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Alberta Politics Big Government Bureaucracy Environmentalism Politics Science Uncategorized

Springbank Dry Dam?? Nope. Wet Dam, Mud Hole, & Dust Bowl.

Dave 073 years ago I published a blog about the highly controversial  flood mitigation project, the Springbank Dry Dam. (SBD)

Here it is again, with some updates.

In the fall of 2014, to great fanfare and just before the Alberta provincial by-elections, the PC government announced the Springbank Dry Dam (SBD); an Elbow River flood mitigation project to be constructed a few kilometers west of Calgary. The announcement was in the papers and on television, and sadly, that’s where landowners who will lose their land, or the use of their land, found out about it. Talk about a callous and cynical disregard for property rights!

There is no question that some form of flood mitigation is required before we inevitably get hit by the next big one. After all, Calgary was subjected to two floods in the late 1800s, each bigger than the 2013 deluge. But it has to be the right project in the right place, and at the right cost.

Here are a few things for Calgarians, and anyone else who believes in property rights, to think about.

Is it right that people whose lives will be disrupted, livelihoods threatened, and property values greatly diminished are completely ignored in the planning stages of a project of this magnitude and impact?

Does it make sense to locate a flood mitigation dam where it will provide absolutely no protection to the communities of Bragg Creek and Redwood Meadows, both of which suffered serious damage in 2013?

SpringbankRanching families in the area have ridden these foothills and valleys for generations, and know them intimately.  In fact, they have been ranching in the area since 1885; decades before people began building mansions on the Elbow River floodplains. Why was their counsel not sought in the lead up to the announcement of the SBD?

These people of the land point to a number of better locations for a flood mitigation project which would not only protect Bragg Creek and Redwood Meadows but would also provide larger scale and safer protection for the City of Calgary.

Several upstream Elbow dam proposals actually have been discussed by Government bureaucrats.  One site that appeared to be viable was the McLean Creek area, but the government told us that “it was finding it too complicated to wade through all the government regulatory requirements, recreational aspects, and environmental concerns that would involve placing the dam on public lands.”

Think about that. Future infrastructure projects in Alberta must sometimes only be undertaken on private lands because it is too complicated to comply with government regulations, when putting them on on public (government) land. But if the land is privately held they can, apparently, simply announce the project through the media and, voilà!, problem solved.

In addition to being in the wrong place, the proposed SBD project is based on seriously flawed research. After they announced the SBD, representatives of the Government proudly told us that the project is to be based on a concept they discovered while on a recent trip to the mountain-less Netherlands.  It even has a catchy name: “Room for the River.”

As we know, when rivers flood their banks in fertile alluvial regions like those upstream from the Netherlands, the water carries rich organic sediment downstream and deposits it along the river’s flood plains.  When the water subsides, the land can be farmed intensively. Does the government actually believe that this is what will happen in the Elbow River Valley?

Anyone who has witnessed flooding in an alpine setting will recognize this as complete nonsense.  The proposed “dry dam” will provide a shallow, temporary catchment basin for floodwaters containing mountain sediment and rock grindings.

When the water is released it will leave the sediment behind, and will turn thousands of hectares of pristine and carefully managed grazing land, into a vast, sterile, mud flat. Rock grindings are inorganic and will kill grass rather than fertilize it.

I was in High River several times after the 2013 flood, and the sediment was being hauled away because nothing will grow in it. But how can you remove sterile muck from thousands of hectares?

You can’t, so as the sediment dries out the muck will turn to dust, and a once lush valley will become a dust bowl and westerly winds will carry that dust into homes west of Calgary, and into Calgary itself.

Has the government asked the folks in Springbank and West Calgary how they feel about rock dust? I haven’t heard about it. Because that’s government’s way. They come up with bright ideas to “help you”; insist that they’ve had the finest experts develop the solution, but tend to under-emphasize, or completely ignore, unintended consequences.

A few years ago, Travel Alberta came out with some great commercials telling you to: “Remember to Breathe.” Great advice, especially for West Calgarians, while you still can.

Here’s a commercial I’d like to see, to be directed at governments everywhere.

“Your decisions – including their unintended consequences – affect real people. So, Remember to Think!”

I’m Dave Reesor

** Don’t Dam Springbank.org published this disturbing reminder. I don’t remember it being emphasized in government talking points, or by local media, but it should be a central part of the discussion.

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Categories
Bullies Hypocrisy Politics Public Education Socialism The left Uncategorized

Free Speech and the Left

Dave 07As you know, John Carpay and the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedom (JCCF) are in the forefront of fighting back against Progressivist attacks on basic human rights, including attacks on free speech.

Free speech used to mean that you could say anything you wanted, provided it didn’t promote or incite violence. Free speech even included hate speech, provided it didn’t promote or incite violence.

