Month: September 2008

20 killed as 5 bomb explosions rock Delhi

Twenty people were killed and about 100 injured in a series of five bomb explosions that rocked busy marketplaces in the Capital on Saturday.The first explosion took place at Karol Bagh at 6.10 p.m.; two bombs were triggered at Connaught Place; and two more in the bustling M-Block market of Greater Kailash.

The Hindu : Front Page : 20 killed as 5 bomb explosions rock Delhi

What is India going to do about this problem? The terrorists know exactly what they are doing. They want to polarize the Indian population and start a scorched earth Hindu-Muslim conflict. I don’t see that happening as of yet, but a country can only take so much. The current government does not have enough intelligence to stop the attacks. They react by arresting a person or two, but I think there are many more cells in the country. The inability of the central govrernment to make any major breakthroughs is only going to lead to more deaths.

The BJP is saying that it warned the Central government recently that SIMI was planning attacks in Delhi. I guess I could have warned the Central government that terrorists are going to strike every major city in the country on an ongoing basis. The BJP of course claims that the congress is “soft on terror” (sounds familiar). They have not said what they would do differently, except have more draconian preventive arrests, which given the lack of intelligence would be mostly pointless.

Carbon tax Front and Centre in the Canadian Campaign

The battle for Quebec in the federal election campaign heated up on Thursday with Conservative Leader Stephen Harper telling a Montreal audience that Liberal Leader Stéphane Dion's carbon tax proposal threatens Canada's national unity.

"The carbon tax will do more than undermine the economy," Harper said to a crowd of business leaders. "By undermining the economy and by re-centralizing money and power in Ottawa, it can only undermine the progress we have been making on national unity." – Canada Votes – Dion’s Green Shift threatens national unity: Harper.
Mr. Harper is calling for disaster if there’s any kind of serious carbon dioxide mitigation plan. His party’s plan, as I mentioned a few days back, is pretty toothless, and his attitude does not bode well for climate change mitigation policy in Canada.

Jury decides that threat of global warming justifies breaking the law

The threat of global warming is so great that campaigners were justified in causing more than £35,000 worth of damage to a coal-fired power station, a jury decided yesterday. In a verdict that will have shocked ministers and energy companies the jury at Maidstone Crown Court cleared six Greenpeace activists of criminal damage.Jurors accepted defence arguments that the six had a “lawful excuse” to damage property at Kingsnorth power station in Kent to prevent even greater damage caused by climate change. The defence of “lawful excuse” under the Criminal Damage Act 1971 allows damage to be caused to property to prevent even greater damage – such as breaking down the door of a burning house to tackle a fire.

Cleared: Jury decides that threat of global warming justifies breaking the law – Climate Change, Environment – The Independent

In England, mind you, not some “lawless” country. This is a crazy verdict, and a very interesting statute. By the same token, should the people in low lying areas in Bangladesh be held liable for sabotaging huge coal powered plants in India and China? I am sure they would!

Also, removing graffiti costs 35,000 pounds? Can I get that job?

Hold Your Heads Up – A defence of American Liberals

Civil rights? Women’s rights? Liberals went to the mat for them time and again against ugly, vicious and sometimes murderous opposition. They should be forever proud.The liberals who didn’t have a clue gave us Social Security and unemployment insurance, both of which were contained in the original Social Security Act. Most conservatives despised the very idea of this assistance to struggling Americans. Republicans hated Social Security, but most were afraid to give full throat to their opposition in public at the height of the Depression.

Op-Ed Columnist – Hold Your Heads Up – Op-Ed –

Bob Herbert is one of the few major US columnists giving voice to the dispossessed and the less than lucky. He writes a very eloquent post about liberal achievements over the years. Good stuff…

It's Official: Elections on the 14th of October

Prime Minister Stephen Harper pulled the plug on his minority government to ask voters for a fresh mandate as Canadians face growing global economic turbulence, a move that opened the political floodgates for an Oct. 14 vote. Harper’s political opponents say the campaign will be a referendum on his leadership and the direction he has taken the country since the Conservatives won power in 2006.

Federal leaders deploy as election battle begins

Yes, as always, we will be 2 weeks before the Americans, and a much shorter schedule. It is good timing for the conservatives, the economy’s crap has not hit the fan yet, 6 months later, totally different story.  It is going to be interesting. If all the mail I am getting and all out TV blitz are any indication, there’s only one party running, yes, it is those conservatives, not being too conservative with their use of money! I haven’t heard/seen the Liberals or the NDP run an ad yet, but I don’t watch too many commercials!

