Should Disposable Single Use Plastic Bags Be Banned?

There has been much talk in the recent decade about banning disposable plastic bags.  The basic argument is that consumer grade disposable single use plastic bags are the root cause widespread environmental damage but have ready alternatives, so why are will still using them?

As is often the case with political issues, there is no simple answer to the question “Should single use plastic bags be banned?”.  Below are some of the facts and you can decide for yourself if this is a crisis or not:

ARGUMENTS AGAINST SINGLE USE PLASTIC BAGS

  • Australian scientists found that 90% of seabirds had plastic in their digestive tract
    • 85% of ‘ocean garbage’ is plastic
    • In March of 2018, Canadian Environment Minister Catherine McKenna claimed that there is the equivalent of one full dump truck load of plastic materials being dumped in the ocean every minute of every day
  • Plastic bags are made from non-renewable material
  • Single use plastic bags account cost about $.04 each to buy new and it is estimated the clean up cost is about $.15 per bag, resulting in a total cost to the consumer of more than $80 per year (more…)
Alberta-residential-tax-rates

Facts About “A Tale of Two Cities” A Comparison Between Lacombes & Chestermeres Approach to Hiring a New CAO

Recently it was brought to our attention that a small site took issue with the facts supplied in our article “A Tale Of Two Cities: How Chestermere is Spending $100K More Than Lacombe To Find a New CAO“.   Given the outrageous claims in the article, we felt compelled to provide the facts.

Please note that www.PartisianIssues.com is trying to stay out of Municipal politics.  In Chestermere’s case specifically, we know that the new Council will make mistakes but that those mistakes will be well intentioned and not malicious.

Claim: Chestermere Is In Too Much of a Hurry To Handle Its Own CAO Search:

This is perhaps the strangest claim made in the article so we will deal with it first.  Our original article made three fundamental points;

  1. Lacombe will do their CAO search much faster than Chestermere
  2. Lacombe will do their CAO search for somewhere between $100K and $200K less than Chestermere
  3. Temporary staff, almost by their very definition, will not develop meaningful changes

The simple fact is that even though Lacombe started their CAO search after Chesteremere did, Lacombe has already hired a new CAO. Chestermere is still spending $27,000 on a person (who we are sure is a smart, qualified but temporary CAO) that has not made any notable changes to the city that any other CAO wouldn’t have done.

Beyond this we found it odd to imply that Lacombe isn’t in a hurry to get their CAO work done.  Clearly this is inaccurate; Lacombe is done and Chestermere isn’t.

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The Price of Carbon in Saskatchewan

Dr David Maenz is interviewed on CBC Regina radio. The discussion is on climate change, his new book The Price of Carbon, and how the Saskatchewan Provincial government is handling the Canadian Federal Governments demand for a price on carbon.

A Rational, Fact Based Review of Global Warming & Its Practical Solutions

Below is an 11 minute interview with Dr. David Maenz about his new book The Price of Carbon.  Unlike all climate change books we have reviewed in the past, The Price Of Carbon is the first one to pull together the serious science of Global Warming from Earths formation until today, explain the three likely outcomes of Global Warming, and then detail the PRACTICAL solutions to the issue.

This book is definitely not a casual read but for the educated person that is still open to thinking about this critical issue, it will be an eye opener:

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10 Things You Didn’t Know About The Oil & Gas Industry in 2018

The Oil & Gas industry has more than its fair share of misinformation directed at it.  This site is intended to expose and explore facts and so as part of our new series on the Oil & Gas industry we thought you would like a quick run down of some interesting facts:

      1. LNG Does Not Burn: Companies compress Natural Gas into what is known as Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) it is much easier to move and store.  However, one concern that is often heard relates to how dangerous LNG (think of an LNG tanker as a floating bomb or an LNG pipeline as scary torch), but LNG is safer than nearly any other petroleum product.  It will not burn and if it spills it LNG will quickly clean itself up.  LNG is incredibly safe.  Watch this short fun video:

        .
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Will The New Canadian National Projects Review Mechanisms, Resolve Provincial & Municipal Disputes

At the heart of the Canadian Federal Governments announcement today about fixing the process that determines if a large scale project is in the best interest of Canada or not, is a desire to limit ability Provincial, Municipal and interest groups (like ‘First Nations’) to stall approved projects.  The idea is to:

