Category Archives: environment

Another Casualty of Plant Closures in Ontario

Pepper and Sammy are paid by the taxpayers of Ontario in room, board and veterinary care. These “mice-control technicians,” as one bureaucrat called them, are the reason there is no rodent problem at the Ontario Tree Seed Plant in Angus, Ont., about 120 kilometres north of Toronto.

The cats are soon to be fired, however. The government will shutter the plant next September.


Canceled Energy Projects Stymy Pro-Energy Aboriginals

Ellis Ross is filled with gut-wrenching dread as several major proposed energy projects unravel in British Columbia.

The former chief counsellor of the Haisla Nation near Kitimat has laboured for more than 13 years to improve Indigenous lives through economic self-sufficiency — it’s how he says he measures success — and now it could all come crashing down because of what he believes are misguided government actions that burden those projects with unnecessary costs.

“We were right on the cusp of First Nations in my region being able to look after themselves,” said Ross, who ran and won a Liberal seat in the provincial legislature last May to help get the liquefied natural gas (LNG) industry off the ground.

“We were just starting to turn the tide on that opposition to everything. For the first time, since white contact, we were ready to take our place in B.C. and Canada. Instead, B.C. is not going to exist pretty soon in terms of investment. That is how worried I am.”


On the Korean Peninsula

A scheme defrauds North Korean defectors of their savings:

A few months after fleeing her destitute homeland for a more decent life south of the border, Park, received a tempting offer from a fellow defector: She could transfer money to her family in the North for a commission fee.

Haunted by memories of her three starved children and old mother living in Hyesan in the country’s far north, the 44-year-old Park eagerly handed over 20 million won ($17,800) to a broker — only to find out a month later that not a single penny had reached her family.

“It was all of my savings,” said Park, who arrived here several years ago and agreed to speak to The Korea Herald on condition her full name not be published.

“I had spent months to find this guy, but to no avail. It is just outrageous to think that other defectors like me would easily fall prey to this kind of fraud, getting their savings wiped out.”

In line with the constant influx of North Koreans here, the tally of their remittances is expected to be rising. As of March 2017, a total of 30,490 have resettled in the South, according to the Unification Ministry.

No official data on their remittances is available, however, given a government ban on South Koreans from wiring money to the North. The brokers sneak the funds through acquaintances, which is also illegal in China.

According to a 2016 survey from the Seoul-based Database Center for North Korean Human Rights, around 58.5 percent of 400 surveyed defectors in the South have sent money back home. Twenty-six percent, or 104, said they did so last year, with the average amount nearing 2.35 million won.





South Korean President Moon Jae-In pulls a Trudeau:

South Korea’s defense ministry began preparations for a full-blown environmental impact assessment on the ongoing deployment of the US THAAD missile defense system Tuesday, a ministry official said, a move that will inevitably delay its operation.

The move came one day after President Moon Jae-in personally ordered a thorough study on the environmental impact of the advanced missile shield, which, when fully deployed, will consist of at least six rocket launchers with 48 rockets designed to intercept aerial threats flying over the peninsula.


Sweden Denies a Permit for Wind Farm Because It Would Interfere With Its Military


Sweden denied permission for developers to build the Blekinge offshore wind project, saying it would interfere with the Nordic nation’s army.

The project was planned to have 500 to 700 turbines. This would have resulted an installed capacity of about 2.5 gigawatts and investment valued at 50 billion kronor (CAD$7.4 billion), according to an e-mail from majority owner Eolus Vind AB.

The project company, Blekinge Offshore AB, is owned by Swedish developers. Hassleholm-based Eolus has 56 per cent, Vingkraft AB took 34 per cent and Vindin AB the remainder.

Sweden has set a target to generate all of its electricity from renewable sources by 2040. Prime Minister Stefan Loefven said in September that his government will spend $1.9 billion from 2017 to 2020 on climate initiatives. It generated 64 per cent of its power from clean sources last year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

“The fact that this interfered with the military in some way was probably the final nail in the coffin,” said Keegan Kruger, wind analyst at BNEF. “They just don’t have the incentive right now with an abundance of cheap hydro. Also, they consider nuclear as a renewable power source for their 100 per cent renewable target by 2040 and have recently removed a tax on nuclear generation.”


North Koreans Are Not All of the Same Mind, Says Defector

Unlike the Borg, there is no consensus and, unlike North American universities, there are no “safe spaces” where North Koreans are free from the “triggering” of the Kim dynasty “privilege”:

A former North Korean political prisoner has revealed what he sees as the “biggest misconception” about people in his country.

Kang Chol-hwan, who was a prisoner at Yodok concentration camp, said the “outside world” often equates the Communist Party regime with the private mindsets of its citizens.

Yet many people are simply too afraid to speak out, while others hide former identities to avoid persecution, he said.

Mr Chol-hwan, now the director of the North Korea Strategy Centre in Seoul in South Korea, said in a question thread for Reddit that North Koreans were “the same as [people] anywhere else.”

“I think it is lamentable that people think of the North Korean government and North Koreans as one entity,” he said.

“North Koreans may seem loyal to the government, but because they fear the government, they cannot speak their minds.”


The cult-of-personality is a communist ploy, glamourising otherwise mediocre crackpots before it was cool to wonder what Trudeau’s wife was wearing:

Jean H. Lee of the Associated Press gushes that Ri is “a beautiful young woman … [d]ressed in a chic suit with a modern cut, her hair stylishly cropped.”  The NYT’s Choe Sang Hun sees “all the trappings of a Kate Middleton moment,”

and ABC’s Joohee Cho serves up this ipecac smoothie:

The cheerleaders wore Nike caps, danced with South Korean college students, and attended a dinner party with government officials. There’s speculation that she also might have participated in an inter-Korean teenagers’ event in 2003 to plant trees.