Oil refineries underestimate release of emissions, study says

A study by the Alberta Research Council that investigated the plume of contaminants emanating from a Canadian oil refinery using high-tech sniffing equipment found the facility dramatically underestimated its releases of dangerous air pollutants.The refinery, which wasn’t identified but is believed to be in Alberta, released 19 times more cancer-causing benzene than it reported under Environment Canada disclosure regulations, about 15 times more smog-causing volatile organic compounds, and nine times more methane, a greenhouse gas, according to the study.The testing is believed to be the first at a North American refinery using the sophisticated technology relying on lasers, and is considered state-of-the art. The technology, developed by British Petroleum, has been in widespread use in Europe for nearly two decades. Oil refineries underestimate release of emissions, study says

Serious stuff, this. As the report points out, this is old news, here’s a workshop report from the EPA last year about this very issue (no, don’t read it, 303 pages long). Volatile organic compounds are inputs into air pollution models that measure ozone levels. When your local agency tells you that Tuesday is going to be a code orange ozone day, they rely on ozone models such as CMAQ. Now, without proper inputs, you are going to make some serious errors in prediction. These errors are somewhat mitigated by the tuning of these models with measured concentrations. So, there is some error compensation going on within the model.

More importantly, by underestimating fugitive emissions, refineries can reduce their leak monitoring, reporting and mitigation costs. There is also the issue of conflict of interest here. The current technique was developed by the American Petroleum Institute!

Do we expect measurement based techniques to start being used in the US and Canada? One would hope so, but, don’t hold your breath!

Not looking good for Canada and Climate Change Policy

Meanwhile, the Conservative party received an F+ because it has chosen a "completely inadequate" target for reducing greenhouse gases and because it is relying on intensity targets to meet its goals.

Greens tops, Tories flops in Sierra Club climate-change report card.

So, all the other parties get at least a B grade. The conservatives are relying on so called greenhouse gas intensity targets, or emissions/dollar of GDP, which is a meaningless statistic. As many have pointed out previously, greenhouse gas intensity is a meaningless statistic and decreases naturally as processes grow more efficient and economies transition from a manufacturing to a service oriented economy. The GHG intensity dodge was invented by the Bush administration and the conservatives were happy enough to follow along.

So, as Harper turns his high profile and the utter fragmentation of centre/left of centre vote into an opinion poll lead, a reminder that ever other party in this race has at least a half way realistic climate policy.

Canada can’t really wait too long to get in front of this problem. I believe that the US will have something proposed/in place by 2010 and as Canada’s biggest trading partner, will be in enforce a carbon regime on Canada, so this may be moot.

Tory majority in Canada?

According to the poll, conducted by the Strategic Counsel, 37 per cent of Canadians would opt to vote for the Tories were an election to be held today, compared with 29 per cent for the Liberals, 17 per cent for the NDP and 9 per cent for the Green Party. Tory majority? Pollster takes your questions.

The interesting fact is that Centre-Left parties (Libs NDP + Green) are much more popular than the Tories, so while the country prefers left of centre politics, there is a lot of vote splitting going on. Need to learn a bit more about that, eh! If this were India, the NDP and Liberals would be running a united ticket.

Canadian Elections October 14th?

Prime Minister Stephen Harper will later this week ask Governor General Michaëlle Jean to set Oct. 14 as the date for the next federal election, senior government officials said Monday.Harper will visit Jean at Rideau Hall, her official residence in Ottawa, to establish the election date, the officials told the Canadian Press, speaking on condition of anonymity.The prime minister will declare that, after having met with all three opposition leaders over the last few days, he no longer has the confidence of Parliament, the sources said. As per tradition, it will then be up to Jean to decide whether to dissolve Parliament and set the election date.

Harper to ask GG to set Oct. 14 as election date: sources

Just like most things Canadian, our elections will also be about 2 weeks before the American one, it’s Harper vs. Dion, also starring the NDP, the Bloc Quebecois and the Green Party. Climate Change will be front and centre, thanks to Dion and the Liberals’ Green Shift campaign:

Our plan is as powerful as it is simple. We will cut taxes on those things we all want more of such as income, investment and innovation, and we will shift those taxes to what we all want less of: pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and waste.

Energy costs are soaring all over the world. While energy prices continue to rise, we need to encourage energy efficiency. We need to change wasteful habits. We need to discourage polluting activities.

In other words, a kind of Carbon Tax similar to the one the BC provincial government instituted this July. Of course, Harper called this a tax increase and has forecast gloom and doom for all Canadians if something like this happens. As such, his attacks have been successful and support seems to be dropping.

It’s going to be very interesting and very tight, with the Tories and Liberals both polling in the Mid 30s. Expect yet another coalition government. The Greens could affect results in certain ridings, always good to follow. I hope to learn a lot about Canadian politics from watching this election. The system is quite like India’s and as such, is easily understandable.

Also expect no soap operas, this is Canada, folks, if you were expecting the Jerry Springer feel to this weekend’s goings on South of the border!!