As a long-time subscriber to The Economist, I’ve been well aware of your unrelenting campaign against the Canadian oilsands. In your latest article on Saudi Arabia’s petroleum industry you rank the oilsands as one of the most polluting energy sources in the world.
I suspect you’re referring to CO2, or what you erroneously call Carbon, but you failed to mention that CO2 emissions from oilsands production have come down precipitously in the last 30 years. What you also have never mentioned, as far as I know, is the fact that as the oilsands mining is completed, the terrain is restored to the same, or an even higher level of biodiversity than existed before mining began. And an increasing area of the oilsands is now being exploited using an in-situ process which disturbs very little terrain.
I’ve included the link to an article with some before and after oilsands mining photos. Would it be possible for you to send your North American correspondent to Fort McMurray to take an objective look at the mining operation, and to also explore the fact that the oilsands provide excellent employment to tens of thousands of people from around the world, and most importantly, to Canada’s natives that live in the area.
Unlike in Saudi Arabia, Canada’s native employees get paid exactly the same as any other Albertan or Canadian or individual from overseas. Saudi Arabia treats its immigrant employees appallingly. Nigerian oil is produced in environmental squalor and corruption, as is much of the other oil from OPEC.
Canadian oil is, quite arguably, the most ethically produced oil in the world. In the interests of balance, could you do an article about that?
Dave W Reesor
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
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Flu season is coming up in a few months; governments are stockpiling vaccine, and many of us are deciding whether or not to get our flu shots.
Hamlet’s, “To be or not to be” is unquestionably a more portentous decision than whether or not to get a flu shot, but you wouldn’t always realize it judging from the ferociousness of the debate.
On one side are those who insist that vaccinations are useless and cause all manner of serious side effects; on the other side are those who believe that if your doctor, or better yet, the government, recommends vaccination, then it must be good. I’d like to suggest that both might be wrong, and right.
Let’s take the example of measles vaccinations. Data would seem to bear out that measles vaccinations over the decades have almost eradicated the disease, which is good. There may be cases where the measles vaccine causes problems – sometimes very serious – for some children, but on balance measles vaccinations have worked, and have clearly been a good thing.
On the other hand, studies show that while the flu vaccine may have some value for small segments of the population, on the whole it has a very limited effect. Every year, there are articles that bear this out.
Here’s how a Maclean’s article, April 9, 2014, starts out: “Tamiflu™ might be the most heavily scrutinized drug in the world and one that governments have poured some $9 billion globally to stockpile in case of a pandemic. However, authors of a new study, published in the British Medical Journal this week, suggest the influenza antiviral probably works no better than aspirin and possibly causes harm.” (Italics mine)
An Australian study found that researchers that were paid by pharmaceutical companies were more likely to recommend antiviral drugs for flu. Adam Dunn who was the lead author of one Australian study, and who is a health informatics expert at the University of New South Wales, said: “We found reviewers with ties to Pharma introduced bias, as we found a disconnect between what the results showed and what they went on to recommend.”
The study found that 80% of reviews written by researchers with financial ties to the drug companies were favourable towards the drugs, while 17% of independent reviews were positive.
So much for unbiased science! Yet governments spend billions stockpiling flu vaccine and buying advertising advising you to get vaccinated, apparently for no better reason than tradition. A far better defence against the flu seems to be to eat healthy and keep your immune system strong.
Ray Moynihan, a senior research fellow at Bond University said: “It is clear we have likely been misled about the benefits and harms of these drugs because so much of the evidence is tainted by a pro-industry or pro-drug bias. What we have in medicine is unfortunately a lot of marketing disguised as science…” (In another field, most of the climate change/global warming industry is driven by politics and ideology, disguised as science.)
As someone with a strong libertarian bias, I believe that the final decision of whether or not to vaccinate is up to the well informed individual, or the parents.
Scientists are humans, and almost every area of science is tainted by biases, so being well-informed is key. As you know, a number of us are working together on an online community called Let’s Do It Ourselves, or LDIO™. (Pronounced el-DEE-o)
Our purpose is twofold.
To provide a community where individuals and organizations who believe in limited government can unite to push back against ballooning (and bungling) bureaucracies; and foster an ethos of self-reliance.
To use social media as a tool to reach out to and inform those of all ages who rely on their smart device for information.
If you haven’t already done so, please join us. http://www.ldio.org/join-ldio/ By working together, our efforts become more cost effective. And by developing a well-informed citizenry, we can begin to see some much-needed cultural change.
The Keystone XL Pipeline is truly a big deal, both for Canada and the United States. The Keystone will carry oil from the Canadian oil sands, and, from North Dakota, to the Gulf Coast for refining. It will reduce American dependence on offshore oil. Some Hollywood actors and professional agitators are wildly opposed.
NASA’sformertop climate “scientist”, James Hansen, has been arrested four times for various protests revolving around climate change and the pipeline. Mr. Hansen has predicted that if global warming continues – which according to him is caused by man made emissions of CO2 – the oceans will “boil”. Of course using oil produces CO2. But then so does exhaling.
CO2 is to plants like Oxygen is to us; without it they will die. In fact, greenhouse operators inject CO2 into their buildings to make the plants grow better. Hmmmm…..