But what has attracted the most attention in Seoul today is her beauty and sense of fashion. She wore colorful green, burgundy, and yellow outfits, polka dot patterns, open-toe pumps, and even a chic brooch on one of her dresses. North Korean women usually wear their traditional costume, or monotone black or grey suits to public events.

“I was surprised because she was so up-to-date in fashion. My friends think she’s very pretty too,” said Hyun-Sun Kim, 22, a nurse.

“I think Ri Sol Ju possesses a classic traditional Korean beauty, a round face and clean skin,” said Edward Han, 52, a South Korean businessman. “And she’s got that image of an obedient wife which sure would be popular among the elders especially.” [ABCNews, Joohee Cho]

Cho didn’t mention the reports that a number of Ri’s fellow cheerleaders were sent to the gulag for talking too much about the prosperity they saw in the South. 


North Korea also isn’t alone in giving lip service to the problems, environmental and otherwise, that it creates:

… the cycle of problems is well known: people essentially cut down trees as a form of coping behavior in the face of resource scarcity, in order to clear areas for farmland, and to use wood as an energy source. When the annual torrential rains sweep over the Korean peninsula, the lack of trees contributes to soil erosion, spoiling harvests and causing devastation. Kim Jong-un highlighted forestry as an important policy area in 2015. The priority makes a lot of sense, but so far, the solutions don’t seem all that promising.





Rex Murphy: The High Church of Global Warming

Because Rex Murphy:

If one wishes to learn the true value of what a commitment to the New Learning actually involved, then Ontario is both laboratory and experiment. By what fraction of a degree did the world’s temperature actually lower itself — was it 0.01 per cent, 0.001 per cent or any fractional mite in between? — for that $37 billion?

Could it even be — Heresy of Heresies — that maybe the global temperature moved not at all, or — Good Gore, save us — went upwards? We cannot know, for it is the nature of this subject that substantive answers are never possible nor welcome. When dealing with the “airy subtleties” of the new Faith, we must settle for ignorance, but as long as it is for the Great Cause, as long as 50,000 can jet to Paris, Rio or Beijing annually, who cares that we have no certainty? As long as the faith holds, there is no call for certainties.


Nearly Two Hundred Nations Pass Accord in Paris


U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is praising the new accord on global warming as a deal that will save the world for generations to come.

He says “it’s a victory for all of the planet and for future generations.”

Kerry told fellow negotiators Saturday in Paris that “it will help the world prepare for the impacts of climate change that are already here and also for those that we already know are on our way inevitably.” He added the pact would “prevent the worst most devastating consequences of climate change from ever happening.”

More than 190 countries had been negotiating the pact for four years after earlier attempts to reach such a deal failed.


Wynne Defends Failed “Green” Programs

Of course she does:

Premier Kathleen Wynne defended the billions of dollars in extra costs that Ontario electricity customers must fork out for the Liberal government’s green energy initiatives Thursday, saying there’s a cost for cleaner air.

Auditor general Bonnie Lysyk’s annual report said consumers are paying $9.2 billion more for 20-year wind and solar power contracts signed by the Liberals with private generators than they would have under the old procurement system.

The auditor also found Ontario pays 3 1/2 times the price for solar power than the average in the U.S., and twice as much for wind power.

“There’s a cost associated with getting out of coal, of putting more renewables in place, and we’ve got other jurisdictions looking to Ontario as a model for how to do that,” said Wynne. “I’m happy to defend the changes that we’ve made.”



Smog Record One of the Worst Recorded Since China Started Monitoring Air Quality

Pedestrians wearing face masks walk along the street on a hazy day in Shenyang in northeastern China's Liaoning province Monday, Nov. 9, 2015. R

Walking the line between cluelessness and dark comedy, Xinhua’s English-language Twitter account on Monday called global attention to what may be the worst air pollution reading since China started monitoring and publishing P.M. 2.5 data, or the density of toxic particles, in 2013.

The thick, toxic air shrouded the city of Shenyang for much of the weekend, turning day to smoggy night and severely limiting visibility. Photographs from the city show buildings enveloped by airborne grit and commuters caught in an otherworldly, gray haze.

Data released by the Shenyang Environmental Protection Agency on Sunday showed the density of toxic particles — PM2.5 — was more than 1,000 micrograms per cubic meter. (The World Health Organization says a reading of 25, on average, over 24 hours, is safe.)

Local officials said the pollution-levels topped 1200. Xinhua put the figure at 1400. The U.S. Consulate in Shenyang, which publishes regular updates, registered the air as “beyond,” meaning, off the chart.


Just a reminder:

“There is a level of admiration I actually have for China because their basic dictatorship is allowing them to actually turn their economy around on a dime and say we need to go green, we need to start, you know, investing in solar. There is a flexibility that I know Stephen Harper must dream about: having a dictatorship where you can do whatever you wanted, that I find quite interesting.”



Your Global Warming Update

As the faithful gather around their capering shamans in Paris for the New Superstition’s annual festival of worship, the Pause lengthens yet again. One-third of Man’s entire influence on climate since the Industrial Revolution has occurred since February 1997. Yet the 225 months since then show no global warming at all. With this month’s RSS temperature record, the Pause beats last month’s record and now stands at 18 years 9 months.


A new NASA study says that an increase in Antarctic snow accumulation that began 10,000 years ago is currently adding enough ice to the continent to outweigh the increased losses from its thinning glaciers.


(With thanks: Watts Up With That)