April 1, 2013

Joyce Murray for Liberal Leader


From my introduction to Joyce Murray at the Crestwood Community League Hall, Edmonton, February 22, 2013.

In 2006 I became very concerned about the global warming/climate change issue and started wondering what if anything one person could do about it.

A book I was reading at the time had a suggestion: get involved in the political process and impress on your government representatives that your support depends on them doing something about climate change. So I got involved. I bought a membership in the Liberal Party and went to Montreal as a Dion delegate.

On my first or second day at the convention, during a break in a policy meeting on the environment, I found myself conversing with the lady sitting next to me. She too was concerned about the environment. And she too came to Montreal to do something about it.

It was only later that I discovered that I was talking to Joyce Murray, former Minister of the Environment for the province of British Columbia.

In 2008, Ms Murray moved into national politics winning Vancouver Quadra in a by-election. In her first speech in the House of Commons she listed protecting the environment as one of her top priorities, and noted the environment award she received from the Sierra Club as one of her proudest achievements. Ms Murray won Vancouver Quadra again in the 2008 and 2011 Federal elections, and today, in 2013, Ms Murray is running for the leadership of the Liberal Party.

In examining the candidates running in the leadership race I’ve come to understand that Ms Murray understands the global warming/climate change issue extremely well, and has for quite some time. Listen to these statements from a research project she submitted as part of her MBA requirements at Simon Fraser University:

• “Human activity is amplifying the greenhouse effect.”

• “The great majority of climatologists and informed leaders agree that effectively irreversible greenhouse gas concentrations risk environmental catastrophe.”

• “An immediate and concerned international response is needed to limit the sources of global warming.”

The world’s top national academies of science would not disagree with these statements. Joyce Murray clearly understands the issue, and she understood it far better in 1992 than Stephen Harper does in 2013.

What first drew my attention to Joyce Murray the candidate was seeing that she is in favour of putting a price on carbon. Pricing carbon is the right thing to do. What we pay for fossil fuels does not cover the costs these fuels inflict on our society. The damage they do to our health, landscape, and atmosphere.

As Mark Jaccard, one of Canada’s leading academics on the issue, indicated, If a politician’s proposal does not raise the price of carbon, we as voters should conclude that they are not serious about doing something about global warming. 1)

Joyce Murray’s proposal includes a price on carbon. Joyce Murray is serious about doing something about global warming.

For us as voters doing something about global warming doesn’t just mean putting into power politicians that understand the problem and have the courage to do something about it. It also means removing from power politicians that do not understand the problem or lack the courage to do anything about the problem or worse yet are doing everything in their power to exacerbate the problem. Stephen Harper is such a politician.

Joyce Murray has a plan for dealing with Stephen Harper.

Her plan is pretty straight forward. Attack his majority. His unfair majority.

Murray’s plan is a plan of cooperation, cooperation between the Liberals, New Democrats and Greens to put forward in a select number of ridings one candidate against the Conservatives. It’s a daring move. But it’s a necessary move. Look what damage Harper has done to our environmental policy in the seven plus years he’s been in power. We need to stop him from doing any more damage. And we can do it through cooperation.

So there you have it. Carbon pricing and cooperation. My two reasons for making Joyce Murray my number one choice in the Liberal Party leadership race. And I hope you will do the same.


1. Mark Jaccard, “The Accidental Activist,”  The Walrus, Feb. 2013, p. 26

June 4, 2012

Five reasons to ask your Member of Parliament to vote No on Bill C-38:


1. It severely weakens the Canadian Environmental Assessment.

2. By amending the Species at Risk Act and the Navigable Waters Protection Act, it removes the protection of endangered species and their habitat from the pipeline approval process.

3. It guts the Fisheries Act by removing provisions for habitat protection.

4. It repeals the Kyoto Protocol Implementation.

5. It eliminates the National Round Table on Environment and Economy.


If you`re concerned about what our current government is doing to the environment, please call and ask your MP to vote No on Bill C-38.  Here`s how you can reach his or her office:  http://www.parl.gc.ca/MembersOfParliament/MainMPsCompleteList.aspx?TimePeriod=Current&Language=E


Best regards,

Peter Adamski

February 3, 2012

Senator Bert Brown, the distortionist

Self-admitting global warming denier Senator Bert Brown feels vindicated after hearing, at a parliamentary committee studying energy polices, “from four well known academics” who don’t believe humans are responsible for warming the planet (“Climate skeptics gathering influence in Tory Senate seats,” The Journal, January 22).

Let’s put things in perspective here.

The most definitive reports on global warming are those developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. IPCC reports involve hundreds of scientists, years of writing, and rounds of reviews that involve thousands of comments on every chapter.1

Surely Senator Brown is aware of the IPCC reports. And if he is aware of them and thinks that the assertions of four “well known” yet unnamed academics balance these reports off, then he’s not studying the global warming issue. He’s distorting it.