Back to the protests. Regarding the oilsands; Robert Redford has come out with videos denouncing “the terrify rate” at which the boreal forest, where the oilsands are located, is being destroyed.
Singer/songwriter Neil Young has likened the oilsands area in Alberta to Hiroshima which was destroyed by an atomic bomb at the end of World War II; and where 75,000 people died.
Actress Darrel Hanna chained herself to the White House fence and got herself arrested while protesting the Keystone. I have no idea why that is important, but mainstream media covered it, so it must be.
If all this alarmism is true, we heading straight towards climate Armageddon.
None of it is. Award-winning NASA Astronaut and Physicist, Walter Cunningham has chastised James Hansen, a former colleague, by saying that: ”Hansen is a political activist who spreads fear,even when NASA’s own data contradicts him”. Dr. John Theon, Hansen’s former supervisor,said that: “Climate models are useless” (the whole climate change frenzy is based on models), and that Hansen is “an embarrassment”. Or, in even plainer English, he’s a wingnut.
I’ve been to Fort McMurray and out into the oilsands mines dozens of times. Fort McMurray is a wildly busy but beautiful city of about 100,000, set in Canada’s boreal forest. Wildlife abounds.
The mines are a few miles away, and they are indeed, an industrial development area. But you’ve seen plenty of pictures of the oilsands, so here’s a picture of a coal mine in Germany. Germany is regarded as a world leader in green technology, and in combating climate change. Their mines look about the same as the oilsands. Germany will re-forest their mines, and we’ll re-forest ours.
China is building dozens of coal fired power plants every year. Their CO2 output completely dwarfs that of the oilsands, as does that of American, coal fired electrical plants.
To the right is a picture taken entering downtown Fort McMurray.Neil Young’s comparison of Fort McMurray to Hiroshima is an obscenity; a slur against the people who live and work at Fort McMurray; and a desecration of the memory of those who died at Hiroshima.
And here are some facts about Redford’s “terrifying rate at which our boreal forest is being destroyed”. The world’s northern boreal forests cover over 6,000,000 square miles. Canada’s share is 2,300,000 square miles; the oilsands underlie only 54,000 square miles of that total, and only ten percent of that, or 5400 square miles, is mine-able.
So at most,1/426th of Canada’s boreal forest will ever be mined for oil. Then, by law, it must be re-forested. If you find that scenario terrifying, then you clearly have the same on again / off again flirtation with common-sense that Mr. Redford apparently does.
Mr. Redford has a development at Sundance Resort, Park City, Utah where he is selling two million dollar building lots. Trees are being “destroyed” to make way for mega-footprint vacation homes. Mr. Redford says he needs the money. His net worth is estimated at 170 million dollars. Tens of thousands of people from across Canada and the US, and around the world work in the oilsands at better paying jobs than they’d ever dreamed of. Would Mr. Redford have them sent home?
Perhaps the native kids who live near the oilsands, and enter great paying jobs when they graduate should just go on welfare?
What Redford is essentially saying to the people who work at Fort McMurray, is: “Sure; I have my 170 million, but I also have a need to feel that I’ve done something righteous to offset my extravagant lifestyle. I know we’re all supposed to enjoy an equal opportunity, but I’m more equal than you, so tough luck!” Redford and Young have passed their “Best Before” date, but unfortunately, they retain some celebrity status, and they have an audience. We need to push back.
Almost every dire prediction that the global warming alarmists has turned out to be false. Polar Bears are an endangered species! Their numbers have doubled. Himalayan glaciers are going to disappear by 2035! It was nonsense put forward by the head of the IPCC (International Panel on Climate Change), and they now admit it was nonsense.
Just three months ago, some alarmists confidently predicted that “the Arctic Ocean might well become ice free this summer!” But not only was this summer colder than normal; the summer ice melt was far less than last year. So now, their updated prediction is that the Arctic Ocean may become ice free by the end of this century; an 87 year adjustment in three months! Oops!
An interesting, and even more pertinent fact is that the Arctic Ocean was ice free, 4000 years ago. That’s right about the time that Abraham and Sarah left Iraq and headed for Israel, (modern names); and as far as I know they drove methane emitting camels, not CO2 emitting SUVs.
Of course, humans do have some effect on climate; we just don’t know how much. But research suggests that even if we were able to shut down half of human activity on the planet, the effect would be minor. So whether it gets colder or warmer – and it has done both many times in the past – we’ll need to adapt. When sea levels rose in the past, our ancestors used common-sense, and moved to higher ground!
If you wish, look up the facts for yourself. And forward this blog to everyone who might be interested. It’s time to push back against lies and misinformation. My definition of insanity is: Complain, Do Nothing, Wait for Change.
Let’s do it ourselves; and let’s think for ourselves!
Blessings to all –
BTW: If you’d like to support this IWUZ blog, and the work we’re doing to launch the Let’s Do It Ourselves online community, you can join / donate at www.ldio.org Go to JOIN LDIO on the website, and if you wish to donate less than $50, simply use the $5 a month option for one two, or however many months, and discontinue whenever you wish. Thanks for your encouraging, and your argumentative comments. They are all greatly appreciated!