  1. increase consultation so everyone’s voice is heard
  2. set firm and visible rules for industry so that “goal posts” are not being moved after the fact
  3. determine what is in Canada’s best interest, when that interest is at odds with local interest

These are clearly admirable goals.  To achieve those goals there are now going to be three structures that industry must pass through to get Federal Government support:

  1. A new ‘Impact Assessment Agency of Canada‘ will do the preliminary investigation to determine the environmental effects of a project
  2. The existing ‘National Energy Board’ is demoted and renamed ‘Canadian Energy Regulator‘ but still be responsible for determining the technicalities of a project
  3. The ‘Federal Minister of the Environment‘ will have the final say  if a project is viable and in Canada’s interest

So now the questions are, will these changes allow:

  1. Industry to decide that spending many millions of dollars to go through an elongated approval process that will have a definitive outcome be worth while?
  2. Provincial, Municipal and interest groups (like ‘First Nations’) to be heard and listened to?

There has been much debate over the process and all agree something big had to change:

  1. When industry works on large scale projects deemed to be in the Canadian national interest after years of consultation and vetting that are still blocked by local and regional interests, there is a big problem.
  2. When interest groups (i.e. some ‘First Nations’, Municipal governments (i.e. Vancouver) local and Provincial governments (i.e. BC) feel empowered to block large scale projects that adversely affect the rest of the country, there is an even bigger problem.

Dennis McConaghy, a former senior executive at Trans Canada Pipelines thinks these changes will not achieve the desired goals:

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iea-world-energy-demand-change-2016-2040

Oil & Gas: Why ‘Keep It In The Ground’ Is A Formula For Environmental Disaster

The environmental lobby has mislead many well intentioned companies and intelligent individuals with the “keep it in the ground movement”.   That logic only applies to “western societies” and has sadly resulted in serious efforts to block even the cleanest Oil & Gas projects for the last decade.  The most recent tactic is to block the infrastructure required to make Oil & Gas functional; in particular pipelines are being opposed at every turn.

These next two points should clearly demonstrate that “keep it in the ground” is both naive and environmentally damaging.

1: OIL & GAS GROWTH THROUGH 2040

The fact is that the most scientificly trustworthy energy industry research body in the world, the International Energy Association (IEA), agrees with dozens of other government and industry analysts that Oil & Gas demand will continue to EXPAND through the year 2040.  2040-2050 is the magic decade when China and India will have moved most of their citizens into the middle class.

Before you start thinking, ‘but wait, that will change if we ‘go electric”, note that the IEA is expecting massive amounts of electrification in the next 20+ years and has already wrapped those expectations into their projections.  If we don’t have substantial electrification (solar, wind, electric cars,…) 2040 will not be the

Keep in mind the word EXPAND.  This means that at about 2040, the world will not have stopped using oil and gas; this means that consumption will have peaked.  After 2040, there will take between 100 to 200 years to cycle out of petroleum based products.

iea-world-energy-demand-change-2016-2040

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pipeline-vs-rail-environment

Are Pipelines Really The Safest Way To Transport Oil & Gas?

Having worked at a few pipeline companies, I know they take safety and spills very seriously but we see pipeline bursts and their resulting spills with frequency in the news so the question lingers: Are pipelines safe?

pipeline-vs-rail-environmentLet’s start by stating an obvious fact that no-one WANTS a pipeline or any other serious infrastructure (power lines, rail lines, highways…) in their back yard but without such infrastructure our modern world would grind to a halt.  If we can agree on that as a fact, and not an opinion, we can rationally consider pipeline safety.

The factors determining the safety of any pipeline compared to rail or trucking are also obvious and visually undeniable.  Below is a simple chart outlining some of the risk factors that go into transporting liquids and gases:

 

FactorPipelinePipe ScoreTrainTrain Score
Above/Below GroundBurried1Above Ground8
VisibilityVery Low1Very High8
ConnectionsFew1Many8
Human Error LikelihoodNearly Zero1Constant6
Intentional Damage LikelihoodVery Low1Moderate5
Easy of Stopping LeakVery Easy1Very Difficult6
VolumeVery High9Low3
24 Hr MonitoringExcellent1Minimal8
16 52

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VIDEO: Former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney Tells US Senate To ‘Thanks It’s Lucky Stars For Canada’ and NAFTA

While testifying on NAFTA in front of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, former Canadian Prime Minister told them:

“Canada is privileged to have the United States as a neighbor and friend.  And the United States should thank its lucky stars, everyday, that they have Canada on their northern boarder.

