Thursday, July 29, 2010

Thursday Morning Links

- There's some moderately good news on the climate change front, as key states and provinces within the Western Climate Initiative are planning to move forward with a cap-and-trade system. I'll be somewhat skeptical until the system actually gets put in place - but better to have Ontario, Quebec, B.C. and others at least doing something than for denialists and obstructionists at the national level to completely control the debate.

- Macleans' report on the Cons' waste of gobs of stimulus money is worth a read in full. But most damning is the contrast between some of the frivolities that were approved, and the Cons' rejection of more useful but less photo-friendly infrastructure proposals:
(E)ven for those (projects) that were about roads and sewers, the average size is quite small, just $2.5 million—about one-tenth the size of the ferry terminal in tiny Klemtu. That’s hardly the scale of infrastructure many observers say is needed for the future. Last week the Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario released a report that argued the infrastructure deficit in Canada—pegged at roughly $130 billion—could cost the economy 1.1 per cent of annual GDP growth over the next 50 years. “In a lot of cases municipalities would tell you they weren’t the best types of projects in terms of city building,” says Andy Manahan, the organization’s executive director.

Some municipalities did try to tackle crumbling infrastructure, only to have more photo-op friendly projects get approved by Ottawa instead. In Brantford, Ont., councillor Richard Carpenter complained to a local newspaper that the city asked for roads, and got hockey arenas and a farmers’ market instead. “It turns out the ribbon-cutting projects are the priority for this government,” he said.
- Murray Mandryk nicely recounts a few of the reasons why Brad Wall can't be trusted:
But what seems to be lost on Wall and his government right now is that trust is never a forever thing in politics. It's something premiers have to work to keep and events of late have surely taken a serious toll on Wall's trust factor.
Worse yet, are public suspicions that the political games this government is playing might affect the outcome of elections.

The idiocy of the Sask. Party caucus in rejecting the agreed-to candidate for chief electoral officer is quickly becoming the Sask. Party's version of the federal Conservatives' long-form census mess -- an issue the public wouldn't otherwise care about that's turned into a political embarrassment of their own making.
Accusations by current PC party leader Rick Swenson that the Sask. Party has conspired to deprive the rival Progressive Conservatives of this money to prevent it from mounting effective political campaigns have plagued Wall's entire tenure as leader. It will now be up to the courts to decide, but any whiff of involvement by Sask. Party principals in this Trust Fund may do serious damage to Wall's own trust factor.

And about the last thing the Sask. Party leader needs is any more reason for the public to distrust him.
- For those in Saskatchewan interested in defending civil liberties in the wake of the G20 security fiasco, stop by the Saskatchewan G20 Solidarity site to lend your voice to the cause. (And for those elsewhere, check out the national version.)

- Finally, Heath Packman's CCPA report on the massive costs of nuclear power is worth a read in full. But helpfully, Postmedia's coverage has picked up the key points:
According to studies cited by Packman, the capital costs of creating new nuclear power are estimated at roughly $4,000 per kilowatt hour. Nuclear is the most expensive, along with solar, which costs the same amount. Coal ($2,438), biomass ($2,500), wind ($1,700) and natural gas ($700) are the other options cited.

As for fixed annual operations and maintenance, nuclear was the most expensive at $100 per kilowatt hour, followed by coal ($45), solar ($33), wind ($25) and natural gas ($20).

Opting for nuclear power in the current environment could cause power bills to triple, said Packman.
Packman said nuclear advocates often underestimate the actual costs of nuclear power, minimizing the construction and decommissioning expenses and over-selling its greenhouse-gas emission advantages over other sources of power. Every country that has constructed reactors has been forced to subsidize the project.

No comments:

Post a Comment