For your information…

I received this from a friend yesterday. It was taken on a mobile phone in Copenhagen where world leaders are meeting today in, as one newspaper amazingly put it, “the most important international meeting since World War II”. “Brad Pitt is saving planet Earth in Copenhagen” is printed on the side of a 20 ft long reflective metallic trailer parked in the streets of Copenhagen.

Here is another image of this monstrosity from (of all places) the America.gov Flickr photostream:

The caption?
“Brad Pitt is Saving Planet Earth in Copenhagen”… a fun experimental project that will feature 12 non-Brads dressing up like the megastar to promote climate change action.

Yes, this comes from a US government social media account.

On the other side of the trailer is a web address which reads “bradpitt.dk”. When I checked the website, I found this awesome image:

In other decidedly non-warming news, Copenhagen was hit with a blizzard last night dumping 4 inches of snow on the Danish capital.


Copenhagen, December 6th 2009


Copenhagen, December 17th 2009

Drastic climate change in our lifetime.

Do I have to tell you about the ice caps of Mount Kilimanjaro?

Jumping into today’s climate hoax

Many of you have now heard of the well-organized hoax against Environment Minister Jim Prentice this morning that involved a fake Jim Prentice Twitter account, a fake Wall Street Journal Article, a fake follow-up press release and now an “accusation” by the Prime Minister’s Spokesman Dimitri Soudas as reported by the “accused”, Equiterre:

Equiterre’s reaction on allegations from the Associate Director- Press Secretary of Prime minister Stephen Harper, Dimitri Soudas

Copenhagen, December 14, 2009- Equiterre reacted in the following terms regarding allegations made today by the Associate Director- Press Secretary of Prime minister Stephen Harper, Mr. Dimitri Soudas. Mr. Soudas accused Steven Guilbeault, cofounder and Deputy Director of Equiterre, to be the source of the spoof on Environment Canada that promotes an important change in the federal government’s climate change policy, The information can be found at the imitation website: www.enviro-canada.ca/index.php.

“Mr. Guilbeault clearly indicated that he is not the source of this spoof. Neither is Equiterre. It is shameful that Office of the Prime Minister is making such accusations without any proof. Mr. Guilbeault and Equiterre are asking Dimitri Soudas to retract his accusations and to present his excuses.

We also deeply regret that Canada’s position on cilmate change is nowhere near the one presented on Environment Canada’s fake website.

Equiterre suggests that the Associate Director, Communication/Press Secretary, Dimitri Soudas, from the Prime Minister office, should stop throwing baseless accusations. A better way to use his time would probably be to advise the Canadian government to change its deeply flawed position on climate.”

– 30 –

Source :
Marie-Eve Roy
Équiterre
À Copenhague
+ 45 41 63 37 95

Éveline Trudel-Fugère
Équiterre
À Montréal
514-605-2000

Where did the “accusation” come from? Soudas had send this email out to the media regarding the Prentice/WSJ spoof:

Dear media,

You may have received a release entitled:

“CANADA ANNOUNCES REVISED FIGURES FOR EMISSIONS REDUCTIONS, RELIEF FUNDS”

This is not a government of Canada press release.

We’re told it may have been issued by mr. Guilbault from equiterre.

If that’s the case, time would be better used by supporting Canada’s efforts to reach an agreement instead of sending out hoax press releases.

More time should be dedicated to playing a constructive role instead of childish pranks.

What made Soudas suspect Guilbault? Apparently, Guilbault forwarded the spoof press release to people and press attending the Copenhagen climate change summit.

UPDATE: A group calling themselves the “Yes Men” have claimed responsibility for the elaborate hoax.

Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack has jumped the candlestick

Tonight, Jack Layton attended a local candlelight vigil to mark/protest/mourn/do-something about climate change. The vigil was part of a larger global effort organized via Blackberry, cellphones and Facebook. He tweeted:

http://twitpic.com/taa1o – Joining a moving global candle vigil, in #Toronto, with new friends Anastasia and Michelle #cop15

Throughout our history of scientific achievement as a civilization, progress has most significantly been marked by maximizing outputs while minimizing input and waste output. This is the standard engineering principle of efficiency.

The industrial revolution that started in the 18th century is referenced as a pivot point of human impact on its environment. Since this era of increased efficiency, from the advent of the assembly line and distributed tasks at the outset to the miniaturization of electronics to maximize calculative output most recently, our progress is marked by our giant leaps of efficiency. It may be unpopular, but no less true, to recognize that it has been the industrial revolution — indeed still ongoing — that has and will continue to allow us to produce more from less and waste less in the process. For example, the wheel is one of our earliest innovations and has been improved and made more efficient at least one thousand fold with respect to input costs, labour and yes, even CO2 output.

