not
altogether destructive, but similar to Europe's situation
some hundred years ago in transforming the land. This Kyoto
commitment places Canadians surely in the hands of theoreticians
and social politicians for the next generation.
We should continue to have faith in the current system, which
has been so rewarding for us in our northern climate.
R.J. Balfour, P.Eng., Life Member
Skeptics Outnumbered In Science
There appears to be much opposition among APEGGA members to
the concept of human-induced climate change. For all the pseudo-science,
hyperbola and speculation about what the true causes of the
well-documented ramifications of GHG buildup occurring all
over the world are, the following facts remain:
1. Global warming is a fact. Certain gases in an atmosphere
absorb long wavelength electro-magnetic radiation and are
elevated to a higher energy state. Global warming is the reason,
as Goldilocks might have said, why Venus is too hot, Mars
is too cold and Earth is just right. Yes, the major GHG is
water vapour, but all the other gases have remained incredibly
stable for millennia and have much longer half-lives.
2. Certain of these gases, present in the atmosphere of Earth,
are indisputably increasing in an exponential fashion after
remaining stable for thousands of years. Examinations of ice
cores, tree rings and some isotopes have confirmed this hypothesis.
The recent increases, which appear to coincide with the industrial
revolution, have been observed directly.
3. The climate of the Earth appears to be experiencing growing
perturbation. Record weather events have occurred, with ever
increasing frequency, on all continents. The hottest years
ever recorded have occurred within the last two decades and
the hottest century was the 20th for the last six.
If the whole thing is a hoax, then a very large number of
eminent members of the scientific community are deluding themselves.
These academics, who vastly outnumber the skeptics, must have
some ulterior motive for pushing the climate change hypothesis
so hard. What this self-serving rationale may be is not alluded
to by any of the respondents. However, the self-interest of
the oil exploration and extraction industries in denying climate
change is not counted as relevant.
The solar activity theory is trotted out, as is the cyclic
nature of climate change throughout history. The undetected
and unmeasurable tilting of the axis of Earth is desperately
These efforts come from a society that refuses to concede
that unrestrained, uncontrolled and unregulated exponential
growth is collective suicide. The scientific revolution has
given us undreamed of comfort and security and, it appeared
until only a few decades ago, without cost. Perhaps we have
escaped most of the costs but I cannot say I feel very good
about the legacy we are leaving our children, who will bear
the full brunt.
The Kyoto Protocol is the best attempt we have yet come up
with to try to address our assault on the atmosphere. It is
inadequate and implementation will cause major social changes.
We have been through crises like this before and come out
better off with healthier, more lucrative and safer jobs;
we can do this again. Let engineers find solutions as they
have done in the past for eliminating lead in gasoline, improving
fuel efficiencies and replacing ozone-destroying CFCs in many
David J. Parker, P.Eng.