Saturday, August 6, 2011

Oh Canada, and other quick takes

  1. The Guardian reports on unprecedented lobbying efforts by the Canadian government aimed at maintaining an export market for oil from the tar sands.
    The lobbying effort, which includes dozens of meetings between Canadian and British government "representatives" and oil executives, was triggered by the release of a consultation document in July 2009 by the European commission, which attempted to definitively assess the "well-to-wheels" carbon intensity of different oils. The document attributed a "default" carbon value for traditional fuels of 85.8g of carbon dioxide per mega joule of energy for traditional oil and 107gCO2/MJ for fuel derived from tar sands.
    The Canadians have managed to delay the EU's original deadline of January 2011 for confirming baseline default values despite new peer-reviewed studies to support the European position. Darek Urbaniak, extractives campaign coordinator at Friends of the Earth Europe, said: "It is unprecedented that a government of one of the most developed countries can devise and implement a strategy that involves undermining independent science and deliberate misleading of its international partners."
  2.  Andrew Revkin has an interesting summary of material related to the Somalia famine in A Climate Scientist's view of a Famine's Roots. Among the problems identified -- a faulty IPCC projection.
    Funk says the 2007 projection of wetter conditions led some agencies to plan the expansion of agriculture in the region — plans that could be devastated if drier conditions prevail, as his work implies.
  3.  Individuals interested in collapse will want to click their way over to Foreign Policy -- where the current issue has several articles on the collapse of the Soviet Union, including the cover story Everything You Think You Know About the Collapse of the Soviet Union Is Wrong. And why it matters today in a new age of revolution.

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