Tonight, the leader of Canada’s socialist party — a party representing an ideology that has sought to increase the costs of input (organized labour, tariffs on inputs) while diminishing the benefit of the output (taxation on goods produced, regulations of its use) — very symbolically holds a flame for the very principles that would jam the gears of modernization, efficiencies and progress. Instead of allowing the inherent market mechanism that favours efficiency to reduce waste (CO2 as a by-product), Layton and friends use a sledgehammer instead of a scalpel to act broadly against desired outputs and necessary inputs rather than just waste.

While leaders around the world seek to reinvent the wheel outside of market based innovation and progress, Jack Layton is at home tending to our earliest invention. One hopes that Layton realizes that the candle he holds is more symbolic than logical as a burning candle produces 7x more CO2 output per lumen of light than a 40W incandescent lightbulb (calculation here). To decry our own greed and supposed inefficiencies, Layton harkens back to a time before the first refinement of our first spark of genius.

Layton’s flame is symbolic, though perhaps not in the way he intended. Indeed, his burning candle is symbolic to our self-loathing attitude towards a process that brought billions out of relative poverty since the 17th century, has extended our life expectancies by decades through health research and nutritional knowledge, and has allowed mass communicative capacity to organize protests, rallies, vigils and the like. Jack’s flame, much like his solutions, are inefficient and regressive.

Though Mr. Layton would put up flame to the bridges that have brought us health, wealth and happiness since a darker age, hopefully other leaders will have a lightbulb moment and realize that it has been our unbridled innovative capacity and not a misguided effort for central planning, that has and always will move us along the road to enlightenment.

Greenhouse gases over Copenhagen

We’re only partway through the conference in Copenhagen and there has already been criticism of the size of the so-called carbon footprint left by delegates. From flights, to limos to the food imported to feed everyone, the eco-conference is an eco-disaster isn’t it? And if there’s no deal, what was it all for?

Brazil has sent over 700 delegates to the conference while the tiny island nation of Tuvalu has sent 20. Each delegate represents just 750 Tuvaluvians who earn an average of $2000 per year. Presuming there aren’t many direct flights from Tuvalu to Copenhagen, travel costs, let alone hotel costs, would seem to me to be quite prohibitive for the island’s treasury.

The United Nations boasts 30,123 registered delegates and 2,941 media passes granted.

That’s a lot of dead polar bears.

Liberal hot air on climate change

Michael Ignatieff had the following to say about Stephen Harper in a speech to students at Laval University on the topic of climate change,

“Stephen Harper doesn’t understand the environment, either. He’s turned Canada into a veritable saboteur of international climate change negotiations.” — Michael Ignatieff

The “Fossil of the Day” award, sponsored by AVAAZ.org, is an award that “is given to countries that block progress at the United Nations Climate Change Negotations.”

While Michael Ignatieff is tut-tutting about Stephen Harper’s realistic targets of 20% reduction of GHGs by 2020, under (forgive the cliche) thirteen years of Liberal rule, how did Canada do on the GHG file? According to the Fossil of the Day, Canada “won” 89 awards, beating out the Saudis with 88.


Source

FLASHBACK: How does the media cover Canada’s environmental record (Conservative vs. Liberal)?

UPDATE: Michael Ignatieff agrees!

BREAKING: Liberal Party of Australia chucks Turnbull, caucus elects Abbott

In a caucus revolt triggered by (former) leader Malcolm Turnbull embrace of Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), the Australian Liberal causus has ejected their leader, electing Tony Abbott in his place. Turnbull lost his leadership by one vote this morning.

Mr. Rudd’s ETS which will face a Senate vote, and is expected to be defeated in the Upper Chamber. Last week, Turnbull faced the first significant challenge to his leadership over ETS when five of his shadow ministers resigned in protest of their leader’s support for Rudd’s carbon trading bill.

Upon failure of the ETS legislation in the Senate, the bill can be reintroduced by Rudd but this would likely cause a double dissolution election; Rudd cannot pass the legislation due to a majority possessed by the Liberals and Family First party (a party also against Rudd’s ETS legislation). Leadership rival Joe Hockey said that he’d allow Liberal senators a free vote on ETS, however, Mr. Abbott has said this would not be allowed if he assumed Turnbull’s office.

The Liberals would prefer to defer the legislation to committee until the Copenhagen conference on climate change has concluded. Recent Australian polls have shown the Aussies to be unfavourable to a defined carbon trading system before testing the mood at the international conference. About 30% of Australians favour no carbon-trading scheme at all.