For example, you could say that you hated old white men, or even more specifically, that you hate Dave Reesor, and by the way, so should everyone else. In fact, I’d defend your right to say exactly that, in public and in private, or even to take out an ad in the newspaper advocating: “Hate Dave Reesor.” Only if you promote violence have you stepped over the line.

That’s free speech, or at least it was.

But now, in our “I’m a victim”, post-modern / post-rational new world, you can find yourself in trouble if you hurt someone’s feelings, or even say something that might hurt someone’s or some group’s feelings. And apparently, there are endless groups that are victims of white privilege, or ancient wrongs done to their ancestors, or some other debilitating grievance.

So we have endless groups that must not be offended; that is, with the exception of conservatives, practicing Christians and Jews, aboriginal Canadians and women who don’t vote Progressivist, etc.. In the United States, the old free speech rules apply to conservative women and conservative African-Americans; everyone else is a victim, and must not be offended.

John CarpayThis imbalance around free speech is enthusiastically abetted by most Canadian and American universities. In this short video, John Carpay explains exactly how universities are shutting down free speech. The JCCF believes in free speech, including your free speech; it fights unfair university policies, and it usually wins! If you believe in free speech, you should support them.

And if you haven’t already, it would be greatly appreciated if you supported us by becoming a member of the Let’s Do It Ourselves online community.

Have a great weekend!

Dave

Categories
Climate Environmentalism Public Education Science Uncategorized

Kids Are Questioning Climate Science. Why?

This week, Meritha and I attended the annual Friends of Science gala at the Red and White Club. There were two excellent speakers. One was Marijn Poels, an award-winning, documentary filmmaker, currently living in Berlin. The other was Dr. Madhav Khandekar, a world renowned, and widely published climatologist with a particular expertise in  climate cycles.

PoelsPoels came from a left leaning background, but as he began his research for his latest film, which he eventually entitled: The Uncertainty has Settled, he was chagrined to find that nearly all his assumptions about climate change were wrong. For instance, in spite of what the alarmists claim – ad nauseum; over the past 100 years climate related deaths are down by over 98%!

Note the graph.climate deaths

Deaths were high in the 20s 30s and 40s, because that was the hottest 30 year cycle since the Little Ice Age ended about 1850. It was hotter than now!

Since then there has been a massive reduction in climate related deaths. Safe and efficient home heating, fans and air conditioning – mostly courtesy of cheap energy from fossil fuels – have insulated us against climate change.

KhandekarThe other speaker, Dr. Khandekar proved conclusively, that far from being a net negative, increased CO2 is a large net positive for the planet. The increase from about 200 ppm of atmospheric CO2 around 1850, to about 400 ppm today, has produced a significant increase in plant growth around the world. According to plant scientists, the ideal would be around 1200 ppm, so we need to keep releasing CO2, not burying it.

Encouragingly, our children are starting to question the propaganda that they have been force-fed in school. Tens of millions of children have been forced to watch Al Gore’s absurdly alarmist docudrama: An Inconvenient Truth, which would have been more accurately titled: The Truth is Inconvenient.

FRIENDS OF SCIENCE SOCIETY - Author and Economist Ross McKitrickBut late last year, Dr. Ross McKittrick of the University of Guelph was sent a letter from some European high school students, asking five questions. (Dr. McKittrick became famous for debunking Michael Mann’s famous Hockey Stick graph; a misleading graph which spanned the last 1000 years, but in which Mann conveniently forgot about the Little Ice Age which lasted from the 1300s until the mid-1800s. Logically, when you exit an Ice Age, you do so because it’s warming up, and that’s a Really Inconvenient Truth.)

Dr. McKittrick has given me permission to include his response to the students, in this blog. It’s well worth the read because it’s the questions your children and grandchildren are starting to ask, and that should give us hope. Our kids aren’t stupid, just understandably confused. Let’s help them learn to recognize propaganda, and think for themselves! Like, and Share!

Have a great long weekend!

Dave

Five questions from students about climate change

Ross McKitrick January 2018

In late 2017 I was contacted by a group of students at a high school in Europe asking if I would answer some questions on climate change for a project they were working on.

Here are the questions they asked, and the answers I gave them.

1.  What is behind global warming?

Over the last 150 years there have been influences due to strengthening solar output, land-use changes, increased greenhouse gases and natural variability, among other things. The dominant school of thought in climatology is that rising greenhouse gas levels explain most of the overall warming trend since the 1950s. There are good reasons to support this, although the climate system is too complex to assume the matter is settled. The mechanisms by which the sun affects the climate are not well understood, nor are the mechanisms behind clouds, ocean- atmosphere interactions and other basic processes. The relative lack of warming in the tropical troposphere and over the South Pole are not easily explained under the theory that greenhouse gas levels dominate the climate system.