This is is the most successful and peaceful bilateral agreement in world history”

“Canada is privileged to have the United States as a neighbor and friend.  And the United States should thank its lucky stars, everyday, that they have Canada on their northern boarder.

This is is the most successful and peaceful bilateral agreement in world history”

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10 Things Canada Is Doing Right In NAFTA Negotiations

Multinational trade negotiations are often accused being a closed door mess with a never ending series of mistakes, but Canadian negotiating strategies on NAFTA have been very successful.

Successful is a subjective word and this site aims to keep to the facts and avoid too much opinion, so let’s define success.  In the context NAFTA negotiations, success is defined as a trade agreement that is as favorable to your country as possible, with least amount of drama.

Canada, so far, has been “walking softly and carrying a big stick” with the following successful tactics:

1. Starting Negotiations With Demands: Canada laid out its criteria early in the process.  This instantly gave the Canadian negotiators important bargaining chips to potentially throw in at the end to close a deal.  Things like the dispute mechanisms and protecting the Dairy industry make great domestic politics, which bolsters your position with the other side, but are “nice to haves” and not truly critical to the success of a final deal.

2. Quietly Racking Up Negotiating Chips: In Canada’s case starting superficially unrelated proceedings, like attacking Boeing’s now demonstrably malicious claim against Bombardier, and starting a WTO claim against the US’ unfair trade practices, gives Canadian negotiators more “chips” to bargain with.  Massive deals like NAFTA often include side arrangements to terminate other proceedings.

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Why Canada Does Not Need a Dispute Mechanism in NAFTA

One of the most contentious issues between Canada and the United States on North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is chapters 11, 19 and 20 the dispute mechanisms.  Chapter 19 is the one most are fired up about:

…binational panel of five arbiters, agreed upon by both parties, who will determine whether or not the duties have merit based on U.S. domestic laws.

Source: macleans.ca/opinion/why-naftas-chapter-19-is-worth-fighting-for/ 

CANADIAN ARGUMENT FOR THE NAFTA DISPUTE MECHANISM:

Canada has politely stated that the United States is a massive economy with leadership that have inflated ego’s which are tied directly to high powered, big money, special interests.  The combination means that without a dispute mechanism, US politicians will frequently bring unfair claims of NAFTA breaches that Canada will not be able to defend against.  Canadian media and politicians (and even some American observers) have gone so far as to call this demand a ‘poison pill‘ using the logic that they know there is no-way Canada will accept a contract without a dispute process.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvrzlCFQ8eU

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How To Fix the Post Office: Alternating Day Delivery & Community Lockers

USPS-Post-Trucks-Parking-lotThe US Postal Service lost $5.6B in 2016.  Today the Liberal Canadian Federal Government announced that it would not reinstate home delivery of mail and all of the pundits cried… on both sides (see video at the bottom of this message). It is predicted that Canada Post will be loosing $700M per year in the near future.   These types of numbers are large enough that citizens just don’t understand them but rest assured, in the end, citizens are going to pay those bills, mostly through increased taxes.

Canada-Post-Trucks-Parking-lotThere are many idea’s about how to ‘fix’ the Post Office including:

Those are all great ideas and should be pursued, but there are two other idea’s that we have never heard anyone else suggest, and I think most reasonable people will get behind.

You can balance any budget shortfall by cutting costs or expanding revenue:

1: Alternating Day Delivery

Most people, even older people do not get ‘real’ mail every day, so why are we paying to have it delivered every day?  Why not cut the number of delivery workers in half, delivering mail (to the door or box) on this schedule:

Week 1: Monday Wednesday Friday
Week 2: Tuesday Thursday

With virtually no practical decrease in service, the Post Office would be able to have massive staff cut (160,000 letter carriers the US, and 12,500 letter carriers in Canada) and 33% reduction their small truck fleet.

A rough estimate of the ANNUAL labor savings would be $8.1B (16000 x $51600) in the US and $625M (12500 x $50000) in Canada.

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