Abbott was the former health and industrial relations minister in Prime Minister John Howard’s cabinet. He led the monarchist movement before entering into politics.

This defeat is quite embarrassing for Turnbull having lost his leadership prior to challenging Australia’s governing Labour party on the hustings. A IT millionaire and former head of Goldman Sachs in Australia, Turnbull was seen by supporters to be an important figure ready to rebuild the Liberal Party after that party’s defeat to Rudd’s Labour Party in 2007.

RELATED: In the UK, Conservative Party leader David Cameron is facing grumblings within his own party regarding his stance on climate change. (Read the comments)

UPDATE: I’ve just chatted with some Liberal friends down under who’ve given me some more insight on who Tony Abbott is. Abbott, in the political sense is described as a “conviction politician” meaning that he doesn’t shy away from issues. A staunch Catholic, Abbott once studied to become a priest. He is described as an outdoorsman, a former boxer and rugby player with the crumpled ears to match.

Abbott came into formal politics under the leadership of John Hewson, where Abbott worked as the Liberal leader’s press secretary. Prior to this Abbott worked as a features writer for the Australian Murdoch Daily paper.

Originally elected in 1994, Abbott’s career includes the ministries of health and industrial relations. First, as the Industrial Relations minister, Abbott took a confrontational stance against the national construction union and regulated it. Abbott’s approach with striking workers was often an unusual one; during strikes, he would often go and address the workers himself. As for the federal government’s unemployment services, he deregulated them and privatized a large part of their function.

In Health, Abbott served to “keep health off of the front page” meaning that the portfolio was largely defensive in contrast to his tenure as Industrial Relations minister. However, Abbott faltered in this role when an old speech on abortion surfaced reigniting that debate in Australia. At the time, Australia was debating RU486 and a private member’s bill was quickly introduced stripping the minister of discretion on the issue.

After the defeat to Rudd’s Labour Party, Abbott served as shadow minister for aboriginal affairs.

The defeat of Turnbull is described as a major victory for the grassroots on ETS. Abbott’s preferred track is to defer ETS to the Senate committee until after Copenhagen. This will only be possible with the support of the Greens or via the two independent Senators. However, it is still possible that the government will allow the defeat of the bill. If it is defeated twice by the Senate, this will allow the PM an election where both houses of parliament would be dissolved for a general election.

Regarding Malcolm’s surprise defeat, another insider contact writes to say that the former Liberal leader massively misjudged party sentiment on the issue of ETS. My contact suggests that Malcolm is “intellectually captured by the prosperous urban left” and that he’s a “rich lefty at heart”. Liberals in parliament and street-level Conservatives were upset with Turnbull for ceding ground on the ETS debate to the Rudd government. My contact suggests that Turnbull could have taken the more tenable position of waiting on ETS until after Copenhagen and explained that the party perceived their leader to be handing a gift to the PM to take to the conference. Turnbull took the position that the party should fall in line and needed to be progressive and “give the planet the benefit of the doubt”.

Politically, the Liberals need to take the fight back to the government’s position on ETS whereas the last 8 months of debate have centred around what the Liberals would do instead. Under new leadership, Liberals hope that the party will be able to shift the focus back on Rudd.

Hockey sticks and email leaks: Dr. Ross McKitrick responds to the “Climategate” story

Dr. Ross McKitrick is a professor of environmental economics at the University of Guelph and is a senior fellow at the Fraser Institute. His work with Stephen McIntyre — another Canadian — provides much of the basis for skepticism of the hypothesis of anthropogenic climate change. The “Hockey Stick” graph authored by Mann, Bradley and Hughes and published by Nature has come under renewed controversy after emails and data from the University of East Anglia Climate Research Unit were hacked and leaked revealing smoothing, manipulation, clumsy patching and omission of data used to construct climate models based on direct and indirect temperate readings. The hockey stick graph provided basis for the 2001 IPCC report, and a significant foundation for the modern mainstream view on climate change. The emails also revealed a tightly controlled and collaborative peer-review process which appeared to be designed to suppress skepticism and debate.

Leaders from industrialized and non-industrialized nations will meet in Copenhagen in just over a week to discuss a new agreement to replace the Kyoto protocol and seeks to transfer GDP from richer nations to poorer ones under the guise of aiding the implementation of CO2 emission reduction capacity around the world. I emailed Dr. McKitrick to ask him about the CRU hack/leak, the news of a pending US Congressional probe into the revelations that came from it, his opinion if such a move is necessary in Canada and whether this will affect the “scientific consensus” and political track as we move towards Copenhagen and beyond.