 

2.  What can we do to prevent global warming?

If it is a natural process, nothing. If it is mainly due to rising greenhouse gas levels we need to ask instead whether we would want to prevent it. It would require complete cessation of fossil fuel use, which would cause intolerable economic and social costs and would only yield small changes in the time path of global warming for the next century or more. Even large-scale emission reductions (such as under the Paris and Kyoto treaties) would only cause a small slowdown in the accumulation of CO2 in the atmosphere by 2100, so any benefits from such policies are likewise tiny, yet the costs would be enormous. The small warming that took place since the early 20th century was largely beneficial, and the astonishing social and economic benefits associated with cheap fossil energy far outweighed any problems it might have created. It is likely that this will be true over the next century as well.

 

3.  If we don’t do anything about it, how does it affect us and our descendants?

Humans flourish in every climate on earth from the tropics to the polar regions. We are very adaptable. The only issue is whether changes take place so quickly that we cannot adapt, but history shows this to be a rare situation. Climate processes are slow, and if the climate models are correct, the changes are gradual and predictable. People can adapt to warming conditions more easily than to cooling conditions. The IPCC predicted that over the next hundred years, changes in economies and technology will have a much larger effect on peoples’ lives than changes in climate.

 

4.  What will happen in the future, and what are the alternatives for us, if the Earth becomes unlivable?

There is no chance that greenhouse gases will make the Earth unlivable. If an asteroid hits, or another ice age begins, or something like that, then we face catastrophe. But the question essentially asks, what happens if we all die? The answer is, we all die.

 

5.  How can we save Earth if it isn’t too late?

To ask the question is to reveal that you greatly overestimate your size in relation to the Earth. We could not ruin the Earth even if we tried, nor could we save it if it faced ruin. Our planet is a remarkably adaptable and robust home. We don’t live in a giant china shop where everything is fragile and breakable, it’s more like a playground where everything is made to withstand considerable wear and tear. Over the Earth’s history the amount of CO2 in the air has typically been 2-10 times higher than at present yet the plants, animals and oceans flourished.

Much of the past half million years have been ice age conditions which wiped out life on the northern continents, yet it always came back as soon as the ice retreated. If you take the view that the ordinary human pursuit of prosperity and happiness will somehow destroy the planet you will end up adopting an anti-human outlook. This is both a scientific and an ethical error. Set your sights on a more modest scale, by trying to be a good citizen and be helpful to the people around you, and you will make much better decisions than if you are thinking in terms of faraway abstract categories like saving the Earth.

Good luck with your studies.

Dr. Ross McKitrick

Categories
Climate Environmentalism Public Education Science Self reliance The left Uncategorized

Talking or Doing. That Essential Difference between Left and Right.

Dave 07I have long maintained – because the evidence has been overwhelming for a long time – that the Left is focused on talking about Progress; implementing “Progressive” legislation, and then not worrying much about the unintended consequences. For instance, the magical $15 an hour minimum wage is a huge barrier to getting that first-time job, for teenagers and immigrants, but still not enough for a single mom with a couple of kids. A carbon tax has no effect whatever on the lives of the wealthy but is a significant hit to the poor.

Which is apparently not a problem for the Left. As Robespierre said: “”Omelettes are not made without breaking eggs.” Robespierre was the mastermind behind the French Reign of Terror which killed thousands of innocent people who happened to be on the wrong side of history. All in the name of Progress.

Now we have a study by researchers from Cornell University and the University of Michigan that found, to their astonishment, that climate alarmism skeptics are in fact, more environmentally friendly than global warming alarmists. Watching the lives of people like David Suzuki and Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio and Robert Redford and Neil Young, I think we’ve known that all along, haven’t we?

The fact is that conservatives are, well, conservative. We like to maintain and improve the environment for our children and grandchildren; we like to help our neighbors when they need help, and we like to provide for ourselves and our family to the best of our ability. But we think it’s unseemly to strut and preen when we do these things.

We don’t believe that we need to run to the government for “help” every time a difficulty arises, and by the way, we feel no need to buy carbon credits so we can sleep at night.

My experience is that most people are, by nature, conservative, but the radicals have propagandized the issue to such an extent that they’re afraid to “come out”. Well, if you believe in the things I listed above, and you believe in free speech, here’s permission to come out.

Don’t forget the annual Friends of Science event next week at Calgary’s Red and White Club at McMahon Stadium. There will be a buffet dinner and two excellent speakers who, unlike David Suzuki, Al Gore et al., actually care about the environment.

I just checked (Tuesday 8th) and there are a few tickets left. Call Julie right away at 1-888-789-9597, Ext 2. And if you have to miss it this year, don’t make the same mistake next year. Second Tuesday in May.

Have a great week!

Dave

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