1. Stephen Schneider http://www.skepticalscience.com/science-and-distortion-stephen-schneider.html#.TwC5PcDGEwA.twitter  from about 3:30 – 4:30

January 22, 2012

Some leaks

Regarding a 1,500-barrel spill in the N.W.T.last year, "Enbridge originally said when the spill was discovered that only four barrels of [oil] leaked from the pipeline" ("Keystone denial threatens Gateway: Enbridge," The Edmonton Journal, January 20).  Later the company said the spill "involved anywhere from 700 to 1,500 barrels." Now they say it's at the "uper limit of 1,500 barrels."

Says Enbridge spokeswoman Jennifer Varey, "some leaks aren't so easy to detect."

Nor is the severity.

January 6, 2012

No climate victory in Durban

The editorial board of The Edmonton Journal likens the Harper government’s climate position to a game of Texas hold ‘em (see “A climate victory we may regret,” The Edmonton Journal, Dec. 28). From a risk point of view, I liken our government’s position to a game of chicken, wherein two drivers bear down on each other from opposite directions, each daring the other to swerve away. If neither swerves, the result is a collision, potentially deadly.


I wouldn’t be concerned if it was just the life of his government that Harper was risking. But that’s not the case here. What’s at stake are the lives of future generations all over the world. All because Harper refuses to believe that global warming is caused by humans.

The evidence says otherwise.

In its latest report the U.S. Global Change Research Program, a government body initiated by the President and mandated by the Legislature, lists 10 key findings, the first of which states that “Global Warming is unequivocal and primarily human induced.”

The finding supports the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which in its 2007 report stated that most of the observed increase in global temperatures since the mid 20th century “is very likely” the result of human activities.

The U.S. National Academy of Sciences supports these findings, as does NASA, the American Geological Society, the American Geophysical Union, the American Association of Advancement of Science. The list goes on.

And yet it’s still not enough to prompt our government into action.

If the fossil fuel industry needs a subsidy, support for a pipeline or help with a burdensome regulation, Harper’s there with the money, the pompoms or a regulatory workforce reduction. Whatever's required.

But when it comes to action on climate change—the greatest issue facing the world—Harper’s an obstructionist and has been since he first darkened our political landscape. But he’ll get his comeuppance. Someday when we all come to recognize the criminality of his position justice will prevail.

December 30, 2011

On taxing carbon

How encouraging it is to discover that members of our government are openly talking about a tax on carbon (“Senators emphasize united energy voice: Problems remain with implementing national energy tax,” The Journal, December 1, 2011).

What we pay to burn fossil fuels does not account for the damage they do to our health, landscape and climate. This is an injustice that must be remedied, and one of the best ways of doing so is with a carbon tax, providing it’s well designed and implemented.

We don’t have such a tax in Alberta.

Alberta’s carbon tax fails on two accounts. First, it’s based on emissions intensity (emissions produced per unit of product), rather than total emissions. Second, it’s applied only to facilities that emit more than 100,000 tonnes of green house gases a year.

Under this tax scheme, all participating facilities could meet their intensity requirement, while total emissions continue rising. This would be the case, were our federal and provincial governments to succeed in their plan to triple oilsands production by 2030.

In short, Alberta’s carbon tax does not meet the fundamental requirement: reduce our green house gas emissions.

A better approach is the "fee and dividend plan" put forward by Dr. James Hansen. Under this plan, "a fee is collected at the mine or port of entry for each fossil fuel." The public doesn’t pay any tax or fee directly. They pay through the increased cost of the fossil fuels they burn.

But here’s the kicker. All the money collected is distributed equally among the citizens. Canadians that burn less fuel receive more money than they pay out for the added costs, while those that burn more receive less than they pay out. As the fee rises, there's an even greater incentive to reduce carbon emissions.

On a national scale, the Hansen plan is the one worth adopting

All is fair, without a carbon tax

According to Graham Thomson, “You could argue it's unfair to focus so much on the oilsands when we produce more carbon dioxide through burning coal and collectively driving our cars and trucks.” (See “Ms. Redford goes to Washington,” The Edmonton Journal, Nov. 8.)

You could argue this point, but I wouldn’t. This is not an either-or situation. This year, in addition to the Keystone XL protests, we have seen fracking protests, coal plant protests, tar sands protests, and general, all purpose, action on climate change protests.

As well we should.

What we pay for the fossil fuels we burn does not take into account the damage they do to our health, the environment and the climate, and until we ledger the cost of these externalities we need to protest the escalating use of any and all fossil fuels.

The science demands it.